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The new 3.0-liter inline-six makes 425 turbocharged horsepower from 5500 rpm all the way up to 7300 rpm.BMW has announced the 2015 M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe, high-performance versions of the new 3 Series and 4 Series that launched this year. The new Ms have stirred controversy in a variety of ways, but one must remember that the M cars traditionally don't follow a specific mold.
Back in 1988, BMW launched the M3 with a high-revving four-cylinder engine even though the top non-M 3 Series model was equipped with an inline-six. The reason: the little four-banger weighed less. The power-dense 2.3-liter four produced 197 horsepower, which was enough to make the original M3 one of the most sought after performance BMWs of all time. Two successive generations of M3 stepped up the cylinder count to six and provided a nice bump in power, and the M3 that came after them was equipped with a screaming V8. The M3's history dictates that M cars aren't about staying the same - they're meant to push limits - and M Motorsport engineers decided that the new M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe would push limits best with a twin-turbocharged inline-six.
For those of you worried that the new mill will underwhelm, on paper it outperforms the last M3's 4.0-liter V8 in a number of areas, including weighing 22 pounds less. The new 3.0-liter inline-six makes 425 turbocharged horsepower from 5,500 rpm all the way up to 7,300 rpm - just 300 rpm before the redline is reached. That's five more horsepower than the V8, but more importantly, the 1800-rpm powerband is very broad. Torque from the turbo six is even more impressive: peak torque of 406 pound-feet starts at 1850 rpm and doesn't start falling off until 5,500 rpm, right when the engine starts to make peak horsepower. That compares very favorably to the V8's oft-bemoaned max torque of just 295 lb-ft.
Score one for the turbo M.
2015 BMW M3 Sedan, M4 Coupe are officially revealed [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Dec 2013 18:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Small sedans are big business for luxury automakers. The C-Class is the top seller for Mercedes-Benz, much as the 3 Series is for BMW, but Jaguar has historically missed out on that market. Its last attempt, the X-Type, proved woefully inadequate, and Jaguar hasn't attempted to take on that market again since. But that's all about to change.
Coventry has been working on a new small Jaguar for some time now (using test mules like the one above wearing modified XF body panels), and according to the latest reports coming in from the UK, it will showcase the result of those efforts at the Paris Motor Show next October. The show car will take the form of a pre-production concept that is expected to preview the production version very closely before the final item is unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.
Tipped to be called XS (somewhat appropriately for the brand's smallest model), the new sedan is expected to be the first to use the company's new aluminum platform previewed by the C-X17. Expect styling to follow along similar lines to said crossover concept and the F-Type sportscar, with eventual sedan, wagon and coupe versions to round out the family.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mercedes-Benz is recalling 130 SL-Class roadsters built between January 16, 2013 and April 30, 2013 over concerns that the vehicle's airbags won't fire if a very light person is in the passenger seat. The issue rests with what's called the Occupant Classification System.
The OCS is a system that figures out if there's an occupant in a seat based on the amount of weight being exerted on a sensor, and will arm or disarm the airbags accordingly. The affected models - SL550, SL63 AMG and SL65 AMG - might not detect a very light person, which could increase the chance of injury were the car to get in a wreck.
Naturally, Mercedes will be notifying owners and replacing the passenger-side OCS free of charge. Take a look below for the bulletin from NHTSA.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Volvo is in the midst of a three-stage design revolution. The first stage came with the reveal of the Concept Coupe in Frankfurt just this past September. What you see here is our first glimpse at the second stage.
The Volvo Concept XC Coupe previewed here will be unveiled in full on January 8 in advance of the Detroit Auto Show. While the previous concept was all sleek, the Concept XC Coupe takes a more rugged, utilitarian approach with a hatchback roofline, higher ride height, knobbier tires, lower body cladding and a rooftop box. From what we can see, it looks like a cross between the previous concept and an XC70 wagon that could preview a soft-road replacement for the C30 hatchback.
That's about all there is to say at this point, but you can scope out the press release along with the video below and the trio of teaser images in the gallery above.
Volvo previews Concept XC Coupe ahead of Detroit reveal [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Dec 2013 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Images of the overhauled BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe have leaked ahead of a debut at next month's Detroit Auto Show, along with option sheets and some specs.
Both wear the standard hallmarks of BMW's M division. There's a subtle power dome in the hood, along with the requisite M3/4-branded strakes on the front fenders. The front and rear fascia are more aggressive than what we've seen in the 3/4 Series M Sport package, as well. Split-five-spoke wheels mean the neither car will stand out in the family portrait and those gold calipers, meanwhile, signify what has been rumored for some time - the M3 and M4 will be getting carbon-ceramic brakes.
The cabin is home to the standard suite of M accoutrements, including a new steering wheel and more heavily bolstered seats. Special trim, including carbon fiber, will be available to further set these cars apart from the standard models.
We reported on the M3 and M4's powertrains back in September, but as a quick refresher, both cars will use a 430-horsepower, twin-turbocharged six-cylinder with the owner's choice of a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch transmission.
According to the options sheet provided by BimmerBoost, an adaptive suspension, 19-inch wheels and a head-up display will be available as optional goodies, along with a range of more traditional luxury options like heated and powered seats, a parking assistant, side and top-view cameras and LED lighting.
Finally, the color palette - both cars will be available in eight colors. The M3 you see above is in Yas Marina Blue Metallic, while we're guessing the M4 is Austin Yellow Metallic (which reminds more than one Autoblog editor of the E46's Phoenix Gold).
Take a look up top for M4 images and down below for M3 images, and then let us know what you think of the new sports cars down in Comments.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The 2014 North American International Auto Show is right around the corner, which means it's high time we find out which cars and trucks have become finalists for the prestigious North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards.
The finalists - three in cars and three in three trucks/utilities - are dominated by American brands, with two-thirds of the finalists hailing from either General Motors or Chrysler (don't worry Ford, there's always next year), while models from Mazda and Acura can also be found in each contest. Here now is the list of finalists for the big prizes:
2014 North American Car of the Year:
2014 North American Truck/Utility of the Year:
Interestingly, the North American Car of the Year grouping is identical to the three finalists chosen by Motor Trend for its Car of the Year - a contest won by the Cadillac CTS. The Corvette Stingray, meanwhile, is the most performance-minded entry we've seen on the list for some time, and the diminutive Mazda3 is there as the affordable, stylish and economical entry.
For the truck/utility award, we're somewhat surprised to see the Acura MDX make the list, while the Chevrolet Silverado is the sole 'traditional' truck to make it to the finals. Despite its controversial looks, Jeep's Cherokee is more than a dark horse in our eyes, and advanced features like a nine-speed auto and a range of four-wheel drive systems could make it a compelling choice.
There are some enthusiast-leaning omissions in each category (you can view the entire list of finalists in the press release), including the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Jaguar F-Type on the Car of the Year side. In the trucks/utility category, both the new Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the BMW X5 are great steers, too. All of the aforementioned were voted onto the NACTOY short list for the awards, but failed to make it into the final three slots.
As always, we want to know which of these vehicles will win their respective competitions. Put yourself in the shoes of the 48 journalists that are able to cast a vote, and have your say in the polls below. Once your vote has been cast, dive into Comments and let us know which models you'd pick if you were on the jury.
2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year finalists announced [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 Dec 2013 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Porsche hasn't offered a four-cylinder engine since the 968 went out of production in 1995 - the better part of two decades ago. There'd been talk of a four-pot Boxster or an even smaller model to slot in below it, but while the latest intel indicates that Porsche is moving ahead with its four-cylinder plans, it's a different kind of vehicle that will get it first.
That, of course, would be the new Macan. Just revealed a few weeks ago at the LA Auto Show, the Macan crossover is being launched with a pair of twin-turbocharged V6 engines (a 3.0 with 340 horsepower and a 3.6 with 400 hp) and a six-cylinder turbodiesel with 258 hp. But smaller engines, according to emerging reports from Autocar and Auto Express, are on their way.
Word has it that Porsche is preparing a 2.0-liter turbo four with 280 horsepower and a diesel with the same displacement and cylinder count, engines that will power new entry-level Macan models that will slot in beneath the existing Macan S, Macan S Diesel and Macan Turbo. While the diesel is tipped to be ported over from the Volkswagen parts bin, the four-cylinder gasoline engine is said to be under development by Porsche itself, which could mean it will have a boxer layout.
Whether either of these four-cylinder engines will make the transatlantic voyage Stateside remains to be seen, but we'd be a bit surprised if the gas four doesn't appear. However, given that the Macan S Diesel doesn't appear to be heading our way with any great speed, we wouldn't count on the base Macan Diesel arriving any time soon.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Jaguar has been on a campaign to replace any and all retro cues with modern ones. Just look at the current XJ and the one it replaced, or the XF and the S-Type that came before it and you'll know what we mean. The one remnant is the XK and its oval grille, in and of itself a throwback to Jags of old (which started to look more like a certain Star Wars alien in above-pictured XKR-S form). But don't expect it to hang around.
Newer Jaguars have been ditching the oval aperture for a more squared-off one, and the next XK will have to fall in line. But don't expect that to be the only change in store for the next-generation Jaguar coupe and convertible.
With the new F-Type now holding the more enthusiast-oriented ground, the next XK is expected to grow bigger, softer and more luxurious. That will likely mean a more commodious back seat as well, though that shouldn't be hard to do considering the lack of space in the back of the current model...Permalink | Email this | Comments
Jeff Bracken, Lexus' US group vice president and general manager, knows his company lost its position as America's biggest luxury brand back in 2011, and it's a mantle that his employer probably won't be getting back any time soon. That's because Lexus is electing not to follow the luxury segment's downmarket trend any more than its $32,500 CT 200h hybrid hatchback. "Since we won't be going down below $30,000, it will be very difficult for us to ever regain luxury leadership," Bracken admitted on Autoline After Hours late last week.
Rivals Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi all have new low-end entries on sale or in the wings to entice new buyers and fortify their CAFE scores, but Lexus has Toyota and Scion to capture sales underneath its lineup. Instead, Bracken hints that Lexus is going upmarket and higher-performance, fueling ongoing rumors of a LFA successor, or perhaps a new offering based on the lauded 2012 LF-LC coupe concept shown above, a production version of which could also slot in where the unloved SC convertible left off. "We need to begin bringing to market luxury performance... higher performance vehicles. IS-F certainly was the beginning of that, maybe on the lower end," says Bracken.
Later in the online video interview show, Bracken gets even more candid:
We've revealed the LF-CC now as an RC, right? Do you like the styling? So we feel the same way, and that would be a great example of Akio's thumbprint on where he's trying to take the company as it relates to beautiful styling. IS, RC, and hopefully these concepts you've become familiar with will ultimately make it to production."The "Akio" in the quote above is, of course, CEO Akio Toyoda, who has made injecting emotion into the way his family's companies vehicles drive and look a top priority.
To that same end, earlier today, Lexus announced plans to reveal an unnamed new F-branded performance model at next month's Detroit Auto Show, but it isn't going exclusively top-shelf with future products - a compact crossover based on the LF-NX showcar is expected to slot in underneath its hugely successful RX CUV, bringing along with it a new turbocharged four-cylinder (an engine also expected shortly in the new IS sedan).
Lexus has not diversified its alternative fuel powertrains as much as its key rivals, most of which now offer both diesel and hybrid variants in at least one or two key models. On this subject, Bracken remains pessimistic, saying, "We have elected at this point not to head down the diesel path," while also saying that Lexus has no near-term plans for a plug-in model, nor any firm plans for a bi-fuel compressed natural gas offering.
For more of Bracken's musings on Lexus' future, scroll down to watch the Autoline After Hours episode video below.
Lexus pushing upmarket as others move down, LF-LC production hinted [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 Dec 2013 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The story we posted about a dealership accepting Bitcoins as payment for a Tesla Model S is reportedly only partially true. Lamborghini Newport Beach instead used BitPay to exchange the electronic currency for US dollars before completing the sale, according to "Squawk on the Street" on CNBC.
"We found out that by using a little program that Bitcoin uses, which is actually BitPay, we would have received US dollars," Pietro Frigerio, general manager of the dealership, says in the interview. "It's like if you come into the dealership and you want to buy a Lamborghini using gold bars, we would not accept it. So you'd go out, exchange it, and you'd come back to us. That was how it worked [with the Tesla and the Bitcoins]."
Frigerio says that the dealership doesn't accept Bitcoin as a currency and only accepts US dollars as payment for its vehicles. That said, we wouldn't be surprised if using BitPay to turn Bitcoins into US dollars for the used Model S purchase was actually easier than going through a more traditional financial establishment. Head over to CNBC to check out the "Squawk on the Street" interview with more details.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ferrari tends to sell its models out extremely quickly - its wait lists are the stuff of legend. That's especially true when the cars in question are of the fastest or most exclusive variety. If new reports are to be believed, Maranello has already sold the entire 499-unit production run of its new LaFerrari hypercar, and now Australia's Motoring is claiming that Ferrari has also filled its order book for the entire first year's production run of its new 458 Speciale.
For those unfamiliar, the 458 Speciale follows in a proud line of hardcore mid-engined V8 Ferraris in the footsteps of the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia. It's lighter, more powerful and more aerodynamically advanced than the 458 Italia upon which it's based, and just trails half a second behind the more powerful F12 Berlinetta (and the aforementioned LaFerrari) as the third-quickest road car ever to lap the Italian automaker's Fiorano test track. That means it's quicker even than the 599 GTO and Enzo.
Although we've yet to receive official word, we're expecting a sticker price approaching $300,000 - about a quarter more than the 458 Italia. But that doesn't appear to have stopped Ferrari from raking in the orders. Check it out in our substantially updated image gallery above.
Ferrari 458 Speciale already sold out for first year originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 Dec 2013 14:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
We've got absolutely zero actual information from the automaker on what its "Next Lexus F" will be, other than what was just released today in this brief press release and lone teaser image, but our best guess is that it's the next-generation IS-F sedan. The timing would make sense, considering that the latest IS just hit the market earlier this year as a 2014 model.
Since we know so little, we'll just share some of the exuberant marketing speak contained in the press release for your reading pleasure:
Designed from the asphalt up, to strike at the heart, the newest Lexus F model will debut at the January 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Engineered from scratch, one performance layer at a time, the newest F model promises a bold, gritty, experience synonymous with the famed Lexus F heritage.
Pretty poetic, don't you think? Click on the image above to enlarge, and scroll down below to read the rest of the awfully brief press release in its entirety.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Generally speaking, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S Wagon is no slouch. It's considerably more sporting than some full-blown sports cars, all while being able to haul the kids to soccer practice or make a quick trip to the grocery store. What if you want more, though? Well, if the E63's 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque aren't enough to sate your appetite for power, the team from Brabus is just a phone call away, and now the German tuning house has turned its hand to the E63 Wagon.
This might be the only 838-horsepower, 848-pound-foot car to be disappointing, although that's merely because its sedan counterpart comes to market with 850 horsepower and 1,069 lb-ft of torque. Despite these lower power figures, though, Brabus is claiming that the 850 6.0 Wagon is actually faster to 62 than the Sedan - 3.1 seconds in the long-roof and 3.5 in the four-door. Top speed is limited to 186 miles per hour.
All the extra fury is thanks to a bored-out version of the E63's 5.5-liter, biturbocharged V8. Now displacing 5.9 liters, it's been fitted with heavily revised internals and sports (naturally) larger turbochargers. Brabus tells Evo that the lower power output of the Wagon is all in the name of engine life, but if it's really faster to 60, we can't imagine owners will be all that bothered. We've got a fairly hefty gallery of images of this long-roof rocket up top, so scroll up and let us know what you think.
Mercedes E63 AMG wagon gets 838 hp thanks to Brabus originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 08 Dec 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
If you're in the market for a rugged and capable off-road SUV, the redesigned 2014 Range Rover Sport is quickly proving itself worthy of a second look. Although it may have gotten lost among the 22 SUVs vying for the Motor Trend SUV of the Year, the Range Rover Sport has followed up its Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road 4x4 of the Year award with a similar honor, having just been named Four Wheeler magazine's Four Wheeler of the Year. The Land Rover beat out the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel and 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk (in addition to the updated Toyota 4Runner Trail and Dodge Durango, among others.
To qualify as a contender for Four Wheeler of the Year, a new or updated SUV must be on sale before January 15, 2014 with a planned production run of more than 1,500 and an available two-speed transfer case. The five SUVs were tested for a full week before the Range Rover Sport broke Jeep's three-year stranglehold on the award, which won with the Wrangler for the last two years and with the Grand Cherokee in 2011.
Range Rover Sport beats Jeep models, nabs Four Wheeler of the Year award originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 07 Dec 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Just five months ago, our spy photographers caught what appeared to be a mule for the forthcoming Lexus NX crossover with the body of a CT 200h for disguise. Then the LF-NX Concept CUV debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (it showed up at the Tokyo Motor Show as well) with a massive spindle grille and an extreme version of Lexus' sharp-edged new styling language on full display. Now Auto Express reports that a production version of the LF-NX concept will grace the Geneva Motor Show next March and go on sale next summer. If the names that Lexus trademarked a while back are any indication, it'll come in two trims, NX 200t and NX 300h.
Concept vehicles often look outrageously bold, with more extroverted styling than what eventually makes it into the production version. But Lexus reportedly will leave much of the LF-NX concept's styling alone for the production version, citing its customers' changing tastes.
"What we're finding is that these days customers want to be more expressive, so a lot of the concept's inherent design will come out in the finished car," says Paul Van der Burgh, Lexus' European director. "Why would you want something that looked like everything else in the segment?"
Rumors of a brand-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine have been floating around since those first test mules were spotted, and they were seemingly confirmed when the LF-NX concept was displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show with the new engine. That'll be the NX 200t model, and the NX 300h model is expected to be a hybrid model with the 2.5-liter four and electric motor found in the IS300h and GS300h.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Maybe you've heard of Bitcoin by now, but if you haven't, here's what you need to know: it's a decentralized, electronic currency contained in the world's first completely open financial network (for a better understanding, visit this informative Washington Post article). Bitcoin can be used to buy all sorts of products through the growing list of vendors who accept the currency, and Lamborghini Newport Beach now can be added to that list.
On Wednesday, the Lamborghini dealership sold a Tesla Model S to a customer who paid for the car in Bitcoin, which were converted by an exchange service into US dollars. In an announcement on its website, Lamborghini Newport Beach says it's "fully capable of accepting Bitcoin as payment for vehicles." The electronic currency's value has increased greatly since it started catching on in early 2011, and, as of this writing, one Bitcoin is worth around $900.
If we'd only bought 100 of them for around $100 a couple of years ago...
Tesla Model S purchased with Bitcoin from Lamborghini dealer originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ferrari announced a panoramic roof option for its all-wheel drive FF at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, promising the new full-length glass panel would offer its well-heeled clientele "a genuine open-air driving feeling, while providing thermal and acoustic insulation." That statement was intriguing, as my experience with glass roofs usually ends abruptly after I close the opaque shade - as a Southern Californian, I always find tinted glass panels too hot during the day and too cold at night.
While the FF I reviewed in August was fitted with a solid aluminum roof, I was fortunate to catch up with a brand-new silver Ferrari FF (it only had about 160 miles on the odometer) with the optional panoramic roof (a $17,666 upgrade) at the Formula One race at Circuit of the Americas just last month. It was my lucky day, as I was about to spend about six hours with the four-place Italian, blissfully enjoying it during the warm day until long after the sun had set on the Texas horizon.
- Unlike the electrochromatic sunroof Ferrari offered on its 612 Scaglietti a few years ago (which was able to vary the amount of light coming through its panel into the cabin with an electronically reactive color-changing gel sandwiched between its panels), the large glass roof on the FF does not utilize an electrical current to work. Instead, it employs a special reflective glass (LowE) that is coated during manufacturing to permanently minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that passes through. While the special glass blocks the invisible light that heats your skin and warms the cabin uncomfortably on hot summer days, it still allows visible light to pass through so the cabin stays bright. As an added benefit, the LowE glass has insulating properties, keeping temperatures from passing from one side to the other in extreme climates.
- While most automakers split their panoramic roofs into two or more panels, Ferrari has elected to go with one very large single piece of glass. The glass is fixed, meaning it does not pop-up or slide back, and it extends from the edge of the glass windshield rearward to the end of the roof. A small aluminum panel, about five inches wide and serving as a base for the satellite radio antennae, separates it from the glass rear window. The panel is offered in both body colors (as was the case on my silver test car) or painted black (as we saw in the first press release). After seeing both, I prefer it painted black, as the panel visually disappears and blends into the glass on either side.
- The FF's panoramic roof appears slightly reflective and dark from the outside, but the view from the inside is much lighter both day and night. The driver and front passenger enjoy the open cabin (the glass panel actually provides more head clearance), but their forward seating position means a glance upward still means looking at the opaque windshield header. Interestingly enough, the panoramic roof is actually better taken in the from the rear seats, where the view is unrestricted, expansive and rather dramatic. The clear roof visually opens up the cabin, giving the illusion that it is larger inside. After experiencing it during the day, evening and night, I couldn't find any faults. The new panoramic roof is not just a no-compromise improvement - it's a must-have upgrade.
- Thankfully, swapping a large aluminum panel for glass doesn't noticeably affect performance. The spectacular hand-assembled 6.3-liter V12 screams every bit as loudly, maybe even a bit more, with the new roof. The all-wheel drive FF remains a driver's car, with wickedly quick steering, strong brakes and more cornering grip than most passengers will tolerate. Only a short list of vehicles can best its exotic acceleration, and none of those will offer as much comfort when stuck in gridlock traffic.
- My car was loaded to the sills with more than $70,000 worth of options, which isn't uncommon on a Ferrari. The list including the aforementioned roof, range-topping carbon-fiber steering wheel with LED tach, diamond-quilted leather and the carbon interior package.
- One final observation: A single afternoon with Ferrari's unusual FF is simply too short.
Judging by the direction Audi is taking with recent concept vehicles, the forthcoming Audi Q1 crossover - confirmed for production in 2016 - should be an exciting little crossover. Last year, the automaker revealed the Crosslane Coupe Concept, and now it has announced it will reveal a new CUV concept at the Detroit Auto Show next month.
Teased in a trio of sketches, Audi says this unnamed concept is designed with a shooting brake style, which to us it makes it look like a combination of an Audi Allroad and a three-door A3. Little information is available on this concept, but it is about seven inches shorter than the Q3 and Audi notes that it will possess "design elements that are typical of e-tron models," which suggests some sort of powertrain electrification. There's still about a month before the Detroit show kicks off, but until then you can check out the sketches and press release (posted below) that Audi has provided.
Audi renders crossover concept for Detroit, is it the Q1? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
American consumers will remember the Land Rover Defender as a utilitarian SUV that was sold in the US for a short time. What many may not realize, though, is that in its home market the Defender is arguably one of the most versatile vehicles around, available in a number of different body styles ranging from a three-door hardtop to a chassis cab. Naturally, there's a pickup variant.
As Land Rover continues to wrestle about what to do with the next Defender, it throws into question the future of Land Rover's hauler. Now, a report from What Car? is claiming that we'll see a new Defender-based pickup in 2017, and that it will rival Volkswagen's Amarok.
What Car? spoke with Gerry McGovern, Land Rover's design boss, who indicated that a pickup will join the Defender's replacement, but only after more conventional five- and seven-passenger SUVs are launched. Unlike the current Defender pickup, this new model would follow more of a luxury theme as well, although just how luxurious Land Rover could go without alienating the rough-and-tumble bunch that value the Defender's spartan nature remains unclear.
Even if a new Defender Pickup is launched, much like the Amarok, we shouldn't count on it making a trek across the pond (although there's still hope for the standard model), according to Motor Trend. Blame America's Chicken Tax for that.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Saab is officially building cars again. Production of the 9-3 Sedan has kicked back off in Trollhättan, Sweden, and the first example is reportedly earmarked for the company's museum. Initial sales are targeted for China, although Swedish customers will also be able to buy new Saabs built in their country right away, too. It isn't immediately clear if the model will be available in the rest of Europe, let alone in North America.
The initial run of 9-3s will be powered by a 220-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder before an electric model joins the range next year. There are no Biopower or XWD all-wheel-drive models presently in production. And while the lion's share of the 2014 9-3 is a carryover from the pre-bankruptcy car, there are some changes, including a new anti-whiplash seat system and a "greater number of non-GM parts," reports SaabsUnited.
"I am very proud of the dedication and the focus that NEVS management and employees have demonstrated over the year that has passed since we became owners of the plant in Trollhättan, and who have made this possible. Swedish expertise along with Japanese technology around batteries and new lightweight materials and our Chinese group's focus on green technology is our strength for the future," said Kai Johan Jiang, the founder of Saab's parent company, National Electric Vehicle Sweden.
Sales of the new 9-3 will start in Sweden via NEVS' website on December 10. Prices for the manual-trans model start 279,000 Swedish Krona ($42,842), while the automatic starts at 289,000 ($44,377). That pricing is said to be roughly 10 percent less expensive than a similarly spec'd Griffin model cost in 2012.
Scroll down for a full press release on the relaunch of Saab from NEVS, and check out our friends over at SaabsUnited, who have done an excellent job chronicling the rebirth of the 9-3, including live pictures from the plant.Permalink | Email this | Comments