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.
With a larger and lighter chassis, more powerful and efficient engines and an updated look, get all the details in our first look video below.
GALLERY: 2013 Porsche Boxster
Kanye West once rapped that the Mercedes G550 was “his favorite toy”, but West, along with other rappers and oil shieks, will be sorely disappointed to learn that the new AMG versions expected to debut will make their lowly G550 look dated.
The G55 will get an updated twin-turbo 525-horsepower 5.5L V8, similar to other Mercedes AMG cars, to replace its supercharged V8. A mild facelift will also follow. But what’s really making news is the rumored G65, which should come with a twin-turbocharged V12 engine and a pricetag of $327,000. The V12 will put out 612 horsepower and roughly 738 lb-ft of torque. The excessive price tag and power figures are in play thanks to an ultra-exclusive run of only 250 cars.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz G55 and G65 AMG
Volkswagen Canada is pulling a television commercial after receiving complaints that it is insensitive and offensive. The ad features the Volkwagen Passat, but the complaints center around what happens after the man pulls into the emergency lane.
He jumps out of the car in a panic, saying his wife is having a baby, but stops to chat about how great his Passat is after the EMT seems impressed. They ignore the woman’s cries to check out the interior, and the spot ends with the husband shutting the driver’s door, apparently having forgotten his wife altogether.
Volkswagen Canada spokesperson Thomas Tetzlaff told the Winnipeg Free Press that the company apologized after a small number of customers said they thought the ad portrayed pregnant women in a bad light.
The website Art Threat tried to take credit for the removal, but Volkswagen insists that they removed it a week before the site published its article, and that their decision was a response to their customers.
GALLERY: 2011 Volkswagen Passat
[Source: Winnipeg Free Press]
You can watch the ad below
BMW’s newest M3 sedan was caught testing, and the wide fenders were a dead giveaway for our photographers. Check out the pictures below.
We wish we had more info about powertrains and the like but your guess is as good as ours. In all likelihood, the big, high-revving V8 will take a bow in favor of a turbocharged inline six. We’ve heard crazy rumors of a tri-turbo I6 in the past, but we’ll probably see something like the 1M’s I6 make an appearance – that is, a massaged version of the N54 twin-turbo I6 used in the 335i, albeit with a lot of power. Lighter weight will also play a part, helping to reduce the need for big power numbers.
Gallery: BMW M3 Sedan
With Europe having a long history of taxing cars based on engine displacement, automakers have long dodged this levy by placing diminutive engines in even their largest vehicles.
Infiniti is hoping to get around this by following the same path, and starting in 2012, the Infiniti M will feature a pair of 4-cylinder engines borrowed from Mercedes-Benz; a 204 horsepower turbocharged 1.8 L, and a a 170 horsepower 2.1L turbodiesel. Both engines are from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and will be some of the first technology sharing to come from the agreement signed by Mercedes-Benz and Nissan.
The vehicles are expected to be introduced at March’s Geneva Auto Show.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The Audi A3 was caught by our spy photographers undergoing winter testing in Sweden. Despite heavy camoflague, we already know what the next A3 will look like – look at any current Audi for clues to what the front and rear treatments will resemble.
The new A3 will come in three and five door variants (dubbed the Sportback) a convertible and interestingly, a sedan. Audi previewed the sedan at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, and while the production version may not be as radical as the awesome looking concept (which packed a 408-horsepower 5-cylinder engine and a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox), the car will definitely be attractive, and pack a full suite of turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines, dual clutch gearboxes and all-wheel drive.
North America will definitely get the sedan, and likely the five-door hatch, but we may not get the 3-door or ragtop versions, as those have previously been the exclusive domain of world markets.
Gallery: Audi A3 Spy Shots
Mercedes-Benz GL has gone since 2006 without an update, and for the 2013 model year, Mercedes will finally be paying attention to their big three-row SUV.
While the diesel GL models will be largely carried over, M-B’s new line of turbocharged V8s and direct-injection V6s will make an appearance in the new model. Other changes will be largely cosmetic, with a new front and rear fascia being the most obvious details, as well as revised front and rear lights with a smattering of LEDs too.
Gallery: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL
Mercedes-Benz is prepping an AMG version of their B-Class hot hatch, and while a front-drive tall wagon may not sound like ideal AMG material, we’re pretty jazzed about the rumored specs.
A turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 325-350 horsepower will be on board, as well a dual-clutch gearbox (with six or seven speeds). All-wheel drive will be needed to tame the prodigious power, as will bigger brakes, wider rubber and upgraded suspension tuning. Mercedes dealers have been asking for the B-Class as an entry-level product, but Mercedes hasn’t made a decision. On the other hand, the B-Class is already sold in Canada – which happens to be one of AMG’s biggest markets per capita in the world. So the hot B-Class could wind up making its way to the Great White North without ever heading to the USA.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz B-Class AMG
Volkswagen is out testing the 7th generation Golf, as seen here in spy shots, and the new car looks like it will retain much of the current car’s styling, but get a lower, wider and more aggressive profile.
For North America, expect the 2.0TDI diesel to carry over, but the base 2.5L 5-cylinder is out, to be replaced with a 1.8L turbocharged 4-cylinder (based off of the much-loved 2.0T motor). Golf production may move to the United States, but Volkswagen has been very tight lipped about details, as it remains Volkswagen’s bread-and-butter car in virtually every market except the United States,
Gallery: Volkswagen Golf MKVII
Specific timetables and other details were not announced, but Toyota is believed to be pursuing the deal to help offset the increased cost of importing Japanese-built hybrids due to a rising yen. Toyota would likely end up sharing its vaunted hybrid technology with BMW in return.
Toyota and Ford recently signed a similar agreement regarding hybrid SUVs, while BMW and PSA (parent company of Peugeot and Citroen) signed one for hybrid subcompacts.
While Mercedes had high hopes for the brand, Maybach’s sales have slumped to around 200 units annually, whereas targets called for sales of 1,000 cars per year. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told German Newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung “It would not be sensible to develop a successor model for the current Maybach.”
Ultra-luxury versions of the next Mercedes-Benz S-Class will replace the Maybach in 2013.
[Source: Automotive News]
12. Toyota Camry
While automakers and outside research firms publish sales figures and earnings reports on a regular basis, one metric we rarely get a glimpse of is how profitable each vehicle is. In an era of re-badging and platform sharing, one would think that the most profitable vehicles are those with a large number of derivatives to spread the cost around. But a new report from Bernstein Research suggests that two factors – price point and volume – are the keys to making big bucks off vehicles. And judging by the list, longevity seems to help as well.
Number 12 on the list is the Toyota Camry, and for good reason. The Camry has a number of factors in its favor – massive volumes, an accessible price point and its made in America (currency fluctuations, particularly a rise in the euro or yen, can make exports unprofitable). Bernstein’s report notes that high volume cars at a medium price point are one of the keys to profitability, and the Camry might be the textbook definition of this formula. The Camry’s twin, the Lexus ES350, was absent from the list, but no doubt earns its keep, as a gilded version of the Camry.
The BMW 5-Series ActiveHybrid will make its debut at this December’s Tokyo Auto Show, featuring BMW’s familiar twin-turbo I6 engine and an electric motor that will produce a total output of 340 horsepower. Backed by an 8-speed automatic, the car will be able to operate in pure electric mode up to 37 mph.
The ActiveHybrid’s 55 horsepower electric motor will be powered by a trunk mounted lithium-ion battery pack, and also allow the driver to coast with the gasoline engine shut off. A boost function will also enable rapid acceleration, though BMW did not elaborate on its exact nature. An energy management system is said to work in concert with the car’s GPS unit to adjust for road conditions.
BMW also markets hybrid versions of the 7-series and X6. A 3-Series Hybrid will bow in 2012, while the i3 and i8 electric cars will debut in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Consumer Reports has made allegations against Volkswagen that the company provided press vehicles that were built to a higher standard than versions sold to consumers.
Stories of “ringer” press vehicles are legend in the automotive world – most recently, Ferrari was accused of providing press cars that performed far better than customer cars. Now, the venerable consumer mag, which has made a name for itself by purchasing its own vehicles for road tests, has published photos and descriptions of a few key differences between the 2012 Passat they purchased, and the versions provided by Volkswagen by their press fleet.
The accusations hinge (no pun intended) on two plastic covers for the trunk hinge mechanism (pictured above). A VW press car had the covers installed to hide the bare metal hinges and wiring loom used on the Passat, but the customer cars purchased by CR didn’t have those. As CR’s Jon Linkov notes, if VW was willing to go the extra mile for a set of hinges, other crucial areas, like sound deadening, suspension tuning or engine performance could have been altered as well. Consumer Reports said that they’ve experienced these things before, and that it raises larger issues of impropriety.
The 2013 BMW 3-Series will start at $35,775 when it goes on sale in February. For that amount of coin, you can walk away with a base model 328i, while a 335i will set you back $43,275.
The base price for the two models has only been bumped up by $300-$350, but the newest 3-Series is a radically different car from the outgoing version, chock full of technology and gadgets that weren’t previously available like a self-parking system and a no-charge 8-speed automatic gearbox. 328i models now get a turbocharged 4-cylinder making 240-horsepower, while the 335i continues on with BMW’s legendary turbocharged inline-6.
Diesel, hybrid and wagon variants will all arrive and some point, as will a coupe and convertible, but the only confirmed tidbit we have is that an M-Sport edition will be hitting our shores in July, and carry a $5000 premium over the base car. Consider the M Sport a stop-gap until a new M3 gets here in a few years time.
BMW‘s i3 may not be getting as much buzz as the 2012 3-Series, but their upcoming compact city car is probably the most important vehicle they’ll launch all decade.
With the i3, BMW is moving in a totally different direction, both in terms of technology and sustainability. The i3 will have a chassis made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, a first for a volume production car, and will help offset the weight of the car’s electric powertrain.
BMW claims that the i3 will make 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, good enough for an 8 second 0-60 mph time. While BMW has previously said that the i3 is a pure electric car, the vehicles spied here displayed decals declaring the i3 a “hybrid test vehicle”, leading us to wonder whether there will be some kind of range extender on board. Regardless, the i3 will require just one hour of charging to replenish the batteries by 80 percent, a figure that has us optimistic regarding the i3′s usefulness.
Our spy photographer noted that the styling is fairly close to the concept, and that the i3 will have rear suicide doors similar to the MINI Clubman, where the front door will have to be opened to access the rear doors.
Gallery: BMW i3 Spy Photos
Boy oh boy. We’ve seen some pretty bad project cars in our time, some of which can’t be unseen. This, however, might be the most atrocious yet. The victimized vehicle comes from Bosnia, where its owner decided to transform the Mercedes sedan with some Bugatti styling. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out very well and the result is, well… horrendous.
If you didn’t even look at the front of the vehicle, you’d probably be confused as to what the builder was trying to obtain. But the front-end is clearly Bugatti-influenced, along with the rear doors receiving a widebody treatment with the traditional Bugatti flares. Unfortunately the whole thing is just a mess, and not a hot one at that.
Source: Mercedes Turned Bugatti Galibier
The base Carrera comes with a 3.4-liter flat-6 engine with 350-hp, good for 4.4 second 0-60 mph time (4.2 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package). Carrera S models get a 3.8-liter version of the same motor with 400-hp, taking 4.1 seconds to hit 60 mph (3.9 with the Sport Chrono Package and PDK gearbox).
The new 991 is 100 lbs lighter, while a 7-speed manual gearbox (the first ever on a production car) helps improve fuel efficiency. A Carrera will set you back $82,100 for a base model, with Carrera S models priced starting at $96,400.
Gallery: 2012 Porsche 911
Porsche took the wraps off their Panamera GTS sedan Wednesday at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, billing it as “The Purest Panamera Yet”. The Panamera GTS offers a 30 horsepower increase over the standard Panamera 4 and Panamera 4S, and comes with standard all-wheel drive and a 7-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox – no manual transmission will be available.
Upgraded brakes, a 10mm lowered ride height and Porsche Active Suspension Management are all standard, as are 5mm wheel spacers to give the car a wider track. Bespoke interior fittings distinguish the Panamera GTS from plebian versions. A revised intake and exhaust will give the driver more seductive V8 engine sounds, and a standard Sport Chrono pack and Launch Control allow for a rawer driving experience.
The exterior is given minor aesthetic tweaks, as well as an adjustable spoiler borrowed from the Panamera Turbo, but only the Porsche faithful will be able to spot the real differences. GTS motifs, both inside and out, complete the whole package. Pricing has not been announced.
Hit the jump for the official press release
Gallery: Porsche Panamera GTS
BMW‘s X6 crossover is due for a facelift any time now, and our spy photographers have caught the vehicle uncovered.
Like any good facelift, the X6 has relatively minor changes, but is still distinct enough that owners of the previous car will feel compelled to trade up for the latest and greatest.
Engines won’t change, with the 35i and 50i models carrying over their turbo engines. Europe will get the obligatory diesel, while the ActiveHybrid model dies a long awaited death, obnoxious decals and all.
Gallery: BMW X6 Facelift
While reviewing the SCCA B-Spec rules, we came across a list of entries for the upcoming class and stumbled upon a few interesting candidates – namely the Volkswagen Polo, which the rule sheet claims may be imported for 2012.
Other entries, like the Hyundai Accent, Scion iQ and xD and Fiat 500 are interesting in their own right (especially since the Accent will face off against the Kia Rio, while the Scions will go against the Toyota Yaris B-Spec), but the Polo has long been rumored for a U.S. debut, and VW is said to be debuting a couple new products at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Could this be the introduction for a Volkswagen subcompact in America. Check back November 16th when coverage of the L.A. Auto Show begins.
[Source: Daytona Prototype]
Porsche‘s profits rose by 25 percent in the first 9 months of the year, as overall revenue and vehicle deliveries rose by 20 and 31 percent respectively.
Cayenne sales were up 74 percent, as the SUV became the brand’s best selling model, with 43,924 units sold. The Panamera was second with 18,750 sold. Sales of the 911 sports car were down by 13 percent to 13,777, although a new model will be launching in December. Sales of the Cayenne outrank Porsche’s sports cars by an astonishing 2:1 ratio, an unthinkable statistic as little as a decade ago.
Europe remained Porsche’s strong market, followed by the United States. Chinese sales were up 82 percent and show no signs of slowing down. Porsche’s upcoming Cajun small crossover should help push sales to even greater volumes when it launches in 2013.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
While the BMW 3-Series diesel never really took off in the North American market, diesel powered Bimmers make up about 50 percent of European 3-Series sales, and the brand reports similar numbers for the X5 in North America.
BMW USA execs admit that there’s still an issue of convincing customers regarding how well modern diesels operate, but also said that oil-burners may be crucial to meeting future CAFE standards. While this left the door open for a diesel 3-Series, BMW USA has ruled out a 3-series wagon, stating that volumes would be so minimal that it would be difficult to justify selling it Stateside.
Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, also derided the auto industry’s obsession with cylinder count and displacement, stating that BMW’s forthcoming nomenclature would reflect performance rather than the actual displacement – the new 328i, for example, would actually use a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder rather than a 2.8L 6-cylinder engine.
[Source: Inside Line]