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среда, 26 октября 2011 г.

Nissan Shows Off Finished GT-R–Powered Juke-R, It’s Predictably Insane


October 25, 2011 at 6:18pm by Alexander Stoklosa
Earlier this month, Nissan Europe revealed that it was building a two-off—one left-hand-drive, the other a right-hooker—Juke stuffed with Nissan GT-R running gear. It christened the tiny beast Juke-R. Nissan subsequentlyposted several YouTube videos of the build, before finally unveiling the finished car to unsuspecting attendees at a Nissan crossover launch event in Spain.
How did it turn out? The completed Juke-R looks as mean and wild as it did in Nissan’s preliminary concept sketches, if not more so. Wearing a coat of dark graphite paint, seriously wide fender flares, flowing rocker panels, a rear wing, and GT-R wheels, it’s nothing if not outrageous. But the over-the-top approach works; why stuff the GT-R’s 485-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 engine and all-wheel-drive system into a humble Juke and then try to downplay it? Intriguingly, Nissan Europe says it will begin testing the Juke-R next month. It’s a bit unclear what that means—can we suggest limited production?—but here’s hoping the company sees fit to at least release a YouTube video of the über Juke in action.

Mercedes-Benz Looking to Build BMW X6–Fighter, Teases 2015 Production at Tuscaloosa Plant


October 25, 2011 at 4:46pm by Alexander Stoklosa
An image has surfaced on Twitter of a new Mercedes-Benz model to be built at the company’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant. The banner you see here appeared at an event celebrating the allocation of the new model to Tuscaloosa; the move includes a $350 million investment and the creation of 400 new jobs at the factory. The “vehicle” pictured is really the CLS-wearing-a-sheet sculpture the company showed off at the Detroit auto show in 2010, and it’s accompanied by text reading “Introducing the Newest Addition to our Family” and “Start of Production: 2015.”
Despite the CLS preview on the banner, we think it’s a safe bet that the new Benz will be an SUV with a coupe-like roofline. It would go up against the currently unchallenged BMW X6, which has proven popular in spite of—or, really, because of—its funky looks. Just as the X6 is a remixed X5, the Mercedes crossover likely will share its architecture with the mid-size ML-class. The Tuscaloosa factory currently produces the M-, GL-, and R-class, and will build U.S.-market C-class models by 2014.

Subaru XV Crossover Coming to U.S. Next Year, May Get a Different Name


October 25, 2011 at 4:02pm by Alexander Stoklosa
Subaru has already revealed the production version of the XV crossover concept from the 2011 Shanghai auto show, and the company has now told us that the high-riding Impreza hatch will come to the U.S. next year. What the car ultimately will be called when it’s traipsing around northern Vermont is up in the air, however, with Subaru spokespeople telling us the badge has yet “to be decided.” The crossover will replace the Outback Sport, but may not carry over that moniker.
The production XV that Subaru brought to the Frankfurt auto show featured three engine choices, including a gas 1.6- or 2.0-liter boxer four from the company’s new “FB” engine family and a new boxer diesel for Europe. Three transmissions are on offer: five- or six-speed manuals and an optional CVT. We’d expect the U.S.-market XV to mate the 2.0-liter four with the five-speed manual or the CVT, at least at first, as the same combos can be found in the 2012 Impreza.

Hello, Kodo: Mazda Previews Next 6 with Snazzy Takeri Concept


October 25, 2011 at 3:29pm by Alexander Stoklosa
Mazda has announced that it will debut this Takeri concept next month at the 2011 Tokyo auto show; it’s a thinly disguised preview of the next Mazda 6. The stylish Minagi concept—which became the production CX-5 crossover—was the first vehicle to wear the company’s latest Kodo design language, but the Kodo-fied Takeri is even more handsome.
The Takeri is low, sculpted, and aggressive—and elegant, too. Its grille and headlights appear to be pulled straight from the Minagi; we hope the production 6 retains more of their character than did the CX-5. The clean, upscale design carries over to the cabin, where sweeping forms and nice detailing give the four-seat cockpit a vibe that’s more Jaguar XF than Honda Accord competitor.
The car’s green credentials are nearly as impressive as its styling. The Takeri is powered by Mazda’s new Skyactiv-D diesel engine and features an engine stop/start system combined with a regenerative braking setup. The captured energy is stored in capacitors, which contribute power to the car’s electrical components and reduce the alternator’s load on the engine. To help maximize the efficiency of the powertrain, Mazda says it constructed the Takeri using a lightweight structure and scrutinized the car’s aerodynamics.
The Takeri’s big Tokyo premier is scheduled for  November 30. We expect the production version won’t be too far behind, given the short gap between the Minagi’s reveal and the arrival of the production CX-5.

Subaru WRX and STI to Get Dedicated Platform for 2013, Drop “Impreza” from Their Names


October 25, 2011 at 1:37pm by Alexander Stoklosa
The Subaru WRX and STI will cease their association with everyday Imprezas in 2013, when the pair will be redesigned and ride on a new, dedicated platform separate from the normal Impreza’s. Until then, the WRX and STI will soldier on using the old Impreza platform and be sold alongside the redesigned 2012 Impreza sedan and hatchback.
The split is a logical choice for the automaker, allowing it to optimize the models for their respective customers. To go after the masses, the new Impreza is lighter than the old one, it’s powered by a smaller and more-fuel-efficient engine, and it boasts a roomier interior. The WRX and STI will instead get a sportier, purpose-built chassis, and features befitting the cars’ higher prices. Furthermore, Subaru says the move will allow it to market the sporty duo more clearly as performance vehicles.

Honda to Unveil 2012 CR-V and 2013 Fit EV Next Month in L.A.

October 24, 2011 at 5:36pm by Alexander Stoklosa
Honda has announced that it will reveal the 2012 CR-V and the all-electric 2013 Fit EV at next month’s 2011 Los Angeles auto show. Honda brought the Fit EV concept to last year’s L.A. show and has been bandying about aconcept version of the next CR-V since July; we expect the production models to look very similar to the show cars, as per usual Honda practice. Both models are big news for Honda, given the CR-V’s huge sales numbers and the fact that the Fit EV will be the company’s first all-electric car sold in the U.S.
Honda will pull the sheets off both on November 16th, and we expect the CR-V to hit dealerships before the end of the year. As previously reported, the 2013 Fit EV will go on sale sometime in 2012. Check back here for full details leading up to the 2011 Los Angeles auto show.

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG to Debut at 2011 L.A. Auto Show


October 24, 2011 at 2:00pm by Jon Yanca
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-class
Back in June, we got confirmation of an AMG version of the latest ML crossover. Mercedes has now told us that the model, the 2012 ML63, will make its debut at next month’s L.A. show and go on sale early next year. We don’t have any further details, although we anticipate this model will drop the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 in favor of the more efficient twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 found in the E63 and CL63, among others. The 5.5-liter makes at least 518 hp in these applications, so that’s the baseline for next-gen ML63 muscle. While you’re waiting for the full scoop, check out our first drive of the 2012 ML and our dirt-track camping trip in the previous ML63—that should kill at least a couple of minutes.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Dealer Reference Guide Leaked, Super Camaro Slightly Heavier than SS Model


October 24, 2011 at 1:56pm by Alexander Stoklosa
2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
We already know a fair amount about what to expect from the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in terms of power and equipment, but the list of things we don’t know about it is shorter now that GM’s Dealer Reference Guide has been posted on the internet. The guide mostly included tidbits we already knew, but there were a few useful nuggets buried in the 18-page document. The biggest revelation is that the ZL1 will weigh 4120 pounds—271 more than GM’s stated figure for an SS coupe with a manual transmission. We tested a 2010 Camaro SS and it only weighed 11 pounds more than GM says it does, so we expect the ZL1′s weight is fairly accurate. Fifty-one percent of the ZL1’s heft will rest on the front axle and the other 49 on the rear, which is a slight improvement over the 52/48 weight balance of non-ZL1 Camaros.
There were no performance specs in the dealer kit, but given the ZL1 has a 24-hp advantage over the  Cadillac CTS-V coupe and weighs roughly 100 fewer pounds we can reasonably expect it to be quicker than that car (a CTS-V coupe ran from 0-to-60 in 3.9 seconds in our testing). Dimensionally, the ZL1 is identical to the SS in length, width, height, and front and rear track (oddly, the SS and ZL1 have a narrower rear track than V-6–powered Camaros). The ZL1 shares its Tremec 6060 six-speed manual transmission with the SS, but gets numerically lower ratios on all gears and a numerically higher final drive ratio.
Moving to the less-technical aspects of the ZL1, nine exterior colors will be available. Forged aluminum 20-inch wheels will be optional (the standard wheels are also 20-inchers), as will a sunroof and a “sueded microfiber” interior package. Unfortunately, the leaked brochure didn’t include any pricing information. The document lists the $49,495 Shelby GT500 as the ZL1′s key competitor, and we figure the ZL1 will top $50,000 by a bit when it goes on sale.aa