Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We've gathered a few of the top stories of the past week for your convenience.
The latest version of the Volkswagen Golf made its debut in Berlin this week, although unfortunately we will probably wait until early 2014 to see the seventh-generation hatchback on American soil. A narrow grille, squinting headlights, more sharp character creases, and smaller taillights define the new Golf's exterior. It's also lower, wide, and has a shorter front overhand for a sportier stance. Beneath the chassis, the 2014 Golf uses Volkswagen's new MQB chassis, saving as much as 220 pounds compared to the current car. Even so, interior room grows and there's a litany of new safety gear. City Emergency Braking can slow the car to prevent low-speed collisions, Lane Assist can steer the car back into its lane, and Multi Collision Brake applies the brakes after the airbags deploy to prevent any additional impacts. When the 2014 Volkswagen Golf arrives in the U.S., it will likely offer a 2.0-liter turbodiesel and a 1.8-liter turbo-four gasoline engine.
Ford of Europe showed off a range of new commercial vehicles that also will be sold in America. The most important is the all-new 2014 Transit, which will replace the E-Series/Econoline van in the U.S. market. It has a very traditional cab-forward, upright design, but touches like angled headlights and Ford's trapezoidal grille inject some style. Here, the Ford Transit will be offered only with a six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel-drive. Engine choices will include the company's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. Ford also introduced an updated version of its smaller Transit Connect vanlet. Riding on a new platform, the Transit Connect has updated styling that is surprisingly similar to the 2013 Ford Escape crossover. Engine choices in the U.S. comprise a 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo-four and a 2.5-liter inline-four.
Land Rover hasn't long revealed its all-new 2013 Range Rover, and already the British company has a surprise: it plans to launch a hybrid version in Europe. The Range Rover hybrid will use a turbo-diesel V-6, an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission, and a 1.7-kWh battery pack. Land Rover says the big SUV will be able to hit 60 mph in about seven seconds or return the equivalent of 37 mpg. Better still, the hybrid will still be able to ford nearly three feet of water. Unfortunately, the hybrid is unlikely to be sold in America because it would be difficult for Land Rover to modify the diesel V-6 to meet our emissions standards.
Audi has chopped the top off its RS 5 coupe to create the RS 5 Cabriolet. The fast convertible, predictably, shares its 450-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 engine, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and quattro all-wheel-drive system with the regular RS 5. Audi says the 0-to-62-mph dash takes just 4.9 seconds. There's just one caveat: Audi has yet to confirm whether it will bring the RS 5 Cabriolet to the U.S. market.
To maintain consumer interest -- and purchasing -- of the Fiesta subcompact high, Ford has given the model a facelift for 2014. The new Ford Fiesta bows at the Paris Motor Show this month, then the Los Angeles auto show in November. The 2014 car goes on sale in the U.S. in spring 2013. The biggest change is a new dose of design, including the brand's now-omnipresent Aston Martin-like grille, a "power dome" hood, and a smattering of interior trim updates. Ford also has confirmed that the Fiesta will score the company's thrifty 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine for 2014. The engine also will be sold in the U.S.-market Focus, helping bolster both cars' fuel-economy standings. Finally, Ford confirmed that it is putting the spicy, 180-hp Fiesta ST into production.
Will McLaren introduce a successor to its famed F1 at the Paris Motor Show? There's no official confirmation yet, but a teaser photo from the British company suggests that McLaren will indeed launch a new supercar later this month in France. So far, all McLaren has said is that "the next exciting chapter will debut in Paris." McLaren already revealed the convertible of its current car, the MP4-12C Spider, at Pebble Beach earlier this summer, so it stands to reason any debut in Paris would be an all-new car. The official reveal takes place in Paris on September 27.
It may look like some silly artwork, but Mercedes-Benz assures us that a new sculpture called Aesthetics S previews the design of the next-generation S-Class. Although Mercedes-Benz will show the Aesthetics S work at the Paris Motor Show, the next version of the flagship S-Class sedan won't debut publicly until early 2013. The relief artwork appears to show two strong, curved character lines along the side of the new Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan, although we haven't spotted such design details on prototype models our spy shooters have photographed.
Cadillac revealed more about its plans for livery, limousine, and hearse variants of the new XTS luxury sedan. Not many details have been revealed so far, but we do know there will be five versions: the standard XTS Livery Sedan Package, the XTS Stretch Livery Sedan, the XTS Limousine, the XTS Funeral Coach hearse, and the XTS Armored. Livery sedans have front-wheel drive and use a 304-hp V-6 engine. They benefit from an additional 3-year/150,000-mile professional vehicle warranty (6-year/100,000-mile for the hearse), heavy-duty brakes, and optional tri-zone climate control. Cadillac hasn't said by how much the XTS has been stretched, nor what extra protection is built into the Armored model. Still, these models prove that Cadillac wants its new XTS to become a big success in all sorts of vehicle fleets.
Volkswagen hoped to lean on Suzuki for help building new crossovers, but once the VW-Suzuki partnership fell apart, the German company was left on its own. Although the new models won't arrive for another four years or so, Volkswagen does have several new crossovers ready in the wings. The first will be a true off-roader based on the Polo chassis. All-wheel-drive, upgraded suspension, and skid plates will all cater to drivers who actually want to get the tall-but-small crossover dirty. For buyers who want the style of an SUV without its attendant performance, Volkswagen also promises the Up! Alltrack and Golf Variant Alltrack. Both will have slightly longer wheelbases for more interior room, larger wheels, unique suspension, and cosmetic changes meant to look off-road-ready. By 2014, Volkswagen will introduce the Tiguan II that shares many mechanical components with the 2014 Golf hatchback. It will be lighter, roomier, and more agile than the current Tiguan. By 2014, Audi also will debut a full-size SUV that should be at least 660 pounds lighter than today's Touareg.
Porsche has long sold a diesel version of its Cayenne SUV in Europe, and now the oil-burning version is available in America. A drive through Alaska revealed that the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 is plenty powerful for a sporty SUV, yet fuel efficient enough to offer a theoretical 765-mile driving range on a single tank of diesel. Adding diesel propulsion to the Porsche Cayenne is such a logical fit that we can't help wondering if the automaker will soon add a diesel option to its Panamera sedan.