The complete 328d range, which includes sedan and wagon bodystyles, the latter offered exclusively with all-wheel drive, comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that develops a stout 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.
BMW says the engine should deliver 0-60 mph times of just over seven seconds when matched to a standard eight-speed automatic.
This week, the EPA released its fuel economy figures for the range and the most frugal, as expected, is the rear-wheel-drive 328d sedan, which rates in at 32/45 mpg city/highway and 37 mpg combined. As the guys at Autoblog point out, that’s better than the smaller Volkswagen Jetta TDI’s 30/42 mpg.
It’s also significantly better than the former 335d, which rated only 23 mpg in the city, although its six-cylinder engine was more powerful than the four-cylinder unit in the latest 328d. ( Continue… )
The Highway Loss Data Institute recently reported on the Ford F-250 pickup's popularity among car thieves. But as nice as the F-250 can be, the National Insurance Crime Bureau knows that some brand-conscious baddies have a taste for high-end marques. And so, it's published a list of the ten luxury rides that car thieves love.
To gather its data, the NICB looked at auto thefts reported over four calendar years: 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. According to the organization, 4,384 luxury vehicles were stolen during that period.
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To add some nuance to its analysis, the NICB divided cars into three segments: compact luxury, mid-sized luxury, and premium luxury. Between 2009 and 2012, 2,150 compact luxury cars were stolen -- considerably more than the 1,734 mid-sized luxury cars and the 500 premium luxury cars that went missing. (Though the NICB doesn't say so, we'd guess that compacts were most popular with thieves because they're cheaper and thus, more numerous than mid-size and premium models.)
And so, the moment you've all been waiting for -- the 10 most-stolen luxury rides: ( Continue… )
Detroit may be bankrupt, but Detroit’s automakers are on a roll.
General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler all announced double-digit year-over-year increases in sales for July. So did Honda, Toyota, and Nissan as the auto industry looks to achieve its best year in sales since 2007.
In July, the industry sold cars and light trucks at an annual rate of 15.7 million, slightly down from June’s figures. But industry analysts suggest that strong sales in the fall could push the industry to the 16 million mark – a post-recession high.
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The reason for the optimism? Trucks.
With sales already running strong during the first six months of the year, trucks notched another big month in July. That suggests the momentum will continue into the fall. ( Continue… )
Sales of plug-in electric cars continued at a relatively steady pace in July, keeping the sector on track for something near 100,000 sales by the end of the year.
While last month's half-year total wasn't quite enough to double the 2012 total of 53,000 electric cars, sales are now running at an average of more than 7,000 a month--with variations in each car from month to month.
Nissan sold 1,864 Leaf battery-electric cars--a record for July sales, though not an all-time monthly high.
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That brings Leaf sales for the first seven months of 2013 to 11,703, which is more Leafs than the company sold in the U.S. during all of 2011 or 2012.
Thind paid only $1 for the car as part of the trial, which will last just one year before the car goes back to Nissan.
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Not everyone gets a Nissan Leaf for $1 of course, but Thind is already discovering the running cost benefits--whether charging at home or paying $7 for the 3.5 hours of driving a charge gets him in New York's summer heat.
Overall, Thind says he pays around $11 a day in electricity, around $4 of which is his overnight charge at home. Compare that to his previous gas costs--around $50--and it's easy to see the appeal. It comfortably offsets the $25 a day less he makes having to turn down trips that may be a little long for the car--"you are limited to how far you can go," he told the Post--and Thind says he earns higher tips from customers. ( Continue… )
Just a few years ago, Toyota's future seemed pretty grim. In 2010, the automaker initiated a huge recall of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, which generated months of bad press and, for some consumers, a lingering mistrust of the brand. (Even though some claims of "unintended acceleration" turned out to be hoaxes.)
In March of the following year, Toyota and other Japanese automakers suffered a crippling blow in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The twin disasters caused more than 15,000 deaths, destroyed countless homes, businesses, and factories, and seriously curtailed Toyota's ability to produce vehicles. The situation only got worse in the second half of 2011, as flooding in Thailand took another bite out of Toyota's manufacturing capacity.
But things are very different now. The recall headlines are gone, if not forgotten, and Toyota's production has returned to previous levels.
And that may explain, in part, why Toyota is now the world's biggest automaker.
According to Detroit News, Toyota sold 4.91 million vehicles during the first six months of the year. That gives Toyota a slim lead over #2 automaker General Motors, which sold 4.85 million vehicles from January 1 through June 30. (Volkswagen came in third with 4.7 million.)
Toyota can't rest on its laurels, though. The company's sales are off 1.2 percent for the year, hurt largely by slow sales in China, where Toyota and other Japanese automakers have endured boycotts and problems in the wake of territorial disputes between Japan and China.
General Motors, on the other hand, is on a roll, with sales up four percent in the U.S. this year. And for a portion of the second quarter, GM even outpaced Toyota's global sales.
What's keeping Toyota ahead of the pack? The answer could be as simple as its heavy trucks -- the sort of trucks that GM doesn't make. As the world's economy recovers, causing upticks in construction, shipping, and other industries, sales of big trucks are growing. That gives Toyota something of an edge -- at least for now.
Mazda is keen on making a diesel impact this year. Many folks are waiting to get their hands on the upcoming oil-burning Mazda6. It's the first time a Japanese automaker has sold a diesel mill here in the States since it came attached to a vehicle wearing an Isuzu badge.
Since this is Mazda we're talking about, the automaker is also applying the diesel tech to its racecar. That racing machine is heading to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week, which makes it the first diesel-powered racer to hit the Brickyard in 61 years.
Back in 1952, the Cummins Diesel Special took to the track to compete in the Indianapolis 500. The Kurtis Kraft car was powered by a 6.6-liter in-line six-cylinder turbocharged diesel motor that was good for 380 horsepower.
Today, the Mazda SKYACTIV Diesel racecar "makes do" with a much smaller 2.2-liter turbocharged diesel mill. This unit is good for around 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque.
The Mazda machine made a bit of history of its own when it became the first-ever diesel powered racecar to run at Daytona. Now it's bringing the diesel tech to the Brickyard, and taking over where the 1952 Cummins Diesel Special left off. It's even more special when you consider how close to stock the Mazda motor actually is.
Mazda states that 51 percent of the engine parts are stock, and 63 percent of the weight is stock. Once that diesel-drinking Mazda6 hits the streets, we expect many a tuner will be learning new tricks to tune that four door.
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The BMW i3, or MegaCity vehicle as it was once known, has finally been unveiled, and it's an interesting mixture of traits and capabilities. But will it set the new benchmark for urban motoring when it hits the streets in 2014?
To answer that question--at least preliminarily--we'll have to examine the key features of any electric vehicle aiming for city commuter dollars: range, features, capabilities, and cost.
Using its 22-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and 170-horsepower rear-mounted motor, the rear-drive i3 is good for about 80 to 100 all-electric miles, according to BMW. Add in the 34-horsepower, 650-cc two-cylinder gasoline range extender and that roughly doubles.
The i3's drivetrain setup is similar to that of the Chevrolet Volt, but unlike the Volt, the i3's range-extending gasoline engine isn't capable of driving the wheels directly, even partially--it simply serves as an on-board generator, maintaining the battery's charge. ( Continue… )
The PIRG study made a number of intriguing claims, all of which pointed to the fact that driving in the U.S. peaked in 2004. And due to a range of factors -- notably, the increased use of mass transit and less interest in car ownership -- it's unlikely that driving rates will ever fully recover.
Now, Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has published a study of his own that seems to back the PIRG's claims.
To reach his conclusions, Sivak examined driving trends in the U.S. from 1984 to 2011. He paid particular attention to the distances traveled per licensed driver, per vehicle, and per household.
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On each of those counts, the figures have plummeted since 2004.
According to a press release, the number of miles driven per licensed driver and per household have both tumbled 9 percent. The number of miles traveled per registered vehicle is off 5 percent:
The latest rates (2011) are: distance driven per person, 8,494 miles (down from 9,314 in 2004); distance driven per licensed driver, 12,492 miles (down from 13,711 in 2004); distance driven per household, 22,069 miles (down from 24,349 in 2004); and distance driven per registered vehicle, 11,318 miles (down from 11,946 in 2004).
( Continue… )
The Chevrolet Impala has been so mediocre for so long, it's nearly impossible to imagine it as new. Towards the end of the last generation, it became the darling of rental fleets everywhere. Meanwhile the competition stepped up its game with the updated Chrysler 300, Toyota Avalon, and even a new comer, the Kia Cadenza. Can the new 2014 Chevrolet Impala fast-toward over the past and beat the competition?
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