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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Aston Martin To Overhaul Lineup With Seven-Model Range

aston martin

Aston Martin said it’s not overhauling its lineup, but it sure looks like it since it announced that it is looking to build a seven-model lineup. It will mark a new era for the British luxury car brand.

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told Car & Driver that the new model range will begin with replacing the already existing V8 Vantage. It will still be called the same and is expected to be launched next year.

It will use the AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin turbo V-8 engine, marking the first time the brand is using this specific powertrain. Drivers can choose between a manual and automatic transmission. There’s a rumored V-12 version of the Vantage, but Aston Martin hasn’t announced plans yet for that. It hasn’t even confirmed if it is even building one.

As soon as the replacement Vantage comes out in the market, Aston Martin said it will start working on a new Vanquish, which is scheduled to come out in 2018. There are no details yet about the supercar, although Palmer said the Vanquish will likely have the technologies that is coming out in the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing partnership.

Apparently, the new Vanquish might come with structural carbon fiber and KERS technology.

Aside from the two initial models, Aston Martin is also preparing the DB11, which was first seen during the Geneva Auto Show. A replacement for the DB9, the DB11 will come with the newly developed 5.2-liter turbocharged V-12 engine. It will arrive around the same time as the Vantage. There would also be a V-8 version, but there are no specific plans yet for that.

To round up the models are two others we already heard about—the Lagonda SUV and the DBX electric crossover. There are also other possibilities such as the RapidE Concept, the V-12 version of the Vantage or the V-8 version of the DB11.

2016 Ford F-150 MVP Edition Announced For Kansas City Royals

ford f-150 (1)

Ford is honoring baseball team Kansas City Royals for its 2015 World Series victory by announcing a limited F-150 , which is aptly called the MVP Edition. It is only fitting Ford does something for Kansas City, Missouri since this is where the brand builds about half of its F-150 pickups.

According to the company, the truck will feature a unique appearance through add-ons and bespoke badges. Suggested by a Ford customer, the MVP Edition is based on the 1986 Ford Ranger MVP Edition, the first time Kansas celebrated a professional baseball world championship.

It will include a special MVP badging, unique polished stainless rocker panels, and a spray-in bedliner.

Gary Johnson, Ford vice president for North America manufacturing, said that the team is a great example of what efficient teamwork means. He likened the team to the company’s manufacturing team at Kansas City Assembly Plant.

The customizations for the Ford F-150 MVP Edition are being added at Kansas City’s SubTropolis underground business complex. This is where Ford applies custom accessories to vehicles in its energy-efficient cave system.

The truck will remain a standard F-150 with the XLM trim level though the 302A group adds features such as a 4.2-inch productivity screen in the gauge cluster, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear-view camera with Dynamic Hitch Assist, Class IV trailer hitch, SiriusXM radio, remote start, 10-way power front seats with heating functions, SNYC3, power-sliding rear window with privacy glass, LED cargo box lighting, and 18-inch, polished chrome wheels, chrome door and tailgate handles, a chrome exhaust tip, and chrome side steps.

The group also adds $5,245 to the XLT’s price.

Ford is requiring the 302A and Chrome packages, but Kansas City area Ford dealerships can choose the Crew Cab XLT F-150 with four engine options—2WD or 4WD—and features like Trailer Backup Assist.

Mercedes-Maybach SUV Might Be In The Works

mercedes-maybach

We might have dreamed about it until the day came. It was quite hard to imagine that the luxury SUVs have finally arrived. The three-pointed star marque has once again hinted that it might join the ultra elite group of carmakers with a Mercedes-Maybach SUV.

Merc is the latest in the long line of luxury carmakers that bit into the trend. Bentley has the Bentayga. Rolls Royce has the Project Cullinan. Lamborghini has the Urus by 2018. Aston Martin has a plan based on the DBX concept.

However, a Merc official said that although Mercedes is willing and even able to build a luxury SUV, it cannot be done on the current platform. So, if ever Merc does build a luxury SUV, it would be on the next generation platform.

This makes sense, of course, since Maybach’s release, which was based on a completely different portfolio than the previous version, has been widely successful in places like China.

In China, the automaker sold more of the new long-wheelbase Mercedes-Maybach S-Class in a month than it was able to do so during the old Maybach’s “best year.” This renaissance was the push Merc needed in order to plan ahead again.

An SUV based on this current lineup is a wise decision, especially because the SUV has been slowly catering to Merc drivers as well. Since bringing back the M-Class in 1997, the SUV segment has been successful.

Ola Källenius, a Merc board member, said there is an unbroken trend in SUV because people love the high seats, sporty image and all-around usefulness for outdoor adventures. He believes the SUV trend will continue in years to come.

In Mercedes, 30 to 40 percent of the portfolio are SUVs, which Källenius said all carry the Mercedes imaging, meaning there’s no actual conflict in creating a Maybach SUV.

Nissan Navara Pick-Up Has GT-R Engine, 800 bhp

nissan navara

Nissan just announced that its new Navara will have the GT-R engine. There, just let that sink for a while because we’re also just coming into terms with this brand new information.

Based from the source, this is the creation of Severn Valley Motorsport (SVM), the Shropshire-based company that worked into fusing the GT-R engine into the Qashqai. For the Nissan Navara, its goal is to have it reach the top speed of 230 mph.

But unlike the Qashqai, the new Navara is still in the conceptual stage, so it’s not really a truck that is ready for sale yet. Rather, Nissan intends to tease us with what they can do with a pick-up truck that packs the GT-R engine. Builders everywhere would surely come running to get this truck in production.

The Navara-R is expected to come with 800 bhp, but SVM said they are tuning it to have 550 bhp for the standard GT-R version and right up to 1,500 bhp for the top-of-the-line variant. The top speed for the range-topping version would just like be the Bugatti Chiron.

For those interested, SVM can shoehorn an engine to your choosing into a Navara. You also get to choose the appropriate chassis mods that would fit well with the engine you chose. Or if you’ve got more money, you can opt for a body that would have an entire R35 GT-R drivetrain, four-wheel drive gubbines, and driver-flattering technology.

That would more likely cost £175,000 before tax. After tax, it would shoot up past £200,000. SVM said it’s open to suggestions for the concept such as the kind of manual gearbox it would fit in with the engine, as well as if it’s going to be a rear-wheel drive.

SVM is also eyeing the Pulsar hatchback and turn it into the Pulsar GTI-R with the GT-R powerplant. SVM’s Luke Anthony said the company is open to the “craziest” ideas with regards to the concept.

2017 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Special Edition Unveiled

toyota corolla

Since its introduction in 1966, the Toyota Corolla sold over 40 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling car in the world since 1997 when it surpassed the Beetle. In the US market, its popularity is only matched by the Ford F-Series.

When it was redesigned in 2013 as an eleventh generation, it sold again 300,000 units a year, pushing the brand to release a series of special editions and even a TRD-made concept. Now, for its 50th anniversary, Toyota came up with another special edition.

This US-exclusive sedan was dubbed the 50th Anniversary Special Edition, and would be based on the Corolla SE. It will feature a lot of customization, with both the exterior and interior tweaked for a sportier look. There will only be 8,000 units manufactured, making this even rarer than it already seems to be.

According to Toyota, the new special edition model will include the following features: 17” alloy wheels with dark gray inserts and machine finish, 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen, Entune Audio Plus with connected navigation, color 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display, smart key system with push button start and complex-LED headlamps.

Inside, it would also have black mixed media seats with Black Cherry contrast stitching, black interior with Black Cherry contrast stitching on steering wheel, shift boot and center armrest, Black Cherry accented dash panel and door trim, 50th Anniversary Edition floor mats, 50th Anniversary Edition exterior badge, and available Moonroof.

The 50th Anniversary Edition will come in three colors—exclusive color Black Cherry, Classic Silver, Blizzard Pearl. It will begin being sold this fall.

Under the hood, this special edition will have the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine offered in the Corolla SE. It delivers 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque with the CVTi-S transmission.

Pricing has yet to be released, but expect it to cost more than the SE, which retails from $20,635.

2017 Titan Crew Cab With V8 Engine Showcased At NYIAS

2017 Titan Crew

Following the world debut of the new 2017 Nissan GT-R supercar, the company also announced the first public showing of the 2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab, which will compete at the full-size pickup segment.

Officially, it’s the Nissan Titan Crew Cab half-ton pickup, and it will be available nationwide starting this summer. During the 2016 New York International Auto Show in Manhattan, Nissan announced that this would be the standard bearer of the company’s family of Titan pickups.

The Titan Crew Cab is powered by the new 5.6-liter Endurance V8 gasoline engine that churns out 390 horsepower. It will initially be released as a Crew Cab model, though Single and King Cab variants are planned for later this year.

According to Fred Diaz, the division vice president and general manager for Nissan North America, the 2017 Titan Crew Cab will have the same aggressive style as the Titan XD. They will share the same cabs, though Titan’s half ton chassis is different from the XD.

The half-ton pickup will be powered by Nissan’s 5.6-liter V8 engine, which was also featured in the Nissan Titan XD V8 Gas. A V6 gasoline engine will be available as well, although we don’t have details about it yet. The Crew Cab comes with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

It will initially be available in five Crew Cab trim levels in both 4×4 and 4×2 wheel drives. Its V-8 engine and auto transmission will also be packed with Adaptive Shift Control and Downshift Rev Matching.

This V8-powered half-ton pickup offers a range of equipment packages that would allow buyers to customize the features they want for the truck. Diaz said the Crew Cab is in a unique position as it balances well between the heavy duty and light duty pickup truck variants.

Nissan announced its pricing during the NYIAS—$35,290 for the TITAN XD S Crew Cab 4×2 model.

Acura NSX GT3 Race Car Unveiled At NY Auto Show

acura nsx gt3

If it’s even possible, Acura has made overlooking its new NSX more difficult. Although we know for a fact that the Acura NSX went on sale last month, we were still surprised with the unveiling of the 2017 Acura NSX GT3 during the 2016 New York International Auto Show.

Of course, even more surprising is the fact that Acura plans to homologate the model as an FIA GT3 class race car this coming fall.

The Acura NXS GT3 features custom bodywork and aero components such as a deck wing spoiler, underbody diffuser and enlarged hood vents for efficient engine cooling. It is powered by a 3.5-liter, 75-degree, twin turbocharged DOHC V-6 engine. The power unit shares the same specifications as the engine in the production 2017 Acura NSX.

This allows the NSX to produce 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque. The NSX has a top speed of 191 mph. Surely, the GT3 would receive some upgrade on this regard.

The cars also share the same block, heads, valve train, crankshaft, pistons and dry sump lubrication system. The engine will be paired with a 6-speed, sequential-shift racing gearbox that puts power on the rear wheels.

The GT3 version, however, has a new hood that has a larger vent, which is perfect for engine cooling. It has a new and taller air dam as well with a large front spoiler below it.

Acura has yet to reveal details of what’s inside the GT3, although a photo showed that it would have an extensive roll cage, carbon-fiber racing seat, a flat-bottom steering wheel with buttons on the left and right spokes, and a driver information center.

The current Acura NSX has a selling price of $168,400, but expect the NSX GT3 to cost significantly more, especially with the expected changes. Its current competition, the Porsche 911 GT3 R, goes for $479,216.

2017 Kia Cadenza Gets 8-Speed Auto, Fuel Economy

2017 kia cadenza (10)

The 2016 New York International Auto Show highlighted a slew of budget sedans and SUVs that would revamp market availabilities, targets and demands in the following months. One of the most anticipated confirmations is Kia’s 2017 Cadenza.

The brand has finally gives a glimpse of what’s new with the 2017 Kia Cadenza during the New York Auto Show. It can be recalled that the company revealed that the car will arrive in US shores later this year.

The car was first offered to Americans in 2013, so it’s not exactly old, but changes are forthcoming and much needed amid a society of automobile enthusiasts constantly needing upgrades, not to mention options for fuel economy.

The big sedan is related to the Azera, made by sister company Hyundai. It sports the same 3.3-liter V-6 and front-wheel drive setup currently in the outgoing model. The use of the same drive setup is not really surprising, although we expected more from this upgrade—preferably a smaller and more fuel-efficient engine.

The new Cadenza will also replace its current 6-speed automatic with the new 8-speed automatic transmission that promises to improve fuel economy.

If it follows the schedule, the new Kia Cadenza will be the first one from the brand to use the front-wheel and 8-speed auto transmission combination. We’re expecting that combination to be a platform for other future Kia vehicles, although the company has yet to confirm that.

Although it’s looking like the new Cadenza will be more fuel efficient than the current one in the market, Kia did not give any details to how economic it will be. Experts said it’ll be a slight improvement from the 19 mpg city, 28 highway and 22 combined from the current car. Here’s hoping the 2017 Cadenza will breach the 30 mpg threshold.

Outside, the Cadenza will have the same design as the one that debuted last November in Korea. It has a European-inspired exterior while the interior has light updates.

Source: Motor Authority

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Version Goes to North America

fiat 124 spider abarth

The Fiat 124 Spider was based on the classic roadster the brand built between 1966 and 1982. The stylish and compact two-seater has a styling and powerplant founded on the Abarth 500’s.

Early this year, Fiat showcased the 124 Spider in the Abarth Version. It now has a sportier appearance and an even more powerful engine. The only problem is that the Abarth version has only been unveiled for the European market, so North America has to wait a while whether or not Fiat will bring this to their shores.

Fortunately, the company announced that the 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth will arrive for the first time in North America at the 2016 New York Auto Show in Manhattan according to Top Speed.

Compared to the regular Spider, the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth version has numerous features to highlight its edgier and sportier outlook. At front, it has the same honeycomb mesh grille, air vents with black plastic surrounds, as well as larger, revised lower grille with foglamps and a matte black hood.

On the side, it has the 17-inch Gun Metal aluminum roller with Fiat badges, black mirror caps and black roll bard. The rear end remains unchanged except for the chrome exhaust tips.

There are five colors available—Bianco Gelato (White Clear Coat), Rosso Passione (Red Clear Coat), Nero Cinema (Jet Black Metallic), Grigio Argento (Gray Metallic) and tri-coat Bianco Perla (Crystal White Pearl).

Inside, the Elaborazione has red stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, instrument cluster hood, lower instrument panel, and parking brake, as well as matte-black dashboard bezels.

It also has custom instrument cluster, aluminum-accented sport pedals, and a unique gear shift knob. As for the leather seats, customers can choose between black or black and red. The Elaborazione can have black leather and Alcantara Recaro seats.

The Elaborazione Abarth has the same 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission as the 124 Spider, but with the additional Sport Mode drivetrain that can deliver a sportier and more responsive driving experience.

Fiat has yet to release pricing information, even for the standard version, but expect the Elaborazione to be at the $28,000 price range.

Lexus LC 500 and LC 500 Hybrid to Debut At NY Auto Show

Lexus LC 500

Lexus is gearing up for the showdown of some of its 21 models at the 2016 New York Auto Show, which will be held on March 25 until April 3 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. But apart from the 21 Lexus models to make its feature, the company will also be unveiling the all-new LC 500 and its hybrid counterpart.

The new luxury LC coupe was revealed in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit while the LC 500 Hybrid made known its appearance just this March at the Geneva Motor Show.

The NY Auto Show will mark the hybrid’s first North American debut, as well as its first appearance with the Lexus LC 500.

The LC lineup basically presents a new paradigm in Lexus’ engineering processes and design direction. It also marks a new beginning for the brand that aims to be recognized for its aesthetics appeal and engineering performance.

The Lexus LC 500 has a newly developed 10-speed automatic transmission, the first ever in a luxury vehicle. This is also the first Lexus to use the all-new, premium rear-wheel drive luxury platform, which promised enhanced performance. Inside, it has a cockpit-elegant inspired layout that is reminiscent of a sports car.

The hybrid car, on the other hand, uses the world’s first Multi Stage Hybrid System, which is the next generation hybrid powertrain designed for performance automobiles. The system can manage to align speed, power and fuel consumption all at the same time. It has the “M” mode too, which promised to give drivers the experience of driving responsive gear shifts.

Furthermore, Lexus is expected to showcase its 2016 GS F, the 2016 Lexus RX, as well as the GS F and RC F “360 Virtual Reality Experience,” which would allow the show’s attendees to experience driving these cars on a professional race track.

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