Thursday, March 30, 2006

Autoshow Season - Saturn to debut 3 cars and concept at NY Auto Show

They've been busy over at the Saturn division...

Today, Saturn announced that they would be showing a concept car (showing Saturns future styling direction) as well as 3, count 'em, 3 production vehicles:

2007 Saturn Aura sedan - based on Epsilon and previewed with the Aura concept at Detroit in 2005, this car is a darn sight better than the L-series Saturn tried, and failed, to use to break into the mid-sized sedan market.

2007 Saturn Outlook crossover - bigger than a VUE...in fact, interior room is similar to that of the Tahoe/Yukon body-on-frame SUV's from GM. Initially expected to be available with 3.6l 250+hp high-feature V-6 power - this should help drive cross-over buyers to Saturn showrooms.

...and, my personal favorite and one I've been predicting for what feels like forever...

Saturn Sky Redline2007 Saturn Sky Redline - basically the same as the Opel GT shown earlier this month in Geneva. The Sky RL will go on sale 'in the fall' - which I suppose gives GM until almost Christmas to get it to dealers.

Time to start saving my pennies.

Friday, March 24, 2006

2007 Cadillac STS

The Car Connection is running a set of 4 spy photos of the 2007 Cadillac STS.

It looks like a mild freshening to bring the STS more in line with the softer look debuted, in part, on the 2007 Escalade.

Also, it looks like LED tail lights are going to be a more pronounced brand styling trait with this new STS sporting smoked lense tail lights with rows of amber and red LEDs that will be eye-catching if not exactly as stylish as the jeweled red lenses currently used.

We'd also bet on a mild interior upgrade as well to bring the STS more in-line with interior fit and finish as well as style seen in competing vehicles (not that the current STS is shabby at all).

Spy Shots: ’08 Cadillac STS - The Car Connection

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cadillac looking into even higher performance?

Cadillac XLR-VInside Line is reporting, from an interview with Cadillac product director John Howell, that Cadillac is eyeing a line of performance Cadillacs that would slot in above the V-Series.

With further styling and performance upgrades, these would likely be developed in conjunction with a 3rd party, euro-flavored tuning shop (like Alpina, Brabus, or Dinan).

If such a partnership comes to pass, expect these 'super-V-series' cars to debut by some time in 2007-2008 and to be powered by engines even more impressive than those already used by the V-Series (perhaps this will finally see that GM V-12 from the Cien concept in production).
Inside Line: IL Exclusive: Cadillac Eyes Super Vs and Tuner Vs à la Saleen, Brabus -

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

End of an era - SSR production ends

Chevrolet SSRAutoblog clued us into this tidbit. After 3 years of production, itself years after showing an identical concept car that wowed the crowds at the Detroit auto show...Chevrolet has pulled the plug on SSR production.

Built on a modified Trailblazer chassis, and initially powered by a 5.3l V-8 and 4-speed automatic and later by a 6.0l 400hp V-8 and an optional 6-speed manual - it just never caught on with buyers.

Still it was a great cruising car/truck/thing...

Chevy SSR production comes to an end - Autoblog

V8 Archie Pontiac Solstice

V8 Archie's Solstice with his V-8 conversionV8 Archie, famous hot-rodder of Pontiacs (previously, he focused on stuffing small-blocks into Fieros) has started working his magic on the new Pontiac Solstice.

For approximately 14-15k you can have him build you a 350-400hp Solstice. He's looking for a few folks willing to have him do the conversion at his Chicago area shop in order to make a video to go with the kit version of this swap as you will see in pages 12+ of this thread from the SolsticeForum.com.

Corvette power, 400+ lbs lighter, all for as low as 35k...all I can say is 'wow!'

Take a Solstice apart with Archie - Pontiac Solstice Forum

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Autoshow Season - What's up in New York

Media days for the New York Auto Show are planned for April 12-13, 2006. There should be an exciting slate of debuts on tap this year. Here's what we know to expect so far:

Acura MDX - 2nd generation of Acura's mid-sized cross-over SUV

Audi TT - brand new 2nd generation Audi coupe and convertible

Buick LaCrosse Special with V-8 power

Jeep Patriot - the Jeep traditionalists' version of the Jeep Compass. Expect the same powertrains, but very likey a more hard-core off-road setup with a likely low-range transfer case.

Jeep Wrangler 4-door - the new and first ever 4-door version of the Jeep Wrangler

Nissan Altima (a good chance a hybrid version will be announced offically as well)

Saturn Aura - the new flagship sedan from Saturn. Based on the Epsilon chassis and with Cadillac's 3.6l V-6 in its top model.

Saturn Sky Redline - identical (except for minor details) to the Geneva show debuted Opel GT, meaning 260hp 2.0l Ecotec with direct injection. I want one.

Saturn Outlook - large cross-over SUV on the same brand-new Lambda chassis as the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia.

Scion Fuse coupe concept - some are saying this might preview a new addition to the Scion line to replace the late Toyota Celica, others are saying it is a concept only. Only time will tell.

More as we hear it...

Autoshow Season - Dodge Hornet

Dodge Hornet conceptWell, this answers that question.

Ever since the BMW group resurrected the Mini Cooper, people have been conjecturing what DaimlerChrysler will do to counter.

There have been suggestions that a version of the Mercedes A-Class might be the answer. Others have suggested that a variant of the Smart brand's cars would do the trick.

Also, there have been suggestions that any answer would have to be sold through an existing Chrysler group brand in the US in order to not sully Mercedes inexplicably high reputation in this country.

Dodge Hornet concept interiorWell, in one fell swoop, we have answers to all of these questions with the Dodge Hornet concept.

A B-Class (this is a size designation equivalent to the US 'subcompact' - not a Mercedes class a-la C-Class, S-Class, etc.) vehicle that looks like a much more modern and in many ways 'angrier' Mini Cooper.

Powered by a supercharged 1.6l 4-cylinder (hmmm, where have I seen that configuration before?)...and seating 4.

Expect this car in the next 2 years to help Dodge expand into the very popular B-Class in Europe and likely be released in North America to go head-to-head with entry-level vehicles from Chevrolet (Aveo), Honda (Fit), Toyota (Yaris), Nissan (Versa), etc. Dodge does appear ready to maintain its performance image by making a supercharged, SRT-ish variant available to go against the Cooper S.

Looks like Mini isn't going to be the only game in town much longer.

Autoshow Season - Opel GT

New Opel GTGM unveiled the third variant of their new Kappa small rear-drive chassis at the Geneva auto show...or did they?

Since Opel and Saturn are now closely linked, it should come as no surprise that the Opel GT (a name we haven't seen since the 70's 2-seat coupe that Opel once sold in the the US) is little more than a Saturn Sky. Only this time with the Solstice GXP's turbo 2.0l Ecotec 4-cylinder (making this a twin to the Saturn Sky Redline - which GM will likely officially announce at the New York autoshow in April).

Opel GT prices start at 29,900 Euros.