Luxury brand seeks equality with Benz, BMW, Lexus.
Audi threw out a price on its all-new A8 sedan last night at Milk Gallery, a sleek art studio in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood: $78,925 for the standard A8, including destination charges, and $84,875 for the stretched-wheelbase A8L model.
Now all Audi needs is some customers. Audi’s top-shelf A8 has always been a tough sell in the States, despite its status as the first all-aluminum production sedan. As Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America president, is first to acknowledge, Americans still don’t quite consider Audi in the same country-club league as Mercedes, BMW or Lexus -- especially for models in loftier price brackets like the full-size A8 sedan, a perennial underdog against the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Lexus LS. That’s not a problem in Europe, China or other countries that have Audi well on the way toward what seemed like an impossible goal just a few years ago: becoming the world’s top luxury brand by 2015, measured by both sales and consumer image.
By Mark Rechtin, Automotive News
Scion was supposed to be Toyota's niche brand of fuel-efficient small cars for hip kids. But the original three-model product lineup is being expanded, so the brand's customer reach may be extended as well.
Early next year, Scion will add a rebadged version of the Japan-market Toyota iQ minicar. And the launch of the redesigned 2011 tC this fall may be followed with a five-door version as a midcycle addition. In addition, past concept vehicles such as the A-BAT compact pickup and Hako three-door might appear with Scion badging.
First runs will be in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.
BMW announced the U.S. markets for the ActiveE 1-Series, which are: Boston; New York; select cities in Connecticut; and Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif.
By Automotive News
Saab will initially purchase BMW engines for the 9-3 model that is scheduled for release in late 2012, said the person, who asked not to be identified before a contract is signed. The carmakers plan to sign and announce the pact in Trollhattan, Sweden, on Wednesday, the person said.
The automakers are also in talks about Saab buying diesel engines from BMW, as well as using BMW's Mini Countryman platform for its smaller 9-2 entry-premium car, the person said.
Little change in number of crashes suggests drivers may not be complying with laws.
"Month-to-month fluctuations in the rates of collision claims in HLDI's four study states (Editor's note: California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington) with texting bans for all drivers didn't change much from before to after the bans were enacted. Nor did the patterns differ much from those in nearby states that didn't ban texting for all drivers during the study period. To the extent that the crash patterns did change in the study states, they went up, not down, after the bans took effect. Increases varied from 1 percent more crashes in Washington to about 9 percent more in Minnesota (the result in Washington isn't statistically significant)."
By Mark Rechtin, Automotive News
Toyota plans to move into new product segments over the next 18 months, as well as redesign several mainstream models.
By the spring of 2012, Toyota will launch all-new versions of the Camry, Yaris, Tacoma and RAV4. Also, the new FT-86 sport coupe, developed with Subaru, should arrive on these shores by that time. And in the wings are a plug-in version of the Prius and a Prius coupe.
New 2.5-liter engine is a marginal improvement -- for now.
Unfortunately, it looks like none of that has turned up in the new engine. Subaru says that thanks to a few tweaks, the powerplant is now 10 percent more fuel-efficient -- but when that new, more efficient engine is bolted to the 2011 Forester, buyers can expect a mere 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway. For comparison’s sake, last year’s automatic Forester netted 20/26. When it comes to its new engine, it’s clear the Japanese manufacturer isn’t interested in shattering records.
By Dale Jewett
The 5.2-liter V10 in the road-going car pumps out 570 hp, the same as the race car. It also gets the race car's tall rear wing, rear engine cover, composite ceramic brake discs and extensive use of carbon fiber.
The carbon fiber helps keep the car's curb weight down to 2,954 pounds--which translates to a power-to-weight ratio of 5.2 pounds per horsepower. Lamborghini says the all-wheel-drive car will run from 0 to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 199 mph.
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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