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.
Automotive icon and racing legend Carroll Shelby died Thursday at age 89. His long history of involvement in the automotive racing arena includes launching the original Shelby Cobra, helping propel the Ford GT40 to racing victory, working with Dodge on several high-performance compact cars, and the modern-day Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 models. His countless awards and recognitions include memberships in the Automotive Hall of Fame and the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Sadly Shelby struggled with health problems all his life, mostly surrounding his heart problems.
The future Porsche Macan crossover took a spin on public roads, and our spy photographers were there to catch it in the act. It’s no surprise that the Macan looks extremely similar to the Porsche Cayenne, though the smaller prototype has a steeply raked rear window and a more sloped roofline. Based on the Audi Q5, we expect the Macan to be powered either be a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four or supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 at launch. The Macan enters production in Germany in 2013, and will be sold in the U.S.
Cadillac has revealed pricing for its 2013 ATS sports sedan, and the new model undercuts the pricing of some German competitors. Starting at $33,990 (including destination), the 2013 ATS is $1805 cheaper than a 2012 BMW 328i sedan and $1684 cheaper than a 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 sedan. Base models of the ATS come with a 202-hp 2.5-liter inline-four engine. Upgrading to the 272-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four requires $35,795, while the top-spec 321-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 starts from $42,090.
The official pace car at this year’s Indianapolis 500 race later this month will be a 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, marking the 11th time a Corvette has served as the race’s pace car. Even more fitting: the 638-hp ZR1 is the most powerful car ever to serve as Indy 500 pace car, and its 2013 model year corresponds to the 60th anniversary of the Corvette. For the special duty, the ZR1 will be essentially based on the 60th Anniversary Package launched for this year’s Corvette. Additions include unique graphics, Blue Diamond leather seats, Pearl Silver Blue racing stripes, and gray-painted brake calipers. This is the 23rd time a Chevrolet has been used in the 96 runnings of the Indy 500 — the first was a 1948 Fleetmaster Six.
To prepare buyers of the 2013 Cadillac XTS for using its new CUE touch-screen interface, the automaker is releasing an Apple iPad app that simulates the infotainment system. But going one step further, Cadillac will include a free iPad with every purchase of a 2013 XTS. CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, consists of various touch-sensitive buttons, touch-screens, and other input devices for controlling everything from the radio and navigation, to the trip computer and climate control. Cadillac hopes the CUE app will help buyers acclimate to the system; it will be offered in the SRX crossover and ATS sports sedan in addition to the XTS luxury sedan, although those buyers aren’t eligible to score an iPad.
The sultry DBS is likely soon ending its production run, so Aston Martin has produced a swan-song of sorts in the form of the DBS Ultimate. Limited to just 100 special-edition cars, the Ultimate treatment endows each DBS with either Carbon Black or Quantum Silver Fox paint, polished wheels, carbon-fiber body pieces, and interior perks like “Spicy Red Leather” accents for the shift paddles. Pricing starts at $287,576 for the Coupe or $302,576 for the DBS Volante convertible.
Great news: not only is the 2013 Porsche Boxster more powerful than its predecessor, the EPA has certified that the new Boxster also is more fuel efficient. The new 265-hp, 2.7-liter flat-six engine is rated for 22/32 mpg (city/highway) with the PDK dual-clutch transmission. That compares to a 20/29 mpg rating for the old Boxster with a 255-hp 2.9-liter engine and automatic transmission. Porsche and the EPA have yet to divulge the fuel-economy numbers for the 315-hp Boxster S, but we expect they also will be improved over the old model. More power and more economy? Sounds like a winning combination to us.
This week we drove three vehicles of totally different sizes. The 2012 Buick Verano smartly uses the same competent chassis employed by the Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra, but even more wisely is visually differentiated from the Chevy. The exterior is not as attractive as the cabin, but the Verano is overall far more stylish and upscale than the Cruze. Though a 2.4-liter inline-four engine provides ample power, its middling fuel economy seems out of place in a compact sedan. For now Buick is one of the few companies operating in the compact-premium segment, but we bet other American automakers will follow suit soon. The 2012 Cadillac Escalade continues to be the brand’s most visible style statement, but it’s still far from perfect. The Escalade’s big V-8 engine is a gas hog, and its interior quality isn’t really up to par with imported luxury SUV. We can only hope Cadillac finds a way to keep the Escalade from becoming irrelevant and disappearing. Though we chose it as one of Automobile Magazine‘s All Stars, the 2012 Honda Odyssey is not without fault. This minivan may be ideally suited to transporting families and cargo, but it suffers from dismal steering that is overboosted and imprecise. At least the Odyssey is a good family hauler; it perhaps represents a vehicular sacrifice parents will make to appease their offspring.