It’s Friday once again, which means it’s time for another round of my Five For Friday: Five Thoughts about the Auto Industry for October 25, 2013. The BMW 2 Series, farewell to the Subaru Tribeca, diesel-powered Buicks on the way, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and an Infiniti flagship - let’s look at my take on the most noteworthy and interesting automotive stories from the past week.
01. BMW 2 Series Details Released
It was not secret that the 2014 BMW 2 Series would be a revamped version of this year's 1 Series, but we finally have a few details concerning the car's drivetrain configurations. There will be two editions of the coupe and convertible - the 228i and the M235i - with the former featuring the same turbocharged four-cylinder found under the hood of the existing BMW 328i. The M235i will be delivered with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder engine that pumps out 322 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Each can be had with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the M235i coming with a stiffer, lower suspension system when compared to the base 228i.
02. Good-bye, Subaru Tribeca
The Subaru Tribeca is about to have its run as the world's most overlooked crossover vehicle come to a merciful end. Chances are you've seen more versions of the equally-lamented Acura ZDX out on the road than this particular Subaru people mover, a model that sold only 78,000 examples over the course of its eight-year run. The three-row Tribeca will leave showrooms in February, 2014, and could be replaced by a larger, more luxurious crossover to fill that particular hole in Subaru's line-up. The Tribeca was in many ways a victim of its early over-styling, combined with general apathy on the part of Subaru customers unaccustomed to seeing such a big vehicle wearing their favorite brand's badge.
03. Buick To Offer Diesel-Powered Compacts?
Diesel fever is contagious this year, and with Chevrolet delivering a well-received diesel-powered edition of the Cruze compact sedan, it's perhaps no surprise that Buick is considering a similar power plant for the Verano. Edmunds is reporting that the Buick Verano is likely to receive a turbodiesel engine in order to improve on its fuel efficiency as well as tie the brand closer to its European roots, where the Opel division regularly makes diesel a part of its drivetrain offerings. Also in line for a power boost is the compact Buick Encore crossover, which currently labors along with an adequate, though uninspiring 1.4-liter, four-cylinder turbo. The plan would be to upgrade that particular mill to a turbocharged 1.6-liter unit, as space concerns rule out other four-cylinder motors currently available in Buick models. Neither update will occur before the 2015 model year.
04. 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Will Be Lighter, More Efficient
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz is also gaining some turbodiesel momentum as part of its next refresh. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is likely to receive the same 2.1-liter, turbodiesel four-cylinder engine currently available in the mid-size E-Class sedan and GLK-Class compact SUV, where it makes 195 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Highway fuel mileage for the C-Class - which Mercedes-Benz claims will be 221 lbs lighter thanks to a new chassis - could top the 45-mpg rating of the E-Class turbodiesel. A gas-powered six-cylinder as well as a turbocharged four-cylinder will round out the new 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class' engine options.
05. Is A Four-Door Coupe Infiniti's Flagship Answer?
The Infiniti Essence concept car might actually inspire more than just auto show wonder. The Automotive News has published a report detailing how the Essence could influence a new four-door 'coupe' that would serve as a full-size flagship for the luxury brand. It would share its platform with a rear-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz model, and be powered by a hybrid drivetrain.
Infiniti claims that it is going for more market share than it currently enjoys, and that any halo car would have to wait for entry-level models to demonstrate sales success first. Is a four-door coupe really the way to go? Especially one that makes use of a gasoline/electric drivetrain? History has not been kind to models like the Lexus LS 600h and the ActiveHybrid 7, and linking a limited-appeal body style like a sloping-roof sedan to a hybrid design could be too much for an Infiniti flagship to overcome.