Weekend Roundup: 2012 Nissan GT-R, Hybrids Galore, and First Drives Aplenty

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 viewing pleasure.

First Drive: Rebooted 2012 Nissan GT-R

We had few complaints about the Nissan GT-R when it debuted three years ago. The 2012 model, however, is even better. With updated power, styling, and a new launch control, Nissan continues to raise the bar.

First Drive: 2012 Ford Focus

For the first time in its 12 year history, all parts of the globe will drive the same Ford Focus. Ford’s engineering and design center in Cologne, Germany was tapped to create for the global, from which came the new Focus. As so, the new car is quite a departure from previous North American models with much more European feel. Check out our first drive of the third-generation model by clicking here.

Batting 1000? First Drive: 2011 Chrysler 300, 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible, and 2012 Fiat 500

Chrysler has plenty of new products up its sleeve and this week we took the opportunity to drive a few of them. Now in its second generation, the 2011 Chrysler 300 comes with updated styling inside and out, along with a new powertrain and transmission to boot. Chrysler’s Sebring didn’t offer much to write home about, so the automaker needed to up its game with the midsize car’s replacement. While we’ve already enjoyed the new 200 sedan, the convertible is just as noteworthy. Fiat’s return to the U.S. will be led by its subcompact 500 hatchback, which will rely heavily on the emotional appeal of the Italian lifestyle. Luckily, not much is lost in translation.

Volkswagen Reveals 261 MPG XL1 Concept

Volkswagen’s latest super-efficient XL1 concept vehicle manages to sip just one gallon of gas on a 261-mile trip. The diesel-hybrid setup paired with an ultra-light 1753-pound total vehicle weight gives the XL1 concept its remarkable capabilities. A limited 100-unit production run was also confirmed this week.

EV Rollout: Nissan Ramps up 2011 Leaf Production, Chevrolet Announces 2011 Volt Will Be Available in All 50 States Before End of Year

Demand is far outweighing supply for the 2011 Leaf, and to help right the ship, Nissan has ramped up production at its Japanese manufacturing facility. Some 20,000 U.S. customers have placed orders for the EV, but with production maxing out at 4000 units per month, it could be a long wait until all orders are filled. Chevrolet also has high demand for its new 2011 Volt, but a slightly different problem satisfying initial demand. At launch the Volt has been offered in just six states – plus D.C. – but now plans to offer its extended-range EV in all parts of the country by the end of the year.

First Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class only made its debut late last year, but the automaker has already sent the performance crew at AMG to work on the four-door coupe. Gathering its power from a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, the CLS63 performs as impressively as its sheetmetal is svelte.

Pagani Huayra Finally Unveiled

Pagani has teased us with its Zonda successor for months, but this week the automaker officially took the wraps of its new Huayra supercar. The initial plan was to wait until March at the Geneva Motor Show, but leaked photographs of the car all but forced an early reveal.

2011 Qatar Motor Show Hosts Several Region-Specific Vehicles

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