Jumat, 22 Februari 2013

New Car: 2014 Citroen C3

Citroën has given its Citroën C3 supermini a mid-life nip and tuck ahead of a UK launch in late spring. It will be shown in public at the Geneva motor show next month.

The revised look for the curvy five-door includes new lights and bumpers front and rear, plus the option of a ‘Zenith’ front windscreen that runs back into the roof to improve visibility.

New 67bhp 1.0 and 81bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines from the Peugeot 208 make it into the C3.
Fuel economy is improved by around 25 per cent and CO2 emissions cut by a similar amount over the old 1.1i, 1.2 VTi and 1.4 VTi engines they replace.

A 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol is also offered alongside four diesels, with a CO2 figure as low as 87g/km from the e-HDi 70 version.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2014 Audi A3 e-Tron

Audi isn’t exactly a big player in the hybrid segment, but that could change with the new A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which the automaker claims will return up to 188 mpg. The A3 e-tron will debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, but Audi has provided a few details about its new hybrid hatch.

The hybrid equation starts with a 148-hp 1.4-liter I-4, a modified version of the gas engine already found in Audis sold in other markets. A 75kw electric motor, housed within the “e-S tronic” six-speed automatic transmission, supplements the gas engine when more power is needed for a combined output of 201 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Audi says the A3 e-tron will accelerate from 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds with a top speed of 138 mph. The hybrid will also run on pure electric mode for up to 31 miles. Details on battery size (or type) and charging times weren’t provided.

If the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid ever reaches U.S. showrooms, we’ll see just how close the four-door hatchback can get to the automaker’s 188-mpg claim; the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids are rated at 95 and 100 mpg combined, respectively, while the 2013 Chevrolet Volt is rated 98 mpg combined.

According to the automaker, the A3 e-tron is just the start of electric and hybrid models we can expect from the automaker. The refreshed 2013 Q5, for example, recently rolled into showrooms and is available with a conventional hybrid powertrain that returns an EPA-rated combined 26 mpg. The automaker is also planning to release an all-electric version of the A3 e-tron and is currently testing prototypes in a number of countries including here in the U.S. Audi has also considered an all-electric version of its R8 supercar, though the probability of it reaching production remains questionable.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom

The Problem: Certain 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantoms’ fuel filler necks may be missing their anti-misfueling devices, needed to discharge static electricity. Without this part, the risk of a fire from static discharge is increased.

The Fix: Rolls-Royce is in the process of contacting owners, and dealers will inspect fuel tanks and replace faulty fuel filler necks at no cost to the owner. Rolls-Royce Phantom owners may call the automaker at 1-877-877-3735 for more information.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 27 model-year 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantomsmanufactured between November 2, 2012 and January 18, 2013 are potentially affected.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2013 Chrysler 200 & Dodge Avenger

The Problem: Chrysler says its fuel tank supplier shipped damaged units with broken control valves. The defective valve could cause the engine to stall or leak fuel, which could lead to an accident or fire.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect vehicles and replace fuel tank assemblies free of charge if a damaged control valve is found. The recall is expected to start in March. For more information, owners can contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 1934 2013 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger sedans built between October 30, 2012 and November 2, 2012 are potentially affected, though only 16 damaged control valves are known to have been installed.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Rolls-Royce Plans to Launch Crossover and V16 Roadster

Could Rolls-Royce be working on a luxury crossover to compete with the Range Rover Autobiography, Maserati Levante, Bentley SUV, and Lamborghini Urus? A recent Automobile report suggests the British automaker is, in addition to seriously considering a V-16-powered roadster based on the next-generation Phantom.

With Rolls-Royce’s biggest rival, Bentley, exploring the ultra-luxury SUV game with the EXP 9 F, it makes sense that Rolls is at least mulling over a move into the marketplace. According to reports, there are two factions within Rolls-Royce warring over whether the brand should build its first crossover. The traditionalist wing considers an SUV to go against the automaker’s values, while the more progressive side wants to give the market what it wants.
 If a Rolls off-roader were to be built, it would likely ride on the next-gen long-wheelbase BMW 7 Series’ platform, codenamed G12, instead of the platform for the larger next-generation Phantom since the automaker wants every part of its flagship to be unique. A crossover on the G12 platform would allow Rolls-Royce to fit a V-12 under the hood and avoid hemorrhaging money by developing a bespoke all-wheel-drive system.

The report suggests that the company is reportedly mulling over two different design directions for the more rugged Roller, dubbed “Coach” and “Pullman.” Coach is styled after a horseless carriage, with stately, square styling, and slab-sides. The windows would be small, and the car would have fat wraparound C-pillars, giving the interior a vault-like feel. Pullman, on the other hand, would feature a more contemporary design, inspired by famous steam engines like the Royal Scotsman. Lower and longer than Coach, Pullman would feature a panoramic roof, and a split rear tailgate that’s designed to act as a bar while tailgating. Both Coach and Pullman designs would feature standard Rolls-Royce trademarks like a Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, an ornate cathedral grille and rear suicide doors.

In other Rolls-Royce news, the luxury automaker is also apparently considering a V-16-powered roadster. Some of you might remember the company’s 100EX concept, a Phantom Drophead Coupe powered by a 9.0-liter V-16. It unfortunately never reached production, though a one-off model was built for Rowan Atkinson. While plans to squeeze the V-16 into the Phantom have apparently been shelved, the company is considering fitting it into an ultra-exclusive roadster. The two-seat drop-top would ride on a modified Phantom chassis, feature a long nose, stubby tail, a chopped windshield, and be limited to 500 or 750 models, if it ever enters production. A Rolls-Royce V-16 Roadster could bear a passing resemblance to the upcoming Rolls-Royce Wraith, which is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2014 Volkswagen XL1

The Volkswagen Group has absorbed a lot of flak from the environmentally minded for its alleged sins against Mother Earth. Those charges are exemplified by its lineup of ultra-luxurious and ultra-thirsty Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini offerings, as well as the heavy, powerful, and—for now—not-for-American-consumption Phaeton. But there is a decidedly green side to the company, the latest proof of which is the XL1, a low-slung two-seater with sports-car proportions that debuts at this year’s Geneva auto show

When Volkswagen first introduced the XL1 in concept form at the Qatar auto show more than two years ago—we drove a prototype shortly thereafter—the Wolfsburg operation laid out plans for the hypermiler to travel 100 kilometers on a single liter of fuel. (For reference, that works out to be a goal of roughly 235 mpg.) Volkswagen has met that mark, as the brand announced the headed-to-production car is good for 261 mpg on the, ahem, optimistic European combined cycle. 

The XL1 features a plug-in hybrid powertrain whose heart is an 800-cc two-cylinder diesel engine producing 48 horsepower. That mill is coupled to a 27-hp electric motor, the pair combining to produce maximum output of 69 horsepower and max torque of 103 lb-ft. Power is then routed to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Energy is stored in a 2.6-gallon fuel tank and a lithium-ion battery pack—its capacity has yet to be revealed—mounted in front of the passenger cell. The car has an electric-only range of up to 31 miles. 

Given its extremely economical nature, the XL1's performance seems acceptable. Volkswagen claims the sprint from zero to 62 mph takes 12.7 seconds, and top speed is a governed 100 mph. The central theme to VW’s extraordinary efficiency—as well as respectable performance— is extremely low weight. Thanks to a carbon-fiber monocoque and extensive use elsewhere of the lightweight but expensive woven material, as well as aluminum and magnesium, total weight is a mere 795 kilograms, or roughly 1750 pounds—impressive given the added weight that comes with a battery pack and an electric motor. 

The drag coefficient of the sleek body is claimed to be 0.189. Under the skin, the passenger seat is moved slightly rearwards—not exactly side-by-side, but not a tandem configuration, either. The XL1 is an extremely compact machine at 45.4 inches tall, 65.6 inches wide, and 153.1 inches long. For the sake of reference, the Mazda Miata measures up at 3.6 inches taller than the XL1, 2.1 inches wider, and 4.2 inches longer. VW says its two-seater requires just 8.3 horsepower to cruise at 62 mph. 

Instead of conventional side mirrors, the car is fitted with rearward-facing cameras feeding two door-panel-mounted monitors. Inside, the XL1 resembles a sports car, with a fairly conventional layout and a significant amount of visible carbon fiber. The sporty theme continues with the braking system, with VW fitting ultra-lightweight carbon-ceramic discs to handle stopping duties. Unlike a sports car, however, the XL1 rolls on 15-inch wheels shod with 115/80 rubber up front and 16-inchers fitted with 145/55 tires out back; all four wheels are made of forged magnesium. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD

Please give us a moment to come down from our diesel-huffing high, we’re still tingling from first laying eyes on the 2014 Volkswagen GTD. Yes, we know, the Golf-based GTD—essentially a diesel-powered GTI—has existed for decades, but the latest iteration actually has a shot at making it to the U.S. market for the first time. We were impressed with the outgoing GTD—Volkswagen teasingly lent us one to test here on American soil—and the 2014 model brings even more power and refinement. Thus far, VW has only announced the GTD is headed for Europe but we’ve got our fingers crossed. The model bows at the 2013 Geneva auto show

Fans of Volkswagen’s existing GTD and upcoming GTI will recognize the new GTD’s basic formula, which largely starts and ends with dropping a high-output diesel engine into a Golf imbued with the GTI’s handling gear. The 2014 GTD, based on the new seventh-generation Golf platform, gets a lowered sport suspension, 17-inch aluminum wheels, smoked LED taillights, a rear spoiler, and a body kit with a rear diffuser.  

In fact, the GTD looks nearly identical to the GTI concept VW showed at last year’s Paris auto show. (The latest, MkVII Golf–based GTI has yet to make its production-form debut.) The only differences between the two are the GTD’s signature gray striping in its front fascia and its exhaust-outlet arrangement of two clustered tips on the left side of the bumper, as opposed to the GTI concept’s split dual outlets. Just three exterior colors are available: Tornado Red, Black, and Pure White. 

The GTD’s cabin is set apart by sport seats with a special tartan pattern, a black headliner, a sport steering wheel, stainless-steel pedals, a GTD shift knob, and unique instrument-cluster trim. The European model will come standard with ambient lighting, automatic climate control, park assist, and VW’s new modular touch-screen infotainment system

The GTD’s GTI bits are great, but its main party trick lives under its sleek hood, where you’ll find Volkswagen’s new EA288 TDI direct-injected, 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel four-cylinder. The new engine pumps out 184 horsepower and a Ford Focus ST–shaming 280 lb-ft of torque, the latter peaking at just 1750 rpm. Those figures mark increases of 16 ponies and 22 lb-ft over the last-gen GTD’s 2.0-liter four. European buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Kamis, 21 Februari 2013

New Concept Car: Rinspeed MicroMAX

Swiss manufacturer Rinspeed is to launch its microMAX concept at the Geneva motor show in March. Billed as a 'network swarm car', the microMAX aims to combine the best parts of public and private transport to be the ultimate commuter vehicle.

By using a new app developed by Harmon for the microMAX using cloud technology, Rinspeed claims it will revolutionise urban travel. Members of the 'urbanSWARM' community can access the travel information (including, routes, speed and passengers) of any microMAX and have their journey planned and executed through the microMAX community and the Harmon app.

The interior of the microMAX features a coffee machine, fridge and wi-fi connectivity. Passengers travel in upright seats and Harman NFC (Near Field Communication) identifies drivers and passengers. The driver controls the majority of the vehicle's functions via a 19-inch touchscreen.

The microMAX is powered by an all-electric forklift drive system. Rinspeed intends for the concept to be charged at urban recharging stations. Harmon's HALOsonic technology is used to ensure the microMAX can be heard by pedestrians.

If the microMAX concept is put into production by Rinspeed, it would cost between €5000 and €10,000 depending on materials and features.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2014 Bentley Flying Spur

The new Bentley Continental Flying Spur is faster, more powerful and more efficient — and company bosses say they have resolved the refinement issues that hindered the outgoing model.

Pictured here, the new Flying Spur will be displayed at the Geneva motor show, where prices will be revealed. It will go on sale this summer.

The 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 now delivers 616bhp at 6000rpm (up from 552bhp) and 580lb ft from 2000rpm (up from 479lb ft). It is linked to a new eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox that shifts in under 200 milliseconds. The top speed remains 200mph but economy and CO2 emissions have improved by 13 per cent to 19.2mpg and 343g/km.

The styling has been tweaked inside and out. The focus has been on making the exterior look lower, wider and more aggressive. details such as lEd headlights also contribute to this, as do the new lines, which Bentley design boss luc donckerwolke says are among the boldest and sharpest it has ever created.

Extensive use of new, stronger, lightweight materials also means that the new Flying Spur weighs 50kg less than the outgoing model despite being four per cent more rigid. The more rigid body is also said to provide a better foundation for noise and vibration suppression. Additional sound-deadening materials have also been used, including underfloor acoustic panels, acoustic glass, new exhaust mufflers and new door seals that better reduce wind and road noise.

New 19-inch tyres have higher sidewalls to improve ride comfort. The air suspension’s spring settings are significantly softer to improve ride comfort further and the anti-roll bars are softer to improve single-wheel impact absorption, while the suspension lever bushes are 25 per cent softer. In harder cornering, however, the spring stiffness is increased, to reduce heave, pitch and roll. drivers can select from four suspension settings.

“We have put a big focus on comfort,” Bentley head of engineering Rolf Frech told Autocar. “We have looked at everything to reduce noise and ensure the cabin is as good a place to be as it can be.”

Inside, only the sun visors, grab handles, armrests and some front console and controls have been carried over from the outgoing car. The focus has been on improving comfort and sound isolation, especially in the rear seats, which can be adjusted in 14 different directions and are heated and cooled. The car is available in four-seat and five-seat configurations.

Bentley has also greatly improved the in-car technology on offer. Front seat occupants have an eight-inch touchscreen, through which they can control the sat-nav, Bluetooth and entertainment systems. Rear seat passengers can use a new remote control for all the car’s systems, from the climate controls to the entertainment systems.

Customers can also spec a connectivity unit that allows them to connect to the car’s onboard wi-fi and work using two 10-inch screens fitted to the backs of the front seats.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2014 Holden Commodore Sportwagon & Ute

Holden has taken the wraps off the new VF-generation of its Commodore saloon, Calais V Sportswagon and Ute pick-up. An extensive facelift of the previous VE-series cars, the VF introduces a raft of new technology to the Commodore range.

From the front, each Commodore receives has a revised bumper, grille and bumper and a new range of alloy wheels are available. On all three variants, the rear remains unchanged from the VE-series Commodore.

The engine line-up is also directly carried over from the previous-generation car. The three Commodores will be offered with two V6 engines (either 3.0 or 3.6-litres) and a range-topping 6.0-litre V8. With a reduction in kerbweight of around 50kg and a reduction is drag co-efficient from 0.33cd to 0.30cd, Holden claims fuel economy of around 35mpg for the 3.0-litre V6. The engines can also be run on E85 biofuel, but the VF-series Commodore won't be offered with anything smaller than a V6 or a diesel option.

The most significant revisions over the previous Commodore range are found inside. Standard equipment now includes a head-up display and eight-inch infotainment touchscreen. Higher quality plastics, a greater use of leather and ice blue ambient lighting complete the upmarket refresh.

An increased quota of safety equipment features a lane departure warning, blind spot monitors and a forward collision warning system. Holden boss Mike Devereux says the VF-generation Commodore range will challenge “some of the broader perceptions people have about the traditional Australian-made car."

The Commodore VF saloon, Sportwagon and Ute are expected on sale in Australia this May. It will also be sold in America as the Chevrolet SS.

Thanks to: Autocar

Recall Up Date: BMW 1-Series, 3-Series, & Z4

The Problem: The connectors on both ends of a cable that runs from the positive battery terminal to the fuse block are both coated in tin. That material can apparently fret over time and ultimately break. If this happens, the vehicle may not start – or, if it was already running, could stall.

The Fix: BMW will replace the aforementioned cable with one sporting improved connectors at both ends, and will be secured to the fuse block in a “vibration-safe method.” BMW aims to begin and complete owner notifications in March. For further information, owners can reach BMW through its 1-800-525-7417 hotline, or by emailing CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: BMW’s documentation claims 504,545 cars in the United States are affected by this recall. Approximately 10,020 consist of Z4 models; 44,045 are 1-Series vehicles; and roughly 450,000 vehicles are 3-Series variants. BMW says the percentage of vehicles estimated to actually exhibit the defect is less than 1 percent.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: New Jeep Liberty to Debut in New York

Jeep fans rejoice: according to a new report, the all-new 2014 Liberty will debut at the New York auto show. That means there’s only about a month to wait before the new Jeep crossover is shown.

The confirmed debut is not all – the report also states that the final name for the new crossover also hasn’t been finalized yet; leading credence to the rumors floating around that the next Liberty may resurrect the Cherokee moniker. (Jeep calls the Liberty the Cherokee outside of North America.) We weren’t able to reach Chrysler for confirmation on either the debut or the potential name change at the time of publication.
 Granted, the news of a New York debut isn’t exactly surprising. Thanks to Fiat-Chrysler’s four-year product map, we already knew that the Liberty replacement would be shown this year, and New York is the only remaining American show before the season ends. There is also a precedent of Jeep making important model debuts in New York – it unveiled the 2010 Grand Cherokee at that show in 2009.

We also already know a fair bit about the forthcoming 2014 Liberty/Cherokee. It will share the same CUSW platform as the 2013 Dodge Dart, but Chrysler and Jeep officials have confirmed that the new SUV will still be a hardcore off roader, unlike the company’s past car-based models. The new Liberty will also be the first model is Chrysler’s lineup to use an all-new, ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission. Powertrain options are still anyone’s guess, but it’s expected that there will be a 3.2-liter version of Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6 on the options list.
 Expect to see a more svelte body than the current Liberty when the 2014 model debuts, too. Our spy shots (pictured) show a much more rounded body shape, LED front and rear lighting, and some kind of reworked version of Jeep’s trademark seven-slot grille. Inside, the new crossover will use the same oversized touchscreen now familiar to other Chrysler products.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2015 Mercedes S-Class Coupe

What It Is: The next generation CL-class, although it will revert to S-class coupe nomenclature to more closely align with Mercedes’ flagship sedan. The name change makes it the first two-door S since the W140 generation of the 1990s. The outgoing CL represented the personal luxury coupe cranked up to 15, and you can expect that to hold true with this one. Yards of cowhide and the finest timbers will be stuffed into freshly sculpted sheetmetal. 

Why It Matters: It’s likely that this car is as relevant to you as a doctoral thesis on the reproduction habits of rhinoceros beetles: The S coupe is for the one-tenth-of-one-percenters. As the impractical version of Mercedes’ flagship, it’s a highly ostentatious way to show that you’re so rich you don’t have time for dumb stuff like families. (Either that, or your scions have already been given VP positions in the family business.) The S coupe also is an important image-builder for Mercedes, and it occupies a rare—and no doubt highly profitable—space with very few competitors. 

Platform: The S-class coupe naturally will share its rear-wheel-drive architecture with the next-generation S-class sedan, which likely means plenty of aluminum to save weight as well as optional all-wheel drive. The current CL550 is available here only with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and that might hold true for the new-gen base model, at least in America. Mercedes’ latest safety and telematics equipment will be aboard, too, and all lighting will be handled by LEDs. There also will be an S-class convertible variant that will share the coupe’s mechanicals and styling. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2014 Audi RS Q3

Audi launched the Q3 and its innocent-enough lineup of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines in the summer of 2011. Around the same time, the folks in Ingolstadt installed the fantastic turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder from the TT RS and RS3 into the innocuous-looking Q3 crossover, and then decided to let journalists take extended drives in the prototype. We were among them, and when we drove the slightly detuned, 310-hp mash-up, we liked the result. Of course, it wasn’t an utter surprise as we had discovered a few months earlier that Audi had applied to trademark a number of model designations that hinted at future beasts, an RS Q3 among them. 

The German automaker then revealed the 314-hp Q3 Vail concept, followed by the mechanically identical Jinlong Yufeng concept, and then—lo and behold—an RS Q3 concept. The RS concept was fitted with the same straight-five, except that its output had been bumped to 360 horsepower, more than Audi would ultimately deliver, but the look was there. The concept's huge, slanted air intakes previewed the RS6 Avant and RS7, and company reps made it clear that the final production model would look very much like the show car. 

And now comes the announcement of the production-spec RS Q3, which debuts in Geneva. The crossover features the less-muscular variation of the growling five, making 310 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Such power results in impressive acceleration: Audi claims the sprint from 0 to 62 mph takes 5.5 seconds. Top speed is a governed 155 mph. That's considerably better than the next-most-powerful model in the Q3 line, the 211-hp, 2.0-liter four, which Audi says needs 6.9 seconds for the standard sprint and tops out at 143. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the only available transmission is an automatic—Audi's DQ500 seven-speed dual-clutch unit. 

The engineers at Audi's Quattro division have gone to lengths to upgrade the Q3's chassis to handle extra power of the RS variant. The new RS Q3 is fitted with a sports suspension that sits nearly an inch lower than the standard Q3's, and the battery has been moved under the cargo floor to improve weight distribution. Nineteen-inch wheels are standard and 20-inchers are available, the latter wearing 275/30 Pirelli P Zero rubber. 

Inside the RS Q3, a flat-bottom steering wheel and sports seats with an available diamond-stitch pattern set a sporty theme, underscored by black, aluminum, or carbon-fiber décor and a gray gauge cluster with a speedometer that indicates up to 186 mph. The exterior is carried over largely unchanged from the RS Q3 concept, although the twin exhaust outlets have been scrapped for a singular oval exit. But the crossover still looks mighty impressive, especially with the optional matte aluminum or black styling packages applied to the intake ducting trim, diffuser trim, and roof-spoiler fins. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2014 Volvo S60

Volvo’s S60 sedan is an enjoyable sport-luxury sedan, with saucy Scandinavian sheetmetal and fine driving dynamics in a right-sized package. Our 40,000-mile test of a 2012 S60 T6 AWD was a pleasant experience when the car wasn’t away due to a long, drawn-out electronics issue. But after three years on sale here in the U.S.—and the recent execution of nearly half the models in its lineup the past few years—Volvo is looking to keep things fresh. Right on schedule, then, the automaker is refreshing its svelte sedan for 2014 with crisp styling, new features, and more technology. The nipped-and-tucked S60 makes its auto-show debut at the 2013 Geneva auto show alongside equally updated XC60, XC70, and S80 models. 

The biggest alterations have been made to the S60’s exterior, which takes a disappointing turn toward the mainstream. When the current-generation S60 debuted, we were smitten with its flowing body and taut, cat-on-its-haunches look. Volvo has undone much of that, especially up front. Gone are the canted, sculpted headlights and separate running-light slashes; in their place are a pair of Chiclet-shaped, achingly horizontal headlights that flank a widened grille stuffed with an enlarged Volvo badge. The tweaks do add up to a front end that appears lower and wider, but the outgoing car’s imaginative styling has been dulled significantly. 

Volvo largely left the rear of the S60 alone, although all models now come with integrated dual exhaust outlets. The taillights now get LED accents, too. Inside, there is a new headliner, plus new “silk metal” trim around the air vents and some secondary controls. The car’s roster of interior colors and wood trim has been updated, and front sport seats now are available. Speaking of sportiness, the S60 R-Design’s lowered sport suspension now is optional on non-R-Design S60s, as are paddle shifters. 

The big news for the S60’s interior is technology—it has it. Well, more of it, anyway. First up, the infrared-based touch-screen infotainment setup Volvo previewed at the 2013 Consumer Electronics show is making its production appearance this year. Dubbed Sensus, the setup adapts Volvo’s existing seven-inch dashboard display to respond to touch inputs using infrared beams; break the beams and the system calculates where your “touch” was intended. We tried this system as retrofitted to a 2013 XC60 crossover at CES and found it to work well, and because inputs don’t rely on capacitive touch like normal touch screens, users can wear gloves. A USB 3G/4G card or occupants’ mobile phones provide the system with internet connectivity, which can be used to surf the web (when the car is parked) and access internet radio, Google maps and search, and weather info. Sensus also features a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot so multiple passengers can browse the internet. 

Another leap forward in the tech department comes courtesy of a newly available digital gauge cluster. Volvo’s Adaptive Digital Display replaces the S60’s analog gauges with a reconfigurable TFT screen with three driver-selectable themes: Elegance, Eco, and Performance. Elegance provides the look of a traditional gauge cluster; Eco brings an eco meter and fuel-consumption info set against a green background; and Performance places a big tachometer front and center, with speed displayed digitally in its center, and a power meter set against a red background. 

Since you can’t discuss any new Volvo product without discussing safety, here’s the 411 on the S60’s stuff designed to keep its occupants from needing to call 911. New for 2014 is Active High Beam Control, which allows drivers to keep the S60’s brights on at all times. When the system senses approaching traffic, it selectively shades the beam to avoid blinding other road users. Audi’s impending LED-based setup (previewed at this year’s CES show), which selectively darkens individual LEDs to shade out oncoming traffic or pedestrians, is similar, but Volvo’s setup employs mechanical shading. (Mercedes-Benz currently offers a similar system of active high-beam control, as does Chrysler.) 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Senin, 18 Februari 2013

New Car: 2014 Chevrolet SS

Ages from now, when we look back at 2008–2013 with 20/20 hindsight, we’ll likely deem GM’s quick-rinse bankruptcy a blessing. Case in point: the 2014 Chevrolet SS sedan arriving later this year. This car is an amalgam of a once-revered nameplate (SS) and one of the best cars developed by pre-Chapter 11 GM, the Pontiac G8. Without GM’s trip through the reorganization wringer, a rear-drive Chevy flagship might not have happened. 

Way, way back in the company’s rowdier days, Corvette patron Zora Arkus-Duntov affixed an SS badge (double-secret code for “super sport”) to GM’s first purpose-built racer. Thanks to a magnesium body draped over a steel-tube space frame inspired by the Mercedes 300SL’s skeleton, the Corvette SS weighed a lean 1850 pounds dry. A front-mounted 4.6-liter V-8 equipped with fuel injection and aluminum heads delivered 310 horsepower at 6400 rpm. Piloted by the best shoes of  the day—Fangio, Fitch, Moss, and Taruffi—the two-seat SS was quick, but a lack of development stopped it after only 23 laps at the 1957 12-hour Sebring Grand Prix. 

The SS evolved into the more successful Sting Ray racer that begat the 1963 Corvette (C2) Sting Ray production model. In 1961, Chevy resurrected the badge for an optional ($54) Impala package consisting of various chassis, interior, and exterior upfits. Over the years, the double-S escutcheon has been hung haphazardly on Chevys ranging from convertible pickups to front-drive Impalas to current V-8–powered Camaros. 

The new Chevrolet SS is an updated version of the Australian-built Pontiac G8, which thrived for barely 18 months before sinking, along with GM’s “excitement” division, in 2009. When it knocked off Dodge’s Charger R/T in our June 2008 comparison test, we dubbed the G8 GT “the BMW that Pontiac always wanted to build.” When it perished the following year, GM’s Bob Lutz said the full-size four-door G8 was too good to waste, and he pledged that it would reappear as a Chevrolet. 

Lutz’s forecast was dead-on accurate. The Chevy Camaro, essentially a shorter-wheelbase (112.3-inch) coupe version of the G8, arrived before the onset of Pontiac’s death throes. In late 2009, Chevrolet announced a 118.5-inch-wheelbase Caprice PPV perp coach built on GM’s large rear-drive platform, which was formerly code-named Zeta. The new SS is the meat in the sandwich. It rides on the size-medium 114.8-inch wheelbase of the old G8, but features a host of updates such as re-creased sheetmetal, a new electrical architecture, a retuned chassis, and contemporary Chevrolet interior and exterior earmarks. All Zeta siblings have unibody construction, front struts, and a multilink rear suspension. 

The production SS due this fall will have an LS3 6.2-liter V-8 burbling under its hood, backed up by a six-speed automatic with standard paddle shifters. Packing 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque—as well as a 3.27:1 final drive—Chevy says the car should sprint to 60 mph in the five-second range. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Jumat, 15 Februari 2013

New Car: 2014 SEAT Leon SC

Seat has unveiled a rakish three-door version of the new Seat Leon, the second model of three to join the expanded line-up. The Leon SC (Sports Coupé) is shorter, lower and wider than the five-door model on which it is based, but without losing any of the 380 litres of boot capacity or compromising too much on space for rear passengers.

After its Geneva motor show reveal next month, the Leon SC is expected to find its way into showrooms in July. The Leon range will be completed later this year with the introduction of a new ST estate model, before hot Cupra versions of all three bodystyles are launched next year.

Compared with the standard five-door model, the Leon SC is completely new from the A-pillars back. The wheelbase has been reduced by 35mm to 2600mm and the roofline has been lowered and more sharply raked to give the car its sporty profile, which has been inspired by the Seat IBE concept car from 2010.

In its lightest form, the Leon SC weighs just 1168kg. The suspension set-up is taken from the five-door model, so there are MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the rear for models with less than 150bhp or a multi-link set-up for models with more than 150bhp.

The engines for the Leon SC are carried over from the five-door model. This means that the 178bhp 1.8 TSI will be the initial range-topping petrol model and a 181bhp 2.0 TDI with CO2 emissions of 112g/km the most potent diesel.

Three trim levels will be offered in the UK: S, SE and FR. The range-topping FR will have bespoke bumpers, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2014 Renaultsport Clio 200

The new Renault Clio Renaultsport is faster and lighter than the car it replaces, it has been confirmed.
The car’s 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine develops 197bhp and 177lb ft of torque, 19lb ft more than before. Peak torque arrives at 1750rpm and is available to 5500rpm - a far wider band than the current car.

Renault claims the Clio Renaultsport 200 can sprint from 0-62mph in 6.7sec – 0.2sec faster than the car it replaces. The official kerb weight is 1204kg, 36kg lighter than before.

The car will be offered with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission only. Renault says it features the first sub-supercar application of the multi-downshift function.

It is also the first production car to be fitted with rally car-style hydraulic compression stops in the shock absorbers. A Renaultsport differential and launch control will be fitted as standard.

The Clio will offer a Renaultsport drive system with three modes – Normal, Sport and Race. These allow engine, accelerator pedal, steering and ESP map settings to be altered. In Race mode, the car’s ESP and traction control systems can be fully deactivated.

The suspension, which features a MacPherson front arrangement, has a thicker anti-roll bar. The front brakes measure 320mm, up from the old car’s 312mm units.

Visual changes include a choice of 17 or 18in alloy wheels, an ‘F1 blade’ front bumper, a Renaultsport rear diffuser, twin exhausts and specific side skirts. Standard-fit tyres are Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2.

As before, the Clio Renaultsport is offered with an optional Cup chassis that reduces the ride height by 3mm and provides a 15 per cent stiffer chassis and a quicker steering rack. Clio Cup models also feature 18in gloss-black Renaultsport wheels wrapped with Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres.

Renault claims running costs have been reduced over the old car. Fuel economy increases by 10.3mpg to 44.8mpg, while CO2 emissions drop by 46g/km to 144g/km. Consequently, road tax is reduced from £250 to £135.

Standard equipment includes Bluetooth, USB connectivity, a seven-inch touchscreen operating TomTom Live navigation, keyless start and entry and Renaultsport front seats. On-board telemetry, which displays laptimes, real-time torque and standing start figures is among the options available.

Renault will confirm pricing on 28 February, ahead of order books opening in April. The first deliveries are set to commence in June.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2014 Audi S3 Sportback

Official pictures and details have been released of the new Audi S3 Sportback, ahead of its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Audi has already unveiled the three-door S3, and the five-door Sportback is powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, producing 296bhp. A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard but a six-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox can also be specified, with all S3s fitted with quattro four-wheel drive.

With the dual-clutch gearbox the S3 Sportback can accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds, while with the manual it takes 5.5 seconds. The top speed for both is electronically limited to 155mph.

Audi has improved fuel economy over the old S3 Sportback, claiming a figure of 41mpg for the S-Tronic model and 40.4mpg for the six-speed manual.

The S3 has sport suspension that is 25mm lower than the standard set-up to help improve handling, while bigger brakes are fitted, too.

The S3 Sportback gets LED daytime running lights as standard an aluminium-look S grille and four oval exhausts mounted in a diffuser at the rear. Grey wing mirrors and a large rear spoiler complete the look.
The Audi S3 Sportback goes on sale in September, with prices expected to start from around £34,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2014 Mercedes A45 AMG

Mercedes has revealed the A45 AMG, a 355bhp hot hatch with the punch to beat a Porsche 911 away from the lights, but for half the price.

Unlike all the other AMG models, which currently use either a V8 or V12, the new A45 AMG has a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo. The 355bhp engine boasts the highest horsepower-per-litre figure of any production car, and is hand-built by AMG.

The car also features a new AMG 4Matic four-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed automatic transmission, and rockets from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds. That’s half a second quicker than the manual BMW M135i hatchback and only a tenth slower than the C63 AMG.

But while the performance may be a match for the 6.3-litre V8 C-Class, AMG models are just as much about noise as they are acceleration. A turbocharged four-cylinder isn’t naturally the most tuneful of engines, but Mercedes has fitted an AMG sports exhaust to help create some aural drama.

The A45 AMG also comes with new sports suspension and speed-sensitive AMG steering to help improve handling, and the ESP system can be switched between three modes: On, Sport and Off. There’s a Curve Dynamic Assist mode, too, which can brake individual wheels to reduce understeer.

AMG’s new trademark two-bar grille is one tweak differentiating the A45 from a standard A-Class. There’s also a chunky bodykit, a rear diffuser, some lightweight alloys and two chrome-plated exhausts. The interior gets sports seats finished in faux-leather, with red stitching. There are red seatbelts, too, and red highlights on all the air vents.

Mercedes will also offer a range of styling and performance upgrades. Among them is an aerodynamics package with a large rear spoiler and a bigger front splitter. There’s firmer AMG Performance suspension, too.

Despite the supercar-rivalling performance, Mercedes claims impressive economy of 40.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 161g/km – that’s a huge improvement on the 23.5mpg and 280g/km of CO2 claimed by the C63 AMG.

The A45 AMG will be available to order shortly after it’s unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March, and should cost around £36,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek Up Date: 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith

Rolls-Royce continues to tease its Ghost-based Wraith coupe before the car’s Geneva Motor Show unveiling — today we get a glimpse of the car’s rear end. The automaker claims the new Wraith will have a sense of drama about it, and judging by what we’ve seen so far, this may just be the most passionately styled Rolls-Royce yet.

Rolls-Royce describes the Wraith’s power as “more than ample,” but we can be a bit more specific. Expect the Wraith to be powered by a up-rated version of the Ghost’s twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12 that’s good for 563 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque. When we tested a 2010 Ghost, the car accelerated from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds. With the V-12 engine producing closer to 600 hp, the Wraith may cut a couple tenths of a second off that time.
 With the Rolls-Royce Wraith likely to be priced in the high $200,000 range, it may strike a balance between those who don’t want a Bentley Continental GT and prefer not to spend well upwards of $400,000 on a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe. We’ll have more information on the new Rolls-Royce coupe as we approach its Geneva Motor Show debut in early March.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Unofficial Picture: 2015 Ford Edge

With the debut of the 2013 Ford Fusion last year, we knew that the next-generation Ford Edge crossover — which is based on the Fusion — couldn’t be far behind. Now, we have our first look at the more fashionable 2015 Ford Edge, thanks to Ford’s own presentation.

There’s a fair bit to chew over in this presentation, which was apparently given to analysts at Deutsche Bank, but the second-generation Ford Edge caught our eyes. Like the 2013 Fusion, the 2015 Edge wears much more striking and aggressive lines. Prominent is the large hexagonal grille, which incorporates three silver bars, and the creased character line. Large wheels, chrome detailing, and a raked windshield complete what we can see from this small image. While the look isn’t quite as night-and-day as the Fusion’s transformation, the next Edge well be a big departure from the current car’s design. Interestingly, the grille of the 2015 Edge is unlike any other in Ford’s range – we would have expected it to either carry more of the Aston-Martin-esque themes from the 2013 Fusion and 2014 Fiesta or the double-grille treatment of the 2014 Transit Connect and 2013 EcoSport.
 Expect the next Ford Edge to once again share most of its powertrain options with the Fusion. There’s little doubt that the 2.0-liter turbo-four will return, but the question remains if the Edge will receive the smaller 2.5- and 1.6-liter engines or the hybrid and plug-in hybrid setups. We wouldn’t be surprised if a six-cylinder option remained, be it the current car’s 3.5- or 3.7-liter V-6 or an EcoBoost turbo-six (since Ford maintains that it’s moving toward an all-turbocharged engine range). Chances are than a six-speed automatic will be the only transmission choice, and that buyers will be able to have either front- or all-wheel drive.

The 2015 Edge wasn’t the only gem in Ford’s presentation: it also indicated that there are three more models coming from its midsize C/D platform. According to the slide, there will at least seven models – the first four are the Fusion/Mondeo, Fusion Energi PHEV, Mondeo wagon, and Mondeo hatchback. One of those models is surely the new Edge; the other two Ford-badge models are most likely the next-generation Galaxy and S-Max people movers for Europe, which are due soon.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2015/2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Not long after the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze 2.0TD debuted at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, spy photographers have snapped the first photos of the next-gen Cruze sedan out enjoying the winter chill.

Although Chevy’s best-selling compact wears distracting camouflage from head to toe, subtle changes are noticeable. The prototype’s hood appears to stretch out farther into a more rounded front end. Headlights look similar to those on the Sonic, while the front grille appears to have a new design. The contours surrounding the rear license plate area look different than we’ve seen on the current Cruze, and although this Cruze prototype’s profile is sleeker than the current car’s, it still keeps the Audi-like greenhouse – look closely and you may be able to see that the door handles sit higher up on the doors.
 Beyond exterior styling, Chevrolet has said the next-generation Cruze will have better fuel economy and an improved cabin with more storage space. The next-gen Cruze may also ride on a new platform also underpinning the next-gen Equinox and Volt.

Before we get our hands on the next-gen Cruze though, the diesel version will arrive in dealerships this May with a $25,695 sticker price (including destination) and an estimated 42 mpg on the highway, joining Cruzes powered by the naturally aspirated 1.8-liter I-4 as well as Cruzes using the turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2015 Mazda 3

With the all-new 2014 Mazda6 midsize sedan in showrooms, the Japanese automaker can focus its resources on the bread-and-butter compact Mazda3 sedan and hatchback. Expected for the 2015 model year, the first Mazda3 hatchback prototype has been spotted. Despite the camouflage, certain Kodo styling features are recognizable on the next-generation Mazda3 prototype.

The current car’s once-smiling face has been replaced with a more aggressive grille and sleeker headlights like those on the CX-5 crossover and 6 sedan. Also visible through the camo is the lower bodyline that kicks up as it travels toward the car’s sleeker taillights.
 Details about the chassis haven’t been revealed, but the redesigned Mazda3 is expected to get the automaker’s full suite of Skyactiv technologies that include a lightweight chassis and efficient powertrains. A reworked version of the current car’s platform or a modified version of the CX-5 or 6 could underpin the 2015 Mazda3. While the 2.0-liter Skyactiv gas engine is already available in the current car, the new 2.5-liter Skyactiv gas or 2.2-liter Skyactiv diesel engine are possible for the new model.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: Mitsubishi CA-MiEV Concept

Mitsubishi has released teaser images of its 2013 Geneva Motor Show concepts: the Concept GR-HEV and Concept CA-MiEV. The automaker calls the first a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sport utility truck, and the latter a suburban EV. These concepts fall inline with the Japanese automaker’s goal to offer eight electric, hybrid-electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2015, and we wonder whether we’ll ever see production variants of these concepts in the U.S.

With advances in battery and electric drivetrain technology, Mitsubishi says the Concept CA-MiEV is a next-generation EV that might be ready for more suburban driving than the i-MiEV can handle. The latest EV system, high-density batteries, lightweight materials, and aerodynamic styling will give the Concept CA-MiEV a range as high as about 180 miles. The concept also features magnetic resonance wireless charging technology and smartphone integration.
 The Outlander PHEV, originally shown at the 2012 Paris auto show, will also be on Mitsubishi’s 2013 Geneva display. Expect that model, and production versions of the two concepts, to join the Mitsubishi i-MiEV on showrooms sometime in next few years.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: Mitsubishi GR-HEV Concept

Mitsubishi has released teaser images of its 2013 Geneva Motor Show concepts: the Concept GR-HEV and Concept CA-MiEV. The automaker calls the first a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sport utility truck, and the latter a suburban EV. These concepts fall inline with the Japanese automaker’s goal to offer eight electric, hybrid-electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2015, and we wonder whether we’ll ever see production variants of these concepts in the U.S.

The Mitsubishi Concept GR-HEV sport utility hybrid truck (shown above) reminds us of the Honda Ridgeline and discontinued Chevrolet Avalanche. Motivation for the Mitsubishi hybrid truck comes from a clean diesel engine and electric motors, while power is routed through the automaker’s Super All Wheel Control (S-WAC) system. Compared to a full EV or PHEV, Mitsubishi claims the diesel hybrid is the better option for the truck.

Thanks to Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Holden Commodore SS V

Holden, General Motors’ Australian brand, has given us an early glimpse at the forthcoming Chevrolet SS performance sedan. Holden says the VF SS V concept car, based on the standard VF Commodore, closely previews the 2014 Chevrolet SS that will debut this weekend.

The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be rear-wheel-drive, with eight-cylinder power and a chassis stolen from Holden’s down-under parts bin. Chevrolet already showed off its NASCAR racer that features many hints as to the production car’s styling, but this Commodore-based Holden VF SS V concept is likely an even closer look at America’s newest performance sedan.

The Holden VF SS V shows off the traditional, square-edged sedan styling we expected from the Chevrolet SS. Large projector headlights booked a small black grille, with a larger lower grille opening positioned between foglights and LED running lights. Imitation vents sit on the front fenders, and the doors are flat aside from a small crease along the bottom edge. The decklid tapers and is topped by a small spoiler. Below the bumper, a black diffuser houses a quartet of exhaust tips. The cabin benefits from carbon fiber-look trim, chrome, suede, and perforated leather.
 Key specifications from the show car include 20-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, a touchscreen interface that resembles the Chevrolet MyLink system, LED running lights, an electric parking brake, and a suite of active safety technology that includes lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, a head-up display, forward collision alert, as well as park-assist. Much of that equipment is likely to make its way, at least as an option, to the 2014 Chevrolet SS.

As for power, it’s unclear whether the Chevrolet SS will adopt the new LT1 6.2-liter V-8 from the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, or use the older 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 from vehicles like the Camaro SS. Either way,we expect plenty of drag strip-running and tire-burning power.

The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be fully revealed on Saturday, February 16.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: Chrysler Aspen, Dodge Dakota & Durango, Ram 1500

The Problem: The rear axle pinion nut on affected vehicles may loosen due to the omission of an adhesive patch. A loose pinion nut could cause the rear axle to lock up, which could lead to loss of vehicle control and/or a crash. No injuries have been reported relating to the issue.

The Fix: Starting in March Chrysler will begin notifying owners to take their affected vehicles to the dealer, where a pinion nut retainer to secure the pinion nut will be installed for free. Owners can contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 361,819 trucks and SUVs including:
  • Model year 2009-2012 Ram 1500 trucks manufactured from February 27, 2008, through June 30, 2009, and from December 1, 2009, through October 20, 2011
  • Model year 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota trucks manufactured from February 27, 2007 through June 30, 2009, and from December 1, 2009, through September 30, 2011
  • Model year 2009 Chrysler Aspen trucks manufactured from January 3, 2008, through December 18, 2008
  • Model year 2009 Dodge Durango trucks manufactured from January 3, 2008, through December 18, 2008.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sabtu, 09 Februari 2013

Chicago Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Ram Promaster

Anyone who has driven in Europe likely knows of the Fiat Ducato, the ubiquitous utility van that can be found on most any city street on the Continent. Now in its third generation, more than 4.5 million Ducatos have been sold worldwide. In the latest example of Sergio Marchionne’s march to overlay Fiat and Chrysler, the van has been used as the base for a line of Mexican-built utility vehicles that Ram will sell under the ProMaster label in the U.S. Those Ram-branded vans make their debut at the 2013 Chicago auto show

The 2014 ProMaster makes it a four-way battle for the high-roof full-size-van segment, butting up against the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the Nissan NV, and Ford’s new Transit. The Ram keeps the eyes and cheeks of the Fiat’s fascia, but inserts a Ram crosshair grille. It’s a decidedly utilitarian face, with a bumper designed for modular repair in the event of minor accidents. Aft of that, the ProMaster has all the beauty of a metallic brick. But that’s what these workaday machines are meant to be if they want to survive in a world where beauty takes a back seat to qualities such as a low step-in height, big payload and cargo capacity, a tall interior ceiling, and, perhaps most important of all, a low total cost of ownership. 

You want flexibility? ProMasters come in three wheelbase lengths (118, 136, and 159 inches), two roof heights (90 and 101 inches) and four overall lengths; the cargo floors can be had in 105, 123, 146, or 160 inches. All are unibody designs with an integrated reinforced subframe that runs the length of the van. There also are ProMaster chassis cabs and cutaways with the body terminating at the back of the cab and a ladder-bar frame taking it rearward from there. All the important vehicle systems are located in front of the cargo area to make it easier to modify the rear of the van. Other important elements are a sliding passenger-side door with the option of one on the driver’s side, plus rear clamshell doors that can open 260 degrees. 

There is a choice of two engines, one of which is Chrysler’s Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 rated for 280 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The other is taken from the Fiat side of the equation, a turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoDiesel four-cylinder with 174 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Transmissions are a six-speed automatic—standard with the V-6—or a six-speed automated manual with the diesel. Regardless of engine or transmission choice, power is routed to the front wheels. 

At the front is a strut-type suspension, while the back has a beam axle with a Hotchkiss leaf-spring system. Twin-tube shocks are all around and there are five suspension levels to allow for various van configurations. Also included in the ProMaster package is electronic stability control and disc brakes with Brembo dual-piston calipers reside on each corner. 

Ram claims a payload capacity of up to 5145 pounds and a gross combined weight rating of 11,500 pounds with the V-6 and 12,500 pounds if you opt for the diesel. Ram also asserts that the ProMaster rates best in class for fuel economy, cargo capacity, ceiling height, step-in height, and low load floor. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Chicago Show 2013 Highlights: 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

As luxury sedans go, the Chrysler 300 SRT8 goes better than most, and the latest embellishments by the Street and Racing Technology crew should make the going look even better. One of three “Core” SRT models displayed on the floor of the Chicago auto show—all are intended to appeal to enthusiasts by offering full SRT8 performance with fewer niceties—the latest package is distinguished by 20-inch aluminum wheels with black highlights and black “6.4L” fender badges.

The 6.4 refers to the 300’s 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, rated for 470 horsepower, 470 lb-ft of torque, and by EPA estimates, 23 mpg on the highway, thanks to cylinder deactivation that shuts down half the engine under light loads. An active exhaust system reduces back pressure under higher loads, lending authority to the combustion audio.

This is the biggest sedan in Chryslerdom, but the SRT folks figure the combination of launch control and paddle-shifter-equipped six-speed automatic should propel this 300 to the quarter-mile lights in less than 13 seconds and 0-100-0 in less than 16 seconds. Top speed is estimated at 175 mph. (When we last tested an SRT-fettled three-hundo, we traversed the quarter in 12.8 seconds.)

The interior is deepest coal-bin black, but it’s an elegant coal bin, with snug bucket seats with “Ballistic” cloth inserts and “Axel” cloth bolsters with outstanding support. (The regular SRT8 has leather seats with suede inserts.) Piano-black and matte carbon-fiber accents enhance the already attractive 300 dashboard and instrument binnacle.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Chicago Show 2013 Highlights: 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee

Bumblebee butt stripes trace their origin to Dodge’s street machines of the late 1960s, and the trademark graphics still seem to possess some cachet with 21st-century gearheads, or so believe the product-planning denizens of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) department. Witness said stripes on the new Charger SRT8 Super Bee.

The latest iteration, one of three SRT “Core” introductions at the 2013 Chicago auto show, features a helmet-clad 3D bumblebee emblem on the crosshair grille, in addition to the rear fender stripes, which now include “Powered by SRT” graphics. The 20-inch aluminum wheels are carried over from the 2012 package—we tested it last year—and the black-painted Brembo brake calipers are shared with the other new SRT offerings.

SRT mined its history books for the Super Bee’s new Hemi Orange Pearl Coat paint. The lurid Plum Crazy Pearl Coat, shared with the Dodge Challenger SRT8, also joins the palette. Like SRT’s other big cars, the Super Bee features black cloth-clad bucket seats inside, with subdued striping.

The point, as with the other Core SRTs, is to offer all the performance of the regular car at a cut price. Last year, that meant deleting items like heated seats, the active exhaust, active dampers, and more to create the Super Bee. Dodge didn’t serve up specifics on the differences between the Super Bee and the regular SRT8 for 2013, but we’ve asked and will serve up the exact details as soon as we have them. We do know that the active exhaust is included this year, and that this car features cast 20-inch wheels in place of forged units.

As with all non-Viper SRT models, the Charger is powered by Chrysler’s 6.4-liter Hemi V-8—470 horsepower, 470 lb-ft—with cylinder deactivation. It’s bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission with launch control. Using the computer assist, SRT forecasts 0–60 in the high-four-second range, a 175-mph top speed, and 23 mpg on the highway. We saw 4.2 seconds to 60 in our test of the 2012 Bee.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Jumat, 08 Februari 2013

Chicago Show 2013 Highlights: 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core

What does “back-to-basics performance” mean to you? If you reached driving age during the heyday of the all-American muscle car, it means tire-shredding, straight-ahead performance. And if you haven’t driven muscle cars since then, this new SRT edition of the Dodge Challenger should be a pleasant experience. Not only will it shred its rear tires, just like the mighty muscle machines of yesteryear, it also will actually stop.SRT stands for Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology group, which has been established as a separate brand within the corporate umbrella, à la BMW’s M group and the AMG operation at Mercedes. The mission is to add heat to existing Chrysler vehicles, although in this case, with plenty of fire under the hood already, most of the added heat is on the outside of the car.

The heart of this and other SRT back-to-basics packages introduced at the Chicago auto show is Chrysler’s 392-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) Hemi V-8, paired here with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Output is 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, and with its standard launch control, the SRT go-faster crew forecasts 0-to-60 mph in less than five seconds and a top speed of 182 mph with the manual gearbox (175 with the automatic). When we last tested the Challenger SRT8, we hit 60 in 4.5 seconds and ripped through the quarter in 12.9. Fuel economy is respectable at 23 mpg highway, per the EPA, thanks in part to cylinder deactivation.

Cosmetic heat includes two new look-at-me colors—Hemi Orange and Plum Crazy, both pearl coats—plus the current range of Challenger paint choices. Other distinctions include a blacked-out grille, black SRT rear spoiler, black 392 front-fender decals, 20-inch aluminum wheels with black detailing, and black Brembo brake calipers.

The interior borrows “Ballistic” cloth seat inserts from the new SRT Viper, replacing the cowhides of the regular Challenger SRT8. This car thus features dark-gray cloth bolsters and panel inserts, as well as faux carbon-fiber center-stack and center-console trim.

Thanks to: Car and Driver
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