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    We obsessively covered the 2014 New York Auto Show [w/video]
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    Lincoln MKX Concept goes for the gold in Beijing
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    Lexus NX debuts in turbocharged and hybrid guise
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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Jack Of All Trades, Master Of All Trades

Posted Apr 21st 2014 11:57AM

2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

"No Land Rover has any business sounding like that!"

My dad's words hung in the air like the few stray puffs of exhaust trailing in my wake as I motored away from him following a nice dinner. His parting statement to me really summed up the experience of driving this Chile Red Range Rover Sport. This is a vehicle unlike anything else Land Rover has ever built – and it needs to be. The Sport has been the British marque's best-selling vehicle since it went on sale in 2005 – even in its predecessor's final full year of sales, 2012, it still netted a four-percent bump. That kind of staying power needs to be preserved.

Doing that would be difficult, though, as Land Rover launched a pair of particularly notable products before it was time to redesign the Sport. The Range Rover Evoque has set the design benchmark for the Land Rover brand, while the all-new, fourth-generation Range Rover was the best sport utility vehicle Land Rover has ever built, and arguably one of the very best on the road, full stop.

The task seemed clear, then: build a worthy successor to an SUV that customers have been clamoring to buy for the better part of decade, while also adding the design chutzpah of the Evoque and living up to the class-leading standards set by its big brother.

Vital Stats

Engine:
SC 5.0L V8
Power:
510 HP / 461 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$79,100
As-Tested Price:
$94,085

Chinese-designed Nissan Lannia Concept debuts in Beijing

Posted Apr 21st 2014 11:27AM

Nissan Lannia Concept

Nissan showed off a stylish new concept car to the assembled crowds of media at the Beijing Motor Show. The Lannia Concept is... well, it's not that easy to describe. It's kind of a sedan, only it looks a bit like a fastback from the rear. But for a twist, it has an ever-so-small rear deck. Regardless of how we'd classify it, it's a seriously sharp piece of styling, thanks to its unique shape and flowing character lines.

If the Lannia's styling appears familiar, it's because we've sort of seen it before. There's more than a little bit of inspiration from the Friend-Me Concept. The Lannia's overall shape is similar to the Friend-Me, while both the front and rear clips look decidedly more production ready. Considering this evolution, we shouldn't rule out a production Lannia in the next few years. And if Nissan's product boss, Andy Palmer is any indication, the new model might not be limited to China.

"It was designed by Chinese, built by Chinese for the Chinese people, and ultimately, for the world," Palmer said in a statement. If Nissan can keep this sharp styling, this could prove a compelling buy in a number of markets.

Nissan doesn't provide a great deal of additional information on this new concept. Rather than tell us about its engine, transmission or interior, the Japanese manufacturer simply said the Lannia is a "sedan theory-breaker," whatever that means. It's targeted, meanwhile, at Chinese "post-80s" trendsetters, which we take to mean either very hip nonagenarians or trendy people born after the 1980s (it's probably the latter).

Take a look above for our gallery of live images from Beijing, and then scroll down for the full round of assets from Nissan on the all-new Lannia Concept.

Image Credit: Live images copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Jeep brings quartet of concepts to Beijing to show its Chinese style

Posted Apr 21st 2014 10:59AM

Jeep Renegade Zi You Xia

Jeep is making a big play for the Chinese crossover market at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show. It has a quartet styling concepts for the Renegade, Cherokee and Wrangler that are inspired by Chinese culture at the show.

Among them is the newest member of the Jeep lineup – the Renegade. Its Zi You Xia concept (pictured above) comes from the Mandarin for "rebel," and it's painted in Warm Chocolate Gray with Dark Anodized Bronze trim, including the 20-inch wheels. The roof, grille surround, and mirror caps are done in a complimentary Dark Charcoal color as an accent. The interior is a mix of dark brown leather and Anodized Copper trim. This is one swanky compact crossover.

The Cherokee Sageland and Urbane concepts are meant to show to different sides of Chinese style. With inspiration from the Shangri-La Region, the Sageland has Ivory Pearl tri-coat paint with bronze trim on the outside, and the interior is covered in Gray Nappa leather with red and blue stitching. The Urbane's look comes from the nightlife in the country's cities. The exterior is a color called Maximum Steel with Hyper Black trim. Inside, it combines Piano Black trim with dark red leather seats.

Finally, there is the Wrangler Sundancer concept that wears tri-coat Chocolate Brown metallic paint with gold accents, bronze fender flares and bronze-tinted glass. For an added dose of style, the front and rear bumpers are fitted with LED lights, and it rides on 20-inch pale gold wheels with polished gold inserts. Almost the entire interior is covered in Berry Baltique leather, which has a very red tone of brown, with pale gold trim.

Jeep didn't go into specific detail about the powertrains for any of the concepts. However, that makes sense because they show off more of what the brand can do with its styling than any performance advantages. Scroll down to read about all four of them in the official release.

News Source: Jeep

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Honda Concept B Hybrid production version coming to China in 2016

Posted Apr 21st 2014 10:28AM

Honda Concept B Hybrid at Beijing 2014

At the Beijing Motor Show this weekend, Honda took the wraps off of the Concept B Hybrid, a "new-value concept" that will apparently do its level best to get the Japanese automaker back into the entry-level gas-electric game. Powertrain details for the five-door concept hatch are noticeably absent, so we are assuming that what Honda wants with this concept is for us to focus on the looks. Honda says the car's exterior design is "advanced and cool-looking." We like the shape, but think a few changes will do wonders for the production model.

If the busy front end gets turned down a bit in production (it's especially glaring from the front), we can see this becoming a darn good replacement for the Insight at the lower end of the hybrid price spectrum. Sadly, for now, Honda is saying that the mass-production model that uses the Concept B as a foundation will be available "exclusively" on the Chinese market in two years.

Speaking at the Beijing show, Honda president and CEO Takanobu Ito continued to look for ways to green his company's line-up, and said Honda, "will strive to become number one in complying with Chinese CAFE regulations, which are the toughest in the world, and offer a new lifestyle for Chinese customers." Come 2016, that new lifestyle could look like the car you see in the gallery above. Think it's a good one?

News Source: Honda

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Peugeot 2008 DKR aiming for Dakar, makes detour to Beijing

Posted Apr 21st 2014 10:04AM

Peugeot 2008 DKR

Peugeot is no stranger to dirt-oriented motorsports, but with the 2008 DKR, the French automaker is striking out in a different direction than the rally stages of Europe. Instead, it has placed aim squarely on the notorious Dakar Rally, arguably one of the most grueling, demanding and dangerous (and longest) races on the planet.

The race has been dominated the past few years by the X-Raid team and its wildly modified Mini Countryman rally cars. Peugeot is aiming to change that, teaming with Red Bull (arch-rival of X-Raid's main sponsor, Monster Energy) and parking two-time World Rally champion Carlos Sainz in the driver's seat.

Like the Countryman, the 2008 has very, very little in common with its road-going cousin. For one, it's rear-wheel drive, unlike the production, front-drive 2008 (and the four-wheel-drive Countryman). Peugeot's reasoning, as we explained on our original post on the dune-busting racer was that larger tires could be fitted - 37-inch Michelins - while suspension travel could be increased substantially.

There's still no word on what sort of powerplant sits under the 2008 DKR's hood, but if the Countryman's 3.0-liter, turbodiesel six-pot is any indication, the DKR will likely be an oil burner.

Take a look up top for our full batch of images from the 2008 DKR's debut at the Beijing Motor Show, and then scroll down for the official press release, video and images from Peugeot.

Image Credit: Live images copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Start your private army with 43 Land Rover Defenders

Posted Apr 21st 2014 9:31AM

Land Rover Defender 110s for sale

Living in the United States, Land Rover Defenders aren't exactly thick on the ground. Even if you are lucky enough to stumble on one that's worth buying, though, the price can easily exceed the cost of a new Land Rover LR4 or Range Rover Evoque, with the finest, low-mileage examples going nearly as much as a new, fullsize Range Rover.

The obvious solution, then, is to just buy your Defenders in bulk. Ex Army UK somehow acquired 43 Defender 110 Puma models from military surplus. And get this - they're new. Yes, the diesel-powered beasts of burden were bought by some government agency and put in storage. They were bought between 2008 and 2009 and look pretty much pristine. The downside, at least for our friends in the UK, where the Landies are located, is that the vehicles can't be operated within the UK or European Union. We promise, if they're sent to the US, we'll take very good care of them.

We won't even attempt to hazard a guess at how much it'll cost to acquire this small army of SUVs, but it probably won't be cheap. Still, if you're contemplating starting your very own militia, 43 rough-and-tumble (and new) military vehicles would be a solid start.

News Source: Ex Army UK via AutoWeek

Peugeot reveals new Chinese-market 408 at Beijing Motor Show

Posted Apr 21st 2014 9:00AM

2015 Peugeot 408

Peugeot might not market in the United States – although according to our compatriots at Edmunds, that may be about to change – but don't think that it doesn't export out of Europe. In fact, together with its Citroën subsidiary, Peugeot SA is among the top ten automakers in the world. China is one of its most vital markets, one where it consistently turns a profit. And reflecting the importance of the Chinese market, Peugeot has rolled in to the Beijing Motor Show with several new debuts.

Aside from launching the new 2008 crossover and RCZ R in China for the first time – to say nothing of the new Citroëns debuting at the same show – Peugeot has created the Exalt concept sedan for the Beijing expo and also revealed its new 408 sedan. Slotting, as you might have guessed, in between the 308 hatchback and the 508 flagship, the 408 is a C-segment sedan designed specifically for the Chinese market but will, like its predecessor, likely find its way into other developing markets like Russia and South America in the near future as well.

Built as part of a joint venture with DongFeng, the new 408 rides on a 107-inch wheelbase to make it marginally longer than the model it replaces. Power comes from a 1.6-liter turbo four with direct injection and stop/start ignition, full LED headlamps, automatic parking system, blind-spot detection and more. It also moves the lion badge from the hood onto the grille, marking what could be a new trend for the French brand. Designed as the first car for a 30-year-old urban dweller, the new 408 promises to give Peugeot an even bigger slice of a pie that's estimated at 1.4 million vehicles strong each year. Read more in the press release below.
Related Gallery2015 Peugeot 408
2015 Peugeot 4082015 Peugeot 4082015 Peugeot 4082015 Peugeot 4082015 Peugeot 408

News Source: Peugeot

Kia unveils K4 sedan concept in China

Posted Apr 21st 2014 8:29AM

Kia K4 Concept

Among the dozens of foreign automakers eager to showcase their wares to the Chinese market, Kia arrived at the Beijing Motor Show with the new K4. Though technically categorized as a "concept," the K4 previews a sedan which Kia intends to launch in China later this year.

The K4 is a midsize sedan measuring 186 inches long and riding on a 106-inch wheelbase that makes it bigger than the Forte (sold in the Far East as the K3) and just a few inches shorter than the Optima (aka K5). The form is draped in familiar Kia-style bodywork, with a high trunk and low nose to give it a wedge shape and a familiar if somewhat new take on the headlights and grille seen on other new models from the Korean automaker.

Power comes from a 1.6-liter turbo four (smaller than the engines available in the Optima/K5) mated to a seven-speed DCT. Kia has also fitted the K4 concept with push-button ignition, UVO infotainment system, rear-view camera, six airbags and stability management. In short, everything you'd expect from the latest product of a global automaker.

Unfortunately Kia hasn't released much more information than that (or more than two photos, for that matter), but the K4 isn't a product destined for our shores anyway.

News Source: Kia

Daimler bringing resurrected Maybach name to 2014 LA and Guangzhou auto shows

Posted Apr 21st 2014 7:58AM

Maybach 62, front three-quarter view

According to a report in Reuters, we will get to know the new face of Maybach at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show and Guangzhou Motor Show. The revival of the name has been in the news for a while now, but what hasn't been clear is where it will fit in with other models like the coming Pullman. The Reuters piece says it will be "used to adorn an exclusive version of its S-Class limousine," but the real punch is reading that it is expected to "cost more than double the 165,000-euro ($228,000) asking price of its current flagship, the Mercedes-Benz S600."

The base price of a 2012 Maybach 57, the year the brand died, was $376,300. If Reuters is correct, and depending on how much "more" is added to "double," the price of Maybach just as a trim level and not as a standalone brand could still carry a gaudy
premium for what the article calls "soft-touch leather and bespoke materials." True, that listed euro price will be higher than our own S600 - which we don't know the price of yet. But our 2103 S600 cost $160,300, which - again, assuming the double-down price is correct - would have a Maybach buyer staring at a $321,000 bill, or more, before he puts his Conway Stewart pen to work on options.

On the other hand, that still leaves room for a Maybach-branded S-Class to tout its cost difference relative to the Rolls-Royce Phantom, which currently starts at $402,940; if you have a third hand, though, the Bentley Mulsanne is "only" $303,700. We look forward to the LA show to find out exactly how Daimler is going to spice and slice this one up. As for that Pullman, Reuters says it will be a state limousine that has an additional, rear-facing bench in the chauffeured quarters. A camouflaged version of the reported limo - all 21 feet of it - was spotted recently in Germany.

News Source: Reuters

Lamborghini reveals Aventador Nazionale in Beijing

Posted Apr 20th 2014 6:45PM

Lamborghini Aventador Nazionale

Special editions have proven themselves a great way for high-end automakers to get a little bit more for their wares, but they appear to be gradually being taken over by personalization programs that allow customers to order their exotic new wheels just as they want them. After all, what's the point in ordering a special color scheme someone else has chosen when you can choose it yourself, with special wheels and interior upholstery to match?

Lamborghini has just such a program. It's called Ad Personam, and like the customization catalogs offered by other automakers, it allows its clients to specify any range of stylistic parameters to suit their own taste. To showcase the program, Lamborghini brought a customized Aventador to the Beijing Motor Show. Called the Nazionale edition, it's got a white paintjob with tricolore racing stripes up the hood, anthracite wheels, and a blue leather interior.

It's similar to the Gallardo Tricolore that rolled out of Sant'Agata three years ago – the kind of treatment we'd otherwise call a special edition, but despite carrying a different name, it just goes to show the possibilities Lamborghini offers it customers. For the right price, of course.

News Source: Lamborghini

Mini reveals refreshed Paceman in Beijing

Posted Apr 20th 2014 4:45PM

2015 Mini Paceman Cooper S

It was just a few days ago that Mini unveiled its refreshed Countryman at the New York Auto Show, and now it has followed up with the revised version of that model's coupe counterpart, the Paceman. Revealed today at the Beijing Motor Show, the new Paceman adopts all the changes applied to the new Countryman – which is to say, not a whole lot, but maybe enough to keep it current for the masses of customers in the market for a three-door version of a vehicle that's bigger than its stablemates but smaller than most other crossovers.

Pictured here in Piano Black (one of three new shades on offer alongside Midnight Grey and the Jungle Green in which the new Countryman was featured), the mildly refreshed Paceman has, like its five-door counterpart, been so subtly updated that we can scarcely tell the difference... even after sorting through the press release below. There are some minor revisions to the exterior, the cabin features slightly updated equipment, and the Cooper S gets an extra few horsepower. And that's about all she wrote, folks.

Mini will offer the updated Paceman worldwide with a wide array of four-cylinder engine options. With no budget-oriented One model, the Cooper is the base model with a 122-horsepower version of the brand's ubiquitous 1.4-liter four and the John Cooper Works sits at the top of the range with 218 hp. The two diesel specs are present as well, and buyers cam choose (on most models) between front- and All4 all-wheel drive.

Scope out the details in the press release below, if you're so inclined, and the 45 high-resolution images in the gallery above for a closer look.
Related Gallery2015 Mini Paceman
2015 Mini Paceman2015 Mini Paceman2015 Mini Paceman2015 Mini Paceman2015 Mini Paceman2015 Mini Paceman2015 Mini Paceman2015 Mini Paceman

News Source: Mini

Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV blurs lines in Beijing

Posted Apr 20th 2014 2:30PM

Mercedes Concept Coupe SUV

With apologies to Robin Thicke (and to anyone offended by his unarguably catchy hit song), but Mercedes-Benz has just shown that BMW isn't the only automaker that knows how to blur the lines between seemingly unrelated market niches to create something new entirely. The subject today is the Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV, and its name alone tells you pretty much all you need to know about its style, shape and intentions.

Some might argue, and perhaps rightly so, that putting a sleek coupe-shaped body atop a chassis that is styled to look like it's capable of traveling off the beaten path makes little sense. Others may counter that the BMW X6 has proven that there is a market for the disjointed merger, and they too may be right. Regardless of which side of that line of demarcation you fall, here we are with MB's latest concept, powered as it is by a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 with 333 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, sending that motive force through a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox to all four 22-inch wheels.

We suggest you take it all in by perusing our image gallery of live photos above, and you're free to complete the picture by reading through the press release below. Oh, and don't be surprised if something eerily similar to this Concept Coupe SUV hits dealership floors in the coming years...

Image Credit: Live images copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Lincoln MKX Concept goes for the gold in Beijing

Posted Apr 20th 2014 1:20PM

Lincoln MKX Concept

We've now seen the Lincoln MKX Concept in the metal, and we've shot it with the lenses of our own DSLR cameras. And we have to say, our opinion of the concept's design language has improved over our initial reaction. Yes, it's clear that this MKX shares its underpinnings with those of the Ford Edge Concept that we saw in LA, but the changes made by Lincoln stylists are a welcome departure from the angular lines of its corporate cousin from The Blue Oval.

We like the subtlety of the MKX Concept's front fascia, and the lighting elements both front and rear lend a luxurious quality to the crossover's typical two-box proportions. When combined with the smaller MKC that was shown in production form late last year, it's clear to see that Lincoln has a specific design direction that at least seems visually capable of setting it apart from the Ford models with which the brand shares its platforms. Here's hoping there are some Lincoln-specific upgrades underhood...

Have a look at our image gallery of live photos from Beijing above, reread the press release below, and feel free to let us know what you think.

Image Credit: Live images copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Lexus NX debuts in turbocharged and hybrid guise

Posted Apr 20th 2014 12:19PM

2015 Lexus NX200t

2015 Lexus NX300hLexus showed off its polarizing new NX at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, trotting out both the turbocharged 200t model (Lexus' first production turbo) alongside the hybrid-powered 300h.

We still don't know a great deal about the turbocharged model, aside from the fact that the engine underhood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, although we're hoping to get details sooner rather than later. For reference, the 2.0-liter turbo in the BMW X1 pumps out 240 horsepower while the four-pot turbo in the Mercedes-Benz GLA250 turns out 208 horsepower, which leads us to think we should expect the Lexus to fall somewhere between these two figures.

If Lexus' naming strategy in the past rings true here, though, we can confidently say the 300h will use a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery, just like the Lexus ES300h and Toyota Avalon Hybrid. That should mean around 200 system horsepower and well over 30 miles per gallon, although it's probably too early to predict economy with any degree of certainty.

We have images of both the 200t (up top) as well as the 300h (below). We've also included the initial press release from Lexus and a larger gallery of official images, both available below. Scroll down and have a look.

Image Credit: Live images copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

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