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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.
 |  Jan 23 2012, 2:00 PM

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It definitely seemed there was more going on at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit; more buzz, more pizzaz, more enthusiasm. There were over 40 product unveilings, including some highly anticipated new models like Cadillac’s ATS, Acura’s NSX and Ford’s new Fusion, just to name a few.

Now that the show has closed for another year, those observations proved to be true. The 2012 show was the best attended since 2005, with some 770,932  people walking through the doors to ogle the auto industry’s latest wares, more than 92,000 on the first public day alone.

And although not a record, NAIAS chairman Bill Perkins was still pleased at the results. “A lot of people counted Detroit down and out,” he said “but [2012] has been a major year for our industry and show. Detroit is still the center of the North American auto industry, and the importance of this show draws people here from around the world.”

According to Perkins, NAIAS has an economic impact of some $400 million for the city of Detroit and South Eastern Michigan, more than the Super Bowl.

The higher attendance numbers have no doubt helped to add a bit of luster to the Detroit show’s status as one of the major events of its kind in the world, along with the likes of Geneva, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo and Bejing.

“NAIAS is positioned with [those shows] because of the number of worldwide product unveilings we host,” remarked Jim Seavitt, the show’s vice chairman. “We are traditionally very strong in both categories, which is why NAIAS remains an important part of the automakers’ global product launch strategies.”

 |  Jan 17 2012, 6:00 PM

On Wednesday, January 18 2012, the North American International Auto Show will be hosting Education Day, which provides school kids of all age groups the chance to attend the show and learn all about the automotive industry.

Education day, which is co-hosted and sponsored by PNC Bank, in conjunction with the show, includes an hour long “A World of Opportunities” event in which some 225 Detroit Public Schools pre-K students are provided with PNC “Grow Up Great” educational materials. The students will also get some motivational speeches from Roy Roberts, emergency finance manager of Detroit Public Schools, Rick DeVore, PNC regional manager for South-Eastern Michigan and Bill Perkins, chairman of the North American International Auto Show.

PNC’s “Grow Up Great” which partners with the DPS and DPS foundation, is recognized as one of the most comprehensive early learning programs in America. Its through initiatives like these that the next generation will be able to learn about and  ultimately embark upon a future in the automotive industry.

 |  Jan 10 2012, 5:05 PM

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Although the concept version of Subaru‘s rear-drive BRZ, displayed at the 2011 LA Auto Show back in November, looked close to production ready, we’ve now seen the real thing, which made it’s North American Debut this week at the Detroit Auto Show.

Powered by new generation FA-Series 2.0-liter Boxer four-cylinder, generating 200 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque, the production BRZ boasts one of the lowest centers of gravity of any car in the world and is also among the lightest two-door coupes on the market, weighing in at a relatively bantam 2,762 lbs. That makes it some 300 lbs less than the Lotus Evora and a whopping 500 lbs less than the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

With a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions (the latter with sport and manual paddle shifts), plus pedals optimized for heel and toe downshifting, along with an optimized front strut suspension and independent rear, the BRZ promises to be one of the most fun to drive cars available in American when it goes on sale as a 2013 model.

We’ve already tested it’s sister car, the Scion FR-S, and you can read that review here.

GALLERY: 2013 Subaru BRZ

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Click here for AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Discuss this story at SubaruBRZforum.com

 |  Jan 10 2012, 4:17 PM

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Corporate Average Fuel Economy targets for 2015 and beyond mean that all automakers selling vehicles in the US need to find a way to improve fleet efficiency without facing the risk of hefty fines.

For luxury automakers, traditionally seen as standard bearers of large displacement engines, this has meant a radical re-think when it comes to engine technology. Audi‘s flagship sedan, long recognized as a home for V8 power, is now joining the fray, with two downsized engines, a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 and later a 3.0 diesel in the works.

This will mark the first time that either engine has been offered in the A8, though with some 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque on tap, the V6 supercharged should prove no slouch.

As for the diesel, not much information is currently available, suffice to say that it will likely differ in power output from the European version due to emissions requirements for oil burners here in the US (at present the engine is undergoing certification). Stay tuned for further developments.

GALLERY: Audi A8L 3.0T

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 |  Jan 10 2012, 4:00 PM

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Building on the foundation of the S400 Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz chose this year’s North American International Auto Show as the place to unveil its (slightly) smaller E-Class derrivative.

Although Mercedes also plans to offer an E300 Hybrid that combines a 27 hp electric motor and battery back with a 2.0 liter four-cylinder diesel engine that develops 201 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque; that car is targeted primarily at Europe. In the US, which shows a preference for gas/electric hybrids, a direct injected V6 will be teamed with the electric motor system instead, resulting in the E400 Hybrid.

Rated at 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, in terms of fuel economy, Mercedes says the E400 Hybrid should deliver approximately 24 miles per gallon in city driving and 31 mpg on the open road.

According to Dr. Thomas Weber, who heads up Daimler AG’s passenger car development and research programs, the two E-Class Hybrids aim “to offer precisely the models which our customers want,” while providing “a clear reduction in fuel consumption as well as a very impressive driving experience.”

The E400 Hybrid is scheduled to arrive in US dealers during the second quarter of 2012, with deliveries expected to follow in other markets, notably China and Japan.

GALLERY: Mercedes E400 Hybrid

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 |  Jan 10 2012, 12:32 PM

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Although the Dodge Dart was Chrysler Group’s big news at this year’s North American International Auto Show, there was also another rather unique vehicle on display, the 700 C.

A concept minivan, little information was available on it at the show. All we could get from Chrysler was that the 700C is “a styling exercise, designed to gauge public reaction.”

When Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne toured the Windsor assembly plant which builds the current Dodge Grand Caravan and Town & Country models, he talked about “big plans for the future,” though declined to reveal much more.

With minivan sales still a staple part of the Chrysler’s business in North America, yet the segment for the most part suffering from a lack of new investment, perhaps the time has come to reinvent the concept of what a minivan should be.

And if the Chrysler 700C concept is any indication, that might just result in the most exciting people mover seen in more than a quarter of a century.

GALLERY: Chrysler 700C

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 |  Jan 10 2012, 12:16 PM

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We’ve already been given details on Hyundai‘s upcoming Veloster Turbo, now we’ve actually seen it in the flesh. Unveiled at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the car is projected to go on sale this summer and sports a blown and intercooled version of the 1.6-liter, direct injected Gamma four-cylinder under the hood.

Rated at 201 horsepower and 194 lb-ft of torque (across a wide 1750 to 4500 rpm spread) the motor sports a twin-scroll turbocharger contained within a housing integrated with the exhaust manifold, designed to improve throttle response and promote lower combustion chamber temperatures, plus a motor driven electrical wastegate and compact side-by side configuration intercooler. Dished pistons with cooling jets and a low friction valvetrain are also employed for durability.

Besides the choice of six-speed manual and six-speed dual clutch automatic transmissions, quicker ratio steering, unique body pieces and special 18-inch wheels shod in Kumho 215/40ZR/18 tires promise to make the Veloster quite an entertaining machine to drive, in view of its 2,800 lb curb weight, which is 77 lbs less than the Honda Civic Si coupe and 237 less than the VW GTI.

Inside, the Veloster Turbo comes with standard heated front seats and dual TFT screens between the speedometer and rev counter, designed to keep the driver informed of what’s going on at all times.

For those that can’t wait until August, Hyundai also released the virtual Veloster Turbo for Forza Motorsport 4 at the same time the actual car made its world debut, giving both gamers and enthusiasts alike, a chance to have some fun with Hyundai’s latest sporty offering before it actually goes on sale.

GALLERY: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Debut

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GALLERY: Hyundai Veloster Turbo

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See AutoGuide’s First Look Video of the Veloster Turbo below:

Discuss this story at Veloster.org

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 10 2012, 11:58 AM

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Alongside the highly touted Veloster Turbo, Hyundai also revealed an updated Genesis coupe at this year’s North American International Auto Show.

Sporting revised styling with a new front fascia, headlight, foglight, grille and hood design, tweaked LED taillights and new look 18 and 19-inch wheels, this latest Genesis coupe, which will go on sale this spring as a 2013 model also gets more power in the shape of a 2.0-liter four that now cranks out 274 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, plus a stronger V6 rated at 348 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of grunt.

Aiding the power and torque increases are more efficient intake setups on both engines, as well as retuned exhaust systems with throatier resonance. The turbo four also gains a more efficient intercooler that’s 53 percent larger to provide a cooler, denser air charge and promote more power and better throttle response.

The standard six-speed manual has been updated with improved shifting feel, while both engines on the 2013 model can be teamed with Hyundai’s in-house designed and built eight-speed automatic with a SHIFTRONIC manual mode, activated by steering wheel mounted paddles.

In conjunction with the updated powertrains, chassis and suspension calibration has been tweaked  in an effort to improve agility and reduce body roll, while also promoting better ride comfort. Steering has also been revised, with a new quicker ratio 13:8.1 rack.  A Telescopic steering column also makes its debut in the Genesis coupe for the first time.

Other neat features include left side, rear-seat walk-in access, a three stage traction control (which can be completely turned-off for serious track days) and available Hyundai Blue Link (essentially a technology umbrella that incorporates safety, service and info-entertainment features with voice recognition, designed to provide drivers access to the information they need while keeping eyes firmly on the road).

GALLERY: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

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GALLERY: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

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Watch AutoGuide’s first look video of the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 10 2012, 9:13 AM

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It seems as if the two domestic luxury brands are engaging in a game of tit for tat. Yesterday, Cadillac revealed its new BMW 3-Series fighter, the ATS. Today, rival Lincoln took the spotlight, taking the wraps of this, the 2013 MKZ Concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

We’ve been hearing for months about Lincoln’s new focus, including the formation of an independent design group, with the task of making the brand’s vehicles look a lot more distinctive. Brand Design Head Max Wolff, calls the MKZ Concept “elegant simplicity,” with the objective  of creating a car that embodies “warmth.”

Features such as a Cognac colored exterior, contrasting Champagne leather interior, accented with “responsibly harvested” Poplar wood are designed to accentuate this feeling of coziness, while the seats themselves feature perforations in the center, in order to give the impression of Champagne bubbles rising from a bottom of a glass.

So perhaps this car, is not only symbolic of a new design direction for Lincoln, but also emphasizing the brand’s new found freedom, via a rolling celebration.

High-tech interior embellishments include the latest version of MyLincoln Touch, accessed by a Thin Film Transistor Screen directly ahead of the driver, as well as a push button gear selection feature, said to become a signature touch of future Lincoln products.

Outwardly the MKZ employs a new take on the Lincoln split grille, that almost harks back to the 1938 Zephyr and more fluid lines that break away from the almost blocky look of the current MKZ sedan. Out back, full width LED taillamps and big bold chrome “Lincoln” lettering, plus exhaust tips integrated with the rear fascia are signature touches.

Yet most impressive, is the panaromic glass roof, a feature we can also expect to see more of on future Lincoln products, according to Wolff. The glass is actually integrated into the car’s structure, made from steel and boron and is designed to provide each occupant with a “personal,” open air experience.

And that basically sums up what Ford is trying to do with Lincoln, turning the marque into a true boutique brand, where the ownership experience is as intimate as the vehicles themselves. Will it work? Time only has that answer, but as other luxury brands, specifically Teutonic ones, seem bent on bigger and better, the strategy might just work.

GALLERY: 2013 Lincoln MKZ Concept

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 |  Jan 09 2012, 3:20 PM

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There seems to be a new wave of thinking spreading through Toyota and luxury brand Lexus, which at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, manifested itself in this, the LF-LC Concept.

Starting out as a brief by the Lexus Center in Japan, for the Calty (US) design studio to come up with a futuristic hybrid coupe concept, the LF-LC is without question one of the most stunning pieces of mobile sculpture at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

It’s lines combine trapezoidal shapes with organic curves, the front and rear ensembles taking an exaggerated stance on Lexus current’ design language. Both are dramatic. At the front, an aluminum surround gives the grille an almost 3-dimensional look, flanked by functional air scoops, while outback, the car’s rump resembles a combat jet on take-off, thanks to rear lights with inner illumination that resemble afterburners.

Probably the coolest aspect of all is the glass roof, which features a cantilevered pillar and glass meeting glass, a design aspect you’d more often find on trendy coffee tables, yet it in this application it actually works quite well.

Inside, details run to plenty of leather, suede and brushed metal. There’s also a pair of Liquid Crystal Display 12.3-inch touch screens that control climate and info-entertainment functions, plus further touch screen operation for the windows, seats and mirrors. There’s also a special remote touch screen device that allows the driver to operate controls without changing line of sight or position.

Transmitting power to the rear wheels is a version of the Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive, which according to Lexus group vice president and general Manager Mark Templin “promises a rewarding driving experience that is also kinder to the environment.”

Let’s hope we see more stuff like this coming down the pike from Lexus; concept and production machines that really provide both excitement and practicality while remaining relevant to the fast changing automotive landscape. The LF-LC is certainly a very good start.

And if Templin’s remarks are a sign, he boldly declared that the LF-LC is, “a sign of something big” at Lexus.

GALLERY: Lexus LF-LC Concept

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Discuss this, and more, at Lexus LF-LC Forum

 |  Jan 09 2012, 2:12 PM

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It’s not intended for production, but rather showcases just what possibilities are out there when it comes to Volkswagen‘s best loved car. The new 2012 Beetle is proving that interest in the iconic Bug is still strong, so given the current trend towards EVs, why not have some fun and make a sporty, zero emissions concept out of it.

Although not a true roadster (the roof is fixed), the E-Bugster lends a feeling of fun and intimacy due to its two-seat cabin, cropped windshield and swoopy roof, which does actually look like a removable hardtop.

As it’s name suggests, the E-Bugster relies on pure electric power for motivation, in this case an 85 kW (114 hp) electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Projected range is over 100 miles according to VW, while three charging options are available.

Level 1 operates off a standard household 120-volt system, Level 2, off 240 volts and Level 3 is a quick charge setup. For the latter, VW says that around 80 percent of battery capacity can be restored in 30 minutes. Inside VW has fitted EV specific gauges to monitor charge and and driving range, as well as the intensity of battery power generation.

The electric drive system in the E-Bugster, dubbed Blue-e-Motion by Volkswagen, will probably pop again in the near future, as it’s slated to be fitted in an upcoming version of the bread and butter Golf Hatchback. And who knows, depending on its success in the marketplace, perhaps we’ll see another E-Bugster a few years from now, one you’ll be able to actually lease or buy.

GALLERY: Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept

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 |  Jan 09 2012, 1:13 PM

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Volkswagen‘s sixth generation Jetta, which debuted for 2011, has clearly struck a chord with American buyers. It helped the automaker boost sales by some 24 percent in the U.S. in November and is currently the most popular European branded car in our market.

Now VW is looking to strengthen the Jetta’s position with this, a Hybrid version. Making it’s world debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show as a 2013 model, the Jetta Hybrid boasts a number of interesting features.

Teaming VW’s 150 horsepower, 1.4-liter  turbo four-cylinder (the first time this engine has been offered in the US), along with a 20 kW electric motor,  the latest Jetta is able to reach speeds of up to 44 mph on electric power alone and VW claims it’s the fastest accelerating Hybrid in the compact class, able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 9 seconds. It also says it will achieve a combined 45 miles per gallon city/highway.

Helping that cause, is the first seven-speed transmission installed in a Hybrid, in this case a Dual-Clutch unit. Not only was the DSG utilized to provide faster shifting, it also weighs 163 lbs, less than a regular automatic, an important consideration due to the added mass of the lithium-ion battery pack over the conventional gas engine Jetta.

That said despite the batteries, reported actual curb weight for the Jetta Hybrid is some 3,310 lbs, which makes it one of the lighter gas/electric offerings on the market.

Other features aimed at saving fuel include special 15-inch alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tires and a tweaked front fascia that’s said to reduce drag coefficient by some 10 percent over other Jetta models. And of course, there’s Hybrid emblems on all four sides of the vehicle, so you can, with subtlety, announce to the world that you’re into having fun on the open road while showing a vested interest in saving the planet.

GALLERY: Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show Coverage here

 |  Jan 09 2012, 10:45 AM

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Replacing the now almost invisible Caliber, the 2013 Dart is the car Dodge hopes will reinvigorate its presence in the compact segment. At the 2012 North American International Auto Show, Dodge Brand CEO Reid Bigland unveiled the highly anticipated Dart to a captive audience.

According to Bigland, compact cars currently represent 15 percent of the total US vehicle market and 25 percent in Canada, so a new compact gives Dodge a chance to really compete in a major volume segment.

Given the increasing synergies between Fiat and the Chrysler group, it’s not surprising that the Dart embodies DNA from both. Essentially, it’s based on a modified version of the same architecture used to underpin the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in Europe, though the car has been lengthened and widened to suit North American tastes.

Styling is unmistakably Dodge, in fact the overall look and greenhouse could almost indicate an updated Neon, albeit one that adopts Charger styling cues, notably the “angry” headlight treatment and full width LED illumination out back. Active grille shutters and underbody fairings are also incorporated, in an effort to minimize aerodynamic drag.

Like the last generation Neon, the Dart will only be offered as a four-door sedan, though will be available in no fewer than five trim levels, SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T.

Engine choices comprise a 2.0-liter normally aspirated “Tigershark” four, rated at 160 horsepower and 145 lb-ft, plus a version of Fiat’s 1.4-liter turbocharged and intercooled Multi-Air four-cylinder, which although rated at the same 160 hp, cranks out significantly more torque: 184 lb-ft. Down the road, a larger displacement 2.4-liter “Tigershark” motor, rated at 184 hp is expected to become available. Transmission choices comprise a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic and also a six-speed dry Dual-Clutch automatic, though the latter will only be available with the Multi-Air 1.4 motor.

Given its Alfa Romeo DNA, the Dart promises to be fun to drive, with good chassis dynamics and responsive steering, aided by aspects such as specially tuned MacPherson struts up front, designed to minimize camber loss and a fully independent rear setup. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, are standard on all Darts.

According to Bigland, a major part of the Dart’s appeal lies with the  interior, which has been conceived  to maximize volume (it reportedly rivals some mid-size cars for space), while the use of upscale materials (including soft touch surfaces), should certainly address some long standing stigmas about low grade cabins on Chrysler built small cars.

A high level of interior equipment (such as an available heated steering wheel, plus Chrysler’s U-Connect media center with 8.4-inch touch screen and voice activatation and no fewer than 14 different trim color options), also provide the 2013 Dart with more trump cards than the old Caliber.

Although pricing has yet to be officially announced, Bigland says the Dart will feature a starting MSRP of around $16,000, which should position it well in the segment, especially against cars like the Chevy Cruze (current MSRP of $16,720), Honda Civic ($15,805) and Hyundai Elantra ($16,445).

Production of the 2013 Dart is scheduled to begin at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant in the second quarter of this year, with cars showing up in dealers soon afterwards. In perhaps a homage to the original 1963-76 Dart compact, which morphed into a junior muscle car/youthmobile; Chrysler’s Mopar division will offer some 150 customization options for the new one.

GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart

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Discuss this story at DartForums.com and see AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show coverage here.

See AutoGuide’s First Look Video of the new Dodge Dart below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 09 2012, 8:37 AM

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There probably weren’t too many surprises on this one. Since it’s introduction, the ‘baby’ Range has been making waves in the luxury SUV field, augmented by awards left right and center.

Although it faced fairly stiff competition from the updated 2012 version of Honda’s popular CR-V and the latest BMW X3, in terms of design and engineering, the Evoque was judged the overall winner in the 19th annual North American Truck of the Year awards, which took place on January 9th at Cobo Hall in Detroit, just prior to the opening of this year’s North American International Auto Show.

This represents the third time that a European branded vehicle has won the title, the last was back 2003 when the Volvo XC 90 took the honors. Interestingly, the only other European SUV to ever win North American Truck of the Year was the first generation Mercedes ML back in 1998, recognized as a game changer in the segment, much as the Evoque is today.

The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards are administered by a group of 50 automotive journalists from both the US and Canada, with the awards financed entirely by member dues (no advertising or commercial support for automakers or auto related businesses is accepted).

See AutoGuide’s complete Detroit Auto Show Coverage Here

 |  Jan 04 2012, 9:30 AM

We’ve already been given the scoop on Volvo‘s upcoming V60 Plug-in Hybrid, however, given the nature of that vehicle, it was hardly surprising that Europe was most definitely its target audience.

Considering that North American (and Chinese) buyers clearly have a strong preference for gasoline engined vehicles over diesels, as well as SUVs over wagons, Volvo has now announced that it will build an XC60 Plug-in Hybrid with a petrol engine for these markets, which will make its world debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit .

The news is particularly welcomed by US dealers, providing a much needed boost in the shape of a green “halo” vehicle, at a time when much of Volvo’s vehicle lineup is essentially marking time and (apart from volume sellers like the XC60 and S60) significantly new models are still a ways off.

The XC60 gas/electric Plug-in Hybrid will sport an electric motor producing 70 hp, along with a four-cylinder gasoline engine, resulting in a total power output of 350 hp. According to Volvo, this version will be able to travel a distance of up to 35 miles on electricity alone as well as delivering some 50 miles per gallon in Hybrid mode.

It also uses an innovative electric AWD system, with the gasoline engine powering the front wheels, while electric power can be fed to the rear wheels when accelerating or in low grip situations.

“A plug-in hybrid is the ideal eco-car for today’s conditions,”  declared Volvo President and CEO Stefan Jacoby. “It gives a large proportion of motorists sufficient range on electricity for their daily commute. More than half of U.S. drivers cover less than 30 miles a day. With its three driving modes, the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept also offers the owner a conventional model’s interior space, safety, performance and long range. It gives the driver uncompromising flexibility to cover every type of motoring need.”

Although deliveries of the European diesel/electric V60 Plug-In Hybrid are scheduled to begin late this year, so far there’s been no word on US availability of the XC60 Plug-In Hybrid, though it’s likely cars will be on dealer lots sometime during 2013.

GALLERY: Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show Preview Here

 |  Jan 02 2012, 1:00 PM

Okay, so it’s a show car and despite the rendering above, the chances of  being able to drive something like it on the road, unless you perhaps live in the Middle East are on the far side of slim.

Nonetheless, the Dodge Charger Redline, which makes its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week, showcases just what will be possible through the Mopar parts catalog in 2012.

Like the Chrysler 200 Super S (see separate story), the Redline incorporates a number of different Mopar enhancement packages designed for the  R/T version of the big four-door.

Stage One, features cosmetic upgrades, namely a full-width carbon fiber chin spoiler, body colored grille surrounds and a “crosshair” insert. There’s also carbon fiber door scoops with R/T logos, designed to pay homage to the hot 1970 Charger, plus a fairly dramatic carbon fiber, three-piece rear deck spoiler. Rolling stock consists of 20 x 8-inch Mopar Envy wheels with a Pitch Black wheel face and polished accents.

The Charger show car also sports special Redline Tri-coat exterior paint and a Mopar vinyl roof graphic. Inside, there’s Mopar aluminum shift and instrument cluster bezels with Redline accents and sporty Mopar pedal covers.

The Stage Two package, adds chassis stiffening, in the shape of a front strut tower brace and caps, plus brake upgrades (in this case the addition of high performance Mopar linings) and a Mopar after cat exhaust system, designed to reduce back pressure and enhance the 5.7-liter Hemi V8′s already melodious sound.

Yet for hardcore performance fans, the best part of the Charger Redline, is the Stage Three package, which consists of the formidable 426 cubic inch (7.0-liter) Hemi race V8. Cranking out some 590 hp (200 more than the standard Charger R/T), this all-aluminum piece weighs 100 lbs less than the cast-iron crate version and is a professionally built motor, sporting a fully balanced reciprocating assembly, forged steel crank, H-beam style rods and forged pistons on an 11.1:1 compression ratio.

An aggressive roller camshaft and high flow cylinder heads are also fitted, while tie bars are available to help stabilize the valvetrain at higher engine loads. Billet fuel rails and and cast aluminum Mopar valve covers are also included as part of the Stage Three Mopar kit.

The three Mopar performance kits for the Charger will be available through official channels later this year, though bear in mind that the Stage III package is for off/road racing use only, that said, you could always side-step the rules and put this motor between the fenders of a vintage Charger for some tarmac tearing fun.

GALLERY: Dodge Charger Redline

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See AutoGuide’s Complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show Preview Here

 |  Jan 02 2012, 12:15 PM

With the North American International Auto Show almost upon us, Chrysler has announced that it’ll be exhibiting Mopar enhanced examples of some of its mainstream offerings.

One of them is this, the Chrysler 200 Super S, which sports both cosmetic and mild engineering enhancements that actually give this milquetoast car a bit of sass. The former, which will be listed as a Stage One package through Mopar’s parts catalog, includes a prominent front chin spoiler, satin chrome trim around the grille and foglight housings, plus mesh inserts for the gloss black finished upper and lower grille portions.

Further aspects of the Stage One package include requisite rocker panel extensions, black chrome “200″ emblems, 18-inch alloy wheels finished in gray or hyper black, plus rump upgrades in the shape of a rear decklid spoiler, satin chrome light bar and a matte black lower diffuser.

A Stage Two performance kit, adds a coilover suspension, which drops the ride height and improves cornering thanks to a lower center of gravity, plus a cold-air intake kit for the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and an after-cat low restriction exhaust with dual outlets that blend in with the rear diffuser.

Although not much more information is currently available, Chrysler has said that the Stage One and Two Packages for the 200S will be available through authorized Mopar dealers later this year.

GALLERY: 2012 Chrysler 200 Super S

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show Preview here

 |  Dec 29 2011, 2:30 PM

Given that a coupe version of the 650 horsepower supercharged, 200 mph capable monster was revealed at the 2011 LA Auto Show, plus the fact that archrival Chevrolet chose that venue to introduce a convertible version of it’s 580 hp Camaro ZL1, there’s every indication that a drop top version of the Shelby could make it’s debut at NAIAS 2012 in Detroit next month.

If that proves to be the case, then it will be interesting to see what specifications it will sport. One thing’s for certain, it’ll weigh slightly more than the coupe and likely have it’s top speed limited, possibly to around 180 mph, since going that fast in a four-seat production convertible, especially a Mustang convertible is a rather unnerving proposition to begin with. Stay tuned for more details.

[Source: Top Speed]

 |  Dec 20 2011, 10:15 PM

With the 2012 North American International Auto Show shaping up to be a focal point for new vehicle introductions, automakers appear to be jostling with each other in a bid to not be outdone.

As far as BMW goes, the Munich based concern’s big announcement will likely be the M6 cabriolet, powered by a version of the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, which made its debut in the F10 chassis M5 back in Frankfurt this past September, though power and torque are reported to be increased.

Other M6 Cabrio features include a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with Drivelogic, though rumors are surfacing that a conventional six-speed manual could be offered for US customers.

The M6 ragtop will also sport M Dynamic Control as part of it’s stability control setup, along with an active rear suspension and differential, designed to further enhance handling and traction. There will also be M Servotronic hydraulically assisted steering and two M-Drive functions, essentially allowing the car to change personality depending on the driver’s request.

Other vehicles slated to be on the company stand in Detroit include the new BMW 3-Series, ActiveHybrid 5 (making it’s North American premiere) along with the  F10 M5; plus the i3  EV and i8 plug-in hybrid concepts first seen in Frankfurt.

[Source: BimmerFile]

 

 |  Dec 20 2011, 4:28 PM

Remember the Chrysler TC by Maserati? It was an American car with some Italian influence and the end result was simply awful.

Let’s hope this alliance will bear better fruit this time around, as Maserati is set to unveil their Kubang SUV concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

The Kubang, which will be the first SUV to wear a Maserati badge, will be based on the chassis of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. While power will be provided by an Italian engine (Maserati uses Ferrari engines in their cars), the vehicle is expected to be produced in America at Chrysler’s Jefferson North facility.

The Kubang concept was last seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in September, and while we cannot confirm if the Detroit unveil will be of the same vehicle or something different, we do know that Maserati will unveil an SUV at the N.A.I.A.S.

Put the two together and its easy to figure out that possibly a more production ready version of the Kubang will bow in Detroit.

We will be covering the Detroit auto show and will bring you all the latest news from the show, as it happens.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 |  Dec 15 2011, 5:45 PM

As the North American International Auto Show looms ever larger on the calendar, so does the annual North American Car and Truck of the Year awards, the winners of which will be announced on January 9th, before the show opens.

This year, finalists for the NACOTY award are the 2012 Ford Focus (shown), Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat, while finalists for the North American Truck of the Year award comprise the 2012 BMW X3, Honda CR-V and Range Rover Evoque.

The announcement of the finalists came following a December 15th meeting of the Automotive Press Association. The North American Car of the Year selection process is handled by a panel comprising 50 accredited automotive journalists from the US and Canada.

The 2011 car of the year winner was the Chevrolet Volt.

 |  Dec 15 2011, 1:15 PM

An updated version of Mercedes’ staple two-seater, has been a long time coming and thus highly anticipated. Following in the wake of a reported “leaked brochure” that made it’s way into cyberspace, Daimler AG has now given us official details on the 2013 model, due to be unveiled next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Despite it’s name, Sport Leight (lightweight sports), every iteration since the first 1955  street going SL has been larger and heavier. Now, with automakers looking to shed pounds in order to meet tighter fuel economy standards, the 2013 version looks to be heading back toward its roots, the car’s aluminum body reported to weigh some 242 lbs less than its predecessor.

Further weight shavings can be found in the steering and suspension assembly, with control arms and knuckles hewn from aluminum to reduce the car’s unsprung mass, yet the new SL is both longer (1.97 inches) and wider (2.24 inches) than its predecessor.

The steering system has also been updated with a new Direct-Steer setup that features speed sensitive power assist that varies depending on the steering wheel angle, designed to improve stability at higher speeds and easier maneuvering at lower ones, such as when parking.

Other improvements include better aerodynamics, a more efficient engine, in the shape of a smaller displacement 4.7-liter V8 that sports direct injection and more power than its predecessor (429 hp and a wallopping 516 lb-ft of torque), plus a tweaked 7-speed automatic transmission with improved Driver-Adaptive shift calibration.

But perhaps the most interesting of all, are  the Magic Vision Control and Magic Sky Control features. The former is an intelligent wash/wipe system for the windshield that, by routing washer fluid through special channels built into the front wiper blade, keeps the glass clear and prevents any overspray from entering the cabin when the side windows are down. The blade is also heated to prevent ice and snow build up in colder weather.

Magic Sky Control is an optional feature on the car’s retractable hardtop that changes the roof glass tone from light to dark at the touch of a button, providing greater cabin illumination or shade coverage when needed.

Slated to arrive at US dealers in Spring 2012, Mercedes-Benz will be celebrating the launch of the ’13 SL 550 by offering a limited-run “Edition 1″ model. This comes standard with AMG 19-inch wheels, special interior appointments (including designo exclusive leather with contrasting top stitching), a Harman/Kardon Logigc7 surround sound system; Airscarf seat backrest warmers  and special designo silver magno exterior paint.

Gallery: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL

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