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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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 to start at $55,675*

Filed under: Car Buying, Convertible, Performance, Mercedes-Benz

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK top-down

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster has received a substantial makeover for 2012, with reworked powertrains and more masculine sheetmetal. The SLK350’s new 3.5-liter V6 helps back up that fresh dose of manliness with 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, thanks to the addition of direct injection. Having driven the roadster, we found the upgrades help make the car more entertaining to drive, and now we can put a price tag on these refinements.

Mercedes-Benz has announced that the 2012 SLK350 will start at $55,675 (*including $875 in destination charges). That’s a $1,500 increase over the 2011 model – a fair shake considering the updates. For comparison’s sake, the folding hardtop SLK350 carries an MSRP that’s $4,800 more than the Audi TTS Roadster and $950 more than the BMW Z4 sDrive35i. It does, however, continue to price out lower than the similarly powered Porsche Boxster S, which starts at $58,600. The SLK350 goes on sale on June 1.

If $55,675 is too rich or too powerful for your blood, you can opt to wait until February for the SLK250. Unfortunately, Mercedes hasn’t announced pricing for the SLK250, but we do know that it will feature a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque. Now, about that AMG…

Gallery: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 front2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 3502012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 front three quarter2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 front boulevard2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 top

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 to start at $55,675* originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Apr 2011 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2012 Audi A7 to start at $59,250,* configurator live

Filed under: Hatchback, Audi, Luxury

2012 Audi A7 website configurator snapshot

2012 Audi A7 – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2012 A7 five-door is drop-dead gorgeous and headed to an Audi dealer near you in the next month. Interested? You’re going to have to shell out $59,250 (*$60,125 including $875 in destination charges) if you want to pick up the base Premium model. That puts the A7 right in the middle pricing-wise between the $45,200 A6 and the $78,050 A8.

Spending $60k on the coupe-like sedan will net you Audi’s 310-horsepower, 3.0L TFSI V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Also standard is Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system with a rear-biased 40/60 power split. Jump up to the Premium Plus model and you’re looking at a base price of $62,810 ($63,685 with destination). The Plus variant adds Audi Connect plus MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch controls.

The top-of-the-line Prestige model starts at $65,580 ($66,455 with destination), which adds four-zone climate control, full-time LED headlamps, 12-way power front seats with ventilation and a Bose sound system. The A7 configurator, which is live on Audi’s sales site, shows that the A7 can be optioned out to $80,000 or more with options like a $5,900 Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System, $1,500 20-inch Sport package and $5,800 innovation package that includes adaptive cruise control, night vision and blind spot protection. All models feature the supercharged 3.0-liter V6.

Hit the jump to read over the Audi press release, and head over to the Audi USA website to configure your own A7. How do you say “we want one” in German? Thanks to all for the tips!

Gallery: Audi A7

[Source: Audi]

Continue reading 2012 Audi A7 to start at $59,250,* configurator live

2012 Audi A7 to start at $59,250,* configurator live originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Apr 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE

Filed under: Safety, Technology, Ford, Lincoln

Ford MyFord Touch dashboard

In 2010, Ford reinvented its SYNC system with the launch of the refreshed Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. But the new integrated system – MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch or what’s known as “SYNC generation 2” – has been plagued by more than a few bugs. And part of the problem is due to its design.

If one of its various functions trips up – navigation, phone or entertainment, among others – the system can restart. This can leave the driver faced with a blank display and a restart procedure that can take two to three minutes. Double bummer: It usually wipes out your paired phones and indexed music.

After talking with several colleagues who have experienced similar issues (including one where the volume was stuck on max while the A/C continued to blow cold air in 42-degree weather) and experiencing these issues first hand for ourselves, we called up Ford’s Head of Technology Communications, Alan Hall, and got on the phone with one of the Blue Oval’s engineers to see what’s causing the issues and how the automaker is addressing them.

Continue reading Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start

*UPDATE: Official statement from Ford added after the jump.

Continue reading Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE

Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2012 Audi R8 GT to start at $196,800

Filed under: Car Buying, Coupe, Performance, Audi, Specialty

2011 Audi R8 GT

2011 Audi R8 GT – Click above for high-res image gallery

Audi has announced that the 90 examples of the 2011 R8 GT slated to come to this country will carry price tags starting at $196,800. The R8 GT packs a version of the 5.2-liter FSI V10, but cranked up to 560 horsepower, mated to Audi’s R-Tronic sequential transmission. Backing up the transmission is a four-wheel-drive system with a locking rear differential.

The R8 GT is built using more aluminum and carbon fiber than the standard car, which translates to a 180-pound weight loss. The rear hatch, spoiler and front splitter on the GT are all carbon-fiber pieces.

The weight savings, power increase, and sequential gearbox team up to scoot the R8 GT to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds, and a up to a 199-mph top speed.

Gallery: 2011 Audi R8 GT

2011 Audi R8 GT2011 Audi R8 GT2011 Audi R8 GT2011 Audi R8 GT2011 Audi R8 GT

[Source: Audi]

Continue reading 2012 Audi R8 GT to start at $196,800

2012 Audi R8 GT to start at $196,800 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Mar 2011 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Lexus LFA launch control makes start lines disappear quickly

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Lexus

lexus lfa tachometer

Lexus LFA displays serious control on launch – Click above to watch video after the jump

Today, it’s almost impossible to buy a new supercar without launch control; the 2011 Lexus LFA is no exception. It might not be the fastest, with a zero-to-60 time of “only” 3.7 seconds, yet the LFA remains an impressive rubber-footed beast.

The LFA’s V10 wails towards its 9,500 rpm fuel cutoff like an oni haunting whoever slides behind the wheel. The video posted after the jump focuses on the tachometer as a Lexus LFA bolts from a starting line with the launch control lending its assistance. The driver pushes the car all the way up to 260 km/h (around 163 mph) before letting up on the throttle. Click past the jump to launch into the clip.

[Source: Lexus Enthusiast]

Continue reading Video: Lexus LFA launch control makes start lines disappear quickly

Video: Lexus LFA launch control makes start lines disappear quickly originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 19 Feb 2011 14:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Keyless start systems blamed for CO-related fatalities

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Technology, Lexus

Toyota Camry Hybrid pushbutton startAccording to WMGT Channel 41 of Georgia, automakers are facing increasing scrutiny regarding the safety of their keyless start systems. According to the NBC affiliate, there are at least three carbon-dioxide related deaths – one in New York, and a pair in Florida – that are being blamed on the technology.

In one case, the family of a Whitestone, New York man is suing Toyota for his wrongful death. According to an older report from the New York Daily News, the family alleges that on February 27, 2009, Mary Rivera parked her Lexus in the attached garage of the home she shared with Ernest Codelia Jr. and accidentally left the engine running. The next day, Codelia was found dead in his bed of carbon monoxide poisoning while Rivera was discovered unconscious on the bedroom floor. She survived the incident, but suffers from brain damage as a result.

Codelia’s family is alleging that that the keyless ignition system on the Lexus is to blame for the tragedy and that Toyota should have installed a shutdown switch to kill the engine if the vehicle is unoccupied or unmoved after a certain period of time. The lawsuit says that the keyless ignition system violates federal safety standards because owners can leave the vehicle running even with the key fob in their pocket.

It is at this point that we must note that in our experience, Toyota’s keyless ignition mechanism operates in essentially the same manner as every other system used by other automakers, and that cars equipped with the technology are programmed to deliver both audible and visual warnings if the driver attempts to leave the car without first shutting off the engine.

Rivera, meanwhile, has no recollection of leaving the car running, presumably because the engine is so quiet. The family’s lawyer says that she “somehow feels responsible” for the tragedy. Thanks for the tip, Jon!

[Sources: WMGT Channel 41, New York Daily News]

Report: Keyless start systems blamed for CO-related fatalities originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Feb 2011 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Five questions we’re asking auto execs at the start of 2011. What are yours?

Filed under: Detroit Auto Show, Etc., BMW, Honda, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen

Snowy Cobo Hall in Detroit

The Detroit Auto Show is coming up. After that, we go to the Chicago Auto Show. Then New York and maybe Geneva. We are going to hob-knob with most of the auto industry titans: CEOs, Design Chiefs, Product Development Bosses.

We will be at dinners, group interviews, one-on-one interviews and members of the media will have time “on the sidelines” with these decision makers, sometimes without their pubic relations handlers listening in, trying to keep their bosses from making a headline.

I have a handful of questions for companies and executives I plan to ask. And the rest of the Autoblog staff is jotting up their notebooks with interview appointments and questions they want to ask. But how about you, dear readers, chiming in with yours? We’ll do our best to get them answered.

My Questions:

1. For Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn: Why all the rhetoric on sales goals? You want one million VWs and Audis sold in North America by 2018. Why? How about getting quality ratings going in the right direction first? VW quality scores have actually fallen in the last two years. Shouldn’t quality be “Job One,” to quote an old Ford ad slogan? Making it so much about sales seems like a recipe for driving the entire organization toward the wrong goal. Take care of quality and pricing, and sales will take care of themselves.

2. For Honda Motor CEO Takanobu Ito: When is Honda going to re-assert leadership in powertrains? I can still feel what a CVCC engine was like to drive. I can close my eyes and remember the beautiful gearbox on the manual transmission. We just aren’t seeing this sort of leadership from Honda anymore, at least not in the U.S.

Are you serious about hybrids or not? The Accord Hybrid was a “non-starter.” And the new Insight is a yawn, even for a hybrid. Are you serious about EVS, or not? You said you were going to bring a diesel engine – your wonderful diesel sold in Europe – to the States, only to kill the idea. I would suggest that there is no sound business case to be made for General Motors bringing out the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric. But the fact that it did shows that the company is seizing a leadership position trying to change the story about how we drive.

And your design department? Have you looked around a Honda showroom lately? The Ridgeline is a bust. The Element was close to a bust. The CR-Z is a puzzle whose early sales suggest it’s a bust, too. I can’t find any reason to tell someone they should put it on their list. The Accord Crosstour is not awful, but that’s the best I can say. Yes, you own the subcompact crossover market with the CR-V. The Accord is the Accord. The Civic remains strong, but we want a five-door variant back in the showroom. The Odyssey is a pleasure among minivans. But there some big misses here for every hit you turn out.

But most of all, we want something from Honda we can get psyched about. What do you have to say?

Click through to the jump for more questions.

Continue reading Five questions we’re asking auto execs at the start of 2011. What are yours?

Five questions we’re asking auto execs at the start of 2011. What are yours? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 03 Jan 2011 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Saudi university to start $500 million carmaking enterprise

Filed under: Middle East

King Saud University Gazal-1

King Saud University Gazal-1 – Click above for a high-res image gallery

Few took them seriously when the students of King Saud University unveiled their first design in Geneva last March. But the Saudi institute of higher education is reportedly putting their plans to begin producing their own line of automobiles into high gear.

According to Reuters, the project is being undertaken by the university’s investment arm, Wadi al-Riyadh Technology, with technical and financial support from an as-yet undisclosed South Korean firm. Could Hyundai/Kia be behind the effort? Hard to say, but whoever it is, they’re tipped to be putting up 30 percent of the cash, in addition to the technical know-how. The university is set to put in as much as 15 percent of the capital needed, while the rest is reportedly being offered to outside investments. Altogether, the project is budgeted at $500 million.

The outfit’s first vehicle will reportedly be “an economic car suitable for local use,” as opposed to the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen-based SUV concept pictured above. Spokespeople say they hope to offer the vehicle in other countries in the region, including the Gulf emirates and North African countries.

The development is peculiar for a number of reasons, namely that (a) Saudi Arabia, though the largest economy in the Arab world, is not known as an automobile producing or exporting country, and (b) most cars are not built by universities. Still, if any country has the oil money to pull it off, it’s surely Saudi Arabia.

Gallery: Geneva 2010: King Saud University Gazal-1

[Source: Reuters]

Report: Saudi university to start $500 million carmaking enterprise originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Dec 2010 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford expanding stop-start technology to non-hybrid models

Filed under: Technology, Ford

2011 Ford Explorer Blue Oval grllle badge

Given the multifaceted approach to making more efficient vehicles favored by Ford, an automaker that employs everything from EcoBoost to hybrids, pure electrics to less thirsty gas models – it’s not that surprising to learn that the company is announcing that it is expanding use of stop-start technology to more U.S. vehicles in 2012. Stop-start, you’ll recall, is a technology that allows an engine to shut off automatically at stop lights to avoid wasting fuel while idling. As far as the green race goes, stop-start is a no-brainer: it’s not all that expensive to implement – especially compared to technologies like hybrid powertrains – and according to Ford, it can result in a jump in fuel economy of up to 10 percent.

Ford is following BMW, Fiat and other automakers in bringing stop-start to its vehicles, but along with Porsche, it is taking a leadership role with the technology here in the U.S. for non-hybrid vehicles. Ford notes that it has sold over 170,000 hybrids with stop-start in North America in the last six years, and 2012 will mark the first time it will be found on Ford’s “conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in North America.” European Ford drivers are familiar with the technology, and Ford says stop-start “eventually will be offered in all of Ford’s global markets.” Thus far, however, the Blue Oval isn’t saying which non-hybrid models will be the first to receive the technology.

Stop-start technology has become an easy and effective way for automakers to register substantial economy gains in European models, but don’t expect official mile per gallon figures to budge much on America’s EPA-mandated test cycle. As of yet, the U.S. government’s testing methodology simply doesn’t reflect the benefits of stop-start, so while the effects of the technology may be self-evident in real world driving, they won’t necessarily be reflected on a vehicle’s window sticker in dealer showrooms. In other words, Ford is likely to have some consumer educating to do.

To school yourself a bit further on the Blue Oval’s stop-start initiative, check out their official press release after the jump.

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Ford expanding stop-start technology to non-hybrid models

Ford expanding stop-start technology to non-hybrid models originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Dec 2010 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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