Subtlety doesn’t cut it anymore in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. The new CLA-class, proclaimed a “style rebel” by design chief Gorden Wagener, has made that clear with its voluptuous lines and playful styling elements. This “four-door coupe” appears compact, but its only marginally shorter, and actually wider and taller than the legendary 19851995 E-class W124 sedan. READ MORE
Friday, March 29, 2013
2014 Toyota Highlander: New Sheetmetal, Added Comfort, Refinement, and Roominess [2013 New York Auto Show]
The mid-size Highlander made its debut in 2000 as a more carlike alternative to the rugged 4Runner, and it quickly became Toyotas crossover SUV sales leaderbefore everyone had learned to call them crossovers. That term has since become a household word, and the third-generation Highlander hews to the defining elements: unitized construction and front-wheel-drive architecture, with off-road use as a distant, and steadily diminishing, design priority. READ MORE
When Volkswagen debuted the seventh-generation, 2015 Golf at the last years Paris auto show and the 2015 GTI at the Geneva show earlier this year, the automaker tantalizingly revealed nearly everything about both rides. That is, everything except final engine options for the U.S. market. Oh sure, VW furnished European powertrain specifications for both rides, but despite the latest Golf and GTI being still about a year away from going on sale here in the U.S., were an impatient bunchafter all, the Golf and GTI are among our favorite compacts. Thankfully, the wait is over for U.S.-spec powertrain info, which Volkswagen has announced at the 2013 New York auto show.
While the European Golf offers a host of gas and diesel engines, the U.S. model will offer just two: A turbocharged, gas-fed 1.8-liter four and a 2.0-liter diesel four. The 1.8-liter makes the same 170 horsepower as the outgoing Golfs inline-five it replaces, but seven more lb-ft of torque. Once again, the diesel will be dropped into the Golf TDI, but this time around its an all-new engine. Compared to the current Golf TDIs 2.0-liter four, the new enginewhich is a member of VWs new EA288 engine familyproduces the same 236 lb-ft of torque, but 10 additional horsepower, for a total of 150. Volkswagens specificity regarding the regular Golfs transmission choices starts and ends with the promise that both manual and automatic options will be offered; gear counts and the type of automatic werent detailed. Were betting that we get either the Euro models seven- or six-speed dual-clutch auto.
- First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf
- Comparison Test: 2012 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2013 Ford Focus ST
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
As for our favorite hot hatchback, the GTI, it will get the same turbocharged, 2.0-liter four as the Euro model. Only our version will make slightly less horsepower, with VWs initial estimates coming in around 210 ponies. Before you start bellyaching about how Americans always get the short end of the stick, consider that at least the 2015 GTI will make the same 258 lb-ft of torque as the Euro model. The outgoing U.S.-spec GTI packs 200 horses and 207 lb-ft and is hardly a slouch; factor in the newest models slight weight loss, and it should be quicker than before. Regardless, the last-gen GTI was down a few horsepower to its European counterpart, too, so any anguish over missing output shouldnt be a surprise. Once again, a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission will be offered.
Finally, Volkswagen gave no further indication of expected fuel economy for any 2015 Golf derivative, or whether it plans to bring the latest GTDeffectively a diesel-powered GTIto the States. (We suspect it will make it here.) As for the possible next-generation Jetta SportWagen, well, look no further than the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Variant; we expect that here in the U.S. it will be powered by the same 1.8-liter four or 2.0-liter diesel as the Golf.
When is a prototype not a prototype? When a companyoften Honda or Acura these daysshows a so-called “prototype” of an upcoming production vehicle that is, in fact, the finished product. While this may not be a bad idea given how many times a production vehicle has failed to live up to show-car hype, it also takes all the fun out of the reveal of the final vehicle. And as you can see, the all-new 2014 Acura MDX debuting at the New York show is almost identical to the concept we saw in Detroit in January. But, hey, at least we get to talk about equipment, right? READ MORE
2014 Kia Forte Koup Photos and Info: All-New Sekond-Gen Gets Turbokharged Option [2013 New York Auto Show]
Compact two-door coupes have become awfully rare. But Kia is sticking to the formula with the second generation of its Forte Koup, which it launched at the New York auto show. The new model follows the second-generation Forte sedan and hatchback to market and thus completes the revamp of the lineup. Its two-door body keeps the proportions of its predecessor, while exaggerating features such as the headlights and taillights. READ MORE
Big Apple Bomb: Track-Devouring, 500-hp 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Revealed! [2013 New York Auto Show]
Chevrolets Camaro lineup is becoming quite the haven for track-happy hooligans. It already includes the SS 1LE and one of this years Lightning Lap surprises, the mighty ZL1, which broke the 2:58 mark at VIR. And now comes the return of the iconic Z/28 nameplate, affixed to what GM is calling the most track-capable Camaro ever. READ MORE
Sebastian Vettel Named Infinitis Director of Performance, Director of Teamwork Position Still Open [2013 New York Auto Show]
Today at the New York auto show, Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen named Sebastian Vettel as Director of Performance for the Infiniti brand. Vettel, lead driver for Infiniti Red Bull Racing and three-time Formula 1 champ, already has been helping Infiniti imbue its models with more performance (starting with the Infiniti FX Vettel Edition and more recently with the new 2014 Q50 sedan).
Vettels input on the development of the Q50 was said to be significant, as he spent time with engineers in Japan to develop the sedans chassis dynamics, performance, and handling. Infiniti is seeking any and all ways to maximize its $250-million deal with Red Bull Racing, and Vettel is the most obvious way to do so. We speculated just a month ago that Infiniti might put a Red Bull Racing badge on an IPL or other Infiniti car, and naming Vettel as head of performance is possibly a step in that direction.
- Photos and Info: 2014 Infiniti Q50
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Infiniti JX35/QX60
- Future IPL Performance Models to be Developed with Red Bull Racing
I am really happy to extend my extend my relationship with Infiniti and become its Director of Performance said Vettel. Helping to develop the Infiniti Q50 was a very different type of driving duty for me but I approached it in exactly the same way as I do my Formula 1 car. I am looking forward to working closely with Infiniti in developing more of its road cars in the future.
Clearly this move was well underway before the events of this past weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, although you have to wonder if Seb will be a more cooperative Director of Performance than he is a Formula 1 teammate.