Increased menu to be added, with possible free services to entice customers.
According to Automotive News, the subscription OnStar service will receive an upgrade this month that moves it past accident alerts, directions and vehicle diagnostics to include links to social media sites and voice-to-text translation of incoming messages.
By Greg Kable
BMW has established a Web site called www.dontblogabouthis.com with the express purpose of revealing a prototype being used to test a new gasoline-electric driveline earmarked for a future sports car. It’s expected to be launched in 2012 as part of BMW’s EfficientDynamics program.
Featuring two short videos and four photographs of a 6-Series based prototype, the Web site provides no additional information about the prototype other than to suggest that the car in question is “more than a 6-Series” and is “not in its final stage.”
Close inspection reveals the matte black BMW mule has a new front end resembling that of the one-off EfficientDynamics concept revealed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show. Other obvious changes include widened tracks and skinny low-rolling resistance tires on aerodynamically optimized wheels.
Regal tests appetite for a 4-cylinder premium sedan.
Are Americans ready for a 4-cylinder premium sedan? The Buick Regal is about to find out.
I’ve been testing the reborn 2011 Regal this week, including a holiday zip from Brooklyn to Boston and back again. The made-in-Germany Regal is essentially a rebadged Opel Insignia, the European Car of the Year for 2009. In other words, this is no rental-counter Buick.
And despite a mere 2.4-liter 182-horsepower engine that works a bit hard to motivate this roughly 3,600-pound sedan, the Buick is a winner. It’s loaded with curb appeal, it's as quiet and solid-feeling as most luxury sedans, and the interior looks and feels posher than its $26,995 base price would suggest. It's not quite the sporty Acura TSX-fighter that Buick bragged about, but it's still an impressive car, especially at a price that's in line with high-end Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys. And with three well-received products in a row -- the Regal, LaCrosse sedan and Enclave crossover -- Buick is putting together the kind of lineup that could justify GM keeping it around while dispatching Pontiac, Saturn and Saab instead. (Of course, it helped Buick’s cause that the brand is hugely popular in the booming Chinese market).
Nevada politician wants to introduce a pay-to-speed scheme.
But considering that the approach to curbing speeding really hasn’t changed since the first automobile tire touched pavement, the decrease in deaths is just as likely as attributable to safer vehicles as it is the expert issuing of traffic citations. One politician in Nevada seems to think that speed isn’t nearly as dangerous as everyone is making out. Eugene DiSimone wants to offer anyone who wants to speed up to 90 mph the option to do so legally -- for a small fee, that is.
Peugeot's 3008 HYbrid4.
The 3008 crossover's drivetrain is unique in that it supports 4-wheel drive. Unlike the power-split parallel hybrid system in most hybrids, the 3008 has an engine in the front, driving the front wheels, and an electric motor under the rear axle, powering the rear wheels; Peugeot calls this a "Through the Road" (or TtR) drivetrain.
The vehicle is powered by a 2.0-liter diesel engine with 163 horsepower as well as an electric motor. They provide a combined 369 lb-ft of torque -- 221 in the front and 148 in the rear. According to the manufacturer, the combined output of the engine and motor is equivalent to a 2.2-liter twin turbo engine.
By Ryan Beene and Hans Griemel, Automotive News
Major updates to Mitsubishi's products are on the back burner as the company concentrates on developing small cars that can be sold around the world.
A top priority is a global small car expected to go on sale here by the end of 2012. Until that debut, a source said, Mitsubishi plans no model changes or additions other than what has been announced: the Outlander Sport, which arrives this fall, and the i-MiEV electric vehicle, expected in late 2011.
Plans for Mitsubishi's existing U.S. lineup are unclear. In July, Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
President Osamu Masuko told Automotive News that the company would decide by year end what to build in the future at its Normal, Ill., plant. The factory now produces the Galant, Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder and Endeavor--all based on the aging PS platform.
Here are the highlights of Mitsubishi's plans:
Navteq's 'natural guidance' system.
Compiling that amount of data seems impossible, but according to the company, it already has enough verbal cues for 10 cities.
I get that GPS companies need to find a way to stand out, but this seems foolhardy to me: As soon as a building changes the color of its awning, or does away with it altogether, one direction has already become obsolete. It doesn't seem as if they could possibly keep up with an ever-changing landscape well enough to ensure that the directions are always correct -- which defeats the whole purpose of a GPS unit.
Check out a commercial for Navteq's natural guidance system after the jump.
By Ryan Beene, Automotive News
The big news at Mazda is a new family of direct-injection gasoline and diesel engines that will start to arrive in 2011.
Mazda will make significant changes to vehicle platforms to accommodate the Sky engines, which will be more powerful and fuel-efficient at lower displacements than the company's current engines.
The first Sky gasoline engine is expected to debut in the United States in 2011. A direct-injection Sky diesel is to appear in 2012.
Mazda won't say which vehicles will get the Sky powertrains first, but the entire lineup will have the updated powertrains by the 2014 or 2015 model year, a source said.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5