Jumat, 31 Mei 2013

New Car: 2014 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS

The new Holden Special Vehicles Gen-F GTS has arrived in the UK, badged as the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS. Order books for the brawny saloon are now open, with first deliveries at the end of the year.

The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS is powered by a new supercharged 6.2 litre LSA V8 (also powers the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1) with 576 bhp and 740 Nm of torque, an increase of 150 bhp and 190 Nm respectively over the outgoing, LS3-engined VXR8. The yet to be released performance figures will be great, when one considers that the naturally-aspirated VXR8 achieved a 0-96 km/h (0-60 mph) time of 4.9 seconds.

The new VXR8′s Eaton supercharger has four-lobe rotors, 9 psi boost and 1.9 litres of air per revolution. Other LSA features include stand-alone water to air charge cooling system, separate transmission and differential cooling system, water to oil engine cooling system, bi-modal air-intake system and high-flow exhaust manifolds and exhaust system with bi-modal silencers.

Delivering drive to the rear axle is the latest MG9 spec six-speed manual transmission with oil cooler and twin-plate clutch. An optional six-speed automatic transmission is also available.

The most powerful production car ever to emerge from Australia is priced at £54,999 (RM255,871) in the UK. A lot of money for a Vauxhall? That sum is the least expensive membership fee into the 500+ bhp club, it is countered.

Thanks to: Paultan

New Car: 2014 Nissan Grand Livina

The Nissan Grand Livina facelift was introduced to the Indonesian market this week and as we reported earlier, the updated MPV gets new engine and gearbox options. The launch has confirmed that the new X-Tronic CVT transmission is only available on the revised 1.5 litre engine, while the 1.8 litre variant soldiers on with the existing four-speed auto ’box.

A Nissan Motor Indonesia official explained that the older 1.8 litre motor had always been intended to use the conventional transmission, with no plans yet to offer it with a CVT. He also cites that the new, more efficient HR15DE 1.5 litre engine is the ideal powerplant for the MPV, at least for the Indonesian market, hence the decision to pair it with a new transmission.

In Malaysia the pre-facelift Nissan Grand Livina uses either a 1.6 or 1.8 litre engine, both with four-speed automatic transmissions. We suppose the latter will stay on unchanged, but the question remains whether Nissan will adopt the new 1.5 litre/CVT combination for the more affordable variant.

Thanks to: Paultan

Hot News: Audi A7 to Get Fuel Cell Powertrain

Audi's technical chief Wolfgang Dürheimer has told Autocar that the company is developing a fuel cell-powered A7.

The fuel cell-equipped Audi A7 is due to begin trials at the end of August and is believed to be part of Audi's new 'tron' range of sustainable technologies.

Fuel cells generate electricity and heat through an electro-chemical reaction between a fuel and oxygen. In automotive applications they typically use hydrogen as the fuel and oxygen from the ambient air, so the only by-product is water.

The electricity produced can be used to charge a battery, or to directly drive electric motors for propulsion, while the waste heat can be captured for thermal systems or additional electricity generation via thermocouples.

It's not the first time that Audi or the Volkswagen Group has trialled fuel cells. In 2009, Audi tested the Q5 HFC, which used two high-pressure cylinders of hydrogen to supply a fuel cell powering the Q5 HFC's twin electric motors.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles, which only emit water, are desirable to manufacturers looking to bolster their green credentials. Fuel cell vehicles can also be refuelled quickly, unlike electric vehicles, which take time to charge.

Alternative fuels – including hydrogen and natural gas – are of particular interest to Audi and will remain so until battery technology improves and charging infrastructures expand.
The lack of an established hydrogen infrastructure, however, may prove to be a similar stumbling block for the technology.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2014 Porsche 911 Targa

The Porsche 911 Targa is set to become the next version of the 991-generation 911 to be revealed, judging by the lack of camouflage on this prototype, which was caught pounding around the Nürburgring last week.

The pictures reveal a return to its roots for the design of the latest Targa. The B-pillars wrap over the roof and there is a retro-style removable glass panel in place of the sliding glass roof that was seen on the previous, 997-generation Targa. A convex rear screen, bespoke to the Targa, also features.

As with its predecessor, the 911 Targa is expected to be all-wheel drive only and take its 345bhp 3.4-litre and 395bhp 3.8-litre flat six engines from the 911 cabriolet on which it is based.

The new Targa is expected  to make its public debut at the Los Angeles motor show in November, to avoid distracting from the launch of the new 911 Turbo and Turbo S and the 918 Spyder at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Lamborghini Urus Confirmed for 2017 Release

The Lamborghini Urus SUV has been confirmed for production, with an expected release date of 2017.
The newcomer will be based on the same MLB platform that’s set to underpin the next Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, with plenty of aluminium and carbon fibre to keep weight to a minimum.

We still don’t know exactly what the Urus will be powered by, but it’s looking increasingly likely that a 4.0-litre V8 will be paired with electric motors to produce around 650bhp.

Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann has also hinted that another powertrain will be offered, and both versions of the Urus are set to come with permanent all-wheel drive. The SUV is expected to cost from around £140,000.For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Kamis, 30 Mei 2013

New Car: 2014 BMW X5

We’ve yet to meet a carmaker that regretted joining the SUV club, and the BMW X5 is a perfect example of why. Originally considered a "heretic" by us in our review of the first generation more than 13 years ago, the vehicle became an instant sales success. Its sporting credentials were strongly upgraded with the second generation for 2007, which was also given the full-fledged M treatment and, in Europe, as a tri-turbo M Performance diesel version. 

Claimed to be aerodynamically slipperier and about 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, the new 2014 X5 launches with two gasoline engines: a 3.0-liter, single-turbocharged inline-six with 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque in the sDrive35i and xDrive35i, and a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque in the xDrive50i. BMW claims 0-to-60-mph times of 6.2 seconds for the six and 4.9 for the V-8, but they’ll likely be slightly quicker in our testing. The last six-banger X5 we tested—a heavier piece, remember—did the deed in that same 6.2 seconds. In early 2014, a 3.0-liter diesel six will return to the lineup and again be badged as the xDrive35d. It will offer 255 horsepower, 413 lb-ft of torque, and a 0-to-60 time of less than seven seconds. 

For the first time in the history of the X5, and right from the market launch, BMW will also offer a rear-wheel-drive model—that’s the somewhat clumsily named sDrive35i. This version breaks with the dogma of offering only all-wheel-drive versions on the X5, as BMW seems to have realized that the off-pavement activities of most X5s are restricted to the negotiation of gravel driveways. 

All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Its behavior—as well as that of the chassis—is governed by a number of settings bracketed by the efficiency-loving "Eco Pro" and aggressive “Sport+” modes. The former can decouple the driveline when the driver lifts off the accelerator without hitting the brakes, as well as tailor the climate control and heated seats for maximum energy savings. Sport+ heightens shift and throttle response, firms up the optional adjustable suspension, and remaps the steering. There are also Normal and Sport modes. 

By default, the chassis is tailored to please those who like a little spice in their driving experience, but it can be further enhanced. As mentioned, adjustable dampers are available, as is an M Sport suspension. But the pinnacle of performance is reached with the Dynamic Handling package, which incudes an active anti-roll system and, on xDrive models, a torque-vectoring function for the rear diff. The standard electric power steering is available with an active steering program that adjusts the steering ratio according to the vehicle's speed. With the X5, autonomous driving has essentially arrived: Traffic Jam Assistant will be available starting in December and not only controls the vehicle's speed during stop-and-go traffic but also keeps it centered in its lane. 

Being a modern BMW, an ultra-sophisticated telematics and driver information system is par for the course. It features a navigation system with real-time traffic info and suggestions for when to take your foot off the accelerator; mobile-office functions and BMW's own apps are also included. The apps allow the driver to access essential motoring tools such as Twitter and Facebook, but only if he or she owns an iPhone. In BMW's world, Android-wielding lowlifes need not apply. When equipped with all-wheel drive, the X5’s screen informs occupants of vehicle roll and pitch and displays a compass, lest you get lost in the galleria parking structure. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 29 Mei 2013

Spied: 2014 Mercedes S63 AMG

These latest spy shots show the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, in a less disguised form than we've seen before, testing around the Nurburgring in Germany.

Like its predecessor, the S63 AMG is powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 that is likely to offer a standard 536bhp, or 563bhp in combination with an optional performance package.

S63 AMGs destined for the UK will be rear-wheel drive, but other markets will get the option of the Mercedes four-wheel-drive 4matic system. Those opting for four-wheel drive will have their cars badged 4Matic.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2014 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia Cross Four

While mildly camouflaged Opel Insignia sedan and Insignia Sport Tourer prototypes were spotted earlier this year, new spy photos suggest development of a raised wagon version is underway. With the Buick Regal and Insignia sharing architecture and basic styling, we wonder if a Subaru Outback-like Regal, possibly wearing Cross Four badges, should come to the states badged as a Buick.

The Insignia Cross Four gets a more aggressive off-road look compared to the sedan and wagon variants thanks to a raised suspension, wider sills, and revised bumpers. The production version is likely to have black fender flares, as well. In Europe, the all-wheel-drive Opel Insignia Cross Four will compete against vehicles including the Volkswagen Alltrack, Audi Allroad, Volvo XC70, and Subaru Outback.
 After the face-lifted Insignia models are officially revealed later this year, GM will focus on the Regal’s refresh, which would be a good time to introduce a raised wagon variant.  In the U.S., a lifted Regal wagon could compete against all-wheel-drive SUV-like competitors from Audi, Volvo, and Subaru.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2015 Toyota Prius

The next-gen Toyota Prius test mule has been spotted once again, and now we can see the upcoming hybrid from several new angles as well as peek inside the interior. Though this prototype appears to still be in the early stages of development, we do learn a few things from these new shots.

When we last spotted the next Prius (which may debut in the 2015 model year), we really only got a glimpse of its rear end and profile. These new images let us see the car from all angles, though don’t reveal much through the heavy camouflage. The test mule’s similar shape to the current-gen Prius, which can be seen testing alongside the prototype, is still apparent. Through the front end’s camouflage, we can see two intake slits in the grille, much like the current model’s front end. The 2013 Toyota Prius is EPA-rated at 51/48 mpg city/highway, and 50 mpg combined.
 Inside, however, things look very different. The test mule sports a traditional instrument cluster, losing the central gauge layout featured on past models. The center stack is incomplete, but we can see HVAC vents and controls have been restyled, as has the steering wheel, which receives a sportier-looking three-spoke design. This tester retains the current model’s tiny electronic gear selector, though it’s unclear whether that will make it to the final cabin design.

As we previously reported, the next-gen Prius is rumored to be getting a significant makeover. If that’s the case, this prototype could be wearing the outgoing model’s sheetmetal. “Then why cover it,” you ask? That will likely remain a mystery until the next time we spy the popular hybrid’s successor.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2014 GMC Sierra Denali

Details of the redesigned 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali have been revealed, including estimated power ratings for the available 6.2-liter V-8. As GMC’s top trim, the Sierra 1500 Denali model comes standard with many features that are optional on lesser trims, and has exclusive equipment as well.

With direct injection, active fuel management, and variable valve timing, the revamped 6.2-liter V-8 has preliminary ratings of 420 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. The outgoing GMC Sierra with a 6.2-liter V-8 was good for 403 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. While official SAE ratings will be out later this year, GMC claims the upgraded 6.2-liter has more power and torque than any other engine available in a light-duty pickup. A tow rating of 12,000 pounds with the 6.2-liter engine is said to be class leading. The 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8 will be standard, while the 285-hp 4.3-liter V-6 won’t be available on the Denali model.
 The 2014 Sierra Denali will be distinguished by a unique chrome grille and 20-inch chrome wheels, a polished stainless steel exhaust outlet, and body-color front and rear bumpers. The Denali trim also includes projector headlights with LED daytime running lights.

Inside, the Denali features real aluminum trim as well as script on the door sills and embossed in the front seats. An eight-inch digital display in the instrument cluster is exclusive to Denali models. The screen, located in the instrument panel, can show audio and navigation info as well as various vehicle settings. GMC’s center-console-mounted eight-inch touch-screen with navigation and Intellilink is standard on Denali models. The system includes Bluetooth and five USB ports. Other 2014 Sierra Denali features include a Bose audio system, heated and cooled leather front seats, heated steering wheel, front and rear park assist, and a power sliding rear window.

The 6.2-liter engine, a sunroof, and rear-seat entertainment system are the only standalone options, while the Z71 Off-Road Package (monotube Rancho shocks, Hill Descent Control, Transfer Case Shield) and the Driver Alert Package (Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Safety Alert Seat Technology) are also available.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

Since its unfortunate experience with the slow-selling and notoriously unreliable Lagonda, Aston Martin has avoided reinventing the wheel. Simply look at the recent updates to the DB9 and the Rapide S for proof. Now the V12 Vantage, which was first revealed as a V-8–powered concept in 2003, is being updated to S specification, yet it doesn’t look too dissimilar from its predecessor. But it does benefit from Aston’s favorite party trick: more power. Not only is the 2014 V12 Vantage S the most powerful member of its venerable family, it’s also said to be the fastest Aston Martin ever built—with the notable exception of the ultra-rare One-77

The furrowed hood of the new model continues to hide a naturally aspirated 5.9-liter V-12 engine with modest roots—it’s assembled on the premises of Ford’s production facility in Cologne, Germany. Power increases from 510 horsepower at 6500 rpm to 565 horses at 6750 rpm. Peak torque jumps from 420 lb-ft to 457, with max twist arriving at 5750 rpm. The former model's six-speed manual transmission, a smooth-enough unit, is replaced by a seven-speed, single-clutch automated manual transmission called Sportshift III. It’s derived from the ’box found in the V8 Vantage S, and supplied by Graziano. 

While we mourn the loss of yet another row-your-own option in a supercar, the new paddle-shifted gearbox offers two distinct advantages over the obsolete six-speed. The new transmission is a whopping 55 pounds lighter, and it helps translate the 5.9-liter’s extra 55 ponies into a top speed of 205 mph—up from a redline-limited 190 mph in the previous V12 Vantage. 

When we first drove the V12 Vantage, we described its soundtrack as "pure music," and the advent of a new exhaust system derived from the One-77 promises to evoke even more florid language. In fact, throttle response, transmission shift time and strategy, and exhaust sound can be manipulated by means of a three-stage system that allows drivers to select Normal, Sport, or Track modes. The system also adjusts the adaptive damping system and steering assistance, a function of the new, ZF-supplied power steering that features a quicker ratio than before. 

Even a decade after it was first shown, the design of the Vantage series—conceived by Ian Callum and subsequently developed under Henrik Fisker—remains aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps that's why visual changes from the outgoing V12 Vantage to the incoming V12 Vantage S are rather modest. They include a carbon-fiber grille with black carbon-fiber or silver-mesh elements, forged 10-spoke alloy wheels, and a black roof. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Minggu, 26 Mei 2013

Spied: 2014/2015 BMW 1-Series GT

One day on and we have a better view of the “MPV” that BMW is developing. Yesterday, our European spy pixmen – for the first time – saw a longer version of the BMW 1 Series GT hatchback that has been previously caught testing at the Nurburgring. It had an MPV-like shape, leading us to believe that BMW could be coming out with its first MPV.

Today’s set of pics feature a mule without camo on the rear glass, giving us a tiny glimpse of the car’s cabin. Are those shadowy things head rests for a third row of seats? If they are, we could be looking at a three-row, seven-seat BMW MPV. Yes, an ultimate driving multi-purpose vehicle! Will such a car be a runaway success or a niche too far for Munich? Only time will tell.

Click here to see a video and pics of the shorter BMW 1 Series GT hatchback, which should be making its debut this September in Frankfurt. The front-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz B-Class rival is based on the BMW Concept Active Tourer from last year.

Thanks to: Paultan

New Car: 2013 Mitsubishi Triton Heavy Duty

There’s another Triton variant in town, the Mitsubishi Triton Heavy Duty 2.8 litre 4×4 Double Cab. Just like recently introduced Triton Single Cab before it, this one’s not meant for family use either as it’s only applicable for commercial registration. It’s priced at RM72,037 before insurance or RM73,832 and RM73,798 in Sabah and Sarawak respectively.

Only one engine choice is available, a tried and tested 2.8 litre non-turbocharged diesel motor with 97 PS and 198 Nm of torque matched to a five-speed manual transmission – the same combo you find on the Single Cab variant. It’s primed for absolute reliability even at the harshest working conditions rather than high speed highway cruises.

Also adding weight to its Heavy Duty billing are standard-fit off-roading equipment. It comes with mud-terrain tyres fitted on 16-inch light alloy wheels and upgraded suspension with gas-type shock absorbers to better deal with the rough terrain it’ll most likely be used on.
There’s not much in the way of safety features and creature comforts. Anti-intrusion brake pedal, collapsible steering and RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body structure are standard, as are a three-year/100,000 km warranty and two-year free maintenance package.

Thanks to: Paultan

Spied: 2014 Lamborghini Aventador Super Veloce

This Lamborghini Aventador test mule could be an early prototype for a more potent Super Veloce (SV) version of the all-wheel-drive V12 supercar.

The car was spotted pounding around the Nürburging on a recent industry test day. Lamborghini sources have not commented on the identity of the prototype, but officials have previously hinted there is more to come from what is already the most potent supercar in the company’s history, with the Aventador’s 6.5-litre V12 currently producing 690bhp.

The ‘SV’ suffix has found its way onto ultimate versions of Lamborghini’s supercars throughout the company’s history, including the most recent Murciélago and Diablo models, and the classic Miura.

While any comment on output would be speculative, the Murciélago SV’s power hike over the standard model was 29bhp, which could be indicative of any increase an Aventador SV would receive.

More significant for the Murciélago SV model were the agressively styled body kit and considerable 100kg reduction in weight.

The Aventador mule spied here wears a series of more sporting features over the standard car, including a new front lip spoiler, centre-locking alloys with wider tyres and beefed-up brake calipers. The ride height also appears to have been lowered.

Should this mule be representative of a production car due any time soon, the Aventador SV would arrive much earlier in the model’s life than the Murciélago SV. That car was a run-out special offered during the model’s final couple of years on sale.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2013 McLaren 50 12C

McLaren is celebrating its 50th anniversary with some new special edition 12C Coupe and 12C Spiders.
Called the McLaren 50 12C and McLaren 50 12C Spider, only 50 of each will be built by McLaren Special Operations (MSO), the division of the British firm responsible for producing bespoke vehicles.

The limited run supercars will feature a range of upgrades including carbon fibre side inlet vanes and a remodelled front bumper for even greater downforce. Its lower section is made from carbon fibre while the bottom is constructed from tough race-derived carbon Kevlar.

Above the bumper sits a McLaren F1-inspired heritage badge – a moniker reserved for cars prepared by MSO.

Both the 50 12C coupe and spider get carbon ceramic brakes as standard and McLaren 50 Ultra Lightweight wheels finished in Satin Black. This unique design, 19-inch at the front and 20-inch at the rear, offers a combined two kilo saving over the optional Super Lightweight wheels.

Inside the cabin, the McLaren 50 12C cars get a full leather upgrade, an anniversary dedication plate on the driver’s door plus branding to the carbon fibre sill panel and floor mats.

Each car comes with a monogrammed black and silver car cover, limited edition key, carbon fibre presentation key box and a specially commissioned print signed by McLaren Automotive Design Director, Frank Stephenson.

The McLaren 50 12C is available in three colours – carbon black, supernova silver or heritage McLaren orange – with prices starting from £196,000, for the coupe and £215,500 for the Spider.For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Renault Twin'Run

The Renault Twin'Run concept, a car designed to be a spiritual successor to the R5 Turbo and Clio V6, has been unveiled at the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. (Click to Tweet)

Sharing the same funky city car styling cues as the Twin'Z electric car concept that was revealed in April, the Twin'Run is a very different propostion. Rather than an eco-friendly set of batteries, it is packing a mid-mounted 316bhp V6 petrol engine and a raft of motorsport technology that is designed as a hint towards the next-generation Twingo RS.

That engine - which is still used in the Laguna and Espace in de-tuned form in Europe - drives the rear wheels and combines with a tubular steel chassis borrowed from the Megane Trophy racer and lightweight fibre glass bodywork for a kerbweight of just 950kgs. All that means the Twin'Run can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds and go on to reach a top speed of 155mph.

The major mechanicals for the concept are all taken straight from the world of racing, with a six-speed sequential gearbox, rally-style welded handbrake lever, huge brakes and a limited-slip differential at the back to improve cornering balance. It also sits on huge 18-inch alloy wheels that are pushed right to the each corner of this compact car.

The exterior styling has been heavily influenced by iconic rally cars and the bold orange graphics running along the roof and doors, big air vents in front of the rear arches and a fixed rear wing. The quad LED lights at the front are just 25mm thick and can give different light sequences that are controlled by the driver.

The interior is stripped out, with just a plexiglass sheet separating the driver from the V6 engine. The sparco bucket seats have four-point race harnesses. Axel Breun, head of concept car design for the Renault said: "Twin'Run embodies the mad genius Renault has been known for over the decades... it's the true heir of those racing cars that had so much appeal" 

Launched in the pit lane of the Grand Prix circuit and then driven for several flying laps around the famous track by Renault boss Carlos Tavares, the Twin'Run was joined by a convoy that included a Clio V6 piloted by F1 driver Charles Pic and rally legend Jean Ragnotti brought up the rear in the Maxi 5 Turbo that he had so much success with in the eighties.

This concept hints at the performance potential of a possible Twingo RS model in the future although there are rumours that Renault is planning to resurrect the '5' name badge for the three-door model. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Recall Up Date: 2013 Cadillac SRX

The Problem: Certain 2013 Cadillac SRX crossovers equipped with 18-inch wheels have nuts that could potentially loosen. If the wheel nuts become loose, the wheel could separate from the vehicle and increase the chance of having a crash; however, General Motors has had no reports of this happening yet.

The Fix: Dealers will rotate the tires at no charge to the customer. GM’s testing has shown that this remedies the problem.

Number of Vehicles Affected: 18,871 Cadillac SRX crossovers from the 2013 model year.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Infiniti Considers to Build Compact Crossover Based-on Merc CLA


 


The Infiniti’s sheetmetal will be all-new, resembling the brand’s Etherea concept (pictured at right). This means a relatively high car, with a hatchback. Indeed, the Mercedes-based Infiniti is almost as high as a crossover, and we hear it may wear the QX30 badge. Total production of the QX30, out of Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the U.K., is projected at 60,000 units a year and, yes, the potential Q3 and GLA competitor will probably come to the U.S. 
 
Offering the Mercedes-based compact as a small crossover may allow Infiniti to charge a greater premium than would be possible with a premium entry-level sedan like the Buick Verano, Acura ILX, or upcoming Audi A3. The Mercedes CLA’s turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 is likely to be part of the package, and just as Infiniti has tweaked Mercedes’ 2.1-liter turbodiesel for use in the European-spec Q50, don’t be surprised to see minor tweaks made to the QX30′s powerplant, as well.

Also in the compact arena, Infiniti still intends to produce a full EV, using the Nissan Leaf’s platform. Previewed by the LE concept, Infiniti chief Andy Palmer said the production car is being delayed because its headline technology will be inductive charging. This means owners won’t need to mess around with a dirty charge cable. They merely park over a contact-free charging pad and it all happens automatically.
“The technology works but there’s no global homologation. We’re hoping for a global open-architecture standard, and we’re working with Daimler and Renault for that.”

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2002 - 2006 Nissan March/Micra & Cube

Nissan is recalling 841,000 vehicles worldwide on an issue with the steering wheel. Nissan Micra/March and Cube models built between 2002 and 2006 are subject to the recall. Cars were sold in Japan, Asia, Oceania, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. No cars sold in the U.S. market are affected.

The bolt used in the steering wheel may not have been properly tightened, and in a worst-case scenario, drivers could lose steering control. No deaths, injuries or accidents have been reported as a result of the issue. The repair takes about 40 minutes at a dealership.

Last month, the U.S.-spec 2013 Nissan Altima was recalled for an improperly-inflated spare tire, and in 2012, a small number of 2012 and 2013 Altimas were recalled for improperly torqued power steering rack bolts.

The Nissan Micra is a subcompact hatchback sold worldwide, smaller in size than the entry-level Versa (sold as the Tiida in some markets) in the U.S. The Micra was never sold in the United States, but was sold in Canada from 1985 to 1991. The second-generation Nissan Cube, which was not sold in the United States, was based on the Micra, with the Cube migrating to the larger Tiida/Versa platform for the third generation model which went on-sale in the U.S. in 2008 as a 2009 model.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: BMW Gran Lusso Coupe

BMW is adding another chapter to the brand's rich design heritage at the Concorso d’Eleganza on the posh grounds of Villa d’Este in Lake Como. This is where the Bavarian automaker launched the Gran Lusso Coupé, which seems rather fitting considering the concept was conceived in close conjunction with famed Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina and its styling department under the direction of designer Fabio Filippini. The large two-door coupe likely will remain a one-off, and that’s a real pity. 

Pininfarina set out to create a modern interpretation of BMW's heritage, while maintaining strong links with the brand's current design language. Technical details are sparse, but it’s safe to assume that the Gran Lusso Coupé is powered by the same twin-turbo V-12 that propels the 760i with unwavering authority. 

The front end of the Gran Lusso Coupé might the most convincing interpretation of the traditional BMW "shark nose" since BMW abandoned this element in the E36 3-series. The front end angles downward and rearward while featuring a large kidney grille and lower air intakes that appear to be inspired by the Concept 4-series Coupe, albeit in far more discreetly. The pair of LED headlamps are positioned behind a glass screen, and to some observers, they might evoke memories of the 1965 2000 CS coupe. 

In profile, there’s a fresh interpretation of BMW's current design language. There’s a pronounced character line that drops down from the front fender and gradually rises as it moves toward the rear bumper. Here, the Gran Lusso beautifully incorporates the "air breathers"—BMW-speak for fender vents—which look like clumsy afterthoughts when applied to the 3-series Gran Turismo and the upcoming 4-series. The door handles are gorgeously flush, a welcome change to the protruding disturbances found on the vast majority of today's vehicles. 

BMW and Pininfarina have fitted the Gran Lusso Coupé with two-tone, 21-inch wheels that feature 15 spokes. In each cluster of three spokes, the center spoke is finished in a darker hue, which gives the subtle appearance of sporty five-spoke wheels while maintaining the elegance of a multi-spoke roller. The side windows are uninterrupted by a B-pillar, which is a free-standing element hidden behind the glass. A classic interpretation of the Hofmeister kink makes room for a prominent “V12” logo, and the C-pillars are raked at a different angle than the rear window, resulting in a slightly buttress-like appearance that’s reminiscent of Jaguar’s XJ-S. (This is a typical Pininfarina element, seen, for instance, on the Lancia Flaminia Coupé.) The Gran Lusso Coupé's rear end is dominated by a pair of large, trapezoidal chrome exhaust finishers, and a slim taillight that stretches across the full width of the car. A long and thin glass opening resides on the roof, which is designed to let light pour into the car. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Kamis, 23 Mei 2013

Spied: 2014 Brilliance Zinoro

Spy shots have revealed what appears to be a BMW X1-based crossover from Zinoro.

The brand, a result of the collaboration between BMW and Chinese manufacturer Brilliance, was reputed to be basing its first models on BMW's E90 3-series saloon and X1.

Compared to a normal X1, the prototype vehicle has a different grille, headlights, bumper and other minor styling tweaks. The rear end of the prototype was heavily disguised, concealing any updates.

It's thought that Zinoro's cars will be all-electric and, initially, that they will only be offered in China. They will be sold through unique dealerships with no direct link to BMW.

Zinoro's cars will also focus on practicality and comfort, in order to distance them from the more sports-orientated BMW offerings.
Various tie-ups have appeared recently, as foreign maufacturers attempt to gain a foothold in the lucrative and rapidly expanding Chinese market.

Rivals include Nissan, which has collaborated with Dongfeng to create the Venucia brand, and Mercedes-Benz, which partnered with BYD to form Denza.

Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek: 2014 Toyota Corolla

Toyota has teased us with a photo of the 2014 Corolla, which will be fully unveiled on June 6. The image uploaded to Toyota USA’s Facebook page shows a close-up of the taillight and rear badge, and we can a slight resemblance to the Furia concept from Detroit.

The photo shows the underside of the passenger-side taillight, which tapers inward and appears to wrap around the outside like the Furia. If that concept accurately previews the next-gen Corolla, we may see features like a long, slender front grille and sloping roofline hit the production version. The Chinese-market Toyota Yundong Shuangqing II hybrid sedan concept, which sported Furia styling cues and a wide Avalon-like front valance opening when it was revealed last month, could also hint at the next Corolla’s design.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2014 Mitsubishi Attrage

The new Mitsubishi Mirage went on sale in Thailand not too long ago, but already, the Japanese automaker is expanding its lineup with a subcompact sedan version of the four-door hatchback. Named the Attrage, the four-door sedan is scheduled for launch in July.

With a name derived from the word “attractive” the Attrage is defined by a short, stubby nose that Mitsubishi says will allow excellent forward visibility. The automaker also boasts a tight turning radius and, for a car so small, generous interior space. Thanks to its aerodynamic design, the Attrage has a 0.29 coefficient of drag (the Mirage hatch has a 0.28 coefficient of drag), and the car  should be competitive in the mpg race.

For reference, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback slated for the U.S. has better EPA-estimated mileage than any other non-hybrid gas vehicle currently offered. With a CVT, the 2014 Mirage subcompact is expected to get 37/44 mpg city/highway when it arrives in dealers this fall, so we can expect the Attrage to achieve something in that range, and don’t be surprised to see a Mirage sedan (possibly wearing Attrage badges) roll into U.S. Mitsubishi dealerships sometime after the hatchback.
 Like the Mirage, the Attrage will be powered by a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine paired to a CVT or a five-speed manual transmission. Depending on the market, the Mirage is also available with a 1.0-liter I-3 and engine stop-start technology. Mitsubishi appears to have big plans for the Attrage, as it plans to produce more than 100,000 units a year after the fifth year of production.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2015 BMW M4

With just months to go before the debut of the new BMW M3 and M4, it’s only right that we’d catch a prototype or two testing. And we have: this M4 coupe prototype was spotted testing recently at the Nurburgring.

The biggest clues to this BMW coupe being an M4 are as you’d expect: up front, the car shows off an aggressive front aero kit that goes beyond the modifications you’d expect from a car equipped with the M Sport package. The black wheels hide gold brake calipers, which signal BMW’s carbon ceramic brakes, and the rear diffuser sits next to quad-exit exhaust pipes, long a hallmark of the BMW M3. There’s no aggressive rear spoiler, but the camouflage on this car hides a lip spoiler neatly integrated into the trunklid.
 Those gold-painted ceramic brakes are there for a good reason–the next M3 and M4 are going to be even faster than the current model. The next-gen model will ditch the natural aspiration and V-8 engine for a twin-turbo six-cylinder model (an I-6, not the rumored V-6) that will make about 450 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque — an increase of 36 horsepower and 106 pound-feet over the current engine.

BMW engineers will continue to make the M3/M4′s roof panel out of carbon fiber, but we’ll also see the stuff used on the hood and trunklid to keep weight low and the center of gravity as low as possible. Total weight loss for this new model is estimated to be 220 pounds; with the increase in power and decrease in weight, the M4 you see here should be able to sprint to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds, down from 4.6. Top speed will be limited to 155 mph as usual, but unrestricted cars could hit 180 mph before running out of puff. We should see the final car this fall at the Los Angeles auto show, months before a summer 2014 release.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

What It Is: A lightly covered-up prototype of the inevitable convertible version of the Aston Martin Vanquish, the brand’s flagship coupe. Following Aston’s nomenclature, the roofless Vanquish will be known as the Vanquish Volante. Just as the hardtop model replaced the DBS last year, this topless Vanquish will take over for the DBS Volante. 

Why It Matters: Unless you’re bathing in pools of money like Scrooge McDuck, the Vanquish Volante probably isn’t on your shopping list. However, from Aston Martin’s perspective, it’s important to have a convertible iteration of the Vanquish for high-end sun-worshipping clientele. As an added bonus, the lack of a roof makes it easier to enjoy the aural V-12 bliss sure to emanate from the Volante’s tailpipes. (That’s reason enough to build the thing, if you ask us.) 

Platform: The Vanquish Volante should share a significant portion of the aluminum VH architecture with the regular Vanquish and will look largely the same. The Volante’s front and rear ends, visible through these test mules’ form-fitting camouflage, appear identical to the Vanquish coupe’s goods, as does its side sculpting. We must admit that while it’s sure to have impressive curb appeal, the Volante’s transition from sleek fastback to folding cloth-roof droptop seems to have done a number on its proportions. The profile view reveals a helmet-like roof shape positioned nearly entirely ahead of the rear wheel opening, resulting in a strangely long rear deck. We won’t go so far as to say it looks as though its front wheels are driven, but the classic GT proportions present in every other Aston appear to be missing here. 

Powertrain: Just as the Volante’s basic look carries over unchanged from the Vanquish coupe, so should its 5.9-liter V-12 and six-speed automatic transmission. As we already mentioned, the 565-hp 12-cylinder should be more easily appreciated in the topless Volante, which pleases us endlessly. The convertible might gain a few pounds relative to the coupe from reinforcing the car’s bonded-aluminum monocoque, but don’t expect the extra luggage to drastically effect the Vanquish’s forward urgency much. 

Competition: Bentley Continental GTC, Ferrari California, Lamborghini Aventador roadster, Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Minggu, 19 Mei 2013

New Car: 2014 BMW 5-Series

Audi A6 and the Mercedes-Benz E-class. But, as some three-and-a-half years have passed since the F10’s introduction, of course it’s time for BMW to execute a mid-term face lift on all three body variants. The majority of changes are stylistic, but under the skin, there are some significant updates as well. 

The BMW 5-series has brought the Bavarian factory quite a lot of joy. Stylistically a decisive step forward from its controversial predecessor, the E60, and building upon a cost-efficient if slightly portly architecture, the F10 has fared well against competitors as formidable as the
Alterations to the appearance include an updated front fascia; the grille has been accented by added creases; the taillights have been updated; and the lower air intakes take on a more complex appearance, depending on the trim level chosen. The trim level? Yes, the convoluted series of trim levels—base, Modern, Luxury, Sport, and M Sport—that make up today’s 3-series now applies to the 5-series, as well. 

More-extensive visual alterations have been carried out on the 5-series Gran Turismo: it receives not only new front and rear fascias, but also taillights that feature new contours, and a split tailgate that has been elongated and emphasized even further. This, says BMW, creates "an even more harmonious" appearance. We’re not sure we’d describe the 5 GT as harmonious to begin with, but it's surely not worse than before, and it adds significantly more trunk space. 

All 5-series models receive even-more-subtle interior upgrades: the ambient lighting system now offers a choice of white or orange, the iDrive interface is encircled in chrome, and the ever-important cup holders are bigger than ever—take that, Mayor Bloomberg!
Mechanical changes are similarly under the radar, but they will make humiliating neighbors at the stoplight even easier, thanks to the upgraded 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 in the 550i. Just as in the current Gran Turismo, the 550i sedan now receives 445 horsepower, enough to propel it to 62 mph in a claimed 4.6 seconds. The Active Hybrid 5 carries over unchanged mechanically, but its myriad computers now consider route and navigation input for its engine-motor strategy, further improving efficiency. The 528i and 535i continue on with no changes to their powertrains, and all models, with the exception of the hybrid, will continue to be available with xDrive all-wheel drive. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Concept Car: Aston Martin CC100

During Aston Martin’s 100 years of existence, it has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans just once, and that was way back in 1959 (with no less than Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori as co-drivers). If it’s shocking that a dedicated sports-car manufacturer with a rich motorsports background only took the checkered flag once at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe, then it likely is entirely un-shocking that the same automaker mined the winning DBR1 racer for inspiration to create a celebratory show car. The result is the CC100 Speedster concept, which by and large resembles the DBR1 race car as formed in the crucible of 60 years of evolution and modernization. 

The original DBR1 was a stripped-down, purpose-built race car with a low-profile windscreen, no roof, and a gorgeous shape. These basic attributes carry over to the CC100 Speedster, albeit with a host of modifications. Gone are the original car’s wire wheels, windscreen, and relatively plain body surfaces. And while the old car’s curves and stance are pure sex, they’re also not nearly as aggressive looking as the CC100’s creases, angles, and almost-brutal detailing. Taken overall, the CC100 is certainly eye-catching, although we wouldn’t go so far as to call it beautiful. 

Aston Martin says that some of the CC100’s styling elements will make their way to future road cars, but given the constraints of safety regulations and sanity, you can almost bet that the see-through doors and invisible windscreen—hello, insects, rocks, and blown-up semi tires!—will stay in concept-car land. On the other hand, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the CC100’s full-width rendition of the classic Aston Martin grille, as well as its unique rear-end treatment, make it to a production Aston in the future. Currently, the automaker’s cars pretty much all look alike; and with the exception of the latest Vanquish’s One-77–inspired design touches, the cars’ looks haven’t changed much for some years now. The CC100’s front- and rear-end tweaks would make for a nice update. 

While its exterior may be polarizing, the CC100 Speedster’s mechanicals should find plenty of friends. That’s because the concept utilizes Aston Martin’s latest 5.9-liter V-12 engine and a carbon-fiber body to keep weight in check. Aston doesn’t specify how much power the CC100 is packing, but the V-12 makes 565 horsepower in the recently introduced Vanquish, which is a perfectly zesty amount. The engine pairs with a six-speed sequential transmission, which, of course, sends power to the CC100’s rear wheels. Aston predicts the combo is good for a four-second trip from 0 to 60 mph, and the car’s top speed is limited to 180 mph.  

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Jumat, 17 Mei 2013

New Car: 2013 BMW 6-Series M Sport Edition

BMW has made its 6 Series range more enticing, offering a new M Sport Edition model for each 6 Series coupe, convertible, and four-door Gran Coupe variant. Moderately priced over base models, the new trim level will offer a sportier appearance, more standard features, and exclusive goodies formerly only available on the M6 when it goes on sale in July.

The M Sport Edition package adds lightweight M 19-inch alloy wheels, LED adaptive headlights and foglamps, an M aerodynamics package, BMW high-gloss Shadow Line, and dark chrome-finished exhaust tips. Inside, each M Sport Edition gets an M leather steering wheel, M door sill plates, nappa leather-upholstered sports seats, head-up display, and a HiFi Professional audio system. The navigation package is also standard on M Sport Editions, and includes a 10.2-inch display and voice control functions. BMW’s Park Distance Control and rear-view camera also come standard. For 650i M Sport Edition models, Active Driving Assistance, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, as well as Side and Top View Camera systems are also included.
 Sakhir Orange metallic, a paint color originally only offered on M6 models, is optional for the M Sport Edition. Interior options from the BMW Individual program, including Merino fine grain leather in Opal white with Sakhir Orange contrast stitching, are also available. For coupe models, the M Sport Edition carries a $4800 premium with either engine choice. Opting for the M Sport Edition costs an additional $4600 over a standard convertible, and $5300 over a base Gran Coupe. Base prices, then, range from $80,625 for a 2014 BMW 640i M Sport Edition coupe to $99,225 for a 2014 BMW 650i M Sport Edition convertible. With this package, perhaps BMW can boost sales of the 6 Series, which sold 760 units in April, more than the 1 Series and Z4, but less than the 7 Series.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied Up Date: 2014 BMW 2-Series

What It Is: New spy shots of the BMW 2-series, which will replace the 1-series coupe and convertible, caught completely uncovered. The 2-series lineup eventually will include both body styles, and they will look less like the current rear-drive 1-series hatchback than ever before, with a unique front-end treatment. The design scheme allows BMW to place its entry-level cars into the hierarchy followed by the 5-series–based 6-series and the upcoming 3-series–based 4-series. Generally speaking (the 6-series Gran Coupe being an anomaly), sedans, wagons, and hatches will wear odd numbers, and coupes and convertibles will wear even numbers. 

No piece of sheetmetal carries over from the current 1-series coupe, but the 2-series doesn’t deviate far from its formula. It continues to be a compact, three-box two-door with rear-wheel drive and the option of powerful engines. The interior is virtually identical to that of the second-generation 1-series hatchback now being peddled outside the U.S. Only the hood for the instrument panel is different from the earlier form, being more rounded. Our photos show the M235i with the M Sport package, including unique interior trim, aggressive wheels, and meaner exterior detailing. Even though we were previously denied a version of the M135i, we’ve heard that the M235i will have a spot in BMW’s U.S.-market 2-series lineup. Base models will likely be badged 228i and come with four-cylinder power, with the M235i being the sole non-M six-cylinder 2er—there will be no regular-grade 235i. 

Why It Matters: The BMW 2-series will have the same marching orders as those of the 1-series coupe and convertible: to introduce new buyers to the brand. A more-efficient base engine will help. The top-dog 2-series will be the rip-snorting M2, but the car’s classic proportions, neat dimensions, and ostensibly sporty dynamics should entice enthusiasts even in sub-M form. 

Platform: Like the previous and current 1-series, this car is derived from BMW’s compact rear-wheel-drive platform. All-wheel drive is a distinct possibility—it’s offered on the Euro 1-series—and if BMW’s U.S. diesel expansion plans prove successful, the company could offer us a diesel 2, as well. It’s worth noting that the 1-series nameplate eventually will migrate to a front-wheel-drive model riding on the same architecture as the next-generation Mini Cooper

Powertrains: Engine choices for the U.S. market will be a 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four in the 228i, along with the N55 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six tuned to 320 horsepower in the M235i. Happily, there will be a follow-up to the awesome 1-series M coupe, and that car—the M2—will have 360 or more horsepower. It will directly target the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and the upcoming Audi RS3, and we definitely want it to come here. Six-speed sticks should be standard across the board; the regular-strength cars will offer a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic. The M2 could be fitted with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Kamis, 16 Mei 2013

Unofficial Picture: 2014 BMW M5

The facelifted BMW M5 has leaked ahead of its unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, where it’ll be revealed alongside updated versions of the saloon, Touring and GT.

These images were found on an official BMW configurator and reveal a very subtly updated look, with the most obvious change being a new grille complete with double vertical slats.

There’s a subtle redesign on the inside, too, featuring the stylish three-spoke M steering wheel recently used on the BMW M6 variants. It looks as though BMW has fitted the latest iDrive controller, which now allows drivers to input letters by drawing on the top of it.

We’re expecting power to still come from the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, though it’s unknown whether it’ll stick with its 552bhp power output. Just as Mercedes has done with the new, more powerful E63 AMG S Model, BMW could add a more powerful version of the M5 to its line up, featuring around 570bhp.

Full details on the M5 and the rest of the facelifted 5 Series range will be revealed at the Frankfurt Show in September. All models are expected to go on sale in the UK early in 2014, with the M5 starting from around £75,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: BMW Gran Lusso Concept

BMW will unveil the Gran Lusso Coupe Pininfarina concept at the Concorso D’Eleganza later this month, possibly previewing a future return of the BMW 8 Series coupe.

All we’ve got so far are sketches and teaser shots of the concept, which has been designed in partnership with Italian styling house Pininfarina. Nevertheless, you can still make out a few trademark BMW styling cues, like the Hofmeister kink at the rear of the windowline, the short overhangs and the bold crease running the length of the car’s flanks.

The Gran Lusso Coupe is powered by the 529bhp 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 used in the flagship 760i model, and it’s likely that any production version of the Lusso would be based on the 7 Series.

It fits with BMW’s current trend of creating stylish, sporty new cars based on their existing range; the 3 Series will spawn a 4 Series coupe, the 1 Series will be made in to a 2 Series and the 5 Series coupe already exists in the 6 Series.

The original 8 Series was discontinued in 1999 and was a kind of luxury GT car featuring the same front-engined rear-wheel-drive layout as the Gran Lusso. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Toyota Corolla

Our spy shooters once again cast their lenses upon the 2014 Toyota Corolla, giving us our third look at camouflaged versions of the future compact sedan. Though it’s covered in cladding, it’s still easy to discern styling cues from the Furia concept on this 2014 Toyota Corolla test car.

The Toyota Furia concept, shown at this year’s Detroit auto show, was said to hint at future styling direction for the Corolla. But a source told us all of the concept car’s hard points — greenhouse, C-pillar, and so on — would carry over to the production car. Sure enough, this 2014 Toyota Corolla prototype has the same sloped hood; fat, sloping C-pillar; upswept beltline and prominent character line; and stubby trunk as the Furia.
 Likewise, we see evidence to confirm one source’s promise that the 2014 Toyota Corolla would look, “as though an Avalon and a RAV4 had a baby.” This prototype’s nose has the same wide, plunging grille treatment seen on both of those Toyota models. The grille is bisected by what appears to be a body-color panel, before leading to the lower grille opening. Despite the uncovered 15-inch steel wheels, this is obviously a high-spec Corolla as it has fog lights and HID headlights.

Under the hood, the 2014 Toyota Corolla is likely to use an updated version of its current 1.8-liter inline-four engine, with transmission choices comprising a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. Expect a significant fuel-economy bump compared to the current car’s ratings — it only manages up to 27/34 mpg (city/highway) with a manual transmission. There is also an outside possibility Toyota will introduce a Corolla hybrid with either the 1.5-liter system from the Prius c or the 1.8-liter system from the standard Prius.

The 2014 Toyota Corolla should debut later this year.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon

Last time we saw GM’s full-size SUVs, the camouflage looked like an ill-fitting black sweat suit. In these new spy shots, the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, and GMC Yukon XL now sport tight-fitting swirly camo that shows off more of their physique. We’ve embedded a video showing the Chevrolet and GMC SUV prototypes at the bottom of this post.

Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban prototype headlights resemble those on the new 2014 Silverado, though the SUVs’ side marker lights appear more swept back than those on the pickup. Unlike, the 2014 Sierra pickups‘ bold center-mounted projector headlights and upper and lower LED running lights, the headlights of the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL appear to have stacked headlights, though the SUVs’ marker lights are buried beneath the camouflage. The GMC SUVs also have unique taillight graphics under clear lenses.
 While sales of full-size body-on-frame SUVs are down, GM’s big people-movers remain popular for those who need space for people and cargo (Suburban and Yukon XL) as well as towing. GM hasn’t confirmed powertrain details for the new SUVs, but we expect the volume engine to be the Silverado/Sierra’s 5.3-liter V-8 producing 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, with a six-speed automatic transmission. While current models are V-8 only, the 4.3-liter V-6 is now rated 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque in the half-ton pickups and could be offered for those with fuel economy in mind. The 6.2-liter will likely remain for Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade models.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2013 Subaru Legacy & Outback

The Problem: On certain 2013 Outbacks and 2013 Legacys made from February 15, 2012 through June 15, 2012, the inner and outer shafts of the steering column assembly could become disengaged from one another. If the shafts do become disengaged, the driver may not be able to steer the vehicle.

The Fix: Subaru dealers will replace the steering column assembly with a new one; the recall begins this month. Owners can contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 5379 Subaru Legacys and Subaru Outbacks from the 2013 model year.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2014 HSV Gen-F

The Holden Special Vehicles team, a performance division of General Motors Australia’s Holden arm, has created a new batch of fast sedans, wagons, and pickups. The cars are based on the new VF Commodore, and are dubbed the HSV Gen-F models.

All versions of the HSV Gen-F cars have rear-wheel drive and V-8 engines. The lineup starts with the Clubsport sedan and Maloo pickup, both of which use GM’s 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 engine (which can also be found in the Chevrolet Camaro SS and outgoing Corvette). It sends 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed manual or automatic transmission to 20-inch wheels wrapped in Continental performance tires. Other standard goodies include four-piston front brake calipers from AP Racing, launch control for manual-transmission cars, bucket seats, and an eight-inch infotainment system.

The next step up is the Clubsport R8 sedan, Clubsport R8 Tourer wagon, and Maloo R8. The mechanically identical trio packs a version of the LS3 V-8 tuned to produce 436 hp; other upgrades include different wheel designs, a two-mode exhaust, a head-up display, forward collision and blind-spot warning systems, and LED taillights. Opting for the R8 SV Enhanced package adds a two-mode air intake that boosts power to 456 hp and torque to 420 lb-ft, along with Satin Graphite wheels and a unique trunk spoiler. 
 
The HSV Senator Signature is a luxury-oriented version of the performance sedans. Along with the 456-hp version of the 6.2-liter LS3 V-8, it packs a more subdued bodykit, projector headlights, a subtler trunk spoiler, power front leather seats, heated front seats, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, and dual-zone climate control.

The most exciting of the new Holden HSV Gen-F cars is the GTS sedan, which co-opts the supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V-8 engine from the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Fitting the engine forced Holden to make many adjustments to the VF Commodore, including adding larger radiators and more cooling surfaces, but the result is 577 hp and 546 lb-ft. In addition to a unique bodykit with deeper side skirts and a larger rear wing, the HSV GTS receives six-piston front brake calipers, quad exhaust tips, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather sports seats, metal pedals, and a nine-speaker Bose sound system. The video embedded below details more on the HSV GTS, as HSV’s Greg Murphy provides a walkaround of the performance sedan. 
 
Because the upcoming 2014 Chevrolet SS shares its basic components and chassis with the Holden VF Commodore, we’d love to see some of these go-fast HSV variants come to America — particularly the 577-hp GTS model. Sadly, for now the SS will be offered only with a 415-hp version of the LS3 V-8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Still plenty powerful, but not quick as enticing as an HSV GTS with a manual transmission. For that, we’ll have to move to Australia.

Thanks to: Motor Trend
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