Toyota’s Fun Concept Is What Our Camry Should Have Looked Like

Sure, it’s a concept, but it still looks amazing

I’ll get this out of the way: I’m not a fan of the new Toyota Camry’s design. I know it runs counter to what most have said about the sedan, but I’m not sold on it. The new Camry may look more alive than its ho-hum predecessors, but it feels like Toyota just threw in design pieces from a lot of its other models and decided to adopt it for the new Camry. The result is a little messy and lacks the kind of aesthetic consistency that, say, the Honda Accord has in sprinkles. Fast forward to the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and there’s a model from Toyota called the Fun Concept. I say that’s what the Camry should have looked like from the very beginning.

I know it’s a concept, so there’s more design leeway there to be forward-thinking, but if you look at it, there’s little that’s overbearingly futuristic about the Fun Concept’s design that Toyota couldn’t have adopted on the production version of the Camry. The sharp, slanted headlight configuration already has similarities to the Toyota Mirai and the sharp bumper, grille, and intakes all provide the kind of aggressive design nods that elevate the concept’s sporty and refined look. As a whole, the Fun Concept already looks like it’s ready to hit production anytime soon. There are even some whispers in Shanghai that indicate it’s in the auto show to provide a small glimpse into the future of the Camry in the Chinese market. If it does end up that way, it’s going to feel like a missed opportunity for Toyota as far as the U.S. market is concerned.

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2018 Subaru WRX

A mid-cycle update brings improved suspension and other little bits of happiness

The Subaru WRX is one of those sporty sedan rally cars that every enthusiast should drive at least once in their life. It went through a generational shift for the 2015 model year that made it even better, bringing new exterior looks, a longer A-Pillar, LED exterior lighting, a roomier interior, better outward visibility, and a new 2.0-liter four-banger that was 0.5-liters smaller than the outgoing unit but offered three extra ponies and 14 extra pound-feet which really helped to offset the 50+ pound weight gain than came with the new-gen model. It’s only been a couple of years since the new-gen model hit showrooms, and Subie has been busy putting together some minor revisions for the 2018 model year. There’s no power gain to speak of, unfortunately, but there is some minor exterior styling updates, improved suspension setup, updated manual transmission, and a new optional Performance pack – the latter of which you really want to know about if you’re hoping to ride off into the sunset with a new WRX.

So, while there isn’t a lot of big news in the aesthetics department, the mechanical bits under the metal got some serious reworking, and it’s exactly what the doctor ordered. Plus there are upgraded interior materials, a new rear-seat armrest (with cup holders,) and a few updates to help cut down on unwanted noise bleed through from the road For those of you into technology, the infotainment display has grown up a bit as well, with the screen size in base trims growing by 1.5 inches while the screen in the Premium trim grows by 0.8 inches.

For a mid-cycle update, there’s actually quite a bit to talk about when it comes to the WRX. Oh, and before I forget, the WRX STI also got some significant updates, so if you’re looking to get your hands on one of those, our man Jonathan Lopez has all of the details in his full review of that 300-horsepower beast here. Anyway, let’s scroll down and see what the 2018 Subaru WRX has to offer!

Update: 4/20/2017: Subaru has announced pricing for the 2018 Subaru WRX. Check out the prices section below to learn just how much it’ll cost you to roll out in a brand-new Subie!

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Mercedes-AMG S 63 And S 65 Updated In Shanghai; Still Silly Fast

Comfort, style, and a boot full of velocity

Merc’s flagship four-door just got a buncha upgrades at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, and while the German automaker puts fuel efficiency and a cylinder deactivation system at the top of its list, fear not – both models are still crazy fast. Tweaks were applied to the engine, transmission, and AWD system, not to mention the exterior styling and interior design, and the result is a mighty slab of Teutonic speed and luxury that’s every inch worthy of bearing the Mercedes torch.

Let’s jump straight into the greasy bits, starting with the S 63 4Matic+. This thing gets a new 4.0-liter turbo V-8, ditching the old 5.5-liter turbo V-8 and replacing the lost displacement with more boost. Final output figures come to 612 horsepower, which is 27 horses more than the old 5.5-liter lump. The 4.0-liter also makes an impressive 554 pound-feet of torque starting at just 2,750 rpm. Apply all that power, and you’ll go 0-to-62 mph in 3.5 seconds.

Cog swaps are handled by a 9-seed automatic gearbox, which replaces the old 7-speed box. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, although the optional Driver’s Package raises the limit to 186 mph.

Meanwhile, the even-faster S 65 gets the same 6.0-liter turbo V-12 as before, producing a very mighty 630 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is also a carryover, with a 7–speed automatic onboard to route the muscle.

Looking for more info? Continue reading for further specs and numbers.

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Meet the Qoros K-EV – A Concept Set to Enter Production by 2019

It’s bold and crazy, and exactly what the brand needs to propel it into the future

In the midst of a massive automotive revolution in China, a small company known as Chery Quantum Automotive Corporation was birthed out of the blue. By 2011, the name was changed to Qoros Auto Co. Ltd, with responsibility split between Chery and Kenon Holdings. During it’s time in existence, the Chinese brand has put just two names into production – the Qoros 3 and Qoros 5 SUV. In fairness, the 3 can be had in SUV, sedan, hatchback, and GT, but they all look nearly identical outside of a few structural changes. So, one could say they have 5 models on the market, if you really want to get technical about things. Now, in what one could only call an excessively bold move for a new-ish company, the brand has debuted a new concept called the K-EV. It’s an electric vehicle that is said to be able to hit 62 mph in 2.6 seconds and has a range of around 310 miles. Full details on the electric drivetrain are scarce, but the that doesn’t matter because there’s something crazy going on with its exterior design.

I mean, seriously, what is going on here? This thing has four doors, three of which are wildly different. The rear passenger door slides open, the front passenger door is front-hinged and opens like a regular car door, while the driver’s door is a gullwing door. I mean it’s certainly interesting, but very out-of-the-box. What’s even crazier, however, is that this concept supposedly previews a model that will go into production in 2019. That I really want to see, but for now, keep reading to learn a little more about this unique and bold concept.

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Posted on by Robert Moore  

The Acura TLX fights for dominance in a tough segment with models like the BMW 3 Series, Alfa Romeo Giulia, and Mercedes C-Class, among others. It’s a war-torn battlefield where models must be updated frequently to keep up, and things are always changing. As such, Acura has stayed on top of its game with the TLX, and just a few years after being introduced, it has gone through a facelift that brought about a new look to the front and rear, including the new Precision grille, lots of LED lights, and some updated technology inside to help it stay relevant. The updated TLX debuted at the New York Auto show, and just days later, Acura pulled the sheet off of another TLX – this time in prototype form with a longer wheelbase.

Obviously, Acura is trying to judge public interest in a LWB TLX in the one market that glorifies long vehicles with excessive room in the rear. It’s a status symbol, really, and the TLX in longer form should be more than sufficient for the wealthy Chinese businessman who would rather be driven. Acura hasn’t said much about this prototype and has only released a couple of images. The exterior is identical to the model we saw here in the U.S., with the exception of it having an extra-long roof, kick panels, and rear door. How much longer is it? Well, Acura didn’t say, but judging its length by the pictures provided, I’m guessing it’s somewhere around 4.5-inches longer. That should boost rear legroom up to around 38.5-inches, up from 34.5-inches in the standard model. There’s no word on any interior changes outside of the potential for extra legroom, but I suspect Acura would cater to the Chinese market well and offer plenty of rear-seat amenities like reclining seats, leg rests, rear infotainment, etc…

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BMW 5 Series Gets Extra Large For China

More legroom for the world’s largest car market

Launched for the 2017 model year, the latest-generation BMW 5 Series is already available globally in many versions, include the station wagon and the beefed-up Alpina. Come the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and the German brand introduced the long-wheelbase variant, a sedan specifically designed for the Chinese market.

To be built in China in a factory owned by the BMW Group and BMW Brilliance Automotive, the brand’s partner in the Asian country, the 5 Series LWB features a 133mm (5.2-inch) longer wheelbase that adds extra passenger room in the rear and gives the sedan a more business-oriented, stretched look.

Based on the recently unveiled 5 Series, the LWB version benefits from the same improvements as the standard model, starting with a reduced overall weight and optimized aerodynamics. The sedan is up to 130 kg (287 pounds) lighter, depending on trim and equipment. Styling is also identical to the regular-length 5 Series inside and out, but the LWB model gets a few extras inside the cabin.

On top of the extra legroom, passengers seated in the rear will enjoy a seating position that is even more comfortable as well as optimized soundproofing. There is also the option of comfort seats that are sculpted to feel more like individual seats. They also include electrically adjustable backrest tilt for the outer seats, specially designed head restraints and a center armrest with integral Touch Command unit. The removable tablet can be used for controlling a variety of functions, including the seat position and the infotainment system. Additionally, the position of the front passenger seat can be adjusted from the rear too. Don’t have enough room? Just push the button and squeeze the front passenger into the dashboard.

Finally, customers can opt for the Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof with integral LED light graphic which, according to the automaker, is unique in this segment.

The 5 Series LWB will be offered in three different trims, standard, Luxury Line, and M Sport. The Luxury Line equipment variant standard out by means of a chrome strip that runs the entire width of the front bumper, while M Sport models can be easily recognized by their larger lower intake that is split into three sections.

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Lucid Motors Crashes Back To Earth, Admits It Needs More Money

Seems ironic now that one of its models is called Lucid Air

Over-promising and under-delivering isn’t a good business practice. Lucid Motors is learning that the hard way after the company’s chief technology officer, Peter Rawlinson, admitted to Automotive News that it’s going to need more money before it can make good on its promise to be a game-changing electric car maker.

According to Rawlinson, the company is looking to secure its next series of financing before it can proceed with breaking ground on a $700 million production facility in Arizona that will house the production of the Lucid Air electric sedan. The company is touting the car as the first real challenger to the Tesla Model S. More cautiously, Rawlinson added that it would be “irresponsible to start moving fast or start anything until we have a financial runway to execute that professionally and with absolute integrity.”

The statement comes with a tinge of humility – one that flies against what the company said in December 2016 when it stood on a pulpit and proudly and quite loudly told anybody willing to listen it was going to take the fight to Tesla. Its vehicle was promised to beat the Model S in several conceivable ways, including a range of more than 400 miles thanks to a larger battery pack. The startup alluded to its partnership with Samsung SDI as its trump card, confident that despite the ills Samsung has been through in recent years, it still had a product that could reshape the electric car industry in the future.

None of that will matter though if Lucid can’t find the funds it needs to get the project off the ground. That’s the most pressing issue Lucid Motors will have to deal with, although at this point, it might be better for the company to tone down on the rhetoric before it knows it has a product that can literally live up to them.

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Mercedes-Benz can be credited with inventing several niches in the auto market recently, most notably with the CLS and CLA four-door coupes (and their Shooting Brake/wagon variants). However, the German firm fell behind the competition in the smaller sedan market. While Audi has been selling the A3 Sedan since 2013 and BMW recently introduced the 1 Series Sedan in China, Stuttgart has yet to launch a similar offering. But, this will end soon and the Concept A Sedan that Mercedes unveiled at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show proves that a four-door smaller than the CLA is in the works.

As you might have already guessed from the name, the Concept A Sedan previews a sedan version of the familiar A-Class. However, the production model won’t arrive until the fourth-generation hatchback is launched, which should happen in a couple of years. Although Mercedes-Benz didn’t actually confirm the A-Class sedan, the concept is described as "an outlook of the next generation of compact vehicles and a potential new body type." Take this statement and the fact that both Audi, and BMW have cars in this segment, and the A-Class sedan is pretty certain to happen.

As with all concepts, the Concept A Sedan is rather futuristic compared to the current-generation A-Class. While the front bumper and grille are very familiar, the styling is decidedly sportier and has an AMG-GT vibe to it. In the company’s own words, the concept "shows that the time of creases is over" and is "the next milestone of ’Sensual Purity’ and has the potential to introduce a new design era."

All told, the show car could very well preview the design of the upcoming A-Class hatchback before finding its way onto the production sedan. On the other hand, I wouldn’t bet on them being as aggressive as the concept. I also don’t expect the UV-treated headlamps, which "glow" in different colors depending on light, to become a production feature.

However, Mercedes gives us a few hints as to how large this compact sedan will be. At 179.9 inches long and 73.6 inches wide, it’s almost 11 inches longer and 3.5 inches wider than the current A-Class sedan. Compared to the CLA, it’s only three inches shorter, but 3.5 inches wider. As expected, it slots right below the CLA, but the production model will probably be a bit shorter than the concept. On the other hand, a similar length could work as the CLA is marketed as a four-door coupe, while the A-Class sedan will be sold as a conventional four-door.

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The Mercedes S-Class Gets the Facelift it Deserves in Shanghai

New tech and semi-autonomous drive, new engines

When Mercedes-Benz introduced the latest-generation S-Class in 2013, a new benchmark in the luxury class was established. And although BMW launched a redesigned 7 Series just last year, the S-Class remained the top-selling sedan in this class thanks to its imposing looks, tremendous interior, and state-of-the-art tech. But the sedan is already three years old as of 2017 and Mercedes has now rolled out a facelifted version with even more goodies.

Unveiled at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, the revised S-Class is almost identical to the outgoing model as far as looks go. Novelties include a redesigned grille with three twin louvers and vertical strips in high-gloss black, new LED lights, and lower rear bumper section. However, modifications are more notable inside and under the hood.

The cabin now comes with the company’s latest 12.3-inch screens in the instrument cluster and center stack. The full-size also gained the Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel that respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone. This feature debuted on the latest E-Class last year. Additionally, the S-Class received all the semi-autonomous driving tech from its smaller sibling, including Distronic Active Proximity Control, which uses GPS data to slow the car down for roundabouts, junctions, and corners, among others.

As far as materials go, there are two new natural grain ash wood trim offerings and three new upholstery color combinations, Silk Beige/Deep-Sea Blue, Magma Grey/Espresso Brown and Mahogany/Silk Beige.

There’s even bigger news under the hood, especially for customers in Europe. A 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder diesel replaced the existing V-6. The new mill cranks out 282 horsepower and 443 pound-feet in the S350d (a 27-horsepower increase and 14-pound-foot decrease) and 335 horses and 516 pound-feet in the S400d. The latter is the most powerful diesel Mercedes-Benz ever. In the gasoline department, the S500 model was replaced by the S560, with the old 4.7-liter V-8 ditched in favor of the newer, twin-turbo, 4.0-liter with 463 horsepower, and 516 pound-feet, and cylinder deactivation for enhanced fuel economy.

The revised sedan will hit showrooms in July, likely with a slightly higher price tag.

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All BMW Brought To New York Was A Set Of Wheels

A surprisingly meager effort from the Bavarians

All things considered, I’d argue the 2017 New York International Auto Show turned out to be pretty decent. The list of debuts ended up including stuff that’s fast, stuff that’s fancy, and a few things that are actually kinda weird. Nevertheless, a few of the automakers in attendance didn’t really bring their A-game for 2017, including BMW. You see, the only new stuff propped up at the Bimmer booth this year was a couple sets of upgraded wheels.

That said, they are pretty nice wheels. First up are large multi-spoke rollers finished in silver and fitted to a BMW M4 Convertible. The silver color is nicely complemented by the drop-top’s Yas Marina Blue exterior, filling the flared fenders with purpose. Get them as part of the optional Competition Package.

Then there are dark, split five-spoke wheels shown on a scorching Austin Yellow M3. Finished in black, these rollers look awesome alongside the dark-colored trim on the sporty four-door, and come offered in a variety of sizes between 19 and 20 inches in diameter. The Bavarians call them 763M, and they come direct from the brand’s M tuning division.

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