Episode 553 – Porsche 918 Spyder Race Car, Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Race Car, Kia Optima Turbo

January 10th, 2011 at 7:00am

Runtime 8:19

We’ve got a special update about some of the new vehicles debuting at this week’s Detroit auto show. Porsche returns to the event for the first time in four years and plans to show a racing version of the 918 Spyder. Speaking of race cars, Cadillac will debut the racing version of the CTS-V Coupe. Chevy will show its replacement for the Aveo called the Sonic. All that and more, plus a look at the new Kia Optima Turbo.


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This is Autoline Daily for January 10, 2011. And now, a special update about some of the new vehicles debuting at the Detroit auto show. Be sure to catch our LIVE webcast from the floor of the show which starts at Noon today.

Last month we reported that Porsche said it will have something “spectacular” at this week’s auto show in Detroit since it hasn’t attended the event in four years. At the time we speculated that it could be a production version of its 918 Spyder and we were partially right. According to Bloomberg, Porsche will show a racing version of the 918 Spyder. Not too many details are known but it will be equipped with a V-8 that cranks out 600 horsepower.

Speaking of race cars, Cadillac will debut its CTS-V Coupe race car at the auto show today. Cadillac developed the race version with engineering firm Pratt & Miller and tried to keep as much production content as possible. Last month the company announced it will re-enter the Sports Car Club of America’s World Challenge GT racing series for the first time since 2007. The first on-track tests will be conducted later this month at the Sebring International Raceway.

Minivans seem to have a stigma in the minds of many car buyers, so automakers are trying to come up with ways to make the boxy people movers look sexy. The latest example, making its global debut at the Detroit Auto Show, is the Kia KV7. Kia is calling this the latest design statement from its U.S. studio located in Irvine, California. As you can see from this teaser shot, the KV7 incorporates several innovative lighting elements currently being evaluated for future Kia production-vehicles. Looks like they’re going for an aerodynamic look for their minivan.

Also making its North American debut, Chinese automaker BYD is showing off its first SUV called the S6. This vehicle was shown in China last year, and as you probably can tell from the photos, it was accused of being nothing more than a ripoff of the last generation Lexus RX 350. While BYD is really pushing to be a leader in electric vehicles, the S6 is powered by a conventional four-cylinder engine. BYD has been a regular exhibitor at the Detroit auto show for a couple of years now so it sure looks like this company is serious about breaking into the American market.

Another vehicle we look forward to seeing in the flesh, I mean, the steel, is Chevy’s new B-segment car, the Sonic. It’s a replacement for the Aveo, a DREADFUL name which has ZERO name recognition in the market. Adding insult to injury, most people can’t even pronounce its name right! I think it’s a smart move renaming it, at least for North America – it continues on as Aveo elsewhere in the world. The company describes the car as energetic and youthful. From what we can see its styling is perky, but that’s about all we’ve got. GM hasn’t released anything else on the car yet. We have no idea what features it’ll have or what’s under the hood. The Sonic will be built in Michigan at the company’s Orion Assembly plant, the only B-class car built in America.

One of the most important launches at this year’s show has got to be the Chrysler 300. 2011 marks the first major overhaul this rear-wheel-drive sedan has received since it went on sale back in 2005. The company’s designers worked their magic, extensively updating the exterior and completely revamping the interior. Outside, it still looks like a 300, but more elegant and refined. Inside is where the biggest changes took place. It’s beautifully turned out with high-end materials and icy-blue lighting. Not to be forgotten, Chrysler’s engineers were just as busy. The base engine is the company’s brand-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 delivering 292 horsepower. A HEMI V-8 is still optional. At 5.7-liters it delivers a walloping 363 horsepower! Both powerplants are matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. Look for the 2011 Chrysler 300 at dealerships later this year with a base price of 28 grand, including destination.

Coming up next, let’s take a walk around of the new turbocharged version of the Kia Optima.

When Kia introduced the Optima last year, it turned a lot of heads thanks to its great styling. Now the company is set to introduce the turbo version of the Optima, the first Kia to be equipped with one in the U.S. Let’s take a look at what sets it apart from the standard model.

Pricing for the model shown starts at $26,690 and look for it in dealerships later this month.

And that brings us to the end of today’s show. We’ll have more of the news coming out of the Detroit auto show in tomorrow’s program. And don’t forget that you can catch our live webcast coming from the floor of the Detroit auto show at noon today as well as tomorrow. Thanks for watching.

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55 Comments to “Episode 553 – Porsche 918 Spyder Race Car, Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Race Car, Kia Optima Turbo”

  1. HtG Says:

    WTF? I didn’t even have my Roaster Jack’s yet.

  2. Bob Says:

    The Aveo may have been a bad name, but “Sonic” is even worse. And what sickens me is that Govt Motors paid some auto illiterate touchie-feelie chick a million bucks to come up with these silly names!

  3. Bob Says:

    PS Surprise, Surprise, the VOLT and the EXPLORER got the awards this year… And they will help their sales as much as the award to that butt-ugly, stinking Ford Transit Connect helped ITS sales last year..LOL

  4. dcars Says:

    Wow this is pretty early, but thanks; we get two for the price of one! I’m going to double my fee for this week.

  5. dcars Says:

    With the way gas prices are going, (without help from higher taxes!) buyers will want more fuel efficient cars. It’s a good time for GM to bring out the Volt and upgrade the Aveo/Sonic.

  6. Bob Says:

    The Volt will save you nothing. it costs twice as much as its Cruze clone (same platform). I still have to know of even ONE person for whom the Volt makes any economic sense, EVEN with $4 or $5 gas. DO THE MATH.

  7. Phil in Burlington Says:

    While its nice to see Porsche back, I do have a bit of a problem with giving them too much press given that they thumbed their nose at Detroit for the last four years. How about celebrating those makes who stuck with the show through the tough times?

  8. Bob Says:

    Yesterday I saw my first two shows of the US version of TOP GEAR. I had heard many negative comments, so I had low expectations, and this is maybe why I actually liked the shows, they were not bad, the influence of the Top Gear UK version was obvious, they tend to mimic their stunts and silly competitions, but overall it was pleasant to watch.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sonic the hedgehog? Sonic drive-thu crap fast food and now a hopefully competitive GM subcompact, let’s hope they stay on track (Equinox,Cruze) and that Volt was just a bump on the road to recovery, but the name stinks.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    After so many crappy vehicles have been given the car or truck of the year award, I doubt many prospective buyers pay any attention to that crap, I think they refer to word-of-mouth and reliable publications like CR and JD Power

  11. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The Sonic is the next best thing to New Accent Rio. Just read the stats on the Sonic. I can’t debate that one.

    The Best American small car ever, but not the best Korean Small car ever. It makes Fiesta look like an overpriced joke.

    We got robbed by a car with less real world fuel Economy than a Sonata, because “It’s a technological Marvel.”

    A very controversial decision at the least.

    Or, did you forget the Volt looks Absolutely Horrible on top of it’s piss poor observed fuel economy.

    The Sebring still looks better than the Volt.

  12. dcars Says:

    I’d like to see the Volt in person but I think it looks pretty good in pictures. I’m looking forward to the car shows to compare these vehicles under one roof.

  13. XA351GT Says:

    Come on John, walloping 365 HP from a 5.7??!!!! . The Ford 5.0 has 412HP . Better be careful or people will accuse you of being a Chrysler shill. Chrysler better get with the program ,because people aren’t stupid 64 HP @ liter vs 82.4 HP @ Liter for the Ford . Hell the V6 SHO has 365 HP . .

  14. XA351GT Says:

    I agree with you on Top Gear. People were slagging it off after barely 1 episode aired. I find it entertaining which is what it’s supposed to do.
    Also agree about the Volt . The overpriced gimmick. Let’s face it though. EV/hybrids are the next gimmick being rammed down our throats for our own good. The late 70s it was 4 bangers, the early 80′s it was FWD and mini vans the late 80′s early 90′s it was SUVs and AWD. so EV/hybrids are the next evolution .

  15. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The 274 HP 269 lb ft KIA Optima Turbo will also be the Hyundai Veloster Turbo-Confirmed by Hyundai. Turbo will drop soon.

    This will make the B segment Veloster the Hottest sub 170 inch Hatch for sale on Earth.

    The Corvette of small cars, shows something needs to be done about Genesis coupe-like immediately.

  16. ped Says:

    The local Auto-nation Ford dealer has 158 unsold Fiestas in stock!!!! WOW. what are they gonna do at the end of the model year?

  17. tj Martin Says:

    Top Gear USA – Garbage
    KIA KV7 – Very bad Honda Clone
    Best Korean Small Car – Oxymoron
    Porsche 918 RSR – Worthless
    HyundaiStopSmokinWhatYerSmokin- Clueless as ever
    VOLT – A Sham
    VeloToaster – The Yugo of Sporty Cars

    Detroit Auto Show 2011 – ZZZZzzzzzzz

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    Smoke: is the Soul selling well everywhere? I see a lot of them here in So. FLa beijng driven by all age groups.

  19. tj Martin Says:

    “Get Your Turbo Face On ” Ad

    Get a clue and buy a Honda Accord / Toyota Camry /Mazda 6 Six cylinder . Unless of course you can’t afford one !

  20. tj Martin Says:

    pedro – Guess we’ve got no Soul in KC cause they’re sitting on the lots in droves , in spite of sales and promotions . Either that or the Mid West sensibility is keeping folks here away . Not being impressed by Pretentious Urban Wanna Be Hamster commercials .

    MINI’s and Fiesta’s though ? Everywhere you look . Common sense does exist in some car markets .

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    tj: are you saying that you see a lot of Fiestas on the road over there? Here I’ve only seen 2 since they came out and I spend most of the day on the road.Minis, yes I see tons of them. including a bad-ass looking John Cooper Clubman special that looked amazing.

  22. Alex Kovnat Says:

    Re Volt vs. Cruze: It depends which version of the Cruze you’re referring to. The most fuel-economical version of the C. has a 1.4 turbocharged I-4, and the turbocharger adds to the cost. Also, said turbocharged 1.4 liter version of the Cruze most likely has a manual transmission, which is a big negative for many people.

    At a Society of Automotive Engineers dinner meeting this past year, I suggested to one of the GM people that a problem with manual transmissions is, you have to be an expert and have to be in good form all the time to get the advertized fuel economy. Hence a more efficient automatic would be better for conserving fuel resources – or, our atmosphere’s CO2 absorbtion capacity.

    Unfortunately the Volt (which does not require constant shifting), is a lot more expensive than the Cruze, even if the cost of the Cruze is increased by using a turbo engine. My suggestion is, a less expensive version of the Volt that would trade off battery-only range in favor of not having to pay for so large a battery capacity.

  23. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Saw the Volt in person (in Florida at EPCOT’s Test Track attraction), looks like a nicely appointed vehicle. All utility aside, for early adopters it’s probably not half bad, and as John has mentioned; lease the vehicle at 350/month and it can make economic sense.

  24. cwolf Says:

    The Hyundai/Kia copycat people are sure on a roll! The KV7 light looks like the concept was from an Audi. I’m not sure they can create anything on their own.I’m just waiting for their over-confidence and “finger in every market segment”to bit them in the rear.If they want to improve their cars,they should focus on removing engine/tire/suspension noise from the cabin. A $27’000 Optima? Go Fish!
    The Sonic name stinks,just like Pedro says, and I too hope GM is serious in making this small car a winner in its segment.
    I am also glad the Explorer recieved the award this year,but I’m saddend the milage makes it no longer desirable. A Ford engr. let me drive his demo for a few hours. It felt really big at first, but because it handled so car like,it became a very comfortable,controllable and enjoyable driver. I thought the front grill enhanced the looks.

  25. HtG Says:

    One good thing about the name Sonic is I can’t think of more than one way to pronounce it.

    And though you might not abide it H/S, I like the look of the Veloster. Does it come in a velour edition?

  26. HtG Says:

    Here’s some hilarity for you pragmatic types. Talkin’ to you tj,


  27. moparmodelfan Says:

    To XA351GT:
    Does the 5.0L have cylinder deactivation to improve fuel economy. My 06 Jeep does.Ford has 3 good looking cars. The Taurus, new Focus,and Flex. I wouldn’t give you a plug penny for the rest of the line-up. Chrysler has got some great stuff coming down the pipe after having to put up with years of Dialmer and Cerberus mis-management.
    As for the “Truck” of the Year, I cannot believe that the journalist panel picked a CAR over two TRUE SUVs. I would love to see how the vote totals for each vehicle. Those that voted for the Exploder over the Grand Cherokee or the Durango should take a remedial course on what a car is and what a truck is.

  28. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    HtG, Veloster colors:

    Century White, Ironman Silver, Triathlon Gray, Ultra Black, Marathon Blue, Electrolyte Green, 26.2 Yellow, Vitamin C and Boston Red.

    Pedro, oh dont listen to Toe Jam.

    Soul has been the #1 or #2 seller in the B-Segment subcompact class for months averaging anywhere from 4500-6500 units. It outsells even the Accent now, which was in 2nd place behind Nissan Versa for 2 straight years.

    Between Hyundai and KIA they sell the most subcompacts a month out of anybody by far. They sell an avergae of 10,000-12,000 subcompacts a month. The Next Closest-Nissan sells about 10K a month tops. Then Honda, then MINI, then Toyota, and then Chevy.

  29. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    That will change of course.

    I predict in 2 years maybe:

    1. Hyundai/KIA (Accent looks sweet, Rio looks Sweet, Veloster, Soul, and Maybe Curb- No brainer.)
    2. Nissan (That New Versa they have looks ready to pile on the sales for the general (female) subcompact buyer.)
    3. GM (That Sonic is sweet, and if it had an $11K model-which it should. Sonic would pop)
    4. Honda (They are loyal)
    5. MINI (They have a loyal base now.)
    6. Ford (It’s too overpriced to get anything beyond this, unless Ford decise to add another subcompact, maybe a crossover and/or A Lincoln. If you did this you would definately beat Honda.)
    7. Toyota (They just DONT HAVE IT ANYMORE)


  30. Bob Says:

    “..you’re apparently curious if Hyundai plans to bring over a five-door Accent hatchback. Krafcik took the time to answer the question in the affirmative, and then used the opportunity to proclaim that a five-door Hyundai Accent hatchback “will kick the Fiesta’s butt.”"

    Having seen a pic of the New Accent (FAR, FAR better than the Current Accent),

    and Ford having BLUNDERED in pricing the fiesta up to a ridiculous $23k,

    I believe Krafcik’s prediction!

  31. Bob Says:


    The Prius Wagon (or whatever you want to call it) is here.

    It has 60% more room than the Prius III sedan

    BUT its drag coeff has gone down from 0.25 to 0.29.

    This is one reason its MPG is predicted 42 city and 38 highway, a full 20% LESS than that of the Awesome Prius III Sedan.

    STILL, given its huge space advantage over the Sedan, I predict it will sell very well, there arr plenty of families that would be delighted to have a carry-all wagon that can get 42 MPG Around Town (most of its use) and 38 MPG on long trips.

  32. Bob Says:

    (Its official name is Prius V for VERSATILE)

  33. Bob Says:

    Alex Kovnat Wrote:

    “At a Society of Automotive Engineers dinner meeting this past year, I suggested to one of the GM people that a problem with manual transmissions is, you have to be an expert and have to be in good form all the time to get the advertized fuel economy.”

    I agree. Autos used to be miserable 3 or 4 speed jobs in the past, but today with 6, 7 and 8 speed autos, they are usually actually Superior to the manuals in MPG, even if the manual is driven by a pro.

    Today’s manuals focus on PERFORmANCE, not so much on MPG. And given that 90%++ of all vehicles sold in the US are autos, the whole debate is academic, except that our largely auto fleet in the US will get far better MPG in the future thanks to the additional gears with extreme gear ratios (as little as 0.50)

  34. tj Martin Says:

    VeloToaster – Makes the Pontiac Aztec look good in comparison . Blind spots galore . With the Grill from Hell

    CURB – Should of been left at the Curb. Almost makes the VeloToaster look good . Almost

    If these two are a symbol ( along with KIA’s offerings ) of Hyundai/KIA’s design language to come , they’d better drop their prices even further so the Suburban/Urban Wanna Be Hamsters they’re marketing and designing these cars for can afford them. Because if Hyundai/KIA ( and their Shill H/S haven’t notice the unemployment figures for the 25 and under crowd is growing by the minute . Add that into the ridiculous College Debts they’ve incurred and a Virtual Sense ( no sense at all ) as to the value of a dollar and hard work . Well the fools that will be attracted to these pretentious piles won’t be having the money to purchase them.

    Five years till Hyundai/KIA hits the skids big time .If the Japanese/US/Euro Manufactures don’t drive the nail into the coffin the Chinese will . Six Months until they get slapped with their first major Recall .

    Any takers ?

  35. Bob Says:

    TJ MArtin: If you don’t like the US version of Top gear, there is little reason to like the UK version. The two are like identical twins in many respects. The US version luckily escapes the superfluous nonsense and drivel these 3 divas saturate the viewer in the UK version.

  36. Bob Says:

    Toyota also introduced a Prius C for compact city thing, but gave no specs I have seen so far. I bet this will be no better in MPG than the prius sedan, and will probably have much less room inside. And from its looks, I bet its HWY mpg will be less than the 47 MPG I got with the Prius II (not III) going from LAX to San Diego and back at 75 MPH on my cruise

  37. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    Thats a nice Fantasy you’re promoting , but missing more than a few facts like the complexity and lack of reliability of these new multi gear Auto Transmissions . Along with the FACT that the ” Awesome ” Prius outside of strictly CITY driving barely gets 3 mpg better than a Corvette C6 driven on the same roads , same speed by the same driver . Add in that the Prius in Real ( not test ) drivers hands never comes close to its advertised mpg when measured from the tank , not the on board computer that ahh … to put it nicely ….. LIES !

  38. Bob Says:

    Still, Toyota claims the Prius C WILL be more fuel efficient than the aWesome Prius III sedan!

    “Toyota promises that it will be the most fuel-efficient hybrid (that doesn’t need a plug) and will be the most “value-oriented hybrid” in the United States”

    I’ll take their word for it. Choices, choices! The three Prius variants are all quite attractive to me then, and depending on the size of my family at that time, I may buy either one of the three (if I buy one at all)

  39. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    UK Top Gear – All three were serious automotive journalists( May having understudied with the all time great LJKS ) .
    All three are serious GearHeads . The three have very different personalities and appeal to different folks . Their stunts are original . And they have a much bigger budget. They get a much better selection of cars , not to mention cars we’ll never see here otherwise . They work together as a team

    Top Gear USA – Only Tanner Faust has ANY background in cars at all and thats in Drifting and X Games crap . None have ANY journalism background . The Stunts are CHEAP copies of the TG UK Stunts . The cars they’re choosing for the show are for the most part a Joke . All three appeal to one specific age group and mentality . Three separate entities with little or no team work at all . Plus cheap well worn jokes and one liners .

    Where you come up with your conclusions from is beyond me but does show
    A) A distinct lack of critical thinking on your part
    B) Lack of knowledge on the backgrounds of the presenters
    C) A very distinct lack of a sophisticated sense of humor and sarcasm ( which TG US is sadly lacking)

  40. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    Rule # 1 – NEVER take any manufactures claims at face value . In fact ASSUME they’re lying thru their teeth until PROVEN otherwise .

    Rules 2- 10 . Re-Read Rule # 1 until it becomes a MANTRA in your subconscious .

  41. tj Martin Says:

    Top Gear UK vs Top Gear USA summary ;

    Top Gear UK – the Marx Brothers

    Top Gear USA – Beer addled versions of the Three Stooges

  42. tj Martin Says:

    bddaa bdda bdda ……


  43. Bob Says:

    I’ll take TOYOTA’s word any time.

  44. Bob Says:

    Rule 2. If I want comedy, I watch SNL or Seinfeld or even the OFFICE, not Top gear.

  45. Bob Says:

    We still need a SERIOUS Automotive show with COMPREHENSIVE test drives. Top Gear US or UK obviously do not cut it, and neither do Motorweek or even John’s Autoline.

  46. Bob Says:

    Another thing about Top Gear UK is their ridiculous bias for crappy UK-made autos such as JAGS when compared to the stellar MErcs or Bimmers of the same segment.

  47. Bob Says:

    And spare me the insults, MArtin. You know far better than that.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    for serious car reviews, I don’t even bother turning on the TV, instead I go online and do a search and all kinds of reviews are available, some goofy and stupid, some half-way decent, it all depends on the source. MPGOmatic does a decent job but puts a lot of emphasis on mileage and has even given kudos to the universally panned Aveo. (RIP)

  49. Bob Says:

    The old Aveo was actually not good at MPG, esp. given its tiny weight, size and engine.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Aveo has been such a POS for GM that they really need to hit a home run with this poorly-named Sonic. Just like they did with the CRuze over the Cobalt. Nothing about it can be remotely associated with the one it replaces. I think Nova would have been a better name.

  51. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all. and happy new year.

    the sonic name for the aveo replacement is not good imho, however the aveo name does not have any credibility in the north american market. so the name had to go.

    hyundaismoke, the veloster will not be getting the 2.0 litre turbo engine. it will be a 1.6 litre turbo di engine. a compelling package, but will be in competition with the fiesta ecoboost. hyundai/kia has come a long way, but will be facing stiff competition in the years ahead.

    absolutely no surprise in the volt named north american car of the year. say what you will, it moves the game on technologically. and of course looks are subjective.

    the cruze with the 1.4 litre turbo will come with a manual and an automatic. but right now, the manual only comes in the eco version. someone is going to upgrade that turbo engine within the year.

    all in all, the new year is going to be a good one for the auto industry.


  52. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Ok Toe jam, you have a point, about that Youth unemployment rate. However, they’ll get some sales Toyota Man. Despite that high Youth Unemployment rate, Average Accent Sales are still going up. Mind you this is a controversial love it or hate it car in it’s 5th year in cycle, about to be replaced by next gen.

    Bob may not be a fan of the current Accent’s looks, but it’s a fun little car to fling around, and when you mod the thing it’s a blast. That’s why it’s been one of the 3 top sellers in that class for years.

    The Veloster takes that Accent Hatch “Fun to Fling” Formula to the next level. The 5 door Accent will be fun, but it’s primed for Eco geeks on the MPG front. I really hope Hyundai doesn’t punk out on that Accent (Prius beater) Hybrid. They have had the Gen II small car Hybrid tech for 4 years now, and excited many small car lovers about Accent hybrids.

    Krafcik said yesterday Hyundai will meet 35 CAFE much earlier than 2016- meaning 18 months. In 18 months everything will have debuted, and Hyundai will be testing Next Gen Genesis. The next set of models after that would come in the 2016/2017/2918 MY.

    The only way they can do it is Accent Has to get 45 MPG standard, with 50 MPG Hybrids.

    BTW, KIA KV-7 Concept the Design Direction for Next Gen KIA Sedona Minivan. It will look 70% like the Sweet for a Minican Concept.

    I loathe Minivans, but this 21st Century take of a VW transporter KIA has going is sweet. If they price it right, it cound be Gen Ys Hippie van.

  53. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Vrmchris Hyundai spokeman said in an Inside line interview yesterday it will get 2.0 Di Turbo from the Sonata as a Low volume “Hot” version.

    There will be a 1.6 Di Turbo Version too, but the 2.0 will be the “hot hatch.”

  54. Bob Says:

    “say what you will, it (the volt) moves the game on technologically. and of course looks are subjective”

    I’ll repeat what i said many times. Find me ANY driver of the 308,000,000 Americans, for whom the Volt makes ANY economic sense, EVEN after we the taxpayers are robbed of $7,500 for every single one that is sold, and in many states, of much more than $7,500!!!!

    Technology MUST BE FEASIBLE, and the Volt is NOT.

    maybe the next gen Plug-in and EVs can be competitive, but with today’s battery tech they sure are NOT.

    The awards are a JOKE.

    people will vote with their WALLETS, and in that vote,

    the excellent Chevy CRUZE will get 10 times the votes the volt will get, easily!

  55. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    In fact Insidie line is reccomending for people to NOT buy Veloster until it gets that 2.0 Di Turbo.