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Toyota GT 86

For all the good press the GT 86 /FR-S /BRZ triplets are getting — not from me though — sales of the GT 86 are surprisingly slow. The FR-S and BRZ are doing pretty well, but Toyota Europe’s Vice President of R&D, Gerald Killmann, claims that the GT 86 is selling well below target in its major markets.

This puts Toyota in a tough spot because the lagging sales are clearly an indicator that European consumers simply are not satisfied with the GT 86 the way it is. Adding in more special editions or even bumping its performance would likely bring the sales numbers up. On the other hand, that would be a huge gamble, as the slow base-level sales makes it economically tough for Toyota to invest more money in building an open-top or turbocharged variant.

So what should Toyota do? Should it leave the GT 86 as is and allow it to fizzle away into nothingness a la the MR2 of the 2000s, or should it give enthusiasts what they want by chopping the top and dropping in some forced induction?

I say take the bull by the horns and drop limited-run turbo and drop-top models to get a feel for the demand — say 1,000 of each. Given those are gobbled up quickly, then start rolling out more the following year. Chances are that Toyota will stay right where it is, and we’ll witness the great collapse of the Toyobaru triplets within a decade.

Let me know what you think by sounding off in the comments below.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota GT-86.

Source: AutoExpress
Posted on by Simona  

Back in 2009, TopGear took a trip to Romania and tested the "Transfagarasan" road. In the end, the guys were so impressed by the road, that Jeremy called it: "the best road in the world!" I’ve personally traveled that road and generally agree, but that’s only because TopGear never tested the other great road in Romania: Transalpina.

Transfagarasan climbs to 2,034 meters (1,263 miles) above sea level and is 90 km (60 miles) of hard hairpin turns, long S-curves and sharp descents top allow you to really test your driving skills. The only problem is that the speed limit is 40 km/h (about 25 mph), but I doubt that some folks resisted the urge to push their car to its limits. Not to mention that the scenery is simply amazing here.

But, no matter how wild the Trasfagarasan is, it is not as scary as Transalpina, or the "King’s Road" as it is also called. It climbs to 2,145 meters (1,332 miles) and is a little bit longer than the other road at 148 km (91 miles). While it may not offer the same hairpin bends as the Trasfagarasan, driving it is a little bit scarier, given the road is built on the edge of the mountain and when you look down, all you see is large precipice with no end. Also, this road requires you to drive a more powerful car, because at higher altitudes, it climbs really fast and a small engine has no chance of making it.

Of course this is our opinion on the roads, now check out what the guys over Evo have to say about the two Romania roads. They have the advantage of driving a Jaguar F-Type Roadster , so next to some great scenery you will also enjoy an amazing car!

Diesels seem to be breaking their oil-burning, noisy, smokey stigmas that have haunted them for decades as more and more automakers are now offering clean diesels in their lineups. The latest huge influx of diesel models hails from Audi .

The German automaker, which is owned by Volkswagen Group, has announced a huge diesel push with 11 new TDI “Ultra” models, including the new A6 TDI Ultra detailed here. For starters, the "Ultra" in the TDI Ultra name is Audi’s designation for sustainable mobility that is fully available for everyday use — a long explanation for a TDI A6 that gets darn good fuel mileage while not hindering its common usability.

The heart of the matter is a 2.0-liter, four cylinder diesel that produces 190 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque that pushes the A6 from 0 to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds while achieving 53 mpg highway. With stats like that, we don’t mind hugging trees and filing up next to big rigs. Keeping all those trees happy, however, is Audi’s high efficiency SCR system that removes nitrogen oxides from the exhaust. The new system also lets the A6 pass the stringent Euro 6 emission standards with ease.

Backing the 2.0-liter TDI are two optional transmissions: a six-speed manual transmission is standard, followed by the optional seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic automatic. However, opting for the slap-paddle gearbox shoots the A6’s price up €2,250 — roughly $3,000 at the current exchange rates — making rowing your own gears sound evermore attractive.

Furthering the A6 ’s efficiency is the standard start-stop system and driver information center that helps keep track of good driving behavior.

Pricing for the A6 Avant TDI Ultra starts at €42,250 (about$57,000 at today’s exchange rates) and the A6 sedan TDI Ultra starts a little lower at €39,900 (around $54,000). Sales will begin sometime in the first quarter of 2014 and there are no plans yet to release any Ultra models in the U.S.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Audi A6.

Posted on by Simona  

In the past year, we’ve seen cars coming from nearly every corner of the globe and 2014 is kicking off with yet another performance car hailing from a part of the world we typically wouldn’t expect: Netherlands. Meet the Silvermine 11SR, which happens to be the first car to come from the Netherlands.

The 11SR was created from scratch by Frank van Rouendal — a marine engineer and machine constructor — who wanted to design his ideal track-day racer. In his imagination, this car needed to be a two-seat sports car, powered by a mid engine, with a very low weight and built from high-quality materials.

The Silvermine 11SR was built on an unique chassis that was specially developed just for this little racer, and it features an F1 -style safety cell for added safety. The first prototype tested by Silvermine is powered by a Subaru-sourced, 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine with an output of 225 horsepower, but the final car will deliver up to 325 horsepower.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Silvermine 11SR.

Looks like Gymkhana isn’t the only viral phenomena we can expect from Ford these days.

This time a year ago, Ford of Europe released its own version of Ken Block’s now famous Gymkhana race-stunt series. Only that time, the role of Block was played by his inanimate cousin, Mental Block, and the Ford Fiesta rally car used in the stunts measured about four inches long.

So with Christmas once again upon us, the Blue Oval is back at it again with the second installment of Snowkhana, appropriately titled "Snowkhana Two." This time around, the Mental Block and his trusty steed find themselves in the always treacherous jungle called "under and around the Christmas tree."

Like a true savant drifter, Block and the Fiesta navigate around a pile of presents, other toy cars, a dinosaur, and even an excavator truck. And he did it all that while trying not to get too distracted by the cameo appearances of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Darth Vader, and Miley Cyrus riding on a wrecking ball...err...a Christmas ornament.

It’s all in good fun and a reminder to all of us that the holiday season still has the power to bring out the kids in all of us.

Click past the jump to watch Snowkhana One


Whenever the end of the year is upon us, we all spend enough time to take a break from all the holiday shopping to reflect on the year that was.

The same holds true in the automotive industry, except that instead of merely reminiscing, there are those that are in positions to hand out what they deem are the best cars of the year. Last week, 48 journalists from North America voted on the North American Car and Truck of the Year, whittling down the list to three finalists in each category with the winners being announced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show this coming January.

Well, Europe has its equivalent in the aptly named "Car of the Year jury." It consists of 58 members from 22 countries in Europe with representation depending on a specific country’s market size and its "importance in car manufacturing."

A subjective criteria, but okay, we’ll roll with it.

What’s important is that the list of contenders for the prestigious award has been narrowed down to seven finalists, all of which have as much chance as the other to succeed the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf . The winner will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March, giving the "Car of the Year" jury enough time to exhaust every analytical measure possible before making a decision on which car to vote for.

Good luck to all the finalists!

Click past the jump to read about the seven finalists for the Car of the Year award

Posted on by Tushar  
Peugeot 208 GTi

The CEO of Peugeot, Maxime Picat has confirmed to Autonews that the French car maker will make an even hotter version of the 208 hatchback . It will be called the 208 R and Peugeot will place it a notch above the 208 GTi.

Now, the 208 GTi isn’t just a throwaway grocery getter, so to speak, it is as mental as the GTi badge on its hatch indicates.The Peugeot 208 is among the smallest and lightest of the micro-hatchbacks, and the GTi takes it one step further by giving it some poke.

The 208 R would pack even more punch than the GTi, enough to spin its front wheels on demand. Having said that, we don’t expect Peugeot to give it monumental levels of power, or it would just understeer wildly and ruin the fun.

To put it in perspective, the 208 GTi makes use of a 200-horsepower, 1.6 -liter engine, and its top speed is pegged at 143 mph with a dash from 0 to 60 mph taking 6.8 seconds. We expect the 208 R could use the same powerplant as the GTi albeit with a tweaked ECU to push out an extra 20 to 30 horsepower.

Click past the jump for more speculative details on the 208 R

*Image Note: The above image is of the 208 GTi, not the future 208 R.

Source: Autonews
Posted on by Tushar  

Renault-Dacia unveiled the first facelift of its popular compact crossover , Duster during the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show . The Duster has been around since 2010 and was due for a makeover. Renault-Dacia has made subtle changes to the exterior keeping the original proportions of the compact off-roader intact.

With this update, not just about the aesthetics changed though. Dacia has added new features to the compact crossover that push it further up the ladder in its affordable segment of the crossover market.

Renault-Dacia has also added a new engine to the Duster range. The new turbocharged gasoline engine promises to deliver better mileage and decent performance at the same time. The Duster has tasted success in developing markets around the world, and the new model definitely has what it takes to tackle the challenges faced in highly competitive markets like India, Brazil, etc.

Click past jump to read more about the 2014 Dacia Duster

Posted on by Tushar  
BMW i3

The biggest highlight of this year’s Frankfurt motor show has to be the BMW i range, including the production i8 hybrid-electric sports car. If you look at the BMW i range, the Bavarians have taken a giant leap when it comes to putting together sustainable-energy motoring.

Until now, the Toyota Prius has managed to stand the test of time, although of late, sales have been slow despite it being Hollywood certified. Unlike the Prius, the BMW i BMW i 3 is an all-electric hatchback, which means prospective owners would have to live with the anxiety of running out of juice at the wrong time. Hence, critics would choose to disregard the i3 much like any other purely electric automobile.

Now, the U.S. market will see the BMW i3 go on sale in the latter half of 2014, but it hits showrooms next month on the other side of the Atlantic. That said, BMW is taking advance orders for the car, and you will be surprised to know, much like BMW themselves, that more folks are showing interest in the i3 than initially thought.

BMW Europe already has 8,000 pre-orders for the BMW i3, which is way beyond what the company had expected. In fact, BMW is now pondering a further increase in investment to boost production if demand for the car persists. This was confirmed by BMW’s chief financial officer during a press conference.

Are we witnessing a paradigm shift in the way we perceive electric mobility? Well, it is difficult to confirm but the BMW i range has certainly caught the attention of the people. BMW has made huge investments into this project, as some estimates claim that BMW has pumped as much as $2.7 billion into the i range. Even with this massive investment, BMW is set to make a profit on each car sold.

The morale is certainly high at BMW and riding on the success, the company has already trademarked i1 through i9. Quite obviously, the i1 would be the smallest of the i-range and the most affordable. We suspect that the i9 may be a higher-performance version of the i8 , although BMW does not wish to make an M Performance version of the i8.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 BMW i3

Posted on by Tushar  

As part of One Ford , the company will launch a new crossover for sale in late 2014 that is tailored to the universal global preferences of value and style.

The new global SUV will be revealed to the world media at the 2013 LA Auto Show before going on sale almost globally by 2015. So why all the mystery about what the new world-wise five-seat crossover will be?

It is the 2015 Edge, scheduled for display in LA as lightly dressed as a concept car before going on sale in Summer 2014 all over the world.

The current Ford SUV range in Europe consists of the EcoSport and the Kuga that can be categorized as crossovers unlike the new Ford Edge that is planned for launch next year.

The EcoSport and Kuga began life as a "global models" made specifically for certain target markets.

The rest of the Ford model range comprises of hatchbacks, sedans and MPVs that have been popular with folks in continental Europe.

Click past the jump for all the details known so far about the new Ford Edge, including the competition it will face in Europe for the first time.


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