• 2016 Chicago Auto Show: The Complete Roundup

    February 12, 2016

    The 2016 Chicago Auto Show has finished its second day of press previews, completing a relatively modest schedule of global debuts.

    The show floor is now reserved for the First Look for Charity gala event, starting at 7pm tonight for $250 per attendee. The public can wait until tomorrow to get in for free, or on any following day through Sunday, February 21.

    LeftLane has compiled a few of the notable highlights, along with a full list of unveilings from the show.


    2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE – The 1LE package brings a wide range of track-focused upgrades including firmer suspension, Brembo brakes, a mechanical limited-slip differential and 20-inch wheels. As an added bonus, it is now available on both the V6 RS and V8 SS trim levels.

    Kia Niro – Serving as a rival to the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, the Niro will be available with a mild hybrid powertrain and eventually as a plug-in hybrid. Fuel efficiency could reach 50 mpg combined.

    2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – The new Tacoma has finally received full TRD Pro treatment, focusing on an upgraded suspension system with FOX shocks and lifted springs. Visual enhancements include blacked-out wheels, grille and hood scoop, while a front skidplate helps protect against off-road damage.

    Full list:

    2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE
    2017 Chevrolet Trax
    2017 Hyundai Santa Fe
    2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
    Kia Niro
    Kia Optima hybrids
    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter WORKER
    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Extreme concept
    2017 Nissan Armada
    Nissan Titan half-ton
    2017 Ram Heavy Duty 4×4 Off-road package
    2017 Ram Power Wagon
    2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

    Image by Brian Williams.

  • Tesla Model S sales surpass 25K units in US for 2015

    February 12, 2016

    Amid a slump in share prices, Tesla Motors has released US sales details for its Model S.

    The company sold 25,202 electric sedans in the US last year, representing an increase of nearly 52 percent compared to the 16,689 deliveries in 2014. The number represents a quarter of the total cumulative sales of 107,000 units in all markets since the Model S first arrived.

    Tesla suggests the Model S has eroded market share held by traditional gasoline-powered luxury sedans. The increase in Model S sales is said to almost perfectly offset the decline in US deliveries for the Audi A7 and A8, BMW 6- and 7-Series, Jaguar XJ, Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S- and CLS-Class and Porsche Panamera.

    “In the US, just over three years after entering the market, Model S took share from all incumbent manufacturers to become the number one selling comparably priced four-door sedan,” the automaker wrote in a letter to investors. “In fact, Model S was the only vehicle in its class with growing sales last year.”

    Growth in all markets averaged 35 percent in the fourth quarter. Despite the gains and a drop in gasoline prices, Tesla still believes it is “substantially underpenetrated” across the globe.

    “Additionally, we continue to see no perceptible impact to our order growth from the change in the price of gasoline as our order rates have continued to increase even as the price of gasoline has fallen,” the letter adds. “In fact, our customers tell us they value a Tesla vehicle more for its superior performance, technology, safety, lower environmental impact and style than for its ability to save money on fuel.”

    Model S production costs are said to have dropped in Q4 as the company began building the Model X on the same line. Crossover production was slightly restrained in January, allowing certain quality issues to be resolved, however output is expected to reach 1,000 units weekly in the second quarter.

    This year will bring increased investments in Gigafactory production and machinery installation to support the Model 3 range. The company also plans to open 80 new retail locations and service centers, along with 300 new Supercharger stations.

  • Brake problems prompt Chevy Silverado HD recall

    February 12, 2016

    General Motors has issued a recall for the 2015-2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 and GMC Sierra 2500/3500, along with the Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle, to fix a problem with the brake pedal.

    Durability testing engineers first noticed an issue in November when three brake pedal assemblies had become loose or noisy. A subsequent investigation found that the pivot bolt nuts had loosened over time, as the bolt threads were not long enough to engage the locking segment of the nut.

    “If the brake pedal becomes loose or inoperative, the driver may be unable to stop the vehicle by using the brake pedal,” the recall documents warn. “Additionally, a loose pedal may also interfere with the accelerator pedal. Either condition may increase the risk of a crash.”

    The inquiry found similar reports of loose pedals in the field, however GM claims to be unaware of any accidents or injuries associated with the defect.

    Service technicians will install new pivot nuts with thread-lock adhesive to prevent loosening.

  • VW Group returns to global growth in January

    February 12, 2016

    Volkswagen Group has returned to global growth in January, despite the effects of the ongoing emissions scandal.

    Group sales were up by 3.7 percent to 847,800 units worldwide, representing an increase of approximately 30,000 vehicles. The rebound was primarily driven by a 14-percent jump in China, where an extra 51,000 deliveries helped offset trouble in the US, Brazil and Russia.

    “Developments on world markets at the beginning of the year are mixed,” said CEO Matthias Mueller. “The situation in Brazil and Russia remains tense, China is regaining momentum and the trend in Europe is generally stable.”

    Porsche was the fastest growing brand, posting a 24-percent increase compared to January 2015, while VW and Audi deliveries rose by 2.8 and 4.0 percent, respectively.

    The diesel emissions scandal has been particularly troublesome in the US market, resulting in a five-percent slide for 2015 overall. The trend continued into 2016 with January sales down by 7.0 percent in the market.

  • BMW introduces M760i xDrive with 6.6-liter V12

    February 12, 2016

    BMW has introduced the M760i xDrive, an M Performance variant of the large luxury sedan.

    The M-badged 7-Series has been outfitted with a twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V12 engine, apparently borrowed from the Rolls Royce Ghost and Wraith. Preliminary specs point to 600 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, available as low as 1,500 rpm. The figures represent an increase of 56 ponies and 37 lb-ft of twist over the standard 6.0-liter mill.

    BMW suggests the large luxury sedan is capable of launching to 62 mph from a stop in just 3.9 seconds, eventually hitting the speed limiter at 155 mph. The production car could be even quicker than promised, as previous rumors pointed to around 624 horsepower for the M760i or 600 horsepower for the long-wheelbase edition.

    Notably, the preliminary output estimates are no higher than the new Alpina B7 xDrive. The Alpina opts for a 4.4-liter V8 with 20psi of boost, rather than the larger V12 powerplant. Its max 590 lb-ft of torque is available only from 3,000 rpm, though it is still quicker than the M760i — 3.6 seconds to 60 mph and capable of reaching 193 mph.

    The M760i is distinguished by an M aerodynamic package with larger air intakes, Cerium Grey trim, active louvers in the kidney grille and 20-inch double-spoke wheels, among other visual tweaks.

    The M760i xDrive is slated to arrive early next year. An MSRP will be announced closer to launch.

  • H&R: Sportfedern für das neue Mercedes C-Klasse Coupé

    February 12, 2016

    Dynamik im Stand: H&R bietet Sportfedern für das Mercedes C-Klasse Coupé an

    Durch die Federn liegt der Zweitürer um 25 Millimeter tiefer

    Ergänzend zu den Federn werden Spurverbreiterungen angeboten

    Lennestadt, 12. Februar 2016
    Sportfedern von H&R und sportliche Modelle von Mercedes haben eine lange Tradition. Unter anderem sind die Lennestädter Ausrüster des AMG-Mercedes-Rennteams, das 2015 die DTM-Markenwertung gewann. Erkenntnisse aus dieser Erfahrung fließen in die Entwicklung von Sportfedern für Straßenfahrzeuge mit ein. Aktueller Profiteur ist das noch recht neue Coupé der Mercedes C-Klasse.

    25 Millimeter tiefer
    Die Sportfedern senken den Schwerpunkt an der Vorder- und der Hinterachse um zirka 25 Millimeter. Die straffere Fahrwerksabstimmung wirkt sich dabei laut H&R spürbar positiv auf das Einlenkverhalten aus und sorgt für ein Plus an Fahrspaß, ohne dass der Komfort leidet. Für die Sportfedern müssen Besitzer eines Mercedes C-Klasse-Coupés 260,61 Euro investieren.

    Für den letzten Schliff
    Um die neu gewonnene Optik zu perfektionieren, bietet H&R zusätzliche “Trak+”-Spurverbreiterungen an, mit denen Serien- oder Zubehörräder an den Radhauskanten ausgerichtet werden können.

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