• Spied: 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser

    July 5, 2015

    An amateur spy shot seemingly taken in a warehouse has given us the best look yet at the updated Toyota Land Cruiser.
    Up front, the eight-year old Cruiser gets a bold new design characterized by an oversized grille with horizontal slats that stretch far into a pair of redesigned headlights. The updates go beyond the simple mid-cycle refresh, and the brochure indicates the the hood, the bumper and the front fenders are all new.

    Out back, the Land Cruiser gets revised LED tail lamps and a new bumper. Of course, new alloy wheel designs, additional paint colors and the latest generation of Toyota’s touch screen-based infotainment system round out the updates.

    An earlier leak reveals buyers will be able to order the Cruiser with a less rugged-looking front fascia that features a deeper bumper with a thin strip of chrome trim. The less aggressive front end was primarily designed for high-volume markets such as the Middle East, and it will most likely not be offered in the United States.

    Rumors indicate Toyota will offer the Land Cruiser with its new 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine in select markets. Launched in the eighth-gen Hilux, the oil-burner makes 174 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 331 lb-ft. of torque between 1,600 and 2,400 rpm. Hilux buyers can choose between a six-speed manual transmission and a six-speed automatic unit, but those in the market for a Land Cruiser will only be given the latter option.

    So far, whether the U.S.-spec Land Cruiser will retain its massive 5.7-liter V8 is up the air.

    When the next Toyota Land Cruiser will arrive is also an open question. Some sources claim that it will go on sale as a 2017 model, while others say it will land here just in time to get a 2016 label. Regardless, a full reveal is scheduled to take place at a major auto show in the next few months.

  • Next Mercedes-AMG A 45 to get over 400 horsepower

    July 5, 2015
    A Mercedes-Benz executive has confirmed the next generation of the Mercedes-AMG A 45 will launch with over 400 horses under the hood.
    “It is important for our customers to have the most powerful car in the segment,” explained Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers.

    The output of the current A 45′s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine was recently bumped from 355 to 381 horsepower in a bid to fend off a slew of upcoming competitors including Volkswagen’ 400-horsepower Golf R400 and the 382-horsepower BMW M2. Engineers have taken the engine to its limit, so the next A 45 will be powered by an entirely new turbo four likely designed in-house by AMG.

    The four-banger will send power to all four wheels via an automatic transmission and an evolution of the current model’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system. It is too early to provide performance specifications, though we can say with near certitude that the turbo four will also power the next CLA 45 and GLA 45.

    Mercedes-Benz is investing over $1 billion to shift production of its next-gen compacts from Hungary to Germany. Sources close to the automaker have hinted the next A will launch in 2018, and the lineup will be quickly expanded with a sub-CLA sedan as well as with a convertible and a coupe designed to beat the Audi TT.

    The hatchback is unlikely to make the trip over the Atlantic, but expect to see the TT-fighting convertible and coupe models land here shortly after their official debut.

    What’s next?

    The A will be the first model to inaugurate Mercedes’ new compact platform. Replacements for the B, the CLA and the GLA – which will all ride on the same platform and be built in the same factory – will be introduced before the end of the decade.

    Live images by Ben Hsu.