Car Reviews

ABT Sportsline has made a career developing programs for Audi vehicles. To this day, the German manufacturer continues to do that, none more recent than its work on the Audi A5 Sportback . The whole program is called the AS5 Sportback Dark and as you’d expect, the name alone implies that ABT Sportsline did something a little sinister to the A5 .

While it would have been cool, if not downright bizarre, to say that the German tuner invoked some form of the Dark Arts to create this program, the truth is a lot simpler than that. The AS5 Sportback Dark is called such because it’s exterior is wrapped in black.

This A5 is nothing too elaborate and definitely nothing out of the ordinary, but judging the program simply because of its simplicity doesn’t do justice to the meticulous work the German tuner put into it.

There is one thing I don’t like about the program. ABT Sportsline developed it without adding power to the A5’s 2.0-liter TFSI engine. Under its current configuration, the turbocharged four-banger develops 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, good enough to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds to go with a top speed of 130 mph.

If you can let that small yet significant detail pass, you’re going to enjoy the Audi AS5 Sportback Dark. But if you can’t live with only 220 ponies, you’ll probably wish that ABT Sportsline has some kind of a Stage 2 kit in the works.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A5 Sportback Dark By Abt Sportsline.

Posted on by Simona  

AMG began meddling with the C-Class in 1995 — one year after the C-Class debuted — when it released the C36 AMG and its 268-horsepower V-6. The 1998 model year brought about the release of the C43 AMG, which featured a 302-pony V-8. AMG then followed that up with the 349-horsepower C32 AMG in 2002, then the 362-horsepower C55 AMG in 2005. Then finally, in 2008, the C63 AMG arrived sporting a 451-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8. With the standard 2015 C-Class arriving in dealers earlier in 2014, it was only a matter of time before Mercedes releases the 2015 C63 AMG.

The prototype caught testing around the Nurburgring track is still heavily camouflaged, but from them, we can decipher bigger brakes, wider fenders, and a front bumper with bigger air intakes. After Mercedes starts dropping camo, we should be able to see the usual AMG quad exhaust pipes fitted on their models.

As for the engine, it is believed that the new C63 AMG will be powered by the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that delivers a total of 400 horsepower.

Updated 09/23/2014: Mercedes unveiled the first official images on its new C63 AMG and C63 AMG S through its German website. Check them out after the jump.

More details on the new Mercedes C63 AMG should be revealed soon, so stay tuned!

You know the saying “you can’t have enough of a good thing;" that certainly applies to the BMW M4 , which has become an aftermarket favorite the same way I have become a fan of Krispy Kreme’s delectable treats. Run through the number of programs we’ve covered featuring the M4 and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The latest aftermarket company to jump on the M4’s bandwagon is Lightweight and it’s no less impressive than any other M4 program we’ve come across in the past. The German tuner specializes in personalized development and production of titanium exhaust systems and yet, that didn’t stop Lightweight from giving the M4 a comprehensive tuning kit that includes a bevy of aerodynamic and performance upgrades.

The result of the program deserves nothing short of a slow clap, the kind you give to a somebody after a stunning performance.

That’s what Lightweight did to the BMW M4 and the German sports coupe looks and performs much better for it. I’ll even venture a guess that it’s got a much clearer throat for its 3.0-liter V-6 engine’s increased output. Just a hunch, although the proof does lie in the details, right?

The complete modification comes with a steep €89,000 price (that’s about $114,000 as of 9/23/2014), but it should be well worth the purchase considering what the M4 will be capable of after getting fitted with Lightweight’s aftermarket program.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW M4 By Lightweight.

Jaguar’s FEEL XE campaign entered its next phase ahead of the Jaguar XE’s debut at the Paris Motor Show . This time around, the British automaker enlisted the help of noted British designer Stella McCartney to dress up a fleet of XE models in her own Spring Superhero print. Yes, the images you see covering the British luxury sedan are part of McCartney’s new superhero-themed line. Jaguar’s really going all-out to promote Feel XE, a platform it created back in July 2014 to “harness the spirit of British creativity and innovation." The company even tapped influential figures in music, film, and design to help promote the campaign.

That’s where Stella McCartney comes in. The popular British designer is lending her new superhero print into the XE, creating a playful and dynamic exterior that meshes well with its high-class interior. I admittedly don’t recognize any of the superhero heads printed into the XE, but I do appreciate that the XE can still have a fun side to it to bolster its reputation as an all-world sports sedan.

The superhero-clad Jaguar XEs will be parading in Paris on Monday, September 29, 2014 where they’ll be taking part in McCartney’s Paris Fashion Week Show on the same day. From there, the countdown begins to the Paris Motor Show where Jaguar is set to announce full details of the entire XE range.

Click past the jump to read more about the Jaguar XE by Stella McCartney.

The GMC Canyon first came on the scene in 2004 as the replacement for the GMC Sonoma pickup that dates back to 1982. While both the Sonoma and Canyon were corporate twins to the Chevrolet S-10 and Colorado , the GMC had it own styling. The Canyon proved to be a great improvement over the Sonoma, offing stronger engine choices and better fuel economy. Canyons were available in single, extended, and crew cab forms, with bed lengths to suit each cab. Now for 2015, the GMC Canyon is back in production, having been on hiatus since 2012. The 2015 model is completely new, with an overhauled exterior and interior, new engine options, and a far superior overall design. Like the years prior, GMC’s latest Canyon shares most of its underpinnings with its Chevrolet counterpart.

The Canyon comes with two initial engine options for 2015: a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter V-6. Both are gasoline mills. However, for 2016, a 2.8-liter, I-4, Duramax, turbo-diesel engine will be offered. Automatic and manual transmission are available, both sporting six gears. The truck rides on a fully boxed, hydroformed steel frame.

Updated 09/22/2014: General Motors has announced the EPA fuel economy estimates for the Canyon. At its best, the midsize truck achieves 22 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. GM also released payload ratings, listing the V-6 Canyon at 1,620 pounds. Both stats are class-leading.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 GMC Canyon.

GMC announced its reentry back into the sport truck game. However, its submission to the competition is decidedly drab. Now before you run for the pitchforks, let me explain. GMC has some history in the sport truck market, namely the 1991 Syclone and 1992 through 1993 Typhoon. Both the Sonoma-based Syclone and Jimmy-based Typhoon used a turbocharged and highly modified version of the 4.3-liter V-6, sported lowered suspensions, bigger brakes, and an all-wheel-drive setup. The Syclone was capable of hitting 60 in a blistering 4.3 seconds on its way to a quarter-mile run of 13.6 seconds. Impressive times still today.

So what’s the Sierra Elevation Edition got beneath its murdered-out bodywork? The 580-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V-8 borrowed from the Camaro ZL1 ? Perhaps the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LT1 from the Corvette Stingray ? No and nope.

This "sport truck" sports a bone-stock, 285-horsepower, 4.3-liter, EcoTec3 V-6 found in the base Sierra. Of course, for some extra scratch, customers can upgrade to the 355-horsepower, 5.3-liter, EcoTec3 V-8. The story continues throughout the rest of the truck. Stock brakes, stock tires, and stock suspension.

GMC has included plenty of upgrades in the Elevation Edition, though they consist of purely cosmetic changes. Body-colored grille, bumpers, door handles, mirror caps, side moldings, and wheels replace the chrome bits normally found on the Sierra. Does it look good? Yes. Does its bite match its bark? Sadly, no.

While I hate to dog on GMC for its newest offering, it seems a bit half-hearted. The General Motors’ parts bin is a seemingly limitless supply of go-fast goodies just ready to be bolted on. In fact, Chevy already teases up with the Cheyenne concept at the 2013 SEMA show. If GM wanted to set the bar far above the upcoming Ford F-150 and already-award-winning Ram 1500 , it could easily do it. Why the trigger isn’t getting pulled, perhaps we’ll never know.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 GMC Sierra Elevation Edition.

Founded in 2010, Vencer announced plans to build its own supercar in 2012. Shown as a concept car the same year, the Vencer Sarthe made its public debut, in a more refined form, at the 2013 Top Marques Monaco. Powered by a naturally aspirated engine rated at 510 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, the Sarthe made quite an impression, and many experts view it as potential threat to the more popular supercars coming from the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini . However, the Sarthe has yet to hit the streets as a production car as the Dutch took their time to further tweak things. The supercar, which is named after Le Mans’ iconic Circuit de la Sarthe track, appears to be ready to hit the streets for the 2015 model year. Enhanced by numerous updates, including a new engine and an overhauled interior, the production-ready Sarthe is here to give new meaning to the supercar segment.

And by "new meaning" we mean a road-and-track sports car unaltered by driving aids, with a true analogue and mechanical feel very few expensive supercars can deliver nowadays. But is Vencer, basically a brand-new company, capable of sustaining a war against the greatest of the industry? Should Ferrari or Lamborghini fear the electronics-free Sarthe? Read on to find out.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Vencer Sarthe.

Land Rover’s bringing a special-edition Range Rover Evoque to the 2014 Paris Motor Show . It’s called the Evoque SW1 Special Edition and if there was ever a time that the phrase “special edition” means something, it’s this one. See, there’s something really special about the Evoque SW1, other than it being part of Jaguar and Land Rover’s new “Inspired by Britain” series of models.

The Evoque SW1 is one of the first production models to prominently feature Land Rover’s integrated laser heads-up display. It’s a really cool information display that appears onto the Evoque’s windscreen. I’m still not sure how distracting the display can be, but it does have that novelty factor attached to it.

In addition to the HUD, the Evoque SW1 also features prominent styling cues derived from its British heritage, notably the numerous appearances of the Union Jack throughout the body and cabin of the SUV .

We expect the special-edition model to hit dealerships shortly after making its debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October. Be on the look out for these special Evoque SUVs and stay tuned for the rest of JLR’s "Inspired by Britain" series.

Click past the jump to read more about the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SW1 Special Edition.

Peugeot is gearing up for a hectic 2014 Paris Motor Show the only way it knows how. Weeks after announcing that it would display a “re-imagined” version of the Exalt Concept in Paris, the French automaker followed that up by releasing details surrounding its other Paris-bound prototype, the Quartz Concept. Unlike the Exalt Concept sedan, the automaker developed the Quartz Concept to serve as a preview of its SUV lineup.

That’s basically the purpose of the Quartz Concept, although it would be unfair to dismiss it as nothing more than a showcase concept of future models. On its own, this coupe-crossover has a lot going for it, including an aggressive body that’s highlighted by not one, but two rear spoilers.

It would be interesting to see how Peugeot approaches the Quartz Concept in the future. We all know how its important for the French brand to finally stake a claim to the ever-growing coupe -crossover market in the UK and the world.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Peugeot Quartz Concept.

It’s no secret the Corvette C7 Stingray is a hot performer. With its 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, the C7 launches itself to 60 mph in a very respectable 3.9 seconds. Its handling is spectacular too, thanks in part to the Magnetic Ride Control shocks and other Z51-specific parts. However, improvements can always be made.

That’s where one tuner company based in Germany steps in. GeigerCars has developed a performance upgrade kit that includes new coil-over shocks, a carbon-fiber body kit, and an Eaton supercharger. That last bit helps the Stingray’s 6.2-liter V-8 produce an extra 128 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. Now pushing out 582 horses and 558 pound-feet, the Vette’s trap time should be noticeably quicker. In fact, GeigerCars claims the Vette’s new top speed is 198 mph. That’s a big improvement over the stock Stingray’s 178-mph top speed.

While General Motor’s Magnetic Ride Control allows for firmness adjustments, it doesn’t lower the car. That’s where the KW Variant 3 coil-over socks that adjust vertically between 10 and 35 mm (0.39 to 1.38 inches) up front and 15 and 45 mm (0.59 to 1.77 inches) out back come into play. Bespoke forged wheels sized 255/30R19 and 305/25R20 wheels on the front and rear, respectively, are lighter than the stock units and provide a unique look.

GeigerCars offers its kit for the coupe and convertible Corvette. There’s no final word on pricing, but with the extra 128 horsepower and higher top speed for those German Autobahns, whatever the tuner decides to charge will likely be worth it.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray by GeigerCars.


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