Been away from your computer this week and missed all your automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week for your viewing here along with some of this weekend’s top racing action.
Mini unveiled the Countryman back at the Geneva Motor Show in March, after teasing us with the Beachcomber and Traveler concepts, but we finally had our first turn behind the wheel of the production model earlier this week. It might be Mini’s biggest model to date and a new segment for the re-energized British brand, but it holds true to Mini traditions. The interior is still quirky, engine offerings are only four-cylinder designs, and buyers can select from a near-infinite list of exterior decor combinations. We came away rather impressed with the small crossover, but still found ourselves wanting a true Mini Cooper.
Mercedes-Benz is in the midst of rejuvenating its engine lineup in an attempt, especially when it comes to eight-cylinder designs. Two new V-8s are found in the revamped 2011 CL-Class — the twin-turbo, direct-injected 4.6-liter V-8 appears the CL550 and the twin-turbo, direct-injected, 5.5-liter in the CL63 AMG — and this was our first chance to sample them.
2011 Saab 9-4X First Look
In the last year, Saab has recovered from being deathly ill to looking forward to a possibly bright future under its new Spyker owners. Since then, it’s unveiled two new products: the new 9-5 and now the new 9-4x. The 9-4x was originally shown as a concept at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, but apart from losing the unusual ski rack, little has changed from the show car’s styling. Click here to get the full skinny on this new Swedish crossover.
Godzilla’s getting some new, improved legs for 2012, along with mild cosmetic tweaks — albeit we imagine only true GT-R fanatics will be able to spot the changes. Nissan bumped power out of the twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-6 engine up to 523 horsepower from 485. Nissan hasn’t released a 0-60 mph time for the car, but says the upgrades have lopped several seconds off its Nürburgring lap time. Additionally, Nissan introduced a number of model variants, including the new Egoist and Club Track models.
More Chrysler news unfolded this week, most of which surrounded future Dodge products. For 2011, both the Journey and the base Challenger use Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, while the Journey gets a number of interior and exterior changes. The interior now features better materials and overall, looks to be a great improvement over the 2010 model. Additionally, to updating its current lineup, Dodge confirmed that it will be the first Chrysler brand to offer a small car based on a Fiat platform. The new Dodge will be a compact sedan, riding on Fiat’s Compact Wide architecture which also underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Porsche’s outrageous 2011 911 GT2 RS was certainly a fast car — but we didn’t expect the entire production run to sell out in an appropriately quick manner. Despite a $245,000 price tag, the entire 500-car production run of the 620-horsepower 911 is completely sold out. Although we don’t know if Porsche will ever consider building a true successor to the GT2 RS, we do know it aims to offer hybrid versions of every model in its lineup — including the 911.
-NASCAR Tums Fast Relief 500 Martinsville Speedway: Sunday October 21; 1 p.m. EST on ESPN
-Inaugural F1 Korean Grand Prix: Sunday, October 21; 2 a.m. EST on Speed