Automotive & Performance Blog

Automotive News

Subaru BRZ Concept to be at 2011 L.A. Auto Show

Rumors are circulating that the Subaru BRZ concept will appear at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. If true this will be the first time the concept has been seen with real sheet metal on it. In the past all Subaru has shown is a see through mock-up of it. The BRZ is a sports coupe that Subaru has been in joint development in with Toyota. The sister models of the coupe have already been seen as the Toyota FT-86 and Scion FRS. The 3 cars are expected to share most of the same body lines with each having its on face representing the respective model.


Audi R8 E-Tron Concept looking close to production ready at Frankfurt

Looks like the Audi R8 E-Tron concept that first debuted in 2009  is looking ever closer to being production ready. Audi has shown off the more complete R8 E-Tron Concept at the current 2011 Frankfurt Motor show. The Car will have electronic drive motors at all four wheels sticking with the true quattro theme. The EV R8 will produce 313-hp and a mind-blowing 3,319 foot pounds of torque. Those numbers will be good for a 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds. Pretty good numbers for an EV vehicle, not as good as the Tesla Roadster, granted, but still very good. Unfortunately the range of the vehicle is only around 154 miles, I guess you have to pay for the performance somewhere…

Never the less, this is still an unbelievably sexy car and will have a nice fan base of the more eco-conscious performance car enthusiasts. The R8 E-tron has a few subtle design cues to set it apart from its gas powered counter part. The Carbon hood insert and chrome fins on the front grill and rear of the car give it a nice distinction.


Toyota FT-86 II unveiled at Frankfurt

So, as promised by all the Teasers, Toyota unveiled the updated FT-86 II concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this morning. It’s a shame that they really didn’t speak of it. Toyota mainly focused on their hybrid technology during the press conference. What we know: its supposedly lighter and from the looks of it, it’s sporting new Brembo breaks sitting behind the shoes. It also appears to have a few updated design elements on the exterior. The updated Burnt Orange paint Job is pretty nice also.

Other than that, we don’t know much more than we already did. It will have a 4-cylinder Direct Injected power plant good for around 200-hp to the wheels and it’s a joint project that will be released with Subaru and of course under the Scion badge as the FR-S. At least we have some nice pictures of here to look at:


Toyota releases new teaser trailer for the FT-86 II Concept

You’ve probably read my article in the past regarding the Scion FR-S and Toyota FT-86 concepts in the past. Well, it looks like Toyota is teasing us with a trailer for a new re-worked version of the concept now known as the FT-86 II. The car is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September the 13th. You can bet I’ll have a full article and pictures up as soon as it happens. Check out the teaser clip:


Cooper S / John Cooper Works Coupe

While pouring through the mass amounts of media and automotive news today (like I do everyday, I know, I have a problem). I came across this little (quite literary) nugget of automotive fare. This should make all of you Mini Cooper fans giddier than a fly in a manure farm. Apparently Cooper has been working on a new sport coupe concept for a while, however they’ve been teasing they’re loyal fan base and not letting them see what the little guy is going to look like… At least until just recently, that is.

It should be quite the fun little car to drive as it will be available in all the standard engine options the U.S. Cooper fan base has come to be accustom to. The John Cooper Works option should make for some real spirited driving with it’s turbo charged 208 hp power plant which should make this pint sized pinto seem more like a thorough bred that’s just been given meth-amphetamines. This diminutive dart should definitely be a mod’ers dream as it will be offered with a plethora of different options including 3 different wheel sizes and 9 color options that include 3 different contrasting roof color options just to name a few.

What caught my eye was it’s appearance. At first glance I was like “WTF!” But after a few minutes of sitting around scratching my head and starring at the screen like a monkey at the zoo trying to figure out why the 5 year old is licking the glass, it began to grow on me. It’s donned on my that it’s actually quite an ingenious design as they managed to gain a very sporty look with out departing from the classic Cooper styling. So I find myself oddly enough kind of appreciating it’s styling. It’s almost as if it’s your first beer while growing up. At first you think it tastes like your old gym socks that have been sitting in your locker for months to long. So you pledge to yourself that you’ll never touch it again as long as there is breath in your lung and swear it in blood. But, the next thing you know your waking up with your pants on your head lying on a park bench with a half eaten pretzel in your hand and no idea how you got there. Yah, it’s kind of like that.

So, with out further a due, I give you the Mini Cooper Coupe, in all it’s miniature glory so that you may form your own opinions on it’s looks. I urge you to leave your own thoughts and comments, as I am morbidly curious to here the public’s opinion on this midget mover.


Cadillac unveils new car with intriguing power plant…

Just a few days ago Cadillac unveiled a new concept car called the ‘Ciel’. It’s a beautiful car, but I’m not reporting this because of the car so much, as I am reporting it because of it’s power plant. The new concept is powered by a Hybrid Twin turbo V6, that’s right, I said HYBRID twin turbo V6. The power plant is a variation on the 3.6L Direct Injected V6 that is in the CTS and Chevy Camaro as well as a few other GM vehicles. I have not seen any where in my research if it’s based on the LLT or LFX version of the 3.6L (see this for more info on the two). The new twin turbo engine reportedly produces 425 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. That’s quite impressive for a V6, especially on a hybrid engine.

One can only assume that this is another step in GM’s pursuit of performance while meeting the new more stringent CAFE standards. GM has already announced that they’ll be introducing a twin-turbo V6 option for the 2014 Corvette. Just speculation, but I’m willing to bet that engine will make it’s way to other GM performance cars such as the Chevy Camaro and Cadillac CTS.

Current V6 Camaro and CTS owners should rejoice in this news as it very well may mean a GMPP twin-turbo upgrade option in the near future. The best part being it wont void warranties, as it is a GM product, for those out there that worry about that kind of thing while modding. Very exciting news indeed that you can have a twin-turbo V6 that gets 30 MPG while putting out the same HP as the big brother pony car, the SS Camaro.

Here is the official press release on the new Cadillac Concept:

“PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. –   Cadillac today unveiled the Ciel concept, an elegant, open-air grand-touring car inspired by the natural beauty of the California coast.

The Ciel – pronounced “C-L,” the French translation for sky – is a four-seat convertible that opens a new chapter in Cadillac’s design and product ascent, pushing the brand’s Art & Science philosophy into a new stratum. Ciel is a new expression of Cadillac’s historical grandeur, as well as a celebration of open-air motoring.

“Large, expressive luxury is innate to Cadillac and the Ciel recalls that heritage, while suggesting where the brand can go in the future,” said Clay Dean, global design director for Cadillac. “Authentic luxury is driven by experiences, not just products, and Ciel is about the experience of the journey.”

The spacious and elegant Ciel is a grand gesture that explores themes driving Cadillac’s explorations into range-topping flagship luxury. It is powered by a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter Direct Injection V-6 engine, paired with a hybrid system using lithium-ion battery technology.”

The new Cadillac Ciel Concept.


Chevy Announces LFX V6 engine.

News is a few months old, but I figured I’d post it up here. Only two years after releasing one of the most potent engines in the 3.6L LLT V6, GM and Chevrolet announced that the 2012 model year will receive a new engine. Here’s the nitty gritty of it:

The new engine option description is: “LFX 3.6L SIDI, DOHC, VVT, E85 MAX, Alum GM

The LFX should displace 3.6L, like the current V6 found in the Camaro. And it’s packed to the brim with advanced technologies like Spark-Ignition Direct-Injection, Dual Overhead Cams, Variable Valve Timing, and E85 capability!!

Those are the hard details…but a little research raises some other interesting points. It is likely that the LFX is going to build on the innovations of the 3.0L LF1 V6 found in vehicles like the Cadillac CTS, SRX, and Chevy Equinox. That engine features a composite intake manifold, integrated exhaust manifolds and optimized NVH/airflow treatments.

When the LLT was transplanted from the CTS into the Camaro, it picked up 8hp, or 2.6% because of different intake/exhaust efficiencies. The LF1 produces 270hp in 3.0L form in the CTS. If we scale up the displacement of the 3.0L engine to 3.6L, and use the same 2.6% power increase as the LLT, estimates have the new LFX producing anywhere from 325-330 hp when used in the Chevy Camaro.

The new LFX cylinder heads

A comparison between the LLT & LFX heads.

Here’s an excerpt from the latest press release on the new engine:

PONTIAC, Mich. – In auto production, more power, better fuel economy and fewer emissions rarely appear together. But the 2012 Camaro 3.6L direct injection V6 engine achieves all three by combining the exhaust manifold with the cylinder head into a single aluminum casting.

Each integrated exhaust manifold cylinder head – a V6 has two — replaces a cast iron exhaust manifold, six bolts, a gasket and a heat shield and three bolts. By eliminating this joint, the potential for a gasket failure is eliminated. And the change reduces engine weight by 13 lbs. or 6 kg per engine. Reducing mass helps improve fuel economy and the 2012 Camaro 2LS model is EPA estimated at 30 mpg highway.

“Reducing engine mass of this magnitude doesn’t happen often,” said Ameer Haider, GM assistant chief engineer for V6 engines. “Engineering usually looks for reduction in terms of grams not pounds. It’s just like removing a set of golf clubs from your car when you don’t need them – ultimately it saves fuel. When combined with other mass reductions, the customer will see better fuel economy over time with better performance.”

Extensive simulation and bench testing was performed to perfect cylinder-head airflow. Intake airflow is improved 7 percent with the use of larger intake valves (38.3 mm v. 36.9 mm), which are primarily responsible for an increase of 11 horsepower. Exhaust flow is 10 percent better than the previous V6. 

Lower emissions, narrower engine size and noise reduction round out the list of benefits for the new head design. With the catalytic converter closer to the engine exhaust point, the emissions reduction process begins sooner, resulting in lower emissions. The new cylinder heads decrease the overall width of the engine by 4.6 inches (117 mm) for significantly more packaging space in the engine bay making under hood work easier. Due to less surface area, the new design contributes to a 1 decibel reduction in engine noise at idle.

“The new, patented design benefits the customer in all the key areas without any trade offs, said Haider. “Emissions, performance, fuel economy, and noise all improve with the integrated exhaust manifold.”

The new engine is essentially just head redesign, so theoretically the new heads should be compatable with the LLT and in turn a nice performance mod for those with the LLT trying to get a little more out of it.


New Scion FR-S Concept Car.

So I stumbled across this the other day, It’s the new Scion Concept. I’m really hoping this eventually goes into production, because it’s one of the nicest concepts I’ve seen. Here’s a blurb from what motor trend had to say about it:

   “The rear-drive AE86 Corolla, a model fondly regarded by sport compact enthusiasts, served as the inspiration during much of the FR-S’s development. A key difference is the Subaru-sourced boxer engine, instead of the AE86’s purely Toyota inline-four.

   Speaking of the boxer, most of the underpinnings and the 2.0-liter boxer engine for the FR-S were codeveloped with Subaru, which is building its own version of the car. The engine has been updated with both port and direct fuel injection, which Toyota is calling DS-4. Official power figures have not been released, but Toyota claims increased power and torque throughout the operating range without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Reports have suggested the engine could produce as much as 200 horsepower in normally aspirated form.

The car is suppose to make it’s market debut in “the winter of 2012”. We’ll see. Love the body lines on it. My only issue with it is that it’s styling is a little to close to the Toyota FT-86 Concept. I know it’s the same company and all. At least they improved on it.

Here’s the FR-S Concept:

(Click on the thumbnails for the larger image.)

This is the Toyota FT-86 concept car for comparison.