Chevrolet shows Black Ops and Volunteer Firefighter concepts at the State Fair of Texas

Many concepts foreshadow upcoming production vehicles. Others are pie-in-the-sky funmobiles. While some, like the Chevrolet Volunteer Firefighter and Black Ops concepts, are more what-can-bes. While the Black Ops concept (above) isn't about Bond, James Bond, it is about more of a FEMA first response complete with a pick-up bed with Twinkies (click on pic). The Volunteer Firefighter concept showcases ways that rural communities might outfit the new 2014 Silverado to meet some of their firefighting needs (it's not all about squirting water you know). Check out the press release after the jump for more info on the equipment and to see more pics. Cool idea Chevy. Although I've got to say that the FEMA truck is kinda misnamed. I mean when you think "Black Ops" you think secret and that truck isn't going to fade into any backgrounds. Just sayin'. Enjoy!

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

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban debut - w/video

Chevrolet recently unveiled the all-new 2015 Tahoe and Suburban full-size sport utility vehicles. The Tahoe/Suburban remain body-on-frame SUVs with V8 power (5.3-liters, 355hp, 393 lb.-ft. of torque) that is mated to a six-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel-drive systems. The Tahoe/Suburban have been upgraded with new features, technology, safety equipment, and styling. While the designs are similar to the new Chevy trucks, they share no exterior body panels but will share some platform and running gear equipment. With the exception of the GMC Sierra, Chevy has little competition in the full-size SUV market (Ford's Expedition is showing its age). While some people need these large 'utes; their sales have dropped recently due to consumers reassessing their actual needs (better fuel efficiency, size, etc.). But these new models should help Chevrolet maintain their dominance in the full-size SUV market. Check out the press releases (with preliminary specs), additional pics (4), and the reveal video after the jump. More info will be made available closer to the Tahoe and Suburban roll-out in early 2014. More to come...

Source: Chevrolet - Press releases, pics, and video after the "read more" jump.

Quick Look: 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Toyota's FJ Cruiser off-roader is a bit of an anachronism. Firstly, it is a true body-on-frame 4WD machine that was originally fashioned as a modern interpretation of the original FJ40 Land Cruisers of the 60s. Those vehicles were go-anywhere safari 'utes that were themselves loosely fashioned after the Land Rovers that have been in use around the world for decades. The FJ was also seen as a competitor for Jeeps' Wrangler. While the FJs were very popular initially, their sales numbers wore off over time in part due to the fact that no major changes have ever been made although there have been some content updates. Also, the body-on-frame design is heavy which has a negative effect on fuel efficiency,. but these vehicles aren't about mpgs. They are about going anywhere you want and the FJ Cruiser is certainly capable. One 4.0-liter V6 engine is on tap (260 horsepower and 271 lb.-ft. of torque) that comes mated to a choice of a six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission with the power hitting the road through the rear wheels. Two 4WD options are available based on transmission choice. Two optioanal packages are also available: the Convenience Package equips the vehicle with a remote keyless entry system, cruise control, power outside mirrors with illuminated markers, rear wiper, exterior spare tire cover and privacy glass on rear side, quarter, and rear door windows. Adding the Upgrade Package expands the FJ Cruiser’s off-road prowess and comfort and includes 17-in. alloy wheels with P265/70R17 tires, Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) (4x4 models only), electronically controlled locking rear differential, 115V/400-watt AC power outlet, JBL® AM/FM 6-disc CD changer with 11 speakers in seven locations including subwoofer, leather-trimmed steering wheel, exterior color-keyed door trim inserts, floating-ball Multi-Information Display with inclinometer, compass, and outside temperature, shift and transfer levers with silver accents (automatic transmissions only, transfer lever on 4x4 model only), and rear parking assist sonar. The 2014 FJ Cruiser will be at your local Toyota dealer soon. While the FJ isn't cheap or fuel efficient, it will take you literally anywhere on the planet. And if you want one, you better hurry. The FJ Cruiser is said to be going out of production after 2014 with no replacement scheduled. Granted the market is limited, but it's nice that the FJ Cruiser is out there if you need it. Plus it's a Toyota so...

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

New Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S Cabriolet models debut - w/pricing and video

When ever a new Porsche is released there is a collective sigh among Porsche aficionados and this new Porsche, the 911 Turbo and Turbo S Cabriolet, might even illicit a few gasps. Yup, it's that pretty but all of the new 911s are attractive updates to the Porsche styling standard. Unfortunately, all of this beauty and performance won't come cheap (why would it?). The new (2014?, 2015?) 911 Turbo "Cab" will hit showrooms in early 2014 with a starting price of  $160,700 (+ taxes, license, fees, $950 destination, and options), while the new 911 Turbo S Cabriolet costs $193,900 (+). Your Turbo Cab bucks gets you a stunning droptop Porsche, a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that delivers 520 hp (zero to 60 mph in 3.3 secs.), a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, the new PTM all-wheel drive, rear-axle steering, active aerodynamics, a folding fabric roof that opens and closes in around 13 seconds (at speeds of up to 30 mph), Bose premium audio, and more. Add the "S" and you get 40 more hp (560 hp total, zero to 60mph in 3.1 seconds), exclusive interior options (like available Black/Carrera Red), adaptive Sport Seats Plus with 18-way adjustment and memory, double stitched seams, and various elements made from lightweight carbon fiber. Options include a Burmester sound system, a radar-controlled adaptive Cruise Control system, camera-based road sign and speed limit recognition function, and a reverse camera. Really? Six figures and a reverse camera is an option? I guess if you complain, you can't afford it but some economy cars have reverse cameras. EPA-estimated mpg numbers are 17/city and 24/highway for both models. If you've got the bucks and the desire (of course most of us have the desire), get thee to your local Porsche Studio ASAP. For more info, check out the press release, additional pics (3), and video after the jump. Enjoy!

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

Honda prices new 50-mpg-rated 2014 Accord Hybrid

Honda is giving you a treat for Halloween this year with the introduction of the new 2014 Accord Hybrid (hopefully no tricks). The new Accord Hybrid will be EPA-rated at 50 mpg/city, 45 mpg/highway, and 47 mpg/combined which makes the new Accord Hybrid the highest-mpg-rated four-door sedan in the US. The Accord Hybrid will come in three trim levels starting with "base" (aka Accord Hybrid), EX-L, and Touring. Prices begin at $29,155 (+ taxes, license, fees, $790 destination, and options) to $34,905 (+) for the top-of-the-line Touring model. But even the "base" Accord Hybrid is well equipped with equipment like Honda's LaneWatch™ blind spot display system, a rearview camera, LED daytime running lights (DRL), an Expanded View Driver's Mirror, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, USB/iPod® integration, Pandora® compatibility, SMS text message function, dual-zone automatic climate control, alloy wheels, a driver's seat with 10-way power adjustment, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system, and more. EX-L trim ($31,905 +) adds Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), leather-trimmed and heated front seats, HondaLink™ cloud-based media and connectivity system (featuring Aha® compatibility), power driver's seat memory, front passenger seat with 4-way power adjustment, and a one-touch moonroof. Touring models also add Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition and FM traffic data, LED headlights with blue tinted chrome bezels, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and hard disk drive (HDD) audio memory.In other words, you get a lot for your bucks. The power ratings are similar to the competition, but with all cars (and especially hybrids) you should drive them in person to see if the vehicle will truly fit your needs and wants. Expect actual mileage to vary by as much as 25% depending on how you drive, but the EPA numbers are excellent and provide good value at even a lower number. PS: the rear pic below is of a V6 EX-L model since no rear Hybrid pic is available at present. For more info, check out the two releases after the jump.

Source: Honda - Press releases (2) after the "read more" jump.

Caterham unveils new AeroSeven Concept - w/video

Caterham Cars is a boutique automaker/design house/engineering firm that is probably best described as a version of the Lotus model, creating production vehicles, designing cars for others, and doing engineering work while fielding their own F1 cars. The AeroSeven Concept shown here was shown at the Singapore Gran Prix and marks a more modern take on the automaker's retro designs. The AeroSeven Concept firstly doesn't look like a typical Caterham bare bones roadster with wheels barely covered by fenders and a prominent radiator, but is a more aerodynamic take on the formula. The concept features a 2.0-liter Ford-sourced Turbo four (240 hp - Ecoboost anyone?) mated to a six-speed Caterham manual transmission that is said to push the light-weight roadster to 60 mph in under four seconds. With no doors to help with entry/egress duties, I suggest you be in shape to drive this vehicle. We don't get many Caterham vehicles in the US due to regulations, cost, etc., but the AeroSeven is said to be a global product that will see production in about one year. Folks in the UK (and Europe) should start lining up at their dealers soon if you want to be one of the first to get a new "A7." Luckily for the rest of us, Caterham has ambitious plans to expand their line-up and to continue working with other automakers (see second press release), so maybe US customers will gain easier access to the company's products in the future. For more info, check out the two press releases, pics, and video after the jump. Click on the link, for the Caterham USA online showroom.

Source: Caterham via NewsPress - Press releases (2), pics (4), and video after the "read more" jump.

Volvo unveils lovely Concept Coupé at the Frankfurt Motor Show - w/videos

Volvo introduced the lovely Concept Coupé at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Concept Coupé is a plug-in hybrid that showcases Volvo's latest engine tech that provides excellent economy with outstanding performance. The concept features a 2.0-liter Drive-E gas engine with a supercharger and turbo and an electric motor on the rear axle. This gives the Volvo Concept Coupé a total output of almost 400 hp. Pretty good for a 2.0-liter four banger. The drivetrain is wrapped in a suit that is said to preview future Volvo design (see press release with interview of Volvo designer Ingenlath). The Concept Coupé is a modern take on the classic Volvo P1800 from the 60s (remember the car in "The Saint" TV show?) that is curvaceous and stout at the same time. It also looks like a successor to the C70 hardtop convertible that is one of the prettiest hardtop droptops around. The new front clip features the Volvo corporate grille with new T-shaped LED running lights. If anything, the rear is a little chunky from the 3/4 view but is almost Jaguar-esque from straight on. The interior is a nice update of current Volvo design but with a large touchscreen monitor in the center (ala Tesla). It would be nice to see this lovely tech showcase on the road, bit rumor has it that Volvo and their Chinese owners are having a difference of opinion regarding the Swedish automaker's future. Maybe Volvo's corporate sibling Geeley will see something like this since Volvo is rumored to be designing and engineering Geeley's next vehicles. We shall see...more to come. For more information regarding the Concept Coupé and other future Volvo vehicles, check out the extensive press releases, pics, and videos after the jump. Enjoy!

Source: Volvo - Press releases (4), videos (3), and pics (8) after the "read more" jump.

Quick Look: All-new 2014 Nissan Rogue - w/video

Nissan's 2014 Rogue is the first all-new vehicle on the brand new Common Module Family (CMF) platform that Nissan shares with corporate partner Renault. The Rogue is Nissan's second-best selling vehicle so any revisions and updates are important. As with the new Pathfinder, the Rogue seems to be moving slightly upmarket in size and content with the newly available three-row, seven-passenger seating leading the list. The new Rogue, like the Pathfinder before it, is a good-looking crossover. I especially like the side sculpting, the Lexus-like rear taillamps, and the new Corporate grille (much cleaner). The interior is a huge step up, especially in the top SL trim level (shown) that includes leather and all the fixins. The Rogue S is the "base" model with the SV trim level filling out the middle ground and is expected to be the big seller. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine rated (170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque) is matched to a next-generation Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission) with a standard Sport Mode switch (the only weak point in the new Nissans) and available all-wheel drive. The new Rogue is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated 33 mpg/highway and will be built at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee facility. For more info, check out the extensive press release (with standard/optional equipment info), pics, and video after the jump. They should sell a whole bunch of these. Now if it only had a regular automatic or a dual-clutch automanual (even better fuel efficiency)....

Source: Nissan - Press release, pics (4), and video after the "read more" jump.

Audi nanuk quattro concept: V10 turbo-diesel rally car takes to the Frankfurt stage

This is the second quattro concept shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show with a similar mission: to whet the rally racer's appetite for a possible (limited) production quattro replacement. The nanuk quattro concept (again with the lowercase lettering) is a riff on the Italdesign Guigiaro Parcour concept shown last year (Italdesign is part of the Volkswagen family of companies like Audi). The nanuk quattro takes a different route to performance than the hybrid Sport quattro Concept with a 5.0-liter V10 turbo-diesel that makes 554 hp and an earth-moving 738 lb.-ft. of torque. All that power gets to the road (dirt?) through Audi's famous quattro all-wheel-drive system hitting 60 mph in just over 3.5 seconds while getting just over 30 mpg (US) on the Euro test cycle. The lightweight aluminum structure further contributes to the outstanding on- and off-road performance. To say that the nanuk is a looker is an understatement, with the front and (especially) the rear fascia making the car look low and wide and unmistakeably an Audi. Some shots even give the car an almost raised "pony car"look like a jacked up Camaro or Challenger. Not a bad thing, just different and one I kinda like. For more info, check out the fairly extensive press release after the jump. If you like what you see and have the bank account for it, let Audi know. The Audi nanuk quattro concept looks ready to go, so...

Source: Audi - Press Release and pics (2) after the "read more" jump. Audi Sport quattro concept post.

Mercedes Benz S-Class Coupé Concept: SLC reborn or CL successor? w/video

The question I pose is one of character. The original large Mercedes Coupe was an extension of the SL Roadster...stretched to seat four. The CL is more of an S-Class Coupe which Mercedes will rename this latest version to more accurately reflect the car's place in the Mercedes hierarchy. Interestingly, the Concept appears to bridge both of its predecessors, the SLC and the CL. The sporty intent of the SLC is evident in the voluptuous lines of the S-Class Coupe and the more luxurious aspects of the CL are on display in the interior. This is, and will be in production guise, one stunning automobile. The interior is a clean, almost retro place to command the helm. The exterior is a modern design with all of the sensual, muscular design cues that befit a coupe with sporting intent. Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design at Daimler AG, adds: "The Concept S‑Class Coupé combines tradition and emotion, and is a symbol for the embodiment of our design style of sensual clarity. The perfected design with self-assured style and the highly exclusive appointments make the coupé a true design icon and an expression of modern luxury." Good words, those. This will be a car that folks will stop and stare at as it goes by. Maybe even point. Rarefied cars such as the new S-Class and this S-Class Coupe should have that effect don't you think? More to come as the S-Class Coupe moves closer to production (looks ready to go, doesn't it?). If you've got the means, prepare your banker or bank account now for the inevitable hit your accounts will take when this motor car hits showrooms. You might want to get in line early, you know, to be first...

Source" Mercedes Benz - Press release, video, and pics after the "read more" jump.

Infiniti Q30 Concept Crossover - a bit more - w/videos

Infiniti unveiled the new Q30 Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show with the help of F1 Driver Sebastian Vittel (above right). The three-time World Champion (Vittel) is Infiniti's Director of Performance and was presented with a helmet by Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen for use in vehicle testing. In fact, the production version of the Q30 will be the first vehicle with input from Vittel from the beginning of the vehicle's inception. No new Q30 info was given (performance, fuel efficiency, engines, expected arrival, etc.), but they did release new videos with Infiniti insiders regarding the Q30's development which are posted after the jump. Enjoy...more to come. PS: I added the rear pic for a better idea of the car's shape. Is this an FX-series replacement?

Source: Infiniti - Press release and videos after the "read more" jump. Previous Q30 post.

BMW debuts production i8 high-performance plug-in hybrid supercar - w/video

It's here in the sheetmetal. We've seen the concepts and now BMW's i8 supercar is the real deal, with prices, specs, and everything. In fact, the i8 will be at US BMW i retailers in the spring with a starting price of $135,700* (plus taxes, license, fees, options, and destination - *price according to published reports). And what a car your six figures will get you. Try a plug-in hybrid powertrain (362 total hp) that gets an estimated 94 mpg and will hit 60 in just over 4 seconds. Try a lightweight carbon-fiber 2+2 passenger cell and an aluminum drivetrain module. How about all-wheel drive with a three-cylinder twin-turbo gas engine in the back and an electric drive in the front. Did I mention that it's gorgeous. BMW has rethought the passenger car experience with its new i-Series vehicles and the i8 shows what can be accomplished when an automaker says, "let's make the best car we can, that does everything well, at a reasonable price." The very extensive press release goes into great detail about this beautiful car and I suggest you check it out just to get an idea of just how remarkable the i8 is. The official launch video is after the release (lots of scrolling). Enjoy. The blue accents are an i vehicle thang, so...

Source: BMW - Extensive press release, video, and pics (4) after the "read more" jump.

Jaguar shows C-X17 Sports Crossover Concept at Frankfurt Motor Show - w/video

Wow. I knew that Jaguar has been on a roll stylistically, but who would have thought that their first crossover would be this hot? See the  C-X17 Sports Crossover Concept coming and you're pretty sure it's a Jag with a face that recalls the XJ and XF sedans. The flanks are Jaguar muscular and the taillights remind one of the Range Rover Evoque. Do the C-X17 and the Evoque share any parts? Possibly due to the similarities in size, but Jag is touting their new aluminum platform so... The C-X17 is one of those concepts that looks ready to go (it even has door handles) and the interior is simple, but classy befitting an English luxury conveyance. If (or when) produced, the C-X17 would use the turbo fours and possibly the V6 from the F-Type with multi-speed automatics and all-wheel drive. It is Jaguar/Land Rover for goodness sake. The press release is full of info and there are pics and an intro video after the jump. Enjoy! Can't wait to see this one in the sheetmetal. More to come...

Source: Jaguar - Press release, video, and pics (4) after the "read more" jump.

All-new Audi A3 Cabriolet drops top at the Frankfurt Motor Show w/video

Small convertibles are fun and when a new one is introduced, especially an Audi drop top, that is something to take notice of. Audi is debuting its latest compact cabrio, the A3 Cabriolet, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Is it cute? You bet, although some might cringe at the use of that adjective. Is it good-looking? Yes (check out the rolling footage in the video after the jump). Will we see it in the US? Maybe. Nothing has been said officially (but don't be surprised to get good news at the LA Auto Show in November), but we will be getting the new sedan so you might expect to see one of these topless wonders roaming a highway near you. Let's hope so. The new A3 is larger than it's predecessor, is available with more premium features, and the new styling is a home run. Can you tell I'm sold? Well I am. This could be the solution for those looking for an open-air vehicle that seats four and is still fuel efficient and fun to drive. It will also be the newest convertible on the market for sometime. The new Miata is a couple of years off for example. The good part is that you won't be sacrificing if you buy now and get the Audi. Expect the 2.0-liter turbo four and maybe the new 1.8-liter four as the base engine. The high-performance S3 Cabriolet will get the hyper 2.0-liter four that makes 300 hp and will hit 60 in about five seconds but that comes later. The press release goes into decent detail, including discussion of the three Euro trim levels (Attraction, Ambition and Ambiente with the S Sport equipment available on A3's with the Ambition trim), the available equipment, safety features, etc. More to come...

Source: Audi - Press release, pics (2), and video after the "read more" jump.

Ford set to debut new S-Max "Concept" at the IAA

Yup, this is the new Ford S-Max. Yes, they're calling it a concept so that they can make changes (plus I don't see all the Alcantara-like upholstery making it to production). Will we see it in the US? Probably not which is too bad cuz the new S-Max is a looker. The S-Max Concept uses the new Ford front visage that started with the Focus and was taken to the next level with the Fusion (Mondeo elsewhere). Following the changes made to the Escape (Kuga over there), the roofline was lowered, the new clean Ford design language was applied, the aerodynamics were improved, new Ecoboost engines were inserted, and voila, you have the new S-Max. The taillight design is especially nice. For the production model, expect things like door handles, smaller wheels, and regular interior finishes. In Europe, the full range of engines and transmission will be available (the press release will give you some idea), but if the S-Max makes it to the US, expect the engine line-up to mirror the Fusion. Since Ford doesn't offer a minivan or wagons in the US, the S-Max might make a welcome upgrade to those that find the C-Max a little small (Ford also makes a seven-passenger Grand C-Max for Europe). Good-looking car...more to come. Until then check out the fairly extensive press release and pics (2) after the jump. But I do wonder Ford...a car that gives you an EKG and checks glucose levels? Really?

Source: Ford via Newspress - Press release and pics after the "read more" jump.

Volkswagen unveils new Golf Sportsvan in Franfurt

The car you see here is officially a "concept," but even the press release admits that this car is "near-production" ready. That means that if folks see the car and run in the opposite direction screaming, they can still make changes. Don't think that that will be a problem since the Sportsvan is an attractive people mover or compact minivan and it will replace the current Euro Golf Plus. For US consumers, think Ford C-Max. Will the Golf Sportsvan come to the US? Dunno, but I see a market for the vehicle now that VW is no longer selling the Chrysler-sourced Routan van. If it comes to the US, we can hope for the same engines as the Golf like the new 1.8-liter four, the 2.0-liter turbo four, and the turbo-diesel. Keep your fingers crossesd if you need a mini minivan. More to come...but 'til then, enjoy the press releases (the third release is fairly extensive) and extra pics after the jump.

Source: Volkswagen - Press releases (3) and pics (2) after the "read more" jump.

Audi Sport quattro concept takes to the stage

The original Audi quattro (I hate the lower case stuff) was a rally car that was homologated from a production coupe that had all extraneous bits removed, was truncated, and had a shortened wheelbase for light weight and handling prowess..good things for successful rallying. It was kinda awkward looking, but no one cared due to the car's performance abilities. Audi has been threatening to build a new quattro coupe for years and this is the latest "concept." It is stunning. Take all of the good things from the current A5 and take them to the next level. The lithe-looking fender bulges, the sculpted Audi grille, the dynamic front fascia with LED lighting, the sleek greenhouse and rear roofline, the somewhat shortened trunk area with Aston Martin-esque taillights, and the giant alloy wheels all come togther to form a truly beautiful design. Even the interior is nicely finished and not to "over the top." Did I mention that the Sport quattro concept had a hybrid drivetrain using a V8 engine (560 hp) and an electric motor that produce a combined 700 hp and 590 lb.-ft. of torque? That it hits 60 mph in just over 3.5 seconds and gets excellent fuel economy? Transmission duties are handled by an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic funneling the power to the road through the quattro all-wheel-drive system. When you read the press release (after the jump) and I suggest that you do, you will get the idea that this is more than a regular concept. Why put your infotainment system into a concept? Even if this car sees limited production to qualify for rallying, it won't be cheap. We can all hope that the extensive design work done (again read the release) will transfer to the next A5. Very nice...oh and click the pics...

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