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.
Yesterday we eliminated five cars from the 2014 AutoGuide Under $30,000 Performance Car Shootout.
That leaves the final three, which are all completely different takes on affordable fun. Weren’t we surprised when the numbers were tabulated and the top cars included not just all-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive rivals, but a hatchback, a sedan and a coupe.
The Scion FR-S is a low-slung, rear-wheel drive sports coupe built without compromises. The Ford Fiesta ST is a sub-compact hatchback jacked on steroids. And finally we have the sensible, all-wheel drive Subaru sedan, that also just so happens to deliver awesome amounts of turbocharged thrust.
This is it, time to crown a victor. Who is your money on?
You can’t build a truly great car without an exceptional engine. Powertrain is the heart and soul of every vehicle on the road; it’s the mechanical equivalent of life. Without propulsion systems cars are little more than expensive, over-engineered pieces of yard art.
Patent office design illustrations that give away the shape and contours of the Infiniti Emerg-E concept leaked today, showing us more than we expected to get before the 2012 Geneva Motor Show on March 6.
Infiniti dropped a teaser video and photos a little more than a week ago to get us excited for their Emerg-E concept, which will be the brand’s first range-extended car featuring what they refer to as “vivid performance,” and zero emissions capability.
It will feature a 1.2-liter mid-mounted gasoline engine, placed to offer optimal weight distribution. Few further details are available on the car now, but we’ll be in Geneva reporting on the details as they emerge. Head back to our previous post to watch the teaser footage.
GALLERY: Infiniti Emerg-E concept
BMW’s newest M3 sedan was caught testing, and the wide fenders were a dead giveaway for our photographers. Check out the pictures below.
We wish we had more info about powertrains and the like but your guess is as good as ours. In all likelihood, the big, high-revving V8 will take a bow in favor of a turbocharged inline six. We’ve heard crazy rumors of a tri-turbo I6 in the past, but we’ll probably see something like the 1M’s I6 make an appearance – that is, a massaged version of the N54 twin-turbo I6 used in the 335i, albeit with a lot of power. Lighter weight will also play a part, helping to reduce the need for big power numbers.
Gallery: BMW M3 Sedan
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
While AutoGuide got its first glimpse of the Ford Focus ST at the 2010 Paris Auto Show last September, this was our first chance to take a good look at the car without security guards and PR staff circling like birds of prey.
We know so far that the Focus ST will have Ford’s 2.0L Ecoboost motor displacing 247 horsepower and 260 lb-ft, with a choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual clutch gearbox, along with ATE brakes and some very supportive technicolor sports seats. Peeking inside also revealed a Sony headunit that looked like it was ready for the much-loathed MyFordTouch infotainment system.
Check out AutoGuide’s coverage of the 2011 SEMA Show here
Gallery: Ford Focus ST
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.
Audi has unveiled their latest iteration of the S6 and S6 Avant, and the mid-size sports sedans look to continue the engine downsizing trend, moving from a 5.2L V10 to a 4.0L V8 with twin turbochargers making 420 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque.
The new S6 will sprint to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds (while the Avant does it in 4.9) while consuming only 24 mpg (a figure we assume is on the highway). Power is transmitted to all four wheels via Audi’s S-tronic dual clutch ratio with seven cogs, and the active sport differential will also be an optional, similar to the S4.
An air suspension, 19″ wheels and a noise cancelling system (to keep the cabin silent) are all standard. No word on pricing, or North American availability, but we’d assume that the sedan is a shoo-in, while the Avant will sit this one out.
Check back for more updates when AutoGuide covers the Frankfurt Auto Show live on September 13th.
Gallery: Audi S6 and S6 Avant
Over the last few years, diesel technology has taken a huge leap in technology. So much so, that a diesel powered car is the preferred choice of weapon for any endurance race.
With their success on the track being recognized, it’s only a matter of time before fast diesels make their way into road cars, and BMW seems to be jumping at that.
According a leaked document, BMW is preparing to offer a model that will wear the badge: M550dX. While not a true M model, it also hints that this is more than just an M-Sport package. Instead, it will likely be the first ever diesel designed by BMW’s M performance division.
As the name suggests, it will be all-wheel drive, and will likely use the new 3.0-liter, triple turbo-charged (yes, you read right) motor that produces 395-hp.
There is no confirmation from BMW at this point, but the possibilities certainly are exciting. Americans have never been fond of diesel passenger cars, but slap a Roundel on the front and an M badge on the back and it’s sure to change more than a few minds.
Audi is exploring the possibility of bringing more RS models to the American market, after years of on-and-off importation of select vehicles like the RS4 and RS6.
Both the TT-RS and RS5 are slated to be introduced for the 2012 model year, and the vehicles will be priced well above even the most expensive TT and A5 models. Like BMW’s M cars, the the RS models are sold in low volumes but are relatively high margin vehicles for Audi. The average transaction price for Audi vehicles has risen steadily since January of 2010, while rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW have seen theirs fall (though their transaction prices are still higher overall)
Peter Scwarzenbauer, Audi’s U.S. sales head, suggested that future RS products could make their way to America, but declined to specify what was in the pipeline.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The official launch of the eagerly anticipated Audi TT RS took place with the first vehicle was delivered to veteran race car driver Don Istook.
Last year, Istook was one of more than 11,500 fans that signed a Facebook petition to introduce the TT RS to the U.S. Istook was also one of the first drivers to race an Audi Quattro in the U.S in 1985, as well as driving the S4 in the Motorola Cup race series of yesteryear.
“Having raced at almost every major track in the U.S. and Canada, I’ve pushed the limits in many cars in my 34 years as a race car driver,” Istook said. “I like my street car to give me some of that thrill. With my new Audi TT RS, I not only get that thrill, but I also get that ‘race car’ sound.”
The 2012 TT RS represents the pinnacle of TT performance. The RS is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder TFSI engine that cranks out 360-hp and 343 lb-ft of torque. The TT RS has been priced at $56,850.
Remember, it’s not a computer monitor. BMW’s hi-po M3, the CRT, gets an introductory video showcasing its array of carbon fiber and suspension enhancements.
If the regular M3 is too boring, the CRT (which stands for Carbon Racing Technology) should liven things up: it gets a carbon fiber hood that’s a quarter of the regular steel’s weight, carbon fiber seats, a titanium exhaust, lighter wheels and brakes, and less sound deadening. The new suspension gets stiffer springs and adjustable coilovers, and the 450-horsepower V8 is attached to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The result? An M3 sedan that’s 100 pounds lighter, but still features the comfort and convenience of the regular M3—like keeping its high-end audio system that you won’t be able to hear anyway. There will be only 67 units produced, each at an eye-watering price of $185,000. In that case, the video below (after the jump) will be the closest any of us will get to owning, or even driving, an example.
Despite the stupid April Fool’s prank involving the BMW M3 Pickup, this announcement is not a joke. BMW is bringing a lightweight version of their M3 sedan to the M Festival, an event to be held at the Nurburgring 24 Hours race in late 2011.
Positioned as a stopgap between the standard M3 and the hardcore M3 GTS, the chassis, brakes and exhaust have all been upgraded, but power output should remain similar to the standard car. BMW hasn’t announced how much weight has been stripped out either, and we’re curious to see just how spartan the interior has gotten in the quest to add lightness.
The excited hoardes of car-geeks who drooled over a prototype BMW M3 pickup, spied lapping the Nurburgring, will have to steel themselves for more disappointment, as Road & Track magazine confirmed that this car will not be entering production.
“BMW M did indeed create the pick-up seen on the ’Ring, but it was just an internal project, not something that is in development,” Dave Buchko, BMW’s Advanced Powertrain & Heritage Communications Manager, said to R&T. “There are no plans to produce it.”
Aside from the sheer novelty of it, is there any reason to really lust after an M3 pick-up? The sedan, coupe and convertible provide a good range of bodystyles, and frankly, the only people that would be interest in an M3 pickup wouldn’t have the funds to purchase one.
[Source: Road & Track]
The next Porsche 911 is expected to shed roughly 100 pounds of weight, thanks to an aluminum intensive chassis that will be shared with the next generation Boxster and Cayman.
The news, courtesy of Motor Trend, seems to suggest that power upgrades won’t be as substantial, with the reduced weight helping to bring the majority of performance gains. With the 911 range already offering ample thrust, the news of a lighter chassis, one that is sure to positively impact all areas of driving dynamics, is promising. A wider track and longer wheelbase should also help improve the car’s handling, making it more stable while also benefiting ride quality.
Fans of the old car will still be able to buy previous generations of the Turbo and GT3 cars, as they have traditionally followed a year behind the standard cars in the product cycle.
[Source: Motor Trend]
The Sultan of Brunei’s extravagant car collection is something of an urban legend among auto enthusiasts. Most of the evidence surrounding its existence is anecdotal, with a few grainy photos having leaked out over the years on rare occasions. Now, Sports Car Market has published an article by car broker Michael Sheehan detailing the vastness of his collection – and how priceless supercars are sitting in ruin due to neglect.
In 2002, Sheehan attempted to negotiate a deal to purchase 13 cars, including a Ferrari F40 LM, Ferrari 288 GTO and a McLaren F1. The deal ultimately failed due to a lack of any documentation for the cars, which made them impossible to export, but Sheehan was given a tour of the Sultan’s automotive compound, and his story is captivating, with the full extent of the decay and neglect suffered by the cars conveyed dispassionately.
Sheehan vividly describes a mid-’90s Rolls-Royce convertible stating that it, “had gotten so hot with the windows up that the steering wheel’s foam padding had melted into a puddle on the driver’s seat and the leather wrap hung from the barren steel rim. The entire interior had ‘gone off’ with mold in the heat and humidity and the interior was a fuzzy gray!”
Tragic yet, but hey, if we had 300 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans (among thousands of other cars, including the bespoke Ferrari wagon seen here) we would have a hard time keeping track of our rides too.
[Source: Sports Car Market]
With most car manufacturers, the different trim levels often signify how well-equipped a vehicle is. But the new Tesla Model S electric car will use them in a different manner, with the three trims carrying different batteries, ranging from 160 to 300 miles.
The first cars produced by Tesla will be a limited run of the Signature Series – which features the 300 mile capable battery -and will get unique badging and options, in a limited run of 1000 units. Following the Signature Series, the standard versions of the 300 mile car, along with the 230 and 160 mile versions, will come online.
North American deliveries are expected to begin in mid-2012, with European deliveries following later, and right-hand drive models arriving in mid-2013. At that point, Tesla should be producing 20,000 Model S sedans per year, up from 5,000 in 2012.
This may be the most boring post you will ever read about the Volkswagen Golf R. Even though it has an awesome 270 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, all-wheel drive and a choice of 6-speed gearboxes, Volkswagen decided to milk the car for every last drop of “publicity” by launching 4 dubiously dubbed “concept” editions at the Geneva Auto Show.
The “concepts” are merely some Golf R models with unique interior and exterior combinations. The “Oryx White” model is available with a “St. Tropez” interior, while the “Carbon Steel Grey” model has the inside trimmed in “Almandine Red”. A third “Space Grey” model features a carbon fiber interior. The final model apes the “Space Grey” car’s exterior treatments but is finished in Aplomb Blue.
Frankly, we couldn’t care less. Just give us the damn car already. It could be painted in Pig Vomit Brown with an interior made of Hyena hides and we’d still drive it. Unfortunately, we won’t be getting those awesome bucket seats shown in the photos.
Gallery: Volkswagen Golf R Concepts
British comedian Sascha Baron Cohen’s character Bruno was a hilarious satire of how seriously the fashion world takes itself (among many other, more lurid themes), and we hope that Mercedes-Benz‘s latest foray into the world of fashion is taking a similar swipe. Probably not.
The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Force has outfitted a CLS63 AMG, in a police-car-style livery and sent it to drive around New York, to look for the chic and beautiful, and offer them rides to the destination of their choice. Passengers will also have the chance for individual photo opportunities, and invites to fashion shows.
“Mercedes-Benz has a natural affinity with the world of fashion with cars that appeal to those with a strong sense of style,” said Lisa Holladay, manager of brand experience for Mercedes-Benz USA. “The 2012 CLS 63 AMG four-door coupe is the perfect vehicle for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Force initiative with its fascinating design and significant curb appeal.”
Whatever. Since AutoGuide staff members like to wear the finest garments from Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and other exclusive retailers, we’ll stick to doing burnouts in inappropriate places rather than preen in overly expensive duds. That is what’s in style for Fall/Winter 2011, isn’t it?
The long awaited next generation BMW M5 will get its first showing in (lightly disguised) concept form at the Shanghai Auto Show. With China becoming a rapidly important market for BMW (read: sales are booming), the new car, codenamed the F10, will surely be a hit with performance-minded buyers in China and the world over.
The sublime V10 is expected to be jettisoned in favor of a new twin-turbo V8, as seen in the X5M and X6M. Rumors state that the car will also feature ceramic brakes (a first for any BMW), and we can similarly expect to see some kind of dual clutch transmission. The new V8 makes 555 horsepower and 510 lb-ft in the SUVs, and a bump in power wouldn’t be unreasonable for what is arguably BMW’s flagship M car. The most significant development of course, is that BMW chose to reveal the car at Shanghai, but this still leaves the door open for an official production unveiling at September’s Frankfurt Auto Show, which is of course, BMW’s home turf.
[Source: 4 Wheels News]
Although there is no high-performance version of the Chevrolet Cruze, its platform-mate, the Buick Verano, could see a GS version sometime in the future, according to GM’s Ed Wellburn, a senior figure in the General’s design department.
Wellburn claimed that GM was “toying” with the idea of a Verano GS, and that concept sketches have been completed, but that customer reaction to the Verano will need to be gauged before any hot versions can be produced. Wellburn also mentioned that a Verano Hybrid was a possible addition to the lineup but declined to give specifics.
[Source: egm Car Tech]
The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is already a sports sedan for people with aggression issues, and now we have evidence that an even nuttier version is in the works, ostensibly a C63 Black Series.
The biggest visual clue are the tacked on fender flares, similar to the SL65 Black Series, while the front rims look similar to the standard versions from the CLK63 Black Series. We don’t have any details regarding potential upgrades, but based on the previous Black Series cars, bucket seats and light weight parts.