A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird:
Anti-theft device reads your rear
It's the start of a whole new year and here at Braking News, we're as dedicated as ever to bringing you the most important automotive updates that will directly affect the way you drive. First off for 2012, a seat that takes a picture of your butt.
Dedicated, yes. Serious, not so much.
On the other cheek - er - hand, this pressuresensing seat developed by engineering students at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo is really quite clever. Using 360 sensors to put together a hyperaccurate pressure map of your posterior, the seat is highly accurate in telling people apart, recognizing folks from their bums 98 per cent of the time. Sort of like a golden retriever, I suppose.
Of course, it's unlikely that this technology has any real practical application for cars except as a concept. If you're anything like me, the pressure map of your gluteus has probably become a little more maximus postholiday feasting.
2013 Cadillac ATS takes the fight To BMW
There's little doubt that Cadillac has been undergoing something of a renaissance of late. Still, even a luxury manufacturer can't be all 500+ horsepower super-sedans and giant SUVs boasting more chrome than the entire 1950s Studebaker lineup.
Cadillac needs a volume-seller.
Slotting in below the CTS sedan, the upcoming ATS compact luxury car takes on the BMW 3-series (and 1-Series), the Acura TL, and the Mercedes-Benz C-class, among others. Powerplants are rumoured to be a 2.5-litre four-cylinder and the 3.6-litre V-6 that GM stuffs into pretty much everything. Better yet, there's also a NÃ¼rburgring-tuned sports version that'll come packing a lightweight and powerful 2.0-litre turbo with around 270 h.p.
When can you expect to see the compact Caddy? The ATS should be taking its bows at the fast-approaching Detroit Auto Show, and possibly find its way to showrooms by this fall. Dodge dusts off Dart nameplate
Speaking of super-sedans, Dodge's Charger SRT8 is a wholelotta barn-burnin' muscle for a surprisingly low entry cost. It's big, it's incredibly powerful, and it sort of makes you feel like the Dukes of Hazzard's Waylon Jennings is narrating your entire commute.
But just like the aforementioned Cadillac, not everybody wants a full-size moonshine-hauler for day-to-day duties. To stay competitive, Dodge needs an attractive compact sedan that carries that striking muscle-car styling in a smaller package.
Luckily for Dodge, their Fiat owners are really quite good at the compact Euro-sedan. What they've done is take the bones of an Alfa-Romeo Giulietta (itself a very pretty car), slap on some Daisy Dukes, and call it the Dart.
Also taking a bow at the Detroit Auto Show in just three days, the Dart promises to be a great-looking little sedan, and should be available with an efficient turbocharged powerplant, and no doubt a rollickin' hi-po R/T version will be on the way as well.
2013 Hyundai Genesis gets Velostered
Hyundai's efficient little eco-coupe, the Veloster, is winning kudos for its striking design, high level of standard features and innovative interior layout. On the other hand, it's more about sipping fuel than laying down rapid track times, so what's a Hyundai motorsports fan to do?
Why, you check out the all-new Genesis Coupe, unveiling shortly at - you guessed it - the Detroit Auto Show. With a front-end that looks directly grafted right off the Veloster, powerful new optional 345 h.p. V-6 and (finally) a properly potent 271 h.p. turbo base engine, the Genesis will no doubt have a few Nissan 370Z owners feeling a little nervous at the racetrack.
Lexus LF-LC concept showcases design
Of all the Japanese luxury manufacturers, only Lexus seems to have truly gone toe-to-toe with the German marques (although Infiniti is fast catching up). If there's a complaint though, it's perhaps that Lexus can be a bit too conservative.
Nothing, however, is conservative about their latest concept, a 2+2 tourer that evokes the swoopy angularity of the nearunobtainable LF-A supercar, but with a rumoured hybrid powertrain, rather than a yowling V-10.
It's currently just a concept, but some of the LF-LC concept's styling cues can be already seen in the upcoming GS sedan. Also, with a few tweaks, the LF-LC could theoretically slip in below the LF-A as a competitor for the Mercedes-Benz SL-class coupes and the like.
Follow Brendan on Twitter: @brendan_mcaleer, or submit your own auto oddities to email@example.com.