The Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are two of the most impressive vehicles introduced in the last five years. They offer enthusiasts affordable performance courtesy of a rear-wheel-drive chassis that’s second to none. But could Subaru be working on a more utility-focused version of the BRZ? The company’s Cross Sport Design Concept seems to indicate they’re up to something.
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Not to be Taken Auris-lly
In North America Toyota is known for a couple signature vehicles. Over the decades they’ve sold legions of Camrys and more Prius hybrids than you might expect. Beyond these core products the company also offers a host of other models, from the full-size Tundra pickup truck to the FJ Cruiser sport utility.
April 14, 1927 marked the first mass-produced Volvo ÖV4 model to roll off the Volvo Lundby factory of Göteborg, Sweden. Now, 2012 marks the 85th anniversary of Volvo cars.
To celebrate the occasion, Volvo president and CEO Stefan Jacoby will join Volvo Group president and CEO Olof Persson to drive a restored ÖV4 past the Lundby factory gates once more to commemorate the company’s history.
According to Stefan Jacoby, the ÖV4 is “a fantastic car, but it’s easy to see how much has changed over the last 85 years.”
A lot has changed indeed as Volvo sold a very modest 300 vehicles on its first year of production. Last year the company sold about 450,000 cars in 120 countries with the United States as its single largest market.
This may seem more like a unicorn than a Mustang, but sure enough before your eyes is a custom 1965 Ford Mustang Station Wagon built by Joe Kamp. It’s also now available for sale for $54,900 and with 93,965 miles on the odometer, it’s clearly been built to be driven.
By using a clean, original Mustang Hardtop as the foundation, the wagon body was created with 100-percent steel and uses as many factory components as possible. The original roof was cut, lengthened, slightly widened, and installed with sections of the original C-pillars out back. From there, the rear tailgate and window were made using the original hardtop pieces and deck lid.
Once all the body work was completed, the Mustang Station Wagon was painted in a brilliant red finish while gold Shelby-style stripes were added to provide some contrast to the aesthetics. Under the hood is a traditional Ford 5.0L V8 powerplant mated to a T5 five-speed manual transmission. A set of original 15-inch Mustang wheels were fitted to the body, wrapped with 215/70/15 BFGoodrich T/A rubber.
And with the station wagon conversion taking place on this Mustang, the interior had to be overhauled to match the unusual style of the body. A bench-style front seat was installed along with a custom center console with a filler in between the seats to give the illusion of a bench, but the comfort of bucket seats. The brown vinyl is traditional ’60s styling while the tan seen on the dash and kick panels gives it a sense of elegance.
Whatever happened to the original Mustang Station Wagon is still a mystery, but this custom Wagon that’s for sale is probably the closest anyone will ever get to the mythical original.
GALLERY: 1965 Ford Mustang Station Wagon
[Source: RK Motors]
According to Inside Line, Saab may be ready to re-start production at its factories in as little as 8 weeks, after being sold to two Chinese automakers for $142 million.
While Saab was valued at $660 million this summer, both Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. managed to purchase the company at a rock bottom price after a number of other deals failed to materialize. Chinese companies now own both Saab and Swedish automaker Volvo.
Saab’s Swedish factories have been idled since March, but could be up and running in as little as 2 months. The company claims to have 11,000 vehicle orders on the books, and may even bring the 2012 9-5 SportCombi station wagon to this April’s New York Auto Show if all goes smoothly in the upcoming months.
[Source: Inside Line]
For the European market, the thought of another high performance Ford Focus has become banal, but North America is eagerly awaiting the launch of the first “Euro” hot hatch variant of the Focus, with the upcoming Ford Focus ST.
The original Focus SVT was based on a European model called the Focus ST170, but the new Focus ST marks the first time that there will be a single unified Focus performance model – with one exception. A Focus ST “wagon” (shown above) will be sold in world markets, but not North America.
With a 2.0L Ecoboost 4-cylinder making 250 PS and 265 lb-ft of torque, the Focus ST relies on an electronic torque-steer management system to put power down through a 6-speed manual gearbox via the front wheels. Big brakes and Recaro seats on offer, as are a specially tuned chassis, 18″ wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires with an asymmetric tread pattern. Stay tuned to AutoGuide for live shots of the Ford Focus ST starting on Tuesday, September 13th as coverage of the Frankfurt AutoShow kicks off.
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
The development of the Jaguar XF wagon is still a work in progress for the British automaker. Ford’s product planners did not include a wagon body style when the sedan was first designed and Jaguar engineers have had to develop the XF estate from square one, with the project has becoming considerably more expensive and complex.
Some insiders have suggested the XF wagon will be the same length as the sedan. The Jag will also share styling cues with the XJ, as the wraparound rear pillars will be present, giving the estate a cleaner looking back end compared to the X-type wagon. The British automaker is aiming for the vehicle to be as practical as the Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5-series, with space comparable to the large Mercedes-Benz E-class estate.
The XF will most likely debut at the Geneva or Paris auto show in 2012. Unfortunately, the vehicle probably won’t arrive stateside since there is minimal demand for wagons.
Volkswagen of America does not have plans to offer the Passat Wagon in North America. Despite reports of the Passat wagon undergoing testing in the U.S, the vehicle was never intended to be sold here.
Part of the problem is that wagons have lost substantial market share with the advent of crossovers. Volvo, which has always offered the traditional station wagon, no longer offers either the V70 or V50 in North America because of slumping sales. With VW’s focus on achieving big sales numbers, the automaker doesn’t see the wagon as a worthwhile endeavor. Volkswagen is instead working on a three-row crossover, priced like the Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer for around $30,000, as many former station wagon buyers have shifted to this segment. For anyone who still enjoys Volkswagen wagons, the Jetta SportWagen is still available.
[Source: Car and Driver]
It looks as though Chrysler may resurrect the Dodge Magnum. The station wagon was one of several vehicles that got axed during the dark days of Chrysler’s bankruptcy and reorganization in 2008 and 2009.
“That vehicle was single-handedly killed by one executive who is no longer with the company. He’s retired. A lot of people in the company still like that vehicle — a lot,” said Ralph Gilles, the Chrysler design chief who helped style the Magnum. “A lot of things that weren’t possible back then, now are.”
Mr. Gilles also sees the potential for the new Dodge Viper as a likely choice for an SRT version. “Also, we know we need an entry-level vehicle of some kind.”
“With the Magnum, we owned the station wagon segment,” Mr. Gilles said. “It was always a pleasure to go to car shows and trade fairs and see the number of Magnums that owners had personalized with such obvious loving care.” When asked if a sketch for a next-generation Magnum might be found in one of his sketch pad, Mr. Gilles just smile. “Stay tuned,” he said. “Great things are coming. That’s all I can say.”
Jaguar has announced that the XF will have a wagon variant but only in Europe. There probably won’t be a wagon version in the U.S, but we can live vicariously through the Europeans for a few minutes.
The most important detail given was that “It will be slightly different, with character and panache,” which may mean it could be noticeably different from the XF line (other than the back end). However no info has been release regarding price even though Jag had planned to have an XF wagon in the lineup. Last December, Jaguar’s global brand director said we would see the wagon “shortly”.
Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby announced that the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid will come to the U.S. by 2014, with one major difference. While the European market V60 will use a diesel-electric hybrid system, the United States will get a gasoline-powered variant.
Jacoby said that the V60 has a target U.S. launch date of 2013 or 2014, since more engineering of the gasoline powertrain will be carried out in advance of the launch. The V60 joins the limited production all-electric C30, and an electric car with a hydrogen fuel-cell range extender in the near future.
[Source: Motor Authority]
Toyota has already racked up 25,000 pre-orders for its Prius V wagon, (sold as the Prius Alpha in Japan), a figure that works out to more than eight times its original sales target of 3,000 units per month.
The Prius V is the first of many planned iterations of the Prius model range, with a smaller model planned next. Production of the Prius V was delayed due to the earthquake in Japan, which disrupted battery component production and other critical parts. In Japan and Europe, Toyota will sell both five and seven passenger variants, while North American models will only be available with five seats.
Tax credits for hybrid cars sold in Japan are set to expire in April 2012, and fears that vehicles may not be available on time are undoubtedly prompting some of the pre-order rush.
The long rumored Hyundai Sonata station wagon exists, and it bowed at the Geneva Auto Show, dubbed the Hyundai i40 Tourer, in keeping with the brand’s European nomenclature.
Although Hyundai PR bigwigs have denied that the i40 will come to America, we think that rising gas prices may provide an impetus for this kind of vehicle, rather than an SUV. The i40 Tourer was designed at Hyundai’s German R&D facility, and it shows in the high-quality interior, compact 1.7L diesel engine and distinct styling. While a choice of powertrains is available, Hyundai is pushing their 1.7L diesel hard, an engine that is much more aligned with European rather than North American tastes. Expect this car to do battle with the Euro-market Volkswagen Passat wagon when it goes on sale this year.
Gallery: Hyundai i40 Tourer
While Volvo was apparently set to discontinue North American sales of all station wagons – arguably the vehicle they built their reputation on – in favor of crossovers. But that looks like it will change starting in 2012, with the launch of their V60 plug-in hybrid.
Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, the V60 Plug-In uses a 215 horsepower 2.4L diesel 5-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, with a 70 horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. Three power modes are available (one pure electric, one for hybrid driving and one for an extra boost, appropriately named “Power”). All-wheel-drive can also be engaged, with both motors driving all 4 wheels when traction is limited.
In electric mode, the V60 can go as far as 30 miles without using any diesel, and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. 60 mph comes up in only 7 seconds. We can’t imagine this car not coming Stateside. With Volvo exces previously commenting on their customers affinity for eco-friendly products – and the lack of such offerings in Volvo’s lineup – this one looks like a no-brainer.
Gallery: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
Saab has announced it’s updated 2012 9-3, which will be available in sedan, SportWagon or convertible forms. Chief among the changes are a new front fascia which brings the 9-3 in line with bigger brother, the 9-5.
The most visible difference are new headlight assemblies, though other updates include standard front foglights and a rear deck spoiler on all models.
Under the hood, the 2012 9-3 also gets new engines, in the shape of a pair of new direct injection gasoline four-cylinders, with twin scroll turbochargers designed to reduce boost lag, as well as variable valve timing for better throttle response, balance shafts for less vibration at higher revs and a forged steel crankshaft for greater strength.
The turbo gas engines come in two different forms, rated at 163 or 220 hp. Saab says that equipped with these engines, fuel economy and emissions on the 9-3 are improved by around four percent.
In the United Kingdom, the 2012 9-3 will also be available with a 1.9-liter twin-turbo diesel engine, which is offered in three different variants, rated at 130, 160 and 180 hp respectively. It will also be offered in two trim levels, SE or Aero.
There’s no word yet on how North American models will be spec’d though expect the gas engines to make the cut but probably not the diesels.
Volvo fans can rejoice now that the famous station wagon variant, the V60, is back (in North America), but it couldn’t be further from the rugged, mechanically simple station wagons of the past.
The V60 Plug-In uses a 215 horsepower 2.4L diesel 5-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, with a 70 horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. Three power modes are available (one pure electric, one for hybrid driving and one for an extra boost, appropriately named “Power”). All-wheel-drive can also be engaged, with both motors driving all 4 wheels when traction is limited.
In electric mode, the V60 can go as far as 30 miles without using any diesel, and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. 60 mph comes up in only 7 seconds, but you’ll have to wait until 2012 to buy one for yourself.
Gallery: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
Hyundai revealed the first photos of their i40 Tourer, a European market station wagon that stands a good chance of coming to our shores as a Sonata wagon.
European media were given a preview of the vehicle, and initial reports are crammed with the usual nauseating marketing fluff, but we do know that with the rear seats up, there’s roughly 20 cubic feet of cargo space, increasing to 60.7 with the seats folded down. Available features include Bluetooth, a navigation system, lane-departure warning, 9 airbags and heated rear seats. A stop-start system is also available.