Jeffrey N. Ross

Having grown up in the Detroit area, Jeff has always been fascinated with cars. As a teen, he would help his neighbors work on their off-road trucks, and during high school, he spent his weekends blasting through the trails of central Michigan on a Yamaha YZ125. His automotive career officially started as an ASE-certified Chrysler technician, but his passion was always in writing. After receiving his journalism degree from the University of Florida in 2006, he started at a small, start-up automotive website, and he’s been having a blast ever since.

He became a regular contributor to TopSpeed in 2015 (after a brief stint in 2009), and he brings almost a decade of automotive writing experience to the team. His journeys have taken him all over the world to drive some of the best cars and roads the world has to offer, but the highlights are getting to drive at legendary tracks such as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the Daytona International Speedway. Since this is TopSpeed after all, the fastest Jeff has ever driven was 173 mph in a Porsche Panamera on the autobahn.

Some of his memorable personal vehicles have been a rust-bucket of a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am, an Everest-sized 1969 Jeepster Commando project and his personal favorite, a 1992 Jeep Comanche, which he still kicks himself for selling. For random automotive thoughts and images, be sure to follow him on Twitter @jeffreynross.

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2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Final Edition

2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Final Edition

As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.

This Biblical proverb proves to be quite fitting when it comes to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Final Edition. The limited-edition farewell model, like the early generations of the Evo, will not be available for customers in the U.S. Instead, to put a cap on 10 generations (and 23 years) of the souped-up Lancer sedan, Mitsubishi will build 1,000 examples of the Lancer Evolution X Final Edition to be sold in Japan only.

The Lancer Evo has been around since 1992, but it wasn’t until the eighth-gen Evo VIII was introduced in 2003 that this rally ready compact sedan was made available to customers in the U.S. That being said, the subsequent versions of the car have proven to be incredibly advanced in terms of both performance and handling, culminating with the Evo X, which debuted in 2007 and is the longest-living Evo model to date. Unlike the Lancer Evo X Concept Final that was unveiled last year in Tokyo, the Evolution X Final Edition is far more subdued, but is still an improvement over the standard car.

Updated 12/09/2015: Mitsubishi announced that the very first Lancer Evolution X Final Edition - 0001 of 1,600 produced for the U.S. market - was auctioned on eBay for $46,200. All proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Pacific South Coast Chapter.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Final Edition.

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2016 - 2017 Hyundai Tucson

2016 - 2017 Hyundai Tucson

The third-generation Hyundai Tucson debuted at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3rd of 2015 as a 2016 model. Compared to the outgoing model, it was a pretty huge departure in terms of exterior styling. The Tucson received a new hexagonal grille, more aggressive front fascia, and more upscale headlamps. In the rear, the Tucson got restyled tail lamps and a sportier rear fascia. Since the Tucson is larger than the outgoing model, the cabin offered up more passenger space and cargo room to go with the softer materials and a new premium look. To go with a new dash layout, the infotainment screen got a new chrome-looking bezel, and there is a new steering wheel to tie the interior together. Being a global model, the Tucson is available with a decent list of engines, but here in the U.S. we only get the choice of a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter or a 175-horsepower, 1.6-liter, turbocharged unit.

As far as safety goes, the Tucson is fitted with six airbags, active front head restraints, and electronic stability control. Other safety features like blind spot detection, lane departure, and automatic emergency braking are all optional features that come at a premium. As far as safety testing goes, the Tucson earned a five-star rating from the Euro NCAP. Competing against models like the Ford Escape and the Jeep Cherokee, the Tucson certainly has its work cut out for it. How well does it compare? Check out our full review below to make the decision for yourself.

Update 7-29-2016 Hyundai has announced a number of enhancements for the 2017 Hyundai Tucson. Check out the details in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Hyundai Tucson.

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2019 Baby Acura NSX

2019 Baby Acura NSX

Not too long ago, Honda Motor Company had a lineup filled with fun and sporty cars, including the Prelude, CR-X and S2000, while the more luxurious Acura division had its own offerings such as the Integra, RSX and, of course, the NSX. Fast-forward to today, and it’s not hard to see the brand has been focusing on strengthening its car and crossover lineup for most of the past decade as the sports cars have all died off. That will soon change, though, as Honda is bringing the 2016 Honda Civic Type R, and the 2016 Acura NSX is returning to the supercar world, but somewhere in the middle ground between these two cars, it looks like Honda is working on yet another sporty offering.

Details are slim, but a recent set of patent images have reignited rumors of a smaller version of the NSX going into production. For now, it’s just being called the Baby NSX, but reports indicate that the coupe would actually wear the Honda badge, making it a successor to the Honda S2000. There are still plenty of questions surrounding this car, but if built, it would definitely help rejuvenate some of the gusto that the automaker boasted in the 1980s and 1990s, and subsequently lost.

Updated 10/02/2015: British magazine AutoExpress reports that the upcoming "baby NSX" aka the S2000 successor is expected to be unveiled in 2018. It will a hybrid roadster that will combine a 1.5-liter turbo engine with an electric motor for a total output of 300 horsepower. On the British market the model is expected to be priced at £50,000 - which is about $75,000 at the current exchange rates.

Continue reading for more about the Baby Acura NSX.

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2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition

The Chevrolet Corvette has a long history with racing, and the latest C7.R racecar has definitely been carrying the torch since its introduction last year. To celebrate the early success that the C7 has already had in racing, Chevrolet has introduced the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition.

First the bad news. This car is little more than a styling package tacked onto the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. So where’s the good news, you ask? That lies in the fact that the C7 Z06 is already enough of a track superstar that all it took to create the Z06 C7.R Edition was a special paint job and all the performance goodies the C7 Z06 offers.

Unlike the racecar used by Corvette Racing teams, the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition will be offered as either a coupe or convertible.

Updated 09/28/2015: The very first Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition was sold at the 8th Annual Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction for the amazing amount of $500,000. All the proceeds will go to Detroit-based College for Creative Studies.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition.

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2016 Mercedes-Maybach 900 By Brabus

2016 Mercedes-Maybach 900 By Brabus

The 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 is already one of the most powerful, luxurious and exclusive production sedans on the planet, so what is a customer to do if he wants even more power, luxury and exclusivity? Send it to Brabus. Introduced earlier this year, the Brabus 900 shows the tuning potential of Mercedes’ flagship luxury sedan, and the world got its first live look at the high-powered Maybach limousine at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

From the engine to the highly detailed interior, the German tuner house has put its touches on every aspect of the latest Maybach, creating what is essentially a four-wheeled alternative to a private luxury jet. Now this isn’t the first time Brabus has gone to work on a Maybach sedan, but this new Brabus 900 far surpasses its predecessor in every regard, including making that car’s output of 749 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque seem downright feeble. I know, right?

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Maybach 900 By Brabus.

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2016 BMW 7 Series

2016 BMW 7 Series

Finally a solid competitor for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class!

BMW’s 7 Series has been on the market for 40 years as of 2018, and in that time, it’s seen a total of five generational changes. The most recent comes for the 2016 model year, and given the changes at hand, it is a pretty big deal. The most import modifications comes from the BMW i range, as the new 7 Series has BMW’s new Carbon Cone passenger cell. That new cell drops the overall weight by 190 pounds compared to the previous model. On the outside, the car got new, narrower headlights and sportier taillights to go with a more aggressive front fascia. On the inside, the car has the iDrive 5.0 touch display with Gesture Control, a removable 7-inch tablet for the rear seats. Under the hood, you’ll find either a 3.0-liter inline-six or a 4.4-liter V-8 both of which have been revised to provide more power and torque. All-wheel drive is available.

All told, the Seven series is the ultimate driver’s car or the perfect sedan to be hauled around in. The panoramic roof comes standard, but the Panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof can be optioned for those who want an even more upscale interior. Of course, everything that comes standard on the 7 Series is pretty much a requirement if Bimmer wants to keep up with competition from Mercedes and Audi. The thing that really gives the 7 Series an edge – outside of the excessive comfort and power – is the automatic parking feature that allows the car to park itself. Everything you know now is really just the tip of the iceberg, and there is plenty left to explore about the new 7 Series. With that said, check out our full and thorough review of the new 7 Series below.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2016 BMW 7 Series.

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2015 Jeep Cherokee KrawLer

2015 Jeep Cherokee KrawLer

The current 2014 Jeep Cherokee is a funky-looking, off-road-capable compact crossover, but it hasn’t exactly resonated well with Jeep loyalists. Looking to prove that the new Cherokee is worthy of wearing the iconic seven-slot grille, Jeep and Mopar have teamed up to develop the Jeep Cherokee KrawLer concept vehicle. While this vehicle could have just as easily been a Moab Easter Jeep Concept, Jeep wanted to put the tuned Cherokee on global display, so the concept was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

A play on the Cherokee’s codename, KL, the KrawLer concept shows a more rugged side of the polarizing crossover. Based on the already rugged Cherokee Trailhawk, the Cherokee KrawLer gets more extreme with lots of Mopar add-ons, which are probably one-off for now but hopefully will make it into production. It would be nice if said parts would eventually be available as an over-the-counter and/or dealer-installed kit, but I’m not holding my breath. Just like the other Jeep concepts on display at Frankfurt, the Jeep Cherokee KrawLer is just a way for Jeep to flaunt its off-roading abilities to a broader audience.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Cherokee KrawLer.

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2015 Honda CR-V - Driven

2015 Honda CR-V - Driven

The traditional American family vehicle has changed a lot over the years. Just as minivans replaced station wagons in the 1980s, crossovers made minivans all but obsolete the following decade, but unlike either of these vehicle designs, there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down for the popularity of today’s crossovers. As one of the earliest examples of a modern crossover (not including the AMC Eagle, of course), the Honda CR-V was first introduced in 1997, and while the CUV segment is full of offerings of all sizes and price ranges, the CR-V is still one of the most popular car-based SUVs on the market.

Now in its fourth generation, the Honda CR-V continues to set the bar for the compact CUV segment, and with a host of major updates arriving for the 2015 model year, the new CR-V is better than ever. Honda hasn’t wasted any time bringing updated products to market in recent years, so the refreshed 2015 Honda CR-V wasn’t unexpected after just three years since its introduction. From the styling to the cabin tech to the powertrain, very few elements of the CR-V were left untouched, and I recently spent a full week with Honda’s compact crossover in the new Touring trim level (which replaces EX-L with Navigation) to see if the changes will help keep the CR-V at the head of the ever-growing pack.

Continue reading for the full review.

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TopSpeed visits the Cummins Engine Plant

TopSpeed visits the Cummins Engine Plant

Cummins has been building diesel engines since 1919, but it would be another 80 years before this company became a household name. That was when Cummins supplied Chrysler with a 160-horsepower 5.9-liter inline-six for the 1989 Dodge Ram 250 and 350 models, and Cummins has steadily built a solid reputation for its engines among truck buyers ever since.

Dodge Ram (and now Ram) buyers wear the big “C” on their fenders with pride, but Nissan buyers will soon be able to brag about their Cummins affiliation as well. A new era of diesel trucks is set to begin when the 2016 Nissan Titan XD goes on sale later this year with the Cummins 5.0-liter V-8 Turbo Diesel under the hood, and I recently had the chance to head to the home of Cummins – Columbus, Indiana – to see where this all-new engine will be built.

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Labor Day

Labor Day

Marking the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day is all about traditions, and chances are those traditions involve automobiles at one point or another. Whether you’re heading to the beach or a friend’s house for a backyard barbecue, the long weekend is an excellent excuse to relax and enjoy the weather before fall rolls in. In addition to packing up all of your white pants until next year, here’s some cool stuff to check out for the three-day weekend.

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Chevrolet Built Its 10 Millionth Malibu

Chevrolet Built Its 10 Millionth Malibu

As Chevrolet prepares to launch the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, the muscle-car-turned-midsize-sedan just eclipsed a major milestone. After 51 years on the market, Chevrolet has just built its 10 millionth Malibu, and it marked the occasion by taking a short drive down memory lane.

First introduced in 1964 as a trim level on the Chevelle, the Malibu racked up 300,000 sales in its first five years on the market, accounting for the majority of all Chevelle sales. GM says the Malibu was “one of the best-selling cars of the decade,” but it wasn’t until 1978 that the Malibu became a standalone model.

This Malibu was killed off in 1983, and 14 years later, the name was revived for a front-wheel-drive, mid-size sedan. Since then, the Malibu has been one of most popular sedans in the segment, averaging around 200,000 sales per year over the last several years (not including sales outside of the U.S.). That trend should continue when the bigger, lighter and more efficient 2016 Malibu goes on sale later this year.

The sedan is built in Kansas, as well as in China, South Korea and Russia, making it a truly global sedan. The 10 millionth one was built in South Korea. And to properly celebrate the sales milestone, Chevrolet made sure to include a full gallery of images showing the progression of the Malibu from 1964 through 2016.

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Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 Upgraded For 2016

Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 Upgraded For 2016

Since its debut in 2011, Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 has been one of the automaker’s premier engines with more than five million units produced and available under the hood of almost every Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram product. For 2016, this engine is getting some big changes that are expected to return better power, efficiency and refinement.

Just like the original Pentastar, the updated 3.6-liter will be making its debut on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and as quickly as this engine spread across the current Chrysler lineup, the new mill promises to be even more adaptable, so we will likely be seeing it appear in even more products in the future.

Every aspect of the engine was considered when the improvements were being designed, and the extensive changes show just that. Chrysler has yet to reveal exact torque output or fuel economy figures for the updated Pentastar, but it is saying that torque – especially low-end torque – will increase by almost 15 percent while fuel economy will be up by about 6 percent. Additionally, the 2016 Grand Cherokee will be rated at 295 horsepower compared to the 290-horsepower rating of the current model.

Power and torque have increased thanks to the new intake manifold that features longer runners and a recalibrated Variable Valve Timing. Both improvements help deliver more torque at lower engine speeds (1,000 rpm to 3,000 rpm). The upgraded VVT also allows for expanded use of automatic stop-start, which means that this fuel- and emissions-saving technology will be offered on additional models beyond the Chrysler 200 and Ram 1500.

Speaking of fuel economy, several enhancements were made to the Pentastar for this purpose, starting with the two-stage Variable Valve Lift, which accounts for almost half (2.7 percent) of the gain by reducing the workload on the engine. The engine was also given a higher compression ratio, new fuel injectors (still port injected rather than direct) and high-energy ignition coils, adding another 1.5-percent increase, while an EGR cooler and reduced-friction internal components each add about 1 percent fuel economy gains.

And to finish it all off, the revamped 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 also went on a diet, now weighing in at 326 pounds. This is four pounds less than the current engine, despite adding 13 pounds of content.

Continue reading for the full story.

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You'll Have To Apply For The Chance To Own A New Ford GT

You’ll Have To Apply For The Chance To Own A New Ford GT

While most of the details behind the 2017 Ford GT were already announced when the car debuted at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford had yet to reveal many of the details as to how buyers will be able to park this upcoming supercar in their driveways. In a Ford GT owners forum, Raj Nair, Ford’s global director of product development, recently shone some light on this topic, revealing an ordering process that will surely upset some prospective buyers.

According to Car Guy Chronicles, Nair said that when the GT ordering starts early next year, interested buyers will be required to undergo an application process. Once the application is approved, the lucky buyer will be able to work with the dealership of their choice, and Ford will give each buyer a personalized purchase experience.

Although anyone can apply, Ford will give priority to current Ford GT owners, which will help keep the car in the hands of passionate enthusiasts rather than opportunistic car flippers. This is nothing new, however, as automakers have done this to limit their halo performance cars from hitting the secondary market. Lexus tried a couple different ways of selling the LFA, while the 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari was only sold to Ferrari loyalists with extensive collections. Then there’s the 2016 Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf, which saw Aston Martin hand-pick its Middle Eastern buyers on an invitation-only basis.

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Top 5 SUVs of 2015

Top 5 SUVs of 2015

Gas prices won’t always be so low, but while they are, automakers are taking full advantage of the revived popularity of SUVs and crossovers. As such, every mainstream automaker now offers at least one type of SUV or crossover, and even high-end brands like Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini are getting in on the action. On top of that, the overall quality of these vehicles has improved immensely since their initial popularity took hold in the 1990s.

As if defining the “best” SUVs and crossovers wasn’t already hard enough, the vast diversity, improved quality and sheer volume of vehicles on the market these days makes it almost impossible to narrow down the list to just five, but here goes. On a purely subjective level, I’ve chosen my Top 5 SUVs and crossovers that are currently on sale, but be sure to sound off in the comments which vehicles you think I missed.

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2015 Ford F-150 by Roush

2015 Ford F-150 by Roush

I’m not going to lie. When a Roush-tuned Ford F-150 showed up in my news feed recently, I instantly pictured a modern-day Ford Lightning or at least some sort of off-road performance truck to tide the market over until the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor arrives. Boy, was I disappointed.

Instead of a truck version of Roush’s 670-horsepower 2014 Stage 3 Mustang, this F-150 is essentially just a styling package with a minor suspension upgrade. That being said, Roush did put a lot of work into creating a custom, performance look for the F-150, and with as many lifted F-Series trucks that I see riding around on oversized wheels and tires, there’s no doubt that truck lovers and F-150 and Roush loyalists will eat them up.

The lack of any performance mods will probably be cancelled out by the fact that truck customers can get the 2015 Roush F-150 at select Ford dealerships, and in addition to the factory warranty, the truck’s changes will be backed by Roush for three year or 36,000 miles.

Continue reading for my full review of the 2015 Roush F-150.

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You Can Get Furious 7 Freebies Using Waze

You Can Get Furious 7 Freebies Using Waze

Waze is a crowd-sourced smartphone app that usually points out places for drivers to avoid (such speed traps and traffic congestion), but the app will soon have some hot spots that users won’t want to miss. Promoting the September 15th launch of Furious 7 on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand, Waze is teaming up with Universal Studios to create Prizing Pit Stops in seven cities across the U.S.

Users in Portland, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York, L.A. and Chicago will be able to locate the areas where they can receive free swag, including apparel, license plate frames and codes to download digital copies of the movie. Users will receive messages and directions from Waze to locate the Prizing Pit Stops.

Just like speed traps and traffic jams, the Prizing Pit Stops won’t be around for long. Each one will last for just 90 minutes before moving to another location – each city will get three pit stops throughout the day. For specific dates, check out the press release posted below.

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Honda to Unveil Bike-Powered Concept Car in Frankfurt

Honda to Unveil Bike-Powered Concept Car in Frankfurt

Motorsports concoctions like the 2015 Polaris Slingshot and 2015 KTM X-Bow GT4 (and let’s not forget the 2001 Suzuki GSX-R/4) are a niche market, but it looks like Honda might be looking to take the segment mainstream. Set to debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Honda Project 2&4 is a conceptual vehicle that Honda promises will provide “the freedom of a motorcycle and the maneuverability of a car.”

As its name suggests, the Project 2&4 is a collaboration between Honda’s motorcycle team (2 wheels) in Asaka, Japan, and its automobile team (4 wheels) in Wako, Japan. While the design of the concept is largely unknown despite the teaser, Honda did reveal a few details about the exciting new vehicle.

For starters, the Project 2&4 will be a four-wheeled vehicle, and the overhead teaser shot shows that it will have an open-wheel design. The most intriguing element of the Project 2&4 is that it is powered by Honda’s race-ready RC123V V-4 engine. In various degrees of tuning, this engine is used in both street bike and MotoGP race bike applications, and while the final power figures and curb weight are unknown, the Project 2&4 will certainly be an exciting vehicle.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 Hyundai Equus

2017 Hyundai Equus

Hyundai got serious about stepping up to the luxury segment when it brought the full-size, rear-drive Equus to the U.S. in 2010, and it would appear that there are enough people willing to buy a $60,000+ Hyundai that a next-gen Equus is on the horizon. These spy shots captured a heavily camouflaged Equus undergoing cold-weather testing near the Arctic Circle, and from what there is to see, the car seems to be fairly far along in its development, which means we might see the 2017 Hyundai Equus as early as the end of this year.

With the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class debuting last year, and new BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS sedans on the way, the 2017 Hyundai Equus definitely has some tough acts to follow. Considering the quality of the current Equus and the improvements Hyundai has made in recent new-model launches, the Equus should be able to put some real heat on the competition.

Updated 08/26/2015: A camouflaged prototype of the 2017 Hyundai Equus was recently spotted near Hyundai’s test center at the Nurburgring, signaling that a European version of the luxury sedan could be in the works.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Hyundai Equus.

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Modified BMW Z3M Coupe Stars in Petrolicious Video

Modified BMW Z3M Coupe Stars in Petrolicious Video

The the 1998 - 2002 BMW Z3M Coupe is an odd-ball that took its lumps but ended up being incredibly fun; the same can probably be said for the latest Petrolicious video. Normally focusing on rare, low-production vintage and classic cars, Petrolicious switched gears a bit to focus on Alex McCulloch and his interestingly tuned BMW Z3M Coupe.

McCulloch, an airline pilot and avid hang glider, chose the car for its challenging nature, which he says is an “exercise in frustration,” but he has turned the M Coupe into an impressive track car that tackles the NASA Time Trial (TTB) class. Watching him drive around the track shows just how much of a handful the Z3M Coupe can be to drive. Perhaps the best part about his car is that he has tuned it in a way that it can easily be put back to stock in 48 hours, if needed.

The tuning was never an issue with the Z3M Coupe, though. It was the awkward shooting brake design. As McCulloch put it, the Z3M Coupe was “not a product of marketing or branding.” Instead, it was an effort to make a more rigid, track-friendly version of the Z3M leading to the Coupe’s unusual design that has earned the car numerous nicknames over the years including “clown shoe,” which is referenced in the episode title.

Sure, this Petrolicious lacks a gorgeous vintage car and obnoxious, burbling exhaust notes, but it offer some cool aerial videography and colorful viewer comments (hurray, Internet!). Seriously, reading the comments on this one is almost as fun as watching the video itself… go ahead, check them out!

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2017 Opel Insignia Successor Begins Testing: Spy Shots

2017 Opel Insignia Successor Begins Testing: Spy Shots

Our spy photographers recently spotted Opel testing an interesting four-door coupe prototype, which is rumored to be the next-gen Opel Insignia. Despite the heavy camouflage, the coupe-like roofline is obvious, and its hindquarters have a shape that is similar to that of the 2015 - 2016 Audi A7. The redesigned Opel Insignia is due out in 2017 with a styling heavily inspired by the 2013 Opel Monza Concept.

U.S. buyers should pay attention to this car since the current Insignia is the same as the 2014 Buick Regal. For years, rumors have suggested that Buick could get a flagship or halo model inspired by the 2016 Porsche Panamera, and while this is definitely not that model, the hatchback design is very similar. If Buick does offer such a model, it probably wouldn’t have much competition in the U.S. aside from the 2015 Volkswagen CC… assuming VW develops a next-gen version of that sedan.

Speaking of Volkswagen, our source suggests that in addition to its sleeker design, the next-gen Insignia is expected to grow in size by almost four inches to compete with the likes of the Skoda Superb. Like most modern cars, the added size won’t result in a heavier car, as the information also suggests a weight loss of almost 440 pounds compared to the current Insignia.

Although the interior camouflage is even more effective than the cladding on the outside, the next-gen Insignia could get some advanced cabin technology, including a digital dashboard similar to what was introduced on the Opel Monza Concept.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Mazda CX-9 Prototype Spotted Testing in California: Video

2016 Mazda CX-9 Prototype Spotted Testing in California: Video

Mazda’s “sixth-generation” lineup has resulted in some fun new products, like the 2016 Mazda CX-5, third-gen Mazda3 and the all-new 2016 Mazda CX-3, and rounding out the revamped lineup will be the 2016 Mazda CX-9. A sharp-eyed car spotter recently caught the new three-row, mid-size crossover testing along the very roads I just recently got to drive the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on.

The video only provides a brief look at Mazda’s family friendly crossover before the videographer was spotted and the Mazda driver pulled a U-turn. Despite the camouflage and camera shake, it’s easy to see that the CX-9 will get plenty of Kodo design cues, which was completely expected. The overall shape appears to be about the same as the current CX-9, but the front end looks much better than the bullet-nosed design found on the updated (2010-2015) model.

By the time the new CX-9 hits showrooms, it will be close to 10 years old. With the new 2016 Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander leading the way, the current crop of three-row CUVs is better-looking than ever, but if Mazda’s recent introductions are any indication, the 2016 CX-9 will be a great reason for customers to consider looking at Mazda.

Mazda has yet to say when the 2016 CX-9 will debut, but the L.A. Auto Show is just a couple months away.

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Buick May Bring Chinese-Made Envision To The U.S.

Buick May Bring Chinese-Made Envision To The U.S.

As luxury automakers continue to downsize their crossover and SUV lineups in the compact and subcompact segments, General Motors has been on the outside looking in, but Buick might be getting some help from an unlikely source. The compact Buick Envision is already on sale in the Chinese market, and a new report indicates that the crossover could be imported to the U.S. from China.

At this point, neither Cadillac nor Buick have a compact crossover, despite the fact that the Encore continues to be a strong seller, so importing from an existing plant seems to be the fastest way to get such a vehicle to U.S. buyers. The Chinese plant would have to increase plant production by more than 20 percent in order to export to the U.S., and that sounds like an easier task than adding a new line at an existing U.S.-based plant.

Volvo is about to become the first automaker to import a Chinese-made car to the U.S., but the problem there gets a little muddy for GM. The auto giant is in the midst of intense labor talks with the UAW, which hasn’t responded well to the recent news of the Envision’s possible import status. In short, the union’s vice president said such a move would be “alarming.”

Once the decision of whether or not to bring the Envision to the U.S. is made, China’s economy will surely play into GM’s decision on where to build it. Currently, the value of the yuan is plummeting, while the country’s stock market is faltering as well. You can read more about the state of China’s economic meltdown – and its effect on the global auto economy – in our recent in-depth report.

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Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Production Version Not Yet Funded

Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Production Version Not Yet Funded

Bentley has been keeping itself very busy lately with development of the 2016 Bentley Bentayga, but even with the brand’s first-ever SUV looming on the horizon, it’s another car that keeps popping up in discussions: the beautiful 2015 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept. When it was unveiled earlier this year at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, Bentley said that the concept car “could be a future model line” and is a “bold vision for a brand with a bold future,” but the automaker is now tapping the brakes just a little bit when it comes to discussing this car’s future.

In an interview with The Detroit Bureau, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer said that a sports car based on the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept has not been approved for production, and the company’s main focus right now is on the launch of the Bentayga SUV. Although a business case is still being formulated for such a car to join the Bentley lineup, Durheimer definitely seems to be in the EXP 10 Speed 6’s corner as he was quoted as saying that it “will make a different company out of Bentley Motors.”

The sleek concept coupe wowed crowds with its sporty, production-ready appearance. Before we see a production version of this “state-of-the-art sports car,” Bentley has previously said that “the styling of the EXP 10 Speed 6 could influence the expansion of the Bentley family.”

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Mad Max: Fury Road Scene Recreated With Go-Karts and Paintball Rifles: Video

Mad Max: Fury Road Scene Recreated With Go-Karts and Paintball Rifles: Video

Regardless of whether or not you’ve seen the new Mad Max: Fury Road, the level of automobile customization and carnage in the movie is just as good, if not better (have you seen the GigaHorse?!) than the previous Mad Max films. But seriously, who has the budget to trick out a bunch of hot rods and muscle cars to recreate the apocalyptic chase scenes from hell? Not Devin Graham, aka DevinSuperTramp!

Coinciding with the pre-order of the new Mad Max video game at GameStop, Warner Brothers Games commissioned the director to create a scaled-down chase scene replacing all of the crazy movie cars with equally awesome go-karts, side-by-side ATVs and a Dodge Ram, as a fill-in for The War Rig. This is no bush-league video either. Just check out the custom karts (bonus points for the Interceptor hero car) and the movie-quality makeup.

The icing on the case, of course, is the fact that this is the mother of all paintball fights, making it an incredibly awesome way to waste a few minutes. And to see just some of what went into creating this chase scene, be sure to watch the behind-the-scenes video here.

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2017 Audi R8 Spyder Begins Public Testing

2017 Audi R8 Spyder Begins Public Testing

Sun-worshipping supercar lovers won’t have to wait too much longer to drive topless in the second-gen Audi R8. After the 2016 Audi R8 was introduced earlier this year, new spy shots reveal that a drop-top isn’t too far away, but there is still no telling when or where the all-new R8 Spyder will be revealed.

Based on the coupe, it isn’t too hard to imagine what the Spyder would look like, but in an interesting move, Audi has camouflaged every inch of this prototype with the exception of the power-retractable soft top. As expected, the bulk of the changes are being made to the rear of the car, but it doesn’t appear to be all that different than the rear-end styling of the current 2014 - 1015 Audi R8 Spyder, including the side buttresses on the soft top and the vented engine cover. One key difference is that the rear engine compartment vent previously incorporated into the retractable spoiler is now situated between the taillights.

The new R8 Spyder will still pack the same 5.2-liter V-10, but the added weight and reduced aerodynamics should negatively affect performance. As a refresher, the 2016 R8 weighs around 3,200 pounds and the engine can be tuned to up to 610 horsepower on the 2014 - 2015 Audi R8 Plus, which returns a 0-60 time of around three seconds and a top speed of 205 mph.

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2016 Lexus LX 570

2016 Lexus LX 570

Since 1995, the Lexus LX has existed as little more than a gussied-up version of the Toyota Land Cruiser. To compete with most luxury automakers in the 1990s, Lexus created its own version of the rugged Land Cruiser by adding some minor styling changes, new badges and a fancier interior, and while this formula held steady for the next 20 years, the 2016 model year finally brings some much-need attention to Lexus’ flagship SUV.

Unveiled at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance alongside the restyled 2016 Lexus GS sedan, the 2016 Lexus LX 570 not only receives a distinctive exterior to set it apart from its Toyota sibling but it also gets a new look to tie it in with the Lexus brand image. Standing as the second design update for the third-gen LX, the 2016 model year might be the most important yet as the makeover includes styling, drivetrain, interior and technology upgrades that finally makes this full-size SUV worthy of sitting in a Lexus showroom.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Lexus LX 570.

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2016 Buick Verano

2016 Buick Verano

Most of the products that were unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show have little relevance for car buyers in the U.S., but the debut of China’s 2016 Buick Verano is a look into the crystal ball for Buick showrooms here. After seeing strong sales in its first two model years on the market, last year saw a small drop in sales that put the Verano as Buick’s fourth-best-selling model (out of five products), so an update to the bottom of its lineup is definitely needed. Although branded a 2016 model year in China, there were doubts on whether the new compact sedan will arrive in the North America in time to be labeled as a 2016 model. Turns out, Buick was able to do that, too, as the 2016 Verano has now been announced in the US. Even with most of the major auto shows over in the U.S., Buick was able to squeeze in the announcement of the 2016 Verano in time for the last auto event on the calendar. The timeline looks stretched now but don’t be surprised to see the new U.S.-spec Buick Verano make its official debut at the LA Auto Show in November 2015.

Updated 08/13/2015: Buick announced today the addition of the new Sport Touring (ST) models to the 2016 Verano lineup. They will be distinguished by distinctive exterior cues, like special 18-inch wheels and a rear spoiler, plus additional equipment to the interior.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Buick Verano.

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Cadillac Wants Autonomy From GM

Cadillac Wants Autonomy From GM

Looking to reestablish itself as a global player in the luxury car segment, Cadillac has already moved its headquarters from Detroit to New York, but the brand’s president wants more segregation. Johan de Nysschen recently announced plans to create a separate business unit for Cadillac by 2017 to give the brand “a far higher degree of autonomy and self-sufficiency."

Such a plan would help Cadillac retain more profits, as de Nysschen also stated that the luxury division “makes a very sizeable contribution to the overall profit” of GM. And with a goal of almost doubling sales by 2020, Cadillac would be able to build up quite a nest egg. As far as new product goes, he said there will be a slight lull in launches following the upcoming rollout of the SRX-replacing 2017 Cadillac XT5, but a “massive product offensive” will commence in 2018.

In a more obvious move, Cadillac will also be splitting its dealerships apart from other GM brands, and said dealers might have the freedom to focus less on monthly sales and more on building long-term Cadillac customers. This part of Cadillac’s future makes perfect sense, especially since you don’t see newAudis and Volkswagens being sold under the same roof. But it will be interesting to see how this aspect of the plan plays out just six years after the GM bankruptcy dropped many franchises and forced more brands under the same roofs that were left.

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China Explosion Kills Dozens, Injures Hundreds and Destroys Thousands of Cars

China Explosion Kills Dozens, Injures Hundreds and Destroys Thousands of Cars

Shortly after a series of massive explosions rocked Tianjin, China yesterday, witnesses began posting their videos on YouTube. Now as news crews are able to get closer to the port where the explosions took place, the actual level of devastation is terrifying. Fueled by dangerous chemicals, the most serious blast had a force that was equivalent to 21 metric tons of TNT and seismic activity comparable to a magnitude-2.9 earthquake.

Reports so far indicate that the death toll is at 50 (including at least a dozen first responders), but that number could rise as there are still people missing. On top of that, hundreds of people (around 700) suffered injuries in the explosions.

Property damage was also extensive, covering a 1.5-mile radius around the port, and the videos being posted online show how devastating the blasts were even at a significant distance. Included in the damage are thousands of cars consisting of mostly Volkswagens and Renaults, according to reports, which were parked at the port and are now a total loss.

Unfortunately, the worst isn’t over for the area, as the chemicals that sparked the huge – sodium cyanide (NaCN), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and calcium carbide (CaC2) – blasts now pose additional risks for residents and fire fighters.

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Petrolicious Pays Tribute To Lamborghini Miura P400 S: Video

Petrolicious Pays Tribute To Lamborghini Miura P400 S: Video

As rare as it would be just to see a 1966 to 1974 Lamborghini Miura in real life, I am not holding my breath that I’ll ever get to drive one – and with their high values, I’d probably be too nervous to do so anyway. Fortunately, Petrolicious is shining a spotlight on a gorgeous Lamborghini Miura in its latest video, revealing what is perhaps the best experience of driving this rare Lamborghini without actually being able to.

The owner of this 1970 Lamborghini Miura S is Dennis Varni, who has owned it since 1979. Like all car buffs, he fell in love with the Miura after a brief ride in one in 1970, and less than a decade later, this red Miura was sitting in his driveway. He refers to the Miura as an “Italian hot rod” with its beautiful lines and transverse-mounted V-12, and it’s this engine that really makes this video incredible to watch and listen to.

I would have to imagine that most of the fewer than 800 Miuras ever built are probably tucked away in garages and warehouses, but Varni drives his car. And drives it hard. You’re definitely going to want to turn your speakers up for this one.

Of course, if you can afford a Lamborghini Miura, your car collection is in good shape, and that’s just the case with Varni. His eclectic collection includes sports cars that might rival the Miura’s beauty, like the rare Maserati 200S, or a Jaguar D-Type.

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2015 Cadillac Escalade - Driven

2015 Cadillac Escalade - Driven

Traveling in style is pretty easy these days with luxury cars now breaking into the upper-$20,000 price range, but for those who feel that size matters when it comes to true luxury, there are still plenty of land yachts on the market. And when it comes to big luxury, few vehicles do it as well as the 2015 Cadillac Escalade. This luxury behemoth is an icon among wealthy motorists – even if their last name isn’t Kardashian or they’re not “real housewives” – and to see just how important this SUV is to Cadillac, consider the fact that the Escalade name is the only real name left in the luxury brand’s lineup, while monikers like Eldorado, Seville and deVille have since been killed off.

As such, the fourth-generation Escalade pulls out all the stops and is loaded with improved luxury, better styling and more cabin tech, but Cadillac had even more changes in store for its flagship vehicle. Shortly after its launch last year, the 2015 Cadillac received a few updates, including the latest Cadillac badge as well as the eight-speed automatic, and that’s exactly the model that showed up for me to review. Now my neighbors are used to seeing some high-end vehicles cycle through my driveway, but the 2015 Cadillac Escalade seemed to garner a little bit more attention than usual.

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2016 Ford F-650, F-750 Trucks Begin US Production

2016 Ford F-650, F-750 Trucks Begin US Production

Commercial vehicles may not grab the headlines like sexy sports cars or high-volume crossovers, but they are the lifeblood of our economy, shuttling people and products from sea to shining sea. The 2016 Ford F-650 and F-750 doubles down in this regard by its recent production shift from Mexico to the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, which just started cranking out the latest version of Ford’s medium-duty truck.

Like Ford’s F-Series pickup line, customers shopping the F-650 and F-750 will have plenty of options, whether they’re looking for a dump truck, tow truck, tractor trailer or just about any other kind of truck. These trucks will allow customers to choose from a wide variety of build combinations, including three cab choices, three frame designs and two engines in six available configurations.

The engine lineup consists of a base 6.8-liter V-10 – the only gas engine available in the medium-duty truck market – that produces 320 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, and this engine can also be upfitted to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane. Then there’s the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8, which will offer three different power ratings, ranging from 270 horsepower and 675 pound-feet of torque up to 330 horsepower and 725 pound-feet of torque.

Pricing for F-650/F-750 lineup starts at $60,135 up to $75,405.

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VW Group Developing New V-6, V-8 Engines

VW Group Developing New V-6, V-8 Engines

Looking to improve both fuel economy and performance in its future products, the Volkswagen Group is reportedly working on the development a new family of turbocharged V-6 and V-8 engines. Although no timeframe was given for when these engines will debut, they will first appear in Audi and Porsche products before making their way under the hoods of other VW Group brands, including Volkswagen, Bentley and perhaps evenLamborghini.

The source of the information is unknown, but Autocar reports that the new engines will share common elements, including a 90-degree layout with each cylinder having a 0.5-liter displacement. This means that the V-6 will be a 3.0-liter engine, while the V-8 will be a 4.0-liter. Making these new engines even more intriguing is that each will be fitted with a standard turbo at launch but could eventually switch to an electric turbo in the future. Audi could also be developing a downsized version of the V-6 – around 2.5 liters – that will be used on entry-level products and use the Atkinson cycle.

Based on the report that these engines will be utilized by Porsche, it would seem that they are being developed for larger passenger cars and SUVs such as the Porsche Panamera and Porsche Cayenne.

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2016 Ford Mustang Configurator Lets You Create The GT350R You Dream

2016 Ford Mustang Configurator Lets You Create The GT350R You Dream

The order books are now open for the 2016 Ford Mustang, which means you are now able to waste away your afternoon configuring your dream 2016 Shelby GT350 or Shelby GT350R. For me, it’s the Shadow Black GT350R with the black and red racing stripes, but there are numerous color options available for both cars and a handful of options. Check it out – just make sure your boss isn’t around.

More than just a waste of time, though, the configurator also reveals the pricing of both high-performance Mustang variants The 2016 Shelby GT350 will start at $47,795, while the track-oriented 2016 Shelby GT350R will be priced at $61,295. At these prices, the GT350 is about $1,000 more than the less-powerful 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392, and the GT350R is about $13,000 less expensive than the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.

When it comes to options, the GT350 can be equipped with the $6,500 Track Package that includes features such as MagneRide Damping System, aluminum strut tower brace, heavy-duty front springs, a raised decklid spoiler and oil coolers for the engine, transmission and rear differential. The $7,500 Technology Package adds a few of these upgrades, but like its name suggests, it mainly focuses on improving the cabin with features that include a seven-speaker audio system, heated and cooled front seats, dual zone automatic climate control and the latest Sync technology with voice-activated navigation. The downside of this package is that it isn’t available with the Recaro racing seats – drivers will have to settle for leather buckets.

Looking at the GT350R, it comes standard with all of the Track Package upgrades, so the sole option package is the $3,000 Electronics Package, with all of the tech goodies mentioned above in the GT350’s Tech Package. Both cars can have racing stripes for an extra $475, while a black-painted roof is $695.

As far as the non-Shelby Mustangs go, the biggest news for the 2016 Mustang is the debut of the California Special, which be a $1,995 option on the Mustang GT and Mustang GT convertible.

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2015 Tonka 4Runner

2015 Tonka 4Runner

For most of us, Tonka might bring back childhood memories of playing with that big, yellow dump truck in the sand box, but the company isn’t exactly toying around these days. Tonka now has a motorsports team – aptly named Tonka Motorsports – that runs a full array of trucks in the exciting Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, and to drum up some added publicity, it has developed a bunch of cool new trucks, like the 2016 Ford F-750 Tonka, to show off at races and other events.

The company’s latest creation is a monster of a Toyota 4Runner, which was introduced this week on the sprawling property of Tonka’s Pro2 driver, Myan Spaccarelli. Although I wasn’t among the select members of the media that were able to attend the event, I was able to talk to Kevin Bloomfield, Tonka’s vice president of product development, to get a little more insight about this crazy-looking 4Runner. As he put it, “Nobody makes aftermarket anything for the new 4Runners,” so essentially the entire truck has been fully customized by various companies (mostly off-road parts suppliers) to transform this stock 2015 4Runner SR5 into what you see here. In addition to the 4Runner pictures, Tonka also supplied some bonus images of its equally awesome Ford Super Duty affectionately known as T-Rex. Enjoy.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Tonka 4Runner.

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1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata - Driven

1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata - Driven

After spending about five hours carving up canyon roads outside of L.A. with the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata (top down, of course), I was ready to head up to my hotel room for a little air conditioning, a shower and some aloe lotion, but Mazda had a little surprise waiting for me. Sitting in a row of dirty 2016 Miatas that just returned from the long drive was a shiny Mariner Blue 1990 NA Miata. Now, this wasn’t just any Miata; it was the 14th Miata ever produced, it was owned by Mazda and the odometer read 8,671 miles.

Before I even had the chance to collect my belongings from the Soul Red Miata Club I had just climbed out of, a Mazda representative asked me if I’d be interested in taking the NA out for a quick spin. My response was somewhere along the lines of “are you kidding me?!” followed shortly by a “yes, please!” See, of all the amazing cars I’ve driven over the years, seat time in a first-gen Miata has always eluded me. A bunch of NCs and two NBs, yes, but I was an NA virgin. I was ready to see what the fuss has been about all these years.

Continue reading for the full review.

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Pininfarina Still Hopes For Sales Agreement With Mahindra

Pininfarina Still Hopes For Sales Agreement With Mahindra

Italian design house Pininfarina has been in financial trouble for most of the last decade, leading to the end of vehicle production in 2011. After years of living in the red, it was looking like a purchase by Mahindra and Mahindra would keep the designer in business, but shareholders and creditors weren’t able to come to terms on the sale.

It sounds like the major issue is that the Indian automaker is being "very cautious" while attempting to buy the troubled company "at the lowest possible price." This isn’t exactly a positive sign for the deal to go through. Reuters is reporting that recent talks have been put on hold until September, and while there are still hopes of the company being acquired by Mahindra, Pininfarina is also said to be looking at other options.

With this life-saving injection of cash still up in the air, the report goes on to say that Pininfarina is looking to create a contingency plan if the company needs to soldier on as a standalone business. No details were given, but Pininfarina has been warding off insolvency since 2008.

Things haven’t look much better for Pininfarina so far in 2015, as it recently reported a net loss of €4.4 million ($4.8 million) through the first half of this year alone and has taken on an additional €7.9 million ($8.7 million) of debt raising its total current debt to €52.7 million ($57.8 million) during the same six-month period.

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Marco Andretti VS Dani Pedrosa At Indianapolis: Video

Marco Andretti VS Dani Pedrosa At Indianapolis: Video

Ahead of this weekend’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Price race at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a pair of Hondas went head to head in a one-lap race, displaying two different types of open-wheel racing. MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa and his Repsol Honda took on Marco Andretti in his Honda-powered Indy car, and the good news is that no IndyCars were flipped in the making of this video.

In the orange corner, wearing two wheels and weighing in at just about 350 pounds, Pedrosa’s Honda RC213V is powered by a 1,000 cc V-4 rated at 240 horsepower. In the yellow-and-blue corner, wearing four wheels and weighing in at less than 1,600 pounds, Andretti’s IndyCar uses a turbocharged Honda 2.2-liter V-6 pumping out close to 700 horsepower.

The “race” was obviously staged purely for show, but Andretti sells it well by sliding his car through the S-curves of Indy’s rain-soaked road course. It would have been nice to see both vehicles really go all out to see which is faster around the 2.6-mile, 16-turn course, though.

Still, it is still incredibly entertaining to watch the juxtaposition of the two totally different race vehicles on the track at the same time. Being a promo for the MotoGP event, the result is no surprise, but you’ll have to watch it to find out for yourself.

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Nissan Highlights "The Evolution of the Sports Sedan" At Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Nissan Highlights "The Evolution of the Sports Sedan" At Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Practically every car on display each year at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is worthy of being in some sort of museum, but while most arrive to the event on a trailer, Nissan will be taking two of its museum cars on a 300-mile road trip from L.A. to Monterey. To show the “evolution of the sports sedan,” Nissan will be hitting the road in a 1967 Datsun 411 and 1972 Datsun 510, and these cars will be accompanied by their modern successor, the all-new 2016 Nissan Maxima.

Members of the media will be among the lucky drivers piloting the trio of sedans on the daylong drive that departs L.A. on August 13th, and once in the Monterey Peninsula, Nissan will offer test drives of all three cars to additional media outlets. After that, the cars will head to the Monterey Motorsports Reunion held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as part of Nissan’s display, which will also include the 1994 Nissan 300ZX IMSA No. 75 race car.

While the old Datsuns will definitely draw deserved attention, it was interesting to hear Steve Millen, who drove the aforementioned race car, talk about the new Nissan’s newest sport sedan.

“I think the new Maxima could give some of the race cars back then a run for the money today, straight from the showroom," Millen said.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata - Driven

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata - Driven

Just about any car can be fun with enough horsepower under its hood (just look at the 707-horsepower 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat), but it’s a far more challenging to find a modern car that is entertaining with just 155 horsepower at its disposal. As it has done for the last 26 years, this is the exact formula that Mazda has perfected once again with the rollout of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, focusing on a low curb weight that is perfectly balanced, rather than numbers on a spec sheet.

All new from the ground up, the fourth-generation ND Miata builds on the strengths of its predecessors while improving on the weaknesses – what few there were. The best thing about the Miata has always been its ability to be an enjoyable and comfortable roadster regardless of the types of roads you live near (for me, that would be the flat, straight and boring roads of Florida), but for this first drive of the newest Miata, I traveled to Southern California to enjoy the car in its ideal habitat, including the famed Mullholland Drive.

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IMSA Lexus RC F GT3 Program Could Be Delayed Because Of Speed

IMSA Lexus RC F GT3 Program Could Be Delayed Because Of Speed

The IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship racing series will undergo a few changes for the 2016 season, but one of those changes won’t be the addition of a Lexus race team. The 2015 Lexus RC F GT3 racecar was supposed to make its North American racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, but it looks like that could be delayed. The problem? Speed.

According to Racer, the RC F GT3 hasn’t been that great on the track since its launch, running 11 seconds off the pace at the recent 24 Hours of Nürburgring, and has been off the pace in Japan’s Super GT series competition by as much as 2.5 seconds. The article doesn’t say exactly what changes are being planned, but the team obviously has some work to do with that kind of deficit.

IMSA is changing the rules of the GT Daytona class race cars to better align with global FIA GTS specifications. The goal is to make race car development easier, to attract new teams and new manufacturers, and that was the plan for Lexus, which had initially intended on running the full 2016 United SportsCar Championship campaign. When it is finally ready for racing in North America, the RC F GT3 will still have to go up against proven competition in the GTD class, such as the 2014 Porsche 911 GT America, 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and 2015 Audi R8 LMS just to name a few.

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2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan Caught Testing: Spy Shots

2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan Caught Testing: Spy Shots

It’s pretty common to see various groups of future cars testing together, so when spy photographers sent over the latest batch of photos for the 2016 BMW 5 Series Touring station wagon, it was no surprise that new images popped up for the next-gen 2017 BMW 5 Series sedan. Better yet, it’s the plug-in hybrid version of the upcoming sedan, which will probably be named the 540e.

Unlike previous spy shots, this prototype seems to be wearing production taillights (although they are heavily camouflaged) showing that BMW is getting closer to the launch of this redesigned sedan. Considering the timing, BMW could introduce the new 5 Series lineup in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show with sales likely starting early next year.

The biggest difference between this prototype and previous cars spotted is, of course, the fact that it’s a hybrid. Aside from the plug-in door on the left front fender and the “Hybrid Test Vehicle” stickers, the only visual change in this sedan is the lack of smooth, chrome exhaust finishers integrated into the fascia as were present on non-hybrid versions of the car. It’s possible the plug-in model could have hidden exhaust outlets (as some hybrids do), but there’s also the chance that a hybrid-specific fascia is still being developed.

As for what’s under the hood, the plug-in 5 Series will probably carry over the powertrain of the 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e, which consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired to an eight-speed transmission with an integrated electric motor. The engine is rated at 241 horsepower and the electric motor at 111 horsepower giving the SUV a total output of 309 horsepower. The best part is the plug-in X5 has all-electric range of 19 miles at a maximum speed of 75 mph.

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Lexus Officially Unveils The Hoverboard

Lexus Officially Unveils The Hoverboard

Less than two months after teasing an operational hoverboard nicknamed “Slide,” Lexus has finally released details, images and a video for this sci-fi mode of transportation. Through the use of magnetic levitation and a specially built skate park, the Lexus hoverboard is finally a reality. More impressive, it took just 18 months to create.

The hoverboard is made possible through the use of liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets, and it hovers over a hidden track built into the floor of the custom skate park located in Cubelles, Barcelona. The existence of a track means that the hoverboard is only able to operate in limited areas, but it can still travel over water, grind down a hand rail and jump over a 2016 Lexus GS F. Lexus didn’t say how much it spent to build the hoverboard or skate park, but I’m sure it wasn’t cheap.

Professional skateboarder Ross McGouran was the Guinea pig for the hoverboard demo, and the accompanying video shows just how difficult this sucker is to ride. After riding the hoverboard, McGouran said: "I’ve spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I’ve had to learn a whole new skill, particularly in the stance and balance in order to ride the hoverboard. It’s a whole new experience."

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Cadillac Boss Says There Won't Be A V-Series Version For The XT5

Cadillac Boss Says There Won’t Be A V-Series Version For The XT5

The 2015 BMW X5 M and 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 are proof that there is a healthy market for high-performance luxury SUVs, but don’t expect Cadillac’s upcoming 2017 Cadillac XT5 crossover to flex its muscles too much. During the recent launch of the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen told reporters that the brand has no plans of developing a sportier XT5-V model.

Looking at the spec sheets, it isn’t hard to see why Cadillac isn’t interested in making an XT5-V. The BMW X5 M is a beast of an SUV with 567 horsepower and a 0-60 time of just four seconds, and the upcoming Mercedes-AMG GLE63 could be even better with an available S model that produces 585 horsepower. And lest we forget about the 550-horsepower 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR. Even if Cadillac used the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V’s twin-turbo V-6, that engine is only rated at 464 horsepower.

In lieu of an all-out V-tuned XT5 crossover, though, Cadillac could still be planning a Vsport model with a sportier appearance and a slight bump in handling, including the likely addition of magnetic suspension dampers. The Cadillac Vsport trim has become similar to the Audi S line products in this regard, and Mercedes is even launching similar models with its new AMG Sport lineup. The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is expected to make its global debut next spring at the 2016 New York Auto Show.

Similarly, de Nysschen also hinted at a Vsport model being added to the Escalade lineup. A bump in the 2015 Cadillac Escalade’s 420-horsepower doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch, and the big SUV’s styling would look menacing with a few performance-inspired styling cues.

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Ford Claims Shelby GT350R Will Be As Fast As Porsche 911 GT3

Ford Claims Shelby GT350R Will Be As Fast As Porsche 911 GT3

There is no doubting how much of a hoot the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang is going to be on the track, and Ford is fueling the fire by claiming that the track-prepped version of the new Shelby will be as fast around the track as an equally track-ready 2014 Porsche 911 GT3. Now before you start looking for videos of the Shelby dominating the GT3 at the Nürburgring, the track Ford is boasting a speed advantage at is Grattan Raceway in Belding, MI.

More importantly, Motor Authority is also reporting that Ford claims the GT350R is a full second faster than the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 around the 13-turn, two-mile road course located in central Michigan. With a starting price that is expected to be about $10,000 less than the current Z/28 and around half the price of the 911 GT3, the GT350R’s performance is now even more impressive.

The 2016 Shelby GT350R gets a healthy dose of weight reduction, dropping about 130 pounds compared to the highest-performing 2015 Ford Mustang GT model. The low 3,650-pound curb weight is thanks to the removal of the air conditioning, radio and back seat, which all make the GT350R about as close to a race Mustang as you can legally drive on the street. The highlight of this car will be its high-revving (8,250-rpm redline) flat-plane-crank, 5.2-liter V-8 that produces 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque.

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Audi Debuts Organic LED Lights At Frankfurt: Video

Audi Debuts Organic LED Lights At Frankfurt: Video

It seems that just about every car offers some sort of exterior LED lighting these days, and the trick laser headlights are already on the roads in Europe, but Audi is getting ready to debut an even more advanced lighting technology this fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show. As the self-proclaimed “leading brand in automotive lighting technology,” Audi will show off its Matrix OLED (organic light emitting diode) lights on a yet-to-be-named concept vehicle, and Audi has released a brief teaser video for the new lights.

Rather than using crystal semiconductors like today’s LED lights, the OLEDs use thin layers of organic semiconductor material just a thousandth of a millimeter thick to produce a lighting element that not only offers unique lighting solutions but also open up new possibilities for vehicle design. The OLEDs debuting in Frankfurt will be for the taillights of the concept, and will have a three-dimensional appearance.

The video gives a brief yet effective lesson on the history of headlights, and it is also a really cool visualization of the recent TopSpeed feature breaking down what types of headlights are best. Just as laser headlights have yet to be approved for use in the U.S., it will be interesting to see how regulators warm up to the idea of these new OLEDs once it comes time for production.

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2016 Mazda CX-3 - Driven

2016 Mazda CX-3 - Driven

There’s no doubt that subcompact enthusiasts were severely disappointed when Mazda announced that it had no immediate plans of bringing the next-gen 2016 Mazda2 to the U.S. Fortunately, there’s another viable option for passionate small-car fans that doesn’t involve stepping foot into a Scion dealership (where the new 2015 Mazda 2 sedan is sold as the 2016 Scion iA). Meet the 2016 Mazda CX-3. Based on the same platform as the Mazda2, the CX-3 will target younger buyers with an active lifestyle, with its taller ride height, added interior space and optional all-wheel drive.

Mazda’s answer to the growing number of subcompact crossovers, the CX-3 will be competing in a red-hot segment that Mazda believes is “set to explode” in coming years with some of these new mini-utes already on sale. For Mazda, the new CX-3 adds to a solid lineup of CUVs that now includes the aged-yet-proven mid-size CX-9 and the model that can easily be credited with helping to spark the brand’s recent renaissance, the compact CX-5.

With the 2016 CX-3 not expected to go on sale until mid-August, vehicles like the Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X and Honda HR-V have a significant head start, but I recently had the chance to sample the new CUV along the exciting roads of Southern California to see how much “zoom-zoom” Mazda can inject into a size- and value-driven segment.

Continue reading for the full review.

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Next-Gen Volvo V40 Coming to US

Next-Gen Volvo V40 Coming to US

In today’s new-car market, it doesn’t seem that a luxury automaker can fully compete without a small vehicle in its lineup, and almost every major marque has entered the premium small-car segment in recent years – including Ford’s Lincoln brand with the introduction of the 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover. One notable omission from this list, however, is Volvo, which finds itself with an entire lineup of mid-size sedans, wagons and crossovers.

According to a recent report, that could be changing, as Volvo finally seems ready to bring the V40 to the U.S, but before you get your hopes up about buying the compact station wagon anytime soon, it likely won’t happen until the car’s next generation. Volvo’s product life cycles tend to run a little longer than most luxury automakers, so following the introduction of the current 2013 Volvo V40 in 2012, it isn’t likely the next-gen model will be ready until closer to the end of this decade. Looking to the Chinese market, Volvo’s marketing chief Alain Visser said that an extended-wheelbase V40 is also on the table if that market shows strong enough demand.

Before the next-gen V40 does arrive, Volvo will be launching a hybrid version of the car to bolster the average fuel economy of its fleet. The hybrid will use a gasoline engine (rather than diesel), and Visser suggested that this car could eventually be developed for markets outside of Europe by saying that gasoline is the global focus and that’s where Volvo wants to play.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 Lexus SC Spied Testing

2017 Lexus SC Spied Testing

Social media is a great tool for sharing news and photos, and it is also a growing place to see spy photography and videos of future vehicles. We have Instagram to thank for our first sighting of the 2017 Lexus SC, which was spotted while testing in California by Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire.

Though far less in depth than a typical set of spy shots, the two images still provide a promising look ahead to Lexus’ upcoming coupe. Viewed only from the rear angle, it’s easy to see that the styling cues are very close to that of the 2012 Lexus LF-LC concept car, including the vented, L-shaped taillights, the curvaceous rear decklid and fascia, and the almost identical shape of the side window opening. From the broader side view, it even looks like the concept’s lower air scoop will carry over to the production car.

Judging by production-ready body, reports that the next-gen SC will go on sale for the 2017 model year seem to be on target. There is still no word as to when the production model will officially debut, but with so much on the line, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it show up as early as this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show – as a nice kick in the teeth to the German coupes it will be positioned against.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Kia Sportage Spied Inside And Out: Spy Shots

2016 Kia Sportage Spied Inside And Out: Spy Shots

Introduced in 2010, the third-gen 2011 Kia Sportage now stands as the oldest model in Kia’s vehicle lineup, but that won’t be the case for much longer. New spy shots captured near Hyundai’s European technical center give us a more revealing look at the next-generation 2016 Kia Sportage, both inside and out, ahead of an expected global debut next month in Korea.

Though it’s still wearing heavy camouflage, it is easy to see that this new Kia Sportage will be an evolution of the current design. This is evidenced by the fact that this prototype reveals a similar roofline and side window opening as today’s Sportage, but it does so with some obvious length added. The new Kia Sportage will continue to share its platform with the new Hyundai Tucson, which recently debuted with proportions that are longer and wider than its predecessor.

The upcoming Kia Sportage will definitely get a fresh look, with a completely restyled front end that includes a more upright version of the Kia tiger nose grille, and new fascia, fenders, headlights and hood. Likewise, the rear of the Sportage will have a restyled fascia and liftgate to tie in with newer Kia designs. The biggest story about these spy shots is the interior showing a completely redesigned cabin, with a new instrument panel, gauges, center console and even seats.

Still unknown is the powertrains that this Kia Sportage will offer, but looking at the 2016 Hyundai Tucson gives us some good clues. European customers will have a broader range, including a 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder as the base engine and an optional 1.7-liter diesel, and the U.S.-spec will likely bring the Tucson’s base 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder paired to a six-speed automatic and an optional 1.6-liter turbo and direct-injected four-cylinder mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Edsel Ford's 1915 Cross-Country Road Trip Revisited

Edsel Ford’s 1915 Cross-Country Road Trip Revisited

One hundred years ago, getting from sea to shining sea was far more difficult than it is today, but it’s estimated that some 25,000 cars made the trek for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition world’s fair in San Francisco, CA. Among these cars was a 1915 Ford Model T driven by 21-year-old Edsel Ford, and to commemorate this spectacular automotive accomplishment, the Historical Vehicle Association (HVA) recently set off on the Road Trip Century Celebration by recreating Edsel’s journey from Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, MI to San Francisco.

The trip kicked off on July 17 and will follow Edsel’s route as closely as possible, traveling as many as 264 miles in one day with a 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible tagging along with the Model T as a support vehicle. The route cuts through Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona before stopping a week in the Monterey, CA area for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Putting a cap on the long-distance road trip, HVA will wrap it up on August 19 at the original site of the 1915 world’s fair.

To see if the epic road trip is passing through a city near you, be sure to check out the website for a full schedule of all the planned stops. For everyone else, the group will be posting pictures of its journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Mercedes Wants More Crossovers Because Demand Is Growing

Mercedes Wants More Crossovers Because Demand Is Growing

With the crossover and SUV markets showing no signs of slowing down, neither is Mercedes-Benz. The automaker has already added the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA and introduced the revamped 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE and 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC class, and there are sportier coupe versions of the latter two coming out soon enough, but Mercedes has no plans of letting up. Although there doesn’t seem to be much breathing room for more crossovers or SUVs in the lineup, a Mercedes exec recently suggested that more are indeed on the way.

Talking to Australia’s CarAdvice, Daimler AG board member Thomas Weber hinted that more crossovers could be on the way, especially in the small-vehicle segments, although no specifics were given. The timeline for such additions probably won’t be until the next-generation of the current vehicles, so we’re looking at an expanded Mercedes crossover lineup that’s at least five to six years away. When all is said and done, Mercedes could be looking at as many as eight off-road-ready crossovers based on the A-Class platform (which underpins the GLA) alone.

As many niches as Mercedes has already filled, it’s hard to imagine the vehicles being planned, but it would be cool to see something along the line of a GLA Coupe and perhaps a two-door version of the GLC to go up against the Range Rover Evoque Coupe.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Nissan Qashqai

2016 Nissan Qashqai

Well that sure was fast. Less than a week after reports surfaced indicating that Nissan was looking to bring the compact Qashqai to the U.S., a mysterious version of the crossover has been spotted testing in Spain with minimal camouflage. Seeing as how the 2015 Nissan Qashqai was just introduced last year and these changes appear to be minor, the best guess for what this prototype could be is a U.S.-bound version of the small CUV.

Nissan has not even confirmed the existence of a smaller Rogue variant, and it isn’t clear if this model will come before or after the impending Rogue Hybrid. When it does arrive, though, chances are pretty good that Nissan won’t bring the Qashqai name along, instead opting for a Rogue-based name similar to the Rogue Select (a carryover version of the first-gen Rogue). Since it’s impossible to know what Nissan plans to call this new crossover, I’m just going to refer to it as the Qashqai for the sake of clarity and continuity.

Continue reading to learn more about the future Nissan Qashqai.

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Ford Announces Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System

Ford Announces Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System

Of all the safety features that have come out in recent years, few have done anything to make night driving any safer… with the exception, of course, of night-vision systems that are only offered by high-end luxury makes. Ford just announced that it is creating a new lighting technology that takes adaptive headlights to a new level.

Still in the development phase, Ford’s Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System uses existing technologies such as Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Sign Recognition to adjust lighting in certain driving conditions. The coolest of which is the ability to dim the left-side lights when going around a right-hand turn to avoid blinding the on-coming driver while simultaneously curving the high beams to the right to illuminate even more of the road surface. When possible, the system uses GPS to detect turns (including roundabouts), and when a satellite signal isn’t available, it uses the car’s forward-mounted camera.

Another helpful feature of the system is the ability to detect road signs and add extra lighting along the side of the roads to make reading the signs easier and at a greater distance. And still more, an additional element of the safety feature is Spot Lighting, which uses the camera to detect road hazards (including pedestrians and some larger animals) and can warn the driver accordingly.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Top 5 Future Collector Cars From 2015

Top 5 Future Collector Cars From 2015

Who wouldn’t love to hop into a time machine and snag a Ferrari 250 GT, Shelby Cobra or any of the other cars that are commanding six- and seven-figure auction prices these days? Until such time machines become a reality, though, most of us will have to look back in the past and complain that we “coulda, woulda, shoulda” hung on to some particular car that we once owned.

Most of today’s top collector cars are popular because they offer a mix of timeless beauty, game-changing performance and limited production, and there are plenty of cars that were introduced for the 2015 model year that fit this description. Now, predicting future collector cars is probably akin to being a baseball team owner trying to draft a Cy Young-winning pitcher, but a quick look at some of the newest cars on the market show that there are some obvious standouts.

Looking ahead for future collectors, there are certainly a good number of cars that will be worth big bucks at Barrett-Jackson’s classic car auction in 2040 (which will be held on the moon), so here’s a quick breakdown of some of my personal picks.

Continue reading to see which of today’s cars could easily be future collectibles.

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2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR Testing On The Nurburgring: Video

2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR Testing On The Nurburgring: Video

Watch out 2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO and 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, there’s a Jaguar coming. There have been numerous reports of a high-powered Jaguar F-Type being developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team, and that car was recently captured by spy photographers while testing at the Nürburgring. Designed to be the range-topping performance model of the F-Type lineup, the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR looks like it is going to be a serious track car, judging from this spy video.

Not much is known for certain about F-Type SVR, but it’s obvious that Jaguar is doing its best to put this car on the same stage as some of the top sports cars out there. Aside from the agile handling displayed in this video, the Jaguar F-Type SVR is rumored to have in excess of 600 horsepower coming from its supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. The extra power is sure obvious from the tailpipes as this car sounds even more menacing than today’s 2015 Jaguar F-Type R. The big question remains whether the SVR will feature a rear-drive layout or will offer all-wheel drive. Seeing as how the F-Type R is rear-drive only, that could very well be the case with the SVR model, but it would be awesome if Jag decided to go head-to-head with the GT-R NISMO with 600+ horses being fed to all four wheels.

To go along with the added power, the F-Type SVR is getting a few styling changes, including the new front fascia, quad exhaust outlets and the big rear spoiler. All of these upgrades have been exposed in previous spy shots, which also revealed that the SVR will most likely offer both coupe and convertible body styles.

JRL’s SVO team first came to light with the introduction of the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR, but the group will also be responsible for building the limited-production 2015 Jaguar F-Type Project 7 as well as the continuation 2014 Jaguar Lightweight E-Type.

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2015 Audi RS 7 "Robby" Piloted Driving Concept

2015 Audi RS 7 "Robby" Piloted Driving Concept

Sonoma Raceway is one of the more challenging road courses in the U.S., and Audi chose this 12-turn, 2.5-mile track to show off its latest display of self-driving technology. This specially equipped 2015 Audi RS 7 Piloted Driving Concept, nicknamed Robby, took to the track recently, posting a time of 2:01.01 minutes… with no driver behind the wheel. Just for comparison, at the recent NASCAR race at Sonoma in June, the top qualifying time was 1:14.4.

Audi has been testing and showing off its driverless technologies for a couple of years now, but this was, by far, the coolest example of what the technology is capable of. This testing was done to showcase the new self-driving capability that will debut on the next-gen 2017 Audi A8, which is expected to launch next year for the 2017 model year. Unless another automaker beats Audi to the punch, this could very well be the first technology of its kind to be offered in consumer-ready form.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi RS 7 "Robby" Piloted Driving Concept.

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Mazda Announces "Mobile Start" Smartphone Application

Mazda Announces "Mobile Start" Smartphone Application

There is no bigger feeling of being a bonehead than locking your keys in your car (if that’s even possible any more) or losing your car in a parking lot, but Mazda has created a new smartphone-enabled feature to bring a little more peace of mind to vehicle ownership. Using just about any smartphone from virtually anywhere, the Mazda Mobile Start app gives vehicle owners the ability to perform various tasks, including starting the car, locking or unlocking doors, locating the car using GPS or activating the panic alarm.

Priced at $500, Mazda Mobile Start is currently only available as a dealer-installed accessory on the 2016 Mazda6 and 2016 Mazda CX-5 (equipped with automatic transmissions), but Mazda said “it is expected that additional models will be added this year.” The first year of service is complimentary, and after that it will require a $65 annual subscription.

Of the three main remote functions, perhaps the coolest part of Mazda Mobile Start is the car-finder function that uses GPS and the smartphone camera to guide users to their vehicles. Unlike the standard dot on the map that most car locators use, Mazda’s system shows a live view image to track the vehicle and show exactly where it is. If you still can’t find it for some reason, the app can also turn on the panic alarm, which can obviously also be used as a security device.

For added comfort, users can remote start their car, and it uses previous HVAC settings to heat or cool the cabin. The engine runs for 30 minutes before automatically shutting off, and there is a timer built into the app to show how much time is left before the engine shuts off. Finally, the app allows a user to lock and unlock the car doors whether the keys got locked in the car of if he forgot to lock the doors.

Continue reading for the full story.

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BMW M2 Returns To Nurburgring: Video

BMW M2 Returns To Nurburgring: Video

Of all the new cars and SUVs BMW has launched recently, nothing has generated as much attention as the impending introduction of the 2016 BMW M2. It’s no secret that BMW is working on a hardcore version of the 2 Series to succeed the much-loved 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe, and BMW isn’t doing much to hide it. Quite the opposite, in fact.

With an official introduction expected later this year, a prototype for the 2016 BMW M2 was spotted recently being completely flogged around the Nürburgring. Combining the best attributes from the already-exciting 2014 BMW M235i Coupe and the track-scorching 2015 BMW M4, the M2 has no problem negotiating the famed track. Between the screeching tires and the throaty exhaust, the sounds emanating from this car are enough to get any enthusiast’s blood pumping.

There’s still no official word on the M2’s spec sheet, but the expected output should be somewhere in the 365-horsepower range from the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six. The prototype shown in this video is obviously wearing a more aggressive front fascia, wider tires and a quad exhaust outlet, although it’s not clear if the M2 will be getting any carbon-fiber body panels for additional weight savings. What is completely clear, though, is that this sporty coupe turns on a dime with little fuss.

If driving the 2016 BMW M2 is half as fun as watching the professionals tear it up around the ‘Ring, then get ready for one incredible car.

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Nissan Rogue Will Get Smaller Variant and a Hybrid

Nissan Rogue Will Get Smaller Variant and a Hybrid

The second-generation 2014 Nissan Rogue has been selling like hotcakes in its second year on the market, and that’s enough for Nissan to plan some big changes to the mid-size crossover. When launched for the 2014 model year, the new Rogue gave Nissan a stylish and spacious CUV that could seat up to seven, but it sounds like Nissan dealerships will soon be getting a couple of new versions of the popular crossover.

According to Automotive News, the three-row Rogue will eventually be joined by the European-spec 2015 Nissan Qashqai. The Qashqai already stands as a smaller form of the 2015 Nissan X-Trail, which is the European version of the Rogue. The new Rogue is taller, longer, wider and significantly heavier than the first-gen Rogue, so it sounds like the Qashqai would come to the U.S. as a scaled-down crossover to compete against the 2014 Ford Escape and 2016 Honda CR-V. Looking at the Qashqai, it has a similar – if not bolder – styling than the new Rogue, but it isn’t as polarizing as Nissan’s current compact crossover, the 2015 Nissan Juke.

It’s not clear when Nissan plans to offer this smaller crossover in its U.S. lineup, but it will be adding a new Rogue Hybrid in 2016. This version of the Rogue was pretty much expected, following the announcement of the X-Trail Hybrid back in April. The good news is that the X-Trail Hybrid will carry a fuel economy rating of about 48 mpg, although this uses the Japanese driving cycle, which doesn’t equally convert to the U.S. EPA cycle. Even though it wouldn’t carry the same rating in the U.S., it should still boast impressive numbers. And this should come as good news for hybrid fans, since Nissan just recently dropped its only hybrid, the Pathfinder Hybrid.

Finally, after all of the new models join the Rogue lineup, Nissan will finally drop the Rogue Select, which is a carryover model of the first-gen Rogue standing as a smaller and lower-priced alternative.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Mercedes-Benz SL Facelift Spied Inside And Out: Spy Shots

Mercedes-Benz SL Facelift Spied Inside And Out: Spy Shots

It’s been a few months since our spy photographers caught the updated 2016 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class out testing, but it doesn’t appear that it has lost much of its camouflage. The big news is that we get our best look yet at the interior.

The single shot shows that the interior will be getting minimal upgrades similar to most of the exterior. Standing out the most is the redesigned steering wheel, which appears to have a smaller diameter with a more prominent flat bottom. Other changes include slightly reworked infotainment system controls on the center stack and a display screen that looks like it may have gotten better graphics. Surprisingly, there is still no Start button to fire up the engine and the driver must continue to use an ignition key.

There is still a lot of camouflage covering the front of the car, so we actually can’t see anything new. The new roadster will definitely get a more aggressive face, possibly similar to the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT, and from certain angles, it seems that the changes have resulted in an even longer front overhang – but that could just be added camo. Looking at the rear of the SL, it will have reworked taillights with new LED elements and the exhaust outlets integrated into the rear fascia will get more rounded shapes.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Alfa Romeo Works On Second, Smaller SUV

Alfa Romeo Works On Second, Smaller SUV

Alfa Romeo really needed a couple of statement vehicles to show that it’s back into its groove, and following last year’s launch of the 4C and the debut of the all-new Giulia, Alfa Romeo could soon start setting its sights on volume segments. There is no more volume in today’s market than for crossovers and SUVs, and during the recent introduction of the 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne reportedly confirmed that Alfa would be adding not one but two CUVs.

A report from Autocar says that the new crossovers will be introduced sometime between 2016 and 2018, with the larger model positioned close to the BMW X5. Even though this crossover will have a distinctive appearance both inside and out, it will share its platform with the upcoming 2016 Maserati Levante.

The smaller of the two crossovers will reportedly compete with the BMW X3 and share a platform with a new Fiat/Jeep product that has yet to be identified. The big news is that it could offer a sportier QV model with the 1.75-liter engine from the 4C under the hood. Based on spy shots, this crossover will be larger than the current 2014 Fiat 500L.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Nissan Could Actually Build Maxima Nismo

Nissan Could Actually Build Maxima Nismo

Remember the goofy NISMO mashups that Nissan created last year? Well it turns out that while some of the creations like the Sentra/NISMO Z and the mashup of the Xterra and the Juke were pure Photoshop (or MS Paint) fantasy, it sounds like Nissan may have been onto something with the 2016 Nissan Maxima NISMO.

The Detroit Bureau is reporting that the product planner for the 2016 Nissan Maxima, Vishnu Jayamohan, hinted at the possibility of a NIMSO-tuned version of the sedan. Nissan has been marketing the Maxima as a “4-Door Sports Car” (or 4DSC) for some time, so adding more power and a tighter chassis would sure help back up this claim.

No details or timeline are given in the report, but the first order of business would be to pull a few extra ponies from the 3.5-liter V-6. In stock form, this engine produces 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque, and the Juke (NISMO RS), 370Z and GT-R all produce higher outputs with the NISMO model. This probably wouldn’t be too hard for Nissan as the Maxima’s VQ35DE has been in production since the early 2000s, including under the hood of the 2003-2006 350Z. It doesn’t sound like Nissan would be interested in investing the added engineering to installing a bigger engine – say the 370Z’s 3.7-liter V-6. And there’s no need.

With styling also a key element of NISMO cars, expect to see an even flashier exterior design if a Maxima NISMO does go into production. This would almost definitely include bigger, wider wheels, a special lower body kit and a sizable rear spoiler. It certainly won’t look anything like the mashup of the previous-gen Maxima and the GT-R that can be seen below.

If it does become a reality, the Maxima NISMO would be priced well above the 2016 Maxima’s $32,410 starting price.

Continue reading for the full story.

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This Is What A $65 Million Car Collection Looks Like: Video

This Is What A $65 Million Car Collection Looks Like: Video

Don’t look now, but the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is just about a month away from kicking off. As has been the case over the years, the cars being judged during the show will be as fawned over as the cars being auctioned, and RM Auctions promises an exciting collection of ultra-rare sports cars with The Pinnacle Portfolio.

Estimated to be worth around $65 million, this collection of 23 cars has just about every possible option for wealthy auto collectors to bid on. Scrolling through the list of cars, this isn’t just a collection of rare, high-dollar cars, it is a collection of automotive history worthy of being museum showpieces. These include the the final production 2005 Ferrari Enzo (previously owned by Pope John Paul II), the first production 2006 Bugatti Veyron with just 764 miles on the odometer, a 1967 Toyota 2000GT in pristine original/unrestored condition, that is the first left-hand-drive version of the car and the first one to be delivered to the U.S.; the final race-ready 1994 Ferrari F40 LM ever built, and a fully restored 1971 Lamborghini Miura.

Odds are that these exquisite specimens won’t even be the highest priced of the lot. That will likely fall upon one of the older Ferraris, such as the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 or the 1964 Ferrari 250 LM. It will be interesting to see if any of these – most likely the 250 LM – will be able to topple last year’s record-breaking $38 million auction price of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis number 3851GT.

Looking for even more metal to lust over? This collection also has a 1988 Porsche 959 with about 13,000 miles, a one-of-two 2005 Saleen S7 with the Competition Package (and featured in Iron Man), a 2005 Maserati MC12 and a 1-of-10 1993 Jaguar XJ220 with less than 2,000 miles.

The RM Auctions link here has all of the cars and their details, but the video gives a more realistic view of the cars sitting in a Los Angeles warehouse.
But I want to know who this mystery collector is, or was?

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2016 Alpina B7

2016 Alpina B7

Until BMW musters up the courage to introduce the M7, enthusiasts will have to keep looking to Alpina if they want a sporty version of the 7 Series. In the case of the new 2016 BMW 7 Series, it doesn’t look like they’ll have to wait very long. New spy shots seem to show BMW testing the 2016 Alpina B7, and while details are non-existent, it’s a welcome sign that this sport-tuned version is being tested so soon after the sixth-gen 7 Series was released just last month.

Like the U.S.-bound 2016 7 Series, this B7 was spotted in the long-wheelbase configuration, and it would seem that this powerful offering could be ready soon after this fall’s launch of the standard 7 Series lineup. From the rumors that are starting to swirl about this latest Alpina-tuned BMW, this is going to be one impressive way to mark 50 years of Alpina performance cars.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Alpina B7.

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2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven

2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven

Big, burly truck-based SUVs may have officially jumped the shark in 2008 when gasoline prices spiked and the recession took hold, but don’t count this segment out just yet. Although full-size SUVs are quickly being replaced by minivan-like, three-row crossovers (such as the 2013-2014 Chevrolet Traverse and 2014 Nissan Pathfinder), there are plenty of people out there who still need an SUV that is fully capable of hauling almost a baseball team full of passengers without giving up any of the ruggedness or payload capacity that a solid frame allows. For these people, the 2015 Ford Expedition is among a dying breed of body-on-frame SUVs made popular in an era when gas price hovered close to $1.00 per gallon.

A lot has changed in the automobile industry since those days, and a key example of this is the 2015 Ford Expedition. At the height of the SUV craze, not having a V-8 under the hood was almost certainly a death sentence for any full-size truck or SUV, but as proof of just how far Ford is taking its EcoBoost engine technology, the new Expedition is only available with the twin-turbo V-6. To see how this big six-cylinder SUV stacks up against a segment filled with gas-guzzling V-8s, I had the chance to take the long-wheelbase 2015 Ford Expedition EL in the new luxury-minded Platinum trim level for a two-week spin during a recent family vacation.

Continue reading for the full review.

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Mercedes' "Something Fast" Is The AMG-Tuned C63 Coupe

Mercedes’ "Something Fast" Is The AMG-Tuned C63 Coupe

Just recently, Mercedes-AMG released a teaser video promising an exciting new addition to the lineup. Aside from calling it “something fast,” though, it wasn’t exactly clear what the upcoming model could be. The only thing known is that it would have one killer exhaust note as the video showed the car tearing around the Hockenheimring.

Now, Mercedes is giving a few extra clues about the new performance model, and it is definitely not another version of the Mercedes-AMG GT. Thanks to some pictures released on Instagram, there are some new clues as to the direction of the mystery AMG model, but at least it’s clear that the car will in fact be some variant of the yet-to-be-released 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe.

This is confirmed by one of the images of the camouflaged car (the rear angle shot) that shows the door mirror mounted on the side of the door, which is what has been seen in recent C-Class Coupe spy shots, rather than up near the A-pillar like the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan and 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon. And not only is this the new coupe, it’s a rather extreme version at that. Just check out those massive fenders that wrap around the wide Continental 255/35ZR19 tires and the wheels that expose the equally large carbon ceramic brakes.

These are attributes more commonly associated with a Black Series car rather than a standard AMG model, but it would be hard to imagine Mercedes launching the high-performance model before any of the other C Coupes.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Volkswagen Confirms Two New SUVs

Volkswagen Confirms Two New SUVs

Just looking at the current landscape of the automotive industry, it doesn’t take long to see that crossovers and SUVs are hot-ticket items once again, but equally obvious is just how far Volkswagen is behind its competitors when it comes to this lucrative vehicle segment. We already know that the Tiguan and Touareg are going to be redesigned soon, and a new U.S.-built, three-row crossover is also in the cards, but the German automaker could be looking to bolster its SUV/CUV lineup even further.

According to a report from CarAdvice, VW is considering adding two new crossovers, with the most obvious being a subcompact CUV to compete against the likes of the 2016 Mazda CX-3, 2015 Jeep Renegade and 2016 Honda HR-V. Slotting in between the compact Tiguan (which is expected to grow for its next generation) and the A-segment Taigun, there aren’t many details about this new subcompact VW crossover, but it could be based on the 2014 Volkswagen T-Roc Concept that was introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

While this subcompact crossover would definitely be aimed at volume sales, VW is also said to be considering a production version of the Cross Coupe (shown above), which could put styling and sportiness above function (similar to the BMW X6). Since 2012, VW has revealed four different variations of the Cross Coupe, suggesting that this is a likely candidate for production.

VW will complement its traditional crossover lineup with the 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack and Passat Alltrak, which are high-riding, all-wheel-drive versions of the Golf and Passat wagons.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Fiat Chrysler Trademarks "Barracuda"

Fiat Chrysler Trademarks "Barracuda"

The 1964-1974 Plymouth Barracuda has been out of production for more than 40 years now, but the name has been popping up in the rumor mill with great frequency over the last six years, and Fiat Chrysler only keeps fanning the flames. The latest Barracuda-related news comes from a trademark filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the name under “motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, their structural parts, trim and badges.”

Chrysler enthusiast site Allpar spotted this trademark news, which was filed on June 23rd, but is quick to point out that it doesn’t necessarily mean that FCA has any plans to apply the name to a future vehicle. Trademarks are updated all the time, and the site even speculates that it could be just to maintain licensing.

As for the rumors of a next-gen Barracuda, they started popping up about the same time as the Challenger’s arrival, and most recently as an SRT-badged replacement for the Dodge Challenger. Of course, that never happened and most likely won’t, especially with the SRT brand being folded back into Dodge.

Either way, only time will tell, but with the strong streak that FCA has been on recently, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a Chrysler Barracuda sports car hit the road in the near future.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Ferrari 458 Goes Airborne At Road America: Video

Ferrari 458 Goes Airborne At Road America: Video

If you ever needed any indication of how much safety has improved in race cars over the years, just check out this spectacular crash that recently took place at Road America. During the fourth round of the CCR Forza Tifosi Challenge racing series, two drivers (Jim Booth and Steve Hill) were battling hard for position, when Hill’s No. 33 Ferrari F430 made contact with Booth’s No. 13 Ferrari 458 Italia with frightening results.

The collision came as the two drivers raced toward the track’s turn 5 at speeds in excess of 150 mph, and the No. 13 clips the front end of Booth’s car, getting it airborne for about 400 feet before making contact with the catch fence. Now, the racing series “forbids car-to-car contact,” so it was very likely that it was an honest mistake. It’s amazing that even with the sheer violence of this impact with the catch fence, Booth was able to get out and walk away on his ow,n only suffering minor injuries.

Perhaps equally impressive as the safety of both the car and the track is the ruggedness of the cameras mounted on the outside of Booth’s Ferrari. According to the video poster, the footage was shot using a GoPro Hero 4, and this could easily be a commercial for the strength of these cameras. Not only is the collision caught from numerous angles, but the rear-facing camera on Booth’s car actually stays in place while the front-mounted camera skips down the track continuing to record the devastation.

Stay safe out there, and always check your blind spots!

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2018 Toyota Prius SUV

2018 Toyota Prius SUV

With the next-gen 2016 Toyota Prius expected to debut later this year, a recent report suggests that Toyota will continue to expand the lineup of dedicated hybrid vehicles with an all-new Prius SUV. Currently, the Prius lineup includes the Prius Liftback, Prius Plug-In, Prius c and Prius v, but a joint venture with Mazda – the same one that spawned the 2016 Scion iA – could help create yet another hybrid model with unparalleled fuel economy for Toyota. Differentiated from the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Prius SUV would only be offered as a hybrid, and if produced, it could possibly be based on the two-door 2016 Toyota C-HR Concept crossover unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

The obvious advantage of a crossover- or SUV-based Prius is that attention to aerodynamics could be pushed back a little in favor of a traditional tall ride height, added versatility and more attention on creating a stylish vehicle. After looking at the C-HR Concept, we envisioned what a production version of the hybrid crossover would look like to come up with the rendering you see here. Toyota has yet to officially confirm any plans for a Prius SUV, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see that such a vehicle would be an exciting addition to the existing lineup of Prius hatchbacks.

Continue reading my speculative review of the Toyota Prius SUV.

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Subaru Launches "Dream Weekend" For The 2016 Impreza

Subaru Launches "Dream Weekend" For The 2016 Impreza

If there are two things for which Subaru is best known, it’s probably hippies and dogs. And a new ad campaign for the 2016 Subaru Impreza combines both elements for a stereotypical commercial with a fun-loving dog story being told with Willie Nelson playing in the background. It isn’t clear when or where “Dream Weekend” will be shown, but for right now, you can see the 60-second spot on Subaru’s YouTube channel.

Subaru chose Willie Nelson’s “I’ve Loved You All Over The World” as the music for this commercial, which shows an owner treating his almost-15-year-old dog to a bucket-list weekend. The commercial also helps kick off a dog-friendly social media initiative called #MakeADogsDay, where Subaru is hoping that fans will upload pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram showing their poochies being pampered.

As for the car in this car commercial, Subaru has yet to release any official details for the 2016 Impreza, but it doesn’t appear that many, if any, changes are in store for the compact hatchback and sedan, just a year after a mid-cycle refresh.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Tuned Mercedes-AMG GT-S Runs Quarter Mile In The 10s: Video

Tuned Mercedes-AMG GT-S Runs Quarter Mile In The 10s: Video

There is no doubting the performance potential of the new 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S even as it comes right out of the box, but aftermarket tuner Renntech had a better idea for Mercedes’ Porsche 911 fighter. Even though the car just went on sale, the tuner company known for its Mercedes mods (think of them as an aftermarket version of the in-house Mercedes-AMG team) has already come up with some awesome add-ons for the exciting coupe.

Equipped with an engine controller upgrade and some exhaust tuning (new downpipes and catalytic converters, Renntech is claiming that it has produced the first quarter-mile time in the 10-second range for the AMG GT S. Born to tear up the Nürburgring, you probably won’t see to many AMG GT coupes at your local dragstrip, but this modified model laid down a pass of 10.94 seconds at 128 mph at the Palm Beach International Raceway.

But that might not be the best this car can do as Renntech says there might still be a little more speed to pull from this car stating “this marks just the beginning of the tuning and performance development” for the AMG GT S. Personally, I’d rather get the GT out on PBIR’s road course, but this is still an impressive number for the Renntech-tuned Mercedes.

Now, this isn’t exactly what Mercedes had in mind when it promised “something faster” a couple days ago, but until that mystery model (most likely a high-powered AMG GT variant) is revealed, this sub-11-second AMG GT is exciting enough.

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Mystery GM Car Will Be A New Cadillac Crossover

Mystery GM Car Will Be A New Cadillac Crossover

As much work as Cadillac has put into creating a solid lineup of luxury cars, it has all but forgotten about the ever-popular SUV/CUV market. With the exception of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade (which dominates its market), Cadillac’s only crossover is the well-aged, mid-size 2014 Cadillac SRX, and with more automakers – including Lincoln – grabbing market shares in the compact and subcompact crossover segments, Cadillac is definitely on the outside looking in.

That could all be changing soon, though, as Motor Trend is reporting that GM’s recent announcement of a new product being built at the Orion Assembly plant in Orion Township, MI will, in fact, be a new Cadillac crossover. The report source suggests that the unnamed product will have no predecessor and fill an obvious void in the lineup, making it a pretty good likelihood that the new model will slot in beneath the SRX. The only question is whether this new Cadillac will be a compact rival to the 2016 Mercedes GLC-Class or a subcompact rival to the 2015 Mercedes GLA-Class.

Cadillac is also without a three-row crossover, but since the Orion plant builds small cars such as the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic, 2016 Buick Verano and, soon, the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, chances are the new Caddy will be a small car as well. After the redesigned and renamed replacement for the SRX (called the XT5) debuts, Cadillac will reportedly expand its crossover lineup to include two sub-XT5 crossovers and another one to slot in between the XT5 and the full-size Escalade.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Mercedes-AMG Announces Something Fast is Coming: Video

Mercedes-AMG Announces Something Fast is Coming: Video

Only Mercedes-AMG could make a teaser video that shows absolutely no car, and make it as exciting as the one seen here. With only the promise that “something fast is coming,” Mercedes’ in-house performance division hints at an upcoming car, and it does so with the best 11 seconds of audio you’re going to hear all week. Exactly what that car is, though, is the $64,000 question… or more like a $200,000+ question, since there’s a good chance that it is a higher-performance version of the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT (with or without the Black Series name).

The only version of the coupe currently available is the $129,000 AMG GT S with 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, but a more-affordable and lower-output Mercedes-AMG GT (sans S) is due out next year, with the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, but rated at 456 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. These two models will make the AMG GT a perfect rival for sub-Turbo versions of the 911, so the addition of a third model will likely put it closer to the 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo or 911 Turbo S in terms of both power and price.

Looking at other possibilities for cars being teased in the video, there’s also an outside chance that it could be the new 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe. That probably isn’t very likely, however, since the next-gen 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe hasn’t even been unveiled yet. What we do know for sure is that this car – whatever it is – will be a powerful beast with an amazing exhaust note. The video shows the mystery car being driven hard around Germany’s Hockenheimring. I won’t judge you if you waste a few extra minutes watching the video twice.

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Spy Shots: Next BMW M5 Caught Testing Around Munich

Spy Shots: Next BMW M5 Caught Testing Around Munich

BMW is still probably about two years away from introducing the next-gen M5, but with the introduction of a new all-wheel-drive system, the automaker is making sure all of the bugs are worked out. Our latest batch of spy shots show BMW engineers still hard at work developing the 2018 BMW M5 xDrive, which will go up against other high-powered luxury sedans like the 2017 Mercedes-AMG E63, 2015 Audi Audi RS 6 and 2016 Cadillac CTS-V.

Looking at these images, not much has changed since the last time we same the new 5 Series/M5 out testing the exception that we now have the 2016 BMW 7 Series to do a visual side-by-side comparison. Despite the heavy camouflage, we can still see that the M5 will have a long nose, an upright front end and a tall, passenger-friendly roofline. At the rear of the sedan, there is almost a feeling of Audi A7, with a short, sloped decklid and the concave shape at the rear (rather than the squared-off shape shown on the 7 Series).

The body work on this prototype doesn’t seem to be all that different from standard versions of the next-gen 5 Series that we’ve seen in recent months, but that definitely won’t be the case when it comes time for production. Obvious differences include the large wheel and tire combination to make room for the bigger, cross-drilled brakes, and the rear shot of the car reveals the M-signature quad exhaust outlets.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Lexus Builds First Working Hoverboard

Lexus Builds First Working Hoverboard

It isn’t uncommon for luxury automakers to license non-automotive products such as watches, outer wear and sunglasses for their customers to enjoy, but Lexus is putting its logo on a much different accessory: a hoverboard. As part of the Lexus “Amazing in Motion” creativity campaign, this hoverboard – called “Slide” – uses can hover thanks to liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets, aka magnetic levitation or maglev.

This technology is already in use on high-speed passenger trains, but it had yet to be developed to bring hoverboards from sci-fi to reality. In addition to the actual hoverboard, maglev also requires a special surface on which to operate, which means the course shown in the Lexus video is not your typical neighborhood skate park.

While Lexus didn’t provide any in-depth details for its hoverboard, Spanish website El Patin claims to have located the skate park that the automaker uses in the video. The park is located just outside of Barcelona, Spain – where Lexus says it will be testing the hoverboard in coming months. What Lexus hasn’t said yet is what, if any, automotive advancements it hopes to gain from the development of such maglev technology.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Subaru Impreza Sport Hybrid

2016 Subaru Impreza Sport Hybrid

In the “what took so long?” news category, Subaru recently announced that it would start selling a new hybrid Impreza model in Japan next month. With a lineup full of compact and midsize vehicles (most of which have all-wheel drive), Subaru is looking for ways to increase the fuel economy across its lineup, and this hybrid model makes perfect sense.

Currently, the only gasoline-electric hybrid customers can get from Subaru is the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, but starting July 10, the Subaru Impreza Sport Hybrid brings Subaru’s hybrid tech to the standard version of the entry-level hatchback. Since the XV Crosstrek is essentially just a lifted version of the Impreza hatchback with a little extra body cladding, creating this new model was probably more of a challenge for Subaru’s marketing team than its engineers.

Even as conventional cars push the limits of efficiency, hybrids should continue to play a bigger role in the automotive industry as automakers look to maximize the overall efficiency of their fleets. In Subaru’s case, the Impreza Sport Hybrid marks just the second hybrid in its lineup, but a more advanced plug-in hybrid is planned by 2018.

Continue reading to learn more about the Subaru Impreza Sport Hybrid.

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2016 Scion iA

2016 Scion iA

The Scion IA was essentially a rebadged version of the Mazda2 and was even built alongside it at Mazda’s plant in Mexico. It was new for the 2016 model year and made its debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show. Compared to the Mazda 2, the front end had a different design and the front grille was different, but that was about the extent of it. Inside, the IA is pretty much a direct carryover from the Mazda2. It did feature some premium features like a center display screen and a fairly upscale look for a compact vehicle. The Scion IA may look like a compact sports sedan, but under the hood, there’s nothing to write home about. The car was offered with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers just 106 horsepower and a combined fuel economy of 37 mpg. With a six-speed manual transmission, the IA was priced at $15,700 while those equipped with an automatic transmission were priced at $16,800.

The IA, along with the Scion IM was originally intended to breathe some new life into the struggling Scion brand. Unfortunately, it was too little too late, and the Scion brand has since been discontinued. The IA will carry on, however, as the Toyota Yaris IA starting in August of 2016 for 2017. Despite switching over to the Toyota branding, the IA will carry on as a competitor for the Kia Rio and the Nissan Versa, among others, but whether or not the IA will indeed be the hit Scion expected it to be has yet to be seen. With that said, take a look at our full review below to see the car that could have potentially saved the Scion brand had it come to the market sooner than it did.

Updated 06/29/2015: Scion announced that the all-new 2016 iA will arrive at dealerships on September 1st. The model will be priced from $15,700 for the six-speed manual transmission version and $16,800 for the six-speed automatic. Prices do not include $795 delivery, processing and handling fee. Also, check our first drive review here.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Scion iA sedan.

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Next Generation Volkswagen Phaeton Will Get Plug-in Hybrid Version

Next Generation Volkswagen Phaeton Will Get Plug-in Hybrid Version

Within the next couple of years, Volkswagen seems poised to reintroduce its Phaeton luxury flagship sedan to the U.S. market, and thanks to the 2015 Kia K900 and 2014 Hyundai Equus, consumers seem to have finally warmed up to the idea of high-lux sedans from mainstream brands. That said, though, VW still has its work cut out for it to ensure the second-gen Phaeton doesn’t repeat the sales flop of the 2004-06 model (which is still on sale in Europe and China), with a high-tech platform and drivetrain.

According to Automotive News, when the new Volkswagen Phaeton arrives in late 2016 or early 2017, it will do so with the option of an advanced plug-in hybrid powertrain that will likely be shared with other Volkswagen Group models riding on the MLB platform, which include the 2016 Audi Q7. There are no additional details about the Phaeton PHEV, but the upcoming Q7 has been developed with two PHEV powertrains: one that uses a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder and another with a 3.0-liter diesel V-6.

One of the more interesting details about the report is the fact that VW seems to be positioning the new Phaeton to compete against the ultra-luxurious 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class leaving the closely related 2015 Audi A8 to take on the newly introduced 2016 BMW 7 Series.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Cadillac Recalls 2015 ATS, CTS For Brake Issues

Cadillac Recalls 2015 ATS, CTS For Brake Issues

It definitely seems like the new-car smell these days comes with a side order of government recall notice. Takata airbag debacle aside, General Motors’ customers have been the hardest hit over the past year or so, and the hits just keep on coming.
This time, owners of brand-new 2015 Cadillac ATS and 2015 Cadillac CTS models will soon be getting that dreaded red-and-white “Safety Recall Notice” due to a potentially serious part failure that could prevent the driver from applying the brakes.

At fault is a brake pedal assembly that could break under normal use, leaving the driver without any braking ability. A total of 2,163 ATS and CTS models are affected by the recall, which consists of dealerships inspecting the brake pedal assembly bracket with a borescope. Of the recall population, an estimated two percent (about 43 cars) were fitted with a defective bracket, and will need to have the entire assembly replaced, which appears to be a major undertaking as the recall states 8.1 hours of labor time.

With more than 10,000 ATS and CTS models sold during the first quarter of this year, the odds are in favor of most owners not needing this fix, but it still sounds a little too much like a dangerous game of Russian roulette. The relatively small batch of cars was built between January 27 and March 24, and while the official recall notices aren’t being sent until August 1, owners can contact Cadillac customer service department at 1-800-458-8006 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Nissan Juke-R 2.0 Concept

2016 Nissan Juke-R 2.0 Concept

Four years have passed since Nissan blew our minds with the amazingly awesome Juke-R Concept. As if the idea of cramming the running gear of a 2012 GT-R under the quirky body of the Nissan Juke wasn’t good enough, though, Nissan’s engineering and motorsports teams are at it again. Meet the Nissan Juke-R 2.0. Equipped with the latest performance of both the GT-R NISMO and the updated styling of the 2015 Juke, the Nissan Juke-R 2.0 continues to be the world’s only crossover supercar.

The Nissan Juke-R 2.0 will be unveiled this weekend at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, and like the first Juke-R, this concept will not be a static display. When it isn’t lounging around at the Goodwood Supercar Paddock, the Juke-R 2.0 will be making hill climb runs with Nissan Le Mans 24 Hours driver Jann Mardenborough behind the wheel.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Juke-R 2.0 Concept.

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Porsche Shows What "Exclusive" Can Do

Porsche Shows What "Exclusive" Can Do

Porsche Exclusive is a great way for Porsche drivers to personalize their new car or SUV, and while the whole point is to make the buyer the designer of their own vehicle, the program also brings some pre-selected goodies to the table. For 2015, Porsche Exclusive has created a full lineup of Porsche cars and SUVs to give a small idea of what types of personalization Porsche customers can experience, but the one that caught our eye was the Porsche Exclusive Boxster S in Guards Red.

If there’s any possibility of Porsche’s Guards Red hue being called subtle, it’s on this Porsche Exclusive Boxster S where the changes require a keen eye. On the outside of the Boxster, Porsche Exclusive has added sportier front and rear fascias from the SportDesign package, and the standard center outlet exhaust looks even better with the rear diffuser.

Other small exterior touches include the tinted taillights, “Boxster S” written on the door, 20-inch five-spoke SportTechno wheels and the painted door mirrors, side vents and roll bars. Inside, the Porsche Exclusive Boxster S gets instrument gauges and a Sport Chrono stopwatch in Guards Red, Alcantara steering wheel and shift lever, leather slats on HVAC vents and carbon accents on the center console, instrument panel and door trim.

Porsche has not said how much the Porsche Exclusive Boxster S models will cost or what their availability will be, but considering these cars are meant to be a showcase of Porsche Exclusive’s unique level of customization, there’s a good bet these cars will be expensive and hard to find. In addition to the Guards Red Porsche Exclusive Boxster S, customers also can opt for this roadster in varying levels of customization painted in Riviera Blue, Racing Yellow and White.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Samsung's "Safety Truck" - Video

Samsung’s "Safety Truck" - Video

Passing a long tractor-trailer on a narrow two-lane road can be a scary thing, and dangerous, but Samsung has presented a new idea that essentially makes these big trucks transparent. Installed on the aptly named Safety Trucks in Argentina, this innovative idea uses a forward-mounted camera to feed a live signal to four large monitors mounted on the back of the trailer, giving motorists a clear view of what is happening in front of the semi.

Although the initial testing phase of the Safety Truck prototype has ended, Samsung is still working to develop the technology by performing more tests and coordinating with government entities. According to Samsung, Argentina was specifically chosen as a test location for the technology due to its high rates of accidents on two-lane roads – most of which occurring while one vehicle is passing another.

This is a cheaper and more real-world alternative to vehicle-to-vehicle technologies that have been discussed in recent years, but more importantly, all of the technology is simple and available today. The key advantage of V2V is that it could become a passive safety feature to warn drivers they don’t have enough space to pass or even an active safety device to prevent a crash altogether (or limit the severity). Samsung’s system still requires drivers to pass safely, but it gives them more information about when is the safest time to attempt to overtake a semi. It could also be helpful to warn drivers behind a semi of upcoming road hazards or traffic congestion.

As I watched the video and read about all the safety intentions Samsung has for this Safety Truck, one thought that kept popping into my head was that this technology could open a Pandora’s Box, allowing annoying digital billboards to make their way onto the backs and sides of these trailers.

But other than that, it’s a great idea.

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Next Generation Chevrolet Cruze Will Also Be Offered As A Hatchback

Next Generation Chevrolet Cruze Will Also Be Offered As A Hatchback

For some time, car enthusiasts in the U.S. have been clamoring for more fun and affordable compact hatchbacks, and now is the time to put up or shut up. Joining the already long list of compact hatchbacks, it is being reported that the all-new second-generation Chevrolet Cruze will be offered as both a hatchback and a sedan. Although the Cruze has only been a sedan thus far in the U.S., other markets have had access to the Cruze as a hatchback and a station wagon.

The report comes from Automotive News, which cited three attendees of a recent dealer meeting in Las Vegas, who said that a hatchback version of the next-gen Cruze was revealed under secrecy. It is also being reported that the hatchback shown was listed as a 2016 model, so it isn’t clear if Chevy will launch the sedan and hatchback at the same time or wait until after the sedan goes on sale to introduce the five-door. This latter scenario is what happen with the current Cruze as the sedan was first rolled out before the hatchback and then the station wagon joined the lineup.

Chevrolet will introduce the second-gen this week, and while we’ve only seen spy shots of the car, it will have the same basic shape as the redesigned Cruze that launched last year in China. This new design will essentially leave the new Cruze sedan looking like a shrunken version of the new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, so it will be interesting to see how well the swoopy new design language lends itself to a hatchback body style.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Dodge Expands Its "1 of 1" Customization Program With New Matte Exterior Finish

Dodge Expands Its "1 of 1" Customization Program With New Matte Exterior Finish

As if owning a new 2015 Dodge Viper wasn’t already rewarding enough, Dodge launched the factory-customizable Viper GTC earlier this year for those who had a little extra time and money on their hands. With this program, Dodge promised buyers the ability to build a true “1-of-1” 2015 Viper GTC, with options like 8,000 exterior colors and 24,000 stripe combinations. For 2016, Dodge further ensures that these custom Viper GTCs will not only be one of a kind, but will be equally eye-catching thanks to a new available matte paint finish.

Using the paint method first introduced on the 2014 Dodge Viper Anodized Carbon in 2014, the 2016 Dodge Viper GTC will be able to have a regular matte paint finish or an exclusive metallic matte finish. Dodge didn’t say how long it takes to complete a matte paint job on the new Viper, but the current palette of existing colors takes anywhere from 145 to 160 man-hours to hand paint.

The result is that the 2016 Dodge Viper GTC is now available with double the customizable features, including 16,000 paint colors and 48,000 stripe packages, as well as 16 interior trim combinations, 11 wheel options and various packages for aero kits (seven), suspension options (four) and brake caliper colors (three).

Continue reading for the full story.

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Chevrolet Teases Upcoming Camaro Convertible: Video

Chevrolet Teases Upcoming Camaro Convertible: Video

After releasing the redesigned sixth-generation Camaro recently, it will only be a matter of time before Chevrolet starts rolling out all of the various special-edition and performance-tuned variants. That won’t be until after the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is unveiled. In a quick teaser video, Chevrolet says that the new drop-top will be the “most innovative Camaro Convertible ever,” and it will debut on June 24.

For now, the details are slim, but Chevrolet promises that the new Camaro Convertible will have just a single button to raise and lower the retractable soft top. On the current fifth-gen 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, there is a latch that first must be disengaged (by pushing a button, pulling down and then rotation the latch) before the top can be lowered electrically using a button located above the rearview mirror. This latch is a severely outdated feature, but it looks like Chevy is ditching this feature for 2016.

Another practical feature that seems to be making its way to the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is the ability to operate the roof when the vehicle is in motion (at low speeds, of course). Anyone who has ever driven a fifth-gen Camaro knows that to raise or lower the top, the car must be at a complete stop (in either Park or Neutral with the parking brake engaged), which will not only make it more convenient to operate the roof but will also come in handy for drivers who might get caught in an unexpected rain storm.

We’ll find out much more in just a couple days, but until then, check out the video for a sneak peek at the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.

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Mercedes Considers Audi A4 Allroad Competitor

Mercedes Considers Audi A4 Allroad Competitor

Without a doubt, crossovers are the lifeblood of the current automotive industry, but let’s face it, when it comes to excitement and enthusiasm, there is rarely ever anything to get worked up about in today’s current CUV crop. Mercedes-Benz, has filled just about every niche imaginable trying to inject excitement into its CUVs (such as the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA), and it sounds like the next step for the automaker is a new soft-roading station wagon based on either the E-Class or C-Class wagons (or perhaps even both). Nothing says “enthusiast” these days as much as a good ol’ station wagon.

During the Australian launch of the all-new GLC-Class, Drive reports that two Mercedes-Benz executives hinted at the possibility of a wagon-based crossover, but no details or timeline were provided. Such an addition to the Mercedes lineup would be positioned against the 2013 Audi Allroad and 2014 Volvo XC70, but this high-riding station-wagon segment is also represented by the 2015 Subaru Outback and, next year, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack. It could also stand as the global successor to the awkward Mercedes R-Class, which hasn’t been offered in the U.S. since 2013.

As much as I like the current design language of the new breed of Mercedes CUVs and SUVs, the thought of driving a jacked-up E-Class wagon would be pretty fun. Like other wagons in the segment, a Mercedes-Benz rival would come with the brand’s 4Matic four-wheel-drive system as well as a taller ride height and a key styling changes – most likely including some added body cladding and more SUV-like front and rear fascias.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 Aston Martin DB11 Caught Testing At Nurburgring: Video

2017 Aston Martin DB11 Caught Testing At Nurburgring: Video

Aston Martin is still about a year or so away from replacing the aged DB9 with an all-new high-powered grand tourer that will likely be named the DB11, but we’ve been seeing a lot of this car testing around the Nürburgring recently wearing various states of camouflage. While these spy shots have given us a good idea about the size and shape of the 2017 Aston Martin DB11, it’s only now that we’re getting to hear the car in action thanks to a video showing the car being driven hard around The ‘Ring.

This prototype is actually wearing more camouflage than the last time the car was seen testing in Germany, but there’s no hiding that amazing exhaust note. It still isn’t clear which engine(s) will be used in the DB11, although it sounds like the best bet is Aston Martin’s 5.9-liter V-12 in addition to Mercedes-AMG’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8. The AMG engine could have around 550 horsepower, while the in-house V-12 engine will likely be closer to the 650 horsepower mark.

Regardless of which it engine it gets, the DB11 will have an exciting exhaust note at full acceleration, and accelerate this car will do well. Caught in action, it’s clear that the DB11 is having no trouble making its way around the track, which bodes well for enthusiasts of the British sportscar maker.

Expect to see the 2017 Aston Martin DB11 next year at either the Geneva or Paris Motor Show.

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Track Comparison - NA vs. ND: Video

Mazda MX-5 Miata Track Comparison - NA vs. ND: Video

With the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata getting ready to hit the streets, there are sure to be plenty of head-to-head comparisons between the all-new ND model and the original NA Miata that launched in 1990, but the first of which comes directly from Mazda. Enlisting two British endurance racers,Mazda U.K. looked to see how the upcoming Miata performed against its 25-year-old predecessor at the Circuit de Calafat in Catalonia, Spain.

On paper, the battle was already in favor of the new car, as its 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque were far greater than the 115 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque of the original Miata. To offset the power difference, the NA was given a four-second head start off the line. We won’t spoil the ending, but if we’ve learned anything after 25 years of the Miata, it’s to never count this car out… especially on a two-mile track that boasts 22 turns.

Although future Miata track comparisons between the NA and ND will surely be more engaging and feel less like a PR stunt, it was still fun to see how far this little roadster has come. And chances are we won’t have to wait long for more videos like this to hit the web as the 2016 Miata started production in April and is expected to go on sale in the U.S. starting later this summer.

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2016 Nissan Sentra Will Be "Almost All New"

2016 Nissan Sentra Will Be "Almost All New"

The 2016 model year is going to be very important for the compact sedan market, because two of the top sellers in the segment (the Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze) will be getting full redesigns. Not to be left out of the mix, the 2016 Nissan Sentra is getting a major update as well, and while it is essentially being considered a mid-cycle update, the updated sedan could be in for a significant overhaul above and beyond the usual changes.

Automotive News is reporting that Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for sales and marketing and operations in the U.S., said that the upcoming 2016 Sentra would be “incredibly freshened” and “almost all new.” Further details about the compact sedan – including the full extent of the changes and its release date or on-sale date – remain unknown.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

Now 7 years old, the Mercedes-Benz GLK is getting ready to retire as the brand’s successful compact crossover and make way for the new GLC. The Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class may have sparked the current small premium crossover trend, but it’s time to say goodbye to this outdated model. As expected, Mercedes is replacing the GLK with an all-new compact crossover wearing the GLC-Class name, and that vehicle was finally revealed for the first time today.

Looking to create more continuity in its lineup, Mercedes-Benz is rebranding many of its products to align platforms with the compact C-Class and GLC-Class now more easily assimilated by name. Unlike other renamed vehicles like the GLS and SLC, though, the newly named GLC-Class is a complete redesign offering a more modern look with added comfort and advanced technology.

With the new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class in place, the GLC-Class (just like the C-Class) was given some breathing room to grow a little since it is no longer the entry-level crossover of the CUV/SUV lineup, and this will show both in terms of its size and its price. When the 2016 Mercedes GLC-Class goes on sale in the U.S. this November, it will be larger, smarter and prettier than the current 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK, which should bode well for this model in an ever-growing segment.

Launched in the U.S. for the 2010 model year, the luxury crossover quickly became a sales success for Mercedes in the U.S. as deliveries continued to grow for five years in a row. In 2013, GLK annual sales surpassed the 30,000-unit mark, and hit 35,000 in 2014. With stiff competition from both BMW and Audi, Mercedes needs to take these numbers even higher and hopes the GLC will do just that. Will the new crossover have what it takes to push Mercedes up the ladder in this tough niche here in the States? We won’t find out until the GLC-Class hits the road later this year.

Updated 11/02/2015: The new Mercedes GLC went into production at the company’s plant in Beijing, China.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class.

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Jaguar Land Rover Prepares Pothole Alert Technology

Jaguar Land Rover Prepares Pothole Alert Technology

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications will both play an integral role when fully autonomous vehicles become a reality, but until then, Jaguar Land Rover is showing that these technologies could have a more practical use in the short term. The automaker is looking to use connected car technology as a means of identifying and rerouting cars around serious road hazards such as potholes or damaged manhole covers in an aptly named system called Pothole Alert.

The proposed system works by using sensors built into the MagneRide suspension system (found on the 2016 Range Rover Evoque and 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport models), which is designed to scan the road to continuously adjust suspension tuning for a smoother, more comfortable ride. Piggybacking on this, JLR thinks that its MagneRide system will also be able to detect such hazards and share it with other drivers, but down the road, JLR is also looking to build on this safety feature by actively scanning the road ahead of the vehicle using a forward-facing stereo camera.

As part of the research and testing of this technology, JLR is working with its hometown municipality to find ways for this tech to benefit government entities who can then (hopefully) fix the problem faster. In this testing, the Coventry City Council will use data collected by JLR research to see how it can be used by cities to stay ahead of problematic road conditions. Theoretically, Pothole Alert can provide road crews with the severity of potholes and the exact GPS location to better prioritize which hazards should be addressed first.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 GMC Granite

2017 GMC Granite

Thanks to a trademark filing earlier this month, there has been a lot of new talk about a production version of the 2010 GMC Granite Concept that originally debuted at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. At the time, the Granite was seen as more of a hatchback competing against the likes of the Kia Soul and Honda Fit, but in the last year, the market for small crossovers has boomed, making such a model a perfect addition in the truck-heavy GMC lineup. General Motors has yet to actually confirm if the Granite will make it into production, but based on the latest trademark news and the amount of action in the subcompact crossover segment lately, there’s a pretty good bet that GMC is preparing to add its littlest model ever.

With that in mind, we imagined what a production version of the Granite Concept would look like, although there’s no telling if GMC would actually use the styling of that concept or just the name. Considering how popular the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore crossovers have been for GM since they went on sale, there’s a really good chance that the GMC Granite will ride on the same Gamma II platform as the Chevy and Buick.

Continue reading to learn more about the GMC Granite.

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Mitsubishi Begins Development On The Next Generation Lancer

Mitsubishi Begins Development On The Next Generation Lancer

The fate of the current Mitsubishi Lancer has already been sealed, but Mitsubishi will soon find itself in the unenviable position of having no sedans and two slow-selling hatchbacks as the only non-crossover offerings in its lineup. With that bleak news, it sounds like Mitsubishi is still working on a replacement for its compact sedan, but such a model is still at least 18 months away from becoming a reality.

At the launch of the 2016 Outlander – a promising redesign of the mid-size crossover – WardsAuto caught up with Don Swearingen, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, who said that the automaker is still looking at a Lancer successor, whether it comes from a partnership or in-house development. Originally, Mitsubishi had looked to team up with Renault to develop a new sedan, but after that deal fell through, it’s now being reported that Nissan could become a viable partner.

Although still actively looking for some sort of partnership, which would likely be the quickest and most cost-effective option, Swearingen stated that Mitsubishi is also working on an “internal design” for a new sedan. If this is the case, Swearingen said that if Mitsubishi has to develop its own car, the automaker would be “another year behind,” meaning that it would be three years away.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Simon Hsieh Meets The New 911 Carrera GTS: Video

Simon Hsieh Meets The New 911 Carrera GTS: Video

After just recently showing a video that highlights its entire lineup of current GTS offerings, Porsche has just released another one that focuses on the origin of this mid-level, performance-minded trim, the 911 GTS. This time, Porsche showed off the 911 GTS in one of the best ways possible: by letting a Porsche enthusiast do all the talking and driving.

That lucky enthusiast was Simon Hsieh, a Taiwanese architect and Porsche 911 collector, who talked about what makes the 911 Carrera GTS so special, and he does so while driving the car along some amazing twisty Taiwanese roads. Fittingly, Hsieh says that the GTS offers a “perfect combination” of precision that gives drivers a direct feel from the tires to the driver’s hands.

The current 911 Carrera GTS is positioned between the 911 Carrera S and the 911 GT3 in terms of price, performance and power. The 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS starts at $114,200, with 430 horsepower and a 0-60 time as fast as 3.8 seconds. That’s 0.5 second faster than the 400-horsepower 911 Carrera S that starts at $98,900, and it is 0.5 seconds slower than the 475-horsepower 911 GT3 priced at $130,400.

Based on this video, it would be easy to assume that Porsche is preparing individual videos for the rest of the GTS lineup (Cayman, Boxster, Cayenne and Panamera) ahead of what we can only imagine is the eventual introduction of the all-new Macan GTS.

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Hyundai Releases Sketches Of Future Creta Global SUV

Hyundai Releases Sketches Of Future Creta Global SUV

Hyundai’s crossover lineup is pretty solid these days, with the Tucson, Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe, but it has a gaping hole when it comes to the exceedingly popular subcompact crossover segment. That will soon change, though, when the new Hyundai Creta launches, and Hyundai has released the first sketches of this small CUV.

Currently, the smallest crossover-like vehicle in Hyundai’s global lineup is Europe’s ix20, which is officially considered a mini MPV. The sketch shows a heavy dose of Hyundai’s latest Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language with a familiar shape to the grille and headlights. Like most recent Hyundai introductions, the cabin design of the Hyundai Creta will have a modern look with a premium feel.

Aside from the concept-like design that has big wheels and lacks door handles, it isn’t too hard to draw comparisons between the Creta and the ix25 Concept that Hyundai debuted last year at the Beijing Motor Show. Hyundai promises that the Creta will be a “global SUV,” but it has yet to say where the new model will be sold. Judging by how popular the subcompact crossover segment has gotten in the last year, it’s not hard to imagine this new model being added to the lineup here.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Audi Offers America Limited S3 Exclusive Edition

Audi Offers America Limited S3 Exclusive Edition

The new Audi S3 is an amazing little sports sedan, but sitting in the same showroom as cars like the R8, TT, RS 5 and RS 7, it’s easy to see how this car could easily be overlooked. In hopes of creating a little more awareness for the 292-horsepower pocket-rocket, Audi has just announced the S3 Exclusive Edition with bespoke touches inside and out.

In the naming of the 2015 Audi S3 Exclusive Edition, Audi is only signifying that the car has been given a thorough once over from Audi Exclusive (the brand’s in-house team that allows customers to personalize just about any car), but it is truly an exclusive vehicle. The S3 Exclusive Edition will only be built in five paint colors, and each color will be limited to just five units – do the math and that means just 25 of these flashy sedans will be making their way to the U.S.

Of the five colors, three (Vegas Yellow, Viper Green and Glut Orange) are only available on the S3 Exclusive Edition, while the other two (Sepang Blue and Misano Red) are carried over from the standard S3’s color palette. The colors are sure to get these cars noticed, but it’s the other upgrades that make these cars so special.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Porsche Considers Less Hardcore 911 GT

Porsche Considers Less Hardcore 911 GT

Nobody has ever accused Porsche of building a boring car, but with a recent focus on high-tech goodies like dual-clutch transmissions and high-volume SUVs and sedans, it can be argued that the brand may have gotten away from the pure simplicity of its earlier sports cars. Looking to rectify this situation, Porsche is reportedly working on a new version of the 911 that puts the driving pleasure as a top priority.

Autocar is reporting that the new 911 GT model would be in addition to the existing GT3 and upcoming GT2 RS, but unlike these track-ready models, the new 911 variant would focus on being an everyday GT car. Simply put, such a car will be created to improve driving enjoyment, even if that comes at the expense of top speed and lap times, which it most likely will. It seems that few details about this car are known, but it will offer a manual transmission, making it the first in the 911 GT lineup to offer three pedals since the 991 showed up.

Other possible attributes include a narrower track than the GT3 and GT2, sticking with the standard body from the Carrera that uses skinnier tires and a tamer setup for the chassis and suspension. The goal is to maximize balance rather than track performance, in a similar fashion as the Mazda Miata. As for the name, this model isn’t expected to wear the GT5 name that was recently reported on, but it could be called the 911 Club Sport.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Celebrate National Donut Day With NASCAR Chevy SS: Video

Celebrate National Donut Day With NASCAR Chevy SS: Video

When it comes to celebrating a win in NASCAR, nothing says it better than a good, high-horsepower donut, and no company has more wins in the modern era of NASCAR than Chevrolet. For this reason, it makes perfect sense that Chevrolet celebrated National Donut Day with a video montage showing some big, smoky burnouts from its Chevrolet SS racecars.

Not surprisingly, Jimmie Johnson shows up the most in the video as he has dominated the sport for the better part of a decade. Johnson’s success in NASCAR is only outdone by Chevrolet, which has won the Sprint Cup Manufacturers’ Championship 38 times, including the last 12 years in a row. Not only that, but since 2001, the driver of a Chevrolet has been named the champion 10 times.

The Chevrolet SS has been used in the NASCAR Sprint Cup since the 2013 season, and it is the only stock car in NASCAR’s top level of competition that is actually available with a V-8 engine and rear-wheel drive. As for the video, what’s not to love about watching 725-horsepower race cars smoke the tires for some killer donuts?

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