Monthly Archives: June 2016

Cadillac Revamps ATS Lineup, Pitches 2.5 Liter Four Cylinder

Amid slumping sales and an increased reliance on costly sales to dump inventory. Cadillac has revealed that it will inject newfound investment into the 2017 ATS in a bold move to improve its relevance amongst luxury buyers.

A key change is found under the hood with the ATS narrowing its engine options for the 2017 model year. The wheezy, underpowered, and unpopular 2.5 liter four cylinder engine has been pitched, and the 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine will now take its place. Cadillac product planning chief Hampden Tener revealed that the company plans to heavily promote the turbo engine in future advertising.

“We want to emphasize the car’s 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine and the car’s features while attacking the market on the product side rather than continuing to use costly incentives” stated Tener in a seperate statement.

In addition to the engine change, the rest of the ATS lineup will also see pricing tweaks with all packages having their prices reduced by $650 to $1,100 depending on the model selected. This was revealed in an interview with Automotive News with the company also claiming that each model will recieve upgrades to boost value and desirability.

Cadillac has not released a formal launch date for the 2017 models, but look for that particular information to be revealed closer to their formal launch.

Aston Martin Unveils GT12 Vantage Roadster

When Aston Martin unveiled the GT12 Vantage, the track focused variant not only pushed the limits of Vantage performance, but also showed just how potent the 10+ year old Vantage still is when controlled by skilled hands. However, it needed something a bit more special and Q by Aston Martin has delivered with a one-off GT12 Vantage roadster that’ll be making its debut at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Crafted for a customer in Europe, the GT12 roadster shares many of the same styling cues that made their debut on the coupe including its newly sculpted hood. Chopping the roof off such a track focused beast may seem a bit Questions GT12 roadster rear eccentric, but the chance to hear the full sound track of the engine while also soaking up the sunshine is a compelling treat that makes the effort worthwhile.

In addition to its race focused styling cues, the roadster also carries over with the coupe’s carbon fiber body panels which help shed 330 Aston GT12 roadster front fascia lbs despite the addition of the heavier soft top assembly. This focus on weight loss allows the car to be more buttoned down on the track while still offering enough comfort to tackle street driving.

Performance for the GT12 roadster is shared with the coupe and comes from a tweaked 6.0 liter naturally aspirated V12 engine. Good for 592 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque, these figures should be enough for it to shred lap records with 0 to 60 times roughly mirroring its coupe sibling. A seven speed SportShift III automatic transmission is the sole choice avalible but Aston claims that it produces quicker shifts than a traditional manual gearbox.

Pricing for the roadster has not been released, but look for the model to be more expensive than the $343,000 base price wielded by the coupe. Being a one-off piece, the roadster will most likely spend the majority of its life in a garage after it makes its apperance in Goodwood, but we hope the owner will let it go for a jaunt on sunny days.

Next Generation Dodge Journey To Utilize Alfa Platform

Dodge has big plans for the next generation Journey, and if a new report is to be believed, the changes will go much further than first anticipated.

A key change is a new platform. Unlike the current Journey which uses a platform that has roots with its older and dearly departed minivan siblings, the new one is expected to use the same capable set of bones that also underpins the recently launched Giulia sedan. Not only will the new platform allow the Journey to finally get in touch with its performance character, but it will also help the Journey shed pounds of flab. Rear wheel drive would be standard with all-wheel drive optional for buyers in snowier climates.

The report does not specify what will be under the hood, but it’s safe to assume that the base engine will be the same 2.0 liter turbocharged “Hurricane” four cylinder engine that will make its debut in the upcoming Jeep Wrangler. The 3.2 liter Pentastar V6 could make its appearance in higher grade trims but with FCA’s commitment to smaller engines, the odds of it making the cut are not good.

The new Journey has also reportedly had its fair share of challenges while in development. FCA announced two years ago that the revamped Journey would launch before the end of the 2016 model year. Since then the project has been delayed and the folks at Automotive News claim that the second generation Journey will not arrive until 2019.

Simply put this means that the current generation Journey will be around for two more model years, and will be over a decade old before it is axed for good. This advanced age will make it a tough sell against more capable CUV entries and also further highlight its outdated interior technology. Lastly, its decade on the marketplace would put it in the same league as some high end exotics including the Aston Martin Vantage coupe which surpassed the decade barrier awhile ago.

Mercedes Benz S550e To Feature Wireless Charging Option

With wireless charging technology slowly beginning to percolate in other aspects of automobile systems, Mercedes Benz and its S550e model may make history, and be the first model that will come equipped with a factory built wireless charging system.

According to a report published by Green Car Reports, the updated flagship sedan will launch with integrated induction coils which will be available to buyers as an optional extra. The novel system is capable of delivering up to 3.6 kilowatts of electricity with the system achieving an impressive 90% efficiency rating. To put this into perspective, a Nissan Leaf and its 24-kWh battery takes roughly eight hours to fill when hooked up to its 3.6 kW charger. This is awesome stuff, and it gets better thanks to a larger battery pack that jumps from the current 8.7 kWh rating to a bigger 13.5 kWh figure.

Separate reports suggest that this 55% increase in capacity could push its EV driving range to 30 miles and perhaps more. As a bonus, this increase in capacity and range will come without a weight penalty a common curse shared with many EV offerings both big and small. It is also expected to bring increased performance thanks to a bigger electric motor that is designed to take advantage of the battery’s extra juice.

Look for the updated S550e to make its debut in Europe later this year before eventually arriving in the U.S. next year as a 2018 offering. Expect pricing to largely remain unchanged from the current S550e which means a healthy premium over its V8 powered counterpart. Despite this hefty price tag, the S550e is a triumph of technology, and we look forward to seeing what BMW and Audi have in store to face this formidable threat.

MINI Unveils JCW Challenge

With the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed fast approaching. MINI has taken the wraps off of the JCW Challenge which aims to bring lap time shredding capabilities to the venerable hardtop model.

As the name suggests, the JCW Challenge is heavily inspired by cars that compete in the Challenge racing series. This is most prevalent JCW Challenge when one views the front fascia which stands out thanks to bigger front air intakes, model exclusive trim for the wheel arches, and a roof mounted spoiler. MINI has always been known for its paint selection, but the JCW Challenge will only feature White Silver with a black roof providing much needed contrast.

The interior retains much of the basic traits that have come to define other hardtop models, but passengers benefit from supportive bucketJCW Challenge interior seats, as well as a sporty three spoke steering wheel. Like other special edition models, the JCW Challenge features a commemorative plaque on the dashboard which signifies its place in the production order.

Unlike the Challenge racing cars which make up to 255 horsepower, MINI did not make any alterations to the hardware lurking under the hood which means the Challenge will retain theJCW Challenge engine standard JCW’s 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine which brings 231 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. The Challenge makes the sprint to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds before topping out at 153 mph. A six speed manual gearbox is the only transmission choice available, but a trick limited slip differential built by Quaife helps brings more of the Challenge’s power to the road.

MINI claims that only 100 copies of the JCW Challenge will be produced, and that sales will be limited exclusively to the United Kingdom. Pricing begins at £32,000 which converts to about $46,000 in U.S. dollars. Speaking of the U.S, market, MINI revealed that it has no plans to sell the Challenge in the states due to our country’s stricter safety and emissions laws, as well as potential cross shopping between it and the range topping JCW hardtop.


BRZ Series Yellow

Subaru Shows Off Series.Yellow BRZ

Taking a page from the soon to be extinct Scion brand, Subaru has unveiled the Series.Yellow package for the 2017 BRZ sport coupe that brings out its inner mellow yellow, while also adding a new member to the BRZ model family at the same time.

Dubbed the Series.Yellow, this oddly named (and punctuated) special edition BRZ continues Subaru’s tradition of making models that come equipped with a special paint and interior color while also adding black accents and badging for good measure. In the case of the BRZ, the yellow appointments are only the tip of the iceberg with the car also receiving the optional Performance Package to entice younger buyers into pushing the car to its limits out on the track.

Added on top of the range topping Limited model, this enthusiast minded package adds Brembo brakes, 17-inch black alloy, and Sachs dampers for the suspension. A six speed manual transmission is the sole choice available for this package, but we’re not complaining, especially since it is paired up nicely with the updated boxer four cylinder engine that is now capable of producing 205 horsepower. While this is only a slight bump over the old BRZ it should help increase the fun factor somewhat and bring improved acceleration to the car.

In addition to the yellow paint, the sport oriented interior also comes equipped with yellow inserts including yellow stitching on the seats and steering wheel, shift boot, as well17BRZ_Series.Yellow-interior as yellow touches on the interior grab handles and the seat bolsters. This model is the second “Series” model and follows up on 2016’s BRZ.SeriesHyperBlue which brought a healthy dose of blue to the exterior and interior of the previous generation BRZ.

Pricing information has not been revealed, but look for it to not stray too far from the standard issue BRZ Limited. Production of the Series.Yellow will be limited to only 500 units so buyers interested in owning one of these brightly colored coupes will have to act quickly before they are all sold out.

Model S

Tesla Unveils Two New Model S Variants

Traditionally when Tesla unveiled a new version of its Model S electric sedan it was typically catered to the upper end of the market not only in terms of price, but also features such as Ludicrous mode and new interior options. However, today’s announcement from the California based firm flips the script, and focuses on the low end of the market.

Dubbed the Model S 60 and 60 D respectively both of these models will offer buyers at least 200 miles of driving range in a package that starts at $66,000. In case this package sounds familiar to hardcore Tesla fans, it’s because the company used to sell a Model S that came with a 60 -kWh battery before killing it in 2015. The company also sold a 40-kWh model but stopped production of that particular model back in 2013. While it appears that these model’s are setting a new precedent by resurrecting a previously canceled model, a closer look reveals that things are much different when one takes a closer look.

It all starts with the price tag which is lower than before, and now starts at $66,000 (a noticeable drop over the previous model’s $70,000 base price.) Furthermore, an all-wheel drive version (the 60D) is also available, and both variants come equipped with a 75-kWh battery pack which matched the current generations battery pack. The new models will also come equipped with standard Autopilot hardware which will not only allow buyers to upgrade the battery pack for more range, but also turn on the full Autopilot suite of software. The latter allows the car to achieve limited autonomous driving capability, but a recent string of controversy as well as several high profile incidents with the system do show that it still needs some tweaking before it can truly be an alternative to traditional driving. This announcement will not only open the Model S to a wider pool of customers, but also allow the company to have a more comprehensive level of trim levels especially for buyers that will eventually move up from the entry level Model 3 sedan when it arrives in Tesla showrooms.

Italian Supercar Maker Teases Millecavalli Coupe

A small boutique Italian supercar maker called Mazzanti Automobili has revealed that it plans to build a wilder version of its Evantra supercar with the new model producing over 1,000 horsepower.

Currently the Evantra is the only model that Mazzanti produces but that has not stopped the small boutique brand from gathering a small following amid well heeled supercar buyers. the new model is dubbed the Millecavalli, and is a portmanteau that means “a thousand horsepower” in Italian.  It is Millecavalli 1currently unknown what engine is exactly powering this beast, but Mazzanti did reveal that it is a mid-mounted twin turbocharged 7.2 liter V8. A prime suspect is an evolution of the standard Evantra’s engine which is a 7.0 liter V8 that is borrowed from the C6 Chevrolet Corvette.

With such a strong foundation to start with, it is no surprise that the Millecavalli is capable of some mind blowing performance figures with 0 to 60 being reached in a scant 2.7 seconds. Look for the final top speed to be well over 200 mph with the transmission possibly being a revamped version of the unit that sees duty in the Evantra.

In addition to its potent performance figures, the Millecavalli also boasts sleek styling that is a blend of elegant good lucks and brute functionality. A meaty front splitter compliments the vents that have been cut into the hood Millecavalli 5while deep side skirts as well as a massive wing out back further accent the look and serve as a visual exclamation point. The door handles location behind the wheel arches appears to suggest that the Evantra’s suicide doors have been retained an interesting choice since they are a heavier type of door configuration.

Mazzanti Automobili will be revealing the Evantra Millecavalli next week at the Turin Auto Show. Production will be limited to 25 units with each Millecavalli boasting a $1 million dollar base price with that figure expected to go higher after options and fees are factored into the equation. It is highly unlikely that this car will make the jump to the U.S. market due to our country’s stricter safety and emission regulations. However, that could change if Mazzanti has sufficient demand from U.S. buyers, and the fact that it uses a Corvette engine originally built to comply with U.S. laws could help give the company an edge when it comes to converting the engine for our market.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD Gains New Hood Scoop, Minor Tweaks

Yesterday GMC teased the 2017 Sierra 2500 Denali HD, and promised that it’s new hood scoop was hiding a surprise for loyal buyers. Not wanting to be left out, Chevrolet has followed suit, with the unveiling of the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD. Unlike the Sierras apperance, this helps shed some light on what changes are in store for the new model year.

Unfortunately these revisions will not include a new engine, with the aging 6.6 liter Duramax diesel soldiering on for a few more years. But despite its age, the grizzled veteran gains some new moves thanks to a new hood scoop and air intake system that was designed to help The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD features an all-new, patented ai

improve airflow to the engine. GM claims that unlike other scoops that dump air indiscriminately into the engine, this one was designed to achieve a ram-air “supercharging effect” which translates into more potent performance benefits.

In addition to the improved air airflow, the system also incorporates an all new system that removes moisture from the charged air which helps maximize the combustion potential of the air fuel mixture.

GM engineers revealed the intricate science behind this simple solution explaining that after the air enters the engine bay, it enters an expansion chamber and then makes a full 180 degree turn before reaching the intake The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD features an all-new, patented aichamber. The high centrifugal forces involved in the turn pulls the water molecules out of the air with the resulting water being drained through a valve.

On an ideal day, GM estimates that the scoop will account for 60 percent of the air taken in with the remainder flowing in through an opening in the front fender. That opening can also serve as the sole source of air if the scoop is blocked by ice, mud, or other debris.

Chevrolet is not revealing whether the revised intake system boosts power or not, but it appears that it could help the Duramax unleash its full potential in a wider range of conditions. However, it will not shock us if the intake also allows a few extra ponies to break free from the stable.

It will be interesting to see what this minor revision does for both the Silverado and its GMC badged cousin, but look for more information to be released closer to their respective launches later this year.

GMC Teases 2017 Sierra Denali 2500 HD

GMC has released the first images of the 2017 GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD revealing that a key change could be in store for its updated workhorse when it eventually makes its way to dealer lots.

The company did not release a detailed description of the truck but did spill the beans on the fully functional hood scoop that allegedly serves as a hint to “what is beneath its bold new appearance.” That statement (albeit a bit cryptic) does appear to hint that a new 2017-GMC-Sierra Denali-2500HD-003engine is lurking under the hood of the updated rig, potentially serving as the successor to the long running but equally long in the tooth 6.6 liter Duramax diesel engine. The Duramax brings 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque to GM’s current line of HD pickups. However despite its long resume of appearances in both past and current GM models, the engine has also fallen behind newer diesel engines wielded by Ford and Ram with its figures being dwarfed by both the Cummins turbodiesel as well as the Powerstroke diesel V8.

As for the mystery engine, it could feature a new generation of turbocharging technology since the scoop would be feeding air to the hungry turbos inside increasing both power and torque in the process. This would be a stark change from the Duramax which also 2017-GMC-Sierra Denali-2500HD-002uses turbocharging, but does not take in outside air with a hood mounted hood scoop and tends to have more restricted airflow going into it. Look for it to possibly retain the Duramax moniker and arrive with multiple fuel saving features including reduced friction parts and improved weight savings.

GM claims that it will be releasing more information about its 2017 HD truck models “in the coming months” with full details not being revealed until its formal debut. The trucks will presumably begin arriving in dealer lots later this year with the Sierra possibly arriving first. The updated Silverado HD will not be too far behind, and could make its appearance early next year.