Car News

The GS is the second-largest sedan you can buy from Lexus, and it is one of the most luxurious. It comes loaded with all the leather, wood and technology you would expect from the brand, but it comes with something most Lexus models are missing; a touch of anger and performance. Lexus sells the GS with an adjustable sports suspension, an F Sport model and even a hybrid that promises to let you have fun.

Lexus has proven that it can do some great things with the F brand, but I had to laugh at the idea of a fun hybrid from the brand. Low and behold a Starfire Pearl colored GS450h rolled into my driveway for me to beat and cane on for a whole week. After experiencing what Porsche can do with the Panamera Hybrid, I was interested to see if Lexus could make a hybrid that was “fun.”

It has more than 300 horsepower, promises more than 30 mpg, and it looks great to boot. If there was ever going to be a hybrid from the Toyota Toyota family that I would enjoy, it would be this one. Let’s jump and in and drop the hammer; it’s time to see what this thing is made of.

Read on to find out more about the 2014 Lexus GS450h

With all the influx happening within Ferrari these days, you can at least count on one thing happening moving forward; the Italian automaker will continue to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2021. In order to accomplish that, Ferrari powertrain director Vittorio Dini told Automotive News that the company will continue down the path of using turbochargers on its V-8 engines and combining hybrid systems with its V-12 engines.

Ferrari already has two cars using a variation of each engine system. The California T already features a turbocharged V-8, becoming the first production turbocharged Ferrari since the iconic F40. On the flip-side, the LaFerrari became the first Ferrari to use a hybrid system, which was combined with a 6.3-liter V-12 to produce a combined 963 horsepower.

Moving forward, Dini told Automotive News that all V-8-powered Ferraris will use turbochargers, including the next iterations of the 458 Italia and the 458 Spider, which are scheduled to arrive in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The challenge with these turbocharged V-8 engines would be to decrease their displacements while increasing their output numbers.

A similar re-engineering is also expected to happen to the Ferrari FF and F12berlinetta , two models that currently use V-12 engines. Dini stopped short of officially confirming plans to use hybrid technology on both models, but don’t be surprised if the next FF arrives in 2016 with a hybrid system of its own. Same with the next F12berlinetta, which Ferrari may release in 2017 with modified version of the hybrid system.

Click past the jump to read more about Ferrari’s future engines.

The Audi A8 may be a luxury car by appearance, but it has a lot more to offer than just its good looks. Any aftermarket company that has built tuning programs for the A8 will attest to this, none more profoundly than Senner Tuning. The German aftermarket company has built programs for a wide range of Audi models. This time around, it has set its sights on the four rings’ flagship luxury sedan.

Admittedly, the program lacks the visual appeal that Senner Tuning’s other Audi programs have had. But that isn’t a reason to gripe. This kit is all about polishing the luxury sedan’s performance credentials, which has plenty of room for improvement. That’s what Senner Tuning zeroed in on, and the results are pretty impressive.

To be fair, the program does have some visual upgrades if you can even describe an LED number plate lighting as a “visual upgrade." But for the most part, Senner Tuning decided to focus on the A8’s engine and in doing so, gave it enough of an upgrade to be more formidable on the road. The A8 is more than just class and luxury, folks. Look no further than this program Senner Tuning developed for the A8 as proof of that.

The entire program costs around €9,500, including VAT. Based on the exchange rate on 9/18/2014, that price translates to about $12,250.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A8 By Senner Tuning.

It appears the idea of BMW building a drop-top version of its popular i8 has been completely nixed. The word comes straight from a BMW representative when questioned by the Europe-based website, InAutoNews.

“There are no plans to produce the BMW i8 Spyder,” says the BMW rep.

Such a definitive and short answer is hard to question, but we still do. Perhaps BMW is saving a spyder version for the rumored i9 , the hyped-up version of the i8 rumored to have a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter I-6 pulled from the M4 . With such a potent gasoline powerplant combined with the electric motors from the i8, the i9 could potentially be BMW’s hottest performer.

Still, if BMW does launch the i9, we can expect it to arrive in coupe form first and then followed by a spyder version later. In short, don’t hold your breath.

The BMW representative then spoke on possible iterations of the BMW 7 Series , after future prodding from InAutoNews. Rumors suggest BMW would follow Mercedes’ lead in offering multiple versions of its luxurious 7 Series. The BMW rep again answered, “…there are no plans to produce any derivatives of the 7 Series outside of standard and long-wheelbase.” Kiss a 7 Series coupe and convertible goodbye.

While reports confirm BMW is building a larger flagship SUV slotted above the X5 , dubbed the X7, rumors had suggested the 7 Series would be the base for the X7. Again the BMW rep shot the theory to the ground. “The BMW X7 will be produced in the future, but that is a different proposition and is not based on the 7 Series.” Well then.

Regardless of its platform, the X7 will be a direct competitor to the Mercedes GL-Class and the new Range Rover . Expect the X7 to hit European showrooms by 2017 or 2018.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8.

Source: inautonews

Steve Saleen has made good use of his time since regaining his namesake brand in 2012. The timing couldn’t have been any more ideal too, because a little over a year after returning to Saleen , the all-new Ford Mustang made its debut. Yep, sometimes, timing is everything.

The aftermarket company known for building sick specialized Mustangs has prepared its first interpretation of the new Ford muscle car . It’s predictably called the 2015 Saleen 302 Mustang and like its predecessors, and it’s sure to have all of the familiar high-performance modifications that Saleen has come to be known for.

The full scope of details haven’t been released as of 7/3/2014 and we only get a teaser photo to look at, plus an accompanying video. But make no mistake, a lot of the technical components are there for the new Saleen 302, including what we expect to be a robust performance tune that adds even more power to the Mustang’s already gnarly 5.0-liter, V-8 engine.

Without knowing how Saleen reinvented the Mustang into the 302, a look at the front section photo suggests that Mustang was given the full Saleen treatment, including improvements to its aesthetic and aerodynamic qualities. The vented hood now has a scoop, something the standard Mustang doesn’t have. Moreover, the headlights appear to have been cut in favor of a longer front grille. Even the lower bumper is restyled to include visible intakes and what appears to be slit-like indicators.

We expect Saleen to divulge more details soon. For now, enjoy the photo and the video. Let your imagination do the rest.

Updated 09/18/2014: Saleen announced that the all-new 2015 302 Mustang will make its world debut Saturday, September 20, 2014 during the Annual Saleen Show. Stay tuned for more details.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Saleen 302 Mustang.

Well that was our show. As always, a big thanks goes out to anyone who watched live. We appreciate you chatting with us. We sadly had to have the show without Justin today, though. Google was not cooperating with us and he couldn’t log onto the call.

After sorting through the technical problems and deciding to leave our man behind, Mark and I jumped straight into Weekly Wheels. I spent some time discussing the surprisingly good Lexus Lexus GS450h, and Mark was driving around in the three-row QX60 from Infiniti. Justin will just have to tell us about the ILX next week.

News was a pretty full segment with lots of interesting pieces. We talked about the $100 Lego Mini Mini Cooper, an Audi SUV based on the TT sports car, some Australian Miata specs and a bit about aftermarket parts from Hennessey Hennessey . We also spend some time talking about how good the Challenger Hellcat is, how good the 2015 Mustang isn’t, and we also delve into the mess that is Ferrari right now. Oh, we also mention the multi-million dollar 60th anniversary special edition Ferrari that is coming soon.

Our Questions and Answers portion this week is one of the best we have had in a while. We spend some time talking about what is next for Ferrari Ferrari ’s departing chairman Luca di Montezemolo, take a look at what we would name our cars if we owned a car company and then we talk about the best cars to take on epic cross-country road trips.

There may also be a mention of Forza Horizon 2 in there somewhere.

We wrap things up with a quick Own, Drive, Burn that sees us choosing between three of the original ultimate sports cars from Jaguar, Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz.

Make sure that you leave us a bunch of comments, questions and Own, Drive, Burn suggestions for the next show. Have a safe weekend and we will see you all next week.

Volvo first introduced the S90 name in 1996, when it renamed the 960 for certain markets. With Volvo discontinuing the 900 Series midsize in 1998, the S80 we know of today rolled in as the replacement for the S90. The S90 also marked the end of an era for Volvo , being the last rear-wheel-drive car wearing the Swedish company’s badge. The S80 continued the S90’s luxurious legacy over the course of two generations. The first series lived between 1998 and 2006, while the second-gen model is in its eighth year on the market as of 2014. As we enter the 2015 model year and a new design era for Volvo, rumors are swirling about the return of the S90 nameplate as the company’s range-topping model.

Besides taking duties from the S80, the S90 is also set to revolutionize the midsize luxury segment, much like the second-generation XC90 did in the SUV market. Expect the sedan to receive the hauler’s design language, along with an interior packed with the latest technology and luxury items developed by the Swedes. The overhauled sedan will hit dealerships in the second half of 2016.

Note: 2013 Volvo Concept Coupe pictured here - it will most likely inspire design language.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Volvo S90.

Source: AutoExpress

If you find yourself on a California expressway, you may just be next to a self-driving Audi . That’s right; Audi snagged California’s first permit that allows autonomous driving for automakers developing the technology . The news comes after years of negotiations between several automakers and the State of California to allow more extensive testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads.

The news is especially important for Audi, as its Electronics Research Laboratory is in Belmont, California. Now the German automaker can stick closer to its Belmont base camp rather than testing in Nevada, a state that has previously welcomed driverless cars.

While this milestone marks a first for California, it isn’t Audi’s first autonomous rodeo. The automaker has logged tens of thousands of autonomous driving across Europe.

“Driverless vehicle technology has the potential to revolutionize driving, reduce traffic accidents and save lives,” says California Senator Alex Padilla. “I applaud the efforts of Audi of America and others whose commitment is making this technology a reality.”

Audi and future autonomous-testing automakers will have to show proof of insurance or surety bonds before being awarded a permit for testing — a slight formality for automotive giants sinking big bucks into driverless research and development.

Audi’s automated Piloted driving system is geared toward freeway traffic conditions, eliminating the need for a human to control the vehicle through crowded, mostly straight-line, stop-and-go traffic situations. Current internal forecasts have Audi introducing driverless systems to the public within a five-year timeframe.

Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s self-driving technology .

The Toyota FT-1 "Vision GT" is headed to the virtual world of Gran Turismo 6. It’s only appropriate considering that the concept was created specifically for the purpose of celebrating Gran Turismo’s 15th anniversary. Still, it’s pretty cool that we now have a chance to drive the FT-1 Vision GT, albeit as a video game car.

The high-powered concept is already available for download so you can expect Gran Turismo 6 fans to stumble amongst themselves to get the vehicle into their garages as quick as possible. Yes, I speak from experience, although my slow Internet connection turned the whole download experience into an exercise in patience.

Still, seeing the FT-1 Vision GT Concept and controlling it was a real treat, even for a discerning and admittedly high-brow GT6 player like me. It’s also a nice followup to the earlier FT-1 Concept that became downloadable in the game back in January 2014.

Now that there are two of these concepts available on Gran Turismo 6, I can’t imagine fans of Toyota playing with any other car than this one. Again, I say all of this through experience and calloused fingers.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota FT-1 "Vision GT."

The 458 Speciale was a bit of a surprise when the details began leaking out in 2013, and we were in for an even bigger treat when it debuted during the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show with its 596 horsepower — 34 more horses than the base 458 — 398 pound-feet of torque, 200 pounds of weight loss, and three-second 0-to-60 mph time. Now on June 24th, 2014, rumors surfaced claiming that Ferrari is planning on removing the top from the 458 Speciale, creating a new, road- and track-ready Spider.

The news was broken by 4wheelsnews.com via "inside sources" within Ferrari, but the details behind the model remain a relative mystery for now. What we know for sure is that this model will weigh significantly less than the current 458 Italia Spider , carry the same engine as the Speciale Coupe and clip 60 mph in around three ticks of the second hand.

Updated 09/17/2014: Ferrari will unveil the new 458 Speciale Spider at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October 2014.

Click past the jump for the whole story and to see what I think of this move.

Source: 4wheelsnews

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