AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Insiders at the Ingolstadt automaker say Audi is planning to launch its smallest SUV yet, the Q2, which will slot in below the Q3 (shown above).
Said to utilize the same architecture that will also underpin the next generation A3, it’s believed we’ll see a concept version debut within a year and likely a production model will follow within 18 months of that.
In terms of configuration, the Q2 is expected to be a strict four-seater with a swoopy roof profile (think along the lines of a baby BMW X6) and targeted as a lifestyle machine, with limited off-road capability and primarily front-drive.
However, taking a cue from the Mini Crossman, insiders say Audi plans to offer a range of personalization options for the Q2, such as roof and mirror cap colours, interior panels and even the seats and steering wheel.
Given that Audi seems bent on filling just about every automotive niche it can, some have been asking whether or not we’ll see a Q4 as well, especially considering a Q6 is likely already on its way. Yet one source said, perhaps surprisingly that a Q4 isn’t likely to materialize.
“In higher levels of pricing, it makes sense to have a lower-volume niche machine like the Q6, but it can’t be justified in the lower segment,” the source declared.
A concept minivan, little information was available on it at the show. All we could get from Chrysler was that the 700C is “a styling exercise, designed to gauge public reaction.”
When Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne toured the Windsor assembly plant which builds the current Dodge Grand Caravan and Town & Country models, he talked about “big plans for the future,” though declined to reveal much more.
With minivan sales still a staple part of the Chrysler’s business in North America, yet the segment for the most part suffering from a lack of new investment, perhaps the time has come to reinvent the concept of what a minivan should be.
And if the Chrysler 700C concept is any indication, that might just result in the most exciting people mover seen in more than a quarter of a century.
GALLERY: Chrysler 700C
It seems as if the two domestic luxury brands are engaging in a game of tit for tat. Yesterday, Cadillac revealed its new BMW 3-Series fighter, the ATS. Today, rival Lincoln took the spotlight, taking the wraps of this, the 2013 MKZ Concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
We’ve been hearing for months about Lincoln’s new focus, including the formation of an independent design group, with the task of making the brand’s vehicles look a lot more distinctive. Brand Design Head Max Wolff, calls the MKZ Concept “elegant simplicity,” with the objective of creating a car that embodies “warmth.”
Features such as a Cognac colored exterior, contrasting Champagne leather interior, accented with “responsibly harvested” Poplar wood are designed to accentuate this feeling of coziness, while the seats themselves feature perforations in the center, in order to give the impression of Champagne bubbles rising from a bottom of a glass.
So perhaps this car, is not only symbolic of a new design direction for Lincoln, but also emphasizing the brand’s new found freedom, via a rolling celebration.
High-tech interior embellishments include the latest version of MyLincoln Touch, accessed by a Thin Film Transistor Screen directly ahead of the driver, as well as a push button gear selection feature, said to become a signature touch of future Lincoln products.
Outwardly the MKZ employs a new take on the Lincoln split grille, that almost harks back to the 1938 Zephyr and more fluid lines that break away from the almost blocky look of the current MKZ sedan. Out back, full width LED taillamps and big bold chrome “Lincoln” lettering, plus exhaust tips integrated with the rear fascia are signature touches.
Yet most impressive, is the panaromic glass roof, a feature we can also expect to see more of on future Lincoln products, according to Wolff. The glass is actually integrated into the car’s structure, made from steel and boron and is designed to provide each occupant with a “personal,” open air experience.
And that basically sums up what Ford is trying to do with Lincoln, turning the marque into a true boutique brand, where the ownership experience is as intimate as the vehicles themselves. Will it work? Time only has that answer, but as other luxury brands, specifically Teutonic ones, seem bent on bigger and better, the strategy might just work.
GALLERY: 2013 Lincoln MKZ Concept
In a seemingly never ending quest to fill every single automotive niche, no matter how big or small, Audi AG has given the strongest indications yet that it’s R4, a smaller counterpart to the R8 mid-engined supercar, is slated for production after all. (Previous reports had indicated the project was axed).
The latest rumors circulating indicate that not only is the R4 destined to become a reality, but also that it will take many cues from the e-tron Spyder and be conceived from the outset as a convertible, though a coupe version is likely to join it.
As for driveline options, the R4 will come with a conventional internal combustion engine, probably a version of Audi’s 2.5-liter in-line five, though a hybrid is also expected.
Of course, being an Audi, a version of the quattro AWD system is a given, though one inside source at Audi says that in the R4′s case, certainly for the hybrid model, there won’t be a conventional link between the rear and front wheels, instead a torque vectoring system will be employed to harmonize traction between the gas engine powered back tires and the electric motor activated fronts.
As for chassis construction, there are rumors that the car could use a scaled down version of the R8′s aluminum space frame, though sharing a platform with VW and Porsche’s possible up and coming mid-engined small cars seems more likely.
Nevertheless, if and when it does arrive, the R4 promises to offer a good deal of driving thrills, with a high level of efficiency, especially in Hybrid form (the e-tron Spyder can operate at a distance of up to 37 miles on pure electric power).
As for pricing, nothing has really been suggested, though one source says the car could sell for around £50,000 (roughly $80,000), which would put it very much in Porsche 911 territory.
GALLERY: Audi E-Tron Concept
[Source: Auto Express]
Call it the Cayenne Syndrome, yet it seems that even ultra luxury manufacturers can no longer resist the temptation of offering some kind of Crossover Utility.
The latest is Bentley, whose current CEO Wolfgang Durheimer, confirmed on August 10, it will be offering an SUV of its very own.
However, considering that Durheimer actually worked on the Cayenne project while at Porsche (a vehicle that saw the marque’s sales double) the idea of a Bentley 4×4 perhaps isn’t so far out on left field. He also said that Bentley plans to offer diesel engines and possibly even Hybrid powertrains down the road; he also announced the marque will return to motor sport.
Getting back to the SUV concept, the Bentley, internally coded BY736, is likely to adopted aluminum space frame construction and according to insiders, styling in the idom of a a five-door ‘shooting brake,’ a posh term for sports wagon.
Hand craftsmanship will likely feature prominently as will a plethora of high technology features, ranging from driver aids to an adjustable air suspension.
In terms of powertrains, expect a W12 gas engine to be offered, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission, though in Europe at least, a diesel will also be available. While the VW corporate 4.2 TDI could be a possibility, it’s likely the Bentley’s oil burner will also be a 12-cylinder motor, more in keeping with the brand’s stature.
As was the case with Cayenne, Durheimer believes that this SUV could be a major profit center for Bentley, helping bolster sales beyond pre-recession levels of around 10,000 units world wide. In fact he said Bentley could produce as many as 30,000 cars a year and that even that annual total, wouldn’t has he describes it, ‘devalue’ the brand.
[Source: Car Magazine]
GMC‘s thing has always been trucks, though some would argue it’s 1971-87 El Camino derrivatives, the Sprint and Caballero broke the mold. Now, there’s no question that the brand is firmly stepping outside it’s traditional comfort zone; for 2013 it plans to chase after those in the market for cars like the Kia Soul and Scion XB.
The subcompact Granite is aimed firmly at young, urban buyers and will incorporate such features as Dutch Doors on the passenger side to facilitate easy loading and likely a choice of 2.0-liter turbo and 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines as well as manual or automatic transaxles (the concept , seen here, sported a 1.4 blown motor and six-speed manual gearbox).
GMC is also expected to debut a thoroughly updated Sierra 1500 and a revised Yukon SUV as 2014 models, at around the same time as the Grantie. Both will likely be available with a turbocharged engine and possibly an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Heavy Duty pickup trucks are likely to get a facelift for 2014-15, around the same time an updated Acadia SUV is due.
In the shorter term, buyers can expect a luxury Denali version of the popular Terrain and a sheetmetal revamp for the current Acadia. As for the mid-size Canyon, once production winds up at the Shreveport, Louisiana plant, it’s unlikely a successor will manifest itself in the coming years, though rumors continue to persist that a version of the new ‘world’ Chevy Colorado is destined for North American shores at some point.
[Source: GM Inside News]
Despite recent rumors that Lincoln might be headed for the chopping block, not helped by GM CEO Dan Akerson’s outburst last week, Ford Motor Company has repeatedly said that it’s committed to the Lincoln brand. Not only that, but part of future product portfolios will included a Navigator SUV.
Scott Tobin, director of product development for Lincoln, said during a short video on the company’s Facebook page, that not only will the Navigator stick around long-term, it will likely remain as a large, heavy-duty vehicle designed for hauling and towing, which probably means it will retain body-on-frame construction and possibly larger displacement engines, though in Ford’s corporate-wide push to improve fuel efficiency, at least one EcoBoost engine will probably join the roster. To view Tobin’s comments, click on the link here.