Month: February, 2011

Infiniti prices 31-mpg M hybrid below Lexus

February 24, 2011 rednoland Infiniti M Hybrid Red Noland 0 Comments

Infiniti priced its 2012 M35h hybrid yesterday at $53,700, excluding a destination charge of $875. With an estimated fuel-economy rating of 27 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, the V-6-equipped luxury hybrid sedan has few competitors.

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is more fuel efficient at 41/36 mpg and more affordable — $34,605 — compared with the Infiniti, but that model features less power. It is also smaller. The closest competitor to the Infiniti M35h is the Lexus GS 450h, which has a starting price of $58,050 and gets worse gas mileage. The gasoline-only 2011 M37 with rear-wheel drive starts at $47,050 before a destination charge.

The Infiniti M35h gets standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, heated front seats, a passive smart-key entry system and push-button start, 7-inch display, backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity and a power-sliding moonroof.

Available features include an 8-inch touch-screen display with lane guidance, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning and intervention systems, and a navigation system, among other high-tech options.

The Infiniti M35h goes on sale March 16, and the non-hybrid variants go on sale March 2. The non-hybrid 2012 Infiniti M has a starting of $47,700, which is $650 more than the 2011 model.

source:Colin Bird/’s Kicking Tires

Cadillac Racing Returns to Sebring with CTS-V Coupe Racecars

February 23, 2011 rednoland Cadillac CTS-V Racing 0 Comments
SEBRING, Fla. – Cadillac Racing returned to Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on Tuesday, Feb. 22, for a second round of testing prior to the beginning of the 2011 Sports Car Club of America World Challenge GT season.

For the first time, both CTS-V Coupe racecars hit the track with full exterior colors, decals and numbers. Driver Andy Pilgrim will pilot the No. 8 car for Cadillac Racing, and teammate Johnny O’Connell will be behind the wheel of the No. 3 coupe.

Cadillac is reentering the World Challenge GT series this year, beginning with the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 25-27. Cadillac previously competed in the World Challenge from 2004 to 2007.

“We’re here fine-tuning the cars, validating components and vehicle dynamics,” said Jim Vurpillat, Cadillac global marketing director. “It’s our first opportunity to get both cars on the track at the same time, in full race trim. Besides looking incredible on the track, the cars are performing at an exceptional level.”

The first test at Sebring Raceway in January was earlier in the vehicle development process and limited to one racecar without the exterior treatments.

“The driving is going very well,” O’Connell said. “We’re just learning how the car responds to different changes and we’re getting a lot of track data. With two full days of testing (Feb. 22-23), we’ll have a really good idea of how we’ll perform at the first race in St. Petersburg next month.”

The World Challenge GT schedule has been finalized for the 2011 season and includes eight races in the United States and Canada from March to October.

“We’re getting in a lot of laps, and that’s what we need to do to get ready for the 2011 season,” Pilgrim said.

Long-term update: 2011 Infiniti QX56 interior

February 21, 2011 rednoland Uncategorized 0 Comments

As we experienced on our trip to Hatta, the 2011 Infiniti QX56 comes standard with a built-in living-room, complete with leather sofas and LCD televisions. The cabin is nothing like the one in the older Armada-based model that we tested a couple of years ago.

The dash is a combination of shiny wood, stitched leatherette, soft-touch plastics and tasteful bits of chrome, all perfectly put together with none of the fragile feel of, say, a Cadillac Escalade. Some parts remain hard plastic, such as anything near the knees as well as the centre of the steering wheel, and while Range Rover goes further with the soft-touch trim, no one really touches around as much as we do so it doesn’t matter in the long run.

The front leather seats are big and beefy, with ventilation fans, power adjustability and offering a commanding view of the road. That centre-console armrest has a cooler box that can open from the front and the back.

The rear seats fit two in our tester, with a huge centre console for storage, but it can be optioned with a 3-seater bench. Legroom is immense, and while the seat-bottom cannot slide front or back, the seat-backs can tilt and lean. There are also two DVD screens fitted into the headrests, and is a much cleaner install than the aftermarket-looking nonsense on the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class or the single flip-down screen on the Lexus LX570. Passengers get rear a/c controls with four roof vents.

Third-row access is extremely easy, with second-row seats that manually fold forward fully. It helps too that the QX56 comes with proper rubberised side-steps, unlike the slippery metal ones in the BMW X5. Legroom back there is just about adequate for most adults, but the 3rd-row seat-backs can electrically tilt back further to give rear occupants more room to breathe. Last-row passengers do not get any padded armrests, although they do enjoy four cup-holders and a couple of roof-mounted a/c vents.

Luggage space is understandably limited with all three rows up, but it can still fit a day’s worth of picnic food or a week’s worth of groceries for a small family. Of course, electrically fold down the third row, and it can fit a refrigerator. Or a bed, if you fold down the second row. Basically, the living room can be turned into a bedroom.
The Infiniti QX56 is very large, but unlike the waste-of-space that is a Hummer H2, the cabin is laid out in a practical way. And of course, it looks and feels great too. We’ve even managed to keep the off-white interior clean so far. You simply learn to tread lightly when you have beige carpets.

Infiniti M35 350+ Horsepower and 32 MPG on the highway!!!

February 21, 2011 rednoland Uncategorized 0 Comments

Equipped to outshine all other hybrid vehicles, the cool, sleek 2012 Infiniti M35h is allabout combining fuel efficiency and performance, while still maintaining its luxurious interior and sport exterior. Infiniti is finally geared up to reveal its first hybrid vehicle, the Infiniti M35h Hybrid Sedan.

Featuring the all-new Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid system (which allows power to be carried directly to the 7-speed automatic transmission), the hybrid runs on a 3.5 liter Atkinson-cycle V6 engine, as well as a 50-kW electric motor, which is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Other design features include an “Eco Mode” option that allows drivers to help conserve more fuel, a rather roomy backseat, and built-in pedestrian alert sounds that CANNOT be turned off by the switch of a button, like the Nissan Leaf. Exact pricing for the M35h has not yet been disclosed, but most are estimating it to cost around $54,000.

So, what is so special about this hybrid? As of right now, the Infiniti M35h is the only vehicle in America to offer 350-plus horsepower and will get 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway (with a combined fuel economy of 29 mpg). Compared to other competitive luxury hybrids, the Infiniti M35h surpasses the Lexus GS 450h, which only seems to get 22 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

The M35h can also go from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and though this is pretty impressive, is it nearly as impressive as the Prius’s 50 mpg? Depends on who you ask, as the M35h will blow the Prius out of the water in acceleration as the Prius takes 10 seconds to go from 0-60 mph and it looks, well, like a bug.

Seriously, could you see James Bond driving a Prius? The ideal car should be one that we can look cool driving in, that performs and excites and yet is fuel efficient – and that’s why the M35h is so exceptional…for now.

Source: Infiniti

Cadillac All-Wheel-Drive Models Gaining Traction

February 17, 2011 rednoland Uncategorized 0 Comments

DETROIT – Kenneth Carter, owner of Carter and Carter Realty Inc., lives on the north side of Colorado Springs, Colo., near Monument Hill, where the snow is frequent and terrain is steep.
An all-wheel-drive automobile is a necessity, said Carter, who often has to drive over unplowed roads to see properties or meet with clients. The Colorado Realtor recently bought a 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe AWD to go with the 2010 Cadillac SRX AWD he already owned. He likes the dependability of Cadillacs and the way they handle on both snow-covered and normal roads.

“We get snow up here when they don’t get it down in Colorado Springs,” Carter said. “I have to be able to get around on business with what I do. I can’t be locked in by snow.”

More luxury buyers, such as Carter, are turning to Cadillac for its AWD models. Cadillac retail sales of AWD versions of the SRX, CTS and Escalade have increased a combined 38 percent in the past two years. AWD models now account for one-third of SRX, almost half of CTS and three-quarters of Escalade retail sales.

AWD historically has been associated with sport-utility vehicles, but in recent years Cadillac has appealed to customers by expanding its AWD offerings to cars and crossovers. An AWD version of CTS was introduced during the 2008 model year. A dramatically redesigned SRX, also available in AWD, was introduced for 2010.

AWD is a significant selling option for luxury autos in his area, said Joel Defazio, sales manager at Red Noland Cadillac in Colorado Springs. Carter bought both of his Cadillacs from Red Noland. The Escalade AWD has always sold well, but the addition of the AWD CTS has been a boost to Cadillac car sales, Defazio said.

“All-wheel-drive is our business,” Defazio said. “With AWD now offered on the CTS, we’re able to attract luxury buyers in our area that never would have considered Cadillac before.”

Cold-weather areas provide the strongest consumer demand for AWD vehicles. Cadillac’s advanced AWD systems can quickly react to slippery roads and shift more power to the wheel or wheels with the best traction. Cadillac recently signed a sponsorship agreement with Vail Resorts that will highlight these capabilities in snowy, ski destinations.

The Cadillac AWD systems, though, also enhance performance during warmer conditions. The AWD system on the SRX, which comes standard as a front-wheel-drive vehicle, helps improve passing acceleration by transferring more torque to the rear wheels. The CTS, which comes standard as a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, uses its AWD system to help prevent over-steer during aggressive cornering.

“Cadillac’s investment in advanced AWD systems across the line-up is enhancing the brand’s reputation for performance,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing. “We’re able to offer luxury buyers exceptional ride, handling and control on a wide range of road conditions.”

First Saab 9-4X Rolls Off Production Line

February 15, 2011 rednoland Uncategorized 0 Comments

The first Saab 9-4X crossover to be commercially produced has now rolled off the assembly line at the Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico.

Saab Automobile President & CEO Jan Åke Jonsson was on hand to see regular production begin, just three months after the 9-4X was unveiled last November at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. Jonsson was joined by Executive Director Vehicle Lines Anders Svensson and 9-4X Product Manager Mikael Jacobsson.

The first vehicle – chassis number 00001 – an Ice Pearl metallic Aero model with a 2.8V6 turbo engine, is bound for a media test drive event in the United States before being shipped to Sweden for display at the Saab car museum.

“This is a great day for Saab,” said Jonsson. “The arrival of the 9-4X is another important step in the fulfillment of our business plan. This sporty and distinctive product will significantly broaden the appeal of our brand and give us access to an important new vehicle segment that is still growing, particularly in the United States.”

Featuring Saab’s advanced XWD all-wheel-drive system and adaptive chassis control, the 9-4X goes on sale in the United States in May, with sales in Europe and other world markets scheduled to begin from August.

Infiniti Teaser

February 8, 2011 rednoland Uncategorized 0 Comments

Infiniti jumps on the small-car bandwagon at the upcoming Geneva auto show, bringing a new compact concept to the stage presaging a model that would fit below the G. Infiniti released few details and a mere sketch of the car ahead of the early March unveiling.

The sketch seems to indicate a hatchback, a popular style of car in Europe, with heavily curved lines that mimic those on the Infiniti Essence concept shown at the 2009 Geneva auto show.

Infiniti’s non-Crossover lineup, limited to the G and M models, needs punching up if it is to compete with other premium brands such as BMW and Audi, which have more comprehensive lineups. Infiniti is probably also looking at adding a smaller, more fuel efficient car.

Then there is always the possibility that this new concept could be a luxury electric car, the Infiniti version of the Nissan Leaf.