Infiniti releases pre-debut pic of the new Q30 Concept

Infiniti took the wraps off of the new Q30 Concept before the new model's debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Q30 represents a new entry into the "compact luxury" segment with a five-door body with more "coupe-like" styling cues. The Q30 expands on Infiniti's new design language that began with the new Q50 that is just arriving at dealers. The new Q30 production model should be a looker as Infiniti is one of the automakers that manages to translate concept-car design to production models. Sure, expect to see door handles and such on any production Q30 but it should have the overall look of the car you see here. More info will be released at the new model's debut in the next few weeks. Stay tuned, but until then, enjoy....

Source: Infiniti - Press release after the "read more" jump.

Toyota announces pricing for all-new 2014 Corolla w/videos

Toyota's all-new Corolla is an important new offering for the Japanese automaker in an increasingly competitive compact auto segment. Toyota sells a lot of Corollas and to stay competitive Toyota has made some changes to the Corolla recipe for 2014. Equipment levels have risen as have the number of Corolla models. Now you can get a "base" L. model, the popular LE trim, the sporty S, and the new LE ECO model. Prices start at $16,800 for an L model with a six-speed manual transmission. Add a four-speed automatic (really Toyota!) and pricing begins at $17,400. Step up to the volume LE model and be prepared to spend $18,300 (price includes a CVT transmission). S models start at $19,000 with the CVT tuned to duplicate a seven-speed automatic. The new top-of-the-Corolla line, the LE ECO with CVT, starts at $18,700 with LE ECO Plus models starting at up to $20,100. (All prices do not include, taxes, license, fees, options, and $810 destination.) In fact all but the L trim level offer Plus and/or Premium trim upgrades (see price chart after the jump). Popular optional packages include the Moonroof and Driver's Convenience packages that allow you to get just the right Corolla for your needs, desires, and budget. The new Corolla is a big improvement over the out-going car, but the big question is, "Will it be good enough to maintain today's sales numbers?" Some folks buy Corollas regardless of whether it is even competitive with other compacts, but if you strive for a point A to point B vehicle that is going to get you there with little fuss, the Corolla just might be your car. If you want a little fun, select the S model, but I'm not a fan of the buzziness of CVTs so we shall see if Toyota has smoothed out the roughness and out-of-sync nature of the continuously-variable tranny. ECO models can achieve as much as 42 mpg/highway (EPA est.). For more info including standard equipment by trim level as well as four brief videos, check out the press release after the jump.

Source: Toyota - Press release, stats, videos (4) and pics (4) after the "read more" jump.

New Euro Soul gets the "SUV" treatment for Frankfurt

Kia is showing the all-new 2014 Soul at the Frankfurt Motor Show that is set to debut soon in the US. The Euro Soul differs from the US version in several ways. Firstly, the smaller 1.6-liter engine that we get in the US is the only gas-fueled engine in the Euro Soul, but the across-the-pond Soul also gets the option of a 1.6-liter diesel engine. Both engines are available with a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission. Secondly, the Euro Soul is available with a new SUV Styling Pack, featuring piano black bumper trim, side skirts, wheel arches and a black painted roof and numerous options to allow for the customization of your ride. No word on whether the SUV Styling Pack will see US dealerships, but I'm sure some folks would like the look. If the SUV Styling Pack came on a Soul that featured an elevated suspension and some true crossover bits (like an Audi All-Road for example), that might make it another story. But that, as they say, is another story for another day. More info after the jump. The new Euro Soul will be available early next year.

Source: Kia - Press release after the "read more" jump. 2014 US Soul post.

BMW X5 eDrive Concept electrifies the SAV

If the top pic doesn't clue you in, well...yes folks, this is BMW's plug-in  -hybrid SAV (Sports Activity, not Utility, Vehicle). We haven't even gotten the all-new X5 yet and here come the variations. The X5 eDrive Concept is BMW's latest people and stuff mover that attempts to extract the last drop from your gallon of premium unleaded. The X5 eDrive uses BMW's twin-turbo four mated to a plug-in hybrid system that uses a 95 hp electric motor to go almost 20 miles on electrons alone (from the lithium-ion battery-pack). Punch it and the X5 eDrive will hit 60 in under seven seconds while getting almost 75 mpg on the Euro test (US numbers would be less). Highlights of the concept include attractive aerodynamic 21-inch wheels and i-brand blue accents on the grille, intake bars, and the rear diffuser over and above the standard X5. BMW's ConnectDrive smartphone apps are also updated to allow owners to check charging info, etc. Lets hope that the plug-in hybrid nature of any production X5 eDrive would justify the additional weight and complexity to allow the SAV to post significantly higher numbers than BMW already achieves with their thrifty X5 diesels. This "concept" seems ready to go and  allows BMW to put its plug-in hybrid tech in a vehicle where it makes a lot of sense. Did I mention that it has BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system? More to come I'm sure. I think that we can expect to see this one at your local dealer. Won't be cheap though,,,

Source: BMW - Press release and pics (3) after the "read more" jump.

All-new 2014 Kia Soul coming soon to a boulevard and byway near you

Well, the new 2014 Kia Soul must be getting close, since the Korean automaker has just released it's new Hamsters ad that features new music by Lady Gaga. The Soul has always been a unique economy car that masquerades as a five-door hatchback sportster, with lots of style dialed in. The popular Hamster ad campaign just underscores that point. What you have with the new '14 Soul is the old generation car with numerous updates. The iconic design is still there but with some tweaks. The interior (right) is a step up from the old gen but with the Soul gimmicks (mood lighting, halo lights, etc.) intact that has enamored numerous consumers. The rear view is more graphic with larger tail lights that dip down almost to the bumper. The de rigueur giant sunroof is available. Kia's signature grille is affixed to the front fascia and is probably the design's weakest element (I'll never understand the need for "corporate" grilles. Aren't the giant logos enough to tell us it's a ________. And why do car brand designs need to look the same?) Anyway, The new Soul will come in three flavors: Base, Plus, and Exclaim with increasing levels of standard equipment and price (see release). Two engines are on tap, the 1.6-liter four (130hp, 118 lb.-ft. of torque) mated to a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic on Base Souls. Plus and Exclaim models are fitted with the 2.0-liter four (164 hp, 151 lb.-ft. of torque) with Plus models getting either transmission and Exclaim models are automatic-only. Other upgrades include infotainment updates (UVO eServices), a more spacious interior, and higher levels of refinement and equipment. The all-new 2014 Soul will be rolling into dealerships soon. For lots more info, check out the informative press release and additional pics (3) after the "read more" jump. Click on the link below to view the new video.

Source: Kia - Press release after the jump. Hamsters Video post.

Opel Monza Concept previews things to come before IAA debut w/video

This is one good-looking concept that's got a lot going on. Firstly, the Opel Monza Concept is said to reflect Opel's (and maybe Buick, we hope) future design direction. The concept is all sweeping lines, clean surfaces, and muscularity. I like the estate or stationwagon-ness of the Monza which is a design more popular in Europe and other parts of the world. The roof rail accent that ends in the rear taillights is especially nice and is probably production "doable" in some form. The interior is clean and sweeping like the exterior. The giant gull-wing doors would probably never get past the lawyers but does offer easy access and exit from the airy interior and allows for fewer cut lines on the flanks. The Monza also showcases Opel's car-to-car connectivity features (a multiple German car company/government initiative) that hints at future safety possibilities. The Monza is either an EV (which is plug-in hybrid sometimes in GM speak) or a hybrid that can use either a diesel or CNG-powered engine as a range extender showcasing Opel powetrain future tech. The Opel Monza Concept will star at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. Let's hope that this lovely vehicle has a major impact on Opel design. Click on the "read more" jump for the fairly extensive press release, pics (4), and video. Pics are fairly high-res, so click away for a closer look.

Source: Opel - Press release, pics, and video after the jump.

All-new Volkswagen Golf R compact flagship debuts

Volkswagen has taken the wraps off of their uber-performance compact, the Golf R. The Golf R is the top-of-the-heap VW "hot hatch" (3-door and 5-door) with almost 300 hp, Quattro all-wheel drive, DSG dual-clutch automanual, and much more. Expect to hit 60 mph from a standstill in about 5 seconds. Being the "heap topper." the Golf R comes well-equipped with leather trim and alcantara-esque sports seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, and pretty much the good stuff you'd expect. The VW R models aren't cheap, but they are fully-equipped and are excellent all-around performers. The first press release is a bit of a tease, talking about all the Golf goodness that is available since we haven't ween any of it in the US and at this point the new Golf R isn't a sure thing for the US market. But here it is in all of its official glory. If you'd like to see the new 2015 (probably) Golf R in the US, let the good folks at Volkswagen know. For more info, check out the two press releases after the "read more" jump. Stay tuned...

Source: Volkswagen - Press release after the jump

Mazda announces all-new 2014 Madza3 pricing and EPA estimates - w/video

The all-new 2014 Mazda3 is an important launch for the Japanese automaker since the "3" is their popular volume seller. Available in five-door hatchback and the swoopy four-door sedan bodystyles, the new "3" has become an attractive and fuel-efficient compact alternative in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Mazda's new SkyActive engines provide excellent EPA economy numbers (estimates) with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The 2.0-liter engine (155 hp) is EPA-estimated at 29 city/40 highway/33 combined mpg with a manual transmission and 30 city/40 highway/33 combined mpg when equipped with an automatic. Sedan models are estimated to offer 29 city/41 highway mpg (6MT) and 30 city/41 highway mpg (6AT). The 2.5-liter engine (184 hp) that is fitted to s models gets 28 city/39 highway mpg or 29 city/40 highway mpg when equipped with i-ELOOP. Five-doors are estimated to achieve 28 city/37 highway mpg or 29 city/39 highway mpg with i-ELOOP. i-ELOOP is a capacitor-based regenerative engine braking system that improves fuel economy. Pricing starts at $16,945 (+ taxes, license, fees, options, and destination) for the i SV sedan and tops out at $25,995 (+) for the the s Grand Touring sedan and $26,495 (+) for the s Grand Touring five-door, which is approaching entry-luxury pricing like Mini and Acura ILX, etc. The all-new 2014 Mazda3 is a good-looking (especially the sedan) compact that will give you the power, handling, and economy you need with all of the features and options you desire. The new "3" will be at your dealer later this year. For more pricing and content info, check out the extensive press release, pics (7), and video after the "read more" jump.

Source: Mazda - Press release, pics (7), and video after the jump.

Volkswagen Kombi Microbus goes out of production after more than 50 years

While I was prepping this post, the song "Another one bites the dust" kept running through my mind. Of course for US consumers (and really everywhere but Brazil), the Volkswagen Kombi or Microbus or Bus (whatever you called it) has been gone for a while. But Brazilians have been loving the Kombi long 56 years making the VW Kombi the " longest produced model in automotive history." The Kombi will no longer be able to meet even Brazil's auto regulations, so Volkswagen is producing a special limited-run Kombi Last Edition to mark the vehicle's send off. The last 600 Kombis will look like this one with special blue two-tone paint and a two-tone interior that features curtains with the Kombi logo (remember those?). The Kombi received a water-cooled engine years ago in Brazil so that engine, a 1.4-liter engine (about 80 hp), will be fitted with a four-speed manual transmission. If you've ever owned a VW Bus, and I did, you know the going is almost glacial when compared to today's cars, but that's not what this special-edition is all about. It's about saying goodbye to a vehicle that families, Hippies, and surfers have loved (and some still do) for years. Too bad Volkswagen never decided to produce the concepts that recalled this (now) historic vehicle. release and pics (2) after the "read more" jump.

Source: News-Press/Volkswagen - Press release after the jump.

Ram Rumble Bee Concept sport truck shown at Woodward Dream Cruise

Ram used the Woodward Dream Cruise to show it's latest performance concept, the Rumble Bee, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the production model. Much like Ford's recently announced F-150 Tremor production truck, the Rumble Bee starts with the two-door Ram 1500 R/T two-seat truck and jams in a whole bunch of performance with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 395 horsepower and 407 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. Light weight (for a truck) and lots of power equals an interesting performance pick-em-up. The concept is finished in a unique matte Drone Yellow (eye-popping) paint with gloss black stripes, gloss black accents, and darkened head and taillight bezels. Rumble Bee logos, 24-inch Vellano VRH custom rollers, and a 2-inch suspension drop (provided by King Suspension that enhances handing performance and appearance) completes the exterior package. The Ram R/T-based interior features black and Drone Yellow leather sport mesh seats with two-tone yellow/light-grey stitching with “Rumble Bee” lettering and Ram logos that adorn chairs, floor mats, and door bolsters. An interesting interior center-piece is an actual amber-encased bee mounted into the 8-speed rotary shifter knob that lights up to expose a honeycomb pattern background. Will this truck see production? Who knows, but if the F-150 Tremor is successful, expect a Rumble Bee to show up at your local Ram dealer. For more info, check out the press release after the "read more" jump.

Source: Ram - Press release after the jump.

Fiat does it again with the 500c GQ Edition w/video

The Kings and Queens of limited-edition vehicles at Fiat are at it again. Just days ago, they announced the Cattiva model and now we have the new 500c GQ Edition that partners with the well-known men's magazine of the same name. This model features high-end accoutrements and performance updates to the regular 500c cabrio. Interior updates include special leathers and satin-aluminum accents with GQ badges. Special 16-inch Nero (black) wheels, blacked out trim and a special body kit highlight the exterior appointments. The 500c GQ comes equipped with the high-po 1.4-liter Multiair Turbo that produces 170 hp and comes mated to a five-speed manual. Like the Abarth, this model will not offer an automatic at this time, but that may change (and would increase the buy rate) if a suitable automatic becomes available by the 500c GQ's on-sale date in early 2014. In Fiat-speak, "FIAT brand designers strived to capture the essence of the GQ man by creating a Cinquecento that reflects an athletic yet style-conscious lifestyle. Hence, the new 2014 Fiat 500c GQ Edition incorporates world-class performance and Italian design, fashioned with appointments for a sharply tailored appearance." Four colors will be available: Nero Puro (straight black), Argento (silver), Granito Lucente (granite crystal) and Bianco (white). Prices will be announced later. It has not been mentioned whether the 500c GQ will replace the popular Gucci model in the 500 line-up. Check out the press release, pics (5), and the video after the "read more" jump.

Source: Fiat - Press release, pics, and video after the jump.

BMW shows new M4 at Pebble Beach in Concept Coupe form - w/video

BMW used the Pebble Beach automobile weekend to debut a concept version of the new M4 performance coupe. The Concept M4 Coupe arrived in a special Arum Dust color that was developed especially for the new sportster. While this has been labeled a concept, the M4 shown here is probably a fairly accurate depiction of the new fast 4 but allows BMW to make changes if needed. No performance specifics were revealed, but that info should be available once the new M4 debuts (possibly at the LA Auto Show in November). The regular production 4-Series coupe (if you can call any 4-Series regular) will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in a few weeks and will debut the M products that can be added to the regular 4s (second press release after the jump with pics). Until the official debut, bask in the glory that is the new Concept M4. Check out the design info in the press release and video after the "read more" jump.Bask away!

Source: BMW - Press releases after the jump.

Cadillac Elmiraj Concept takes on the Mercedes CL-Class Coupes - w/videos

I find Cadillac's concept vehicles very frustrating. They point to the great things the marque is capable of but hesitant to actually do. This new concept coupe, the Elmiraj, is a case in point. There is little about this luxury coupe that looks (at first glance) like it couldn't see production. Even the interior looks doable (check out the dash pic after the jump). The rear visage recalls the Eldorado. The front reflects the next iteration of Cadillac's design language with headlights that appear to be ripped from the upcoming new Escalade. The grille suggests that this car as a V-Series model and the new Cadillac logo appears sans wreath. The Elmiraj concept is a very sleek and handsome coupe that could give the CL-Class Mercedes Benz a run for its proverbial money. To put it into size perspective, the ElMiraj is within inches of the CL and comes equipped with a 500 hp, 4.5-liter turbo V8. Oh, and look at those 22-inch wheels. Lets hope that Cadillac finds the cojones and dollars to build this one. Click on the "read More" jump for more info, specs, and two videos

Source Cadillac - Press release and videos after the jump

Mercedes Benz GLA compact SUV shown before Frankfurt Motor Show debut - w/video

Compact SUVs and crossovers are big right now. The almost subcompact Buick Encore CUV is (relatively) very hot, with vehicles jumping off dealer lots...they can't build 'em fast enough. So Mercedes new GLA compact SUV should receive a warm reception (prices willing). The GLA's size and class competition is the Range Rover Evoque (which is larger), the BMW X1, and possibly the Mini Countryman although it is is similar in size (but not class) to a Kia Sportage. The GLA shares its underpinnings with the new A-Class vehicle line including gas and diesel four-cylinder engines, seven-speed dual-clutch manu-matic transmissions, and available all-wheel drive systems. The GLA also receives all the goodies in the A-Series arsenal with all of the safety, handling, and infotainment systems that your heart desires. While the GLA won't be cheap, it will sit at the low end of Mercedes' SUV ladder with the GLK the next rung up. You'll be able to get as much luxury and features that you can afford. Pricing will be announced next year closer to the GLA's US intro. For now we get pics, Euro details, and video to whet your proverbial whistle. The new Mercedes Benz GLA is a looker and I can't wait to see it in the sheetmetal. For more info, check out the extensive press release and video after the "read more" jump.

Source: Mercedes Benz - Extensive press release and video after the jump.

Audi offering TTS Competition limited-edition model to commemorate production milestone

Audi's TT has been a design and sports car icon since it's introduction. To celebrate the production of the 500,000th TT, Audi will offer the TTS Competition limited-edition model in coupe or convertible variations. Only 500 Competition versions will be built in either Nimbus Gray or Imola Yellow. The interior features Nimbus Gray leather with Imola Yellow accents and stitching. Special badging and a fixed rear spoiler (over and above the special color schemes) mark the other visible TTS Competition features. The Competition package will set consumers back an addition $2,500 (approx.) over the TTS coupe or convertible prices. The TTS model is extremely well equipped and includes the 272-hp 2.0-liter Turbo engine, Quattro all-wheel drive, and much more. A six-speed S-Tronic manumatic transmission is available (and offers the best performance and fuel efficiency) as well as a six-speed manual. If a new 2014 Audi TTS Competition coupe or convertible is to be your next sports car, contact your dealer ASAP. Production begins in October of this year. For more info and pics (2), check out the release after the "read more" jump.

Source: Audi - Press release after the jump.

Aussie Ford Everest Concept breaks cover

Ford has announced the cessation of car construction in Australia, but recently reaffirmed their dedication to the Australian market with the introduction of the Everest Concept. At a press event, Ford execs discussed future Aussie Fords from the subcompact Fiesta all the way up to the all-new Transit line of commercial and personal vehicles and everything in between. The Everest is a Ranger truck-based SUV that seats up to seven and meets the rugged demands of the Australian continent. Why the new Everest (and the execs all but confirmed that this is the new model) is of interest to US consumers is that the overall design is rumored to show some of the details of the next Edge, especially the grille. But, who knows...if we end up with a version of the global Ranger truck, we could see the Everest in the US. Stranger things have happened. The Everest is a good-looking ute and could meet the needs of those that require a truck frame under their SUV (usually for high-towing needs) but don't want something the size of the Expedition (yea, it's still kinda around). For more info regarding Ford's offerings in Australia, check out the press release after the "read more" jump. If you'd like to see an Everest in your US garage, let Ford know. A diesel version would be nice...

Source: Ford of Australia - Press release after the jump.

2013 Fiat 500 Cattiva brings "naughty" to the nice

Fiat has become the supreme special-edition model builder with the many 500 variations on tap. What you see here is the latest edition, the 500 Cattiva. Cattiva is an Italian word that, according to Fiat. is translated as "naughty yet cool." What your extra bucks will get you are add-ons to either a 500 Sport or 500 Turbo coupe. The 500 Cattiva features a blacked-out look (roof, headlight and tail light accents, and "high-performance" spoiler), special 16-inch Hyper Nero (black) painted aluminum wheels with all-season performance tires, and a Nero (black) and Grigio (gray) interior with upscale cloth or available leather interior. Available exterior paint colors for the 500 Cattiva include Rosso (red), Rame (copper - shown), Nero Puro (straight black), Argento (silver), Granito Lucente (granite crystal), Bianco (white), and Luce Blue (light blue, 500 Sport only). Only 500 500 Cattivas will be built with pricing starting at $18,359 (plus $800 destination, taxes, license, fees, options) on the 500 Sport model and $20,350 (plus) for the more powerful Fiat 500 Turbo.Want one? Check with your local Fiat Studio regarding availability. For more info, check out the press release after the "read more" jump.

Source: Fiat - Press release after the jump.

Infiniti continues G37 sedan production alongside all-new Q50 until mid-2015

Infiniti's G Line of sedans was updated for the 2013 model year and now we may know why. The all-new 2014 Q50 is technically the replacement for the popular G37 sport sedan series, but Infiniti has decided to keep the G Line in production for almost two more years as sort of an entry level model (which includes price drops in the thousands of buckeroos). The line-up has been simplified as well with the mighty 3.7-liter V6 (328 hp) as the only engine mated to a seven-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is still available for about $1,500 added to the G37 Journey sedan that starts at $32,550...a more than $4,000 price drop. The Premium and Navigation Packages are the only options. The new pricing is now available and the lovely Q50 is due at your local dealer anytime now. For more info, check out the press release after the "read more" jump.

Source: Infiniti - Press release after the jump. Q50 post.

Toyota Tundra gets styling and content upgrades for 2014 model year

I often hesitate covering the intros of new trucks due to the difficulty in covering them in a "brief (er)" format. There are just so many different models, cab styles, engines, options, etc. that it would often take pages upon pages to cover here are the highlights of Toyota's new entry into the truck wars, the 2014 Tundra. The new Tundra is a highly revised update (upgrade?) of the outgoing truck that serves a different purpose for the Japanese automaker than what is expected from the various Fords, Chevys, and Rams. The Tundra doesn't sell in the volumes of the competition, but then it doesn't have to to provide Toyota with an entry that keeps customers in showrooms for their pick-em-up needs. Toyota customers get what they expect, a quality truck that meets most of the needs of truck buyers with a level of Toyota-ness. The new Tundra comes in two-door Regular Cab, four-door Double Cab, and the super-sized four-door CrewMax models fitted with either a standard bed (78.7-inch) or long bed (97.6-inch) configuration, while the CrewMax comes with a 66.7-inch bed. Three engines are available - a V6 (4.0-liters, 270 hp, 278 ft-lbs of torque)  and two V8s (a 4.6-liter, i-Force V8 with 310 hp and 327 ft-lbs of torque and a 5.7-liter,  i-Force V8 with 381 hp and  401 ft-lbs of torque). The V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic and the V8s get a six-speed auto. Four-wheel drive is available. Interiors received numerous ergonomic and quality upgrades with a new 1794 edition (shown in pics) that features a western theme with saddle-colored leather. The new Tundra will come in five flavors, SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794. Toyota's Entune infotainment system is on hand as is an available JBL premium audio system. In other words, you can spend lots. The 2014 US-only Toyota Tundra will be at your local dealer in September. If Toyota added a diesel option and a manual transmission the Tundra could sell in any market. Just sayin'... For more info, check out the press release and an intro video after the "read more" jump.

Source: Toyota - Press release and intro video after the jump.