VW ID. Buzz getting an autonomous version, reveal timing confirmed

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is going to be a significant model just because it’ll be the first time VW has actually brought a retro Microbus to production, and an electric one to boot. But that significance goes further, as the company announced it will be the basis for its first road-ready autonomous vehicles. Prototype testing begins this year, and the plan is to have autonomous models out in 2025 and to be used in a ride-sharing program like VW’s MOIA program it operates in Hamburg and Hanover in Germany.

The announcement also comes with a rendering of the planned autonomous ID. Buzz. It looks extremely close to the concept cars, both passenger and commercial versions. The shape and window openings are all nearly the same. Of course, being an autonomous vehicle, it has various radar or LIDAR sensors tacked to the corners, including a prominent one on a roof bulge. It gives it the look of the bridge on the Enterprise. Another interesting change is the lack of two-tone paint or a trim line that dips down the nose to emulate classic VW vans. While it’s still obviously retro, we’re hoping that VW will still offer a two-tone color scheme. Finally, the lower grille looks simplified and more like that of the ID.4 and ID.3, rather than the myriad of little holes like the concepts.

We’re also getting closer to finally seeing the production ID. Buzz. VW mentioned that the van will be revealed next year. The company had said this a few years ago, but we’re glad to know that the pandemic hasn’t derailed and delayed production plans.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

It’s a V8 party! Lexus IS 500, Cadillac Escalade and more | Autoblog Podcast #667

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. It’s all V8s all the time this week, starting with the Land Rover Defender V8 unveiling, Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance debut and pricing announcement on the Jeep Wrangler 392. Next, they move on to what they’ve been driving. Spoiler alert: That means more V8 talk. Zac has been driving the Cadillac Escalade with the 6.2-liter V8 and BMW M550i with its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. Greg and Zac take a pause from the V8 theme by discussing their shared time in our long-term Acura TLX. From this, they segue into a “Spend My Money” feature about garage lifts to finish the show.

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Rundown

  • News
    • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 priced at nearly $75,000
    • 2022 Land Rover Defender bulks up with a 518-hp V8
    • 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance brings back the V8
  • What we’re driving
    • BMW M550i
    • Cadillac Escalade
    • Acura TLX
  • Spend my money

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Win this 2021 Cadillac Escalade and you’ll have a home theater in your driveway

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. No donation or payment necessary to enter or win this sweepstakes. See official rules on Omaze.

Touchscreens in cars are getting bigger and bigger, and the Cadillac Escalade is the prime example. With a 38-inch display up front and a 36-speaker surround sound system, all this Cadillac is missing is a place to keep your snacks. Oh wait, they thought of that too with a fridge up front. All of this is great, but the best thing about the Cadillac Escalade is that Omaze is giving it away.

Win a 2021 Cadillac Escalade and $20,000 – Enter at Omaze

But the fun doesn’t end in the front seat. In the second row there are large screens as well, so you can binge watch your favorite TV show on your next road trip, assuming you’re not driving. To top it off, if you’re stuck way in the back, there’s Conversation Enhancement, so you won’t have to yell in order for the driver to hear what you’re saying. 

With all of this technology, it’s easy to forget the original purpose of the Escalade, to get you from one place to another, in style, which it does incredibly well thanks to a 420 horsepower, 6.2L V8. Plus, this Escalade comes with something the others don’t, $20,000 in cash.

You’re probably asking yourself, what does it take to win? Well, first of all there is no donation or purchase necessary to enter, though your odds dramatically increase if you do: $10 will get you 100 entries in this raffle, while $50 will get you 1,000 entries and $100 will get you 2,000 entries.

The donations themselves benefit Tie The Knot, which, according to Omaze, “works to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of LGBTQ equality throughout the world. Tie The Knot releases limited edition collections of neckwear and other fashionable products to benefit organizations that are in the trenches fighting for LGBTQ civil rights every single day and to fund their international public education campaign. Your donation can help Tie The Knot continue to move the dial in support of LGBTQ equality.

If you want this opportunity to own this tech-filled luxury SUV, enter here. The deadline to enter is May 26, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

Source: AutoBlog.com

2022 Land Rover Defender V8 to start at $98,550

Land Rover has announced U.S. pricing for its 2022 Defender lineup, including the brand-new V8 model. The short-wheelbase Defender 90 V8 will start at $98,550 (including $1,350 for destination); the long-wheelbase 110 V8 will start at $101,750. 

The rest of the lineup sees some pricing adjustments as well. The base Defender 90 climbs $1,600 to $49,050 (the 110’s base price of $51,850 remains the same) and some other tweaks were made across the lineup. There are also new models available besides the V8 for 2022. The Defender 90 range expands from just four models to eight, with the “First Edition” being scrapped and new X-Dynamic S, SE and HSE models (all powered by the 395-horsepower inline-six) being added. 

The 110 lineup was similarly expanded, going from just three variants to nine. It also picks up X-Dynamic and SE and HSE models, along with a unique XS Edition (also based on the inline-six) that includes some dress-up elements. Land Rover clarified that this model is exclusive to the 110; earlier reports suggested that it was also available on the Defender 90. 

We didn’t expect to see these numbers so soon. As we hinted at when the V8 was introduced on Wednesday, Land Rover has had a heck of a time getting the Defender into U.S. inventories thanks to the uncertainties and disruptions of both the COVID pandemic and UK’s Brexit struggles. 

The Defender V8 will have some competition on the domestic front straight away thanks to Jeep, which announced Wednesday (no coincidence, we’re certain) that its 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 392 Launch Edition will start at $74,995 (incl. $1,495 for destination). That price delta might be a tough pill to swallow for buyers who simply want a V8 in their off-road SUV, especially when you consider that the Jeep is expected to have a performance edge over its distant British cousin-several-times-removed, but we suspect that the faithful won’t be swayed either way.

2022 Land Rover Defender 90 V8

2022 Land Rover Defender 110 V8

Source: AutoBlog.com

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L priced, will top out at $66,985

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L will start hit dealers later this year, and Jeep just announced pricing in preparation for the SUV’s arrival. Three rows of Grand Cherokee L will start at $38,690, including the $1,695 destination charge. For some perspective, the base two-row 2021 Grand Cherokee (non-L) from the previous generation begins at $33,865.

Adding a third row and more size looks pricey on the surface, but we suspect the next-gen two-row Grand Cherokee will go up in price, too. After all, Jeep is packing a whole lot more into the next-gen models than it was in the outgoing one.

The base trim is the Laredo, and it includes a host of niceties for the base model. You got full exterior LED lighting, a leather steering wheel, digital instrument cluster, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and more. This version comes standard with the 3.6-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. If you want four-wheel drive, as we suspect many Jeep buyers will, it’ll be an extra $2,000. 

There are five additional trims beyond the Laredo. We’ve listed them and their base prices below. All are listed in V6 rear-drive form (except the 4×4-only Summit Reserve), so add $2,000 to each for their four-wheel-drive prices.

  • Altitude: $41,890
  • Limited: $45,690
  • Overland: $54,690
  • Summit: $58,690
  • Summit Reserve (4×4 standard): $63,690

If you want the available 5.7-liter V8, you’ll need to select the Overland, Summit or Summit Reserve. The V8 is exclusively tied to four-wheel drive. Selecting the bigger engine raises the price from the standard four-wheel-drive models by $3,295 in all trims. We’ve listed V8 prices below.

  • Overland: $59,985
  • Summit: $63,985
  • Summit Reserve: $66,985

In case you were curious, that $66,985 price for the Summit Reserve is as high as it goes for the Grand Cherokee L for now. It’s just a few thousand dollars away from the standard Grand Cherokee’s SRT trim that starts at $70,660. You get more luxury than Jeep offers in any other vehicle with the Reserve. Notable equipment includes 21-inch wheels, hand-wrapped quilted Palermo leather, ventilated (and heated) first and second row seats, massaging front row, open-pore waxed walnut wood trim, suede headliner/pillars and the 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.

Jeep says the Grand Cherokee L will make its arrival to dealerships across the country in the second quarter of 2021.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Aston Martin May Discontinue Developing Valhalla’s Bespoke V6 Engine

Late last year, Mercedes and Aston Martin inked a deal that saw the German automaker increase its stake in the British brand to 20 percent, up from 2.6. The revised deal gave Aston access to Mercedes’ hybrid and electric powertrains, and that could spell disaster for Aston’s bespoke V6 it’s developing for its Valhalla hypercar. According to Aston boss Tobias Moers, the Valhalla could arrive with a different engine than what’s been expected.

When Aston introduced the hypercar in 2019, it said it would use a turbocharged V6 paired with a battery-electric hybrid system that was rumored to produce around 1,000 horsepower (746 kilowatts). It later clarified that it’d be a new 3.0-liter unit, though Aston never noted the targeted output. However, all that time and money may have been for nothing. Autocar is reporting that the company is reassessing the Valhalla model. Aston has yet to decide which Mercedes powertrains it’ll use, so everything is up in the air at the moment.

Moers is quoted saying that the Valhalla will “probably have a different drivetrain” from what was seen in the 2019 concept. A new version of the Valhalla will be shown to buyers within the next four months, with Moers noting that we won’t get more information until the customers learn of the changes. Mercedes has a wide range of hybrid powertrains Aston could use, so we’ll have to wait to see what the British automaker decides.

The limited-run hyper will have an £875,000 ($1.2 million at current exchange rates) price tag. This latest news comes after Moers suggested late last year that the company was still working on the hybrid powertrain; however, at the time, he noted that Aston did have alternative powertrains available. We’ll have to wait for Aston to confirm what it decides to do next before it arrives in 2023.

Source: motor1.com

F1: Aston Martin Tempted To Bid For Hamilton In 2022

Lawrence Stroll’s ambition for the team is quite clear – he wants to challenge the dominance of Mercedes and wants his team to win a world title.

Aston Martin has big ambitions for its Formula One project

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Aston Martin has big ambitions for its Formula One project

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Lawrence Stroll, the CEO and Chairman of both Aston Martin Lagonda, and the Aston Martin Cognizant F1 team has opened the door for potentially bidding for Sir Lewis Hamilton for the 2022 season. Statistically, the Briton became the most successful F1 driver in the history of the sport in 2020 and he only recently renewed his deal with the Mercedes team, but that’s just a one year deal. 

Stroll who gained control of the Force India team in 2018, transformed it to Racing Point which for the first time in years managed to win its first race in 2020. Before the start of the 2020 season, Stroll also announced that the team would be rebranded to Aston Martin. Sebastian Vettel’s exit from Ferrari also opened a door for Stroll to hire the 4-time world champion alongside his son Lance Stroll for the 2021 season. 

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Hamilton is considered to be the greatest driver of his generation 

Stroll’s ambition for the team is quite clear — he wants to challenge the dominance of Mercedes and wants his team to win a world title, but infrastructure wise it may be a while away. However, with the massive rule changes coming in 2022, Aston Martin may well be one of its ways to achieving that.

“It’s definitely tempting. Lewis in any car is great and I’m sure everyone would say yes because he is a seven-time World Champion. But right now, I am extremely focused on getting started this year,” said the 61-year-old billionaire opening the potential for the British driver to join the team in the case he doesn’t continue with Mercedes at the end of the 2021 season. 

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Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are considered to be the most successful drivers of the last 20 years 

However, there are a couple of stumbling blocks in place. Firstly, Stroll will need to jettison one of the drivers he has currently — one is a 4-time world champion who is joining from Ferrari and the other is his own son. In the case Vettel performs well, then it opens up an intriguing prospect for Vettel to be paired with Hamilton who could potentially have 12 world titles between them. 

In the case Vettel doesn’t perform as well, it will be a tricky proposition as he has joined on a multi-year deal and getting rid of him will not be as straightforward publicly as it was when the team decided to activate an exit clause with Sergio Perez despite a contract to get Vettel. 

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Hamilton joining Aston Martin F1 is intriguing because Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff is also an investor in the Aston Martin team and is known to be close to Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton’s relationship with Wolff has been pivotal for the success of the Mercedes F1 team. 

For the latest auto news and reviews, follow carandbike.com on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Source: NDTV.com

Aston Martin Says Back On The Road To Profitability After 2020 Loss

Aston Martin’s shares jumped 9% in early Thursday trading after it kept a forecast for around 6,000 sales to dealers this year as new management turns around its performance.

In 2018 Aston Martin failed to meet expectations & burnt through cash and seeked fresh investment

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In 2018 Aston Martin failed to meet expectations & burnt through cash and seeked fresh investment

Aston Martin expects to almost double sales and move back towards profitability this year after sinking deeper into the red in 2020, when the luxury carmaker was hit by the pandemic, changed its boss and was forced to raise cash.

The British company’s shares jumped 9% in early Thursday trading after it kept a forecast for around 6,000 sales to dealers this year as new management turns around its performance.

The carmaker of choice for fictional secret agent James Bond has had a tough time since floating in 2018, as it failed to meet expectations and burnt through cash, prompting it to seek fresh investment from billionaire Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll.

The firm made a 466-million pound ($660 million) loss last year, compared with a 120 million pound loss in 2019, as sales to dealers fell by 42% to 3,394 vehicles, hit by the closure of showrooms and factories due to COVID-19.

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Aston said demand for its first SUV, the DBX was strong in a lucrative segment of the market it entered to widen its appeal

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For 2021, it expects “to see the first steps towards improved profitability” but is still likely to post a pre-tax loss, the carmaker said.

“I am extremely pleased with the progress to date despite operating in these most challenging of times,” Stroll said.

Aston said demand for its first sport utility vehicle, the DBX, which rolled off the production line at its Welsh plant in 2020, was strong in a lucrative segment of the market it entered to widen its appeal.

The model accounted for 1,516 of deliveries to dealers last year and the company expects further growth in its first full-year of sales, including in the key market of China, where rivals such as Bentley are also seeing high demand.

“We had not even a half-year DBX production in wholesome so probably we are going to see over-proportional growth in China,” Chief Executive Tobias Moers, who took over in August, told Reuters.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Source: NDTV.com

Chevy Silverado ZR2 looking bigger, more capable than Trail Boss in spy photos

Since 2019, there have been reports that Chevrolet has been working on a full-size answer to the Ford Raptor and Ram TRX, which were further stoked by a factory-modifed race truck. Now we have spy photos of what seems to be a serious Chevy Silverado off-roader, which we will refer to as ZR2 like its little Colorado sibling.

The front offers the most clues to the truck’s increased capabilities. The hood has a huge bulge of camouflage, which we suspect may hide a big cowl like that on the Colorado ZR2. The front bumper, particularly when compared to a Trail Boss prototype seen earlier, seems to be turned up more at the edges for better clearance around the tires. The ZR2 doesn’t have the aerodynamic air dam either, which further aids clearance. Underneath is a deep and wide skid plate for protecting all the Silverado’s vulnerable mechanical bits.

Another thing that makes it clear this is burlier than a Trail Boss is the ride height. It’s clearly sitting higher, and the tires are significantly bigger. We can’t make out a tire size in the photos, but we know that the Trail Boss so far has been equipped with 32-inch tires. We’re betting the tires on this ZR2 are 35-inch units, putting it on par with the standard Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX.

We also can’t make out the shocks, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the Silverado ZR2 uses a beefier version of the Colorado ZR2’s spool-valve shocks. We know that Chevy has worked on a version, since they were fitted to the aforementioned race truck, which, incidentally, also got 35-inch tires and more skid plates. And if that race truck is a model for the production truck, expect long-travel front suspension arms to arrive, too.

Past reports have the Silverado ZR2 slated for the 2022 model year along with a significant facelift for the whole truck line. It will likely only be offered with gas V8 engines, possibly even the supercharged V8 rumored for GM’s full-size SUVs.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Jennifer Granholm approved by Senate to head Energy Department

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate approved President Joe Biden’s nominee, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, on Thursday to serve as secretary of the Department of Energy.

The 100-member Senate backed Granholm 64-35, more than the simple majority needed. Several Republicans from states that produce fossil fuels, including Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, both of North Dakota, and Steve Daines, of Montana, joined Democrats in supporting her.

Granholm wants to boost jobs in manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs) and wind and solar power, and is likely to play a big role in Biden’s goal to put the country on a path of decarbonizing the economy by 2050.

She said during Senate hearings that critical minerals, used in batteries for EVs and to support the electric grid, in wind turbines and solar panels, can be mined responsibly in the United States.

Some Republicans who voted against her, including Sen. John Barrasso of top coal producing state Wyoming, said Biden’s green push would harm high-paying jobs in fossil fuels.

Biden “has declared war on American energy and American energy workers, and I just can’t stand by as this administration tries to crush Wyoming’s economy,” Barrasso said shortly before the vote.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from coal- and natural gas-producing West Virginia, said Granholm, when governor, helped save the auto industry during the Great Recession.

“She brought in new investment in new industry and she created new jobs, leaving no worker behind,” said Manchin, the chairman of the Senate energy committee.

The energy secretary oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and the emergency petroleum reserve, and is a member of the president’s cabinet.

Once sworn in, Granholm, 62, will be the second female U.S. energy secretary after Hazel O’Leary served in the Clinton administration in the 1990s.

Source: AutoBlog.com