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Detroit Auto Show

New, 2018 Kia Stinger Impresses As Kia’s First True RWD Sports Sedan

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New, 2018 Kia Stinger

The Kia Stinger was arguably the biggest surprise at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Originally previewed by the GT concept in design and by the GT4 Stinger Concept in name, the real-wheel drive sports sedan is the highest-performance production vehicle ever made by Kia.

The Korean automaker isn’t ashamed to pit the Stinger against the likes of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and, indeed, benchmarked the best from Germany when crafting it. In fact, the car was designed in Frankfurt and spent countless hours on the legendary Nurburgring circuit to fine-tune its handling.

Albert Biermann, head of Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Development, had the following to say. He previously worked for BMW:

“I think for the Kia brand, the Stinger is like a special event. Because nobody expects such a car, not just the way it looks but also the way it drives. It’s a whole different animal.”

With a wheelbase that measures 114.4 inches long and an overall length and width of 190.2 and 73.6 inches, respectively, the Stinger is longer than the BMW 4 Gran Coupe, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS and GS, and Mercedes CLS. It rides on a new chassis that comprises of 55 percent advanced high-strength steel and features a MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension that has been tuned to provide optimal driver feedback.

There is also a new Dynamic Stability Damping Control system — a first for Kia — that’s been programed with five drive modes (Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart) and a rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering system that’s said to return sharp handling.

Powering the regular Stinger is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. Those looking for more output will have the option of a more powerful model packing a twin-turbocharged 3.3L V6 rated at 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque. Both engines are connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive can be had for extra money. The former makes use of a mechanical limited slip differential, while the latter features a Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system while the former uses a mechanical limited slip differential.

According to Kia, the V6-powered Stinger can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 167mph.

The long list of available safety and convenience features includes emergency braking, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

To my eye, the Kia Stinger is very attractive with its traditional sports sedan proportions and coupe=like profile. It’s a surprising vehicle from Kia, especially when considering car shoppers have been overlooking sedan for front-drive crossovers.

Does Kia appear to have a winner on its hands? Would you choose the Stinger over a BMW 4 Gran Coupe, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS and GS, and Mercedes CLS? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Concept Car

Infiniti Previews Its Future Design And Technology With Q Inspiration Concept

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Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Infiniti took the wraps off a concept vehicle that it says previews its future.

Not only does the so-called Q Inspiration Concept preview Infiniti’s new design direction, but it also ushers in a new era of technology for its vehicles.

It features the company’s next-generation ProPILOT system, which supposedly “liberates the driver from mundane and stressful driving situations.” However, because it can be overridden at any time, it doesn’t completely cut the driver out of the equation.

Power is provided by by Infiniti’s new Variable Compression (VC) turbo four that is said to continually transforms, adjusting its compression ratio to optimize power and fuel efficiency. The VC also powers the new QX50 crossover, where it produces 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque in the

Jumping to styling, the Q Inspiration Concept is a four-door sedan with coupe-like profile that’s sleeker, more sculpted and more flowing than any of Infiniti’s current models, even Q60 coupe. Rear-hinged rear doors give excellent access to a futuristic interior.

Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division Vice President, stated:

“The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative. The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them.”

Although the Q Inspiration Concept is only a design study and isn’t destined for production, there is a chance it will influence the next-generation Q70 sedan or even a spiritual successor the Q45 flagship sedan.

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Detroit Auto Show

Ford Will Release 40 Plugin Hybrid And Electric Vehicles By 2022

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Ford logo

Like crosstown rival General Motors, Ford Motor Co has an onslaught of hybrid and electric cars on the way, having confirmed plans to release 40 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2022.

This includes electrified versions of the popular F-150 pickup and Mustang sports cars and a fully-electric performance SUV (possible called ‘Mach 1’) that offers at least a 300-mile range and goes on sale by 2020. In fact, 16 of the 40 models will be fully-electric.

To make this happen, Ford will invest more than $11 billion by 2022 and has formed ‘Team Edison’ to “own the strategy, own the planning, and interface into the trend” of EV development and production.

The Ford Escape and Expedition, as well as the Lincoln MKC and Navigator, are expected to get plug-in hybrid versions soon. Speaking of Lincoln, the brand is expected to offer a hybrid version of each of its models.

Ford is clearly sinking its feet into the inevitable electric future.

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Detroit Auto Show

New, 2019 Toyota Avalon Puts On Bold Face, Gets New Tech

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New, 2019 Toyota Avalon luxury sedan

Sedan sales aren’t what they used to be — heck, they’re in a free-fall — but that doesn’t mean there is no longer a market for them. At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Toyota Motors unveiled the all-new 2019 Toyota Avalon, which it hopes will standout in an automotive landscape increasingly dominated by crossovers.

Based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which also underpins the Camry and Prius, the fifth generation Avalon is longer, wider and lower than before, adopting a new design philosophy that Toyota calls “Technical Beauty.” It’s bold, different and, with that gaping whopper of a grille, not for everyone.

The interior is what you would expect from a car described as a ‘mid-premium’ sedan, offering just about every luxury amenity you could want and featuring more soft-touch materials than in the previous Avalon. The design is clean, sophisticated and elegant and centers around a 9.0-inch infotainment system (supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Android Alexa) and a 7.0-inch central display on the instrument cluster. Higher trim levels get a massive 10-inch head-up display that presents vehicle and engine speeds, navigation information, audio settings and other data.

The new Avalon is the first Toyota-badged model to be available with adaptive variable suspension for improved ride quality and handling.

Power comes from a choice of either a 3.5L V6 or a hybrid system that utilizes a 2.5L four-cylinder engine, two electric motors and its Nickel-Metal battery situated under the rear seat. The former is mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid system makes due with a CVT.

Toyota likely hopes the Avalon’s bold new styling, new technology and refinement will appeal to more buyers after sales in 2017 tumbled by 32 percent in the United States, it largest and most important market. Sales begin in late spring 2018.

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