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.
Mazda has previewed the Takeri concept, a curvy and attractive sedan that will appear at the Tokyo Motor Show. Although Mazda won’t admit it outright, the Takeri hints at the styling direction for the next-generation Mazda 6 sedan. The car’s voluptuous sheetmetal hides a SkyActiv-D diesel engine, along with fuel-efficient SkyActiv transmission and chassis technologies. Like the CX-5 crossover, the Takeri was styled according to Mazda’s new Kodo design language.
Our spy photographer captured these pictures of the next-generation Ford Escape wearing almost no camouflage. The photos let us see that the 2013 Escape looks remarkably like the Ford Vertrek concept that debuted at this year’s Detroit auto show. The car will make its production debut at the Los Angeles auto show in November. Ford says to expect a trio of four-cylinder engines under the hood: a carryover 171-hp, 2.5-liter inline-four; a 180-hp, 1.6-liter EcoBoost inline-four; and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four making an undisclosed amount of power.
Officials this week announced that a new Formula 1 race will be held on the streets of New Jersey from June 2013. The 3.2-mile race is expected to be called the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial. New Jersey governor Chris Christie believes the race will draw about 100,000 spectators; it will be America’s first Grand Prix race since one at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007. In addition, a new circuit in Texas will play host to a Formula 1 race in November 2012.
Despite last week rejecting a potential takeover deal from Chinese automakers Pang Da and Youngman, Saab Automobile now says it will accept a €100 million ($141 million) purchase offer from the Chinese pair. The deal actually involves the purchase of Saab Automobile and Saab Great Britain; because Saab Cars North America is a subsidiary of the former, operations in the U.S. also will be affected by the deal. The deal is expected to be completed on or before November 15. CEO Victor Muller says he wants to keep his position until a replacement is announced, and even then he plans to stay involved in the new Saab.
Mazda is continuing to rollout its SkyActiv engine line, with a new 2.2-liter turbodiesel set to arrive in the U.S. in about 18 months. The SkyActiv-D engine will launch in the CX-5 crossover in Japan. It has engine stop/start technology, and is certified to meet stringent emissions regulations both on our shores and in Japan. We suspect that, in addition to the CX-5, the new diesel could find its way under the hood of the next-gen Mazda 6 in our market.
On the heels of similar deals with Ford and General Motors, Chrysler employees ratified a new labor contract with the United Auto Workers union. The deal, which covers about 26,000 employees, will give Chrysler employees a $3500 signing bonus, and guarantees wage increases for entry-level workers.
Chevrolet will show off several varieties of Corvette and Camaro at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas. Most of the cars use Chevrolet Accessories parts, and are designed to highlight the aftermarket potential of the two Chevrolet performance machines. The highlights include the Camaro ZL1 Carbon concept, which makes extensive use of lightweight carbon fiber to make the upcoming Camaro ZL1 even more enticing. There also is Corvette Carlisle Blue Grand Sport concept, designed to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Corvettes at Carlisle meet, with unique blue paint and assorted gray accents.
Pictures quietly released to Mazda’s social media outlets revealed two concept cars that have us very excited. The turbocharged 2 and MX-5 Spyder concepts are destined for Mazda’s stand at the upcoming SEMA show. The former uses a “powerful” turbocharged engine, which we believe means Mazda has stuffed the 2.3-liter turbo-four engine from a Mazdaspeed 3 into the petite Mazda 2. There also is the MX-5 Spyder, which apes the Porsche Boxster Spyder with a stylized tonneau cover and a stretched fabric roof. Both look extremely cool.
Through its 100-year history, the Chevrolet brand has turned out dozens of different engines — some great, some we’d rather forget. Plenty of Chevrolet powerplants, though, were innovative and groundbreaking in their time. We looked at ten of the best and most significant Chevrolet engines of history, starting as far back as the Stove Bolt Six of the 1920s through the Voltec gasoline-electric drivetrain that motivates the Chevrolet Volt.
Driven: 2011 Chrysler 300C, 2012 Honda Civic Si Race Car
This week we drove the 2011 Chrysler 300C, the reinvented American luxury car that has been touted in the “Imported from Detroit” TV commercials. The car is a welcome update from the prior version, with a truly luxurious driving experience. Unfortunately, opting for the bigger engine and glitzy accessories can push this sedan’s price quite high. We also got behind the wheel of the exhilarating 2012 Honda Civic Si Race Car, a purpose-built track car for aspiring racers. With more power, less weight, and improved suspension compared to a showroom Civic Si, the race car proved an able companion at Willow Springs International Raceway.
– NASCAR Sprint Cup, Tums Fast Relief 500, Martinsville Speedway, Sunday October 30 at 1:30 p.m. EST on ESPN
– Formula 1, Indian Grand Prix, Sunday October 30 at 5:00 a.m. EST on Speed