Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.
The Dodge Charger could be introduced to Australia from the beginning of 2014 if the business case that is currently under assessment stacks up.
Chrysler Group senior vice president of design Ralph Gilles told CarAdvice at the New York auto show his team is investigating shipping a converted right-hand-drive version of the large rear-wheel-drive sedan to Australia to sell alongside the Chrysler 300, with which it shares its platform.
“Apparently the Australians favour the Charger more than the 300, so we’re looking at a conversion package where we could do something,” Gilles said.
“The market wants it, so that’s something I’m very interested in.”
He said a Dodge Charger built specially for Australia could take “less than a year” to materialise if the business case comes back positive – the magic number being 1000 sales per year.
The Maserati Ghibli has been snapped testing in heavy camouflage by CarAdvice’s spy photographers ahead of its expected unveiling at next month’s Shanghai auto show.
Based on a shortened Maserati Quattroporte platform, the new Maserati Ghibli sedan is intended to help the Italian manufacturer tackle the likes of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and BMW 5-series.
The Ghibli, which was spied winter testing at the end of 2012, will offer owners a luxury alternative with the choice of turbocharged V6 powerplants as well as a V8 engine from the bigger Quattroporte.
Maserati confirmed the third-time use of the Ghibli name at the 2012 Paris motor show, alongside the naming of the Maserati Levante, the production version of the Maserati Kubang concept, due in late 2014/early 2015 following the start of its Turin production in 2014.
Injected with Mercedes-first safety technology, replenished under the bonnet, and restyled inside and out, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class deftly addresses the flaws of its five-year-old forebear.
Gone are the bulging rear guards that Mercedes-Benz said pointed to the 1953 Ponton, but to everyone else just looked awkward. The traditional ‘four-eyed’ look of the E-Class is now encapsulated within a single headlight moulding, although the front end still looks fussy with an awkward (and varied) shut line between the bonnet, headlights and bumper.
At least the cheap cabin plastics that made the base E200 in particular feel like a Stuttgart taxi have been replaced with a stitched-leather dashboard, now standard across the range. Similarly, there’s a new high-resolution screen with internet and ‘apps’ integration. Long criticised as a sparsely equipped base model, Mercedes-Benz promises that as with all variants in the range, pricing of the E200 won’t rise but the standard equipment list will.
This is despite safety technology systems making their debut in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class range, some of which may be standard on high-end models.
For example, the all-LED headlights have a function that allows driving at night with high beam permanently left on. Tagged Adaptive High-beam Plus, the system recognises oncoming cars and a small sliver of light affecting the traffic is simply ‘blocked out’ to avoid glare. Brilliant.
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The countdown has begun in preparation for the 2013 World Car Awards winners’ press conference hosted by the New York International Auto Show and Bridgestone Corporation on Thursday, March 28, 2013. The 2013 World Car of the Year, World Performance Car, World Green Car and World Car Design of the Year will all be declared at this time.
The top three finalists in all award categories will be announced at the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday, March 5th, 2013.
A jury of sixty-six (66) distinguished international automotive journalists selected the following top ten finalists in both categories by secret ballot, based on their experience with each candidate as part of their professional work. The jury members constitute a balance of representation from Asia, Europe and the U.K., North America, Russia, as well as other parts of the world. All hold significant stature within their own regions and countries. For more details about our jurors, and their outlets, please visit our web site: www.wcoty.com and choose 2013 Awards > Juror List.
The international accounting firm KPMG tabulated the jurors’ ballots and announced the top ten finalists in both categories today.
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29 / 34MPG
8.1 / 6.9L/100km
BODY TYPE: Sedan
BASE MSRP: $ 59,450
When Lexus introduced the GS 450h hybrid sport sedan in 2007, it confused a lot of folks. The automaker proudly brandished its performance credentials such as acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, making it both the quickest Lexus and the quickest hybrid vehicle at the time.
As for fuel economy, the raison d’être for hybrid vehicles, the 450h’s combined mileage rating of only 23 mpg didn’t come close to hitting the high notes associated with a gasoline engine combined with electric motors.
Straight-line performance may have been impressive, but driving enthusiasts weren’t overly enthused with the GS’s road handling characteristics, and hybrid geeks scoffed at the miles-per-gallon numbers.
For 2013, Lexus has taken a different approach for the GS 450h. This time the attention is on fuel economy, as in a 33 percent improvement in fuel mileage compared with the 2011 model. (There was no 2012 model.)
More impressively, performance wasn’t sacrificed for the newfound efficiency. Zero to 60 mph is just a couple ticks slower at 5.6 seconds—still close to V8 powered sport sedans. Complementing the engine power, steering is more responsive and handling is sharper which will appeal to those who want a car that is fun to drive.
Report: Cadillac’s global marketing chief says ATS coupe to come soon, flagship still an “opportunity”
Automobile Magazine received the scoop on some details surrounding some the future of Cadillac’s lineup while attending the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. The print outlet sat down with Cadillac’s Robert Ferguson, the maker’s global brand chief, for a nicely detailed interview as to what we can expect from America’s top brass in the next coming months.
Ferguson explained to Automobile that we can potentially expect a coupe addition to the ATS’ lineup.
“Our initial plans for ATS that you describe are still our plans,” Ferguson told Automobile. “That’s a great car, and we need to have variations of it, and we will.”