Monday, January 31, 2011

Volkswagen Intros New R-Line Sport Package for Touareg SUV

Volkswagen Touareg shoppers now have one more box to tick on the options list as the German automaker has released the third and final R-Line package for the luxury SUV model, aptly called 'Exterior'. As its name suggests, the new package gives the Touareg a more aggressive appearance on the outside. It includes a bodykit with a front apron, chunky side skirts, a bespoke roof spoiler and a rear apron that incorporates a diffuser in a matte black finish with openings for the chrome tail pipes.

The exterior styling kit can be combined with the two other available packages, and in particular the standard R-Line, which includes 20-inch alloy wheels, a sports suspension, stainless steel door sill plates, a sports steering wheel with decorative inserts in piano black, stainless steel pedals and aluminum trim on the dashboard, and the R-Line Plus that adds sports seats in a two-tone leather finish.

The R-Line Exterior package is available on all models except the Hybrid, and in true VW-fashion, pricing depends on the engine option with the kit costing (in Germany) €1,840 when ordered on the V8 TDI and €2,200 on the V6 petrol model.

Australia: Now you see the New Mazda2 Sedan, now you Don't

The Mazda2 four-door small sedan has been dropped from the firm's lineup in Australia, just eight months after launch. The reason is Mazda's decision to switch production of the Australian market version of the small car from its Thailand factory, which manufactures both sedan and hatchback body styles, to the company's Hiroshima plant in Japan, which builds only the hatchback version.

The Japanese automaker said the move was dictated by the success of the Mazda2 in the Thailand region and the fact it could not guarantee supply to the Australian market.

Mazda Australia spokesman Steve Maciver told reporters that the company does not except the loss of the four-door model to harm local sales as the five-door model was the most popular in the range.

An updated version of the Mazda2 hatchback with refreshed trim and all-new colours is due arrive in Australian showrooms this month. It will continue to be offered with 76kW 1.5 litre petrol engine, available with both manual or automatic transmissions.

VIDEO: Oops...Ford F-150 Steps Over Ferrari 458 Italia

The owner of a brand new Ferrari 458 Italia with some 500 miles on the odometer in Brandon Florida received a quick lesson on the disadvantages of a low slung sports car in the land of pickup trucks and SUVs when a Ford F-150 ran over its hood. We don't know if the F-150 driver mistook Maranello's creation for a red speed bump or if the Ferrari owner questioned Ford's 'Built Tough' slogan, but something tells us this video is going to become a hit. You can watch the clip after the break.

New Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Production Begins, Prices Start from $30,000

General Motor today celebrated the start of regular production of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible at its Oshawa assembly plant in Canada. The drop-top version of the Detroit firm's muscle car will go on sale in the U.S. in February and will be available with two engine options and four trim packages with prices starting from US$30,000 MSRP including an $850 destination fee.

The entry-level 1LT (US$30,000) and 2LT (US$33,500) Camaro Convertible models are powered by a 3.6-liter direct injection V6 motor rated at 312 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. or 370 Nm of torque, and can be equipped with either a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic transmission.

Those seeking more power can opt for the 1SS (US$37,500) or the 2SS (US$40,500), which are offered with a choice of two 6.2-liter V8 powertrains, , including the L99 with 400HP and 410 lb-ft of torque on automatic-equipped vehicles and the LS3 with 426HP and 420 lb-ft on manual-equipped models.

Customers can choose from nine production exterior colors with tops offered in black or tan, while all convertible models are fitted with a rear parking assist system as standard.


Mercedes-Benz Readying Baby CLS and Small SUV, will Arrive in the U.S. within the next Three Years

In order to attract younger customers, Mercedes is planning to launch several new compact models, all based on the brand’s upcoming MFA (Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture) platform. These new vehicles will also be offered in North America. According to an Automotive News Europe report, the Stuttgart automaker is currently working on a 'baby' CLS four-door coupe model and an SUV, which could be joined later on by a convertible or shooting brake variant.

“We will introduce the next generation of our MFA family to the U.S.”, Joachim Schmidt, Mercedes' global sales and marketing boss, told ANE in an interview. “Two variants, maybe even a third, are planned for the U.S.”, he added.

Described by company insiders as a “baby CLS”, the coupe is said to resemble the larger CLS four-door coupe and is due in summer 2013. It will be followed a year later by a BMW X1 rival with both variants to be offered in Europe three to five months ahead their U.S. debut.

The new compact car family will also replace the European A- and B-Class models, starting with the A-Class in late summer 2012. Currently, the automaker has no plans to sell these cars in America, but could do so if consumers show interest.

“The U.S. is not the typical compact hatchback market but if the demand arises, we could react very quickly and introduce these two variants in the U.S. far quicker than in the past”, the inside source said.

Furthermore, the MFA platform could be used by Mercedes’ new partner, Renault-Nissan, for a new-entry level Infiniti model, although nothing has been decided yet, Schmidt said.

Source: ANE

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