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VW previews retouched 2014 Touareg for Beijing

Posted Apr 16th 2014 6:00PM

2015 Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen is in New York this week showing off its new Jetta and Golf TDI SportWagen concept. But in less than a week, the German automaker will be off to China for the Beijing Motor Show, where it will showcase the revised Touareg you see here.

A subtle update on the Touareg that's been on the market in its current form for four years now, the facelifted model features reworked styling front and rear, an updated interior and a host of new technologies to keep it current in the highly competitive SUV market. Among those new features are larger bi-xenon headlights, coasting function, Google Maps integration and a post-collision braking system designed to prevent a second crash.

VW will offer the new Touareg with a variety of engines around the world, but in North America it'll carry over the same six-cylinder powertrain options as the outgoing model: a 3.6-liter V6 with 280 horsepower, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 240 hp (though torque isn't listed, we'd expect around 406 pound-feet, same as last year) and a hybrid that marries a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 to an electric motor that combine to deliver 380 hp.

Reduced friction from the tires, wind and eight-speed automatic transmission mean, however, that fuel consumption is improved by six percent. And when you're driving a big SUV, every little bit helps. Scope out the full details in the press release below.
Related Gallery2015 Volkswagen Touareg
2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg

News Source: Volkswagen

2015 Nissan Versa Sedan continues to prioritize space and price over looks

Posted Apr 16th 2014 5:40PM

2015 Nissan Versa Sedan

Nissan's refresh of its cavernous Versa Sedan is on hand today at the 2014 New York Auto Show. While we continue to appreciate the Versa for its space and low price, this slight restyling of the four-door sedan hasn't done much for its uninspiring appearance.

Newly enlarged headlights and a reworked, more Altima-like grille are the biggest changes to the front of this Versa, although Nissan has also added some brightwork around the revised foglight housings. Integrated turn signals liven up the mirrors, while the rear of the car wears a new and almost strangely sporty bumper.

Perhaps more importantly for prospective owners, Nissan has also made a few interior tweaks, with a new steering wheel and a revised center stack leading the change. There's some new available tech on the top-end SL model, as well.

Power continues to be served up in the form of a 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder and the buyers choice of a five-speed manual, four-speed automatic (S models) or continuously variable transmission.

But more important that displacement, horsepower or aesthetics, is likely the Versa's bottom line: at $11,990 for starters (plus $810 destination), it continues to be America's least-expensive new car.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Mini lifts veil on refreshed Countryman in New York

Posted Apr 16th 2014 5:20PM

2015 Mini Countryman

When Mini introduced the Countryman in 2010, it emerged as the brand's first crossover, its first five-door model and its first to offer all-wheel drive. It also arrived mid-lifecycle in the last generation of Mini Cooper hatchback, with which it shares little more than a passing family resemblance. Now that the Anglo-Saxon automaker is moving on to its third generation of retro hatch, it's given the Countryman a bit of a refresh to keep it current.

Unveiled today at the New York Auto Show, the new Countryman incorporates some very minor cosmetic tweaks to the exterior – so minor, in fact, that you'd be hard pressed to tell one from the other even if viewed side by side. Some subtle enhancements have been implemented to the interior as well, where the large central speedometer remains where it was in the middle of the dashboard (unlike the new Cooper hatch that moves it to where you'd normally find the instrument cluster, behind the steering wheel). The rear seats, however, offer more adjustability.

Mini will offer the new Countryman worldwide in an array of powertrain configurations, ranging from the bare-bones Mini One Countryman with a 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated four offering just 98 horsepower all the way up to the twin-turbo John Cooper Works with 218 hp – North American customers will get the latter, but not the former. The mid-range Cooper S has been enhanced by seven horses to deliver 190 hp, while overseas-only diesel models range from 90 hp to 143. Buyers will be able to choose between a six-speed manual or automatic and front-or all-wheel drive. There are also some new colors on offer and a host of optional equipment, all of which you can read about in the press release below.

News Source: Mini

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Production Ford Escort heading for Beijing

Posted Apr 16th 2014 4:59PM

Ford Escort

Ford's long-dormant Escort nameplate returned affixed to a sedan concept at last year's Shanghai Motor Show. While not exactly a beauty, it showed a clean, straightforward take on Ford's current styling. The Blue Oval said at the time that it wanted to create a model that was stylish "but not one that is arrogant or pretentious." Job done. A year later, it looks like the minimalist vehicle might make its production debut at the Beijing Motor Show.

Autocar claims that the streetgoing version has been confirmed to it for the upcoming show, but so far, Ford isn't saying. If unveiled, the Escort is likely to be produced locally for the Chinese market with a domestic partner. Powertrain details remain a secret, but it seems highly likely that any production model would use a small three- or four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. Sales in other major world markets like ours are unlikely, but a test car was recently spotted in Europe.

Autoblog contacted Ford for confirmation, but the automaker demurred, with a spokesperson saying only, "At the moment, we are not confirming any vehicles planned for the show." It looks like we will have to wait to know for sure.

News Source: Autocar

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Scion announces FR-S Release Series 1.0 in New York

Posted Apr 16th 2014 4:40PM

2014 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0

In the market for a Scion FR-S (or Subaru BRZ), but don't want the same one your neighbor's got? Scion has good news for you. At the New York Auto Show today, the Japanese automaker has announced the availability of this FR-S Release Series 1.0.

As the first Release Series FR-S (the aging xB is debuting its tenth alongside it), this special edition has been spruced up by Toyota Racing Development with a series of visual and aerodynamic enhancements to give the FR-S a bit of extra edge. Included in the Release Series 1.0 is an upgraded aero kit, an exhaust tip for every cylinder in the engine (that makes four, folks), and a lowered suspension with TRD springs and HID headlamps. Did we mention it's all capped by Yuzu yellow paint?

Inside, you'll find black seats with T-pattern upholstery, a TRD steering wheel, shifter and cargo mat, dual-zone climate control and push-button ignition with smart key. Scion isn't saying exactly what this model will cost, but it is saying it will come in under $30,000 (before the $755 delivery charge).

Only 1,500 individually numbered examples will be made, with deliveries beginning in August.

News Source: Scion

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

VW Golf TDI SportWagen really is a concept, sort of

Posted Apr 16th 2014 4:21PM

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Concept

We know it doesn't look like a concept, but the Golf TDI SportWagen being shown at today's New York Auto Show is not (yet) a production model. There will indeed be a production car bearing the same name coming to these United States early next year, and it will look very much like the showcar seen above, but there are decisions that still need to be made lying under the wagon's skin before any of that can happen.

When the Golf SportWagen hits a dealership near you as a replacement for the departing Jetta Sportwagen, it will be equipped with one of two engine options, a standard 1.8-liter TSI four-cylinder unit running on gasoline and mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission or an optional 2.0-liter TDI mill sending its torque-rich diesel drippings to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or DSG automatic gearbox. What's questionable is whether or not we'll see optional 4Motion all-wheel drive, as this concept version is equipped with, here in the US.

We wouldn't hold our breath for 4Motion, honestly, but Volkswagen says it's "under consideration," so there's that. In any case, check out the diesely goodness of the Golf TDI SportWagen Concept in our live image gallery above and read the press release below for all the details.

News Source: Volkswagen

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Subaru previews rally-ready WRX STI for Global RallyCross

Posted Apr 16th 2014 4:00PM

Subaru WRX STI Global RallyCross car

Subaru's long and distinguished history in the world of rallying is about to get another chapter, as it's set to field a team in the Global RallyCross Championship. The car? The all-new WRX STI.

Yes, Subaru will be fielding a GRC challenger, with drivers Bucky Lasek and Sverre Isachsen at the helm. This particular car was teased earlier this week, and is a preview of the eventual GRC model which will launch this fall. The race-ready STI boasts a custom widebody kit with a carbon-fiber rear wing. The roof scoop and the mirrors are also made of carbon fiber, while the wheels are provided by Method. As with all GRC contenders this year, the WRX STI is shod in Yokohama spec rubber. It's not clear what sort of engine sits under the scooped hood, although we imagine we'll find out before the season kicks off in a few months.

Perhaps even more exciting is word that Subaru will also prepare a version of the WRX STI for stage rallies, with Travis Pastrana and David Higgins fielding the new car in the Rally America Championship. That car should arrive later this year.

Take a look up top for our live images of the new rally car, and then head into Comments and let us know if you think Subaru's decision to run GRC and RAC could eventually lead to a return performance in top-flight World Rally Championship series. Scroll down for the brief press release from Subaru Rally Team USA.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Paul Walker's brothers to help finish Fast and Furious 7

Posted Apr 16th 2014 3:41PM

BRITAIN Fast and Furious Premiere

Since Paul Walker's tragic death in a car accident in late November, one of many persistent questions being posed has centered on how Fast and Furious 7 intends to address the loss of its main character. Walker had reportedly completed most of his dramatic scenes for the upcoming film, but still had more action sequences to finish at the time of his passing.

According to CNN, F&F7 filmmakers have invited his brothers, Caleb and Cody, onto the set to fill gaps in action scenes where Walker's character, Brian O'Connor, should appear. The producers plan to use four body doubles for Walker. In post-production, they will have Walker's face and voice overlaid onto them.

Fast and Furious 7 was originally scheduled for release this summer, but after production was suspended, it was pushed back until April 10, 2015. The script has reportedly been rewritten to give Brian O'Connor a proper sendoff and shooting recently restarted in Abu Dhabi.

News Source: CNN

Image Credit: Joel Ryan / AP

2015 BMW Alpina B6 Gran Coupe challenges the M6 in New York

Posted Apr 16th 2014 3:21PM

BMW Alpina B6 Gran Coupe

Despite being a well-respected outfit for decades, Alpina remains something of a mystery to many stateside BMW fans. In Europe, Alpina has established itself as a first-rate source for breathed-upon high-performance Bimmers, and it's looking to continue picking up traction on our shores. The US has received a handful of Alpina models through BMW factory channels, namely the 7-Series-based B7, and now we're getting another fast four-door with the debut of the BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe at today's 2014 New York Auto Show.

The B6 Gran Coupe stands as an interesting sibling to the factory's M6 Grand Coupe. Both are propelled by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, but the tunes are quite different. The Alpina produces 540 horsepower and 540 pound-feet of torque, which is 20 hp less than the M6, but with 40 lb-ft more torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive mean that the B6 is about half a second quicker to 60 miles per hour than BMW's own creation. Plus, the B6 has an unrestricted top speed of 198 mph, making it one seriously rapid 6 Series Gran Coupe.

The sport sedan also wears other Alpina goodies like 20-inch versions of the brand's 21-spoke wheels and exclusive color options. The B6 Gran Coupe goes for $118,225 (including destination), and will be available through BMW dealers immediately after the auto show ends. More info about the B6 is in the release below.

News Source: BMW

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Acura TLX is all too familiar, despite its new tricks [w/videos]

Posted Apr 16th 2014 3:01PM

2015 Acura TLX

I'm confident in saying that the 2015 Acura TLX, revealed today at the New York Auto Show, will be a perfectly nice car to drive. It'll be nice to sit in, with plenty of luxurious amenities. It'll be... fine. And for Acura, "fine" is apparently good enough.

I say that because while the TLX is an all-new offering (it replaces both the TL and TSX), it hardly shakes up the Acura formula we've come to accept over the past few years. It looks like everything else in the automaker's lineup, complete with the neat LED headlamps and signature beaked grille. Power comes from either a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated inline-four with 206 horsepower, or a 3.5-liter V6 with 290 hp – engines we've tested in countless other Honda/Acura products. The front-wheel-drive version uses the Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) from the RLX, and high-end V6 models use the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) that we've enjoyed across the rest of the Acura range. Really, there's nothing to write home about here, except maybe, how that power is sent to the wheels.

Acura is finally – finally – moving beyond the world of the six-speed transmission, offering a new eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox with the 2.4-liter engine, and a swanky new nine-speed automatic with the 3.5-liter V6. This is arguably the biggest news surrounding the TLX, though do note, fuel economy hasn't vastly been improved in the process. The TLX 2.4 musters up 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg highway, while the front-drive V6 is rated at 21/34 mpg. Optioning for the V6 SH-AWD reduces things to 21/31 mpg.

Inside, it's more of the same – the company's dual-screen center console and infotainment system is used here, and it all looks like the same setup as in RLX, MDX, etc. That's not a bad thing – I like Acura's interiors – but again, there are seemingly few big advancements.

So yeah, the new TLX is fine. For driving, sitting in and other daily needs, "fine" is the order of the day. But if you were hoping for a fresh-faced, bold new offering from Acura here, 'fraid you're plum out of luck. Read more in the press release below, and check out a pair of videos.

News Source: Acura

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Jaguar testing hardcore F-Type R-S GT?

Posted Apr 16th 2014 2:30PM

Jaguar F-Type R-S GT prototype

Some automakers make a hardcore model, then sit back and revel in its awesomeness. Jaguar does things a little differently. It takes a standard production model, gives it more power, bigger brakes and a tighter suspension and slaps the letter R on it. Then it gives it even more power, even bigger brakes and an even tighter suspension and calls it an R-S. Sometimes the engineers in Coventry don't even think that's enough, so they strip out some weight and dial things up even further and call it an R-S GT.

So far, they've only gone that far with the XK (transformed first into the XKR, then the XKR-S, and finally the XKR-S GT), but with that model on its way out, Jaguar seems to be preparing to give the newer F-Type a similar treatment. Now we can't be sure that what we're looking at is an F-Type R-S GT, especially since the 550-horsepower engine from the XKR-S and XFR-S is already powering the existing F-Type R Coupe, but it does seem to have all the makings of a hardcore performance model.

Compared to the existing F-Type, the development model pictured here has a bigger front splitter (like the one on the Project 7 concept), a big rear wing and a set of what looks like pretty big lightweight alloys. It's also, tellingly, a roadster, which (unlike the coupe) has until now topped out at 500hp with the V8 S model. So while it may be hard to say exactly just what Jaguar has in store for us here (or what they'll call it), one thing's for sure: it's gonna be fast and loud.

Image Credit: CarPix

VW America president says Phaeton will return to US in 2018

Posted Apr 16th 2014 2:00PM

VW US Michael Horn

Volkswagen knows that its US operations need some help, so it installed Michael Horn as CEO of its American operations a few months ago. In a new interview with Bloomberg, Horn goes into detail about his two-pronged focus for the company – making dealers happier and improving product.

Chief among that product news is confirmation that the Phaeton is going to return to our market in 2018 or 2019, a move VW has long been rumored to be considering. The full-size luxury sedan hasn't been sold in the US since the end of the 2006 model year, departing the market as a victim of slow sales. (The Phaeton has since been slightly updated overseas, where it continues to be offered.)

The complex Phaeton garnered a good amount of critical acclaim in its time on our market, yet it earned mostly perplexed looks from consumers who had trouble understanding the idea of a "People's Car" priced against competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (or the VW Group's own Audi A8, for that matter). It isn't immediately clear how VW intends to exempt the next-generation Phaeton from the same fate when it returns, nor is it clear whether the new model will share its underpinnings with the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, as the first iteration did.

According to the Bloomberg interview, Horn's other main goal is improving VW's dealer relations. He says that right now, dealers are unhappy with the company, and there is a "great distance" between them. The two sides are negotiating now to improve bonuses, marketing and other elements to get the network back on board.

"We need to connect closer from the American market to the German market," said Horn in the interview, and it looks like the company is making the first steps toward that goal. Scroll down to watch the full discussion.

News Source: Bloomberg

2015 Nissan Murano is the Sport Sedan Concept of crossovers [w/video]

Posted Apr 16th 2014 1:30PM

2015 Nissan Murano

The edgy new Nissan Murano has just been officially unveiled at today's New York Auto Show following its online debut earlier this week. Wearing sheetmetal clearly inspired by the Japanese brand's creatively named Sport Sedan Concept, the third-generation Murano continues the tradition of offering dramatic styling and surprisingly premium interiors.

With headlights and a grille that look lifted from the Detroit Auto Show concept, the Murano arguably has more design presence than it's ever had before, thanks to its sharply styled headlights and in-your-face grille. The profile is highlighted by an aggressive kink in the beltline behind the C-pillar, while the rear of the crossover sports a smallish rear window and strongly styled C-shaped taillights.

The redesigned interior isn't quite as dramatic a departure as the exterior, with a layout reminiscent of the larger Pathfinder. The material quality, though, looks to be significantly improved for 2015. There are also no shortage of optional, upmarket interior items, like heated and cooled front seats, a heated rear bench and an upsized panoramic sunroof.

Take a look up top for our gallery of live images of the new Murano from the 2014 New York Auto Show. You can also view a short video, as well as the official press release by scrolling down.

News Source: Nissan, nissanusa via YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Ford Focus sedan shows its fresh face in New York

Posted Apr 16th 2014 1:01PM

2015 Ford Focus Sedan

That handsome fellow you see above is the 2015 Ford Focus sedan. We liked the looks of the 2014 Focus, and the updates for 2015 only improve things to our eyes, with the adoption of the Aston Martin-inspired grille that has been permeating Ford's lineup these last few years. Sweeping, slightly bulbous headlamps join a revised, more demure lower grille opening to round out the styling updates up front. The rest of the car's look is just slightly massaged, including new taillamp clusters that look much like they did last year.

New for 2015 is the availability of Ford's 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. There's also a new SE Sport Package that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, paddle shifters (when equipped with Ford's six-speed dual-clutch automatic) and a few body kit bits and pieces. Rounding out the mechanical changes are an updated electronic steering rack that promises better feel, suspension tweaks to make the ride more comfortable and some software updates designed to make the dual-clutch gearbox better behave itself.

In addition, inside there are a few interior upgrades, as well as some added comfort and safety tech that includes available blind-spot detection and lane-keeping assist, along with other more incremental changes that all add up to a better vehicle. We suggest you check out the official press release below for all the details, but not before scrolling through our image gallery of live shots above.
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