Tesla to Extend its Lineup with an All-Electric SUV by 2014

*Opening Photo: Tesla Model S
Lately, the folks over at Tesla have been very busy developing the upcoming Model S sedan and, together with Toyota, the all-electric version of the RAV4 compact SUV. But there’s more, as according to an LA Times report, the California-based automaker is also working on a small SUV of its own, currently named Model X.

Scheduled to go on sale by 2014, the new crossover model is said to offer more cabin space compared to similarly sized SUVs thanks to the electric powertrain, which, unlike an internal combustion engine and conventional transmission, needs less space.

Tesla hasn’t released any other information, but it’s quite possible that the Model X will follow in the footsteps of the Roadster and Model S. That means customers can expect good handling characteristics, multiple battery pack options to suit specific autonomy needs and a versatile interior. Last but not least, Tesla’s SUV should also qualify for some kind of federal tax credit.

By Csaba Daradics

Source: LA Times

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2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG: New Photos and Added Details

Last week, Mercedes-Benz accidentally dropped the ball on the refreshed C63 AMG, and even though the automaker quickly removed all photos and information, the damage was done and we got our first look at the Stuttgart firm's performance model. Today, the Germans came out with an official release and a new set of photos of both the sedan and Estate versions of the 2012MY C63 AMG.

In the styling department, the C63 AMG models receive similar exterior and interior revisions as the standard C-Class models including new headlamps and a pointier front grille, plus a new dashboard design with an integrated screen on the top part of the center console.

The AMG treatment adds a restyled bodykit, a new aluminium bonnet with modified powerdomes, and bespoke 18-inch alloys wrapped in 235/40 R 18 and 255/35 R 18 tires at front and rear respectively, along with a three-dimensional TFT display in the middle of the redesigned speedometer and a flat-bottom three-spoke AMG performance steering wheel trimmed in nappa leather and featuring a metallic trim.

Under the skin, the 6.2-liter V8 remains unchanged for the 2012MY, producing 457HP and 600Nm / 442 lb-ft of torque in standard trim and 487HP with the optional AMG Performance package.

However, the C63 AMG obtains a new 7-speed sports transmission with the "Controlled Efficiency" mode as standard along with a new speed-sensitive sports steering with a direct ratio (13.5 : 1) and a newly developed power-steering pump that help reduce the combined consumption by about ten percent to 12.0 lt/100 km or 19.6mpg US (Estate: 12.3 l/100 km).

In terms of performance, the standard 457HP C63 AMG sedan completes the 0-100km/h [62 mph] sprint in 4.5 seconds (Estate: 4.6 s), while the 487HP model in 4.4 seconds (Estate: 4.5 s). Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.

According to Mercedes, over the past three and a half years it has sold more than 17,000 C63 AMGs worldwide, with 88 percent of buyers opting for the sedan and 12 percent for the Estate. The Performance Package has proven to be successful with more than 30 percent of all the C 63 AMG models delivered in 2010 specified with this option.

The latest iteration of the C63 AMG will have its world premiere at next month's Geneva Salon with sales set to start in July. Prices in Germany start at €71,340 for the sedan, and at €73,899 for the Estate, with the AMG Performance Package priced at €7166.20.



Toyota UK Introduces Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser V8 60th Anniversary Models

To celebrate the Land Cruiser's 60th anniversary, Toyota's UK arm has announced two special edition models based on the standard five-door Land Cruiser and the flagship Land Cruiser V8. Both off-roaders come with discrete exterior appointments and extra equipment as standard including leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, premium audio system and special 60th Anniversary badges and carpet mats.

Additionally, the Land Cruiser’s 3.0-liter D-4D diesel engine has been revised for the 2011MY and is now capable of 188bhp (+11bhp) and 420 Nm (310 lb-ft) of torque (+10 Nm/+7 lb-ft), while achieving the same fuel economy. A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is also available, making the oil-burning powerplant Euro 5 compliant.

The base price for the Land Cruiser 60th Anniversary is £49,950, while the Land Cruiser V8 60th Anniversary carries a price sticker of £61,950. The anniversary models are available now.

Last but not least, Toyota is once again selling a three-door version of the Land Cruiser, available in a single trim level (LC3) and with a manual transmission only. The standard equipment list includes 17-inch alloy wheels, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Active Traction Control (A-TRC), climate control, smart entry and start system, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio system and front fog lamps. The “on the road” price is £30,395.

The Land Cruiser’s history began in 1951, when Toyota launched the truck-derived BJ, initially for military service. It was the first vehicle to reach the sixth hill station on Mount Fuji, located at an altitude of 2,500 meters. Impressed by its off-road capabilities, the Japanese police added it to its fleet, practically jumpstarting the model’s long-term success.

The Land Cruiser nameplate was first used in 1954, as a generic designation for the new Type 25 BJ, while the forerunner of the Land Cruiser V8 was the 1966 Land Cruiser Station Wagon, introduced in the U.S. as more refined version of the standard model.

Since then, Toyota has continuously improved the Land Cruiser “recipe”, selling more the five million units worldwide.

By Csaba Daradics