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.
Volkswagen announced that they would unveil two new vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, and a convertible version of the Beetle is among the rumored introductions.
Considering the popularity of the previous droptop Beetle, Los Angeles seems like an obvious choice for the new car. On the other hand, we’re not so sure what the second vehicle could be – something like a production version of the Bulli would attract more buzz in the run-up to the show, so we’re guessing it’s merely a revised version of an existing product.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
The 2013 BMW 3-Series, codenamed the F30, was revealed today by BMW, and the most noteworthy change is the first four-cylinder engine for North America since the 318i of the late 1990′s.
So far, we know that the 328i will pack a 4-cylinder turbo displacing 2.0L and putting out 245 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque will come at just 1,250 rpm, an astoundingly low figure that should translate into excellent real world acceleration. The 335i will put out 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual will be available, and BMW even claims that the 335i is capable of 32.6 mpg on the highway.
The car is slightly larger (3.6″ longer overall, about 2 inches longer in wheelbase and slightly wider front and rear tracks) but sheds 88 pounds of weight, while a hybrid and M-Sport version will also be offered.
Gallery: BMW 3-Series
An interview with BMW engineer Ulli Kranz conducted by Consumer Reports suggests that the BMW i3 city car will get a range extender similar to the i8 supercar – but the technology will come from two-wheeled transportation, rather than a conventional car.
With weight a key consideration for the i3 (materials like aluminum and carbon fiber play a key role in offsetting the weight of the electric drivetrain), one of BMW’s motorcycle engines seems like a much better fit than one of their current passenger car mills, the smallest of which is a 1.6L four-cylinder from the MINI range.
BMW’s bikes, on the other hand, have a range of engines ranging from a 652-cc, 48 horsepower single cylinder to a 1.6L inline-6 maiking 160 horsepower. If anything, the single cylinder, or the 800cc twin are the most likely candidates.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
A contracting economy and a governmental push to limit the number of new cars in certain metropolitan areas has led luxury car makers like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz to offer discounts of up to 20 percent on their cars in China.
While the three car makers are hoping to post record sales numbers, many “aspirational” buyers, who gravitate towards vehicles like the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, are holding off on big ticket purchases amid fears of an economic slowdown. Those models can command discounts of as much as 20 percent.
Municipalities like Beijing have limited the number of license plates being issued, as a means of curbing congestion and pollution, while Chinese banks are tightening up on lending. Both factors are having an unfavorable effect on new car sales, and the OEMs are hoping that discounts kill keep things moving.
[Source: Automotive News]
Volkswagen‘s Up! city car will go on sale in the United Kingdom for £7,995 up to £11,180 ($12,422 to $17,371) with deliveries starting in the spring of 2012.
A range of 1.0L three-cylinder gasoline engines will power the Up! with power ranging from 58 to 73 horsepower. The base Up! will be quite spartan but will come with features such as an MP3 input jack, a full suite of airbags and body-colored bumpers. Premium versions will get a navigation system, alloy wheels and power mirrors.
For more information on the Volkswagen Up, please visit http://www.vwupforums.com/
[Source: Auto Express]
Porsche‘s Camp4 Canada will return to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec for another season starting January 31st until February 6th. A new course, dubbed “Camp4S” wil continue from February 7th to February 10th.
Camp4S will expand on the skills taught at Camp4, but will only be offered for one wave. Otherwise, participants can expect a similar experience to ours when we attended Camp4 in February 2011. Of note is the addition of a fleet of new 991-chassis Porsche 911 Carrera S models, and a new off-track base at the Esterel Suites Spa & Lake hotel.
Pricing for Camp4 will be $4,995, with Camp4S pricing to be announced later. The standard course lasts two days, but one day programs will be available for corporate functions. Participants can register at porsche.ca/camp4 or by calling 1-800-Porsche.
With news of a redesign coming from the mouth of CEO Wolfgang Durheimer himself, it’s only natural that the Bugatti Galibier sedan would be delayed.
But the world’s plutocrats will have to wait until 2015 to get themselves into the $1.4 million super sedan, according to a report in Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport magazine.
The delay could mean that Bugatti is left with a hole in their lineup, as the Veyron fades into the sunset without a replacement. Unless Bugatti decides to whip up another special edition to keep the factory humming.
[Source: Auto Motor und Sport]
Volkswagen is recalling 168,000 diesel engine vehicles produced from 2009-2012 over a possible leak from the fuel injectors that could start a fire.
The vehicles in question are Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta SportWagen and Golf models as well as the Audi A3 TDI. 161,144 VWs and 7,131 Audis are involved in the recall, while no injuries or accidents have been reported so far. Volkswagen says that about 20 percent of the vehicles in question have fuel injector lines that could be potentially faulty. The company will begin notifying dealers and owners in November.
[Source: The Detroit News]
The Smart fortwo might be the butt of jokes Stateside, but the city car has managed to move 500,000 copies worldwide after launching in its second generation four years ago.
Sales this year are up 6.6 percent, and an electric version is due to launch in the spring of 2012. While other version of the Smart, such as the ill-fated forfour fourseater, haven’t fared well, Smart is looking to expand their horizons by launching products like an electric bicycle in the coming years.
Volkswagen is set to approve production of the Bugatti Galiber by the end of 2011, but Bugatti head Wolfgang Durheimer himself told Autocar that the concept car will bear little resemblance to what super wealthy customers will eventually be able to buy.
“The design will be different, especially from the B-pillar back, the ingress and regress to the rear seats will be improved, as will the legroom and ergonomics, the car will be a little longer, and the power of the engine will be at least four figures.”
Durheimer called the changes “…a design I can be behind 100%”, but did not comment on any mechanical details. He did say that a significant number of Veyron owners had previewed the car and that the changes came as a result of feedback from them. The Galiber is expected to cost as much as $2 million when it goes on sale in 2013.
During the U.N. General Assembly in New York City last week, a Mercedes-Benz S550 belonging to a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates was stolen after its driver went to get himself a cup of tea.
Ghulan Rehmani, a resident of Queens, New York, left the vehicle running after he went to a shop to grab himself a beverage. ”I was in there for only a minute, and when I came outside it was gone,” Rehmani said in an interview with the Global Post. “He made a U-turn, jumped the sidewalk and hit the building.”
The vehicle suffered a flat tire and some dented bodywork, while the thief remains at large.
[Source: Global Post]
Infiniti will adopt Mercedes-Benz’s small car architecture, used to underpin the front-drive B-Class, as part of the technology sharing agreement signed between the two companies.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn told Autocar that ”you’d be very surprised if in five or six years that Mercedes and Renault/Nissan had only cooperated on small cars,” signalling a much wider cross-pollination for the two companies. Mercedes engines are expected to be used in the new Infiniti M, while the B-Class platform will underpin a new, small minivan-esque vehicle for Infiniti.
Like most DTM cars, the A5 DTM has nothing in common with its road car sibling. The A5 DTM uses a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis and a 455 horsepower V8 as well as a 6-speed sequential gearbox. No other details were released, but given the competitive nature of DTM and the fairly limited wiggle room in the rules and regulations, we’d expect the specifications to be a fairly closely guarded secret.
Prototypes are apparently undergoing testing at Audi facilities in Germany, and should be ready to go in time for the upcoming DTM season.
Gallery: Audi A5 DTM
In a country where people can sue restaurants over coffee being too hot, the latest recall for the 2011-2012 Volkswagen Jetta is dubious, but legally sound.
According to NHTSA, some vehicles built between March 18, 2010, and Aug. 22, 2011 had a stainless steel exhaust tip installed at the port. The exhaust tip may stick out past the standard muffler’s length, and can burn someone’s leg if they get too hot.
Anyone affected by the recall can contact Volkswagen at 800-822-8987 or NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236. The recall is expected to begin in November.
Volkswagen‘s NILS Concept won’t ever qualify for the HOV lane, since the single seat concept was designed as VW’s vision of a future commuter that’s a bit like the proverbial “table for one”.
Sporting a single seat – and a curb weight of just under 1000 lbs – the NILS has a 40 mile range from its 34 horsepower electric motor and and scoot to 60 mph in 11 seconds. Although it looks like a goofy kids toy, some neat futures, like gullwing doors, make it cooler than a Smart Fortwo, even though the gullwing setup is horribly inefficient for tight parking spaces that are prominent in urban environments.
Volkswagen’s research says that 90 percent of German drivers travel to work alone, and 74 percent only cover 30 miles or less per day. Something like the NILS is right up their alley, and may even fly in a place like New York City. Let’s see if it makes it to production at all.
BMW engineers are currently working on the introduction of laser light technology as the next logical step in car light development. Laser lights offer a vast improvement over the stock LED bulbs, currently used in luxury cars because lasers use less energy, are brighter, smaller, and can be directed at a smaller area.
LED lighting generates only around 100 lumens per watt, but laser lighting generates approximately 170 lumens, meaning they’re much brighter. The new technology is much more efficient and interestingly, because lasers are much smaller, designers can create very thin lights, seen on futuristic concepts. BMW also sees no reason why they can’t implement all the familiar lighting functions to lasers such as Adaptive Headlights, the Dynamic Light Spot spotlighting system and the Anti-Dazzle High-Beam Assist.
[Source: e90 Post]
If you can afford a Porsche Panamera, fuel prices are probably don’t weigh on your mind much. But that’s not stopping Porsche from introducing a vehicle that can go 750 miles on one 21 gallon fuel tank.
The Porsche Panamera diesel is capable of 37 mpg (on the highway, we assume) when equipped with low-rolling resistance tires. Granted, those two are the antithesis of what the Porsche brand used to stand for, but our current times require us to sacrifice a pound of flesh to the secular cult of environmentalism – luckily for the rest of us, there’s the GT3 RS 4.0.
With a 3.0L V6 making 250 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, the Panamera uses an 8-speed automatic to put power to the ground. Porsche will unveil their newest oil burner at the 2011 Frankfurt Autoshow and AutoGuide will be on hand to cover it live starting September 13th.
Despite poor showings in various quality surveys, not to mention anecdotal evidence abound, Volkswagen is tackling its vehicle quality problems head on, and is openly discussing the steps it will take to remedy them.
The J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, regarded as the gold standard among industry types, pegged VW at 29th out of 32 brands, a poor showing for a company eager to sell 800,000 vehicles per year in the United States by 2018.
Volkswagen said that its warranty costs were down by 10 percent last year, and are on track for the same figure this year – a figure that’s adjusted for a new free maintenance program and a shorter warranty term. VW will be looking to improve its score on the J.D. Power survey, which includes not just defects but consumer complaints about functioning parts of the vehicle – a criteria that some automakers have begun criticizing.
[Source: USA Today]
Volkswagen is set to unveil a single seat electric car at a special event in Berlin next month, as the company explores the future of mobility and personal transportation.
A VW spokesman confirmed that the vehicle would be shown at an event in Berlin on September 8th. VW said that the new car would surpass the previous XL1 concept unveiled in January. Volkswagen is hoping for battery-powered cars to make up 3 percent of sales by 2018.
[Source: Automotive News]
Despite being the only example in the world, the Maybach Exelero has been around the block a few times. First concieved as a concept car for Fulda Tires (who wanted to use the vehicle for tire testing), the Exelero then appeared in a Jay-Z video.
Since then, it has fallen into the hands of a private owner and stayed out of the hip-hop limelight, until earlier in the year when hip-hop mogul Birdman (aka Bryan Williams), responsible for launching the careers of music stars like Lil’ Wayne and Drake, claimed to have purchased the car.
According to a report by MotorAuthority, Birdman has yet to pay for the car, leaving its current owner high and dry. Birdman currently owns a rare Maybach Landaulet and a Bugatti Veyron, so the Exelero’s asking price of $8 million, while steep, isn’t too far removed from Birdman’s snack bracket.
Nevertheless, not paying up is still considered bad form, and we won’t really know until we see Birdman bragging about his newest acquisition online or in one of his videos.
[Source: Motor Authority]
Porsche is recalling specific vehicles from the 2011 and 2012 Boxster, Cayman and 911 model ranges due to an issue with the seatbelt anchor.
The automaker claims that undersized mounting holes for the anchors could cause the seatbelt to become not ”routed optimally around the occupant.” Over time, the anchor could loosen, resulting in an increased injury risk in a crash.
Among the models targeted by NHTSA for recall include the 2011 911 Speedster, the 911 GTS RS 4.0, the 2012 Boxster (including the Boxster S and Spyder) and Cayman (including the Cayman S and Cayman R), the 911 Carrera (including the Carrera S, GTS, 4, 4S, and 4 GTS); 911 Targa 4/4S and the 911 Turbo and Turbo S manufactured from May 31, 2011 through June 10, 2011.
Porsche dealers will inspect the affected vehicles and made any necessary alterations free of charge.
Hit the jump for the official press release
An obscure Canadian law makes it illegal for private citizens to own bulletproof cars, but Dave Pankew of Autoblog Canada ended up spotting one just north of Toronto, with the vehicle in question being a rare BMW 760Li High Security.
Allegedly, this car has the top-of-the-line F03 package, and has all kinds of spy-novel-esque gadgets including bulletproof glass, run-flat tires, a bomb-proof undercarriage and a toxic gas sensor that shuts off outside ventilation should it detect any threats.
While technically illegal, the 760Li was wearing German license plates, meaning it’s not registered in Canada. If the owner (or driver, in this case) held a drivers license in Germany, then the car would likely be legal, as it’s merely being driven on Canadian roads by a foreign national, rather than legally imported and registered.
Alternately, it could be owned by BMW Canada (and with the Munich license plates, that’s a real possibility) and the whole thing is just a lot of fuss over nothing. Either way, it’s a cool car, and if they had this back in 1996, Tupac Shakur might have survived his untimely death.
[Source: Autoblog Canada]
What we have here are the clearest photos of the 2012 Porsche 911 – codenamed 991. The photos certainly look part, and according to the Spanish language site where the appeared, the graphic artist at work simply removed the camouflage and photoshopped the cars into a very Porsche-looking backdrop.
According to previous reports, the 991 will be longer, lighter and more powerful than the 997, with an appropriate boost in fuel efficiency to placate environmental types.
Gallery: 2012 Porsche 911
Kanye West is a prolific consumer of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, having been spotted in everything from Maybachs to SLR Stirling Moss Editions and all points in between.
While West is now famous for taking a blowtorch and an angle grinder to a Maybach in the video for his new single “Otis” (in collaboration with fellow aficionado Jay-Z), videos of West buying his first G550 SUV recently surfaced via hip-hop music video production house Creative Control.
The clip appears to date back to 2002 when West, having just rapped on Jay-Z’s landmark album “The Blueprint 2″, went out and purchased the G-Wagen to replace his ML430. The video is interlaced with samples from “Otis”, suggesting that the footage has been kicking around for some time. Kanye even bragged about his G500 being his “favorite toy” on a mixtape released in 2003 – but the clip is still a cool retrospective at Kanye just as he was on the cusp of fame. Furthermore, the salesman even suggests that Kanye check out “the next car we’re getting – the Maybach”.