Posts Tagged ‘German SUVs’

Porsche Spices Up Cayenne for 2015

New SUV borrows E-Hybrid platform from Panamera.

by on Jul.24, 2014

The 2015 Porsche Cayenne Turbo is one of four models available in the maker's portfolio for the SUV.

Sport-utilities have been zipping off dealer lots this year and Porsche looks to take advantage of that by finally unveiling an update to its popular Cayenne SUV that’s already sold half-a-million copies since its introduction in 2002.

While the 2015 model does get some freshening on the outside, it’s the number of choices in the Cayenne portfolio that catches the eye. For the third iteration, the Porsche presents four options in the U.S.: Cayenne Diesel, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo, and Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which is the first plug-in hybrid in the premium SUV segment.

Fuel for Thought!

In fact, Porsche brags that it is the only automaker with three plug-in hybrid models in its line-up – the other two being the Panamera S E-Hybrid and the 918 Spyder. Borrowed from the aforementioned Panamera, the new Cayenne E-Hybrid pairs a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 333 horsepower to an electric motor with 95 hp for a combined 416 hp. (more…)

VW Will Build New 7-Seat SUV in US

May require additional plant or expansion in Chattanooga.

by on Oct.25, 2012

The new 7-seater will be smaller and less expensive than the current VW Touareg model.

Volkswagen has confirmed it will build an all-new 7-seat, 3-row SUV specifically designed for the American market that will slot in-between the current VW Touareg and Tiguan models.

The German maker’s chief executive also revealed that the as yet-unnamed model will be produced somewhere in the United States, though he didn’t say where. That leaves VW the option of either expanding its existing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee or building a second plant.

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The new model will slot in-between VW’s current base utility vehicle, the $22,995 Tiguan, and the top-line, $43,000 Touareg, CEO Martin Winterkorn said during an appearance in New York City.


Volkswagen Adding Two New Crossover/Utes

Seven-seater and compact in the works, maker reveals.

by on Oct.19, 2012

The real battle for world dominance will be in China where VW is firmly entrenched.

VW plans to take on rivals GM and Toyota by expanding its crossover line-up.

A relative latecomer to the SUV and CUV markets, Volkswagen is looking to catch up fast. Several senior executives have now revealed plans that appear to include both a full-size ute, as well as something smaller than VW’s current compact, the Tiguan.

The maker is likely to target one or both of these at the U.S. market where it is racing to regain a bigger share after years of neglect. It is possible that development work may, in fact, be spearheaded by newly-expanded development operations in California.

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The new models, meanwhile, will offer VW an opportunity to test the limits of its all-new platform program, a strategy that uses just five individual “architectures” as the base for more than 200 different models sold through the group’s dozen different automotive brands.


Porsche Bringing New Cayenne GTS to Beijing

Higher power, lower chassis = better performance.

by on Apr.13, 2012

The Porsche Cayenne GTS getting ready to roll into Beijing later this month.

Automakers will get one more shot to trot out their latest and greatest products as the Beijing Motor Show prepares to get underway before the car show circuit takes its summer hiatus.  And Porsche is preparing for China by giving us a sneak peek at the maker’s updated 2013 Cayenne GTS.

Don’t be surprised if it seems familiar.  The GTS has a lot in common, at least visually, with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, including the front fascia and hood.  But under that hood you’ll find a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V-8 that makes 420 horsepower, 20 more than the current Cayenne S model.

The Last Word!

To further improve the fun factor, Porsche is lowering the GTS ride height by 20 mm – or nearly an inch – while also adopting a lower final drive ratio.

The Cayenne GTS isn’t an entire clone of the Turbo.  Exterior modifications include blacked-out window frames and quad exhaust tips, as well as wider fenders, lower sills and a double-wing roof spoiler.


First Look: Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Who says the Hummer is gone?

by on Apr.12, 2012

Like the GL and GLK, Mercedes is updating the big G-Class for 2013.

Who says the Hummer is dead?  All right, the big tri-star on the hood is a clear giveaway, but like the abandoned General Motors off-roader, the Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen is the sort of go-anywhere brute that gets folks to move aside when they see it approaching in the rearview mirror.

Known to Americans as the Mercedes G-Class, the civilian SUV with military roots has been around for 33 years without much change, and that holds with the latest update.  Nonetheless, the 2013 G-Class does fall a little more in line with the Mercedes-Benz GL and GLK models that were introduced, earlier this month, at the New York Auto Show.

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“Our G-Class has been a force to be reckoned with for the last 33 years. In its latest evolutionary stage, it offers state-of-the­-art, powerful engines, a further improved range of luxurious appointments and the very latest safety features, as well, of course, as its now legendary off-road capabilities,” says Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Mercedes parent Daimler. “At the same time the design remains true to its down-to-earth, unmistakable style.”


Porsche Approves Cajun Crossover

New crossover set for 2013 launch.

by on Mar.16, 2011

Porsche formally approves the Cajun crossover.

It was only a matter of time.

With the Cayenne now the single most popular model in the Porsche line-up it was only a question of finding the right crossover to add to the model mix, and now the Germans have apparently found what they’re looking for – giving the go to the much-discussed Cajun concept.

The downsized crossover, which looks like the love child of a 911 and a Cayenne, will be produced at the Porsche plant in Leipzig – which means Cajun will be built alongside both the Cayenne and the 4-door Panamera, another model that has stretched the limits of what defines a Porsche.

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Plans call for a whopping 1.5 square-mile expansion of the Leipzig plant, with work to begin sometime this year.  While Porsche isn’t revealing specifics, that would hint at a launch of the new model sometime in 2013, either as a 2013 or ’14 model.  The project is expected to add another 1,000 jobs at the Leipzig plant, according to a Porsche press release.  The facility first opened in 2002 to produce the Cayenne, the Panamera being added seven years later.

The Cajun will be slightly lower and shorter – but wider – than the Audi Q5, which reflects the fact they’ll share key underpinnings, much as the Porsche Cayenne has been a fraternal twin of the Volkswagen Touareg.


First Drive: 2010 BMW X1 xDrive 20d

New plant, new car… new opportunities?

by on Oct.02, 2009

BMW hopes to score another success with the latest Sport-Activity Vehicle, the 2010 BMW X1.

BMW hopes to score another success with the latest Sport-Activity Vehicle, the 2010 BMW X1.

BMW has a way of pushing off into uncharted territory and coming back with a solid hit.  Remember the X5?  It was anything but a sure bet when the so-called “Sport Activity Vehicle” belatedly launched the automaker into the then-booming luxury SUV segment.  But it went on to become a solid success, with more than a million sold worldwide, so far.

Then came the downsized X3, and the more recent X6, each generating controversy, and eventually, plenty of sales, on their own.  All told, the various X models now account for nearly a fifth of BMW’s global sales.  And that could grow even larger with the launch of the smallest member of that expanding family, the 2010 BMW X1 xDrive 20d – which makes its entry into the European market on October 24th, though a U.S. introduction date is unclear.

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It’s been a bit of a rush job getting the X1 to market on time, and in this case that means BMW has shortened the development and preproduction time by 40% compared to prior X models. The Germans realized soon after the decision to build the X1 was made, in 2006, that speed was of the essence. Gas prices were shooting sky high and downsizing was a solution.  Though fuel prices may have fallen since last year, BMW still sees this as an urgent goal.