At the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, FIAT showed a mysterious concept car called the “FIAT 500 BEV”. Journalists were told this was a working title for the little car on display and the BEV suffix stood for Battery Electric Vehicle. There wasn’t much data released at the show so it appears that FIAT simply wanted to make the statement that “they too” were investing in the electric car concept. Journalists noted that electric drivetrain part was fantastic but the car’s utilitarian look needed a little help.
Well, fast forward two years and things have changed a little. Now officially named the Fiat 500E, Fiat has jazzed things up a little and the first FIAT 500Es will be shown to the public at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show starting Nov. 30, 2012. Pictured below in striking orange decor, the first 500Es will be available first in California. We visited our Arrigo Palm Beach FIAT dealer and they suggested that later in 2013 that they may be released to other FIAT dealers.
As far as technology details are concerned, we are told that Chrysler technology is behind the 500E’s electric running gear. This makes perfect sense as it would seem a natural to install an all-electric drivetrain into the FIAT 500 rather than a larger car, say a Dodge Dart. Not only does the FIAT 500 present a smaller, much lighter form factor, having an electric FIAT would frankly be good for FIAT US public relations.
Pricing has yet to be determined on the 500E but competitive forces would likely put in the $30K range as this would be less than the other electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf (retail $36,050), Ford Focus Electric (retail $39,900), and the Chevy Volt (retail $39,145). As previously stated, we should all know quite a bit more about the 500E as soon as the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show opens.
Compact sedans and other vehicle models are beginning to make a true impact on the automotive market. Earlier, the compact was frowned upon because: a) it didn't offer drivers enough power, b) most were front-wheel drive only, c) they compromised class and comfort with crunch, and nobody likes being crunched.
The 2012 Lancer Ralliart debunks all three of the above reasons why most people do not buy compact vehicles. The Ralliart is a high-performance compact sedan and comes with what they call, all wheel control (AWC), providing drivers with more grip and control of their vehicle in slipper weather conditions. The electronic all-wheel drive system left us starstruck by how far technology has come along. You are able to calibrate the AWD for certain road conditions, let it be gravel, snow, or hardtop. More specifically the all-wheel drive Lancer Ralliart is the high-performance trim of the Lancer model-lineup. The Ralliart comes with an inter-cooled turbocharged 2.0 liter engine that surprises a lot of people by pushing nearly 240 horsepower. That's not all, the Ralliart comes with Yokohama speed tires, and a 6-speed Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission. Say what? A tongue-twister, but it gives the driver an incredibly sporty feel.
Power is one thing, but how does it handle? The Lancer Ralliart took to the corners as we expected any high-performance compact would, tight, hugging the line for dear life, and with us white-knuckling the wheel. The Ralliart was a thrilling ride, one of the sportiest compact sedans we have driven in a while. The new Sportronic transmission provided great up-shift and downshift around town – even more so when we accelerated onto the highway to open it up.
After our rally-car like experience with the Ralliart, we decided to stop over at The Firkins Automotive Group to give the Lancer SE a spin. Even with the spoiled experience we had with the Ralliart, the SE still offered a lot of torque for a compact sedan. The throttle hums beautifully, and if we hadn't played with the sportier Ralliart, we both agreed that the Lancer SE offered much more than you would anticipate for such a small car. The SE or the Ralliart, either way the Lancer did not disappoint.
The 2012 Jaguar XFR is one fashionable, and one very hungry cat. The sharp sport design of the XFR with the plush leather that covers every inch of upholstery makes this Jaguar one very attractive car.
When we took the Jaguar XFR for a spin, we were not surprised by the growl that this cat possessed. The Supercharged V8, 385 horsepower engine and 380 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 RPMs, brought a huge smile to our faces, like we were up to something mischievous. We have driven the XF model before, and with no major changes from the prior model – we knew exactly what to expect. Better yet, we were anxious to watch this big cat sprint. Specifications state that it can hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in just under 4.5 seconds, we didn't have the luxury to test this statistical value – but just by opening it up on the freeway mid-day, the acceleration was clean, and without a hiccup.
This large rear-wheel drive Jag can reach impressive speeds without a challenge. Even with all that power under the hood, some of the most impressive features of the Jaguar XFR is its styling, its sleek design, and subtle curvature. The quarter panel vents help to distinguish the large Jag as a high-performance sedan. Then the grill is bold, daring – but incredibly tasteful. The look of the design meets the contemporary necessity for aerodynamics. Even with this design, the one downfall of this kitty is its thirst for gas. It isn't the most fuel-efficient large sedan, but if you aren't concerned about the pumps, and want to just have a sedan that is an enjoyable ride, then the Jaguar XFR is always a great choice.
Even for just the means of test driving a Jaguar, we highly recommend it. We were provided a test drive by the folks at Reedman Toll Jaguar, just outside of Philly. If you are in the area, we recommend checking them out at www.reedmantolljaguar.com, and take any of the Jaguar sedans for a quick spin.
The latest iteration of the Chevrolet Camaro, the Zeta platform, has been out for 2 years now. I still feel the same way, nice motor, nice exterior, absolutely horrible interior and execution. You don't have to look very far to find that Camaro has had some serious paint problems and visibility inside is horrendous. Why haven't these issues been addressed or at least publicly announced that they are or will be fixed?
Now we have an updated Camaro, known as the ZL1, which has plenty of the aforementioned good sides. A 6.2 liter super-charged engine brings plenty of meat to the 2nd pony car. Although it's not like all that displacement is bringing absurd amounts of power, 580 horses is all that the Camaro brings to the table, which is only slightly more than the 5.4 that Ford offers in their Shelby GT500. (The 2013 Shelby GT500 announces power gains of up to 660 hp!! -ed.)
Strictly speaking, the outside of the Camaro ZL1 is slightly different than a standard Camaro purchased from any dealership. The ZL1 has some pretty new badges and some phat shoes to roll around on. Which, in my opinion are what makes the car, these rims give the Camaro body a very aggressive look and aid in the actual handling of the gas guzzling sports car.
Gas shouldn't be a concern to people who are planted firmly in Chevrolet's target market. Expect to spend $55k before taxes and possibly a little more depending on availability and how rabid Chevy fans are for this new Camaro.
Are you a fan of the new Transformer block busters or just hate VW Beetles? Either way there is a brand new special edition Camaro available in 2012, which is an appearance package avialable for the 2LT and SS model Camaros.
Fans of the movies will immediately recognize the vibrant Rally Yellow coupled with carbon fiber stripes. In addition the 2012 Transformer Edition comes equipped with a high-wing spoiler, murdered-out 20" rims, leather seats with yellow trim, and Autobot logos.
The basic Transformer package for the 2012 Camaro is $3,000, but for the wheels and black ground effects add $7,780.
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