New Mini Paceman Adventure is the little truck that could

Every once and a while, carmakers let engineers and apprentices "go crazy" and the Mini Paceman Adventure is one of those "crazy" one-offs. The Mini Apprentices took a three-door Paceman with the Cooper S engine and All4 all-wheel drive, cut off the back section of the roof and rear windows, and crafted a tailgate from the trunk lid pieces. They installed rubber "bed" lining and you have it, the Pacman Adventure. The Adventure looks "doable" and Mini has made pick-up-style vehicles in decades past. This car would have a small niche, but I think they could sell quite a few of least in the beginning. But before this little runabout is ready for production, the roof and the bed need work. The b pillars need small side wings (flying buttresses like those on a Charger or the convertible 6-Series) to give the roof a more finished look and to make the back panel look less rounded. It's cute although the tow hook in the back is a bit phallic. If this two-seat Mini pick-up could be your thing, let Mini know your interest. Who knows?

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

Jeep shows four concept vehicles at the Beijing Motor Show - w/videos

Jeep debuted four concept vehicles at the Beijing Motor Show that were geared towards the Chinese market... the Wrangler Sundancer, Jeep Zi You Xia (Rebel) Renegade, and the Cherokee Sageland and Urbane concepts. For info breakdown, check out the press release and the three videos (Wrangler Sindancer after the jump). Enjoy!

Source: Jeep - Press release and videos after the "read more" jump.

BMW Vision Future Luxury concept foreshadows upcoming 9-Series

BMW unveiled the Vision Future Luxury (VFL) concept at the Beijing Motor Show. The VFL is said to be BMW's entry into the uber luxury market to compete with Mercedes' upcoming S-Class Maybach and various models from Rolls/Royce and Bentley. When the new flagship hits the market in about two years, it is expected to be called the 9-Series and the styling is said to contain many elements of the VFL including design, styling, and features. The design is clean and uncluttered with sculpting to make things more interesting. Loads of new tech and features (see pics after the jump) are on board like OLED (organic, light-emitting diodes) taillights, Laserlight headlamps, rear seat personal space with Touch Command Tablet, front-opening rear doors, Head-Up Display, front-passenger screen, carbon-fiber B-pillars that morph into the front seat frames, and more. A stunning car that folks with the bucks should embrace. For more info, check out the press release and pis after the jump. It wasn't mentioned, but if you look closely at the rear tail pic, BMW's e-Drive badge is proudly displayed. Again, interesting. More to come...

Source: BMW - Press release and pics (9) after the "read more" jump.

ACWWG: 2015 Ford Escort - w-videos

Here's another one for the ACWWG (Another Car We Won't Get) file, the 2015 Ford Escort that debuted in production form at the Beijing Motor Show. Although some published reports say that the new Escort may see global sales slotted between the Focus and the Fusion (Mondeo elsewhere), the new Escort was developed for the Chinese market and has styling and features specific to the needs of the world's largest market. The design is an interpretation of Ford global design that is clean and uncluttered. Even the dash (click pic right) is very clean, which makes one wonder, is this Ford's interior design future? The back seat is spacious (for a compact) since Chinese execs often have drivers and require more room in back. The 1.5-liter four should provide decent performance and excellent fuel efficiency. Interesting. The Escort could do well in other markets if it is priced right for the seemingly decontented model. We shall see, but I wouldn't expect a US version until the next redesign. Three press releases and two videos (may have similar content) provide more info after the jump.

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

Mini updates the 2015 Paceman

Mini used the New York Auto Show to debut the refreshed 2015 Countryman and now Mini is using the Beijing Motor Show to show off the refreshed 2015 Paceman sport activity three door. The Paceman is the sporty version of the Countryman (fewer doors, lower stance, etc.) and received the same updates as the Countryman with updated styling, features, new colors, and more. The good things remain like the 1.6-liter turbo four (190 hp) in the Cooper S, either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, All4 all-wheel drive, available John Cooper Works kit, and various premium features like Mini Connect, and Harmon Kardon premium audio, and much more. The Paceman is one of my favorite Minis and the updates are more icing on the cake. But I wish the interior updates made to the new Hardtop were here for the Countrymam/Paceman now, instead of when the pair are redesigned in a couple of years. For more info, check out the press release and additional pics after the jump.

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

VW unleashes the Golf R 400 Sports Car Concept on an unsuspecting "Hot Hatch" world - Update

What can you say about a Golf R three-door hot hatch that has almost 400 hp under the hood, but Wow, Can I afford it?, or Will They make it? Don't know if they will cuz they could. Under the hood is VW's 2.0-liter turbocharged four that uses tech from Vdub's WRC racing engines to make prodigious power. All that power gets to the pavement through a six-speed, dual-clutch, automatic transmission and VW's 4MOTION all-wheel drive. All the techno nannies like ESC (electronic Stability Control) and more are on hand to handle the power and to make the car safe. The car is incredibly light and with the power, it has supercar performance numbers, like 0 to 60 in about 3.8 seconds. This Golf will put some Porsches and even a Ferrari or two in the bushes. The interior features some amazing looking sport seats and leather and Alcantara everywhere. If they build it, will customers come? They could sell a few of them but they won't be cheap. If you're interested, give Volkswagen a heads up. Who knows... For more info check out the press release and pics after the jump.

Update: According to published reports, the Golf R 400 will be built, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a US model.

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

Mercedes Benz reveals X6 fighter at Beijing Motor Show

I'm a fan of BMW's X6 SAV and rumors have been swerling for some time that Mercedes was preparing it's own SUV Coupe. Well sports fans, here it is, the Mercedes Benz Concept Coupe SUV. The Concept Coupe is sized within inches of BMW's sporty X6 and has similar styling cues (small sport sedan greenhouse mounted on an SUV lower body). The design is clean and easily recognizable as a Mercedes with the tail lights designed in the same vein as the new S-Class Coupe. It's a great looking ute and in interviews, Mercedes execs have stopped just short of confirming production. Hopefully, we will see the CC SUV in production form at an upcoming auto show (maybe LA in November?). No interior shots were shown so far and no word has been given regarding drivetrain (gas?, diesel?, hybrid?) but we should expect a broad range and all of the good stuff in Mercedes' parts bin. It's interesting that BMW sells a performance diesel X6 in Europe. Maybe Mercedes will bring some frugal diesel sportiness with the Concept Coupe SUV when it comes to fruition. More to come... Checl out the press release and numerous pics after the jump.

Source: Mercedes Benz - Press release and pics (6) after the "read more" jump.

2015 Dodge Charger - One of the best gets better

I'm a huge Dodge Charger fan, but I always felt the front end let the voluptuous styling of the rest of the car down. Kinda like a bad nose job. You know, like putting a boxer's broken proboscis on Heide Klum. The Dodge Charger for 2015 got a new nose and it's a good one. It recalls the new Dart without being a copy and makes the new Charger, well, stunning. Interestingly, even though the new Charger looks like the last generation, it shares few body panels. All the good stuff carries over like the Pentastar V6 and the Hemi V8s, but now the eight-speed automatic is available with any engine. All-wheel drive is still on the table as well. The interior retains the muscle-car look with higher-quality materials and loads of goodies like Beats audio, the latest Uconnect infotainment with new Access Services, new 3D navigation, the ability to turn your Charger into a WiFi spot, and lots, lots more. For more info than you probably need, check out the extensive press release, pics, and video of the new Challenger and Charger intro in New York, after the jump. Let's just say the new Charger looks great and I hope to see thousands of them on the road, real soon. Enjoy.

Source: Dodge - Very Extensive press release, intro video, and pics (9) after the "read more" jump.

Audi debuts all-new TT Offroad Concept - w/video

If there was ever a car model that should evolve into a full-line car "family," it's the Audi TT sportster. With it's Bau Haus-inspired styling, the Audi TT has been a styling star through most of it's run and the car shown here, the Audi TT offroad concept shows what a little out-of-the-box thinking can produce. The TT Offroad Concept (OC) adds the TT design cues and interior and applies them to an off-road four-door coupe with many unique touches. Like the Audi e-tron quattro all-wheel drive system that uses electric motors and a plug-in hybrid system to make the TT OC a go-anywhere, all-weather conveyance with excellent fuel efficiency. It doesn't hurt that it's good-looking to boot. The TT's roofline has been modified to allow for slightly better space utilization, but the C-pillar accent line let's you know that this is a TT. Did I mention that it has four doors? More features include the use of three tablets (see pics after the jump) in the interior and a Bang & Olefsun premium sound system to name just two. The e-tron plug-in hybrid uses Audi's 2.0-liter turbo four and two electric motors for 408 hp of system output and 650 Nm (479.2 lb‑ft) of system torque.The TT OC will hit 60 in about 5 seconds and top out over 155 mph while getting in the ballpark of more than 100 mpge. Good-looking, great mileage, go-anywhere abilities, sounds like a winner to me. Now if only Audi would build it and sell it. Interested? Let the powers that be at Audi know that this could be your next car...if priced right of course. For more info about all of the goodies hiding under the Sonora Yellow sheetmetal, check out the press release, pics, and video (with running gear animation) after the hump.

Source: Extensive press release, pics (5), and video after the "read more" jump.

2015 Acura TLX set to replace TSX and TL sedans - w/video

Acura has been updating their car lines since sales have sort of fallen of the ledge. Acura used the New York Auto Show to unveil their new middle child, the all-new 2015 TLX. The TLX replaces the more compact TSX and the current mid-level TL and acquires the new Acura design language started with the ILX and RLX sedans. It wears the new look well, but the beak grille still bothers and the four headlamps seem gimmicky, but the rest is a conservative design in keeping with the competition. It's nice looking and the dash and interior seem first-rate. Acura needs a winner and the TLX is poised to regain some lost sales. The TLX straddles the models it replaces with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (206 hp, 182 lb. ft.- of torque) mated to a eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Estimated fuel economy is good with the four - 24city/35hwy/28combined. Luxury sport buyers will step up to Acura's tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 (290 hp, 267 lb. ft. of torque) that is mated to a new nine-speed automatic. V6 models may be fitted with Acura's SH-AWD (Super Handling - All-Wheel Drive). Expect trim levels similar to current cars with at least Advanced and Technology packages. Pricing will be announced closer to the TLX's on-sale date late this year. For more info, check out the extensive press release (with spec sheet) and Acura's New York press conference video after the jump. More to come...

Source: Acura - Press release and video after the "read more" jump.

Toyota releases important new 2015 Camry - w/videos

Important for Toyota that is. As someone who reads lots of automaker press releases, I often have to laugh at the obvious spin that is given from time-to-time. But then I worry that the automaker's spin meisters don't get that it's spin and that they are clueless. Oh well, this one is one of those. The Camry is the best-selling car in the US and has a major presence around the globe, so any changes are important. The Camry has been losing sales to refreshed competitors for some time, so this update was necessary. For 2015, the Camry is larger and has much more aggressive styling especially in the "sporty" models. I kinda like what I see, so far. The interior has been given more upscale, soft touch materials and refreshed styling. Mechanicals are pretty much carried over, but why mess with what works, right? This update may just arrest the sales slide and bring back some buyers. The 2015 Toyota Camry will hit US roads this fall. For more info, check out the press release and videos after the jump.

Source: Toyota - Press release and videos (2) after the "read more" jump.

Alfa Romeo 4C makes offical US introduction at the New York Auto Show

Fiat/Chrysler's Alfa Romeo Division used the New York Auto Show to announce that Alfa is back and will re-enter the US market with the lightweight 4C sports car. The first few cars will be special, limited-edition 4C Launch Editions and will come fully-equipped in your choice of three colors (Alfa Red, Rosso Competizione or Madreperla White). The 4C comes with a 1.75-liter turbo four (237 hp. 258 lb. ft. of torque) and a dual-clutch transmission packed into an ultra-lightweight body for super car performance. Standard features include bi-xenon headlamps with LED illuminated daytime running lights, carbon fiber rear spoiler and mirror caps, aluminum rear diffuser, race suspension tuning with front- and rear-sway bars and performance-tuned shock absorbers, racing exhaust, staggered 18-inch (front) and 19-inch (rear) forged wheels painted in Dark Gray with Red lacquered brake calipers, sport seats with black microfiber, keather-wrapped instrument and door panels, red or white interior accent stitching (on the instrument panel, steering wheel, handbrake, floor mats and door handles), and a serialized “Launch Edition” plaque. But the really big news is the fact that Alfa is returning to the US market this year (June 2014) and US Alfisti are cheering. For more info, check out the press release after the jump. More to come...

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

Ford celebrates Mustang's 50th with 2015 Mustang GT 50 Year Limited Edition model - w/videos

Ford celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the original "pony car" with a re-intro on top of the Empire State Building and with the car shown here, the Mustang 50 limited Edition. The Mustang 50 LE is based on a well-equipped 2015 Mustang GT Coupe (including performance Pack) with the only options being exterior color (Wimbledon White or Kona Blue) and either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission that is mated to the 5.0-liter V8 (420 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque). Special 19-inch wheels and Pirelli P-Zero summer rubber get the power to the pavement. Special Mustang 50 badges are everywhere, unique front and rear clips, and a Mustang 50-only rear window louvers adorn these special models. Only 1964 (cute) versions of the Mustang 50 will be created, so collectors get thee to your dealer now. Check out the press releases and videos (of the Empire State project) after the jump. The Mustang 50 Limited Edition will be at your dealer later this year (summer/fall). Pics are clickable BTW. Enjoy.

Source: Ford - Press releases (2), pics (6), and videos (2) after the "read more" jump.

Hyundai unleashes all-new 2015 Sonata in New York - w/videos

Hyundai's Sonata mid-size sedan took the US by storm when the previous generation model debuted with outstanding styling and loads of "bang for the buck." Where the mid-size sedan segment was once filled with bland, vanilla, motoring conveyances, today the segment has some outstanding lookers, like the Sonata, Ford Fusion, VW Passat, and Kia Optima. For the all-new 2015 edition. Hyundai gave the all new Sonata more conservative (yet still attractive) styling, and updated features including BlueLink enhancements and Apple CarPlay. The '15 Sonata has grown a bit and is now considered a full-size car by the EPA. Why do cars keep getting bigger with each update? Anyway, the mechanicals are pretty much carried over, but there is no word yet on a hybrid version. That will probably come later with some unique styling cues and tech. For lots more info, check out the press release (2) and videos (2) after the jump. The all-new Hyundai Sonata will hit showrooms later this year. Choices, choices...

Source: Hyundai - Extensive press releases (2) and videos (2) after the "read more" jump.

Mini unveils updated 2015 Countryman

With the introduction of the new 2015 Mini Hardtop earlier this year, the Countryman has received a mid-cycle refresh in anticipation of an expected redesign in a couple of years. The exterior was updated with styling that is closer to the new Hardtop but is still easily recognized as a Countryman. On hand are new trim pieces, grille, LED lighting, wheels, colors, and interior tweaks. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the 2015 Countryman has been given the ergonomic updates that the Hardtop received like the switching moves (window switches to the doors, etc.) and the face front speedo. But what you do get is a good-looking ute that has available All4 all-wheel drive, four doors (five with the hatch), decent fuel efficiency (where are the diesels for the US Mini?), and Mini's premium compact experience. The Countryman will come in Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works flavors with All 4 available on all models. Typical of Mini (and corporate-parent BMW), there are numerous options and packages to outfit your Countryman how you like it and can afford. For more info, check out the two press releases and pics after the jump. The 2015 Mini Countryman is expected at your local dealer this fall.
Source: Mini - Press releases (2) and pics (6) after the jump.


Chevy bringing Trax small CUV to the US - w/video

With the surprising (to GM) success of the Buick Encore small SUV/CUV in the US, GM has decided to give the little Buick a sibling, The Chevrolet Trax. The Trax has been on sale in Canada and Mexico for some time with moderate success with 90,000 units sold globally.If you like the Endore, you'll like the Trax since the two vehicles share, well, everything except front and rear clip bits. Obviously, the Traz has Chevy's corporate grille in lieu of the Encore's toothy number. The Encore is a cute ute and the Trax continues that styling statement but at an expected lower price of entry and equipment. Trax will be offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims with pricing announced closer to the start of production later this year. The 1.4-liter turbo four is continued here (138 hp, 148 lb. ft. of torque) mated to a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is available. Other standard features will include rear-view camera, next gen OnStar (4G LTE connection) and MyLink, 10 airbags, 60/40-split fold-flat rear seat and fold-down front passenger seatback,16-inch wheels (18s on LTZ), remote keyless entry, StabiliTrak electronic stability control (with traction control and rollover mitigation features), and lots more. Options expand on the vast standards list.Chevy seems to have a potential hit on its hands in the US if the pricing is right. If you need a small, people and stuff mover, you will have a new choice very soon. For lots of info, check out the press release after the jump.

Source: Chevrolet - Press release, preliminary spec charts, and video after the "read more" jump.

Ford and Galpin Auto Sports create Transit Skyliner Concept luxo-lounge on wheels

Ford is showcasing its new (to the US) full-size Transit vans at the New York Auto Show with the Transit Skyliner Concept "lounge on wheels." Since the 2015 model year Transit will offer two wheelbases, three roof heights, and three powertrains to accommodate multiple needs, expect to see custom van conversions and special-use vehicles like the Skyliner along with day-to-day utility and passenger vans. Ford worked with the customizers at Galpin Auto Sports ("Pimp my ride") to create this van with custom paint and wheels, a custom lounge interior, and vehicle electronics that can control the lighting, infotainment, sound, TVs, and more from a smartphone or tablet. The interior also features a 52-inch retractable Stewart movie screen and reclining seats (chairs?) for optimal cinematic viewing. The Transit Skyliner features the 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine that is also available on Ford Transit vans. For more info regarding the electronics and equipment on the Skyliner Concept, check out the press release after the jump. this is just one of the many things you can do with your Transit van and Galpin Motor Sports in Los Angeles will be more than happy to build a Transit outfitted to your needs and dreams. (Galpin Motor Sports is a division of Galpin Motors, the largest retail Ford dealer in the US.) The Transit van line will be at your local Ford dealer this summer (see pics of the standard Transit as well as a press release for the standard Transit after the jump).

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

Land Rover unveils Discovery Vision Concept that previews production Disco - w/video

Land Rover is rolling out the Discovery Vision Concept at the New York Auto Show. The Disco VC is said to preview the next Discovery (LR4 in the US) with a design that is more techno sleek, than previous Disco tough. The Disco VC uses laser extensively for headlights, Terrain Scanning, the Transparent Bonnet head-up display, and more as well as Smart Glass, Rover's Terrain Response, gesture control and remote driving. In many ways, the Disco Vision Concept is a technology showcase for new and future technology. One interesting feature is the Transparent Bonnet (hood for the US) where lasers scan ahead and display images on a head-up display that makes the front end of the truck seem to disappear. The mufti-configurable interior allows for maximum utility or maximum comfort not to mention fine leathers, wood, and sound. Expect some changes before the production version is shown, but the concept is stunning visually and technologically. For lots of info check out the two extensive press releases, pics, and video after the jump. I do kinda miss the old tough, go-anywhere Disco though. More to are clickable btw.

Source: Land Rover - Extensive press releases (2), pics, and video after the "read more" jump.

2015 Volkswagen Jetta gets interior and exterior updates

I've always liked the VW Jetta. The current car is an attractive and conservative design and the updates don't spoil what is good, but they don't really improve things either. The front clip is new with updated headlights and grille that are very Passat-esque and the tail features a more pronounced trunk lid spoiler and revised taillights. The '15 Jetta interior sports several optional new features based on trim: a new multifunction steering wheel; redesigned air vent controls; piano black accents on the center console and around the gear shift lever; new chrome accents around the dual-zone Climatronic® control; ambient lighting; and new fabric colors and designs for the seats. Available technologies include Blind Spot Detection plus rear cross-traffic alert and frontal collision warning, as well as Bi-Xenon headlights with Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), turn signal, and LED Daytime Running Lights. The new 1.8-liter turbo four is standard as it was this year and the new 2.0-liter turbo diesel has received updates in power and fuel efficiency over the previous generation (interesting how the new Cruze's diesel was updated for 2015 to match or just beat the new VW's numbers). The 2.0-liter turbo gas engine is still available as is the hybrid version. For more info, check out the release after the jump. Expect the 2015 VW Jetta to appear on US roads in the late summer/early fall.

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