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Archive for the ‘speculative’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Will There be a Wait List for the Kia Stinger?

When Kia came to the U.S. market, it became known as a producer of affordable but reliable cars that were fairly comfortable and looked decent. But, none of the models were really anything to write home about, and certainly couldn’t be compared with models like the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, or anything else outside of the affordable segment. When the 2014 Detroit Auto Show kicked off, Kia Debuted the GT4 Stinger along with a promise to bring such a model into production and, three years later, Kia kept its promise and debuted the Kia Stinger at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Offered in the U.S. with a 255-horsepower four-banger or a 365-horsepower, twin-turbo, V-6, along with a very comfortable and upscale interior and a sexy exterior shell, the Stinger was a show stopper for the Korean brand as it steps into the luxury performance market. But, now that the world knows about the Stinger, it has raised a pretty interesting question: Will there be a wait list for the Stinger when the books officially open?

There’s really no way of telling quite yet, but outside of small shortages for models like the Kia Sportage, it’s hard to recall of any significant waiting period for any Kia model in the past. But, the new Stinger is a completely different breed of car that comes to offer a significantly cheaper alternative to more expensive luxury and performance models. Should Kia actually lock in even a small portion of those that are really interested in the car, it could find itself unable to keep up with demand. It comes down to a couple of factors that include when production officially starts, when the order books officially open, and that initial demand.

As of the time of this writing, neither its release date or pricing point has been officially announced, but a price tag in the range of $35,000 to $40,000 is expected while the order books should open sometime in the fall or early winter of 2017. That expected price point puts the Stinger at roughly $4,000 cheaper that the entry-level C300 from Mercedes, $6,000 cheaper than the entry-level 4 Series Gran Coupe, and a staggering $9,000 cheaper that the entry-level BMW 3 Series GT. With comparable comfort, luxury, and technology, it should be a no-brainer for those who aren’t overly loyal to the Stinger’s German competitors – as long as their willing to give the brand’s first performance luxury vehicle a chance, that is.

So, with such a low price point in comparison to its competition, the Stinger could see a lot of initial interest that could lead to a sizable waiting list. As such, it’s quite possible that dealers will find themselves in a predicament they aren’t used to: dealing with customers that want to take delivery today but simply can’t. We all saw how that went for Ford with the Focus RS, so hopefully Kia has a plan in place, just in case.


PostHeaderIcon Is This a Leaked Photo of the New Kia Fastback?

Last week, we brought you news of video post by Kia that shows onboard camera footage of its new performance fastback. Just shortly afterward, Kia-World.net posted a picture of what appears to be the Kia GT without any camo and all but prepped for its debut on Kia’s website on January 8, 2017, and later at the Detroit Auto Show. It has been said that it would be based on the Hyundai G70 sedan, and from what you can see in the photo, it’s looking pretty sporty – especially for a Kia. One could argue that it is a slightly smaller version of the Kia GT Concept, and it’s certainly toned down a bit, but the look is more than aggressive to compete with German models like the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 Sportback, to name a couple.

For now, nobody knows what will provide the motivation, but Hyundai’s Genesis brand just shoved the G90’s 3.3-liter V-6 under the hood of the G80 and dubbed it the 3.3t Sport. So, it’s quite possible that Kia will use the same twin-turbo powertrain and eight-speed automatic transmission to power its beastly little fastback. If so, it should have upward of 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. It should also be rear-wheel drive, so it should be a fun little car to pilot around, don’t you think?

For now, we can’t say with 100-percent certainty that we’re looking at the Kia fastback, but it certainly seems that way. What do you think from what you see so far? Is Kia upping its game the right way, or do you think the car will be a flop? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!


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 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

The luxury SUV bug has bitten its share of automakers in recent years. Up to now, Rolls-Royce has been an exception. Come 2015, luxury automaker has confirmed it is working on an SUV of its own.

Better late than never, Rolls-Royce.

News of Rolls’ interest in developing a luxury SUV came to light after design chief Giles Taylor told Autocar that his design team had begun tinkering with sketches of a potential SUV, possibly to gauge the feasibility of building one in the future. Taylor was also quick to point out that the team was still in the infancy stage of an SUV design and that any talk of “proportions and three dimensions” were premature. This changed dramatically in February 2015, when Rolls revealed that it’s working on a car “that offers the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain.”

Although Rolls-Royce has no history with SUVs, the company cited vehicles from the past which have been successful in events such as the Scottish Reliability Trials and the Alpine Trials, and had the ability to carry their owners “over challenging terrain with absolute reliability and comfort” in Australia, India, and other parts of the world. The SUV’s true purpose is to challenge Bentley’s upcoming Bentayga, but the two won’t meet face to face earlier than 2017. Meanwhile, let’s see what Rolls-Royce might have in store for its first-ever SUV.

Updated 03/14/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming RollS Royce Cullinan out for a new testing session, somewhere in Sweden and next to a prototype of the new Phantom.

Continue reading to learn more about the future Rolls Royce SUV.


PostHeaderIcon Are Automakers Force Feeding Us Subliminal Messaging in Regards to Autonomous Vehicles?

With fully-autonomous cars on the horizon, automakers and regulatory boards everywhere are pushing the envelope as hard as possible. We keep hearing about how great, safe, and time-saving a world full of autonomous vehicles will be, but do you honestly hear anyone you know saying something like “I can’t wait for self-driving cars” or “I’m so ready to give put my life in the hands of some complex computer algorithms?” No, you probably don’t, and some studies even show that a majority of people aren’t ready to give up the steering wheel. But, autonomous cars are still being pushed on us anyway, with new vehicles including semi-autonomous features like automatic braking and adaptive cruise control built in without the user option to disable.

Then there’s Tesla who’s practically heading off the self-driving idea and allowing its customers to put their life and that of others in risk to help build awareness that the technology is safe. Still, there are lots of people who enjoy driving, and will do their best to not give up the wheel, myself included. So, what’s the best way to build trust in something new with the masses quickly and efficiently? Easy, force them to use the features (think emergency braking) then subliminally convince them to trust those systems via tacky and annoying commercials.

There are quite a few out there, but I’m just going to highlight two because they are perfect examples of what I’m talking about. Let’s dive in.


PostHeaderIcon Is There a Chance that the Honda Prelude Could Make a Return to the Market?

The Honda Prelude was introduced to the world for the 1979 model year and lived through five different generations, with the final generation ending with the 2001 model year. If you’re someone who is into Muscle, then the Prelude may not have meant much to you, but for fans of the Honda brand, or tuners in general, the Honda Prelude was an important item. Based very loosely on the Honda Accord, the Prelude was a bit more cramped inside, but as it evolved from generation to generation, it got better and better. Unfortunately, sales weren’t all that good dropping from more than 330,000 models sold from 1983 to 1987 to less than 60,000 examples between 1997 and 2001 — ultimately leading to the demise of the sports coupe. Well, for those of us who have missed the sporty little coupe, there may be a little bit of hope yet, as the senior planner for the Civic, Rob Keough, reportedly told Car Buzz that there have been “hallway conversations” within Honda about the car’s revival.

What “hallway conversations” means is really unclear, as it could mean just about anything. Maybe there’s just some lonely engineer talking with a couple of buddies around the water cooler about how awesome it would be to see a new Prelude go into production. Or, maybe it’s a serious conversation between an engineer and someone who might have a little bit of say or persuasive power. Either way, the fact that a car that was discontinued 15 years ago is still floating around in the heads of some over at Honda is a big deal. The question is, whether or not there’s a real business case for such a model to come back. It would be a travesty to call something other than a sports coupe a Prelude. That would be like giving a new SUV the NSX nomenclature. Right now, the only real competition out there would be the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins, and those aren’t exactly performing quite as well as they would have 20 years ago when the sports coupe market was strong.

Then again, the Civic Si and Civic Type R have been met with massive enthusiasm this year, so there is hope that little Japanese sports coupes can make a comeback, but I honestly wouldn’t hold my breath as it’s definitely a reach hoping that the Prelude comes back anytime soon. Still, hang onto that little bit of hope, because as someone who’s driven one in the past, I sure do.


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Tiguan R

The Volkswagen Tiguan is in some ways, a trailblazer in its segment. As one of the first of the modern premium compact crossovers to hit the market in 2007, the Volkswagen Tiguan opened the door for many of its rivals. The intentions may have been pure, but the results were anything but. That’s because for better or worse, the Tiguan hasn’t been as dynamic as Volkswagen intended it to be. You might even say that the crossover has languished in the face of increased competition, partly due to VW’s decision to keep the Tiguan’s design muted for the better part of its existence.

Now it appears all that’s about to change. According to Autocar, Volkswagen is preparing an onslaught of new crossovers and SUVs, beginning in 2016. The Tiguan will play a prominent role in this renaissance of sorts. To make things more interesting, there’s also talk of a range-topping performance variant that will combine a new design language with the company’s renowned R performance engineering. Nothing has been made official at this point, but Volkswagen’s timetable for its Tiguan family points to a 2017 launch for the R-badged model.

It’s also not yet clear whether the R will be based on the standard Tiguan or feature a revised body. Initial rumors pointed toward a coupe-style crossover, likely dubbed Coupe R, but such a launch would imply additional development costs for the German brand. More recently, our paparazzi caught a beefed-up Tiguan wearing the standard roofline on the Nurburgring, which suggests that Volkswagen is sticking to the standard crossover configuration. The coupe is not completely out of the question as stranger things have happened within the Volkswagen Group, but for now, this prototype is the only thing we have.

Check it out in our speculative review below and stay tuner for updates.

Updated 10/21/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Tiguan R out for a first testing session at the Nürburgring.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Tiguan R.


PostHeaderIcon The New Toyota Supra Could Be Electrified

Look, I get it – you want a new Toyota Supra. I want a new Toyota Supra. The whole performance world wants a new Toyota Supra. Well, I’ve got good news – it looks like we won’t have to wait much longer to get it, as a pre-production mule was spotted last month doing some street testing in a full camo exterior. Now, to really whet your appetite, we’re bringing you a few tantalizing hints as to what’ll be used under the hood. Reading between the lines of a few recent comments made by a high-ranking Toyota rep, it’s looking more than likely that the new Supra will use a hybrid drivetrain.

That’s the news coming from the U.K. publication Auto Express, which recently spoke with Toyota Europe president and CEO Johan van Zyl about the possibility of using hybrid or plug-in hybrid technology for an entry in the sports car segment. His response: “I would imagine that in the future that will definitely happen.”

He continued, “We already have some sporting models with hybrid powertrains on the Lexus side. But on the Toyota side, I think we will find that if we can have a World Endurance Championship racing car with hybrid technology, it can happen on a road car,” adding, “I do not have any doubt whatsoever that in the longer-term future there will be a real Toyota sports model using electrification.”

Le Mans-inspired performance paired with the legendary Supra nameplate? Yes, please.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Is Tesla Preparing To Unveil The Model Y?

There’s been a lot of talk about Tesla’s upcoming product unveiling next week and speculation is growing that the electric car maker is preparing to debut a new model, specifically the Model Y. While there’s still no confirmation from Tesla about which product it plans to unveil, the sentiment is that it’s going to be the small crossover that will officially kickstart the company’s second “Master Plan” vision that CEO Elon Musk outlined back in July 2016.

The unexpected launch of the Model Y would certainly come as a surprise, but it isn’t too much of a shock given that Tesla has already confirmed plans to build it at some point. Details are still scarce surrounding the crossover but it is expected to be based on the Model 3’s architecture and will carry some styling similarities with the bigger Model X, minus the latter’s controversial falcon doors.

Other than these bits and pieces of rumored details, Tesla has plenty of information to share next week about the crossover, if it does end up being the subject of the company’s hastily organized (or is it?) product launch. That said, it’s also possible that the company could go a totally different direction and possibly reveal more information about the Model 3, or it could launch a new hardware version of its Autopilot system.

Whatever the case may be, there’s going to be a lot of people who’ll be keeping tabs on the product launch as it happens. That includes us, of course.

Note: Tesla Model X shown above.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


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 AM-RB 001 Hypercar Could Have Hybrid Drivetrain and Active Suspension

We’ve been anxiously awaiting the day that Red Bull and Aston Martin’s AM-RB 001 finally makes its debut. Sure, we’ve had the chance to see it pretty close up in its current state, but there’s still a lot about it that we just don’t know. What we do know is that the car will feature a bespoke V-12 that has the “potency to achieve a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio.” It will also have a race-spec transmission that was conceived by Adrian Newey himself.

Something new has popped up, however. If you take a quick journey over to Red Bull Racing’s career website, you’ll see that they are looking to hire a number of people for a number of jobs including mechanical design engineers, controls engineers, and there’s even an opening for a project manager. When I first stumbled onto the page, I laughed a little and thought to myself: “What? Did they fire the whole team?” But, I started looking into some of the descriptions and noticed some interesting wording.

In specific relation to the AM-RB 001, RBR is looking for mechanical design engineers that have experience with “automotive drivetrain integration – including hybridization.” Furthermore, it is also looking for a controls engineer that has experience with the specification of automotive control systems, including “gearbox/powertrain/hybrid/semi-active suspension.”

Keep reading for the rest of the story.


PostHeaderIcon Tesla's Autopilot is About to get a Serious Hardware Update

Tesla and its AutoPilot system have fallen under a lot of scrutiny lately with all of the AutoPilot-related accidents and subsequent investigations. To be blunt, the company has seen a lot of negative headlines lately. It even broke down and changed some wording on its Chinese website after a recent accident in China. But, despite all the negativity, neither Elon Musk or Tesla as a whole is backing down from pushing the AutoPilot system. That brings us to our topic of discussion today: AutoPilot 2.0.

Apparently, the system is already well into development, despite the fact that Tesla and MobileEye have gone their separate ways. According to the guys over at Electrek, the upgraded AutoPilot system will feature new radar sensors on each corner of the vehicle as well as a new front-facing, triple camera system. Of the three cameras, one will be a wide-angle camera used to scan all lanes ahead, another will be used to scan directly in front of the vehicle, and the third is a backup that can be used by the system in a pinch should there be an unexpected failure.

The new hardware will help push the AutoPilot system into the next stage, and will enable what Tesla is calling “level 3 autonomous driving.” For now, no production vehicles have been fitted with the new hardware, but some sources are reporting that new models already have the proper mounts and wiring, which means the option of retrofitting is a possibility in the future. Even when the new sensors and cameras are installed on production models, it isn’t likely that they’ll go into use right away. Tesla will wait until software is perfected, then roll out over-the-air updates to activate the hardware. With this new hardware, it could be possible for full autonomy to be activated with a future OTA update, but something tells me we still have a while to wait on that one.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon The Model S and Model X Could Get a Battery Update in the Near Future

News about Tesla has been more bad than good lately, but today I’m here to talk about something other than car crashes and Autopilot. Today, I’m here to talk about batteries and what could be coming for the Model S and Model X. It wasn’t that long ago that Tesla almost silently discontinued its 85-kWh battery, taking at versions of the 85-kWh Model S off the market. Very quickly rumors began to surface about a new, more powerful battery, and one hacker even found a “P100D” hidden within the source code for his Model S after an OTA update.

Tesla has remained largely silent on the subject. But, a Dutch forum, Kenteken, did some investigating and found something very interesting. Over in Europe, manufacturers can choose which company approves their vehicles to be sold and used on the road. Tesla uses a company known as RDW, which happens to have a part of its collective database published as “open data.” Kenteken decided to do some searching of this open database and discovered that there are, in fact, references to approval for a “100D” and a “100x.” It also discovered that there was a range of 613 KM (about 380 miles) associated with the model variant “100D.”

Here at TopSpeed, we took the time to do some searching of CARB’s database and couldn’t find anything related to a 100-kWh battery or any reference to a P100D or 100X. Then again, Tesla is still silent on the matter too, but with this new battery pack already being approved for European sales and use, it’s only a matter of time before Musk spills the beans and we start getting official word on the matter.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Mid-engine Corvette aka "Zora" Could be Here by 2019

Last week we found out more about the upcoming mid-engined Corvette Zora thanks to a leak that confirmed the midship layout, a brand-new engine, and a launch beyond the 2018 model year. Now, a new report claims that the mid-engined Chevy could be unveiled as early as 2018 and sold starting early 2019.

According to Detroit News, quoting unnamed sources inside the company, the mid-engined Corvette is due to break cover in early 2018 – most likely at the Detroit Auto Show. Production of the sports car that would compete against the Ferrari 488 GTB is scheduled to commence in late 2018, before ordering books are opened in early 2019, the report adds. The outlet also claims that the current, front-engined Z06 and Grand Sport models would continue through 2021.

It’s not yet clear whether the C8-generation Corvette — codenamed “Emperor” — will drop the front-engined layout, but previous reports said that both configurations will be offered. Obviously, the “Zora” badge will be used for midship models.

Last week, other sources said that a mid-engine Corvette could be the basis for a Cadillac sports car, but the brand has yet to confirm or decline the information. If this proves to be true, the actual production model won’t be unveiled sooner than 2019.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Maserati Levante GTS

Maserati’s full-size luxury performance SUV was first unveiled as the Kubang concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011. The production model was then officially unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show in March. When it finally broke cover, the details were impressive – the exterior was pure Italian premium goodness, the cabin was opulent and well appointed, and a good dose of adrenaline was waiting under the hood. However, it’s looking like an even more exciting Levante is just over the horizon, and we think it’ll have a meaner look, more driver’s goodies inside, and two additional turbocharged cylinders.

So where would we get a crazy idea like that? Well, back in April, Autoblog asked Maserati if it could fit its top-spec 523-horsepower twin-turbo V-8, the same powerplant it shoehorned into the Quattroporte GTS, into its first-ever SUV. The answer was an unequivocal “yes.” What’s more, Davide Danesin, the head of Maserati vehicle programs, reported that the Trident already had a prototype of the combo in hand, leading high-performance SUV enthusiasts everywhere to begin salivating uncontrollably. And while it’s still possible Maserati will axe the project outright, odds are a Levante GTS will become a thing sooner or later.

In anticipation of that day, we created the following rendering and speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the Maserati Levante GTS.


PostHeaderIcon Maserati Levante GTS

Maserati’s full-size luxury performance SUV was first unveiled as the Kubang concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011. The production model was then officially unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show in March. When it finally broke cover, the details were impressive – the exterior was pure Italian premium goodness, the cabin was opulent and well appointed, and a good dose of adrenaline was waiting under the hood. However, it’s looking like an even more exciting Levante is just over the horizon, and we think it’ll have a meaner look, more driver’s goodies inside, and two additional turbocharged cylinders.

So where would we get a crazy idea like that? Well, back in April, Autoblog asked Maserati if it could fit its top-spec 523-horsepower twin-turbo V-8, the same powerplant it shoehorned into the Quattroporte GTS, into its first-ever SUV. The answer was an unequivocal “yes.” What’s more, Davide Danesin, the head of Maserati vehicle programs, reported that the Trident already had a prototype of the combo in hand, leading high-performance SUV enthusiasts everywhere to begin salivating uncontrollably. And while it’s still possible Maserati will axe the project outright, odds are a Levante GTS will become a thing sooner or later.

In anticipation of that day, we created the following rendering and speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the Maserati Levante GTS.


PostHeaderIcon Is Ford Already Working on a Special Edition Ford GT?

Despite all the work that engineers put into designing the new Ford GT, not even Ford was prepared for the insane attention the car has gotten since its debut. In fact, the car spawned so much interest that Ford application system was practically overwhelmed with people everywhere wanting to get their hands on the best thing Ford has created in a long, long time (save of the Focus RS, of course.) Needless to say, we already know just about everything there is about the GT – aside from how it actually drives, since Ford has yet to send us one (hint, hint.)

That being the case, can someone please explain to me why a Ford GT rocking swirly camo was caught just cruising down a Michigan Interstate near Detroit? To be honest, it could be any number of reasons, but it’s clearly not in “finalized” form. Check out all the random carbon fiber, and what is with those extra-long exhaust pipes? I don’t recall hearing any rumors of some one-off edition or any other variant of the GT, so what is this guy doing driving one?

I honestly wish I could tell you for certain. I contacted Ford’s PR department for information but have yet to hear a response. That tells me one thing. Either someone is playing a cruel joke, or Ford is up to some kind of secret mission. Either way, it’s sure to turn up some interesting news eventually.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Skoda is Filing Trademarks in the U.S. like They're Going out of Style

Almost two months ago we brought you news that Czech automaker and member of VW group, Skoda, had filed trademarks for the Superb, Octavia, and Yeti – three of Skoda’s best-selling models. Then, Skoda filed for the use of the name “Skoda H-Tec,” adding even more fuel to the fire. Now, Skoda is at it again, this time filing a trademark application for “VRS” – a badge that is reserved for the performance variant of the Octavia.

This being the case, it seems almost unlikely that Skoda isn’t coming to the U.S. at some point in the future. Sure, the brand could just be protecting the names the use in other markets, but there’s probably something more to it. Think about this for a minute. Skoda hasn’t sold a vehicle in the U.S. since the 1960s. Now, here we are in 2016, and the trademarks with Skoda’s name on them are piling up fast. On top of that, Skoda is the best-selling brand globally under Volkswagen’s umbrella with the exception of Porsche and Audi. In June, the brand sold nearly 100,000 models and, for the first half of 2016, that brand set a company record with just over 569,000 examples sold.

Obviously, Skoda is doing pretty well these days, and the U.S. market could certainly increase its revenue even further. Plus, this could be a strategic move by VAG. Keep reading to hear my thoughts on that.


PostHeaderIcon Latest Rumors About Toyota and Lexus Point to an All-New Engine for the next Supra

The rumor mill is churning over at Toyota with reports that the Japanese automaker is finally building a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, codenamed 943F, that it plans to use on the fifth-generation Lexus GS. The model is scheduled to make its debut in late 2017 or early 2018 and will be marketed as a 2019 model. But, according to Japanese media outlet Mag-X, the big takeaway from the fifth-gen GS is the turbocharged V-6, the first production V-6 that Toyota will build in its long and illustrious history.

While there hasn’t been any confirmation coming from either Toyota or Lexus, there is an argument to be made for Lexus to get a turbo V-6, none more so than the increased importance being placed by automakers in downsizing their engines as a way of addressing the increasingly stringent emissions regulations. For its part, Lexus also needs a forced induction V-6 because a lot of its competitors already utilize a similar engine in some form or capacity. It may be time for Toyota’s premium brand to join the fray in that regard and expand its V-6 offerings past the turbocharged inline-sixes that it has used in the past.

If Toyota does take this step, don’t sleep on the possibility of another model eventually using the same engine. Again, this is all speculation but if Toyota wants to maximize the seemingly limitless potential of the returning Supra sports car, having a turbocharged V-6 as an engine option is a great way to do it. At the very least, it would be able to make a big statement in differentiating the sports car with the Toyota GT 86, which currently uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That’s been one of Toyota’s goals anyway so it only makes sense for the company to give the Supra the same turbo V-6 that it is reportedly developing for the Lexus GS.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon New 2017 Mercedes Models Revealed in Alleged Leaked Document

The word “expansion” is being thrown around loosely in the auto industry these days as more and more automakers are pushing to beef up their model lineups. Aston Martin is doing it. McLaren is doing it. And apparently, so is Mercedes-Benz. Autocar is reporting that the German automaker is once again looking to add more new models to its lineup in 2017 and, if the report is true, we could see at least nine new vehicles with Silver Arrow badges hitting dealerships in the next calendar year.

The most prominent of these models appears to be the Mercedes-AMG GT C, the long-rumored roadster version of the GT R sports car. Since the GT Rjust made its debut in June 2016, a drop-top version arriving in rapid order seems to be part of a well-orchestrated plan to crown the AMG GT lineup with not one, but two range-topping versions.

In addition to the AMG GT C, Mercedes’ is also reportedly releasing the next-generation E-Class Coupe, a facelifted GLA that will likely be called the GLA Coupe, and the high-riding E-Class Estate All-Terrain that will be lined up directly against the Audi A6 Allroad. All four models are being prepared to make their respective debuts in the first half of 2017 together with the AMG GT R.

The latter half of 2017 will also see a number of Mercedes models hitting dealerships, headlined by no less than the facelifted version of the S-Class. The next-generation E-Class Cabriolet is also part of the schedule, as is the facelifted version of the AMG GT, and the long-rumored, yet-to-be-named Mercedes-Benz pickup truck that we think will eventually be called the GLT.

And if anybody’s keeping score, two Smart models are also on the schedule, namely the cabriolet all-electric ForTwo EV and the Forfour EV.

It looks like Mercedes is once again poised to have another busy year when the calendar flips to 2017.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


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