• Spied: 2017 Mazda CX-9

    August 12, 2015

    Our spy photographers have sent us the first images of Mazda’s next-generation CX-9 crossover. These pictures were snapped while the 2017 CX-9 was undergoing shakedown testing in San Bernardino, California.

    First introduced in 2007, the current CX-9 traces its roots back to Ford’s partial ownership of Mazda. The CX-9 was given an exterior refresh in 2013, but the crossover has otherwise changed very little during its eight years on the market.

    That will soon change, however, as a total overhaul is planned for the 2017 model year. The new CX-9 will borrow most of its styling from the compact CX-5 CUV. In fact, this CX-9 prototype looks pretty much like a puffed up CX-5.

    Inside we should see more safety and convenience technologies. Look for top spec models to offer driving aids like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

    Underhood Mazda will ditch the CX-9′s V6 in favor of a more fuel efficient 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder. Front-wheel drive will be standard, but all-wheel drive will be available as an optional extra.

    Look for the 2017 Mazda CX-9 to debut at this year’s Los Angeles auto show before going on sale in early 2016.

  • GM downplays impact of China currency devaluation

    August 12, 2015
    General Motors has issued a statement downplaying the potential impact of China’s currency devaluation.

    China’s central bank on Tuesday sent the yuan down by nearly two percent against the US dollar. The move is believed to be part of a broader strategy to bolster exports and revive the local economy.

    Foreign companies are expected to be negatively affected in several ways, as the currency discrepancy squeezes profits for goods exported to China. The devaluation will also be competitively advantageous for China-based companies exporting to other markets.

    GM suggests its manufacturing presence in China will serve as a hedge against potential trouble from currency devaluation. The company claims its exposure is “limited and manageable” and will not have a material impact on its global financial performance.

    “We continue to expect strong results in China will be sustained through the remainder of the year,” the automaker added.

    GM last week reported record sales in the world’s largest automotive market. Joint-ventures with Chinese automakers sold a total of more than 1.9 million vehicles in the first seven months of the year, up 3.3 percent from the same period last year. Performance was down by four percent in July, however, as the local auto market continues to feel the effects of the ongoing economic slump.

  • Ford Shelby GT350 to start at $49,995

    August 12, 2015

    Ford has finally released official pricing details for the new Shelby GT350 Mustang lineup.

    The basic GT350 starts at $49,995 (including freight and gas-guzzler tax), confirming information that leaked early this year. The track-focused GT350R package commands $63,495. Both prices represent a significant savings compared to the rival Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, which fetches around $75,000.

    The GT350 is powered by an all-new 5.2-liter engine with a flat-plane crank, delivering 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque without any help from a turbocharger or supercharger.

    GT350 buyers can choose a $6,500 Track Package, adding MagneRide adaptive dampers, additional bracing, a unique spoiler, suspension tweaks and upgraded cooling. Alternatively, the $7,500 tech package brings a better audio system, power seats, leather and other comfort-focused improvements.

    The GT350R ships without an audio system, air conditioning and other items jettisoned to save weight. The only upgrade package focuses on electronic upgrades, returning the audio system, infotainment display and backup camera for use on the street.

    The company has limited availability for the 2015 model year, though production volume will ramp up later in 2015 as 2016-model-year units begin arriving in showrooms.

  • Audi, Porsche co-developing new turbocharged V6, V8 engines

    August 12, 2015
    Audi and Porsche have reportedly joined forces to co-develop a new family of V6 and V8 engines.

    The modular powerplants are built using a standard 90-degree architecture, each with a common 500cc cylinder capacity, according to Autocar. The family’s standard V6 would bring a 3.0-liter displacement, while the V8 jumps to 4.0 liters.

    Displacement capacity is expected to be scalable in either direction. Audi is rumored to be using the architecture for a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle V6, serving as an efficiency-focused entry-level alternative to the 2.0-liter TFSI mill used in the A4.

    The new engine family is expected to arrive on the market with traditional exhaust-driven turbochargers, however the design is rumored to accommodate the shift toward electric compressors in the following years. Volkswagen Group is among several companies pushing for the new technology, which promises to all but eliminate turbo lag at low rpm.

    Developed under the code-name ‘KoVoMo,’ in reference to the German words Konzern Vee Otto Motoren, the new powerplants are expected to eventually be used across nearly all of VW Group’s brands including Audi, Bentley, Porsche and VW.

  • Plum Crazy hue returns to Dodge Challenger, Charger

    August 12, 2015
    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is bringing back its Plum Crazy paint for the 2016 Dodge Charger and Challenger.

    Originally debuting in 1970, the purple hue has resurfaced several times as a limited-edition color for Dodge’s muscle cars over the past 45 years. It last appeared for the 2013 and 2014 model years, available alongside several unique orange colors.

    “From the aggressive and in-your-face styling of the SRT Hellcat models, the reverberating black stripes on our Shaker models, to the nostalgic dual A-line side stripes in satin black or gloss white on the R/T Classic model – Plum Crazy further builds on Dodge brand’s muscle-car roots and adds to Challenger and Charger’s vibrant legacy,” said FCA’s head of Dodge and SRT design, Mark Trostle.

    The unique purple paint will be available on several different packages, including the SRT Hellcat flagships and R/T Scat Pack models. Ordering will start in October, with production slated for November.

    The 2016 Plum Crazy cars will debut at the Woodward Dream Cruise gathering, on display at 13 Mile and Woodward Ave in Royal Oak, Michigan.