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 along with the weekend racing schedule for your convenience.
Chevrolet has finally revealed output figures for the 2012 Camaro ZL1: 580 hp, 556 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers are generated by a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, which can be coupled to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Standard go-fast bits include an active exhaust, Brembo brakes, adaptive dampers, the same Performance Traction Management seen on the Corvette ZR1, and electric power steering. The Camaro ZL1 goes on sale the early 2012 and is expected to cost somewhere around $52,000.
It has scaled-down XK looks on the outside, a hybrid drivetrain on the inside. The Jaguar C-X16 concept will bow at the Frankfurt Motor Show and is intended as an indication of future Jaguar styling and powertrain ideas. The bodywork and chassis are aluminum, and all the aerodynamic components are made from lightweight carbon fiber. Under the hood of the C-X16 is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine with 374 hp. It works in tandem with a 94 hp electric motor to deliver a blend of performance and economy. The 0-to-62-mph sprint is said to require just 4.4 seconds, while fuel economy is claimed at 31 mpg.
Struggling to pay suppliers and employees, Saab filed for voluntary reorganization in Swedish courts. Unfortunately, Sweden denied Saab’s request, meaning the automaker must now scramble to find enough cash to stay afloat. Supplies have been calling for liquidation, as Saab reportedly owes them more than $210 million in overdue payments. Saab is still hoping that its $529 million deal with Chinese automakers Pang Da and Youngman goes though, which would give the company a much-needed infusion of cash.
Hyundai has released pictures of the European-market i30 hatchback, and we care because the car could very well portend a new Hyundai Elantra Touring for our shores. Hyundai representatives in the U.S. have hinted before that the i30 “might” immigrate to the U.S. in the form of a new Elantra Touring early next year. The i30 looks remarkably like the Elantra sedan, wearing the creases and curves of Hyundai’s corporate “Fluidic Sculpture” design language. The upscale sheetmetal and smart interior make the i30 look like a pricier, more upscale car than the Elantra sedan.
The Fisker Karma will spawn a new shooting brake variant at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Called the Surf, Fisker has released teaser photos showing the new car ahead of its public reveal. Like the Karma coupe and convertible, the Surf will be a plug-in hybrid vehicle, but with more cargo room. The Karma employs twin 150-kW electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine acts as a generator once the batteries are drained. There’s no word yet on whether the Surf will use the same powertrain, but it seems likely.
Though it doesn’t yet have a name, General Motors’ Opel division plans to show off this two-seat electric car in Frankfurt. The skinny, tapered body is reportedly made from “lightweight” materials, which we’d surmise to be carbon fiber or aluminum. Opel says the electric car can reach 75 mph and travel about 60 miles on a single battery charge. Those specifications relegate the Opel to use as an urban commuter. The company, though, claims the car has “production potential” — so we could see it reach showrooms in a few years’ time.
Two of the Volkswagen Group’s newest sedans have been named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The 2012 Audi A6 and 2012 Volkswagen Passat received the prestigious commendation, in part because the cars withstood new, more stringent roof-crush standards. To be labeled a Top Safety Pick, a car’s roof must be able to support at least four times its own weight in IIHS testing. The 2012 A6 roof managed to hold 4.9 times the car’s weight, while that of the 2012 Passat stood up to forces representing 6.3 times the car’s curb weight.
Driven: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350, 2012 Audi A7
This week we drove a sporty roadster, and a more practical luxury hatchback. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 wears appealing styling and has a folding hardtop, which keeps the cabin quiet with the roof up. Power comes courtesy of a 3.5-liter V-6 and seven-speed automatic transmission. While it isn’t the most hard-edged or sporty roadster you can buy, the SLK350 is a nimble convertible that is rewarding to driver and passenger. The 2012 Audi A7 is far more practical that the Mercedes convertible, yet also remains plenty stylish. The car is fast, comfortable, and flashy, proving that hatchback design has finally moved upscale.
- NASCAR Nationwide Series, Virginia 529 College Savings 250, Richmond International Raceway, Friday September 9 at 7:30 p.m. EST on ESPN 2
- NASCAR Sprint Cup, Wonderful Pistachios 400, Richmond International Raceway, Saturday September 10 at 7:30 p.m. on ABC
- Formula 1, Italian Grand Prix, Autodromo di Monza, Sunday September 11 at 8:00 a.m. EST on Fox Sports