• Mazda reveals new 1.5-liter diesel engine for next-gen Mazda2

    June 11, 2014
    Mazda has previewed a new diesel engine that will power the next-generation Mazda2.

    The 1.5-liter mill is similar to the company’s new 2.2-liter oil burner that is available in the CX-5 and Mazda6 in certain markets. Both share Skyactiv-D label and many of the same efficiency and emissions refinements.

    The Japanese company has worked to differentiate its latest engines from other low-emissions diesel powerplants by focusing on optimized combustion at low compression ratios. Other advancements focus on friction reduction, improved insulation technology and an expanded homogeneous lean-burn range.

    Another notable difference is the lack of a NOx aftertreatment system, such as the expensive urea-injection technology used in many engines that meet the same emissions standards in the US market. The small engine is also said to pass Euro 6 and Japanese emissions certifications.

    The 1.5-liter implementation produces 103 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, providing twice as much twist as the 1.5-liter gasoline mill in the current Mazda2. The company promises most of the torque is available throughout the rpm range for linear acceleration.

    The low-displacement diesel engine is set to arrive in Japan and European markets, though a US launch has not been confirmed. The company is still working to resolve drivability issues with its 2.2-liter variant before bringing it to the US.

  • Tesla to share Supercharger network with rivals

    June 11, 2014
    Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has reportedly reaffirmed the company’s commitment to sharing its Supercharger network with rivals.

    Speaking at the UK launch event for the right-hand-drive Model S, the executive noted that Tesla would gladly accommodate any automaker who wants to use the chargers for its own vehicles.

    “It’s just that they need to be able to accept the power level of the Superchargers, which is currently 135kW and rising, so any car needs to meet the Supercharger standard,” he added, as quoted by Engadget. “And they’d also need to agree with the business model, which is we don’t charge people on a per-charge basis.”

    The California-based startup’s proprietary charging network has been criticized by some competitors. A Daimler executive recently argued that the future lies in standardization, reducing infrastructure costs and improving convenience for customers.

    Tesla has asked potential partners to help pay a “fair” portion of the maintenance and running costs, which are said to be minimal. It is unclear if the company has been involved in talks with rival automakers interested in using the network for other vehicles.

    The company also hinted at plans to share patented technology as a contribution to the entire electric-vehicle industry, though specific details have not yet been announced.

  • Barra reassures shareholders of ‘stronger’ GM, despite recalls

    June 11, 2014
    Speaking to investors at its annual shareholders meeting, General Motors CEO Mary Barra has continued to reaffirm the company’s strengths and commitment to change amid the ongoing recall crisis.

    The gathering followed the release of GM’s internal investigation, which cited a “pattern of incompetence and neglect” as contributing factors to the recall delays and consequent deaths.

    Barra suggests the company will not have an estimated value of its victim compensation fund for several more weeks, though analysts expect the program to cost several billion dollars.

    I know there are no words that can ease their pain and grief,” Barra added. “I have and will be guided by two clear principles: to do right thing for those that were harmed and to make sure we accept responsibility for our mistakes and commit to doing everything within our power to prevent this sort of problem from ever happening again.”

    The company has managed to maintain sales growth since the ignition-switch recall was first announced. Barra suggests the company is now positioned to be “stronger, leaner and more responsive” as it implements a number of changes to place safety at the top of its priorities.

    Today, GM is a very good company,” she said. “Tomorrow, we can be a truly great company.”

  • Bentley preparing 700-horsepower Continental GT?

    June 11, 2014
    A report out of England suggests Bentley is preparing a range-topping version of the Continental GT that will pack at least 700 horsepower.

    Tentatively scheduled to debut later this month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Continental flagship will lose a considerable amount of weight by adopting technology gleaned from Bentley’s successful GT3 racing program. All-wheel drive will be tossed out in favor of a lighter and simpler rear-wheel drive setup, and numerous body panels and trim pieces will be crafted out of carbon fiber.

    The lightweight Continental will stand out from its regular-production counterpart thanks to a host of aerodynamic upgrades including a deep front bumper with a discreet lip spoiler, side skirts on both sides and a sizable wing mounted on the trunk lid. The performance-focused treatment will continue inside with sport seats, bespoke gauges and carbon fiber trim on the dashboard, the center console and the door panels.

    British magazine Autocar reports the range-topping Continental will be introduced as a limited-edition model. Pricing information has not been published yet but the car is expected to cost well into the triple digits.

    If the rumor proves true, look for official information about Bentley’s most powerful street-legal model to date to emerge in the days leading up to this year’s edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

  • Nissan teases Vision Gran Turismo concept

    June 11, 2014
    Nissan has released another teaser for its Vision Gran Turismo concept.

    The company has been promoting a veiled car that will be added to its Gran Turismo 6 lineup. It was expected to be formally revealed today, however the latest teaser merely reveals a glimpse at the front end and overall profile.

    “On Monday, June 16, we will reveal the next chapter in our Nissan story to an audience that has always shared our passion for performance,” the company says in a statement accompanying the latest teaser.

    The game developers have worked with several other automakers, including Volkswagen and BMW, to introduce new concept vehicles specifically for the virtual driving world.

    The Japanese automaker has a total of 148 vehicles that can be driven in the Gran Turismo series, ranging from the Leaf to the GT-R. It is unclear if the game concept will serve merely as a design experiment or hint at one of Nissan’s future race cars that will be headed to real tracks.

    Nissan has dropped separate hints that the concept will be brought to the Goodwood Festival of Speed.