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.
Apple announced at this week’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference that select manufacturers including General Motors, BMW, and Honda will put steering wheel buttons on their cars that will allow drivers to activate Siri on their iPhone 4S smartphones. For the legions of smartphone users who already must contend with distracted driving laws while trying to find the closest gas station, it’s a welcome addition.
Saturday mornings may never be the same: after 35 years on the air, “Car Talk” hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi will stop recording new episodes of the show. “Car Talk’s” home station, WBUR in Boston, did say that the pair have recorded enough phone calls to last for at least a couple more years, and there’s plenty of material for a few seasons of “best of” episodes as well.
Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne is notoriously fastidious with the design of his cars, and that attention to detail has pushed back nearly every Alfa Romeo product’s release date in the United States. This week, however, we learned that there’s one Alfa that’s leading the pack, the 4C. The 4C’s schedule was initially pushed back to a show date in January 2014, but may now go on sale next summer. We can hardly wait.
The investigation into a rash of fires of Jeep Grand Cherokee models is heating up (pun not intended), with an announcement this week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the total number of potentially defective cars has swelled to 5.1 million vehicles, including the 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee, the 2002-2007 Liberty, and the 1993-2001 Cherokee.
Hyundai’s two Elantra spin-offs, the Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT, are headed to Hyundai dealerships right now, and we know a little bit more about each one. The five-door hatchback Elantra GT will cost $19,170 and feature standard heated seats, alloy wheels, and keyless entry. Meanwhile the Elantra Coupe will cost $18,220 and feature standard air conditioning, heated front seats, Bluetooth, and alloy wheels.
It was a good week for the Ford EcoBoost stable of engines. On one hand, the 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine made headlines by running away with the International Engine of the Year awards for best sub 1 liter engine, best new engine, and best overall engine. On the other hand, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine (long rumored for a possible Ford Mustang SVO) is being eyed to go under the hood of the next Focus RS, making as much as 330 hp.
Leave it to Audi to make history on the road the same weekend it races at Le Mans: the company is set to release the SQ5 TDI, a diesel-burning sport utility vehicle that promises 313 hp, 479 lb-ft, and a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. With the release of this hopped-up utility, the SQ5 TDI becomes the first Audi SUV to wear the iconic S badge, and the first S-badged Audi to burn diesel.
The Honda Accord is nearly ready for its production debut, and we caught a few shots of a pair of them testing out in the desert. The new car will soldier on with a direct-injected 2.4-liter I-4 and a continuously variable transmission, as well as a 3.5-liter V-6 and a six-speed automatic.
It was a good week for the well-heeled as design editor Robert Cumberford reminded us that the Rolls-Royce Phantom is still automotive near-perfection. Meanwhile, Georg Kacher found the 2013 Ford Focus ST to be a hugely entertaining car, even at the expense of some drivability. Senior editor Joe Lorio told us, finally, that the GMC Terrain Denali is worth it for fans of American SUVs with plenty of shiny bits affixed on to–and technological features inside–them.
Races This Weekend:
24 Hours of Le Mans from Circuit de la Sarthe, June 16 and 17
Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway, June 17th, Noon