Back in May, Aston Martin announced the Hybrid Hydrogen-powered Rapide S as a special entry in the 41st ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Now the company has teamed up with Bosch Engineering to develop a plug-in-hybrid variant of the DB9 sports car. Could this be a clear sign that Aston Martin is considering hybridization for its future models?
The car received no exterior updates, except, of course, for the expected Bosch swag so we don’t forget who helped electrify the DB9.
All of the major work was made under the hood, where the two companies combined a V-12 engine powering the front wheels with an electric motor for the rear wheels. As a result, this hybrid DB9 will deliver a total of 740 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.
On top of the amazing output – 230 horsepower and 193 pound-feet of torque more than the base DB9 – Aston Martin also announced a full-electric range of 16 miles. Rumors are also circulating that the hybrid DB9 will be about 10-percent quicker than the standard car.
Bosch equipped the car with the latest ESP system with four different driving modes: safe, sport, drift, and custom. For the interior, Bosch developed TFT dials and an in-car touchscreen system, which obviously will double as a hybrid system monitor.
Click past the jump to read more about the Aston Martin DB9.
A few days ago, Nissan confirmed that its in-house performance division, Nismo, is preparing for big updates for the future. One of the biggest surprises offered by the performance division will be a Nismo version of the current Nissan GT-R.
The future Nismo version will be based on the 2014 GT-R and will add a series of updates that will transform the GT-R into a real track machine, while keeping it perfectly suitable for the road. No other details have been provided, but it’s pretty easy to imagine what the future GT-R Nismo will bring on the market.
On the exterior, Nismo will work on improving the car’s aerodynamics, so you should expect lower front and rear bumpers, wider wings and sill side skirts, plus a huge wing at the rear. On the interior, the Nismo GT-R will get special suede-trimmed Nismo sports seats with red stitching, plus a redesigned steering wheel, pedals, gauges and gear knob.
Under the hood, the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine will be tricked to deliver at least 25 horsepower over the standard 545 horsepower.
The new Nissan GT-R Nismo will hit dealerships in a year’s time. We’ll update you when new information surfaces.
Click past the jump to read about the base 2014 Nissan GT-R
UPDATE 5/1/2013: Nissan executive vice president, Andy Palmer, had a conversation with Autocar and revealed a few snippets of information on the 2015 GT-R Nismo. On the exterior, the majority of the changes will be limited to aerodynamic efficiency and downforce. Additionally, he stated that Nismo will also tune the GT-R’s 3.8-liter engine beyond its base horsepower, stating that "there will be an extra kick" and that they are aiming for the production car record around the Nurburgring.
Update 6/18/2013: In a conversation with the folks at Top Gear, Nissan let slip that the Nismo GT-R would pack “more than 570 horsepower,” plus include improved handling and looks. We figure we’ll see around 575 horsepower by time it is all said and done. (Motor Authority)
The Acura TSX Sport Wagon is a niche model aimed at driving enthusiasts who don’t want to sacrifice handling and style to accommodate small families or dogs. Despite sales running far below the more mainstream RDX crossover, the TSX wagon is a unique offering in a segment where most competitors are ditching wagons in favor of compact SUVs.
There are a few caveats with the TSX wagon versus the sedan: the wagon is only offered with the base four-cylinder paired with a five-speed automatic. The 2013 TSX sedan is offered in a manual for the four-cylinder as well as a V-6 automatic in top trims.
Wagons make sense by maintaining a low center of gravity for better handling while also packing more versatile cargo areas. Additionally, Audi claims that wagons are more stable at ultra-high-speeds versus sedans and coupes by offering a long, flat roof and a chopped rear end.
The TSX wagon emphasizes handling above both acceleration and interior room. Acura owns this segment since all mainstream sedans have ditched their wagon variants. The new Mazda6 may come to the U.S. in a wagon body in mid-2014, but it is not likely due to the Mazda CX-5 crossover’s success with buyers. The only other non-crossover wagon on the sub $40,000 radar is the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen that looks dreadful but undercuts the TSX in price.
Click past the jump for the full review of the Acura TSX Sport Wagon.
With the new 500L, customers will enjoy the same performance figures offered by a 2013 500, but thanks to a total length increased by 27.7 inches, the 500L offers 42-percent more interior room.
The model adds two more doors and, thanks to its increased height and width, it will offer the best-in-class interior volume of 120.1 cubic-feet. Everything else remains pretty much identical to any other 500 model, but an extra segment-exclusive glass A- to D-pillars will provide nearly 360-degree panoramic views.
Fiat adds in the all-new Uconnect 5.0 and 6.5 touchscreen systems.
The 500L will be offered in four trim levels: Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge and will be priced from $19,100.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Fiat 500L.
The TSX is one of Acura’s sportiest models with European suspension tunes keeping the front-drive sedan interesting to drive. It competes with low-spec Lexus IS models, base Audi A4s, the new Mercedes-Benz CLA250, as well as numerous mid-size cars, like the Hyundai Sonata Turbo.
The big news for the model is that last year’s Special Edition model continues into 2013 packing a deeper front bumper, some tasteful side skirts and a new rear bumper that emphasizes the TSX’s dual exhaust pipes. The SE is one of the cheapest trims and is offered on the four-cylinder models only. Coming with either a six-speed manual or no-cost automatic transmission, the Special Edition also dresses up the interior with unique lighting, red stitching and some great-looking aluminum pedals.
The TSX has been Acura’s cheapest model since its 2003 introduction, but the bottom rung is now occupied by the Civic-based ILX sedan. The TSX is not much larger inside than the ILX but packs more refined driving manners, better handling, and an optional V-6 that dramatically improves performance, but it comes with some drawbacks versus the high-revving four that powers most TSX’s.
Refreshed in 2011, the TSX is looking very familiar and tired in standard trims, making the Special Edition more desirable than ever. The TSX’s primarily German competitors have all moved up a size and price class in the 10 years since the TSX debuted, soon to be replaced by future compact sedans from Audi and BMW.
Click past the jump for the full review of the Acura TSX Special Edition.
Audi recently refreshed the entire R8 lineup, with exception to the GT version - the most powerful variant. Now, our spy photographers have caught what appears to be a refreshed version of the R8 GT, or possibly even the R8 GT Plus, out testing. The car was caught at the Quattro GmbH engineers’ testing track and it looks meaner than ever.
Why do we think this could be the Plus version? Well, because it features some updates that clearly indicate this is no normal R8 GT. These features include: a new chin spoiler for added downforce up front; large brake calipers; and what look to be carbon-ceramic, cross-drilled brake rotors. Around back, we find yet another GT Plus tipoff: a huge wing that looks like it is built from carbon fiber.
On top of the GT Plus-like elements, this prototype also features front quarter panel winglets, like we see on the current R8 GT.
Under the hood, the next R8 GT Plus will get a 5.2-liter V-10 engine that produces somewhere between 575 and 600 horsepower.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi R8 GT Plus.
Back in July 2012, Audi announced the 2013 SQ5 TDI, which is the first S model in Audi’s history to bear a diesel engine. That’s all well and good, but what if you really want the new SQ5, but are not a big diesel fan? Well, then you will have to wait for the petrol version to debut. And it will next week at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
The new Audi SQ5 TFSI will be specially developed for markets like United States, Canada and China, while in Europe the only version available will be the TDI one.
The model will be offered with the same "S" model upgrades seen in the TDI version: standard 20" wheels in triple-spoke design, a platinum gray radiator grille and of course a quadruple exhaust tips. Despite this similarities, the new petrol version has the advantage if being a little bit more powerful than the previous TDI engine, so the American customers will enjoy an extra 40 horsepower.
Updated 06/17/2013: Audi USA announced today prices for the 2014 Audi SQ5 that will arrive in U.S. showrooms later this summer. Click past the jump to learn how much you have to pay for the first-ever S variant of any Audi Q model.
Now that we have finally seen the next-generation BMW 3 Series, it’s time to focus on the coupe version of the model, AKA the 4 Series Coupe. First details on the new 4 Series Coupe have just been released and the production will start in July 2013.
When thinking about the new 4 Series Coupe, think of it as a small 6 Series with design elements inspired by the 3 Series sedan. When compared to the model it replaces, the 4 Series Coupe is larger in width and wheelbase and sits considerably lower to the road.
Everything else on the new 4 Series Coupe is clearly inspired by the 3 Series sedan, including the double-kidney grille, headlights and engine lineup.
The 4 Series Coupe will be followed by a convertible model shortly.
Update 06/14/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.
Click past the jump to read more about the new BMW 4 Series Coupe.
The new Nissan Altima is enjoying a sales up-swing at the moment following a $580 price cut that took effect May 3 of this year. The cheapest Altima’s are now just below $22,000 up to just above $30,000 for the loaded V-6 SL model. This comes on the back of poor launch sales and critiques of the marshmallow driving characteristics.
The big news for the 2014 Altima is the introduction of an all-new, Nissan-developed hybrid drivetrain option.
From extensive technical previews of the new supercharged 2.5-liter four plus Li-Ion battery packs, Nissan is clearly proud of the system and will also roll it out on the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid for the first time.
Pre-2011 Ford and Nissan hybrids used technology from the Toyota Prius for the electrified system components including the transmission, power inverter, battery, and charging control unit via a licensing agreement. The Toyota-supplied components were then married to Ford or Nissan platform and engine designs.
As a result, the Altima Hybrid drove a lot like the Prius despite using a more-powerful gasoline engine for primary power. This is set to change with the new 2014 Altima Hybrid. The supercharged four-cylinder should deliver good torque and the use of lithium-ion batteries will mark a first for a mainstream, value-oriented hybrid sedan.
Will one Hybrid be enough to battle the Camry Hybrid, the Plug-in Honda Accord and the two hybrid variants of the Ford Fusion?
Click past the jump for the full review of the new Nissan Altima Hybrid.