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AUTO BRIEFS: Infiniti offers a peek at Q30 Concept

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Infiniti recently released this teaser sketch of its much-anticipated Q30 compact luxury sedan, which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Infiniti recently released this teaser sketch of its much-anticipated Q30 compact luxury sedan, which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Joining the many highly anticipated debuts slated for next month's Frankfurt Motor Show is the Infiniti Q30. The Japanese automaker recently released a teaser sketch, shaping a preview for what to expect in terms of Infiniti's take on the increasingly popular "compact luxury" sedan.

Like its bigger brother, the Q50, the Q30 blends design cues found on the Essence, Etherea and Emerg-e concepts from yesteryear. It will also be the first Infiniti offering in which Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel had a hand in the development process from the beginning.

No further specifications are known, so stay tuned for its debut, set for Sept. 10.

Hyundai reveals face-lifted Elantra

Hyundai has revealed its face-lifted Elantra, which goes under the name Avante in Korea.

The reworked model now measures 4,550 mm, which is 20 mm longer than the current model, but the wheelbase remains the same.

New front bumper, grille and fog lamps, along with the adoption of LED light guides -- a light tube that rings the projection headlamps -- serves to freshen the face, while redesigned 17-inch two-tone wheels and a chrome beltline guide the eye to the new black, two-tone rear bumper and LED tail lights.

Interior design elements include a repositioned centre air vent and a higher centre armrest, both reflecting feedback from customers of the current Elantra.

Other upgrades and options include a 3.5-inch OLED display, ventilated seats, Smart Parking Assist System and flex steer. The latter allows the driver to set the steering in Comfort, Normal or Sport modes, which changes the weight and feedback.

VW aims for higher efficiency with new diesel

With BMW's 328d and the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel stepping up the fuel-economy game, Volkswagen has announced a replacement will be in store for its 2.0-litre diesel engine come 2015. According to edmunds.com, the motor will appear in the second half of 2014 under the hoods of the Golf, Beetle, Jetta and Passat TDI models.

The new engine sees the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve and the water-cooled intercooler integrated with the intake manifold. That tweak, combined with many others, including new piston rings and a two-stage oil pump, will result in improved emissions and decreased friction within the motor itself.

Displacement will remain at 2.0-litres, but output will jump by 10 horsepower to 150. Torque will remain constant at 236 pound-feet. While it will first roll out in four models, Volkswagen says this new engine will ultimately appear in all VW and Audi products powered by the 2.0L oil burner.

Nissan to drop Altima Coupe from lineup

Speculation was aplenty earlier this year when the Nissan Altima sedan was thoroughly reworked, while the two-door coupe remained a carry-over from 2012. We've now learned, thanks to WardsAuto, that the buzz rings true: Nissan will axe the Altima Coupe.

Nissan does not release sales data for the two-door Altima, but it's believed it is a low-volume product, says WardsAuto.

When it was launched in 2007, the Altima Coupe was offered with both an in-line four-cylinder and a V6 engine with either a CVT or a six-speed manual transmission, though currently the lineup has been watered down to only the in-line four and CVT combination. With the Toyota Solara long gone, this means only one other option remains if a front-wheel-drive, midsize sedan-based two-door is on your shopping list: the Honda Accord Coupe.

Mercedes preview puts international focus on Canada

Mercedes-Benz, the most prestigious of mainstream luxury automakers, recently staged its first worldwide press preview of one of its latest products here in the Great White Frozen North. And not just any car, but its top-of-the-line, spare-no-expense, my-God-does-this-thing-really-have-a-hot-stone-massager S-class, the very cr©me-de-la-cr©me of the luxury automotive segment.

Seven years in the making, launching the uber-hedonistic S Benz here is the automotive equivalent of Steven Spielberg bringing back the Star Wars franchise at the Toronto film festival or the Rolling Stones launching a world tour at the El Mocambo (oh, wait...).

That means that some 700 auto journalists from more than 40 countries traipsed through Yorkville's new Four Seasons hotel, motored up Ontario's Highway 400 and motorboated on Muskoka's famed Lake Rousseau. Guests were serenaded by Montreal singing sensation Nikki Yonofsky, wowed by a $5.5-million lakeside Hirsh log cabin and hosted by Global TV personality (and former Olympian) Rosey Edeh.

In other words, Canada was showcased as much as Mercedes-Benz. What we take for granted was the backdrop for the world's most advanced automobile. Only in Canada, eh?

-- Postmedia Network Inc. 2013

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 6, 2013 E8

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