Chicago Auto Show

Chicago Auto Show

The Chicago Auto Show is one of America’s biggest auto events, yet it doesn’t hold the same glamorous standards as that of its counterparts in Detroit, New York, and even Los Angeles.

That being said, a lot of automakers have used Chicago as the venue for their concept debuts and it’s no different this year as Kia prepares to roll out the Track’ster Concept.

The Tracks’ter Concept is being touted as "the ultimate performance" Soul that features an aggressive hatchback body with a low and aggressive bodykit. Looking at the Soul ’s overall design, it should be easy to paint a picture of the Tracks’Ter as a concept that carries a far edgier look to coincide with the Korean automaker’s evolving design language, one that’s a far departure from the conservative approach the company used to be known for.

Performance details on the Tracks’ter Concept have yet to be announced, but considering what we’re looking at and how it’s being touted, we wouldn’t be surprised if it packs the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder powertrain that can be found under the hood of the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Whatever the case may be, we’re all looking forward to seeing the Kia Tracks’Ter Concept make its world debut in Chicago later this month.

There doesn’t appear to be a sports compact car that’s been the subject of more tuning programs than the lovable Fiat 500 . Now, Chrysler’s in-house tuning arm, Mopar, is joining in the fun with the 500 "Stinger."

Built as one of Mopar’s 75th anniversary models, the Fiat 500 Stinger comes to the party packed with a two-stage Mopar program that combines a unique styling upheaval with a bold, high-performance engine modification.

The Stage 1 program deals with plenty of exterior and interior enhancements. For the former, Mopar gave the 500 Stinger a more aggressive appearance, highlighted by a special "Giallo" exterior paint with a matching "whiskers and logo" face and circular Black Chrome projector headlamps. In addition, the head and tail lamps have been tinted while the bodyside was wrapped in vinyl with complimenting black checker roof graphics. Finishing off the exterior details are a new set of 17" Abarth Hyper Black aluminum wheels wrapped in wider 205/40 R 17 performance tires.

As for the latter, the interior of the 500 Stinger continues the Giallo-and-black two-tone treatment of the exterior with Katzkin leather seats. Speaking of the seats, Mopar also added Alcantara seat centers with Giallo black leather bolsters and Giallo accent stitching. A carbon-fiber instrument panel decal has also been added, as was a Mopar shifter ball finished in Gloss Black, completing an interior look that’s a far departure from the usually mild-mannered 500.

While no specific numbers were given on the 500 Stinger’s performance boost, we know that Mopar’s Stage 2 kit ensures all that and more. Included in this program kit are a cold-air intake and free-flowing cat-back exhaust and performance brakes with cross-drilled rotors, allowing the 500 Stinger to deliver even more power and torque, as well as serious track-ready brake performance.

Just like the rest of Mopar’s 75th Anniversary models, the 500 Stinger will be proudly displayed at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show this coming February.

Of all the models in Jeep’s line-up, the one that doesn’t get a whole lot of love is the Compass . We know all about the Grand Cherokee , the Wrangler , and the Liberty , but the Compass isn’t given the same amount of attention.

Whatever reasons that may have, the new Mopar-tuned Compass "True North" model is giving the Compass some well deserved love and affection.

The enhancements done on the Compass are prevalently cosmetic, albeit a comprehensive one. On the outside, Mopar added plenty of modifications, including a new matte black-finished roof, wider wheel flares, black-headlamp and fog-lamp surrounds, rear fog lights, a new lower fascia, a new black grille with body color inserts, custom front and rear brush bars and custom rock rails, and a new set of 16" matte black alloy wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich All Terrain tires to go with a 2" lift kit from Rocky Road Suspensions.

Inside, the Mopar went to great lengths to give the Compass’ interior space with plenty of fine-tweaking. The most notable is a tie-up with renowned audio component manufacturer Kicker. For the ’True North’ model, the latter added a completely new audio system that includes front and rear speakers, an amplifier, a sub-woofer, and lift gate speakers. Outside of the audio system set-up, Mopar also added a custom center stack gauge pod that carries the pitch and roll inclinometer gauges. There’s also a new Mopar bright pedal kit, door-sill guards, a rear-cargo tray, a new shift knob and neoprene seats, all of which adds some serious flair and attitude to the Compass’ interior.

Availability for the Compass "True North" model has not yet been announced, although we expect to hear more about the details at the Chicago Auto Show this coming February.

Nissan 370Z

This news may come as a surprise considering that, before this, we have never heard about an updated version of the 370Z nor have we seen spy shots to indicate its existence. However, it has now been reported that Nissan will be bringing an updated version of the 370Z , both coupe and roadster models, to next week’s Chicago Auto Show.

With an announcement like this, no other information was necessary to create a buzz, so no other details were provided. But since the updated sports car has kept its "370Z" nomenclature, don’t expect any major changes under the hood. We expect it to keep its usual 3.7-liter V6 engine with an output of 332 HP at 7,000 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm. However, we do expect changes in terms of fuel economy because it’s what many, if not all, automakers are focusing on.

Changes will also be made to both the exterior and interior, but considering the model was just launched in 2009, nothing major is expected.

More details will be revealed next week at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, so stay tuned!

January’s 2011 Detroit Auto Show brought with it the production version of the long rumored Veloster , but Hyundai is using the Chicago Auto Show to display a rally version of the car.

The Veloster Rally Car is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission. Making giant leaps across the rally road will be made easy with the engine’s 500hp and all of that power comes with an estimated 40mpg.

This particular version of the Veloster will make its rally debut at the 2011 U.S. Rallycross Championship Series. In fact, three Velosters will be racing during the Rallycross; one will be driven by Rhys Millen, the second will be piloted by rally champion Marcus Dodd and world record freestyle motorbike rider Robbie Maddison, and the third will be driven by to-be-announced celebrity drivers.

Update 02/07/2011: Hyundai has revealed the Rally version of the Veloster coupe today at the Chicago Auto Show.

UPDATE 01/25/2012: Hyundai has unveiled a new commercial for the Veloster Rally Car that shows Join Rhys Millen and crew as they play around with the Veloster Rally Car on the golf course. Enjoy!

Hit the jump to read more about the Hyundai Veloster Rally Car.

Dodge has arrived at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show packed full of yummy offerings for our insatiable appetite. The second model to debut - after the Green With Envy Challenger - is the new 2012 Charger SRT8, and yeah, its got a HEMI. In fact, it has a 6.4L V8 HEMI that delivers a total of 465 HP and 465 lb.-ft. of torque allowing it to make the 0-60mph sprint in just four seconds with a top speed of 175mph. Sales will begin later this year.

"We’re continuing the fast-paced rebuilding of Dodge as our performance brand, and the expansion of our SRT SRT product lineup in 2012 is an important part of our rejuvenation," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Dodge Brand — Chrysler Group LLCs. "The new 2012 Dodge Charger Dodge Charger SRT8 builds on the iconic four-door fastback coupe design of the all-new Charger and adds a much larger power band across the rpm range, along with intelligent performance attributes and safety and creature comforts for customers who are passionate about performance driving."

UPDATE 06/16/2011: When the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 goes on sale in the next months, it will be offered with quite an impressive list of features, including a two-mode active dampening suspension, a sport mode for the transmission, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision mitigation. Other technical goodies comprise of a remote USB port, satellite traffic, remote gas-cap release, and a black/red interior
Check out the full list after the jump.(Allpar)

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8.

Acura’s mid-size luxury sports car has taken to the 2011 Chicago Auto Show stage with some styling, performance, and technological changes for the 2012MY.

Currently in its fourth generation, the Acura TL hasn’t changed its appearance too much over the years, but as one of Acura’s best selling models, making unnecessary changes wouldn’t exactly be the smartest thing. The 2012 Acura TL Acura TL does face a few changes to its look, but nothing that would make buyers shy away from their beloved sedan. For the 2012MY, the Acura TL will get new front and rear styling, a new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission for improved performance and fuel economy, a revised interior, and a host of technology upgrades. Two different version will be up for grabs; the standard model is powered by a 280 HP and the SH-AWD version will get a more powerful 305 HP engine. Both engines can be coupled with a new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission that helps improve fuel economy by 3 mpg compared with the 2011 model.

"The 2012 Acura TL is refined, yet aggressive," said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. "Already known for its great performance, the enhanced TL has a sophisticated new look and an all-new 6-speed automatic transmission that will take performance to the next level."

UPDATE 03/09/2011: Acura has announced today that the 2012 TL will go on sale on March 18, 2011 at a starting price of $35,605. Full pricing list after the jump.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Acura TL.

The sixth generation of Volkswagen’s small family car was only unveiled a short time ago at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, but the German automaker has already found a way to persuade more money out of the wallets of potential Jetta owners with a new version of the vehicle. The 2011 Chicago Auto Show has welcomed the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, a new model that will be offered in three trim levels: base GLI, GLI Autobahn, and GLI Autobahn with Navigation.

The base model will feature a sportier look, a performance-oriented interior, better performance, and an impressive list of standard equipment. The GLI Autobahn then adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated V-Tex leatherette seats, and a Fender-branded audio system. Claim the top-of-the-line GLI and you’ll get all of that plus Volkswagen’s RNS-315 navigation system, keyless entry, and push-button start.

Sales for the Jetta GLI will begin in Spring 2011 with prices starting at $23,495. The GLI Autobahn’s goodies will increase the price to $25,545, while the GLI Autobahn with Navigation is priced at $26,445. The extra $10,000 added to the GLI model may scare some potential owners from looking further, but this version may just have enough style and technology to fully make up for the extra bills.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.

While a lot of automakers these days have been struggling and scrambling to get their footing back in the industry, Hyundai has been one of the few bright exceptions. Continuing on its rapid ascent to the top of the industry, Hyundai’s momentum doesn’t appear to be slowing down - and probably won’t anytime soon.

At the Chicago Auto Show , the Korean automaker will be bringing a couple of new vehicles, including the new Genesis R-Spec version. As a 2012MY, the Genesis R-Spec is the latest in a long line of new variants of Hyundai’s Genesis family.

The 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec comes baring a few aesthetic modifications, as well as a choice of three exterior colors: Black Noir, Platinum Metallic, and Titanium Gray. Being a sportier version of the Genesis, the new model should be available towards the tail end of March 2011 at a price that we are guessing will be similar - albeit a bit higher - to the current base model.

UPDATE 08/08/2011: Check out our review of the 2012 HYundai Genesis R-Spec by clicking here!

Details on the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec after the jump.


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