True to its promise of reinventing itself for the new year, Dodge is coming to the 2011 Chicago Auto Show with a roster of R/T edition models, one of which is the hulking mass of power, the Dodge Durango R/T. Joining the Durango R/T at show will be four other R/T models, including the Charger R/T, the Challenger R/T, the Grand Caravan R/T, and the Journey R/T. Incidentally, the last two models are the first of its line to be outfitted with Dodge’s road & track setup.

Similar to the Durango Heat revealed earlier, the Durango R/T comes with a bevy of aesthetic improvements and performance modifications. Essentially, both the Durango R/T and the Durango Heat are the same models except for one pretty important aspect: engine performance. Regardless of the different powertrains, Dodge has set high expectations for both the Durango R/T and the Durango Heat within the full-size SUV segment.

At the Chicago Auto Show, we’ll get a pretty good idea on whether these two gnarly machines are up to the task.

Details on the Dodge Durango R/T after the jump.

Posted on by Matt McDonald 19

Mini has released many new models in the past two years, but its bread and butter has always been the Cooper and it still remains a high priority. Updates to the Mini Cooper have been coming steadily every year since day one. The R50 Cooper that started the revival for the company in the United States was utilitarian compared to these new models and had left much to be desired.

For 2011, the car receives some minor updates that will help keep it viable until a replacement model is introduced. Refinement is the one word that we would use to describe the new model and that does not mean it is as refined as its BMW cousins, just refined enough for a Mini. The refresh may only be minor, but it is helpful to this car in every way.

Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Mini Cooper.

Source: Mini
Posted on by Michael Sheena 2

Chevrolet chose San Diego to launch its long awaited Camaro Convertible. On hand were both the high performance SS models and V6 models that will likely account for more than half of convertible sales. Chevrolet also offered writers the chance to get behind the wheel of V8 and V6 Ford Mustangs for competitive evaluation. We were one of the lucky ones to do so.

The Camaro Convertible offers the same engine choices as the coupe: a 312-hp Direct Injection V6 engine for the standard version and a 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 426 hp for the SS version. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, with an optional six-speed automatic.

The Convertible Camaro will be offered with four-wheel disc brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, and 18", 19" or 20" wheels. The SS model gets Launch Control with a manual transmission to optimize hard-acceleration launches for quicker, more consistent performance.

Update 01/31/2011: General Motors has finally put the Camaro Convertible into production at their Oshawa plant. The first units will arrive at dealerships in February with prices starting at $30,000 for a Camaro Convertible equipped with a 3.6L V-6 engine to $37,500 for the SS version.

UPDATE 05/29/11: We’ve uploaded a new video featuring the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible as it undergoes some extreme testing courtesy of General Motor’s highly entertaining Dept. 180. As always, Dept. 180 takes the testing and puts its own unique twist on it. Pretty enjoyable video if you ask us and something that you can spend three minutes of your life watching.

More details on the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible after the jump.

Like with the sedan version, the Lexus IS Convertible is entering the 2011 model year with interior and exterior updates. Customers will have to choose from two versions: the IS 250C and the IS 350C, with prices ranging from $39,890 to $45,340.

The headlamps are now offered with new LED daytime running lamps and there is a new exterior color - Deep Sea Mica - that replaces the Ultrasonic Blue. For the interior, the IS convertible receives black metallic and silver finished trim to complement its sophisticated and sporty style. Vehicles with the optional Luxury package can now be equipped with Saddle Tan or Light Gray interior selections in addition to Black.

Both versions can be equipped with F Sport Performance Accessories that include performance enhancing parts such as 19-inch forged alloy wheels, brake upgrades, suspension systems, air intake, exhaust systems, and more.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2011 Lexus IS C.

The Honda Accord Crosstour entered the market last year and it is walking into the 2011 model year pretty much unchanged. There are actually just a few changes made on the interior and, of course, a new price that is a little higher than 2010. Like with the previous model year, there will be two trim levels, the EX and EX-L, first priced at $29,790 and the second one at $34,140.

New for 2011, the most frequently used climate control buttons are now positioned on the left side of the control stack, closer to the driver for ease-of-use. Less-frequently used buttons are now positioned on the right side. Under the hood there is the same 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 engine that delivers a total of 271 HP at 6,200 RPM and 254 lb-ft. of torque at 5,000 RPM. The engine is mated to an automatic transmission that includes a new G-force hold control feature along with an RPM rev-matching featuring when downshifting.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour.

In 2010 Infiniti offered a new front fascia for the G Coupe, so some would figure that the 2011 model would come bearing no changes whatsoever because that’s how the auto world typically rolls. That wouldn’t entirely be true. The 2011 Infiniti G will be offered with a new Sport Package on their all wheel drive model and a Navigation Package that joins the Premium Package as standard on the Sport 6MT model. In addition, there are new 18-inch and 19-inch wheel designs. What will stay the same is the fact that the 2011 G Coupe will be offered in four models, with prices ranging from $36,200 to $42,400.

The new Sport Package add special sport-styled seats with thigh extensions and power adjustable torso and thigh bolsters for the driver, unique steering wheel stitching, and high-grip aluminum pedals.

Under the hood there is the same 3.7-liter VQ37VHR V6 engine with VVEL rated at 330 HP and 270 lb-ft of torque. The engine is coupled to a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, downshift rev matching, Drive Sport (DS) mode, and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC).

UPDATE 11/29/2010: Infiniti has released two new commercials to promote their new Infiniti G37. Called the Magical Snowball and the Mischievous Snowball, these two commercials are, of course, a battle between the Infiniti and its German competitors.

Check them out by clicking on the picture above.

Press release after the jump.

The Nismo 370Z is still a child in terms of lifespan with the first model coming into the picture in 2009, so the idea of the 370Z strolling into the 2011MY with an abundance of additions is pretty naive. Instead, and not unexpected, the Nismo 370Z comes back with next to nothing altered. It still carries the same 350 HP V6 engine, racing-inspired exterior and interior styling, a specially tuned suspension, and unique super-lightweight forged alloy wheels. However, Nissan is offering one new exterior color: Gun Metallic.

As we have already mentioned, the 2011 Nissan Nismo 370Z will have a 3.7-liter VQ-series V6 engine that delivers a total of 350hp at 7,400 rpm with 276 lbs of torque at 5,200 rpm. This allows the Nismo Z to hit a top speed of 155mph (electronically limited). The engine is mated to a close-ratio 6-speed manual with Nissan’s “SynchroRev Match” synchronized downshift rev matching system.

The look of the Nismo will stay the same with its extended front nose, integrated chin spoiler, special side sills, unique rear bumper, and functional rear spoiler. The interior includes Nismo logo seats with black and red fabric and red stitching, a Nismo tachometer, steering wheel with smooth leather and red parallel stitching, smooth leather wrapped shift knob and aluminum trimmed pedals. There is also a serialized plaque of authenticity.

Press release after the jump.

The Nissan Z Coupe received a major redesign in 2009, so we didn’t expect anything crazy to come on board when the 2011 model came around. And, as everyone predicted, the 2011 Z Coupe strolled right in with no major updates.

Well, saying that there were no updates is a little unfair. Nissan is offering the addition of a RearView Monitor to the optional Navigation Package and one new exterior color, Gun Metallic. The 2011 Z Coupe will be available in two versions: the 370Z priced at $30,610 and the 370Z Touring priced at $35,280.

Under the hood there is the same 3.7 liter V6 engine with an output of 332 HP @ 7,000 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm. The engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic transmission.

The design for the Nissan takes some lessons right out of the 240Z style book with its sleek aerodynamic shape, a "dynamic motion" feel with a dramatic cantilevered roof, and a "low visual gravity." The interior offers Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with 7-inch VGA touch-sensitive display, 9.3GB HDD Music Box, USB connectivity and iPod connection, XM NavTraffic with Real-Time Traffic Information, RearView Monitor, automatic phonebook download (select phones) and Bluetooth Streaming Audio, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, and standard Nissan Intelligent Key.

Press release after the jump.

Posted on by Bryan 3

The entry-level luxury segment doesn’t get the attention of some of the various other segments, such as the luxury sports sedan category. Yet, attention from car lovers matters about as much to sales as one cloud on a sunny day. Photos on the covers of magazines are all well and good, but sales numbers are what really count.

The reason for this is the fact that companies don’t make a whole lot of money selling a few thousand super expensive machines with plush seats, loads of technology, and a massive motor. Sort of like Rolex and Timex, as one makes a better product, but the latter is far wealthier. So, with so many different automakers trying to soak up the sales of the entry-level luxury game, one would think that sales would be spread, but they’re not. One vehicle has maintained dominance over the herd, theLexus ES .

In the past decade, Toyota has created 600,000 of these sedans in the U.S alone, with another 650,000 in the rest of the world. What makes this even better for the Japanese automaker is the lack of incentives that go along with the ES. These things are selling straight up.

Hit the jump to read on.

With a history of only three years, theInfiniti EX is entering the 2011 model year with a new 7-Speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, and other refinements. The 2011 Infiniti will be offered in four models: EX35 RWD, EX35 AWD, EX35 RWD Journey and EX35 AWD Journey, with prices ranging from $34,150 to $37,750.

Under the hood there is a VQ35HR 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 297 HP and 253 lb-ft of torque and mated to a new 7-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, DS mode with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM), and Adaptive Shift Control. This new transmission replaced the old 5-speed tranny and offers improved fuel economy.

Also new for 2011 is a new white color scheme for gauges and LCD instrument display and three new exterior colors: Arctic Blue, Midnight Garnet, and Graphite Shadow. Other features include standard 18-inch wheels and tires, RearView Monitor, premium audio system, power-up folding 2nd row seat, Lane Departure Prevention system (LDP), Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range), Distance Control Assist (DCA), and Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW).

Press release after the jump.

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