Auto News for Feb. 26

The wizards who splice together thousands of wires inside a communication cable have completed their task, and telephone/Internet service has been restored to this office. Talked to a former lineman yesterday who said those zillions of smaller wires “all have to be restored by the numbers” and that takes time. That explains the long outage after a utility pole and related equipment caught fire and fell over in our neighborhood.

There is a lot to get caught up on so let’s start with today’s news first, like a new Audi supercar, Aston Martin Super-Super car, and a new McLaren.

Audi R8

Ahead of its official debut next week at the Geneva show, Audi this morning released a picture of the upcoming R8. Britain’s Car magazine said it will initially be offered only with the 5.2 liter V10 engine with 602 horsepower and a 0-62 time of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. That, as you may have guessed, gets the R8 into supercar territory. There will be lots of carbon fiber and aluminum to keep the weight down. We will learn more next week.

AstonMartin20Vulcan

Speaking (or writing) about fast, Aston Martin is out with a picture of the track only, limited edition 7.0 liter V12 supercar that will grab more than a little attention in Geneva. Aston calls the 800 plus horsepower Vulcan the “brand’s most intense and exhilarating creation to date.” Only two dozen will be produced and they will comply with all relevant FIA race safety requirements. There will be a long list of power and dynamic performance adjustments for customers to consider. As for price, well if you have to ask …

McLaren675LT

But not be outdone, McLaren will use the Geneva show to display the 675 LT – that does not stand for lettuce and tomato. McLaren said it will be the most track-focused, yet road legal, model in the Super Series. The sprint to 62 mph is accomplished in just 2.9 seconds with a top speed of 205 mph. Power comes from a new 3.8-liter V8 rated at 666 hp @7,100 rpm with 516 lb-ft of torque @5,500 rpm. No word on price. It will be officially introduced on March 3.

Pinpoint_MG_7062_HR

On a much lower price scale, a Ford plant outside Toronto has started production of the new Edge, with the addition of 400 new workers. The new edition will be exported to more than 100 countries. It will be the first to feature the twin-scroll 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine with performance exceeding that of the current 2.0 liter offering, Ford said. The Edge will go on sale this spring and it is the first redesign since 2006 when the Edge was first introduced. Early next month, I will have a full report on what it is like to drive.

I do not make this up. A car oriented TV show in Europe has a host named Fuzz Townshend.

Volvo has reported a higher operating profit based on increased sales in China and Europe. But sales for the now Chinese owned car company have not rebounded here in the U.S. The company is hoping for a turn around here with the introduction of the new XC90.

Sources told Automotive News that GM will slow production at a couple of plants due to slow demand for the Chevy Sonic subcompact and the Buick Regal and Verano. Thus far, there has been no comment from GM.

Take your pick of two headlines this morning: “Apple’s Car Faces a Long Road Ahead” or “Apple Could Not Have Picked a Better Time to Get into the Car Business.”

Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition issues are the most frequently reported problems after three years of ownership, according to a study by J.D. Power. The study said technology is playing an increasingly critical role in owner’s perceptions of overall vehicle reliability. Owners want the latest technology in their vehicles and are not shy about complaining when it doesn’t work, Power said. Among owners with problems, more than half said their vehicles would not recognize their phone while 31 percent said the phone would not automatically connect when entering their vehicle. Overall, Lexus ranked highest in vehicle dependability followed by Buick, Toyota, and Cadillac.

And that brings us to the Consumer Reports annual study of the most reliable brands. For the fourth year in a row, Lexus tops the study followed by Mazda, Toyota, Audi, Subaru, Porsche, Buick, Honda, Kia, and BMW. On the other end of the list were Mini, Jeep and Fiat.

Under Top Picks by Category, the Tesla Model S was named best overall, CR calling it a “technological tour de force.”

The top midsized sedan was the Subaru Legacy while the brand’s Impreza was named top compact car and the Forester the best Small SUV.

Once again, the Toyota Prius was the top Green Car, and the Audi A6 was the Luxury Car of choice.

The top Sports Sedan was the Buick Regal, the Toyota Highlander the best Midsized SUV. When it comes to large cars, the Chevy Impala topped the list but only with a V6 engine and the Honda Odyssey came out on top among minivans.

It was the first time since 1998 that three domestic brands made the Top Picks lineup, the magazine saying that many brands “have come a long way in performance, technology (and) improved reliability.”

 

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