Breaking: 2014 Mazda3 breaks cover early, in Euro-spec at least [UPDATE]

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Europe, Hatchback, Mazda, Diesel

2014 Mazda3 - front three-quarter dynamic view

We’re set to get a closer look at the US-spec 2014 Mazda3 later today, but AutoExpress has the first peek at the machine’s European cousin (after initial leaks reportedly came from a Czech outlet). The photos show a compact that’s taken plenty of design inspiration from its older sister, the Mazda6. That’s excellent news, as the larger car’s dynamic front fascia, accentuated fender arches and long nose translate well to the Mazda3. Inside, there are are new and improved material choices, and the longer wheelbase means occupants get to enjoy more room than before. There’s also a larger trunk with 12.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Buyers in the EU can get their hands on a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine with 99 horsepower, though the old 2.0-liter four-cylinder will still be available in either 118 hp or 163 hp configuration. A 2.2-liter diesel tops out the engine choices.

The 2014 Mazda3 is lighter than its predecessor and boasts disc brakes and a multi-link rear suspension on every trim. That means this thing should be fun to shuffle around. Stay tuned for details on the US-spec variant later today, including a lot more images of the good-looking hatch.

UPDATE: We’ve just received word from Mazda that the photos seen here do, in fact, show the global Mazda3, and not merely a European version. So the good-looking hatch in our gallery is one that you can look forward to in your dealership before too long. Expect to see full US specs, and even more images of the 3, later today.

2014 Mazda3 breaks cover early, in Euro-spec at least [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Jun 2013 09:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Nissan GT-R to get power bump, Spec R version

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Nissan

2012 Nissan GT-R Egoist

2012 Nissan GT-R Egoist – Click above for high-res image gallery

Staying on top demands constant improvement, and Nissan has certainly proven itself up to the task with the current R35-generation GT-R. Since its domestic introduction in 2007 and global roll-out in 2009, Nissan has launched successive improvements on its flagship sportscar, and now word is coming of another upgrade on the way.

According to the folks at 7Tune, output from the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 is set to increase from 530 horsepower up to 560. And to supersede the current Spec V model, a Spec R is said to be in the works, dropping another 70 pounds or so for even more extreme performance.

Development of the new GT-R has reportedly been postponed in the wake of the quake fallout in Japan, pushing the car’s launch back by several months. These are expected to be the final iterations of the R35 before its successor arrives.

Nissan GT-R to get power bump, Spec R version originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 13:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2012 Hyundai Genesis priced from $34,200; new 5.0 R-Spec to start at $46,500

Filed under: Car Buying, Sedan, Hyundai

2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec

2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2012 Hyundai Genesis sedan is hitting dealer lots as you read this, and pricing has officially been set at $34,200, not including $850 for destination and delivery. The facelifted Genesis four-door was unveiled at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, and though it received a minor facelift and some other small interior changes, the big news for the 2012 model year is what’s under the hood.

That $34,200 price point corresponds to the base Genesis 3.8 sedan, which now uses a direct-injected 3.8-liter V6, rated at 333 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque – gains of 43 and 27, respectively, versus the 2011 model. A new eight-speed automatic transmission is also on tap, meaning the Genesis 3.8 will achieve up to 29 miles per gallon on the highway.

Moving up in the range, the Genesis 4.6 – $44,500 – also gets an eight-speed automatic transmission, though its V8 engine remains largely unchanged. Power ratings carry over from 2011 – 385 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque.

The 4.6 used to be the range-topping Genesis, but for 2012, Hyundai has introduced the new 5.0 R-Spec model, which, as its name suggests, is fitted with the automaker’s brand new 5.0-liter direct-injected V8. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the Tau 5.0 is good for 429 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, while still returning 16/25 mpg city/highway. The R-Spec model also features unique 19-inch wheels, sportier suspension tuning and more aggressive appearance updates. The top-shelf Genesis retails for $46,500.

Follow the jump for the full details in Hyundai’s press blast.

Continue reading 2012 Hyundai Genesis priced from $34,200; new 5.0 R-Spec to start at $46,500

2012 Hyundai Genesis priced from $34,200; new 5.0 R-Spec to start at $46,500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 25 May 2011 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New York 2011: Chevrolet Sonic’s Z-Spec accessories add illusion of sportiness

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Budget, Hatchback, Chevrolet, GM

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec – Click above for high-res image gallery

Extra spoilers and lower side skirts can look cool, but if the car doesn’t have any sort of augmented performance, it all seems pointless. Still, for those who want to give the appearance of being quick, Chevrolet will offer a line of Z-Spec dealer-installed accessories for its upcoming 2012 Sonic.

Chevrolet chose to debut its dot matrix-wrapped Sonic here at this year’s New York Auto Show, sporting a set of 17-inch painted alloys and a ground effects package. Why anyone would willingly choose such a visually awkward wrap is beyond us, but remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

No performance upgrades are presently available in the Z-Spec line, but customers will be able to roll the cost of the visual accessories into their monthly car payments at purchase time. See the not-so-fast sporty Sonic for yourself in our high-res gallery below.

Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec: New York 2011

Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

New York 2011: Chevrolet Sonic’s Z-Spec accessories add illusion of sportiness originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Apr 2011 16:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: EVO pits Audi RS3 vs. Subaru WRX STI Spec C vs. Ford Focus RS vs… Ferrari Enzo?!

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Europe, Videos, Hatchback, Audi, Ford, Subaru, Ferrari

Evo Magazine hot hatch comparison

Evo Magazine hot hatch comparison – Click above to watch video after the jump

Occasionally, we can’t help but think we were born in the wrong corner of the globe. With our penchant for diesel fuel, wagons, hatchbacks and forced-induction four-cylinders, something tells us we would have been right at home growing up on the old continent.

Why all this musing on our misplaced youth? The goons at Evo Magazine have just released a new teaser video for the rag’s upcoming issue, and the cover story is rife with all sorts of metal we don’t get to play with here in the Land of the Free. The editors lined up three of the meanest hatchback bruisers available in the EU and matched them up against a mighty Ferrari Enzo. That’s right, an Enzo. Go big or go home, fellas.

The contenders include a Ford Focus RS, a Subaru WRX STI Spec C and the blistering new Audi RS 3 Sportback. For those of you who are keeping score, our chubby yank hands won’t even get close to touching any of that hardware in our neck of the woods. How’d the three musketeers stand up to the might Italian stallion? Your guess is as good as ours. We’ll have to pick up the next Evo Magazine to find out. In the meantime, check out the video after the jump. Thanks for the tip, Georgian!

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: EVO pits Audi RS3 vs. Subaru WRX STI Spec C vs. Ford Focus RS vs… Ferrari Enzo?!

Video: EVO pits Audi RS3 vs. Subaru WRX STI Spec C vs. Ford Focus RS vs… Ferrari Enzo?! originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevrolet previews Z-Spec accessories for Sonic ahead of New York

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Budget, Sedan, Hatchback, Chevrolet, Design/Style

2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chevrolet is hopping headlong into the dealer-as-aftermarketer business with its new Z-Spec upgrade line of parts and accessories. The new performance and visual trickery will begin with the much-anticipated 2012 Chevrolet Sonic subcompact shown here. Slated to debut at next week’s New York Auto Show, the range of custom bits will be available by the end of 2011, and will primarily consist of visual accessories – at least for now. The Z-Spec line is a build-out of the Z Spec Sonic Concept that debuted alongside the production car at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.

At launch, Chevrolet is promising a ground effects package with unique front and rear fascias and side skirts, along with an exhaust tip finisher, spoiler and 16- and 17-inch painted alloys. Inside, Chevy dealers will also be able to fit your Sonic with look-faster bits like drilled sport pedals and aluminum sill plates. The biggest visual change will likely come from the “Color Out” contrasting trim packages that include accent-color painted grille ‘lipstick’, side mirror caps and rear spoiler. Buyers will also be able to have their vehicle outfitted with a number of wraps like the dot matrix pattern you see here.

Critically, Z-Spec parts will be able to be purchased either as a full-on package or piecemeal, and customers will be able to add the cost of the accessories into their monthly payments at purchase time.

Pricing has not yet been announced. Check out our high-res gallery below and click past the jump for the official press release.

Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

[Source: Chevrolet]

Continue reading Chevrolet previews Z-Spec accessories for Sonic ahead of New York

Chevrolet previews Z-Spec accessories for Sonic ahead of New York originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chicago 2011: 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec Sedan rolls with a 5.0

Filed under: Chicago Auto Show, Sedan, Performance, Hyundai

2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec sedan – Click above for high-res image gallery

The current Hyundai Genesis 4.6 sedan, with its 385 horsepower V8, is hardly a slouch. In fact, according to most road tests, the luxury four-door reportedly hits 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds. In an effort to raise the vehicle’s performance bar and snuff out those who have complained about the four-door’s lack of “sport,” Hyundai has pulled the covers of its new 2012 Genesis R-Spec sedan.

Under the hood is a new 5.0-liter V8. The engine – the most powerful Hyundai has ever fitted to a street vehicle – is rated at 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a standard eight-speed automatic (with manual shift mode), the new powertrain should shave more than a few tenths off its sprint… and go some way toward adding the ‘sport’ prefix in front of ‘sedan.’

Other performance goodies backing up the new engine include unique R-Spec transmission tuning, suspension upgrades, larger brakes and recalibrated sport steering. Wheels have been bumped up to 19-inch alloys wearing 235/45R19 tires (sticky Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 Summer Tires are optional). Cosmetically, the sport sedan is differentiated by dark chrome headlight inserts, and new badging inside and out. The Genesis R-Spec sedan will be offered in Black Noir, Titanium Gray, and Platinum Metallic exterior paint, with black leather inside as standard-fit.

Gallery: 2012 Hyundai Genesis Sedan R-Spec: Chicago 2011

Photos copyright (C)2011 Michael Harley / AOL

Chicago 2011: 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec Sedan rolls with a 5.0 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Feb 2011 14:51:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Reiter Engineering unveils new race-spec Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+

Filed under: Coupe, Lamborghini, Racing

Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ GT3 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Which is the ultimate iteration of the Lamborghini Gallardo? Is it the purist’s choice, the Balboni edition? The LP570-4 Superleggera? Or the latest open-top Spyder Performante? The answer could very well be track-bound, and you’re looking at it right now.

The latest race-spec Gallardo developed by Lamborghini’s motorsport partners at Reiter Engineering, the LP600+ is designed to GT3 regulations. Its 5.2-liter V10 has been tuned up to 600 metric horsepower (592hp by our count), joined with a retuned gearbox, competition aerodynamics package, rolling stock, suspension and more. With a curb weight trimmed to just 2,624 pounds and a 40mm ground clearance, the Reiter LP600+ promises to give the competition a run for their money with a relatively modest price tag (for a race-ready supercar, anyway) of €288,500 ($386k).

Gallery: Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ GT3

[Source: Reiter Engineering via motorsportblog.it]

Reiter Engineering unveils new race-spec Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Jan 2011 17:07:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche to unveil competition-spec 918 in Detroit?

Filed under: Detroit Auto Show, Motorsports, Porsche, Racing

2013 Porsche 918 RSR rendering

2013 Porsche 918 RSR renderings – Click above for high-res image gallery

Some automakers are in it for the racing. Others make cars to preserve some sort of legacy. But most are in the business, like any other company, to make money. And Porsche is certainly no exception. But while its road car division rakes in the dough hand over fist, the German automaker has made a science out of making its racing division profitable.

How is that, you ask? Because unlike some of its rivals, Porsche first and foremost provides factory-built racing machines to privateer customers. That’s how the 911 dominates GT racing grids around the world with such variants as the recently unveiled GT3 RSR. And if the latest reports from Germany are anything to go on, Porsche could be preparing a new racer at the rapidly approaching Detroit Auto Show.

Now we already knew that Porsche was planning something big for its return to the NAIAS after a four-year absence. And the signs seemed to point towards a new variant of the 918 Spyder concept we saw in Geneva last year. But the latest word from Auto Bild suggests that instead of a roadgoing production coupe version as some had suspected, Stuttgart will instead unveil a racing version of the new mid-engine flagship supercar in Cobo Hall.

The reports further suggest that the race-spec 918 will carry a more conventional V8 powertrain than the hybrid setup of the previous concept, and that the car will – like the rest of Porsche’s aforementioned customer racing paddock – be available to privateer teams to purchase and campaign on the world’s racing circuits. Sounds tempting – and profitable – and fortunately we won’t have long to wait before we find out one way or another.

[Source: AutoBild via Motor Authority | Images: TeamSpeed]

Porsche to unveil competition-spec 918 in Detroit? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 04 Jan 2011 13:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda and Honda form B-Spec Showroom Stock racing series

Filed under: Motorsports, Hatchback, Honda, Mazda, Racing

Mazda and Honda B-Spec racers

Racing is a rich man’s sport, no question about it. Sure, there are some ways to get into a bit of wheel-to-wheel that cost less than others, such as the 24 Hours of LeMons, but even that is more expensive than you might think. But regardless of the cost, some people still need to scratch that racing itch. One way to keep costs down is to get into spec racing – everyone uses the same type of car and they are typically kept showroom stock minus the addition of safety features such as a roll cage, harness and racing bucket. Mazda and Honda understand this and the two automakers have decided to roll out a B-Spec racing series that utilizes the Mazda2 and Honda Fit.

If the thought of tossing either of these two cars around a track doesn’t sound fun, then you clearly have never driven either one. Though they are both down on power, they offer high levels of tossable excitement. Turn them into race-ready hoon machines and the volume knob twists to 11.

A spec series presents an even playing field for the competitors because the engines and chassis remain stock for all cars. Driving skill is what will win in an event like this, and every ounce of that behind-the-wheel prowess will be tested in these low-powered hatchbacks. Hop the jump to read the full press release.

[Sources: Mazda, Honda]

Continue reading Mazda and Honda form B-Spec Showroom Stock racing series

Mazda and Honda form B-Spec Showroom Stock racing series originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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