• Mazda exec hits at turbocharger for next RX rotary engine

    February 5, 2016

    Corroborating recent rumors, a Mazda executive has voiced optimism for a turbocharged RX rotary engine.

    Speculation surrounding the RX-8′s anticipated successor suggests the new car, likely labeled the RX-9, could employ twin turbochargers to deliver around 450 horsepower and meet more stringent emissions standards.

    “Personally, I think that a rotary with some turbo or compressor would be good,” Mazda drivetrain and powertrain assistant manager Tetsushi Marutani recently told Australia’s Motoring. “Because a rotary, in my opinion, they require more [torque at] low speed, low down torque. So if we have some small compressor or turbo it would help.”

    Separate reports claim engineers are working on a unique hybrid-compressor system for the new engine, a dual-rotor 1600cc mill referred to as the ’16X.’ The setup is said to take advantage of an electrically-driven compressor to virtually eliminate lag at low rpm. At higher revs, a traditional exhaust-driven compressor takes over to deliver maximum power.

    The company has continued to ramp up its rotary talk after showing the RX-Vision concept (pictured) late last year in Tokyo. Chief executive Masamichi Kogai has hinted that a production car could ride on the same platform that underpins the new MX-5 Miata.

    If the engineering team achieves its performance and emissions targets, a production model could be revealed as early as 2017.

    Live images by Ben Hsu.

  • VW stalls 2015 financial disclosures; TDI scandal costs unclear

    February 5, 2016

    Volkswagen has reportedly delayed its 2015-calendar-year financial disclosures amid ongoing uncertainties surrounding the potential costs of the TDI emissions scandal.

    Some automakers attempt to write off estimated losses early in any given crisis, allowing the companies to begin managing the financial fallout before the final costs have been tallied. General Motors used such a strategy when dealing with the ignition-switch crisis, logging billions in estimated recall and litigation costs before the repair campaigns were complete and the victim compensation program had stopped accepting applications.

    VW executives are still debating the accounting strategy for the diesel emissions debacle, according to Reuters. The report suggests at least some of the costs may be reflected in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

    “Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft will set a new date for the publication of the annual accounts for fiscal year 2015 due to remaining open questions and the resulting valuation calculations relating to the diesel emissions issue,” the company said in a statement to investors. “In this regard, Volkswagen will achieve the best possible transparent and reliable outcome for its shareholders and stakeholders.”

    Despite the delay in financial disclosures, the company has reaffirmed its commitment to release findings of its internal investigation by the second half of April.

  • 2017 Aston Martin DB11 leaked again

    February 5, 2016

    A second leaked image has given us an early look at the upcoming Aston Martin DB11.

    Published by Dutch car-spotting website Autojunk, the picture suggests the DB11 wears an evolutionary design. It looks much sharper and more aggressive than the aging DB9 it’s replacing thanks in part to striking styling cues such as C-shaped tail lamps and vents cut into the front wheel arches, but it’s still instantly recognizable as a member of the Aston lineup.

    The DB11 will launch with a brand new, twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V12 engine that’s expected to make a little over 600 horsepower in its initial state of tune. Buyers who don’t need twelve cylinders will be able to order the DB11 with an Aston-specific version of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that powers Mercedes-AMG’s GT and C63. Most models will come with an automatic transmission, but Aston Martin remains committed to offering a manual transmission in the foreseeable future.

    Stay tuned, Aston Martin will introduce the DB11 at this year’s Geneva Auto Show. We’ll be on location to bring you live images of it as soon as the veil is lifted.

  • Is this the 2017 Nissan Armada?

    February 5, 2016

    A low-resolution image leaked out of an ad agency might have prematurely revealed the 2017 Nissan Armada.

    While the current Armada rides on the same platform as the last-generation Titan pickup, the upcoming 2017 model is essentially an Americanized version of the Patrol that’s sold in a host of overseas markets. The Patrol is already offered here as the Infiniti QX80, and the two body-on-frame SUVs appear to be all but identical when viewed from the side. Up front, the Armada gains a market-specific grille, a more rugged-looking bumper, and sharper headlights with LED inserts.

    Technical details haven’t been leaked, but the nearly 6,000-pound Armada is expected to borrow the bulk of its mechanical components from its Infiniti-badged sibling. That means power will come from a 5.6-liter V8 engine tuned to send 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft. of torque to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. It will be capable of towing 8,500 pounds, while gas mileage will check in at roughly 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

    Nissan hasn’t commented on the report. If the rumor turns out to be true, look for the 2017 Armada to bow at a major car show in the coming months and go on sale nationwide before the end of the year.

  • Opel reveals Buick Encore-previewing 2017 Mokka SUV

    February 5, 2016

    General Motors’ European Opel division has revealed its updated 2017 Mokka small SUV, giving us an early preview of Buick’s redesigned Encore SUV.

    The Buick Encore has been on the market for three years now, which means it’s time for a mid-cycle refresh. Although Buick hasn’t shown us the 2017 Encore just yet, the updated Mokka, which is virtually identical to the Encore, gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect.

    Up front the small SUV gains updated headlights with the same sort of LED accents used on the Buick Cascada. The new grille on the Mokka is reminiscent of the unit seen on the Buick Avista show car.

    Around back the SUV doesn’t change too much, although the rear taillights have been given a more modern look with what look to be LED elements.

    The interior of the Mokka has also been given a thorough overhaul that should make it stateside in the Encore. A new center stack ditches most of the Encore’s buttons and a newly integrated center screen adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

    Under hood look for the Buick Encore to carry on with a pair of 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engines.

    No word on when Buick will introduce the 2017 Encore, but the 2017 Opel Mokka will make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show.