BlogThu, 20 Nov 2014
Way back in June, Mercedes-Benz issued a light refresh of its svelte CLS-Class, adding one very notable new feature - MultiBeam LED headlamps. This new technology allows a camera to constantly adjust the output of the lamps, essentially letting driver to enjoy the power of full-beam headlights without blinding oncoming traffic. We aren't getting it here in the US, because reasons, but that hasn't stopped Mercedes-Benz from releasing an update to the CLS sans the cool headlights.
That's what we have here, with the 2016 CLS63 AMG, which is making its North American debut at the 2014 LA Auto Show. While it might be missing the MultiBeam system, it has what counts under the hood, with a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. That thumper of an engine produces 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, allowing the CLS63 to hit 60 in just 3.6 seconds.
Check out our full batch of the updated CLS63 AMG at the top of the page, and then head below for Mercedes' press release.
Wed, 19 Nov 2014
The 500X will be built alongside the Jeep Renegade at Fiat's Melfi, Italy factory, with sales to begin during the first half of 2015.
Fiat is following up on the March unveiling of the Jeep Renegade with its own compact crossover, the oft-rumored and teased 500X, which is making its big debut later today at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.
As the old saying goes, "There's no replacement for displacement." But these days, many automakers are launching powerful, downsized engines that offer similar or better power output than their predecessors, all while offering improvements in fuel economy and emissions. These days, we're seeing automakers replacing eight-cylinder engines with turbocharged sixes, and the naturally aspirated six-cylinder motors are being phased out in favor of potent turbo fours. But Ford has gone even smaller, offering a three-cylinder, turbocharged engine with one single liter of displacement.
Sure, three-cylinder engines aren't anything new - they've been offered around the globe for ages. But Ford's EcoBoost 1.0L powerplant is perhaps the best application the Autoblog team has tested. Gone are the triple-cylinder complaints of yore - this engine doesn't sound anemic or buzzy, and there's healthy power output on tap. In fact, compared to the 1.6-liter inline-four that Ford also offers in the Fiesta, the 1.0-liter is more powerful, while boasting an impressive 45 miles per gallon on the highway.
This engine has already received numerous accolades, including winning the International Engine of the Year award in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The 1.0L EcoBoost will be available in the refreshed 2015 Ford Focus here in the US.
Offering a diesel engine in an American pickup is anything but new - Ford, General Motors and Chrysler all offer excellent and almost impossibly powerful oil-burning engines in their various fullsize trucks. What is new and novel about the 3.0L EcoDiesel, though, is its size, and the variety of vehicles that use it. It's the smallest engine, as far as displacement is concerned, currently offered in a large truck in the US, and, for 2014 and 2015, it is available in the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Though it may be small, it's got muscle. While 240 horsepower isn't particularly impressive these days, the engine's 420 pound-feet of torque more than makes up for that. The torque rating is even greater force than even the big 5.7-liter Hemi can muster. Chrysler's well-regarded eight-speed automatic transmission makes the most of all that bull-headed pulling power in both the Ram and Grand Cherokee. Chrysler claims the Ram EcoDiesel 1500 can tow as much as 9,200 pounds when properly equipped, which makes it "90-percent of the Hemi with a night and day difference in fuel economy."
Make no mistake; it's that promise of a sizable fuel economy improvement that many long-haul truckers will be most interested in. In the Ram 1500 that we tested for our Tech of the Year competition, the diesel engine costs $2,850 more than the gas-fed V8, and Ram estimates that EcoDiesel buyers will pay off their investment when compared to the Hemi engine in less than three years, which is considerably less time than the 4.5 or so years the average buyer will keep his or her fullsize pickup. The more you drive, the more you'll save, and the math proves equally as effective in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray's Performance Data Recorder does exactly what it's name says it does: It allows drivers to record and analyze their performance behind the wheel.
The Corvette PDR uses a 720p high-definition camera mounted in the windshield header, a microphone in the cabin and a GPS receiver that record and track the sports car's movements and sounds. They work together to produce a video with telemetry overlay, so you can see acceleration rates, lap times and g-forces. The system can be customized to show extensive performance data, or simply video of your drive like a traditional dash cam. You can review the footage in the car (while in park), but there's also an SD card slot to take the data with you for more advanced analysis. The system debuted on 2015 Corvettes.
We tested the PDR with aggressive acceleration on some of Michigan's highways and twisting country roads, marveling at our prowess - or lack thereof - behind the wheel. We noticed everything from our steering angles and braking points to construction workers on the side of the road. The PDR captured our performance, warts and all. The system's extensive feedback will make you a better Corvette driver, whether you're at Road America or cruising on one of America's open roads.
Dodge dropped a 707-horsepower bomb on us this year, by way of the supercharged, 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 engine found under the hood of the 2015 Challenger coupe and Charger sedan. That's an absolute ton of power, and no matter how well-heeled a driver you may be, these Hellcat models demand respect in order to be tamed. But don't worry, Dodge has your back. Enter, the SRT Performance Pages.
Built into the cars' Uconnect infotainment system - itself a recipient of the Technology of the Year award in 2012 - Performance Pages are standard equipment on SRT-badged products. Here, drivers can see performance data like 0-60 and quarter-mile times and can keep an eye on engine vitals, as well as monitor the G-forces they're throwing down. They can even review lap times at a track.
Hellcat models take things a step further, with the ability to control the output of the engine, and manage things like suspension setup, traction control, and even the use of the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles on vehicles equipped with the automatic transmission. What's more, Hellcats are sold with two key fobs - one red, one black. The red key automatically unlocks all 707 hp from the big V8, while the black key hushes that fury to a still-impressive 500 hp. Beyond that, the Hellcat's Performance Pages feature a Valet Mode that locks out several of the Uconnect system's functions and further limits the engine's output to 300 hp.
Peering out of the top of the windshield of a growing number of Subaru models, looking like a pair of cyborg eyes on either side of the car's rearview mirror, are twin cameras that make up the visible portion of Subaru's high-tech EyeSight system. For 2015, the stereoscopic camera-based system is available on the Forester, Legacy, Impreza and Outback.
These cameras allow Subaru to equip its vehicles with such safety and convenience features as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking that can slow the car automatically if an imminent accident is detected, even bringing the vehicle to a complete stop.
Subaru has offered EyeSight technology on its vehicles in the United States since the 2013 model year. Newly upgraded for 2015, EyeSight's smaller cameras now see in color and are capable of scanning further ahead and over a wider swath, which means an EyeSight-equipped car will now be able to respond more quickly. That means a higher chance of accident avoidance for 2015, something everyone on the road will surely appreciate.
Wed, 19 Nov 2014
Traditionally, nominations for the Autoblog Technology of the Year award are earned for specific developments - a new-think powertrain, a uniquely developed material, a groundbreaking smartphone app, or what have you. In the case of BMW's marvelous i8, it so bristles with novel applied sciences and fresh features that we broke with tradition and nominated the entire car.
We just couldn't help ourselves. Oh, we could've focused on the i8's carbon-fiber monocoque, or its well-resolved plug-in-hybrid powertrain that incorporates a tiny 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor, or its seamless through-the-road all-wheel drive. This is a car that will even have frickin' laser beams for headlights - at least it will for our friends in Europe (and it will in the US, should our legislators ever catch up).
We're not going to lie to you. The reason you're seeing the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata on these pages again is solely because this is the first time we're seeing the roadster displayed in a color other than the ruby shade it was first shown in. Okay, okay, so this is the first time the Miata is being displayed at a North American auto show other than SEMA, and we'd say that this is the first time Mazda is showing a US-spec model, but clearly this is a right-hand-drive car. Either way, there's still not much to it yet, especially since Mazda is still withholding power and performance figures.
As expected, the ND Miata, as it is already known among the cognoscenti, will receive a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder and the buyer's choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic here in the US. The 1.5-liter model engine that had been linked to the car back in the rumormill stage will not make it to our showrooms.
Preliminary specifications still show the Miata measuring just 154.1 inches in length overall, with an increased track width to 68.1 inches and a low, low overall height of 49.0 inches. Despite the larger-displacement engine and its presumably heavier weight, Mazda is still claiming ideal 50:50 weight distribution and a weight loss of over 220 pounds versus today's NC generation. All of which sounds like the Miata has the right ingredients to make good on its promised Jinba Ittai ("rider and horse as one") driving experience.
See that red thing? It's the Mini Citysurfer Concept. It is not, in case you were wondering, an automobile. Yet despite this apparent shortcoming, Mini has placed it on a plinth at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The electric scooter weighs in at 40 pounds, can hit 15 miles per hour, cover 10 to 15 miles and can be folded up and charged in the trunk of a Mini Cooper (or any other vehicle with a 12-volt outlet and a roomy enough cargo area). According to the British marque, these qualities will give the scooter's owner the "spontaneous and convenient mobility even in those sections of an urban area not accessible to motorized vehicles."
It's not terribly difficult to see the appeal, as Mini explains it. With urban congestion becoming an increasingly serious problem - and some cities beginning to ban cars outright - the idea of an easy to charge and easy to stow runabout is extremely attractive. That's doubly true in the case of the Citysurfer, which is rather well equipped, as far as scooters go.
Well, that's one question answered. When Lexus released the first teaser for its LF-C2 Concept, we figured it'd be one of two things - either it'd be a convertible based on the LF-LC Concept car or it'd be a thinly veiled concept version of the RC Convertible. Turns out, it's kind of both.
The LF-LC styling straddles the wilder, concepty looks of the LF-LC and the still wild, but more grounded, looks of the RC. That doesn't mean it's not a polarizing piece of design, with Lexus styling trademarks like the dominating spindle grille and separate LED running lights. Lexus' knife-edge cuts and folds in the bodywork have been toned down relative to past concepts, but the overall look here, particularly in the rear fenders, is rather busy.
"The LF-C2 concept shows what's in store for our brand's future design direction," Lexus boss Jeff Bracken said. "This concept shows consumers around the world Lexus' devotion to emotional designs as well as our passion for an exceptional driving experience."
Chevrolet is reintroducing its best-known off-road badge for the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, with the return of the ZR2 on the all-new Colorado pickup. While we're plenty excited about this particular concept, it's what sits under the hood that we're most excited for, because this particular vehicle is motivated by Chevy's eagerly anticipated 2.8-liter, Duramax diesel.
With 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, this diesel-powered Colorado has a lot more going for it than just its engine. Its body is some four inches wider than the current top-end Colorado Z71 and features new front and rear fascias with integral skid plates, a built-in winch and flip-out tow hooks.
The ZR2 Concept isn't just all shirt and no trousers - it will be better able to handle trails, with increased stability and more aggressive approach and departure angles (30.7/22.7 degrees versus 25/21 on the Z71) thanks to the aforementioned body tweaks, two-inch lift and King coilover shocks. Adding to the concept's off-road abilities are 275/65 tires on 18-inch "bead-lock-style" wheels and electronically locking front and rear differentials.
Few vehicles can match the affordable fuel economy of the $19,000, 53-mile-per-gallon Toyota Prius C, and that fact isn't likely to change for 2015, as the Japanese company has issued a moderate refresh of its sub-compact hybrid.
As mid-cycle refreshes go, this is a pretty standard affair, with a larger grille and tweaked LED headlights at the front of the Prius C, and more expressive taillights at the back. Toyota made some minor changes in the cabin, updating materials throughout, but not fiddling too much with the overall level of equipment.
Aside from those modest changes, this is the same fuel-efficient five-door, retaining its 1.5-liter, 73-horsepower, 82-pound-foot four-cylinder, while an electric motor tosses in an extra 26 ponies, for a total system output of 99 horsepower. Along with the 53-mpg highway rating, the C will return 46 mpg in the city.
A week after its debut on the interwebs, Maserati has trotted out its freshened Quattroporte range at the LA Auto Show, giving us our first in-person look at the changes to the top-of-the-line GTS trim.
Maserati has tweaked the headlights across the range, while the GTS gains new body-color trim pieces on the lower bodywork. Red badging on the wheelcaps and and a freshened trident badge are some of the more obvious changes, while new lower bodywork is matched to the main exterior color. While these tweaks are nice, we aren't totally sure they deliver on the "sportier and aggressive appearance" that the Italian company is aiming for in model year 2015.
What do you think? Could Maserati have stood to go further for the 2015 Quattroporte, or is this sort of super-light freshening just what the doctor ordered? Let us know what you think in Comments.
The Mercedes-Maybach S600 is a car made for a town like Los Angeles, which so thoroughly enjoys excess. We're not only discussing the new car's wildly opulent interior, which is arguably the nicest ever fitted to a car with a Silver Arrow on its nose, but its mechanicals. Mercedes-Benz's engineers have had as much of a field day with the greasy bits of the Maybach S600 as the designers did with the cabin.
Under hood sits a 523-horsepower, 612-pound-foot, twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter V12 that can sling the upmarket S600 to 60 miles per hour in five seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. While those figures aren't immensely impressive, what they are, to borrow a phrase from Rolls-Royce, is "sufficient." Regardless, with peak torque coming in at just 1,900 rpm, we've little doubt any of the chauffeurs driving the Maybach will be complaining.
There's not much information available in Mercedes' sprawling press release on the suspension technology in its flagship S-Class, but expect some iteration of the brand's stellar Magic Body Control to deliver a truly sublime ride and handling experience.
Take a long, hard look, folks. This is the refreshed 2016 Mazda CX-5, which makes its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show today. And if you're thinking, "Say, that looks just like the old one," you really aren't alone. The visible updates certainly aren't major - Mazda has instead focused on giving the already-good CX-5 some thoughtful upgrades to make it a more attractive package than ever.
Outside, there are some slight changes to the styling, including new LED light signatures at the front and rear, as well as redesigned foglamp housings. Uplevel models also ride on attractive new 19-inch alloy wheels, with a dark finish.
Under the hood, it's all the same. Mazda's Skyactiv 2.0- and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines carry over, with 155 and 184 horsepower, respectively. Front-wheel-drive, 2.5-liter models get a small bump in fuel economy, too - the CUV is now rated at 26 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway, up from 25/32. Models equipped with the automatic transmission now benefit from different drive modes, as well.
Porsche is usually associated with being a sports car brand, but with vehicles like the Cayenne and Panamera it takes a step into the world of luxury against firmly established players like Mercedes-Benz. One way for the company to poke its head above the high-class fray is by taking things further, and in the case of the Panamera Exclusive Series at the Los Angeles Auto Show, it means pushing grandeur to extreme levels.
Coming in at an absolutely eye-watering $263,900, plus $995 destination, the Panamera Exclusive starts its life as the already sumptuous Panamera Turbo S Executive with a 4.8-liter, twin-turbo V8 making 570 horsepower on an extended wheelbase. To help justify the extra $63,000 for the Exclusive, though, the model gets 20-inch black Sport Classic wheels and an interior in swaddled in Nappa leather with dark walnut and piano black trim. Rear passengers also get 10.1-inch touchscreens mounted on the back of the front seats. A set of fitted Poltrana Frau leather luggage is included with each one, as well.
The luxurious sedan earns it Exclusive moniker because just 100 of them are being made worldwide. Scroll down to read about Porsche's ultimate limousine.
Audi is saying auf Wiedersehen to the first-gen R8 at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the best way possible - the even more powerful, limited edition 2015 R8 Competition. This might be the vehicle's swansong, but it's going out with a bang.
Audi is sending just 60 of these supercars to the US, and the heart and soul is a beefed up version of the 5.2-liter V10 from the V10 Plus model. The mill now makes 570 horsepower, a 20-hp boost, and is mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch S Tronic gearbox. Audi claims that the potent package shoots the Competition to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and to a max speed of 199 mph.
The extra ponies might be enough for some, but Audi really wants to make the Competition something special. Matte carbon fiber pieces replace areas around the car, including the rear spoiler, side slides, front spoiler, rear diffuser and center console. For contrast, the wheels and exhaust pipes are painted in high-gloss black. Ceramic brake discs should be a useful aid with deceleration, too.
"Luxury Defined," in the most ironic sense the galaxy has ever known, is now "Luxury Restored," in the real and incredible sense. Last September, Luke Aker made ads to sell his 1996 Nissan Maxima GLE, the YouTube version being a mix truth, bombast, a British accent and a ratchet strap. The ad tickled Nissan such that it bought the car from Akes and made a donation to a charity of his choice. Then they consulted with the citizens of the Internet to decide what to do with it, the final vote being a complete restoration and display at the company's Nashville HQ.
Friends, Netizens, countrymen, the job is done. Nicknamed "Old Glory," comparing the old car with the new is like reading one of those shelter dog rescue stories where the loving family nurses an impossibly cute pup back to health with handheld nursing sessions, baby bottles of warm milk and whispered lullabies. Only Nissan probably didn't sing to the Maxima.
The Maxima is now on display, and we hope they've hung the ratchet strap with it. You can see Aker's new video on the transformation above, plus another video and press release below detailing the Maxima's journey back to New Glory.
Toyota is certainly grabbing attention with the pricing of its Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, but Volkswagen is proving it understands hydrogen too at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show with versions of the Golf SportWagen and Passat that showcase its HyMotion system. The German brand is already testing the technology with a fleet of vehicles in the US.
What's surprising is how easy VW makes incorporating the HyMotion seem. The truly novel part about the tech is its hydrogen fuel cell that generates the electricity used to drive the vehicles. The electric motor and transmission come straight from the e-Golf, though, in this guise the powertrain produces 134 horsepower, a jump over the 113 hp of the electric Golf. VW estimates that the SportWagen HyMotion can hit 62 miles per hour in 10 seconds, but where the fuel cell really excels is in range. The company claims that the system offers 310 miles of driving distance.
The SportWagen also shows that fuel-cell vehicles can be just as useful as their traditional, internal-combustion counterparts. The hydrogen is stored at 10,150 psi in four carbon fiber tanks underneath the vehicle. A lithium-ion battery in the rear gets its power from regenerative braking and provides power when setting off, when the fuel cell is still building up electric power. None of the parts intrude on the passenger compartment, and according to VW, refueling takes just three minutes.
Audi went Hollywood for its debut of the forward-looking Prologue concept car last night, pulling the silks back at a sprawling LA manse in the hills. The cost-no-object unveiling of the car, as well as its prominent positioning at this year's LA Auto Show, speaks to the importance with which the company views the styling you see here.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, maharishi of development for the three-rings brand, made two important announcements at the presentation: reiterating publicly his endorsement of new styling chief Marc Lichte, and telling us that Prologue design will be found on upcoming production versions of the A6, A7 and A8.
Take a close look at that imposing face on the Prologue - an amped up revision of the single-frame shield grille that has appeared on new models like the TT already - and get used to it. Lichte called out the grille as the new face of the brand, so we fully expect its deployment across the range as the 2016 models roll out.
Honda's extended tease for the 2016 HR-V compact crossover is finally over. The CUV debuted in Japan late, last year, and the company has trotted various versions to shows around the world since then. The time has finally come for all of the details about the US version to be revealed at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show.
Honda has been keeping the HR-V's powertrain a closely guarded secret - until now. All of them get a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 138 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque with the choice of either a six-speed manual or CVT. Either front- or all-wheel drive is available, but the six-speed is only available on front-driving models.
Based on the same platform as the Fit, the HR-V actually doesn't seem to share much with its smaller sibling in terms of looks and instead borrows more cues from its big brother - the latest 2015 CR-V. Bits of Honda's larger crossover peek out in the grille and roof shape, but the HR-V reinterprets the design in its own funky way. Hiding the rear door handles near the rear pillar is an especially clever touch. The compact's wheelbase is 102.8 inches, just 0.3 inches shorter than its larger sibling. However, overall length for the new model is 169.1 inches, about 10 inches shorter than the CR-V.
Maserati continued its centennial celebration this week with a lightly updated version of the 2015 Ghibli at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The sedan is enhanced with navigation and Bluetooth features, which are now standard. Reinforcing that this is a light refresh, Maserati gave the brake calipers a new finish, and contrasted stitching is also added on the Ghibli and Ghibli SQ4 models.
Maserati is also throwing in a free three-month "all-access" subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio for the Ghibli, Quattroporte and GranTurismo.
The Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo is the rare concept car that salutes a seminal moment in history, yet also borders on science fiction.
Revealed Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the concept uses the name of one of Chevy's historic racing partnerships, with Chaparral Racing, which dates to the 1960s. Chaparrals raced successfully at a range of levels, including IndyCar, Trans-Am and SCCA competition.
But the history ends there, as the concept's main purpose is as a racecar in a downloadable update for the PlayStation 3 game Gran Turismo 6.
BMW tore the cover off the second generation 2016 X6 M Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
BMW tuned the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 to push out 567 horsepower, up from the last model's 555 hp. Torque also leaps to 553 pound feet, compared with the previous output of 500 lb-ft. The V8 is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which swaps in for the old six-speed. This potent powertrain allows the crossover to hit 60 miles per hour in about four seconds.
The X6, which features slightly more dramatic styling and an angled rear roofline, debuted alongside the more conventionally styled 2016 BMW X5 M at the LA show.
The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show is a busy one for Mazda, as the Japanese brand shows off not only its all-new CX-3, but a facelifted Mazda6 sedan.
The 2016 sedan has been nipped and tucked to better fit in with newer members of the brand's range, including the aforementioned CX-3, as well as the Mazda3 and MX-5 Miata.
The grille's horizontal slats are now trimmed in chrome, while the brand's chrome wing motif on the fascia is larger and more prominent, particularly where it feeds into the headlights.
Awesome as it is, the BMW X5 M has never really been an attractive machine. Big and bulgy are the themes here, and that's only more pronounced with the X5's most recent refresh. But no matter, the X5 M has never been about looks - for this machine, it's all about performance, and BMW's hi-po crossover absolutely delivers in this regard.
Under the hood is the familiar 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8, though power has been boosted to 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque - healthy increases of 12 and 53, respectively, compared to the outgoing model. Hitting 60 miles per hour is said to take just four seconds, which is damn impressive considering this thing weighs well over 5,000 pounds.
But the X5 M has always been shockingly good to drive, with limits you'll never reach except in the most hardcore track scenarios (which we'd really like to see, by the way). It's not the prettiest thing ever, but that's okay. It's not exactly cheap, though, with prices starting at $99,650. Woof.
With the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix now just ten days away, the focus is beginning to shift to next year's Formula One World Championship, with more and more pieces to the puzzle falling into place. And the latest news comes from the Lotus team. The Enstone-based outfit has confirmed that it's keeping both its drivers right where they are for next season, with Romain Grosjean partnering Pastor Maldonado once again.
Swiss driver Grosjean, now 28 years old, made his grand prix debut with the team in 2009, returned as test driver in 2011 while winning the GP2 title, returned to the F1 grid in 2012 and has been driving for the team ever since. He's scored nine podium finishes to date, but has finished no better than his eighth place this season.
Venezuelan pilot Maldonado, 29, won the GP2 the year before his teammate, and moved up to F1 with Williams, for whom he drove for three seasons before switching to Lotus for this one. He shocked the field when he won the Spanish Grand Prix in 2012, but has only finished in the points once this season.
Despite all the focus on the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, there's another increasingly important event happening on the other side of the planet. The Guangzho Motor Show is yet another expression of China's growing automotive might. Not only does the show boast a concurrent introduction with the LA Auto Show, in the form of the Mercedes-Maybach S600, but it has at least one exclusive item, with the Kia KX3 Concept.
Looking like a Soul mixed with a Sportage, the KX3 heralds the arrival of a production model based on the Hyundai ix35, known here in the US as the Hyundai Tucson. Whether that model will make Stateside, though, is another story.
If it does, World Car Fans claims it will be with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 1.6-liter turbocharged four, both of which should be familiar to Hyundai/Kia shoppers. While WCF says there will be a manual-transmission option, we shouldn't count on any gearbox beyond a dual-clutch automatic.
What you see above is the Bentley Grand Convertible, live from the Los Angeles Auto Show. It's basically a droptop version of the Mulsanne Speed, which would seem to be a foregone conclusion for production, but apparently isn't, according to Bentley Chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer.
"We are eagerly awaiting the response of our customers to this car. We will ensure that this car - if it reaches the roads - will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited collector's piece."
With its production possibilities out of the way, and with the image gallery you see above proving that it is, indeed, a convertible, we can move on to what makes this Grand Convertible so grand. Equipped with the same 6.75-liter engine with 530 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque as its hardtop brethren, it certainly won't be lacking for power. The Grand Convertible has been "fashioned entirely by hand from the very finest materials," says Bentley, and the tonneau is made from the largest piece of wood veneer ever applied by the automaker.