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If there’s one car that we’ve been looking forward to seeing at this year’s New York Auto Show, more than any other, it’s the next generation Viper. Very nearly sold off during Chrysler‘s turbulent years under Cerberus, like any great icon, it managed to endure.
Not only that, but even before the last fourth generation SRT 10 examples were rolling out the door, a plan was underway to introduce a new one; an American super car re-imagined for the 21st century. Now it’s been revealed to the world for the first time.
Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology Brand perhaps summed it up best. “Beyond being the flagship for the new SRT brand, the launch of the 2013 Viper proves that we simply would not let the performance icon of the Chrysler Group die,” he said to raucous reception. Indeed.
BMW clearly has a bit of an open air theme at this year’s New York Auto Show. Call it spring fever (the buds are already blooming in Manhattan as I write), or call it simply a more relaxed approach, it’s definitely about going topless.
Besides recently announcing the i8 Spyder, the Munich based automaker has just unveiled a drop top version of the M6, (shown in coupe form in Geneva last month). In terms of specs, the roofless version essentially mirrors its tin top counterpart.
It’s got the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood, cranking out 560 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, it’s got the 7-speed dual clutch transmission with Drive Logic and an active rear differential that can automatically adjust from fully open to fully locked, enabling the back tires to provide the maximum amount of traction depending on the road conditions.
Details were leaked on it yesterday, ahead of the official debut. However, now that the BMW X1 has been revealed in US specification, we’ve finally got the chance to have a good look at it during the car’s official debut at the New York Auto Show.
More aggressive looking than its slightly bigger brother, the X3, BMW’s latest compact crossover has already been on sale in Europe and Canada, but 2013 marks the first time buyers will be able to snap one up in the US. For the 2013 model year, the X1 has been given a mild facelift with revised headlight housings and upgraded interior materials, including helpings of electroplated trim on the console and shifter.
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
See AutoGuide’s First Look Video of the new Dodge Dart below:
As part of it’s response to meet tougher Corporate Average Fuel Economy targets, Audi of America, logically is looking to diesels, at least in the short term to improve its overall fleet mileage.
The US arm of the Ingolstadt automaker plans to bring over oil burning versions of the Q5 SUV and A8 flagship sedan next year, however the A6 diesel has now been pushed back, along with the planned introduction of the A6 an A8 Hybrid models.
In the case of the latter, Audi’s US President, Johann De Nysschen says that the pushing back the A6 and A8 Hybrids was largely done to “minimize complexity” in the lineup, since Audi is already planning to introduce a Q5 Hybrid for 2012.
As to why the A6 diesel has been delayed, no official word so far, but given that the mid-size premium sedan segment is largely a stagnant market in the US and most of Audi’s sales gains (14.1 percent so far this year) have essentially been at the expense of rivals, perhaps the time simply isn’t right to introduce yet another new model. That said, Audi’s German rivals, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are also reporting increased demand (4.1 percent for the E-Class and a whopping 46.4 percent through the first 10 months of this year).
During a recent statement at the LA Auto Show, De Nysschen also said that a diesel A7 Sportback is a possibility for North America, though in reference to rumors of a possible local production facility he said “no official decision has been made.”
[Source: Ward's Auto]
At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Mazda has revealed the production version of its new CX-5 compact crossover. Slated to go on sale in European and North America next year, it represents a new direction, in terms of styling and also engineering for the Hiroshima, Japan based automaker.
Boxier than Mazda’s current line of crossover utilities, the CX-5 features a rather prominent grille, one that faintly recalls the old 808 and RX-3 rotary sedan and coupe from the mid-1970s. Mazda dubs the CX-5′s design language as ‘KODO’ or ‘Soul in Motion,’ said to be inspired by the rapid pace and agility of animals like the Cheetah.
The CX-5 is the first Mazda to feature the company’s new generation ‘SKYACTIV’ engines, a 2.0-liter gas unit rated at 165 metric horsepower (PS) and (in Europe at least) a 2.2-liter diesel engines that sports a two-stage turbocharger, enabling 150 and 175 PS outputs. Rated at 280 lb-ft for the lower output version and 310 lb-ft for the more potent one, both engines can be teamed with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Front or all-wheel drive configurations are also available.
With the standard manual gearbox and front drive, Mazda says target fuel consumption for the CX-5; is 47.2 miles per gallon with the gas motor; some 68.1 mpg for the diesel, while both engines deliver some of the lowest emissions outputs in their class (139 g/km/119 g/km); in fact the diesel motor meets tough Euro 6 smog requirements without the need for direct exhaust injection. (Of note, these fuel economy numbers are for Europe). Stop/Start technology is also employed on Euro spec models to further aid emissions and fuel economy reduction.
With fairly generous passenger and cargo space, plus split folding second row seating with what Mazda describes as easy to use ‘Karakuri,’ technology; the CX-5 is also said to blend practicality with fun to drive characteristics, likely making it one of the sportier SUV offerings in the compact segment.
A North American version is planned for introduction sometime next year as a 2013 model, likely priced around the $20,000 mark, though as previous information has stated, don’t expect either the diesel or stop/start technology to make their way to our shores as soon.
Hit the jump to see our exclusive video of the 2012 Mazda CX-5