Monthly Archives: August 2016

Could Audi Have Tesla S-Fighting Model In The Pipeline?

The Tesla S has certainly managed to conjure up quite a crowd of rivals during its production run, and according to a new report Audi is set to join that esteemed club with the brand rumored to be developing a range topping all-electric sedan that is scheduled to arrive before the end of the decade.

Tentatively dubbed the A9 e-tron, the sedan is expected to share the bulk of its powertrain as well as possibly much of its interior technology with the Q6 e-tron, a crossover that has been billed as Audi’s first full production offering. This means that the A9 e-tron will be powered by three asynchronous electric motors, and a potent drivetrain that is rumored to be capable of unleashing at least 425 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque in its base tune. Look for higher trims to go far beyond this figure and possibly surpass the 600 horsepower mark.

The A9 e-tron is also capable of driving at least 300 miles on a single charge while also sending power cords to the dustbin of history with futuristic inductive charging technology helping to keep the battery fully charged with juice. British publication AutoCar has also revealed that the A9 will come equipped with its own response to Tesla’s Autopilot system and the suite of driver assistance technologies that pull its strings. Unlike Tesla’s current system, Audi’s system is reportedly going one step further and be certified as a level four autonomous vehicle which would allow the A9 e-tron to drive itself in varying conditions both on and off the freeway.

Look for Audi to potentially preview the A9 e-tron as a near production concept at a major auto show before eventually landing in dealer lots by 2020. The A9 e-tron as well as the Q6 e-tron could also form the foundations for a new electric vehicle sub-brand that would possibly have other vehicles to cover other vehicle segments including a Model 3 fighting sedan.

Tesla P100D

Tesla Unveils 100-kWh Battery, Makes Debut In P100D Model S and X

Following up on previous rumors and multiple reports, Tesla has confirmed that it will be offering all new 100-kWh battery packs for the Model S sedan as well as the recently launched Model X SUV dubbing them the P100D in the process.

Tesla claims that the bigger battery will boast an equally impressive driving range with the company claiming that a Model S equipped with this option can get up to an EPA-estimated 315 miles on a single charge. This makes the new flagship sedan the longest ranged electric vehicle in production, and could signal significant progress for Tesla and its battery technology.

However, this battery also has a split personality and is also capable of serious performance when hooked up to Ludicrous Mode and its Dual Motor all-wheel drive system. When equipped to the newly named P100D (the only model with this battery) Tesla claims that the Model S is the third fastest accelerating car on the market with the car achieving the feat in a blistering 2.5 seconds. For those that would like to counter this assertion and claim that the Porsche 918 and the Ferrari LaFerrari are faster, Tesla has prepared a quote just for this elite crowd of enthusiasts.

“However both the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder were limited run, million dollar vehicles and cannot be bought new” stated the company. “While these cars are small two seaters with very little luggage space, the pure electric all-wheel drive Model S P100D has four doors, seats up to 5 adults plus 2 children and has exceptional cargo capacity.”

As for the Model X P100D, the all electric SUV sees its driving range increase from 250 miles to 289 miles on a single charge. It will also see a bump in performance with the SUV capable of clawing its way to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. This figure would cement its claim of being the “world’s quickest production SUV” a title that was previously held by the Bentley Bentayga. All of this range and performance will not be cheap, and the P100D package is a sizable premium over other Model S and Model X variants. Despite this, Tesla claims that it still has high hopes for the package, and claims that it will also play a critical role within the company.

“While the P100D Ludicrous is obviously an expensive vehicle, we want to emphasize that every sale helps pay for the development for the smaller and much more affordable Tesla Model 3 that is currently in development.” Without customers willing to buy the expensive Model S and X, we would be unable to fund the smaller, more affordable Model 3 development.”

Hyundai Sheds New Light On Upcoming Santa Cruz Pickup, Says It’s “Almost Ready”

Following its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Hyundai has revealed that it is moving forward with a production version of the Santa Cruz crossover pickup concept.

“We have made the decision, we have not made the announcement” stated Dave Zuchowski president and CEO of Hyundai North America in an interview with Motor Trend magazine.

It is rumored that the production version of the Santa Cruz will largely make the leap into production virtually unchanged though designers have had to make several minor changes to make it more feasible for production. Chief among them is the addition of four doors versus the concept’s two door layout which would allow the truck to take advantage of the current demand for crew cab spec pickup trucks. In another move towards production, the truck would ride on the same platform as the Hyundai Tuscon crossover, but in a compelling twist, Hyundai could use the model to debut a new four cylinder diesel engine that would eventually see duty in select Genesis models when the brand is eventually launched in Europe.

The diesel would also give the truck an edge over its direct rival the Honda Ridgeline, and serve as a tempting way to lure buyers that would otherwise buy the Chevrolet Colorado or the GMC Canyon. However, it appears that what will ultimately be under the hood at launch is still in flux, with reports suggesting that Hyundai is still debating the matter internally.

Regardless, the Korean auto giant expects the Santa Cruz to do well with the company expecting to sell between 50,000 to 75,000 units annually. Pricing could start at $25,000 which would be a double edged sword by being $5,000 less than the Ridgeline, but $5,000 more expensive than a comparable Colorado. Look for the truck to also feature all-wheel drive though look for it to be largely similar to what is seen on the Ridgeline and other rivals.

While Hyundai for its part has remained quiet on the subject, Motor Trend claims that the company will eventually make an official announcement about the pickup truck either later this year at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, or early next year at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. After it makes its rounds on the auto show circuit, the truck is expected to land in Hyundai showrooms sometime in 2018 with the truck being badged as a 2019 model.

Cadillac Unveils Escala Concept

Cadillac is currently in the middle of a sweeping initiative to not only improve its lagging sales figures, but also the brand’s reputation when compared to more established luxury automakers. On that end, Cadillac has unveiled an all new concept vehicle that previews a new flagship offering that will eventually be positioned above the CT6 sedan.

Dubbed the Escala this particular concept is supposed to showcase the next evolution of Cadillac design which will greatly reduce the sharp edges that have come to define current Cadillac models while also retaining the angular theme that has served as a compelling Escalacanvas for Cadillac designers. While we are still chewing on its odd name, the Escala does stand out thanks to a number of new styling elements including vertical lighting that is now complimented with horizontal units, thinner headlights, and new DRL’s that allegedly help the Escala have a “sinister” look which could help add some much needed spice to the lineup.

The Escala’s platform is based on the same platform that also underpins the CT6 but Cadillac engineers have lengthened the platform by five inches while the overall width has also been increased by six inches.In addition, the Escala also features a hatchback-esque profile which is reminiscent of the Audi A7.

“Escala is a concept with two clear objectives. First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language and also technical aspects in development of future Cadillac models,” revealed Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen. “Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”

The interior of the Escala also serves as a vivid visual showcase of the future that is in store  for future Cadillac models. Cadillac designers focused on putting technology at the Escala Interiorforefront with three curved OLED screens that are layered in front of the driver. For owners who prefer to spend the majority of their time in the rear seats, Cadillac designers also focused on making the back seat a luxurious place to spend time in with a renewed focus on making the back seat area more relaxing which in turn allows passengers to have greater appreciation for the increased levels of craftsmanship and refinement.

Performance for the concept comes from an all new 4.2 liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine and while it is still initially in the prototype stage, the engine will eventually find its way into future Cadillac models where it could be a key engine for select models, and give Cadillac a fighting chance against models in the performance flagship class.

While Cadillac stopped short of formally revealing whether the Escala has a concrete road map to eventual production, de Nysschen did reveal that there is at least some talk of the idea within the inner confines of Cadillac claiming “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing market plan.

 

Mercedes=Maybach Concept 6

Mercedes-Maybach Concept 6 Blends EV Power And Slick Styling

Following on the heels of a meticulous campaign of online teaser images, Mercedes has unveiled the Mercedes-Maybach Concept 6 ahead of its debut at Pebble Beach.

Said to be inspired by the aero coupe body style that was popularized in the 1900’s, the 18.5 foot long coupe is larger than life, and puts a heavy emphasis on style and flair. This is apparent with its long flowing hood, low roofline, andMercedes Maybach Concept 6 “boat tail” style rear end. The front grille of the concept was inspired by a pin-stripe suit, and designers even incorporated a split rear window. The concept rounds things out with 24-inch wheels borrowed from the Concept IAA.

The interior of the Mercedes-Maybach 6 was designed around the idea of a 360-degree lounge and as a result features flowing lines which draws the eyes to the futuristic center console that fuses with the twin bucket seats. The Mercedes-Maybach Concept 6control layout is also sci-fi themed and features a wrap around glass panel that delivers readouts for maps and seat settings. The windshield gets in on the act as well, and is designed to provide readings that augment with the outside world. It can deliver route guidance and vehicle speed with selections being controlled by gestures versus formal buttons.

The car even features trick “body sensors” that can monitor occupants and adjust climate and massage functions on the fly. As a bonus, it can even discern clothing color and can adjust the interior lighting to match a particular outfit. With all of this technology on hand, it’s comforting to know that the concept still features traditional Mercedes touches like supple leather and open pore wood accents.

Performance for the Mercedes-Maybach 6 comes from four electric motors that are placed at each wheel. They also help enhance the all-wheel drive system , and produce a combined 738 horsepower which is enough to allow the big coupe to rocket to 60 mph in less than four seconds with a final top Mercedes Maybach Concept 6speed of 155 mph. A battery placed low in the concept’s chassis provides juice and allows the concept to boast a 200 mile driving range with an additional 62 miles being added via a quick charge system. The Mercedes-Maybach 6 can be charged either through a traditional cord, or an electric force field.

Mercedes doesn’t have plans to put the Mercedes-Maybach 6 Concept into formal production as it sits now. However, some of its styling cues as well as select elements of its technology suite could make its way into upcoming Mercedes products.

Challenger T/A and Charger Daytona

Dodge Unveils Charger Daytona, Challenger T/A

With the 2016 Woodward Dream Cruise kicking off in a few short days, Dodge has revealed that it is reviving the Challenger T/A and the Charger Daytona for the 2017 model year promising to bring better looks, and more noise to an already winning formula.

Starting with the Challenger T/A Dodge claims that it was inspired by past T/A’s with the exterior styling featuring model exclusive T/A body stripes as well as standard Satin Black elements for the hood, roof, front fascia, and rear deck Challenger T/Alid. The T/A also benefits from a less restrictive exhaust system though it appears to be more for noise than power with Dodge still quoting the 5.7 liter and 6.4 liter Hemi engines at 375 and 485 horsepower respectively. Buyers will be able to choose from three different T/A models with the 392 serving as the top model.

However if burning rubber means adding four doors to the equation, Dodge has you covered with the Charger Daytona. While it will not signal the return of the giant rear wings that defined 60’s era variants, but it does get the same exhaust and engine revisions that the T/A gets. As a bonus, Dodge even uppedCharger Daytona, 60's Daytona the top speed from 135 to 150 mph which is not bad for a car of its size. Satin Black elements are present once again, but unlike the Challenger, Dodge is only offering the Daytona package on two engines the base 5.7 liter model and the 6.4 liter variant dubbed the Daytona 392.
Pricing for the base Challenger T/A models starts at $38,485 and includes the $1,095 destination charge while the T/A Plus adds $2,750 to the price. The top tier 392 version will boast a $45,090 price tag.

As for the Daytona, buyers will need to shell out $40,985 for the 5.7 liter and $46,090 for the spicier 392. Ordering for the Daytona starts in September, with the T/A’s ordering window opening a month later in October.

Koenigsegg XS front angle

Koenigsegg Unveils Insanely Awesome Agera XS

The folks at Koenigsegg have always had a knack for wowing the world with their unique take on the supercar. Our particular favorite here in the humble Autoinfoquest offices is the Agera, and the Swedish supercar maker has once again wowed us out of our collective shoes with the all new Agera XS.

Commissioned and even named by a U.S. customer, the XS is essentially a road legal version of the track only RS, and will visually stand out thanks to its bright “Karosserie Orange” paintwork  that incorporates a diamond dust-esque metallic effect, and is complimented nicely with a healthyKoenigsegg front close up dose of carbon fiber trim. The center stripe even gets in on the theme, and is made from carbon fiber as well. The XS also features model exclusive bodywork which was chosen by the collector who purchased the car (see a theme here) and it has the distinction of having the biggest rear wing ever mounted onto a Koenigsegg offering.

The interior of the XS is largely a function over form affair, but it stands out thanks to black Alcantara accents and orange contrast stitching. However, the interior still features some goodies to make driving it a bit more livable and Koenigsegg interiorincludes Apple CarPlay, a hydraulic lifting system, as well as a smart airbag system. Koenigsegg’s distinctive design flair for the gauges as well as the center console is still present and accounted for which should please the lucky owner.

Other than the wild body work and the equally bright paint scheme, the XS’s performance hardware is largely unchanged from the standard RS which means the supercar is still powered by the 1,160 horsepower 5.0 liter twin turbo V8 and is mated to the RS’s seven speed paddle shift transmission.

In addition to unveiling the XS, the company will also use its festivities in Monterey to debut the production version of the Regera which will be the first hybrid model that the company has ever produced. Don’t let its green intentions fool you, this slick flagship still packs 1,500 horsepower and is more than capable of outshining other hypercar entries.

Honda Shows Off Civic Hatchback

Following the unintended release of several leaked images as well as equally ill timed spy photos, Honda has released several new images of its upcoming 5 door offering.

The exterior styling is unsurprisingly identical to the hatchback concept car that made its debut earlier this year in Geneva. The wild styling of the concept has been toned down a 2017 Civic Hatchback bit, but the basic silhouette and profile of the car carries over largely unchanged.

Honda has not revealed any technical details about the Civic hatchback, but expect it to mirror its sedan cousin with base models using an all new 2.0 liter four cylinder engine that is good for 158 horsepower with higher trims being equipped with an all new 1.5 liter turbocharged four that brings direct injection and 174 horsepower to the festivities.

Performance junkies will be pleased to hear that a performance oriented R-Type is rumored to possibly join the lineup a little later after the launch of the standard model. This particular variant is rumored to be good for 340 horsepower, and would allow Honda to go toe to toe with the Ford Focus RS.

The 2017 Civic Hatchback will be landing in dealer showrooms next month with pricing information being released closer to its official launch. Curiously, European markets 2017 Civic Hatchback (traditionally a stronghold for hatchbacks) will have to wait until next year before buyers there can get their hands on one. This time frame suggests that the company expects the new model to have higher demand on our shores versus European countries, which is a bold bet especially considering how strong CUV sales are in the U.S.

Karma Revero

Karma Automotive Unveils Revero Sedan [Video]

When the newly created company Karma Automotive revealed the it was going good to build the Revero sedan, it was no secret that it would be largely based on the Fisker Karma sedan. However, newly released details reveal that there is plenty of differences between the two.

First and foremost we might as well address the figurative gorilla in the room, and that’s the Revero’s exterior styling. As expected, it shares a large chunk of its roots with the Fisker, and even retains that model’s solar panel laden roof. However the folks at at Karma claim that energy generated “will power the whole car.” This sounds fascinating to us, but more details will be needed to truly find out if the roof is indeed capable of achieving this feat. In the meantime, Karma claims that “No other vehicle sold in the U.S. has ever offered this capability. Our owners consider our solar roof an important element in our brand identity, and we listened.”

In perhaps one of the more unorthodox signs of the levels of exclusivity that Karma is seeking with this car, the company revealed that the front and rear badges on each Revero will be hand painted. “No other car company has ever done this,” Karma claims. “Consider it a small but symbolic statement about craftsmanship and individuality.” Furthermore, Karma claims that the infotainment system (a notable weakness of its Fisker badged ancestor) will finally be updated revealing “Our new infotainment system represents a departure from the norm. It is simple, intuitive, and beautiful. If you like a 200 page supplement to the owner’s manual to describe your infotainment system, look elsewhere.”

This all appears to sound quite exclusive, and the company has no problem embracing this perception with Karma’s chief revenue officer Jim Taylor revealing in a statement that, “Serving a mass market is not and never will be our purpose. The Revero is for a discerning group of individuals who desire beautiful, clean vehicles and a memorable ownership experience. We are thrilled to start this journey.” In a separate statement, Karma revealed that it plans to sell the Revero through traditional dealerships and company stores, with the firm selling it to 10 markets throughout North America.

Karma Automotive (which is owned by Chinese based Wanxiang Group) will debut the vehicle at a special launch party for media and current Fisker Karma owners in Laguna Beach California on September 8th. A special pre-order window will open for Fisker owners the very same day. Hopefully, this event will also help shed new light on whether Karma Automotive will follow through with its rumored plans to being the long dormant Atlantic concept into production reality. In the meantime, the company has released a brief video teaser which can be seen below.

Mercedes Teases Maybach Coupe, Could Be Unveiled In Paris

Ever since Mercedes Benz dusted off the Maybach nameplate a few years ago, the German car company has not done a whole lot with the vaunted nameplate. In fact the only recent use was slapping the badge on the range topping S600 and adding more luxury to its resume. All of this will be changing soon however thanks to a shadowy teaser image that Mercedes released on all of its social media channels.

Immediately recognizable as a Maybach thanks to its C-pillar mounted badging, this massive coupe could be a modern interpretation of the Exelero which dazzled the world in the early 2000’s, and transformed into a one-off production model that brought 700 horsepower into a highly comfort oriented package. Everything about this concept is massive from the long hood, to the aggressively toned windshield rake as well as the aerodynamically honed tail suggests that this coupe could surpass 200 mph with little effort.

It is currently unknown what Mercedes will ultimately call this ultra luxurious two door, but as mentioned earlier, it will be a big coupe with Mercedes claiming in a caption that the concept  is exactly six meters long (19.6 feet) which makes it a full three feet longer than a comparable S-Class coupe, and a whopping four feet longer than the Bentley Continental GT.  This is an impressive figure, and I am eager to see how a vehicle of these proportions looks in person especially in regards to stylistic execution.

Mercedes chose not to reveal any further details about the sleek coupe in its release, but look for more information to trickle out before the formal start of the auto show season in two months when the 2016 Paris Motor Show takes place. Its possible that the company could tease the concept all the way into October, but more likely than not, a formal unveiling will take place sometime before then.