By on September 25, 2017

Jaguar F-Type 4cyl

Think of the words “Jaguar” and “sports car” and the mind instantly conjures up images of the flowing XK120 and #NSFW E-Type roadsters of yesteryear, each sporting a properly British straight-six engine under a kilometer-long hood. Okay, okay — the final E-Type variant doubled the cylinder count, but you get the idea.

The tradition of open-top two-seaters continues to this day with the F-Type, albeit with a much more diverse array of engine offerings. As the tech press talks up a future of autonomous people pods, and as crossovers threaten to overwhelm every longstanding brand, Jaguar wants automotive puritans to fear not: the Jaguar sports car isn’t going anywhere.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t change with the times. (Read More…)

By on September 22, 2017

2017 Hyundai H100 Korea pickup - Image: Hyundai“We’ve been talking about it for a number of years now,” Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer, Scott Grant, said at the Genesis G70 global reveal.

No, he’s not talking about the G70, or any Genesis for that matter. He’s not talking about the H-100 pictured above. He’s not talking about the Tucson-based Hyundai Santa Cruz that finally seems destined for production after years of back-and-forth indecision.

Hyundai is now considering a true pickup truck. “We’re confident of having something on the other side of 2020,” Grant says.

Hyundai’s coming for your pickup truck market share, Nissan. (Read More…)

By on September 22, 2017

Mercedes-Benz Alabama Assembly Line - Image: Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz is investing $1 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, assembly operations in order to facilitate the production of its first EQ-branded SUVs in 2020. The investment, timed to roughly coincide with the beginning of Mercedes-Benz ML production in Alabama, is expected to result in the hiring of another 600 employees.

In the near term, Mercedes-Benz has been open with its doubts regarding the profitability of pure electric vehicles. Evidently, the long-term view is different. And it probably doesn’t hurt to pour more money into a U.S. operations hub that accounts for nearly half the vehicles sold by the automaker in America. (Read More…)

By on September 22, 2017

2018 Genesis G70 lineup - Image: GenesisFirst, Hyundai wanted American consumers to accept the XG300 as a luxury car alternative. If two decades ago such an idea seemed ludicrous, the XG300 — later the XG350 and then the Azera — set the stage for 2018, a year in which a Hyundai luxury spinoff, Genesis, would complete its luxury sedan lineup.

Yes, complete.

Genesis Motors launched in the United States one year ago with the full-size G90 sedan (the Hyundai Equus in a prior generation) and midsize G80 sedan (renamed from the Hyundai Genesis). In September 2017, we saw the production version of the BMW 3 Series-rivalling Genesis G70, set to arrive in showrooms this winter.

Yet while there will be more vehicles from Genesis, including SUVs and quite likely a coupe, Genesis senior vice president Manfred Fitzgerald says the sedan lineup is complete. The fledgling brand will not be moving downmarket into the CLA250/A3/CT200h arena. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma 4Runner Tundra TRD - Image: ToyotaEarlier this month, Toyota board chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada told CNBC that the company was “skeptical there would be a rapid shift to pure electric vehicles, given questions over user convenience.”

It shouldn’t be perceived as a revolutionary thought. But with automakers increasingly touting their plans for “electrification” — a word too many observers have interpreted incorrectly — and regulators increasingly promoting their plans to do away with internal combustion engines, Uchiyamada’s honesty regarding the limitations of electric vehicles flew in the face of advanced automotive thought.

It did not, however, fly in the face of conventional Toyota thought. According to Reuters, the president of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, says, “EVs are in focus at the moment but customers and the market will ultimately decide which powertrains will be successful.”

You’d almost think Akio Toyoda was — crazy as this may sound — running a business. (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2017

Citroen DS, Image: Wikimedia Commons

For some, including TTAC’s in-house Francophile, Chris Tonn, the wait is simply unbearable. PSA Group, maker of Citroën, Peugeot and DS cars, plans to re-enter a market it hasn’t done business in since the last Peugeot left a U.S. dealer in 1991.

It’s a slow and steady comeback for the French automaker. Steamlined, flush with products, and no longer the fiscal basket case it was earlier in the decade, PSA plans to conquer untapped and underperforming markets, including the United States. The American arrival comes by way of an extremely cautious 10-year plan. While the automaker remains hesitant to show its cards, it now admits that, if the buying public is willing, it can have cars ready for U.S. purchase in three years. (Read More…)

By on September 15, 2017

2019 Porsche Cayenne pixelated rendering - Image: PorscheOn this, TTAC’s authors and TTAC’s audience are largely in agreement: luxury sport utility coupes are not the answer to the vehicular challenges of this age.

So Porsche is probably going to build a Cayenne Coupe.

It’ll probably have four doors. It’ll probably be more expensive than a regular Cayenne. It will almost certainly not be as good or half as attractive as a Porsche Cayenne. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2017

Nissan Mexico NP300 "New Frontier" - Image: nissan“The dedicated employees here in Canton look forward to building
the next generation of one of the best pickup trucks in America.”
– Steve Marsh, VP Manufacturing, Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant

Nissan has announced that a next-generation Nissan Frontier will be built in Canton, Mississippi, the same plant that’s been building the nearly 13-year-old second-gen Frontier since 2012.

But the platform on which the next Frontier will be based? And the precise timing of the unveiling and on-sale date?

Still unknown. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2017

2020 Porsche Mission E Concept - Image: Porsche“It is very close to what you saw two years ago at Frankfurt,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume says of the forthcoming production version of 2015’s stunning Mission E Concept.

“It will be exciting but a bit different from the concept,” Blume told CAR Magazine at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

That’s for beholders to gauge once the production version of the Mission E is pictured in 2019, when the model arrives exclusively with electric powertrains. Oliver Blume did, however, make clearer commitments relative to the Mission E that will delight Porschephiles and — perhaps — convert Tesla fans.

Right from launch, the Porsche Mission E — likely a 2020 model year vehicle — will be marketed with a 350 kW charge rate that “will be enough for a 400-kilometer range on an 80 percent charge,” Blume says. That’s 250 miles of range from a 15-minute charge. All of this in a car that Porsche claims accelerates from rest to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds and tops 155 mph, a car Porsche couldn’t have developed “so quickly without the 919” — the automaker’s Le Mans-winning hybrid endurance racer.  (Read More…)

By on September 12, 2017

2015 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet - Image: VWIf it’s not Obama’s fault, then it’s probably Brexit’s.

Volkswagen’s sixth-generation Golf is destined to mark the end of the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet run. The Mk7 Golf didn’t spawn a droptop variant and the United Kingdom’s shrinking car market has reportedly caused Volkswagen to cease development of the eighth-generation Golf’s cabriolet.

Of course, Volkswagen hasn’t sold a topless Golf in the United States since the 2002 model year, when an Mk3 Golf essentially wore the Mk4 Golf’s face. That’s a 15-year gap for topdown Golf motoring, a timespan which saw Golf Cabriolets disappear in other markets, as well. But five years after launching the Volkswagen Eos — a Golf-related convertible with a power retractable hardtop — Volkswagen brought the Golf Cabriolet back from the grave for the Mk6 generation. There was even a GTI.

With the Eos’s death, it appeared likely that the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet would be redeveloped yet again. But with a soft UK car market — a bizarrely convertible-hungry market, by the by — since Britons voted to sever ties with the European Union, Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess told Autocar, “We wanted to do a convertible now, but with the relatively weak UK market and the uncertainty about what will happen, we had to think against it.”

So, Beetle Convertible it is. (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2017

2017 Lincoln Continental

It’s getting to the point that if you’re not a premium automaker promising some sort of brand-wide electric propulsion revolution, you’re not a premium automaker. Volvo has announced it’s going all-electrified (not necessarily electric) in short order. Maserati and Aston Martin are headed in a similar direction.

Is Lincoln the next luxury brand to ditch gas-only powertrains?

Not quite, but Ford’s luxury arm is planning on endowing every model in its lineup with an available hybrid powertrain, according to three sources who spoke to Reuters. It’s a plan very similar to the one Jaguar Land Rover announced just yesterday. While the completion date for Lincoln’s lineup electrification is 2022, the brand might not stop at just hybrids and plug-ins. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2017

Ford Ranger Raptor, Image: Ford Australia/YouTube

Not quite a month ago, we brought you spy photos of a heavily camouflaged, clearly brawnier variant of Ford’s overseas Ranger. So angry was an Australian engineer along for the ride that he challenged the photographer to a fight.

Now, thanks to Ford’s Australian and South African divisions, we can see what the engineer (and some suspect underbody netting) was attempting to hide: a Ford Ranger Raptor.

You’ll recall that Ford plans to bring the Ranger to American buyers — and production to Michigan — for the 2019 model year. It now looks like the off-road-ready Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro will soon have a Blue Oval rival, as overseas customers receive the Ranger Raptor for the 2018 model year. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2017

2018 Genesis G70 - Image: Michael Giele/TwitterYou must wait a little while longer, but we’ll soon have a much better idea of what the Genesis G70 will look like. The entry-level sports sedan from Hyundai’s upmarket Genesis division debuts in its South Korea home market next Friday, September 15, 2017, at an event at Seoul’s Olympic Park.

In fact, in advance of the unveiling in Korea, we already have a clearer view of the Genesis G70, thanks to the timely response of one Michael Giele, who spotted the new Genesis sedan and posted images to Twitter.

Destined to provide the next major shakeup in the small luxury sports sedan sector after the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE, and Cadillac ATS arrived with great expectations, the Genesis G70 will be tasked with challenging the Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS, more likely than not with more equipment and lower MSRPs. It won’t be easy for Hyundai’s Genesis brand, so the car had better look good. (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2017

2010 Toyota RAV4 EV Demo - Image: ToyotaMazda is planning for the internal combustion engine of 2050. Toyota is applying the Dynamic Force improvements that worked wonders on the 2018 Camry’s fuel economy ratings to V6 and V8 engines.

And electric cars?

“We’re skeptical there would be a rapid shift to pure electric vehicles, given questions over user convenience,” Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada tells CNBC.

There is a Toyota electric car in your future, Uchiyamada believes. But more likely than not, it’s not in your near future. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2017

2016 Volkswagen Golf R - Image: VW

Unlike Mercedes-AMG, Volkswagen’s R performance division isn’t much of a sub-brand. While the VW Golf R remains the industry’s quintessential hot hatch, there’s no shortage of rivals ready and willing to usurp its position as a segment leader. Also, one model does not a sub-brand make.

Down the road from VW’s Wolfsburg, Germany, headquarters, the executives in Stuttgart can’t AMG-ify Mercedes-Benz products fast enough. SUVs, “coupe” variants of SUVs, sedans, and legit coupes are all going under the knife, emerging with taut suspension, improved driving dynamics, and an all-important shot of horsepower — traditionally in “strong” and “extra strong” doses. Not only does it improve an automaker’s image, it also helps sell high-profit utility vehicles.

Volkswagen requires some of Mercedes-AMG’s medicine. Now, according to a recent report, it may have the cure it’s looking for. (Read More…)

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