Monday, November 21, 2011

New F30 BMW 3-series to Offer Diesel Engine in U.S.—Eventually

BMW is in the midst of launching the volume versions of its all-new F30 3-series sedan—you can read our hot-off-the-press first drive here—but a company insider has confirmed that a diesel version will join the U.S. lineup once the dust has settled.
The outgoing 3-series was available with a torque-tastic 425-lb-ft, 3.0-liter diesel inline-six; that model, badged 335d, was available only with an automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive—and hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds in our testing. Its burly nature and exorbitant sticker price ($45,025) were a recipe for slow sales, but it was nevertheless a more cost-effective way for the company to offer a diesel 3, with the same engine having been brought up to U.S. regulations for use in the X5 xDrive35d.
This time around, we believe things will be different. It’s more likely that we’ll see a diesel four-cylinder in the 3-series. Our bet is on BMW offering a 2.0-liter dizzler, which makes 181 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque in the newly introduced European-spec 320d. If this engine does come here, BMW probably will deploy it in more models, too—the 5-series and X3 are both prime candidates.
The exact timing, however, remains unclear. We were slightly surprised that a U.S.-bound diesel wasn’t announced with the rest of the American 3-series lineup, but its arrival may have been pushed off to avoid stealing the alternative-powertrain spotlight from the new ActiveHybrid 3. Figure on a wait of at least a year—or possibly until the mid-cycle refresh rolls around in three years or so—for the new-gen diesel 3 to hit the States.
Original Article:—eventually/

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ford boosts Mustang Shelby GT500 to 650 hp for 2013 model

AutoWeek -- November 15, 2011 - 12:01 am ET

The all-new Escape SUV might be more important to Ford Motor Co.'s bottom line, but the 2013 Mustang line being unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show is more exciting -- starting with the 650-hp GT500.
Yes -- 650 hp for the 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500. It's the most powerful Mustang ever, and it will almost certainly be the least expensive 650-hp new car money can buy.
You can credit Ford for not allowing the Mustang to get stale or soft -- especially as it squares off with the new Camaro from Chevrolet and Dodge Challenger.
The Camaro has pulled ahead in the muscle car sweepstakes, with U.S. sales of 76,368 through October this year. The Mustang is second with sales of 61,516 and the Challenger is a distant third with sales of 33,254.
The 2013 Ford Mustang GT

Photo credit: FORD

A year after the debut of the Boss 302, the Mustang lineup remains the same, with a V6, GT 5.0, Boss and GT500.
Yet all get a mild facelift for 2013, with improvements across the board. There's a more aggressive shark snout in front, standard HID projector-beam headlights trimmed with LED strips, and three-bar LED taillight/turn signals that flash sequentially.
Puddle lights in the outside mirrors cast light in the pattern of the Mustang pony logo.
The 2013 Mustang Boss

Photo credit: FORD

The 2013 Mustang GT gets LED fog lights and a bump from 412 hp to 420 hp, thanks to internal friction reductions in the engine. The six-speed Select Shift automatic will allow full manual control, with no default upshift at the redline. Recaro seats will be available all the way down to the V6, in cloth or leather.
There will be new performance packages, upgraded audio systems and a new option called Track Apps, with an on-board accelerometer. Track Apps can save and display lap times, quarter-mile times and g-loads on the new 4.2-inch LCD in the center stack, not to mention a range of engine telemetry options, right down to cylinder-head temperatures.
The Shelby GT500 receives new downforce-generating front grilles, aggressive splitter, new quad exhaust system and two new forged-aluminum wheels.

Photo credit: FORD

Then there's the 2013 GT500. Ford promises that 650 hp, up 100 from the current GT500, and top speed above 200 mph. That kind of speed required a thorough overhaul of the suspension, cooling system and aero package, according to engineers, though Ford was keeping details close to the vest before the L.A. show.
Nonetheless, we've confirmed the source of that 650 hp, and it's not a blown version of the new 5.0 Coyote block used in the GT and Boss 302.
Rather, it's the supercharged Ford GT engine used in the current GT500, with all its high-tech metallurgy, bumped from 5.4 liters to 5.8 liters displacement. Redline is 7,000 rpm, which will mean incredible piston speeds for a long-stroke engine. We'd also predict some sort of self-adjusting, variable-rate suspension.
And a substantial price increase. Yet even with a bump of 25 percent from the 2012 GT500 base price of $49,605, we still haven't hit $65,000. You can't touch 650 hp or 200 mph from any other automaker for that kind of cash.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lamborghini to debut Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder for one last hurrah?

By Noah Joseph
Posted Nov 8th 2011 9:59AM

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Honda reveals Civics, supercharged Accord coupe at SEMA

AutoWeek --
November 2, 2011 - 10:50 am ET
LAS VEGAS -- Following the launch of the new 2012 Civic, Honda Motor Co. used the SEMA show to announce news surrounding the ninth-generation model and to debut a prototype Accord sporting a supercharger.
For the regular road-going enthusiast is the Civic Si Coupe HFP (for Honda Factory Performance). The dealer-installed kit includes a HFP sport suspension which lowers ride height by 15 millimeters and adds stiffer springs, shocks and 18-inch HFP wheels with Yokohama AVID W4S tires.
The Civic Si Coupe HFP is also the first product on which HFP has collaborated with Honda's in-house racing arm, Honda Performance Development (HPD) to test and verify the package's performance improvements on the track compared with those of the stock Si. According to Honda, the relationship between the two will further strengthen on future products.
To dress up the outside, the HFP kit includes a front lip spoiler, side sills and a rear bumper underbody spoiler, while the interior gains LED ambient lighting. The entire package retails for $4,244 and carries a three-year/36,000-mile warranty when installed at the time of the new-car purchase.
For the track warriors, Honda had a race-prepped 2012 Civic Si coupe prepared by Compass360 Racing, which had its first shakedown run at the World Challenge season finale at Road Atlanta in September. In hopes of expanding its racing presence, HPD will offer the Civic coupe body-in-white for $3,500, which will save potential Civic Si racers from having to purchase a fully equipped stock vehicle and tear it apart.
To date, Honda has sold close to 10 bodies, which can be fully built up through HPD's parts catalog that includes engines built by longtime Honda/Acura racers RealTime Racing out of Wisconsin.
Finally, Honda showed off an Accord coupe V6 concept outfitted with the HFP package with upgraded suspension, body kit and rims. The concept part of the equation comes from a HPD-tuned supercharger, intake and exhaust system. Estimated output figures according to Honda come in at 333 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque, which is up from the stock V6's output of 271 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque.
You can reach Jonathan Wong at

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chevrolet aims to turn heads with Sonic All Activity concept

The All Activity Sonic has a matte black finish, satin chrome pieces, a Z-Spec 2 high-wing spoiler and a built-on roof rack for mountain bikes, wakeboards and other equipment.

Automotive News --
November 1, 2011 - 11:56 am ET
DETROIT -- Chevrolet hopes its tricked-out Ricky Carmichael All Activity Sonic concept makes waves at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show beginning today at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Carmichael, a motocross racer who began four-wheel racing in 2007 and competes in the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado pickup, gave Chevrolet some ideas for creating a vehicle he could use in his active lifestyle.
“He came to us with the design himself and looked at where we were headed with the car and made suggestions,” said Cristi Vazquez, Chevrolet communications manager for the Sonic and Equinox nameplates.
The result: the Ricky Carmichael All Activity Sonic concept.
“The car looks so cool, colorful and fun to drive,” Carmichael said in a statement. “I live my life on the go and this Sonic really represents that active lifestyle and my desire to have fun when I’m off the racetrack.”
The All Activity Sonic has a matte black finish, satin chrome pieces, a Z-Spec 2 high-wing spoiler and a built-on roof rack for mountain bikes, wakeboards and other equipment.
“This vehicle really has captivated a lot of people,” said Cristi Landy, director of small cars for Chevrolet. “It’s really sporty and has a cool blend of elements. The interior is really cool.”
The interior seats of the Ricky Carmichael All Activity Sonic were designed by Fox Racing, one of Carmichael’s sponsors, and are made of a material intended to replicate board shorts.
“The elements and components used to create it are largely based on accessories available for the Sonic, as well as other aftermarket parts,” Dave Ross, GM design director, said in a statement. “While this is a car created with and for Ricky Carmichael, new Sonic customers could easily create their own special all-activities vehicle.”
Though the vehicle is a concept, Chevrolet officials are aiming for the Z-Spec package, which includes upgrades to the vehicle’s grille, paneling, ground effects, spoiler and wheels, to be available on 2013 models.
The Chevrolet Cruze compact also will be on display at SEMA, but Chevrolet plans to stress the possibilities for accessorizing the Sonic subcompact more than the Cruze.
“We’re playing up one of its strengths. When you look at the Sonic and the Cruze, they’re both well-styled vehicles and attractive,” Vazquez said. “The Sonic is more performance-oriented and the Cruze more luxury-based.”
SEMA will take place all week in Las Vegas.

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