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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.
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.
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
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
Cadillac‘s long awaited XTS flagship has been officially revealed with a whole suite of technology features that should help it establish a niche among buyers interested in more than just rear-drive handling dynamics.
The XTS is based on a front-drive architecture, a move that has come under fire among some critics as counter-productive, considering that rear-drive is a supposed hallmark of prestige employed by European and Asian rivals. With the XTS, Cadillac has chosen to use a Haldex all-wheel drive system, similar to brands like Audi and Volvo, which should match nicely with the direct-injected 3.6L V6, as well as provide a strong selling point in Snow Belt states.
On the performance side, the XTS will also employ a number of GM’s most advanced techologies, including Magnetic Ride Control, a rear air suspension, a HiPer Strut front suspension and Brembo brakes. Traditional large-sedan attributes have also been given sufficient attention – the XTS boasts 4 more inches of rear seat leg room and more trunk space than most German competitors – no doubt a way to position the XTS as a livery car as well.
As with most modern premium cars, the XTS places a heavy emphasis on both safety and technology, with the two themes interwoven in a variety of systems that Cadillac is heavily touting. The XTS will use a variety of radar sensors to control features like Adaptive Cruise Control (which can speed up or slow down the vehicle automatically), Front and Rear Automatic Brakes (which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary to prevent low-speed collisions) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which lets the driver know if there is pedestrian or vehicle traffic when backing out of a parking spot). The XTS will also have a vibrating alert placed in the front seat, which will allow the XTS to warn the driver of threats on either the left or right side that may be out of sight.
Other safety features like a Blind Spot warning system and a Lane Departure warning system will be made available, as well as 10 standard airbags. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system will make its debut on the XTS, with an 8-inch screen that is said to offer an iPhone-like touch screen interface. An LCD instrument panel that can be completely customized will also be available, and is said to be an industry first.
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac XTS
Check back later as AutoGuide brings you live shots of the Cadillac XTS at its live reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
General Motors is recalling a certain production run of Cadillac CTS models built between October 21 and October 26, 2011. According to reports, “the power vacuum brake boost pushrod retention nut may not be torqued to the proper specification.”
This defect could cause catastrophic consequences, specifically brake failure, and lead to accidents. Cadillac dealers began a recall on November 1st and will inspect the part and fix the defect if necessary. Owners can contact 800-458-8006.
Lexus has dropped a few serious hints that it is planning a coupe version of its all-new GS350. While attending the launch of the luxury sedan (we’ll have driving impressions once the embargo lifts November 23rd) we spoke to Lexus Corporate Manager of Product Planning Ben Mitchell, pushing him for details on a possible GS-F to sit as a rival to the BMW M5.
To our dismay Mitchell responded that there was “nothing to announce”, but then surprised us with a shred of info, disguised as a question. Speaking to a group of assembled journalists he asked our impression of the Audi A5/S5.
Response to the car was unanimously positive. The two-door Audi models are roundly considered to be some of the most beautiful vehicles on sale today, and we enjoyed our time with the S5 immensely.
As though Mitchell’s question didn’t reveal enough about Lexus’ intentions, he also commented that with the demise of the SC430, there is now a space in the automaker’s lineup that needs filling.
Of course, this isn’t an official confirmation, but considering the legendary silence that greets most questions regarding future products, this is a very strong hint that there will be another two-door Lexus joining the lineup beyond the current IS250C and IS350C models. And judging by our time spent behind the wheel of the new GS, this is one to wait for.
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
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]
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]
Cadillac has released a video of its 2012 ATS testing at the Nurburgring, along with some photos of the heavily disguised sports sedan being put through its paces.
The ATS in the video is obviously a long way off from production, with a rollcage, bucket seats and other competition-grade pieces, and we can’t quite make out whether the engine is a high-strung 4-banger or a GM V6.
GM’s U.S. boss Mark Reuss says, “The ATS is probably the most sporty car that Cadillac has ever done and I think you’ll find this car more entertaining than anything else int he segment. And I think it’s also one of the most beautiful cars.”
Take a look for yourself after the jump.
GALLERY: Cadillac ATS At The Nurburgring
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]
General Motors much loved LNF engine, the same 2.0L Ecotec that powered the Pontiac Solstice GXP, Saturn Sky Redline and Chevrolet Cobalt SS is continuing on in the Buick Regal Turbo and Buick Regal GS, but a new generation of turbocharged 4-cylinder motor is set to replace the LNF next year, packing even more power.
While the LNF makes as much as 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft in the Regal GS, the new engine, dubbed the LHU, will be used as a replacement for V6 engines in mid-size cars, and is expected to make at least 280 horsepower in standard trim. Given that GM’s current “high feature” V6 makes 306 horsepower, we should expect a figure somewhere in that area.
The LHU will get its first use in the Cadillac ATS sports sedan and the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. Expect it to migrate to other products in the near future as well.
[Source: GM Inside News]
Mercedes is continuing to weigh a decision to produce a Black Series version of the SLS sports car, with a horsepower rating as high as 650-hp.
In a recent interview AMG performance boss Christoph Jung commented that such a car, “makes a lot of sense”. The vehicle itself would sit between the current 563-hp road car and the 600-hp GT3 race car (above). Impressive weight savings would be made, much like the GT3 car, although not quite as extreme. The 6.2-liter AMG V8 would then be tweaked to produce as much as 650-hp.
Expect other Black Series upgrades like a wider stance, light weight wheels, a lowered suspensions and even more impressive brakes. Combined, the package could deliver a 0-60 mph time of just 3.0 seconds.
If the SLS Black Series goes get the go ahead, look for it to debut around 2014 as a send-off for the current SLS model.
GALLERY: Mercedes SLS AMG GT3
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.
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]
We’re sure there are legions of fans excited to hear that the 2013 Lexus GS450h will bow at September’s Frankfurt Auto Show – maybe not.
Either way, the GS450h should be an important product for Lexus, as both the originator of the luxury hybrid segment, and a critical new introduction in a market that is fast becoming saturated with hybrids.
No technical details have been announced, but we can expect a 3.5L V6 with an electric motor system, similar to the current GS450h. Stay tuned to AutoGuide for live coverage of the Frankfurt Auto Show starting September 13th.
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.