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.
Mini has added a sixth model to its range in the form of the new Roadster. Essentially a roofless version of the recently launched Coupe, the new Mini Roadster packs just two seats into its stylish roadster body. The roof is a manually folding fabric top that stows behind the seats. Power comes from the same 1.6-liter engines as in other Mini models, with base, S, and John Cooper Works trim levels available. Lowered suspension and a steeply raked windshield are said to make the Roadster more aerodynamic and sportier than the four-place Mini Convertible. The Roadster makes its public debut at the 2012 Detroit auto show in January.
Subaru has been taking its time unveiling the new BRZ rear-wheel-drive sports coupe, but now we have teaser photos showing a high-performance variant of the car. Headed for the Los Angeles auto show, the BRZ STI concept gets performance add-ons like a carbon-fiber roof panel, Brembo brakes, Recaro bucket seats, bespoke suspension, and a big rear wing. Power comes from a 2.0-liter boxer-four engine and is routed to the rear wheels. The production version of the regular BRZ will be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in late November, but there is no indication as to when the BRZ STI will reach production.
After much speculation, Hyundai has confirmed that it will sell a version of the Veloster hatchback with a turbocharger. The engine is most likely Hyundai’s new 1.6-liter Gamma inline-four, which makes 204 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque by grace of its turbocharger. That puts the Veloster turbo in a good position to challenge other hot hatchbacks — anyone else sense a comparison test in the making? More details will be revealed when the faster Veloster debuts at the 2012 Detroit auto show.
Ford has once again shown a concept version of the Fiesta ST, but this time the car has five doors and will bow at the L.A. auto show. Given that the regular Fiesta is sold only as a five-door hatch in the U.S., we think that bodes well for the chances of the Fiesta ST being sold in the U.S. A 177-hp, 1.6-liter EcoBoost inline-four engine enables 0-to-60-mph runs of about seven seconds and a top speed over 140 mph. Ford tells us the car’s suspension will “reward excellent drivers, and flatter novices.” For now, this car is said to be a mere concept — but Ford officials are giving strong hints that the car will reach production in the future.
Although the car won’t make its real-world appearance until the L.A. auto show, Volkswagen shared some photos of the 2013 CC. The curvy four-door swaps to a new fascia and other body parts resembling other new Volkswagen products. Bringing the CC in line with current VW familial style are a new grille, new hood, restyled bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights, and new climate controls. Officials say there won’t be any significant mechanical changes, meaning the 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four and 280-hp, 3.6-liter VR6 engines will carry on unchanged.
Although reports from union labor agreements had already told us as much, Chevrolet has now confirmed that it will build the new Colorado midsize truck in Wentzville, Missouri, for U.S. consumption. The plant will get $380 million in upgrades and will create 1260 jobs in preparation for the arrival of the new Colorado. The new truck, which is already on sale in southeast Asia, will probably launch here in mid-2012.
Ford has revealed that its Focus Electric will cost $39,995 when it goes on sale next year. The five-door is supposed to manage 100 miles on a battery charge, and is priced at the same level as the gas-electric Chevrolet Volt. Optional extras for the battery-powered Focus include $995 leather seats, $395 Candy Blue paint, and $495 White Platinum paint. Standard equipment includes things like navigation, MyFordTouch, and a Sony sound system.
Honda published several photos of the 2012 CR-V to its Japanese website, allowing us an early look at the refreshed version of the company’s successful compact SUV. Like the CR-V concept that previewed it, the new model wears a restyled three-bar grille, new vertical taillights, a bolder character line, and triangular rear windows. Powertrains are expected to comprise the existing 175-hp 2.4-liter inline-four and a new 201-hp 2.5-liter engine. The new CR-V has already started production, and will be show in L.A.
This week we got our hands on the 2012 Buick Regal GS, an Americanized version of Europe’s Opel Insignia OPC sport sedan. The Buick’s turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine sends 270 hp and 295 lb-ft to the front wheels, but itsHiPerStrut suspension helps keep torque steer to a minimum. It may not be the best sport sedan on offer, but the Regal GS is fun to drive and deserving of Buick’s GS badge.
– NASCAR Nationwide Series, O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, Texas Motor Speedway, Saturday October 5 at 12:55 p.m. EST on ESPN
– NASCAR Sprint Cup, AAA Texas 500, Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday October 6 at 3 p.m. EST on ESPN