Spy Shots: Next-gen C-Class shows more new curves

Filed under: Detroit Auto Show, Spy Photos, Sedan, Mercedes-Benz, Luxury

Here we have another look at the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and in a silver hue it shows off the S-Class-inspired lines we’ve been expecting. Make sure you check out both cars in the high-res gallery of spy shots, though; whereas the silver car above hides its hood and trunk, those two features on the dark blue car are mostly exposed while the character lines on the sides are covered.

Sum it up and we can make out most of what’s going on with the no-longer-entry-level sedan. The sloping, stretched headlights, sloping trunk line and angled taillights reveal a practical cheat-sheet for the design of the S-Class. This newly larger C-Class, with larger aspirations, will be offered with diesel and hybrid powerplants placed lower and further back in the chassis for improved balance and handling. All to better to fight the BMW 3 Series, see.

The full monty comes at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show next January – or a few weeks before, most likely. For now, there are the spy shots above, and its also been caught in video on the move.

Next-gen C-Class shows more new curves originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next-gen Toyota Prius aiming for 55 mpg, could arrive in 2015

Filed under: Hybrid, MPG, Toyota

toyota prius family

Twenty years ago, a small group of engineers at Toyota were tasked with the G21 project, a look into the “Global 21st Century” and how Toyota could make vehicles that used less fuel and emit less CO2. You might be able to guess that the result of that project was the Prius, which became an icon and is today the world’s most popular hybrid (in Japan and California, it’s the most popular car, period).

Speaking at the Toyota Hybrid World Tour, a rock ‘n roll-themed media event in Ypsilanti, MI today, one of those engineers, Satoshi Ogiso, who is now Toyota Motor Corporation’s managing officer, gave some hints on the next-gen Prius. The headline number: roughly 55 miles per gallon thanks to a new platform – the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) – and a more thermal efficient engine. The TNGA will provide a lower center of gravity as well as improved ride and handling, Ogiso said, and the new Prius motor will be more power dense as well.

The 55-mpg number is a big deal, but it is in line with the improvements in the model’s history. The first-gen Prius got 41 mpg, the second-gen got 46 and the third got 50. So, there was around a 10-percent improvement each time. “To beat your own record becomes very difficult,” Ogiso said, adding that it becomes all the more rewarding when you manage to reach your goal. The big question, of course, is when this next-gen Prius is due? “It’s a sensitive question,” Ogiso said, but then gave a big hint that 2015 is likely. Once again, he pointed to history. After all, the first-gen was 1997, second-gen was 2003 and third-gen was 2009. It’s always been six years between models he said, laughing.

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Next-gen Toyota Prius aiming for 55 mpg, could arrive in 2015 originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Akerson looking for 20 percent more range from next-gen Chevy Volt [w/video]

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Videos, Chevrolet

Dan Akerson wants to see 20 percent improvement in electric-drive range.

The Chevrolet Volt’s 38-mile electric range leaves something to be desired, despite being able to run nonstop for hundreds more miles when the range-extending gasoline generator kicks in. General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has recognized this and let slip that he wants to see the next-generation Volt get a significant electric-range increase, Bloomberg reports in a recorded interview with Akerson. The CEO says significant to him means 20 percent – “50 to 60 miles, or more,” he adds – and remarks that the range improvement could be a reality in three or four years. It’s a much bigger deal than the mid-cycle increase that the 2013 Volt got: three electric miles thanks to a half-kWH battery capacity increase.

In a less explicit statement about the next-gen Volt’s electric range, but still in context of the expected 20 percent increase, Akerson also tells Bloomberg that he hopes to see breakthroughs in battery technology that could further reduce cost and increase performance over the next couple of years. Already, the Volt’s 16.5-kilowatt-hour battery’s initial $800 per kWh price has dropped significantly due to volume and improvements in battery technology, according to Akerson. That’s without mentioning the current cost to produce a battery, of course.

Last spring Akerson said that GM hopes to trim $10,000 from the Volt’s price, currently at $39,145, through cost reductions. The goal is halfway met with the recent announcement of a $5,000 price drop for the 2014 Volt, which Akerson confirms in the interview was possible through “some cost savings by virtue of the evolution of the [battery] technology.” Feel free to watch listen to the video below for more details.

Continue reading Akerson looking for 20 percent more range from next-gen Chevy Volt [w/video]

Akerson looking for 20 percent more range from next-gen Chevy Volt [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mini Vision concept presages next-gen Cooper Hardtop

Filed under: Concept Cars, Hatchback, Mini, Design/Style

Mini Vision Concept front three-quarter

Mini is preparing to launch the third-generation of its trademark three-door hatch, and while we’ve already shown you that car mostly devoid of camouflage in spy shots, the BMW-owned brand has still seen fit to release a concept that previews the new design. Called the Mini Vision, it looks broadly similar to the cars we showed you at the beginning of the month, aside from a few concepty styling pieces.

The Vision is a well-balanced blend of the stylish hatch that rebooted the Mini brand in 2002 and the more bloated model that arrived in 2007. It’s more rounded than the 2002, but seems decidedly more muscular than the 2007, and features modern accents like full LED headlights inspired by the sadly not-for-production Rocketman concept. Mini’s traditional floating roof soldiers on, while the concept wears side grilles that seem borrowed from the Countryman and Paceman. Based on what we’ve seen in the spy shots, however, that treatment isn’t going to make production, at least not on the models we’ve seen.

It’s safe to say that the interior on this concept bears only a slight resemblance to what we’ll see on the production car. The integrated Union Jack straps in the door panels are a cool touch, but the Vision’s cabin looks like something out of a flying saucer. We’d expect only inspirational traces to arrive on the production model.

Mini revealed the Vision Concept at something called the Mini Design@Home event earlier today. We expect to see it trotted out on the auto show circuit before the production third-gen F56 Mini Cooper Hardtop makes its official debut later this year or early next year.

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Mini Vision concept presages next-gen Cooper Hardtop originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Next-gen Mercedes C-Class caught in motion

Filed under: Spy Photos, Videos, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Spy Video

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has already been spied on this site, but we’ve yet to have a look at the new compact sedan in motion. Thanks to an intrepid YouTuber, though, we have five videos of the new C on the road.

The car(s) in question have a bit more cladding than in our previous spy shots, but several of the new MB familial traits are evident, particularly the S-Class inspired taillights.

Notably, the third video is the first time we’ve heard the C-Class at speed. It’s difficult to tell from the brief snippet of exhaust, but we certainly hear some V6 notes in there, meaning this could be the new C300/C350. We’ve posted all five videos below, so be sure to check them out and let us know what you think.

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Next-gen Mercedes C-Class caught in motion originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: First 1K next-gen Mustangs to carry 2014 1/2 model year?

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Ford, Rumormill

Next-gen Ford Mustang spy shots - profile view, camouflaged

A new report from Mustangs Daily, citing insider sources at Ford, tells us that the Blue Oval will produce 1,000 next-generation Mustangs with the model year designation of 2014 ½, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the storied marque. The commemorative half-year designation is a rumor that’s been swirling in Mustang forums for quite some time now, and seems more plausible than ever with this most recent report. Certainly it’s not far-fetched to believe that Ford will want to make a big deal of the golden anniversary for its most-loved model.

The story (compiled by Drew Phillips, who runs the aforementioned Mustang site when he’s not directing the photography on these pages) goes on to say that the limited-run cars will be the first built on the new Mustang platform internally known as S550 (and spied testing in the attached gallery). Each car is said to carry a “special” VIN and build number, though no performance upgrades versus the 2015 cars to follow are in the works. A collector’s dream then, rather than a weekend racer’s.

First 1K next-gen Mustangs to carry 2014 1/2 model year? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: VW agrees to halt next-gen rally car development to help others stay in WRC

Filed under: Motorsports, Hatchback, Volkswagen, Racing

Volkswagen Polo R WRC - dead on front view

Volkswagen has petitioned the FIA to hold on to the current specifications for cars in the World Rally Championship, according to Autosport.com. The move is evidently an effort to keep as many competitors in the sport as possible, despite the fact that using the current spec racers may actually hurt Volkswagen’s chances at winning. The three factory teams currently competing in the WRC are at the end of a three-year homologation cycle at the end of 2013, and new cars are expected to bow next year. But developing new racers could cost as much as $4.7 million.

That price tag would put M-Sport (which fields Ford racers) out of the WRC game for 2014 and would put Citroën participation in question as well. VW has already begun work on the next iteration of its Polo R WRC, and the hatch has nabbed four wins in six rounds this season. Now it appears that car won’t bow until at least 2015. The FIA has officially agreed to freeze homologation of new WRC cars until the end of next season.

VW agrees to halt next-gen rally car development to help others stay in WRC originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Next-gen Porsche 911 to get seven-speed manual transmission?

Filed under: Porsche, Rumormill

spy shots next generation porsche 911

Spy Shots: Next-generation Porsche 911 – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you were thinking about buying the next-generation Porsche 911, you’d better start working out your shifting arm. Car and Driver has managed to extract a bit of information about the upcoming German sports car, and it appears a seven-speed manual transmission will be offered. You will be able to row-row-row-row-row-row-row your own boat gears.

Why the additional cog? Porsche reportedly wanted to supply the next 911 with a taller final gear in order to improve fuel efficiency. Hopefully we’ll get to see the all-new shift pattern in the flesh when we head to Europe for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Next-gen Porsche 911 to get seven-speed manual transmission? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 18:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: BMW 3 Series production to end in October, next-gen model coming in spring 2012

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Performance, Europe, BMW, Luxury

2011 BMW 335is

2011 BMW 335is – Click above for high-res image gallery

Production of the current E90 and E92 BMW 3 Series will come to an end for good in October, in preparation for next spring’s launch of the all-new F30 3 Series. Before the gas models bow out, the oil-burning 335d will cease production in August.

The death of the current 3er makes room for a sleeker, less cluttered version of the car which clings closely to the more aggressive new BMW design language. Among the changes will be flatter kidney grilles as well as shorter overhangs, as well as a more muscular stance.

The new 3s will also get a bump in efficiency, with a range of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder mills, with the outside chance of a three-banger joining the lineup later on. The next M3 will ditch V8 power in favor of a twin-turbo inline-six sporting about 450 horsepower.

BMW 3 Series production to end in October, next-gen model coming in spring 2012 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Hyundai Genesis won’t get all-wheel drive until next gen

Filed under: Coupe, Sedan, Performance, Hyundai, Luxury

2012 hyundai genesis sedan

2012 Hyundai Genesis Sedan – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to the sleuths at Car and Driver, the current Hyundai Genesis won’t come with all-wheel drive. Instead, buyers will have to wait until at least 2014 before the traction-adding tech shows up on the company’s luxury four-door. That may also mean that the Genesis Coupe and the lengthy Equus will miss out on all-wheel drive for another few years until the Korean automaker can come up with a refreshed platform. Hyundai CEO John Krafcik has long made it clear that the Genesis twins and the Equus would receive an all-wheel drive option in the future, but we were hoping that we’d see a variant of the refreshed-for-2012 model that churns from all four wheels.

As Car and Driver points out, the Genesis Sedan has seen fairly strong sales since its introduction, and the addition of all-wheel drive will likely help the model inch ever closer toward that magic 30,000 unit-per-year mark. Unfortunately, with at least three years before an all-new model touches down, buyers will have to content themselves with the rash of more powerful engines, a reworked suspension and refined visuals that Hyundai recently unveiled.

Hyundai Genesis won’t get all-wheel drive until next gen originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 May 2011 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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