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.
We now have an official debut date for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette: January 13, 2013. The C7 Corvette will make its debut at the start of the 2013 Detroit auto show wearing a revamped Crossed Flags logo. At least that’s all that Chevy has confirmed so far; however, we have a pretty good idea what to expect from the new Corvette. The style of the sports car will be evolutionary with sharper creases, a much more upscale interior, and a shorter overall length. The 2014 Corvette will also make use of a next-generation small-block V-8 complete with direct injection and variable valve timing; expect it to displace 5.5 liters and make around 440 hp.
Cadillac has now officially confirmed the plug-in-electric ELR coupe for production. Unsurprisingly, the ELR will be built alongside the Chevrolet Volt at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan. The ELR and the Volt will share the same platform and much of the same powertrain technology – the wreath-and-crest PHEV will use the Volt’s T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack that will be paired to a yet-to-be-announced four-cylinder gas engine. Expect the Cadillac ELR to go on sale toward the end of next year and for it to make its official debut within the next six to nine months.
Volvo confirmed this week that it will kill off the C30 hatchback — the car will be offered in extremely limited numbers for the 2013 model year. The official reasoning is that the C30 doesn’t mesh with Volvo’s new product strategy going forward, but unofficially the car has been a sales flop that never matched up to its competitors. While European buyers could substitute the new V40 hatchback in place of the erstwhile C30, Volvo doesn’t appear to have any plans to replace the two-door C30 in our market.
We love horsepower, and the boffins at Mercedes-Benz AMG have obliged by providing extra-powerful cars for the past 45 years. To celebrate the company’s continuing excess of horsepower, we rounded up the ten most powerful Mercedes AMG road cars of all time. And just to set the framework for the sorts of cars we’re talking about, the horsepower figures range from 563 hp to 740 hp.
SEMA Show Preview
Automakers are gearing up for this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas with a variety of modified cars. Ford plans to send five modified Focus ST hatchbacks, of which three are painted yellow, to SEMA. Modifications range from tame visual upgrades to a full-on rally conversion with a 330-hp engine. Hyundai will show off a factory-tuned Veloster Turbo called Velocity, which is expected to produce 400 hp thanks to new engine internals, a larger turbocharger, and more. Kia plans to show off a Forte Koup tweaked by West Coast Customs to highlight comic-book character The Flash. The car will have a unique red and gold paint scheme, and is part of Kia’s collaboration with DC Entertainment’s anti-poverty charity campaign. Finally, ARK Performance will reveal a Hyundai Veloster Turbo modified for winter-sports enthusiasts. In addition to engine mods that bump power to 232 hp, the Alpine concept gets snowboard racks, moisture-absorbing interior materials, and rally flaps.
This week, our highly trained spy photographers caught a glimpse of a 2014 Jeep Liberty mule testing near Automobile offices in southeast Michigan. The high-riding prototype wore Alfa Romeo Giulietta clothing, but will use a version of the CUSW that underpins the new Dodge Dart. On the other side of the country, we spotted the next-generation Lexus IS sedan on a California highway. It appears to have a fairly evolutionary design change, with LED taillights but mostly the same shape as the current Lexus IS. Finally, we saw a prototype of the new Acura MDX, which appears to have a more toned-down appearance than the current three-row crossover. Look for a more restrained nose and smaller grille, as well as more pronounced sheetmetal styling for the lower body sides.
With a half-million-dollar price tag and a limited run of just 101 units, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato is a seriously exclusive machine. While its big 5.9-liter V-12 makes for a fine driving machine, the glamorous and ornately designed coupe really deserves to be looked after by collectors who will adore its fine looks and unique pedigree. The Porsche 918 Spyder is a deceptively powerful hybrid supercar. It has all the power, speed, and excitement that one expects from a Porsche, proving that the time of the plug-in hybrid sports car is coming soon. Few chassis changes are needed to convert the McLaren MP4-12C coupe into the 12C Spider, which pays dividends in the corners. With a ferocious 616-hp twin-turbo V-8 engine and a complicated active suspension that helps dissect race tracks without a second thought, there’s very little to fault in the new 12C Spider. The Volkswagen Golf won’t be sold in America for quite some time, but getting an early preview of the car in Europe has us very excited for its eventual arrival. The Golf exhibits much more poise and refinement than we expect from a compact hatchback, once again raising the bar in the segment that the Volkswagen Golf helped create. Recognizing the few owners ever actually bounced around off road, the new Nissan Pathfinder returns to a lighter and more fuel efficient crossover chassis. The new Pathfinder remains a competent and stylish three-row choice for customers who find minivans too plain or too lacking in four-wheel-drive capability.