Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a lighthearted fairytale highlighting the adventures of a cute little girl and a trio of cuddly bears… or is it? A closer examination of this innocent-sounding narrative reveals that it’s actually a gloomy tale that glorifies breaking and entering, trespassing, vandalism and theft.
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Many automotive journalists think they can drive. Sure, some of them are able to deliver respectable lap times but quite a few believe they’re far more capable behind the wheel of a motor vehicle than they actually are.
Dynamischer Kompakter mit vier Türen
Everyone knows “bigger is better,” especially in America. It’s practically our national slogan; the founding fathers should have included it in the Bill of Rights as the 10.5th Amendment. Here in the land of the free and the home of the brave there may be a compelling case for all things large and in charge, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for small.
There’s nothing wrong with going compact, especially when it comes to cars. With high fuel prices and environmental concerns on the minds of more drivers than ever, people are looking to downsize, but they don’t necessarily want to sacrifice luxury accoutrements. Luckily the industry is responding to this demand, particularly high-end German brands.
BMW has offered its 1 Series in the U.S. for a few years now, Mercedes-Benz is poised to introduce its much-anticipated CLA-Class compact sedan in September and Audi is cooking up a brand-new version of its popular A3. This 2015 model promises drivers a mountain of premium features in a deliciously right-sized package. Here’s everything you need to know about this new product from Ingolstadt.
Top 10 Automotive Stories of 2012
With a heavy heart the staff of AutoGuide.com say goodbye to 2012, along with its triumphs and tragedies. We await the New Year with open arms, and welcome its promise of a better world.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 was a year of the dragon, and it proved to be the stuff of legend, but thankfully it wasn’t a fire-breather. The Mayans were flat-out wrong; their doomsday prophecy was about as accurate as Bernie Madoff’s promise of a sound investment opportunity.
Still, the year brought other significant stories. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland discovered a subatomic particle consistent with the legendary Higgs boson. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, passed away, and in a brutal political battle Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States.
Of course the automotive industry made its share of headlines throughout the year. Here’s a rundown of the Top 10 stories from the past 12 months.
While many businesses had been hurt badly by the tough economic times, some of which have never recovered, British luxury and sports car manufacturer Aston Martin is thriving.
The company just released its full year results for the 12-months ending on December 31, 2011 and are happy to report that the numbers are in the black.
Aston Martin’s revenues increased by 7 percent, to $817.3-million, its highest since 2008. Aston’s earnings before interest,taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) works out to be $112.8-million.
Aston Martin managed to make this profit by shifting 4200 vehicles in these 12-months, which also included selling all 77-examples of the One-77 supercar.
“Our 2011 results demonstrate the energy, passion and ongoing resilience of Aston Martin – a truly unique, independent manufacturer. We are on track with our expansion plans around the world, especially in China, and are investing in new models,” said Aston Martin’s CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez.
The Aston Martin brand is stronger than ever. This is demonstrated by intense interest in the new V12 Zagato, recently shown at the Geneva Motor Show, and our $1.93-million One-77 supercar – all 77 of which are now sold.”
Aston Martin has also accrued $122-million in projected sales since last months Geneva Motor Show, so the future is looking very bright indeed.
While many car enthusiasts have complained in recent years that Aston Martin has not come out with an all-new car in quite some time (apart from the mega-bucks One-77), it seems those who can afford such high-priced items are buying them and the people running the company know what they are doing.
Now, rumors surface one again as Lexus product planning chief Karl Schlicht says that we could expect to see a high-performance GS-F on the market in the not-too-distant future that would rival the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.
The engine will likely be adopted from the high strung 4.8-liter V10 engine found in the Lexus LFA supercar. However, rather than 4.8-liters, the engine in the GS-F will likely be a slightly smaller displacement 4.6-liter producing approximately 450-hp.\
To distinguish itself from the standard GS range, the front fascia of the GS-F would receive sharper, more exaggerated surface treatments dominated by the spindle grille and preview the design of the next generation IS sports sedan range.
Details on a GS-F remain scarce as the project has yet to be official. If given the green light, expect the GS-F to arrive on showroom floors in approximately two years.
The 2013 BMW 3-Series will start at $35,775 when it goes on sale in February. For that amount of coin, you can walk away with a base model 328i, while a 335i will set you back $43,275.
The base price for the two models has only been bumped up by $300-$350, but the newest 3-Series is a radically different car from the outgoing version, chock full of technology and gadgets that weren’t previously available like a self-parking system and a no-charge 8-speed automatic gearbox. 328i models now get a turbocharged 4-cylinder making 240-horsepower, while the 335i continues on with BMW’s legendary turbocharged inline-6.
Diesel, hybrid and wagon variants will all arrive and some point, as will a coupe and convertible, but the only confirmed tidbit we have is that an M-Sport edition will be hitting our shores in July, and carry a $5000 premium over the base car. Consider the M Sport a stop-gap until a new M3 gets here in a few years time.
The 2013 BMW 3-Series, codenamed the F30, was revealed today by BMW, and the most noteworthy change is the first four-cylinder engine for North America since the 318i of the late 1990′s.
So far, we know that the 328i will pack a 4-cylinder turbo displacing 2.0L and putting out 245 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque will come at just 1,250 rpm, an astoundingly low figure that should translate into excellent real world acceleration. The 335i will put out 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual will be available, and BMW even claims that the 335i is capable of 32.6 mpg on the highway.
The car is slightly larger (3.6″ longer overall, about 2 inches longer in wheelbase and slightly wider front and rear tracks) but sheds 88 pounds of weight, while a hybrid and M-Sport version will also be offered.
Gallery: BMW 3-Series
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 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG will get some significant tweaks for 2012, with an official debut at March’s Geneva Auto Show. Arrving this summer as a 2012 model, the biggest news is the addition of Mercedes’ 7-speed MCT gearbox, used in the SL63 and other top-tier AMG cars previously.
While the C63 makes 451 horsepower and 443 lb-ft in standard trim, an available AMG Performance Package can boost that figure 481 horsepower, putting it well above its rivals from BMW, Lexus and Audi. The Performance Package engine has a number of fundamental changes, including forged pistons, lighter connecting rods, a redesigned crankshaft, remapped ECU and red brake calipers. A carbon fiber rear wing is also present. A limited slip differential is available as a no cost option.
Among the cosmetic changes are revised LED head and tail lamps, new alloy wheels and a redesigned diffuser.
These spy shots of a purported 2012 Buick Lacrosse GS struck us as a tad strange, but hey, GM did make a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, so why not do another niche performance luxury vehicle?
The most obvious visual difference are the Opel Insignia OPC wheels, which make the Lacrosse’s dowdy sheetmetal look pretty mean. The rotors and calipers are supposedly larger than stock, giving us hope that this is the real deal and not a GM employee vehicle customized by someone with good taste.
No word on engine choices, but with the demise of the Cadillac SRX Turbo, maybe GM’s supply of 2.8L V6 twin turbo engines will head to Buick. We can only hope.
The Audi A7 is barely on sale, but rumors are already starting about the high performance RS7 that many expect to appear in the next couple years.
With torque-vectoring all wheel drive, carbon ceramic brakes and an adjustable suspension, the RS6 should have the chassis upgrades to match the rumored 600 horsepower twin-turbo V8. With the next iterations of the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG destined to be some of the best luxury sedans ever, the A7 needs to be superb if it wants to compete with such rarefied company.
[Source: Road & Track]
Porsche‘s CEO confirmed that the brand will launch a diesel powered variant of the Panamera sports sedan in late 2011. Using the success of the Cayenne diesel as an example, CEO Matthias Muller made the announcement during an interview with Germany’s Westfalen-Blatt newspaper.
The Panamera diesel is expected to get a 3.0L V6 TDI engine making 240 horsepower, connected to an 8-speed automatic. Acceleration and performance is surely to be not-quite-thrilling, but the Porsche badge will remain the same, and that’s what matters for most buyers.
[Source: World Car Fans]
Buick hasn’t had a truly hot car since the GNX of 1987, but things are set to change if The Detroit Free Press’ sources are correct. The newspaper reports that the Regal GS, a high performance version of Buick’s new Regal sports sedan, has been approved for production.
The concept Regal GS (we use the term “concept” loosely) follows in the footsteps of the GNX by using a turbo powerplant, but the similarities end there. The GNX had a twin turbo V6, automatic transmission and rear wheel drive with a crude rear suspension setup. The GS on the other hand, uses an ultra-high-tech turbo four-banger, putting out 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, through a six speed manual gearbox and an all-wheel drive system.
The Free Press reports that the tight Recaro bucket seats seen on the concept may not make it to production, and for once, the less sporty option might be the smart one. Buick’s average buyer is 65 years old, and it’s hard to imagine someone that qualifies for senior citizen discounts wanting to hoist themselves in an out of those seats multiple times per day.
Gallery: Buick Regal GS