March 6th, 2012 at 11:50am
It’s Geneva Motor Show time and we’ve got the first batch of reveals including Bentley’s shiny crossover. And, Mazda’s Takeri concept could be hinting at the next Mazda6. Ford updates its MyFord Touch infotainment system to stem the tide of poor quality ratings. All that and more, plus Isaac Bouchard gets out on the track with the new BMW 3 Series.
This is Autoline Daily for March 6, 2012.
And today the automotive world has set its sights on Geneva, where all kinds of new cars are being unveiled. Of course, we’ve already shown you quite a few of those new cars as automakers believe they have to leak photos well ahead of every auto show.
BLINGY BENTLEY EXP CONCEPT
But here are some that we haven’t shown you yet, starting with this blingey Bentley, the EXP 9 F. Bentley calls it historical and dramatic, we’re not sure what to call it. It seems to be an awkward combination of Bentley styling cues. This concept is fitted with a twin turbocharged, 6.0-liter, W-12 mated to an eight-speed automatic. But a 4.0-liter V-8 and plug-in powertrain are under consideration. Inside it’s just as dramatic, with the plushest materials the company could find. You can expect a price of $140,000 or more. Ok, time for a pop quiz. Does anyone else remember a car called the EXP? In the early ’80s Ford had a two-door version of the Escort called the EXP that also featured “interesting” styling.
MAZDA TAKERI CONCEPT
Mazda pulled the covers off its Takeri concept vehicle, a C-D segment car. Could this signal the styling direction of the next Mazda6? This car is fitted with a stop-start 2.2-liter diesel and, of course, it features Mazda’s Skyactiv technology. It also uses what Mazda calls its i-ELOOP system that captures regenerative braking in a capacitor to run the car’s electrical system for a minute or so without putting a load on the engine.
INFINITI EMERGE-E CONCEPT
In related news, Infiniti showcased a two-door supercar concept. The Emerge-E, as it’s called, packs a punch both inside and out. Its bodywork is smooth and organic, and it’s covered in matte-finish paint. As for propulsion, it features a 400-horsepower extended-range powertrain. The zero-to-60 sprint should take just four seconds. Its combined range clocks in at 300 miles.
LAMBO AVENTADOR ROADSTER
Lamborghini has built drop-top version of the Aventador. This crazy-looking supercar is a one-off that’s actually for sale . . . well, WAS for sale. Someone already snapped it up for a cool 2.1 million Euros. In the process of losing its roof the car’s windshield also vanished, as did its navigation and climate-control systems. Like its hard-top brother, it’s powered by a 6.5-liter V-12 that good for 700 horsepower. Top speed is a wind-in-your-hair 186 miles an hour.
UPGRADES FOR SYNC, MY FORD TOUCH
OK, enough of the Geneva show for the moment. In other news, Ford is sending out upgrades of its Sync and My Ford Touch that should eliminate all the complaints about the system. It’s a software upgrade that doubles the speed of the screen response, eliminates any lag with voice commands and uses bigger fonts along with easier-to-read displays. Customers will get a flash drive that plugs into the car’s USB port and automatically updates the system. It takes an hour to download all the software, but Ford hopes this fix will push it back up the quality ratings. Remember, Consumer Reports clobbered the company over the way the systems now work.
ALL MAKES AND MODELS
In a VERY interesting move, CNNMoney reports Chrysler will offer a new certified used-car program that guarantees vehicles built by OTHER manufacturers. Most plans like this only warranty vehicles built by the company offering the warranty, meaning Toyota will only stand behind Toyotas, Ford will only certify Fords. Chrysler’s CPO program is the first of its kind offered by a manufacturer. This could really help dealers, who make more money selling used cars than new ones. The “diversified certified” program as it’s called will first be introduced at Fiat dealerships before making the move to Chrysler stores later in the year.
AN ALARMING INVENTION
Now for a look in the rear-view mirror. Believe it or not, on March 5, 1918 the car alarm was patented! Two guys in Portland, Oregon filed for an invention called the “automobile theft preventer.” It required drivers to enter a three-digit code before starting a vehicle or its horn would sound. I’m just blown away over how much automotive technology was invented a century ago.
Coming up next, we’re going to take the new BMW 3 Series out on the track.
BMW recently introduced its redesigned 3-series, the iconic car that defines its segment. But is it truly the Ultimate Driving Machine? We asked Isaac Bouchard to put the car through its paces and tell us what he found.
(This content only available in video version.)
Thanks for that report, Isaac.
Don’t forget to join us Thursday night for an Autoline After Hours that looks at a new book, which says Hitler ripped off a Jewish engineer to come up with the design of the original Volkswagen Beetle. You ever hear anything about that before? Me neither! Join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information in the business.
And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.