The Kia Optima SXL is a handsome vehicle, both inside and out. Our Snow White Pearl tester looked especially classy, and the black and chrome accents didn’t make it look too gaudy. Even with the eighteen-inch chrome wheels—a part of the Limited Package that comes with the SXL—it didn’t look at all offensive, and actually appeared to be a tasteful use of the shiny stuff. Even the housings for the (power folding) side mirrors look nice on this car. Plus, the Limited gets a set of LED daytime running lights and red brake calipers to help set it apart form the rest of the crowd in a subtle yet fashionable way.
Why are we talking about an engine that’s only sold in Europe, though? Well, because it won’t be European-only for long. Ford has stated that the 1.0-liter EcoBoost will be sold in North America (and Asia, Oceania, and Africa) in 2013. The Dearborn-based OEM hasn’t mentioned what vehicles it’ll be available in, but based on the pair of lime green metallic Focus hatchbacks sitting in front of us at the Dearborn Proving Grounds, we think we have a good idea what the first American model to get the 1.0-liter will be.
The Geneva Motor Show is the place on the auto show circuit for manufacturers to launch their heaviest ordinance, to unveil their most anticipated vehicles, to uncover their most evocative concepts.
It was a relief to see the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle in person, and to see that it, in fact, lived up to its name, forsaking the cartoonish architecture of the last-gen “New” Beetle. With its flatter, longer roof, lowered stance, and upright windshield, we actually felt the instinctual urge to slug the nearest person in the arm. Some of the amassed Bugs were sporting retro wheels—and they actually looked great! Looking at the group of 2012 Beetles in the Volkswagen headquarters parking lot, we found it easy to recall some of our favorite driving experiences on the rainy, meandering coastal highway of central Oregon in our friend Luke Frels’s 1974 Beetle. Clearly, this new car was doing what it was meant to do, which is inspire an emotional response to the vehicle—a wholly welcome psychological manipulation.
In case you haven’t noticed, we really like what Kia (and sister company Hyundai) have been up to lately. Case in point is the new turbocharged Optima, which takes all the things that made the regular mid-sizer so great, and adds a big, fat helping of force-induction goodness.
We here at Winding Road are pretty big fans of the Suzuki Kizashi. The Japanese mid-sizer is a great combination of comfort and driving dynamics in a handsome package. But we can’t help but feel it could use a bump in power.
Porsche has just unveiled an alarmingly quick method of getting you and three of your closest friends to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds. It’s called the Panamera Turbo S, and following Porsche’s naming etymology it is the faster version of the already blisteringly quick Panamera Turbo.
The world has a way of surprising you from time to time, and my time in the Cadillac SRX was quite surprising. Just as I get done talking about the varying degrees of blandness that make up most of the crossover world in last week’s Quick Drive of the Jeep Liberty, along comes the SRX, which lo and behold is good in almost every aspect of its dynamics. I’m benchmarking here against luxury sedans, not sports cars, mind you. But even so, this Cadillac is well done.
We have just taken delivery of a 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Unfortunately, the 500-horsepower all-wheel-drive monster is sitting outside in a torrential downpour, which means we don’t have any images of it yet. Powered by a biturbocharged 3.8-liter flat-six, the 911 Turbo is about as bonkers as you can get a 911 without slapping a “GT” on the boot. 480 pound-feet of torque is on hand, with an additional 36 pound-feet available during overboost. Putting the power to the road is a seven-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK for short).
The BMW X5 gets its mid-cycle refresh next year, and from the sound of things, it looks like BMW is adding more than just some new sheetmetal to the largest X. Along with a spruced up front end, BMW will add turbocharged power to the X5’s list of credentials.
Mercedes-Benz’s line of AMG cars are potent performers, and the much-loved 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 lies at the heart of every AMG currently available (save the SLK and G, of course). And while we’ve grown very fond of this sweet-sounding mill over the past years, a report from Edmunds’ Inside Line reveals that our 6.2-liter bomber might not be around much longer.
It’s no secret that we American automotive journalists are anxiously awaiting the arrival of BMW’s new U.S.-spec diesel offerings, the 335d and X5 xDrive35d. In the meantime, however, the folks at Honeywell (who specialize in turbo technologies) provided us with a Euro-spec X5 3.0d for a week in order for us to experience BMW’s current diesel offerings.