BlogWed, 12 Nov 2014 16:30:00 EST
At the Beijing Motor Show earlier this year, Volkswagen showcased a concept hatchback called the Golf R 400. It was essentially the Golf R we already know and love, but with an even more powerful engine to make it the most potent take on the Golf since the GTI 650 concept of 2007. Only unlike that bonkers, W12-powered prototype, which was never intended as anything other than a show car, rumors have been percolating over the past half year that VW could actually put the Golf R 400 concept into production.
This time, Britain's Car magazine claims that the bean-counters in Wolfsburg have given the Golf R 400 the green light for production. Its high-output turbo four, also showcased on the Audi TT Quattro Sport concept, is tipped to produce between 400 and 414 hp - far more than the 290 hp in the existing Golf R, the 210 hp in the GTI or the 170 hp in the base Golf we get in the US. The added juice could bump the designation up to Golf R 420.
Visual and aerodynamic enhancements are tipped to remain relatively low-key, with brakes and suspension further upgraded to handle the extra power. We wouldn't expect it to be too off-the-wall, though, because this top-spec hot hatch would likely be a full production model and not a limited run, and as such would still need to roll down the standard production line.
Challengers come and challengers go, but the Jeep Wrangler continues to push forward even after vehicles like the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the entire Hummer brand have been shut down. Now GMC reportedly wants to take a stab at the quintessential Jeep, as well.
The news comes directly from Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred, speaking with our compatriots over at Edmunds. Although Aldred said there are no plans currently on the table to expand GMC's lineup beyond the current range, "there is plenty of room everywhere in the hierarchy."
That could include a rival to the Wrangler, as well as a flagship luxury SUV positioned above the current Yukon Denali (pictured above). Just when (or for that matter, if) such models might come into fruition remains a big question mark, but it's certainly interesting to see what GM's dedicated truck brand has on the drawing board.
Maserati won't be showcasing any all-new products at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have anything to celebrate. It is, after all, the marque's centenary this year, and in 2014 has achieved the best sales it's ever racked up in the US market.
The most noteworthy Trident model to be displayed in LA next week will be the revised Quattroporte, the S Q4 and GTS trims of which are treated to some enhancements for the 2015 model year. The top-spec Quattroporte GTS in particular "benefits from a sportier and aggressive appearance," highlighted by color-matched lower bodywork, an updated emblem, red accents on the wheels and upgraded equipment inside, including red leather upholstery, contrast stitching, piano black trim and integrated wifi.
For 2015, the smaller Ghibli sedan also gets standard navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a new finish for the brake calipers. Maserati will also showcase the GranTurismo MC Centennial Editions, as well as the Alfieri concept originally unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show (new images of which we've included below). Finally, the Petersen Automotive Museum is also collaborating with the Italian automaker to display an array of historic Maseratis in the West Hall lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
South Korean buyers hoping to stomp on the throttle to hear the thundering V8 of the Chevrolet C7 Corvette have reason to be a little depressed, it seems. The South Korean government has no interest in hearing the 'Vettes angry growl. We're afraid it's just too darn loud.
"The launch of the seventh-generation Corvette is being delayed indefinitely due to Korea's regulation on automobile noise," said Chevrolet Korea CEO Sergio Rocha during a recent media conference, according to GM Authority.
Of course, Chevy could probably find some way to adjust the C7 to quiet it down its yell to meet the regulations, but there isn't much financial incentive to do so. According to Rocha, there are only around 12 Corvettes imported into South Korea per year. It's just not worth the investment to make sure a dozen people can enjoy the V8's bark. Too bad, it's a glorious wail...
General Motors is laying off about 510 workers from two factories beginning in January, and it could be months before the automaker needs some of that latent capacity to come back on line. A combination of poor sales and high dealer inventories are prompting the cutbacks, according to Automotive News.
The largest changes come at GM's Lansing Grand River plant, where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are made. An entire shift of about 350 workers is being laid off, but the automaker hopes to find positions for some of them at other nearby factories. The decision leaves just a single shift building vehicles there. According to Automotive News, the move is partially spurred by Johan de Nysschen's plan to make Cadillac a more exclusive brand.
The lost shift will likely return for production of the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro at the plant, according to the report, but GM isn't saying when that will be. A previous announcement from the Canadian Auto Workers union indicated that the Oshawa, Ontario, factory would lose the coupe in late 2015 or early 2016.
Ford has given the F-150 a dramatic makeover for 2015, switching to an aluminum body that helps reduce weight by about 700 pounds. Because the truck is dramatically different, Ford also had to change the way it makes the F-150, so we went inside its sprawling factory in Dearborn, MI, this week to see the Blue Oval's new manufacturing techniques in action.
The company has added 850 jobs at the site and upgraded its stamping and tool and die facilities. The body shop is also modernized, and it has been fitted with 500 new robots that join the structures together. The first 2015 F-150 rolled off the line on Tuesday, and the trucks will begin arriving in dealerships in December. Get a closer look at the F-150's unique assembly process in our video.
I officially gave up after 758 miles. The 15 or so miles leading up to this decision were spent in the right lane of Southern California's I-8 freeway, hazard lights blinking, climbing uphill at just over 40 miles per hour. After two days of sweating to the oldies (okay, a mix of SiriusXM Classic Rewind and First Wave), I had covered those 758 miles in a 2015 Audi A3 TDI on one tank of diesel fuel. And when I say sweating, I mean it quite literally. In order to maximize fuel efficiency, my co-driver and I kept the air conditioning off, even when the direct sunlight in the California desert had outside temperatures hovering around 90 degrees. I had been doing this hypermiling exercise for two days, the car was getting stinky, and I was ready to hear the sweet "thhhhhhhwack" of satisfaction that would finally come from peeling my sweat-soaked self off the A3's leather seat. Sexy, I know.
Audi had challenged me to drive 834 miles from Albuquerque, NM to San Diego, CA, on just one 13.2-gallon tank of diesel fuel. If you believe the EPA's highway fuel economy rating of 43 miles per gallon, this means I should have sputtered to a stop after 568 miles. But I went a grand total of 758 - that's 59.4 mpg - and I could have kept going. In fact, two teams made it the full 834 miles on their one allotted tank of fuel. That's over 63 mpg. That's twenty miles per gallon better than EPA estimates.
The TDI Challenge took me through three states over the course of two days, and the 834-mile journey wasn't just a simple highway cruise. I negotiated uphill climbs, long series of involving switchbacks through the mountains and elevations that ranged from 220 feet below sea level to nearly 8,000 feet above. I learned that super-crazy-efficient driving like this an incredibly challenging game that takes serious skill. But I also learned that if you're going to attempt to stomp all over the EPA's numbers, the Audi A3 TDI is one heck of a car for the journey.
Hyundai's controversial decision last September to move its Korean headquarters to an expansive (and expensive) new facility was met with a swift backlash by shareholders. After making the biggest land purchase in South Korean history, the company's share price took a nine-point nose dive.
Now, in a bid to get back in the good graces of its stockholders, Hyundai and its subsidiary, Kia, will make a $615-million stock buyback plan. Reuters claims this is the first time in ten years that Hyundai has made a buyback offer with the explicit purpose of pumping up share prices.
The total deal bumped up Hyundai's share prices 5.7 percent while Kia is up two percent, although neither company has fully recovered from the battering that followed the headquarters announcement. It's unclear what else it will take for Hyundai to recover the ground it lost during the land deal.
The next vehicle in the Vision Gran Turismo series has poked its nose out as part of a new teaser video and it comes from all-wheel-drive specialists Subaru.
Based on the Viziv Concept, the Viziv GT Vision Gran Turismo gets the same sort of racy treatment that we've seen on the other VGT cars, with big wheels and aggressive body work. The hood is vented and there's a whopper of a rear spoiler in place, based on what we can see in the video. We aren't sure what changes there are to the concept's diesel-hybrid powerplant, although we're sure all the details will leak out eventually.
Until then, take a look at the teaser video and let us know what you think by posting down in Comments.
After dropping a teaser image on us a few weeks ago, Scion has revealed in full the new iM Concept it's bringing to the Los Angeles Auto Show next week. As expected, the concept is clearly a rebadged version of the Euro-market Toyota Auris, only with some "European Racing Circuit Styling" upgrades to make it look more aggressive.
Along with the Scion logos, the five-door hatch is treated to a deeper air dam flanked by angular vents with stacked fog lamps, beefed-up wheel arches linked by widened side sills and filled with 19-inch, anthracite-finish alloys on low-profile rubber. Vented brake discs and four-piston calipers join an adjustable suspension as show-worthy equipment upgrades.
The sporty treatment continues around back with a similarly aggressive rear bumper and roof spoiler. Even the wing mirrors are replaced with narrower units. Little wonder it's all done up in a shade Scion calls "incrediblue" that looks rather similar to what sister-brand Lexus would put on one of its F-branded performance models - or for that matter what corporate ally Subaru would put on an STI hot hatches like the WRX.
Need a cargo van, but nothing too big? Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have the answer in the form of its new Ram ProMaster City. Essentially a domesticated version of the Fiat Doblo, the ProMaster City joins the Ram family as the baby brother to the larger ProMaster (née Fiat Ducato). But if you've been wondering how much one will set you back, Auburn Hills has now announced pricing.
The 2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo starts things off with a $23,130 MSRP, plus a $995 destination charge. Upgrade to the Tradesman SLT Cargo and you'll be looking at $24,655, while the passenger-oriented Wagon and Wagon SLT start at $24,130 and $25,655 respectively (again, plus $995).
The base delivered price of $24,125 makes the new Ram ProMaster City more expensive than its competition, with the Nissan NV200 the cheapest in the segment at $21,605, the Chevy City Express starting at $22,950 and the Ford Transit Connect starting at $23,125 (all prices including destination fees).
In the world of restomods, Singer Vehicle Designs is inarguably one of our absolute favorites. The company, founded by rocker Rob Dickinson, has made its name as an obsessive constructor of vintage, built-to-order Porsche 911s with modern internals and beautiful accouterments.
Xcar has put together a lengthy interview with Dickinson, covering the source of his fascination with the 911 and his passion for automotive design, before falling into his rock-and-roll days with his band Catherine Wheel. He also covers how he got into the world of modifying Porsches, rather than just restoring them. There's much, much more in the video, though, and we promise, you won't want to miss it.
Take a look.
Six "shut up and take my money" cars
We all know and love the "shut up and take my money" meme, but now, Seyth Miersma puts an automotive spin on it with this list of six cars we'd buy if the were to ever be created. Performance wagons? Check. Hotter hatches? Yep, got those, too. Widespread use of the word "Hellcat?" You know it. See what we'd throw our hard-earned dollars at without a second thought, here.
Mercedes asks, "What's in a name?"
Volvo Trucks thinks that its latest FH semi truck has a little sports car DNA mixed in with the ability to haul heavy loads thanks to its novel dual-clutch gearbox. And the company's marketing department certainly has an intriguing strategy to get the word out about the big rig's sporty traits. First, it staged a prank on an unsuspecting valet on the Italian Riviera, and now the FH has lined up a track battle around the Knutstorp racetrack against Sweden's ultimate supercar - a Koenigsegg One:1.
Fifth Gear host Tiff Needell takes the reins of the big Volvo and spends a little bit of time talking up its I-Shift Dual Clutch gearbox. However, the real fun is seeing the FH taking on the One:1. Of course, a head-to-head battle would hardly be fair against these extremely mismatched opponents. Instead, the challenge is for the 1,360-horsepower Koenigsegg to lap the track twice in the same time or less than the semi can do it once.
You just have to watch the video to see how if the big rig rises to the challenge. Also, scroll down to read Volvo Truck's press release touting the new gearbox, and check out the company's YouTube channel for more views of the race and a behind-the-scenes look.
Tue, 11 Nov 2014 17:44:00 EST
We won't even ask how much torque it'll produce, but we could easily see the number cresting 450 lb-ft.
From dual-clutch transmissions to W-shaped engine blocks, the Volkswagen Group has certainly contributed more than its fair share of powertrain innovations to the automotive world. The German industrial giant isn't about to quit while it's ahead - instead, it's just announced a slew of new technologies at its 2014 Innovation Workshop. The list of new developments is long, but some of the most noteworthy advances include a new high-performance diesel engine and a ten-speed(!) dual-clutch gearbox.
Things aren't looking good for Mini this year. The diminutive BMW brand has shown falling sales every month in 2014 in our By the Numbers wrap-ups. If that weren't bad enough, the latest Cooper Hardtop suffered fuel economy issues upon arriving to the US. First, there was a delay getting some versions certified, and then several models had to have their miles-per-gallon ratings revised.
According to Automotive News, the brand's sales are down about 20 percent for the year through October, despite hitting a record 66,502 vehicles in the US for 2013. For their part, Mini execs attribute much of that drop due to constricted supply. However, with the new-generation three-door Cooper finally on sale and the five-door coming at the end of the year, there might be room to bounce back some in the final months of 2014. "We are starting to claw back our way a little bit. It will be an uphill battle," said David Duncan, vice president of Mini of the Americas, to Automotive News. "We will not get back to where we would be even year over year. It should be a lower decrease than it is so far."
AutoTrader Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs reminds Autoblog that external factors aren't helping the brand's sales either. For one, there's "a direct correlation exists between falling gas prices and lower small car sales," she said, and the average price per gallon is now $2.94, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Also, the booming popularity of small crossovers is eating into the compact car market. Mini has its Countryman model, but the trend could be hurting the rest of its lineup. "Mini was fresh, new, unique and stylish, but fashions change and fashion-conscious buyers are fickle. They move on to the next thing," Krebs said.
We last featured the crowdsourced Project Titan pickup back in September, back when Nissan revealed that its big, bruising custom pickup would take to the wilds of Alaska with a pair of veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project at the wheel.
Now, their journey across the wilds has been fully revealed as part of a 22-minute short film. David Guzman and Kevin McMahon are the pilots of the brutish truck, and while the film is ostensibly focused on the journey and the challenges that come with it, the release of the video on Veterans Day (Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, depending on where you're from), gives some indication to the dominant theme of the story - recovery.
The two travel across Alaska in the Titan on different missions, working with both veterans and civilians afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as supporters of the Wounded Warrior Project. From the avalanche-surviving photographer who's suffering from PTSD to an Air Force veteran who routinely takes recovering vets on fishing trips, the pair experience the many efforts at recovery and support throughout the course of the missions and their journey.
The Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and just about every other all-wheel-drive performance car owes something to the legendary Audi Quattro, a model that was far more successful on the motorsports scene than it was in the showroom. Despite its modest sales, the UrQuattro still looms large in automotive lore, and indeed, in Audi's own sense of self. Considering the brand's semi-regular flirtation with the idea of a reborn Quattro, MotorWeek must have figured it'd be a good idea to revisit the original by digging up this archival review.
While time has the ability to cover up the warts of iconic automobiles, it should be noted that Motor Week host John Davis had more than a few critiques for the all-wheel-drive, turbocharged coupe.
Davis calls the Quattro's slalom handling "a disappointment," citing the overpowered engine and slow steering, and he had some unkind words for the brakes, as well. For our part, we're kind of wowed by the amount of ship-like body motion during testing, yet that sort of bobbing was certainly par for the course back in the early '80s.
Details about the hotly anticipated 2016 Cadillac ATS-V are tumbling out, and they look to be everything we could ask for in a high-performance Caddy coupe.
According to Road & Track, the ATS-V will use a version of the twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 from the CTS Vsport, but the wick will be turned up to 450 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. In glorious news for driving enthusiasts everywhere, that potent mill will be available with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.
According to R&T, the engine has a heap of high-performance tech to let it make the extra ponies, including titanium connecting rods, two water-to-air intercoolers, titanium turbines for the turbos and an additional radiator dedicated to cooling the gearbox and electronically locking differential. Keeping it all planted are a set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, and a suspension with 50 percent more roll stiffness.
Production of the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is finally underway, according to a posting on StingrayForums.com. The first car, a black beauty destined for motorsports icon Rick Hendrick, came off the line yesterday at 9:26 AM, according to the forum poster, who was on a public tour at the lucky moment.
Chevrolet's Bowling Green, KY factory is building just seven cars an hour. Now, we're sure this is very, very happy news if you're one of the lucky folks that placed an order. It does not, however, mean you'll be taking delivery straight away, according to Chevrolet.
"Yes, we started producing customer cars yesterday," Chevy spokesman Monte Doran told Autoblog. "We are not shipping cars to customers yet, though. We're still doing final quality checks and audits and will begin shipping cars in the coming weeks."
With nearly 600 horsepower from a sonorous 4.5-liter V8 nestled in an already fantastic platform, Ferrari might have outdone itself with the 458 Speciale. At this year's Paris Motor Show, it took the idea to the next logical step by letting buyers drop the coupe's top with the limited-edition 458 Speciale Aperta. Evo recently got the chance to drive one of the 499 of them; unfortunately, it was pouring rain the whole time. Still, when you get an opportunity to drive such a special Prancing Horse, you don't pass it up, no matter what the weather is doing.
All of the standing water on the road does allow for a chance to see how the Aperta's traction control works in the slippery conditions, and the car handles it with aplomb. In fact, the host has a hard time taking the big grin off of his face for the entire clip. Check out the video to watch this special, new Ferrari and its wonderful V8 go singing in the rain.
Lexus is bringing an appropriate concept to the 2014 LA Auto Show in the form of the topless LF-C2 Concept you see teased above (click on the image to enlarge). We really don't have a lot information on this one as of yet, although we only have just over a week to wait.
We can, however, speculate. Does the LF-C2 preview a convertible LF-LC? Maybe. Could this show off a replacement for the IS Convertible, maybe modeled on a RC coupe with a folding-metal roof? That's also a pretty fair possibility.
Proving that social media reveals have well and truly jumped the shark, Lexus will release further teasers of the LF-C2 during a three-day social media campaign. That'll culminate with its LA Auto Show debut on November 19.
Motorcycle trends come and go like fashion, and the latest two-wheeled style du jour is the adventure bike. Chunky and rugged, these (sometimes) dirt-ready rides often take cues from the massive, Armageddon-ready rigs you'd find on the Dakar Rally. In their most neutered form, they can start as street bikes and adapt for adventure duty by adding taller suspension setups, removable saddlebags, bigger fuel tanks, and better wind protection.
Lying smack in the middle of that dirt/road matrix (and leaning toward the tarmac side) is the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS. A venerable fixture in the adventure scene, it developed a primarily urban following after the model bowed in 2004, though it's also proved itself worthy of tackling trails and light offroad scenarios. For automotive folks not steeped in the vagaries of the motorcycle world, the V-Strom is the two-wheeled equivalent of the late, great Mitsubishi Montero: capable, no-nonsense, and a bit of an unsung hero in the face of more glamorous offroaders like the Land Rover LR4 and the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen.
Any time you see this iconic moment in pop culture - Shut up and take my money! - posted in response to a new car reveal, rumor for an upcoming model or even lip-service to a vehicle that should exist, you can bet there's some intrinsic good in the idea. Though depending on the person offering up the cash, that good could take the form of extraordinary form, functionality, weight savings, power, handling, etc. You get the idea.
In fact, when I first proposed this list, I reached out to the Autoblog staff to help me brainstorm. Here are some of the ideas they offered up that I ultimately didn't use: Jaguar XE Coupe, Pagani Huayra Roadster, Mercedes-Benz S-Class "parade car" (cabriolet), Morgan 3-Wheeler with Ducati V-twin, Ford Transit Connectamino (pickup), Mercedes CLA63 AMG, Ford Fusion 5.0, BMW i8 Spyder, Lexus RC-F Shooting Brake, Volvo XC90 Polestar. Oh, and things we collectively wanted to stick Dodge's Hellcat in were almost as numerous as models that Fiat Chrysler Automotive currently makes (though none quite so compelling as the Grand Cherokee you see above.)
Ultimately though, while I used a couple of ideas from my colleagues, the list of cars I'd shell out for unquestionably is very personal. Though it isn't complete, what follows is a selection of cars whose very existence would prompt me - or the trust-fund-baby versions of me - to utter without hesitation: "Shut up and take my money."
Tue, 11 Nov 2014 10:30:00 EST
"It's about some of the biggest crises in history. It's about who did it right and who did it wrong." - Jason Vines
Jason Vines, the former head of public relations at Chrysler, Ford and Nissan, has seen a lot during his more than 30-year career, and now he's offering a behind-the-scenes look at the auto industry in his tell-all book What Did Jesus Drive? that went on sale this month.
After months of fighting from both sides, it looks like the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN, might unionize under the United Auto Workers after all. According to a letter acquired by The Associated Press, VW and the UAW reportedly struck a deal last spring where the union agreed to stop its challenge of the organization vote with the National Labor Relations Board to help clear the way for the CrossBlue to be produced in Tennessee. In exchange, the automaker would recognize the UAW at the plant. Leaders of the Local 42 at the facility reportedly signed the letter.
It seems that such an agreement would clear the way for the factory to unionize after months of dispute. According to The Detroit News, under Tennessee law, workers aren't required to join the organization. Although, that might not be a problem. As of a few months ago, Local 42 already claimed to have signed around 700 of the plant's roughly 1,500 workers.
Controversy has constantly swirled around the possible unionization at the Chattanooga plant. The UAW held its official decision in February and lost 712 to 626. However, there were allegations of intense political pressure to make sure the ballot failed. A later report also found that VW was offered $300 million in incentives well before the vote to make sure things progressed to the "satisfaction of the State of Tennessee," but the deal was later retracted. In July, the UAW opened Local 42 on the campus in hopes of signing up a majority of the workforce by volunteering to be a part of it.
As many as 391,000 vehicles from Infiniti and Honda may eventually need to be recalled as a result of two, separately announced Preliminary Evaluations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ascertain the scope of the potential safety hazards.
The larger investigation has NHTSA looking into the 2013 Honda Accord because of 24 reports from drivers alleging total loss of power steering or a sudden increase in necessary effort to turn the vehicle. In four cases, the problem is reportedly linked to crashes, with all of them occurring at less than 30 miles per hour. According to the claims, 13 people also reported seeing a warning message during the failure. Turning off the car and restarting it would fix the issue in some cases. If a recall is necessary, it could affect an estimated 374,000 Accords.
The second investigation is much smaller in scope. The safety agency is investigating the 2008 Infiniti EX35 after two complaints of the steering wheel shaft separating, and the vehicle losing the ability to steer. Both reports allege that the steering became loose when driving and then completely failed once the vehicle was stopped. A recall for the problem would affect an estimated 17,000 vehicles. Scroll down to read NHTSA's reports on both Preliminary Evaluations.
Beginning in 2015, Mercedes-Benz is revising its nomenclature strategy for many of its models. This isn't shocking news, nor is it anything new in the industry - look at the recent Q-ification of Infiniti, or the forthcoming CT/XT strategy being deployed at Cadillac. But unlike those luxury brands, Mercedes isn't shaking up the whole system, and it's actually (kind of) making things a bit easier to understand. Here's how.
First, the German automaker's crossover and SUV lineup will go fully "G," and will correspond with the class lines on which the vehicles are based.
GLA - Unchanged; Merc's new small crossover based on the A-Class
We drive the new 2016 Smart Fortwo
It will have to be better than the model it is replacing, right? That was a common refrain heard around the Autoblog HQ in the days leading up to our first drive of the new 2016 Smart Fortwo. Have the biggest problems with the previous Fortwo - its jerky transmission, questionable value proposition and so-so fuel mileage ratings - been adequately addressed for 2016? Read our full report to find out.
Acura spied testing premium minivan
Some rumors in the auto industry simply refuse to die. Over the last decade, a few of the strongest have focused on Japan. A few years ago, we could have explained away the constant whispering over a new Toyota Supra, Acura NSX or Mazda RX-7 as nostalgia for Japan's golden era of performance. Today, though is different.
We already have the Nissan GT-R, and, thanks to the Toyota FT-1 Concept, a Supra successor finally appears to be on the way. Acura will someday, allegedly, deliver on its promise to put the NSX on sale. So where does that leave the third member of the Japanese performance trio mentioned above? Well, um, it still isn't happening.
"We don't have that kind of vehicle in our future product plan," Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai told Automotive News when asked about a successor to the rotary-powered RX line. "If you increase the number of segments, then the resources we can allocate to each will decline and that will prevent us from developing truly good products."