Auto Sleuth: Turbos coming to Lexus, Mustang priced higher
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Turbo power for Lexus
Toyota's premium brand has never used turbocharged engines in any of its models, but that drought will end soon. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with about 245 horsepower will be used as one propulsion source for the upcoming NX compact wagon that arrives for the 2015 model year (a gas-electric hybrid will also be available). But according to The Sleuth's sources, the turbo will find its way into other Lexus models, beginning with the IS sedan. The engine would replace the base IS 250's 204-horsepower 2.5-liter V6. In addition, the hot rumor is that one or more Toyotas will also get the turbo treatment as the automaker follows through with its plan to add some more excitement to its key brand. The turbo would certainly make a great Corolla, or even a Camry option, opines The Sneaky One.
The new Mustang costs more but it's still affordable
The Sleuth has come across a no-longer-secret document outlining U.S. list prices for Ford's stable of 2015 Mustangs. According to the document, the base model with a six-speed manual gearbox and a 3.7-liter V6 will cost $24,400, or about $1,100 higher than the 2014 version. The new mid-range model with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine will cost you $26,000, while the Mustang GT will ring in at $33,000 (all prices include destination charges). Then there's the Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition that will arrive packed to the headliner with every conceivable option plus special commemorative badges. It's priced at $47,000, with availability capped at just 1,964 examples (1964 was when the Mustang was first unveiled at the New York World's Fair).All of the 50 Year Mustangs are already spoken for.
No more wagon-based Cadillacs, for now
The Spymaster had heard a rumor or two about Cadillac's plan to build its own version of the Buick Enclave/GMC Acadian/Chevrolet Traverse models. All three passenger car-based wagons can transport up to eight passengers across three rows of seats. However, the latest word from the Cadillac garage is that the plan has been scrapped. Although anonymous sources at GM's premium division aren't talking, The Sleuth opines that possible concerns over Escalade and extended-length Escalade ESV sales as well as sales of the five-passenger SRX being impacted as a result wore heavy on Cadillac's brass. And when you stop and think about it, plugging a niche that has already been plugged makes little or no sense at all.
GMC takes off after the Raptor
It's no secret that Ford's off-road-oriented SVT Raptor pickup has been coveted by other truck makers wishing to emulate the success of that model. According to The Sleuth, General Motors' Raptor response will be the GMC Sierra All Terrain AWD that's due to arrive later this year. This brutish-looking rig will be available in 2500- and 3500-series double- and crew-cab models. Four-wheel-drive and GM's Z71 off-road truck package (heavy-duty Rancho-brand shocks, hill-descent control, beefy 20-inch rubber plus plenty of underbody armor) will come standard, as will a 360-horsepower 6.0-liter V8. A 6.6-liter V8 turbo-diesel that makes 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet or torque will also be available and should make for a unique selling feature against the gas-engine-only Ford.
Fit's failure to launch
A while back, The Sleuth attended a day-long Honda Fit press event, which is called a ride and drive since two auto scribes share the driving/navigating chores over a prescribed city/highway route. At the time, the word was that the Fit would arrive in dealer showrooms from its plant in southern Mexico by mid-April, but the Raincoated One is hearing that deliveries have been put off until sometime in mid-June at the earliest. The reason being offered has to do with delays caused by getting the plant fully operational. However the likely backstory is that Honda, as well as other automakers, are particularly gun shy over the rising number of industry safety recalls and want to do everything within their power to ensure that new models are as glitch-free as possible. In the end, it's the buyer who benefits from such due diligence, not to mention the manufacturer's reputation.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Jerry Seinfeld's Internet series about heading out for a cup of java while bantering with a humorous guest will be back for at least three more seasons beginning June 19. For the uninitiated, each 12-15-minute episode also features some unusual or special-interest cars, many from Seinfeld's personal Porsche collection, that he drives around either New York, N.Y., or Los Angeles, Calif. Both current and past shows can be viewed at: www.comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com.
Saab 9-3 sedan production
After being shuttered back in 2011, a China-based company purchased the assets of Saab and had recently restarted production of the 9-3 model that used an electric motor and battery pack for power. However after one month and a daily production of just six cars, Saab has once again closed, apparently due to a "short-term cash problem", and is likely to remain so until additional investment can be found.