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.
This week we learned about the new V-8 engine that will power the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. The new 6.2-liter V-8 is called the LT1, and should produce at least 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet hopes that will be enough to send the new Corvette to 60 mph in less than four seconds. The new V-8 engine gains direct fuel injection and variable valve timing to save fuel, as well as a new cylinder deactivation feature that makes the engine run on only four cylinders under low load. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette makes its public debut ahead of the Detroit auto show on January 13, 2013.
A new version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck is on the way, and Chevrolet this week showed us our first official glimpse at the new truck. The teaser image shows only a close-up of a projector headlight and chrome grille, although Chevrolet promises the 2014 Silverado will have “enhanced capabilities” and “bold exterior design” compared to the current truck. The company confirmed that it will reveal the 2014 Silverado in Detroit on December 13, and that the new pickup will make its public debut at the 2013 Detroit auto show in January.
Our spy photographers once again spotted the next-generation Corvette out testing, but this time they caught something we hadn’t seen before: a convertible version of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. Distinguishable by its black fabric roof, this prototype otherwise looks quite similar to the other 2014 Corvette test cars we have spotted in recent months. As a result of switching from a fixed roof to the folding fabric top, more of the Corvette’s rear deck is exposed. Look for more information on the 2014 Corvette to slowly trickle out between now and its January debut.
A press release issued this week by the organizers of the Los Angeles auto show revealed two previously secret new-car debuts. The website confirmed that the Fiat 500e electric car and Fiat 500 Abarth convertible will be shown in L.A. at the end of November. Neither car is a big surprise: Chrysler has talked about the possibility of an electric Fiat 500 for some time, and it’s unsurprising that the company will expand the appeal of its go-fast 500 Abarth by adding a drop-top version.
The 2013 Lotus Evora S can now be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, which Lotus dubs IPS for Intelligent Performance Shift. The car has been on sale in Europe for some time, and Lotus already offered the naturally aspirated Evora with IPS in the U.S. — yet we’re told the arrival of the Evora S IPS was delayed to let the regular Evora IPS establish itself in the marketplace. For reference, the normal Evora has a 3.5-liter V-6 with 276 hp, while the Evora S adds a supercharger that bumps power to 345 hp. Adding the IPS transmission to either a 2013 Evora or a 2013 Evora S costs $2850.
The Chevrolet Sonic Dusk was shown at last year’s SEMA show, but this year Chevrolet will announce that the special-edition model has become a production car. Available only as a sedan, the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic Dusk separates itself from regular versions of the subcompact by way of a new body kit, 18-inch aluminum wheels, a matte-finish grille, stainless-steel lower window moldings, jet-black leather seats with Mojave stitching, and Mojave door panels and dashboard accents. Pricing for the Sonic Dusk hasn’t yet been announced.
It’s been 14 years since Honda launched the Insight, and since then hybrid cars of all stripes and varieties have become more popular than ever. Of course, many people buy hybrid cars to save money at the gas pump, so we decided to look at which hybrid cars are cheapest to buy in the first place. The winner is the $19,290 2013 Honda Insight — and in fact Honda has a total of three entries on this list. But Toyota takes the hybrid cake with four of the ten cheapest hybrid cars on sale today.
Driven: 2013 Lincoln MKS, 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed
To keep the big luxury sedan looking fresh, the 2013 Lincoln MKS gains a variety of new technologies. Embracing technologies like adaptive suspension and a turbocharged engine have paid dividends, but the complicated touchscreen interface doesn’t help in the interior. Lincoln is trying to play catch-up to the other luxury brands, and the MKS is only somewhat successful in that regard. After previously driving the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class on paved roads, we got a chance to experience the off-road capabilities of Mercedes’ rough-and-tough SUV. In Austria we were able to take the hand-built G-Class over an off-road course that demonstrated its toughness, locking differentials, ground clearance, and stellar approach angles. Too bad that so few buyers will actually use the luxurious SUV in this manner.
The 2013 Nissan Sentra immediately feels like another new car — the 2013 Altima sedan. The new design and improved interior make the new Sentra far nicer than its predecessor, but the Sentra still won’t cause heads to swivel or bystanders to stare in awe. While the Sentra has impressive fuel economy and a reasonably satisfying driving experience, the compact sedan doesn’t match up to the excitement of other leaders in this segment. The 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed has even more horsepower and a new eight-speed automatic transmission, allowing it all the more opportunity to live up to its name. With the ability to hit 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph, we were glad our test car was equipped with $13,500 carbon-ceramic brakes that scrub triple-digit speed in seconds.