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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.
The warm weather is finally here, meaning its time to enjoy it with some slick two-door vehicles. See what we’re testing this week on AutoGuide Now.
No automaker can afford to stand still these days. The pace of development is absolutely relentless, especially when it comes to powertrains. To keep its vehicles as competitive as possible, Hyundai has refined two of its engines.
Two-doors, too cool
Lets face it, two-doors cars are more fun and better looking than sedans. But you don’t have to break the bank to drive around in a stylish coupe.
We have a list of the top 10 most affordable two-doors, starting at just under $26,000. We had to draw the line and not include any hatchbacks, like the Scion tC or Fiat 500. Still, you’ll find plenty of big and small coupes in this list, each providing great looks or driving dynamics.
Kia Motors America’s motorsports program hit a new high last year grabbing the Team and Driver titles in the 2011 Street Tuner (ST) class in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Now they’re looking forward to 2012 with new driver pairings for both the number-10 and number-12 Infinity Audio Forte Koups.
The first race of the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Championship season will be on January 27, 2012 at Daytona International Speedway and Kia will have Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson to lead the way. Lally returns to the Kia Racing program fresh off his 2011 Sonoco Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year performance, reuniting with ST Driver Champion Jönsson. Both drivers were last seen capturing Kia’s first-ever Grand-Am podium at Daytona in January 2011 before Lally went off to NASCAR.
Both drivers are extremely excited and looking forward to the start of the new season and defending the Driver and Team championships for Kia Racing.
They’ve only been racing two seasons, but Kia Motors America’s motorsports program has now achieved championship greatness, thanks to Nic Jönsson wining the driver’s title and solidifying Kia in the Team Championship in the Street Tuner class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Jönsson finished seventh overall, having started the race with a three point lead in the class standings, which was enough to secure the title.
Jönsson and co-driver Michael Galati were able to use the Kinetic Motorsports Forte Koup’s braking, handling and fuel efficiency to their advantage during the 2.5 hour race, battling a field of some 30 competitors to finish first overall in their category.
“Second-year motorsports programs are not supposed to win championships but Kia Motors and Kinetic Motorsports have been committed to being the best since we formed our partnership in late-2009,” declared championship-winning driver Jönsson. “The Kia Forte Koups have been fantastic since getting off the truck at Daytona in January thanks to the tireless dedication of the team. We couldn’t be happier with the end result, and I have to thank Michael Galati whose skill and experience was invaluable in this championship run.”
There may also be plans to build a Cruze coupe in 2013, and it would compete against the Honda Civic, Kia Forte Koup and Scion tC. The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback was unveiled at the Geneva auto show last March and will arrive stateside soon. The current model will not be sold in the U.S, but the Cruze hatch will arrive with the next-gen Cruze. GM has also officially announced the sale of a diesel-powered Cruze in the U.S in the 2013.
[Source: Motor Trend]
With their latest victory at Road America in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Kia moves to the top of the team and driver’s standings in the Street Tuner class. Not bad for a team that’s only two years old.
Drivers Michael Galati and Nic Jonsson won in the number 10 Kia Forte Koup at the Road America 200 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. During the two and a half hour race, the two fended off multiple challengers and stayed in the top five for more than half the time, before moving onto first place and holding onto the lead for the last 30 minutes. The Kia ended the race in a spectacular yellow-flagging accident, but by then its victory had already been sealed.
“We went to Road America knowing the course’s long straights and elevation changes provided a significant challenge, especially against some of our turbocharged competitors, but the Kinetic Motorsports team did an amazing job preparing both Forte Koups,” said Michael Sprague, Kia’s vice president of marketing. “The team’s strategy allowed Nic and Michael to use the braking and cornering portions of the track to their advantage.”
The Road America 200 will be broadcast on SPEED Channel on Sunday, July 3rd at 1pm EST. The next race for Kia will be at Laguna Seca on July 9th.
Racing veterans Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson to drive for Kia in 2010 Koni Challenge series.
When we arrived at Kia’s SEMA Show booth, PR boss Alex Fedorak told us that we had guessed correctly – the big announcement, as we correctly surmised, was that Kia is going racing in 2010.
Kia will be racing in the Grand Am Koni Challenge series in a race prepped version of its Forte Koup, taking on competitors like the Honda Civic and BMW 328i. The company is expected to field a two car effort although just one vehicle has been confirmed. The announcement marks the first time Kia will go racing on U.S. soil.
Kinetic Motorsports built the car for Kia, using the same 2.4-liter 4-cylinder motor but tuned to around 220-hp.
Kinetic is no stranger to fielding successful race cars and so Kia also went looking for some seriously talented drivers and found them in Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson. Lally has been driving in the Grand-Am Rolex series and even won the 24 Hours of Daytona in the GT Class just last year. Lally also races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Craftsman Truck series, ARCA and Goodies Dash. Jönsson has numerous titles to his name with a long history in Grand-Am and ALMS.
“The Forte Koup is the latest chapter in the dramatic Kia brand transformation story, and the decision to enter into the motorsports arena was an easy one to make,” said Michael Sprague, VP of marketing at Kia Motors America. “The Forte Koup’s performance-inspired styling and outstanding driving dynamics make it a natural fit for road racing, and competing in GRAND-AM’s KONI Challenge Series enables us to reach an entirely new and passionate base of automotive enthusiasts. We expect the Forte Koup to be a strong competitor in the GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Series starting with the first race in Daytona.
Kia is looking to build itself as a performance company and the Forte Koup as a performance car and plans to use this racing initiative to do just that. In speaking to some of the people involved in the Forte Koup race car build, we should expect to see Kia offer performance parts and accessories through its dealership network in the near future.
GALLERY: Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup
Official release after the jump: