April 2nd, 2012 at 12:00pm
Fiat is considering expanding its line-up in Canada to include the Panda and Punto. BMW revealed its third future mobility concept, called the i8 Spyder. Lincoln just introduced the redesigned version of the MKS and we’ve got our first impressions of the new model. All that and more, plus a look at the updated 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
Welcome to the first day of the second quarter, this is Autoline Daily for April 2. I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.
UAW UPSET OVER MULALLY’S SALARY
Well, Alan Mulally made another $29 million last year, and the UAW is hopping mad. But get this, the union says Mulally doesn’t deserve that much money because Ford’s stock hasn’t performed that well. OMG, this is the first time in my life I’ve heard the union criticize executive pay because the stock isn’t moving high enough. These guys sound more like Wall Street bankers than Occupy Wall Streeters. So why the change of heart? Remember, the UAW owns a ton of Ford stock as part of the VEBA agreement, and it wants to see that stock soar!
Just to give you an idea of how competitive the midsize sedan segment is in the American market: nine months ago the Hyundai Sonata was the newest car in the segment. Nine months from now, it will be the oldest. The list includes the Camry, Altima, Accord, Fusion, Malibu, Optima, Passat and Mazda6. It’s a big segment, about 15 percent of the total market. In fact, if you add up all those sales, they’re more than any automaker, except GM and Ford.
FIAT MAY EXPAND IN CANADA
While the Fiat 500 is off to a slow start in the U.S., it’s faring much better up in the Great White North. That’s why the company is considering expanding its lineup in Canada to include the Panda and Punto. So does this mean that those models are coming to U.S.? Maybe not. Canadian customers are more into smaller cars than American ones. But you might recall that smart cars were first sold in Canada before coming to the U.S.
BMW i8 CONCEPT SPYDER
BMW just revealed the convertible version of the i8, called that Concept Spyder. Like BMW’s other future mobility concepts, the i8 Spyder features a body constructed of a number lightweight materials. The two-seater, plug-in hybrid is powered by a 96kW electric motor and a turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine. Its fuel economy is about 78 MPG on the European test cycle. But don’t let its green image fool you, the i8 can still perform. It moves from 0 to 100 km/h in just five seconds and has a top speed of 250 km/h or about 155 MPH.
VW TRANSPORTER ADD-ON
There’s a new add-on for the Volkswagen Transporter. Camper versions of these vans are immensely popular with outdoorsy folks in Europe. And good news for them, the Doubleback is an extension that motors out of the vehicle’s cargo area, increasing the interior length by six and a half feet! Think of it as a box inside a box. Very clever, and very expensive. Sticker price is nearly $90,000.
FIRST DRIVE: LINCOLN MKS
Lincoln will intro the new MKZ at the New York Auto Show tonight, but right now we get this teaser video showcasing the car’s retractable glass roof. It’s a pretty neat technology that gives us a tiny little glimpse of the car’s interior. And last Friday, Lincoln let us drive this redesigned version of the MKS. It gets a variety of upgrades inside, outside and under the hood. Front and center is a brand-new grille, which now features very fine vertical slats. They give the car an almost insect-like face. Outback things have been cleaned up and the car gets a bigger trunk opening. Overall we found the exterior design pretty underwhelming, but like they say, it’s what’s inside that counts. Lincoln has thoroughly upgraded the MKS’ interior. We’re happy to report it has new switchgear, a more upscale layout and much richer materials. Of course, it’s also loaded with technology including MyLincoln touch, lane-keeping assist and collision warning. The base 3.7-liter V-6 has been tweaked for more oomph. It now delivers 304 horsepower and TWO more miles per gallon – up to 27 on the highway. A 3.5-liter EcoBoost six is still optional, and still awesome. Bigger and much, Much, MUCH better brakes bring everything to a stop. There’s a gimmicky-sounding but surprisingly effective adaptive suspension called Continuously Controlled Damping. CCD is part of an overarching system called Lincoln Drive Control, which lets drivers adjust the feel of things like the steering and throttle. On the track at Ford’s Michigan Proving Ground, the new MKS stacked up very favorably to some strong competition. It easily blew a Mercedes-Benz E350 into the ditch, and in our opinion, was dead-even with an Audi A6 3.0 TFSI. Pretty impressive. And that’s our overall driving impression of the 2013 MKS – Lincoln has turned a lackluster product into a solid luxury offering
2013 HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE
(The entire Hyundai Genesis Coupe review is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
The first thing you’ll notice is it’s sleeker and more aggressive looking than before. The refreshed design incorporates Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille, a new hood and now features LED daytime running lights and LED rear taillights.
On the inside, the Genesis Coupe has a more premium feel and look to it. Hyundai added things like a seven-inch navigation screen, stitching along the IP and soft-touch surfaces to get a more refined look.
While the design improves upon the previous model, the new powertrain options will get customers even more excited for the rear-wheel-drive coupe.
You’ll need to use premium fuel to get those horsepower and torque numbers. With regular gasoline they drop slightly.
Even though the performance is way up, fuel economy wasn’t sacrificed. The four-cylinder gets in the low 20s in the city and low 30s on the highway for both the manual and automatic transmissions. And with the V-6, fuel economy ranges from 18 MPG in the city, to the high twenties out on the highway for both gearboxes.
Pricing for the Genesis Coupe starts at just over $25,000 with a four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission. For the top trim model, which is equipped with the V-6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission, the price jumps 10 grand to just over $35,000.
The 2013 Genesis Coupe is available at Hyundai dealerships right now.
Thanks for that report Seamus.
We’ll be at the New York auto show this week, which is turning out to have a lot more new product reveals than we typically see at that show. And don’t forget to join us Thursday night for Autoline After Hours where we’ll be webcasting live from Katz’s Deli. If you’re in the area come join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for the most entertaining discussion about all things automotive. And that wraps up today’s report.
Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.