Thursday, May 26, 2011

Smaller, High-Revving Turbo V8 in the New Corvette C7?

If there's one thing I hate doing, it's jumping on the "rumor" bandwagon - but with the current C6 generation Corvette coming to an end soon, I'm finding it difficult not to partake in the speculation that GM may be substituting its large V8's for something smaller.
It's no news that basically all manufacturers are going the "forced induction" route when it comes to pushing their vehicles to their limits, but the Corvette is an icon of American muscle! Will it really be the same without a massive traditional V8? Well, as I was reading on The Detroit Bureau,  the new C7 will be targeted towards a completely different demographic. Corvette owners have typically been older American males, so GM wants to cater to a younger crowd with a European-styled V8 that could be as small as three liters, but still deliver around 400 horsepower! Some aesthetic rumors have implied that the C7 may bring back some historic features, such as the split window of the 1963 model - but that rumor is of course unconfirmed.

What I can confirm, however, is that GM’s global design chief Ed Welburn admits that the current interior of the C6 is a massive disappointment, and he is personally overseeing the design of the C7's interior. Since he considers himself a long-time fan of the Corvette, he promises the new design to be "world class," but I'll have to see it to believe it.
Back to the engine, is this a good change? I'm asking myself this very question right now. Since the Corvette's debut in 1953, it has always been stuck to the philosophy of "there's no replacement for displacement," indicating that this is a HUGE overhaul for this sports car. I really can't predict how the C7 will do on the market, but GM really has to make this a work of art in order for it to succeed. There's no word on price yet obviously (which should answer the majority of the comments on this post), but price is really irrelevant at this point anyways.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not One, Not Two, But Three Turbochargers on the Upcoming BMW X3 M?

No, it's not a misprint! BMW's "M" Division in Munich is readying a brand new mid-sized SUV which will possibly be equipped with "tri-turbo" technology. I might add that it is scheduled for launch as early as 2012, which makes me hope they're not rushing this beast out the door to test the market.
The current straight six will apparently be tweaked to 3.2 Liters, up from 3.0L. Although I have no idea how valid this next statistic is, we can apparently expect horsepower somewhere around 450bhp, and can expect it to cost approximately $12,000 more than the current X3.

My guess is that the X3 M will be greeted with good sales figures - judging from the fact that that the current X3 is sold out in the UK until 2012. It`s absolutely astounding to see the advancements that automakers are making with forced-induction technology, and I for one will anxiously await this vehicle`s release... even though I won`t be buying one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is Lamborghini Planning a "Daily Driver"?

Currently, Lamborghini offers two super car models - the Gallardo and the Aventador- but this might soon change with another addition to its line-up.  
News has trickled from a press release that the automaker plans on releasing a third model that will be intended as an "every-day car" that would be designed for daily use.

Although details are sparse at the moment - and believe me; I've looked - there are quite a few theories about what this car will look like. It will most likely use a platform within the Volkswagen Group, and could take on a variety of forms.

For instance, Audi and Porsche (with their R8 and 911 respectively) have proved to their customers that a daily-driver supercar is not only possible, but it's an awesome idea.

I'm personally hoping that they don't design something like the Ferrari FF or the Porsche Panamera.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Worst Vehicles on the Road 2011 - According to Forbes

Forbes magazine recently released its "2011 Worst Cars on the Road" list, and while I wasn't surprised that American manufacturers got hated on substantially, but a couple others such as the Smart Fortwo made me laugh. Here is the full list:

  Cadillac Escalade
  Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
  Dodge Nitro SLT
Chrysler Town & Country
  Mercedes Benz S550
Chevrolet Aveo
  Chevrolet Colorado
Nissan Titan
  Jeep Liberty
  Smart Fortwo

Whenever lists like this are compiled, its important to know the criteria. Forbes took many factors into consideration The Cadillac Escalade for example, although a symbol of wealth and class, topped the list because of its high cost of ownership, poor safety rating, and overall low value.

As I mentioned above, American vehicles are quite prominent on this list. Since Forbes derived its data from Consumer Reports, this is clearly because of low safety reports, low reliability, high maintenance costs, and bad fuel economy.

I can't say I agree implicitly with this list, but instead of ranting I'll just conclude by saying that Consumer Reports seems a bit biased. Luxury vehicles have an obviously higher cost of ownership, but that doesn't necessary make them "the worst vehicles on the road," does it? And not every manufacturer strives to make all of their vehicles the safest (substituting practicality and performance). So although I wasn't necessary looking to buy any of the vehicles on this list, the fact that Forbes proclaimed them the "worst vehicles on the road," does little to alter my thoughts towards them. If anything, I think less of Forbes for being a bunch of jackasses.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Electric Racing to Premiere in United States

Rather than in the UK as previously announced, the race for the EV cup will be occurring in the United States in this upcoming November. The EV cup is a race with exclusively-electric vehicles, and is apparently the first of its kind.
In my opinion, the EV cup is more for technology interest than for any other reason. Statistics show that the general public isn't keeping themselves too well-informed about electric vehicle technology, and probably won't be too interested in this type of competition.

Surprisingly, the US has shown more interest in the EV cup than the UK, which was the reason for the location change.

Expect races to begin in 2012, and expect them to be really quiet and lame.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are We Finally Going to See Some More Turbo-Diesels?

Since when I first began being interested in vehicles, I always wondered why North America wasn't taking the same initiative as Europe when it came to turbo-diesel technology. Turbo-diesel engines are fuel efficient, have tons of torque, and are being under-utilized by most manufacturers.

Luckily, this might soon change. I read an article on Left Lane News (source) about how Cummins is working together with Nissan and the Department of Energy to create a four-cylinder engine that just might change the North American pick-up industry forever.
Rumor has it that Nissan actually has a fully-functional prototype in a testing phase - boasting a 2.8 liter engine and 3.8 liter engine. But the important part of this post is how this will affect driver's wallet. Just how efficient is this damn engine in comparison to what's already on the market?

In comparison to the current Nissan Titan (which may soon have a turbo diesel) the increase in fuel efficiency is approximately double.

Although the new Nissan Titan isn't scheduled until 2016, other manufacturers are likely to follow suit, and you can bet your ass that I'll have a turbo-diesel pickup on my shopping list in a 5 or 6 years.

Friday, May 13, 2011

62MPG Fleet Average Not Likely

Unknown to most American citizens, 18 US Senators and a bunch of hippy environmentalists have been quietly pushing a bill that would require US automakers to have a fleet average of 62MPG by the year 2025. However, numerous letters including one from the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers has the Obama Administration reconsidering this proposal.
Obama, even though he has basically nothing to do with this post.
My opinion is that this proposal will interfere with the American dream of being a bad-ass motherfucker. You see, it is very difficult to be hardcore when your car gets 62MPG.

The official response from the AAM is that the cost increase would be too substantial, at approximately $10,000 per vehicle, and all manufacturers would likely see a significant decrease in sales. Job loss is predicted at 250,000 jobs if the 62MPG fleet average requirement were to take effect.

An official decision on this bill isn't expected to be delivered until next year, but until then Das Auto! says screw the hippies and their hippy agenda, and recommends that you buy a gas-guzzler while you still can.