Weekend Roundup: Toyota Cleared by DOT, 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Bows

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 viewing pleasure.

Toyota Cleared by Department of Transportation in Runaway Vehicles Investigation

After nearly a year of fine-tooth investigation by the Department of Transportation, the Department of Transportation says electronics controls were not the cause of reported cases of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. Although the study may absolve Toyota from this possibility, it has yet to lift the stain left by last year’s widespread recalls.

550-Horsepower 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Rolls onto Chicago Stage

We were betting on Z28, but Chevrolet used another historical name when it came time to roll out its supercharged Camaro: ZL1. Powered by the same 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 found in the Cadillac CTS-V, Chevy notes the new model is the most powerful production Camaro ever. Other Camaro news this week involved a new run of Indy 500 pace car replicas, and speculation that Camaro V-6 coupes may soon be given a 30 mpg highway rating by the EPA.

Dodge Rolls Out New 2012 Charger SRT8, New R/T Lineup

Dodge revamped its entire portfolio for the 2011 model year, but waited until now to showcase a number of the performance-tuned R/T trim levels. R/T models now include the Grand caravan R/T “manvan,” the Charger R/T, Journey R/T, and Durango R/T. Enthusiasts are perhaps most interested in the unveiling of the 2012 Charger SRT8 — now powered by a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, the car is rated at 465 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, which helps it sprint from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds.

Truck Wars: Detroit Automakers Fight Over Heavy Duty Truck Capabilities

It seems as if there’s a truck war brewing for truck month. Earlier this week, Ford revealed new frame modifications for its 2011.5 Super Duty heavy-duty pickups, allowing select models to pull conventional trailers weighing up to 17,500 pounds. Not 48 hours later at the Chicago Auto Show, Dodge fired back by increasing the power of its Cummins diesel to a Ford-matching 800 pound-feet of torque, while simultaneously announcing improved tow ratings.

Refreshed 2012 Acura TL Makes Debut

Think the Acura TL is a bit too edgy? The revamped 2012 model, which was unveiled earlier this week at the Chicago auto show, may appease those tired of the over-angular styling and unusual beak grille. The mid-model refresh isn’t a complete rethink of the car, but some slight modifications have gifted it with a cleaner exterior form.

Sporty 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Bows for Chicago Audience

Volkswagen launched its sixth-generation Jetta last fall, but we knew it was only a matter of time before the range-topping GLI model would be ready. The performance sedan officially dropped earlier this week, and sports both VW’s potent 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 and a trim-specific independent rear suspension that should appeal to entry-level speed demons in need of four doors.

Super Bowl Advertisements Continue to Resonate

Nearly seven days after kickoff, commercials that aired during the 2011 Super Bowl continue to make headlines. Volkswagen’s The Force spot has netted 27 million hits on YouTube, while Chevy’s Ms. Evelyn may have been the most watched spot — ever. That said, Chrysler’s two-minute 200 spot featuring Detroit rapper Eminem, however seems to be garnering the most attention, especially here in Metro Detroit.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe Gets a First Look

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