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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.
10. Lincoln Navigator Ultimate $109.76
Gas prices might not have hit the budget-busting $5/gallon yet, but drivers are already feeling the pinch. Consumer Reports has exposed a list of the top 10 most expensive vehicles to fill up. All prices are based on the average fuel price in the United States.
First on our top 10 is the Lincoln Navigator Ultimate. The massive V8 in this thing gets a combined 15mpg according to fueleconomy.gov. That gives it a range of around 504 miles on a tank. Filling up this SUV costs almost $110, which surprisingly is far from the costliest fill up on this list.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Hawtai B35, it debuted almost two years ago resembling a mash-up of Porsche, Bentley, and Audi styling. The Chinese automaker went back to revamp the model and plans on bringing this revamped SUV to the Beijing Motor Show this year.
The front grille, that previously resembled something from Bentley’s factory, has been slightly shrunken and now looks like it came off a Jaguar. Meanwhile, the biggest change is the redesigned headlights. There’s no way beating around this bush, the front end of the B35 is definitely more Cayenne-inspired than not. What’s even more peculiar is the close resemblance the doors now have to those off a Mercedes-Benz.
But that’s where the resemblances stop. Once you take a look at the B35 interior or under the hood, it’s obvious that Chinese vehicle design is still more about style than substance – or rather, copying style and leaving out the substance.
The interior is completely bland leather with wood – or imitation wood – trim accents, six airbags, navigation, parking sensors, heated seats, and an electric sunroof. But under the hood is a 1.8L that apparently is derived from the Rover K-Series family from back in 1988. The B35′s 1.8L is turbocharged with an output of 164-hp. The other engine option is a naturally aspirated 2.0L with 150-hp. Transmission choices include a CVT or a five-speed manual.
No pricing was announced on the new B35.
GALLERY: Hawtai B35
Americans will finally get a look at the U.S.-spec Porsche Cayenne diesel when it debuts at this year’s New York International Auto Show.
The oil-burner is expected to make either 240-hp like the European Cayenne Diesel, or 225-hp like the TDI Touareg and Q7. It’ll be backed with 406 lb-ft of torque and should get better fuel efficiency than the Cayenne S Hybrid’s 24-mpg highway. Unfortunately it’s also expected that the diesel-powered Cayenne will get under 20-mpg city.
Even though diesel models aren’t as popular in America as they are in Europe, other luxury automakers are testing the water with diesel variants of popular models such as the Mercedes-Benz GLK.
As gas prices consistently rise and consumers look more to efficiency as a critical factor, companies at all levels are realizing the importance of hybrid and diesel options, even in the U.S.
We’ll be reporting live from New York, bringing you coverage of the Cayenne diesel and other releases.
World famous tuner Gemballa will be heading to this year’s Geneva Motor Show with three world premieres, one of which is a custom McLaren MP4-12C. Alongside the McLaren will be four Porsche projects, two of which are world premieres.
Few details were revealed by Gemballa, but they did say the McLaren project would feature bespoke carbon fiber components with 20-inch wheels up front and 21-inch wheels in the rear. The McLaren MP4-12C race car pictured above might give us a sneak preview to what we can expect at the show.
The other two world premieres is a new 991 Porsche 911 model, and a new custom Cayenne. The 991 will feature new carbon fiber goodies, a unique six-pipe exhaust and 21-inch wheels. The Cayenne will have a new modular aerodynamic kit made from carbon fiber and a set of 22-inch wheels.
The other two vehicles that will be in attendance at the Gemballa booth will be model highlights. The Gemballa Mistrale with 721-hp along with the widebody Gemballa Tornado.
Porsche may have made a serious mistake in hiring an ex Wile E. Coyote illustrator to assemble their Cayenne SUVs. Sure it’s funny to see the sneaky canine’s eyes pop out, but there’s nothing funny about that happening to your car.
Jokes aside, more than 20,000 Porsche Cayennes from the 2011-12 model year, including the Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne S hybrid and Cayenne Turbo are experiencing just that. It seems that there’s a chance your headlights might become detached during one of those athletic sprints to get the kids to a soccer game, or any time for that matter.
The recall was expected to begin on February 23, owners will be contacted by the automaker if their vehicle needs to be repaired.
GALLERY: 2011 Porsche Cayenne
Porsche continues to be a tremendous success story, particularly since the launch of the Cayenne SUV. A vehicle that saved the German sports car maker from bankruptcy, in some markets it now accounts for half of the brand’s sales, raising the question, is Porsche too reliant on the Cayenne?
The answer would seem to be in the affirmative. One shocking statistic comes from last year’s sales figures. Porsche Cars USA posted impressive figures with 29,023 units sold, a solid improvement over 25,320 in 2010. According to a report by automotive statistics firm GoodCarBadCar, if you remove all Cayenne sales from the mix the remaining number is 16,045. What’s so shocking about that? Well, Porsche’s sales in 2002, before the Cayenne joined the fleet, were 21,320 units, meaning that, Cayenne aside, the last time Porsche sold fewer sports cars than they do now was in 1997.
The time in between has seen the addition of the Cayman, hardly a volume seller, but still a factor in propping up the brand’s sports car numbers. And those years prior to 1997 are the pre-Boxster era.
The numbers are negligibly different for 2010 as well, with 16,997 Porsche models sold if you don’t include the 8,343 Cayennes. Subtract the 7,741 Panameras too and you’re left with just 9,256 Porsche sports cars sold. Delete the 7,735 Cayennes from the 2009 sales figures, Porsche’s worst year in over a decade, and you’re left with a slightly better 11,961 total, which includes few (1,247) Panameras. Jumping back another year to pre-recession 2008 and total sales are a more robust 26,035. Delete 11,216 Cayennes and you’re left with 14,819 sports cars.
A key contributing factor to the decrease in Porsche’s sports car sales over the past few years has been lower and lower sales of the 911. In 2007 Porsche sold 13,153 units, dropping to 8,324 in 2008. Jump ahead to 2009 and the number slides further to 6,839 and then just 5,737 units in 2010. It was only last year, with the addition of numerous special edition models and dealers eager to push 2011 models off their lots to make room for the next generation car that 911 sales increased to a few hundred units to just over the 6,000 mark.
Increased sales of the Cayenne and decreased sports car sales could be entirely unrelated events, though there is the possibility that Porsche customers are foregoing cars like the 911 for the Cayenne. Or, there’s the possibility that 911 customers are just going somewhere else entirely.
Based on these numbers it’s not surprising that the brand has announced another sports car to sit between its upcoming flagship 918 and the 911 range. Until that product gets here, the launch of the 2012 911 models and a new Boxster will certainly bolster the brand’s sports car balance sheet.
The 100,000th second generation Porsche Cayenne was assembled today in Porsche’s Leipzig, Germany plant and marks steady and clear growth for the German automaker.
The public and auto journalists alike had their doubts about the Cayenne when it was first brought to the North American market in 2003, but the luxury SUV has held its own and has had strong sales since the beginning. In 2011, the second generation Cayenne increased its sales by 15 percent over the 2010 model year selling 29,023 units in the United States.
Along with the 100,000th second generation Cayenne, Porsche is celebrating its 10th year of producing vehicles at the Leipzig site. “Ten years ago the success story of Porsche Leipzig started. What was a greenfield site, today ranks among the most modern car plants in the world. In addition to the Cayenne, Leipzig is also where Porsche produces the very successful Panamera luxury saloon, approximately 70,000 units of which have now rolled off the production line. That is why more than 93,800 vehicles left the Porsche plant in Leipzig in 2011, more than in any year before”, says Wolfgang Leimgruber, Member of the Executive Board of Production and Logistics of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG.
Mirroring the American numbers, China has also recorded a sharp increase in the purchasing of the luxury SUV. From 2009 to 2010, Cayenne sales increased 14 percent in China and Porsche forecasts that by 2014 China will be its largest market.
The Leipzig plant will be adding a third shift to keep up with demand on the Cayenne, and will no doubt be kept busy by a re-surging auto market worldwide.
Once again, thanks to internet chatter we’ve got some more information on this hum-dinger of an SUV. A member on the Tesla Motors Club forum said he read in the Barclays Capital research report that there would be an unveiling on February 9. According to a post by Autoblog earlier today, that date is now confirmed.
So far, Tesla has been leading the EV industry in style and performance, consistently proving that being without an internal combustion engine isn’t the end of the world, though it may be the end of your bank account. Their first release, the Tesla Roadster, is a head turner that makes you feel like Tony Stark. Next they released the Model S, touting it as the worlds first premium electric sedan. The Model X is sure to follow their attention magnet tradition.
Each year on December 18th, Qatar celebrates its National Day of unification and and independence. And on that day, the citizens of Qatar get to admire the fleet of Porsche police cars the country has as the fleet parades through the city.
So why exactly does Qatar’s police force have so many Porsches in it? Well Qatar Investment Authority is the state-owned investment arm of Qatar, which is a subsidiary of Qatar Holding LLC. Originally setup to diversify the wealth of Qatar, both control over $60 billion in assets which include 17-percent of Volkswagen and 10-percent of Porsche AG.
Clearly the wealth is being diversified in Qatar – even the police force is benefiting with Panameras and Cayennes.
Check out the video clip below:
Efficiency is the new black for automakers and consumers alike. Even Porsche customers can get their gas guzzling Cayenne fix in a more efficient hybrid now or diesel soon, which is why it might come as a surprise that two new fuel-efficient guppies in the veritable ocean that is the U.S. car market seem to be floundering.
The Fiat 500 and Chevrolet Volt are both reaching the end of their first fiscal year with disappointing numbers compared to their manufacturer’s forecasts. That outcome could be a bit of a puzzler, given that the 500 starts at $15,500, offers two more seats and, what some would say, stylish alternative to the Smart FourTwo for about $3000 more.
The same fate befell the Volt, which takes a practical approach to the burgeoning plug-in market. Rather than relying totally on a battery charge. Chevy’s iteration on the new trend borrows power from a teensy 1.4-liter gasoline engine and achieves a sky-scraping 94 mpg average with a starting price of just over $39,000 before tax incentives. Those incentives bring the car closer to $30,000, though other government subsidies for things like home charging stations disappear this year.
It doesn’t take a particularly good periscope to see above the water and realize why both these cars were slow sellers, consumers are often risk averse and both cars proved to be sketchy choices by year’s end.
The Volt will fall short of GM’s projected 10,000 unit forecast by at least 25 percent thanks in part to an NHTSA investigation surrounding spontaneous combustion of the lithium ion battery after severe crashes. The car was supposed to be Chevrolet’s poster boy for the future, but instead the crucial first year will be marred by shaky consumer confidence and questions about safety.
The Fiat 500 might have escaped that fate, given its quirky styling and heavy re-engineering for the North American palate, but poor sales proved otherwise.
It also suffered from a sales-scaring three out of five star safety rating by the NHTSA this month. Even without that damning verdict, the hatchback wouldn’t have met the projected 50,000 sales figure— as of November Chrysler’s parent company had managed to squeak out a dismal 17,444 units, with little promise of breaking the 20,000 mark by December 31.
[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]
It’s been a long while since we’ve come across a new ASMA Design creation, but it looks like it was worth the wait. ASMA has always been common bait for us to make fun of and they didn’t fail to impress with their Porsche Cayenne Turbo project.
As expected, ASMA Design released the photos of the project with very little details, but we don’t even need words to describe what’s going on here. Over the top, super aggressive styling results in an atrocious and terrible project and just does a terrific job ruining Porsche’s classy SUV. The wider fenders and side skirts are just completely out of place, while the front and rear bumpers are downright absurd.
About the only thing respectable about the project are the 22-inch wheels on each corner, and the fact that genuine carbon fiber was used for the body kit – as terrible as it is. But hey, we’re glad ASMA has something to show off, we were getting a little bored around here with nothing to ridicule.
GALLERY: ASMA Design Porsche Cayenne Turbo
[Source: GT Spirit]
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]
Porsche broke ground on an expansion of its Leipzig, Germany factory, that will produce its upcoming Cajun crossover, a smaller model expected to slot below the popular Cayenne SUV.
The $500 million investment will add 1,000 new jobs at the plant, which already produces the Panamera sedan and the Cayenne. The Cajun will ride on the same platform as the Audi Q5 and debut in 2013.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley Motors’ CEO recently declared, in reference to the firm’s upcoming SUV, that, ”we will be first to use a 12-cylinder petrol engine in a luxury SUV.”
Unfortunately he’s wrong. That distinction belongs to Lamborghini, who offered a 12-cylinder motor in the LM 002 back in the 1980s.
Nevertheless, featuring a motor with 12 bores will still give Bentley’s 4 x 4 a good deal of prestige, since today, there’s nothing currently like it on the market.
As for the type of engine chosen, expect a version of the W12 motor found in the Bentley Continental series, not only preferred for reasons of cost and convenience, but also according to Dürheimer, packaging.
That said, there are currently rumors circulating that besides a gas fueled W12, Bentley may add a V-configuration motor, probably a diesel somewhere further down the line, likely derived from Audi’s existing V12 TDI, currently offered in the Q7 crossover.
With the chief engineer on the project none other than Rolf Frech, who Dürheimer pinched from Porsche (where he worked on the original Cayenne), it looks like all the ingredients are in place for a Bentley SUV to hit the road in the not too distant future (a launch date of around 2015 is believed to be on the cards).
That said, the new vehicle’s introduction will still be determined by the product life cycle of other Bentley models, which Dürheimer says tend to last six to eight years. “The Mulsanne came in 2010, then the Continental no more than a year later, so the new model will be valuable when we are expecting a lull,” he says. “The downswing is the time to introduce this SUV.”
Yet regardless of ‘timing’ Dürheimer is now more convinced than ever that the demand for such a machine as a Bentley 4 x 4 is there. “Ninety-nine per cent of Bentley owners also own an SUV,” he says. “Absolutely thousands of premium SUVs have been sold — Cayennes, Range Rovers, Q7s and so on — but nobody has given those owners the chance to upgrade. We will.”
The results for the most successful cars of 2011 so far are in. Automotive data and marketing solutions company Polk has calculated the results from the first six months of 2011 new vehicle registrations and have come up with the top picks for non-premium and premium models.
These results look at model-level performance and determine which ones are doing well so far this year. It’s also important to note that the March Japanese earthquake/tsunamis have had an impact on these results, and the inventory shortages for Toyota and Honda caused by the disaster have impacted the June 2011 CYTD (Calendar Year To Date) retail results for these brands.
Here’s a list of the winners so far, along with the June 2011 CYTD year-over-year improvements in new retail registrations.
1. Hyundai Sonata (+32%)
2. Volkswagen Jetta (+69%)
3. Ford Fiesta (not on sale in 2010)
4. Chevrolet Cruze/Cobalt (+178%)
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee (+170%)
Other non-premium models that performed well in the first half of 2011 include the Optima, Regal, 200/Sebring, Durango, Elantra and Equinox.
1. Cadillac CTS (+54%)
2. BMW 5-Series (+56%)
3. Jaguar XJ (+273%)
4. Porsche Cayenne (+178%)
5. BMW X3 (+276%)
An honorable mention goes out to the Volvo S60, another premium model that has performed well in 2011.
Porsche sales in China increased 5 times as much this July compared to last year’s, with the Cayenne selling especially well.
Porsche moved 2,484 cars in the month of July: while it might not seem like much, considering Porsche’s total of 10,722 vehicles worldwide, it’s still 5 times more than what they sold in July of 2010. Most of these cars were Cayennes, in Asia as well as worldwide: 5,483 cars around the world, or an increase of 16.1% compared to last year. Panamera sales also increased 2.5% from the same time, to 2,352.
So far, Porsche moved 71,381 vehicles from January to July. But SUVs and sedans were the bulk of it—overall sales in Europe dropped a significant 38.3%, and the sports car market caught onto the 911′s impending replacement: 1,666 examples of the Porsche icon were sold, for a drop of 35.1%. The Boxster and Cayman dropped 22.9% during that same year, with almost the same amount as the 911 sold (1,221 cars). If sales trends continue like this, Porsche will soon break into the Class 6 medium-duty truck business.
TechArt has revealed their tuning kit for the new-generation Porsche Cayenne Diesel, increasing horsepower output from 240-hp to 280-hp. The power increase comes courtesy from their Techtronic power kit line, (part number TA 058/D1) which is essentially an intelligent engine management system that puts power boost at the push of a button. In addition to the Techtronic power kit, TechArt offers a sport exhuast system for the Cayenne Diesel.
Torque is increased from 405 lb-ft to to 457 lb-ft helping give the Cayenne Diesel’s 0-62 mph time to 7.2 seconds and a new top speed of 145-mph. As with all Techtronic units, this TechArt tuning program is backed by a warranty on engine and transmission.
No pricing was announced for the tuning package.
GALLERY: TechArt Porsche Cayenne Diesel
Russian tuner TopCar has really made a name for themselves with some fantastic Porsche styling packages, and this Cayenne might be the best one we’ve seen yet. Even better is the fact that there are some stunning photos and scenery to go along with the Cayenne, that is featured in a unique shade of Amethyst Metallic, a color Porsche offers on some of their models.
For their Porsche Cayenne Vantage 2, TopCar offers a complete widebody conversion which includes matching front and rear bumpers and side skirts. The aggressive styling of the kit really transforms the Cayenne from bumper to bumper, and the subtle Amethyst Metallic finish gives it a sleek, exotic look. The elegant design of the concave split-five spoke wheels were a perfect match to the Cayenne’s body. Really, we’re having a hard time whether to appreciate the beauty of the car or the location of the photoshoot.
Even more luxurious is the custom interior, featuring a double-diamond stitched pattern on the seats in a milk chocolate brown finish. The unique pairing of colors are contrasting, with the darker brown highlighted by a nice clean beige. Of course the wooden accents are a perfect fit while TopCar adorned the headrests with some custom embroidery. Finishing off the entire car are vantage logos on the exterior and in the interior’s door sills.
GALLERY: TopCar Porsche Cayenne Vantage 2
[Source: Jon Sibal]
April has been a very good month for Porsche: it saw sales increase by 53 percent, or 11,741 vehicles total. But the cars that skyrocketed during this period aren’t the 911, or any variants thereof.
Diehard Porsche fans are going to rage: what’s selling hot isn’t the 911, or even the Boxster/Cayman duo—it’s the Cayenne and Panamera, the two models most accused of pillaging the brand for all it’s worth. And hybrid models, too! What is Stuttgart coming to?
In fact, Cayenne sales doubled in that time and Panamera sales increased 15%, while sales of the Boxster and Cayman actually lowered by 8.7%. “Every Porsche is the sportiest model in its segment,” said Bernhard Maier, a Porsche board member. “Our customers world-wide love the combination of performance and efficiency, such as in the new Panamera S Hybrid or 911 GT3 RS 4.0.” The 911, meanwhile, stayed relatively steady as before.
Within the same period, North American sales increased 77% in the same month, Porsche’s largest market. And their 2nd largest, China, saw increases of 48.8%, and the rest of Asia increased sales 56.5%.
The two keep giving Porsche incentive to blow their money on awesome things—like racing, or the upcoming 918—and maybe holding off a forcible invasion from jealous neighbors/friends-with-benefits Volkswagen.
At any given ALMS race, you’re guaranteed to see a field of Porsches on the track at any given minute. These are mostly 997 variants, but now there’s the possibility of catching a glimpse of Porsche’s Panamera and Cayenne at any ALMS race. Ideally, we hope not to see these on the track, given that they’re support vehicles, but it’s nice to see Porsche’s lineup being properly represented at one of the world’s most prestigious race series.
The Panamera Turbo is the official safety car for ALMS; essentially a stock model that has a dome light and paint scheme on it, similar to the well-known Mercedes AMG safety cars. The larger Cayenne SUV will be pulling duties as the medic’s emergency response vehicle, and we really hope that the Cayenne makes a limited number of appearances for that reason alone.
GALLERY: Porsche Panamera and Cayenne ALMS Support Vehicles
While Italian sports cars get a bad rap for being fickle, nobody has ever accused the Porsche 911 of having major reliability issues, and J.D. Power, publisher of the legendary reliability rankings, seems to confirm that, having named the 911 the most reliable sports car and Porsche as the top German manufacturer.
While some of Porsche’s newer vehicles have been afflicted with engine problems, J.D. Power still gave the brand top marks, likely since its owner survey is based on the opinions of people who forked out good money for their cars. On the other hand, a Canadian study recently showed that 97.4 percent of Porsches from the last 25 years are still on the road, a testament to their longevity and robustness. Only time will tell if a current Boxster, Cayman, Cayenne or 911 will be as resilient.
Each spring, a jury of 66 automotive journalists from around the globe get together to pick a winner for the World Car of the Year title. The journalists are asked to vote by secret ballot, selecting the winner from 10 cars that have made the final cut.
For the 2011 awards, those finalists have now been announced. They are: Audi A1, Audi A8, BMW 5-Series, BMW X3, Jaguar XJ, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (shown above), Nissan LEAF, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo S60/V60.
And yes, the much hyped Chevrolet Volt didn’t make the cut this time around, perhaps next year when it becomes more widely available.
Now that the finalists for this year’s awards have been announced, the jurors will ‘re-evaluate’ each vehicle on merit, value, safety, emotional appeal, significance and environmental impact. Once the findings of these evaluations have been tabulated, the shortlist will be whittled down to three vehicles, which will be announced at the Geneva Auto Show next month. The actual World Car of Year winner, will be announced at the New York International Auto Show on April 21st; the final ballots being tabulated by international accounting firm KPMG.
The World Car Awards were first instigated in 2003 to reflect a more global automotive landscape and complement existing national and regional Car of the Year award programs.
Past WCOTY winners have generally been cars that have proved popular in many countries around the world. The first car to actually win the accolade, back in 2005, was the Audi A6, while past winners have included other top selling cars such as the BMW 3-Series; Mazda 2 and Volkswagen Golf.