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23 Apr 2014

2015 Mercedes C-Class order guide leaked

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

We may not have an official starting price for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but as of right now, we can tell you about all the options for the eagerly anticipated new luxury sedan.

Benz Report has the entire order guide for the C-Class, with breakdowns from package pricing to how many different colors, wheel designs and lighting configurations will be available when the new model hits dealers later this year. As we mentioned in our initial review of the C-Class, there will be a pair of engine options, with the now familiar 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations and a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6, which can be had in all-wheel drive, only.

From there, though, the available options are impressive. Much like it does on the current car, Mercedes is offering a pair of packages that sort of define the entire car. With the C300, buyers will have the choice of either a Sport or Luxury package in addition to the base trim, while C400 buyers are limited to the Sport model.

The Sport package costs $2,500 (rising from $2,300 on the current C-Class), although the addition of 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and more supportive seats is sure to soften the blow. The Luxury Package is more reasonably priced, at $650, and options 17-inch multi-spoke wheels, a traditional Mercedes hood ornament, a softer suspension and the customer’s choice of wood trim.

Once that’s out of the way, buyers are faced with 10 color choices, three optional wheel choices that are independent of the Sport and Luxury packages, and a healthy array of interior leather and leatherette colors, as well as trims. Finally, there are seven option packages.

Most are carry overs from last year, with items like the Premium Pack, Driver Assistance Pack, Lighting Pack and Multimedia Pack seeing moderate tweaks in terms of content and pricing (the biggest price change involves the Lighting Pack, which is actually $640 cheaper). New packages include the $1,190 Airmatic Pack (adjustable Airmatic air suspension), the $2,300 Interior Pack (Vented leather seats, ambient lighting, memory settings for the passenger seat) and the $350 Air Balance Pack (Mercedes scented HVAC system). The standalone options sheet looks fairly vast, until you realize that a number of items are included on certain trims and with certain packages. The big-ticket items include the panoramic sunroof, which sees its price jump from $1,090 to $1,480, while a few items from the Driver Assistance Pack are also available à la carte.

Now, it should be stated that these prices could certainly change before the car arrives later this year. That said, this is a pretty handy guide as to what to expect when it comes time to order your very own C-Class. Hop over to Benz Report and have a look.

2015 Mercedes C-Class order guide leaked originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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22 Apr 2014

2015 Ford Mustang option prices gallop onto the web

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2015 Ford Mustang GT

The 2015 Ford Mustang is one of the most anticipated cars of the year, despite the fact that production hasn’t yet begun. What’s a pony car fan to do? It turns out that Ford already has pricing and options information about the vehicle in its dealer ordering system. A few enterprising folks have snapped some pictures from it and have posted them online. You might not be able to drive your car yet, but you can at least see what it might cost.

At the moment, Ford appears to be splitting the Mustang into five models – 3.7-liter V6, 2.3-liter EcoBoost, GT with the 5.0-liter V8, 50th Anniversary and SVT. There are 10 available paint colors, 2 of which require an extra outlay. Triple Yellow is $495, and Ruby Red Tint is $395. Regardless of model, navigation goes for $795, and reverse parking assist is $295.

For both the EcoBoost and GT, the six-speed automatic tacks an extra $1,195 to the sticker, and adaptive cruise control is the same price. The GT also has a limited-slip 3.55 rear end for $395 and a GT Performance package for $2,495. Recaro leather seats add an extra $1,595. For the EcoBoost, there’s something called EcoBoost Performance package for $1,995. The system doesn’t say what the packages include.

The info here also fits exactly with what we know about the Mustang 50th Anniversary Edition from the New York Auto Show. The package comes in Kona Blue or Wimbledon White with a special leather interior. According to this data, it adds $1,595 to the cost of a Mustang GT.

A user at the Mustang 6G forums also has images from the ordering system, and they include some info on the SVT model. While there are no prices, options include a track package, tech package and available Alcantara or leather seats.

Note, the pricing and options listed here could still change. That said, it’s still fun to check them out. Information on colors and body styles can be downloaded as a PDF from The Mustang Source forum, and the rest can be viewed at Mustang 6G. Happy building.

2015 Ford Mustang option prices gallop onto the web originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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22 Apr 2014

2015 Acura TLX launch delayed

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2015 Acura TLX

Last week in New York, Acura pulled the wraps off its all-new TLX sedan – a midsize model that replaces both the TSX and TL in one fell swoop. In a bit of behind-the-scenes full disclosure, we were originally scheduled to get our first drive of the car in early May. But an intrepid reader forwarded us an email to Acura dealers saying that the on-sale date of the TLX will be pushed back, and subsequently, the automaker confirmed to Autoblog that the official media launch has been postponed, as well. Acura spokesperson Chuck Schifsky tells us that the 2015 TLX will now go on sale later this summer.

“We don’t view it as a major delay,” Schifsky told Autoblog. The TLX is “the most technologically advanced Acura” yet – even more so than the original NSX, Schifsky says – and thus, there are “lots of systems to get sorted out.” When asked if there is a specific component to point to regarding this delay, Schifsky told Autoblog that it’s “not any one thing.”

“We have determined that it is necessary to modify the production schedule for the 2015 TLX, which will move the on-sale date to late summer.”

“The TLX has more advanced and customer-relevant technology than on any other Acura model in our history, and we must assure that all systems are ready for mass production. Further, it is critical that we have a stable and sustainable supply of vehicles and components to support the strong customer response that we expect for this all-new Acura sedan,” a company spokesperson wrote to its dealers. “To achieve these goals, we have determined that it is necessary to modify the production schedule for the 2015 TLX, which will move the on-sale date to late summer.”

The 2015 TLX uses both a 2.4-liter inline-four and a 3.5-liter V6, and will be the first Acura to use two brand-new transmissions. The 2.4-liter engine features an eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, and the 3.5-liter V6 uses a nine-speed automatic. What’s more, the TLX features a reworked version of the Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) that debuted in the larger RLX, and the company’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is available, too.

“The 2015 TLX is the emotionally powerful car we’ve been longing for,” Acura wrote to its dealers. So it goes without saying, the company has a whole lot riding on this all-new offering, and it’s important to get it right from the start. Schifsky reiterates, “Don’t put the car on sale until it’s perfect.”

2015 Acura TLX launch delayed originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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22 Apr 2014

Ford says C-Max mpg reduction has hurt sales

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Ford C-Max

The Ford C-Max is having a rough time. Sales for the five-door hybrid hatchback were down 39.1 percent in March to 2,295 cars, and sales from January through March were down 42.5 percent to 5,566 units. In an interview with The Detroit News, Ford Americas boss Joe Hinrichs places the blame on lowering the model’s fuel economy rating.

“We’re definitely seeing consideration on C-Max decline over time. We need to reinvest in the product because it’s a great car,” said Hinrichs to The Detroit News.

The company was hit with bad publicity over the C-Max when owners in multiple states filed class action lawsuits that alleged the cars weren’t able to meet the stated fuel economy. Ford eventually re-rated the model from 47 miles per gallon city, highway and combined to 40 mpg city, 45 mpg highway and 43 mpg combined. To soften the blow of the change, the automaker sent checks to the owners to make up some of the difference. Initially, Ford claimed that demand remained strong for the hybrid. However, the latest sales figures and Hinrichs’ statement seem to show the opposite.

Hinrichs also says a replacement for the company’s MyFord Touch infotainment system is in the works. He claims that the current system is being held back by software limitations. However, a replacement is at least year away. Ford is rumored to be considering switching from Microsoft to a Blackberry QNX-based infotainment system.

Ford says C-Max mpg reduction has hurt sales originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19 Apr 2014

Porsche giving Nick Murray exactly what he deserves [w/video]

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Nick Murray Porsche 911

The tale of Nick Murray and his lemon Porsche 911 appears to have come to a satisfactory end. As noted in the original story about Murray, he and Porsche Cars North America met and came to a resolution. However, we didn’t know exactly what that meant, until now.

Murray has created a new video explaining that PCNA offered to buy back the car at full price or give him an exact replacement for it. This was exactly what he was asking for. Murray remains pro-Porsche in the new video. “I am definitely considering reordering a Porsche 911,” he says.

Porsche also posted a message on its Facebook page that clarified the situation. “We at Porsche have always sought excellence in all that we do. We know you expect it of us. And when we don’t meet that standard, we make every effort to improve,” said a portion of the note.

It’s good to see a level-headed guy like Murray succeed. He’s getting what he wants, but he doesn’t seem to harbor any ill will towards the company. Scroll down to watch the latest video. Warning, there is some very vulgar NSFW language when he reads several YouTube comments left on his previous video.

Continue reading Porsche giving Nick Murray exactly what he deserves [w/video]

Porsche giving Nick Murray exactly what he deserves [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 19 Apr 2014 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18 Apr 2014

Nick Murray's problematic Porsche 911 shows the power of a viral video

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Nick Murray Porsche 911

When Nick Murray took delivery of his 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S in June 2013, he had saved for it for the past five years. He didn’t just pluck a random 911 off a dealer lot. He specially ordered his car with thousands of dollars in extras tailored just to him, and he captured all of the options on his YouTube channel. The love affair didn’t last long. Eventually the channel became a place for Nick to air his growing list of grievances about his deteriorating 911. Eventually, his mix of righteous indignation and sarcasm went viral.

Nick Murray Porsche 911By late December, he had already had four warranty repairs done on the car. Things got much worse in March. The computers began resetting whenever Nick drove over large bumps. There was also an acrid, electrical smell that occasionally permeated the cabin. Murray filed for Lemon Law protection. ​Porsche Cars North America contacted him for the first time to fix the problem, but it didn’t help.

Things culminated in April when Murray put up a new video that showed more troubles. He began arbitration with Porsche and asked for either his full purchase price back or an exact replacement. The company countered with a portion of what the car was worth, based on its mileage. Murray refused and turned to his YouTube watchers for help. He asked them to spread the word, and the video went viral with over 800,000 views as of this writing. Supporters posted it multiple times on Porsche’s Facebook and Twitter sites.

The pressure may have worked. Murray posted on the 6 Speed Online forums: “Good news! I have been contacted by PCNA to settle this. This whole mess will end today hopefully. Good that they are doing the right thing. Good for them.” Later, he added another note on the forum and Facebook that the situation was resolved without going into detail.

Nick Twork, Product Communications Manager Porsche Cars North America, told Autoblog the that company was “very aware of these videos.” He confirmed that the Customer Care Department had been in contact with Murray, and it met “with him one-on-one.” He promised that PCNA would work with him until “everyone is satisfied.”

Scroll down to watch the last three videos starting from the most recent to see what he went through. Warning, there is some occasional salty language.

Continue reading Nick Murray’s problematic Porsche 911 shows the power of a viral video

Nick Murray’s problematic Porsche 911 shows the power of a viral video originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18 Apr 2014

Aston Martin requests exemption from stringent US safety regulations

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Aston Martin Vantage GT

If you were intrigued by the chance to buy a new Aston Martin Vantage GT for $99,900, it might be best not to wait too long. There is a slim chance that the Vantage and DB9 may not have much life left in the US because they don’t meet new crash standards. Aston Martin has filed documents with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking that the new pole and moving barrier crash safety requirements – internally referred to as FMVSS 214 – be waived for the two models. The company is claiming “substantial economic hardship” and says that it can’t afford to bring the vehicles into compliance.

We aren’t talking about a huge number of vehicles here. The Rapide and Vanquish comply with the new rules, and Aston Martin predicts that it would import 670 Vantage and DB9 models into the States between September 1, 2014 and August 31, 2017. The automaker estimates it would cost around $30 million to make them compliant.

The company has indeed been in rough shape in the not-too-distant past. According to the documents, sales volume decreased by about 48 percent from a high of 7,281 units in 2007 to 3,786 vehicles in 2012. The automaker had planned to have new models ready in time so that it wouldn’t need an exemption, but the global economic crisis delayed it. Interestingly, the paperwork reveals that Aston currently plans to launch a replacement for the DB9 between September 2016 and August 2017.

Aston Martin doesn’t have very long for NHTSA to deliberate. The new rules go into effect for them on September 1, 2014 for hardtops, and September 1, 2015 for convertibles. While it would still be able to sell its other models here, it would certainly be a shock if it had to pull the the Vantage and DB9. Both documents are available in PDF format to download and read.

Aston Martin requests exemption from stringent US safety regulations originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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15 Apr 2014

2015 VW GTI promises next-level Fahrvergnügen for $24,395*

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2015 Volkswagen GTI

It’s taken Volkswagen a little while to final introduce the seventh-generation GTI to the United States. However, it’s finally happening, and even better, VW is finally spilling the beans on the features and pricing for the 2015 model.

All new GTI models come with VW’s EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, improvements of 10 hp and 51 lb-ft over the outgoing model. In addition to the extra power, EPA fuel economy is predicted at 34 miles per gallon highway for manual-transmission models, a 3 mpg improvement. All models come standard with a six-speed manual, and the six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is a $1,100 option. The new model is also 2.2 inches longer, 0.5 inches wider and 1.1 inches lower, which translates to more rear seat room and 10-percent more cargo capacity.

The new GTI is being offered in multiple trims, but the base S model with two doors carries a starting price of $24,395 (*plus $820 destination charge). That’s just $195 more than the entry-level price for the 2014 model. Standard features include niceties like a drive-mode selector, touchscreen radio, LED foglights and heated front seats.

Buyers can step up to the GTI SE trim for $27,395, which adds a sunroof, rearview camera, leather seats and more. The GTI Autobahn is only available as a four-door priced at $29,595, and it adds navigation, a power driver’s seat and automatic air conditioning in addition to the SE’s upgrades.

For buyers who want even more performance, later this year, a $1,495 Performance Package will be available that includes a 10-hp boost, an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and larger brakes. SE and Autobahn-spec models will also get adaptive damping.

The GTI is generally considered the daddy of the hot hatch world, and we loved the new seventh-generation when we tested it with all the performance goodies in Europe last year. Sales begin in June, and all US models will be built at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico. Scroll down to read more about the new GTI, including more available options packages.

Continue reading 2015 VW GTI promises next-level Fahrvergnügen for $24,395*

2015 VW GTI promises next-level Fahrvergnügen for $24,395* originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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14 Apr 2014

Dodge offering novel 1-year lease on '14 Challenger and Charger models

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2014 Dodge Charger and Challenger

Dodge is just days away from unveiling refreshed versions of the Charger and Challenger at the 2014 New York Auto Show, models promising updated styling and new powertrain options. Depending on how you look at it, the company is either so confident in its forthcoming 2015 models that it’s offering an interesting Double-Up lease deal on the current vehicles, or it’s so eager to clear out existing stock that it’s resorting to novel lease deals. In any case, what they present is an interesting scenario, one which allows buyers to get the existing model right now, and then trade up to the facelifted 2015 models in one year.

Starting April 17, when the refreshed cars debut through the end of August, buyers can lease a 2014 Charger or Challenger for one year and exchange it for a three-year lease on a 2015 model next year, with no additional money down and the same monthly payment. Customers can even switch vehicles when the new lease starts. If drivers want to buy the ’15, they get $1,000 off the purchase price. To be eligible, both leases must use the same dealership and be financed through Chrysler Capital. The Double-Up deal excludes the SRT versions of both cars and Charger SE models.

To offset the flood of one-year-old models coming back to dealerships, Dodge has struck a deal with rental car agency Enterprise, which has agreed to buy them all. “One-year leases are highly unusual in the industry,” said company spokesperson Ralph Kisiel, and the fleet sale deal is what makes it possible.

This offer might be a good way for Dodge to boost flagging sales of both models this summer. According to Chrysler sales data, Charger sales are down 4 percent, to 24,956 units from January through March, and the Challenger is down 24 percent in that time, with just 11,034 sold. Maybe the refreshed vehicles and lease deal will provide the sales jolt they need. Scroll down to read all of the details.

Continue reading Dodge offering novel 1-year lease on ’14 Challenger and Charger models

Dodge offering novel 1-year lease on ’14 Challenger and Charger models originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 Apr 2014

Cadillac's Euro reboot may have implications for US models, sales

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Cadillac CTS V Coupe at the end of the road Magdeburg Germany

Firmly on the comeback trail in the US, Cadillac is still trying to get out of the starting blocks in Europe. At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Cadillac’ senior execs revealed plans to grow the brand’s presence in a luxury market dominated by the big three German marques, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

GM President Dan Ammann says he sees “enormous” potential for Cadillac globally.

Over the past 20 years, the General Motors premium nameplate has tried and failed multiple times to break into the European market. This time around, Cadillac recognizes that progress will be modest at best, and depends on specific changes to models, some of which may impact the brand’s US lineup. Planned new sales tactics in Europe may also impact the way Cadillac does business on this side of the pond.

GM President Dan Ammann says he sees “enormous” potential for Cadillac globally. “Our goal is to take a much more consistent long term approach than what the company used to historically,” he tells Autoblog.

For Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac chief marketing officer, this means a slow and steady strategy for the European market. Ellinghaus, a former BMW executive, sees annual sales volumes reaching around 2,000 units for the next few years. That, of course, is a drop in the bucket compared to the German luxury brands’ sales totals. But being the underdog is not necessarily a bad prospect, says Ellinghaus. Cadillac lacks a properly developed dealer network in Europe, but this gives the brand an opportunity to experiment with a new approach. “I think the future of retail in the automotive industry is without bricks and mortar, at least in comparison to what we do now, which is investing multi-millions in dealerships all over the country,” he notes.

“Because of our limited volume, it will be easier to take care of customers on an individual basis. So we see a competitive advantage there and can pioneer a new retail format, with pop-up stores, virtual stores and a flagship store, maybe. If this approach works we then roll it out in rest of the world.”

Continue reading Cadillac’s Euro reboot may have implications for US models, sales

Cadillac’s Euro reboot may have implications for US models, sales originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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