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 along with the weekend racing schedule for your convenience. The New York auto show was the big news this week, but there was plenty going on elsewhere, including the Shanghai motor show.
A range of updates for Cadillac CTS include a revised 3.6-liter V-6 with 318 horsepower, a new Touring Package, and a redesigned front grille and Cadillac badge. Unfortunately, we also learned the 3.6-liter will no longer be offered with a traditional manual transmission, a result of a poor take rate.
Four-cylinder BMW engines return to the U.S. market this fall with the launch of the Z4 sDrive 28i. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is nearly as powerful as the inline-six it replaces, yet 20-percent more fuel-efficient. BMW says the 240-horsepower Z4 sDrive 28i could return up to 34 mpg on the highway.
Originally allowing customers to return cars early without any impact to their credit rating, the Hyundai Assurance program is expanding to guarantee trade-in values. Dealerships will guarantee the trade-in value of any car returned within 24 to 48 months of purchase. The program starts May 1.
Nissan Accelerates Deliveries of Leaf, Plans to Build More Cars in the U.S.
The Nissan Leaf has been slow to arrive on U.S. shores, but the company plans to accelerate shipments of the electric car. A shipment of 127 Leafs, the first to arrive since Japan’s March 11 earthquake, will reach American ports on April 27. To reduce such delays in the future, Nissan plans to build more of its U.S.-bound products on American soil. The Nissan Leaf, Nissan Rogue, and upcoming Infiniti JX crossover will all be built in Tennessee by 2013. By 2015, 85 percent of Nissans and Infinitis sold in the U.S. will be built here.
Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce Recognize Importance of Chinese Market
Lamborghini expects that China will become its biggest market in 2011, displacing the U.S. as the top location for Lamborghini sales. Competitor Ferrari is also betting big on China, and expects sales there to climb 66 percent through the end of 2011. Rolls-Royce hopes to cash in on the increased Chinese demand for luxury cars with new dealerships and the China Edition Ghost that was unveiled in Shanghai.
New York Auto Show Highlights: A Mix of Fuel-Efficient and Performance Cars
Subaru made waves at the New York auto show with the 2012 Impreza, which has been “right-sized” and made more fuel-efficient for the new model year. Sharing the midsize spotlight was the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu sedan, alongside the Malibu Eco that will return up to 38 mpg on the highway.
This week, we got behind the wheel of the 2012 Honda Civic, the ninth generation of the popular sedan and coupe. The range extends from eco-friendly natural-gas and hybrid models to the sporty Si. Volkswagen finally took the wraps off the 2012 Beetle, a more muscular and sporting take on the iconic people’s car, which can now be optioned with a 207-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four. For even more performance, look to the Scion FR-S concept, which previews a rear-drive sports coupe that will debut in the U.S. sometime in 2012.
For 2012 the Mazda 3 will join the growing ranks of vehicles rated at 40 mpg highway, thanks to more aerodynamic styling and trick new SKYACTIV powertrain technologies. A thrifty direct-injection four-cylinder helps cut consumption, while a mild face-lift keeps the 3 looking fresh. Jeep has blessed speed-freaks with the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8, boasting a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with 465 horsepower. Meanwhile, Shelby unveiled both an entry-level V-6-powered Mustang GTS and a wild 800-horsepower GT500 Super Snake.
-NASCAR Nationwide Series, Nashville Superspeedway, Saturday April 23, 3 p.m. EST on ESPN