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Archive for the ‘rumors’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Is Ferrari Preparing To Use The "GTO" Name Once Again?

There are certain model name near and dear to Ferrari’s heart. You can tell this by how often (or sparingly) the company uses them. A case can be made that one of the most important names in Maranello’s portfolio is Gran Turismo Omologato, or more popularly known by its acronym, GTO. To date, Ferrari has only used the GTO name three times, most recently in 2011 with the 599 GTO, which joined the 250 GTO and the 288 GTO as the only Prancing Horse models with this nomenclature. Prepare yourselves though, because we could be seeing a fourth GTO model on the horizon.

While there’s no confirmation yet on Ferrari’s plans, Autocar reported that Maranello is preparing a hardcore version of its 488 super car and the name that’s being considered is 488 GTO. It would certainly make sense to bring back the GTO name for such a model, distinguish with Ferrari’s “more power, less weight” credo. That usually translates to the car being faster and more powerful than its standard guise. There’s no official word yet on how much power the 488 GTO is slated to pack, but the goal it seems is to get it up to north of 700 horsepower, giving at least 40 extra ponies to work with compared to the 488 GTB. At the very least, the expected power goals will put the 488 GTO well above the Lamborghini Huracán 640-4 Performante and a cartwheel away from the 710-horsepower McLaren 720S.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Could Saab Be Making A Dramatic Return To The Auto Industry?

The cautionary tale that is Saab still serves as a reminder to everyone in the auto industry about the fickle nature of the business. The once proud Swedish automaker closed shop in 2010 and has never been heard from since. But a new report from Swedish newspaper SvD Naringsliv could point to the return of the Saab name in the industry. The only caveat is it’s not going to be the same Saab that folded six years ago; it’s the aviation and defense company Saab Group, the same firm that split from the automaker in 1990 after General Motors bought the latter.

See, as much as Saab the automaker was a failure since the brand split, the Saab Group has thrived as a military contractor, developing aircrafts, missiles, computer software, and radar systems. The company’s expertise in these respective fields is a big reason why the company is looking at making a push to enter the auto industry and have the success its old partner failed to get on a consistent basis.

Don’t expect this Saab to start building cars anytime soon though because the company is specifically looking into autonomous driving technology with the idea that it could adapt its “Gripen E” radar to self-driving cars once that market has matured into something that could revolutionize the auto industry. According to Saab, Gripen E is a revolutionary radar system that can handle information more than the conventional systems that are being developed by automakers. The software’s capability is largely tied into its circuits being made from Galliu nitride, which can handle extremely high power loads, something that’s going to be expected for radars that will be used by self-driving cars in the future.

Saab’s interest isn’t just being thrown around as a possibility; it’s actually already had discussions with a number of European automakers about a possible venture down the road. CEO Hakan Buskhe also said that it’s already making preparations to start a new company by the first quarter of 2017, one whose sole purpose would be to assemble the software solutions it needs to make as it begins to make its move towards the auto industry.

Think of this new development anyway you can. The point is that the Saab company that saw its business thrive is banking on being a major player in the rapidly evolving self-driving car business. Only time will tell if it’s going to succeed, and that “success” will be largely tied into how self-driving technology evolves. But it is nice to see the words “Saab” and “cars” being mentioned in the same sentence again. It’s been a while.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon HSV to Give the Commodore a Very Fitting Farewell

With Holden slated to end production at the end of 2017, It’s only a matter of time before the Holden name is associated with badge-engineering. This means that awesome models like the Commodore will be gone forever. But, before that happens, HSV just might give the Commodore one last hurrah – one that’s fitting of an iconic car such as this. First, there’s the GTS-R that we learned about after HSV trademarked the name last year. Now, if reports from Motoring are to be believed, the Commodore will also get a more powerful version that uses the supercharged V-8 from the previous Corvette ZR1.

This means that for Holden’s final year as an auto manufacturer, it will bring out two awesome versions of the Commodore. The GTS-R is expected to come standard with GM’s 6.2-liter LSA V-8. The rumors so far have yet to produce working performance numbers, but the current GTS makes 577 horsepower and 538 pound-feet, so it should have at least that on tap, if not more. Then there’s the beefier version that’s being called the GTS-R W1, which is apparently still in development but with the ZR-1 engine should come with up to 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque on tap. That makes it a four-door ZR-1 in about every way.

With that kind of output, the W1 could turn out to be the question Australian-built model with a 62-mph sprint that comes as quickly as 3.5 to 3.7 seconds – now that’s one fast sedan. To put that into perspective for you, the new Porsche Panamera runs the 62-mph sprint in as quick as 3.6 seconds with 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet on tap. The Maserati Quattroporte comes with 523 horsepower, 524 pound-feet, and a 4.6-second sprint to 62 mph. Holden may be living on borrowed time, but it’s going to climb into the ring with the big boys before it goes.

Keep Reading for the Rest of the Story

PostHeaderIcon Beefier Version of the BMW M2 Could get its Engine from the M4

There’s been a lot of talk about BMW working on a more powerful version of the M2, and rumors keep pouring. Word of a beefed-up M2 got out in 2015, speaking of the coupe being in line for a package similar to the M4 GTS, but with a “CSL” badge on its trunk lid. Now, a new report claims that the upcoming model could be named the CS and borrow its drivetrain from the BMW M4.

That’s the word from German outlet Bimmer Today, which claims that BMW will launch a more powerful M2 Clubsport (CS) for the 2018 model year with a new version of the N55 twin-turbo inline-six that motivates the M3 and M4 instead of the current single-turbo six-cylinder unit. The new mill would bring a power bump compared to the current M2, but don’t expect the new rating to be identical to that of the M4. In order to maintain a gap between the two performance coupes and prevent nameplate cannibalization, the M2 CS would arrive with some 400 horsepower. That’s 35 horses more than the standard M2 and 25 horsepower less than the M4.

The report also claims that M2 CS could also receive suspension components from the M4, thus making it even more track-focused than the standard model. The recipe is similar to what Porsche did with the Cayman GT4, which features various chassis parts from the 911 GT3. Interestingly enough, the M2 is already a solid competitor for the Cayman GT4 if we ignore the radically different engine layouts and prices. Naturally, the M2 CS will also employ new lightweight measure, with curb weight likely to drop by around 100 pounds.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon BMW to Strengthen its Electrification Portfolio

Earlier this year, BMW announced that it was more interested in developing autonomous technology and would essentially shift its focus away from developing electric cars like the BMW i3 and i8. With the “i” division slated to get less attention, there was obviously some drama within the company as executives had mixed feelings about straying away from the brand’s electrification strategy. We weren’t really aware of the tensions within Bimmer over this situation until we learned of rumors that BMW board members had decided to skip the Paris Auto Show altogether to finally put the issue to rest. Now, Handelsblatt has learned from an unnamed source that there has been some progress made and that some BMW models will see electrification without getting the official “i” treatment.

With the BMW i3 struggling to meet sales expectations, it isn’t really a surprise that some executives are iffy on investing more money into the brand’s electrification strategy. But, according to that unnamed sources, executives have agreed to bring battery power to not only the 3 Series but the BMW X4 crossover as well. Furthermore, Mini will also see some electrification with at least one Mini model absorbing a battery pack and electric motor into its architecture as well.

For now, this is all rumor of course, but word has it that the electric Mini would take some DNA from the Mini Rocketman Concept. There’s no word as to whether or not the electrified 3 Series and X4 would be an all-electric or plug-in hybrid, so it could really go either way. BMW should come to a finalized decision sometime this month at which point the company will make an official announcement.

PostHeaderIcon Mini Countryman

Launched in 2010, the Countryman is one of the newest additions to the New Mini family. Based on the Crossover Concept, the company’s first mini SUV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive model was added for the 2014 model year, a year before the Countryman received its mid-cycle refresh. Longer, wider and taller than any other Mini, the Countryman is currently being built alongside the Paceman by Magna Steyr in Austria. With the facelifted version of the current model having arrived in dealerships for the 2015 model year, the Brits are already working on the next-generation Countryman.

The new Countryman has been spotted testing in Germany as early as September of 2014, but the thick camouflage and the pre-production components offered very little hints as to what will change. Come 2016 and the test vehicles are closer to their production forms, meaning there are more details to run by. Having just received a new set of spy shots, we decided to have a closer look at the upcoming Countryman before it makes its official debut. Speaking of which, expect the crossover to break cover at the next Geneva Motor Show in March 2017.

Updated 09/12/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Countryman out for a new testing session – most likely the final one before the car’s official debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in October.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mini Countryman.

PostHeaderIcon BMW 6 Series Coupe to be Replaced by New 8 Series In 2020

The BMW 8 Series is set to make its long-awaited comeback and while that is all set to happen, questions on when it’s going to arrive have yet to be answered. Well, we now have an idea regarding a timetable for the 8 Series, at least according to BMW Blog, who says that BMW’s new flagship model will hit the market in late 2019 or early 2020. But that’s not all. Turns out, the arrival of the 8 Series will come at the expense of both the 6 Series Coupe and Convertible.

Both the high-end coupe and convertible variants are apparently on the chopping block as BMW seeks to field a legitimate rival to the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet. The void left behind by the departure of the two models will be filled up by the 8 Series. There’s no word yet on whether the arriving 8er will strictly be a two-model lineup, but a previous report by Auto Express touched on the possibility of an entire family of models coming out of the 8 family. The same report also listed a number of trademarks that BMW filed with global intellectual property regulators pertaining to possible names for cars that will be given the 8 Series badge.

The 8 Series is also reportedly getting a series of of engines that will include a 3.0-liter straight six that produces 450 horsepower and a more powerful 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that can develop as much as 650 horsepower without breaking a sweat. The twin-turbo V-8, it seems, is the engine that the German automaker plans to use for the car that will eventually have its eyes set on the Mercedes S-Class Coupe.

As for the 6 Series, the exit of both the 6 Series Coupe and 6 Series Cabriolet isn’t the beginning of the end for that lineup. Instead, BMW is reportedly keen on turning that lineup into its de-facto sports car family, one that will include a two-seater sports car that will compete against the Porsche 911 and the Mercedes-AMG GT.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla's Autopilot Drives Man to Hospital. Did it Save his Life?

Tesla’s Autopilot system has had its share of controversies, including a series of high-profile crashes that have led some people to question the technology’s reliability. Needless to say, Tesla needed some form of good publicity for the Autopilot system. The automaker may have found it in 37-year old lawyer Joshua Neally, who credits the polarizing technology for getting him to a hospital during a medical emergency that almost cost him his life.

Speaking with Slate, Neally recalls making one of his daily 45-minute commutes from his workplace in Springfield, Missouri to his house in Branson, Missouri. On that particular day in late July, Neally said he felt comfortable using the Autopilot system of his Model X to make the drive home. Five minutes into his journey, he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen that moved its way to his chest. Fearing that something was seriously wrong, Neally was able to reroute the Model X’s navigation system to a hospital that was 20-something miles away and according to him, the system got him to the emergency room in time for him to get medical treatment.

Doctors eventually diagnosed him with a pulmonary embolism, an obstruction of a blood vessel in his lungs that could have led to his death had he not gotten to the ER on time. The harrowing ordeal had a happy ending because the Autopilot system did its job, or at least that’s what the lawyer believes. He did admit that in hindsight, it might have been better if he had just pulled over and called 911 but in the heat of the moment, as he was writhing in agonizing pain, he put his faith on the Model X’s Autopilot system and it delivered.

Whether the technology saved Neally’s life is a discussion in and of itself, nobody would disagree that it played a significant part in him being alive today to tell the story.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Should Mercedes Build A 1,300-Horsepower Hypercar?

So there’s this flaming hot rumor going around that Mercedes is planning to build a 1,300-horsepower hypercar that will make its debut in 2017 as the crown jewel of AMG’s 50th anniversary celebrations. German magazine Autobild first reported on this rumor, saying that the unnamed machine of apocalyptic proportions will feature a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that will be tuned to deliver an astounding 1,000 horsepower to go along with a pair of electric motors, each coming with 150 horsepower. It’s a wild car by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still a rumor and when it comes to rumors involving hypercars of this power, it’s probably best to have the salt shakers handy at this point.

Still, these are also the types of rumors that are hard too ignore. At one point in time, nobody would have thought that Aston Martin and Red Bull would collaborate on its own hypercar, and yet here are, waiting with baited breath to see what the now confirmed AM-RB 001 hypercar is going to be all about. The Autobild report about the Mercedes hypercar adds that the model will be named the AMG R50 as a possible nod to AMG’s 50th birthday. It’s also rumored to feature a carbon fiber monocoque and four-wheel steering just like the one found on the recently unveiled AMG GT R. A target weight of 2,886 pounds was also thrown around, as is the use of prototype race cars as the design inspiration of the hypercar. The car’s estimated price, according to Autobild, is around $2 to $3 million.

Make no mistake, the rumored details about the “AMG R 50” are staggering, even if the validity of it all is still up in the air. So instead of trying to decode this potentially segment-altering development, I’m going to try to instead make a case for why Mercedes should or shouldn’t build a 1,300-horsepower hypercar. The popular sentiment may be on the side of doing it, but there’s also an alternative discussion to be made on why it may not be that much of a good idea to get into this market, at least not yet.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon McLaren Boss Shoots Down Hyper GT Rumor

Just last week we brought you news a rumor that McLaren was building a limited-edition model that wouldn’t be a successor to the iconic McLaren F1, but a modern interpretation of it. When the story went live on Autocar, the outlet released a number of renderings of what the car might look like. The rumor itself sounded quite promising and spawned a lot of public interest. That said, it should be no surprise that when the chance arose, journalists went straight to McLaren to get the scoop.

According to Car and Driver, McLaren Boss Mike Flewitt was asked all about it at the company’s recent financial results meeting. He offered up news on the rumor, but it was – unfortunately – not the news we were looking to hear. When asked about the Hyper GT, Flewitt’s reply was, “You get asked all the time. I regularly get asked for three seats and a V-12 and a manual gearbox. I just don’t think there’s a real business case to do one of those.” He continued, “I haven’t got six VIN numbers in my bottom drawer that we forgot to use, either. People often hark back to things that they’ve loved, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do now.”

He did express a little bit of humor over Autocar’s renderings, however, apparently suggesting in a joking way that he would replace McLaren’s design team with Autocar’s artists. While that is great for a good laugh, it’s still quite the letdown that we won’t be seeing a three-seater McLaren any time soon. Of course, we can still hold onto hope but, when it comes to seeing a modern F1 by 2018, I wouldn’t suggest holding your breath.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

The Mercedes-AMG GT was introduced in 2014 as a successor to the SLS AMG. The second sports car developed entirely in-house by AMG, the GT is the first vehicle to wear the “Mercedes-AMG” nomenclature and the first to use the brand-new, twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine. Although it replaces the SLS AMG, the AMG GT is actually smaller and aimed at a different market, with the Porsche 911 being its most important competitor.

Now that the coupe has already hit the streets and Mercedes has launched the hotter GT R version, a roadster version is expected to arrive sometime in 2017. Although at some point it was rumored that Mercedes will skip on building an AMG GT Roadster in order to protect its slow-selling SL-Class Roadster, the new spy shots we just received from our paparazzi confirm that a GT Roadster is well underway. The car was also confirmed for 2017 by a strategy document that surfaced the Intewebz in July 2016. The leaked document says that the drop-top will arrive in showrooms in the first half of 2017 as the GT C Roadster. It will be followed by the GT C Coupe toward the end of the year, which suggests that the “C” in its name stands for the entry-level drivetrain slotted below the S model.

The fact that Mercedes is set to launch a roadster version of the sports car isn’t surprising, mostly because Mercedes-AMG developed the GT with the Porsche 911 Turbo in mind. With Stuttgart also offering a drop-top version of its range-topping model, Mercedes is compelled to do the same in order to remain competitive. When the Roadster arrives, count on the same greasy bits to be under the bodywork, including the twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8. More on that in my speculative review below.

Updated 09/12/2016: Mercedes just dropped a teaser video that announces a roadster version for the AMG GT is coming. Hit “play” to watch it and stay tuned for the official details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster.

PostHeaderIcon Mulliner Could Build A Limited-Edition Bentley Mulsanne Convertible

In 2012, Bentley showcased a teaser of a Mulsanne-based convertible at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, getting everyone excited about a successor to the stately and elegant Azure. Originally slated for low-volume production, the drop-top was cancelled a year later, when Wolfgang Durheimer was replaced by Wolfgang Schreiber as Bentley CEO. The model came back into focus at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, where Bentley introduced the Grand Convertible concept, but Bentley declined rumors to turn it into a production model.

Come 2016 and a Mulsanne-based drop-top is again a possibility. That’s the word from Car and Driver, which claims that Durheimer’s return at the helm of the British brand will finally spawn a Bentley-badged competitor for the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. According to the source, the CEO is currently studying the possibility of having the Mulliner division built a small batch of only 20 convertibles that will be sold “to absolute connoisseurs at a very high price.”

The publication goes on to speculate that the Mulsanne cabriolet will hit the market by 2018 and cost somewhere around £1 million, which converts to nearly $1.5 million. There’s no word as to what nameplate it will carry, but Azure seems to be the obvious choice if Bentley wants to make use of its rich heritage.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Is Chris Evans Spinning Out Of Control?

For those of you who don’t know, Chris Evans – one of the new hosts for BBC’s TopGear – also works a morning radio broadcast show on BBC Radio 2. We’ve already heard the reports that Evans was struggling to work more than four hours on the TopGear set, but now, it looks like things are getting even worse.

A source that is reportedly from BBC told The Sun that Evans is taking out his frustrations on the BBC staff. At one point, Evans apparently yelled “so viciously that [a] producer was reduced to tears, and an engineer had to tell him to stop.” A source also told The Sun that “The Radio 2 show is the country’s most popular. But Chris is turning up exhausted and miserable, and his staff has noticed a huge difference. Top Gear’s a full-time job, but Radio 2 involves waking at dawn every day. It’s probably no surprise he seems close to breaking point.”

As you would expect, BBC has denied the claims and said Evans has “displayed even greater commitment and professionalism.” The reason behind his problems in the past has been that he’s waking up “at the crack of dawn” five days a week to host the three-hour radio show, then departing to work on TopGear. As a star in both enterprises, Evan’s claims it is difficult to keep up. The Sun’s BBC source had even more to say about the situation, however, saying “Chris’s ego is out of control, and he’s behaving far worse than Clarkson ever did – which is the opposite of what the Top Gear change was meant to create.”

Keep reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Cadillac Drops Plans For CT8 Flagship Sedan

Back in October of 2014 it we learned that the Cadillac was working on the CT6, which would later be joined by a larger version that would go by the moniker of CT8 or CT9. Then a month later, Cadillac trademarked a total of 13 names, one of which was CT8 – all but confirming that Cadillac would soon debut a new flagship sedan. Then, in July of 2015, Dan Amman – the President of GM – confirmed there was a new flagship sedan that would slot above the CT6.

For a year and a half, we’ve been waiting to see what this new flagship sedan that would take on the Mercedes S-Class. Apparently, all that has now changed as it was announced by Autoline that Cadillac has canceled the CT8 program altogether. We are still waiting on official confirmation from GM or Cadillac at this point, but when you look at the automotive market as a whole, it makes sense.

At one time Cadillac was a heavy hitter in the full-size luxury sedan market giving grandparents and wealthy folk a go-to for Sunday driving and status symbols. In the last couple years, however, gas prices have dropped and the general populous has also had a change of heart when it comes to gas guzzlers. Large sedans were big sellers and a huge point of interest at one time, but now that gas prices are under control and we can afford to drive something that gets worse than 30 mpg, everyone has been plucking up SUVs – old and new – like they are going out of style. No doubt, this is at least one of the reasons, if not the primary reason, that Cadillac would cancel all plans related to the CT8.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan 370Z Will Get A Successor After All

After constant churning of the rumor mill, the fate of the Nissan 370Z may have been finally answered. NISMO’s chief product specialist Hiroshi Tamura finally let the cat out of the bag: the 370Z is here to stay and more importantly, it’s going to have a successor in the future.

Tamara confirmed the fate of Nissan’s entry level sports car in a conversation with Motoring Australia, saying that Nissan isn’t prepared to let the 370Z die in the wake of its plan to expand the “Z” lineup and add a Z-badged SUV based off of the Nissan Gripz Concept, which made its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. A lot of the whispers surrounding the 370Z’s future was tied into what Nissan planted to do with the Gripz. There were even rumors that the Japanese automaker was looking into giving the slot reserved to the 370Z to the production version of the Gripz in an effort to bolster its already expansive SUV range.

But fans of the 370Z can rest easy now that Tamara has confirmed that the 370Z will live on and will be produced separate of any plans Nissan has for the “Z” range. Nissan even has big plans for the Z, so says NISMO’s product planner. One such scenario he raised is the possibility of seeing the next 370Z and the production version of the Gripz share components with one another, thereby saving the company development costs.

As far as when the next generation 370Z will arrive, Tamara didn’t give a specific timetable, opting only to say that his team isn’t going to rush the development of the car. With the market for sports cars continuously evolving, the company needs to figure out what is and what isn’t going to work. Answers to those questions is going to take some time, so at the very least, the wait for the next-gen 370Z is going to take some time.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Considers Diesel Bentayga With E-Charging Boost

Early next year, Bentley is set to release the 2017 Bentayga here on the U.S. market. With a starting price of $229,100 and power coming from a V-12, gasoline engine, the Bentayga will be one of the baddest SUVs on the market.

However, Bentley’s lead engineer, Peter Guest, has now confirmed that Bentley is actively testing diesel prototypes of the Bentayga. No major details about the diesel engine have been released, except that it will use an electric turbocharger. The technology goes by the short-hand name of e-charging and is also expected to be used on the diesel variant of Audi’s new Q7 crossover next year.

E-charging is a new technology, but it was demonstrated by Audi last year on the 3.0-liter TDI that was available in the 2015 Audi A6. By e-boosting, Audi was able to increase the 3.0’s horsepower rating to 385 and virtually eliminate lag and the lack of low-end torque that has plagued turbocharged engines in the past. The downside to e-boosting is that it requires a 48-volt system to operate, as it draws upward of 7 to 8 kilowatts of power. It’s because of this that it isn’t currently offered on more diesel models. The Bentayga already has a 48-volt system by design, however, as it was needed for the SUV’s dynamic ride system.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Would Love An Electric GT-R

Nissan started the GT-R name with the 1969 Skyline that put out 160 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque. Fast forward to today and Godzilla is a well-evolved monster, with the current 2016 GT-R pushing 545 horsepower and 463 pound-feet of torque. Given its 46-year history, minus a 17-year hiatus between 1972 and ’89, what is the next major evolutionary step for Nissan’s legendary GT-R?

It looks like the answer to that question is that the GT-R just might evolve into an all-electric beast. According to Gareth Dunsmore, who is the director of Nissan’s European EV division, a plug-in GT-R is something he would love to see: “We can’t build an electric GT-R today. But do I want to? I’d love to.” He continued to say, “I can’t see a technical reason why we wouldn’t be able to implement electric vehicle technology in something like a performance vehicle.”

Obviously Nissan’s technology is still a few years out before it can replace the GT-R’s gasoline-powered powerplant with and electric motor, but it looks like Nissan may explore that path when it can. Given the current advancement in electric motors and battery technology – the Tesla Model S being a prime example – an electric GT-R is certainly within Nissan’s grasp.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 GMC Canyon Denali

Rumors have been flying about GMC adding a Denali trim level to the Canyon mid-size pickup since its introduction for 2015. Heck, even GMC’s vice president of Sales, Duncan Aldred, has been quoted as saying he wants the range-topping trim level added to the mix.

It makes perfect sense, too. Every other GMC product offers the upgraded luxury version with distinctive exterior styling and swanky interior adornments – save for the Savanna van. What’s more, the Denali trim is said to account for roughly 25 percent of GMC sales, meaning customers crave that upscale appearance and feel.

Now those rumors are getting hotter as spy photographers have snagged the Canyon wearing insanely thin camouflage and upgraded wheels. But we here at TopSpeed aren’t content with blurry spy shots with some sweaty engineer in the cabin. No, we want a “professional grade” look at the upcoming luxo-truck.

And here it is.

Meet the 2017 GMC Canyon Denali – or at least our idea of it. Honestly though, the Denali trim is fairly easy to envision. Add the cheese grater grille, larger wheels, chrome accents, and premium paint and you’ve got yourself a Denali. It’s also a safe bet to call GMC on the model year now that the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder is on the market for 2016.

So let’s take a look at the suspected details.

Read more about the 2017 GMC Canyon Denali.

PostHeaderIcon 2015 Renault Alaskan Concept

Renault, of all automakers, has just released a new midsize pickup truck concept called the Alaskan. This marks the first time Renault has targeted the upmarket scene with a pickup and is slated to preview a production pickup that will be a global player. What’s more, this could very well be the first real glimpse of what the 2020 Mercedes-Benz new global pickup could look like.

Wait, Mercedes? Yep Mercedes. Don’t forget Renault and Nissan have their global alliance together and Mercedes has already announced it will build its first pickup in conjunction with Nissan. What makes this rumor even more plausible is just how similar the Alaskan Concept looks to the first Mercedes rendering of its pickup. The speculation is a stretch, for sure, but the possibility is there nonetheless. (Be sure to check out the photo comparison below.)

Regardless of the Mercedes tie-in, Renault’s newest concept shows off a more luxurious side to the brand’s bustling commercial truck lineup. The automaker stresses its new pickup is for “business and leisure use, plus everyday motoring.” This is a big departure from Renault’s more utilitarian workhorses that populate its commercial fleet.

The Alaskan concept is only a concept, but Renault says the Alaskan is a direct foretaste of a production-ready pickup. The yet-unnamed pickup will fight for sales in nearly every global market save for North America – that is, unless its underpinnings cross the pond via Mercedes or as the next-generation Nissan Frontier.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Alaskan Concept.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Sportage

Kia has been caught in the midst of testing its next generation Sportage crossover on the frozen roads of Northern Sweden. Our spy photographers grabbed several clean shots of the South Korean automaker’s latest refresh of the Sportage, though it was covered in heavy camouflage. Despite the black padding, there are plenty of details showing through.

This marks the Sportage’s first major refresh since 2011 – itself a major renewal of the crossover thanks to Hyundai/Kia’s hiring of Peter Schreyer, Audi’s former designer. Now for 2016, the fourth generation Sportage appears to be receiving an updated interpretation of Schreyer’s “tiger nose” design. The side profile and roofline of the Sportage seems to be unchanged, with the front and rear fascias getting the bulk of attention.

The new design appears to be heavily influenced by the KX3 concept. That’s especially true in the 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S-like headlights and the lower grille’s larger opening. The Sportage’s rear end gets LED taillights while keeping its bumper-mounted turn signals and backup lights.

Updated 08/28/2015: The 2016 Sportage’s exterior has already been revealed in official photos, but our spy photographers also sent us a batch with the model caught completely undisguised on the road. Check them out in the gallery!

Continue reading to find out more about the 2016 Kia Sportage.

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