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    William Maley

    Volkswagen Crossover Concept - Number #3

    The long road to Volkswagen's crossover for the U.S. has taken another turn with the introduction of the Cross Coupe GTE Concept.
    The concept falls in between the seven-seat CrossBlue concept shown at Detroit last year and the and the CrossBlue Coupe shown at Shanghai. The concept carries such details as a two-bar grille, narrow headlights, and flared-wheel arches. As a whole, the concept reminds us of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, especially in the back. The interior is basically the same as the CrossBlue concept with a 12.3-inch screen for the cluster and a 10.1-inch touchscreen display.
    Power will come from a plug-in hybrid powertrain which pairs a 3.6L V6 and two electric motors (one on each axle) delivering a total output of 355 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The system features a number of modes ranging using electric power for a short distance (20 Miles) to using the full potential of the system for sporty driving. As for the platform, the Cross Coupe GTE Concept uses the modular MQB platform.
    Source: Volkswagen

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    Press Release is on Page 2
    VOLKSWAGEN CROSS COUPE GTE MAKES WORLD DEBUT AT THE 2015 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
    New five-seater plug-in hybrid concept shows the future design language for Volkswagen’s North American SUVs
    Mid-size SUV uses V6 plug-in hybrid drivetrain, with 276-horsepower 3.6 VR6® FSI engine, two electric motors (54 and 114 hp) and all-wheel drive
    The front end of the concept car offers a look at a new SUV for the U.S.
    Interactive gesture control for the instrument panel opens up a new dimension of information and operating quality
    Sporty GTE Mode is balanced by zero tailpipe emissions EV driving for up to 20 miles in E-Mode
    The concept car, with five seats and an overall length of 190.8 inches, offers outstanding comfort on long journeys
    From the end of 2016, Volkswagen will build the seven-seater mid-size SUV at the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee

    Wolfsburg / Detroit, January 2015. At the end of 2016, Volkswagen will start production of one of its most important new models in the past five decades in Chattanooga, Tennessee: a seven-seater mid-size SUV. As a preview to this vehicle, Volkswagen is now showing the five-seater Cross Coupe GTE at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This stylish and upscale SUV uses a plug-in hybrid system with a maximum output of 355 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive system that uses an “electric driveshaft”. The hybrid has a manufacturer-estimated fuel economy rating of 70 MPGe.
    Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen says: “The Cross Coupe GTE is the ambassador of a new design language developed by Volkswagen for the U.S." And he continues, "The concept car has a commanding presence; it is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive.”
    “Numerous details hint at how we envision a future production SUV model for North America. The underlying concept combines German engineering and design with a vehicle that suits the American lifestyle. That means high efficiency, clear and powerful design, logical operation and supreme quality—combined with lots of space, superior performance, and outstanding comfort.”
    The GTE acronym generally applies to all sporty Volkswagen models with a high-tech plug-in hybrid drivetrain. They offer the driving characteristics of a grand tourer (Gran Turismo or GT) and, thanks to one or more electric motors and a battery (E as in Electric), they also offer zero-emissions driving. The Cross Coupe has a zero-emissions range of up to 20 miles and can reach 60 mph from rest in just 6.0 seconds. The car has various operating modes: E-Mode, GTE, Hybrid, Off-road and Battery Hold/Battery Charge.
    The Cross Coupe GTE is the third concept car presented by Volkswagen on the way to the production version of the mid-size SUV. Together, all three concepts—the CrossBlue presented in Detroit in January 2013, the CrossBlue Coupe most recently shown in Los Angeles in November 2013 and the Cross Coupe GTE—represent just a part of the wide spectrum of SUV variants that can be produced off Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) architecture.
    Exterior
    The Cross Coupe GTE, which is painted in Grand Pacific Glacier blue, has an even stronger presence than the concept cars unveiled in 2013. Although all three SUVs were based on the Volkswagen design DNA and have styling features in common, the Cross Coupe GTE’s detailing marks a break with the previous concept cars and thus increases the momentum towards series production.
    The concept car now presented in Detroit is 190.8 inches long, 79.9 inches wide and 68.3 inches high. Klaus Bischoff says: “The car makes a visual statement from every angle. Regardless of whether you imagine the Cross Coupe GTE in Manhattan, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in California or in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, this SUV looks upscale everywhere.”
    The powerful exterior design is characterized by a very clear and logical line structure. The precise edges of the long hood look like they have been cut with a laser. The headlights, turn signals and the radiator grille merge together seamlessly, with two aluminum bars (polished at the front, brushed on top) forming the basic structure of the radiator grille.
    The design of the lower air inlet is just as striking as that of the radiator grille. The outside is framed by high-gloss black trim, with a polished aluminum insert on the inside that mirrors the corresponding elements on the radiator grille. The LED dual headlights are a particularly striking and distinctive feature, with the outer modules generating the low beam, while the inner ones provide the high beam. The distinctive Daytime Running Light signature will also be seen in future production models. This consists of the four LED headlights and four "LED light wings", two of which are in the radiator grille and two in the lower air intake.
    The sharp front ridge of the hood forms a line that extends over the front fenders and below the windows to the tailgate. Another strong character line is formed at a lower level between the wheelarches and incorporates the door handles. Like the entire car, the side profile itself has powerful proportions and an upscale appearance. The combination of an A-pillar that is set a long way back and emphasizes the raised hood, the strikingly sloped C-pillar, and the short overhangs give the design a sporty yet rugged appearance. The overhangs also give the vehicle very competitive ramp breakover, approach and departure angles for excellent off-road performance.
    The wheelarches emphasize the power and the physical presence of the SUV, and give it an extremely confident stance. The wheelarch on the driver's side houses the service flap for the charging plug for the lithium-ion battery and the passenger side has the fuel filler flap. The 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, shod with 285/40 tires, have 10 highly polished spokes.
    At the rear, the side character line feature merges into a polished aluminum trim strip, above which are trapezoidal LED taillights. The Cross Coupe GTE also follows the new Volkswagen design language for the U.S. at the back, with a focus on clearly defined horizontal line structures. The striking design of the rear lights, the strict horizontal look of the tailgate and an aluminum panel extending right across the bumper follow this language. A skidplate with an integrated diffuser forms the final major design element at the back of the SUV.
    InteriorThe Cross Coupe GTE not only previews future Volkswagen SUV exterior design—it also shows how Volkswagen designers envision a mid-size SUV interior of tomorrow. This look ahead reveals the consistent further development of two key features of Volkswagen interiors. The first is the clear, horizontal orientation of the interior architecture, especially the control panel.
    The second characteristic feature of every Volkswagen interior is the self-explanatory and intuitive operation of all elements and systems. Volkswagen will retain this in the age of interactive information and control systems. In the Cross Coupe GTE, the combination of gloss black applications with the seamlessly integrated displays and chrome elements creates a striking new interior design language that is clearly influenced by the German Bauhaus movement.
    Under the windshield, the concept car features an Ink Blue Nappa leather border that matches the Grand Pacific Glacier exterior paintwork. Like a wing, the information and control level extends across the whole width of the car. On the outside of the instrument panel, there are two horizontal polished aluminum air vents. The 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen, which is integrated in the middle of the control panel, is framed by two sets of vertical air vents on either side.
    The whole area boasts a completely new architecture so that the infotainment and instrument panel appear to be a single unit. All functions are controlled via touchscreen. This high-end digital world is capped by an Active Info Display, with displays that can be individually set by the driver.
    The driver and front passenger can manage all infotainment functions and the basic vehicle configuration via the 10.1-inch touchscreen, using proximity sensors and gesture control. Gesture control is a completely new feature, and allows occupants to swipe over a playlist from some distance away to browse and play tunes.
    The layout of the graphics changes depending on the selected driving profile—Snow, Sport, On-road and Off-road. Furthermore, navigation data can be displayed in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional form. In the 3-D view the user can configure the display individually at three or even more levels that float above one another in a virtual space. They all show the map with the position of the vehicle but with different information: if the driver has configured the Points-of-Interest (POI), the middle level has geographic information such as the current altitude while the bottom Car level has the route and position. The levels can be freely moved from the top to the bottom, but individual settings are always made on the top level.
    The 12.3-inch instrumentation screen has a conventional shape, but all the information shown is digital. The 1,440 x 540 pixel resolution gives extremely high-quality interactive graphic presentation of all details. Individual interactions/graphics are allocated to different basic functions. The graphics change, for example depending on the drive mode selected, such as E-Mode or GTE, and information such as driving, navigation and assistance functions can be integrated in the area as required.
    A brushed aluminum horizontal strip runs across the whole width of the interior below the infotainment screen and instrument cluster. A touchscreen below this strip is used to control the climate control, including the heated and cooled seats. The shift lever for the 6-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission always remains in a central position, like a joystick. A quick click activates the R, N and D modes; a separate button, integrated in the lever, switches to P. The rotary driving profile selector for the On-road, Off-road, Sport and Snow profiles is housed behind the shift lever and uses lightpipe elements (transparent, perfused with LED light) that are fully in keeping with the modern look of the interior. Black hard keys take care of the ESC, E-Mode and GTE-Mode, while aluminum is used for the start/stop button.
    The seats feature elegant bi-color semi-aniline Nappa leather surfaces, with perforated leather in the center that creates a visual link to the aluminum covers on the high-end speakers in the doors. The rear seat bench has a two-third/one-third split fold, resulting in a continuous cargo floor. The rear-seat climate control is also controlled via a touchscreen. Attachments for tablets are incorporated in the headrests of the rear seats and the Volkswagen Media Control app enables them to access the radio, media sources, and navigation via Wi-Fi.
    Powertrain
    Thanks to the modular transverse matrix (MQB) architecture, Volkswagen can not only offer a vehicle with conventional gasoline and diesel engines, but can produce them as plug-in hybrids, with natural gas powertrains, and as zero tailpipe emissions electric and fuel cell vehicles. This means that the Cross Coupe GTE, too, can be produced with every conceivable powertrain.
    The SUV concept is powered by a 3.6-liter VR6® gasoline engine and two electric motors. The six-cylinder direct-injection engine (FSI) delivers 276 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The two electric motors produce 54 hp and 162 lb-ft (front) and 114 hp and 199 lb-ft (rear). They are powered by a compact lithium-ion battery housed in the center tunnel, which is rated at 14.1 kWh. The total output of the drive system adds up to 355 hp and 280 lb-ft, enough to power the Cross Coupe GTE onto a top speed of 130 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.0 seconds.
    The Cross Coupe GTE features a number of driving profiles: On-road (with Comfort and Eco sub-modes), Off-road (with Rocks, Sludge & Sand and Gravel), Sport and Snow. The profiles change the setup of the SUV. There are also five drive modes: E-Mode; Hybrid; GTE; Off-road; and Battery Hold / Battery Charge.
    E-Mode. Thanks to the lithium-ion battery, the Cross Coupe GTE can travel up to 20 miles as an EV. In E-Mode, the 114-hp rear electric motor drives the vehicle and the VR6 engine is shut down and decoupled from the drivetrain by disengaging the clutch. As soon as the gasoline engine needs to be restarted due, for instance, to the battery charge status, it re-engages smoothly in a fraction of a second. Power electronics manage the flow of high-voltage energy from and to the battery and to the electric motors. The 12-volt electrical system is supplied by a DC/DC converter. The battery is charged via external power sources or while driving.
    Hybrid. The concept car starts in Hybrid Mode by default. The Cross Coupe GTE is then a classical full hybrid that charges the battery via regenerative braking and automatically uses the VR6 engine and/or the electric motor depending on the drive situation. In this mode, the battery state of charge is kept constant; the driver can actively influence this by using the battery hold function.
    Coasting: As soon as the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator and the battery is sufficiently charged, the gasoline engine and electric motors are shut down and disengaged from the drivetrain.
    Recuperation Mode: If the driver removes his or her foot from the accelerator or brakes when the battery is not sufficiently charged, both electric motors work as generators and feed the energy generated during braking to the lithium-ion battery. In this case, too, the VR6 engine is shut down and disengaged.
    Driving with the VR6 engine: When the gasoline engine alone is powering the vehicle, the concept car is purely front-wheel drive to achieve excellent fuel economy.

    GTE. The driver uses the GTE button to switch to the most dynamic side of the vehicle. This makes the throttle, transmission and steering characteristics even sportier. In addition, the VR6 engine and the electric motors work together to deliver the full system output and the maximum system torque.
    Off-road. All four wheels are powered as soon as the driver activates this mode. In this case (and when the battery charge is low), the front electric motor is employed exclusively as a generator that is driven by the gasoline engine in order to provide the power for its counterpart at the rear axle. As the power to drive the rear axle flows electronically, the all-wheel-drive system is referred to as an “electric driveshaft”. Since the VR6 engine drives the rear electric motor via the front motor in Off-road Mode, all-wheel drive is available even when the battery has a low state of charge and the car is running as a plug-in-hybrid.
    Battery Charge/Battery Hold. The dual-mode Battery Hold (energy content of the battery stays constant) and Battery Charge (battery is charged whilst driving) is activated via a sub-menu in the infotainment system. It serves to hold the vehicle in E-Mode, for example, when the driver knows they are about to enter an urban area.

    William Maley

    Diesel Comes To the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport

    Aside from Buick's Avenir, the other big surprise on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show comes from Land Rover. The company at an event tonight announced that it will be offering a diesel for the Range Rover and Rover Sport for the 2016 model year.
    The diesel engine is the turbocharged 3.0L V6 producing 254 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. This will come paired up to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Land Rover claims fuel economy figures of 22 City/28 Highway/25 Combined and a total highway range of 658 miles, the distance it would take to drive from New York City to Detroit. Acceleration is a hair slower than the 3.0L Supercharged V6 counterpart:
    Range Rover Sport: 7.1 seconds (Td6) vs. 6.9 seconds (Supercharged V6)
    Range Rover: 7.4 seconds (Td6) vs. 7.1 seconds (Supercharged V6)
    Like many of its German compatriots, the 3.0L diesel will utilize Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to help reduce NoX emissions.
    Now Land Rover has said more diesel models are incoming for the U.S. in the near future. In the meantime, the Range Rover and Range Rover diesels arrive at dealers this fall.
    Source: Land Rover
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    Press Release is on Page 2
    LAND ROVER BRINGS TWO LUXURY DIESEL SUV MODELS TO NORTH AMERICA MARKET
    2016 model year Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6 diesels to deliver 32 percent increased combined fuel economy; 28 miles per gallon on the highway
    Diesel vehicles to debut at 2015 North American International Auto Show
    Diesel technology to be available across Land Rover lineup in coming years

    (MAHWAH, NJ) - January 11, 2015 - Land Rover will offer consumers the option of fuel efficient diesel powertrains in two 2016 model year luxury SUVs, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6 SUVs will deliver 25 miles per gallon combined, a 32 percent improvement over the supercharged V6, and reach a high of 28 miles per gallon on the highway.
    The two new luxury diesel SUVs debuted at the 2015 North American International Auto Show and go on sale Fall 2015.
    Land Rover has employed a combination of new and proven innovative technologies to bring North American customers an engine with exceptional refinement, efficiency and performance.
    The 3.0-liter Td6 turbocharged V6 diesel engine delivers effortless performance thanks to 254 horsepower and a low-end torque output of 440 lb-ft. Peak torque arrives at 1,750rpm in the Td6 while the gasoline V6 produces its 332 lb-ft (450 Nm) at 3,500 rpm. This high torque output at low RPM, makes the diesel Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models particularly well suited to towing heavy loads and off-roading where reaching maximum torque at low RPM is extremely beneficial.
    Similarly, the low-end torque of the Td6 allows the vehicles to deliver 0-60 acceleration times comparable to the higher horsepower V6 gasoline models. The Range Rover Sport Td6 and Range Rover Td6 accelerate from 0-60mph in 7.1 and 7.4 seconds respectively, compared to 6.9 and 7.1 seconds for gasoline V6 models.
    Preliminary fuel economy figures for the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover of 22 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway) and 25 mpg (combined) represent significant gains over traditional gasoline alternatives. The combined figure equates to a 32 percent improvement over the gasoline V6 engine. Total range increases to 658 miles, a gain of 8.0% for the Range Rover Sport and 3.3% for the Range Rover.
    These improvements underline a dedication to meeting and exceeding the expectations of luxury SUV consumers. Both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have seen significant advancement in fuel efficiency, safety, and design. As part of a complete model redesign for the 2013 and 2014 model years, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport respectively, have moved to all-aluminum platforms, gained the option of V6 engines and have had significant design changes in an effort to continuously improve Land Rover product offerings. With the addition of Td6, we are advancing these vehicles even further.
    Designed from the ground up, the Td6 provides efficiency and refinement. Its block is constructed using Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI), which has a higher tensile strength than standard grey cast iron, better fatigue strength than aluminum, and added stiffness. Its overall advantages in weight and strength mean the block can be lighter and smaller which make it compact in size. The deep-skirted, cross-bolted design and one-piece structural aluminum oil sump of the Td6 help the engine to absorb combustion noise effectively which improves refinement.
    Prior to its introduction in the US, improvements have been made to the Td6 helping to achieve an additional eight percent increase in overall fuel efficiency. These include the addition of a water-cooled turbocharger for maximum performance and durability at high operating temperatures; and new ball bearings, vanes and nozzles to improve efficiency.
    A Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system uses Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to reduce NOx emissions, ensuring the Td6 achieves US LEV 3 status. The DEF is injected into the exhaust and, as the resulting mixture passes through the SCR, NOx is turned into harmless nitrogen gas.
    The reservoir for the DEF is located in two areas, the main is under the floor with the secondary located under the hood. Combined they hold enough fluid for approximately 10,000 miles. Diesel exhaust fluid is commercially available and owners can top the fluid level up themselves or take it to their nearest Land Rover dealer if the reservoir needs replenishing.
    In addition to the cleansing efficiency of the SCR, every aspect of the Td6 engine has been optimized to ensure emissions are as low as possible. This includes the new Low Pressure EGR system which has been critical to success of Td6 emission ratings and further improves fuel economy.
    Unlike traditional High Pressure EGR systems, which recirculate gases directly from the exhaust manifold to inlet manifold at high pressure, the revised design takes gases at low pressure - after the DPF filter in the exhaust pipe - and feeds them back to the turbocharger inlet. From here they pass through an intercooler, resulting in a lower peak combustion temperature.
    The higher the peak combustion temperature, the more NOx is produced, so the low pressure EGR system has the effect of reducing the harmful emissions contained by exhaust gases, by lowering the peak combustion temperature and improving efficiency.
    Elsewhere, a two-stage oil pump reduces engine losses while a revised design for the fuel-injectors has been introduced to improve efficiency and reduce hydrocarbon emissions. The injection cycle also employs an innovative two-stage process to eliminate the traditional 'knock' associated with diesel engines.
    Attention to detail ensures diesel derivatives deliver traditional Range Rover refinement. Innovative dual-isolation engine mounts, as well as windshields featuring a special acoustic laminate, help reduce noise levels. Refinement on Range Rover models is further enhanced by the design of the bulkhead between the engine and vehicle interior, which minimizes the transmission of engine noise into the cabin.
    The fuel filler neck on diesel Land Rover vehicles is fitted with a misfueling protection device. This device will prevent the narrower gasoline fuel nozzle fitted to gasoline pumps from being inserted into the filler neck on the vehicle, reducing the likelihood of adding the wrong fuel.
    Tested and Proven in the USA
    The latest Td6 diesel has been tested extensively to ensure it meets the expectations of US buyers. Early in the development process Land Rover conducted test drive clinics with premium SUV buyers to determine whether customers would notice a difference between the driving feel of diesel versus gasoline models.
    Without informing participants that they'd be driving diesel models, the Land Rover team gathered feedback using in-vehicle video and audio recordings, data loggers and post-drive interviews. The results of the program were conclusive; consumers participating in testing clinics in major US cities could not identify if they were driving a diesel vehicle during a 30-minute test drive.
    Land Rover engineers embarked on US testing schedule to ensure the new diesel engine could handle all US climate and terrain conditions. By the time US sales have begun, the test fleet will have completed one million test miles.
    The test fleet has targeted the most extreme climates and diverse terrains imaginable across the US. The new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport diesel have navigated from sea level to altitudes of 14,000 feet during the grueling test program. To meet the unique demands of the North American climate, engineers have undertaken testing year round, from the coldest winter days in Minnesota, to summertime in the deserts of the Southwest.

    Drew Dowdell

    Avenir means "Coming Soon" in French, and we certainly hope so with this stunning surprise Buick concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

    At the North American International Auto Show, Buick surprised us all with this stunning concept vehicle, the Buick Avenir. Avenir in French means "Coming Soon" or "In the near future", and we certainly hope so.
    The Avenir is a large sedan that visually can stand with the likes of the Bentley Mulsanne or the Mercedes Benz S-class, yet it does so with entirely Buick looks. Classic visual cues like the boat-tail trunk, the sweep spear, the large waterfall grille, and the 3-port fender vents merge with more modern cues like the check mark light pipes in the front and rear light clusters, and the hockey stick design element in the front doors to bring together old and new without looking over-wrought.


    Power for the Avenir comes from a next-generation 3.6 liter V6 that features cylinder deactivation mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission which sends power to all 4 wheels through a twin-clutch AWD system. The new 3.6 also features start-stop technology to power down the engine when at red lights. The driver can select multiple suspension dampening modes to his or her taste.
    One element that stood out to us was the return of colors to the Buick tri-shield emblem. I asked a Buick spokesperson if this means we might see a return of the tri-color tri-shield and they were noncommittal, saying only "There are many style and design features on this car that will be seen in future Buicks."... One can hope...
    Press Release on Page 2

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    Buick Explores Future with Avenir Concept



    New design proportion, device integration, rejuvenating interior push brand forward


    DETROIT – Buick introduced the Avenir concept today in advance of the North American International Auto Show – a flagship sedan exploring progressive design with new levels of passenger well-being and technology integration.
    The Avenir – French for future – is distinguished by its premium sports proportions and all-new interpretations of traditional Buick cues. It is the creation of a global team of Buick designers and sculptors who were inspired by historic Buick concepts, which pushed traditional boundaries, shaped future Buick models and influenced the entire auto industry.
    “Avenir embodies Buick design, which centers on effortless beauty and presence without pretense,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design. “It demonstrates the growing international reach of Buick and offers an exciting vision of where it can go.”
    The Avenir’s sculptural surfacing, expressive proportion and Buick’s signature sweep-spear bodyside visually cue an exceptional driving experience that awaits inside.
    “The interior is designed with the driver and passengers’ comfort and well-being in mind,” said Welburn. “Technology is seamlessly integrated and builds on the features that have become hallmarks for today’s production models – helping drive a new generation of customers to Buick.”
    Additional vehicle highlights:
    Personal seating for four
    Full light-emitting diode (LED) exterior lighting
    Twenty-one-inch wheels
    Next-generation direct-injected V-6 engine with fuel-saving Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and stop/start technology
    Nine-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission
    Driver-selectable suspension damping
    Twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system
    Next-generation Buick IntelliLink infotainment with large, 12-inch-diagonal color touch screen
    Driver-recognition features that automatically sync infotainment preferences
    Ionic cabin air filtration
    Mobile device wireless charging
    OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

    A new design direction with a nod to the past
    A long hood, wheels-at-the-corners stance and a sloping, rear deck that pays homage to historical models, such as the Riviera, distinguish the Avenir’s proportion.
    “Simply put, Avenir is a beautiful piece of sculpture, delivered on a premium proportion that acknowledges the Buick design heritage in a very progressive way,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of design, GM International Operations. “The vehicle remains unmistakably Buick with a modern take on the traditional Buick cues such as the sweep spear and boattail. The result is a piece of artistry that is precise in its character, beautifully proportioned. It really takes your breath away.”
    The most striking departure from contemporary Buick models is a new grille design that puts a new face on the brand. It features a large opening accented by a return to the three-color – red, silver and blue – Buick tri-shield insignia, accented by wing-shaped elements. The grille is flanked by bold headlamps featuring full LED lighting.
    “The new grille is a modern interpretation of a design introduced on the landmark 1954 Wildcat II concept, which shattered expectations of what a Buick was supposed to be,” said Simcoe. “On the Avenir, it represents a break from convention and progressiveness in technology.”
    Sculptural surfaces, taught lines, short overhangs and a broad-shouldered stance stretches 204.5 inches (5,195 mm) in length and 76 inches (1,931 mm) in width. Its reimagined sweep-spear element complements the long body lines and conveys a sense of motion, as does tapered rear-end styling.
    Avenir’s sophisticated color palette, including a Crystalline exterior color and strained use of bright work accent the Avenir’s body lines and sets up the interior for a combination that takes Buick’s contemporary style to a higher level.
    “It’s a sculpted design with a lot of snap in the character lines – with a classic long, low proportion,” said Simcoe. “Its length enables exceptional spaciousness inside, but just as importantly, a presence that speaks to luxury and the importance of style. In short, it’s the befitting proportion for a Buick flagship.”
    A soothing environment with unprecedented integration
    The Avenir’s four-place interior rewards the senses, makes managing technologies easier and enhances the feelings of personal space and well-being.
    “A flowing, sculptural quality in the interior forms, deco trim, premium leather and ambient lighting, create an environment that is inviting and comfortable,” said Liz Wetzel, Buick interior design director.
    Interior surfaces - inspired by nature and sea waves receding on a beach - flow seamlessly through the cabin. It is a motif featured on the seats and carried through in other trim components – even the carpet. In fact, a patterned insert for the carpet carries the motif in silk and bamboo.
    “There’s an almost-three-dimensional or bas-relief effect to the design motif that adds depth and heightens the sense of place,” said Wetzel. “Layered and floating elements such as the center console enhance the perception of lightness, efficiency and dynamism.”
    A color palette of light and natural tones blended with oiled and buffed wood trim, and Galvano satin-chrome accents, enhance the Avenir’s ambience.
    “They’re rich, premium materials and warm colors innovatively executed to enhance the soothing effect of the interior environment,” said Wetzel.
    Functionality is manifested in the Avenir’s device-integration technologies, which are designed to lift the user’s mood and make the details associated with daily life a little easier. It starts the moment the vehicle is started, synchronizing information and devices within seconds. The Avenir instantly configures gauge cluster and infotainment screen displays based on prior customization while also recognizing the user’s music preferences, calendar schedule and recently visited locations from a cellphone’s GPS. It can even pick up a podcast the user was listening to at the moment it was interrupted.
    Buick’s user experience designers are also pushing the Avenir’s technologies for home integration, which would allow accessing home security cameras or the capability of turning on outside lights and closing a garage door that was inadvertently left open.
    “The Avenir’s integration features build on the technologies already available or coming soon in smartphones and streamline them in a system that makes accessing and interacting with them easier,” said Wetzel.
    Personal connectivity extends to rear-seat passengers, where USB ports and video screens allow occupants to plug in to their favorite media and slip into complete relaxation, arriving at their destination refreshed and rejuvenated.
    “The use of color, material, form and amenities can affect a person’s mood and feeling,” said Wetzel. “The Avenir is a showcase of thoughtful and modern design with the capacity to anticipate and facilitate the personal needs of its occupants. It’s absolutely its own getaway destination.”

    William Maley

    Jaguar's Crossover Gets A Name

    That was fast. Almost a couple of years after introducing the Jaguar C-X17 crossover concept to the world, Jaguar announced that a production version would be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in March. The automaker also revealed the name of the production version - the F-Pace.
    While we are still scratching our heads as to why Jaguar has named the crossover the F-Pace, we should give them some credit for not naming it a combination of letters and numbers. The crossover will have seating for five people, come with all-wheel drive, and feature inspiration from the F-Type.
    "In 2015 we will celebrate the 80th year of Jaguar. We have started it by announcing our first performance crossover which we consider to be the ultimate practical sports car - a car that builds on the brand's founding ideals of Grace, Pace and Space to become one of the most innovative Jaguar vehicles we've ever developed. The F-PACE has now begun its engineering and development testing program ahead of the new model going on sale in 2016. F-PACE continues the new model roll-out for Jaguar, ensuring 2015 will most definitely be the year of the cat," said Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover Global Sales Director.
    Source: Jaguar
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    Press Release is on Page 2
    JAGUAR F-PACE: AN ALL-NEW PERFORMANCE CROSSOVER TO JOIN LINE-UP IN 2016
    - Jaguar announces F-PACE – the production version of the breakthrough C-X17 concept car- A highly-efficient five-seat performance crossover underpinned by Jaguar's innovative aluminium-intensive architecture and advanced suspension system
    - All-weather and dynamic driving traction to be aided by the Instinctive All Wheel Drive® system and Jaguar's All Surface Progress Control technology*- The Jaguar F-PACE will deliver an unrivalled blend of style, performance and practicality
    (MAHWAH, NJ) – January 11, 2015 – Jaguar has today confirmed it will introduce an all-new model to the Jaguar line-up, to go on-sale in 2016, named the Jaguar F-PACE.
    Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar, commented, "We received such an overwhelmingly positive response to the C-X17 concept car last year that we just had to make it a reality.
    "The Jaguar F-PACE, inspired by the F-TYPE, represents a perfectly judged balance of style, performance and practicality. It offers a unique combination of Jaguar sports car inspired exterior design, fused beautifully with a thoroughly practical and spacious luxury interior. The F-PACE is our family sports car."
    The Jaguar F-PACE couples leading interior space and exceptional on-road dynamics with five-seat functionality to produce a true performance crossover. It will encapsulate everything that Jaguar stands for: beautiful design, precise handling, a supple ride, luxurious interior finishes and cutting-edge technology.
    Speaking in Detroit, Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover Global Sales Director said, "In 2015 we will celebrate the 80th year of Jaguar. We have started it by announcing our first performance crossover which we consider to be the ultimate practical sports car - a car that builds on the brand's founding ideals of Grace, Pace and Space to become one of the most innovative Jaguar vehicles we've ever developed. The F-PACE has now begun its engineering and development testing program ahead of the new model going on sale in 2016."
    F-PACE continues the new model roll-out for Jaguar, ensuring 2015 will most definitely be the year of the cat."
    Designed and engineered in the UK, the F-PACE has now begun its rigorous real-world testing at Jaguar Land Rover's extensive global test facilities. The F-PACE will be manufactured in Solihull, UK.
    Further details of Jaguar's all-new F-PACE will be revealed later this year - #FPACE

    Drew Dowdell

    Infiniti finally pulled the sheet off of the Q60 Concept allowing us a full view of all sides and inside.

    Infiniti finally pulled the sheet off of the Q60 Concept today at the Detroit Auto Show, allowing us a full view of all sides and inside.
    The low slung coupe is the future design and engineering direction for Infiniti. The Q60 will be put into production in a few years time and will be the debut model for a new family of turbo-charged, direct injected engines. We've heard that both 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines will be available but very little else was offered from a technical level.
    The interior has hand stitched leather with carbon fiber accents and is surprisingly roomy for a 2 by 2 coupe.
    The exterior features LED lighting and light piping, even the badge is back lit in a bright white.
    The production version will start up for 2016 which means that we will see this car again in the next year or so at one of the auto shows.
    Infiniti Press Release on Page 2

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    The power to captivate: Infiniti Q60 Concept

    Infiniti reveals two-door concept for a future sports coupe
    Design draws cues from latest Infiniti models and Formula One
    Handmade leather finishes, Alcantara®, and carbon fiber feature in the bespoke interior
    HONG KONG – Ahead of the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Infiniti raises the curtain on its vision of a premium sports coupe.
    The striking Q60 Concept is poised to entice coupe fans with its sharp contours and hand-crafted interior, while at the same time suggesting performance and power to match. Result: a no-compromise fusion of looks and speed.
    The Q60 Concept sits low and wide in a road-hugging stance hinting at exceptional dynamics and driving pleasure.
    While the Q60 Concept is fresh and original, it evokes a sense of déjà vu at times with whiffs and traces of the Q80 Inspiration (shown this past October at the Paris Motor Show) evident in its finest details.
    The audaciously low roofline and quilted leather seats remind one of the elegant full-size Q80 Inspiration, while the aerodynamic gills behind the front wheel arches are inherited from the Q50 Eau Rouge sports saloon concept.
    "The Q80 Inspiration was an indication of Infiniti's future design language," said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director. "The Q60 Concept is the next step in the journey. The sweeping lines of the Q80 Inspiration gave the Q60 Concept its coupe silhouette and looks while the Formula One-inspired touches from the Q50 Eau Rouge endowed the coupe with its sports personality."
    The visual excitement in the edgy lines of the concept is set off by the custom 21-inch wheels, which take up the entire wheel arch. Inspired by jet turbine blades, the black spokes in a combination of mattes and chromes stretch to the edge of the wheel, further emphasizing how "planted" the coupe is.
    The high-quality ambience inside speaks of Infiniti's meticulous attention to detail, clearly evident from the impeccable hand-stitched leather to the precise treatment of the carbon fiber accents.
    Infiniti designers use a variety of leathers on the seats to provide just the perfect balance of comfort and support as befits a premium sports coupe. They also make the Q60 Concept a genuine "2+2" coupe by giving rear passengers more legroom through the use of genuine sport seats.
    As a foreshadowing of the next generation of Infiniti's premium sports coupe, the Q60 Concept makes use of taut lines and sports car cues to convey exceptional stance and presence.
    See the Q60 Concept in the metal when Infiniti holds its 2015 NAIAS press conference at 8:10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, January 13.

    Drew Dowdell

    As we suspected earlier this week, Buick is bringing the Opel Cascada Convertible stateside to be sold as a Buick.

    As we suspected earlier this week, Buick is bringing the Opel Cascada Convertible stateside to be sold as a Buick. Much of what we know of the Opel Cascada carries over to the Buick, with the primary difference being with powertrain selection.
    While the Europeans get 3 engine choices, we only get one. That's not entirely a bad thing in this case as the 1.4T gasoline and 2.0T diesel would not likely be suitable for most American convertible buyers' tastes. The engine we get in the US is a new to us 1.6 liter turbo-charged, direct injected 4-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque. This engine also features an overboost feature that will temporarily boost torque up to 221 lb-ft. Power is routed to the front wheels via the familier GM 6-speed automatic. This is the first application of this powertrain in the US market. This engine is said to be quite fuel efficient for it's output and in the European cycle returns a rating 7.3 liters per 100 km.... which roughly translates to 32 mpg. The European test cycle is known to be rather optimistic so don't expect the Cascada to be rated quite that well once the EPA gets their hands on it.
    The suspension consists of GM's HiPer Strut up front with a Watts Z-link in the rear. The Watts Z-Link was chosen as a way to lower vehicle weight and improve the roominess of the trunk.
    On the safety side of things, the Cascada comes with active rollover protection bars that deploy from behind the rear seat if a possible rollover is detected, electric seat belt pre-tensioners,
    An interesting feature of the Cascada is its ability to lower its top while moving at up to 31 mph. The soft-top is insulated and drops below a hard tonneau cover that blends seamlessly into the rear deck.
    The Buick Cascada will be fully revealed at a press conference on January 11, 2015 at 6:30pm. We will be on hand to bring you updates and pictures from the press conference.
    You can sign up to follow all the stories from Detroit here, or follow us onFacebook, Twitter,andGoogle+

    Press Release on Page 2

    Top-Down Luxury Returns with 2016 Buick Cascada


    2+2 convertible with distinctive design, premium features, great refinement and 4G LTE connectivity
    Advanced chassis technologies – including HiPer Strut front suspension – and standard turbocharged performance
    Sophisticated, insulated soft-top system opens in 17 seconds at up to 31 mph

    DETROIT – Buick today introduced the 2016 Cascada – a dynamic, stylish convertible that uses innovative powertrain and chassis technologies to complement a sharp driving experience.
    The Cascada will be the first Buick convertible offered in North America in 25 years and the latest globally developed vehicle to join the brand’s growing portfolio. It goes on sale in early 2016.
    “The new, 2016 Buick Cascada is a beautiful, engaging convertible that represents the very best of the brand’s global development practices,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “It’s a car that will delight customers with its fun spirit and help drive the momentum that’s fueling Buick’s success.”
    The Cascada’s 2+2 configuration offers comfortable room for four adults. Its expressive driving experience is rooted in a rigid body structure, Buick’s sophisticated HiPer Strut front suspension and responsive Watts Z-link suspension in the rear – along with a 200-horsepower (149 kW) turbocharged engine.
    And when it comes to dropping the top on a whim, it lowers in only 17 seconds and at speeds up to 31 mph. When it’s up, superior thermal and acoustic insulation contribute to driving comfort.
    “Cascada’s driving enjoyment is rooted in technologies that make it more comfortable and refined,” said Aldred. “Its features work harmoniously to provide a safe, connected and confidence-inspiring driving experience.”
    Technology and safety highlights include:
    Buick IntelliLink with a seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen and featuring Text Message Alerts, Siri Eyes Free and navigation
    OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot
    Electronic rear-seat entry system automatically powers the front seats forward by simply pressing the seatback forward. It moves the seats back when the seatback is returned to the upright position
    Electric safety belt presenters that use telescopic arms to slide the upper front safety belt assemblies from behind the front seat into closer reach for easier buckling
    Active rollover safety system includes rollover protection bars that deploy behind the rear seats when the possibility of a rollover is detected
    Confidence-inspiring features include lane departure warning, rear park assist, rearview camera and Rainsense windshield wipers.

    Distinctive design and thoughtful features
    Designed from the outset as a convertible, the Buick Cascada has a flowing, sculpted profile, with fast-raked A-pillars that convey a wind-in-the-hair flair. When lowered, the top folds neatly and completely beneath a hard tonneau behind the rear seats, giving the car a pure open-air aesthetic.
    “The Cascada’s design blends the suggestion of speed with sophisticated and uncompromising details,” said Holt Ware, Buick exterior design director. “Most convertibles are designed from existing coupes or sedans, meaning stowage of the top was an afterthought, but not this Buick. It looks handsome and has a premium appearance when the top is lowered – and a perfect, seamless profile when it’s up.”
    The windswept exterior design is further accentuated with a sweeping body-side line and sleek headlamps that flow into the front fenders, with Buick’s signature wing-shape LED daytime running lights delivering a distinctive appearance.
    Chrome trim bridges between the wing-shaped taillights, which are also LED-lit.
    The rear deck lid opens rearward to accommodate the folding soft-top. The electro-hydraulic power roof system features multilayer construction – including acoustic and thermal barriers – which makes for a comfortable ride in various conditions.
    Inside, a thoughtfully trimmed and comprehensively equipped cabin reflects Buick’s renaissance. The instrument panel is wrapped with soft-touch material featuring authentic stitching, while features including heated front seats and steering wheel offer comfort in a variety of climate conditions.
    The Cascada also has plenty of storage space for the trappings of a weekend getaway, including 13.4 cubic feet (380 liters) of cargo room with the top up and 9.8 cubic feet (280 liters) with the top down. The rear seatbacks fold down electronically to expand cargo capability for longer items.
    Turbocharged performance, engaging driving experience
    The Cascada is driven by an efficient 1.6L turbocharged engine rated at 200 horsepower (149 kW). With more than 100 horsepower per liter, it’s one of the most power-dense engines in the segment. It delivers strong torque, estimated at 206 lb-ft (280 Nm), with an overboost feature that briefly pushes torque to an estimated 221 lb-ft (300 Nm).
    Direct injection and variable valve timing complement the turbo engine’s performance with efficiency. It is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
    Power from the turbocharged engine is translated into driving enjoyment via the innovative suspension system, which employs the sophisticated HiPer Strut front suspension pioneered on the LaCrosse and Regal.
    HiPer Strut is based on the MacPherson strut design and features dual-path top mountings that separate the transfer of spring and damper loads to the body structure. It enhances ride and handling by reducing torque steer; more linear and communicative steering through improved camber control; and improved impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces.
    A responsive Watts Z-link design helps center the rear axle during cornering, which helps keep the Cascada’s handling responses symmetrical on both left-hand and right-hand turns. The linkage’s capability to center the axle during cornering delivers a more-balanced driving experience because the rear suspension better follows the lead of the front suspension.
    The Z-link design is also lighter and requires less space than a typical fully independent rear suspension. The lower weight enhances efficiency, while the compact design enables the Cascada’s generous cargo room.
    Steering inputs are executed by a fuel-saving, rack-mounted electric power steering system, while stopping power is handled by standard four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock. It rolls on standard 20-inch wheels.
    A rigid body structure features high-strength steel in strategic areas, reinforced side sills and press-hardened steel in the A-pillars. It is the foundation for the Cascada’s dynamic and refined driving experience, contributing to steering precision, ride quality and quietness – as well as safety. A long, 106.1-inch (2,695 mm) wheelbase enhances ride smoothness while enabling greater rear-seat legroom.

    William Maley

    Someone at Lincoln Canada isn't having the best day as pictures of MKX have come out

    Someone at Lincoln Canada isn't having the best of days. The site revealed the 2016 Lincoln MKX before its official debut at the Detroit Auto Show on Tuesday. We're assuming this is an accidental leak judging by how the link to the MKX now leads to an error page. But nevertheless, we have pictures and some information about Lincoln's newest model.
    The exterior very much mimics the smaller MKC crossover and that isn't a bad thing, since it doesn't look like a rebadged Ford Edge. Such details as HID lights with LED accents, a camera that pops up from the front emblem, and a panoramic sunroof are apparent in the pictures. Inside, the interior layout is similar to newer Lincoln models. The difference is that you'll find buttons and knobs to control the climate and radio, not the awful touch controls that have been a part of Lincoln models for the past few years.
    We don't know much on what engines or transmissions the MKX will come with. The only engine we know of is a 2.7L EcoBoost that will be optional.
    We'll have more information and pictures live from Detroit when Lincoln introduces the 2016 MKX on Tuesday, January 13th at 10:25 AM
    You can sign up to follow all the stories from Detroit here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

    Source: Lincoln Canada via Autoblog

    Drew Dowdell

    Chevrolet will take the wraps off a concept electric car called the Bolt that will have a 200 mile range and a $30,000 price tag aimed squarely between the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3.

    On Monday, Chevrolet will be unveiling the next generation Chevrolet Volt. That car's powertrain will have the familiar Volt setup of an on-board regenerator. In addition to that, Chevrolet will be unveiling a concept car called the Bolt that can travel up to 200 miles on a single charge and has an initial price point of $30,000.
    Though the Bolt is a concept, it is set to go into production for the 2017 model year, so we could see it on the road in as little as 18 months.
    Chevrolet already builds a pure electric version of the Chevrolet Spark. It starts at around $20,000, has a range of 82 miles, and more pound-ft of torque than some full-size pickups, but it is currently only sold in California and Oregon for the sake of complying with those states' zero-emissions laws.
    The Bolt will be different though; General Motors is planning on offering the Bolt nationwide and globally with a particular eye on China with its smog problems. For domestic consumption at least, the Bolt will be built in the US at one of GM's existing plants.
    The $30,000 price point is no accident either. General Motors is targeting two prime targets, the Nissan Leaf which starts at $29,010 and has a 100 mile range, and the coming Tesla Model 3 which is said to be aiming for a $35,000 price point with a 200 mile range. If GM can meet both its price point and range target, the Bolt could become the Goldilocks electric vehicle offering both anxiety-free range and attainable price point.
    The speculation out there says that the Bolt will be a crossover hatchback, but beyond that, technical details are scarce.
    The Bolt will be revealed at a press conference that starts at 7:35am on Monday, January 12th. We will be on hand to bring you updates and pictures from the show floor.
    *Chevrolet Spark EV charge port shown in picture above courtesy of General Motors.
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    Source: Green Car Reports and The Verge

    Drew Dowdell

    Buick teases us with a picture of a convertible ahead of the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

    Buick today posted a picture of their display for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that begins next week. If you look closely at the picture, you can clearly see a convertible suspended from a large ribbon like structure over top of the rest of the cars on the floor and it looks a lot like the Opel Cascada.
    Speculation has run rampant about the possibility of Buick introducing the Cascada to the US for a while now. In fact, we even sent Buick our take on the Cascada during our Buick Week feature back in 2012.
    The Opel Cascada was unveiled in October 2012. It is a 2 by 2 convertible that can raise or retract its top in 17 seconds and while moving at speeds up to about 30 mph. As an Opel, the Cascada is available in a 1.4T gasoline, a 1.6T gasoline, and a 2.0T diesel. It is unlikely that the diesel will be making an appearance in the US, but both other engines should be considered a possibility.
    Buick doesn't have a press conference scheduled during the actual show days, but there is a pre-show event being held on Sunday, January 11th that the CheersandGears.com crew has been invited to, so keep it tuned here for more updates and releases as we get them.
    You can sign up to follow all the stories from Detroit here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+




    Source: Buick's Facebook Page and CheersandGears.com

    Drew Dowdell

    Toyota updates their best selling compact pickup to meet strong new competition.

    Toyota is updating their best selling compact pickup, the Tacoma, to meet strong new competition. Toyota released a few pictures today of the upcoming 2016 Toyota Tacoma. No details have yet been released on power and specifications.
    The Tacoma has been updated to more closely resemble it's bigger brother the Tundra. We do know that 4-cylinder and V6 engines will be available, but we do not know yet if they will be carry overs from the current model.
    Full details on the 2016 Tacoma will be revealed on January 12, 2015 at 12:50 pm at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We will be on hand to bring you pictures and details from the show floor.
    You can sign up to follow all the stories from Detroit here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+



    Source: Toyota Media

    Drew Dowdell

    Have you ever wanted a luxury crossover sedan? Well Volvo is bringing out a sedan version of its V60 Cross Country just for you.

    The words "bold" and "Volvo" don't normally go together, but when an auto maker effectively starts a new segment, you have to call the move bold regardless of its eventual success. Ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week, Volvo took the wraps off the S60 Cross Country. What is bold about it? Well, it is a crossover luxury sedan. The wagon version, the V60 Cross Country, was revealed in November 2014 at the LA Auto Show.
    The S60 Cross Country effectively increases the luxury crossover sedan segment count from zero to one. The S60 CC takes the standard S60 and gives it a 2.5 inch lift in ride height and makes AWD standard in the US market. (In Europe and other select markets the S60 CC will be available in FWD). The Cross Country will launch with the familiar T5 engine, a 2.5 liter turbo-charged 5-cylinder producing 250 horsepower.
    Subaru tried a similar concept in the family car market, selling a sedan version of its popular Legacy Outback on and off from 1998 - 2007, but met with little success. In the luxury market however, every automaker is fighting to find its niche. Volvo going off the beaten path may be just their ticket to success.

    The Volvo S60 Cross Country will be shown at the Detroit Auto Show on January 12th, 2015 at 2:55pm eastern. We will be on hand to bring you more updates from the show floor.
    You can sign up to follow all the stories from Detroithere, or follow us onFacebook, Twitter, andGoogle+
    Press release on page 2
    Source: Volvo Media
    Volvo takes Cross Country brand into sedan territory
    Volvo Cars points to the future with the new S60 Cross Country
    A segment first from Volvo Cars
    Builds on a strong heritage of lifestyle-oriented products

    Volvo Cars is stepping up to meet the demands of its core customers with the unveiling of the exciting S60 Cross Country at the Detroit Auto Show.
    Back in 1997, when Volvo was the first premium brand to introduce an all-road capable variant of its successful wagons, no one could predict the future success of the crossover concept. Today, the crossover is ubiquitous and has helped to define a whole new category of lifestyle vehicle. Volvo is once again taking a bold step forward – this time in the luxury sedan segment – with the unveiling of the S60 Cross Country – the first premium sedan with the same level of capability and rugged design cues of the renowned Cross Country wagons.
    “We want to further explore the market with our Cross Country brand. We did this back in 1997 with the V70 Cross Country and it led to the birth of a whole new segment. We have included all the capability-driven benefits of the Cross Country brand in this new model, while offering a completely unique expression of adventure and all-road readiness in a distinctly sporty and stylish package,” said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars.
    Capable stance
    Like the recently introduced V60 Cross Country, the S60 Cross Country shares an increased ride height of 65mm (2.5 inches) and comes with the same capable All-Wheel Drive underpinnings of its sibling, making it the only truly capable and stylish all-road sedan crossover on the market. The S60 Cross Country will also be delivered with front-wheel drive in Europe and selected markets.
    “The S60 Cross Country is the sole contender in the luxury crossover sedan segment. We have identified a clear niche in the market for a more capable sedan with rugged styling cues and a higher stance. The S60 Cross Country will appeal to people that are searching for an exciting and capable sedan, whilst enjoying the clear benefits that a crossover offers,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Customer Service.
    Reflecting Volvo’s legendary capability of nature and Scandinavian heritage, the S60 Cross Country offers both 18” and 19” wheels with high profile tires that add both comfort and all-road aesthetics, reduce road noise, and add increased wheel protection when needed for city or country.
    Delivering an involved and focused driving experience with rugged substance, this dynamic design brings a sporty and adventurous edge to the sedan.
    Powertrain
    The S60 Cross Country will launch with a powerful T5 All-Wheel Drive gasoline powertrain delivering up to 250 bhp* available in the US, Canada, Russia and Europe. The S60 Cross Country is expected to be available on a limited basis this summer.

    Drew Dowdell

    Infiniti shares a picture preview of the Infiniti Q60 Concept.

    Infiniti shared a full picture of the Q60 Concept due to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show next week. Shown here in coupe form, the Q60 concept takes the Q60 (née G37 coupe) down a more aggressive looking route. While this is labeled a concept, one look at the sister car Q50 sedan will tell you that there is no reason Infiniti would need to vary the look much once in production. If you imagine this car with production mirrors, wheels, and a simpler lower air intake area, you'll probably be pretty close to the real thing.
    Under the hood, expect the standard compliment of a 3.7 liter V6 with output in the 330 horsepower range and a choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. While Infiniti does make a hybrid version of the Q50 sedan, we doubt that powertrain will make it into the coupe.

    The Infiniti Q60 Coupe Concept will be shown at an event on January 11th at 4pm and again during the Detroit Auto Show on January 13th at 8:05 am eastern. We will be on hand at the Sunday event to bring you more pictures and updates.

    You can sign up to follow all the stories from the Detroit Auto Show here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

    Drew Dowdell

    As a preview to the unveiling of the 2016 Nissan Titan on January 12th, Nissan released teaser images and video of the upcoming redesign of its full size truck.

    As a preview to the unveiling of the 2016 Nissan Titan on January 12th, Nissan released teaser images and video of the upcoming redesign of its full size truck. Sales of the Nissan Titan are typically in last place behind the Detroit-3 and the Toyota Tundra. Nissan is hoping to change that with the 2016 Titan. While still camouflaged in these pictures, we get a better view of the revised truck. In the video, we can see the new truck being put through various performance tests and if you look closely, you can get a hint of the new interior as well.


    Powertrains for the 2016 Titan will range from the familiar 317 horsepower 5.6 liter V8 to a new 5.0 liter Cummins turbo-diesel making around 300 horsepower and between 500 - 550 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the new turbo-diesel is rumored to reach 26 mpg combined, a figure that would beat the successful Ram 1500 V6 EcoDiesel's figure of 23 mpg combined while also producing a lot more power.
    The 2016 Nissan Titan press release is scheduled for January 12th, 2015 at 8:05 am. We will be on hand to bring you pictures and updates from the floor.

    You can sign up to follow all the stories from Detroit here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
    Source: Nissan Media

    Drew Dowdell

    Lexus adds the GS-F to their F-Performance line. Joining the RC-F and IS-F, the GS-F will feature a 467hp 5.0 liter V8.

    Last month we showed you a teaser picture of the a coming performance Lexus model, yet at the time Lexus did not release the name. If you guessed it was a GS-F, congratulations, you win the prize. Ahead of the Detroit Auto Show next week, Lexus has taken the wraps off of the 2016 Lexus GS-F. Joining the Lexus IS-F and RC-F, Lexus's F-Performance line is positioned to take on competition from Mercedes' AMG, BMW's M, and Cadillac's V-series cars.
    The GS-F will come with a 467 horsepower, naturally aspirated V8 that uses both Otto and Atkinson cycles to alternate between power and efficiency as the driving situation dictates. The V8's peak torque rating of 389 lb-ft is available from 4,800 rpm to 5,600 rpm. Power is funneled through the 8-speed automatic to a torque vectoring differential with multi-mode operation at the rear axle.
    Lexus is rather thin on other details at this time, but one spec does stand out; the curb weight of the GS-F is 4,034 lbs, making it one of the lighter vehicles in the segment, of course the GS-F is also lighter on horsepower as well, so we'll see how that shakes out.
    The press conference for the GS-F is on Tuesday January 13th at 8:40am eastern. We will be on hand to bring you updates from the show floor.
    The Lexus Press release is on page 2

    You can sign up to follow all the stories from Detroit here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
    Source: Lexus Media
    TORRANCE, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2015) – Lexus is yet again showing its sporty disposition and rumbling into Detroit. The luxury vehicle manufacturer has announced the much-anticipated GS F performance sedan, which combines a refined four-door package with the speed and agility of a premium sports car, will be revealed at the North American International Auto Show on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 8:40 a.m. EST in the Lexus display at Cobo Center in Detroit. The GS F will be the latest vehicle to join Lexus’ high-performance “F” line that already includes the RC F coupe.
    Although the GS 350 F SPORT shares the same platform as the new GS F, they should not be confused. The GS F will have enhancements throughout, including to its engine. Under the hood will be a responsive, naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 that produces a remarkable 467 hp (473 PS )* at 7,100 rpm and peak torque of 389 lb.-ft. (527 Nm)* at 4,800-5,600 rpm. This sophisticated engine uses both Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles to maximize power and efficiency in given situations. Befitting the nature of this high performance sedan, the engine will be mated to a lightning quick eight-speed automatic gearbox with manual-shifting capabilities.
    Lexus’ innovative Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD), also found in the RC F, will be part of a long line of standard equipment that’ll make the GS F’s handling stand out from the crowd. The TVD features three operating modes:
    Standard (default) provides a balance of agility and firmness;
    Slalom emphasizes nimble steering response and agility; and
    Track emphasizes control during high-speed circuit driving.

    The GS F unibody will also feature structural reinforcements and suspension exclusively designed to optimize this super sedan’s handling envelope without detracting from its ride quality. Drivers will appreciate the GS F’s handling and smoothness on the open highway as well as the sedan’s ability to devour challenging roads, whether they’re winding up the side of a mountain or at a racetrack. The new GS F will offer drivers a very balanced sedan with genuine dual personality, equally adept at trimming lap times and the commute back home.


    Preliminary Specifications* Overall length 4,915 mm 193.5 in. Overall width 1,845 mm 72.6 in. Overall height 1,440 mm 56.7in. Wheelbase 2,850 mm 112.2 in. Tread (Fr/Rr) 1,555 mm/1,560 mm 61.2in./61.4 in. Curb Weight 1,830 kg 4,034 lb. Wheels 19’’×9J (Fr)
    19’’×10J (Rr) - Tires 255/35R19(Fr)
    275/35R19(Rr) -
    *All specifications are for the U.S. market

    Drew Dowdell

    We get another sneak peek at the 2016 Chevrolet Volt from the Consumer Electronics Show

    With one week to go before the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the pictures will really start rolling out now. Today we got a much clearer look at the 2016 Chevrolet Volt due to be fully revealed next week.
    At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today, the 2016 Volt peeked its nose through the curtain to give us a better look at it's face. The upcoming Volt will have powertrain improvements rumored to give the EV a 12% gain in electric only range, some of that will come from a more interactive regeneration mode that is currently available on the Cadillac ELR. The regeneration mode is controlled through paddles on the steering wheel.
    Recently Mark Reuss Vice President of GM Global Platform Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain and Andrew Farah, Volt Chief Engineer took the 2016 Volt out for a spin to discuss the Volt regeneration mode feature.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXCKarf7s9Y
    The 2016 Chevrolet Volt officially debuts on Monday, January 12th at 7:35am at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We will be on hand to bring you all the latest news and developments from the show.

    You can sign up to follow all the stories from Detroit here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
    Source: GM Media

    William Maley

    GAC Makes A Return To Detroit

    Usually, the announcement of a Chinese vehicle debuting an auto show doesn't make our radar. But this one is a bit different. The Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) will be bringing three vehicles to the Detroit Auto Show, one of them will be a world premiere. This isn't GAC's first time in Detroit. A couple years back, the company showed off several vehicles.
    The world premiere is the GAC Motor GS4, a "high-performance compact sport-utility vehicle". We're a bit dubious on the 'high-performance' part as this vehicle will come with either a 1.3L or 1.5L engines, both turbocharged. However, the GS4's looks seem to fit the 'high-performance' concept with a lowered roofline, narrow grille, and wraparound headlights.
    "The debut of GS4 at the North American International Auto Show will mark a milestone in GAC Motor's history because it shows that our products have met the international standards. The high-performance SUV is indeed a representative of Chinese brand vehicles which are able to compete in the global market," said Wu Song, general manager of GAC Motor in a statement.
    Two other models will be shown along the GS4. The WITSTAR is a range-extended EV concept that is expected to have a range of 370 miles. The other concept is the GA6 GT concept car, which is also a range-extended EV.
    Source: GAC Group
    Press Release is on Page 2
    GAC Motor to Unveil Brand New GS4 in Detroit, Quickening Globalization Drive
    GUANGZHOU, China, Dec. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- GAC Group, China's leading automaker, plans to launch the GAC Motor GS4, a high-performance compact sport-utility vehicle, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a move to reinforce its globalization drive.
    The global premier of the GS4 at one of the world's largest auto shows that starts on January 12, 2015 reflects GAC Motor's confidence in joining the fray with global auto giants buoyed by its strengthened development capabilities and improved manufacturing techniques.
    "The debut of GS4 at the North American International Auto Show will mark a milestone in GAC Motor's history because it shows that our products have met the international standards," said Wu Song, general manager of GAC Motor, a subsidiary of GAC that focuses on passenger cars. "The high-performance SUV is indeed a representative of Chinese brand vehicles which are able to compete in the global market."
    GAC Motor designed GS4 with meticulous care, envisioning producing a SUV that could not only adapt to various traffic conditions such as bumpy roads with its great passing ability, but also make drivers and passengers feel comfortable.
    The SUV, equipped with either a 1.3- or a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, acts as a brand new symbol of GAC Motor's advanced technologies and excellent design capabilities.
    The car hood of GS4 is designed like a flying machine while the body feels like a light sculpture. Its double line of decorative frames adds a new dimension into the notion of "sporty." GAC Motor also did its utmost to ensure GS4's high-tech interiors would give drivers and passengers a comfortable and stress-free ride.
    GAC Motor, one of China's largest automakers, rose into global prominence in recent years as it successfully expanded into overseas markets.
    GAC Motor came onto the global stage when its starring role in the United State blockbuster movie Transformers 4 – Age of Extinction catapulted the brand into international limelight.
    GAC Motor aims at consolidating its foothold in the global market as it is adamant in internationalizing the businesses amid China's go-outbound campaign.
    It is set to take advantage of the North American International Auto Show to display its latest technology and models that result from its enterprising spirit and constant innovations.
    "As we exhibit our new models and the latest technology at the Detroit auto show, we hope to impress industry officials and foreign visitors not only on our cars, but also our credo," said Wu. "Our credo is make the best cars for people under the most strict standards.
    GAC Motor's own brands have already been endorsed by customers in the Middle Eastern and South Asian market and the carmaker is now planning a foray into the North American and European markets.
    It will be the second time that GAC Motor participates in the high-profile North American auto show following its debut in 2013.
    GAC Motor is highly expected to draw rave reviews during the show as it is set to launch WITSTAR and GA6 GT concept cars, aside from GS4.
    The cars, powered by range-extended power-train system, will become a source of China's national pride on the Detroit show as high hopes are pinned on them to eventually take on global auto giants.
    WITSTAR, an energy-efficient car designed by GAC, provides a snapshot of the Chinese carmaker's efforts to develop alternative energy cars. It can achieve automatic driving and has a range of more than 600 kilometers with fuel consumption of less than 2 liters per 100 km.
    GAC Motor pledges to deepen its innovations on alternative energy cars as a way to protect the environment and save energy.
    It hopes to seek tie-up and cooperation with international counterparts at the Detroit auto show to fine-tune its production and research capabilities to make better energy-efficient cars in the future.

    Drew Dowdell

    Cadillac releases pictures of the 640 horsepower 2016 Cadillac CTS-V ahead of the Detroit auto show.

    Cadillac released the details of the upcoming 2016 Cadillac CTS-V to be shown at the Detroit Auto Show on January 13th, 2015. Capable of 200 mph, the supercharged 6.2 liter V-8 produces 640 hp at 6400 rpm and 630 lb-ft of torque at 3600 rpm, an increase of 84 hp and 79 lb-ft over the current model. The 0-60 time drops by two-tenths of second to 3.7 seconds. The new 6.2 liter employs a 1.7 liter super charger and adds direct injection and cylinder deactivation, premium fuel is required. Cadillac brags that these power numbers are greater than both the Mercedes-Benz 5.5L bi-turbo V8 and the 4.4L twin-turbo V8 from BMW.
    Getting all of that power to the ground is an 8-speed automatic funneling power through the electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential. The suspension is a third generation magnetic ride control that has been upgraded to respond 40% faster to changing road surface conditions. At 60 mph, the suspension can react to every inch of road surface traveled. The half-shafts are of asymmetrical stiffness to help reduce wheel hop under hard acceleration.
    The new CTS-V's 19 inch wheels are 45 percent stiffer than the current model, yet lighter in weight to reduce unsprung mass. Curb weight clocks in at 4,145 lbs, a 74lb reduction in weight in spite of being just over 6 inches longer than the outgoing model. Brembo brakes pull the CTS-V down to a stop with 15.3 inch diameter rotors up front and 14.3 inch rotors in the rear
    The technology continues inside with an upgraded CUE system that includes natural voice recognition, Siri Eyes-Free and text-to-voice, wireless phone charging and a performance data recorder integrated into CUE's screen interface. Available will be a parking assist that will find and steer into parallel or perpendicular parking spots, but if the driver prefers to go it alone, a front camera will help the driver park without damaging the front air dam.
    Customers who wish to take the CTS-V to further performance heights can opt for a carbon fiber package. While even the standard CTS-V comes with a carbon-fiber hood, the carbon fiber package includes a more aggressive front spliter, hood vent, rear diffuser, and spoiler.
    The Cadillac CTS-V will be shown at the Detroit Auto Show on January 13th at 9:50am. We will be on hand to get you front row shots of this and all of the reveals. You can follow news from the 2015 North American International Auto Show at our Detroit Auto Show new feed.
    You can also follow us on social media:
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    Source: GM Media
    Press Release on page 2

    2016 Cadillac CTS-V Hits 200 mph with 640 hp
    Track-capable from the factory, with sophisticated road manners


    DETROIT – Cadillac today introduced the 2016 CTS-V, the most powerful product in the brand’s 112-year history and the newest entry in the elite class of the world’s highest-performing luxury cars.
    Launching in late summer with 640 horsepower (477 kW), 630 lb-ft of torque (855 Nm) and a top speed of 200 mph, the new CTS-V reaches higher than its predecessors, leading Cadillac’s product-driven expansion and elevation. It is the third generation of the acclaimed luxury sports sedan that launched the elite V-Series a decade ago – and redefined Cadillac for a new generation of enthusiasts.
    “V-Series represents the very best of the Cadillac brand – the pinnacle of our design and technical capabilities,” said Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac president. “The new CTS-V is the most compelling example of Cadillac’s product substance and brand trajectory. The new CTS-V soars into the stratosphere of the most exhilarating luxury cars.”
    Comprehensive updates make the new CTS-V essentially two cars in one: a luxury sedan with sophisticated road manners and a track-capable sports car straight from the factory. It also introduces a new supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine backed by Cadillac’s paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission, featuring launch control and Performance Algorithm Shifting.
    With more horsepower and torque than the Mercedes-Benz 5.5L biturbo V-8 and the BMW M-series 4.4L TwinPower (twin-turbo) V-8, the new CTS-V is capable of 0-60 performance in 3.7 seconds.
    Track-honed design, chassis and suspension elements complement the supercharged powertrain and elevate CTS-V’s capability, performance and driver control to new thresholds, while enabling track driving without modifications or special procedures. Key performance technologies include:
    Standard carbon fiber hood and available carbon fiber vent, front splitter, rear spoiler and rear diffuser for greater aerodynamic performance
    Brembo high-performance brake system developed to provide durability, consistency and the capability for track-day performance straight from the factory
    Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control delivering 40-percent faster damping response
    Integrated chassis controls that provide balanced performance for touring and the track, including competition-spec Performance Traction Management
    Structural stiffness increased by 25 percent for improved ride and superior handling
    Driver-selectable modes electronically calibrate performance variables for touring, sport and track driving conditions
    Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with tri-compound technology offering excellent grip with extended wear
    An interior with performance-oriented, sueded microfiber accents and matte-finish carbon fiber trim and available RECARO high-performance seats for spirited driving
    Advanced safety and parking technologies, including a front curb-view camera system that provides a visual cue of curbs to protect the front splitter; automatic parking assist to find and steer into parallel or perpendicular parking spots; side blind zone alert, forward collision alert, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alert.

    Additionally, the Performance Data Recorder in the CTS-V allows drivers to record high-definition video, with data overlays, of their driving experiences on and off the track, enabling sharing on social media.
    More powerful supercharged V-8 engine
    The power behind the new CTS-V’s capability is an all-new, more powerful 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine that makes more power more efficiently than the previous Cadillac supercharged engine. It employs a more-efficient, more-compact 1.7L supercharger and matches it with direct injection and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation).
    The supercharger’s rotors are smaller in diameter than the previous supercharged engine, allowing higher maximum rpm that enables power-enhancing boost to be generated earlier in the rpm band. That boost is achieved more efficiently via a more direct discharge port that creates less turbulence, reducing heat and speeding airflow into the engine.
    The Cadillac supercharged engine also has several unique features designed to support its high output and the greater cylinder pressures created by forced induction, including Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads that are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum heads, and lightweight titanium intake valves.
    The CTS-V’s complementing eight-speed automatic is tuned for world-class shift-response times. Smaller steps between gears keep the engine within the sweet spot of the rpm band, making the most of the output of the supercharged engine for exhilarating performance and greater efficiency.
    The new 8L90 transmission offers full manual control via steering wheel paddles, and Performance Algorithm Shifting to deliver shift performance that rivals the dual-clutch/semi-automatic transmissions found in many luxury performance sedans – but with the smoothness and refinement that come with a conventional automatic fitted with a torque converter.
    Stronger structure enhances body motion control
    The CTS’s structure is highly mass optimized and designed to meet higher performance requirements, with enhancements to the V-Series developed to respond to cornering and torque loads that significantly exceed the levels experienced by the non-V models.
    Unique and revised elements include:
    Strut tower-to-tower brace
    Strut tower-to-plenum brace
    V-braces for the engine compartment
    Strengthened rocker bulkhead
    Stronger rear cradle-to-rocker braces
    A unique aluminum shear panel at the front of the chassis
    Upper tie bar-to-bumper braces.

    The enhancements bolster structural stiffness by 25 percent over non-V models, for more precise handling and steering – and a more confident feel from a vehicle that conveys strength through exceptional solidity.
    “With the stronger body structure – and more than a decade of V-Series production models and the CTS-V racing program experience – engineers tuned the CTS-V to deliver greater body motion control for a more agile feel, while maintaining excellent ride quality,” said David Leone, Cadillac executive chief engineer. “The result is class-leading capability on the highway or track, balanced with luxury and refinement.”
    Track-honed chassis and suspension
    The CTS-V shares the same 114.6-inch (2,910 mm) wheelbase as the CTS non-V-Series models, but has wider front and rear footprints that enhance grip, reduce body motion and contribute to more direct-feeling steering.
    Nineteen-inch wheels wrapped with specially developed Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires give the CTS-V its footprint and enable nearly 1g in lateral acceleration. The lightweight, forged aluminum wheels – measuring 9.5 inches wide in the front and 10 inches wide in the rear – are constructed of a low-mass forging that helps reduce un-sprung weight for greater agility and a more direct feel to steering inputs.
    The wheels are 45-percent stiffer than previous CTS-V wheels, while the Michelin tires feature a tri-compound tread that delivers excellent grip in performance driving situations, while offering excellent ride quality characteristics and extended tread wear.
    Additional contributors to the CTS-V’s responsive, connected and track-capable driving experience include:
    A revised multi-link double-pivot MacPherson-strut front suspension delivers a quicker response and increased lateral control, incorporating “hydro” bushings, where traditional elastomeric bushings are replaced with zero-compliance cross-axis ball joints, higher-rate springs and a stiffer stabilizer bar – for 20-percent greater roll stiffness
    The ZF Steering Systems Servotronic II variable-ratio electric power steering gear, with 14-percent greater system stiffness for an improved feeling of precision and greater driver feedback
    Cadillac’s five-link rear suspension features reduced roll center migration, stronger lateral control and effective anti-squat geometry, complementing the front suspension with greater body motion control. Contributing components include stiffer bushings, new cradle mounts, higher-rate springs and a stiffer stabilizer bar
    A standard electronic limited-slip differential supports optimal traction and enables maximum corner exit acceleration
    Larger prop shafts and greater half-shaft asymmetry (stiffer driver’s side shaft) mitigate power hop during acceleration
    A Brembo brake system provides durability, consistency and the capability for track-day performance. The system includes two-piece 15.3-inch-diameter (390 mm) front rotors with staggered six-piston calipers and 14.3-inch-diamter (365 mm) rear rotors with four-piston calipers.

    Also, the CTS-V features third-generation Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management. Four driver-selectable settings – Tour, Sport, Track and Snow – electronically calibrate performance variables to optimize the car for driving conditions. Performance Traction Management is offered in Track mode and features five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving.
    Magnetic Ride Control “reads” the road a thousand times per second, sending data to magneto-rheological fluid-filled dampers that can independently control the damping characteristics of all four dampers. Third-generation improvements enable 40-percent faster damping response. At 60 mph, the third-generation magnetic ride control system calculates the optimal damping force for every inch of the road.
    Functional form
    Almost every exterior panel on the CTS-V is unique, from the fascias and fenders, to the hood, rear spoiler and rocker moldings – and each was designed to support the car’s capability, contributing to lift reduction, enhanced cooling or both.
    The unique elements include:
    A lightweight carbon fiber hood featuring an air-extracting vent that pulls hot air out of the engine compartment and helps reduce lift at speed by channeling air pulled through the radiator out and over the top of car rather than allowing trapped air to exit under the car
    Unique front and rear fascias provide optimal aero performance, with larger grille openings in the front fascia to feed more air to the supercharged engine. Even the mesh pattern of the signature grille openings is enlarged to allow more air into the radiator and multiple heat exchangers
    A front splitter enhances handling by forcing air to push down on the front of the car rather than flow under it, where it can cause lift
    Wider fenders to accommodate the wide, 19-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
    The rocker moldings and rear spoiler are aero-optimized
    The forged aluminum wheels and brake calipers are offered in three finishes, allowing owners to personalize the appearance of the CTS-V.

    An available Carbon Fiber package takes aero performance and mass optimization to higher levels. The Carbon Fiber package includes a more aggressive front splitter, hood vent, rear diffuser and spoiler.
    “V-Series is the emotive core of Cadillac and the apex of the brand’s Art and Science design philosophy,” said Andrew Smith, executive director, Cadillac Global Design. “The CTS-V reflects that with a bold sense of arrival, serious performance, seamless integration of technology and precision in its craftsmanship. The exposed carbon fiber components, for example, are book-matched on the centerline for a more precise, tailored appearance.”
    Performance-focused cabin
    The CTS-V’s dual-purpose capability carries over to the interior, where the design and relationship of key components are focused expressly on performance-driving ergonomics.
    “With the performance the new CTS-V is capable of delivering, the interior needs to be as functional as the other vehicle systems,” said Smith. “All of the contact points – the steering wheel, seats, shifter and pedals – are designed to make performance driving experiences direct and intuitive.”
    The CTS-V features standard 20-way performance-oriented heated and ventilated front seats trimmed in semi-aniline leather, with sueded microfiber inserts and seatbacks. Available RECARO performance front seats deliver aggressive, adjustable bolsters that help hold the driver and front passenger in place during high-load cornering. They also have a luxury-performance feel, trimmed in Mulan leather with sueded microfiber inserts and seatbacks.
    Additional features include Cadillac’s cut-and-sew elements, with decorative stitching and authentic materials such as available sueded steering wheel and shift knob. Three color combinations are offered: Jet Black, Jet Black with Light Platinum accents and Saffron with Jet Black accents.
    The CTS-V features a unique version of the 12.3-inch instrument panel cluster display, with V-Series graphics and distinctive gauge readouts and complementing full-color, reconfigurable head-up display. It is also equipped with the latest connectivity technologies from Cadillac:
    CUE with Bluetooth connectivity with natural voice recognition
    Navigation with Bose Surround Sound audio
    Siri Eyes Free and text-to-voice that converts incoming text messages to speech and reads them over the audio system speakers
    Wireless inductive phone charging
    OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

    The Performance Data Recorder is controlled via CUE’s color touch screen, and recordings can be reviewed on the screen when the vehicle is parked.
    Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com. Cadillac's media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com

    # # #


    CONTACT:
    Brian Corbett
    Cadillac Communications
    586-612-6569
    brian.corbett@gm.com
    2016 CADILLAC CTS-VPRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONSOverview
    Model:
    Cadillac CTS-V sedan
    Body style / driveline:
    4-door sport luxury sedan (RWD)
    Construction:
    unitized welded steel body with direct-mounted front cradle and rubber-isolated, multi-link independent rear suspension
    GM vehicle class:
    midsize luxury sedan
    Engine
    6.2L supercharged V-8
    Displacement (cu in / cc):
    376 / 6162
    Bore & stroke (in / mm):
    4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
    Block material:
    cast aluminum
    Cylinder head material:
    cast aluminum
    Valvetrain:
    overhead valve, two valves per cylinder
    Fuel delivery:
    direct injection
    Lubrication system:
    wet sump
    Compression ratio:
    10:1
    Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm):
    640 / 477 @ 6400 (SAE certified)
    Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm):
    630 / 855 @ 3600 (SAE certified)
    Max. engine speed (rpm):
    6600
    Recommended fuel:
    premium required
    GM-estimated fuel economy
    TBD Transmission
    Hydra-Matic 8L90
    Type:
    paddle-shift eight-speed, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch
    Gear ratios (:1):
    First:
    4.56
    Second:
    2.97
    Third:
    2.08
    Fourth:
    1.69
    Fifth:
    1.27
    Sixth:
    1.00
    Seventh:
    0.85
    Eighth:
    0.65
    Reverse:
    3.82
    Final drive ratio:
    2.85
    Chassis / Suspension
    Configuration:
    rear-wheel drive
    Differential:
    electronic limited-slip
    Front suspension:
    MacPherson-type with dual lower ball joints and direct-acting stabilizer bar; Magnetic Ride Control with monotube inverted struts
    Rear suspension:
    independent five-link with Magnetic Ride Control
    Steering type:
    ZF rack-mounted electric, power-assisted and variable assist
    Steering ratio:
    15.5 (on center) to 11.2 (full lock)
    Steering turns, lock to lock:
    2.37
    Turn circle (ft / m):
    40.3 / 12.3
    Chassis control:
    four-channel StabiliTrak w/ brake assist and traction control; Performance Traction Management
    Wheels and Tires
    Wheel size and type:
    19 x 9.5-inch front / 19 x 10-inch rear aluminum
    Tire size:
    front: 265/35ZR19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport
    rear: 295/30ZR19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport
    Brakes
    Type:
    four-wheel disc; four-channel ABS/TCS w/ DRP; Brembo brakes with staggered six-piston calipers (front) and four-piston calipers (rear)
    Rotor type and thickness
    (in / mm):
    front: 15.35 x 1.41 (390 x 36) vented, with two-piece construction; Ferritic Nitro Carburized process for corrosion resistance
    rear: 14.37 x 1.10 (365 x 28) vented; Ferritic Nitro Carburized process for corrosion resistance
    Dimensions
    Exterior
    Wheelbase (in / mm):
    114.6 / 2910
    Length (in / mm):
    197.6 / 5021
    Height (in / mm):
    57.2 / 1454
    Width (in / mm):
    72.2 / 1833
    Track (in / mm):
    front: 62.1 / 1577
    rear: 61.2 / 1554
    Curb weight (lb / kg):
    4145 / 1880
    Weight distribution
    (% front / rear):
    52.7 / 47.3
    Interior
    Legroom (in / mm):
    front: 45.7 / 1160
    rear: 35.4 / 899
    Headroom (in / mm):
    front: 40.4 / 1026
    rear: 37.5 / 952
    Shoulder room (in / mm):
    front: 56.9 / 1446
    rear: 54.8 / 1392
    Hip room (in / mm):
    front: 53.8 / 1366
    rear: 53.3 / 1353
    Capacities
    Seating capacity
    (front / rear):
    2 / 3
    EPA passenger volume
    (cu ft / L):
    97 / 2746
    EPA trunk volume
    (cu ft / L):
    13.7 / 388
    Fuel tank (gal / L):
    19 / 72
    Engine oil (qt / L):
    10 / 9.5
    Cooling system (qt / L):
    11.9 / 11.3
    Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.Please visit http://media.gm.com for updates.

    William Maley

    Lexus is bringing another F model to Detroit to join the RC-F.

    This past year at the Detroit Auto Show, Lexus unveiled the RC F which packs a 467 horsepower V8 engine. For the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Lexus is readying another F model debut.
    The automaker released two teaser shots revealing a new body kit, and a set larger wheels and brakes. We don't know what the model is, but speculation is ranging from a new IS-F to F version of the GS. We'll have more details when Lexus presents the vehicle on January 13th.
    Source: Lexus

    Press Release is on Page 2
    A Track-Ready Lexus Poised to Make Global Debut at 2015 NAIAS
    New Model Will Broaden the Lexus Brand's High Performance Showroom

    TORRANCE, Calif. – Dec. 17, 2014 – Lexus announced it will be adding a second vehicle to its growing stable of F brand high performance models. Earlier this year, the luxury manufacturer launched the RC F, a V8 powered performance coupe. The newest Lexus F brand vehicle will make its global premiere at the 2015 North American International Auto Show on Jan. 13.

    William Maley

    Finally! Acura Announces Production NSX Will Debut At Detroit

    After a number of years and countless concepts, Acura has finally announced that the production NSX will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month. The automaker released four shadowy teaser shots of the NSX, wearing a bright red color. Exact details of the powertrain are still being kept under wraps, but we expect it to feature a VTEC V6 engine paired with SH-AWD
    Source: Acura

    http://youtu.be/w0RJsqrS0NY
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Acura NSX Production Model to Make World Debut at 2015 North American International Auto Show
    TORRANCE, Calif., December 17, 2014 – The production version of the highly anticipated Acura NSX supercar, successor to the legendary original NSX, will make its world debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show on January 12, 2015. The model will reflect the production design and specifications of the mid-engine Acura supercar that is slated to launch in 2015. To celebrate the impending debut of NSX, Acura released a 30-second teaser video that gives an early glimpse of the production car and the sound of its three-motor, twin-turbocharged Sport Hybrid power unit. View the video at YouTube.com/Acura.
    "The next-generation NSX will deliver a 'new sports experience' true to its heritage and to the supercar concept that originally gave rise to the name NSX," said Mike Accavitti, Acura division senior vice president and general manager. "The NSX will serve as the ultimate expression of Acura performance that is fueling a reenergized brand."
    An Acura NSX concept model made its debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, where Honda Motor Co., Ltd. President & CEO Takanobu Ito announced that development of a next-generation NSX would launch in three years, led by an American R&D team and produced at a state-of-the-art new plant in Ohio.
    "After three years of intensive development work we are excited to reveal this next-generation supercar-the Acura NSX-to the world," said Ted Klaus, chief engineer and global project leader over NSX development. "We've developed a human-centered supercar that responds to the will of the driver and that builds upon the NSX heritage."
    The next milestone in the launch of the NSX will be the reveal of the production version at the Acura press conference at the North American International Auto Show on January 12 at 11:50 a.m. ET. Watch the press conference live at youtube.com/Acura.
    The NSX is being developed by a global team of engineers led by the company's North American R&D operations in Raymond, Ohio, with design led by the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, CA. The Acura NSX will be produced exclusively at the new Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, using domestic and globally sourced parts.

    William Maley

    The Hyundai Sonata, NOW IN HYBRID FORM!

    There has been a bit of overlap for the Hyundai Sonata lineup as there is a new Sonata along with the last-generation Sonata Hybrid. Not anymore. The next-generation Sonata Hybrid made its debut in Korea today.
    The Korean-market Sonata Hybrid uses a updated parallel hybrid powertrain setup which boasts a direct-injection 2.0L four-cylinder and a 38-kilowatt electric motor. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai says the new powertrain produces more overall power than the outgoing Sonata Hybrid's powertrain. Also seeing a change is the lithium-polymer battery pack which boasts an additional 13 percent in capacity.
    To make the Sonata Hybrid standout from the standard Sonata, Hyundai's designers put on a new front fascia to help improve aerodynamics.
    Now we'll be seeing the North American version of the Sonata Hybrid next month at the Detroit Auto Show. Details about the powertrain and other key items will likely be revealed there.
    Source: Hyundai

    Press Release is on Page 2


    Hyundai Motor Launches All-New Sonata Hybrid
    Hyundai Motor expands Blue Drive™ strategy with new hybrid model
    The all-new Sonata Hybrid features unique, aerodynamic styling
    Innovative 2.0-liter GDI hybrid engine and six-speed automatic transmission deliver class-leading fuel economy of 18.2 km/ℓ
    Hyundai Motor to launch its first Plug-in Hybrid in 2015, expand its eco-friendly line-up in all segments by 2020

    December 16, 2014 - Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea’s largest automaker, today unveiled its all-new Sonata Hybrid in Seoul, Korea. The all-new Sonata Hybrid features a unique hybrid design, advanced safety and convenience features, a spacious interior and trunk, and an upgraded powertrain that delivers class-leading fuel economy of 18.2 km/ℓ.
    The launch event, held at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas hotel, was attended by around 250 media members and company executives including Jin Kwak, Hyundai Motor’s Executive Vice President, responsible for sales in the domestic market.
    “The launch of our all-new Sonata Hybrid, with its class-leading fuel economy and powerful driving performance, comes at a time when eco-friendly vehicles are becoming established as a mainstream car,” Mr. Kwak said during his welcome speech today. “Our latest offering, based on one of our best-selling models, underscores our efforts to meet the growing popularity of eco-friendly vehicles around the world.”
    The all-new Sonata Hybrid, the result of 27 months of development and an investment of approximately 180 billion Won (KRW), is scheduled to launch in major markets outside Korea, starting in the first half of 2015. Hyundai Motor targets to sell a total of 55,000 units (Korea: 18,000 / Overseas: 37,000) next year.
    In line with Hyundai Motor Group’s target to become a global top 2 automaker in the eco-friendly car market by 2020, Hyundai Motor will expand its eco-friendly line-up in all segments by this time, all launched under the Blue Drive™ sub brand. As part of this initiative, the all-new Sonata Hybrid will be joined next year by a Plug-in Hybrid variant of the Sonata, which will be Hyundai Motor’s first Plug-in Hybrid. The company also plans to introduce its first dedicated Hybrid model in the second half next year.
    With the addition of the Plug-in Hybrid version, Hyundai Motor will offer a complete range of eco-friendly models, further boosting the model’s popularity. While the all-new Sonata Hybrid will make its North American debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, detailed information of the Plug-in Hybrid version will be also released at the show in Detroit, U.S.
    Upgraded Hybrid Power System
    The all-new Sonata Hybrid is powered by an efficient Nu 2.0-liter GDI hybrid engine mated to a 38 kW electric motor. The gasoline engine delivers maximum power and torque of 156 ps and 19.3 kg.m, up 4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively, compared to the previous model. The 38 kW electric motor also delivers 8.6 percent improved maximum power, with maximum torque of 20.9 kg.m (205 Nm).
    With the upgraded engine and electric motor, the new model achieves a significant improvement in fuel consumption: a class-leading combined rating of 18.2 km/ℓwith 16-inch wheels (17.7 km/ℓ with 17-inch wheels).
    This engine transfers power to the road via Hyundai Motor’s innovative six-speed automatic transmission. The new unit – launched in October 2014 at the company’s annual International Powertrain Conference – houses almost all of the hybrid powertrain components within the transmission, minimizing energy losses and maximizing fuel economy.
    The transmission is fitted with a highly-efficient traction motor, while the torque converter has been removed. A lighter torsion damper, and new engine clutch, which features fewer clutch discs, reduce drag and contribute to a more efficient transfer and use of power.
    The most significant change to the new transmission to improve fuel efficiency is within the oil pump system. By removing the mechanical oil pump, which causes hydraulic losses, and replacing it with a new electric oil pump, the transmission automatically optimizes operation according to the driving conditions.
    The all-new Sonata Hybrid continues to utilize a lithium-polymer battery pack - which in 2011 made Hyundai Motor first automaker in the world to incorporate such efficient battery technology into production cars - now with a 13.3 percent higher capacity of 1.62 kilowatt-hour (versus 1.43 kWh).
    The battery has been relocated under the floor of the trunk, allowing for a flat trunk floor, creating a more useable cargo area, 10.5% larger than that of the previous model, with 60/40 split-folding seats.
    As implemented in the first Sonata Hybrid, the new model is based on a full parallel hybrid architecture. The advantages of a full parallel system allow Sonata Hybrid to generate electricity captured during low engine loads and regenerative braking system to power the electric motor. When the vehicle comes to a stop and the electrical load is low, the engine will shut down to eliminate idle fuel consumption and emissions.
    Unique Hybrid Design
    Compared to other mid-sized hybrid variants, the all-new Sonata Hybrid features a number of unique exterior design characteristics that distinguish it from non-hybrid Sonata models. As well as creating a unique design, these changes have a functional outcome, an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.24 Cd* for the all-new Sonata Hybrid, aiding fuel efficiency and stability (* Hyundai Motor’s own estimates).
    At the front, the larger, more sharply-edged hexagonal grille has a unique inner-grille pattern. The hexagonal grille, a hallmark of Hyundai Motor design, aids cooling and aerodynamic efficiency, while the new, slimline LED daytime running lights and HID headlamps echo the high-technology image.
    A distinctive chrome molding at the bottom of the doors helps to accentuate the Hybrid model’s sleek shape. At the rear, the revised, voluminous rear fenders flow into new, high-visibility LED rear lamp clusters. The design upgrades are completed with a unique, low-drag rear diffuser. New, streamlined 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheels, together with a full underbody cover contribute to reduced airflow resistance.
    Compared to the previous-generation Sonata Hybrid, the all-new Sonata Hybrid is longer (+35 mm) and wider (+30 mm), with a longer wheelbase (+10 mm), allowing more interior space for occupants. The belt line that runs the length of the car has been lowered, with a more sharply raked A-pillar to emphasize the generous proportions.
    Like its base model, the all-new Sonata Hybrid benefits from improved interior ergonomics, resulting in a completely driver-focused cabin, intuitive interfaces and premium soft-touch materials to ensure a pleasurable journey.
    Safety & Convenience Features
    The all-new Sonata Hybrid also benefits from new, advanced safety systems including Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Parking Sensors, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist. In addition to the full suite of passive safety technologies, the car also incorporates a new knee bag to prevent injury in the event of a collision.
    Access to the cabin is keyless thanks to a Smart Key, while the trunk can be entered ‘hands-free’ thanks to the Smart Trunk function. In addition, systems have been fitted to optimize driver comfort, including a powered and ventilated seat that has a four-way lumbar support, as well as Heated Steering Wheel and Smart Cruise Control for enhanced driving comfort on longer journeys.

    Drew Dowdell

    After an unscheduled picture leak, Audi releases pictures and info of the upcoming 2016 Audi Q7.

    Early this morning, pictures of the upcoming Audi Q7 leaked out ahead of its scheduled reveal. A few hours later, the official release came from Audi.
    The big new for the Q7 is a 716 lb reduction in weight. Starting at 4,398 lbs, Audi's biggest crossover takes the title of lightest in its class. The Q7 achieves this with a multi-material body composed of both aluminum and ultra high strength steel components. Overall, the exterior size is smaller in both length and width, cabin space is larger.
    Powertrains for the US will include a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 252 hp / 272 lb-ft, a 3.0 liter turbocharged gasoline V6 producing 333 hp and 324 lb-ft, and a 3.0 liter V6 turbo-diesel producing 272 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Later, a second detuned version of the 3.0 TDI will be released with a turn towards high mpg efficiency. All engines will be mated to a brand new 8-speed automatic sending power through a revised Quattro all-wheel drive system.
    Inside, the Q7 gains a host of new technologies, including optional 10.1" Android tablets built into the car as rear seat monitors. These tablets connect to the MMI navigation system and available on-board LTE Wifi. The tablets have a full HD camera, 32gb of storage, bluetooth and NFC.
    The entertainment system features a new smartphone interface. If either an iOS or Android device is connected to the car via USB, the respective system is opened in in the Audi Smartphone interface. (minimum device OS versions are required)
    The voice control system now uses natural speech control so drivers are no longer limited to specific commands.
    If a customer orders the Tour package, an optional addition to the adaptive cruise control is traffic jam assistant. In this mode, the Q7 will take care of all of the driving at speeds below 37mph and while in heavy congestion.
    Q7 sales have been increasing steadily over the last few years with sales up 21% verse this period last year after a 41% increase in 2013, but Audi still has a way to go before catching up to segment leader Mercedes.
    You can follow all of the Detroit Auto Show goings on and browse previous years' shows by following our Detroit Auto Show page

    Source: Audi Q7 Press Release

    William Maley

    What's In Store For The Next-Generation Q60 Coupe?

    The Infiniti Q60 has been one of the brand's holdovers from its old naming scheme and design. But that will be soon changing. The brand has released a teaser of a new concept coupe that will be debuting at the Detroit Auto Show next month.
    The shadowy teaser shot reveals the Q60 concept to have swooping lines and a rear quarter window kink. Parts of the design remind us of the Q80 Inspiration concept.
    Now Infiniti says the design of the Q60 will foreshadow styling on future Infinti models.
    Source: Infiniti
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Infiniti Q60 Concept: The Power of Exhilaration
    December 12, 2014
    Hong Kong – Infiniti today gives an intriguing first look at the premium sports coupe concept to be displayed at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
    Muscular lines are revealed in the silhouette of the Q60 Concept: pure, well-defined contours, making the concept's intentions easy to understand at first glance.
    Overall proportions and full-sized wheels placed out at the corners of Q60 Concept make an unmistakable design statement and add to the exhilaration of the performance coupe. This latest concept builds upon the design language seen on recent Infiniti concept cars, foreshadowing the strong visual consistency to be a key ingredient of products in the future Infiniti lineup.

    William Maley

    MINI Hots Up The Hardtop With A Bit A Help From John Cooper Works

    Almost a year after MINI revealed the new Cooper Hardtop, the automaker announced the hotted-up John Cooper Works model that will debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month.
    The new John Cooper Works model comes equipped with a tuned 2.0L TwinPower turbo four-cylinder with 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. You can pair this with either a six-speed manual or automatic. MINI quotes 0-60 MPH times of 6.1 seconds for the manual or 5.9 seconds for the automatic.
    A sports suspension will be standard on the John Cooper Works to provide excellent handling. However if you value your spine, you'll be happy to hear that you'll be able to swap the standard suspension at no extra cost. Bringing the vehicle to a stop will be a set of Brembo brakes.
    Source: MINI

    Press Release is on Page 2
    PURE DRIVING FUN, MORE EXTREME THAN EVER: THE NEW MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS HARDTOP
    The new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop will make its World Premiere at the North American International Auto Show in January

    Woodcliff Lake, NJ, December 10, 2014. MINI has carried a passion for motorsport for 55 years and this is more evident than ever before with the launch of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop. The exceptional performance of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop is a result of the most powerful engine ever installed in one of the brand's production models, suspension technology refined with racing expertise and model-specific design features which not only optimize the car's aerodynamic features but also underscore its exclusive charisma. With its irresistible temperament and high performance capabilities, it not only outperforms the sportiest variants of the new MINI but also the predecessor John Cooper Works variants.
    The power for the new John Cooper Works Hardtop is delivered by a 2.0- liter 4-cylinder engine that was developed based on the latest generation of power units with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. It generates a maximum output of 228 bhp and a maximum torque of 236 ft-lbs., accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 Seconds (Manual: 6.1 seconds). This is an increase in sprint capability of 0.3 seconds or 5 percent as compared to the previous generation John Cooper Works Hardtop. Elasticity has even been improved by 10 percent. With a figure of 5.6 seconds for acceleration from 50 to 75 mph, the new MINI John Cooper Works even leaves top-class sports cars in its dust.
    Technology for the engine, suspension, body and interior have been derived directly from motor racing and define the exclusive, performance-oriented character of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop. Combined with the further refined product substance of the new MINI, the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop has been created for fans who appreciate authentic race feeling, premium quality and a high level of everyday practicality. The extremely powerful engine, sports exhaust system and sports suspension with exclusive 17-inch John Cooper Works light alloy wheels combine for a high performance motoring experience that MINI owners expect from the John Cooper Works variants. A sports brake system developed in collaboration with specialist manufacturer Brembo, as well as the John Cooper Works aerodynamics kit including a model-specific rear spoiler and newly developed John Cooper Works sports seats comprising integrated headrest all go together to complete a precisely harmonized overall package.
    This gives the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop performance qualities including not just high-speed acceleration capacity but also exceptional agility, a high degree of steering precision and precise handling on the road as well as excellent deceleration figures. This set of characteristics reflects the brand’s rich motor racing experience and bears witness to the tradition-steeped link between MINI and John Cooper Works. Ever since legendary designer John Cooper discovered the racing talent the classic Mini presented in the early 1960’s, his name has stood for maximum driving fun and success on the race track with the small British car.
    The engine: state-of-the-art basis optimized with racing expertise for top performance.
    Under the bonnet of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop is by far the sportiest version of the latest MINI engine generation. The 4-cylinder engine traditionally mounted transversely at the front benefits from advancements in the areas of power delivery, smoothness and efficiency derived from MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology, combining these with performance characteristics which are unmistakably geared towards motor racing. It draws its power from a capacity of 2.0 liters - an increase of 25 percent over the engine in the predecessor model. The increase in output amounts to 10 percent, while the maximum torque is 14 percent higher than before.
    The new engine was created on the basis of the 4-cylinder that was completely newly developed for the latest generation of the MINI Cooper S. It has turbocharging integrated in the exhaust manifold, direct injection with injectors arranged centrally between the valves, fully variable valve control in the form of VALVETRONIC as patented by the BMW Group and variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust side (double VANOS). As a result, the engine of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop guarantees efficient and reliable driving fun in day-to-day use as well as sporty power delivery for inspirational performance on the race track.
    The turbocharging system integrated in the cast steel manifold makes for short ducting of the exhaust gas flow, thereby enabling an early and powerful response. What is more, the turbocharger developed specially for the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop is made of temperature-resilient material. It generates increased charge-air pressure for even, sporty power delivery across a wide engine speed range. The specific pistons are precisely harmonized with this, enabling compression reduction that is adapted to the high level of charge-air pressure. This design produces performance characteristics typical of a sports car: power delivery which sets in early on and is maintained continuously right through to a high load range. The engine of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop responds spontaneously to the smallest movements of the accelerator pedal. It develops its maximum torque of 236 ft-lbs. at just 1, 250 rpm and puts this on stream over a range going up to 4, 800 rpm. At 5, 200 rpm the engine supplies its peak output of 228 bhp which is then maintained at a constant level up to 6, 000 rpm.
    The output bonus in the new John Cooper Works Hardtop is now higher than before with 39 percent more horsepower than the MINI Cooper S and is also exceptional in terms of its pulling power. Its thrust not only enables extremely spirited acceleration from standing but also highly dynamic interim sprints. The new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop completes the standard sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds (Manual: 6.1 seconds), it takes just 5.6 seconds to accelerate from 50 to 75 mph and its maximum speed 153 mph.
    Geared towards top performance in every way, the engine technology in the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop is rounded off with a specific sports exhaust system. With its low level of exhaust back pressure it promotes spontaneous power delivery in the engine as well as generating the sound typical of the John Cooper Works models that underscores the engine's performance character with a highly emotional acoustic pattern across all load ranges.
    Top performance delivered in dynamic style: 6-speed manual transmission with engine speed adaptation, 6-speed Steptronic sports transmission with shift paddles at the steering wheel.
    Power delivery to the front wheels is affected as standard via a 6-speed manual transmission which has been adapted in detail to the engine's performance characteristics. The transmission itself, also newly developed for the latest model generation, is characterized by low weight, short shift travel and optimized acoustic and vibrational characteristics, as well as providing an innovation which comes into play impressively when the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop is driven in sporty style. A gear sensor allows active engine speed adaptation, or rev-matching. When changing gear, the engine speed can be automatically adapted to the rotational speed of the input shaft for the gear selected. This ensures jerk-free clutch engagement, thereby enhancing comfort when shifting down a gear.
    A 6-speed Steptronic sports transmission is also optionally available for the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop. This automatic transmission combines high efficiency and a high level of shift comfort with increased shift dynamics and fast gear shifts. In manual mode, it is possible to change gear using shift paddles at the steering wheel. In combination with the automatic transmission, the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop also features the automatic engine start/stop function, preventing unnecessary fuel consumption caused by idling at junctions or in congested traffic.
    Efficiency-optimized drive systems thanks to MINIMALISM technology.
    The MINIMALISM technology also extensively applied in the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop comprises not just efficiency-optimized drive systems and the automatic engine start/stop function but also shift point display, brake energy regeneration, needs-based control of the fuel pump, coolant pump and other ancillary units, electromechanical power steering and a map-controlled oil pump. In addition, intelligent lightweight construction and optimized aerodynamic properties help ensure significantly increased driving fun.
    For precisely controllable go-kart feeling: high-end suspension technology, Brembo brake system, exclusive light alloy wheels.
    Together with the hallmark brand concept comprising front-wheel drive, a low center of gravity, short overhangs, wide track and rigid body structure, the suspension technology has undergone extensive further development for the latest generation of the MINI so as to provide the perfect basis for thrilling race feeling. The new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop is fitted as standard with a sports suspension and benefits from the well-established design principle of a single-joint spring strut axle at front and a multilink rear axle which is unique within the competitive environment, as well as optimized details geared towards high engine and driving performance figures. A standard suspension is also available as a no-cost option.
    In order to reduce weight and increase component rigidity, the front axle is fitted with aluminum swivel bearings as well as axle supports and wishbones made of high-strength steel. The model-specific axle kinematics supports an agile turn-in response as well as a precise steering sensation largely free of drive torque. At the rear axle, too, a larger proportion of highly rigid steel types ensure increased stiffness combined with reduced weight. Tube-shaped stabilizers at the front and rear axle, an innovative axle bearing including a hydraulically damped engine mount and triple- path support bearings to decouple the dampers from the body additionally contribute to the fact that the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop retains precise handling as well as optimized ride comfort even in highly sporty situations.
    Another standard feature of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop is the high-performance sports brake system developed exclusively for this model. Designed in collaboration with the specialized manufacturer Brembo and precisely harmonized with the properties of the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop, the fixed caliper disc brakes guarantee a high deceleration performance even when exposed to intensive stress on the race track. The brake calipers are finished in red and bear the manufacturer's logo. The standard 17-inch John Cooper Works light alloy wheels in Race Spoke design were created exclusively for the John Cooper Works Hardtop, and there are three more wheel design options including 17-inch Joh Cooper Works Track Spoke light alloy wheels in silver or black and 18-inch John Cooper Works Cup Spoke light alloy wheels with two-tone finish.
    The standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) also comprises the functions Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) - which acts as an electronic locking function for the front axle differential - and Performance Control, which supports agile turning when taking bends at speed. Self-steering tendencies that can be caused by differing torque levels on the drive wheels are also prevented by means of the so-called Torque Steer Compensation function provided by the electromechanical power steering. Standard features also include the speed-related steering assistance system Servotronic. Dynamic Damper Control is optionally available for the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop. It allows selection of two set-ups for either particularly sporty or more comfort-oriented driving situations.
    The passive safety of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop is also enhanced by the extremely rigid passenger cell, highly resilient bracket structures and deformation zones in optimum design. These form part of the integrated MINI safety concept, as do the standard eight airbags, 3-point automatic belts on all seats and ISOFIX children's seat attachments at the rear.
    Exterior design: precise cooling air and wind ducting.
    The body design of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop underscores the performance-oriented yet exclusive character of the top athlete in the small car segment. The front section has large air inlets which indicate the high cooling requirements of the engine, its ancillary units and the brakes and thereby instantly revealing the car's outstanding performance qualities. The model-specific cooling concept of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop also comprises additional air inlets in the outer areas of the front apron so as to ensure the ideal operating temperature is maintained even in race track conditions. These take up the space provided in the new MINI for fog lamps and guarantee an air supply to additional external cooling units that regulate the temperature level of the ancillary units and brakes.
    The hexagonal radiator grill at the center of the front section has a characteristic honeycomb pattern and a cross member at the bottom edge finished in red. The John Cooper Works logo also appears here, as well as on the luggage compartment lid at the rear of the car. The likewise standard LED headlamps are surrounded by a daytime driving light ring also in LED technology, the lower section of which is white and acts as the direction indicator.
    Precisely shaped air ducting elements in the lower section of the front apron help optimize the car's aerodynamic properties as do the side sills in model-specific design. All the other body elements relevant to airflow were subjected to intense testing in race track conditions in order to precisely harmonize them with the driving dynamics potential of the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop and thereby ensure precise and safe handling at all times. This explains the distinctive shape of the rear spoiler fitted on the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop, applied to generate down thrust at high speeds. The rear apron with flaps and a diffuser element in the lower area likewise helps optimize aerodynamic balance.
    Other exclusive features of the exterior include the side turn indicator surrounds known as side scuttles, which bear a red accentuation line and a John Cooper Works logo applied to a black background, and also the tailpipes of the sports exhaust system integrated centrally in the rear apron and identifiable by their large cross-section. The black wheel arch surrounds also exhibit model-specific contours. Eleven paint finishes are available to choose from for the body. The range also includes the MINI Yours paint finish Lapisluxury Blue metallic and the new variant Rebel Green metallic - the latter being available exclusively for the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop. As an option at no extra cost, the roof and exterior mirror caps can be finished in white, black or - also exclusively for the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop - Chili Red. The exclusive John Cooper Works black bonnets stripes with Chili Red lines are also an option that is reserved solely for the new top athlete.
    Interior: sports car cockpit with new John Cooper Works sports seats for authentic race feeling.
    Due to the increased dimensions as compared to the predecessor model, the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop offers optimized space on the four seats. The luggage compartment now has a capacity of 34 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded. The additional functions and the new display and operating concept are combined with specific design features in the style of John Cooper Works, thereby enhancing the intense performance experience this car offers.
    Optimum lateral hold in highly dynamic driving situations is ensured by the newly developed John Cooper Works sports seats with integrated headrests and model-specific upholstery in Dinamica/fabric and the color Carbon Black. The new seats are also optionally available in a Dinamica/Carbon Black leather version. The exclusive standard fittings also include the newly designed John Cooper Works leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons and the John Cooper Works entry sills, the John Cooper Works gear or selector lever, stainless steel pedals including driver footrest and anthracite roof liner.
    Interior trim in Piano Black and red design accentuations not just on the seat surfaces but also on the steering wheel rim, the gear or selector lever and the car key all contribute to underscoring the car's exclusive charisma. What is more, the new MINI John Cooper Works has model-specific cockpit displays in a style that is presented here for the first time. A dark dial for the speedometer and engine speed display optimize readability of the instruments arranged above the steering wheel.
    The standard fittings of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop also include the MINI Driving Modes, which allow configuration of an individual set-up. Using a rotary switch at the base of the gear or selector lever, the driver can select not just the standard setting MID Mode but also the SPORT Mode and the GREEN Mode so as to activate a set-up that emphasizes sporty driving, a balanced, comfortable style or increased efficiency. The MINI Driving Modes are used to influence the characteristic curves of the accelerator, steering and engine acoustics. Where the car is fitted with the relevant equipment features, the selected set-up also affects the shifting characteristics of the automatic transmission, the Dynamic Damper Control program map, the ambient lighting and the displays in the central instrument.
    Innovative driver assistance systems: MINI Head-Up Display with model-specific display content.
    The racing feel in the cockpit of the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop can be further enhanced with optional sports instruments Cockpit Chrono package. The three displays designed in classic circular form provide information that is especially relevant when an ambitiously sporty style of driving is adopted. The sports instruments consist of displays for the oil and turbo boost pressure as well as a chronometer with stopwatch function.
    What is more, the full extended range of driver assistance systems is also available for the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop. This comprises the Active Driving Assistant including camera-based active cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function, high beam assistant, and road sign detection, as well as Park Assistant Package, Park Distance Control, and rear-view camera. Meanwhile the likewise optional MINI Head-Up Display which extends above the steering column offers an augmented range of functions specific to this model. In addition to information on road speed, speed limits detected, current navigation directions and Check Control messages, feedback from the driver assistance systems and lists of telephone contacts and entertainment programs, it is also possible to display the currently selected gear and a multi-colored engine speed scale which is supplemented with a shift point signal depending on the driving mode selected, so as to enable for dynamic acceleration maneuvers.
    High-end special equipment features for greater driving fun, comfort, premium flair and individual style.
    Due to its model-specific design and fittings, the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop already comes off the production line as a perfectly harmonized package offering extreme driving fun in the premium small car segment. With the characteristic MINI diversity in terms of the range of special equipment features and accessories, the top athlete additionally offers extensive options for customization geared precisely towards the driver's own personal style. Dual-zone automatic climate control is included as standard equipment, as are automatic headlights, and rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers. Other available options include seat heating for driver and front passenger, a panorama glass roof, ambient lighting with continuously variable coloring, electrically heated and folding exterior mirrors and auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors. For customization of the exterior and interior, options also include various graphics for the roof and exterior mirrors, bonnet stripes, seat upholsteries, interior surfaces and Color Lines.
    The Radio MINI Boost including AUX-IN socket and USB interface are likewise standard features of the new MINI John Cooper Works. These can be supplemented with such items as the optional Harman/Kardon hi-fi speaker system. The option MINI Connected or MINI Connected XL is also available in conjunction with the Radio MINI Visual Boost and the MINI navigation system. It offers extensive integration of smartphones in the car, allowing the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driver experience.
    Numerous functions which can be integrated in the vehicle via apps in the areas of social media and infotainment are available for both the Apple iPhone and for select smartphones using the Android operating system. Operation is intuitive and reflects hallmark brand style in using the MINI Controller in the center console and a color display in the central instrument. MINI Wired Package includes an 8.8-inch screen and the MINI Touch Controller with touch-sensitive surface.

    Drew Dowdell
    We are a little more than a month away from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but much like the Christmas music in stores the day after Halloween, companies like to tease us for a month or two ahead of time.
    One of the earliest teasers (that wasn't a full reveal like the Mercedes GLE) is the next generation Toyota Tacoma. So far, all we get to see is the tailgate of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma that will be revealed in about a month. We're expecting styling to borrow heavily from its big brother, the Toyota Tundra.
    The Tacoma has been the best selling small truck for a number of years now as the Detroit three ceded the segment to the Japanese. However, Toyota is going to be facing stiff competition in the next couple of years. GM is back with a vengeance with their new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the former of which won MotorTrend's Truck of the Year award for 2015, Nissan's Frontier will be updated soon, Honda is returning with the Ridgeline, and rumors suggest Ford's Ranger is due to return as well.
    Toyota sold 159,485 Tacoma Trucks in 2013 and 140,757 Tacomas of November 2014. With such strong competition coming, Toyota is going to have to make sure they leave no tailgate unlatched to keep up the sales pace.

    William Maley

    Which Vehicles Made The Grade At The North American International Auto Show In Detroit?

    The theme of this year's Detroit Auto Show was all about performance. A number of the showings from BMW to Subaru were high performance models of varying degrees. But there were some other surprises to make their way into the show. Which ones made the honor roll and which ones need to see me after the show? Its time for a Cheers & Gears' Report Card.
    Acura TLX Concept: B-
    This was a model I was excited for because I wanted to see how Acura would combine the TL and TSX. The results as shown in this thinly-veiled concept have me worried. Most of this comes down to design as it reminds of the ILX in a bigger package. Not sure if that what's Acura had in mind with design. On the plus side, two new engines and the company learning that transmissions came come with more than six gears shows that Acura is heading on the right track.
    Audi Allroad Shooting Brake: C
    Meh. Should be said this could be a preview for what the next TT could look like.
    2015 Audi Q3: B+
    Finally! The Q3 is coming to the U.S. very soon. I'll admit that out of all the compact luxury crossovers, this is the one that I have been looking the most forward to. Hopefully the RS Q3 will make the journey to the U.S. as well.
    2015 BMW M3/M4: B+
    I'm not quite sold on BMW making the M series of vehicles more the 'look at me!' personality. But I do have to say I like what the company did with going back to their roots in a way with the inline-six and weight-loss measures. Wonder what Mercedes and for that matter Cadillac have up their sleeves?
    2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe: B
    Not quite as polarizing as the CTS coupe, which is a good and bad thing if you ask me. Good on Cadillac having the 2.0T and 3.6L as the engines. Not so good is the new emblem. It looks awful.
    2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: A+
    Lets see, a supercharged V8 with "at least" 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque. Check.
    A choice between a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Check.
    Three different packages to keep the Z06 planted to the ground. Check.
    Tadge Juechter saying "“if you could afford the old Z06, you’ll be able to afford the new Z06.” Check.
    2015 Chrysler 200: A+
    Yes, the design of the 200 is mashup of about 15 different vehicles. But you have to admit that the new 200 is far beyond the current 200 and the vehicle that we dare not speak its name of. Throw in the Alfa-derived platform, unique all-wheel drive system, and the availability of the 3.6L V6, Chrysler could have a winner here.
    2015 Ford F-150: See Me After The Show
    Ford, I like that you're taking a big risk with the F-150 by using aluminum. I also like that you announced a smaller EcoBoost engine to join alongside the 3.5 EcoBoost. But the design of it is well... ugly. I'm not sure if having the new F-150 look like a Tonka truck that has take a lot of steroids is what you're trying to go after here.
    2015 GMC Canyon: A-
    Finally, we get to see GMC midsize truck. I think it looks a little bit better than the Chevrolet Colorado. My only concern is, will GM's new midsize trucks jumpstart the market again?
    2015 Honda Fit: B
    While not the most exciting subcompact to look at, Honda focused on improving some of the key things that make the Fit a compelling choice in the class. Cannot wait to get my hands on one.
    2015 Hyundai Genesis: C+
    One of the comments really summed up my thoughts on the new Genesis: "Nice car, but leaves me with an empty expectation that there should be something more. Not sure what, but it is missing something."
    Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept: Incomplete
    It might pack 500 to 600 horsepower under the hood. It might have some clever changes. It could go into production within the next few years. But other than that, the Eau Rouge is just a fancy body kit and some nice interior pieces. Hence why it doesn't get a grade.
    Kia GT4 Stinger Concept: A+
    Best Concept at Detroit Auto Show? Yes. Possibly could see something like this going into production in the future.
    2015 Lexus RC-F: A-
    Still quite not sold on the styling of the high-performance RC coupe. However with the 5.0L V8 engine making more than 450 horsepower does draw me back in. Also, I want to shake the hand of person who decided to swap the joystick controller to a touchpad for the infotainment system.
    2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: A-
    I can't believe that I'm writing this, but the C-Class has to be my dark horse of the show. I wasn't expecting much out of Mercedes' other compact sedan, but the introduction of the CLA has given the luxury maker some breathing room to do some interesting things. Only concern: How much is it going to cost?
    2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG: B+
    Why would anyone buy this? Why wouldn't anyone buy this? Very excited for this model since it will be the closest we get the A45 AMG for awhile (maybe ever).
    Nissan Sport Sedan Concept: A
    If this is what Nissan has in mind for the next Maxima, sign me up. Also Nissan, would you please consider all-wheel drive if you're planning to have that 300 horsepower or so.
    2015 Porsche 911 Targa: C-
    Another 911 model, this time with a convertible top that isn't a top! Yeah... Moving on.
    2015 Subaru WRX STI: B-
    Has the same problem as the standard WRX: design isn't as aggressive as the concept shown at New York last year. Hope the drivetrain can help this one out.
    Toyota FT-1 Concept: A+
    Still cannot believe this is a Toyota at all. Maybe the beige-ness is beginning to slowly wear away from the brand. Also big props to Toyota's CALTY Design center in California for getting the chance to do this concept. Well done.
    Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept: D
    More Dune, Less Beetle Volkswagen.
    Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept: C
    This would have received a lower grade were it not for the clever tricks and technologies Volkswagen used in this concept. I wouldn't be surprised if future Volkswagen vehicles have some these features and that the BlueMotion nameplate comes to North America.
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.



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