Week in Review: Pricing the Future, Driving the Future, and Watching the Future Unfold
This week has been all about the next generation of cars and trucks you'll see on the road. They'll incorporate space-age materials, complex electric and hybrid powertrains, and even change the way you see traditional brands like Bentley and BMW. But first, let's talk about the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Finally, the sports car's performance numbers are finally out of the bag. The base model will have 460 horsepower on-hand when equipped with the optional sports exhaust system, run to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and corner with some brutal authority. It's a Corvette unlike any other, and there are undoubtedly two higher-performing models yet waiting in the wings. But enough about that drool-worthy coupe. Here's the new we're covering in our Week in Review.Monday, July 22 For months, we had heard that the 2014 BMW i3 would be priced closely to the BMW 5 Series in the U.S. Then, out of left field, a rumor started that it would cost $35,000. Finally, we have an official number: $42,275, including $925 for destination and handling. For that, you get a carbon fiber shell that helps the car come in at under 2,700 pounds and boasts a 170-horsepower electric motor. Paired with a 22-kilowatt-hour battery pack, the car can drive between 80 and 100 miles on a single charge. We don't yet know how much options will cost or even what options may come in the BMW i3 yet. But speaking this is a BMW, most of them are probably going to come at a premium.Tuesday, July 23 Isn't a Bentley SUV just what the world was asking for? The British marque has reportedly just given the green light to an SUV based on the EXP 9F concept, a ghastly-looking thing that has been rumored to undergo quite an extensive nose job before it sees the light of day. The "F" stands for Falcon, by the way, so there's a decent chance the production version of this $200,000 SUV could be named after an entry-level Ford product from the 1960s. The Bentley SUV is still a few years off, but expect it to share parts under its sheetmetal with the Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, and Lamborghini Urus.Wednesday, July 24 Less than a year ago, Toyota and Ford signed an agreement with one another to develop a hybrid propulsion system for their full-size pickup trucks. The system, which would have replaced the front differential in four-wheel-drive models with an electric motor, would have been implemented on both the next-generation Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150. Now, the two are calling the partnership a research phase and say they're going their separate ways. Ford will be going it alone with a hybrid truck, but Toyota is out. Oddly enough, the two are only keeping their partnership open in the slightest sense to help develop the next wave of telematics technology.Thursday, July 25 There's a 70-horsepower car with no power steering that we're claiming is the future of the automobile as we know it. It's the 2014 Volkswagen XL1, a car which so far has only seen 50 hand-built copies made. Using space-age technology like lightweight carbon fiber, cameras and screens instead of door mirrors and a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it is able to achieve--get this--261 mpg. Recently, we had the opportunity to drive the car in Germany, learning about its development history and seeing how this limited-production supercar of efficiency will help create the next wave of ultra-thrifty cars.Friday, July 26 Acura has seemingly dragged out the development cycle of the 2015 NSX sports car for an eternity. It debuted in 2012 as a concept car, but Acura has been showing off a new design study or powertrain mule for ages without a tangible result. That looks like it could change soon. The 2015 Acura NSX, which is being developed for world consumption right in good ol' Ohio, will be making its first public testing laps on August 4 at Mid-Ohio Raceway ahead of the Indy 200 race. The all-wheel-drive hybrid supercar is still a little ways off, but at least we know with this public affirmation that it's not dead.
The Volkswagen Passat has just celebrated its 40th anniversary with seven generations built and more than 20...