Automotive News

2015 Mini Countryman

I can’t see a difference, can you see a difference?  This is the updated Mini Countryman.

The S version gets a bump in power to 190hp and 3 new colours are available. What you see here is the Jungle Green Metallic. There are some smaller technical updates and chrome trim for the JCW (John Cooper Works) edition.  It available in front wheel drive and all wheel drive.

You’ll feel safe driving it knowing that it got 5 stars on the Euro NCAP test rating.

Click through for the gallery, which looks a lot like the last Mini Countryman gallery we posted.

Audi RS7 Dynamic Edition Takes Page Out of Porsche Playbook

On the outside, this Audi RS7 doesn’t look particularly different from a standard RS7 but the Dynamic Edition which features exclusive elements like the Crimson red seat belts and stitching throughout the interior, red brake calipers, carbon fiber spitter, carbon fiber diffuser, carbon fiber engine cover, sport exhaust and DRC suspension comes in at $146,045. The Dynamic Edition RS7 is available in four exterior colors to complement the exclusive design elements: Ibis White, Suzuka Gray metallic, Daytona Gray pearl, and Phantom Black pearl.

“The Audi exclusive RS 7 dynamic edition exemplifies just some of the personalization options that are possible through our Audi exclusive program”, said Filip Brabec, Director of Product Planning, Audi of America. “The combination of our most powerful RS model ever and the added customized elements make this a truly special car to drive and to behold.”

The DRC system utilizes three-stage adjustable dampers that are hydraulically cross-linked and integrated into the Audi drive select system along with the standard rear sport differential for maximum performance driving. Dynamic steering adapts the steering boost and ratio to allow for more precise handling.

The RS7 Dynamic Edition is fitted with the same twin-turbo 4.0L V8 as found in the regular RS7, still pumping out 560 horsepower rocketing itself to over 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The engine features cylinder deactivation technology to drop down to 4-cylinder mode resulting in a 15% improvement in fuel economy.

Overall, for just over $40k over a base RS7 buyers of the Dynamic Edition are going to get red stitching on the seats, armrests, dash and gear shifter, some nicer wheels, red calipers and of course the DRC suspension system featuring adjustable dampers. While it’s not nearly as excessive as Porsche’s customization options this is pretty pricey for what you get.

Click through to check out the gallery.

New 2015 Hyundai Sonata Rolls Into NY Auto Show

Earlier today we wrote about Toyota unveiling the majorish refresh of their flagship sedan, the 2015 Toyota Camry. We mentioned that due to increased competition, Toyota had to rethink their facelift strategy. With the Nissan Altima beating them in sales for the first two months, the Camry would likely lose it’s sales crown to the challenger. What we didn’t mention was the role that Hyundai played in shaking up the mid-sized market when it released the current generation Sonata. While the Sonata is in no position to become the best selling car in America, it definitely changed the value game for the big players like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion.

Shortly after Toyota unveiled the Camry, Hyundai unveiled the 7th generation Sonata to the press at the New York International Auto Show. The new Sonata introduces the new Hyundai design language that they call Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 which features a larger front grill with wide air intakes in the lower front fascia. The Sport model features a more aggressive front grill and newly designed front bumper and unique side skirts. Sport models equipped with the turbo 2.0L motor get a unique rear bumper, quad exhaust tips and 18″ wheels, while those that opt for the 2.4L motor will get dual exhausts out back. Engines are pretty much carry overs from the previous generation, with the revised 2.4L pumping out 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque and the turbo 2.0L boosting that up to 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

The new Sonata rides on a newly developed chassis built with more high-strength steel than ever before resulting in a 41% increase in rigidity. The suspension in the rear has been tweaked to improve stability and ride comfort without affecting handling. The new rear suspension geometry also improves the vehicle’s stability under hard braking and actually helps to reduce braking times.

“We crafted the shape of the 2015 Sonata in the same way an award-winning chef refines his recipe over the years,” said Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai Design North America. “With the 2011 Sonata, Hyundai took the mid-size sedan from a meal to a gourmet dinner. The evolution to Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’s more taut, modern lines reflect the improvements in refinement and driving dynamics for 2015.”

LED daytime running lights are now available on the Sonata which definitely helps to make it look more premium than it actually is. Other luxury features include high-beam assist which automatically turn off the high beams when the vehicle detects oncoming traffic that may be blinded by the bright lights. Smart cruise control with full stopping capability also finds its way into the Sonata, great for when you want to read a book while commuting in stop and go traffic! Hyundai also announced that the 2015 Sonata will be getting the Apple CarPlay system for easier operation of your iPhone with your voice or the vehicle’s touch screen interface.

All in all, Hyundai has taken a product that provided tremendous value and has improved it for 2015. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the updated Toyota Camry when it comes out later this year.

All-New 2015 Hyundai Sonata Gallery

Nissan Versa Gets A Facelift

While all the attention was on the unveiling of the Nissan Murano, and the arrival of the Sport Sedan Concept here in New York there was another Nissan vehicle making its not-so-grand debut. The tiny little Versa sedan got a light facelift for the 2015 model year, but the poor thing didn’t even get to spend any time near the stage. Pictures of it have been floating around for awhile so there are no surprises but I figured since Nissan was nice enough to feed us, I should snap a few pictures and share with ya’ll.

The changes are pretty subtle and on the outside, at a glance the only thing you’ll likely notice are the new headlights that are closer to Boomerang style found on other Nissan sedans. However, the grill has been slightly reworked to have a larger chrome bezel and the side mirrors are a bit sportier looking and less bulky like the previous generation. The fog light surrounds in the lower front fascia have been enlarged slightly and given a two tone treatment with a small strip of chrome. On the inside, the Versa Sedan gets the updated interior stack found on the Nissan Versa Note hatchback.

The newly revised 2015 Nissan Versa is available immediately for a staggeringly low price of $11,990.

Gallery after the jump.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C and the return of Alfa Romeo to NA

Alfa Romeo brought a 4C to the New York Autoshow to make a statement.  The statement is that they are back in business in North America.  It is a fun looking car that reminds me of a Lotus / Tesla.  This car is far better looking and it is a refreshing design for North America.  Hopefully, any other models they bring will be equally provoking as Alfa’s designs are definitely different from what we are used to seeing on this side of the Atlantic.

The 4C is a mid engine rear drive car that is supported by a Carbon Fibre monocoque.  A 240 hp 1.8 litre 4 banger provides the get up and go.  The car weighs 2200 lbs and is good for a 4.5 second 0-100 km/h time.  It should be a fun little go-cart.  The new track facilities near Calgary can’t come soon enough.

The 4C should be available in the US in June.  No announcement on Canadian availability.

Looking forward to what Alfa Romeo has to offer in the coming years.

Gallery after the jump.

2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport Concept and New Tech

Land Rover unveiled a new concept today at the New York Autoshow.  It showcases the new design language that is expected to move throughout the line.  The first SUV to be released will be an all new Discovery Sport.  The release is expected sometime in 2015 and I would hazard a guess that it will be named a 2016 model.

Land Rover is experimenting with new technology that will make for a more interactive experience throughout the vehicle.  Hand gestures are expected to open door, change tint darkness on windows and move vehicle information to and from connected tablets or phones.  I am not clear on why we need this.  To me, it looks like more distracted driving.

Another piece of technology is a transparent hood.  Front cameras are projected onto a HUD across the entire windscreen and this allows you to see the terrain you are about to drive over as well as the position of the tires.  This is tech I can stand behind.  It should be something standard in lower cars so wives don’t run the front bumpers over curbs.

In a different vein, Land Rover said they are working on a remote control.  This would allow the driver to step out of the vehicle and drive it from a connected device.  They explained that this would be good for backing up to a trailer or parking in a tight spot.  I would use it out in McLean Creek.

Gallery after the jump.

Acura Unveils The 2015 TLX in New York

Acura has officially unveiled the 2015 Acura TLX today here at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. We first saw the TLX in Detroit where it was still labelled as a prototype. At NAIAS, the interior of the Acura TLX prototype was not quite complete but today we can see with the official production version that not much has changed on the outside.

Acura stated that their goal was to deliver a vault-like luxurious quiet cabin in all driving conditions using technology already found in the Acura RLX including enhancements to body stiffness, body sealing and sound insulation, acoustical glass and an Active Noise Cancelling system. Acura’s Active Noise Cancellation system cancels engine noise by countering it with opposing sound frequencies emitted from the sound system. Microphones inside the TLX cabin monitor low-frequency noise and when detected, the Active Noise Cancellation system counteracts and cancels the disturbance with an equivalent waveform. In addition, the TLX is the first Acura to use acoustical spray-foam technology in 10 strategic locations to reduce noise levels in the cabin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible Roars Into NYC

We’ve already seen all the pictures of the C7 Z06 Convertible, but here are some more pictures of Chevrolet’s most powerful convertible. If you need a reminder, we mentioned in our original article about the Z06 convertible that because the frame was already so stiff, Chevrolet did not have to add any structural reinforcements when they removed the roof. The result is a no compromise design and no weight penalty for those that choose to go roof-less. The only caveat here for track warriors is that without even basic roll bars, the Z06 convertible will likely not be able to compete in some classes if you’re planning on taking it to the track for lapping or auto/solocross.

Oh and yeah, 625 horsepower and 635 lb-ft of torque. Just thought I’d mention that again.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible Pictures at NYIAS

2015 Jeep Renegade Makes North American Debut

The 2015 Jeep Renegade was introduced last month at the Geneva Motor Show and there were some mixed reactions with its all new sub-compact design. The new “Baby Jeep” however is more capable than many of its competitors like the Nissan Juke or Kia Soul. The Renegade is available with two different 4×4 systems. The first is a regular 4×4 system that can send all the torque to a single wheel and can disengage the rear wheels when they are not needed in an effort to improve fuel economy. The second 4×4 system comes with a low-ratio gear for crawling, you know, for people that actually drive these things off of pavement.

Speaking of off-road, the 2015 Jeep Renegade is available in a trail-rated Renegade Trailhawk model that features a slightly higher ride height, skid plates, bigger wheels and beefier tires, tow hooks, and an exclusive Rock Mode in addition to the other four modes: Snow, Sand, Mud and Auto. Engine wise, the Renegade is available with a 1.4L turbo 4-cylinder that delivers 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque which will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. There is also the 2.4L 4-cylinder that bumps that up to 184 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The 2.4L will be paired up with a 9-speed automatic transmission (a first in this segment!). Both of these are available in either two or four-wheel-drive options. In markets outside of North America, the 2015 Renegade will also feature diesel engines and dual clutch transmissions. Perhaps this is something Jeep will reconsider at a later date for North America.

Looks wise, this is exactly the vehicle that the person who dubbed crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) as cute utility vehicles. It blends elements from two of its bigger siblings in the Jeep family and provides a great alternative to those shopping for a smaller crossover who don’t want to lose any functionality offered from a larger SUV. The 2015 Jeep Renegade will be built in Fiat’s factory in Italy (another first!)

More Pictures After the Break and Video of the Geneva Unveiling

VW at the 2015 New York International Auto Show

Volkswagen brought 2 new vehicles to the New York International Auto Show this year, showing off the all new Golf Sportswagen, as well as a facelift of the sixth generation Jetta for 2015.

The Golf Sportswagen features 4MOTION all wheel drive, as well as the new EA288 TDI Clean Diesel engine. Extensive weight savings were accomplished by optimizing the seats, air conditioning unit, and even the electrical architecture, while growing the length of the car by 1.1 inches and width by 0.7 inches. These changes gives more rear seat leg and shoulder room for passengers. Sitting nearly an inch lower, the aerodynamics have been improved by 10% compared to the outgoing model, which also gives greater headroom to its occupants.

Two engines are offered in the Golf Sportswagen, a 1.8L TSI engine delivering 170hp through a 5 speed manual or 6 speed automatic, as well as the aforementioned EA288 TDI Clean Diesel engine putting out 150hp, a 10hp improvement over its predecessor. New interior features include a panoramic sunroof, 12-way power driver’s seat, Climatronic automatic climate control, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs, and Park Distance Control.

The 2015 Jetta facelift features restyled front and rear, improving its aerodynamic properties. A redesigned grille with three cross fins, optional Bi-Xenon headlights and a new bumper makes the new Jetta easily recognizable. The combination of the new front bumper, optimized air intakes, and aerodynamically refined rain gutters reduces drag for better efficiency. The dynamic radiator shutter opens and closes as cooling demand requires, which also improves drag and aerodynamic efficiency at speed.

The 2015 VW Jetta will hit showrooms this fall, while the Golf Sportswagen will arrive sometime in early 2015.

Gallery after the jump.

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