Maserati is on a roll. The new Ghibli and Quattroporte have been huge successes, and it unveiled the gorgeous Alfieri concept (pictured above) at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The next step for the brand is getting the Levante crossover into production.
"We are getting Mirafiori ready for production [of the Levante]. The first bodies are expected for 2015," said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne to Reuters in Geneva. He also said that there isn't much keeping the Alfieri off the streets. "The platforms and motors are there. Technically, production could start in 24-28 months," he said. However, Marchionne refused to say whether the company would actually give the concept a green light to be built.
Fiat hopes to be profitable again by 2016, and while its acquisition of Chrysler is certainly going to help, rejuvenating Alfa Romeo and Maserati are also a major part of the plan. In 2013, the Italian luxury brand saw sales more than double to 15,400 vehicles. Maser is still far away from its goal of selling 50,000 units by 2015, but it's quite a start. Fiat bought Maserati in 1993, but business went through a decade or more of doldrums and falling sales. It appears that the century-old brand is finally finding a path forward with some gorgeous new cars.
Maserati Levante production starting next year, Alfieri could come within 28 months originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 08 Mar 2014 09:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Last week, Lamborghini invited us to stop by its Sant'Agata Bolognese headquarters to have a look around the factory and pick up a few technical tidbits about its new Huracán LP 610-4. It won't surprise you to learn this, but Lambo's foyer is pretty rad.
Rather than front its offices and factory with a gift shop and a reception desk, Lamborghini puts its amazing heritage on full display by offering up the corporate museum as a first impression to visitors. We had coffee in the morning and lunch after the press conference in this space, with stunning Italian concept cars and production models serving as an impressive backdrop to it all. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to share the Lamborghini collection with exotic-car crazed Autoblog readers (you know who you are), we did our best to capture everything we saw in the gallery here.
With some variation, the museum's two floors are separated by vintage: older models downstairs and newer up. When you walk through the front door, you're flanked by two of the coolest Lamborghinis in the marque's impressive history: a 350 GT to the left and a perfectly green Countach LP 400 on the right. Perhaps our favorite car in the whole joint, the Countach's Bertone body is still almost impossible to believe. Up close, we're reminded how design-driven this car is; the seats are so far inboard from the scissor doors that it's difficult to imagine that engineers ever agreed that the shape was a feasible one for production or actual driving.
We visit the Lamborghini Museum at company HQ in Sant'Agata originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Subaru is getting into viral videos with two new, radically different shorts to promote the 2015 WRX STI; both are pretty entertaining. They are certainly more interesting, from an enthusiast perspective, than the company's dog-oriented advertising campaign and sponsorship of the Puppy Bowl.
The first promotes a new grindhouse-style short film that Subaru is launching, which is cheekily called The Ride of Her Life, and it previews the full deal due on March 13. While It's just a glimpse at the moment, if Subaru really leans into the cheesy, 1970s-style, then the full video could be really enjoyable.
The second video is a new take on an idea we've seen before but is still very cool. There might be some digital trickery going on in some of the "Stick bomb" shots, but the result is still exciting. Plus, the STI's Nürburgring livery is quite attractive. Scroll down to check them both out and tell us which you prefer in Comments.
Subaru getting creative in these two very different WRX STI viral videos originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
To say the 2014 Geneva Motor Show was packed full of news is an understatement as big as the show's home at the Palexpo convention center. Despite everything that we were able to cover during this year's show, there's still more coming out of Switzerland, including the announcement of the finalists for the 2014 World Car of the Year Awards.
We reported on the original list of finalists over three weeks ago, and now, that initial list has been pared down to three finalists for each of the five awards. The finalists were announced at a press conference by frequent Autoblog contributor and co-chair of the awards, Matt Davis (above).
The finalists for the overall title of 2014 World Car of the Year are the Audi A3, the BMW 4 Series and the Mazda3. The World Luxury Car of the Year will be either the Bentley Flying Spur, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, while the Performance Car of the Year will be awarded to the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the Ferrari 458 Speciale or the Porsche 911 GT3 (which, um, yeah...).
Rounding out the trophy contenders are the finalists for World Green Car of the Year, which include the Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron and Audi E-Gas, the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen XL1. Finally, World Car Design of the Year will be contested by the BMW i3, Mazda3 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The winners will be announced in April, at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. Scroll down for the official press release from the World Car of the Year committee.Permalink | Email this | Comments
A few years back, Volkswagen made some waves when it announced the Golf GTD - a diesel-powered car that, aside from its ultra-efficient, ultra-torquey engine, was identical to the gas-powered GTI. That meant cosseting sport seats, larger wheels, sportier suspension, larger brakes and a body kit that made the GTD indistinguishable from the GTI, except for the three little letters on the back and in the grille.
Now, Ford is looking to replicate VW's success, with a diesel version of the Focus ST. According to Motor Trend, the diesel-powered ST will use a 2.0-liter, 182-horsepower four-cylinder. With an unspecified amount of torque on offer (we'd guess around 280 pound-feet), the diesel hot hatch should hit 62 miles per hour in about eight seconds.
The report, which originally comes from Auto Express, claims the ST Diesel was confirmed by Ford Chief Marketing Officer Mark Fields during this week's Geneva Motor Show. Not surprisingly, it doesn't appear there are any plans to bring a diesel-powered Focus of any kind to the US, let alone one that uses the suspension, steering and other items from the ST. Of course, if there's an official confirmation from Ford, we'll be sure to report on it.
Focus ST diesel variant coming, just don't look for it here originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Back in December, Mercedes-Benz announced a four-wheel-drive version of its endlessly charming Sprinter van (the European model is pictured above), but didn't make a mention of any plans for US market sales. Now, that's all changed, as the German automaker has confirmed that its Sprinter 4x4 will be available for US consumption, with the 2015 model hitting dealerships in the first quarter of next year. This means Mercedes will offer the only four-wheel-drive work van in the US.
Unlike the rest of the refreshed Sprinters, which can be had with a new 2.1-liter inline-four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, the US-spec 4x4 can only be had with the larger, 3.0-liter Bluetec V6, good for 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. While the Sprinter 4x4 does not feature full-time four-wheel drive, the system can be activated at the push of a button, at which point, there's a 35/65 front/rear torque split.
Mercedes-Benz points out that, obviously, the Sprinter 4x4 is not an off-road machine, but the body has been lifted by 4.3 inches in the front and 3.1 in the rear. There's even an optional low-range gear which, at the push of a button, shortens the transmission's gearing by 42 percent. Sounds pretty darn capable, to us.
The Sprinter 4x4 will be offered in both 144- and 170-inch wheelbases, with low and high roof options, and will come in Passenger, Crew and Cargo van specifications. (And here we thought the current model was already capable of anything.) Pricing should be announced closer to the van's on-sale date early next year. For now, have a look below for Mercedes' official press release.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Audi and BMW have long been enemies on both the road and the track, with their respective M and S/RS lines duking it out to the delight of auto enthusiasts everywhere. In this video from Evo, two of the rivalry's newest combatants take to the track - the Audi S3 and the BMW M135i.
The new Audi S3, which is finally coming to America, throws down with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. 290 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque are deployed to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system via a six-speed, S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission, allowing the five-door Audi to scamper to 60 in under five seconds.
The BMW, which Americans will know as a long-roof version of the new M235i Coupe, comes to the track with 320 ponies and 331 lb-ft of torque. That's a good bit more than the Audi, but the M135i has only two wheels to send its power to, an eight-speed single-clutch automatic (a six-speed manual is available) and a slightly higher curb weight.
Which will be best on the track? Scroll down and find out.Permalink | Email this | Comments
What do we know about the 2016 Chevy Volt? Well, for now, all we can do is try to put the puzzle together without the box. Thankfully, a new batch of pieces has arrived from a new report in Edmunds, which says that the 2016 model year will introduce the second generation of a car that hasn't been dramatically updated since it went on sale in 2010. The new Volt is getting an "evolutionary styling change" and will ride on a new front-drive platform that has been developed by General Motors. GM's Kevin Kelly told AutoblogGreen that he has "no comment on future products," but he did acknowledge that Chevrolet is working on a second-generation Volt, "but I can't say anything about timing."
Everybody already knew that a next-gen Volt is coming, so that's not a surprise. What we don't know is any real concrete information on the car itself. The few tidbits of information we do have help define the outlines of the next version of Chevy's halo car, but they're not confirmed yet. For the record, they range from the eye-raising (a $10,000 price drop) to the logical (20 percent more electric range). We can't see the whole picture yet, but the pieces do point to the 2016 Volt, which would be released next year sometime, being a much bigger deal than the last update, when the Volt's range was increased by three electric miles thanks to a battery capacity increase of 16 kWh to 16.5.
Next Chevy Volt will be 2016 model and ride on new chassis originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 16:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Jeep is hard at work on the next-generation Wrangler, though the truck is still a few years from hitting the trails. The new model will still be aimed at off-roaders, but rumors suggest it will be a little more comfortable than previous versions to appeal to more people.
According to Road and Track, Jeep is developing a power-retractable top as an expensive option for the Wrangler. There is no word if the top in question is a sliding canvas rollback like the ones found on many European vehicles or a full convertible hardtop or softtop, nor do we know whether it would be made available on two- or four-door models. It might be a nice feature for some buyers but would certainly add complexity to a truck already known for its ruggedness. We asked Jeep for confirmation, but Jeep spokesperson Todd Goyer could only remind us that the company "can't comment about future products."
In news that is likely to irk the faithful, R&T reports the next model may also ditch its folding windshield for improved safety and possibly even get rid of its rear-mounted, full-size spare tire. The new Wrangler won't go completely soft, though, and will reportedly still feature removable doors and solid axles.Permalink | Email this | Comments
It's been 25 years since Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off its R129-series SL roadster at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show. While it may look dated now, it was a revolutionary product in its day - a day that lasted a good eleven years.
Compared to the R107 series it replaced, the R129 was a technological tour de force. Though the shape may appear boxy to modern eyes, it won awards upon its debut and was exceptionally aerodynamic for its time and bodystyle. Underneath the sheetmetal, with its squared-off lines and flared wheel arches, the favorite luxury roadster of the 1990s packed such advancements as electronic stability control, advanced seats that were integral to the design and warranted 20 patents, a fully automatic roof mechanism and a pop-up roll-over bar that deployed in less than a third of a second.
The R129 was also the first SL to offer a V12 engine and the first to be offered in an AMG version - both features we can't imagine a modern SL roadster to do without. But it all started with the R129, a series that saw nearly 240,000 units produced. See the image gallery above and the press release below for a wind-in-your hair drive down memory lane.
Mercedes SL R129 is a quarter-century-old revolutionary originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Roughly 18 months after going bankrupt, being put up for sale (which prompted rumors that Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone would buy it), the Nürburgring is finally very close to having a new owner. While the final contracts reportedly aren't signed yet, German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche indicates that American investment group HIG Capital, British investor Meyrick Cox and a German named Markus Graf Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff are buying the track for 60 million to 70 million euros ($83.2 million to $97 million).
HIG is reported to have purchased the essential parts of the track, which according to the magazine includes both the grand prix course and the 20km historic course used by tourist drivers, plus the hotel and amusement park. Whether it's also buying the track's museum isn't known yet.
According to Wirtschaftswoche, track administrator Jens Lieser says that there's still no final decision on one or more buyers for the circuit, but he reportedly acknowledges that the investor process is well underway. Even without the ownership being official yet, Reuters reports that HIG has already registered itself as the owner of some of the track's assets with the German Federal Cartel Authority.
Unfortunately, the future of F1 racing there is not assured, and Ecclestone's machinations are already at work. He told Reuters that the future of Formula 1 races at the 'Ring "depends who buys it" and suggested that he is working with Hockenheim to hold a race there every year. Currently, the two tracks alternate which hosts the German Grand Prix. While Ecclestone was rumored to buy the track multiple times, a recent report indicated that he was not among the highest bidders.
Autoblog attempted to contact HIG for more details, but it had no comment. We think the company needs to box up its new purchase and ship it over to these shores as soon as possible so that we can have some fun.
Nürburgring about to be bought by American investor group originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Students and teachers at a Washington community college are up in arms following an order from Chrysler that it must destroy the pre-production Dodge Viper that was donated to the school's automotive technology program ten years ago.
The Viper in question is said to be the fourth off the production line, based on its VIN, and has had its emissions controls disabled, allowing its ten-cylinder engine to produce 600 horsepower, according to a report from Yahoo! Autos. As one of the first Vipers ever produced, the school's AT instructors claim it could be worth $250,000 in a museum, while a local news report purports that Jay Leno once tried to purchase the car, but the sale was prevented by Chrysler.
As pointed out by our friends at Autobytel, though, there are a lot of things in this story that don't quite add up. Immediately noticeable from the news report embedded below - which shows the car at South Puget Sound Community College - is that the car in question is not a 1992 model. When the Viper went on sale in 1992, it was only available as an RT/10 with a (flimsy) soft top, like the red car shown above. But the car featured in the report from KING5 News (inset image) is clearly a hardtop Viper GTS, which didn't enter production until 1996. And even if, as reported by a local newspaper, the hardtop featured is a prototype, it doesn't explain the lack of another iconic feature of the first Vipers - their distinctive side pipes. This kind of pokes holes in the school's argument that this is the fourth Viper to ever roll down the line. At best, this appears to be a pre-production Viper GTS.
Regardless of the significance of the Viper, let's talk about why Chrysler is demanding it be crushed. First, the car was donated for educational use. It's fair to say that a nearly 20-year-old car - especially one that lacks traction control or anti-lock brakes - isn't really the best instructional tool in today's high-tech, automotive landscape for budding mechanics. In fact, according to the Chrysler press release we've included below, the college is under contractual obligation to return the car to Chrysler once it's outlived its educational usefulness.
What's the deal with Chrysler demanding colleges crush their Vipers? [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Look, we aren't expecting Transformers 4 to be the next Citizen Kane or Casablanca. All we're expecting is lots of explosions, some vague attempts at acting and an excuse to stuff our faces with some buttery popcorn in a cool theater on a hot summer day. Judging by this new, full-length trailer released on Michael Bay's YouTube page, we're pretty sure we're going to get just that - and we're going to get a bunch of neat cars and trucks.
This two-and-a-half minute spot shows a lot of action, as per usual, but it also gives us a glimpse at some of the vehicles that will star in the fourth installment of Bay's robot explosionfest. Besides Optimus Prime, who's disguised as a battered, cab-over-engine semi resurrected by actor Mark Wahlberg, we've spotted a classic Mini, a brace of Cadillac Escalade SUVs, what appears to be a Bugatti Veyron (which fits with previous reports) and a red Pagani Huayra. Bumblebee also features heavily, although his transformed form now features elements of an older Chevrolet Camaro (a late 1960s Camaro SS is also shown later in the trailer). One Autoblog staffer also pointed out that the scene with Bumblebee and the Huayra appears to take place in the General Motors design dome.
Take a look below for the full trailer. Transformers 4: Age of Extinction hits theaters on June 27.
Transformers 4 full-length trailer released, features lots of cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments