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Archive for the ‘First Look’ Category

Vietnam’s First Real Car Co. Takes Aim at the West

Paris debut planned, U.S. launch could follow.

by on Jul.18, 2018

VinFast turned to Pininfarina to design its new models, the sedan shown in this rendering.

The first “volume” Vietnamese automaker will reveal two new models designed by Pininfarina during the Paris Motor Show this coming October, setting into motion what it hopes will be a global rollout over the next few years.

VinFast, which will be setting up a new “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility” in the northern part of Vietnam plans to launch the two vehicles – an SUV and a sport sedan – in September 2019, though it will initially focus solely on “affluent” buyers in its home country before targeting opportunities elsewhere in Asia and in Western markets.

Insight!

“Our show stand will…prominently feature the best of Vietnam, demonstrating the passion and tenacity that we will bring to the global automotive stage,” said James DeLuca, CEO of VinFast Trading and Production LLC. “We have the resources, scalability and commitment to become a significant new player in the global automotive industry.”

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Electric Polestar 2 “Five-Door Coupe” Will Deliver 350 miles Range, 400+ HP

All-electric Polestar 3 SUV already in the works.

by on Jul.17, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with Polestar's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo’s performance electric brand is getting ready to charge into the market with two additional models over the next two years, starting with the all-electric Polestar 2 which, a senior official claims, will deliver range of up to 350 miles per charge.

And, in keeping with the mandate of the brand – which traces its roots back to the track – the Polestar 2 “five-door coupe” will deliver around 405 horsepower, according to the brand’s Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Goodman. That figure might actually underplay the potential performance of the all-electric offering, as battery-electric vehicles can deliver incredible off-the-line performance because they punch out maximum torque the moment their motors start spinning.

We Keep You Plugged In!

The Polestar 2 is expected to share the same underlying Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA, as the new Volvo 40-Series line-up. That was an obvious choice considering Volvo itself is planning to offer electrified versions of all future models and the CMA, its newest platform, was designed specifically to allow mounting a large battery pack under the load floor.

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First (Short) Drive: 2019 Maserati Levante GTS

Racing between the raindrops.

by on Jul.13, 2018

The new GTS is the second most powerful model in Maserati's GTS line-up.

What has been an otherwise hot and dry summer turned into a storm of almost biblical proportions as I headed up to the M1 Concourse near Pontiac, Michigan for a chance to check out the latest products from Maserati and sibling Italian brand Alfa Romeo. But almost as if on cue, the rain clouds briefly parted when I was handed the keys to the new Maserati Levante GTS for some lap time on the tight and twisty circuit.

There were plenty of skeptics when Maserati announced plans to get into the SUV game – as there were when Porsche revealed similar plans a decade earlier. But the Levante won over most of those naysayers when it made its debut two years ago, initially offering two versions powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. The GTS turns things up a notch.

Product News and Reviews!

The latest version of Maserati’s first-ever sport-utility vehicle is, certainly on paper, an impressive piece of machinery, thrumming out 550 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque from its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 – just a slight bit less than the Levante Trofeo first unveiled at the New York Auto Show last spring. That’s enough to launch the GTS from 0 to 60 in just 4 seconds – and to take a broadside at the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, destined to be its most direct competitor.

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Dodge Pushing Boundaries Again With Debut of Challenger Hellcat Redeye

“Possessed by the Demon.”

by on Jun.28, 2018

Dodge continues to bring out new variants of its popular Challenger model. The Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye puts out 797 horsepower.

The Dodge Demon may be gone, but it’s certainly not forgotten, and Fiat Chrysler’s muscle car brand is again pushing the limits with another spin-off of its Hellcat line.

While the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye won’t quite match the numbers delivered by last year’s limited-edition Demon, it looks to have little to apologize for considering it will still make 797 horsepower – 90 more than the original Hellcat coupe. That will be enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in just 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 203 mph.

Muscle Up!

“The Dodge Brothers would be proud that we’re leveraging the power and performance of this proven engine to bring a Demon-possessed Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye to an even wider high-performance enthusiast audience,” proclaimed Dodge boss Steve Beahm, during a debut event at FCA’s proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan.

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Official: First Look at All-New BMW 8-Series

BMW's flagship coupe returns after two-decade absence.

by on Jun.15, 2018

This is the first BMW 8-Series since the original was abandoned in 1999.

It may be time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the big news, trackside will turn to a new street model, BMW using the annual endurance race as backdrop to reveal the long-awaited rebirth of its flagship 8-Series model.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Bavarian automaker abandoned the original 8-Series, but we got word that it would make a comeback last year with the May 2017 debut of the Concept 8 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como. Finally, we’re getting a look at the production version.

The Last Word!

Like the original, the new 8-Series opts for a coupe body, albeit one with a much more modern, streamlined design. The pop-up headlights, for one thing, are gone, replaced by slim LED lamps and the automaker’s new LaserLight technology. Indeed, as you’d expect of a BMW flagship, everywhere you look the new coupe is loaded up with the latest in technology, from its optional carbon fiber roof to its self-parking system.

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Polestar Will Pump Up New Volvo S60 Performance Model

Volvo takes performance to new level with modified S60 sedan.

by on Jun.13, 2018

The 2019 Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered gets unique Brembo brakes, among other modifications.

Few brands have done more to try to transform their image in recent years than Volvo, and the new S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan should continue shifting the Swedish marque in its new direction.

The latest version of the S60 not only puts more of a premium on sporty styling but backs it up with a 415-horsepower engine. But that’s no ordinary powerplant. No V-8s or turbo-sixes for this new Volvo. It’s a Polestar-modified version of the carmaker’s T8 plug-in hybrid, the top-performing version of its all-four-cylinder line-up.

First Look!

“The new S60 T8 Polestar Engineered is an electrified car that does what you want it to,” said Volvo’s Senior Vice President of R&D Henrik Green. “All components have been fine-tuned to work together, delivering a responsive and exciting driver’s car.”

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First Look: 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Handling and control matches power and speed.

by on Jun.11, 2018

The 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 offers plenty of power and improved handling.

The competition in the sports car segment is hot, and Ford is one of the better automakers about finding ways to constantly improve its entry, the Mustang, on a regular basis.

Whether it’s a full makeover or simply an upgrade of its special edition vehicles like the new Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 — and the upcoming GT500 — the automaker continually ensures its legion of loyal fans are sated while drawing new fans to keep sales up over the years.

Product News!

The new GT350 has a variety improvements to keep that tradition rolling along. (more…)

First Look: 2019 BMW X5

A largely evolutionary update to BMW's flagship utility vehicle.

by on Jun.05, 2018

The new BMW X5 continues the impressive mix of capability and luxury of its predecessors.

Few products have meant more to BMW, especially over the last couple decades, than the X5. The original Sport Activity Vehicle was a groundbreaking entry into what was then the just-emerging luxury market for utility vehicles.

Today, high-line utes have come to dominate traditional luxury sedans, coupes and sports car, bringing a flood of new entries – such as the all-new Audi Q8. BMW itself now has a range of SAVs, from the little X1 up, but it’s the original model that defines the brand as much as the classic 7-Series. So, BMW designers and engineers faced some serious pressure when they set to work on the fourth-generation X5.

Product News!

“The BMW X5 embodies the origins of the BMW X family and, in its fourth generation, sends out its most powerful message yet in terms of presence and modernity,” said BMW Group Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk, in a statement accompanying these images of the new X5. “It defines a new X design language – robust, clear and precise.” (more…)

Paris Motor Show Exodus Accelerates

Key FCA brands follow BMW, Ford, Nissan and VW out the door.

by on Jun.04, 2018

This scene is not going to play out this fall at the Paris Motor Show.

It’s looking likely to be rather lonely at the Paris Motor Show this year with a rapidly growing list of major manufacturers announcing they will be no-shows next autumn at an event that has traditionally been a must for the industry.

Auto shows, in general, are coming under scrutiny as manufacturers begin weighing their costs and benefits, and start comparing them to marketing alternatives such as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and even the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Auto Show News!

Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep will be holdouts at the 2018 Mondial de l’Automobile, which was set to begin on Oct. 2 with two days of press debuts, and then remain open to the public through Oct. 14. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will still show off its Maserati brand, as well as Ferrari. (more…)

More Products, More Volume, Bigger Margins: FCA Lays Out Aggressive, 5-Year Growth Plan

Morning presentation outlines plans for Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Ram TRX will be among the new models FCA will bring out over the coming five years.

(This story has been revised to update plans for Jeep’s pickup and a midsize pickup from Ram that, CEO Marchionne now says will come to the U.S. market.)

In a sweeping presentation designed to give analysts, investors, media and potential buyers a good look at its future, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives are spending a day detailing their plans for the company and its various brands.

At the midway mark, as they break for lunch, they’ve already lifted the kimono far enough to show what’s coming for the Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands and, in a nutshell, it can be summed up as more products targeting lots more volume and much bigger margins.

Breaking News!

The new five-year plan will be the last crafted under the guidance of Sergio Marchionne, the 65-year-old executive who helped pull off the pairing of two struggling manufacturers to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. His third five-year plan, Marchionne stressed that “The true finish line is the one always yet to come.”

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