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Leno's steam-powered 1925 Doble E-20 is fascinating

Posted Apr 14th 2014 12:44PM

Doble E-20

The steam-powered car is considered an old-fashioned relic in today's age, but in his latest video showing off his 1925 Doble E-20, Jay Leno demonstrates that at its best, steam provided a realistic challenge to the internal combustion engine. This car has some real provenance too. Famous industrialist Howard Hughes is counted among its owners, and Leno claims he liked it so much because it was the only car that performed as well as his Duesenberg.

While the Doble's four-cylinder compound engine makes only 150 horsepower, it produces a staggering 1,000 pound-feet of torque, according to Leno. That much power means that a transmission isn't necessary, and it directly drives the rear end.

For much of the video, Leno puts on his teacher's cap and explains step-by-step how the Doble's advanced steam engine works, and it's a very complicated piece of machinery, especially if your are used to internal combustion engines. One of the most interesting parts is the system's efficiency, because after being used in the engine, the gas is condensed back into water and heated again.

If you're a fan of engineering or mechanical systems, this is a fascinating video to watch, and it's amazing how functional the Doble makes steam power appear. In fact, it's almost possible to see steam as a realistic alternative to modern engines. Scroll down to watch Professor Leno give you an inside look at his idea of the pinnacle of the steam-powered automobile.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

2015 VW Jetta gets official just ahead of NYC reveal

Posted Apr 14th 2014 10:59AM

2015 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen has offered up the lightest of refreshes on its Jetta for 2015, making subtle styling tweaks to the front, rear and interior while adding a few doses of new equipment. One of the biggest tweaks is the new, 2.0-liter TDI engine, which is now more efficient, returning 45 miles per gallon on the freeway (compared to 42 mpg on the 2014 model) while retaining the previous engine's 236 pound-feet of torque.

Normally, we'd run through visual changes first, but really, the tweaks made are so minor that only the staunchest of VW enthusiast is going to notice them. The new, optional xenon headlights and their 15 LED running lights are the most obvious changes, while the LED taillights of the GLI and Hybrid should stick out a bit. VW's primary focus, it seems, was on the exterior's aerodynamics, rather than aesthetics.

The trunklid is slightly more aerodynamic, as is the front fascia and the rain gutters along the A-pillars. Sill covers, wheel spoilers and an underbody panel on the rear axle are less noticeable aero tweaks. Both the Jetta 1.8T and TDI include an active grille shutter on the radiator, to further reduce drag at speed.

Volkswagen has made some mild tweaks to the interior, with a color multi-function display and some new chrome trim on "mid and high-level trims." The big changes on the interior are the wealth of new driver assistance features. Blind spot monitoring comes to the Jetta, along with cross-traffic alert and frontal collision warning. It's unclear if these will be options or part of a pre-determined package or trim level.

We'll have more on the Jetta and Jetta TDI from the floor of the 2014 New York Auto Show. Take a look below for the full press release.
Related Gallery2015 Volkswagen Jetta
2015 Volkswagen Jetta2015 Volkswagen Jetta2015 Volkswagen Jetta2015 Volkswagen Jetta2015 Volkswagen Jetta2015 Volkswagen Jetta2015 Volkswagen Jetta2015 Volkswagen Jetta

News Source: Volkswagen

DOE lays out 'all of the above' energy strategy for next five years

Posted Apr 14th 2014 10:00AM

DOE 2014-2018 Strategic Plan

The US government really does have a plan for how advanced-drivetrain technology will help the country meet its goal of cutting petroleum imports in half by the end of the decade, which means US emissions will need to be 17 percent lower than they were in 2005. The plans involves, among other things, battery improvements, hydrogen fuel-cell technology, biofuels and more vehicle-electrification advancements. Not to mention lions, and tigers and bears. Oh my.

The widest possible swath of companies can expect to benefit from the government-funded efforts.

The details are laid out in the Strategic Plan 2014-2018 (PDF), which the Department of Energy released last week. And it admittedly and proudly takes an "all of the above" approach when it comes to transportation-related petroleum-dependence reduction over the next four years, meaning that the widest possible swath of companies can expect to benefit from the government-funded efforts (thanks, politics). The plan also says the US will double the amount of energy produced by renewable sources such as wind, sun and geothermal sources. A lot of public-private partnerships will continue to be involved, and we envision many photo opportunities.

Check out the Department of Energy press release below and take a look at the 27-page plan here.

Formula E drops Rio from inaugural season calendar

Posted Apr 14th 2014 8:00AM

Spark-Renault Formula E racer

If you've been looking forward to Formula E kicking off its inaugural season of electric racing and holding an event in Brazil, you were probably pretty stoked to see that the calendar included a race in Rio de Janeiro. As well you should: while Brazil has been a mainstay of the Formula One calendar for decades, the Brazilian Grand Prix has been held at Interlagos – closer to São Paulo than Rio – since 1990.

Unfortunately for Brazilian racing fans, however, the Rio race was left off of a recently revised calendar issued by the FIA at this past weekend's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Marrakech, Morocco. The revised calendar keeps the China and Malaysia rounds right where they were in September and October, but leaves the slot that was to be Brazil's vacant before the Uruguay and Argentina races carry on as planned in December and January. Los Angeles has been moved from its slot in February to April after the Miami race (which stays in March) and another round has been listed as TBA in February. The subsequent rounds in Monte Carlo (May 9), Berlin (May 30) and London (June 27) are still slated to carry on as planned.

Formula E has also adopted the F1 points scoring system and announced the first test sessions to take place, open to the public, at Donington Park in the UK in July and August, with two more test sessions to take place during the season. The series has also outlined a timetable for interested manufacturers to begin the application process in September to build their own chassis for the second season.
Related GalleryFormula E
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News Source: Formula E

BMW details Concept X5 eDrive ahead of New York debut

Posted Apr 13th 2014 4:33PM

BMW Concept X5 eDrive

Already weighing more than most other types of vehicles and with the space to accommodate the extra equipment, crossovers and SUVs arguably make for one of the more ideal platforms to transform into a hybrid. And there have been a handful of them – like the Audi Q5, Infiniti QX60/Nissan Pathfinder, Porsche Cayenne/Volkswagen Touareg, Lexus RX450h/Toyota Highlander and Cadillac Escalade/Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon – but by and large the majority of hybrids on the market are sedans and hatchbacks. BMW, however, looks poised to join the minority with the X5.

The Bavarian automaker showcased the X5 eDrive concept at Frankfurt last year, and as promised, has now revealed the followup it will present at the New York Auto Show in just a few days. The new Concept X5 eDrive, as BMW has now revealed, pairs a 2.0-liter turbo four good for 245 horsepower to a 95-hp electric motor to deliver a combined 340 horsepower. Its lithium-ion battery can power it for up to 20 miles and at speeds up to 75 miles per hour before the gasoline engine needs to kick in. All that without sacrificing the vehicle's utility, maintaining an almost perfectly flat loading floor with 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, and without sacrificing much on performance, either: with a 0-62 time of seven seconds flat, the X5 eDrive concept is quicker off the line than the production X5 with the 2.5-liter turbodiesel and just a tenth off of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel.

With the full technical details now released (you can delve into it all in the press release below), the only question remains when BMW will actually put the X5 eDrive into production. Given its appearance in New York, though, we gather that whenever it does reach showrooms, it'll reach American ones as well.
Related GalleryBMW Concept X5 eDrive
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News Source: BMW

Washington State governor signs pro-Tesla bill

Posted Apr 13th 2014 9:09AM

I had no idea Seattle has a Tesla dealership!

Maybe Tesla should build its proposed gigafactory in the Evergreen State. Last week, Washington Govermor Jay Inslee signed a bill that will allow Tesla to keep selling its electric vehicles through its showrooms and not have to work through third-party dealerships, Automotive News says. That means the California-based electric-vehicle maker can keep its showrooms in Seattle and Bellevue open.

Oddly, the bill appears to more-or-less grandfather Tesla into factory-to-customer legality, allowing Tesla to expand its number of showrooms while preventing any other automaker who didn't have a state dealership license as of January 1, 2014, to do the same. The news isn't exactly stunning, given the state's largely pro-green attitude and progressive approach to plug-in vehicle technology. A fast-charging-station network has been built along Interstate 5 in both Washington and Oregon, and, as of late 2013, Washington's I-5 stations were getting used about twice as much as they were in 2012.

Still, the bill represents a substantial victory for Tesla, whose representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from AutoblogGreen. Last month, New Jersey said Tesla would have to close its two factory-owned stores in the state. Tesla lost a similar battle in Texas last year, while the company has made some headway in states like Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Ohio. Last year, Tesla chief Elon Musk went as far as saying he'd go to the federal government to try to overturn such laws, but that avenue of attack has not yet been attempted.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: thatguyeric/Flickr

Tesla Model S owners hack their cars, find Ubuntu

Tesla not amused

Posted Apr 12th 2014 5:00PM

Tesla Model S

There are interesting subsets within the group of people that composes Tesla Model S owners. They include celebrities, Drudge Report-reading conservatives, and, more relevant to this post, tech-savvy geeks. Now, give that last bunch an electric car with an easily-exposed Ethernet connecter and they will try to plug into it and snoop around. Don't believe us? Well, several have already admitted to giving it a try on this thread over at the Tesla Motors Club forum.

After wiring into the car's communications system, forum user "nlc" was able to find a number of ports and tap into the data flowing to the center console and navigation screens. Others soon joined in the fun and amongst the slightly esoteric bits of information the "hackers" eventually discovered was that the sub-system runs on a version of Ubuntu operating system, which is a Linux variant.

While one person did manage to use the discoveries to get Firefox to display on the center console touchscreen (sideways), it doesn't seem likely anyone will be able to do more invasive things with the Ethernet entry point like, for example, transform an early 40-kWh Model S into a 60-kWh version (you can't hack extra batteries). For those who want to customize the big 17-inch display, or at least get it to play video, it seems they'll be better off waiting until Tesla is ready to release the software development kit (SDK) it has promised for third-party app builders.

For its part, the California automaker isn't particularly thrilled to have its customers digging beneath the dash. Through its service center, it has already contacted the original Ethernet exploiter to let him know they were aware of his actions and that such activity could lead to a voiding of the warranty. Indeed, the Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement (MVPA) which buyers sign does contain a clause which reads, in part,

You may not, or may not attempt to, reverse engineer, disassemble, decompile, tamper with or engage in any similar activity in respect of a Tesla Vehicle, nor may you permit any third party to do so, save only to the extent permitted by applicable law.

It could be argued that this light-handed geekery doesn't quite measure up to the legal extent permitted, but we know if we owned a car that costs as much as $100,000, we wouldn't be risking it. Not when there are salvage-titled cars out there on which to practice the black arts. (MWAHAHAHA!)

If you've got hacks – or third party apps, for that matter – you'd like to see performed or integrated into an electric vehicle, let us know in the Comments.

News Source: Tesla Motors Club via Transport Evolved

Sri Lanka wants 100,000 EVs by 2016

Posted Apr 12th 2014 9:26AM

Pedestrian, car and railroad bridge, near Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

An automaker in an island nation about the physical size of West Virginia has some big thoughts about electric-vehicle adoption. Anuruddha Lihinikaduwa, CEO of E-Lanka Automotive, says Sri Lanka - just 25,000 square miles big with a population of about 20 million people - will have 100,000 electric vehicles on its roads within two years, the Sunday Leader reports.

With the country trying to spur plug-in vehicle sales to reduce both pollution and nationwide refueling expenses, Lihinikaduwa says E-Lanka will be able to take on larger plug-in automakers like Nissan and Tesla. Import duties on EVs in Sri Lanka are just a fifth of what they are for gas-powered vehicles, and the government and E-Lanka are both working on an expanded electric-vehicle recharging network throughout the country. The stirrings for expanded EV sales are in already happening. India's Financial Express reported last month that India-based Mahindra was targeting Sri Lanka (in addition to Norway and the UK) as a potential new market for its battery-electric Reva e2o. Additionally, the president of the Vehicle Importers' Association of Lanka recently said the country would expand its network of charging stations to help boost sales of EV imports.

Still, the 100,000-EV prediction is awfully optimistic, especially given that there are just 60 (!) EVs in the country now and E-Lanka is only selling about six a month. Put another way, 100,000 EVs in Sri Lanka would equal about 1.5 million in the US, calculated out on a per-capital basis. There were around 100,000 plug-ins were sold in the US last year.

News Source: The Sunday Leader

Image Credit: james_gordon_losangeles/Flickr

California could put $60,000 MRSP limit on EV rebates

Posted Apr 11th 2014 8:00PM

CARB $60,000 EV rebate limit chart

In California, electric vehicles have been selling so well that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is discussing ways to reduce the amount spent on the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP). The program, which provides rebates to EV buyers, is $30 million in debt this year, according to the Capitol Weekly. A new discussion document that was presented at CARB's April 3 meeting lists two main ways that the state could save money while still supporting EV sales.

There could be a $60,000 price limit on plug-in vehicles that CARB would subsidize.

Option one is to reduce the rebate by $500, which would mean pure EVs would get $2,000 and plug-in hybrids would get $1,000. The other option would be to put a $60,000 price limit on plug-in vehicles that CARB would subsidize. Currently, this would only affect two vehicles: the Tesla Model S and the Cadillac ELR. You can find the details in this PDF; see pages 20-23 for discussion on reducing the rebates.

CARB's numbers show that cutting the rebate by $500 would result in "only a minimal short-term impact in the growth of sales of eligible vehicles." The benefit would be that," the budget savings associated with the short-term market delay will more than offset this impact by providing rebates for about 41 percent more vehicles during fiscal year 2014-15 under a fixed budget." As far as limiting the rebate to vehicles that cost less than $60,000, CARB makes the obvious point that, "rebates are more effective in influencing purchase decisions related to vehicles with a MSRP lower than $60,000." CARB thinks this limit will impact no more than two percent of the EV market, "but will allow the program to be more effective in influencing consumer purchase decisions."

Plug In America does not support CARB's proposal. PIA's senior policy advisor, Jay Friedland, told AutoblogGreen that:

At this early point in the market, Plug In America is working hard along side a coalition of automakers, NGOs, utilities and consumers to maintain the CA Clean Vehicle Rebate at current levels with all vehicles included. Tesla is a leading California EV manufacturer - and has been indispensable to creating the market generally - and should not be excluded from the program. Every EV reduces pollution for kids and adults alike and our dependence on petroleum.

We asked Tesla for a statement, but have not heard back. The company told the Capitol Weekly that the proposed changed would "jeopardize the purchase of more than 2,500 Tesla vehicles in the state" and possibly slow down manufacturing.

*UPDATE: This article originally stated that the CVRP funds are used to give out tax rebates. They are actually just rebates.
Related GalleryTesla Model S
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News Source: Capitol Weekly, Plug In America

Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell CUV deliveries running behind schedule

Posted Apr 11th 2014 5:44PM

SAE World Congress Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell SUV

Things are running a little bit behind on Hyundai's hydrogen-powered Tucson Fuel Cell CUV program in the US. The last time we checked in with the South Korean automaker's H2 project, we heard that the first deliveries were supposed to happen by the end of March. Speaking with Hyundai's Kevin Lee at the Hyundai booth at the SAE World Congress this week, we learned that deliveries are now going to happen closer to a month from now.

Globally, there are roughly 70-100 of these hydrogen CUVs running in customer hands today.

Lee told AutoblogGreen that the first US-bound units will be shipped from South Korea at the end of April or beginning of May but there is no actual date set for the first customer delivery. He said he expects 100 or fewer H2 powered Tucson CUVs to be operating in the US by the end of this year, all of them in Southern California. He said the customers in this first batch are being selected based on the location of the nearest hydrogen fuel station. While the number of stations is small today, more are on the way. Globally, there are roughly 70-100 of these hydrogen-powered CUVs (also known as the ix35) running in customer hands today, in places like South Korea, Germany, Norway, Austria and Italy.

Some H2 stations charge Hyundai a flat rate per fill while others charge the automaker a general station maintenance fee.

In the US, the Tucson Fuel Cell CUV leases for $499 a month (with $2,999 down) for 36 months, and comes with unlimited hydrogen refueling as well as Hyundai's Valet Maintenance. Lee told us that one reason for the "free" hydrogen is that even the small number of public hydrogen stations out there (nine in SoCal) does not have a cohesive set of rules for how to sell H2 to the public. The stations are not yet certified to charge customers based on dollar per kilogram in California, Lee said, since that regulation has not yet been set by the Division of Measurement Standards (DMS). Currently, "each station is different," he said, with some charging Hyundai a flat rate per fill and others charging the automaker a general station maintenance fee. This situation will likely change by the end of the year, he said.

Lee said Hyundai is already busy working on the next-gen fuel cell vehicles and trying to reduce costs but was not able to share any details. The one thing he did say was that things are "going well" and that it was "currently under discussion at a very high level" whether or not these fuel cell vehicles will be subject to shorter development time than standard vehicles. In other words, if you don't like the Tucson Fuel Cell SUV today, a newer and better version might be here sooner than expected.

News Source: Hyundai

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

Air conditioners in EVs may not be that dirty of a secret

Posted Apr 11th 2014 4:00PM

in-car ac dash

Reports that the leaking of a certain type of air-conditioning fluid used in electric vehicles may help cause global warming may be a bit of hot air. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is addressing stories saying that HFC-134a, also known as R-134a, may nullify the benefits of driving electric because of its potential effect on the ozone. The UCS debunks those stories.

First off, most vehicles built since 1995 use the same fluid, so singling out EVs is a bit odd. More importantly, a slow leak of the fluid contributes emissions that may amount to about five percent of what's produced from a tailpipe of a vehicle that gets 29 miles per gallon. Not optimal, mind you, but no catastrophe or nullification of the benefits of driving a plug-in.

That said, the UCS suggested HFO-1234yf (or R-1234yf) as a less environmentally harmful alternative air-conditioning fluid. As early as 2012, we reported that automakers would start trying to phase out R-134a in favor of R-1234yf. Even that fluid has raised questions, though, as Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler said in September of that year that the refrigerant had the potential to leak at high pressures and ignite. Which makes us believe that opening windows may be the greenest solution of them all. Take a look at the UCS post below.

News Source: Union of Concerned Scientists

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Watch Congress sample Toyota's i-Road 3-wheeler concept

Posted Apr 11th 2014 12:45PM

Toyota i-Road in Congress

Toyota brought its new i-Road, a three-wheeled, all-electric low-speed vehicle that debuted in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show, to the Capitol for some of our elected officials to test out. As easy as it is to forget that politicians are people, too, it was refreshing to see a human side to many of them as they zipped about one of the Capitol's many meeting rooms.

We'd say their reactions were surprisingly positive. Of course, some were just down there because Toyota is a big presence in their respective districts, but the bulk of the senators and representatives seemed like they just wanted to zip about the makeshift indoor course on the leaning trike.

Take a look below at the video from Bloomberg.

News Source: Bloomberg

2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sport Wagon

Posted Apr 11th 2014 11:57AM

2014 BMW 328d Sport Wagon

There's a running joke among auto writers that the perfect car would be a diesel-powered, rear-drive wagon with manual transmission and no power accessories whatsoever. It would only be available in brown and would somehow be as fun to drive as a Mazda MX-5 Miata. Makes total sense, right?

Realistically, no manufacturer is ever going to completely fulfill our wishes, no matter how much we beg, plead, kick and scream about our dream car that most of us would actually never buy. The best we can do is hope for a vehicle that mixes some aspects of this ideal journalist's car. And in today's world, that vehicle just might be the BMW 328d xDrive Sport Wagon.

No, it's not available with a manual gearbox, and power can only be sent through an xDrive all-wheel-drive system. It's also not available in brown (although both Mojave Metallic and Sparkling Bronze Metallic are acceptable stand-ins), but it ticks the two main boxes of being a diesel-powered wagon, one of only a couple such models in the United States.

To properly put its versatility and fuel economy through its paces, senior editor Steven Ewing and I used the 328d shown above as our chariot to the 2014 Chicago Auto Show (inclement weather kept us from shooting the darn thing, so that's why you're just now seeing this writeup) – covering some 600 miles on our jaunt from Detroit to the Windy City and back.

Driving Notes
  • As this is our first time driving the 328d packing BMW's 2.0-liter, turbodiesel four-cylinder, let's get the essentials out of the way. 180 horsepower is paired up with 280 pound-feet of torque, available from 1,750 rpm to 2,750 rpm, allowing our oil-burning longroof to hit 60 miles per hour in a leisurely 7.7 seconds before conking out at 130 mph. In short, this is not the 3 Series for those who demand quickness.
  • In the real world, though, the 328d's acceleration is perfectly adequate. Dip into the throttle at freeway speeds, and you'll surf along on a wave of torque that makes passing a painless affair, although some planning is still required. As is the case with most passenger diesels, the sound isn't terribly evocative when ran hard, but at cruising revs, our tester proved luxuriously quiet.
  • My leg of the journey was from downtown Detroit, on Interstate 94, to I-69 and onto the I-80 turnpike. Along this route, I had the cruise control pegged at 80 miles per hour, while returning 42 miles per gallon. Yep, it's that good.
  • Ewing, having a bit of a lead foot, quickly did his best to ruin my decent fuel economy when he took over on the turnpike. However, a nasty winter storm meant that most of our I-80 travels were spent cruising below 50 mph, meaning we arrived in Chicago averaging just over 41 mpg. The trip home, which was highlighted by crisp, clear and dry weather that allowed us to zip along at 80 mph, saw our overall economy dip to just under 41 mpg. Considering our higher-than-average speed, there's little doubt in my mind that the 328d could meet and exceed its 43-mpg highway estimate.
  • The fuel economy owes some of its success to BMW's suite of fuel-sipping features. Besides the routinely excellent ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic, a standard stop-start system and BMW's Eco Pro mode make conserving fuel an easy task. Eco Pro is particularly handy in urban settings, where its more relaxed throttle response and shorter shifts make hypermiling easier. To keep drivers engaged, the instrument cluster shows how many extra miles of fuel are being saved while in Eco Pro.
  • We'd be lying if we said choosing the 328d for this trip was only because of its fuel economy. While the 3 Series has grown a bit softer over the years, the upside is that it's more tolerable on long hauls. With the 328d, the suspension has a just-right balance between sportiness and comfort. We had no issues with it along the smoother freeways, while the pockmarked sections of Chicago's surface streets were easy enough to dodge thanks to the 3's agility.
  • Not surprisingly, this is not a cheap vehicle. Prices for the 328d xDrive Sport Wagon start at $42,950. Our tester, meanwhile, was optioned out to $49,425. Those that have read my Quick Spin of the 320i should see where this is going.
  • I might not have made too much of the 328d's price had I not picked up our long-term Mazda6 on our return trip. That $31,765 front-drive sedan is obviously not a direct competitor for the BMW – in fact, it's not even the same bodystyle. However, it did give me reason for pause, as it was loaded with navigation, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, leather seats and a rear-view camera – things not found on this 328d. It had all of these features and a larger cabin, yet it could return 38 mpg while running on cheaper gasoline, for less than two-thirds the price of our tester. Different cars, different classes – apples and oranges, maybe, but it did get me thinking anew about the pricing of not just BMW, but all prestige brands.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

VW Golf TDI SportWagen concept is a taste of delicious things to come

Posted Apr 11th 2014 11:27AM

VW Golf Sportwagen

Feast your eyes on the new longroof model of the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf – something we've already seen with Variant badging overseas. This concept (yes, it really is a concept) previews the next Golf SportWagen that will go on sale in the US in early 2015, and makes its official debut next week at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

Why the concept designation? The car you see here uses a TDI clean-diesel engine and Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive. Oh sure, when the car comes to market next year, it'll be offered with both 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TDI engines – the former mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, the latter using a six-speed DSG dual clutch or six-speed manual – but as for all-wheel drive, well... that might not make the cut. A Volkswagen spokesperson told Autoblog that 4Motion is "under consideration" for the production model that'll go on sale next year, but as of this writing, the company is only planning to offer a front-drive SportWagen in our market.

We've always had a soft spot for the Jetta SportWagen (which is now, appropriately, finally using the Golf name in our market), and this new model looks like it will keep our interest piqued. We'll have more details on the concept when it's unveiled next week. In the meantime, scroll down for VW's official release.

News Source: Volkswagen

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