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2023 Kia Sportage takes on dramatic look

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2023 Kia Sportage (European spec)

Kia late on Monday provided a preview look at the next generation of its Sportage crossover.

The full reveal will take place in July, with sales in the United States likely to follow in early 2022. The small crossover will arrive in our market as a 2023 model.

2023 Kia Sportage (European spec)

The redesigned Sportage has taken on a dramatic new look, with elements like a clamshell hood up front and the pinched leading edge of the tailgate looking similar to what we see on Kia’s new EV6 electric crossover introduced for 2022. And like most new Kias, there’s a grille spanning the width of the vehicle’s face. Another interesting element are the headlights, whose main clusters are set low in the face and bounded by boomerang-shaped daytime lights.

Kia, which refers to its new design language as Opposites United, says the inspiration comes from elements of “nature and modernity.”

2023 Kia Sportage (European spec)

2023 Kia Sportage (European spec)

Inside is a premium design that wouldn’t look out of place in an Audi. Present is a driver-orientated dash layout dominated by a curved display integrating the instrument cluster and infotainment screen. There is also multiple controls on the steering wheel together with a rotary dial for the gear selector, below which is a second dial for the drive mode selector.

That’s all the information Kia has released for now, but we have some clues as to what to expect for the mechanicals. The vehicle is the corporate twin to the new Hyundai Tucson introduced for 2022. This means we can expect a similar powertrain offering, at least here in the U.S. The Hyundai offers a 2.5-liter inline-4 with 187 hp as standard. It’s mated to an 8-speed automatic.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid

Above this is a pair of hybrids, one a plug-in hybrid. In both cases there’s a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 mated to a single electric motor integrated with a 6-speed automatic. The regular hybrid setup is good for 226 hp while the plug-in hybrid setup is good for 261 hp. The plug-in hybrid also has a 13.8-kilowatt-hour battery that will deliver an estimated 32 miles of electric range.

Stay tuned for more details following the July reveal event.

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Autos

Modern electric Bus starts testing

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2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz production model test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Volkswagen’s electric successor to the iconic Microbus based on 2017’s ID Buzz concept vehicle has finally been spotted testing, albeit at a very early stage of the development.

Our spy shots show a test mule, where the new mechanical package is hidden beneath a makeshift body, in this case the modified body a T6-generation VW Transporter/Multivan.

It’s hard to spot exterior differences but it looks like the ID Buzz test mule’s wheelbase is slightly shorter than the wheelbase of the standard Transporter. Two wheelbase lengths are planned for the production model, with the United States expected to receive the longer version as standard. A shot of the interior reveals dash controls borrowed from existing VW ID models like the ID.4 compact crossover sold here and ID.3 compact hatch sold overseas.

2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz production model test mule spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

The final design is likely to be tweaked significantly from what you see here and may have already been previewed in a teaser sketch of a self-driving ID Buzz (shown below) that’s slated to enter a commercial taxi service in 2025. The service will be run by VW Group’s Moia mobility division using a self-driving system developed by Argo AI, which VW Group is a major shareholder of.

The ID Buzz, which will likely be called something along the lines of ID.7 or ID.8 in production guise, is due to start sales in Europe in 2022. Unfortunately it won’t reach the United States until 2023, meaning it will likely arrive as a 2024 model. That’s a year later than originally promised.

VW has been hinting at a modern Bus for years. In fact, the automaker rolled out the first concept for one as far back as 2001. Now production is finally happening. The production will be handled at a Volkswagen Group plant in Hanover, Germany, which is being upgraded to handle electric vehicles. The plant is where VW currently builds its T-series van, the true successor to the Microbus.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz AD self-driving car prototype

Volkswagen ID.Buzz AD self-driving car prototype

The T-series earlier in June spawned the new T7 generation in passenger-oriented Multivan guise. The T7 van, which is based on VW Group’s MQB platform, will be sold alongside the ID Buzz. The ID Buzz will ride on VW Group’s MEB battery-electric platform.

Look for a base model with around 201 hp and rear-wheel drive. Above this should sit a 302-hp model with a dual-motor all-wheel-drive system. The biggest battery option should offer close to 300 miles of range.

Like the ID Buzz concept, the production version will have its batteries in the floor, allowing short overhangs front and rear, and a compact van footprint. Both passenger and commercial versions are planned, the latter previewed by 2018’s ID Buzz Cargo concept. The U.S. is only expected to receive the passenger version.

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Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster honors oldest Aston in existence

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Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

It’s been 100 years since chassis number 3, now known as A3, rolled out of Aston Martin’s first facility at Abingdon Road in Kensington, London. It was the third car ever produced by Aston Martin.

To celebrate the centenary of A3, the HWM Aston Martin dealership in Walton on Thames, Surrey, collaborated with the Aston Martin Heritage Trust & Museum (AMHT) to commission three modern cars dubbed A3 Vantage Roadsters, which are now for sale.

The cost of each of these limited-edition roadsters wasn’t released, and they will all likely be sold in England.

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

The original A3

The car now known as A3 was originally driven by company co-founder Lionel Martin, and it was acquired by the AMHT in 2002. It’s powered by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder side-valve engine with 11 hp. It set several records including an 84.5 mph run in 1923 at the Brooklands Circuit. A3 recently underwent a restoration to bring it as close to original factory condition as possible by Ecurie Bertelli, a renowned pre-war Aston Martin specialist.

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

A3 Vantage Roadster

Each of the three new A3 Vantage Roadsters features a black square mesh grille insert and a bright aluminum surround with a heritage badge inspired by the original A3 model. Another nod to the original is the gill inserts in the front fenders. They feature exposed aluminum panels that were hand polished by Bertelli, engraved with “NO_3,” and outfitted with fixed saddle leather straps. Unique 20-inch lightweight forged aluminum wheels painted gloss black were designed for these cars, and they hide bronze brake calipers.

The interior of the A3 Vantage Roadster features perforated seats with the heritage Aston Martin script embroidered on the center console lid. The Obsidian Black interior contrasts with brass trim and Chestnut Tan accents and stitching.

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin A3 Vantage Roadster

A3 Vantage Roadsters will be powered by the Vantage Roadster’s standard Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with 503 hp and 505 lb-ft of torque backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The A3 Vantage Roadster will be shown to the public for the first time on Saturday, June 26 at the Dallas Burston Polo Club in Southam, Warwickshire. A display of pre-war Aston Martin and Lagonda models, Feltham-era D2 cars, plus DB4, DB5, DB6, DBS models will also be on hand, as will V-8-powered cars from 1969-2000, the DB7, the V12 Vanquish, the One-77, and the Vulcan.

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Midnight Purple R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec sold for $315,187

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1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec (R34) - Photo credit: Bring a Trailer

For a certain generation that grew up playing “Gran Turismo” on the Sony PlayStation, the R34-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R sold around the turn of the century is a hero car more desirable than anything wearing a prancing horse or raging bull on the hood.

Adding to the car’s mystique is the fact that it was never officially sold in the U.S., though a handful have managed to make it through, both by legal means and some not-so-legal means.

One just sold on Bring a Trailer for $315,187, and it was brought into the country by legal means, specifically NHTSA’s Show or Display rules. As the listing points out, the buyer needs to be aware that the rules limit the use of the car to 2,500 miles annually. The buyer will also need to apply for a new Show or Display permit from NHTSA.

The limitation didn’t deter bidding. We’re not surprised as the car appears to be a particularly clean example of a 1999 Skyline GT-R V-Spec finished in delicious Midnight Purple II. Only 282 examples were painted this way for the 1999 model year.

1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec (R34) – Photo credit: Bring a Trailer

The odometer lists approximately 64,000 kilometers (just under 40,000 miles), with roughly 500 of those added by the current owner. The car is located in Denver, Colorado, and has a clean title from the state.

Like all R34 GT-Rs, the car comes with a 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, and a twin-turbocharged 2.6-liter inline-6. The engine is officially rated at 276 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, though it’s well known that this is an understated figure to meet a previous gentleman’s agreement between Japanese automakers to limit output to 276 hp in the interest of safety. The V-Spec grade adds a standard limited-slip differential at the rear, among other extras.

1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec (R34) - Photo credit: Bring a Trailer

1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec (R34) – Photo credit: Bring a Trailer

According to the listing, this particular car was given a major service last December at Blue Chip Services of Englewood, Colorado. Work done included replacing the timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, ignition coils, oxygen sensor, and valve covers, plus cleaning the fuel injectors and adding fresh oil and coolant.

What about the 25-year rule for easy imports of classic cars into the U.S.? The R34 Skyline won’t be eligible until 2024 but the rule already allows R32 and R33 generations to be imported, and the GT-R versions of those cars feature a similar mechanical setup to the R34 GT-R.

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