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With 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque at its disposal, the brand-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade leads the full-size luxury SUV segment in terms of power. But if that’s not enough for you, then you’ll be happy to learn that the folks over at Hennessey Performance have taken the V-8’s output even further.

Using its new HPE550 package, the Texas-based specialist upgraded the 6.2-liter mill to deliver 557 horsepower and 542 pound-feet of torque, which translates into 32 percent and 18 percent increases respectively. As with most Hennessey tweaks, the package also includes an air-to-water intercooler system and engine management recalibration.

In a conversation with John Hennessey, the company expects one-second faster 0-to-60 and quarter-mile times, but they won’t have the official numbers until testing is completed in late-May 2014. By our estimates, this would put it at around five seconds flat. We will bring you the official numbers as soon as they become available. Top speed, however, will likely not be affected by the HPE550 kit, due to the electronic limiter on the Escalade.

The SUV’s exterior, however, remains unchanged, save for a set of lightweight Hennessey H10 forged, monoblock wheels that can be ordered separately for a hefty $6,950. The 20-inch rollers are supposed to allow more power to reach the pavement, thanks to their reduced rotating mass, which could mean a slight acceleration improvement.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Cadillac Escalade HPE550.

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Summer is still more than a month away, but the folks over at ABT Sportsline are gearing up for the hot season with an equally hot convertible based on the 2014 Audi RS5 .

However, unlike the RS7 the company started offering last year with up to 700 horsepower on tap, the RS5 in question comes with no powertrain updates whatsoever. This means customers will have to settle for the 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque delivered by the 4.2-liter V-8 or look into other Abt Sportsline options.

Don’t be too disappointed though, having more than 500 horsepower in a convertible isn’t always pleasant. And, truth be told, there are plenty of options out there wearing either BMW or Mercedes-Benz badges.

Anyway, ABT’s RS5 isn’t exactly bone stock, as it comes fitted with a stainless-steel muffler system that includes both a mid and a rear muffler. The end result is a throatier and more aggressive V-8 exhaust note that will let everybody know this isn’t a regular RS5. You can also opt to remove the speed limiter on your RS5 from ABT, bumping the top speed to 180 mph from the stock 174 mph.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi RS5 Convertible By ABT Sportsline.

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Breaking news, ladies and gentlemen! Chevrolet has just unveiled that one of its three premieres for the New York Auto Show is the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible. If that’s not good news, I don’t know what is!

The big deal about it is that this is the first factory-built Corvette Z06 Convertible since 1963, when Chevy introduced the said package as a performance update for endurance racing. It was actually called "RPO Z06" and included a larger-diameter front anti-roll bar, a vacuum brake booster, a dual master cylinder, larger shocks and stiffer springs.

Because it also came with a gas tank that was nearly double the size of standard 20-gallon tank, the package was only available on coupe models at first. However, the manufacturer says that one convertible was fitted with the Z06 bundle that year.

Getting back to the newly-revealed model, Chevrolet claims the Z06 Convertible represents "the culmination of more than four years developing an all-new, all-aluminum structure." You see, because the new structure is much more stiffer than the previous Z06, the drop-top sports car needed no structural reinforcements, which means its curb weight won’t be affected by missing a fixed roof.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible.

There was a time when Jaguar was relegated as an afterthought in the luxury car segment. But things changed when chief designer Ian Callum came on board and his first design for Jaguar was for the XK . Fast-forward a few years later and the XK’s design language has made its way across the Jaguar lineup, marking the return to form of the company.

But for all the contributions the Jaguar XK has made to revitalize the company, sales of the model were undercut from within with the release of the F-Type Roadster . It came to the point where the model’s struggling sales forced the company to announce that it would discontinue the XK by the end of the year.

So you can imagine how the 2014 XK must feel. To be fair, it’s got a lot of traits and characteristics that are worthy appreciating. It’s looks may be getting dated, but it’s still flashy enough to catch peoples’ attention. Power isn’t an issue, either, and the luxury and technological amenities on the interior is top-class all the way.

But with all that comes a dark cloud hanging over the XK’s head and that’s a position it really doesn’t deserve.

Hit the jump to read more about 2014 Jaguar XK Coupe

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There’s a lot of buzz around the upcoming New York Auto Show , which will see vehicles such as the 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger , the Acura TLX and the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe , but the Beijing Auto Show , also scheduled this month, promises to be equally interesting.

Besides hosting debuts for concept cars like the Citroen DS 5LS R or Nissan’s new, yet unnamed sedan , the Chinese event will also have an impressive lineup of BMW vehicles on display. Among the new X4 , the 2 Series Active Tourer and the i8 , the Germans are set to unveil a new, special-edition version of the large 7 Series sedan.

Developed specifically for the Chinese market, the new vehicle is dubbed Horse Edition. Now don’t let the name full you, this luxurious land yacht doesn’t come with horseshoes instead of badges or saddles instead of seats. BMW christened it like that to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse.

Because it will be sold in China, the 7 Series Horse Edition will be based on the long-wheelbase version of the sedan , and will be equipped with a number of BMW Individual and M Sport features.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 7 Series Horse Edition.

Audi A8

Just a few weeks ago, we let you know that Audi had scrapped its inefficient 4.2-liter V-8 engine in favor of a boosted V-6, but that there may be a new V-8 in the making. Well, that "may be" just became a certainty, as Audi has just announced that a new V-8 is coming to the A8.

This new V-8 is actually one that is already on Audi’s shelves: It is the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 used in the S6 and S7 models. This puppy will pump out a healthy 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque and turn the new top-level A8 into the A8 4.0T.

The A8 4.0T is slated to debut in the 2013 model year and it’ll carry with it an $81,795 base price tag and an $88,095 price tag for the A8L 4.0T, which is the long wheelbase model. The pricing points give the 8 4.0T a nice slot right between the base A8 3.0T and the flagship S8 model.

We are sure there is tons more information to come from Audi , as it works its way closer to competing with BMW and Mercedes more effectively. The addition of turbo to the A8 line will certainly help speed along that process.

We’ll keep you updated if any more information becomes available.

The Lotus Evora has arrived in the US - finally!

It was a mere 6 ½ months ago that the very first Lotus Evora was sold to Matthew Melling in Twickenham, UK and now Mr. Melling will have to share that distinction with the owner of the very first Lotus Evora Lotus Evora sold in North America. Bruce Rice, an Austin-area resident, accepted the keys to his brand new 2010 Lotus Evora sports car earlier today from Lotus of Austin, which is planning to celebrate its first delivery of the Evora by hosting a party inside the dealership tomorrow at 5pm.

The Lotus Evora is the first Lotus since the Elise debuted in 1995 and is the first mid-engine 4-seater performance car. The car hosts a 3.5 liter V6 engine that brings 276hp and 252lbs of torque to the table. A carbon grey Evora is listed on Lotus of Austin’s website and has an MSRP of $87,250. Although we have no idea how much Mr. Rice paid for the distinction of owning the first Evora in North America, for that price, we would have preferred a Nissan GT-R Premium which offers more horsepower and torque for the same amount of money. Then again, to each his own.

Check out the press release after the jump.

Godzilla is on its way back to America, only this time it’s not the reptilian monster we’re talking about but the 2011 Nissan GT-R .

Slightly modified with a number or performance improvements from its 2010 brethren, the 2011 GT-R Premium – if you must know, the base model has already been discontinued - is headed to the US with a price tag of $84,060.

As far as the 2011 Nissan GT-R Premium is concerned, a number of changes were given to the car, with the notable ones being a re-tuned suspension and strengthened rear bushings that enhance ride comfort without compromising performance handling, a slightly darker color tone of the center caps on the wheels, the addition of double clear coat paint to the fascias, modified rear cooling ducts underneath the body, and the standardization of the automatic on/off headlights.

Continued after the jump.


BMW is the only automaker that can successfully come up with market segments and then serve them to customers who are more than eager to gobble them up. The German automakers latest creation is the BMW X6 SAV, or sports activity vehicle, now this differs from ordinary SUVs because instead of being a storage box on wheels an active lifestyle calls for truck like ground clearance combined with a fastback roofline and room for four, even though it still has the same footprint as a full sized sport utility vehicle. This sounds perfect for the American market.

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6 U.S. pricing announced

Despite the questionable nature of this fresh design, BMW is pushing the niche appeal of their luxury vehicle to the next level with a BMW X6 ActiveHybrid version and it will only cost consumers $89,775. Not bad considering that you will be able to counter any SUV protesters by informing them of your X6’s gas/electric hybrid drivetrain and then turn around and tell your muscle car friends about the BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology V8 and that you are laying down 485 HP and 575 lb-ft of torque to the pavement, just make sure that both conversations don’t coincide.

BMW announced the US pricing for the newly launched X6 M and X5 M Sporty SUVs. Revealed at the New York Auto Show, the two models will go on sale at a price of $86,225 for the X5 M and $89,725 for the X6M.

Both models are powered by a 4,4 liter twin-scroll, twin-turbo charged V8 engine that delivers 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a M Sports transmission. The M models can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4,5 seconds, while top speed is limited to 155 mph.

The two models come equipped with Dynamic Performance Control, special M suspensions and Adaptive Drive, along with a new Servotronic power steering and Active Roll Stabilization system. Other available options are: Head Up Display, Rear View Camera and High Beam Assistant.

Press release after the jump.

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