We recently posted a leaked interior image of the JDM 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid. Less than an hour later, we now have another leaked image from a Canadian auto guide, this time of the North American Camry’s whole exterior. At this point, Toyota might as well reveal the whole car. There is not point in teasing us any longer.
From the picture, the New Camry looks even more like an evolutionary take on the current model than we thought. In fact, aside from different front and rear lights, it looks essentially the same as the current model. We hope Toyota knows what it’s doing. The interior, on the other hand, looks all-new, which is a good news.
[UPDATE] The All-new 2012 Toyota Camry has been revealed: Click here for it.
All-New GMC Yukon / Yukon XL SUV Pictures and Details
After mercilessly botching the new Tahoe’s face, GM seems to have taken it easier on the all-new GMC Yukon. Good! In addition to making the jump for details on the full-size SUV, have a look at our picture gallery and lest us know what you think.
The new Yukon and the extended Yukon XL feature a more tasteful front fascia than their Chevy sibling. The headlight design, although simpler, does a good job at helping maintain overall design cohesiveness, as does the restyled chrome-accented grille (especially on the Denali model).
Although you probably can’t tell at first glance, the new sheetmetal is a tad bit bolder than the old one, featuring such things as an aluminum hood, a laminated windshield and a standard spoiler.
The interior has taken a huge leap over the previous one, thanks to the use of authentic materials and the availability of a long list of premium infotainment choices. The instrument panel, center console and door panels are all soft-touch, while ambient lighting in functional areas help brighten the mood at night. All models come standard with a Bose sound system, seats with dual-firmness foam and an ambient air vent. Denali models utilize active noise cancellation technology to make the interior even quieter than it already is.
For the first time ever, the second- and third-row seats fold flat, enhancing cargo capability and convenience.
Under the hood of the the Yukon and Yukon XL is a direct-injected, 5.3L V8 that produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft (519 Nm) of torque. Denali models come standard with a more powerful 6.2L engine rated at 420-horsepower and 450 lb-ft (610 Nm). Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Other mechanical enhancements include a new electric power steering system, a revised 9.5-inch rear axle and standard automatic locking rear differential, a wider track for a more planted feel, and a new four-wheel-disc brake system that offer up to double the service life. Denali models also get GM’s third-generation magnetic ride control.
2015 GMC Yukon Denali
2015 GMC Yukon XL
BMW i8 Hybrid Sports Car Pictures and Details [Video]
No more concealment — the production BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car has been unveiled! Check out the pictures and details.
The i8 will play a key role in bringing BMW’s new “i” sub-brand to the forefront of the premium ‘green’ segment and will serve as its flagship model.
The production i8 tips the scale at less than 1,490 kg (3,285 lbs) and is driven at the rear by a three-cylinder, 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine that produces produces 231 horsepower and 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) of torque. An electric motor making 131 hp and 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) drives the front wheels, working together with the internal combustion engine to deliver a combined output of 362 hp and 420 lb-ft (570 Nm).
What do these specs mean on the race track? How does a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in around 4.5 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h) sound? Lead-foot performance figures aside, the i8 is expected to return an average fuel consumption of 2.5 liters / 100 km (on the EU cycle) with CO2 emissions of 59 g/km. It can be driven on electric-only power for up to 22 miles (35 km) and reach a top speed of 75 mph (120 km/h).
Ascetically, the i8 changed little from the concept that debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Sure it eschews some hardcore features like the transparent doors and bold alloy wheels for more conventional units, but it retains most of the design elements of that concept, including the scissor doors.
The same can be said about the interior, which seats four and maintains the same general layout as before, but features more practical buttons and displays. It’s a modern-day BMW interior through and through. Even so, highlights include a sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons, lightweight seats, BMW’s iDrive operating system, an 8.8-inch display and leather trim.
All i8s roll on standard with 20-inch alloys, but buyers with extra money can have them swapped for lightweight carbon wheels. Other optional equipment includes a head-up display, rear view camera, speed limit info with No Passing Info display, Surround View, and a Collision Warning with pedestrian recognition and braking function.
Chrysler and Fiat Alliance Not Enough
With Chrysler recently announcing yet another profitable quarter, the future might look more promising for the “struggling” American automaker. But it’s time I sprinkled some gloom on that optimism. I have had a lingering suspicion that Fiat taking over Chrysler might not paint as rosy a future as the public might think. Sure there are synergies to be had in this partnership, but two sick companies coming together often doesn’t make a healthier single company.
Ever since Fiat laid its hands on Chrysler, everyone seems to have forgotten how financially unstable the Italian company is. But I guess Knights in Shining Armor tend to have that effect on people. The fact of the matter is that Fiat has long struggled as an automaker globally, even in its chauvinistic home market of Italy. Once a dominant player in Europe and South America, the company has since watched its market share in both regions, but particularly in Europe, drop like a hot brick. Fiat, in a way, was (and still is) the pre-bankruptcy Chrysler of Europe — little to no profits resulting from relatively uncompetitive products. This is even after Sergio Marchionne did wonders for the company. This of course begs a question: if a solid management team is what Chrysler lacked, is Fiat’s leadership what it needs?
Desperation is the word of the day — that’s what Fiat’s takeover of Chrysler is all about. It was only a matter of time before the company could no longer stand on its own. It is no secret that Chrysler was so undesirable that the U.S. government and UAW would have essentially handed the company over to any automaker that asked. It just happens that Fiat was the only company large enough and desperate enough to make a reach for the company, and as smart as this move might be for the Italian automaker, it might not be the best move for Chrysler for the long-run. Fiat’s leadership might prove to be game-changer, but you can’t blame me for having my doubts.
Money talks, and money is what Chrysler needs the most. Unfortunately, money is the one thing Fiat doesn’t have. You can argue that Chrysler needed more than money, that it lacked key technical know-how, particularly in developing fuel-efficient mid-size and compact cars, and you would be right. But practically all volume automaker possess this know-how. The fact that Chrysler is already making more money than Fiat is a serious matter. If Chrysler becomes more viable, the large earnings disparity between the two companies would point-out what I have always suspected — Fiat needs Chrysler more than Chrysler needs it.
Money is important because the viability of every automaker, more so than ever, now depends on how well they can expand beyond their saturated and generally shrinking domestic markets. Chrysler has a very small global footprint and is one company that is in desperate need of new international markets. Fiat is more of an international player, but struggles to maintain whatever foothold is has in its far-flung markets. With one company barely making money and the other still crawling its way out of bankruptcy, how will any expansion initiatives be afforded? The sharing of technologies and products between Fiat and the Chrysler Group could go a long away to enhance the product reach of both companies, but the success of any effective product tailoring and penetration will heavily depend on a big budget.
As things stands, Fiat is far from being an optimal “owner” of Chrysler. Whether it has anything to bring to the table, aside from the technical know-how in making small cars and a relatively more global dealership network, has yet to be seen. Although Marchionne has proven himself to be a competent leader, managing one Italian company is a lot different than managing two very different (in the realm of the automotive industry) and very sick companies.
The automotive industry is consolidating — the smaller automakers are being gobbled by the larger one through alliances or mergers…in the in case of Volkswagen and Suzuki, through intimidation. Fiat has the right idea in merging with Chrysler, but for any chance for this partnership to succeed, both companies need to get in bed with another, more financially stable partner. Having Fiat in the picture should be only a short-term solution for Chrysler’s woes. The search for a sugar mommy should have already begun.