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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Auto Shows

AMG And Ducati Streetfighters: Three Seats, Six Wheels And 554 Horsepower Set To Make Their Matching-Hue Debut

On: Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 5:10PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

I know there’s been more than a few of you who’ve questioned the logic behind Mercedes-Benz’s forays into non-car-related businesses like custom helicopters, branded credit cards, men’s perfume, Superdome naming rights and the ridiculous smart transport module.

Well, at least this latest “branding” opportunity won’t bring shame to the Benz name: to “underscore the importance of the cooperation entered into by Mercedes-AMG and Ducati one year ago” both companies have created unique—and matching—special-edition vehicles to put on display at the Bologna Motor Show, Dec. 3 -11.

The vehicles in question are a 2012 model year Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG convertible and a 2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848 superbike. Both are painted in “Streetfighter Yellow” with matching black thin-spoke alloys and—in the case of the SLK, mostly—black upholstery.

But unlike most one-of-one auto show creations, you might actually have a chance of buying not just one—but both—of these….

Toyota Debuts Smart, New Slogans

On: Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 12:56PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Debuts Smart, New Slogans test 2

Given the failure of some automakers to come up with a catchy tagline, it's good to see that others still have it. Toyota is highlighting its new focus on sporty, fun cars with a pair of new slogans that should help it transition from its image of 'rock-solid reliable but dull' to 'fun and sporty once again'.

If you think back about a decade or two, Toyota was a serious force in the Japanese sports car market. It is, after all, the company that brought us the awesome Supra and the less awesome but more attainable Celica.

Since those cars disappeared in the earlier in the millennium, Toyota has been known more for its reliable commuter workhorses like the Corolla and Camry. It's also been known as a green innovator thanks mostly to the Prius. But it really hasn't been known for cars that are fun to drive.

Honda May Show NSX Successor Concept In Detroit

On: Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 4:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda May Show NSX Successor Concept In Detroit test 1-1

Honda is all about the future this week. The automaker has a futuristic-concept duo on display at the Tokyo Motor Show and reportedly has one more up its sleeve. No insignificant design study, the fourth concept is rumored to be a preview of the long-awaited Acura NSX successor.

An NSX successor has been in the works for years. The original version, which was to utilize a V-10 engine, was scrapped back in 2008. Then, rumors slowly grew around a newer, greener version, and eventually Honda chief Takanobu Ito was so excited he couldn't hold back anymore.

Ito told Autocar in September: "It is my wish that Honda engineers have the experience of developing a sportscar like the NSX in future. Within Honda, our engineers are already looking at developing such a car."

Toyota Shows Off Volt-Killing Prius Plug-in

On: Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 11:04AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Prius PHV test 2

Since September we’ve had a good idea of what the 2012 Prius Plug-in would look like. Toyota plans to start selling Prius PHVs in the US next spring, but just recently chose the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan as an ideal spot for a pre-Tokyo Motor Show release party featuring the company’s latest plug-in/hybrid vehicle. During the press conference, Toyota was quick to reinforce the Prius PHVs competitive advantages while jabbing at other, less practical EV brands – noting that green vehicles are only good for the environment if they are commonly used.

Considering the Nissan Leaf is a pure plug-in with limited range and Chevy’s Volt costs at least $41,000, the Prius PHV appears poised to reestablish Toyota as the preeminent maker of eco-friendly autos.


Subaru Reveals BRZ Sports Coupe

On: Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:32AM | By: Chris Weiss

Subaru Reveals BRZ Sports Coupe test 2

That didn't take long. A day after Toyota revealed its production GT 86 and a day before the official start of the Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru revealed its own production model. The painfully overexposed GT 86 and apparition-like BRZ are now both official!

The BRZ has a sporty, aggressive shape quite similar to its Toyota brother. Differences include a hood that's not nearly as inward-sweeping as the GT-86's, a grille with defined horizontal slats, and bulging rear fenders. I'm not a huge fan of the rear-end--the angle between the diffuser and body seems off to me (at least in the one picture I've seen), but overall, I prefer Subaru's take over Toyota's. The front-end looks more natural, and those big haunches just yell power and speed.

Smart 341 Parkour Concept Wins LA Design Challenge

On: Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 2:56PM | By: Chris Weiss

Smart 341 Parkour Concept Wins LA Design Challenge test 2

Take a small, quirky car, add a name that brings visions of high-flying, stunt-man-style action, add some cool conceptual elements, and make the car truly "all terrain"--that sounds like the winning recipe for the "Hollywood car of the future." And, indeed, it is. Mercedes-Benz took home the LA Design Challenge award for the Smart 341 Parkour.

This year's Design Challenge tasked design teams with developing a car that embodied a futuristic Hollywood design. More than just asking for a car that would look good in movies, the challenge required teams to develop a short plot line based around the vehicle.

According to a statement from the jury, Smart took home the award for getting the formula just right, "With the 341 Parkour smart hit the nail on the head: the design combines innovation and functionality with an exciting film plot."

Toyota Bringing Trio of Eco-Friendly Concepts to Tokyo

On: Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 1:45PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Bringing Trio of Eco-Friendly Concepts to Tokyo test 2

While Honda plans to use the Tokyo Motor Show to show us the sporty side of green vehicles, Toyota will let its GT-86 handle the sporty end while a trio of concept cars showcases the practicality of green design. Toyota will debut fuel cell, electric and commercial vehicle concepts at the show.

Perhaps the most interesting of the three concepts is the FCV-R or "Fuel Cell Vehicle--Reality and Revolution." While the full name sounds about as overdramatic and conceptual as we've seen, Toyota is hoping to bring an actual fuel cell vehicle to market within the next four years, and the FCV-R is its latest step. The small sedan features a high-pressure hydrogen tank that delivers up to 430 miles of fuel-cell-powered driving.

Toyota GT 86 Production Version Comes Alive (Video)

On: Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 12:46PM | By: Chris Salamone

Toyota GT 86 test 2

Newspapers, blogs, community forums, magazines, and the like have exploded with buzz surrounding Subaru and Toyota’s joint-venture RWD sports coupe. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, just recently, fan excitement reached some kind of boiling point as Subaru officially revealed an actual production version BRZ in the flesh…or shall we say metal. Now, right before the Tokyo show, Toyota has fallen suit with an official reveal of the company’s take: the GT 86 sports car. Devout followers will note that Toyota has chosen to drop the concept version’s name, the FT 86, for a slightly altered moniker.

The model, as depicted above, will launch throughout Europe and Japan, but is expected to appear in North America under a Scion FR-S badge. While the car looks quite aggressive in stance, the vehicle’s starting engine output appears less than exciting – 197 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque derived from Subaru’s new horizontally opposed 2.0-liter flat-four boxer engine.

2012 Cadillac XTS: Most Technologically Advanced Caddy Ever

On: Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 11:39AM | By: Chris Weiss

2012 Cadillac XTS: Most Technologically Advanced Caddy Ever test 2

One of the biggest stories from this month's LA Auto Show is the launch of the 2012 Cadillac XTS, a car that Cadillac calls its "most technologically advanced production car" in brand history. The luxury sedan delivers a rich combination of technological convenience, comfort and performance.

The XTS is larger and more luxurious than the CTS. It is powered by a 300-hp direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and Caddy's Haldex all-wheel-drive system delivers power to the quartet of wheels. The car features Magnetic Ride Control, a suspension system that Caddy calls the world's fastest reacting. Magnetic Ride Control was also used on the Chevy Camaro ZL1.

Luxury Gets Large With Infiniti JX SUV

On: Fri, Nov 25, 2011 at 3:50PM | By: Chris Weiss

Infiniti JX SUV test 2

Infiniti used the LA Auto Show to introduce its all-new JX crossover. When it hits the market next year, the JX will be one of Infiniti's biggest, most versatile utility vehicles.

Infiniti sees the 2013 JX as a vehicle that will "shake up the status quo." Specifically, it will bring a new level of interior flexibility and roominess, safety, and advanced features to the luxury crossover segment.

Mercedes-Benz Leaks 2012 SL Images

On: Fri, Nov 25, 2011 at 9:34AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Mercedes-Benz SL test 2


At the upcoming North American International Auto Show, spectators will be treated to an array of sights and sounds from automakers around the world. The Mercedes-Benz exhibit, however, won’t have flashy color schemes, techno musaque, or gimmicky advertising signs. Instead, this particular automaker will showcase a sophisticated fleet of new vehicles – beyond the need for marketing puffery. A centerpiece of the Mercedes-Benz lineup will almost certainly be the company’s newly-redesigned 2012 SL.

For 2012, consumers will be delighted to hear about three main improvements (in addition to scores of already magnificent features). Other than aesthetic changes, the most significant change will be a 20% more rigid chassis and reduction in nearly 310 pounds of weight over the outgoing model. Weight and rigidity improvements stem from the vehicle’s use of aluminum-focused construction and hydro formed, chilled cast longitudinal members.

The company claims these changes will amount to a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency.