2017 Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept
With mud still on its face from the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen is dead set on cleaning up its image. Gone is its focus on diesel and gasoline powerplants, now replaced by an all-electric future. While the internal combustion engine still has many years left with the German automaker, its executives have set a goal of 1 million EV sales a year. That’s a massive undertaking, but Volkswagen seems properly poised for the sprint. The latest in VW’s charge is the I.D. CROZZ, an all-electric crossover designed for mass appeal. The I.D. CROSS just debuted at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and is said to be entering production by 2020.
While the name will likely change, the I.D. CROZZ will hopefully keep its futuristic design. The chance is pretty good it will, in fact, thanks to comments made by Klaus Bischoff, VW’s head of design. He said at Shanghai "If it was ever possible to make a 100-percent certain prediction of what the future will look like, here it is. In 2017, we are showing how Volkswagen will be transforming the roadscape from 2020.”
While Bischoff might be a bit overly optimistic, his words give a sense of optimizing that Volkswagen will adopt this new design language across its lineup. It’s impossible to be disappointed, thanks to a greater degree of shape, style, and attitude than anything currently flowing from VW’s factories. The I.D. CROZZ doesn’t look like an appliance, but rather a sculpted piece of art. Sure, the production version will look a bit more conventional, but we’ve got high hopes that Volkswagen’s future looks much more sensual – not to mention emissions-free.
Continue reading for more information.
Since going under the control of China’s Geely, Volvo has been steadily making improvements. We already know all about the new XC90, but at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo showed off a super-luxurious version of the new SUV that it dubbed the XC90 Excellence. With its 2+2 seating and bottle chiller, this Swedish luxo-cruiser looks prepped to take on the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
From its debut in the 2003 model year through 2014, the XC90 remained nearly unchanged, as Volvo’s focus was mostly on making the model as safe as possible. For the 2016 model year, however, the SUV underwent a complete overhaul, making it more luxurious and dynamic than ever before.
Can this decked-out version of Volvo’s largest SUV really make it as a contender to the two stalwarts in the super-luxury segment?
Updated 03/25/2016: Volvo released pricing details for the XC90 Excellence when it debuted at the New York Auto Show. It will be produced in limited numbers, and will have a starting price of $104,900.
Continue reading my full review of the 2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence to find out.
For more information on the standard 2016 Volvo XC90, you can read our full review here.
Most of the products that were unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show have little relevance for car buyers in the U.S., but the debut of China’s 2016 Buick Verano is a look into the crystal ball for Buick showrooms here. After seeing strong sales in its first two model years on the market, last year saw a small drop in sales that put the Verano as Buick’s fourth-best-selling model (out of five products), so an update to the bottom of its lineup is definitely needed. Although branded a 2016 model year in China, there were doubts on whether the new compact sedan will arrive in the North America in time to be labeled as a 2016 model. Turns out, Buick was able to do that, too, as the 2016 Verano has now been announced in the US. Even with most of the major auto shows over in the U.S., Buick was able to squeeze in the announcement of the 2016 Verano in time for the last auto event on the calendar. The timeline looks stretched now but don’t be surprised to see the new U.S.-spec Buick Verano make its official debut at the LA Auto Show in November 2015.
Updated 08/13/2015: Buick announced today the addition of the new Sport Touring (ST) models to the 2016 Verano lineup. They will be distinguished by distinctive exterior cues, like special 18-inch wheels and a rear spoiler, plus additional equipment to the interior.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Buick Verano.
The Lexus ES debuted in 1989 for the 1990 model year as the ES 250, which was little more than a badge-swapped Toyota Camry. Lexus quickly regrouped for the 1992 model year with the release of the ES 300, but it wasn’t until the 2002 model year that Lexus began separating the ES from the Camry it was based upon. The ES went through another change with the release of the ES 330 for the 2004 model year, and then Lexus released the ES 350 for the 2007 model year. For the 2013 model year, the ES 350 received a full overhaul, and now with its third birthday on the horizon, Lexus released a refreshed version of the luxury sedan.
The new Lexus ES, which arrived in time for the 2016 model year, debuted at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. As with most facelifts, visual updates are mild while the drivetrain was carried over from last year’s model. Will this revision help or hinder the best-selling sedan in the midsize luxury segment?
Updated 07/10/2015: Lexus offered details on the North American version of the new ES. As expected, the model will be offered in two version: ES 350 and ES300 h. Both models will be put on sale later in the fall.
Continue reading my review of the 2016 Lexus ES to find out.
Ferrari has introduced a bespoke California T created by the company’s Tailor Made division at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. Built specifically for the Chinese show, the California T "Tailor Made" illustrates how Ferrari’s customization program allows clients to commission unique cars. The bespoke convertible joins the FF Dressage Edition and the F12berlinetta Polo Edition, which Ferrari unveiled with the same purpose when it opened its first Tailor Made Center in Asia Pacific in 2014.
But while the Dressage and Polo Editions were inspired by horsemanship and the game of polo, respectively, they also celebrated the Chinese Year of the Horse. The California T "Tailor Made" is inspired by two style icons from the past: actress Ingrid Bergman and former First Lady of the U.S., Jacqueline Kennedy. As usual, the Italians opted for an understated exterior and an extensively customized interior, with all sorts of unique and luxurious features.
Much like the FF Tailor Made showcased a few months ago, this California T is here to prove there’s always room to improve a Ferrari; all you need is a fat wallet.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari California T "Tailor Made" Edition.
Lexus only recently unveiled the 2016 RX, and it has a completely new look that some may love and others, not so much. At the Shanghai Auto Show, Lexus revealed a new addition to the redesigned RX lineup, in the form of the RX 200t.
The Lexus RX lineup dates back to the 1999 model year, which was when the U.S. first laid eyes upon the RX 300 crossover SUV. In 2004, the RX gained a new look, a 3.3-liter engine, and a new name: RX 330. In the 2007 model year, the RX’s engine grew again to a 3.5-liter V-6, which meant that a name change to the RX 350 also took place. Following its change to the RX 350, the SUV received a new look in 2010.
With its new four-cylinder addition for the 2016 model year, the RX is treading into new waters for this segment, as neither the Acura MDX nor the Infiniti QX60 have four-pot offerings. Is this movement to a smaller, turbocharged engine a good move for Lexus?
Continue reading my review of the RX 200t to find out.
It’s been five years since production of the fourth-generation Infiniti M began in 2010, and nothing much has changed except for receiving a hybrid drivetrain in 2012 and being renamed as the Q70 in 2014. For the 2015, however, the Japanese introduced a refreshed design and a long-wheelbase version made available in both the U.S. and China. At the Shanghai Auto Show, Infiniti took things up a notch by unveiling the Bespoke Edition, a Q70L fitted with an exclusive interior that borrows from other concept cars the luxury brand introduced recently.
"Today’s display reinforces Infiniti’s distinctive design language of power and artistry, with the Q70L translating that seamlessly into an interior treatment," said Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Company.
The Q70L Bespoke Edition was unveiled alongside the Q60 Concept and the Q80 Inspiration, which made their official debut in Asia and likely preview future production cars.
Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti Q70L Bespoke Edition.
There have been rumors and reports of a plug-in hybrid version of the upcoming CT6, but they remained unconfirmed until now. Today, at the Shanghai Auto Show, Cadillac confirmed that there will indeed be a plug-in version of its upcoming flagship.
When Cadillac first unveiled the 2016 CT6 at the 2015 New York Auto Show, it arrived with a trio of engine options. The smallest of the group was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumped out 265 horsepower. The two optional engines were both V-6s, but one was a 3.6-liter that produced 335 horsepower, while the other was a twin-turbo 3.0-liter with 400 ponies.
As of 2015, it appears as if the CT6 PHEV will only have to butt heads with the Mercedes S550 Plug-In Hybrid, as neither Audi nor BMW have released range-topping plug-in hybrid sedans. With the hybrid flagship market still in its very early stages, can this thrifty but expensive sedan thrive?
Continue reading my full preview of the 2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV.
Volkswagen is debuting the C Coupe GTE Concept vehicle at the Shanghai auto show this year, positioning it as a chiseled looker of a luxury-liner for the Chinese market, with tons of technology and comfort, and an efficient hybrid drivetrain. On the outside, you’ll find ambient lighting, and lines similar to those seen on the Sport Coupe Concept from Geneva. This car, however, is much larger, slotting between the Passat and Phaeton in terms of catalog hierarchy. Inside, you’ll find chauffeur-oriented equipment up front and lounge kit in back. It’s ideal for the busy businessperson, and surprisingly, somewhat realistic for a concept car.
VW says it’s a premonition of things to come from its most expensive models: “The future of the new Volkswagen premium class models is indeed starting in Shanghai because the C Coupe GTE very clearly shows the new ‘face’ of top Volkswagen saloons for the first time and an unparalleled superior design presence,” says Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen brand. "The sports saloon unequivocally demonstrates our premium standards. The evolution of the Volkswagen design DNA shown here will accompany us worldwide – also on the way to the new Phaeton.”
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen C Coupe GTE Concept.
GM is currently celebrating its 10th year of operations in China, and has chosen to celebrate by debuting a seriously wild concept car. Called the Chevrolet FNR, the concept debuted at the Shanghai Auto Show in all of its weird, futuristic glory. The concept is not meant as something you could at all realistically see in production any time soon, but rather to attract attention from younger potential customers by giving them a glimpse of something to look for down the road. The concept is therefore packed full of all manner of hypothetical technology currently still in development.
Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet FNR concept.
With the announcement of a production version of the 2012 A6 L e-Tron, Audi attempts to answer two problems posed by the Chinese luxury-car market at the same time. The first of these is something that the A6 L in its regular form already addresses, the Chinese obsession with rear legroom. But the more important issue is that of fuel economy, and this the new car does quite well. This economy comes at a bit of a price when it comes to power, but this is a car intended only for the Chinese market, and China very much has its own set of rules. The car was first shown as a concept back in 2012, and has received a few tweaks since then.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Audi A6 L e-tron.
As we inch closer to the full-electric car taking the place of gasoline-fueled cars, we are seeing a transition to plug-in hybrids. These models give buyers a short EV distance and a standard hybrid setup for longer journeys. The Audi Q7 has already joined these ranks with the 2016 Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, and now it is spreading the e-tron love to China with the Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI.
I don’t know exactly why Audi decided to use a different engine in the China-spec Q7 e-tron, but I can only assume that it is because diesel engines are not popular there. In the U.S., we’ve had the same issues with diesel vehicles, but Audi’s never been overly shy about offering diesel-powered cars here.
How does this China-exclusive version of the Q7 e-tron stack up next to the already unveiled TDI version?
Find out by continuing to read my full review 2015 Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI.
Though the Peugeot 308 R Hybrid is just a concept car, it’s pretty amazing how quickly this performance hybrid stuff has begun to trickle down from hypercars to high-volume vehicles. With a combined output of 500 horsepower between a gas engine and two electric motors, the 308 Hybrid R has as much power as a 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and Peugeot could see this type of hybrid technology as a key to retaking its place on top of the very competitive French hot-hatch segment.
Peugeot dominated the European hot-hatch scene in the 1990s with cars like the 205 GTi and 106 Rallye. Fantastic cars by the accounts of our (older) counterparts in Europe, but then the company decided to refocus its efforts on building dull people-moving appliances that appeal more to accountants than Juha Kankkunen wannabes (In case that reference is a bit too obscure, Kankkunen won the WRC in a Peugeot 205 T16 in 1986). Since then, French compatriot rival Renault has become the go-to purveyor of fast, French hatchbacks. The question now is, can hybrid powertrains help Peugeot take back a genre it helped define?
Continue reading to learn more about the Peugeot 308 R Hybrid.
Volkswagen’s family of sporty Scirocco hatches just got bigger at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, where the Germans unveiled the GTS, a new trim level that will slot below the range-topping R model. The GTS will go on sale in both Europe and China later this year, with an array of new features that won’t be offered on other trim levels anytime soon. As with the rest of the current Scirocco lineup, the GTS won’t cross the pond to the U.S., remaining a Europe- and Asia-exclusive model. I might as well add it to my "Top 10 Cars We Can’t Have in the U.S." list.
The GTS revived a nameplate Volkswagen first introduced in 1982 for the second-generation Scirocco. Offered until 1985, the GTS received an 84-horsepower engine, which was later upgraded to 110 horses. Distinctive features included "GTS" decals on the sides and the golf-ball shift knob. Aimed at drivers in their 20s, the GTS was a success, with nearly 19,000 units sold in less than four years. Will the GTS be as successful more than three decades later? Keep reading to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Scirocco GTS.
The first rumors about a new Maserati sedan placed under the current Quattroporte appeared at the beginning of 2010, but after a couple of months of heating up the air waves, the new car fell by the wayside while everyone made room for the new Audis, Ferraris, and such. Now, with just two weeks before the car’s official debut in Shanghai, Maserati has dropped the first details on its latest addition to the lineup.
Based on the same platform as the new generation Quattroporte, the new Ghibli sedan features a sportier character when compared to its big brother. Also, unlike previous rumors, for the new Ghibli, Maserati will only use two V-6 engines, while the V-8 engine used in the Quattroporte won’t be used.
Maserati revealed nothing on the car’s price just yet, but considering the new Ghibli will play a significant role in Maserati’s growth plan to sell 50,000 cars per year, we expect the price to be kept somewhere in the $70k area.
Updated 03/26/2014: Maserati unveiled a new video showing the new Ghibli in action at the Nurburgring. Enjoy!
Updated 11/20/2014: The 2015 Maserati Ghibli made its debut at the 2014 Los Angeles and it came with a series of small updates. For the new model year, Ghibli received standard navigation and Bluetooth, plus new standard brake caliper finish and contrast stitching. Also, a three-month subscription to the SiriusXM "All Access" package is offered for all customers.
Hit the jump to read more about the future Maserati Ghibili.
Everyone was expecting to see a revised version for the Panamera luxury sedan, but Porsche decided to call it "the second generation." The model will make its world debut at the 2013 Auto China in Shanghai and will be put on sale later in July.
The second-generation Panamera adds a new S E-Hybrid model to the lineup, plus two new luxurious Executive versions. Also, 4 and 4S models get an all-new engine to help increase efficiency while not killing its performance.
Updates made to the exterior are inspired by the new-generation Porsche 911. Up front, we will see more prominent lines, larger air intakes and redesigned headlights. For the rear, the model will add a wider spoiler and redesigned rear lights.
Update 04/02/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.
Update 08/09/2013: Porsche has unveiled a new promo video unveiling the design process behind the new generation Panamera luxury sedan.
Hit the jump to read more about the 2014 Porsche Panamera.
The Qoros 3 made its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show. The sedan is a Chinese car that looks to crack the western market.
The new Qoros automotive brand is looking to go International with their cars. Chinese cars do not have a great sales history in Europe or the United States, but the new brand is trying to change all of that.
The first car that will be available for sale is the Qoros 3 Sedan. The compact sedan was designed with marketing to China and Europe in mind. Unlike other cars to have come out of China that have a reputation of being knockoffs, the new car has styling all its own. Beyond what looks like good styling, the company is promising to build a quality car. If the quality can match the styling of the car then Qoros could do for the Chinese car market what Honda did for the Japanese market.
Beyond the compact sedan that is close to production, a 3 hybrid hatchback concept was also presented in Shanghai. A 3 Estate concept was also unveiled at the show, which showed the direction that the young company wants to take their cars.
Hit the jump to read more details about the Qoros 3.
General Motors has unveiled the Envision at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show. While the concept itself won’t be put into production, the company says it "represents a convergence of future ideas and technology for Buick in the market."
The Envision Concept was developed by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), and according to GM, integrates global design with local aesthetics for the China market, adhering to Buick’s "dynamic, fluid, quiet and comfortable" design essence.
The Envision has inherited Buick design DNA and taken the Buick global design language to a new height. It makes a significant statement for Buick styling and technology, and will influence upcoming models from the brand," said Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design.
And, in trend with all the latest concept cars, the Envision incorporates GM’s world-leading PHEV plug-in hybrid system.
Updated 04/18/2011: This review has been updated with the official images and details on the new Buick Envision Concept. Hit the jump to read the full details.
With just a few days before its official debut at the Shanghai Auto Show, Audi’s has unveiled the official details on their smallest SUV in the line-up, the Q3. At least the smallest at the moment, as it will be followed by the Q1 in the future years.
The Audi Q3 weights 3,307 lbs and measures 4.39 meters in 14.4 ft, 6.0 ft in width, and 5.25 ft in height, while the luggage compartment offers 16.24 to 48.2 cu ft of capacity. The Q3 will be available with all the latest technologies, including the MMI navigation plus – a hard drive navigation system – and the Bose surround sound system, with handsomely illuminated woofers up front.
Customers will have the chance to choose from three engines: one TDI and two TFSI units, with power ranging from 140 HP to 211 HP. A new diesel engine will be offered at a later date and will deliver an impressive fuel economy of 45.23 US mpg.
In Germany sales will begin in June at a price of 29,900 euro, or about $43,000 at the current exchange rates.
Updated 04/13/2011: This review has been updated with the official details and images on the car. Hit the jump to read more about the Q3.
Panamera made its world debut in April at the Shanghai Motor Show. It will be the fourth stand alone model in Porsche’s line up (next to the the 911, Boxster/Cayman and Cayenne). Sales will begin in late summer of next year.
Porsche has learned a hard lesson with cars like the 928. It seems people know Porsche best for the 911, so now design doesn’t stray too far from the 911. This is why even though the Panamera is a front-engined car, it still looks like a stretched Carrera. The Panamera will measure 76.0 inches in width, 55.8 inches in height and has an overall length of 195.7 inches.
Porsche revealed today details on two different trim-levels: Turbo and 4S. Unlike the 911 and Boxster/Cayman, the Panamera will not have a boxer engine. Instead the lineup will take its cues from the Cayenne and have engines in the more traditional V6 and V8 arrangements. Power will range from 300 to 500 bhp depending on trim level and will be mated to either a manual six-speed gearbox or seven-speed Double-Clutch Gearbox (PDK). Porsche is also preparing a hybrid version for the near future.
Full details in the press release after the jump.
Introducing the BMW Concept CS, Germany’s leading manufacturer of premium automobiles is presenting the vision of a unique four-door car which combines the exclusivity of a genuine luxury Gran Turismo with the fascinating thrill of a high-performance sports car. This unique combination never seen before offers the perspective to enjoy sheer driving pleasure in a dimension quite unprecedented in the world of motoring. Indeed, the BMW Concept CS is a new definition of design culture. Concentrating on powerful, expressive design, materials of the highest quality, and quality of finish in perfection, this unique new model offers a completely new understanding of premium quality.