2012

2012

Friday the 13th isn’t typically considered a good day for those that are a tad superstitious, but the people behind the Tokyo Auto Salon aren’t in the least bit paraskevidekatriaphobic (plague with a fear of Friday the 13th) because that’s when they decided to open their doors. Lucky for us (pun intended), because Toyota has chosen this setting to reveal their TES-ERA EV - a concept car developed by the Toyota Engineering Society that proves that even electric vehicles can be extremely cool.

The work on this project began back in March 2011 with a team of 20 members doing their best to produce a spectacular electric concept. This concept features an innovative design with sweet gullwing doors, a rich Dark Blue Mica exterior paint finish with 18-inch aluminum wheels, and height adjustable double wishbone suspensions. The interior of the concept gets a built-in touch-shift steering wheel, a rear and side view camera monitor system, an instrument panel, door trims with decorative illumination, and 4-point seat belts.

Joining the ranks of the beautiful exterior is the power setup. The TES-ERA is powered by an electric 4JM motor that delivers a total of 164 HP and 247 lb-ft of torque. The motor takes its power from a lithium-ion battery and is mated to a rear-wheel-drive system and the F1 "KERS’ system. With a total weight of 2535 lbs, the TES-ERA EV can hit a top speed of 124 mph.

All we can say is: we want it!

The 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon is just chock full of tuning packages for the Toyota GT 86, or any of its sibling iterations. Next to the GT86 by TRD featured earlier, Toyota has also brought the GT 86 Modellista version to Japan. While both versions mostly focused on adding some flare to the small sports car, they both proved that the GT86 is the perfect car to upgrade, in any way the customer dreams or desires.

The Toyota GT 86 Modellista has received a new front spoiler, a new rear spoiler, and chrome door moldings. Both headlights and rear lights have been modified, with the headlights receiving eye lids to simplify the car’s front and the taillights receiving covers to blend with the rest of the car. The final touch for the exterior is a new set of 18" wheels wrapped in high performance tires and a very cool white exterior paint. There aren’t any details on the interior modifications, but stay with us and we’ll keep you posted!

After seeing tons of teaser images in the past few weeks, we are finally able to get a good look at the new Lexus LF-LC concept during its world debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The concept was designed by Lexus Calty design studio in Newport Beach, California and previews the future design language of Toyota’s luxury arm, bringing in elements from the LF-A supercar and the recently launched GS 350 .

The concept features a bold interpretation of the signature Lexus spindle grille and rear architecture and is defined by a long engine hood, daytime running lights shaped like an "L", a 3D spindle grille, and functional air intakes in the bottom corners of the grille.

"Crafted from a clean sheet of paper at the request of Lexus headquarters in Japan, the LF-LC blends both high technology and organic shapes to connect the driver to the machine," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "The clean lines of the vehicle emphasize motion, creating a distinctive look for this futuristic sport coupe."

UPDATE 01/26/12: Lexus has unveiled a new video that presents the designers talking about the interior and the exterior design of LF-LC concept. Enjoy!

UPDATE 10/18/12:Lexus has unveiled what’s effectively the LF-LC 2.0 at the 2012 Australian Motor Show. It’s called the LF-LC Blue Concept and we have a review for it, too! Good times!

Following the 500 (Cinquecento) and the 500 Cabrio , Fiat has also brought the 500 Abarth - otherwise known as the most powerful 500 currently available - to the American market. The American 500 Abarth Abarth made its debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. It brings world-class performance and precision, purposeful and aggressive styling, and high power-to-weight ratio. The model will be offered in a limited edition.

The new Fiat 500 Abarth still maintains all of the elements from its European version, designed for track-day enthusiasts and driving-purists who want the ultimate high-performance small car with the pedigree of an exclusive Italian exotic. It is powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that delivers a total of 135 HP and a peak torque of 152 lb-ft of torque. The list of standard equipment includes an Abarth-tuned suspension and brake system, a race-inspired design, and technology features not traditionally included on a small car.

"Bringing the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth to the U.S. enables us to reach out to driving enthusiasts who want Italian performance at an attainable price," said Olivier Francois, Head of FIAT Brand and Chief Marketing Officer — Chrysler Group LLC. "With its lightweight, track-tuned handling and purpose-built design, the Fiat 500 Abarth brings to life the legendary racing heritage of the brand and becomes the Italian high-performance car for everyday driving."

UPDATE 12/06/2011: Before its official market launch, the new 500 Abarth made its first stop at Jay Leno’s Garage. Find out what he thinks about the car by watching the video after the jump!

UPDATE 01/12/2012: Chrysler has announced prices for the American version of the Fiat 500 Abarth. The model will go on sale at a starting price of $22,000 (not including destination).

UPDATE 05/02/12: Romanian model Catrinel Menghia is back, only this time, it’s three times bigger, better, and hotter than before. Fresh off of the success of their Super Bowl collaboration, Menghia and Fiat Fiat have returned with three new commercials featuring the smoking hot super model and the equally lovely Italian hatch. Check out the ads and enjoy them!

After being previewed as a prototype at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, the 2013 Acura RDX has finally been dropped into the market. For 2013 model year the RDX is offered in both FWD and AWD versions and prices will range from 34,320 to 39,420 for the model equipped with AWD system and Technology Package.

The 2013 Acura RDX is powered by a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine that now delivers a total of 273 HP - an increase of 33 HP over the current model. This engine will be combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a new lock-up torque converter that will ensure a fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Exterior changes include a longer, sculpted hood, a longer wheelbase and wider track, all-new Amplitude Reactive Dampers, and a new motion adaptive electronic power steering system. For the interior, the company will be offering new sweeping shapes, a matte surface trim, and generous use of leather. The 2013 RDX will also offer larger door openings, more passenger room, increased cargo volume, and a power rear tailgate.

The list of standard equipment includes Pandora internet radio interface, SMS text message feature, a smart entry keyless access system, push-button start, and a three view rear camera.

Updated 04/03/2014: Acura announced today that the RDX will continue unchanged for the 2014 model year, with the only update being a new Kona Coffee exterior paint replacing the previous Amber Brownstone. Hit the jump to learn prices for the 2014 model year.

In the past, Audi has dazzled the crowds in Detroit with a number of vehicles, but in 2012, they have opted to only bring a Q3 Vail Concept equipped for the winter season. The concept was named after the famous winter sports venue in the United States and has been designed for young fans of winter sports who love skiing or snowboarding.

The Audi Q3 Vail is painted in a very cool Energy Red combined with add-on body parts in a matte gray quartz-based paint and vertical struts made from aluminum. The most striking elements, however, are the flared wheel arches and running boards, which Audi will incorporate into the extensive range of Q3 accessories. The front roof-rail support integrates compact, energy-efficient, wide-angled LED lights that illuminate the area around the Audi Q3 Vail. The concept sits on 8.5 J x 20 five-arm wheels.

For the interior, Audi is offering a combination of black, gray, and red. The headlining is made from titanium gray Alcantara and large parts of the interior, including the carpet, are black and edged with narrow strips of red velvet-finish leather.

The Q3 Vail Concept is powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder TFSI engine with direct injection and turbocharging that generates an output of 314 HP and 295.02 lb-ft of torque. The power is transferred to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via a seven-speed S tronic transmission. The concept will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 162.80 mph.

Acura has unveiled the new ILX concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. This concept is a preview of a luxury compact sedan scheduled for launch in Spring 2012. The production version will be offered with a choice of three different powertrains, including Acura’s first-ever gas-electric hybrid.

The Acura ILX is defined by a sleek, sporty, and aerodynamic design language with a smart, spacious, and sporty interior. Under the hood, Acura will place a choice of two engines a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine or a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder. A hybrid version will also be offered with a 1.5-liter gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.

"First time luxury buyers place the highest value on exterior styling, affordability and environmental issues and that’s a virtual definition of what we have created with the new Acura ILX," said Jon Ikeda, head of the Acura Design Studio. "The strategy behind this new model is to position ILX as the first opportunity for many young buyers to enter the luxury market."

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Acura ILX Concept.

Scion only recently unveiled the FR-S sports car - the American version of the Toyota GT 86 - and their racing arm is already unleashing the FR-S Race Car - a racing prototype developed in cooperation with GReddy. The Scion FR-S Race Car made its debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, but will be making its racing debut in the 2012 Formula DRIFT series with veteran driver, Ken Gushi, behind the wheel.

The FR-S Race Car was obviously inspired by the street version, but it will be further adopted for the race track. It will get an improved aerodynamic kit, racing livery, a larger rear wing that will maintain stability at high speeds, and of course, a racing oriented interior with a roll cage that will ensure security in case of a crash. The most impressive part, however, is that the FR-S Race Car will develop an impressive 600 HP - up from the car’s standard 200 HP.

The calendar might have just flipped over to a new year, but that doesn’t mean that auto show fever is subsiding anytime soon, especially since the 2012 North American International Auto Show just opened its doors. Many automakers are on hand to show off their newest concepts and production models, including Honda and their first preview version of the ninth-generation 2013 model set to go on-sale in Fall 2012. The Honda Accord Honda Accord Coupe Concept shows off a new exterior and interior design, as well as a choice of three all-new powertrains, including the first U.S. application of both a 2.4-liter direct-injected engine and two-motor plug-in hybrid system.

At the front of the new Accord will be a revised four-sided honeycomb grille and deeply set multi-reflector headlights, lower fog-light spoilers accented by crystallized chrome inlays, a trunk -lid spoiler, and larger exhaust finishers integrated into the bumper.

"Marking the 30th anniversary of U.S. production, this new ninth-generation Accord will raise the bar again through a tour de force of new Honda powertrain and safety technologies, geared to ensure that Honda and the Accord continue to lead in fuel economy, safety and fun-to-drive performance," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Honda Accord Coupe Concept.

In the middle of all the presentations of the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show was the unveiling of the 2013 MKT and the 2013 MKS , but Lincoln had another ace in the hole. Apparently, Ford’s luxury brand also revealed a teaser image of a car that looks like the next MKZ. It is believed that we will see the new MKZ in January 2012 at the Detroit Auto Show.

Fast forward to today and the Lincoln MKZ Concept has finally been unveiled in all its glory.

The Lincoln MKZ Concept is a take on the company’s design language that will be featured in a number of their future models. Taken as a concept, the MKZ comes with a variety of new features that will look sweet when translated to a production version. The automaker has penciled a production date for later this year so we won’t have to wait long to see what the production MKZ is made of.

More details on the Lincoln MKZ Concept after the jump.


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