2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series: Photo Gallery

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Allegations of performance-enhancing drug use aren't good if you're Lance Armstrong, but for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series — called "the SLS on steroids" — it's a compliment. The racecar-inspired coupe, which debuted at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, boasts a 6.3-liter V-8 to make 622 horsepower, good for zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

Its juiced-up body features flared fenders, enlarged air intakes, tinted headlamps, taillamps with black surrounds, rear diffuser and front, rear and side skirts. Pricing wasn't available, but the 2013 SLS AMG GT Coupe and Roadster start at $199,500 and $206,000, respectively, excluding destination fee and a $2,100 gas-guzzler tax. Check out the gallery below.

By Matt Schmitz | November 28, 2012 | Comments (1)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: Smart ForTwo Micro Hybrid

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  • Competes with: Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid
  • Looks like: A Smart ForTwo
  • Drivetrain: 71-hp gasoline engine and electric motor
  • Hits dealerships: In Europe, this October; no word on the U.S.

It’s all about green in Frankfurt, it seems — that is, besides the Lamborghinis and Bentleys on parade. Smart — which will introduce its new ForTwo in the U.S. early next year — rolled out a hybrid version of that car yesterday. It’s called the ForTwo Micro Hybrid — you know, because it’s small.

Smart sells a diesel version of the ForTwo in Europe, but because the hybrid runs on standard gasoline it has a much better chance of making it to the U.S. if the Smart launch goes well. The company is saying the hybrid will get 8% better fuel economy overall; in heavy city driving it could get up to 20% better mileage.

Smart hasn’t released EPA numbers for the ForTwo yet, but it said it will likely get a combined rating of 40 mpg. That means the Micro Hybrid would get around 43 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway, at a cost of just 500 Euros more than a basic ForTwo coupe. Even at a roughly 1.4 conversion rate, that’s not a bad deal to be green … and small.

More Smart News (KickingTires)

By David Thomas | September 12, 2007 | Comments (9)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: 2008 Volkswagen Tiguan

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  • Competes with: Honda CR-V, Acura RDX
  • Looks like: A mini-Touareg
  • Drivetrain: Unknown turbocharged four-cylinder.
  • Hits dealerships: Some time in 2008

We’ve already seen full production images of the upcoming compact SUV from Volkswagen, but the company released more information in Frankfurt yesterday, much of which applies to the versions coming to the States. The most interesting news is that there will be three subtle variations of the Tiguan, depending on a buyer’s off-road desires.

We don’t know how well it will sell, but if you need a larger entry angle you can buy the Tiguan Track & Field. The model has a 28 degree entry angle and a driver-selectable off-road mode. For those who just want the utility of the Tiguan for the daily commute and the weekend run to Ikea, there will be a Trend & Fun and Sport & Style trim. Of course, VW says even these street-friendly Tiguans can take less-extreme trails. 

There’s no final word on which engine will make it to the U.S., but we’ll bet on some variation of the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that is found in many other VW models. There are also plans for a diesel version to come Stateside but don’t expect more news on that until the first major U.S. auto show in Los Angeles this November. For now, check out more photos below.

By David Thomas | September 12, 2007 | Comments (8)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: Saab Turbo X

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  • Competes with: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G35, Lexus IS
  • Looks like: Suspiciously similar to the Saab 9-3
  • Drivetrain: 280-hp, turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6; all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: First half of 2008

We don’t mean to confuse you — though perhaps that’s Saab’s aim — but the Turbo X is none other than a limited edition of the company’s recently updated 9-3 sedan. The big difference is that the Turbo X is the first application of Saab’s new all-wheel-drive system that they’re naming — so originally — XWD. This setup was designed by Saab in Sweden and differs from the all-wheel-drive system used in models like the recently discontinued 9-2X and the current 9-7X.

The Turbo X will be a limited-edition model, all in black, but an all-wheel-drive option will become available on the regular 9-3 at roughly the same time in 2008. The Turbo X also gets a sport-tuned chassis and a rear limited slip differential that drivers can control.

The limited run of the Turbo X will come only in black with unique wheels and more aerodynamic body panels. GM says the Turbo X is available for order, but you can check out more images below right now.

By David Thomas | September 11, 2007 | Comments (5)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: Jaguar XF in Black

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The blog world is on hand at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, and it’s sending back a slew of interesting images. One model that debuted online weeks before it hit the show floor today is the 2009 Jaguar XF. While we brought you all the official information and images back then, automotive blog Jalopnik has a live gallery from Frankfurt with the XF in black with orange leather seats — quite the color combination. We still wish someone would change those headlights, but otherwise the XF looks stunning. Autoblog also got some good shots of the car's interior.

Jaguar XF Photo Gallery (Jalopnik)
Jaguar XF Photo Gallery (Autoblog)

Related
More from the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show (KickingTires)
Jaguar XF News (KickingTires)

By David Thomas | September 11, 2007 | Comments (1)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: Volkswagen up! Concept

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  • Looks like: A baby Rabbit
  • Defining characteristics: A tiny car with the engine in the wrong place
  • Ridiculous features: Light-up VW logo in back
  • Chance of being mass-produced: For Europe, this could be a future city car; for the U.S. … VW will probably wait to see how the Smart ForTwo sells

Like in a Volkswagen Beetle, the engine sits behind the driver in this new concept from Volkswagen. The up! is a look at the future of city cars from VW, and we expect a real-life version could be under development. We’re a bit surprised the up! doesn’t feature VW’s now-trademark large black grille. The up! comes in at just 135 inches long — roughly the size of a Smart ForTwo — and can seat four people.

The three passenger seats can be removed, folded up and stored in the front trunk. There’s also an onboard computer that uses a touch-screen to control all climate control and entertainment functions. There’s a second display for the front passenger as well, in case he doesn’t agree with your current iPod selection.

The up! is a classic concept car — it’s not close to production-ready, but it’s a reasonable look for a VW city car that the company will need to develop. Take a look at more photos below and let us know if you’d give the up! a chance.

By David Thomas | September 11, 2007 | Comments (17)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: 2009 Mazda6

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  • Competes with: Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry
  • Looks like: The already-sporty Mazda6 got a hunky face-lift
  • Drivetrain: 170-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder with a six-speed manual; U.S. drivetrain info still to come
  • Hits dealerships: Second half of 2008

If you were thinking about buying a new midsize sedan, we advise you to wait until the redesigned 2009 Mazda6 makes its way to U.S. shores. The radically redesigned Mazda6 — seen here in sedan, hatchback and wagon versions — will make its way to the U.S. in late 2008. We’re not sure what all the power plants will be, but the models that debuted in Frankfurt today feature an updated 2.5-liter four-cylinder that gets 170 hp. Rumor has it Ford’s 3.5-liter V-6 used in the Edge SUV will also go in the Mazda6 — that could mean more than 250 hp.

But that’s just conjecture at this point. What we do know is that the new Mazda6 is lighter than the previous generation, has a more aerodynamic shape, a new suspension and a new interior. The interior looks to upgrade what was one of the better treatments when it debuted in 2003, but has since been surpassed by others. The new Mazda6 looks to borrow some of the high-quality interior bits we enjoyed in the new CX-9 crossover. Many more photos of all three versions of the Mazda6 are below, and we’ll post concrete news about the U.S.-bound cars as soon as it comes in.

By David Thomas | September 11, 2007 | Comments (20)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: BMW X6 Hybrid Concept

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  • Looks like: A hybrid Hot Wheels brought to life
  • Defining characteristics: BMW's menacing answer to the Toyota Prius
  • Ridiculous features: A 20% gain in mileage? If it’s a concept, BMW should aim higher
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Believe it or not, this could very well be in your favorite environmentally conscious celebrity’s driveway soon

Following on the heels of the plain-old gasoline-powered X6 concept comes the X6 hybrid. Again, we’ll preface this entire “concept” thing with the fact that we’re pretty darn sure this will be at a BMW dealership sometime before the end of the decade, looking pretty much exactly like the images here. The hybrid system is the two-mode variety and is based on technology jointly developed with GM and Mercedes-Benz.

BMW says it will get 20% better fuel economy than a standard X6 — because they’re all just concepts, no standard powertrain information has been released — by allowing the electric motor to power the car from a stop and at low speeds, with the engine kicking in at higher speeds. This also marks BMW’s first traditional gasoline-electric hybrid planned for mass production. Oh, wait — it’s still a concept. Expect to see more hybrids from BMW using the same system in more familiar models. We think the boring old X5 SUV could use a hybrid version. More photos of the X6 hybrid concept below.

By David Thomas | September 11, 2007 | Comments (6)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: Mercedes-Benz F 700 Concept

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  • Looks like: A nightmarish version of an S-Class
  • Defining characteristics: Huge grille, huger headlights, tiny little engine
  • Ridiculous features: A backward-opening rear door only on the passenger side
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Looking like this, little. An efficient luxury sedan? Not too much chance of that, either.

Mercedes’ F700 Concept is an interesting look at how fuel efficiency will impact this auto show season. Sure, lots of companies are bringing out small little hybrids, plug-ins and other gas-sipping concepts, but Mercedes thinks there’s also a market for affluent greenies. The F700 isn’t a hybrid, though — it uses a super-efficient four-cylinder engine with a prototype powertrain that moves like a V-6 but gets a dreamy 44.3 mpg.

Remember this is a concept, so those numbers aren’t even close to being real yet. The F700 also features an active suspension that predicts road conditions to mute bumps as much as possible. That’s one of those concept ideas we like. What we don’t understand is a seating configuration that allows passengers to face backward. Perhaps that would facilitate a face-to-face business meeting in the backseat — or high-speed nausea, depending on your travel habits. More photos below.

By David Thomas | September 11, 2007 | Comments (7)

2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: BMW X6 Concept

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  • Looks like: A Hot Wheels car brought to life
  • Defining characteristics: A sports car body dropped onto Bigfoot’s wheels
  • Ridiculous features: A sports car body dropped onto Bigfoot’s wheels
  • Chance of being mass-produced: BMW doesn’t often introduce a concept that isn’t meant for production. The X6 looks so ready to hit dealerships we’d expect to see the real thing revealed by the end of this year.

We’re kind of at a loss here. We knew BMW was working on an SUV with a swoopy shape but nothing could have prepared us for this. The X6 is a real BMW, folks. The name might say concept — a hybrid version of it will be a concept as well; we’ll post about it as soon as we can — but BMW has been testing the X6 for production for quite some time. It seems BMW actually intends to sell this “sport activity coupe” to the masses. How big the masses are remains to be seen.

Why are we blown away? Well, despite the recent anti-SUV sentiment in the U.S., luxury SUVs are still selling well and the redesigned BMW X5 is the company’s best SUV to date, perhaps even the best luxury SUV on the market. BMW doesn’t need another vehicle in this segment and the X6 will have less room inside than the X5. Perhaps the radical looks, augmented by those ridiculously huge 21-inch wheels, will draw those who don’t want a soccer-mom mobile. 

The idea of a four-door coupe style is not new — see the Mercedes-Benz CLS — but putting it on an off-roadable platform seems like an odd choice, it certainly doesn’t look like anything else on the road. While we regroup, check out the images below.

By David Thomas | September 11, 2007 | Comments (14)

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