Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week for your convenience.
Spied: 2013 SRT Viper Roadster on Public Roads
The snake is back: our spy photographers caught the 2013 SRT Viper roadster testing in public. Though the camouflage and ill-fitting interior panels reveal this car is a development mule rather than a finished product, we can see the overall shape of the next-generation Viper. The nose features a prominent triangular air intake, the hood has a pair of vents, and there are side-exit exhausts. Inside is a digital speedometer reading up to 220 mph. We expect the new Viper will use an 8.7-liter V-10 engine with 650 hp. The car will debut as a coupe at the New York auto show on April 4, but it’s currently unknown when the roadster will appear.
First Look: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG
It’s no surprise by now that when Mercedes-Benz launches a new car, the performance engineers at AMG will work on producing an even-faster version. The 2013 Mercedes SL63 AMG makes its official debut next month at the Geneva Motor Show, before going on sale here in mid-July. Power comes from the M157 engine familiar from other recent Mercedes AMG cars. In the SL63, the twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 produces 530 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque — or 550 hp and 664 lb-ft if buyers opt for the AMG Performance Package. Opting for the higher power output enables a 0-to-60-mph run of 4.1 seconds and a limited top speed of 186 mph. To match the power upgrades, the 2013 SL63 AMG also gets larger brakes, sticky tires on lightweight wheels, racy aerodynamic body add-ons, and firmer adaptive suspension.
If you ever wished the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet had more competition, Range Rover now has an answer. The British marque will use the Geneva Motor Show to unveil a concept version of an Evoque convertible. Yes, the stylish three-door Evoque will have its roof removed. Although it will be a concept at the show, reports suggest that Range Rover is quite likely to put the drop-top Evoque into production. If so, expect it to cost at least 10 to 15 percent more than the regular three- or five-door luxury crossover.
Porsche Engineer Predicts Manual-Transmission 911 Could Die by 2020
Enjoy that clutch pedal while you can: Porsche 911 project manager Michael Schätzle says that traditional manual transmissions may only be available in Stuttgart’s sports car until 2020. Citing the high take rates for Porsches with the brand’s PDK seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, Schätzle predicted that the 911 would only offer a three-pedal setup for another one or two generations. About 78 percent of global orders for the current Porsche 911 specify the PDK transmission, and Porsche is already developing a nine-speed version of the unit.
Ford Tourneo Custom Concept: The Shape Of Full-Size Ford Vans To Come?
One of Ford’s major reveals in Geneva will be the Tourneo Custom Concept, which previews the next iteration of light-duty Transit commercial vans for Europe. The sleek van adopts Ford’s “Kinetic Design”, including design elements like the unique front grille seen on the new Fusion, Focus, and Escape. The model is front-wheel drive and will (at least initially) be powered by a 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine producing up to 153 hp. In America, Ford will eventually launch a heavier-duty version of the Transit, replacing the decades-old E-Series/Econoline vans. The American model will look significantly different than the European van previewed here, and will likely have rear-wheel drive.
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse: Now With 1200 Horsepower!
Never has anyone called the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport convertible “slow”, but just in case, the automaker has launched an upgraded model with 1200 hp on tap. The changes essentially mirror those applied to turn the Veyron coupe into the 268-mph Super Sport: the four turbochargers for the 8.0-liter W-16 engine have been enlarged, as have their respective intercoolers; the chassis has been strengthened; a restyled front fascia reduces drag at high speeds; and revised suspension settings keep the Veyron convertible as it surpasses 200 mph. If you want one, start saving: Bugatti says the Grand Sport Vitesse costs $3.3 million.
Look, Another Leak: 2013 Audi A3 Appears Online Before Geneva Reveal
The wonders of the Internet have given us an early look at the 2013 Audi A3, thanks to a leak from a Russian website. The new version of Audi’s A3 will official bow in Geneva with new styling and an updated interior featuring a variety of connectivity options. Engine choices in Europe will probably comprise a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four and a 1.4-liter turbodiesel. Though the leaked images show a three-door hatchback, expect a sedan version to arrive first in the U.S. and China.
One Hot 1: BMW “Concept” M135i Destined For Geneva Show Debut
BMW will roll out a performance version of the 1 Series hatchback in Geneva, the M135i concept. Along with better brakes and M-tweaked suspension, the hatchback gets a power bump in the form of a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine with about 300 hp. The gas-powered M135i joins the diesel M550d xDrive, X5 M50d, and X6 M50d cars in BMW’s new M Performance Automobiles collection. Sadly, this model won’t be sold in America because its base, the F20-generation 1 Series hatchback, isn’t slated for sale on our shores.
Spied! Lincoln’s MKT Livery Limo is (Almost) Ready for the Prom
Looking to take a big group of friends to prom? Our spies snapped pictures of a stretched version of the Lincoln MKT Livery. The new Livery model replaces the Lincoln Town Car as Lincoln’s limo vehicle. The stretched MKT seen here is powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 and is offered with either front- or all-wheel-drive. There’s no word yet on when the longer Lincoln MKT Livery goes on sale.
First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Hyundai treated the Genesis Coupe to a modest refresh for 2013, beginning with a new fascia and hood design, and extending to a revamp of the car’s powertrain choices. The Genesis Coupe’s engines now feel smoother and more powerful, and the car’s suspension is moderately improved thanks to new dampers. Still, a proclivity for understeer and a limp manual-transmission shifter mean the Genesis Coupe is more of a style statement than an all-out sports car.