The Truth About Cars » Product Planning http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 25 May 2015 14:29:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Product Planning http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/product-planning/ Audi Introducing EV Crossover In 2018, Q8 Flagship SUV In 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-introducing-ev-crossover-in-2018-q8-flagship-suv-in-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-introducing-ev-crossover-in-2018-q8-flagship-suv-in-2019/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 19:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073122 Audi is set to launch a new flagship SUV in 2019, as well as an EV crossover in 2018, both part of the automaker’s 2020 model expansion plan. The 2019 Q8 and yet-to-be-named EV will help reinforce Audi’s place in the Chinese and U.S. auto markets, with the aim of beating BMW and keeping Mercedes-Benz […]

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Audi Q7

Audi is set to launch a new flagship SUV in 2019, as well as an EV crossover in 2018, both part of the automaker’s 2020 model expansion plan.

The 2019 Q8 and yet-to-be-named EV will help reinforce Audi’s place in the Chinese and U.S. auto markets, with the aim of beating BMW and keeping Mercedes-Benz at bay, Automotive News Europe reports. The Q8 will share its platform with the Q7 and feature styling similar to the BMW X6, while the EV will likely be based upon the Q5 and boast a 310-mile range.

By the time the two vehicles hit the market, Audi will have to face down increased competition from the likes of Bentley, Maserati, Jaguar and Tesla, the former three gunning for the high-end luxury SUV market with their respective models — Bentayga, Levante and F-Pace — while Tesla will be waiting for the EV with its own, the Model X.

Prior to their debuts, the automaker will introduce a new Q7 and TT this year, followed by the Q1 subcompact crossover in 2016. The overall plan is to have 60 models available for sale around the world by 2020, up from 52 right now.

[Source: Audi]

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Nissan IDx is Super-Dead, But Parts May Live On in FWD Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nissan-idx-is-super-dead-but-parts-may-live-on-in-fwd-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nissan-idx-is-super-dead-but-parts-may-live-on-in-fwd-platform/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072786 Nobody at Nissan is talking about IDx. That’s what we learned from Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America. But, there’s a chance certain styling elements could make their way to other products, or possibly even a front-wheel drive performance option below 370Z. While at the 2016 Nissan Maxima media preview […]

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Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept

Nobody at Nissan is talking about IDx.

That’s what we learned from Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America. But, there’s a chance certain styling elements could make their way to other products, or possibly even a front-wheel drive performance option below 370Z.

While at the 2016 Nissan Maxima media preview in Nashville, Tennessee, we had a chance to prod Loing on what could be the future of IDx considering its overwhelmingly positive reception in Tokyo and Detroit.

Nissan IDx Freeflow / IDx NISMO

“IDX is an interesting project; a show car that received good reception. But, to go from concept to production, the reality always kicks in,” Loing said about the future of IDx as we saw it revealed in Tokyo.

The reality is auto manufacturers are finding it difficult – or impossible – to build a small, rear-wheel drive performance vehicle and make money. Either a current platform, like that of the 370Z, needs to be shrunk down, or a whole new platform needs to be engineered to serve one niche vehicle.

2016 Nissan 370Z NISMO

Unfortunately, at least for Nissan, the 370Z platform isn’t an option.

“Small, sporty cars are very attractive for consumers but not in huge numbers. To do them properly – in our case – you can’t rely on an existing rear-wheel drive platform, because its dimensions are for a much larger powertrain. So, for us, it would mean developing a different rear-wheel drive platform and then we are bumping into the same obstacles every other automaker has: the volumes of a small, sporty car are not enough to justify the investment,” said Loing.

With the current Z doing quite well, at least in the eyes of Nissan as top-dollar NISMO models make up nearly 20 percent of units sold, going down-market is going against the market. Also, based on Loing’s remarks about size, it doesn’t look like we will be getting a smaller Z car next time around.

But, since it was the IDx’s design garnering the most attention, could it transfer to something else?

“It wouldn’t be the same design because, of course, the proportions are based on a rear-wheel drive platform,” Loing explained. “But that kind of retro 510 inspired design was very well received in Japan and in the U.S. (when Nissan debuted in Tokyo and Detroit), and to some extent in Europe as well. So, yeah, that could be an option – among other ones, it could be an option.

“I think we may still have some room (to add a retro-inspired car). We have a wide lineup.”

And with the new Maxima pumping out 300 horsepower to the front wheels alone, a FWD performance compact is possible.

Renault Megane RS 275

“If you look at the Alliance, Renault has some extremely strong front-wheel drive cars that are very sporty; Megane RenaultSport, for example, holds the front-wheel drive record on the Nurburgring. So, yes, it is possible within the limitations of front-wheel drive today.”

But, is that something Nissan is considering? Loing held his cards close to his vest.

“You will have to come back in a few years to see if it has materialized or not. *laughs* But, we do show cars to test reactions all the time, so those reactions are included in the debate on future global products. Sometimes they will be the deciding factor to go one way or another. Sometimes they won’t.”

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Honda Continues Shift Toward SUVs, Crossovers With 2016 Pilot Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 20:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072322 With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars. According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and […]

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2016 Honda Pilot Elite

With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars.

According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and light-duty truck markets, The Detroit Bureau reports.

The increase is being aided by Honda’s Lincoln, Ala. factory, where the Pilot, Odyssey and Acura MDX are assembled. The facility is expected to produce 120,000 Pilots annually once production is at full bore, and will begin production of the second-gen Ridgeline in the near future. Mendel says the factory has “some upside potential” as more new product and capacity comes online.

In addition, Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico is helping the automaker enter the U.S. subcompact crossover market with the introduction of the HR-V, whose competitors include the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax.

Mendel says Honda is looking for more opportunities to expand, though the search for so-called “white space” may diminish over time, prompting the automaker to seek better fortunes over “an incremental 5,000 units of sales.”

[Photo credit: Honda]

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Marchionne: AWD Minivan Will Lose Stow ‘N Go or Gain Electric Motor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 17:45:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072338 Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year. According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give. Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year.

According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give.

Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation minivan can only bring all-wheel drive to fruition in one of two ways: ditch Stow ‘N Go to free up space under the passenger floor or implement a hybrid system with an electric motor driving the rear wheels. “It’s not that complicated. We’re exploring both,” said Marchionne, Automotive News reports.

Considering the popularity of Stow ‘N Go for Chrysler’s minivan twins, the latter option seems most likely, and it isn’t without precedent.

Starting with the second-generation Cube in Japan, Nissan offered a system called “e4WD” that sent power to the electrically-driven rear wheels when the front wheels slipped. It also eliminated the need for a center coupling and reduced parasitic loss typically associated with mechanical all-wheel drive systems.

The new Chrysler minivan will debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in January before heading off to dealers later the same year as a 2017 model.

[h/t AutoGuide]

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Hyundai Santa Cruz, Subcompact Crossover Close To Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-santa-cruz-subcompact-crossover-close-to-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-santa-cruz-subcompact-crossover-close-to-production/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 21:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071762 Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? The trucklet may soon be coming to a showroom near you. Hyundai Motor North America CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Santa Cruz has a high probability of being approved by the parent company in South Korea, The Detroit Bureau reports, and would be accompanied […]

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Hyundai_Santa_Cruz_Crossover_Truck_Concept

Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? The trucklet may soon be coming to a showroom near you.

Hyundai Motor North America CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Santa Cruz has a high probability of being approved by the parent company in South Korea, The Detroit Bureau reports, and would be accompanied by a subcompact crossover set to battle the likes of the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax.

The trucklet takes a different approach compared to other midsize competitors, such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, focusing more on young city dwellers with active lifestyles who seek a vehicle with a place to stow their gear without dirtying the interior.

As for the proposed subcompact crossover, Zuchowski says Hyundai wants “a piece” of the growing segment, going as far as to decline bringing over an offering from China due to its conservative styling. The North American model will have its own platform, and have more striking styling, he adds.

An announcement is due within the next two to three months after Hyundai finishes studying capacity needs for the two models, with the United States likely to receive a boost over Mexico.

[Photo credit: Hyundai]

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2018 Jeep Wrangler Not Going Fully Aluminum After All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2018-jeep-wrangler-not-going-fully-aluminum-after-all/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2018-jeep-wrangler-not-going-fully-aluminum-after-all/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 16:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071514 The 2018 Jeep Wrangler will add diesel and an eight-speed automatic to the mix, but a fully aluminum body is no longer on the agenda. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the upcoming Wrangler would not go the same route as the new Ford F-150, opting instead for specific components — hood, tailgate, doors et al […]

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara rear side yellow

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler will add diesel and an eight-speed automatic to the mix, but a fully aluminum body is no longer on the agenda.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the upcoming Wrangler would not go the same route as the new Ford F-150, opting instead for specific components — hood, tailgate, doors et al — to be made from the alloy, Automotive News reports. Marchionne said the decision to move away from a fully aluminum model came down to comparison costs, and ease of production:

There will be a large portion of that vehicle that will be aluminum. It will not be all aluminum. We’ve run the numbers and we’ve simulated mileage and the impact. Because of the difference in cost — not just of the material but the actual assembly process — I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum. I think we can get very close.

Were the 2018 Wrangler to have stayed the course, the Jeep facility in Toledo, Ohio would have needed a complete overhaul to manufacture and assemble the vehicle, following a similar action by Ford with the F-150 at its Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The Blue Oval invested $843 million to retool the plant and nearby operations, a process taking 10 weeks to undergo; FCA’s new plan would eliminate the need for such action.

[Photo credit: Kamil Kaluski/The Truth About Cars]

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BMW X2 Green-Lit For Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-x2-green-lit-for-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-x2-green-lit-for-production/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070866 X is giving it to us again: BMW has green-lit production of the X2 crossover, slotted between the upcoming second-gen X1 and current X3. The X2 is based upon the UKL platform underpinning the X1 and 2 Series Active and Gran tourers, Autocar reports. Power will come from three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender BMW logo

X is giving it to us again: BMW has green-lit production of the X2 crossover, slotted between the upcoming second-gen X1 and current X3.

The X2 is based upon the UKL platform underpinning the X1 and 2 Series Active and Gran tourers, Autocar reports. Power will come from three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, including a performance-oriented B48 engine for an M Performance variant of the crossover, with output expected to hit 300 horsepower. Front- and all-wheel drive will link the power to the road.

Styling is said to follow in the footsteps of the X4 and X6 — four doors and a slanted hatchback — while the interior will be shared with the second-gen X1.

The publication’s sources state the concept version of the X2 will make its global debut as early as next year’s Geneva Auto Show. Prototype testing is set to begin by the end of May. North American sales are not known as of this writing, though the United Kingdom will get theirs starting in H2 2017.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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Toyota Readying Sub-GT86 Model For Sale By Early 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/toyota-readying-sub-gt86-model-for-sale-by-early-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/toyota-readying-sub-gt86-model-for-sale-by-early-2018/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070778 Looking to bring some competition to the Mazda MX-5, Toyota is in the final prototyping phase for a model slotted underneath the GT86. The sub-86 — dubbed 69DZ — is said to be powered by a 1.5-liter direct-injection I4 pushing 130 horses to the back via Aisin six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and will weigh […]

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Toyota 86 Style Cb Edition 02

Looking to bring some competition to the Mazda MX-5, Toyota is in the final prototyping phase for a model slotted underneath the GT86.

The sub-86 — dubbed 69DZ — is said to be powered by a 1.5-liter direct-injection I4 pushing 130 horses to the back via Aisin six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and will weigh in at 2,160 lbs., Motoring.com.au reports. A source close to the matter says the car’s designers “have a final prototype that could very well go into production as is,” styled after the Toyota 800 from the 1960s.

Said styling was recently brought over to the limited-edition GT86 Cb Style, including the rounded headlights and grill, with the intent for the smaller model to be a baby brother to the Cb.

Seating is set for a 2+2 configuration, though the rear seats will likely be used to secure shopping purchases over small children. Flared wheel arches and a hood with a so-called “lump” — meant to accommodate both the I4 and 3.5-inch pedestrian-impact absorption zone — will also be onboard.

The 69DZ is set to go on sale in early 2018, with a base starting price equal to the base for the Corolla. Whether it will be a Scion — let alone sold in the United States — is yet to be determined.

[Photo credit: Toyota]

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Müller: US-Bound Porsche Boxster, Cayman To Gain Four-Cylinder Engines Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-us-bound-porsche-boxster-cayman-to-gain-four-cylinder-engines-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-us-bound-porsche-boxster-cayman-to-gain-four-cylinder-engines-next-year/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 18:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070170 Over 20 years ago, Porsche sold its last four-cylinder model in the United States. By the middle of 2016, this will all change. Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said the Cayman and Boxster will be the first U.S.-bound models to have flat-four engines, Automotive News reports. Müller also let it be known other models for the […]

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2014 Porsche Cayman S at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

Over 20 years ago, Porsche sold its last four-cylinder model in the United States. By the middle of 2016, this will all change.

Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said the Cayman and Boxster will be the first U.S.-bound models to have flat-four engines, Automotive News reports. Müller also let it be known other models for the U.S. market could receive flat-fours if consumer demand calls for them.

The new four-pot is expected to be turbocharged, with 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines likely in the offing. Müller says maximum output could be as high as 395 horsepower, as well.

For now, the only four-cylinder model available is the Macan sold in China and the United Kingdom. Whether it will be among those heading over to the U.S. is undecided.

[Photo credit: Richard Cabrera/Flickr/CA BY-SA 2.0]

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Müller: Porsche 911 PHEV Under Negotiation For Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-porsche-911-phev-under-negotiation-for-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-porsche-911-phev-under-negotiation-for-production/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 15:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067306 Could there be a Porsche 911 PHEV on the showroom floor in the future? The decision to build and market one could be made sometime this year. Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said a plug-in variant of the iconic vehicle could happen, alongside PHEVs of every other model in the automaker’s lineup, Automotive News reports: That […]

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911 50th Anniversary Edition _6_

Could there be a Porsche 911 PHEV on the showroom floor in the future? The decision to build and market one could be made sometime this year.

Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said a plug-in variant of the iconic vehicle could happen, alongside PHEVs of every other model in the automaker’s lineup, Automotive News reports:

That is a technique which we at Porsche are very familiar with, so we can suppose that we could have plug-ins all over the model range, not only to save fuel but also to boost the performance of these cars.

Mueller adds the decision to press ahead with a Porsche 911 PHEV is under negotiation, stating the technology “is the solution for the nearer future.”

Porsche sells three PHEVs thus far: the 918 Spyder, Cayenne and Panamera. Of the latter two, the Cayenne is projected to make up between 10 and 12 percent of overall U.S. sales of the crossover in 2015, while 15 percent of overall U.S. Panamera sales are of the PHEV variant. The 918, meanwhile, sold out its 918-unit limited edition run last December.

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Von Kuenheim: BMW Will Never Market A Pickup Truck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/von-kuenheim-bmw-will-never-market-a-pickup-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/von-kuenheim-bmw-will-never-market-a-pickup-truck/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 20:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066962 BMW owners looking to add a Bavarian-badged pickup will need to look elsewhere, as the automaker has no intention to market such a vehicle. The declaration comes from BMW Group Asia, Pacific and South Africa senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim, Motoring.com.au reports. Von Kuenheim spelled out why utes and trucks will never have a […]

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BMW 2002 Truckamino Circa March 2009

BMW owners looking to add a Bavarian-badged pickup will need to look elsewhere, as the automaker has no intention to market such a vehicle.

The declaration comes from BMW Group Asia, Pacific and South Africa senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim, Motoring.com.au reports. Von Kuenheim spelled out why utes and trucks will never have a place in his company’s collection:

There is huge potential in pick-ups. In North America you look at the Ford F-150 pick-up it is the best-selling car.

You can do it but then you cannot be BMW. You have to be a different company, but this company is not ready to change from the ultimate driving machine and the ultimate successful company in luxury to a mass manufacturer who goes after the volume of pick-up trucks.

He did acknowledge BMW’s ongoing presence in the crossover/SUV market, as well as the introduction of front-wheel drive and three-cylinder engines to the brand, yet reiterated the fact those moves were accomplished by remaining true to its core values “of joy, dynamics and innovation.”

The proclamation follows an announcement in March by Mercedes of its intent to build a 1-ton pickup based upon the Nissan Navara, set to hit most showrooms around the globe by early 2019 as the GLT-Class.

[Photo credit: Drew Stephens/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Autoleaks: BMW M2 Specs, Colors Revealed In Forum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autoleaks-bmw-m2-specs-colors-revealed-forum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autoleaks-bmw-m2-specs-colors-revealed-forum/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 18:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1063642 Via a forum member’s inside sources, specs and colors for the upcoming BMW M2 have made their way onto the Internet. 2 Addicts member Dackelone posted info on what colors would be available at launch in November, as well as what to expect out of the N55 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 under the bonnet, AutoGuide reports. […]

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BMW 2 Series Coupe

Via a forum member’s inside sources, specs and colors for the upcoming BMW M2 have made their way onto the Internet.

2 Addicts member Dackelone posted info on what colors would be available at launch in November, as well as what to expect out of the N55 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 under the bonnet, AutoGuide reports.

Based on Dackelone’s sources “deep within BMW HQ,” the N55 — used in a number of BMW models since 2009 — will put 365 horses and 343 lb-ft of torque to the back, and has an “over boost” feature good for 25 lb-ft of extra torque throughout the low- to mid-range within the RPM band.

As for the colors, only four will be available at the start: Alpine White, Black Sapphire metallic, Long Beach Blue metallic, and Mineral Grey metallic. Other colors may turn up later, though Dackelone is collecting suggestions via poll.

[Photo credit: BMW]

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Tesla Model 3 Set For Global Debut By Next March http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-model-3-set-global-debut-next-march/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-model-3-set-global-debut-next-march/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 17:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1063618 The elusive unicorn known as the Tesla Model 3 is set to hit showrooms in H2 2017, but will make its world debut much sooner. During the automaker’s Q1 2015 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk announced that his company would bring the Model 3 to the global stage next March, AutoGuide reports. This likely could […]

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Tesla Building Circa March 2015

The elusive unicorn known as the Tesla Model 3 is set to hit showrooms in H2 2017, but will make its world debut much sooner.

During the automaker’s Q1 2015 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk announced that his company would bring the Model 3 to the global stage next March, AutoGuide reports. This likely could mean an appearance around, if not during, the Geneva or New York auto shows that bookend the month.

Before the $35,000 EV with the 200-mile range leaves the studio for the ramp, however, the Model X SUV is expected to take its place alongside the Model S.

[Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook]

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GM Hints At Aluminum Bodies During $5.4B Investment Announcement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-hints-aluminum-bodies-5-4b-investment-announcement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-hints-aluminum-bodies-5-4b-investment-announcement/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 18:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058530 During its announcement of a $5.4-billion investment into its facilities, General Motors hinted at possibly making the switch to aluminum bodies. Part of the investment would go into the Warren Technical Center in Warren, Mich., where a revamp of its prototype plant would accommodate aluminum, steel, and blended steel/aluminum bodies, The Detroit Bureau reports. Currently, […]

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General Motors RenCen Signage Circa August 2006

During its announcement of a $5.4-billion investment into its facilities, General Motors hinted at possibly making the switch to aluminum bodies.

Part of the investment would go into the Warren Technical Center in Warren, Mich., where a revamp of its prototype plant would accommodate aluminum, steel, and blended steel/aluminum bodies, The Detroit Bureau reports.

Currently, aluminum has been used on some components and panels for a number of models as the automaker continues its experiments in lightweighting that began with the first Corvette. This is set to change with the upcoming Cadillac CT6, which uses the alloy throughout the majority of the body, while the firewall and floor pan are stamped from steel.

With ever-stringent fuel economy standards looming on the horizon — including the 54.5 mpg fleet fuel economy average set for 2025 — GM may apply aluminum to more of its vehicles to help meet the mandate, as the metal is easier to use than other lightweight materials such as carbon fiber.

However, aluminum is more expensive than steel, which may prompt the automaker to use it on luxury vehicles or on trucks and SUVs, following Ford’s extensive use of aluminum on the new F-150.

Steel, meanwhile, won’t be going away. The steel industry has made gains in developing lighter, stronger alloys, while automakers like GM are using blended sandwich-style body panels to reduce noise.

[Photo credit: Joseph Novak/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Gales: Lotus Will Show Profit By End Of FY 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gales-lotus-will-show-profit-end-fy-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gales-lotus-will-show-profit-end-fy-2016/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058418 After going broke for so long, Lotus Cars CEO Jean-Marc Gales says his company will be back in the black by March 2017, when FY 2016 ends. To do this, Gales implemented cost-cutting measures while improving the current lineup to help increase sales and profits, Automotive News Europe reports. In the short term, this meant […]

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Lotus Evora S Circa August 2013

After going broke for so long, Lotus Cars CEO Jean-Marc Gales says his company will be back in the black by March 2017, when FY 2016 ends.

To do this, Gales implemented cost-cutting measures while improving the current lineup to help increase sales and profits, Automotive News Europe reports. In the short term, this meant making some changes to the automaker’s offerings, such as adding an automatic transmission to the Exige, and refocusing the facelifted U.S.-bound Evora to better compete against the Porsche 911 and Audi R8. Gales said the U.S. would be the Evora’s biggest market as it leads the charge back to these shores after federal crash standards kept the model out for 2015.

At home in Hethel, England, 260 were cut from the workforce of 1,250, less than the 325 Gales had planned to cut in September 2014. The CEO also cut back consulting and engineering work conducted by Lotus Engineering, focusing the engineering arm on developing the automaker’s lineup, as well as combing through the supply chain to replace larger suppliers with smaller ones.

On the sales front, 2,015 cars left the showroom floor during FY 2014, an increase of 55 percent compared to the previous year’s 1,403; Gales is aiming for 3,500 sold by 2016. The increase is helped by an expansion of its dealerships, which stood at 174 at the end of March. He said his goal is to have 200 by the end of 2015.

As for profits, Gales said that losses were “massively reduced” compared to FY 2014’s £65.6 million ($100 million USD), and FY 2013’s £159.4 million ($242.2 million). He adds that he expects to see a profit for Lotus by the end of FY 2016, an experience the company hasn’t had “from the car side in over 20 years.”

[Photo credit: Vetatur Fumare/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Aston Martin All-In On SUV, Lamborghini Still On Fence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aston-martin-suv-lamborghini-still-fence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aston-martin-suv-lamborghini-still-fence/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058346 Aston Martin is entering the high-end luxury SUV/crossover game, while Lamborghini is still debating whether or not the LM002 needs a successor. Aston Martin Lagonda announced Thursday it would commit £200 million ($305 million USD) to expanding its lineup. The capital investment will be in the form of preference shares, with the first £100 million […]

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Aston Martin Logo

Aston Martin is entering the high-end luxury SUV/crossover game, while Lamborghini is still debating whether or not the LM002 needs a successor.

Aston Martin Lagonda announced Thursday it would commit £200 million ($305 million USD) to expanding its lineup. The capital investment will be in the form of preference shares, with the first £100 million ($152 million) already issued and the remainder doled out over the next 12 months.

What does that investment buy? A new “luxury crossover GT” based upon the DBX concept shown at the 2015 Geneva and Shanghai auto shows, for one. CEO Andy Palmer said as much in the press release:

This additional long-term funding, will enable us to add extra model lines and broaden our presence in the luxury market segment by the end of the decade. The DBX concept, has generated interest far beyond our expectations. The additional investment announced today will allow us to realise the DBX and other new luxury vehicles that will form the strongest and most diverse portfolio in our history.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini is still thinking about adding an SUV to its lineup, though no decision has been made, as CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Autoblog last month:

If we do a third model, then it’s better to have the SUV as this is a growing segment, a more emotional segment, a segment which is very well-distributed in terms of volume all over the planet. And therefore this is a car which is more likely.

The potential successor of Lamborghini’s sole outing in the SUV market – the LM002 – would have a design more appealling to current Lamborghini owners. It would also bring a significant amount of sales to the brand: the Urus concept from 2012 was projected to move 3,000 units per year; the brand itself sold 2,530 units in 2014.

Winkelmann adds the SUV would be the perfect platform for a hybrid powertrain, citing the SUV’s packaging and weight behind the reasoning.

[Photo credit: Aston Martin]

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New Mazdaspeed3 Speculated For Frankfurt Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-mazdaspeed3-speculated-frankfurt-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-mazdaspeed3-speculated-frankfurt-debut/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:43:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055817 Fans of the Mazdaspeed3 may soon rejoice, as speculation points to a new version of the high-performance hatch debuting in Frankfurt this September. The new Mazdaspeed3 – Mazda3 MPS in Australia – will turn up as a concept before quickly entering production, Motoring.com.au reports. Power is expected to come from a 2.5-liter turbo-four unit capable […]

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Fans of the Mazdaspeed3 may soon rejoice, as speculation points to a new version of the high-performance hatch debuting in Frankfurt this September.

The new Mazdaspeed3 – Mazda3 MPS in Australia – will turn up as a concept before quickly entering production, Motoring.com.au reports. Power is expected to come from a 2.5-liter turbo-four unit capable of 295 horsepower – which will also motivate the new CX-9 set to make its world debut later this year in Los Angeles — with AWD as a possible feature.

For those waiting for the next Mazdaspeed6, the publication’s sources point to 2017 as the earliest the high-performance sedan would arrive; the aforementioned turbo-four and AWD system would also find its way here.

Meanwhile, Mazda has plans to have four crossovers in the lineup with the addition of a reborn midsize CX-7 and its third-row seating, taking its place alongside the subcompact CX-3, compact CX-5 and fullsize CX-9. The CX-7 would debut after the new CX-9.

[Photo credit: Mazda]

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Mitsubishi Evo To Return In Electrified Crossover Form http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mitsubishi-evo-return-electrified-crossover-form/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mitsubishi-evo-return-electrified-crossover-form/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 18:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055665 Though the Mitsubishi Evo as we know it will soon fade into history, the Evo nameplate will return in the form of an electrified crossover. Mitsubishi boss Tetsuro Aikawa told Autocar that the future Evo would be linked to EV and PHEV technologies: In the future, we would like to launch such a vehicle with […]

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Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II

Though the Mitsubishi Evo as we know it will soon fade into history, the Evo nameplate will return in the form of an electrified crossover.

Mitsubishi boss Tetsuro Aikawa told Autocar that the future Evo would be linked to EV and PHEV technologies:

In the future, we would like to launch such a vehicle with Evo characteristics. In Japanese, when you pronounce ‘Oh’ [in Evo], it means ‘king’. So we would like to launch this type of car, featuring EV and PHEV technology, which is the ultimate of its kind. ‘EV’ for electric vehicle, ‘O’ for king – Evo.

As for what that Evo may resemble, speculation points to the next-gen ASX crossover, based upon the XR-PHEV II concept featured at this year’s Geneva Auto Show. The ASX Evo would follow in the footsteps of the previous Lancer-based icon, with power from its PHEV drivetrain funnelled to all corners instead of only the front pair as done on the standard ASX.

That said, the wait may likely be a long one. According to Aikawa, a significant number of base ASX models would have to be sold prior to bringing the ASX Evo to the assembly line, as those sales are what fund R&D for the higher-performance model.

[Photo credit: Mitsubishi]

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Mercedes Eyeing Crossovers For Maybach, smart Brands http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mercedes-eyeing-crossovers-maybach-smart-brands/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mercedes-eyeing-crossovers-maybach-smart-brands/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 06:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053545 Not too long ago, Mercedes didn’t have plans for either a Maybach or smart crossover. Looks like those plans have changed. Should the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand gain a crossover to place alongside the S600 and Pullman models, sales and marketing boss Ola Kallenius says the Mercedes GLS set for 2017 would be “the more likely scenario,” […]

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Mercedes-Maybach 01

Not too long ago, Mercedes didn’t have plans for either a Maybach or smart crossover. Looks like those plans have changed.

Should the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand gain a crossover to place alongside the S600 and Pullman models, sales and marketing boss Ola Kallenius says the Mercedes GLS set for 2017 would be “the more likely scenario,” Autocar reports.

The GLS would differ from the current GL/GLS model, as it would be based upon the S-Class’ current architecture to better go up against other high-end luxury SUVs and crossovers. It would also be powered by the same 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 found in the S600 as well as a 4.0-liter V8 possible for tax purposes in China. Diesel, however, would be out of the question, as Mercedes expects to move the GLS in China and the U.S. where diesel isn’t on the radar of most motorists.

Meanwhile, smart could gain an SUV or crossover based on the forfour/Renault Twingo platform, a move that would bring greater use to said platform beyond its current role. The vehicle would likely improve smart’s long-term profit margins, though Daimler AG chief Dieter Zetsche cautions there would be some engineering challenges involved with the platform’s rear-engine, rear-drive design.

[Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz]

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Lincoln Turning To Proper Names For Future Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lincoln-turning-proper-names-future-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lincoln-turning-proper-names-future-models/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050825 Just as Cadillac embraces an all-new set of alphanumeric naming schemes, Lincoln is deciding that proper names may be better after all. Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs told reporters attending an industry breakfast hosted by Detroit law firm Dawda Mann that his company was “very excited about the Continental name and the attention […]

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LincolnContinentalConcept_10_Detail_Badge

Just as Cadillac embraces an all-new set of alphanumeric naming schemes, Lincoln is deciding that proper names may be better after all.

Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs told reporters attending an industry breakfast hosted by Detroit law firm Dawda Mann that his company was “very excited about the Continental name and the attention it’s gotten,” Automotive News says. Lincoln had made it known during the Continental Concept’s appearance at the 2015 New York Auto Show this month that the production model — set to replace the outgoing MKS — would also be called Continental.

Hinrichs also had this to say about the MK nomenclature as a whole:

I get it. I know MKX and C and Z and T. I’ve studied them very well. I know them well, but we also understand the issue. It’s, frankly, where the auto industry — the premium industry — has gone, if you look at all the nameplates. But another way Lincoln could distinguish itself is to leverage its heritage. So I’ll leave it at that.

The MK scheme was originally thought of as a tribute to the Continental Mark series, though then-CEO Alan Mulally told the media at the time that he wasn’t enamored with the scheme; he would later come to terms with the change. Now that Lincoln is coming back under the tutelage of current CEO Mark Fields, however, one of the ways it aims to stand apart from other premium brands is to return to using names like Continental, Town Car et al.

Proper names may also help on the showroom floor: while sales of the MK models are down 7.2 percent thus far in 2015, sales of the Navigator — the sole bearer of a proper name in Lincoln’s lineup — have climbed 84 percent over the same period, though part of that could be attributed to lower prices at the pump fueling renewed overall demand for trucks and SUVs, as well.

[Photo credit: Lincoln]

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Patent Search Reveals Images Of 2016 Honda Civic Coupe, Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/patent-search-reveals-images-2016-honda-civic-coupe-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/patent-search-reveals-images-2016-honda-civic-coupe-sedan/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1047785 Recently unearthed by an enthusiast forum, above is just one of the renders for the upcoming 2016 Honda Civic. CivicX.com conducted a patent search for the 10th-gen model of the storied Civic, whereupon the forum found “official patent images” of the production-ready coupe and sedan variants; only the hatchback was not found as of this writing. […]

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2016-civicsedan-2

Recently unearthed by an enthusiast forum, above is just one of the renders for the upcoming 2016 Honda Civic.

CivicX.com conducted a patent search for the 10th-gen model of the storied Civic, whereupon the forum found “official patent images” of the production-ready coupe and sedan variants; only the hatchback was not found as of this writing.

A few differences from the very-green concept that turned up in New York earlier this month include: less-aggressive, smaller lines and vents in the front and rear bumpers; the lack of a rear spoiler on the coupe — though said piece may likely be offered on high-performance models; and revised headlamps that retain the concept’s LED daytime lights. The coupe also retains the wraparound tail light on the concept, while the sedan does not receive the treatment.

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Nissan Considering Hybrid Variant Of Rogue For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nissan-considering-hybrid-variant-rogue-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nissan-considering-hybrid-variant-rogue-us-market/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044746 Known as the X-Trail or Qashqai in Japan and other global markets, the Nissan Rogue could soon come in hybrid form for the U.S. market. Automotive News reports the X-Trail Hybrid could be rebadged as a Rogue Hybrid, both crossovers using a single-motor, dual-clutch hybrid system; the X-Trail Hybrid is expected to hold 40 percent […]

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Known as the X-Trail or Qashqai in Japan and other global markets, the Nissan Rogue could soon come in hybrid form for the U.S. market.

Automotive News reports the X-Trail Hybrid could be rebadged as a Rogue Hybrid, both crossovers using a single-motor, dual-clutch hybrid system; the X-Trail Hybrid is expected to hold 40 percent of overall X-Trail sales after it goes on sale in Japan this May.

Though Nissan didn’t mention whether it had plans to sell the hybrid overseas, the crossover’s engineer, Nobusuke Toukura, said the company was thinking about a Rogue hybrid model for the United States, citing increasing consumer demand for hybrids and stricter emissions rules over the next five years.

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Published Ford Patent Reveals 11-Speed Automatic Transmission http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/published-ford-patent-reveals-11-speed-automatic-transmission/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/published-ford-patent-reveals-11-speed-automatic-transmission/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043146 Ten-speed transmissions not enough? Ford is turning it up to 11 with an 11-speed automatic waiting in the wings. AutoGuide reports the patent application for the 11-speed was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in early October of 2013, with schematics like the one above showing various combinations of clutches, brakes and gearing. […]

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Ford 11-Speed Transmission Schematic

Ten-speed transmissions not enough? Ford is turning it up to 11 with an 11-speed automatic waiting in the wings.

AutoGuide reports the patent application for the 11-speed was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in early October of 2013, with schematics like the one above showing various combinations of clutches, brakes and gearing.

As for when such a thing will arrive to direct power for an F-150 or a GT, representative Paul Seredynski wouldn’t give confirmation, stating that Ford submits ideas to the patent office “as a normal course of business” in protecting new ideas, and is not an indication of any future plans or products. Until then, consumers will have to settle for the 10-speed unit set for the 2017 Raptor.

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Eberhardt: No Separate Brand Above Range Rover For Ultra-Luxury SUVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/eberhardt-no-separate-brand-range-rover-ultra-luxury-suvs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/eberhardt-no-separate-brand-range-rover-ultra-luxury-suvs/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041625 Though Bentley and Rolls-Royce are adding ultra-luxury SUVs to their collections, Jaguar Land Rover has no plans to put one above Range Rover. Car & Driver reports JLR North America CEO and president Joe Eberhardt stated during the 2015 New York Auto Show that such a thing won’t likely occur, adding that JLR hasn’t yet […]

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Though Bentley and Rolls-Royce are adding ultra-luxury SUVs to their collections, Jaguar Land Rover has no plans to put one above Range Rover.

Car & Driver reports JLR North America CEO and president Joe Eberhardt stated during the 2015 New York Auto Show that such a thing won’t likely occur, adding that JLR hasn’t yet seen “where Range Rover can go.” Eberhardt also said that he wasn’t too worried about the ultra-luxury SUV competition stealing sales from the high-end brand.

Presently, the most expensive Range Rover in JLR’s lineup is the recently introduced Range Rover SVAutobiography, which tops out the range with a base price of $200,490; the Bentley and Roller SUVs are expected to begin between $300,000 and $400,000 for comparison.

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Lieberman: $180K Ferrari Twin-Turbo V6 Arriving In 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lieberman-180k-ferrari-twin-turbo-v6-arriving-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lieberman-180k-ferrari-twin-turbo-v6-arriving-2019/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039345 Want a Porsche 911 Turbo S, but with a Ferrari badge? You might want to check your bank account. According to AutoGuide, Motor Trend’s Johnny Lieberman dropped a bombshell on his Twitter account, stating that Ferrari has a twin-turbo V6 in the works. Said vehicle is expected to hit showrooms in 2019 for a starting […]

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Want a Porsche 911 Turbo S, but with a Ferrari badge? You might want to check your bank account.

According to AutoGuide, Motor Trend’s Johnny Lieberman dropped a bombshell on his Twitter account, stating that Ferrari has a twin-turbo V6 in the works. Said vehicle is expected to hit showrooms in 2019 for a starting price of $180,000, and will lay the smack down on the Mercedes-AMG GT, McLaren 570S, and the aforementioned Porsche.

AutoGuide adds that the twin-turbo Ferrari could become “a spiritual Dino successor,” invoking the lower-cost marque from the 1960s and 1970s for models with fewer than 12 cylinders howling under the hood.

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