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Archive for July, 2014

Mercedes-Benz May Be Planning C300 and E300 with 248-hp V-6

Mercedes-Benz E300

If you’re shopping for an E Class Mercedes sedan in the U.S., your least expensive option is the E350, which carries a starting price of $51,365 before you check off a single option box.

If you’ve got your mind made up to buy a new Mercedes, the price is what the price is. If you’re cross-shopping rival German brands, there are variants of the BMW 5-Series and Audi A6 that offer similar amenities for thousands of dollars less.

In other words, Mercedes-Benz is potentially giving up sales to rival German automakers. Now comes word from Car and Driver that Mercedes may launch a new E300 sedan, priced noticeably below the current E350.

The E300 would be powered by a 3.5-liter V-6, likely the same engine used to power the Canadian E300 4Matic launched in February. It’s also the same powerplant used in the current E350, but de-tuned to produce 248 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque instead of the E350’s 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

Launching an E300 would also allow Mercedes-Benz to increase the standard content on the existing E350, taking it further up the luxury ladder with a price increase to match.

Documents filed with the NHTSA show that Mercedes may introduce the E300 in both rear drive and in all-wheel-drive 4Matic form, and may even launch a revised C300 4Matic with the same engine.

We say may, because filing vehicle listings with the NHTSA doesn’t always mean a model will come to market. It’s a necessary first step, and the launch of the E300 in Canada makes expansion to the U.S. likely, but Mercedes-Benz doesn’t comment on future models.

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Mercedes-Benz E300 design

Mercedes-Benz E300 images

New Mercedes-Benz E300

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2012 Peugeot 408 Launched

2012 Peugeot 408

Peugeot may have described the 408 with words like harmony, elegance and dynamism. But it does not take a keen eye to notice the slightly awkward proportions resulting from thick C-pillars. That said, the 308-based 408 sedan has a more flowing profile compared with the 206-based 207 Sedan. Measuring 4680 mm in length, 1815 mm in width and 1525 mm in height, the 408 is about the largest C-segment sedan there is, boasting the longest wheelbase of 2710 mm and the largest boot space of 562 litres, which can be expanded by 40/60 split-fold rear seatbacks if the 33 litres of cabin storage space proves insufficient.

Sharing a dash layout with the 308 hatchback, the 408 is a mode of clarity inside and comes well-appointed with premium leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an instrument panel LCD, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, four one-touch power windows with anti-pinch function, automatic dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, and a six-speaker audio system with CD/MP3 playback capability coupled with USB/Bluetooth connectivity.

Needless to say, the equipment list is much lengthier than the above-mentioned. Both variants are fitted with sensor-activated headlights and wipers, “Follow Me Home” headlight function, cruise control with speed limiter, and automatic retractable side mirrors. 17-inch alloy wheels are standard fare, but with notable differences: the 408 2.0 wears five-spoke Rinjani alloys and 215/50 tyres; while the 408 Turbo wears eight-spoke Melbourne rims wrapped in wider 225/45 tyres. A choice of six colours is offered: Alpine White, Velvet Silver, Metropolis Bronze, Aster Grey, Bourrasque Blue and Premium Black.

The list goes on, covering the crucial safety aspect. Features available for both 408 variants are dual front airbags, the full suite of braking controls (ABS, EBD & BA), front seatbelt pretensioners, and two Isofix locations. The 408 Turbo is set apart with additional items including two side and two curtain airbags, anti-skid regulation (ASR) and dynamic stability control (DSC). What’s more, the 408 Turbo’s suspension is tuned with a bias for sportiness, so expect a firmer ride.

The 408 2.0 is driven by a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine, capable of generating a maximum of 147 HP at 6000 rpm and 200 Nm at 4000 rpm. Fitted with a rather dated four-speed auto adaptive gearbox with Tiptronic and a sport mode, the 408 2.0 expectedly does the 0-100 km/h sprint in a leisurely 12.5 seconds, and tops out at 195 km/h. That is a good deal slower than the 408 Turbo, which completes the same sprint in 9.2 seconds and hits 215 km/h.

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New Peugeot 408

2012 Peugeot 408 images

Peugeot 408 2011


Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

At the 2013 Auto Shanghai, Mercedes unveiled the GLA Concept – the initial preview for the company’s fifth SUV. Just a few months after, the production GLA will make its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The production GLA-Class is built on the same front-wheel-drive architecture that features transversely mounted engines as the new-generation A-Class and B-Class. From the A-Class, the new GLA also borrows its engine lineup, but U.S. customers will only have one variant, the GLA250, which is offered in standard front-wheel drive and optional 4MATIC.

On the U.S. market, the model will be put on sale in the fall of 2014.

Updated 08/14/2013: The production Mercedes GLA will make its world debut in September at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, but Mercedes just released the first official details on the production version GLA.

Updated 07/29/2014: Mercedes announced that the all-new GLA-Class will be put on sale at a starting price of $32,225, while when equipped with the 4MATIC system, the price will raise to $34,225.

Hit the jump to read more about the production version Mercedes GLA-Class.

Gallery 2015 Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA

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Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 09:30 EST.

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Ford F-150

Ford has been selling the F-Series since 1948, but the F-150 model didn’t arrive until 1975, when Ford used it as a `tweener pickup to span the gap between the F-100 and F-250. When Ford rolled out the Atlas Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, we were pretty sure that the automaker was already hard at work overhauling the existing F-150 in its likeness. And for the 2015 model year, our suspicions are confirmed, as brand-new F-150, based on the Atlas concept, hit dealers.

With this redesign, Ford will focus on drastically reducing the F-150’s total weight by making use of lightweight aluminum materials. Under the hood, the model will carry a familiar line of engines with a new, 2.7-liter EcoBoost delivering awesome power and better fuel economy.

Updated 07/22/2014: Ford released the specifications figures for the F-150’s new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine. Click past the jump for the details. A towing test video was also added.

Updated 07/29/2014: Ford released prices for the 2015 F-150, and they have suffered an increase of $395 to $3,515, depending on the trim level. (USA Today)

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Ford F-150.

Ford F-150 originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 09:45 EST.

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Subaru Tribeca Moving Towards the Dead End

New Subaru Tribeca

Say farewell to the Subaru Tribeca. According to MotorTrend’s Japanese correspondent, a source close to the automaker says that the Tribeca will end production at the end of this year.

When asked to make an on-the-record-comment about the Tribeca, a Subaru spokesman said “No, Tribeca is not dead, and will be on sale for the 2013 model year.” However, beyond the 2013 model year, the spokesman had no comment.

We’re guessing the new Subaru XV Crosstreck will end up taking the Tribeca’s place when all is said and done.

Power for the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek comes from a 2.0 liter Boxer engine making 148-hp. The engine is mated to Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, a 5-speed manual transmission – a second-generation Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (automatic transmission) is available as an option. Estimated fuel-economy comes in at 25/33 mpg (city/highway) and 28 mpg combined.

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Subaru Tribeca Moving Towards the Dead End

Subaru-B9 Tribeca


Abarth 695 Maserati Edition Price And Specs

Abarth 695 Maserati Edition

Remember the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari, the hyper-expensive hot hatch fettled with some help from Maranello? Well now Fiat has tuned up its baby 500C convertible pocket rocket with assistance from Maserati.

The new limited-edition Abarth 695 Maserati Edition will carry a similarly eye-watering price tag – just 499 of the convertible hot hatch will be built and it tops a heady 32,000.

Like the Ferrari version launched three years ago, the Maser 500 uses a 180bhp 1.4 engine breathed upon by a Garrett turbocharger to liberate 184lb ft at 3000rpm when Sport mode is selected.

Abarth’s Competizione transmission is standard, its five speeds slotting up and down via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts. A sports exhaust is claimed to improve the acoustics above 3000rpm.

Brembo monobloc brake callipers are fitted to stop this minuscule missile effectively, while Koni shock absorbers give a sportier, lower ride. Not too sporty, we hope; the Tributo Ferrari was a pogoing mess on British country roads.

Fiat swears its sporting brand has had input – and if you look hard enough, you can spot the influences. The 17in alloys have a Maserati-inspired Neptune design, apparently, and the paint is straight from the Maser colour charts – Pontevecchio Bordeaux. The foldback canvas roof is contrasting grey.

It all starts to get a bit more confusing inside, where Jaeger helped design the instrument pack, but there’s the usual smattering of carbonfibre (kickplates), leather (wheel and seats) and a rather more surprising UV treatment on the door panels whose surface is described as ‘flocking’.

UK sales of the Abarth 695 Maserati Edition start in late 2012. And if you’re fretting over that sky-high price for a tarted-up Fiat 500, remember some of the extras thrown in ‘for free’. There’s a set of Tramontano leather luggage, xenon headlamps, climate control, sat-nav, a JBL hi-fi and limited-edition plaque numbering each edition from 1 to 499.

It’s easy to scoff at absurdities such as the Maser 500, but dealers report that these cars do sell – sometimes to customers coming out of supercars or Merc SLs, who want something smaller and more discrete but without losing the exclusivity they crave.

The 695 Maserati Edition certainly has lower running costs than most supercars, with its 151g/km CO2 rating and 46.3mpg average economy figure. Yet Abarth claims a top speed in excess of 140mph and a 0-62mph time nudging just the right side of seven seconds.

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New Abarth 695 Maserati Edition

Abarth 695 Maserati Edition driver seat

Abarth 695 Maserati Edition interior


Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP620-4

2012 lamborghini gallardo

As evocative and downright exotic Wheelsandmore has been with their tuning projects, we can’t help but wonder if they end up running out of ideas at some point.

Apparently, their recent run of new programs for some of the most powerful cars on the planet is proving that notion to be completely untrue.

For their latest offering, the German tuner has set its sights on a car that needs no introduction: the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP570-4.

Every Wheelsandmore tuning program always carries a standard performance upgrade and the “Green Beret,” as the company has called this baby, is no different. The German tuner went and combined a digitally program-able, remote-operated valve control with special carbon-frame airfilters and a remapped ECU unit with a handmade, stainless steel exhaust system, effectively giving the Gallardo Superleggera a sinister performance upgrade.

How sinister? Well, from the standard 570 horsepower coming out of the super car’s 5.2-liter V10 engine, Wheelsandmore managed to increase that to a powerful 620 horsepower, hence the LP620-4 designation.

But more than just the mechanical improvements, Wheelsandmore also gave the Italian supercar a new set of fancy 20 6Sporz handcrafted, multi-piece forged wheels that are rotating at the steering axle and wrapped in 5p Continental Sport Contact tires. Other improvements for the Green Beret include a new race established special coilover with adjustable rebound and compression, hydraulically liftable around 1.77 inch, and called LCS (level-control-system).

For a tuner that has made a living out of programs like this, the Green Beret is yet another feather in the hat of these guys.

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Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP620-4

New Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera

Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Bicolore


BMW Zagato Coupe Concept

BMW Zagato Coupe

Zagato returns to this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este bringing a new car. This time they’ve teamed up with the Bavarians at BMW to make a one-off, road-legal, BMW Coupe. Pretty it isn’t, but then artistic things rarely are. BMW Zagato is quite special though. It looks like the illegitimate lovechild of the current BMW Z4 and Zagato’s Alfa Romeo Corsa.

The car has a three-dimensional, sort of sculpted design, especially at the front. In Zagato’s interpretation of the BMW’s headlights and kidney grilles, they are caricatured a bit, which is fair enough what with the car being a one-off and all. But they have not resulted in a completely desirable sight. We do like the sloping lines of the front wings though, and we also like the side vents.

From the sides all you notice is the car’s chunky rear wings. Looks like its heaps could use a breather. That lead us to the rear-end of the Zagato Coupe, which is the car’s party piece. There you can clearly see signs of the Italian designer’s hand with the transparent panel in its upper section familiar from other Zagato creations. Divided visually into three sections, the generous glass surfaces open up a line of sight to the lights and into the interior. Their dark tint gives the BMW Zagato Coupe an even sportier look. The double-bubble roof is another sign.

Other highlights include the 19-inch light-alloy wheels in classically sporty five-spoke design, and the special Rosso Vivace – an expressive shade of red – paint job.

The exterior might not appeal to everyone, but the revised interior can’t be faulted. Based on the Z4 s cabin, Zagato has revamped it with exquisite materials and high-quality details, such as leather and Alcantara upholstery and amazing red stitching all across the seats, door panels and dash. The seats also have a big ‘Z’ embroidered into the headrests. Two exclusive accessories – a hat bag and a travel bag – set the seal on Zagato’s colour and materials upgrade.

BMW Zagato Coupe is a one-off for now, but they made the Aston Martin Zagato, so we could expect to see this in limited production as well. Not sure we want to though!

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New BMW Zagato Coupe

BMW Zagato Coupe images

2013 BMW Zagato Coupe


2013 BMW X1 Comes to the US

2013 BMW X1

Sorry – but we have to continue to smother you with some BMW news today. Digging up some more information from our friends at Princeton BMW, the BMW X1 is now available to order with deliveries to start early next month.

The 2013 BMW X1 sDrive28i will be the only rear-wheel-drive model offered and will be powered 2.0 liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder making 240-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel-drive choices include the X1 xDrive28i or the X1 xDrive35i. The X1 xDrive35i is powered by a 3.0 liter inline 6-cylinder TwinPower Turbo producing 300-hp.

The new 560-hp BMW M6 will be heading into the dealer inventory next month along with the 640 Gran Coupe (650 Gran Coupe will come out later in the summer).

Prices for the 2013 BMW M6 start at $106,995 for the coupe and $113,995 for the convertible. The BMW 640i Gran Coupe will be powered by a 3.0 liter 6-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine making 315-hp with prices starting at $76,895.

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New BMW X1

2013 BMW X1 images

2013 BMW X1 design


Volkswagen Golf R Cabrio Concept Revealed

Volkswagen Golf R Cabrio

What to do if you love the Volkswagen Golf R, but just can’t do without a drop-top car for summer? Get the Golf R Cabrio, of course!

Unfortunately, that might not be possible for Americans-the soft-top version of the Golf isn’t headed to the U.S. at all, so the R version is likely for European-only consumption, too.

If you’re not in the Cabrio fan club, you may be asking yourself, “What? Why?!” and that would be natural-except that Volkswagen recently took the wraps off the GTI Cabrio concept at this year’s W rthersee Tour. With the GTI Cabrio headed to production, it makes sense to drop in the hotter Golf R equipment and build it.

We can’t say we’re particularly jealous of this piece of forbidden fruit, but we know some of you will be. For now, all you can do is enjoy the images.

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New Volkswagen Golf R Cabrio

2103 Volkswagen Golf R Cabrio

Volkswagen Golf R Cabrio images