Stepped away from your Blackberry, PC, or iPad for the week? Here are a few of the top news stories for the past week, along with some racing action you may want to tune into during your weekend.
Bentley pulled the wraps off its all-new second-generation Continental GT. Although it's arguably an evolutionary update of the current coupe, no body panel is shared with the previous model. Just as well; the car has been one of the brand's best-selling models, so a drastic redesign may have been a little too ambitious. Power still comes from the same 6.0-liter W-12 engine for the time being (a 4.0-liter V-8 will eventually be added), albeit its output has been boosted to 567 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.
2012 Chevrolet Aveo Shown Before Official Paris Debut
GM was more than happy to boast it had four world debuts lined up for the 2010 Paris Motor Show, but by revealing the last -- the 2012 Chevrolet Aveo hatchback -- ahead of time, it may have completely revealed its hand. As has been widely expected, the new Aveo bears a large resemblance to the Aveo RS concept shown at the 2010 Detroit auto show. Details are still uncertain (especially for the U.S.-spec car), but we expect Chevy to drop the current Aveo's 1.6-liter I-4 in favor of the turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4, which also appears in the larger Cruze sedan. We'll get a better look at the Euro-spec Aveo later this month, but expect GM to trot the North American version (and possibly a sedan body style) early next year.
Honda's Odyssey has long dominated the minivan segment, and after taking a spin behind the wheel of the revamped 2011 Odyssey, we think Honda's reign will remain virtually unchallenged. Honda also managed to drop pricing for the new van this week: 2011 Odyssey LX models start at $28,550, while the high-end Touring Elite model stickers for a whopping $44,030. Read our first drive review here, and check out more pricing details by clicking here.
In an effort to keep pace with the features offered within Ford's popular Synch technology, GM revealed that its venerable OnStar telematics system will soon be expanded to incorporate various applications. Although specifics aren't yet locked in place, GM hinted that vehicles will soon be able to connect with Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with transcribing incoming text messages into audio notifications. Better yet, beginning in the 2011 model year, OnStar will offer a smartphone app that allows owners to perform any key fob task from their phone.
BMW's twin turbocharged N54 inline-six is offered in a wide range of the German automaker's vehicles but has always believed to be underrated in power. When putting the boosted engine to the test, we found it consistently performed better than advertised. Last year, BMW released a new single turbocharged I-6 codenamed the N55 that replaced the N54. Ironically, a modified twin-turbo N54 was introduced at the same time for the 335is. We strapped both Bimmers onto the dynamometer to see how each engine pulls. To read more about our test, check out the feature here.
Several automakers are already starting to talk about what they're bringing to this month's Paris Motor Show -- but they're only teasing what lies ahead. This week's teasers include: Lamborghini
The house of the raging bull teased the first of six images of its forthcoming Paris show car, which is widely believed to be a sneak peek at the company's future direction, to say nothing of a Murcielago replacement.
The company told us not to blog about it, but we did -- this shadowy 6 Series coupe may in fact be the second sporty Efficient Dynamics concept we've seen in the past two years. Speculation suggests the car may in fact be tied to BMW's eco-friendly Project I directive.
Both brands are typically tied with compact cars, but it seems Mini and Smart are both bringing conceptual electric scooters to the Paris show. Few details have been released, but it's suggested that the Smart may have a 60-mile range on a single charge.
Thus far, we've only seen a headlamp from the new Townpod electric vehicle concept, which Nissan describes as being more than a van. Is this a sneak peek at the electrified small van Nissan promised last year? Stay tuned...
-NASCAR Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC -Formula One Italian Grand Prix on Sunday at 8 a.m. on Speed