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.
BMW will bring more diesel engines to America — specifically, a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-four and a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six. After the 335d was discontinued, the only diesel BMW offered here was previously the X5 SUV. The new 2.0-liter will be the same 180-hp, 280-lb-ft of torque unit found in European BMWs like the 3 Series. The 3.0-liter should make about 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, although those figures could change slightly once the engine is modified to meet American rules. BMW won’t confirm when these new diesel mills will debut here, or in which cars they will be available. It’s a good guess that the 2.0-liter diesel will go into the 1, 3, and 5 Series. The 3.0-liter could find its way into the X5, and perhaps even the 7 Series.
Can you still call it a “spy” photo when it’s furnished by an automaker? Semantics aside, this is our first look at the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. The car manufacturer released a video showing prototypes of the next-generation pickup truck being put through its paces in Arizona. There are few details, aside from a promise that the new Silverado will enter production in 2013. We expect the new truck to use General Motors’ new small-block V-8 engine, and it should also use materials like aluminum and magnesium to save weight. More details should emerge as we get closer to the truck’s on-sale date.
Forget acceleration and horsepower, Ford is focusing on the fuel economy of its upcoming 2013 Focus ST. Ford says the 252-hp hot hatchback will return 23/32 mpg (city/highway), numbers that beat out competitors like the Volkswagen GTI and Golf R, Subaru WRX, and Mazdaspeed 3. Of course, the Hyundai Veloster Turbo returns slightly better fuel economy at 26/38 mpg — but that car only makes 201 hp, down a healthy margin compared to the Focus ST. Regardless, the Focus ST will still offer plenty of performance with its economy: the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four provides 252 hp and 270 lb-ft, enough to send it to 140 mph.
It’s time for a new Aston Martin, this time a convertible version of the V12 Vantage. Under the hood is a 510-hp, 5.9-liter V-12 engine and six-speed manual transmission. Aston says the V12 Vantage Roadster will reach the 62-mph benchmark in 4.5 seconds before hitting a top speed of 190 mph. Other changes include a suspension retuned to compensate for the lack of a roof, glass center-stack switches, and new forged wheels. Just 101 units of the unique car will be made, and all are destined for the U.K. market.
BMW has denied plans for an M-badged luxury sedan for years, but our new report suggests that BMW will indeed soon build a sportier 7 Series. Called the M770i xDrive, the new model should have a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 tuned for 475 hp and 480 lb-ft. Tricks like carbon-fiber hood, roof, and trunklid; carbon-ceramic brakes; and a special thin-wall exhaust will keep weight down, making the M variant the sportiest 7 Series yet. In fact, all models of the next-generation 7 Series will be as much as 450 pounds lighter thanks to increased use of aluminum and carbon fiber. That would put the 7 Series’ weight on par with that of the Jaguar XJ. BMW should introduce the next-generation 7 Series by 2015.
Cadillac played up the fact that the 2013 ATS sports sedan was tested at Germany’s famous Nürburgring, and now it appears the 2014 CTS is being developed there too. Our spy photographer snapped the next Cadillac CTS being put through its paces at the so-called Green Hell, just days after spotting the prototype sedans elsewhere in Germany. In the past, the CTS has set some impressive lap times at the ‘Ring: a 2009 CTS-V sedan clocked a 7:59.32 time, which is only a second slower than a brand-new 2013 Porsche Boxster S.
Jeep is getting ready to face-lift the Grand Cherokee, based on these pictures snagged by our spy photographer. The 2014 Grand Cherokee should have a slimmer front grille, revised front fascia, and several interior updates. A peek through the window reveals Chrysler Group’s larger 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system, as well as the electronic shifter for the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. The latter should improve fuel economy over the five-speed automatic that is currently standard in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The EPA has given us another piece of information on the 2013 Cadillac ATS. We now know that the new sports sedan’s base 2.5-liter inline-four engine will return 22/33 mpg (city/highway). That base engine produces 202 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque; the 2013 ATS also will be available with a 270-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine, and a 321-hp, 3.6-liter V-6. The base engine’s economy figures put it about on par with other entry-level sports sedans like the BMW 328i, Mercedes-Benz C250, and Infiniti G25. The 2013 Cadillac ATS goes on sale later this summer.
Sales volumes don’t always perfectly correlate with quality, and often some of the cars that we at Automobile Magazine love fail to become sales successes. We decided to look at some of the best cars that sell in astonishingly low numbers. Whether it’s a lack of a dealer network, poor advertising, or confused market positioning, these are our favorite cars that nobody buys.
The Audi Q5 has been a strong seller since it went on sale in the U.S. in 2009, and now it’s time for Audi to offer some mid-cycle revisions. For one, there is now a hybrid model that uses a 2.0-liter turbo-four gas engine and an electric motor-generator. The system works seamlessly, but the battery pack somewhat reduces cargo room. Audi’s common supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 replaces the old 3.2-liter V-6, and next year Audi will introduce a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6. Aside from the engine changes, the 2013 Audi Q5 also gets a new grille and rear bumper, as well as technology updates like Google Maps satellite imagery in the MMI infotainment system.