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.
Tesla’s Model S sedan scored an unprecedented “99 out of 100″ from Consumer Reports last year, but the glowing endorsement from this influential publication could turn out to be short lived. Sources indicate the reliability of this car may have taken a slide.
Believe it or not the U.S. Department of Homeland Security does more than just waste travelers’ time at airports, confiscating toothpaste and books of matches. The government organization actually has a hand to play in the presidential limo, which is expected to be replaced by the time our next commander in chief takes office in 2017.
After a two-decade absence lusty Italian brand Alfa Romeo is coming back to the United States but not all Fiat dealers will be allowed to sell these exotic sports cars.
One Fast Limo
The Panamera has undergone a lot of changes for 2014; enough for Porsche to claim this is the second generation of the four-door model. The big news this year is that for the first time ever, the Panamera will be available in two body styles: regular and long-wheelbase “Executive.”
AutoGuide Five-Point Inspection
This week AutoGuide took a ride in the Infiniti’s glitzed to the ritz IPL G Convertible to see if it keeps up with the brand’s German-fighting luxury reputation.
As always, the Five-Point Inspection is a jot-note review meant to cut the fat and go straight to the point.
Mercedes‘ flagship SLS AMG Black Series was spied, and reports say that the new car will make 650 horsepower out of its 6.2L V8, one heavily revised by Mercedes’ AMG division.
Revised bodywork and new wheels will also be included, but you’ll pay dearly – expect the Black Series to start at $338,000 according to exchange rates.
Check out the video here
[Source: GT Spirit]
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]
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
Reports are coming in that Japanese auto manufacturers are looking for ways to cut costs on vehicles being exported to the United States in order to squeeze profits due to the record high yen against the dollar. A prime example is the new GS 350 from Lexus, that has been highly anticipated and praised by the American media.
Though many of the cost-cutting measure will be unnoticeable to the average day consumer, knowing that certain things were done to a luxury sedan is disheartening. For example, Lexus used asphalt spray instead of laminate sheeting for noise suppression on the underbody and recycled plastic instead of virgin for the protective cover beneath the engine, in order to cut costs. That’s not all, as some technical decisions seem to have been impacted due to the surging yen, as we’ll be seeing Lexus’s old six-speed transmission rather than a new seven- or eight-speed that competitors are offering in their new luxury sedans.
Slightly reassuring though is that Yoshihiko Kanamori, chief engineer for the GS 350, did state that ”There were no items omitted that I would like to have, but with this exchange rate we will have to raise the price.” A compromise that Lexus found is offering all the bells and whistles in their F Sport variant which will undoubtedly be drastically different in price from the base GS 350.
[Source: Automotive News]
Our spy photographers have done it again, this time finding the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the wild.
The S-Class is an important product for Mercedes, but this generation has the added burden of replacing the now-dead Maybach sedans, as well as acting as the flagship for Mercedes-Benz.
Expect to see VIPs, celebrities and African desposts chauffeured around in these starting in 2013. There’s a good bet your local hedge fund manager will have one, too.
Check out the video after the jump
The report states that the ELR has been dubbed a 2+2, meaning two small seats in the rear, similar to a Porsche 911. The Volt uses a t-shaped battery pack that is adapted for a front-drive layout, but a 2+2 configuration would allow for the battery pack to be mounted in such a way as to clear a driveshaft sending power to the rear wheels.
Rick Kranz, the author of the piece, suggests that rear seat room would be compromised, but the 2+2 layout of the coupe – plus the use of the rear-drive platform shared with the Cadillac ATS – would allow for Cadillac to justify a price premium over the Chevrolet Volt, something that new sheetmetal and an advanced infotainment system would not be able to achieve. If this report turns out to be accurate, then the ELR could be a game changer, as the first front-engine rear-drive electric car on the market.
[Source: Automotive News]
Discuss this story at Cadillac-ELR.com
Toyota has announced that starting in 2013, it will sell Lexus vehicles in India. No specific products were announced for sale, but likely contenders include the LS and GS sedans, as well as the RX crossover. Given India’s less than perfect roads, the LX and GX SUVs (based on the popular Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs) may also make it over.
While Lexus has been around for over 20 years, the brand didn’t expand beyond North American and Europe until 2o05. Asia, Russia the Middle East and now India are its latest conquests, and Toyota is hoping to repeat its success in markets like The United States. Unlike some luxury manufacturers, like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota will import Lexus vehicles from Japan and elsewhere. Mercedes chooses to assemble vehicles locally to avoid expensive import duties.
[Source: Left Lane News]
BMWs in certain markets may be getting a “Made In China” code in their VIN numbers starting at the end of 2011, as the company plans to export Chinese made 5-Series sedans to certain markets.
The Truth About Cars quotes the CEO of BMW’s Chinese operations as stating “We will find some markets, maybe in the Middle East, somewhere in Asia, or some other markets that welcome the products where we can test this export effort. The main market of course is here (in China), because we can’t even supply enough here.”
The 5-Series is built in China as part of a joint venture with Brilliance. TTAC’s China expert Bertel Schmitt claims that the quality of cars built in Chinese/foreign joint ventures is no worse than vehicles built in Japan, America or any other country (and sometimes better). The 5-Series is a popular vehicle in China, with a long-wheelbase version regarded as a status symbol for wealthy Chinese who can afford a driver.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]