Filed under: Hybrid , Performance , Truck , Technology , Aston Martin , BMW , Chevrolet , Toyota , Electric , Luxury , Emissions “We believe that for the United States, this is going to be very important.” – Julian Arguelles Let there be no doubt, BMW is serious about electric vehicles. The German automaker said this week it will make plug-in hybrid versions of all of its core models, an aggressive move that demonstrates its commitment to electric propulsion systems. BMW did not specify which vehicles will get the plug-in systems or provide a timeline for when they will arrive. But the announcement is clearly more than blustering, and the company revealed a 3 Series plug-in prototype this week at an event in France. BMW said the 3 Series uses a version of its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (240 horsepower, 300 pound feet of torque) with an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission in place of the torque converter. It has an all-electric range of 22 miles. A plug-in X5 with the same powertrain was also displayed alongside the 3 Series, though the X5 has been on the auto-show circuit for more than a year, including a recent stop in Los Angeles . Continue reading Weekly Recap: BMW rolls out ambitious plug-in hybrid electric plan Weekly Recap: BMW rolls out ambitious plug-in hybrid electric plan originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 06 Dec 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Motorsports , Europe , Aston Martin , Audi , Chevrolet , Toyota , Ferrari , Racing Commenting on the rush of events that rocked beginning and end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans , Paul Truswell of Radio Le Mans said “the race is about the ability to endure, not just the ability of drivers to do what they do for a long time.” The entire race machine, all the way down to the pit boards and radios, has to survive the stress and abuse of the entire day. This was the race to prove those words. There were two Toyotas, two Porsches and three Audis, five of the seven led the race at some point, six of the seven ran in the top three. Toyota will be hugely disappointed that it didn’t win when its car and drivers were so, so strong, but they gave Audi the kind of scare we haven’t seen since the best of Peugeot’s days, and Toyota did a better job of it even in the loss. Porsche blew away everyone’s expectations, falling 3.5 hours short of a fairy tale ending that would have made Disney cry. But Le Mans doesn’t really do fairy tales. Well, not that fairy tale. Audi’s Twitter handle during the event was #welcomechallenges. As usual, Le Mans answered for the entire field. Continue reading Race Recap: 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans defines ‘endurance’ Race Recap: 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans defines ‘endurance’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:31:00 EST.
Filed under: Hatchback , Aston Martin , Scion , Toyota While slow sales and a $50,000 price tag may have been contributing factors to the Aston Martin Cygnet being cancelled last month , Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez is pointing the finger at Toyota for the demise of this luxurious little city car. In a discussion with Autocar , Bez is quoted as saying that the ultimate reason the Cygnet was cut is because Toyota plans on dropping the iQ (on which the Cygnet is based) in 2014 – a claim denied by the Japanese automaker. Interestingly, the article also cites another publication reporting that a Toyota importer in the Netherlands heard the same news as Bez, and it has already stopped importing the cars. If the European Toyota iQ is cancelled, that would likely spell the end of the slow-selling Scion iQ in the US, which has sold just 3,365 units through September (a drop of 51 percent year over year). Regardless of why production of the Cygnet ended, Bez also says that a lack of support from Toyota on the project prevented it from being offered in the US or receiving a supercharged engine , which are two factors that likely would have made the car appealing to more buyers. Aston CEO claims Cygnet cancelled because Toyota is dropping iQ in 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 27 Oct 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Convertible , Coupe , Performance , Europe , Hatchback , Mercedes-Benz , Porsche , Scion , Subaru , Toyota , Luxury Judges for the World Car of the Year Award have narrowed down the finalists to just four vehicles. Out of a total of 42 entries, only the Mercedes-Benz A-Class , Porsche Boxster / Cayman , Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT-86 and Volkswagen Golf remain standing. For Volkswagen , this marks the second consecutive year the company has had an entry among the finalists, and the fourth time since 2009. In order to qualify, a vehicle must be on sale on two continents during the span of time between January 1, 2013 and May 30, 2013. A panel of 66 journalists from 23 countries then vote on the finalists. Three vehicles have made the cut for the last round of voting on the 2013 World Performance Car as well, with the Cayman/Boxster and FR-S/BRZ/GT-86 running against the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta . Meanwhile, the Renault Zoe , Tesla Model S and Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid are duking it out for the World Green Car Award. Finally, the World Car Design of the Year Award is up for grabs between the Aston Martin Vanquish , Jaguar F-Type , and the Mazda6 . Check out the full press release below. Overall winners will be presented at the 2013 New York Auto Show .
Filed under: Motorsports , Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota F1 drivers typically have a shelf life shorter than what you otherwise might call a career. As the constant stream of new, young drivers usurps existing F1 seats, you’re left with a wealth of talent available to contest other forms of motorsport. That’s how you end up with former grand prix pilots in other series like IndyCar , DTM and even ice racing . Then there’s Le Mans . Every year the most famous of endurance races packs its grid with rejects from the Formula One circus, and 2012 is no exception, particularly with Toyota launching a works effort out of the German facility that used to house its F1 team. Toyota has already confirmed that the first of its TS030 Hybrid LMP1 racers will be driven by former F1 drivers Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima (along with Nicolas Lapierre), and has now announced that Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi are on the roster for the second car. Davidson is an established F1 test driver, having worked for the team known successively as BAR, Honda , Brawn and Mercedes . He’s also driven a handful of grands prix for Super Aguri and Minardi , and contested Le Mans and related series for Aston Martin Racing and Peugeot Sport , including a win at Sebring. Buemi drove the last three F1 seasons for Scuderia Toro Rosso until being cut this year. He’ll combine his endurance racing debut with his test driver role at Red Bull Racing .
Filed under: Motorsports , Toyota 1998 Toyota GT-One – Click above for high-res image gallery This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans packed plenty of action, but there weren’t as many automakers fielding their own entries in the top-tier LMP1 category as you might think. There was Audi , of course, which has dominated the category for years, arch-rival Peugeot , with its diesel-powered challenger, and Aston Martin , which stepped up to the big leagues after dominating just about every GT category for years. Honda Performance Development had a couple of cars in the second-tier LMP2 category, and there were plenty of factory-supported GT cars. The rest of the LMP1 field was filled by privateers running mostly Lola, Zytek, Oreca or Judd chassis, powered by a variety of engines. But the coming years could see an influx of new automakers aiming to take on Audi for the top honors. According to the latest rumors, race organizers ACO are in discussions with a number of car manufacturers interested in entering the LMP1 category. Chief among them is reportedly Toyota , which is said to have been working on its own prototype since last year. The Toyota LMP1 is reportedly being developed with Dome – a Japanese chassis constructor that’s built such racing machinery as the competition-spec Honda NSX , an aborted F1 program and several Le Mans prototypes, as well as a handful of Toyota racers in the 1980s – and incorporates a hybrid powertrain. The last time Toyota competed at Le Mans was with the GT-One (pictured above), which raced there in 1998 and 1999 but held the lap record at La Sarthe until 2006. The new entry, according to reports, could be ready for an assault on next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.