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Report: Pre-production for the Maserati Levante begins, production model to debut at Detroit

Maserati’s on the verge of revealing their hotly-anticipated Levante crossover after years of rumors, reports and teasers and now, its just about ready to be launched.

According to AutomotiveNews, the Levante will be ready to wow the eyes and minds of affluent soccer moms and dads alike at the North American Auto Show in Detroit next January.

A lot of weight sits on Maserati’s shoulders with the Levante since it’s predicted to help Maserati’s ailing sales at the moment, which took a dive by 13% when compared to the same period last year–from January till now, the second yearly quarter.

Anyone who produces a crossover should see a boost in sales since they’re an insanely hot topic and thus, a breadwinner.

Do you look forward to the new Maserati Levante?

– By: Chris Chin

Source: AutomotiveNews


Report: Mercedes-AMG could hop on the hybrid train (powertrain?) very soon

Mercedes-AMG is one of the few brands that have been able to avoid the onslaught of hybridization in the name of fuel economy. But even hybrids are making a name for themselves in the high-performance world, so much in fact that the in-house tuning branch of Stuttgart could hop on the hybrid train themselves.

AutoCar sat down with Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber of Mercedes-AMG’s advisory board, where he implied this notion by saying: “Every car line has to reduce fuel consumption–even AMG.”

However, fuel economy isn’t the only concern for the automotive world as carbon dioxide emissions also play a role in determining how cars perform and this is a significant tax in Europe. And that’s another potential reason for Mercedes-AMG to utilize hybrid technology.

Though the reason why Mercedes-AMG has maintained their position for so long is due to low demand among AMG customers, who really don’t care about how much fuel or CO2 they consume or emit. But either way, given how hybrid technology works on cars like the McLaren P1, the Porsche 918 and the LaFerrari, AMGs could soon find their own hybrid setups.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: AutoCar


Spy Shots: Is this the new Ferrari F12 Speciale / GTO?
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A new spy shot surfaced of what appears to be the next next chapter in the large, front-engined V12 saga, following the current F12 Berlinetta.

Ferrari’s in the midst of revitalizing their current lineup, and that first began with the revised California T from a while back. Not only did that give the California some updated looks, it introduced Ferrari’s first turbocharged motor since the F40.

The 488GTO followed after the California to feature another Ferrari turbocharged motor, a heavily reworked version of the 458 Italia, both in coupe and droptop form, now the F12 is next.

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Video: Brace yourselves – Lexus’ hoverboard to debut this week on Aug. 5th

Lexus has been slowly teasing one of their latest innovations as of late, and no, it’s not car related.

Instead, Lexus is looking to make a Back to the Future idea a reality–the hoverboard. Yes, an actual, fully-functioning hoverboard, which is said to work using liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors to create a magnetic field strong enough to levitate the board and provide a totally friction-free experience.

Though Lexus didn’t confirm whether or not witchcraft was involved.

Either way, the new teaser is available and it’s after the jump. Mark August 5th on your calendars as well, since that’s when Lexus will give us the full beans.

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The US-spec 2016 Lexus IS gains two new engines
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Lexus has been implementing some new changes for the 2016 IS all around the world, such as the introducing their new 2.0L turbocharged four-banger, which first debuted on the all-new NX crossover.

Now, as expected, the 2016 Lexus IS gains that motor, plus a revised 3.5L V6.

Replacing the 2.5L naturally-aspirated V6, the base IS now comes as the IS200t, coinciding with the placement of the new 2.0L turbo four in the IS, which produces 241hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. And that gets sent to the rear wheels via Lexus’ latest eight-speed automatic transmission.

For the more power-hungry folks, like yours truly, there’s a new middle grade IS 300. That comes with the aforementioned 3.5L V6, but is tuned to produce only 255hp and 236 lb-ft, powering all four wheels with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic.

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Report: The Lotus Elise will make a triumphant return to the US in 2020
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Have you been missing the Lotus Elise? Well, so have we and to cure the US of its withdrawal from one of Lotus’ signature compact mid-engined sports cars, Lotus may end up reintroducing the Elise to our shores, according to AutomotiveNews.

Lotus’ Elise and Exige models were pulled from the North American market in 2011 after new safety regulations were implemented and Lotus’ exemptions expires. The Evora faced similar issues, where it was removed from the US market for one model year due to new airbag regulations, but has since returned as the Evora 400 for the 2015 model year.

Not much is known about the future Elise, except that it should be designed to meet all of America’s safety standards by 2020. Lotus still technically sells Elise and Exige models, however they are not road legal.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: AutomotiveNews


Report: A top-spec Audi SQ7 is going to happen with a 4.0L TDI diesel V8
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Dutch publication Autoblog.nl recently heard from some insiders at Audi, who hinted at the possibility of a new flagship Q7 with a honkin’ 430hp 4.0L TDI diesel V8.

Some rumors about a top-spec, high-performance Q7 have been floating around for some time as a way to compete with the likes of the BMW X5 M and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 crossover.

In addition to 430hp, because a diesel mill is supposedly under development, we could also expect enough torque to slow the Earth’s rotation–at least 705 lb-ft of twist is guesstimated to come from this new TDI V8.

This crazy-powerful V8 doesn’t seem too far-fetched either as BMW was recently rumored to be working on a quad-turbo diesel V8, so the diesel power wars are beginning to heat up for sure. Not much else is known about Audi’s new V8 TDI mill in the new SQ7, but the SQ7 was described to have a 0-62 benchmark time of around 5.5 seconds.

A debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show is also speculated to happen.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: AutoBlog.nl


Report: Next-gen Toyota GT86 to get hybridized with F1-style KERS system

Some new news rings from Motoring, supposedly regarding the next-gen Toyota GT86, which will happen, despite having some initial setbacks with sales for the first generation (sadly).

According to the Australian outlet, who spoke with some insiders at Toyota, the next-generation GT86 will happen and will come with an F1-style KERS system, or Kinetic Energy Regeneration System. Similarly to how recharging works with hybrids, the KERS system converts kinetic energy into electricity, to either recharge the battery or provide for an electric motor.

This could imply the new GT86 could get hybridized, which has been a floating rumor for quite some time. Furthermore, Motoring claims the new GT86 should be powered by a 1.5L turbocharged four-banger modeled after Mazda’s 1.5L SKYACTIV four, with 188hp in the reserves.

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The 2016 Honda Odyssey gets a special edition model called the…uh…Special Edition
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Honda’s giving the 2016 Odyssey a special treatment to create the 2016 Honda Odyssey Special Edition.

What’s so special about it? Well, besides the lack of creativity with the name (could be a blessing or a curse), the 2016 Honda Odyssey Special Edition just receives an array of additional standard equipment, including a rear-entertainment system, a 115-volt power outlet and standards SiriusXM.

It also comes with Honda’s featured built-in vacuum cleaner integrated into the rear trunk area, to cleanup any possible mess made by any impatient and restless youngens.

Though mechanically, the Odyssey remains unchanged with Honda’s latest Earth Dreams 3.5L V6 with 248hp and 250 lb-ft of torque and a six-speed automatic.

Want to feel special with your own Special Edition Odyssey, head on over to your dealer starting August 4th and have $33,375 ready.

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Report: The new Nissan LEAF could spawn a crossover model

Nissan may have kept their LEAF project to a small scale, but so is not the plan for the next generation model as AutoCar learned Nissan could spawn a new crossover based off of the new LEAF.

This seems like a sensible move given that any crossover today is pretty much a hot topic and one produced at the same affordable level as the original LEAF could make treehuggers go wild with joy.

The second generation LEAF is supposedly due for a launch sometime in 2017 with a concept surfacing next year. The standard LEAF should take form as a five-door hatchback, like the current model, while the crossover is expected to be that, but with higher ground clearance and a more commanding view of the road.

Thanks to improvement to technology both with electric motors and batteries, a range of 249 is anticipated from the new LEAF. Given that a crossover model will be larger and heavier, it could sport a shorter total maximum range since it’s unknown whether or not the crossover version will get a more powerful battery or motor.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: AutoCar