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2011 Audi A7 Sportback formally revealed and detailed

Even though its appearance was leaked last weekend, the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback was unveiled yesterday by the German automaker.

The new model will compete with the likes of four-door coupes like the Mercedes-Benz CLS, as well as with five-door performance models like the Porsche Panamera or BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo.

As you can see above, the new A7 boasts a design similar to the 2011 A8, albeit a more angular, in terms of the front fascia. In the rear, the fastback design is apparent, while the side view clearly highlights the cues it has taken from the A5 Sportback.

In terms of engines, not a lot of details were given, but you can expect four V6 units, two gasoline and two diesels, to be used. They will be equipped with either a Multitronic CVT or a seven-speed S-tronic gearbox, feeding the power to either just the front wheels, or too all four, thanks to the Quattro AWD system.

The interior is almost the same as the 2011 A8, with the new MMI Touch multimedia interface, as well as a wide array of technologies and systems ready to make driving the new A7 Sportback a safer and more pleasant experience.

No other details were given, but expect new info to arrive as we approach its fall release date. Prices, at least in its native Germany, will start at €51,600 ($67,160). Feel free to check out the high res photo gallery below and then hit the jump to see a video of the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback launch.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Audi A7


BMW to produce the Gran Coupe concept in 2012 as part of the 6 Series

The four-door coupe market is expanding by leaps and bounds these days, as not only were we treated with spy shots of the second generation Mercedes-Benz CLS, as well as with the first photos of the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback, but BMW is reported to have cleared the stunning Gran Coupe concept for production.

It seems that the gorgeous concept we saw in Beijing will be produced by the German company, and will be incorporated in the next generation 6 Series lineup. The rumored arrival date is 2012, putting it one year after the planned release of the next 6 Series.

Still, we’re pretty sure it will be worth the wait, as the Gran Coupe garnered a lot of rave reviews from both the media and the general public. Expect plenty of styling cues to make it to production, while an array of gasoline and diesel engines will no doubt be found under the bonnet. An ActiveHybrid version might also appear, further down the line.


Volkswagen rumored to buy Alfa Romeo

We’ve published a few outlandish rumors around here, but this new one, coming from Italy’s Quattroruote magazine, can definitely take the proverbial cake.

According to it, the Volkswagen Group is reportedly interested in buying Fiat’s Alfa Romeo division. In order to achieve it, VW plans to spend as much as 1 billion Euros, around $1.3 billion.

Volkswagen wants to be the largest carmaker in the world by 2018, and this new acquisition might help even more. The German company has already purchased a stake in Japanese carmaker Suzuki, and already owns another Italian brand, Lamborghini.

On the other side, Fiat has always said that the Alfa Romeo brand is in a bit of troubled position, at least in terms of earnings, but with models like the Giulietta, and the pending comeback onto American shores, it seems like Alfa is still alright.

Frankly, we’re not so confident in this report, but if one company can go after Alfa Romeo, it’s Volkswagen.


2011 Ford Explorer configurator now online, prices start at $28,190

The 2011 Ford Explorer is the one of the Blue Oval’s biggest bets this year, and as such, it has been promoted through a lot of new ways.

We’ve already seen the official launch yesterday, and now the online car configurator is already available, albeit in a not-so-complete way.

Customers are able to configure their own V6-equipped Explorer, as the 2.0-liter EcoBoost version isn’t available for configuration just yet. Still, prices for the base Explorer, with the 3.5-liter V6 and front-wheel drive start at $28,190.

Afterwards, things increase to as much as $39,190 for the top-of-the-range Limited trim line, with the same engine and four-wheel drive. That doesn’t even include any extra options you might want, nor the $805 destination charge.

Still, if you want something to do until the 2011 Ford Explorer hits dealerships this winter, the configurator will keep you busy.


Porsche testing out three electric Boxster models in 2011

Porsche knows that if it wants to stay successful and keep its future corporate overlord, Volkswagen, happy, it needs to invest in hybrid and electric powertrain technologies.

As such, we’ve already seen the plug-in Porsche 918 Spyder concept, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car, as well as the new 2011 Cayenne Hybrid.

Now, the company has officially revealed that it will be testing out three new all-electric prototypes next year, all based on the Boxster convertible sportscar.

These will be tried out in real life conditions around the company’s native city of Stuttgart, Germany, and provide key insight into electric motor and battery technology. You can expect that these findings will not only help the future 918 Spyder concept become a reality, but also other electric plans.


Toyota FT-86 still on track, arrives in November, 2011

After a big amount of rumors and speculation about the Toyota FT-86 concept, the Japanese company decided to set a few things straight.

The automaker revealed that the rear-wheel drive sports coupe’s development is still on track, despite rumors that it will be delayed until 2013. As such, the FT-86 will hit production around November, 2011.

Also, it seems that it will see three spec levels, with at least two different engines. The mid-range option will cost around $28,500, so it may be on the steep side for those that want an accessible sportscar. Still, the top-of-the-range will be represented by a turbocharged model, so we know what true enthusiasts, with a deep wallet, might want.

Toyota also pointed out that none of the FT-86 powertrains will use a hybrid assembly, as that technology is researched for another product, most probably the MR2 Sports Hybrid. Still, the company guaranteed that the FT-86 will offer plenty of sporty thrills, largely thanks to Subaru’s input on the whole project.

With this new official info, November of next year will definitely be a happy month for Toyota fans.


Mazda planning CX-5 crossover?

A new batch of rumors have appeared concerning Mazda and, this time at least, it doesn’t have anything to do with the oft-rumored RX-7 revival.

Instead, it seems that the Japanese company wants to finally expand its lineup into the compact crossover segment, by launching the CX-5.

It seems that the automaker wants to make good on the Kazamai concept it showcased a few years ago, and will introduce a smaller model into its CX range, currently represented by the CX-7 and CX-9. This crossover would attack this ever growing market segment with an aggressive design and a frugal attitude.

The design will no doubt be inspired by the Kazamai concept you see above, while the frugality and efficiency are courtesy of Mazda’s new SKY range of engines. The CX-5 will also be lightweight, as Autocar suggests that it will be 220 pounds lighter than its competition.

These are just rumors at the moment, but considering the big sales crossovers are experiencing, Mazda can’t afford to not get in on the action.


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Chevrolet Volt to be priced and detailed by GM today

Chevrolet Volt to be priced and detailed by GM today

After a lot of waiting, teasing and spoon-fed information, General Motors will finally detail and, most importantly, price the upcoming Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle.

According to the company, while speaking today at the Plug-In 2010 Conference in San Jose, California, GM’s vice president of marketing, Joel Ewanick, will detail and price the future Volt model.

The announcement will be followed by a webchat session with Volt marketing Toni DiSalle.

Up until now, the Chevrolet Volt had been hyped consistently by GM, going so far as to associate the President of the USA, Barrack Obama, with the future ER-EV. Rumors peg the price around $40,000, but government subsidies and discounts will play an important role in the end price the customer will have to pay out.

Care to guess what the Volt’s final price tag will be? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.


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BMW recalls 5 Series and 5 Series GT over fuel tank sensor problem

BMW recalls 5 Series and 5 Series GT over fuel tank sensor problem

If you thought that luxury carmakers are safe from the recall epidemic, then think again, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just announced that BMW will be issuing a recall for certain 2010 and 2011 5 Series and 5 Series Gran Turismo models.

It seems that the fuel tank sensor, which detects how much fuel you have in the tank, might become wedged, and will display an inaccurate reading. As such, you might be thinking you’ve got a full tank, but most likely you’re running on fumes.

6,080 vehicles are affected by this recall, all manufactured between January 12 to July 1, 2010. BMW has yet to reveal what fix it will implement, but as soon as it finds it, owners will be notified. Until then, you can contact the German company at 1-800-525-7417.


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Nissan recalls 2009-2010 Cube models over fuel leakage problems

Not too long ago, the Lexus HS 250h was recalled by the Japanese company because its fuel tank was prone to excessive leakage if the car was rear-ended.

Now, it seems that 2009 and 2010 Nissan Cube models also suffer from such a problem. According to the NHTSA, if the car is rear-ended at speeds over a certain limit, the fuel might leak onto the road. While the federal body does say that this exact situation is hard to be experienced in usual highway conditions, Nissan is still forced to fix the problem.

As such, starting on August 30, 46,000 Nissan Cube models will be recalled. The vehicles in question were manufactured between January 30, 2009 and July 30, 2010. A special protector will be added to the gasoline recirculation tube, in order to make it more resistant.


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Motorsport Weekend: Formula 1 German GP, Moto GP Laguna Seca and Nascar Indianapolis race results

Motorsport Weekend: Formula 1 German GP, Moto GP Laguna Seca and Nascar Indianapolis race results

Welcome to a brand new edition of Motorsport Weekend, our own feature where we talk about and share the results of the biggest races held in the last three days.

We were treated with a bit of everything this weekend, as not did the Formula 1 German GP take place at the Hockenheimring, the Moto GP US GP took place at the Laguna Seca circuit in America, and the Nascar Sprint Cup saw the Brickyard 400 race be held at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

So, curious to see how Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi or Jamie McMurray faired in their own events? Then hit the jump and find out.

2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG and CL65 AMG officially revealed

Hot off the heels of the leaked photos and details, Mercedes-Benz has officially revealed the two performance versions of the new 2011 CL Class.

The 2011 CL63 AMG and CL65 AMG both feature a more aggressive take on the new CL design, adding a new body kit, as well as the trademark AMG wheels. While the exterior is much more sports-oriented, the interior of the powerful CL models is pure luxury, boasting an impressive two-tone finish.

Most importantly with these new models are the changes made to the engines. As we suspected, the CL63 AMG swaps out its old naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 with a brand new twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8. The decrease in displacement is more than made up for by the increase in power, with the new unit developing 536 HP and 590 lb-ft of torque in standard form, and 563 HP and 664 lb-ft, when equipped with the AMG Performance Package. This means a 0 to 62 time of 4.4 seconds (4.3 when upgraded).

The CL65 AMG keeps the massive 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12, but also features an upgraded output of 621 HP and 738 lb-ft of torque. 0 to 62 in achieved in an even faster 4.2 seconds.

As with the regular 2011 CL Class, Mercedes-Benz has equipped the new performance models with every high tech safety feature it currently develops, in order to make sure that the driver is always protected and informed about his powerful coupe.

Expect both the 2011 CL63 and CL65 AMG models to be made available later this year.


2011 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG gets increased power, better interior

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG super sedan refresh has been revealed, boasting even more power than the 2010 model, and an improved interior.

Even though the outgoing model had more than enough power to go around, thanks to its 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine, for the 2011 model year, Mercedes-Benz and AMG engineers managed to squeeze out 11 more HP. This takes the total output to 525 HP, with 464 lb-ft of torque.

All this power is sent through the MCT SpeedShift seven-speed gearbox, allowing a 0 to 62 mph time of 4.5 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph. Power isn’t the only thing increased for the 2011 E63, as the new performance sedan is 12% more efficient than the outgoing edition.

While the exterior is largely unchanged, the interior of the super sedan has been restyled, and new options are now available. Artico leather now decorates the doors and dashboard, while the center console is treated to a piano black finish.

Expect the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG to appear later this year on the market.


Audi RS5 gets 2012 US launch date, R8 Spyder priced at $161,000

Audi of America has revealed new details about the next performance models that will be launched on the US shores.

The German company finally decided to put a launch date on the new Audi RS5 three-door coupe, which will be hitting the American market in 2012. Although a bit later than expected, we’re pretty sure fans will line up to get a taste of the car’s 4.2-liter V8, capable of a whopping 450 HP.

Until 2012 though, four-ring fans will have their hands busy, as the company has also detailed and priced the Audi R8 Spyder V10. The open-top supercar will be hitting dealerships in the following months, with a price starting at $161,000, without the $1,250 destination charge.

If you want to ride around like Iron Man’s Tony Stark, you’re going to have to shell out either the aforementioned $161,000, for the six-speed manual, or $170,000 for the R-tronic transmission. Both models still develop 525 HP from that massive 5.2-liter V10 engine.

So there you have it US customers, Audi still wants to satisfy your need for performance, but it won’t do it cheaply.


Next Ford Focus RS to combine EcoBoost with electric motor in an all-wheel drive system

After hearing last week about a hotter version of the future 2012 Ford Focus, the ST that will reportedly appear at the Paris Motor Show, new rumors have been revealed about the future Ford Focus RS hot hatch.

According to Autocar, the Blue Oval’s global performance division is looking into several technologies to power the next generation Focus RS.

Among them, it seems that the team will combine an upgraded version of the new EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct injected inline-four cylinder engine, located on and powering the front wheels, with an electric motor, sitting in the back and powering the rear wheels.

This setup would allow for a better handling, as the increased amount of power won’t be fed just to the front wheels, like in the current Focus RS. Also, depending on the capacity of the motor and the size of the batteries powering it, short burst of all-electric drive may be possible.

If the plan goes through, the next generation Ford Focus RS would definitely one-up the existing hot hatch, and will attract both the regular European customers, but also American fans that want both performance and increased efficiency.


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