• Porsche reveals 2014 Cayenne Platinum Edition

    December 4, 2013

    Porsche is spicing up its Cayenne luxury SUV with a special Platinum Edition model that combines many popular options with a few unique aesthetic touches.

    Available only on six-cylinder gasoline and diesel Cayennes, the Platinum Edition pads the ‘ute’s standard features list with a navigation system, a 14-speaker Bose surround sound system, heated front seats, a moonroof and bi-xenon headlights. Rounding out the equipment additions are power steering plus and front and rear park assist.

    Fittingly, Platinum Silver Metallic exterior trim sets the Platinum Edition apart, while Meteor Grey Metallic, Basalt Black Metallic, Mahogany Metallic and model-specific Carrara White Metallic paint finishes are available in addition to more mundane Black and White hues. Nineteen-inch Cayenne Design II rims with a color Porsche crest provide a sporting touch.

    The interior is finished with exclusive Black Luxor Beige two-tone leather upholstery, and a SportDesign steering wheel with paddle shifters, embossed headrests and floor mats with Luxor Beige edging, and front door entry guards with the “Platinum Edition” script are also part of the package.

    No changes have been made to the Cayenne’s 3.6-liter V6 and 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 for the Platinum Edition, although an eight-speed automatic is fitted as standard, meaning the gasoline engine’s oddball (for a luxury crossover) six-speed manual is unavailable in this instance.

    The Cayenne Platinum Edition will arrive at dealerships in January 2014 with a starting MSRP of $64,295 for the gasoline V6 and $67,895 for the diesel V6 (prices include destination).

  • 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 to bow at Detroit show

    December 4, 2013

    Corvette fans, the time has come to book a flight to Detroit – General Motors has announced that the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will make its formal debut at next month’s North American International Auto Show in motor city.

    Precious few official details about the next-generation Z06 are available, but GM says the car will be “the most track-capable Corvette ever, designed to deliver supercar levels of performance through unique powertrain, chassis and aerodynamic features.”

    GM’s statement also confirms that the sports car will retain its current badging, rather than adopting the Z07 moniker as some reports had speculated.

    At this point, the new Z06′s powerplant very much remains shrouded in mystery. Rumors have suggested that a supercharged or twin turbocharged variant of the standard Corvette Stingray’s LT1 V8 – sized at 6.2-liters, or potentially with a smaller displacement – could be utilized. Regardless of what ends up in the engine bay, look for at least 600 horsepower to be on tap.

    A teaser image reveals that the 2015 Z06 will be fitted with carbon fiber side skirts and fender flare extensions in addition to mean-looking dark finish alloy wheels.

    Following its unveiling in Detroit, the 2015 Z06 will enter into production in late 2014.

  • Leaked again: 2015 Ford Mustang

    December 4, 2013

    One of the most hotly anticipated new models in recent times, the redesigned 2015 Ford Mustang will soon be making its official debut – but that didn’t stop Autoweek from publishing photos of the Blue Oval’s new ponycar just days ahead of its formal debut.

    The Autoweek issue was posted to SVTPerformance.com. Additional photos were published by Time Magazine.

    A number of details were also leaked by the magazine, including that the redesigned ‘stang will sport nearly identical dimensions to the current model – aside from a 2-inch wider rear track – but will weigh 200 lbs. less due in part to aluminum front fenders. An independent rear suspension will finally be fitted, and a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder will also be offered. The options list will include Performance Packs with a limited-slip differential for both four- and eight-cylinder models, while the latter will also get 15-inch Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers.

    Inside, the Mustang will be available with Ford’s controversial MyFord Touch infotainment system, but the setup will include physical knobs and buttons for the HVAC system. A proximity key will be standard on all models.

    Ford has confirmed that it will unveil the new-generation Mustang at 12:01 am on December 5, with the debut taking place simultaneously in six cities on four continents – Dearborn, Los Angeles, New York, Barcelona, Shanghai and Sydney. Stay tuned for the Mustang’s official debut on Thursday.

    Don’t know what to expect from the reborn ‘Stang? We have all of the latest intelligence and spy shots available for your perusal.

    Spy Shots
    Although Ford’s engineers have done a particularly good job covering up the Mustang before it debuts, our spies have managed to sneak the most revealing peek yet into the new coupe’s cabin.

    Not only can we see the deeply-scalloped three-spoke steering wheel and heavily-bolster seats, we can now see how the automaker’s MyFord Touch infotainment system will be integrated. Also, we have confirmation that ventilated seats will accompany a power driver’s seat backrest as new-to-Mustang features.

    A start/stop button and toggle switches also help liven up the ‘Stang’s dashboard, which looks to be a giant leap forward compared to its rather dull predecessor. One question that remains is whether the Mustang will have a launch control system; the traction control switch shown here could do double duty.

    Speaking of switches and knobs, we’re pleasantly surprised to see that the new Mustang won’t feature the controversial capacitive touch switches seen in some other recent Ford products. That said, the Mustang doesn’t include the radio preset buttons that made a comeback in the Ford F-Series recently.

    We also can’t tell if this test car is an automatic or a manual gearbox model, although we’re leaning toward the former. The gear lever shown is a big departure from the current automatic, but it looks like the top of it is a toggle-style shift interlock switch.

    Outside the Beast
    Just weeks ago, our spies sent us the most revealing photos yet of the next-generation 2015 Ford Mustang.

    Snapped during high-performance testing at a race course, the new images reveal a front end that clearly draws influence from the Evos concept, although the details have been massaged for a slightly more muscular look. In place of the concept’s narrowed headlights are larger units that invite comparison to the Fusion sedan, while the grille is an aggressive rendition of Ford’s latest hexagonal design.

    The photos published in Autoweek clearly indicate that the Mustang is a fusion between the Evos and the current Mustang. A

    The interior photos also show off just what the coupe’s C-pillar will look like, which gives us a hint as to the car’s overall proportions.

    This latest round of photos also included some shots of an especially aggressive brake and tire combination, which really makes us wonder what’s going on with this particular test car.

    V8 Soundtrack Caught on Video
    A video recently surfaced online showing the new Mustang in action. Crank up your speakers because you can hear the new Mustang’s V8 for the first time.

    The video was posted to Mustang6g.com.

    What We Know So Far

    On the powertrain front, base model 2015 Mustangs will likely continue to use the existing 3.7-liter V6, but a turbocharged four-cylinder 2.3-liter EcoBoost with around 305 horsepower will join the range as a step-up option. Ford’s 5.0L Coyote V8 will remain under the hood of the new Mustang GT, but power should grow from today’s 420 horsepower to about 450 horsepower.

    If industry whisperings are to be believed, the most potent form of the pony car – which could be badged as the Shelby GT350 – will use a naturally-aspirated V8 in place of the current Shelby GT500′s supercharged bent-eight.

    The 2015 Mustang will initially debut with six-speed transmissions, but a 10-speed automatic co-developed with GM will eventually be offered.

    The underside of the ‘Stang is in line for a major overhaul – the car will make the switch from a solid rear axle to an independent setup for 2015, which should net a more compliant ride.

    Of course, the 2015 Mustang won’t be the first version of the pony car to employ an independent rear suspension, as the 1999-2002-era SVT Cobra also used an IRS.

    Look for the next-generation Ford Mustang to make its first public at the Detroit auto show in January of 2014.

  • Lexus to unveil Evoque-fighting crossover in Geneva?

    December 4, 2013

    A new report finds Lexus will travel to next March’s Geneva Motor Show to unveil a production-bound compact crossover aimed squarely at the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

    Official details are not available, but rumors claim the crossover will be heavily influenced by the LF-NX concept that was presented in Frankfurt last September and again in Tokyo last month. The concept will be toned down for production but the harsh, chiseled lines are expected to remain.

    Interestingly, both concepts accurately previewed the production crossover’s drivetrains. When it goes on sale, the LF-NX will be offered with a 220-horsepower gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain consisting of a small electric motor and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and a brand new gas-burning 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine fed with a turbocharger. Power will be sent to either the front or all four wheels via an automatic transmission.

    The turbo four will be Japanese automaker’s first turbocharged engine. After debuting in the crossover, it will be gradually replace the existing 2.5-liter V6 and find its way under the hood of a wide variety of upcoming Lexus vehicles.

    The crossover will boost Lexus sales around the world but company executives are not looking to catch up to German rivals.

    “We don’t want to copy BMW and we are certainly not chasing BMW and Mercedes volumes. Our focus is to keep the brand very individual,” explained Richard Balshaw, the director of Lexus’ British arm, in interview with Auto Express.

    If the rumor proves true, look for official information about the production variant of the Lexus LF-NX to emerge in the weeks leading up to its debut in Geneva. Following its public unveiling, the crossover will go on sale across the United States and Europe in the summer of 2014.

  • Saleen developing first EV

    December 4, 2013

    Boutique automaker Saleen has announced it is preparing to unveil a new concept car that will closely preview an upcoming supercar.

    “We recognize that electric cars are a trend, not a fad and expect this vehicle category to continue to increase as an automotive option for consumers,” stated company CEO Steve Saleen. “We intend to enter this market with an offering that is truly innovative and offers the styling and craftsmanship associated with the Saleen Automotive brand. The rapid pace of advancements in electric vehicle technology makes our entry into this market sector timely and should expedite completion of this project.”

    Saleen did not provide any details about the yet-unnamed supercar but the firm promises it will be different than any other EV on the market today. Although pure speculation, the car could be billed as a heir to the potent S7 and ambitiously take on the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder.

    A full set of details about Saleen’s yet-unnamed electric concept will emerge over the coming months. Look for the car to debut at a major auto show in the first half of next year.

    Saleen specializes in making aesthetic and mechanical modifications to muscle cars like the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro but it dabbled in the expensive world of supercars when it launched the S7 in 2000. Powered by a naturally-aspirated 7.0-liter Ford-sourced engine, the S7 was capable of sprinting from zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and reach 100 mph from a stop in 7.1 seconds.