February 2016

Performance in a small package — the BMW M2 Coupe

(February 17, 2016) A compact high-performance BMW sports car was already causing heads to turn and hearts to flutter over 40 years ago. Indeed, the BMW 2002 turbo perfectly encapsulated BMW’s resolution to deliver outstanding dynamics, exceptional agility and optimum car control.

As if to demonstrate in similarly resounding style that this commitment is alive and well, BMW M GmbH can now unveil the new BMW M2. With its high-performance six-cylinder in-line engine, rear-wheel-drive agility, lightweight aluminum M Sport suspension and extrovert styling, the new BMW M2 Coupe has all the ingredients to deliver the last word in driving pleasure.

All-new 2017 GMC Acadia to start at $29,995

(February 16, 2016) DETROIT — GMC announced today pricing for the all-new 2017 Acadia will start at $29,995 including destination charge when it goes on sale this spring. GMC says the base price is $1,905 less than the 2016 base model and the new Acadia offers more standard equipment.

Now standard across the lineup is a new IntelliLink system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (User interfaces are products of Apple and Google and their terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible smartphone and data plan rates apply.)

2016 Chicago Auto Show: What better reason to hit the Windy City?

By Russ Heaps
The Clanging Bell

(February 16, 2016) I'm not the kind of guy who refuses to travel to the snow belt for an auto show simply because it's mid winter. I am the kind of guy who won't spend his own money to do it. That's why I haven't been to the Detroit show in 10 years. Fortunately, Nissan steps up and underwrites the cost for somewhere between 100 and 200 auto media to make the pilgrimage to the Chicago Auto Show's media days each February.

Lexus to unveil hybrid version of LC luxury coupe in Geneva

(February 15, 2016) GENEVA — Lexus will unveil the hybrid version of its all-new LC luxury coupe at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The LC 500h is equipped with Lexus’ next generation hybrid powertrain, the Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System, providing enhanced driving pleasure, more performance, and greater efficiency.

The LC was first revealed at the 2016 North America International Auto Show. Its styling, performance and craftsmanship position the vehicle as Lexus’ flagship coupe. The LC also utilizes Lexus’ new architecture that promises enhanced dynamic capability.

Ford of Europe new-vehicle sales up 10% in January

(February 15, 2016) COLOGNE, Germany — Driven by strong demand across its vehicle range — including SUVs, commercial vehicle and performance cars — Ford’s total vehicle sales and market share in Europe continued to grow in January.

For total vehicle and passenger car sales, it was the best January for Ford since 2012, selling 96,900 vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets. This was almost a 10 percent increase compared with January 2015, and about 3 percentage points better than industry growth. Ford market share increased by 0.2 percentage points to 7.9 percent.

A Scion of the times

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(February 15, 2016) Scion sta
rted as an attempt to interest younger buyers in the Toyota brand. When it launched in 2003, the average age of a Toyota buyer was 54 years old. No surprise, really, as Japan’s (and now the world’s) largest automaker built solidly dependable, boring cars. Without a change in attitude and product, it would miss out on engaging a generation — Gen Z, a.k.a. Millennials — that is larger than the Baby Boom generation, and will have a long-term effect on the market. This age gap was a dagger pointed at Toyota’s heart.

Rand McNally shifts to OverDryve

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(February 14, 2016) There was a time not too long ago when you never went out on a road trip without bringing along your Rand McNally Road Atlas. This large format book was an invaluable addition to the typical road map, and let you plan your trip with near pinpoint precision. As long as you had the latest issue, that is.

Toyota introduces 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro — Dirtier than ever

(February 13, 2016) CHICAGO — Whether tackling treacherous snow-covered terrain, driving off the beaten path, or surviving extreme conditions where roads fear to tread, the adrenaline-pumping TRD Pro Series from Toyota is up for any challenge. Two years ago, the TRD Pro Series arose from Toyota’s storied off-road racing heritage, with its numerous victories in the grueling Baja off-road endurance races.  Born from this experience, the Toyota TRD Pro Series Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner have helped serious off-roaders go places they never dreamed possible.

Mazda begins production of all-new CX-9

(February 12, 2016) HIROSHIMA, Japan — Mazda Motor Corporation has commenced production of the all-new CX-9 three-row mid-size crossover SUV at Ujina Plant No. 1 in Hiroshima. The first units produced are bound for the U.S. and Canada.

The all-new CX-9 has been tailored for the North American market, which is expected to account for 80 percent of global sales forecast at 50,000 units annually. Sales of the new model start from North America in spring 2016.

Sprinter Extreme concept has super strength, unlimited capability

(February 12, 2016) ATLANTA — It's big, stretching over 20 feet from end-to-end. It's over 95 inches tall. It knows how to haul, with 6,400 pounds of payload capacity and a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds. The heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cab Chassis is a powerhouse ready to take on the toughest tasks. Now, with the help of RENNtech, the Sprinter Extreme has transformed into the ultimate work machine concept.

"The Sprinter Cab Chassis is the most capable heavy-duty vehicle in its segment," said Bernie Glaser, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Vans in the USA.