Spy Shots: '09 Porsche Panamera and GT Coupe

Spy Shots: '09 Porsche Panamera and GT Coupe

The concept Ford Thunderbird shows off a high tire profile drawn from its ‘55-’57 forebears.Porsche is testing a set of prototypes that not only show the Panamera sedan on a quick course for development-they also suggest that the sportscar maker is planning a fifth model line along the lines of the former 928 coupe.

The first test mules for the Panamera, Porsche's forthcoming fourth model line, are shown here. The front-engined, four-door four-seat sports sedan is hidden under the bodies of a BMW 5-Series and an Audi A8. Porsche plans a market launch for the Panamera in the second half of 2009.

Spy Shots: '09 Porsche Panamera, GT Coupe (8/2/2006)
Porsche's fifth model line coming in 2010.

GM Rolls Out New Silverado/Sierra

Lincoln Navigator picGeneral Motors formally pulled the covers off its two new full-size pickup trucks on Wednesday. Together, the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are "the most important component of the most important part of our North American turnaround," proclaimed GM Chairman Rick Wagoner. Collectively codenamed the GMT900, the launch of the new trucks was pulled forward by 13 weeks from the original timing, Wagoner noted, adding that where it took a full two years to roll out all the various versions of the last-generation Silverado and Sierra, all the numerous new body styles, payloads and powertrain packages will hit market within a five-month window, running through February 2007.

Get more on GM's new trucks

Kia Goes For More Baroque with Amanti

2007 Kia AmantiKia's Amanti will be renewed for 2007, with a longer, lighter body and a bigger, more powerful engine. Kia says that the new vehicle, called Opirus in most other markets, gets a little more wedge to its shape, along with 17-inch wheels, a new interior and a version of the corporate 3.8-liter V-6 with about 260 hp. Kia promises 0-60 times of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of about 138 mph. A five-speed automatic carries over with the new vehicle, but fuel economy rises nearly 5 percent. Larger side airbags and a retuned suspension round out the changes for the big four-door, which is expected to reach U.S. showrooms early next year after a debut at the Paris auto show in September.

Ford Expands Cruise-Control Recall

Ford's ever-growing cruise control recall has added another 1.2 million vehicles, the company said on Thursday. The recall covers a wide range of Ford trucks and SUVs, all sharing a common cruise control system that has been linked to 1472 complaints of fires. In the latest recall action, Ford is adding more than a million more trucks and SUVs to the list, for a total of about 6.7 million affected vehicles, among them versions of 1994-2002 F-Series heavy-duty trucks; some Excursions and Econoline vans; and 1998 Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers. Leaking brake fluid is suspected as a cause of the recall, Reuters reports, which is also linked to 65 vehicle fires.

MORE ON FORD: Ford Ups Q2 Loss; Jaguar For Sale? by TCC Team (8/2/2006)
Company hires dealmaker to explore sale of assets, including Brit brands.

GM, Ford and Mazda Get With iPod Act

Owners of GM, Ford and Mazda vehicles are a step closer to iPod nirvana, as the computer maker and the automakers announced that most of the companies' vehicles will be upgraded to incorporate iPod interfaces with their audio systems. Apple says that the move means some 70 percent of vehicles sold in theU.S. will be iPod capable. Users of the iPod will be able to control the device from their car's audio system-including choosing individual songs, playlists or shuffling music selections. Apple has sold more than 58 million iPods worldwide.

Jeep Liberty Recalled

More than 800,000 Jeep Liberty SUVs will be recalled for a potential defect that interferes with their steering. Reuters reports that the recall will involve about 832,500 Libertys from the 2002-2006 model years. The affected vehicles could have faulty ball joints in the front suspension that could fail and interfere with steering. Repairs will begin in September for free, Reuters adds.

Dodge Planning Small Crossover

A mid-size crossover designed to take on the Ford Edge and Toyota Highlander will arrive in Dodge showrooms early in 2008, according to a report in Automotive News. The new model will be spun from the platform under the 2007 Dodge Sebring, and the new vehicle will be built in Chrysler's Toluca, Mexico, assembly plant starting in December of 2007. Priced from about $20,000, Chrysler Group expects to sell about 150,000 units annually, the News adds, and may eventually add a Chrysler-badged version in or about 2010.

Audi S3 Revealed

2007 Audi S3Audi has released details of the S3, the sportiest version of the Audi A3 model. The last S3 was built from 1999 to 2003, but Audi never sold the vehicle in the U.S. Plans for the new version are not confirmed for the U.S., though the A3 on which it's based is now offered to U.S. customers.

The S3 will be equipped with the 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo four as is the A3. However, in the S3 it will deliver 265 hp, thanks to a redesigned, higher-pressure turbocharger. Audi promises the S3 will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and will reach a limited top speed of 115 mph.

The S3 will ride on 18-inch wheels and has a sport suspension that lowers it by one inch. It will be easily recognizable by the large air intakes in the front bumper, the side skirts, and the diffuser in the rear bumper. Chrome is used for the grille, side mirrors, and exhaust pipes. The interior sports some S-logos, aluminum details, and a special steering wheel with a flat portion at six o'clock. -Henny Hemmes

SEE SPY SHOTS: Spy Shots: '08 Volkswagen Tiguan by Brenda Priddy (8/1/2006)
Lost in America somewhere, a Golf-based ute.

Toyota Matrix Goes With an M-Theory

2007 Toyota Matrix M-TheoryThough Toyota is dropping the XRS and all-wheel-drive versions of its Matrix compact wagon, a new version aimed at enthusiasts will bow for the 2007 model year. The new Matrix M-Theory package arrives at dealers in August with special Speedway Blue paint, a rear decklid spoiler, a chrome exhaust tip, and special badging to complement 17-inch wheels. Sport tuning on the suspension is augmented by a strut tower brace for a slightly stiffer structure. Toyota will build 2500 copies of the M-Theory, each selling for $1500 above the base prices of the standard Matrix ($15,260) and the Matrix XR ($17,570).

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