Geneva 2010: Volvo S60


2011 Volvo S60

American automakers are streamlining, big time. But we're looking at a Swedish car. In Switzerland. So what does this have to do with Detroit? Well, a lot. But not for long. Volvo's about to change hands from Ford to China's Geely, and (like fellow Swedish automaker Saab now under Spyker's wing) if it's going to survive, it'll need a solid product. This could be it.

Previewed in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show, the production version of the new Volvo S60 made its debut here at the Geneva Motor Show. A few details inevitably had to change on the bumpy road from concept to production, among them the anteater nose of the show car which was thankfully reshaped due to pedestrian impact requirements. And when it comes down to it, that's what Volvo's all about: safety. So it comes as little surprise that the new S60 also debuts the company's new Collision Warning system that will, if necessary, fully engage the brakes.

The S60 makes its debut in T6 guise, packing a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six with 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. More engines will be on offer worldwide once new S60 car reaches the market over the course of the coming months.

[Source: Volvo]

ALL-NEW VOLVO S60 MAKES ITS WORLD DEBUT AT GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
  • All-New Volvo S60 makes its international debut at Geneva Motor Show 2010
  • New Dynamic chassis tuned for an active drive
  • Features the ground-breaking Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake technology
Today, Tuesday 2 March 2010, the all-new Volvo S60 made its international debut at the Geneva Motor Show. It launches into one of the automotive world's most competitive segments backed by an elegant new coupé-like design, dynamic driving characteristics and ground-breaking Pedestrian Detection safety technology.

In its overall shape, the all-new S60 is a coupé; sportier and more distinct than any previous Volvo. In its design, it promises excellent driving characteristics, even before you get behind the wheel. To deliver the highest levels of driving enjoyment, the chassis team have refined every single detail that influences a car's driving properties and fine-tuned the driving experience to offer the most dynamic ride ever seen before on a Volvo.

The all-new S60 range will be available from launch with a choice of two diesels and one petrol engine, including an uprated high-performance 3.0-litre T6 petrol version with 304bhp, a 2.4-litre 205bhp D5 and a 2.0-litre 163bhp D3 powerplant. A DRIVe version powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine with CO2 emissions of approximately 115g/km and fuel economy of up to 65.7mpg (combined cycle, preliminary figure) will join the range later in 2011.

DESIGN
In its overall shape, the all-new S60 is a four-door coupé - sportier and more distinct than any previous Volvo.

The C-pillar of the all-new S60 stretches all the way to the tail lamps – and the slim coupé -like roof line is accompanied by a new contour on the shoulders on either side of the lower body. This creates a gentle double wave in the line from the headlamps at the front to the tail lamps at the rear.

The S60's athletic stance is accentuated by a sculpted bonnet and short overhangs front and rear, plus what Volvo's design team calls the "racetrack" design. The car's lines do not end abruptly but instead continue to flow organically, echoing the smooth shapes of the racetrack.

This sporty appearance can be further enhanced with an exterior styling kit that incorporates front and rear skid plates, two frames in the lower valence, side scuff plates, exhaust tailpipe finishers and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Volvo's designers have also used LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology to create distinctive, signature lights at the front and rear that make the car clearly identifiable as an S60, even in the dark.

The all-new Volvo S60 is being introduced with a range of exterior colours including two new shades: Vibrant Copper and Electrum Gold.

NEW DYNAMIC CHASSIS
The new Volvo S60 is the most sporting Volvo ever built and during the development process, the chassis team refined every single detail to fine tune the driving experience. The result of their labours is a newly-developed Dynamic chassis, standard on every new Volvo S60.

The steering gear ratio is 10 per cent faster than in previous models to give enhanced steering feel and sharper response. The steering column's thicker tubing and stiffer bushes have increased torsional rigidity by 100 per cent. This also contributes to the increased feeling of direct contact with the wheels and the road.

The front spring struts have thicker pistons compared with the sports chassis in the Volvo S80. The resultant 47 per cent increase of stiffness means that the body structure is better able to absorb lateral loads. The springs themselves are shorter and stiffer than before and the Eigen frequency has increased by 10 per cent. At the front, spring strut mounting stiffness has increased by 50 per cent. The front and rear subframe bushes are up to twice as stiff compared with previous models. The link arm bushings have also been optimised for sporty driving and full control.

The damper mountings at the rear are made of PUR (polyurethane) instead of rubber to provide better balance between comfort and dynamic control.

Stefan Sällqvist, responsible for the S60 chassis development explained: "We spent many weeks fine-tuning the dampers out in the English countryside. We drove on old Roman roads that have only ever received a few layers of tarmac over the centuries – a perfect environment for finding the right damping qualities."

Advanced Stability Control
The Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) in the all-new S60 has a number of sophisticated features to improve driving pleasure and safety. The S60 is the first saloon on the market with Volvo's Advanced Stability Control. With a new roll sensor, it's possible to identify any skidding tendency at a very early stage. This means that the anti-skid system can step in earlier and with greater precision. Advanced Stability Control is a great asset in dynamic driving that involves considerable lateral forces.

New Corner Traction Control for smoother curves
The dynamic new chassis is backed up by a range of electronic systems that further sharpen the sporty driving experience. Corner Traction Control is a new feature that uses torque vectoring so the car takes corners more smoothly. This technology is a further refinement of the DSTC system. When taking a curve, the car's inner driven wheel is braked at the same time as more power is transmitted to the outer driven wheel. This allows the driver to take the corner more tightly while reducing any tendency to understeer.

Advanced, integrated braking functions
A highly advanced braking system is an important part of the dynamic driving properties of the all-new S60. A number of features interact to provide the shortest possible stopping distance in all scenarios. Technology includes:
  • Ready Alert Brakes can predict when emergency braking is needed. The brake calipers are applied lightly to the brake discs even before the driver presses the brake pedal.
  • Hydraulic Brake Assist helps the driver brake in the shortest possible distance. In an emergency situation where the driver does not press the brake pedal fast or hard enough, Hydraulic Brake Assist can help utilise the ABS system optimally and thus shorten the overall braking distance.
  • Optimised Hydraulic Brakes is a system that amplifies braking ability during firm braking by using hydraulics to compensate for low vacuum pressure in the brake servo.
  • Fading Brake Support uses the hydraulic system to gradually build up brake pressure during long, hard braking. This helps reduce the risk of brake fade and maintains pedal feel.
  • The all-new S60 is equipped with an Electronic Parking Brakeas standard.

FOUR-C as an option
All variants of the new S60 can be specified with the FOUR-C active chassis, which has been modified and refined for better control and comfort. This is an advanced, self-adjusting chassis system that uses a number of sensors to continuously monitor the car's behaviour. In mere fractions of a second, the dampers are adjusted to suit the current driving situation.

With three alternative chassis settings, all it takes is for the driver to press a button to alter the car's character: Comfort, Sport or Advanced.

ENGINE RANGE
At launch, the S60 range will be available with a choice of two diesels and one petrol engine. All the engines have been developed to meet the highest demands on sporty, dynamic driving with competitive fuel consumption.

All-new Volvo S60 engine programme from start of production:

Petrol engines Displacement Configuration Output Torque
T6 AWD 3.0 6-cyl in-line 304 bhp 440 Nm
Diesel engines Displacement Configuration Output Torque
D5 2.4 5-cyl in-line 205 bhp 420 Nm
D3 2.0 5-cyl in-line 163 bhp 400 Nm
Two five-cylinder turbo diesels
The high-performance twin turbo D5 produces 205 horsepower and 420Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 7.8 seconds (manual and automatic) and top speed is 146mph (manual) and 143mph (automatic). In the most recent D5 version, introduced in spring 2009, the performance and driveability requirements have been met by fitting two turbochargers of different sizes, one taking over from the other and providing added power within a broader rev range. The result is alert response and rapid acceleration at all speeds, with seamless transfers in the turbo rev range between the two turbochargers. The complementary properties of the two turbos combine high performance with lower fuel consumption of 47.9mpg (EU Combined, preliminary figure).

Advanced fuel injection technology using piezoelectric fuel valves gives exact distribution of fuel in the combustion chamber, with efficient combustion and low emissions as a result.

Smaller displacement lowers fuel consumption
In addition there is the newly-developed 2.0-litre D3 engine producing 163hp and 400Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 9.2 seconds (manual and automatic) and top speed is 137mph (manual) and 134 mph (automatic).

The new five-cylinder 2.0D is, in principle, the same engine as the present 2.4D, but cylinder capacity has been reduced with a shorter stroke to optimise fuel consumption. With a manual gearbox fuel consumption is now up to 54.3mpg (EU Combined, preliminary figure).

The engine has been optimised to offer reduced fuel consumption and the injection system has a different type of piezoelectrical fuel valve compared with the D5 engine. These valves keep fuel consumption to a minimum thanks to exceptionally fast and precise injection pulses under high pressure. This results in far more efficient combustion.

In order to give the car better driving properties, the turbocharger has been fine-tuned for high torque from low revs.

Both turbodiesels are available with six-speed manual gearbox as standard or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. A maintenance-free particulate filter that traps about 95 percent of the soot particles is fitted as standard in both engines.

High-performance T6 petrol engine
The 3.0-litre T6 petrol engine generates 304 hp and 440 Nm of torque, enhancing acceleration and smooth progress on the road. Acceleration from 0-62 mph takes 6.5 seconds and top speed is 155 mph. Volvo Cars' engine specialists have succeeded in cutting fuel consumption by about 10 per cent to 27.7 mpg (EU Combined, preliminary figure).

The engine's power is delivered to the wheels via Volvo's second-generation six-speed automatic Geartronic transmission. New valves and lower friction mean faster gear changes than before. AWD (All Wheel Drive) is standard on the T6.

Engines to be added during first year of production:

Petrol engines Displacement Configuration Output Torque
T5 2.0 4-cyl in-line 240 bhp 320 Nm
T4 1.6 4 cyl in-line 180 bhp 240 Nm
T3 1.6 4-cyl in-line 150 bhp 240 Nm

Diesel engines Displacement Configuration Output Torque
1.6 D DRIVe 1.6 4-cyl in-line 115 bhp 270 Nm
DRIVe diesel below 115 g/km
During the first year of production a DRIVe version of the all-new S60 will be introduced, featuring a new 1.6-litre diesel engine. Fuel consumption will be an impressive 65.7mpg (EU Combined, preliminary figure), corresponding to CO2 emissions approximately below 115 g/km. The uprated engine produces 115 hp and 270 Nm of torque, and will only be available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Later during the first year of production, the all-new S60 will also become available with a 2.0 GTDi variant (T5) producing 240 hp and torque of 320 Nm. Furthermore, there will be a 1.6-litre GTDi engine available in two versions: 180 hp (T4) and 150 hp (T3) with torque of 240 Nm.

All the GTDi engines will be available in combination with Volvo's optional automatic six-speed Powershift transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The Powershift concept works like two parallel manual gearboxes with separate clutches, giving quick and fuel-saving gearchanges.

Further information on these engines will be communicated at a later date.

PEDESTRIAN DETECTION WITH FULL AUTO BRAKE
The all-new Volvo S60 features the ground breaking Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake system. Pedestrian Detection consists of a newly developed radar unit integrated into the car's grille, a camera fitted in front of the interior rear-view mirror, and a central control unit. The radar's task is to detect any object in front of the car and to determine the distance to it. The camera determines what type of object it is.

The full auto brake part of the technology also responds to vehicles in front that are at a standstill or that are moving in the same direction as the car fitted with the system.

The newly developed dual-mode radar's much wider field of vision ensures that pedestrians about to step into the roadway can be detected early on. The camera has higher resolution than the previous-generation auto brake which makes it possible to detect the pedestrian's pattern of movement.

"The auto-brake system requires that the object is confirmed by both the radar and the camera. Thanks to the advanced sensor technology used, it is now possible to increase to full braking power," explains Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Cars.

"Detecting pedestrians with sufficiently high reliability has been a complex challenge. Our innovative technology is programmed to trace a pedestrian's pattern of movement and also to calculate whether he or she is likely to step into the road in front of the car. The system can detect pedestrians who are 80 cm tall and upwards, that is to say including children."

New technology permits full braking force
In an emergency situation the driver first receives an audible warning combined with a flashing light in the windscreen's head-up display. In order to generate an immediate, intuitive reaction, this warning resembles a brake light. At the same time, the car's brakes are pre-charged. If the driver does not react to the warning and an accident is imminent, full braking power is automatically applied.

This technology has the same limitations as the human eye, and just like us it "sees" less well in the dark and in poor weather.

Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake can avoid a collision with a pedestrian at speeds of up to 21mph if the driver does not react in time. At higher speeds, the focus is on reducing the car's speed as much as possible prior to the impact. The speed reduction is up to 21mph.

Statistics reveal that the car's speed has considerable importance for the outcome of the accident. A lower speed of impact means that the risk of serious injury is significantly reduced. For instance, if speed is cut from 30mph to 15mph, Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake is expected to reduce the fatality risk by as much as 20 per cent and in certain cases by up to 85 per cent.

City Safety
The all-new Volvo S60 also features City Safety as standard, as seen on its bigger brother - the XC60. The system can reduce or even entirely avoid low-speed rear-end impacts at speeds up to 18mph.

Additional safety systems available:
  • Driver Alert Control (DAC). A unique technology to alert tired and distracted drivers. This function monitors the car's progress between the lane markers and warns the driver if his or her driving pattern changes in a random or uncontrolled way.
  • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) helps detect vehicles in the rear blind spot on both sides of the car. A warning lamp beside the relevant door mirror comes on to alert the driver to the danger.
  • Active Bi-Xenon Lights are articulated headlights that follow the curve of the road. For best possibility illumination when driving in the dark on twisting roads.
  • Lane Departure Warning alerts the driver if the car runs across the lane markers without the turn indicator being used.
  • Advanced Side Impact Protection System
  • Seat-mounted side airbags
  • Improved Inflatable Curtains
  • Whiplash Protection System

INSIDE THE CABIN
Drivers and passengers can experience the agile new chassis in complete comfort thanks to the spacious and refined cabin. The interior of the new S60 has been designed with driver-oriented details, but is still a five-seater car offering comfortable space for all its occupants. The sculpted outer rear seats give the passenger in the middle welcome side support. Knee space in the rear seat has increased by 30 mm compared with the previous-generation S60.

The designers also took the exterior's racetrack inspiration into the interior of the car. "Every detail looks like it's in motion. All the lines 'embrace' the driver's cockpit. The instruments and centre stack are angled towards the driver to create a sensation of focus and control. The new dynamic three-spoke steering wheel and the new sports seats with extra side supports are standard. There isn't any compromise anywhere in the dynamic approach we adopted from the very beginning," says Jonathan Disley, head of interior design in the all-new Volvo S60.

Easily accessible storage space is another important part of interior comfort and convenience. The all-new Volvo S60 has a storage compartment behind the centre stack and another in the centre console armrest, while in the door pockets there is space for books, maps, soft-drink bottles and cans. Both the front and rear seat occupants have seat pockets within easy reach. The rear seat splits 40/60 and the boot opening has been made 100 mm wider than in the previous-generation S60.

Beige and black are the main colours of the upholstery range, which is spiced up with the new highlight shade of Beechwood Brown – a tan leather upholstery that traces its proud roots back to classic Volvo models such as the P1800 ES and 164.

Clean Zone Interior gives enhanced comfort
The Electronic Climate Control system, (ECC), offers automatic control of both temperature and ventilation. The all-new Volvo S60 can be equipped with IAQS (Interior Air Quality System) which prevents particles and unpleasant odours from entering the cabin. To offer highly-sensitive passengers even better climate comfort, the system has also been equipped with Clean Zone Interior, a system based on ECC and IAQS. When the car is unlocked using the remote control, the passenger compartment is automatically ventilated if the outdoor temperature exceeds 10 degrees Celsius.

The all-new Volvo S60 also features:
  • Optional Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Queue Assist, automatically maintains a set gap to the vehicle in front and operates at speeds below 18mph, all the way down to standstill.
  • Optional front and rear parking sensors and a rear Park Assist camera.
  • Optional camera in the front grille with a 180-degree field of vision that can 'see around the corner' to help drivers negotiate blind exits and park with greater safety.

New Infotainment system
The all-new S60 also gets a new Infotainment system that integrates information from the audio unit, navigation system, mobile phone and other functions into a five- or seven-inch colour screen in the upper part of the centre console. The screen is in a high position to make it easy for the driver to keep their eyes on the road.

All the functions can be controlled from the steering wheel or via controls located directly below the colour screen. In addition there is a separate remote control for passengers to use. Integrated navigation with voice control is available as an option, as is the possibility of using Bluetooth to connect the driver's own mobile phone to the car's infotainment system.

One of the first cars with MultEQ from Audyssey Laboratories
The all-new Volvo S60 is one of the first cars in the world to use Audyssey Laboratories MultEQ technology, the standard for room equalization in the home and professional theatre markets.

MultEQ removes distortion caused by the cabin's acoustics enabling crisp, clear sound for everyone in the car.

In addition to the top-of-the line Premium Sound, which comes with a seven-inch screen, the all-new Volvo S60 is available with a choice of three other audio systems:
  • Performance – with a 4x20 W amplifier, six loudspeakers and a five-inch screen.
  • High Performance – with a 4x40 W amplifier and eight loudspeakers. This system also comes with a five-inch screen.
  • High Performance Multimedia – with a 4x40 W amplifier and eight loudspeakers. This level is combined with the optional navigation system and the larger seven-inch screen.

GLOBAL SALES
The first-generation Volvo S60 was launched in 2000. It soon became Volvo Cars' most popular model, enjoying worldwide acclaim and peak sales of 110,000 cars in 2002. In total, there are about one million S60s on roads the world over today.

The initial annual global target for the all-new Volvo S60 is 90,000 cars and the car's customer base is spread unusually uniformly throughout the world. Europe (including Russia), North America, and the rest of the world will each account for about one-third of total sales. The five largest single markets will be the UK, USA, China, Russia and Sweden. The all-new Volvo S60 will be built at the Volvo Cars factory in Ghent, Belgium and first cars will be delivered to customers in early summer 2010.

Geely Gleagle GS


Geely Gleagle GS



The first time we saw something that could roughly be equated to a sport coupe from Geely was a few years ago at the Detroit Auto Show. That red car had some enormous panel gaps and dubious styling. My, how times change. The star of Geely's new midrange Gleagle brand (we're pretty sure it doesn't come across as oddly in Chinese as it does in English) was the GS coupe.

Similar in size to Scion Tc, the GS is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged inline four producing 127 horsepower. It can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual clutch unit. If any Chinese automaker is going to make it to the U.S., Geely seems the most likely and its purchase of Volvo could even give it access to a sales network.

Volvo V60 and S60 R-Design models look a good bit naughtier


2011 Volvo V60 and S60 R-Design

We recently drove the 2011 Volvo S60 in the wilds of Oregon and came away rather impressed with both its performance and in-person aesthetics. That said, we generally don't begrudge a bit more visual aggression, and to that end, Volvo has obliged with a pair of new R-Design models here at the Paris Motor Show that includes the S60 sedan and its not-for-North-America V60, a wagon so attractive that we couldn't help but lead off our live coverage with it.

In either case, the well-integrated R-Design package consists of a distinct front fascia, rear bumper cutout with diffuser and bespoke 18-inch alloys in a fetching smoked finish. While there isn't any more power under the hood, the 300-horsepower 3.0-liter inline turbo six should fit the bill rather nicely, especially with its generous 325 pound-feet of torque. No word on any shift-map changes for the six-speed automatic gearbox, but what we'd really like to see for this sportier S60 is a set of paddle shifters.

That aside, R-Design models ought to handle a bit better than their more common brethren, as they hug the ground a bit more closely thanks to shorter, stiffer coils and monotube shocks. The rest of the suspension gets beefed up, too, with firmer bushings and a front strut-tower brace.

2012 BMW 650i Convertible goes topless in the Motor City




In addition to the scorched orange 1 Series M Coupe at the BMW booth in Detroit was the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible. Under the sharply creased (and rather long) hood lies a 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V8 that manages to shove out 450 pound-feet of torque between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. All that grunt will be sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

BMW claims the new 6 Series Convertible can drop its flying-buttress-equipped fabric top in exactly 19 seconds an there's also a 10.2-inch screen to control the standard iDrive technology package. Not bad, but such niceties are to be expected when you are asked to pay a wallet-busting $91,375 for the privilege of owning one, which you'll be able to do sometime in the spring of 2011.

2012 Audi A6 is predictably handsome




Audi has unveiled its mid-range 2012 A6 sedan, and as we learned from advanced photos, it follows closely in the mold of its big brother, the A8. As the range-topping sedan is a pretty piece, that's not a bad thing, but Audi seems to be channeling BMW's old "One sausage, three sizes" design mantra of decades ago. In this case, that means a massive single-frame grille, available LED headlamps (as shown), and a relatively simple and unadorned profile that lends the A6 a premium look that will likely wear well over the years.

The new A6 will be available globally with two gas engines and three TDI diesel powerplants, as well as a front-wheel drive-only hybrid model. The most powerful gasoline-fed model will be the 3.0-liter TFSI Quattro, packing 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, routed through a seven-speed S tronic automatic.

Audi A6 Hybrid is Teutonic efficiency



While we have already met the 2012 Audi A6, we weren't clear on what the A6 Hybrid would look like. As it turns out, we had a pretty solid idea, as Audi officials say they have gone out of their way to keep it aesthetically true to the conventional gas-powered model.

The new A6 hybrid is a front-wheel drive affair that offers Audi's 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder with a 45-horsepower/155 pound-feet of torque electric motor sitting ahead of the eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox. A modest 1.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is resident in the trunk to generate 39 kW. Audi quotes an estimated combined fuel economy rating of 38 miles per gallon, noting that the A6 Hybrid can be coaxed up to 62 mph strictly on electricity, and it has a pure-electric range of three kilometers (1.86 miles).

Audi isn't confirming when this new model will go on sale, but it is widely understood that the gas-electric model was conceived with the U.S. in mind, so we wouldn't be surprised to see it roll into American dealerships before it hits the rest of the globe.

2012 BMW 650i Convertible goes topless in the Motor City




In addition to the scorched orange 1 Series M Coupe at the BMW booth in Detroit was the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible. Under the sharply creased (and rather long) hood lies a 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V8 that manages to shove out 450 pound-feet of torque between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. All that grunt will be sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

BMW claims the new 6 Series Convertible can drop its flying-buttress-equipped fabric top in exactly 19 seconds an there's also a 10.2-inch screen to control the standard iDrive technology package. Not bad, but such niceties are to be expected when you are asked to pay a wallet-busting $91,375 for the privilege of owning one, which you'll be able to do sometime in the spring of 2011.

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe revs its beating heart




BMW's latest introduction to the U.S. market bowed today at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, and it's a machine that's meant to light the true enthusiast's heart aflutter: the 2012 1 Series M Coupe. We must say, it looks rather striking in the metallic orange hue you see in our live photo gallery below.

Even more importantly, the 340 horsepower put out by its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine is said to "capture the soul of the original M3." Or so they say... BMW claims this new sportster was inspired by the 1988 M3, and the German automaker's intention is reportedly to "illustrate its ability to build race car performance into a small car, capable of everyday use."

Expect to see the new 1 Series M Coupe hit dealership lots in the spring of 2011 for $47,010, in limited quantities according to BMW.

Custom Ford Fiesta models invade Sin City





Perhaps the biggest (or smallest) champion car for Ford this year has been the 2011 Fiesta. The fizzy little sedan and hatchback duo are drawing a lot of attention to Blue Oval showrooms, and thus, Ford has a whole flock of Fiestas represented at this year's SEMA show.

A host of aftermarket tuning companies have put their touches on the pint-sized Ford – modified Fiestas from 3DCarbon, H&R Springs, Steeda Autosports and FSWerks are all on hand, just to name a few. Our favorite, though, might be the automaker's own Ford Racing Performance Parts Fiesta, powered by a modified version of FoMoCo's 2.0-liter EcoBoost four (bumped to 2.3 liters), that produces a staggering 350 horsepower. We'll take two.

Toyota brings some swagger to Sin City





Seven million. That's how many times Toyota's much-loved Swagger Wagon rap video has been viewed on YouTube. Well, actually, it's 7,154,749... but who's counting? With that in mind, it's not surprising that the Japanese automaker has chosen to outfit its official SEMA floorspace with a customized Sienna dubbed, appropriately enough, Swagger Wagon Supreme.

Actor Brian Huskey, otherwise known as Swagger Dad, was on hand to introduce the stretched and lowered metallic blue Sienna minivan. He started his speech from inside the Wagon, which is decked out with a nicely finished wood floor along with plenty of cabinetry, televisions and computer paraphernalia.

SEMA 2010: Vortex F1 makes world debut





There's certainly a lot of hot metal on the floor at this year's SEMA show, and while we're always keen to see customizations and special editions of some of our favorite vehicles, we can't help but give special attention to automakers who debut brand new products. Seattle-based Vortex Motors indeed captures our attention this year with the world debut of its F1 track car. Watch your back, Ariel Atom – the Vortex F1 is ready for battle.

Power is sourced from an upgraded version of General Motors' turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec inline-four running through a six-speed manual transmission. In the standard model, the F1 Turn Key, output is rated at 290 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque, but Vortex will also sell an Ultimate version, bumping those numbers up to 330 and 360, respectively.

The body is constructed out of a mix of fiberglass and aluminum, with carbon fiber available as an option. The Turn Key weighs in at a feather-light 1,400 pounds, and thus, Vortex is targeting a 0-60 time of just 2.7 seconds and a quarter-mile run of just 10.5 seconds at 130 miles per hour. Vortex has fitted 17-inch wheels at all four corners, riding on 275/40-series tires up front and beefy 315/35 rubber out back.

The whole package can be yours for $49,995 for the Turn Key or $69,995 for the Ultimate. In addition to adding more power, the Ultimate also uses a fully carbon fiber body, upgraded brakes, wheels and tires, improved steering, carbon fiber seats and a sequential six-speed gearbox. Vortex says that it is also planning a fully electric version of the F1, with a targeted weight of only 1,300 pounds. We'd gladly pit it against a Tesla Roadster in a drag race any day.

SEMA 2010: Ford's 2011 Mustang





We've seen Explorers, Fiestas and even an F-Series Super Duty, but of course, the car with the biggest showing on Ford's SEMA stand is the Mustang. In fact, the automaker is displaying nine examples of its pony car, showing a wide range of customization options.

Starting things off in-house, Ford has provided us with a glimpse of what is possible through its Vehicle Personalization program. The VP 'Stang wears wheels, rear window louvers, a rear spoiler and a handful of other items that are all for sale at FordAccessoriesStore.com. Besides the in-house car, Ford handed the Mustang off to Funkmaster Flex and Team Baurtwell, MRT, Creations n' Chrome, Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords, Mobsteel, Raceskinz, Street Scene Equipment and Tjin Edition.

Funk Flex, who at this point probably holds an executive position back in Dearborn, designed his Mustang for rapper Snoop Dogg. MRT envisioned the car as a tough street warrior. Creations n' Chrome partnered with the American Cancer Society to raise awareness for breast cancer, and painted its car Pink Chrome. Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords stays true to its name, adding a supercharger kit to the 5.0-liter engine under the hood. Mobsteel goes a different, yet similar route, by turbocharging a V6 example.

This is only a small taste of what the assorted tuners have done to the 2011 Mustang, and that's only limited to what Ford has in its display.

SEMA 2010: Hyundai Genesis Coupe






The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a tuner favorite at SEMA. GogoGear showed off its racing Genesis Coupe, while ARK Performance has created a performance Genesis Coupe more appropriate for cruising the Vegas Strip. There's even a bit of overlap between the two, as GogoGear's entry uses a carbon fiber bodykit, headers, shocks and coilovers from ARK Performance. Getting the rest of the coupe ready for kerbs are the upgraded V6 churning out 380 horsepower, carbon fiber roof, 18-inch Konig Kilogram lightweight wheels and a Racepak IQ3 data logger dash.

ARK Performance went street with a carbon grille, hood and rear diffuser, with ARK SFX bumpers, skirts and fenders. Stoptech brakes scrub the speed, and Alpine, Apple and Infinity provide the audiovisual buffet in the cabin. JsDesigns can be thanked for the little guy on the hood, and his rear is warmed by the heat of a supercharged 3.8-liter, 585-hp engine with 330 pound-feet and dual headers and downpipes.

SEMA 2010: Dodge Charger Redline Concept





Among Chrysler's homage to the storied past at this year's SEMA Show is this 2011 Dodge Charger Redline Concept – the Charger that Mopar Underground would build if it could. The crimson four-door sits an inch lower to the ground over 22-inch Super Alloy wheels, all the better to keep your eyes on the black roof. Other trim pieces include the black spoilers fore and aft, tinted head- and taillights and a black side scoop to take you back to the 1970 Dodge Charger R/T.

Under the aluminum hood is a 5.7-liter Hemi wearing Mopar headers, as well as a cold-air intake and exhaust. Come shimmy and shake time, things are kept in better check by a Mopar strut tower brace. A black and red interior fills out the theme, aluminum bezels and Katzkin leather keeping it swish and prototype paddle shifters keep it truly conceptual.

Rolls-Royce and Bijan team up for custom Phantom line





Rolls-Royce has announced a partnership with Beverly Hills-based designer Bijan Pakzad. Bijan will work closely with the super-luxury automaker to turn out a handful of special edition Phantoms, complete with the designer's own personal touches. So far, we've been left in the dark about exactly what kinds of changes to expect, though Rolls-Royce says that Bijan will lay out a host of specifications for the company's craftsmen to meet. Considering that the designer's personal car is a bright yellow Phantom Drophead Coupe, we can bet that the new Phantoms will be anything but subdued.

Rolls-Royce and Bijan made the announcement at the Bijan Boutique in Beverly Hills – nicknamed the most expensive store in the world – just before this year's Los Angeles Auto Show got underway.

[Source: Motor Authority]

Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid coming in 2013Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid coming in 2013





Autoweek reports that Mitsubishi will wade into plug-in electric waters in 2013. The automaker's head of electric vehicles, Yoshikazu Nakamura, said the vehicle will be an SUV similar to the 2009 Px-MiEV Concept and that the production version is already nearing the final stages of development. The concept got its pep from a tiny 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine working in coordination with two electric motors and a battery pack. Mitsubishi pegged the Px-MiEV as being able to travel for up to 30 miles one pure electric go-go, so there must be some pretty hefty battery technology onboard as well.

Whether or not the production SUV will use a similar drivetrain remains to be seen. We can say with some certainty that Mitsubishi is likely to simplify the vehicle's name considerably. The automarker has already scrapped the i-MiEV moniker for the somewhat more palatable name of "i powered by MiEV" in the States. We can't wait to explain that one to the fine people of the DMV.

[Source: Autoweek]

Cadillac CTS-V, Jeep Grand Cherokee named 2011 Internet Car and Truck of the Year


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The Internet Car and Truck of the Year voting jury has just announced its pair of winners for 2011, and top honors go to both the Cadillac CTS-V and Jeep Grand Cherokee. For 2011, the CTS-V is offered in a trio of body styles, all of which boast a 556-horsepower supercharged V8 and seriously good driving dynamics. Likewise, the 2011 Grand Cherokee remains one of the best off-road vehicles in its class, and points the way forward for the "new Chrysler."

In addition to the vehicles picked by the Internet Car and Truck of the Year jurors, the motoring public was able to cast its vote for the "Average Joe" awards. Unlike the professional jury, the public voters named the 2011 Ford Mustang GT as Car of the Year, its new 5.0-liter V8 and reworked suspension geometry making it more of a true sports car than a stereotypical muscle car. However, both the "Internet Pros" and "Average Joes" saw eye to eye on the Truck of the Year award, with the Grand Cherokee taking the cake from both segments of voters.

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Vehicles aside, the ICTOY jury also honored recently deceased and legendary automotive journalist Jerry Flint with the 2010 Journalist of the Year award. Flint, who died on August 7th of this year, covered the automotive beat for over 50 years, and was once named one of the 100 most prominent business reporters of the 20th century.

[Source: Internet Car and Truck of the Year]

INTERNET PROS AND AVERAGE JOES PICK THEIR FAVORITE NEW CARS AND TRUCKS

Jerry Flint Posthumously Honored as Internet Automotive Journalist of the Year


Boston (Dec. 1, 2010) - The Internet Car and Truck of the Year website has announced the winners from the Internet Pros and Average Joes votes for their favorite new cars and trucks. Domestic brands swept all four categories.

The winners, announced from the New England International Auto Show today, are:

Internet Pros:
Car of the Year: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V
Truck of the Year: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Average Joes:
Car of the Year: 2011 Ford Mustang GT
Truck of the Year: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Internet Pros are comprised of a select team of 15 online writers from some of the leading automotive Internet sites, while the Average Joes consisted of thousands of votes from the motoring public. Complete biographies of the jury members are available at www.internetcarandtruckoftheyear.com.

So while the Internet Pros and Average Joes agree on the Truck of the Year (for the second year in a row) they have slightly differing opinions when it comes to their favorite car. The Pros like their speed in the form of a luxury sports car with the Cadillac CTS-V while the Average Joes voted for classic American muscle with the Ford Mustang GT (with only a 1 percent margin of victory over the Cadillac CTS-V). However, both groups demonstrated their respect for the vastly improved Jeep Grand Cherokee by wide margins.

Internet Automotive Journalist of the Year

The Internet Automotive Journalist of the Year award was given to Jerry Flint for his long body of work in automotive journalism, most recently as a columnist for Forbes – both in print and online. It will be presented to his widow, automotive journalist Kate McLeod, at the Dec. 9 International Motor Press Association meeting in New York City.

A prolific award winner, including the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in 2003, for his Forbes "Backseat Driver column," Flint was not afraid to point out when the Emperor was wearing no clothing. That insight, and his grasp of the automotive industry, earned accolades that included his naming by Business News Reporter as one of the 100 most prominent business reporters of the 20th Century.

The 2010 Automotive Journalist of the Year was John Neff, editor of Autoblog.

The Internet Car and Truck of the Year awards were created by Keith Griffin, the Guide to Used Cars for About.com, a writer for TorqueNews.com, and the National Hyundai Examiner for Examiner.com, as well as a print automotive journalist and vice president of the New England Motor Press Association.

2012 Buick Verano details and pricing leaked in dealer letter?


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Following the launch of the Regal, Buick will be introducing its next all-new model sometime in 2011. Set to launch as a 2012 model, the Verano compact will slot in beneath the Regal sedan, though we've been told on several occasions that it will not share a platform with General Motors' other new small car, the Chevrolet Cruze.

According to the infomongers at GM Inside News, the automaker recent sent a letter to its Buick dealers inviting them to participate in an order study in an attempt to gain knowledge about what pricing and trim levels would be most attractive to potential buyers. The details, available after the jump, reveal that the Verano will be powered by a 2.4-liter inline-four (same as the Regal) that produces 180 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and will be initially offered in four trim levels.

If the letter is to be believed, the base Verano 1SB (the alphanumeric likely being an internal designation) is estimated to start at $20,900. From there, the 1SD model adds Bluetooth, automatic climate control and remote start, and will be priced from around $22,100. 1SG models add a power driver's seat, heated mirrors and rear park assist and should command roughly $23,300. Top-trim 1SL Veranos will have heated leather seats, premium audio, a heated steering wheel and 18-inch wheels. Expect the top-rung 1SL to retail for around $25,600, with pricing reaching as high as $26,200.

We don't expect GM to reveal official Verano specifications and pricing until closer to its launch date, with the car being officially debuting sometime in the early 2011 auto show season. Top tip, Ed!

[Source: GM Inside News]

Brabus brings the girth with Mercedes SLS Widestar


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What's more important, speed or girth? Brabus says can have your proverbial cake and eat it too with its new Widestar kit for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

Upgrading on their previous offering (and sounding like a minivan), the Widestar SLS benefits from a carbon fiber body kit with a 20mm wider rear track, encompassing Brabus Monoblock F Platinum Edition wheels available in a variety of colors and finishes and coated in either Pirelli or Yokohama low-profile rubber (275/30ZR-20 front and 295/25ZR-21 rear).

Brabus is also offering an electronically adjustable suspension with Bilstein shocks and Ride Control system, a titanium exhaust with quadruple tips that squeezes out an extra 10 horses, while the interior can be outfitted with a number of extras you can read all about in the press release


[Source: Brabus]

World Debut at the ESSEN MOTOR SHOW 2010
Custom-Tailored Designer Suit: The BRABUS WIDESTAR Wide Version for the Mercedes SLS

Lending an exclusive automobile an even more dominant presence is the domain of BRABUS. The new BRABUS WIDESTAR wide version represents a custom-tailored designer suit for the Mercedes SLS AMG. In addition to the extravagant high-tech carbon-fiber body program for the gullwing the tuner also offers ultralight forged wheels, an electronically adjustable Ride Control smooth-ride suspension, a titanium high-performance exhaust system with electronically controlled sound management and custom BRABUS interiors.

To give the SLS an even more muscular appearance the BRABUS designers have developed custom-tailored BRABUS WIDESTAR components for the rear axle. Like all other body components they are made from extremely light yet very strong carbon fibers identical to the ones used in Formula 1 racing. The add-on parts for the rear fenders and the rear fascia create an even more spectacular look and make room for special wheels that widen the rear track by 20 millimeters for even further improved driving dynamics.

The suspension engineers developed custom-tailored versions of the ultralight BRABUS Monoblock F PLATINUM EDITION forged wheels in sizes 9.5Jx20 in front and 11Jx21 on the rear axle for the wide version of the SLS. These wheels are available with a brushed-design or ceramics-polished surface and can also be painted in any desired color. The staggered wheels with 20- and 21-inch diameters on front and rear axles further emphasize the wedge-shaped look of the sports car.

Despite the wheels' bigger size they deliver a weight reduction of up to 12 percent compared to the SLS production wheels. The reduced unsprung weight further results in even more agile handling. BRABUS technology partners Pirelli and YOKOHAMA supply the optimal high-performance tires in sizes 275/30 ZR 20 and 295/25 ZR 21.

The wide version is rounded out by aerodynamic-enhancement components developed in the wind tunnel. All BRABUS aerodynamic-enhancement components are made from carbon fibers and are available with a matte or glossy clear-coated finish for a true racing look. Optionally these components can be painted in body or contrasting color.

To further reduce lift on front and rear axle BRABUS equips the SLS with a front spoiler for the production front fascia, a rear spoiler and a rear diffuser. Together these components create an even better aerodynamic balance. Two BRABUS covers for the upper air dams of the bumper and side air outlets for the rear fascia are further visual details of the BRABUS WIDESTAR version.

The work of the BRABUS designers also gives the sides of the gullwing more profile and further improved aerodynamic efficiency. The rocker panels were sculpted to optimize the airflow between front and rear axle and to create a perfect transition to the WIDESTAR components on the rear axle. Integrated entrance lights ensure safe entering and exiting of the vehicle in the dark.

The BRABUS air outlets for the front fenders add more of sporty touches. At night they draw attention with their integrated blue-illuminated BRABUS logos that are activated via the keyless fob or by pulling on a door handle.

The ride-height lowering by up to 30 millimeters (1.2 inches) also plays an important role in the striking appearance of the BRABUS-modified SLS. The BRABUS suspension is height-adjustable and was developed in cooperation with technology partner BILSTEIN. At the push of a button its integrated Ride Control function also offers a smoother ride than the production car. From the cockpit the driver can at any time - even while driving - switch between damper settings that offer a more comfortable or a sportier ride than the production car.
For sporty-minded SLS owners BRABUS offers stiffer sway bars for front and rear axle that reduce body roll for even more precise handling.

The BRABUS high-performance exhaust system with four slanted exhaust tips with diameters of 84 millimeters (3.3 inches) is somewhat atypical for traditional tuning. Its sound management, controlled by the driver and activated by a pneumatic flap, includes a 'coming home' setting that is quieter than the production exhaust. In 'sport' mode the 6.3-liter eight-cylinder engine produces an even more powerful exhaust note than with the production exhaust. The BRABUS exhaust system is manufactured from extremely lightweight titanium and weighs 12 kilograms (26 lbs.) or 40 percent less than the production exhaust. Another welcome by-product of this exhaust is an increase in power output by 10 hp / 7.4 kW.

BRABUS offers a multitude of exclusive custom interior options for the two-seater car as well. Carbon-fiber inlays in any desired color and matte anodized aluminum pedals and foot rest add sporty highlights.

The ergonomically shaped sport steering wheel is made from a combination of leather and Alcantara and provides especially good grip for further improved road feedback. The speedometer with 400-km/h scale (250 mph) already hints at the car's future performance with BRABUS engine tuning.

The BRABUS upholstery shop offers a sheer endless multitude of colors and designs for the masterfully crafted SLS interiors made from the finest leathers and Alcantara. These interiors can be custom-tailored to suit each SLS owner's personal taste down to the last detail.

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon





Brush your long, grungy mop from your eyes, turn down the Nirvana and take a look around. It's the early '90s and an army of sport utility vehicles are flooding the streets. The newest four-wheeled object of America's affection has quickly become the default mode of transportation for everyone from inner city professionals to suburban soccer moms.

Fast forward a couple of decades and although sport utes are still around, they've largely been displaced by the crossover – the SUV's easier-to-maneuver, more fuel efficient and more comfortable unibody progeny. But even after years of refinement, the CUV is still a basketcase of compromises. Which begs the question: Did we have it right back in the day? Is a wagon still the best compromise of size, functionality and driving dynamics? We snagged the keys to a 2011 Acura TSX Sports Wagon to find out.

Needless to say, the TSX Sport Wagon is based on its sedan counterpart, but in addition to its two-box shape, Acura has set it off with a redesigned grille. The new piece looks far less hawk-nosed than the one worn by the four-door, as its been broken up by a thinner frame that creates a slimming effect. The lower bumper also improves front-end styling with a much wider and more aggressive appearance. Seeing the TSX Sport Wagon for the first time is a bit like running into that formerly plain-looking girl from high school who got some work done and now dates a pro baseball player; she looks nearly the same, but somehow better. And she knows it. All of which suggests that Acura's stylists may have been listening to at least some of the criticism they've received over the company's controversial front fascia.

The Sport Wagon's updated nose gives way to that long wagon body, which also benefits from a handful of well-placed styling elements. Noticeable fender bulges wrap around the 17-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels and serve to bookend a razor sharp shoulder crease. A strong character line takes over and works its way around the perimeter of the car. It's a neat visual trick that keeps your eyes moving along the bodywork, and it also helps to hide the extra length the wagon wears – a grand total of about 3.6 inches. The overall appearance, however, is somewhat sportier than the sedan because of how the rotund rear end sets off the car's stance.

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon side view2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon front view2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon rear view

The driver's perch gives you the chance to enjoy the TSX's dark trim and subtle contrast stitching on its seats. The heated leather front chairs wrap around your body like a mold and while the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 328i Sport Wagon and Volvo V50 might have nice seats, none of them offer standard heating and few are as comfortable. Rear seat passengers are well taken care of, too, as the wagon loses just 0.1-inch of headroom compared to the sedan, while leg, hip and shoulder room all remain the same.

Better still, the rear seats fold down nearly flat with the touch of a switch. The side pockets and lower panels can be removed to reveal even more storage options and the 28-inch height of the rear opening allows for some sizable objects to catch a lift. The 60.5 cubic-feet of rear cargo space is downright cavernous compared to the 50.5, 48.9 and 44.2 found in the Audi, BMW and Volvo, respectively. The closest you'll get to equaling the TSX's cargo hold is the Cadillac CTS Wagon which comes in at 58 cubes with the seats folded flat.

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon interior2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon front seats2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon rear seats2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon rear cargo area

It's not just comfort and utility that makes the TSX Sport Wagon a near ideal place to log trips over the hills and through the woods. All of the knobs and switches are easy to reach, and the available infotainment system hits the moving target of today's technological standards. With the exception of the bulbous multi-directional controller blighting the center stack, the controls are logically laid out, providing an easy learning curve. Dual-zone climate controls keep more than just the driver happy and even the base seven-speaker sound system provides an enjoyable audio experience. The navigation system and rearview camera, however, only show up on the dashboard if you opt for the Technology Package, but Bluetooth and USB audio come standard.

The base model starts at $30,960 plus $860 for destination and handling, while the TSX Sport Wagon with Tech Package costs $34,610 plus D&H. When upgrading to the latter, buyers also receive a power-actuated tailgate, boosted ELS 460-watt 10-speaker audio system with voice recognition, navigation with real-time weather, traffic updates and dynamic re-routing, and the rearview camera. A loaded Acura TSX Sport Wagon with Tech Package still comes in under the base price of the A4 ($35,940), 328i ($36,200) and comparably-equipped V50 ($35,650). The Caddy? Just over $38,000 in base spec.

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon gauges2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon navigation system2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon climate controls2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon shifter

Comparing pricing and amenities never paints a complete picture, though, and that's where driving dynamics come into play. "Sport" is the TSX Sport Wagon's middle name, and after hauling around Southern California for a couple of days, the moniker is well-deserved. If just. The suspension is firm – almost surprisingly so – making this five-door a joy to push hard, at least on SoCal's smooth roads. The rack-and-pinion steering is also tight and responsive, combining neatly with the TSX's stiff suspenders to make for an engaging driving experience.

When the road turns even slightly rough, however, the TSX Sport Wagon transforms into something of a child's moonbounce. While never unsettled, on certain course surfaces we found the Acura to be not unlike navigating a Boston whaler across a choppy harbor. Suspension for this front-wheel drive wagon is composed of double wishbones up front and multi-link setup in the rear, and we suspect the issue lies with the constant-rate coil springs. Perhaps a set of progressive units would help smooth things out, but prospective buyers who live in areas blessed with four distinctly separate seasons should keep the TSX Sport Wagon's stiff nature in mind.

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon headlights2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon grille2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon grille2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon taillight

Under the hood of the TSX Sport Wagon lies a 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 172 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. That doesn't sound like much, but the powertrain actually provides a surprising amount of motivation for this 3,599-pound premium utility sled and sounds pretty good while doing it.

Power is routed to the front wheels courtesy of a five-speed automatic transmission, while a pair of paddles mounted to the steering wheel allow for manual gear selection. When left alone, the automatic shifts smoothly, though sometimes it plays a game of hide-and-seek when pressing on with authority. If you're not in the mood for the cogbox's automated games, you can always switch the transmission into Sport and use the paddleshifters. Fortunately, whatever speed you build is just as easy to shed thanks to the TSX's well-sorted 11.8-inch ventilated front and 11.1-inch solid rear discs.

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon engine

A six-speed manual transmission would offer even more engagement, but sadly Acura can't build a business case for one. When pressed why we can't get a row-our-own version, Acura officials indicated that the company expects to sell around 4,000 units per year, or 10 percent of all TSX models sold. The take rate for manual transmissions amongst current TSX buyers is only around two to three percent, and with the wagon already making up a minority of TSX sales, it doesn't make financial sense to offer a three-pedal model.

So where is the V6 that's offered in the sedan? The four-cylinder does a surprisingly credible job, but the 280-hp, 3.5-liter unit available in the four-door would be a welcome addition. Just as Acura was listening to its customers with regards to the front-end design, it's also evidently deferred to market research regarding what engine to plunk in the TSX Wagon's beaky nose. As the theory goes, the average wagon buyer doesn't need 280 hp when 201 hp works just fine, and prospective buyers Acura spoke with placed a higher priority on fuel economy than power. The 2.4-liter is rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway, while the V6-powered sedan achieves 18/27 – numbers that would no doubt fall in the heavier wagon.

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon rear 3/4 view

That all said, why is the TSX Sport Wagon finally available in the U.S.? Because Acura says it wants to provide an SUV alternative for its entry-level customers. The wagon is aimed squarely at those successful members of Generation-Y for whom owning an SUV has become a stigma. Priced below the competition and boasting better fuel economy, the 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon is not yet the near-luxury estate of our dreams, but it's a welcome step in the continued resurrection of the premium wagon.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento is already listed for sale at €2M




The Sesto Elemento concept was conceived as a design study, technology and previewing the styling we might expect to see on the next generation of Lamborghini supercars.A few months back, shortly after it was revealed at the Paris Motor Show, reports began to become apparent suggesting that the Italian automaker could put it into production, however limited.

Now the car is listed for sale by an exotic car dealership in Germany. Although the reported original listing on the mobile.de online marketplace is no longer there to be found, it is still up on Auto Salon Singen's website with an approximately €2 million ($2.63M USD) list price – €1.9m before tax, €2.3m after.

2012 Audi A6 is predictably handsome




Audi has unveiled its mid-range 2012 A6 sedan, and as we learned from advanced photos, it follows closely in the mold of its big brother, the A8. As the range-topping sedan is a pretty piece, that's not a bad thing, but Audi seems to be channeling BMW's old "One sausage, three sizes" design mantra of decades ago. In this case, that means a massive single-frame grille, available LED headlamps (as shown), and a relatively simple and unadorned profile that lends the A6 a premium look that will likely wear well over the years.

The new A6 will be available globally with two gas engines and three TDI diesel powerplants, as well as a front-wheel drive-only hybrid model. The most powerful gasoline-fed model will be the 3.0-liter TFSI Quattro, packing 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, routed through a seven-speed S tronic automatic.

Audi A6 Hybrid is Teutonic efficiency




While we have already met the 2012 Audi A6, we weren't clear on what the A6 Hybrid would look like. As it turns out, we had a pretty solid idea, as Audi officials say they have gone out of their way to keep it aesthetically true to the conventional gas-powered model.

The new A6 hybrid is a front-wheel drive affair that offers Audi's 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder with a 45-horsepower/155 pound-feet of torque electric motor sitting ahead of the eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox. A modest 1.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is resident in the trunk to generate 39 kW. Audi quotes an estimated combined fuel economy rating of 38 miles per gallon, noting that the A6 Hybrid can be coaxed up to 62 mph strictly on electricity, and it has a pure-electric range of three kilometers (1.86 miles).

Audi isn't confirming when this new model will go on sale, but it is widely understood that the gas-electric model was conceived with the U.S. in mind, so we wouldn't be surprised to see it roll into American dealerships before it hits the rest of the globe.

2012 Buick Verano is quietly powerful




If you were wondering how General Motors was planning to differentiate the 2012 Buick Verano from its Chevy Cruze counterpart, wonder no more. According to Buick, its newest addition will offer the quietest ride in its segment thanks to heaps of laminated glass, triple door seals and a host of other muting technologies. Buick calls the cabin "library quiet," though there's no word as to whether the interior smells of old books. They've also made sure to throw in the same levels of refinement as found in the likes of the Lacrosse, and drivers can expect to find the same high-quality leather and a host of tech goodies as the bigger four-door.

That's all fine and good, but we're more excited about what Buick has thrown under the hood of the 2012 Verano. Buyers who opt for the base car will be met with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 177 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, Buick is shooting for around 31 mpg highway. The really juicy news is that the Verano will also be available with the same turbo 2.0-liter four cylinder found in the Regal Turbo, and again with your choice of six-speed manual or automatic! That means this significantly smaller, lighter four-door will be available with a full 220 horsepower.

Detroit 2011: 2012 BMW 650i Convertible goes topless in the Motor City




In addition to the scorched orange 1 Series M Coupe at the BMW booth in Detroit was the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible. Under the sharply creased (and rather long) hood lies a 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V8 that manages to shove out 450 pound-feet of torque between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. All that grunt will be sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

BMW claims the new 6 Series Convertible can drop its flying-buttress-equipped fabric top in exactly 19 seconds an there's also a 10.2-inch screen to control the standard iDrive technology package. Not bad, but such niceties are to be expected when you are asked to pay a wallet-busting $91,375 for the privilege of owning one, which you'll be able to do sometime in the spring of 2011.

Detroit 2011: 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe revs its beating heart




BMW's latest introduction to the U.S. market bowed today at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, and it's a machine that's meant to light the true enthusiast's heart aflutter: the 2012 1 Series M Coupe. We must say, it looks rather striking in the metallic orange hue you see in our live photo gallery below.

Even more importantly, the 340 horsepower put out by its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine is said to "capture the soul of the original M3." Or so they say... BMW claims this new sportster was inspired by the 1988 M3, and the German automaker's intention is reportedly to "illustrate its ability to build race car performance into a small car, capable of everyday use."

Expect to see the new 1 Series M Coupe hit dealership lots in the spring of 2011 for $47,010, in limited quantities according to BMW.
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