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BMW Emphasizes 3-series Efficiency

New 3-series features new turbo four cylinder and hybrid model.

by on Jan.09, 2012

BMW's new 3-series improves efficiency with a new four-cylinder engine and a hybrid model.

The idea of a powerful sports sedan and fuel efficiency would seem to be in direct opposition.

But BMW, the top purveyor of the sports sedan – and most would say, the originator of the concept – is taking on the challenge head on.
BMW rolled out a more efficient new 3-series, it’s most important model, at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday. The sixth-generation model reintroduces a four cylinder engine to the U.S. market, but the automaker also showed the first hybrid version of its most important model.

The 2012 model is expected to go on sale next month. Replacing the outgoing model’s standard 3.0-liter straight six, the new four-cylinder is a turbocharged 2.0 liter producing 240 horsepower powering the base 328i. The 300-horsepower, single-turbo 3.0-liter carries over in the 335i.

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There will also be a hybrid version, which will combine a 335-horsepower gasoline engine with an electric motor to provide about 37 miles per gallon highway. Called ActiveHybrid 3, it is expected to go on sale in the fall.

The four-door sedan comes first, but eventually, there will be coupe, convertible and high-performance M3 versions.


Volvo Uses XC60 to Showcase Innovative Hybrid System

Concept uses kinetic energy flywheel system to generate power for hybrid system.

by on Jan.09, 2012

Volvo’s Flywheel Kinetic Energy Recovery System adds up to 80 horsepower to the powertrain.

Volvo showed off a unique hybrid system that it says will use the car’s kinetic energy to provide excellent fuel economy while still producing the performance luxury buyers have grown accustomed to.

Volvo President and CEO Stefan Jacoby said the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept it showed Monday at the Detroit Auto Show is first vehicle to combine an all-electric range of about 35 miles, true luxury car performance capability, all in spacious crossover.

“The technology in the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is as ingenious as it is unique,” Jacoby said.  “You can make really green progress on the road without compromising on any of the luxury car’s renowned properties.”

The powertrain features a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 280 horsepower with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an integrated starter/generator generating 45 horsepower, driving the front wheels. The second part of the system uses a 70-horsepower electric motor putting power to the rear wheels.

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The system has three driving modes: Pure (all electric), Hybrid and Power. In Pure mode, Volvo said the system is capable of returning 105 mpg equivalent. The driver chooses the mode via buttons on the center console. The company said the combined fuel economy is about 50 mpg, yet the small crossover is still capable of accelerating to 60 in 5.8 seconds in Power mode, which uses the gasoline engine and the two electric motors to produce about 350 combined horsepower.

At the heart of the hybrid system is Flywheel KERS, which stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System.


First Look: Dodge Dart

Automaker resurrects an old name for new compact with Italian bones.

by on Jan.09, 2012

The Dodge Dart is the brand's critical new entry in the compact segment.

Two thousand eleven was a huge year for Chrysler, but the automaker knows that it has to fill a huge hole in its lineup to succeed.

With that in mind, the automaker’s Dodge brand resurrected the Dart nameplate, putting it on a new compact which replaces the unloved Caliber in its lineup.

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Dodge President and CEO Reid Bigland said Chrysler increased sales by 43 percent in 2011, the largest increase for any automaker and far above the 11 percent recorded by the industry as a whole.

Dodge leaned on Italian partner Fiat for the the Dart’s platform which comes from Alfa Romeo.


Your Guide to the 2012 NAIAS Overview

The latest news and product intros from Cobo Center.

by on Jan.09, 2012

The Acura NSX supercar concept.

Editor’s Note: This guide and its links will be updated regularly during the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

No slight intended, but there aren’t many things that can fill the hotels, restaurants and conference centers of Detroit in the middle of winter – nothing, that is, like the annual North American International Auto Show, which is underway this week at Motown’s Cobo Center.

The annual event is a veritable candy store for automotive aficionados, bringing in most of the world’s largest manufacturers, from Acura to Volvo, and an estimated 10,000 automotive journalists and industry insiders, including top executives from all the major manufacturers.

(Lexus LF-LC and Ford Fusion win best concept, production design awards. Click Here for more.)

The Final Word!’s team has already begun pulling together the latest new and product reveals and we’ll be rolling out more by the hour over the next several days, so keep coming back for the latest.

Here’s a thumbnail guide to all the various products you’ll be seeing unveiled this week (Click on the highlighted names for the latest updates):


Book Excerpt: Jim Dunne’s Car Spy

This sleuth trades his handgun for a Minox.

by on Dec.29, 2011

Jim Dunne pens a tell-all about the business of car spies.

His name is Dunne.  James Dunne.  And if Ian Fleming had written about the world of automotive espionage, this is the man who might have served as his role model.  But where some spies sleuth for competing car companies, this septuagenarian Grosse Pointer serves a more noble purpose.  Or so he’d prefer to think.  The fact is, you’ve probably seen some of his work over the years in the pages of monthly magazines, in countless newspapers around the world, or on various internet sites, including TheDetroitBureau.comJim Dunne is the undisputed king of automotive spy photographers.

Dunne insists he’s retired – though the spy shot of the 2013 Nissan Altima he provided us with yesterday suggests otherwise.  (Click Here for that story.) It’s a way of life and not something someone easily walks away from…especially if they still keep a camera close at hand. 

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As accomplished a story-teller as he is with the camera, Dunne is finally revealing some of the secrets of his successful career, captured in his new book, “Car Spy,” which you can find via  (Here’s the link to buy a copy.) We’ve done a little spying of our own, however, and nabbed one of the more interesting chapters, the story of Dunne’s incursion into the top secret GM Design Dome.  Here’s the excerpt:


Live From LA – What’s New at the Auto Show

A complete guide to all the new products debuting in La-La-Land.

by on Nov.17, 2011

The introduction of the new Fiat 500 Abarth, one of more than 40 new vehicles debuting at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show.

With more than 40 new production models and concept vehicles on display, there’s something for everyone at the 2011 Los Angeles International Auto Show, and’s team is there to give you wall-to-wall coverage.  Here’s our latest round-up of what’s on tap.

Small cars are clearly gaining strength but it should be no surprise that, with California the world’s largest luxury car market, there will be a disproportionate number of high-line models, from the new Jaguar XKR-S to the seventh-generation Porsche 911.

That sports car underscores the significant gains manufacturers are making as they adopt new technologies like direct injection and Auto Stop/Start.  Though the new 911 is significantly more powerful it’s also expected to get as much as 15% better mileage.

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We’ll see plenty of awards handed out, including one for the year’s greenest cars.  And there’ll be more models falling into that category than ever before, including the Honda Fit EV, the Japanese maker’s first battery-electric vehicle.

Here’s an updated look at the models making their debut at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show:


Thunderstorms Can’t Dampen Spirits at Woodward Dream Cruise

Over 1 million line Woodward Ave. for annual automotive fest.

by on Aug.21, 2011

Cars of every size, shape -- and color -- turned out for the 2011 Woodward Dream Cruise. Photo: Alice Hudder.

Even a drenching thunderstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of the cruisers and gawkers who turned out for this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise.

By various estimates, at least a million people lined the main north-south route through Metro Detroit to gaze on as more than 40,000 muscle cars, hot rods and other classic automobiles came together for the nation’s largest automotive event.

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Started almost as a lark by a suburban Detroit car club, in 1995, organizers initially expected a few thousand fans to turn out.  The idea was to show cars as they were designed to be seen, moving, rather than at the typical static car show.  The initial event turned out to draw more than 250,000, and attendance has only grown to enormous proportions.


Cruise In All Weekend!

Extensive coverage to follow all weekend from the Woodward Dream Cruise and Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance!

by on Aug.19, 2011

Photo by Len Katz.It’s going to be a busy weekend for car fans! The annual Woodward Dream Cruise is expected to bring out more than 1 million muscle car mavens as 10s of thousands of ‘Cudas, Goats and ‘Stangs – along with the odd Ferrari and Triumph — spend the weekend showing their stuff off along Detroit’s Boulevard of Automotive Dreams.

The West Coast weighs in with another classic car show, this one drawing some of the world’s most well-preserved Packards, Bugattis, Duesenbergs and Talbot-Lagos to the 19th hole at the tony Pebble Beach Resort. will be covering both the 2011 Woodward Dream Cruise and the ’11 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and will file ongoing reports all weekend — so keep coming back for more, along with our regular coverage of the automotive world.

Moving Ahead!

by on Apr.15, 2011

Thanks for your patience, anyone who might have tried accessing late Thursday night or early Friday morning.  We were down periodically due to extensive system maintenance.

A heavy increase in traffic strained our old server to the breaking point.  The good news is that we have migrated to a larger server that can handle not only the current load but significant future growth.

This should improve not only your on-site experience but also help resolve issues we’ve been addressing with our fast-growing subscriber list.

Again, thanks for your patience, and your loyalty.  We intend to continue serving as “the voice of the automotive world!” team

Big News: Subaru Reveals Grand Outback

Bigger is better, and that's no joke...maybe.

by on Apr.01, 2011

Bigger is better?

It’s that season when manufacturers start unveiling the coming model-year’s products.  And while some press releases require hours of reading to get to the pertinent facts.  However, Subaru’s missive revealing today’s surprise launch of the “Grand” Outback was so well written and succinct we found it impossible to do anything but offer the maker’s release intact:

In a bid to continue its record-setting sales streak, Subaru of America today announced the debut of a new model, the Subaru “Grand” Outback.

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The new model will be identical in looks to the current best-selling model but will be 50% bigger in every dimension.  This means that wheelbase increases from 107.9” to 166”, track is up from 61” to 90” and ground clearance up from an already class-leading 8.7” to 13”.

Subaru’s rationale behind the “Grand” Outback is simple: Its current generation of vehicles grew by 20% and corresponding sales grew by 50%.  Thus, by making Outback 50% larger still, Subaru can logically expect sales to more than double.