2012

2012

Months after the official unveiling of the new Mini Coupe , the company has decided it was time to "uncover" the Roadster version as well. Of course, everyone already knew what the new Roadster would look like with both the Coupe version and the Roadster Concept unveiled in 2009 making it on the scene before the Roadster.

To be honest, the Coupe and Roadster models are almost identical, except for the soft top, steeply raked windscreen, stainless steel roll bars, and the active rear spoiler that deploys at 50 mph. The new Roadster will be immediately recognized as a Mini thanks to features like the hexagonal contours of its radiator grille, the black border around the lower part of the body, chrome trim strips and surrounds, large circular headlights, vertically stacked rear lights positioned on the outer extremes of the rear end, and the eye-catching surrounds of the side indicators on the front side panels.

Like with the Coupe, the Roadster is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine ranging from the base Coupe with 122 HP up to the John Cooper Works Coupe with 208 HP. The SD version gets a 141 HP turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine.

UPDATE 01/30/2012: Mini has announced the official prices for their new Roadster. The model will be offered in three different versions with prices starting from $24,350 for the Cooper Roadster, $27,350 for the Cooper S Roadster, and $34,500 for the JCW Roadster.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Mini Roadster.

In its short life span, Audi ’s R8 LMS race car has proved to be a major force in the racing scene, having already amassed over 100 victories despite being only a couple of years old.

The R8 LMS’ world domination includes wins in Europe, Australia, and Asia with America being the only notable region that it hasn’t conquered. You can blame that on the stricter Grand-Am regulations, but Audi is looking into adhering to these regulations by building a car that will conform to the standards of Grand-Am racing.

“We’re convinced that we’re making a very attractive offer to our customers in the USA that will meet with great response,” says Romolo Liebchen, Head of customer racing at quattro GmbH.

“The anniversary event of the Daytona 24 Hours is a perfect occasion for the debut of the U.S. version of the new Audi R8 LMS.”

Among the tweaks and modifications being done on the R8 LMS to make it Grand-Am ready include the use of thicker-walled tubing in the roll cage, a new front splitter, a rear diffuser, and a new Grand-Am-spec rear wing.

In terms of performance, the R8 LMS Grand-AM will also come with a modified engine and the addition of an air restrictor that will drop the output of the R8 LMS from 493 horspepower to around 450 to 470 horsepower. Certain elements of the R8 LMS will also be removed for the Grand Am version, including the anti-lock system and traction control. Incidentally, Grand Am rules view these technologies as driving aids in the US.

UPDATE 12/12/2011: Audi has announced that the R8 GRAND-AM is now ready for the North American market. The car successfully finished its testing at the Daytona race track (Florida) and the first deliveries will be made in January, 2012.

"We successfully tested all the modifications at Daytona," says Romolo Liebchen, Head of Customer Sport at quattro GmbH. "With Frank Stippler we developed a sound and solid set-up for our customers and also gathered valuable findings in the endurance tests. The durability of wearing parts and runs at high outside temperatures meet challenging demands. We can now provide our racing customers with concrete advice and reference values for fielding the car."

UPDATE 01/24/2012: The Audi R8 GRAND-AM will make its debut this weekend on the 50th running of the Daytona 24 Hours from January 26th to 29th. "Our team prepared for this step at previous runs in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. APR is known around the world as one of the leading tuners of Audi, Volkswagen Volkswagen , Seat Seat and Škoda vehicles. We’re looking forward to the Audi R8 Audi R8 GRAND-AM with huge anticipation, our customers and fans are really excited and since the ‘Roar before the 24’ test we’ve just been dying for the 24-hour race to start."

UPDATE 01/27/2012: Audi has unveiled new images and a video of the R8 Grand-Am during its practice time at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The race will be aired on Speed T.V. on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 2:30 EST.

UPDATE 07/17/12: Audi France has released a pretty cool video of the R8 LMS Grand-Am Racer titled "Symbiosis". Check it out by clicking on the photo above!

BMW ’s dive into the diesel market included not just the M550d xDrive , but the X5 M50d as well. Just like the M550d, the SUV version is powered by the 3.0 liter six-cylinder in-line diesel engine that delivers a total of 381 HP and a peak torque of 546 lb-ft. With this amount of power, the X5 M50d will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, while top speed is limited to 155 mph. Fuel economy has been reported at 37.7 mpg.

Compared to a standard X5, the new M50d will be distinguished by an optimized aerodynamic balance and enhanced driving pleasure. In the space reserved for the fog-lamps, the new model has received new air intakes joined by horizontal bars painted in Ferric Grey metallic paint and race-inspired air-channeling flaps that sit below the side air intakes to optimize the car’s aerodynamic balance at high speeds. The BMW kidney grille features titanium-colored vertical bars, while the exterior mirror caps are painted in Ferric Grey metallic. The car sits on a standard set of 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in V-spoke design, but there are alsooptional 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Ferric Grey metallic.

The new BMW X5 M50d will go on sale in Germany on June 16, 2012 at a price of 82,300 euro ($106,500 at the current exchange rates).

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster

Lamborghini skipped the Detroit Auto Show in terms of any major reveals, but the Geneva Motor Show is going to be a whole different story. The company is planning on unveiling two major vehicles at the show, one of them being the highly anticipated Roadster version of the Lamborghini Aventador and a mysterious second model.

TeamSpeed has a few thoughts on what this mystery model may be. The first is a production version of the Sesto Elemento which we’ve all been waiting for since the concept was revealed in 2010. A second possibility is that Lamborghini could be presenting a concept version of the company’s replacement for the current Gallardo , a model currently known as the Cabrera .

Another possibility is that Lamborghini has finally decided on that third model they’ve been going back and forth on for way too long. President and CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, has stated in the past that a final on either the Lamborghini SUV or the Estoque will be made in early 2012, so this option seems to be the most plausible. If the decision is made, then we’ll more than likely see a concept version of it soon.

Check back with us soon for more details on the mystery model!

Source: TeamSpeed

The third and last model announced by BMW M Performance Automobiles today is the X6 M50d. Just like with the M550d xDrive and the X5 M50d the X6 M50d will be making its world debut in March at the Geneva Motor Show and will go on sale in Germany on June 16 at a starting price of 85,800 euro ($112,800 at the current exchange rates).

The BMW X6 M50d shares the same 3.0 liter six-cylinder in-line diesel engine that delivers a total of 381 HP and a peak torque of 546 lb-ft. The SUV will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and top speed is limited to 155 mph. Fuel economy has been reported at 37.7 mpg. The model has a fuel economy of 36.7 mpg.

Just like X5 M50d the space reserved for the foglamps has been replaced by new air intakes that help cooling the engine. The car gets Ferric Grey horizontal bars, race-inspired air-channeling flaps and a standard set of 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design.

BMW is doing a running jump into the diesel market by releasing a few new variations in one day. The highlight of this trio of diesels is the long-rumored M550d xDrive scheduled to appear at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012. In Germany, the M550d xDrive will go on sale at a starting price of 80,800 euro ($104,500 at the current exchange rates) for the sedan and 83,750 euro ($108,400 at the current rates) for the station wagon version.

The BMW M550d xDrive is the first model to come from BMW’s latest M Performance Automobiles division and is joined by the X5 M50d and X6 M50d. All three models will share a new tri-turbo straight-six diesel engine that delivers a total of 381 HP and a peak torque of 546 lb-ft. In the M550d xDrive, this power is just enough to sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, while top speed is limited to 155 mph. Fuel economy comes in at 44.8 mpg.

UPDATE 01/26/2012: This review has been updated with the official images and specs for the BMW M550d xDrive.

UPDATE 02/29/2012: BMW has unveiled a series of almost 100 new high res images presenting the new M550d xDrive in action in different locations. Check our picture gallery to see them all!

Toyota is about to add another model to its hybrid line-up and, no surprise here, it’s based on the company’s best sold model on the European market: the Yaris . The new Yaris Hybrid is set to make its world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show in March with sales in Europe beginning shortly thereafter.

The new Yaris Hybrid will be powered by the first downsizing of Toyota’s HSD powertrain that combines a new 1.5 liter petrol engine with a lighter, more compact electric motor, transaxle, inverter, and battery pack. This new system is about 20% lighter than that of the engine found in the Auris Hybrid and will deliver a total of 100 HP. It will be mated to a standard automatic transmission.

Next to having a hybrid powertrain, the new Yaris Hybrid will also be offered with an exclusive, aerodynamically efficient exterior design. This means it will have a new, more assertive Under Priority trapezoid opening frontal design element with the Keen Look design implemented on the front lamps.

More details about the new Yaris Hybrid will be unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, so stay tuned.

The three door version of the new Volkswagen Up! was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, and now Volkswagen has released the first details on the five-door model. In Germany, the new version will go on sale March 6th with first deliveries arriving in May. Prices will start from 10,800 euro, or about $14,000 at the current exchange rates.

The five-door Volkswagen Up! features the same dimensions as the three-door version, but the difference is the rear doors which open wide and allow easy boarding. The interior also offers more space, with 94.7cm (37.2 inches) of headroom and 79cm (31.1 inches) of legroom. The rear passengers will be even more comfortable thanks to raised seating positions.

As for power, the new Up! will be offered with a 1.0-liter petrol engine with BlueMotion technology offered in either 60 or 75 HP versions. Both of these options are combined with start-stop function and an impressive fuel economy of 4.2 liters/100 km.

Just like with three-door Up!, the new five-door model will be offered with City Emergency Braking - a new safety technology system that automatically actives at speeds of under 18.6 mph and uses a laser sensor to detect the risk of any imminent collisions. Next to this feature, the new five-door Up! will also get touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth, and other entertainment systems.

It doesn’t take long after the Detroit Motor Show closes its doors before automakers start dishing out details on their lineup for the Geneva Motor Show. Mitsubishi is ready to jump into the kitchen with the first teaser image for a new global product set to be unveiled in March. This project takes another step towards the company’s "Jump 2013" business plan for a greener and more global Mitsubishi.

The yet-to-named concept features a re-focused design language that will be used for all the future models and has been designed as "an open design concept, meant to be flexible enough to suit specific vehicle requirements whilst staging Mitsubishi’s famous Three Diamond logo accordingly."

No other details have been provided yet, but Mitsubishi did confirm that the concept will feature a new 4N1 Clean Diesel engine and Green Plastics, as well as benefit from the innovative PHEV technologies.

More details about this new global product will be revealed in the upcoming months, so stay tuned!

After teasing the SUV for quite some time, Buick has finally dropped the cover off the all new Buick Encore - General Motors’ response to the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1 . The Buick Encore will begin arriving at U.S. Buick dealerships in the first quarter of 2013.

The 2013 Buick Encore will offer contemporary styling, signature QuietTuning technology, and a host of features and amenities customers have come to expect from Buick. It will join the current Buick line-up with models like the Verano compact luxury sedan and the Regal GS sport sedan, both combined with the fuel-efficient eAssist "light electrification" technology.

The new 2013 Encore is powered by a new Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 140 HP and a peak torque of 148 lb.-ft. The engine is mated to a standard Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission.

UPDATE 01/19/2012: Buick has unveiled the first promotional video for the new Encore crossover. Enjoy!

UPDATE 04/06/2012: The 2013 Encore has also been presented at the New York Auto Show. Check the picture gallery to see a new set of live images.

Hit the jump for more details on the 2013 Buick Encore.


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