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.
Ford revealed that the 2013 Shelby GT500 muscle car doesn’t produce 650 hp as was predicted. Instead the car, with a supercharged 5.8-liter V-8, will offer an SAE-certified 662 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque. That makes the 2013 GT500 one of the most powerful production cars in the world, with the world’s most powerful series-produced V-8 engine. Better still, Ford says the performance car will still return fuel economy of 15/24 mpg (city/highway). Pricing starts at just $54,995, making this the cheapest way to buy a 200-mph car.
Though a lot less powerful than the Shelby GT500, Ford also announced impressive numbers for the 2013 Escape crossover. The redesigned Escape returns as much as 33 mpg on the highway, and figures as high as 23 mpg in the city. The Escape’s base 168-hp, 2.5-liter inline-four engine is rated at 22/31 mpg with front-wheel drive. The 178-hp, 1.6-liter EcoBoost inline-four returns 23/33 mpg with front-wheel drive or 22/31 mpg with all-wheel drive. Finally, the 240-hp, 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four returns 22/30 mpg with front-wheel drive and 21/28 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Nissan used the Beijing Motor Show to reveal the new Sylphy, a Chinese-market sedan that previews Nissan’s new global “C-segment” car. Versions of the Sylphy will eventually be sold in 120 countries around the world; here the car will bow this summer as the 2013 Sentra SR sedan, before going on sale in the fall. The Syplhy is powered by an efficient 1.8-liter inline-four engine paired with a more efficient continuously variable transmission. Nissan says that styling and powertrain specifications for the American Sentra may differ from what debuted on the Sylphy in China.
After three years on sale, Audi has bestowed some upgrades on the Q5 crossover. There will be four new engine choices, beginning with a version of the familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four upgraded to 225 hp. Next up is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with 272 hp, followed by the Q5′s first diesel option, a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 with 245 hp and an impressive 428 lb-ft of torque. Finally, a hybrid Q5 will debut with a turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and an electric motor/generator in place of the traditional torque convertor. The 2013 Q5 also benefits from a slightly restyled front fascia and various interior changes, including the addition of the latest version of the MMI infotainment suite.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Concept Style Coupe in Beijing, and confirmed that this car will go into production soon as the CLA-Class. Long known as the “baby CLS”, the CLA-Class resembles the larger CLS-Class four-door coupe from every angle, with frameless windows and a roofline that curves gracefully. The CLA will be built on the same Mercedes Front Architecture chassis underneath the A-Class and B-Class compacts. Power for the Concept Style Coupe comes from a 208-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive; expect the production CLA to have tamer powertrain options.
Our spy photographer managed to catch the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 1500 HD pickup trucks out on the street. This generation of the Chevy trucks, also sold as the GMC Sierra, has been on sale since 2007 and should be updated for 2014. It appears that the new trucks will become more upright and boxier, retaining their stacked headlights and wider grille for the front end. Under the hood, we can expect the next iteration of Chevrolet’s small-block V-8 engine, probably with upgrades like direct injection to help improve power and fuel economy.
Bentley updated us on its upcoming EXP 9 F SUV concept by divulging a few powertrain details. Two of the engines are borrowed directly from the Bentley Continental, a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 and a new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. There also will be an all-new plug-in hybrid setup, which uses a V-6 gasoline engine. There are no firm details on the plug-in hybrid system yet, but it may be common with the systems being developed for the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera.
This week we drove a 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, and found it to be a seriously fun and attention-getting sports car. Even though the Grand Sport model has only a 430-hp, 6.3-liter V-8 engine, compared to the more powerful Z06 and ZR1 models, it is still plenty potent and thrilling to drive. However, a dated and plasticky interior make us long for the next-generation Corvette, which should debut in a year or so. We also got behind the wheel of the 2013 Ford Escape, an important model that proves very satisfying to drive. Its turbocharged EcoBoost engines are powerful enough that drivers won’t miss the old Escape’s V-6, and the crossover’s global platform provides crisp steering and responsive handling that proved entertaining on twisting hill roads. Finally, we spent some time with the 2013 Scion FR-S sports coupe, the stepsibling of the 2013 Subaru BRZ. However, because it has different suspension tuning, we found the Scion model was more prone to oversteer and sliding than the staid, understeer-oriented Subaru BRZ. Out on public roads, we found the modest power delivery of the 2.0-liter boxer-four a bit disappointing, but the car’s dynamic performance is outstanding.