Nissan-Renault and Daimler to Team Up on Transmissions, Turbo Engines


At this week's Paris Motor Show, Renault-Nissan and Mercedes-Benz/Smart owner Daimler announced plans to team up on a direct-injection, turbocharged engine and accompanying transmission. Renault-Nissan's Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the allied French and Japanese automakers, said the effort extends the scope of work between the two automakers that began in 2010.

The final product will be a small turbo four-cylinder that hits mileage targets in Europe and the U.S.; we'll see it debut in Daimler, Renault and Nissan products in 2016. As part of the agreement, Daimler also will license its automatic-transmission technology to Nissan. Nissan will build the new transmissions, which have idle start/stop and shift-by-wire technology, in Mexico.

The move could signal the spread of direct-injection technology across Nissan's lineup. Nissan's only U.S. direct-injection engines are the 5.6-liter V-8 in its Infiniti QX56 SUV and M56 sedan, and the Juke crossover’s turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder. Its bread-and-butter four- and six-cylinder engines remain port-injected — though that hasn't affected the exemplary mileage some vehicles demonstrate. Compare that to Ford, which direct-injects all its EcoBoost engines, and GM, whose four-cylinders and V-6s are widely direct-injected.

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By Kelsey Mays | September 28, 2012 | Comments (7)

Euro Flair in Full Force at 2012 Paris Motor Show

Volvo V40 Cross Country

The Los Angeles Auto Show may mark the official start of the American auto show season, but the 2012 Paris Motor Show is the beginning of the international season.

This year, the 2012 Paris Motor Show offered some exciting unveilings, including the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, Lexus LF-CC and Maserati Levante. Other notables include the Audi RS5 Cabriolet, Volkswagen GTI and Volvo V40 Cross Country, which are rolling down the Parisian catwalk as we speak.

Check out the photos of some of the best releases at the show thus far.  

By Colin Bird | September 28, 2012 | Comments (1)

Maserati To Name its First SUV Levante


At the Paris Motor Show today, Maserati confirmed a name for its first SUV: the Levante. Maserati named it after a street in Bologna, Italy, where Automotive News notes the Maserati brothers moved the brand's offices in 1919. The Levante is the production version of Maserati's Kubang SUV concept (above), which we saw at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Maserati has yet to reveal any specifics on the production Levante besides its name, but the automaker promised the Kubang's Jeep Grand Cherokee underpinnings (Fiat controls Maserati and Jeep parent Chrysler) would mean virtually nothing to Maserati's production SUV. The automaker claims it’ll be 100% Maserati and to its credit, the Kubang looks nothing like the Grand Cherokee.

Maserati fans can exhale now that the SUV won't be called Kubang — possibly the easiest target for jokes since the Ford Aspire. The automaker also confirmed that a "new high-end E segment" four-door sedan will be called the Ghibli, resurrecting a nameplate from the 1960s and 1970s and then again in the 1990s. It will likely slot beneath the Quattroporte sedan, which Maserati confirmed it will redesign. The current Quattroporte has been around since mid-2004. Maserati didn't reveal further details or any on-sale date for the Ghibli or next-gen Quattroporte, but we'll let you know as we learn more.

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By Kelsey Mays | September 27, 2012 | Comments (2)

Jaguar F-Type at the 2012 Paris Motor Show

Jaguar F-Type
  • Competes with: Porsche 911, BMW Z4, Chevrolet Corvette
  • Looks like: The cat is finally getting a nimbler option that’s befitting of the marque’s heritage
  • Drivetrain: 340-hp and 380-hp, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6; 495-hp, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8; eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2013

Ever since Tata Motors, an Indian company, bought Jaguar-Land Rover from Ford, it has continued to reinvigorate both storied British brands. After expanding the Land Rover lineup, with the Range Rover Evoque, the Indian carmaker is turning its sights back on Jaguar with a new entry-level roadster, the F-Type.

Besides the cloth droptop, the F-Type is a spitting image of the C-X16 coupe concept we saw last year. Like the concept, the roadster ditches the horizontal lamps worn by current Jaguars for vertical bi-xenon lamp designs with integrated LED daytime lighting. There are pronounced dual brake air inlets and a wide grille with a large front spoiler and diffuser. While the F-Type's front is angular, the rear is more curvaceous and swept back. The overall look is almost disjointed, from front to back, but somehow it all comes together for a distinct design. It's a thoroughly modern interpretation of the famous 1963 E-Type — hence the car's "-Type" nomenclature.

By Colin Bird | September 27, 2012 | Comments (2)

Of Course We Need A Porsche Station Wagon


Porsche just unveiled a new concept car, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, at the Paris Motor Show. It is essentially a Porsche Panamera with a redesigned back end that offers more cargo space, or as most people would call it, a station wagon.

Porsche isn't going to call it that, of course, but why shouldn't there be a Porsche wagon?

By David Thomas | September 27, 2012 | Comments (2)

Lexus LF-CC Concept: First Look

Lexus LF-CC Concept
  • Looks like: A luxurious version of the Scion FR-S/Toyota GT-86
  • Defining characteristics: Rear-wheel drive, full-hybrid, midsize coupe 
  • Ridiculous features: The gaping spindle grille; whatever happened to front bumpers? 
  • Chances of being mass-produced: 100%, Lexus is working on a midsize sports coupe

In a bid to bring a bit more fun to the Lexus lineup, Toyota's luxury brand will debut a new entry-level luxury coupe in the coming years. Today, we get a first glimpse of what that midsize coupe and other future Lexus models will look like via the Lexus LF-CC. Details about the brand's all-new hybrid powertrain also were released.

The LF-CC is essentially a more practical version of the LF-LC concept. The LF-CC is smaller than the last concept and designed around an actual future Lexus platform that'll be used on midsize entry-level models. In addition, the concept is theoretically powered by a real hybrid powertrain. 

By Colin Bird | September 17, 2012 | Comments (9)

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