Tag Archives: models

Apple unveils iPhone with high-res cameras, no headphone jack


Apple Inc. unveiled an iPhone 7 with high-resolution cameras and no headphone jack at its annual launch this week, though the biggest surprise was the debut of a three-decade-old Nintendo game franchise, Super Mario Bros, on the smartphone.

While shares of Apple barely budged, Nintendo’s U.S.-listed shares jumped 29 pct on investors’ hopes that Super Mario would be another mobile gaming hit for the Japanese company akin to the wildly popular Pokemon Go.

Much of the presentation headed by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook was devoted to technical details of photography, wireless earphones, games from Nintendo, and a new version of Apple watch – with fitness features.

The biggest iPhone technical improvements all had leaked, and Apple itself spoiled the surprise by sending out tweets of some details before Cook spoke. The company then deleted the messages.

Apple has reported declines in iPhone sales for the last two quarters, which raised the stakes for the iPhone 7. Some consumers and analysts are considering waiting until 2017.

“Just gonna wait on iPhone 8 cuz it’s the 10th anniversary of iPhone,” Tweeted @LewBruh near the end of the event. “Ya know they gonna do something big.”

But Mike Binger, senior portfolio manager at Gradient Investments LLC in Minneapolis, said the new phone encouraged him that Apple was in good shape for a new sales cycle.

“I think the iPhone 7, just from a replacement basis, will be a successful launch,” he said.

The world’s best-known technology company said the iPhone 7 would have one, zooming 12-megapixel camera. Starting at $649, it is the same price as the 6S predecessor. The larger 7 ‘Plus’ edition, starting at $769, would feature two cameras, including a telephoto lens.

Apple also removed the analog headphone jack from both new models, as was widely expected. The new headphones supplied by Apple with the phone will plug into the same port as the recharging cord, making it incompatible with most wired headphones without an adaptor. Apple includes the adapter.

The phones will also work with Apple’s new wireless headphones, called Air Pods, available in late October at a price of $159.

The disappearance of the headphone jack “will probably annoy a certain amount of people” but they would likely get over it, Binger said.

Apple described dropping the jack as an act of courage as it moved toward a wireless future with the optional Air Pods. Getting rid of the jack also increased room for stereo speakers, and Apple sharpened the technology on most features, from the camera to a pressure-sensitive home button to a boost in memory.

The new phone will start shipping in major markets, including the United States and China, on Sept. 16.

Bob O’Donnell of research firm TECHnalysis said Apple’s new glossy black finish could be more popular than any tech feature, reflecting the slowdown in major tech innovations for smartphones.

“While the camera improvements for the iPhone 7 Plus are nice, they are incremental for most and the lack of headphone jacks could offset that for others,” he said.

Apple typically gives its main product, which accounts for more than half of its revenue, a big makeover every other year and the last major redesign was the iPhone 6 in 2014. Many are expecting a three-year cycle this time, culminating in a major redesign for 2017 to be called iPhone 8.

Apple said its Apple Watch Series 2, with a swim-proof casing, will be available in more than 25 countries starting on Sept. 16.

“I predict Watch sales will improve dramatically,” said Tech analyst Patrick Moorhead. “Most of the current Watch owners are early adopters and the next wave could be 10 times the size of that market.”

Apple also launched a new version of the device called the Apple Watch Nike+, in partnership with the athletic goods manufacturer Nike Inc., featuring GPS so athletes can track their runs.

Shares of Fitbit Inc., which makes activity-tracking bands, closed down 2 percent on the emergence of such a high-profile competitor.


Model’s suit pending against Trump agency

A judge will decide by the end of this month whether to proceed with a proposed class action lawsuit filed by a Jamaican fashion model against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s modeling agency, the judge’s office said.

Alexia Palmer accuses Trump Model Management LLC of lying to the federal government in its work-visa application that said she would be paid a $75,000-a-year salary while living in the United States, according to court documents.

Instead, according to court papers, Palmer received a total of $3,880.75 during the three years she was under contract with the agency. The complaint alleges “fraudulent misrepresentation” and violations of U.S. immigration and labor laws. It asks for $225,000 in back pay.

The suit was originally filed in October 2014. A decision on a pending motion by Trump Model Management to dismiss is expected by the end of March, the clerk for Judge Analisa Torres, who is presiding over the case in the U.S District Court, Southern District, told Reuters.

If Torres rules the case can proceed, it could revive attention on Trump’s foreign labor practices at a time when the celebrity billionaire’s rise in American politics has riveted the world’s attention.

Model Alexia Palmer, who is suing Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's Trump Model Management LLC of lying to the federal government, is shown is this undated handout photo released on March 8. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Pulse Model Agency/Handout via Reuters
Model Alexia Palmer, who is suing Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s Trump Model Management LLC of lying to the federal government, is shown is this undated handout photo released on March 8. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Pulse Model Agency/Handout via Reuters

Trump’s lawyers have called the case “frivolous” and “without merit.” In court documents, they said Palmer wasn’t an employee and was more than adequately compensated for a “very brief stint as a fashion model,” which they say amounted to less than 10 days of work over three years.

Reuters could not independently confirm that assertion.

“At the end of the day, this model just didn’t have a successful career, and we fully expect to win,” said Lawrence Rosen, a lawyer for Trump Model Management.

Although Trump owns the modeling agency, the suit does not name him. Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said in a statement that Trump Model Management’s treatment of Palmer was in line with “standard practice in the modeling industry.”

Palmer’s lawyer, Naresh Gehi, says his client was cheated of earnings and seduced by a life of glamour that never materialized. “The visa application the company filed with the government requires that people are paid the full amount,” Gehi said. “It’s a requirement.”

Palmer, who was 17 when she came to New York in 2011, was not available to comment.


Sylvia Ayass, a lawyer who has worked with models on visas like Palmer’s, said agencies typically pay what they state on visa applications.

Trump has won Republican frontrunner status in the 2016 election in large part by positioning himself as a champion of the American worker who will deport illegal immigrants, build a wall with Mexico and do away with the off shoring of U.S. jobs.

This is not the first time Trump’s labor practices have drawn criticism. A Reuters story published in August revealed that Trump’s companies sought to import at least 1,100 workers on temporary visas since 2000. Of those, 250 were filed for foreign fashion models, according to the Reuters analysis of federal Department of Labor data.

Using a federal visa program called H-1B that allows U.S. employers to hire “specialized” foreign labor, Trump’s modeling agency offered Palmer “at least $75,000 per year” for three years. It listed that salary on her H-1B visa application in 2011, according to the court documents reviewed by Reuters.

Rosen, the lawyer for Trump Model Management, said the $75,000 a year figure was simply a guess, not a guarantee.

Under that contract, Palmer agreed “to promptly reimburse” Trump Model Management “for any and all costs and expenses” that the agency incurred relating to her modeling.

According to the suit, the agreement stipulated that Trump Model Management would take a 20 percent cut of Palmer’s earnings but instead took 80 percent by deducting charges for everything from postage to walking lessons to mobile phone costs and limousine rides, as well as $4,000 in “administrative fees,” according to court documents.

The suit said it was seeking class-action status to represent other models who believe they were misled and underpaid after coming to the United States with sponsorship from Trump’s modeling agency.

Out with the old…iPhones? 4 ways to reuse, resell, recycle

Each year, Apple dazzles its devoted fans with faster, sleeker, more powerful iPhones with better cameras and a bevy of bells and whistles.

So, what’s to become of last year’s model?

Instead of sentencing it to a lonely existence in a desk drawer, there are plenty of ways to reuse, recycle or resell older phones. Here are a few:


Several charities accept old phones for donation, though it’s worth remembering that these groups probably won’t physically give your old phones to people in need. Rather, they work with phone recyclers and sell your donated phones to them.

A nonprofit group called Cell Phones for Soldiers will take your “gently used” phone and sell it to a recycling company. It will then use the proceeds to buy international calling cards for soldiers so they can talk to their loved ones back home.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence works in a similar manner. About 60 percent of the phones it collects are refurbished and resold. The money goes toward supporting the coalition. The remaining 40 percent of the phones are recycled, according to the group’s website. It pays for shipping if you are mailing three or more phones. The group also accepts other electronics such as laptops, video game systems and digital cameras.


You can always join the eBay hordes and sell your phone on the site for a few hundred bucks, if you are lucky. There will likely be a flood of the gadgets soon after people start getting their new phones, so it might make sense to wait a little.

There are also plenty of other options.  A company called Gazelle will make an offer for your old phone based on its condition, your phone carrier and other information. For example, a 64 gigabyte iPhone 6 on AT&T in good condition (no cracks, major scratches or scuffs, turns on and makes calls), would get you $305 this week. The same phone on Sprint, meanwhile, would rake in $220.

Glyde.com also offers to help you resell your old phone. A recent check showed the same iPhone, with charger included, getting you $376.10 — provided there is a buyer.


Apple will give you store credit for old devices that you can then use for new gadgets. You can do this in a retail store or online, where you’ll get an estimate before mailing in your phone. An online check for the phone above yielded an estimated $325 Apple Store gift card this week.

The video game retailer GameStop, meanwhile, offers cash or store credit for old iPhones (along with iPods and iPads).


Even without cellular service, you old phone will be able to get on Wi-Fi, so you can use it to stream music, post on Facebook or do pretty much anything else you want provided you are in Wi-Fi range. Keep it for yourself, or load it up with kid-friendly apps and games and hand it down to your children.

Cruising into 2016: A brand-by-brand look at new auto models

The 2016 model year has plenty of workhorses, including new versions of the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Titan pickups, Chevrolet Malibu and Kia Optima sedans and the Honda Civic small car.

But it also has some sparkling show horses. Ford, Audi, Ferrari and Acura all have new supercars. Cadillac is launching the racetrack-ready CTS-V. Dodge is unleashing its fastest Viper ever, and Lamborghini has amped up the power in its Aventador. Drivers with a smaller budget can also have a lot of fun in the new Ford GT350, Audi TT or Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Hyper luxury is in: Bentley is releasing its first SUV and Mercedes has a $189,350 Maybach version of its S-Class sedan with its own fragrance system. The new top-of-the-line Range Rover SVAutobiography starts at just under $200,000.

Carmakers haven’t completely forgotten about fuel economy. Many are using more aluminum and high-strength steel to drop weight and improve fuel economy. The new Audi Q7 SUV is 717 pounds lighter than the previous version, while the new Chevrolet Camaro is up to 300 pounds lighter.

Toyota is introducing a new Prius hybrid and a hydrogen fuel cell car, the Mirai, which will be sold in California. Hyundai is releasing a hybrid version of the Sonata sedan. Chevrolet has a new Volt hybrid that goes for 53 miles on battery power alone, and Mercedes, Audi and BMW have new plug-in hybrids.

Here are new or significantly refreshed cars and trucks coming in the 2016 model year, by brand:


ILX: The small sports sedan gets a significant freshening with a new 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine that puts out 201 horsepower. It’s linked to an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. It also gets new front and rear styling with jeweled LED headlights, as well as better noise insulation and thicker door glass. Went on sale in February. Starts at $27,900 excluding shipping.

RDX: Midsize lux SUV is refreshed with a new, more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 279 horsepower. The RDX gets updated, rounder styling and jeweled LED headlights. Starts at $35,270 without shipping. Went on sale in April.

MDX: Luxury people-hauler with three rows of seats gets a new nine-speed automatic transmission and a top-end luxury trim line. Went on sale in February starting at $42,865 excluding shipping.

NSX: Acura’s build-to-order supercar is all new with a 550-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 and a three-electric-motor sport hybrid system. The mid-mounted engine is mated to a new nine-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. The NSX also comes with a multi-material frame that keeps it rigid but lightweight with crisp handling, Acura says. The all-wheel-drive supercar also gets a sleeker design with 10 air-cooled heat exchangers for the powertrain. Due out in the spring with a starting price of about $155,000.


A3 SPORTBACK E-TRON: This is the first plug-in hybrid Audi to hit the market. The five-seat wagon combines a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor powered by a battery hidden under the rear seats. It can be driven in electric mode for up to 19 miles; in hybrid mode, the car decides whether to use the motor, the gas engine or a combination of the two. Fuel economy numbers haven’t yet been released. Recharging through a 120-volt outlet takes eight hours; recharging through a 240-volt outlet takes two hours and 15 minutes. Home installation of a 240-volt outlet and home charging station is optional. The Sportback e-tron goes on sale in October starting at $37,900.

A6/A7: Audi’s A6 midsize sedan, last redesigned in 2011, gets some significant updates. The front and rear have a taut new design and there are new LED headlights and a wider grille. The A6 has a new, more powerful base engine: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 252 horsepower, up from 220 horsepower in the previous model. The front-wheel-drive version is paired with a new, seven-speed transmission, while the all-wheel-drive quattro version has an eight-speed transmission. Both the A6 and its sibling, the coupe-like A7, also get a new 3.0-liter V6 engine option with 333 horsepower, up 23 horsepower from the previous model. Inside, there’s a new wireless hotspot for up to eight devices in the car. There are also new safety features, including night vision with animal detection. The 2016 A6 and A7 went on sale this spring; the A6 starts at $46,200, the A7 at $68,300.

TT: The third generation TT coupe has a sportier, more muscular design and new LED headlights. Audi used more high-strength steel and aluminum to make the new TT lighter and stiffer. The TT coupe and roadster have a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower; the sporty TTS coupe gets a turbocharged four-cylinder with 292 horsepower. Both are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Inside, there’s a fully digital instrument cluster and the most advanced version of Audi’s infotainment system, which reads newspaper headlines and Twitter alerts and can access more than 7,000 Web radio stations. The 2016 TT went on sale this summer, starting at $42,900.

Q7: This is Audi’s first full redesign of its three-row, seven-seat SUV in nearly a decade. It has a shorter, leaner, more wagon-like look than its predecessor. Audi managed to shave 717 pounds off the Q7 by using more lightweight materials; the doors, engine hood and rear hatch are all made of aluminum. Audi says the weight savings help make the Q7 26 percent more fuel efficient. U.S. buyers have three engine choices: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 252 horsepower; a 3.0-liter turbodiesel with 272 horsepower; or a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 333 horsepower. Inside, the Q7 will be Audi’s first vehicle that lets drivers access certain smartphone apps through Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. The Q7 goes on sale early next year. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the current Q7 starts at $48,300.

R8: The second generation of Audi’s R8 supercar has a racier, more chiseled look and a top speed of 200.7 miles per hour. It can go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds. Thanks to new construction with more extensive aluminum and carbon fiber, the R8 is 110 pounds lighter than the outgoing model. The V10 mid-engine comes in two variants: one with 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque and one with 610 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. The second is Audi’s fastest and most powerful series-production Audi ever. An electric version, the R8 e-tron, is also available. It has a range of nearly 280 miles, up from 133 miles in the outgoing model. The R8 is already on sale in Europe, starting at $180,980. The U.S. sale date hasn’t been announced.


BENTAYGA: Bentley’s first SUV — named for a rugged peak in the Canary Islands — goes on sale early next year. It has an aluminum body and a frame of aluminum and high-strength steel, a Bentley first. It’s powered by a 12-cylinder engine, which Bentley says will make it the fastest production SUV in the world. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but it’s likely to be north of its nearest competitor, the $138,000 Range Rover Autobiography.


3 SERIES: The 340i high-performance variant of BMW’s most popular line gets a new inline 3-Liter six-cylinder twin turbo that puts out 320 horsepower, 20 better than the current model. There’s also the new 330e plug-in hybrid that can go 22 miles on battery power and puts out 250 horsepower. Otherwise, the small BMW sedans and sport wagons get a freshening with a retuned chassis, revamped electric power steering and sportier fronts. Sale date and pricing not announced yet. 340i goes on sale in the fall. Pricing hasn’t been revealed.

7 SERIES: The all-new flagship large sedan gets up to 190 pounds lighter and comes with an improved ride and better handling. BMW says it used a lot of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic in the passenger area to help shed the weight. In the U.S. it comes as a 740i and 750i xDrive. The 750i gets a revamped 4.4-liter V8 engine with 445 horsepower. 740i gets latest generation 3-liter inline turbocharged six with 320 hp. Plug-in hybrid 740e coming next year. Can go 23 miles on battery power alone. The 740i starts at $81,300 without shipping, while the 750i xDrive starts at $97,400. Both are available in the fall.

X1:  New for 2016, the small SUV gets a roomier interior, more space for cargo and a new 2-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder engine that puts out 228 horsepower. It’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. BMW says a new chassis enhances handling and ride comfort over the current model. New version is 1.7 inches taller than the old one. Goes on sale in the fall. Price hasn’t been released.

X5: BMW’s first plug-in hybrid SUV joins the lineup, the X5 xDrive40e. The midsize SUV can go 13 miles on battery power and zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds. It comes with a 2-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder gas engine plus an electric motor. Combined, they put out 308 horsepower. Available in the fall. Price not yet announced.


CASCADA: Buick goes for a little ragtop bling with the Cascada, an American version of a stylish Opel convertible from Europe. The four-seater is the brand’s first convertible in a quarter-century, and it comes with a turbocharged 200-horsepower engine, and a safety system that deploys rollover protection bars behind the rear seats if the car detects that a crash is possible. The insulated soft top can be opened in 17 seconds while traveling up to 31 miles per hour. Price hasn’t been released yet. The convertible is due in showrooms early next year.


ATS-V: High-performance version of Caddy’s small sports sedan and coupe. Comes with a 3.6-liter twin-turbo engine that puts out 464 horsepower and the choice of eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmissions. Sedan starts at $60,465, the coupe at $62,665, both excluding shipping. Already on sale.

CTS-V: It’s a new iteration of the racetrack-ready CTS based on the lighter and leaner new version of the midsize sports car. It’s the most powerful car in Cadillac’s 112-year history with a 640-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 mated to an eight-speed automatic tranny. Starts at $83,995 without shipping. On sale now.

CT6: Cadillac goes back to its roots with a new rear-drive luxury land yacht that isn’t supposed to behave like one. The CT6 has an aluminum-intensive body with 11 different materials for strength, performance and efficiency. GM says it’s lighter than the smaller BMW 5-Series. Buyers can choose from a new 3-liter twin-turbo V6 with 400 horsepower, plus two less-powerful engines from the previous generation. Night vision that helps identify people and large animals with heat signatures on a dashboard display. Pricing hasn’t been announced. On sale early next year.

XT5: The first of the new generation of GM sport utilities is a replacement for the aging SRX midsize SUV. GM will release details later this year.


CAMARO: The classic Chevy muscle car slims down to fit on the frame of a Cadillac ATS small sports sedan. And it gets something that’s almost unheard of in a muscle car: a standard four-cylinder engine. The sixth-generation Camaro loses 200 to 300 pounds over the 2015 model, and it’s also shorter. And the new turbocharged 2-liter four is nothing to be embarrassed about. It puts out 275 horsepower, more than many V8s from years ago. But buyers also can choose a 335-horsepower V6 or 455-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine. Starts at $26,695, excluding shipping. Due in showrooms in the fall.

CRUZE: Chevy’s now 5-year-old pedestrian-looking compact car is replaced with a more stylish, aerodynamic-looking sedan that’s longer and 250 pounds lighter. GM engineers say the new Cruze addresses the faults of the old one, which had a noisy underpowered engine, a cramped back seat and bland styling. Gone are two older four-cylinder engines, both with 138 horsepower. They’re replaced by an all-new 153-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo four. Six-speed manual is standard and a new six-speed automatic is available. It’s due in showrooms in the spring. Price hasn’t been announced.

MALIBU: General Motors makes another run at the popular midsize car segment. But if the sleeker and lighter new Malibu runs and handles as well as it looks, Chevy might make a dent in the market now controlled mainly by Honda and Toyota. The new sedan has a wide stance and a coupe-like look that’s lower than the old version for better aerodynamics. A longer wheelbase creates more room inside the redesigned model, including 1.3 inches of additional rear-seat legroom. Comes standard with a new 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 160 horsepower. It’s smaller and lighter than the previous four-cylinder, helping to cut 300 pounds of weight. GM says highway mileage will rise 1 mpg to 37. There’s also a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic transmission. A gas-electric hybrid version gets an estimated 48 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Gasoline versions available in December and hybrid in the spring. Pricing not announced.

SPARK: The Korean-made inexpensive Chevy mini-car gets revamped with a more powerful 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 98 horsepower, 14 more than the current model. It also looks less bug-eyed and more modern, with a lower roof line, jeweled headlamps and a rounded front end. Choice of a continuously variable transmission or five-speed manual. Has 10 air bags for safety. Price hasn’t been announced. Due in showrooms in the fall.

VOLT: Chevy’s gas-electric hybrid gets sleeker looks and increased battery range in a redesign for 2016. The new Volt can go 53 miles on battery power before a new 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine kicks in to generate electricity and keep the car going. The current version goes only 38 miles on electricity. The new gas-powered generator also is more efficient than the current model. When it’s on, the Volt gets 42 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving, 5 mpg better than the current car. The more aerodynamic look of the new Volt comes with a price, though. Rear-seat headroom is shallow, as is legroom. The new Volt is due out in the fall, priced at $33,170 excluding shipping and a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars.


VIPER ACR: It stands for American Club Racer, and it’s the fastest street-legal Viper ever, according to the company. The ACR is designed to squeeze faster track lap times out of the venerable Dodge super car with a race-tuned suspension. It has high-performance Kumho racing tires and is powered by the Viper’s hand-built 8.4-liter V-10 with 645 horsepower. Already on sale. Starts at $117,895, excluding shipping and a gas-guzzler tax.


488 GTB, 488 SPIDER: New V8-powered sports cars that replace the 458 Italia and Spider. Each are powered by a 3.9-liter turbocharged motor that puts out 641 horsepower and takes the cars from zero to 62 miles per hour in a screaming 3 seconds. GTB is more aerodynamic than their predecessors with a double front spoiler and a new rear spoiler. The Spider has a retractable hard top. GTB available later this fall for about $245,000. Spider hits showrooms next year at about $275,000.


500X: Fiat gets a much-needed small crossover SUV to take advantage of the worldwide SUV craze. The bulked-up 500 keeps the brand’s cute European styling but can seat five comfortably. Choice of two engines, a 1.4-liter, 160-horsepower turbo four mated to a six-speed manual transmission and a 2.4-liter, 180 horsepower four with a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive version has a rear axle that disconnects when it’s not needed, for better fuel economy. Already on sale. Starts at $20,000 excluding shipping.


GT: After a decade’s absence, Ford’s GT returns at the end of 2016. The chiseled supercar looks more like a Ferrari than a Ford.  It will get more than 600 horsepower with its mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, which is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. It’s Ford’s most expensive vehicle ever, with a price tag around $400,000. The company plans to make just 250 GTs per year for the next several years.

SHELBY GT350/GT350R: The GT350 is a performance version of the new Mustang, which went on sale last fall. It boasts a howling, 5.2-liter V8 engine with 526 horsepower. The aluminum hood is lower and more sloped than on the regular Mustang, for better aerodynamics. The inside is spare; chrome and bright finishes were removed to prevent sun glare from distracting the driver. If the GT350 isn’t enough, enthusiasts can check out the GT350R, a pure racing car that’s 130 pounds lighter than the GT350 thanks to the removal of anything extra, including air conditioning, rear seats and even carpet. There are carbon fiber wheels and a big rear spoiler for even faster cornering. Production will be limited. The GT350 starts at $49,995, which includes $1,300 for a gas-guzzler tax, which applies to cars with combined fuel economy under 22.5 mpg.  The GT350R starts at $63,495.


CIVIC: The current Civic compact car strayed from its roots with bland styling, a cheap interior and lackluster performance. An emergency refresh after a year on the market improved it, but still didn’t offer much excitement. That should change with the 2016, or 10th generation, model. Honda claims it will be the sportiest Civic ever, and judging from the fastback look of the coupe, the company may be right. The new Civic gets two new engines: a normally aspirated direct-injected four-cylinder with an undisclosed size, and a 1.5-liter, direct-injection turbo four-cylinder. Specifications haven’t been released. They’re mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic. Sedan debuts later this fall, while the coupe comes in the winter. Prices haven’t been released yet.

PILOT: Honda’s biggest SUV gets re-engineered for 2016, shedding its worn-out boxy look for a more sculpted body that mimics its smaller cousin, the CR-V. It comes with an all-new 3.5-liter, direct-injected V6 with 280 horsepower, 30 more than the old version. It also gets two new automatic transmissions, either a six-speed or an optional nine-speed. The new power plant and transmission help the Pilot get up to 27 miles per gallon on the highway, two more than the 2015 model. For those who want luxury, the Pilot also gets a new Elite grade with a panoramic roof and second-row captain’s chairs. Went on sale in June. Starts at $29,995 without shipping.


SONATA HYBRID: The gas-electric version of the Korean automaker’s midsize car is new this year. The latest version gets a more powerful electric motor, a bigger battery pack and a revised transmission to boost fuel economy by about 10 percent. Car is powered mainly by a 2-liter direct-injected four-cylinder gas engine, with a more powerful 38-kilowatt electric motor. Combined they put out 193 horsepower. Hybrid is expected to get 39 miles per gallon in the city and 44 mpg on the highway. Front and rear fascias and new wheels help it look different than standard Sonatas. Already on sale. Starts at $26,000 excluding shipping.

TUCSON: Hyundai’s entry in the fast-growing small SUV market gets longer, wider, sleeker and more efficient. The automaker added 3 inches to the Tucson’s length and made the SUV just over an inch wider. That increased passenger room and added more than 5 cubic feet to the cargo area. Suspension was bolstered to improve handling without hurting ride quality, Hyundai says. The old version’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is gone. Base model has a 2-liter, 164 horsepower four, while upper-level models get a 1.6-liter turbocharged four with 175 horsepower. The turbo engine gets a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. An Eco version is expected to get 33 mpg on the highway, while Sport and Limited front-wheel-drive versions get an estimated 30 mpg highway. That’s 3 mpg better than the outgoing model. Already on sale. Starts at $22,700 excluding shipping.


XF: All-new big luxury sedan goes on sale in October with a lightweight aluminum-intensive frame, a coupe-like look and more space inside. The second-generation car comes with a 3-liter supercharged V6, and buyers can chose between 340 and 380 horsepower versions in either rear or all-wheel-drive. The all-wheel-drive model is 265 pounds lighter than the previous version. All engines are mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions. Price hasn’t been announced.


OPTIMA: Kia’s best-seller in the U.S., the Optima midsize car, gets its first full redesign since 2011. It’s longer, wider and stiffer, and has a bigger interior. There are three engine choices, including a new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 178 horsepower. Two other engines — a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 247 horsepower — are carried over from the previous Optima. Inside, Kia will soon offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow drivers to access certain apps from their smartphones on the car’s 8-inch touchscreen. The 2016 Optima goes on sale at the end of this year. Pricing and fuel economy haven’t been announced, but the 2015 Optima started at $21,690 and got up to 27 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

SORENTO: The Sorento crossover, last redesigned in 2010, gets a thicker, brawnier look for 2016. It’s longer and slightly wider and has a more aggressive grille with narrowed headlights. The Sorento comes in five- or seven-passenger configurations; the five-passenger gets either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower or a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower, while the seven-passenger gets a 290-horsepower V6. Inside, there’s more headroom, legroom and cargo room than before. Kia is offering new safety technology, including a forward collision warnings system and blind-spot detection. The Sorento gets up to 24 mpg in combined city/highway driving with the base engine, and up to 21 mpg with the V6. The Sorento, which went on sale in January, starts at $24,900.


AVENTADOR 750-4 SUPERVELOCE: If you have a spare $500,000, the new performance version of the Aventador — dubbed the Superveloce — might be for you. The track-ready race car has a 740-horsepower V12 engine — up from 700 in the Aventador — and is 110 pounds lighter thanks to more use of carbon fiber. It’s the fastest series-production Lamborghini ever, with a blisteringly fast 0-62 mph time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 217 mph. It gets 14.7 mpg in combined city/highway driving if anyone cares. The Superveloce went on sale this summer, starting at $492,595. That includes a $3,700 gas-guzzler tax and a $3,495 shipping charge. A convertible version — the SV Roadster — goes on sale next spring for $530,075.


RX: Lexus’ best-selling RX SUV gets its first major redesign since 2010. It has a polarizing design with a lot of sharp angles, including L-shaped LED front lights and a big spindle grille. The roof appears to float above the windows thanks to blacked-out pillars. Inside, there’s more rear leg room and an available 12.3-inch dashboard monitor with a full-screen map. The RX is powered by an upgraded 3.5-liter V6 with 300 horsepower and a new eight-speed transmission. A hybrid version of the RX will also be available. Fuel economy and pricing will be released when the RX goes on sale later this year.

GS 200t, GS F: The Lexus GS family of midsize cars gets two new members: the 200t and the GS F. The 200t is a rear-wheel-drive sedan with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 241 horsepower; for comparison, the GS 350 gets 311 horsepower with its 3.5-liter V6, and the hybrid GS 450h gets 338 horsepower with its V6 and electric motor combination. Lexus says the 200t will get up to 33 mpg in highway driving, nearly beating the hybrid. The high-performance GS F has a 5.0-liter v8 with 467 horsepower. It also sits lower and wider than the other GS models, with big air vents and carbon fiber accents.  All four versions of the GS get Lexus’ signature spindle grille for 2016, along with new, standard LED headlights. New safety features include pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection. The new GS lineup goes on sale later this year. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the outgoing GS 350 started at $48,600.

LX 570: Lexus says it changed everything but the door panels on the eight-passenger LX 570 SUV. The front gets Lexus’ signature spindle grille and new LED headlights. The 383-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 engine is paired with a new eight-speed transmission to improve performance and efficiency. There’s also a new driving mode selection system, which adjusts the powertrain and suspension depending on the driver’s choice of eco, comfort or sport modes. New safety features include dynamic radar cruise control, which works at high and low speeds. Fuel economy and pricing haven’t yet been released.


RANGE ROVER: A new, 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 engine is being offered for the first time in North America on the 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. It has 254 horsepower, which is less than the 340-horsepower supercharged V6 on the gasoline model, but it gets 25 mpg in city/highway driving, which is 32 percent better than the gas option. Other new options include a hands-free tailgate, which opens when the driver swipes a foot underneath. A diesel-powered Range Rover Sport starts at $66,450; a diesel Range Rover starts at $86,450.

RANGE ROVER SVAutobiography: The SVAutobiography replaces the Autobiography Black at the top of the Range Rover lineup. It’s the most powerful production Range Rover in the model’s 45-year history, with a 550-horsepower, 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine. The engine is shared with the Range Rover Sport SVR, but specially tuned for the SVAutobiography. New options include two-tone paint, with black on top and a choice of nine colors for the bottom, and a unique front grille. The SVAutobiography gets 15 mpg in city/highway driving. It goes on sale this fall starting at $199,495.


MKX: Lincoln’s mid-size crossover has a sleeker, less bulbous design and an updated grille to match other new Lincolns. Under the hood, there’s a base 3.7-liter V6 engine with 303 horsepower or a new 335-horsepower, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. Both are mated to a six-speed, push-button transmission. The base engine gets up to 20 mpg in combined city/highway driving, while the EcoBoost gets 21. The MKX is the first Ford or Lincoln to offer pre-collision alert with pedestrian detection, which warns the driver of an impending collision and applies the brakes automatically. Other new features include auto hold, which holds the brake automatically in traffic and releases it when the accelerator is pressed, and a hands-free lift gate that opens when the driver kicks a foot beneath it. The new MKX went on sale this summer starting at $38,100.


CX-3: Mazda is entering the fast-growing subcompact SUV segment with the CX-3, joining competitors like the Honda HR-V. At 168.3 inches long, it’s a little more than 10 inches shorter than the CX-5 SUV, but it shares the same swooping, “soul of motion” design Mazda has adopted throughout its lineup. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 146 horsepower, paired to a six-speed transmission. It gets an estimated 31 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Buyers can opt for front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Standard features include push-button start and a system that reads your incoming text messages aloud. High-end options include a lane-departure warning system and rain-sensing wipers. The CX-3, on sale this fall, starts at $19,960.

MX-5 MIATA: Twenty-six years after the debut of the first Miata, Mazda is introducing the fourth generation of the popular soft-top convertible. The new MX-5 hints at Mazda’s “soul of motion” design language, with its long hood, flowing sides and large wheels pushed out to the edges, even as it keeps the playful, classic look of the original. Thanks to more extensive use of high-strength steel, the new Miata weighs 150 pounds less than the previous model, improving fuel economy and driving dynamics. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 155 horsepower. Paired with either the standard six-speed manual transmission or the optional six-speed automatic, it gets an estimated 30 mpg in combined city/highway driving, a 25 percent improvement over the most efficient previous model. The MX-5 starts at $24,915.


C350 Plug-In Hybrid: The midsize C-Class family gets a plug-in electric hybrid, one of 10 hybrids the brand plans to launch by 2017. It will be sold only in zero-emission states, including California, New York and Oregon. The C350 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an 80-horsepower motor powered by a lithium-ion battery; combined, the engine and motor are capable of 275 horsepower. It can travel around 20 miles on electric power alone. Fuel economy and pricing will be released closer to the car’s launch next spring.

C450 AMG: Mercedes hopes to broaden the customer base for its exclusive AMG performance brand with the C450 AMG, a $50,800 midsize sedan. The C450 has an upgraded, 3.0-liter V6 with 362 horsepower as well as AMG’s 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. Other AMG-specific touches include a specially tuned suspension adapted from the C63 AMG (which costs $13,000 more), bigger brakes, a spoiler on the rear and red-stitched sport seats. Fuel economy hasn’t been released. The C450 goes on sale this fall.

GLC300: The second generation of Mercedes’ midsize SUV gets a new name — GLC, to tie it more closely to Mercedes’ C-class family — and an elegant new look. The GLC replaces the boxy GLK; it has the same elongated hood but a much more aerodynamic roofline. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 241 horsepower and a new nine-speed transmission. Fuel economy hasn’t been announced, but the GLC is 176 pounds lighter than the outgoing model thanks to more extensive use of aluminum and high-strength steel. There is a full suite of safety features, including a system that detects an impending rear-end collision and alerts the traffic behind it by operating the hazard warning lights. The GLC goes on sale in November, starting at $38,950.

GLE COUPE: The GLE Coupe is the newest member of the GLE-class (formerly M-Class) of midsize SUVs. It’s a four-door, five-seater; it gets the “coupe” name for its sloped roof and sporty driving. There are two variants. The GLE450, designed to bring more buyers into Mercedes’s AMG performance brand, has a 3.0-liter V6 producing 362 horsepower. It has a new, nine-speed transmission. Standard features include a system that lets drivers choose between five driving feels, including one for comfort, one for slippery conditions and two sport modes. The more exclusive GLE63 S has a hand-built, 5.5-liter V8 with 577 horsepower that accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. It’s mated to AMG’s seven-speed automatic transmission. The GLE63 S gets some sporty touches, including diffuser fins in the rear, red brake calipers and chrome-plated twin tailpipe trims. The GLE Coupe goes on sale in late summer; fuel economy for both models hasn’t been announced. The GLE450 starts at $65,100, while the GLE63 S starts at $109,300.

MERCEDES-AMG G65: Mercedes dials up the power in the third variant of its boxy G-Class SUV. It has a 621-horsepower, 6.0-liter V12 engine and a seven-speed transmission. Fuel economy hasn’t been released, but it won’t be good. The G65 goes on sale this fall, starting at $217,900. That makes it the fourth member of Mercedes’ exclusive AMG performance family to be priced above $200,000.

MERCEDES-MAYBACH S600: This is a stretched, hyper-luxury version of Mercedes’ full-size S-Class sedan. It has a 523-horsepower, V12 engine mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission; it gets 20 mpg on the highway. There’s an advanced suspension control system that scans the road ahead with a camera and prepares to absorb any bumps. Standard perks include heated arm rests and door panels, a fragrance system on the glove box that diffuses one of five aromas and a power footrest on the right rear seat. A heated and cooled rear cup-holder is $1,950 extra. The Mercedes-Maybach S600 went on sale in the spring; it starts at $189,350.


CLUBMAN: A complete redesign makes the Clubman longer and wider than any other car in the BMW mini-car brand’s lineup. It also gets more leg, shoulder and elbow room and bigger cargo space. The Clubman is powered by a 1-5-liter, 134 horsepower, three-cylinder engine, while the Cooper S Clubman gets a 2-liter, 189 horsepower engine. Manual transmissions and an eight-speed automatic are available. Goes on sale in January. Prices not announced yet.


OUTLANDER: Mitsubishi’s seven-passenger SUV gets refreshed with more than 100 engineering and design improvements and a price cut of $200. The company says it looks, drives and feels like an all-new vehicle because of the improvements. It gets a rounder, less boxy outside look, a reconfigured interior to improve second-row seating comfort, and new seating surfaces. The engine and suspension get refinements to make the vehicle ride and handle better. Priced at $22,995 excluding shipping. On sale now.


MAXIMA: Nissan brings some life to the flagging full-size sedan segment with the new Maxima. It has a bold, chiseled surface, the “V”-shaped grille found on other new Nissans like the Rogue SUV, and a roof that looks like it’s floating above the car thanks to blacked-out pillars. Under the hood is an updated version of the 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine from the outgoing Maxima. It’s mated to a new continuously variable transmission. Those revisions helped increase the Maxima’s highway fuel economy to 30 mpg; city fuel economy is 22 mpg. New safety options include a driver attention alert system, which warns drivers if changes in steering indicate they might not be paying attention. The Maxima went on sale in early June at a starting price of $32,410.

TITAN: Nissan, a bit player in the full-size truck market dominated by Ford, Chevrolet and Ram, hopes to shake things up with the new Titan. Among its engine offerings will be a Cummins 5.0-liter V8 turbo diesel, the kind of engine normally found on more expensive heavy-duty trucks. The engine gives the truck maximum towing capacity of more than 12,000 pounds and maximum payload of 2,000 pounds — near the top of the segment — but with what Nissan says will be 20 percent better fuel economy than a gas-powered V8. Gas-powered V6 and V8 engines will also be available. Nissan will release pricing and other details closer to the launch of the new Titan later this year.


911 GT3 RS/Targa 4 GTS: Porsche has reworked 90 percent of the components on the seventh-generation 911 sports car. It has a new rear axle for improved precision and stability and a new power steering system, and it’s longer, lower and wider than its predecessor. In 2016 comes the new racing version, the GT3 RS, with a rear-mounted 4.0-liter flat six engine with 500 horsepower paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The GT3 RS accelerates from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds and has a top track speed of 193 mph. Fuel economy has improved to 16 mpg in city/highway driving. The Targa 4 is the updated convertible version of the 911, with a 430-horsepower, 3.8-liter flat six engine and a choice of seven-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Targa went on sale in the spring, starting at $132,800. The GT3RS starts at $175,900.

CAYENNE Turbo S/GTS: Two new sport versions sit atop the Cayenne SUV lineup. The GTS has a newly designed 3.6-liter V6 with 440 horsepower, an improvement of 20 horsepower over the previous V8. Fuel economy also improves 2 mpg over the previous model, to up to 23 mpg on the highway. The Turbo S has a 4.8-liter V8 with 570 horsepower, also 20 horsepower more than the previous model. Both models are all-wheel-drive with an eight-speed transmission, and both have sporty features like large front air intakes and specially amplified engine sound. The GTS starts at $95,500; the Turbo S starts at $157,300.

CAYMAN GT4: The new top-of-the-line Cayman sports car borrows the 911’s 3.8-liter flat 6 engine for 385 horsepower. It’s paired with a six-speed manual transmission for up to 23 mpg on the highway. Top track speed is 183 miles per hour, and it accelerates from 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds. The Cayman GT4 starts at $84,600, a $32,000 premium over a base model Cayman.


iM/iA: The Scion brand has a new entry point with the iA small car and its hatchback sibling, the iM. Scion hopes to draw value-oriented buyers with its new no-haggle pricing promise and an impressive list of standard features like keyless entry and a 7-inch touchscreen dashboard with voice recognition. The iA has a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 106 horsepower and a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission; the automatic gets 37 mpg in city/highway driving, while the manual gets 35 mpg. The iM has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 137 horsepower; it gets 32 mpg in city/highway driving with an automatic transmission and 31 mpg with a manual. Both cars went on sale Sept. 1. The iA starts at $15,700, while the iM starts at $18,460.


FORTWO: Smart’s all-new Fortwo — a tiny subcompact with a total length of 8.8 feet — has numerous improvements, including a more powerful, turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 89 horsepower and a tighter turning radius thanks to the redesigned front axle. The car is 3.9 inches wider than the outgoing model, for more stable driving and interior room. Customers can choose a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. LED daytime running lights, cruise control, power steering and Bluetooth are now standard. The ForTwo goes on sale this fall; pricing and fuel economy haven’t been released, but the previous model started at $13,270.


Model X: Tesla’s third vehicle, the Model X, is scheduled to go on sale this fall. The seven-seat SUV will turn heads with its “falcon-wing” rear doors, which open out and upward. The Model X is powered by two electric motors. Like the Model S sedan, buyers will likely have a choice of batteries that determine the vehicle’s electric range; a top-of-the-line Model S can go up to 300 miles per charge. More details, including the price, will be released when the Model X goes on sale.


LAND CRUISER: Toyota’s eight-passenger SUV gets a significant refresh. There’s a new hexagonal grille, narrower LED headlights and a bulging hood atop the 381-horsepower V8 engine. There’s also a new eight-speed transmission to enhance fuel efficiency; the Land Cruiser gets 15 mpg in city/highway driving. New safety features include blind-spot detection and a front collision warning system. Everything is standard; the only thing buyers choose is the color. Pricing will be released this fall, but the previous model started at $80,155.

MIRAI: In Japanese, “mirai” means future, a fitting name for one of the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The Mirai has an electric battery powered by hydrogen, and it emits nothing but water vapor from its tailpipe. It can go 312 miles between fill-ups and gets the equivalent of 67 miles per gallon. Like the gas-electric hybrid Prius, which it resembles, the Mirai is meant to be instantly recognizable as something different. Its pointy hood sits above huge, triangular air intakes, and the sides are swept back and deeply grooved. It could be tough to get your hands on one, since only a few hundred will be made in the first year. Only California buyers are eligible, and they must take delivery from one of eight authorized dealers in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. They must also live close to a hydrogen refueling station. The Mirai starts at $57,500 plus an $835 destination fee; that price includes free fuel and maintenance for three years.

PRIUS: Toyota’s first major revamp of the Prius hybrid in seven years is expected to debut Sept. 8. No details have been released.

RAV4 Hybrid: A hybrid version of Toyota’s RAV4 SUV goes on sale this fall. No details have been released.

TACOMA: With fresh competition from the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota aims to hold on to its spot at the top of the midsize pickup market with the new Tacoma. It’s the first full redesign for the Tacoma in 12 years. The frame and body have more high-strength steel, to make them lighter but more rigid and better for off-road driving. Toyota also gave the Tacoma a new chiseled face and hexagonal grille, to better match its bigger sibling, the Tundra. The Tacoma has a 159-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and an optional 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower. Both are paired with a new six-speed transmission; six-speed and five-speed manuals are also available. The front-wheel-drive version gets up to 21 mpg in combined city/highway driving; the four-wheel drive gets 21 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Five versions will be offered, including a top-of-the-line Limited and an off-road TRD with multi-terrain select and a built-in mount for a GoPro camera near the rear-view mirror. The Tacoma, which will be built in Texas and Mexico, goes on sale this fall starting at $23,300.


JETTA GLI: The sporty version of the compact Jetta gets a new engine: the 210-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s also in the smaller Golf GTI. It gets 27 mpg in combined city/highway driving with either the manual or automatic transmissions. It also has a more aggressive grille and a new rear bumper with a diffuser to improve the aerodynamics. There’s a new touchscreen entertainment system and safety features, including bind-spot detection and a post-collision braking system that can mitigate damage after a crash. The GLI goes on sale next month, starting at $26,920.

PASSAT: The midsize sedan will get its first major refresh since it debuted in 2011. Details haven’t been released.


S60: Volvo adds 3 inches to its smallish sedan to come up with the Inscription version. The extra length adds a like amount to the rear-seat legroom to make passengers more comfortable. Volvo says it has the most rear-seat legroom when compared with the Audi A4, BMW 328 or Mercedes-Benz C300. Inscription gets walnut wood on the armrests with new silk metal buttons. Volvo also introducing a Cross Country version of the S60 with a higher ride height and standard all-wheel-drive. Inscription goes on sale in September and starts at $38,700 excluding shipping.

XC90: Volvo’s big seven-seat SUV is all new for 2016, and it’s loaded with luxury and safety features. Even the base model gets leather seats, and the XC90 comes with a 9-inch touch screen that Volvo said behaves like a consumer tablet. It has 32 different seating combinations and up to 85 cubic feet of cargo space. Safety features include automatic braking that comes on if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car, plus rear collision warning. Volvo says the safety cage around the passenger compartment is 200 pounds lighter than the old model, yet stronger because it uses boron steel. Powered by a 316-horsepower, 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. On sale now. Starts at $48,900 without shipping.

Student scientists study living dead

In the event of a zombie outbreak, don’t muddle around watching Atlanta burn or New York City fall. Run for the Rockies.

A team of students at Cornell University created a model for how a zombie outbreak might develop in the United States. The modeling shows the safest places to safeguard the human brain are remote locations, especially the Northern Rockies.

The research team presented its work modeling the statistical mechanics of zombies on March 5 at a meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

“Modeling zombies takes you through a lot of the techniques used to model real diseases, albeit in a fun context,” said Alexander Alemi, a graduate student at the New York state university.

Alemi, Matthew Bierbaum, Christopher R. Myers and James P. Sethna conducted the research, which involved a full-scale simulation of an outbreak in the United States and an analysis. They summed up their findings in an abstract published in the Bulletin of the American Physical Society: We “discover that for the realistic parameters, we are largely doomed.”

But doomsday doesn’t come as quickly as many “living dead” films and graphic novels suggest. In the Cornell research, cities would fall quickly, but the outbreak would take weeks to penetrate into less densely populated areas and months to reach the Northern Mountain time zone.

“Once the zombies invade more sparsely populated areas, the whole outbreak slows down — there are fewer humans to bite, so you start creating zombies at a slower rate,” said Alemi. “I’d love to see a fictional account where most of New York City falls in a day, but upstate New York has a month or so to prepare.”

To reach their determination, the researchers made a lot of computations, employing models that address complex interactions between people and groups and then large-scale simulations of the progress of the disease outbreak.

“Each possible interaction — zombie bites human, human kills zombie, zombie moves — is treated like a radioactive decay, with a half-life that depends on some parameters,” Alemi said. “And we tried to simulate the times it would take for all of these different interactions to fire, where complications arise because when one thing happens it can affect the rates at which all of the other things happen.”

Are you missing out on our ticket giveaways and free discount coupons? Simply like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Email  editors about this story, or with a story idea.

New cars: What’s ahead in 2015

Sales of small crossover SUVs are booming in the U.S., and automakers are responding quickly with new entries in the 2015 model year.

Ten brands — Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Honda, Jeep, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Mercedes and Tesla — are rolling out new vehicles to cash in on the buying binge.

Crossover SUVs are built largely on car underpinnings, so they maneuver like a car and get gas mileage that’s almost as good. They appeal to a wide range of people from millennials to aging baby boomers looking to downsize. People love the big storage space ahead of the rear hatch, and they like the visibility and easy entrance and exit provided by the high seating position.

So far this year, crossover SUV sales are up almost 14 percent, outpacing the overall market’s 9 percent gain, according to Autodata Corp. It’s pulling buyers from other segments, too, mainly small and midsize cars.

The crossover segment is splitting in several directions as well. Honda, Chevrolet and Jeep have CUVs coming out that are built on subcompact frames. Luxury automakers also are joining the party with entries from Audi, Lincoln, Lexus, Maserati and the all-electric Tesla.

Other segments have hot products, too. In midsize cars, Chrysler rolls out the all-new 200 and Hyundai has a new Sonata. America’s most popular car, the Toyota Camry, gets a face lift after just three years to better compete with newer rivals.

There also are multiple high-performance models and some new additions to the electric car lineup despite relatively slow sales.

Here’s a roundup of what’s new in the U.S. for the 2015 model year:


TLX: Honda’s luxury brand beefs up its midsize sports sedan entry with an all new TLX to replace the slow-selling TSX and the TL. The new car gets two powertrains, a 2.4-liter, 206-horsepower, four-cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and a 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower V6 with a nine-speed automatic. Two-wheel drive models get Acura’s all-wheel steering. Honda promises it will be “vault-like” quiet with a stiffer body and better sealing and insulation. Starts at $31,890 including shipping. 


4C: After a nearly 20-year absence, Italian car maker Alfa Romeo is returning to the U.S. market. Alfa expects to ship 800 of its 4C sports cars to the U.S. this year and 1,200 more in 2015. The sexy two-seat roadster is handmade in Modena, Italy, with extensive use of lightweight components like carbon fiber to cut weight. The all-aluminum engine, a 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, produces 240 horsepower and gets the car from 0 to 60 in a little more than 4 seconds. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic dual clutch transmission. Fuel economy is estimated at 28 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The 4C will be sold at 86 dealers— all of whom also sell Fiats or Maseratis — later this fall, starting at $53,900.


A3: New sedan came out earlier in the year, and Audi plans to roll out convertible, high-performance and hybrid-electric versions during the next 16 months. The sedan, with a new exterior redesigned for American preferences, comes with 1.8-liter and 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines in the “entry premium” market. The sedan also has a panoramic glass sunroof and xenon headlights standard. Starts at $30,795 including shipping.

A8: Audi’s big highway cruiser gets a revamp for 2015 with a new exterior design and improved powertrains. It also gets technology that helps a driver stay in the lane lines, and a night vision assistant that can detect animals headed into the car’s path. The optional 4-liter V-8 gets a power boost from 420 horsepower to 435. There’s also an updated S8 high-performance version. A8 starts at $78,325 including shipping.

Q3: Audi adds a premium small crossover SUV to its lineup in response to wild demand in the U.S. for the vehicles. A 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 200 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. Audi says it has a low roof line and wraparound tailgate. The company said it has coupe-like design and agility with the utility of an SUV. Starts at $33,495 including shipping.


CONTINENTAL GT3-R: Bentley adds to its Continental sedan family with the GT3-R. It’s the fastest accelerating Bentley ever, with a 0-60 mph speed of 3.6 seconds. The two-door has a retuned version of the Continental GT’s 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V8, which gives it 50 more horsepower for a total of 572. Variable displacement automatically switches to four cylinders when less power is needed. Bentley also shaved 220 pounds off the GT to make the GT3-R faster. It gets a combined 15 mpg in city and highway driving. The GT3-R will be limited to 300 cars globally, all handmade in England. Ninety-nine of those are headed for the U.S. and four for Canada. Deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2015 for those who can cough up the $337,000 price.


4 SERIES GRAN COUPE: It’s a four-door sedan, like the 3 Series, but with the sloping roof and coupe-like design of the 4 Series. There are two engines: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower, which gets 34 mpg on the highway, or a 3.0-liter inline 6 with 300 horsepower that gets 32 mpg on the highway. All versions are mated to an eight-speed sport automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard with optional all-wheel drive. The Gran Coupe, which went on sale in the U.S. this summer, starts at $41,225.

i3: The first of BMW’s family of all-electric vehicles went on sale in May. The compact four-seater is instantly recognizable, with its blunted, blacked-out hood and a jumble of angled windows in the rear. It’s BMW’s first production car with a passenger cabin made primarily of carbon fiber, which is as strong as steel but 50 percent lighter. It’s powered by a 22-kwh lithium-ion battery and a 170-horsepower motor, and gets 80 to 100 miles on a charge. Buyers concerned about range can add a gas-powered range extender generator, which maintains the battery’s level of charge and roughly doubles the car’s range. The i3 starts at $42,275, including destination; the range extender version starts at $46,125.

i8: BMW’s first plug-in hybrid super car arrived in the U.S. in August. The car is low-slung and aerodynamic; even BMW’s signature kidney grille is mostly covered to help air flow.  A turbocharged three-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine works with the electric motor to give the car 357 horsepower and 0-60 acceleration of 4.2 seconds. But drivers can also brag about the fuel economy: 76 mpg equivalent, a measure that takes into account the electric power used from charging. The car has a six-speed automatic transmission and a top speed of 155 mph. Starts at $135,700.

M3 SEDAN/M4 COUPE: The performance variants of the 3 Series sedan and 4 Series two-door coupe. Under the hood is an all-new inline-6 engine that’s lighter but more powerful than the V8 in the previous version. It gets 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque and can go from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The engine is paired with either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. Another first: a carbon-fiber roof to save weight and make the car more nimble. The M3 and M4 went on sale this summer in the U.S. starting at $62,925 for the sedan and $65,125 for the coupe including destination fees.

X4: A leaner, sportier version of the X3 small SUV. It’s slightly longer and more than an inch lower than the X3. While it still has four doors, it has coupe-like styling, with a low roof that sweeps to the rear. Two engine choices: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower on the xDrive28i and a 3.0-liter inline-6 with 300 horsepower. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.  The xDrive28i starts at $45,625.


ATS COUPE: The General Motors luxury brand gets a coupe to go after the BMW 4-Series and Audi A5. It gets the two most powerful engines now in the sedan, a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 272 horsepower, and a 3.6-liter V6 with 321 horsepower.  There are six-speed manual and automatic transmissions available. Starts at $38,990 including shipping.

ESCALADE: The big SUV with bling is revamped. Comes standard with heated and cooled front leather seats and heated second-row leather, plus a host of other luxury features. Powered by a 6.2-liter, 420 horsepower V-8 with a six-speed automatic transmission. Also comes in longer ESV version. Starts at $72,690 including shipping.


CAMARO Z/28: Street legal and track-ready, a lighter version of the sports car with a 7-liter, 505 horsepower V-8. Starts at $73,300.

COLORADO: Chevy returns to the midsize pickup truck market in the fall with the Colorado, aimed at outdoorsy types, especially Californians. GM promises a more refined, quieter smaller truck that can do many things a full-size pickup can. There will be two aluminum-block engines available in the first year, a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 3.6-liter V6 with 305 horsepower. All-wheel drive is available. In the second year, a diesel engine will be available. Six-speed automatic transmissions; two- or four-wheel drive. Starts at $20,995 including shipping.

CORVETTE ZO6: Racetrack-ready supercar with a supercharged 6.2-liter, 650-horsepower V-8. All Corvettes get an optional eight-speed automatic transmission.  It’s available early next year with a starting price of $78,995, including destination charge.

SILVERADO HD: Heavy-duty version of the Silverado that came out last year with an available 6.6-liter diesel engine and the ability to carry 3,760 pounds in the bed. Starts at $32,405 for a regular cab and long box with the standard 6-liter 360 horsepower V-8 and a six-speed automatic transmission.

SUBURBAN: The long version of the Chevy SUV has the same features as the Tahoe with seating for up to nine and a bigger cargo area. Base price is $48,590 including shipping.

TAHOE: General Motors rolls out a revamped version of its big SUV to big sales as people get used to lower gas prices. The Tahoe, based on new pickup truck underpinnings that were unveiled last year, has been on sale since the spring. Sales are up 18 percent so far this year. It has three rows of seats for seven to nine people and comes standard with a 5.3-liter, 355-horsepower V-8 with a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite weighing up to 3 tons, the Tahoe still gets an estimated 23 mpg on the highway. Prices start at $46,885 including shipping.

TRAX: Chevy gets an entry in the fast-growing small crossover SUV market. Although it’s not supposed to be as nice as its sister, the Buick Encore, the Trax promises some higher-end features: standard keyless entry, standard rear-view camera and optional 4G cellular and WiFi hotspot capability. Powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Gets up to 36 mpg on the highway. Price not yet released. Due out early next year.


300: Gets a freshening for the 2015 model year, but no details have been announced. To be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

200: The revamped midsize sedan based on Alfa Romeo underpinnings hit showrooms in the summer. It’s sleeker and more European-looking than its predecessor, and it comes with an upscale interior with a knob to change gears instead of a bulky lever. Buyers have a choice of two engines: a new 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, and a 295-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. It also has a nine-speed automatic transmission that will take the four-cylinder engine to an estimated 36 mpg on the highway. Models with 2.4-liter engines get technology that shuts off the engine at stop lights starting sometime after Oct. 1. Starts at $22,695 including shipping.


CHALLENGER: Some cosmetic upgrades to the classic two-door muscle car, but the big news is the SRT Hemi Hellcat coming later in the fall with an almost unbelievable 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. Hellcat starts at $59,995.

CHARGER: Same for minor changes except for the SRT Hellcat version. Chrysler claims the supercharged Hemi V-8 makes the Charger the most powerful and fastest sedan on the market. Price for the Hellcat wasn’t released. Base version starts at $27,990 including destination, but Hellcat will be substantially more.


CALIFORNIA T: Ferrari beefs up its sinuous California convertible with a turbocharged V8, the first turbocharged engine in a Ferrari since the 1980s. The new 3.9-liter V8 produces 552 horsepower, an increase of 69 over the previous California. It’s paired with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. It has a maximum speed of 196 mph and a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds. Pricing hasn’t been announced for the California T, which goes on sale in the U.S. later this fall.


EDGE: Ford’s two-row midsize SUV has been completely redesigned, with a leaner, sharper look and a new underbody that’s shared with the Fusion sedan. In North America, it has a standard 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower and two other optional engines: a 3.5-Liter V6 with 285 horsepower carried over from the previous Edge  and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 with 300 horsepower in the Edge Sport. All are mated to a six-speed transmission. Options include heated and cooled seats and a hands-free liftgate that works with a wave of the driver’s foot. Goes on sale early next year in North America and later in Europe, South America and Asia. Pricing hasn’t been announced.

F-150: Revolutionary changes are coming to the 2015 F-150 pickup, which has been the country’s best-selling vehicle for more than 30 years. The outside will be 97-percent aluminum, which will shave 700 pounds off its weight. That will make the truck more nimble and save fuel. The frame beneath is still made of steel, but Ford has used more lightweight, high-strength steel. There are two new engines, a base 3.5-liter V6 and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and 5.0-liter V8 carried over from the previous truck. Pricing starts at $26,615 for the base XL, or $395 more than the 2014 base model. The top-of-the-line Platinum version starts at $55,235. Scheduled to go on sale late this year.

MUSTANG: The iconic pony car — which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year — is getting its first redesign since 2005. The 2015 Mustang evokes the fastback profile of the original, with a steeply sloped windshield and rear window and a short rear deck. The interior has softer, more premium materials and updated features like Ford’s touch-screen dashboard system and adaptive cruise control. Under the hood are three engine choices: an upgraded 3.7-liter V6 with 300 horsepower, a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 310 horsepower and an upgraded 5-liter V8 with 435 horsepower. Manual or automatic transmissions are available. Other upgrades include a faster-folding and better insulated convertible top, three-dimensional tri-bar tail lights, and new front and rear suspension systems for improved handling. Goes on sale this fall starting at $24,425 including destination fees.

TRANSIT CONNECT WAGON: Ford returns to the minivan market with the five- or seven-passenger family hauler based on its new Transit Connect commercial van. It’s bare bones, without automatic sliding doors and other cushy features of larger minivans like the Honda Odyssey. Its unique look, with a high, squared-off roof and oddball color choices like “burnished glow,” will put off some buyers. But it’s also easier on the wallet, starting at $24,525, or more than $4,400 less than the Odyssey. There are two engine choices: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 169 horsepower and a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 178 horsepower. The Transit Connect Wagon — and Ford’s commercial vans — went on sale earlier this summer.


CANYON: Upscale version of the Chevy Colorado with nicer interior but aimed more at business owners than outdoorsy types. Starts at $21,880 including shipping.

SIERRA HD: New heavy-duty version of the upscale pickup. Nicer interior, but essentially the same as the Chevy Silverado HD. Starts at $32,405 including shipping.

YUKON: Revamped version of General Motors’ big and highly profitable SUV, almost the same as the Chevy Tahoe but more upscale. Three rows of seats for seven to nine people. Standard 5.3-liter, 355 horsepower V-8 with a six-speed automatic transmission that gets 23 mpg on the highway. Also an XL version that’s comparable to the Chevy Suburban. Starts at $45,450 including shipping.


CR-V: The top-selling small SUV in the U.S. is to get engine and transmission upgrades as well as styling changes for the 2015 model year. But Honda won’t release details until the fall.

FIT: Revamped mini-car passes the important Insurance Institute for Highway Safety front-end overlap crash test and earns a “Top Safety Pick” designation with only one other car in its class — the Chevy Spark. In addition, the Fit gets a more powerful 1.5-liter engine with 130 horsepower and a continuously variable transmission that makes it quieter and helps it get an estimated 36 mpg on the highway. Fit also gets a roofline spoiler, LED tail lights and a rear-view camera. The electric Fit EV is discontinued. The new Fit starts at $16,315 including shipping.

HR-V: All-new Fit-based SUV hits showrooms in the winter, likely with the same engine and transmission. Honda promises a “versatile and spacious” interior that allows for multiple seating configurations and a lot of cargo space. Few details were released, but Honda says it will be smaller than and cost less than the Civic-based CR-V, which starts at $23,950 with shipping.


GENESIS: Hyundai makes another run at German luxury for a lot less money. The new rear-drive Genesis gets sleeker looks, a more refined suspension, and it hangs onto its 5-Liter, 420 horsepower V-8. It also has an 8-speed automatic transmission. The base engine is a 3.8-liter V-6 with 311 horsepower. All-wheel-drive also is available. Starts around $38,950 including shipping.

SONATA: The car that broke the bland styling mold for midsize cars gets restyled for 2015, and although sculpted and elegant, doesn’t stand out like its predecessor. The new Sonata gets an upgraded suspension, and the interior is far nicer. Hyundai says the interior and passenger space lead the highly competitive class. Standard 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine has 185 horsepower, while a turbocharged 2-liter in a 2.0T Sport model boasts 245 hp. All have six-speed automatic transmissions. There’s also a 1.6-liter turbocharged Eco version with a seven-speed dual dry clutch automatic that gets 38 mpg on the highway. Base version gets 37 mpg highway and starts at $21,960 with shipping.


F-TYPE COUPE: A coupe now complements the F-Type convertible introduced in 2013. There are three versions: The F-Type has a 3.0-liter supercharged V6, the F-Type S has the same engine modified for 40 more horsepower and the F-Type R has a 550-horsepower, 5-liter supercharged V8. Like the convertible, the coupe is built on a rigid but lightweight aluminum platform. The coupe gets an estimated 28 mpg in highway driving. The F-Type coupe, which went on sale in the spring, starts at $65,925, including destination fees. The F-Type R starts at $99,925.


RENEGADE: Subcompact Fiat-based SUV hits showrooms early next year, but Chrysler sales execs are wishing they had it now as small SUV sales soar. It looks like a classic Jeep with a vertical grille and round headlamps. It’s the iconic brand’s first entry in the segment. It will have 16 engine and transmission configurations for markets around the world, including the first nine-speed transmission in its class. Mileage will exceed 30 mpg on the highway, Chrysler says. Price hasn’t been announced, but it will be less than the larger Cherokee, which starts around $24,000.


K900: Kia enters the luxury market with the full-size, rear-drive K900 sedan. Like its sister, the Hyundai Equus, the K900 offers luxury features at a far lower price than German or Japanese rivals. The K900 has two engine choices: a 3.8-liter V6 with 311 horsepower or a 5-liter V8 — Kia’s first ever V8 — with 420 horsepower. Both are mated to an eight-speed transmission. Buyers can also opt for reclining rear seats that are heated and cooled. The K900 starts at $60,400 including destination.

SEDONA: Kia’s new minivan, expected to go on sale this fall, has more leg room in all three rows than the outgoing model and optional leg rests in the second row. It also features new services like Geo-fencing — which lets owners specify zones on a map and get an alert if a vehicle is driven there — and alerts if the vehicle is driven too fast or past a set curfew. The structure is stiffer, for better handling, and there’s a new 3.3-liter V6 with 276 horsepower. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the 2014 model started at $25,900.

SOUL EV: An all-electric version of Kia’s funky Soul goes on sale in the fall as Kia’s electric in the U.S. Kia says the Soul EV will have a range of 80 to 100 miles on a single charge. The car has two charging ports, one for regular charging and one for fast charging. Recharging times vary from 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 120-volt outlet to under five hours using a 240-volt outlet. Kia dealers will offer free charging. The Soul EV will initially be sold in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, but Kia will offer the vehicle in other markets as infrastructure and demand grows. Pricing wasn’t announced.


HURACAN LP610-4: The all-new supercar replaces the Gallardo model line as the car you dream about. Its racetrack looks cover a 5.2-liter V-10 engine with 610 horsepower. Seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Four-wheel drive. Goes zero to 60 in motorcycle-quick 3.1 seconds. Chassis made of lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum. All LED lights. Beautiful interior. Arrives in showrooms late summer. What’s it all cost? Starts at $237,250.


DISCOVERY SPORT: If you want to know how important the small crossover SUV market is, just ask Land Rover. Its marketing director says the launch of the Discovery Sport is a “pivotal moment” in the company’s 66-year history. The new entry into the high end of the segment comes standard with all-wheel-drive, a 2-liter, 240-horsepower turbocharged engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. It can seat up to seven and has a body shell built for efficiency and safety out of high-strength steel and aluminum. It goes on sale early next year starting at $38,920 including shipping.


NX 200T/NX 300H: Lexus joins the fast-growing compact SUV segment with the NX. It has Lexus’s signature spindle grille, with highly sculpted surfaces and angular LED slits for daytime running lights. The NX debuts with either a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine — the first turbocharged engine in a Lexus — or a hybrid powertrain. The gas engine gets 235 horsepower and is mated to a new six-speed transmission. The hybrid has a specially tuned 2.5-liter gas engine and a new transmission with a kick-down function that automatically switches to a lower gear for smoother acceleration. Both are available with all-wheel drive. Inside, a touch pad in the center console replaces the joysticks drivers use to control functions in other Lexus models. Another first is a wireless charging tray, where drivers can place phones to automatically recharge. New safety features include a pre-collision system that can apply brakes and even stop the vehicle if it senses a pending collision. The NX goes on sale this fall. Pricing wasn’t announced.

RC 350: The RC350 is a two-door coupe that adds a little sportiness to Lexus’s lineup. The RC 350 shares a platform with Lexus’s IS and GS sedans. It’s as wide as the larger GS but lower and shorter than the IS. It will go on sale in the U.S. later this year with two engine choices, the 3.5-liter V6 with 306 horsepower that’s also in the IS and GS or a 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain. The IS gets 28 miles per gallon; fuel economy figures for the RC haven’t been released. The RC F Sport will have the same V6 engine but beefed up suspension and handling. At the top of the line is the performance version, the RC 350 F, which has a 5-Liter V8 expected to produce more than 450 horsepower. Pricing will be announced later in the fall.


MKC: For the first time, Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand has a small crossover. It has an athletic exterior, with Lincoln’s signature split-wing grille and wraparound tail lights, and some Lincoln firsts, including a system that detects when the driver is nearing the door and illuminates the ground near it. Other features include a collision warning system, a lane-keeping system that alerts drivers if they’re drifting, and a parking system that can automatically guide the car out of tight parallel parking spots. The MKC has a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower and an optional, new 2.3-liter four-cylinder with 285 horsepower. The MKC starts at $33,995 including destination fees.


LEVANTE: In its drive to sell 50,000 cars per year by 2015 — up from a record of 15,400 last year — Maserati plans to introduce its first SUV, the Levante, in 2015. Few details have been released, but it’s expected to be built in Italy and share a platform and engines with Maserati’s Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans.


MAZDA2: The sporty subcompact has been on sale since 1996, but only arrived in the U.S. three years ago when Mazda saw the success of other tiny cars like the Honda Fit. Now it’s getting a makeover. The 2016 Mazda2, known as the Demio in Japan, goes on sale in Japan and other markets this fall, but it’s not expected to arrive in the U.S. until 2015. It has a richer, more substantial look, with the same swooping curves as its older sibling, the Mazda3. Mazda says it will also have more high-tech and safety features. More details, including U.S. engine choices, will come closer to its sale date.

MIATA: The MX-5 Miata convertible kicked off its 25th anniversary in May with a limited-edition version. The 100 anniversary editions sold out in 10 minutes, a testament to the roadster’s enduring popularity. Next up: the fourth generation. The all-new 2016 Miata was unveiled Sept. 3 in Japan, Spain and California. The elegant, curvy sports car uses Mazda’s Skyactiv suite of fuel- and weight-saving technologies for the first time, helping it shed 220 pounds. Mazda says it will be smaller but stronger than the outgoing model to improve driving dynamics. Pricing and other details will be released when the Miata goes on sale next summer as a 2016 model.


B-CLASS ELECTRIC: Mercedes enters the small market for fully electric cars in the U.S. with the B-Class hatchback. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that its 177-horsepower motor can go 85 miles on a charge, but Mercedes says that’s closer to 100 on real roads. The car goes on sale in July in California, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. It shows up in other states in the first half of 2015. Starting price: $42,375 including shipping.

C-CLASS: All-new midsize luxury sedan with aluminum exterior sheet metal and a gorgeous interior. Initial models are all-wheel drive. The C300 gets a new direct-injection turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower. The C400 gets a new direct injection V6 twin turbo with 329 horsepower. High-performance C63 AMG coming, but no details announced. A rear-drive C300 comes in the first quarter of 2015. Starting price is $41,325 including destination.

GLA CLASS: Another compact SUV joins the parade in the fast-growing segment. For the U.S., the GLA250 gets a raised suspension that’s equivalent to the European off-road version. It shares technology with the CLA Coupe. The GLA 250 comes with a 2-liter turbocharged 208 horsepower engine and all-wheel drive. The high-performance GLA 45 has a 355-horsepower engine. Starts at $34,225.

S-CLASS: Elegant coupe added for 2015 with a 449-hp V-8 biturbo engine and a standard panorama roof that covers two-thirds of the surface area. Pricing has not been released.


HARDTOP 4 DOOR: A four-door version of the recently redesigned Hardtop 2 door. It’s 6.3 inches longer than the 2-door, but it keeps the Hardtop’s proportions instead of venturing into wagon territory like its big sibling, the Mini Countryman (which is 5 inches longer). The 4-door has three seats across the back and more headroom than the 2-door; it also has a bit more cargo space. There are two engines: a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder with 134 horsepower and a 2-liter four-cylinder with 189 horsepower in the sporty Cooper S Hardtop 4-door. They’re paired with new six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Fuel economy hasn’t been released, but the manual version of the 2-door gets 34 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The Hardtop 4-door will go on sale in the U.S. in January for $22,300 including destination fees, or $1,000 more than the 2-door.


GT-R NISMO: Nissan has given its GT-R sports car the high-performance NISMO treatment. The result: the fastest GT-R ever built. The GT-R NISMO has a 3.8-liter twin turbo V6 with 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of 55 horsepower and 18 pound-feet over the standard GT-R. The GT-R NISMO went on sale July 31 with a starting price of $151,585, including destination fees.

MURANO: The Murano helped spark the crossover boom when it was introduced in 2003. The new version, out later this year, takes a big leap forward in terms of design. It’s more angular, with a more prominent V-shaped grille and a blacked-out rear pillar which makes the roof look like it’s floating. Inside, new features include a full-color, 7-inch instrument panel screen, a bigger moonroof and Nissan’s so-called Zero Gravity seats, which use NASA technology to minimize driver fatigue. New safety features include a forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and an “around view” system that uses four cameras and three radar systems to help the driver monitor all sides of the car when parking or backing. The engine, a 3.5-liter V6 with 260 horsepower, is carried over, but Nissan expects the new Murano to get 20-percent better fuel economy than the 20 mpg combined on the outgoing model thanks to weight reduction, better aerodynamics and an improved transmission. For the first time, the Murano will be built in the U.S., at Nissan’s plant in Canton, Mississippi. Previous versions were made in Japan.


MACAN: Porsche adds a smaller SUV to its lineup to join the sport-luxury fray. Came out in the spring. Starts around $50,000.


GHOST SERIES II: Rolls Royce debuted this updated version of the 5-year-old Ghost sedan to U.S. audiences last spring in New York. The Ghost Series II has the same 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine, which produces 563 horsepower, and the same eight-speed transmission. There’s also some updated technology, including satellite-aided transmission, which uses satellites to predict the car’s moves. The Ghost Series II gets 20 mpg on the highway. Pricing starts at $286,750 when it goes on sale in October.


xB: An all-new version of the boxy Scion xB goes on sale in November. Toyota hasn’t released any details of the new version, which will be the first major redesign since 2007. The xB helped launch Toyota’s youthful Scion brand in 2003.


FORTWO: The tiny car made by Mercedes-Benz gets revamped with a new 90-horsepower engine, a big improvement over the 70 horsepower in the current model. The new tiny car comes out next year as a 2016 model. It will have both manual and automatic transmissions available. Pricing hasn’t been announced. The current model starts at $14,020.


OUTBACK: The all-wheel-drive brand rolls out a new Outback wagon with more interior space and about the same footprint on the outside. Subaru says it made the wagon more aerodynamic, gave it a continuously variable transmission, lightened the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and installed an aluminum hood to save weight. This boosts gas mileage from 30 mpg on the highway to 33 with the four. Also available with a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine. Air bags deploy from the bottom front seat cushion to hold people in place in a crash. Rear-view camera is standard on all models. Starts at $24,895 excluding shipping, which varies in different states.

LEGACY: Midsize sedan gets a revamp like the Outback with gas mileage rising from 32 to 36 mpg on the highway with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. Continuously variable transmission standard on all models. Interior space grows, but the exterior footprint stays about the same. Seats are higher. Starts at $21,695 excluding shipping.


MODEL X: Electric-car maker Tesla is expected to bring its third vehicle and first SUV, the Model X, to market in the fall of 2015. The hotly anticipated Model X will have standard all-wheel drive, two battery options — a 60 kWh or 80 kWh — and seating for seven. Its so-called “falcon wing” doors open out and then upward, easing access to the third-row seats. Pricing, fuel economy and other details haven’t been released. Tesla’s current model, the Model S sedan, starts at $71,070.


CAMRY: Shaken by newer, sexier rivals, Toyota started redesigning the midsize Camry sedan almost immediately after its last update in 2011. The updated car, unveiled in April at the New York Auto Show, is longer and wider, with a more aggressive grille and chiseled sides. Toyota says it changed every exterior surface but the roof. Inside, there are softer materials and a wireless charging system. The body is stiffer and the suspension and steering were retuned for more responsive driving. Even the carpet and side mirrors were redesigned to make the car quieter. The engine options remain the same: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder generating 178 horsepower or a 3.5-Liter V6 rated at 268 horsepower. The 2015 Camry is scheduled to go on sale in mid-September. Pricing hasn’t been released, but it will start around the same price as the current model starting at $23,250.


GOLF: The seventh-generation of the hatchback comes in the 2015 model year, and it’s bigger and more efficient than its predecessor, VW says. Gas and diesel engines are available, and a new high-performance GTI gets a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with up to 220 horses. Gets an estimated 37 mpg highway with a 1.8-liter gas engine and manual transmission. VW also introduces its first fully electric vehicle in the U.S., the e-Golf, with a maximum range of 115 miles. And next year VW will roll out a new Golf SportWagen to replace the Jetta wagon, and a new super-high-performance Golf R. Base Golf starts around $18,000, while e-Golf starts at $36,265.

ROUTAN: Chrysler-made minivan gets the axe.


XC90: Volvo’s new XC90 seven-passenger SUV is a critical vehicle for the Swedish automaker. It’s the first update to the SUV, one of Volvo’s best sellers, since 2002, and the first time Volvo has released a new vehicle since being bought by Chinese automaker Geely in 2010. The luxurious interior has a large touch screen in the dash for vehicle controls and a gear lever made of crystal glass. Outside, Volvo touts the T-shaped running lights, dubbed “Thor’s hammer” by the SUV’s designers. In the U.S., Volvo will offer a family of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, including the T5 with 254 horsepower and the T6 with 320 horsepower. At the top of the line will be a plug-in hybrid with 400 horsepower. The XC90 is expected to go on sale in the U.S. in the spring.

Harley-Davidson to roll out electric motorcycle for testing

Would a Harley still be a Harley if it didn’t have that out-of-my-way rumble and those fat, hydrocarbon-belching exhausts?

Motorcycle enthusiasts are about to find out as Harley-Davidson rolls out an electric bike — a sleek, futuristic version that sounds like a jet airplane taking off.

The public will get its first look at handmade demonstration models at an invitation-only event Monday in New York. The company will then take the models on the road for riders to try and provide feedback. Harley will use the information to refine the bike, which might not hit the market for several more years.

Harleys have long been the bad-boy bike of choice with an image associated with motorcycle gangs, even though most riders are middle-aged and middle-class. The new venture is a departure from Harley’s mainstay touring bikes and presents an added risk because currently almost no market for full-size electric motorcycles. The millions of two-wheeled electric vehicles sold each year are almost exclusively scooters and low-powered bikes that appeal to Chinese commuters.

But those focused on electric vehicle development say Harley has the marketing power to create demand, and its efforts to lower costs, build charging stations and improve technology will help everyone involved.

“It does validate what we’ve been doing; it adds additional credibility to it. It is certainly going to draw more people’s attention to electric motorcycles. The marketing horsepower of Harley-Davidson is going to be able to do things for us that we can’t do on our own,” said Scot Harden, vice president of global marketing at Zero Motorcycles, the top seller of full-size, high-powered electric bikes.

Zero expects to sell 2,400 electric motorcycles this year, a drop in the bucket compared with the more than 260,000 conventional motorcycles sold last year by Harley.

The new LiveWire won’t make the distinctive “potato-potato-potato” chug that Harley once tried to patent. Its engine is silent, and the turbine-like hum comes from the meshing of gears. But electric motors do provide better handling and rapid acceleration – with the electric Harley able to go from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds. LiveWire’s design places the engine at the bottom of the bike.

“When you ride a motorcycle, it’s the movement of the top of the bike side-to-side that gives you agility in regard to making turns. So, if I put weight low in a motorcycle, I can turn faster. I can drop the bike down and make quicker moves,” said Gary Gauthier, of NextEnergy, a Detroit-based nonprofit with expertise in electric vehicles.

Jeff Richlen, Harley’s lead engineer on LiveWire, put it this way: “Some people may get on it thinking, `golf cart,’ and they get off thinking, `rocket ship.'”

One hurdle Harley and others have yet to address is the limited range offered by electric motorcycles. Batteries typically must be recharged after about 130 miles, and that can take 30 minutes to an hour.

Harley President Matt Levatich said he expects technology to improve and the company is less interested in immediate demand than long-term potential.

San Jose State University police Capt. Alan Cavallo helped his department buy two Zero motorcycles and said officers have been “super happy” with the quiet, environmentally friendly bikes made nearby in Scotts Valley, California. But he said American riders who like to hit the highway would likely lose patience with the technology as it exists today.

“That’s the deal with the cars; you can’t jump in a Tesla and drive to LA, it won’t make it,” Cavallo said, adding later, “People want the convenience of `I pull into a gas station, I pour some gas in my tank and I go.'”

Year in Review: 2013’s key fashion moments

It was a year for pixie haircuts, chunky flat shoes, bangs on our first lady and bare skin … lots of it, on movie actresses and pop stars. Fashion always has its royalty, and this year, Kerry Washington was a queen.

For real royalty, we had Kate Middleton, making the rest of us mortals feel a little better by flashing her mommy tummy. If Kate made us feel good, Lululemon didn’t, when its chairman appeared to blame women’s own bodies for problems with those popular yoga pants.

A look back at these and other key fashion moments of 2013:


Nobody would call bangs a new trend, but when the first lady’s involved, things take on more significance. In fact, President Barack Obama actually called his wife Michelle’s new hairdo the most significant event of his second inauguration. Unveiled just in time for the festivities, the new hairdo made enough news to have its own (unofficial) Twitter account, FirstLady’sBangs, which issued alerts like “Just got a text from Hillary Clinton’s side-part.”


The message was unmistakable: At the Karl Lagerfeld haute couture show in Paris, the designer sent not one, but two brides down the runway for the finale. The brides walked hand in hand in their feathery concoctions, a clear vote of support by the designer for France’s gay marriage law. The show came only nine days after hundreds of thousands of people marched in Paris in opposition to the law.


By the time she appeared in a lovely Stella McCartney floral frock and high red leather pumps as a judge on “Project Runway,” it was clear: In the realm where Hollywood meets fashion, Kerry Washington is royalty. On her hit show, “Scandal,” playing professional fixer Olivia Pope, she was all professional Washington – Washington, D.C., that is – but on the red carpet, she was glamour personified. Case in point: that Marchesa gown she wore at the Emmys, all cream and white and flower appliques, fit for a queen.


Much has been said about the fashion sense of the Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton, but in 2013, it was something a bit different that caught our eye. Peeking out under her blue-and-white polka dot dress as she emerged from the hospital post-childbirth was a pronounced “mommy tummy,” a normal development but something most celebrities keep under wraps, until their personal trainers have whipped them back into magazine-cover shape. Thanks, Kate!


Remember those popular yoga pants that had the unintended effect of being see-through? Well, turns out the ongoing fabric problems with those pants, including pilling, was YOUR fault. Or rather: the fault of YOUR THIGHS. Founder and chairman Chip Wilson of Lululemon Athletica noted in a TV interview that “Frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” for the pants, because of thighs rubbing against fabric. Now Wilson just actually won’t be working as chairman of Lululemon; the company announced his resignation from the post in December.


Gwyneth Paltrow was happy to show just how little cellulite she has when she appeared at the “Iron Man 3” premiere in a dress with sheer mesh panels on the sides, leaving little of her lower body and, er, posterior to the imagination. But we all nearly forgot about Gwyneth when we saw actress Jaimie Alexander at the “Thor” premiere, her black gown expanding the see-through effect to the midriff and upper regions. Let’s just say these actresses are saving money on underwear.


A Paris runway show full of mournful symbols – and lots of black – was designer Marc Jacobs’ somber goodbye to Louis Vuitton in October after 16 years in the influential post of creative director. Under Jacobs, who also has his own eponymous brand, Louis Vuitton became the most lucrative fashion house in the world, in part thanks to Jacobs’ creation of a ready-to-wear line. He was replaced by Nicolas Ghesquiere, formerly at Balenciaga.


Iman and Naomi Campbell are legendary supermodels, but this year they lent themselves to something different: promoting diversity on the runway, by calling out designers whose catwalks were almost completely white. The two women joined modeling agent Bethann Hardison in their Balance Diversity campaign. Explaining their purpose, Iman, now 58, said she was shocked to hear there were fewer black models on the runway than when she stopped modeling in 1989.


Who knew that punk would become high fashion? That development seemed to crystallize in May, when the hallowed halls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a new Costume Institute exhibit, “Punk: Chaos to Culture,” celebrating a movement that embraced anarchy in the 1970s. “Despite its best intentions, punk has come to symbolize integrity and authenticity,” said curator Andrew Bolton.


Think short! In shoe stores this year, you could see a trend toward flats, including a notable reinterpretation of those chunky Birkenstocks. The first ripple effect would be comfort, of course, but the changes are more profound, notes Virginia Smith, Vogue’s fashion market and accessories director: “Every woman wants a flat right now, and that has a big impact on fashion because it changes proportion.” Another trend: pixie hair, on everyone from Michelle Williams to Anne Hathaway to Jennifer Lawrence. “It will have an effect beyond celebrity and the runway,” Smith says. “A lot of these women are very influential.”


Speaking of influence, dare we call Miley Cyrus a trendsetter? She was already a trailblazer with her pixie cut from 2012, but hey, you probably were too busy watching the stuck-out tongue, teddy-bear leotard and nude bikini (which falls into the baring-it-all trend at the MTV Video Music Awards). Only weeks later, though, she was all elegance in sequined Marc Jacobs at the Night of Stars gala. Miley the fashion icon? Not by the standard definition. But heading into 2014 she was one of the most-watched people on the planet. “Blurred Lines,” indeed.