April 25, 2012
Bob King. Editor-in-Chief's Note: The so-called "leader" of the UAW says Mitt Romney is "out of touch" with workers and reality. Really? This is a guy who is so desperate to politicize his union at every turn with his "social justice" agenda that he has barely noticed that the vast majority of his dues-paying membership just wants to be left alone and keep their jobs. He even attempted to organize a protest against GE at the company's annual meeting in Detroit today because they don't pay enough taxes or some such bullshit. By the way, Detroit city leaders - at least the handful left with half of a clue - have told King in no uncertain terms to sit down and shut up because the very last thing this city needs is another black eye in the media portraying this city and state as a union-dominated cesspool. The only one "out of touch" in this mess is Bob "King of Delusion" King. - PMD
Jeff Immelt. The Chairman and CEO of General Electric appeared before the SAE World Congress in Detroit yesterday and declared that GE is "committed to the long-term development of..." the electric vehicle. It ain't called "General Hydrogen" is it? And that's our AE "Duh of the Week."
The invasion of the Pod People? Yes. General Motors is showing the company’s "vision" of the Chevrolet EN-V 2.0 concept at Auto China 2012 this week. GM calls it "... an evolved design of the company’s revolutionary mobility concept revealed at World Expo 2010 Shanghai." That this is the 2.0 version of GM's Electric Networked-Vehicle is scary enough, but the fact that GM is dead serious about it may even be scarier, unless you're into the whole brevity thing. The EN-V 2.0 adds features that consumers demand such as in-vehicle climate control and personal storage space, according to GM. In addition, it would be capable of driving in all weather and city road conditions. Wow, what a concept.
From the "Hyperbole Be Us" File comes word that the rear-wheel-drive 2013 Scion FR-S will go on sale in June. “The FR-S will definitely be Scion’s halo car,” said Scion Vice President Jack Hollis. “While the brand has been iconic with the xB, adrenalized by the tC, and groundbreaking with the new iQ, the addition of the FR-S expands the brand into a new dimension of driving performance.” Huh? "Iconic?" "Adrenalized?" "Groundbreaking?" Uh, not so much. The good news? The FR-S will sticker for $24,200 with the six-speed manual gearbox, and $25,300 with the six-speed automatic. “Scion’s goal was to create an affordable sports car that true driving enthusiasts could enjoy,” Hollis said. “We accomplished that with a starting price under $25,000, which is a total home run for buyers! Add in Scion’s complimentary Scion Service Boost, our dealers’ no-haggle no-hassle Pure Price, and Scion’s network of about 1,000 dealers, and the FR-S is a grand slam.” A handy guide for AE readers when it comes to car company press releases? If there are any "!" in it at all, just look at the pictures.
The BMW i8 Concept Spyder with BMW eDrive made its world premier at Auto China 2012 in Beijing. BMW's new eDrive emblem for electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid technology also made its debut. The eDrive designation will identify the drive technology for all electric and plug-in hybrid cars from BMW i going forward.
Pandering to the Chinese market, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled the Phantom Extended Wheelbase at Auto China 2012. The new Phantom Extended Wheelbase (aka the "Super Long") should sell like gangbusters in what is now the company's largest market.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars also unveiled the Ghost Six Senses concept (aka the "If You've Got More Money Than You Know What To Do With And A Stock Ghost Just Would Never Do" Edition) in China, a highly-bespoke luxury model that "encapsulates the richness of experience that comes as standard with any Rolls-Royce and takes it to a new level of sensory indulgence..." according to the press release. Whatever.
Mercedes-Benz has introduced the 2013 G63 AMG, calling it "the ultimate G-Class." The AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine delivers 544 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque, outperforming its predecessor - the G55 AMG KOMPRESSOR - by 44 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 time is 5.3 seconds. This state-of-the-art powertrain is joined by new chassis settings and impressive advances in fuel economy. The 2013 model also boasts an exterior refreshening, and an exclusive interior is created by the designo leather upholstery with fluted leather door paneling. Options available for an even more stylish interior include trim in AMG carbon, designo Champagne white lacquer or designo light brown satin poplar. The AMG model makes up 40 percent of global sales for the G-Class. The 2013 G63 AMG arrives in U.S. showrooms this August.
Editor-in-Chief's Note: This week our "Quick Take" has us in a 2012 Audi TT RS TFSI quattro MT6 Coupe. On paper, the TT RS should be a beast of a car and it definitely is, with its 2.5-liter, DOHC, direct-injected, turbocharged, 5-cylinder engine delivering 360 HP and 343 lb-ft of torque and that sudden right now turbo rush when you put your foot in it. The optional sport exhaust makes its presence known at the same time too, loudly - but, and this is a big "but" - you either like the sound of a five-cylinder engine stressed within an inch of its life, or you don't. It happens to not be one of my favorite sounds in the automobile world, to be honest. The rest of the TT RS - like the basic TT package itself - is excellent. The nicely-executed and now-expected Audiesque interior, the competent chassis dynamics (more on that in a moment), the remarkable over-the-road adhesion in all conditions, it's all there in this little beast. But within the VW group there are other, much more desirable cars to be had over the TT RS that are not all that distant in terms of price as well, like the new Porsche Boxster S, or the Cayman R, just to name two. When I said the Audi's chassis dynamics were competent they are, but certainly not to the degree that those aforementioned Porsches are able to conduct themselves. I guess the closest I can come to conveying the feel of this little beast of an Audi is that it's fast, but frantic. Fast in that it will give you the satisfactory punch back in your seat, but frantic in that the limitations of its architectural underpinnings can only do so much to keep up, even with trick suspension, tires, brakes and quattro. I get that the TT RS is a "statement" car for Audi, sort of a less-advantaged consumer's R8, but whereas the regular TT and TTS are nicely rendered sporty cars comfortable in their place in the automotive world, the RS seems to be grasping for a slot it will never achieve. I get that the Audi TT RS is simply sublime for hard-core Audi aficionados without the wherewithal to buy an R8, because to them it's the Little Beast That Could and no discouraging word will dissuade them from thinking they have the shit. But if you step away from the car for a moment and look at it in terms of What Else Is Out There, it's merely interesting and noteworthy, and not overwhelmingly desirable. - PMD
2012 Audi TT RS 2.5 TFSI quattro MT6 Coupe, $60,650 (Base Price, $56,850; Sepang Blue Pearl Effect, $475; Black interior; 2.5-liter, DOHC, direct-injected, turbocharged, 5-cylinder engine with 360 HP and 343 lb-ft of torque, Six-speed manual transmission; 19" 5-arm-rotor-design wheels with summer high-performance tires; 370mm perforated, ventilated front disc brakes with 4-piston calipers painted in gloss black with RS logo; 310mm perforated, ventilated rear disc brakes with 4-piston calipers painted in gloss black with RS logo; Sport exhaust, $1,500; Aluminum matte optic exterior package - Front lower spoiler lip in aluminum matte optic, Rear lower valence trim in aluminum matte optic, Rear spoiler (wing) base in aluminum matte optic - $950; Rear spoiler DELETE (replaced with retractable rear spoiler), included; Front filler panel, included; Alcantara/Leather interior, included; Destination Charge, $875)
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