Top Gear, the world’s most popular motoring show, will return this Sunday, February 2, with its 21st season. The series will be only be available in the UK on BBC 2, but it should debut on BBC America in a few weeks. Top Gear has posted photos and a video (below) previewing the upcoming season. From the previews, we see the Stig in a Caterham, James May in a Caterham, Richard Hammond driving an Alfa Romeo 4C, Jeremy Clarkson in a McLaren P1, and the three doing God knows what with a crane in Myanmar. Top Gear is known for its wit and creativity, and it appears season 21 will not disappoint.
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While some of the production vehicles have stolen the show at the North American International Auto Show, there are a number of concepts that have been introduced. The 2012 Detroit Auto Show had several interesting concepts, and there seem to be fewer this year as the production models are more prevalent. Concepts can have a variety of purposes. Some are previews of future models, such as the Ford Atlas Concept – a preview of the next generation F-150. Others are just odd like the X-Truck. See all the 2013 concepts in the gallery below. As before, links will take you to the full article at Autoblog.
Today the automotive world lost an iconic designer. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, grandson of Porsche and Volkswagen founder Ferdinand Porsche, is famous for designing the original 911 (above). Although I am not a big Porsche or 911 fan, I understand the importance of the 911 to the automotive world. The car debuted in 1963 and has been a global best seller ever since. Porche is often criticized for its lack of innovation with the 911 as it has had a similar form factor since 1963 and has always been rear engined. Nevertheless, it is has been an important car. Interestingly, the 911 was not his favorite design. That honor belongs to the 1964 Porsche 904 racer (below). The 904 is a beautiful car. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was a great designer and he will be missed.
One of the trademarks of the Detroit Auto Show has always been the concept cars. While there are far fewer concepts than in years past, there are some very important concepts that may show us the future of some models. For example, the Toyota NS4 is a Plug-In Hybrid that looks stunning, unlike the current Toyota Pruis. The NS4 gives us a glimpse of the future for the Toyota hybrid line.
The Lincoln MKZ Concept and Honda Accord Coupe Concept show us what the future models for each may look like when the due for a refresh in 2013. The problem here though is that neither look quite right. The Lincoln MKZ Concept uses Lincoln’s new grille and the body from the new 2013 Ford Fusion, and they do not go well together. Clearly Lincoln needs to rethink its design of its grille. The Honda Accord Coupe Concept shows us that Honda is still struggling to find a grille design and does not offer much of a shape difference from the current Accord Coupe. Others that hind at future designs of vehicles include the Nissan Pathfinder Concept and Acura ILX Concept.
Some concepts are incredibly beautiful, such as the Lexus LF-LC Concept and Acura NSX Concept. Amazingly, both have hybrid engines while retaining sporty looks and performance. The Acura NSX is a comeback for the 1990s Honda NSX, and Acura insists it will build this car in the United States.
Chevrolet brought a pair of concepts, the Chevrolet Code 130R and Chevrolet Tru 140S, that do not appear to have any real purpose. Although, the Chevy Tru 140S is supposedly what the Chevrolet Cruze would look like as a coupe. Perhaps the biggest story on these concepts is the modified version of the Corvette badge they both feature.
Other concepts from the show include the electric (and ugly) Nissan e-NV200 and Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept. The Smart For-Us Concept shows us what a Smart off roader would look like, although an electric off roader would not be exactly brilliant. And the Chrysler 700C Minivan Concept is an attempt to cling on the minivans when everyone is switching to cross-over SUVS.
The selection of concepts this year was fairly slim. I believe there are fewer concepts in Detroit this year because the auto industry has learned to focus its funds on production models and back off the unnecessary concepts. While some of these concepts may become or inspire production vehicles, the majority are just for show.
If you get a chance to visit the Detroit Auto Show, the show will be open to the public through January 22. If not, check out the reviews of each concept car listed above by clicking the link (will take you to Autoblog). Also, be sure to check out the gallery below.
The North American International Auto Show kicked off this week with major product unveils from Ford, General Motors, and Toyota. This post, a first in a two part series, will explore the production models that were unveiled in Detroit this week.
The Sunday before the Auto Show, Dodge and Cadillac announced their much anticipated new models. Dodge unveiled the 2013 Dodge Dart with its Alfa Romeo platform and economic engine options. Cadillac, on the other hand, announced the 2013 Cadillac ATS, a car it hopes will compete head on with the BMW 3-Series. This is a lofty goal as the 3-Series is hailed as the ultimate sports sedan.
Ford began Monday morning’s show with the all new 2013 Ford Fusion. Ford surprised the crowd by announcing that the Fusion would be available in 3 models: standard gasoline (with three engine options), hybrid, and electric. The design of the Fusion incorporates Ford’s new, agressive, grille and the Fusion is a major part of the current “One Ford” strategy. This car is my favorite from the show and is likely to shake up the mid-sized car segment with its range of engine options and its impressive technology packages.
Other production models unveiled at the show included the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL, Dodge Charger Redline, 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, 2013 Lexus LX 570, 2013 Acura RDX, 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Bentley Continental GT V8, 2013 Mini Roadster, Audi A4 Allroad, Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid, Buick Encore, Toyota Prius C, and the 50th Anniversary Edition Shelby Mustangs.
Unfortunately, I do not have the space to give my impressions of all of the models, but I will highlight a few. The major unveils from list include the all new Buick Encore. A small SUV from Buick (who wants that?!). In addition, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe received a facelift and a series of new engines, but it is still not powerful enough to compete with Mustang or Camaro. The Toyota Prius C is expected to cost less than $19,000, being the cheapest hybrid on the market.
From the production models, however, we see that the auto industry is, once again, very healthy. Tomorrow I will post an article on the concept models from Detroit.
If you get a chance to visit the Detroit Auto Show, the show will be open to the public through January 22. If not, check out the reviews of each car listed above by clicking the link (will take you to Autoblog). Also, be sure to check out the gallery below.