The Ghia L6.4 was just about as exclusive as you could get in the 1960s, as it was designed and built only for actors and other high rollers in Hollywood. The final of the 26 Ghia L6.4s ever built was built for one of the largest stars of that era, Dean Martin. Martin was not the only Rat Pack member to own a L6.4, as Frank Sinatra also owned one, as did other Rat Pack members.
Recently, one of the 26 Ghia L6.4s built, the one owned by Dean Martin, was put up for auction on eBay as Hyman Ltd. got its hands on Martin’s old L6.4. For a car of its age, the modern features are plentiful, but it still wasn’t enough for Dean Martin, as he shipped the car off to George Barris, “Hollywood’s King of the Kustomizers,” to have even more customizations performed on this already rare vehicle. This customization turned Martin’s L6.4 into a one-of-a-kind vehicle.
Update 08-19-2016: This article has been updated with new images from RM Sotheby’s Auction at Monterey Car Week in 2016.
Click past the jump to read the full review on this vehicle and see how it has held up throughout the years.
When Porsche unveiled the 918 Spyder concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show we were all in amazement. Within that amazement was a sense of a sense of pessimism, as we were unsure exactly how this future successor to the Carrera GT would look and run in the real world. We all know that manufacturers have a habit of “overestimating” its cars at these shows, to put it nicely.
After more than three years, the 918 Spyder ended its testing phase and is ready for its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The 918 has made many passes around the “Green Hell,” thrashing its predecessor’s time in the process. All of these laps around the famed Nürburgring and at Porsche’s test facilities have given the automaker enough details to allow it to piece together all of its specs.
So, is the 918 Spyder everything it has been hyped up to be?
Updated 07/07/2016: Porsche dropped a new video of the 918 Spyder showing the hybrid supercar in action at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Hit "play" to watch it!
Click past the jump to read our review and find out.
When the R8 arrived on the market in 2007, it gave buyers who couldn’t quite swing that Lambo or Ferrari an option, particularly when equipped with the V-10 engine. But as the years wore on, the R8 became stagnant and by the time the 2015 model came out everyone was begging for an update. Well, for the 2017 model year, we are all getting our wish, as the second-generation R8 is here. It’ll make its official debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, but ahead of this debut, Audi revealed all of the juicy details of its redesigned supercar.
The term “redesign” takes a different meaning here, as most redesigns include a whole new look. For the R8, however, the exterior changes are quite light. There are a number of modifications under the skin and in the cabin of the new R8, but the big issue at hand here is whether or not these changes are enough to overcome Audi mailing in a revised exterior.
Updated 06/08/2016: Audi dropped a new promo video for the new R8 sports car in which it wants to highlight the sports car’s technology. Hit "play" to watch it!
Continue reading my full review of the 2017 Audi R8 to find out if I think the German automaker succeeded or failed with this redesign.
2015 - 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
All good things must come to an end, so the Gallardo is packing things up and moving out of Lamborghini’s entry-level supercar spot to make room for a brand new baby. Rumors swirled about the name of this new supercar, and the final decision was Huracán LP 610-4 and not "Cabrera," as we initially thought.
The Huracán LP 610-4’s name is derived from a fighting bull from 1879. This Spanish Conte de la Patilla breed of bull was unrelenting and thrust himself into bull-fighting stardom courage and strong sense of attack.
This new new Lamborghini will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014, but it will also have more than 130 private showings that start in January. We expect to see it in dealers starting in mid- to late-2014.
Updated 05/31/2016: About one month ago Lamborghini dropped a very cool promo video for the Huracanc called "Driven by Instinct." Now it came back with an addition video that offers us some behind the scenes footage. Hit "play" to check it out!
Click past the jump to read all about the Huracán LP 610-4.
2015 - 2017 Subaru Legacy
We first saw hints of the next-gen Legacy at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show when Subaru pulled the covers off of the Legacy concept. Then, in 2014, we finally got to lay eyes on the new Legacy in production form, and boy was it a sight to see. To put it simply, Subaru redesigned the Legacy from the ground up, bringing about a sportier outer shell, coupe-like roof, an aggressive front end, improved aerodynamics, and a fully revamped cabin with more legroom, a larger instrument cluster display, and a completely new infotainment system. Furthermore, the sedan also received updates in the drivetrain department. The same engines carry over, but the four-cylinder offers up more power and torque than before. Needless to say, Subaru wasn’t playing around when it came to updating the Legacy.
As is the standard within the market, the upper trim levels come standard or can be equipped with a host of safety systems that include adaptive cruise control, front collision warning and prevention, blind spot monitoring, and lane change assist, among other things. When tested by the IIHS, models equipped with the EyeSight safety package earned the highest possible rating in frontal crash testing. So, not only is it stylish but pretty safe as well.
So, is the new Subaru Legacy able to keep up with competitors in the market like the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima? Well, from a glance, it certainly looks that way. But, instead of making that decision for you, scroll down the page to read our full review on the new Legacy and make that decision for yourself.
Updated 05/06/2016: Subaru announced that for the 2017 model year, the Legacy will receive a new "Sport" trim level. Continue reading to learn more about what it brings new to the lineup.
Continue reading to learn more about the Subaru Legacy.
When the all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 debuted in 2014, most of the world was in shock just from how awesome it looked. Volvo has always been about class, but it’s also prided itself in being more reserved than other automakers. And the new XC90, while reserved to some, is a pretty dramatic shift for Volvo. Its Thor’s hammer headlights and swoopy lines are new for the Swedish SUV, as is its insane, twin-engine, plug-in hybrid version. Despite its awesomeness, the XC90 was still lacking something: some love from Polestar.
Well, you may not have to wait much longer, as a report from Auto Express claims that Volvo has handed the D5 and T6 versions of the XC90 to its tuning and motorsports arm. Though there are no confirmed details to pass on yet, Volvo did tell Auto Express to look for a Polestar XC90 around 2016.
With the performance-oriented SUV reportedly only less than a year away, we went ahead and created a rendering of the XC90 Polestar, Volvo’s quickest and most powerful people hauler yet.
Updated 02/22/2016: Based on the recent spy shots and rumors, we created a rendering for the upcoming XC90 Polestar. Let us know in the comments section below what do you think about it.
Continue reading to find out more about the 2017 XC90 Polestar.
The Cadillac brand has been on the mend as of late, following many years of sliding sales due to a lack of exciting cars. The brand built its V-Series lineup to attract a younger following, but the styling was too dated to garner much interest. Now with the new 2015 Cadillac ATS and 2014 Cadillac CTS, and the upcoming 2016 Cadillac CT6 already in the fold, Cadillac has turned its attention to the 2014 Cadillac SRX midsize crossover; more specifically, its replacement, the XT5.
With the SRX sliding nearly 6 percent in overall sales in 2014, the midsize crossover is in desperate need of an overhaul. Keeping true to his promise when he took over Cadillac, Johan de Nysschen will change the name of the SRX to the XT5 when the redesigned model arrives at dealers. With a new name, new look, and new engine lineup, can the XT5 help bring Cadillac back to the top of the luxury car heap?
Updated 02/10/2016: Cadillac announced that the new XT5 will arrive in U.S. dealerships in early-April. Prices will range from $38,995 for the base version and up to $62,500 for the highest XT5 Platinum level.
Continue reading my full preview of the XT5 to find out.
In 2006, Land Rover took a risk when it strayed from its off-road roots and released the Range Rover Sport. This was a direct shot at the luxurious and sporty SUVs from Bimmer and Mercedes. The debut Range Rover Sport had two 4.4-liter, V-8 engines available, a naturally aspirated one with 300 horses and 315 pound-feet of torque, and a supercharged one that pumped out 390 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. In 2010, The RR Sport moved onto a 5.0-liter V-8 that produced 375 horses in its base form and 510 ponies with a supercharged V-8. In 2014, the Range Rover Sport underwent a full overhaul that resulted in a new, more aerodynamic body and a 3.0-liter V-6 that put down 340 horsepower replacing the base V-8. As we head toward the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 27, 2014, Land Rover has unveiled the most powerful Range Rover Sport yet, the SVR.
Developed by the company’s newly founded Special Vehicle Operations division, the Range Rover Sport SVR follows into the footsteps of the Jaguar F-Type Project 7. Stuffed with an uprated version of JLR’s supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8, the SVR is the most powerful Range Rover ever built.
As with all SVO projects, the Range Rover Sport SVR is also unique by design, carrying styling cues and interior features that are not available on the standard model or even the Autobiography trim. The SVR is a truly special vehicle in all departments, but to find out why you’ll have to check out our full review past the jump.
Updated 11/27/2015: Land Rover dropped a new video in which it shows the new Range Rover Sport SVR in action on a full-scale replica of the Silverstone ice circuit carved on frozen Lake Udjaur, in Sweden. Hit play to watch it!
Click past the jump to read more about the Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR.
Audi has been hard at work fleshing out its crossover lineup, and who can blame it, considering how hot that segment is right now. We already know that the 2016 Audi Q1 is on the way, the 2016 Q7 has just received a full makeover, and a sub-Q1 Junior crossover is rumored to be on the way. Now, according to an image that Audi released and a report from Autocar, Audi is set to launch a Tesla Model X-fighting Q6 e-tron in the coming years.
This report comes from a press conference held by Audi’s research and development boss, Ulrich Hackenberg, who outlined the basic details surrounding the upcoming electric crossover. Unfortunately, Hackenberg didn’t dive too deep into the new model, but he did give us enough information to do a little speculating with.
So do I think that the Q6 e-tron will be able to hang with the now-delayed Model X?
Updated 10/14/2015: A new report indicates that the Q6 e-tron electric SUV will be built at the company’s Brussels plant starting in 2018. Its design will be based on the e-tron quattro concept we’ve seen earlier this year. Built as a competitor for the Tesla Model X, Audi hopes to squeeze a total range of 500 kilometers (310 miles) out of it.
Continue reading to find out.
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.
The Lexus RC has been one of the most hotly anticipated reveals by the Japanese automaker in recent years. Launched at the 2013 Tokyo show in both gasoline and hybrid versions, the RC adopted a design language similar to what we have seen with the recently unveiled IS Sedan, but taken to a sportier level and sans the two rear doors.
The new RC is defined by aggressively contoured lines, the trademark Lexus spindle grille, the usual triangular headlamps and a cockpit specially designed for optimal driver and passenger enjoyment. Initially launched with two drivetrains, the RC has received two new engines for 2016. In addition to the rear-wheel-drive RC 350, Lexus added the RC 300 AWD, and a new entry-level trim, the RC 200t.
These new models transformed the RC lineup into a four-model family, in addition tot the high-performance RC F, which the Japanese introduced for the 2015 model year. Keep reading for the full rundown on the RC, as well as the updates that Lexus roll out for the 2016 model year.
Updated 10/02/2015: After being launched for the 2015 model year, the RC Coupe enters 2016 with a choice of three engines: a 241 horsepower turbocharged 4-Cylinder, a 255 horsepower V-6 and a 306 horsepower V-6.
Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus RC.
Debuting at the 2015 New York Auto Show, Infiniti has applied an extensive refresh to the QX50 in the hopes of jumpstarting the SUV after it struggled to sell well in the highly competitive luxury crossover segment. A facelift, longer wheelbase, extra interior room and a few new gadgets all make the list of updates.
The Infiniti EX/QX50 was first introduced in 2008 as the funky-looking EX35 crossover SUV. In 2011, the model underwent its first name change to simply EX. For the 2014 model year, Johan de Nysschen — now the lead man at Cadillac, but at the time heading up Infiniti – decided to shake things up by renaming the entire lineup, resulting in the EX becoming the QX50 without any significant changes to the vehicle. Finally, two years after its latest rename, the QX50/EX/EX35 is getting its first overhaul for the 2016 model year.
The new QX50 will be offered as either a RWD or AWD model and comes with four available option packages. But will it be enough to inject some new life into the SUV?
Updated 09/18/2015: Infiniti announced prices for the new, 2016 QX50 which goes on sale in this month at Infiniti retailers nationwide. The new luxury crossover will be priced from $34,450 for the RWD version and $35,850 for the AWD version.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Infiniti QX50.
Audi has been steadily improving its lineup by taking its traditional designs and updating them just enough to mix things up, but there are still a few models that have yet to receive this update. One such model was the S4, which has now joined Audi’s lineup of redesigned models, including the 2016 Audi Q7, 2016 Audi A4, and 2016 Audi R8, with the arrival of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Not surprisingly, the new S4 arrived only a few months after the Germans unveiled the redesigned A4. And as expected, it’s a slightly beefed-up version of the compact sedan that slots between the standard A4 and the upcoming 2017 Audi RS4. As with most Audi redesigns, the new look is joined by a revamped interior, updated tech, and, more importantly, a significantly more powerful engine.
The new S-badged sedan will arrive Stateside in 2016, as a 2017 model. Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about the S4.
Updated 09/17/2015: The new Audi S4 made its world debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Continue reading my preview of the 2017 Audi S4 to find out how I think it’ll stack up against its biggest rivals.
Subaru is no stranger to special-edition models that are based on the color of the vehicle, and now we introduce you to another limited-run Subaru, the WRX STI Series. HyperBlue. Can you guess where it gets its name?
That’s right, that North Carolina Tarheels blue hue coating this all-wheel-drive performance sedan is dubbed Hyper Blue. This rig joins the 2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue to form a duo of models that Subaru will limit to a total of 1,200 units (500 BRZs and 700 WRX STIs).
Its flashy new paint job isn’t all the Series.HyperBlue WRX STI has going for it. It also has a few upgrades inside the cabin and a set of exclusive wheels to set it apart.
So, the big question is whether or not this limited-run WRX will actually be worth the extra money that Subaru will most certainly ask for it?
Updated 09/03/2015: Subaru announced prices for the special edition Series.HyperBlue WRX STI which will arrive at local dealerships this fall. It will be priced from $39,790, including $795 destination and delivery.
Continue reading my full review to get the answer to this and more.
Ah, special-edition cars. Some are wonderful and add tons of goodies, while others disappoint sorely with little more than a name and a limited quantity. Subaru has decided to toss the BRZ into this ring with the Series.Hyperblue model, which is more of the former than the latter, thankfully.
The BRZ is a polarizing model: some folks find it to be the best inexpensive sports car ever made, while others think it is just expensive smoke and mirrors. I feel the engineered torque curve and skinny tires make the BRZ feel much more fun than it really is. Plus, I think Subaru and Toyota are sandbagging it a bit to help build interest in the much-anticipated and oft-denied turbocharged models.
Regardless of my personal opinion, I am set to give the limited-run BRZ Series.Hyperblue a fair shakedown to see if it is worth the wait and the added expense.
Updated 09/03/2015: Subaru announced prices for the special edition Series.Hyperblue BRZ, which will arrive in retail locations this fall. Prices will start at $28,485, including $795 destination and delivery.
Continue reading my full review of the BRZ Series.Hyperblue to see if it impressed this skeptic or not.
BMW’s supercar, the M1, was sold between 1978 to 1981 as the only mid-engined BMW to be mass produced. But you’d expect more from a maker like BMW, right? And with all the competition on the market, BMW had to do something about it, so they decided to put the Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show into production.
There is one distinct change for the Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept as it heads into production, as BMW changed its name to the i8. Along with the recently announced i3, the i8 shows the other end of the spectrum that the German automaker can reach with its hybrid drivetrains. The production i8 will, surprisingly, carry the concept’s in-line three-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor to drive the front wheels.
As of now, there is only one i8 model set for production, but we have a sneaking suspicion that there may be an M or M Sport model in coming years.
Updated 9/1/2015: Our man Jonathan Lopez took some pics at Monterey Car Week. Enjoy!
Click past the jump to read all about the upcoming i8
Lotus is in "full-rebuild" mode, as it continues to roll out updated and new models. Recently we saw the awesomeness that is the 2016 Lotus Evora 400, then the new 2016 Lotus 3-Eleven, and more recently we got a look at a new special-edition version of the Exige.
Dubbed the Exige 360 Cup, this model takes what Lotus began with the 2013 Lotus Exige V6 Cup and pushes it further, with some visual updates and a mild power boost.
So, have I officially given up my cheeky pokes at Lotus now that the brand is starting to show signs of life under its new management?
Continue reading my full review of the Lotus Exige 360 Cup to find out.
There aren’t many outrageously aggressive road-legal track-day cars that are made in America, but there are a few. One of them is the new 2016 Rezvani Beast. While the name may sound a little juvenile at first, one look at the body, and you’ll be in agreement; this thing is a beast. The body itself is a combination of mean looks and aerodynamic dominance that provides just the right amount of downforce to keep this 500-horse “beast” on all fours. The body is designed specifically to allow air flow from the front air intakes, through the front wheel wells, into the inlets for the engine intake, and finally out the diffuser in the rear. The interior is all about business with two racing seats with five-point harnesses, a carbon fiber steering wheel, a digital instrument cluster, and a touchscreen audio system. The real news about the Beast, however, is the turbocharged and supercharged, Honda Racing engine that is hidden below that aggressive body.
At first, you might what to shake your head at an American-built monster with Honda power behind it, but don’t be so quick to dismiss it. This Beast can hit 60 mph in 2.7 seconds on the way to a respectable top speed of 165 mph. Of course, you could be thinking “big deal, there are plenty of cars that can hit those kind of performance numbers.” And, you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but how many of them are made in America and are road-legal here in the U.S.? With that said, this is one interesting car, so check out our full review of it below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Rezvani Beast.
2015 Koenigsegg One:1
The Koenigsegg One:1 was built in just seven examples with the first being a working prototype. The name “One:1” is derived from the car’s amazing horsepower-to-kilogram weight ratio, which as you probably guessed is 1:1. A sibling of the 2013 Koenigsegg Agera R, the One:1 effectively raised the bar for performance and was dubbed the world’s first megacar, being able to produce a total of 1 megawatt of power (about 1341.02 horsepower.) It also produced a maximum torque of 1011 pound-feet at 6,000 rpm. The most interesting part is that the One:1 is able to run on a number of different fuels, including normal gasoline, race fuel, and believe it or not, E85 biofuel. All six production models were sold out before the car even made its official debut, claiming around $2.4 million from the deep pockets of each purchaser.
The Koenigsegg One:1 pretty much became an immediate legend in the supercar world, but as far as power goes, it has already been trumped by the 2017 Koenigsegg Regera. Be that as it may, the One:1 still paved the way for the next-gen models that will build upon the highest performance standard of any supercar manufacturer on this planet. With that said, let’s take a good look at the world’s first megacar and everything that makes it one of the best models ever to roll out of Koenigsegg’s manufacturing facility.
Updated 08/13/2015: The new Koenigsegg One:1 will be making its North American debut during Classic Car Week in Monterey, California. The model to be displayed in the States is the last from the six customer cars built by Koenigsegg and will be delivered to its American owner in the near future.
Click past the jump to read more about the upcoming Koenigsegg One:1.
Having grown up in a family that went from the clenches of poverty to upper middle class, thanks to the hard work of my dad, I have learned to appreciate everything I have. With these values firmly installed in my cranium, It’s little punks like this son of a Swiss millionaire, who torched his Ferrari just to get a new one, that make me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon.
After learning that he couldn’t straight-up trade his 458 Italia in on a car that better suited him, the dealership that he was attempting to do the deal with allegedly suggested filing a fraudulent insurance claim. Instead of brushing off the idea like a normal human being would and just dealing with the misery of driving a three-year-old Ferrari, this entitled teen hired two friends for 15,000 Francs (about $15,000) each to set the prancing horse ablaze while he frequented a local massage parlor.
Fortunately, the kid didn’t get away with his dirty deed thanks to nearby security cameras, and the cops tossed him into jail shortly after. As with just about any rich kid, he didn’t spend too long in jail, as apparently daddy dearest bailed him out to the tune of 215,000 Francs ($217,500). He will, however, have to do 22 months of probation and pay a fine of 32,000 Francs ($32,000).
Now for the salt in the wound of this story. This kid gets anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 Francs ($5,000 to $10,000) from his father every month, has 27 million Francs in real estate that his father gave him, and has 15 cars – one of which is a Lambo – all purchased by his dad. If this isn’t a PSA for how to not spoil your kids, then I don’t know what is.
Continue reading for the full story.
The 2019 Porsche Pajun, which Porsche will position it as a sort of Panamera Junior, has been circulating the rumor mill for quite some time now. Now, a new report out of France is claiming that the Pajun Concept will debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show in September, but not with the drivetrain most enthusiasts would expect.
According to the report, the Pajun will arrive boasting an electric drivetrain that will show the direction Porsche is looking to take in the future. While rumors of an electric Pajun have been circulating, it is odd to debut the concept in this format when it will likely hit production several years after the traditional models. The reasoning for the delay is that Porsche CEO, Matthias Mueller, has said before the battery technology just isn’t where Porsche and its customer base want it.
What’s more, debuting the Pajun Concept as an electric car could send Porsche’s sensitive fan base into a frenzy. Porsche fans are not overly fond of change, and this was evident when the Panamera debuted, sending some of the brand’s fans into panic attacks. Then again, maybe with the insane success of the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder, and the profits that the Cayenne and Panamera pull in, Porsche buyers are opening up to the idea that their favorite brand may actually know what it’s doing…
Either way, we’ll keep an eye on this report and let you know if more solid confirmation becomes available.
Continue reading for the full story.
In 2015, overrated cars are everywhere, whether it’s us media folk flocking to them because of the latest and greatest tech, or the public gushing over misleading performance credentials. To help you steer clear of these undeserving machines, I created a list of the 5 cars that I feel are the most overrated.
It’s almost a certainty that I will piss off a few fans here and there. Just keep in mind that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and just because I think your favorite car is overrated doesn’t mean you can’t love it. It just means you’re not likely to impress me with it.
Go ahead and bang on that “continue reading” link below to check out my entire list, and let me know in the comments if I left something out or if you want to defend your favorite rig. Just remember to strap on your big-boy pants before proceeding, and keep it civil.
Continue reading for the full story.
Traditional BMW fans’ heads are likely nearing capacity for change, and now I have one more bit of change to cram in there. I am talking about a report that BMW in considering building an X1 M.
That’s right, not only is BMW swapping its 1 Series and X1 to front-wheel drive, it now wants its M Performance division to operate on this transverse setup. Fortunately, the X1 M would likely be all-wheel drive, so we can give it a little bit of a pass. Still, an M-tuned compact crossover… Ugh…
According to the report, the 2017 BMW X1 M would likely have to live with a retuned version of the existing 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which BMW stated could produce as much as 302 horsepower. In years past we’d say “just stuff the 3.0-liter inline-six under the hood and call it a day,” but the transverse setup under the new 2016 BMW X1 eliminates this one-time catchall solution. So, four-cylinder it is!
While that may not sound like the power output we’re all used to from an M vehicle, it is in line with its main competitors: 2015 Audi RS Q3 and 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG.
With the X1 set to hit dealers later in 2015, look for the X1 M to launch midway through 2016 at the earliest.
Continue reading for the full story.
The Lexus ES debuted in 1989 for the 1990 model year as the ES 250, which was little more than a badge-swapped Toyota Camry. Lexus quickly regrouped for the 1992 model year with the release of the ES 300, but it wasn’t until the 2002 model year that Lexus began separating the ES from the Camry it was based upon. The ES went through another change with the release of the ES 330 for the 2004 model year, and then Lexus released the ES 350 for the 2007 model year. For the 2013 model year, the ES 350 received a full overhaul, and now with its third birthday on the horizon, Lexus released a refreshed version of the luxury sedan.
The new Lexus ES, which arrived in time for the 2016 model year, debuted at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. As with most facelifts, visual updates are mild while the drivetrain was carried over from last year’s model. Will this revision help or hinder the best-selling sedan in the midsize luxury segment?
Updated 07/10/2015: Lexus offered details on the North American version of the new ES. As expected, the model will be offered in two version: ES 350 and ES300 h. Both models will be put on sale later in the fall.
Continue reading my review of the 2016 Lexus ES to find out.
Lexus always seems to be just a step behind the big boys in Germany, particularly in turbocharged, small-displacement engines. Today, however, it takes a step forward with the introduction of the turbocharged IS 200t.
Though it took some time, the boosted IS was a near certainty once Lexus introduced the 2015 Lexus NX 200t and its turbo four-cylinder. What made it even more obvious that the IS 200t was on its way was the fact that the aforementioned NX 200t had a pile more power than the base-level, V-6-powered IS 250.
Despite its healthy power ratings, the IS 200t is oddly slow in acceleration, as the 328i will beat it to 60 mph by a pretty wide margin. However, the world of luxury auto shopping isn’t always won at the drag strip. A lot of it depends on bang for the buck.
Does the Lexus IS 200t have what it takes to complete with the German powerhouse?
Continue reading my review to find out.
When the 2016 Nissan Maxima first rolled out, most people had to take a step back, as the redesign was pretty dramatic. Now that everyone has had their opportunity to take it in, Nissan is showing off what buyers can do with their four-door sports car, by releasing the Maxima SR Midnight at the BET Experience.
The additional equipment that makes up the 2016 Maxima SR Midnight gives the sports sedan a dark and sporty look. While I can appreciate the additional bits that give it this look, I have to tell you that there is nothing special about this car. This is simply a Maxima SR with a handful of optional equipment added in.
Despite not being anything special, is this group of options worth adding to your Maxima SR?
Continue reading my full review to find out.
It’s well known that the 2016 Civic Type-R is set to be one of the baddest hatchbacks available around the globe. However, the rest of the 10th-generation Civic lineup has yet to be revealed. A new report out of Australia claims to have the inside scoop on the upcoming Civic Type-S, which would likely be the Civic Si here in the U.S.
We already know that all versions of the Civic south of the Type-R will carry a turbocharged 1.5-liter VTEC engine. In the Si model, however, this engine would produce 201 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque, according to Honda’s original announcement of this new engine lineup. While this may seem low when compared to the 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from the Type-R, it is right about in line with the 2015 Civic Si’s 205 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of twist.
As for the body surrounding the Si’s new engine, the report indicates that it could come in both sedan and hatchback forms. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a coupe version, given the stunning appearance of the 2015 Honda Civic Concept.
I also expect Honda to put a little more R&D time into the construction of the 10th-gen Civic. This could result in a reduced curb weight by way of aluminum and high-strength steel. This would help make the new Si nimbler in the corners and help in the 0-to-60 sprint.
The report states that Honda denies it’ll resurrect the Type-S name, but we all know how honest large automakers are. Despite that claim, it is a near certainty that the Si name will live on in the U.S.
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Okay, General Motors is up to something, but it’s not telling us. The only bit of information it let out of the bag is that it’s investing a huge sum of money into its Orion plant in Michigan to help with the launch of an “all-new vehicle.”
How much money exactly? A grand total of $300 million, which works toward GM’s goal of $5.4 billion by the end of 2015. This will put the company just $2.3 billion short of its goal with just over six months left to go in the year.
Other than these details, GM didn’t reveal anything else. It didn’t even give us a teaser of what it is working on at the Orion plant. We already know that GM will build the Bolt in this plant, but it has already lumped $160 million into the plant to aid in the release of this 200-plus-mile EV. So, what in the world can GM possibly be working on?
Other than the upcoming Bolt, the only other two vehicles currently in production at Orion are the 2014 Chevy Sonic and 2016 Buick Verano. Neither of these models are due for any changes soon, and GM was pretty adamant that there will not be a hot hatchback model, so that all but eliminates the Sonic on the surface.
Continue reading to see what I think GM is up to, then let us know in the comments what you think the automaker is hiding from us.
BMW is falling in love with SUVs, as it’s already added the X4 to its growing lineup, and the X2 is just around the corner. What’s also right around the corner is the X4 M. According to a new report out of Europe, it appears as if BMW will actually release an X4 M40i just ahead of the full-blown M version.
The report continues by saying that the X4 M40i will come equipped with a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo engine that puts out around 350 horsepower. This would give it 50 more horsepower than the current range-topping xDrive35i version of the 2015 BMW X4.
Mated to this more powerful engine will reportedly be a revised version of the existing eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Of course, this model will come standard with Bimmer’s xDrive all-wheel drive. With this drivetrain, we’d likely be looking at a 0-to-60 time of just about five seconds.
In addition to the extra pep, BMW will also work on this sportier X4’s chassis. Look for stiffer springs, larger anti-sway bars, a revised steering system, and better brakes. Also look for some styling bits, like an M Performance aero kit, special wheels, and an upgraded cabin.
According to sources close to BMW, this model will hit the market in the U.K. in the first quarter of 2016. With such a short time between now and its debut, don’t be shocked to see a concept sometime soon. What’s more, reports indicate spy shooters have already caught this model testing.
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Along with Mercedes’ new naming strategy has come the introduction of one new product in the AMG Sport lineup and a renamed Mercedes-AMG sub-brand. Today, a new report out of Australia claims to have confirmation that the just-released 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class will get both AMG Sport and full-on AMG models.
Like the C-Class, the GLC-Class’ AMG Sport model will carry the “450” designation, making it the GLC 450 AMG Sport. The confirmation of this name comes directly from a person who may know a thing or two, Matthias Lührs, vice president of sales functions for Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Lührs continued by saying that the GLC 450 AMG Sport will likely use the same engine as the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport. This means it’ll come with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine that puts out 367 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.
On top of the extra power, the GLC 450 AMG Sport will also feature 4MATIC all-wheel drive and some chassis updates to enhance its handling.
As for the full-on 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, Lührs was a little less forthcoming. He did mention that it’ll use AMG’s newest engine, the 4.0-liter biturbo V-8, but he failed to release its output. Chances are that it’ll produce output close to the 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63, which puts out 476 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. He made no mention of a more powerful S model.
What’s more, the GLC 63 will be the first example of this 4.0-liter engine mated to an all-wheel-drive system. It should be interesting to see just how well it performs with this extra traction.
Look for both the GLC 450 AMG Sport and the GLC 63 to arrive in 2016, according to Lührs.
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The Audi RS family is now short by two members, according to a report out of Germany. The claim is that the German automaker has temporarily discontinued the 2013 Audi RS4 Avant and the 2014 Audi RS5 Coupe and 2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet.
What’s odd about this report is the timing. You see, the A4 and A5 are set for updates in 2016, and their respective RS versions will not arrive until 2017. This means that there will be a full two years before the new versions of these models roll out.
On the surface, there isn’t a very good reason for discontinuing these two with such a large gap between now and the production restart. Obviously, there is more to this than meets the eye, but I am drawing a blank as to what the other reasons could be.
For those of you who simply cannot wait until 2017, the S4 and S5 will get their refresh in 2016 as well. This way, you can get at least a taste of Audi performance without waiting too awfully long.
To make matters worse, if you were planning on running out and picking up one of these discontinued models now, you may be out of luck. According to the report, Audi has already stopped production and is not taking any more orders of these two RS models. So, you had better hope that dealers in your area have a little leftover stock.
I hope that we’ll have some updates on the next-generation RS4 and RS5 soon, but I don’t recommend holding your breath.
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There are plenty of gearheads chomping at the bit to get their hands on the next-generation GT-R. If you happen to be one of them, you’ll have to keep on chomping, because the new 2017 Nissan GT-R is now “more than two years away.”
That is straight from the horse’s mouth (keeping with horse metaphors), as Nissan chief creative officer, Shiro Nakamura, is the man who uttered those words. The reasoning for the delay of the new GT-R contains two parts.
The first reason Nakamura mentioned that the current 2016 Nissan GT-R can get better. No, Nissan likely won’t make it much faster in a straight line, but it can make the model nimbler and there is a slight refresh coming in the near future.
The second reason is that the next-generation GT-R simply isn’t ready yet. In fact, Nissan is still working the kinks out of the drivetrain, as the team has yet to settle on whether Nissan’s supercar will feature hybrid technology or not. What is all but finalized is the design, as Nakamura mentioned that the new GT-R will be an evolution of the current model instead of a revolution.
This lack of commitment and limited styling change may disappoint some of you, but this may be a moment where Nissan decides not to mess with success. The Japanese automaker essentially prints money with the GT-R, as no matter how many times it rolls out a new model with minor updates and a higher price than the previous model, folks keep on gobbling them up.
Let us know what you think of Nakamura’s statements in the comments section.
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The 2013 Lincoln MKS has never been a great seller (like most Lincolns these days), as it’s seen sales drop by 19.1 percent so far this year to just 3,304 units. Apparently, Lincoln has had enough and it’s just announced that it will officially discontinue the fledgling sedan in 2016.
Ford Motor Company manufactures the MKS in its Chicago plant and it shares its platform with the 2014 Ford Taurus. According to Ford, however, the elimination of the MKS will not affect the Taurus.
Most rumors point toward the Continental, which Lincoln showed off in concept form at the 2015 New York Auto Show, replacing the MKS in the near future. The 2017 Lincoln Continentalwill likely feature a potent 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine that puts down around 350 horsepower. There may also be an EcBoost four-cylinder available.
Until the day the Continental finally takes that flagship position that the MKS occupies now, look for Lincoln to do what it can to rid itself of the remaining MKS units. This may prove difficult, given its recent sales slump, but Ford will likely offer plenty of discounts to help keep the inventory moving.
It’s doubtful anyone will miss the MKS, nor is this much of a shock. In fact, this is pretty good news, as it will open the door for the debut of the production-version Continental.
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For the 2012 model year, BMW released the fully redesigned sixth-generation 3 Series, but it left the M3 sedan on the shelf until it rebooted the fast four-door for 2015. Equipped with a massively powerful inline-six engine in place of the old V-8, the 2015 M3 was faster and more agile than it had ever been before. As we near the 2016 model year, the 3 Series received a light refresh, and despite the fact that it just launched with a new body, the M3 joined in this redesign.
BMW has been out testing the revised M3 for quite some time now, using plenty of camouflage to cover some of its body panels. Unfortunately, the camo proved to be just a way to build some hype around the 2016 M3, which received only a handful of updates inside and out. Not too upsetting given the M3 is still fresh and has plenty of feats to brag about, but this isn’t what I’d call a facelift.
Updated 06/18/2015: BMW announced prices for the 2016 M3 sedan which will be put on sale later in the summer. For 2016 the M3 is priced from $64,195, including $995 destination and handling. The price represents a significant increase over the previous year’s $62,000.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M3.
BMW traditionalists, allow me to direct you to that magical “x” in the top-right corner of your browsers, as reports indicate that the BMW X2 will arrive in late-2017, according to sources within BMW.
That’s right, this front-wheel-drive tiny crossover with a sloped rear hatch, like the BMW X4 and X6, will soon be a reality. The launch will start with the U.K. in 2017 and we’ll likely get our taste of this questionable crossover around the same time.
Because it’ll share its platform with the 2016 BMW X1, look for the 2017 BMW X2 to carry the same line of engines as its more useful sibling. This lineup will include am array of four-cylinder engines and a three-cylinder economy engine. I have my doubts that the three-cylinder will get any play here in the U.S.
The silver lining of the X2 is a reported M Performance model, which will use the new B48 engine. BMW will tweak the 228-horsepower B48 to somewhere around 300 horsepower, allowing it to compete with the 2015 Audi RS Q3 and the 2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG.
Transmission choices will come in the form of either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed auto, with the former likely not being an option in the U.S. Buyers will of course be able to fit the X2 with xDrive all-wheel drive if front-wheel drive doesn’t satisfy their needs.
Look for the X2 to make its conceptual debut in 2016, possibly at the Geneva show. With this debut so close, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more leaks like this make their way to the media.
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The LF-LC has been the subject of rumors since it debuted in concept form at the 2012 Detroit Auto show. Today, a new report from Taiwan claims to have loads of insider information on the production version, which Lexus is calling the LC, including its available engines.
You’ll need to bear with me, as I used translating software to get all of this in English, so there may be a few incorrectly translated items. The biggest news is that the LC will have two available powertrains: one standard gasoline setup and one hybrid. The gasoline-powered model, which will carry the LC 500 name, will feature a 5.0-liter V-8 that churns out 550 horsepower and mates to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The LC 500 will reportedly hit 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds and deliver 26 mpg.
The hybrid model, which Lexus will name the LC 500h, will come with a 3.5-liter V-6 mated to electric motors. The combined output will supposedly sit at 400 horsepower, which will put the 47 mpg LC 500h at 62 mph in just 5.5 seconds.
In terms of size, the LC is rumored to be 4,700 mm (185 inches) long, 1,920 mm (75.6 inches) wide, and ride atop a 2,870 mm (113-inch) wheelbase. To help keep the LC’s curb weight between 1,450 and 1,550 kg (3,197 and 3,417 pounds), Lexus will craft the doors, hood, roof, and other sheet metal out of an aluminum-magnesium alloy.
Also rumored is a debut at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show and a production of 600 units per month, 500 of which will hit American shores.
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Well, the 2016 BMW 7 Series is upon us, and while we were all hoping to see the first-ever M7, BMW made no mention of it in the press release. So far, it appears the closest we’re going to get to the M7, other than the Alpina B7, will be the M Sport version of the big Bimmer.
The new 7 Series’ M Sport package doesn’t add the oomph that the M7 likely would, but it does add an extra touch of sportiness to the model. Also lacking in the M Sport model are any upgrades in the handling department, save for a set of wheels.
So, will this M Sport package be enough to keep the wolves at bay for now, or will those who were anticipating an M7 with this new generation start revolting? For now, this will have to do, but I am not too sure how long M fans can wait.
Find out what I think by reading my full review of the 7 Series M Sport package below.
Trademarks are often worth just about as much as the paper the company filed them on, but some stand out more than others. Two recent trademarks that stand out are the IS 300 and RC 300 by Lexus.
While it isn’t odd to see a “300” trailing the letters in a Lexus name, what is odd is the lack of an “h” after the “300.” This “h” is a signal that the model is a hybrid, and it follows the only other “300” model in Lexus’s lineup, the 2013 Lexys ES 300h. So what is Lexus doing here?
In all of Lexus’ non-hybrid models, the numbers in the name indicate the engine size; for example, the RC 350, ES 350, IS 350, and GS 350 all have a 3.5-liter V-6, while the GX 460 has a 4.6-liter V-8, and the LX 570 has a 5.7-liter V-8. Logic says that Lexus is working on a new 3.0-liter V-6 engine, right?
This may not be the case, as some reports are indicating that the IS 300 and RC 300 will use an updated version of the current 3.5-liter V-6. While I appreciate the report, I cannot find any logical reason for Lexus to completely mess up its naming scheme by installing a 3.5-liter V-6 engine in an IS 300 or RC 300. It simply doesn’t make sense.
I think the more obvious answer, and the correct one, is the initial thought that Lexus is working on a new 3.0-liter V-6 engine. This makes me wonder if a turbocharger or two may be in order too, helping the IS 300 and RC 300 better match up with the 340i and the 440i (if Bimmer releases one), which produce 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. This is 14 horsepower and 53 pound-feet more torque than the RC 350 and IS 350. Adding in a potent V-6 with a turbocharger seems like the logical move in the near future.
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Mopar has a long tradition of offering performance and aesthetic goodies to various Chrysler vehicles, but when Fiat bought out the American automaker, Mopar suddenly gained a new lineup of canvases to paint upon. The latest of those canvases is the 500X subcompact crossover, and Chrysler’s tuning arm has just announced the bits it will offer for the Italian crossover.
Altogether, Mopar offers more than 100 items for the 2016 Fiat 500X, and they range in price from under $20 to nearly $2,000. While I would love to sit here and list them all out, I will simply highlight the most important ones.
The most striking option on the outside, buyers can choose from 14 graphics packs, including the special “Rebel” graphics that includes a red hood, roof and spoiler graphics, and red and grey body-side graphics. These graphics range from $100 to $495. Buyers can also choose front and rear splashguards for less than $50, custom color combinations that range from $95 for the mirror caps to $315 for the body-side molding, Fiat valve-stem covers for $18, various fender badges for $19.50, 500-badged license plate covers for $38, and a chrome hood “spear” for $95.
Buyers can change out the rolling stock for 18-inch wheels in four colors. These run $1,100 For a set of four.
In-cabin goodies from Mopar consist of leather Katzkin seats ranging from $813 to $1,775, slush mats for $85, a cargo tray for $75, the Mopar Web Wi-Fi module and wiring harness for $495, and a spare tire kit, which includes a spare tire, a jack, a screwdriver, a tie-down and a bag, for $295.
For buyers who want a sportier sound from their 500, Mopar is also offering up a cat-back exhaust system for $995.
For added safety, Mopar offers its Electronic Vehicle Tracking System, GPS-enabled stolen-vehicle recovery system. This system bases at $499. Other security features start from $149 and go up to $463.
Finally, for folks who like to haul stuff around in or on their 500X, Mopar also offers racks and carriers for bicycles, skis, snowboards, luggage, etc. The carriers start at $50 and continue up to $579, but they also require the $355 roof rails and the $163 crossbars.
That’s a lot of customization for the tiny Fiat 500X.
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When BMW did a management change and brought in new chairman Harald Krüger and new R&D chief Klaus Fröhlich, each and every project the brand was working on suddenly had to go through a new vetting process. Some survived and others did not. One that didn’t was the Z2 Roadster.
Rumors of the Z2 had been swirling since 2011, and it was beginning to look more certain that Bimmer was going to build this front-driven MX-5 modelwith each passing year. Well, here we are in the middle of 2015, and BMW has officially canceled it.
The only logical explanation for BMW aborting this project is that the nearly approved Mini Superleggera — also owned by BMW – will play in the same segment. Both the BMW Z2 and the Mini Superleggera being available at the same time could seriously clog up this niche segment, and leave both models out in the cold.
Most reports indicated that the Z2 would sit atop the same platform as the Bimmer 1-Series, 2-Series, and the Mini Cooper. This also meant that it would share its range of three- and four-cylinder engines with its platform mates.
While it’s sad to see the mini Z4 die, I can certainly understand the business side of the decision to axe it. Let us know in the comments what you think of BMW deciding against this small, front-driven roadster.
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There has been a pretty good response to Mercedes’ AMG Sport lineup, BMW’s M Performance line, and Audi’s S-Line. What sets these models apart is that they hover between their respective base models and their all-out performance siblings. Jaguar Land Rover has taken note of the interest that these models have drummed up, and is starting to consider its own `tweener performance models.
According to a report from Motoring.com.au, JLR will give its customers who can’t swing a full SVR, a slightly less insane SV model. Like the SVR models, the SV models will still be touched by the folks at SVO, but with a little less power and less of a hit on the old wallet.
To date, the only full-SVR model is the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR, but rumor has it that a 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR and a 2016 Jaguar XE SVR will soon follow. Chances are that these three models will also be the first to receive the SV treatment.
There is no timeframe for the release of these SV-badged vehicles, but with the lone SVR model on a six-month waiting list, Jaguar will likely look to cash in on this popularity sooner rather than later. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on the first SV-badged vehicle making its debut within the next 12 to 15 months.
Let us know what you think of this possible expansion in the comments below. Is JLR biting off more than it can chew, or is it finally primed to give the German heavy hitters a run for their money?
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Though it has been a slow process, Mini is still considering developing a production version of the Superleggera Roadster, according to a new report.
The roadster, which the 2014 Mini Superleggera Vision previewed, has been a bit on and off as of late, but this report indicates that the automaker is still trying to build a business case for the niche roadster. According to Peter Schwarzenbauer, head of the Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorcycle brands, “...the interest was tremendous when we showed this concept car. I think also the technological part is extremely interesting because we are working on electrification for Mini.”
Though there is still plenty of interest, Schwarzenbauer made it clear that a decision on its production future is still up in the air because it is “an economically challenging project.” This comes as no surprise, as the Superleggera is nothing like its potential siblings, despite sharing a basic design language. Whereas other Mini models are gasoline powered and have a squashed-hatchback look, the Superleggera is slated to have an electric powertrain and proportions that no Mini before it has had.
So for now we just wait and see if Mini and BMW can come up with a good reason to build this tiny sports car. If it did make its way to the production line, initial estimates put it at around €35,000 ($39,375 as of 2015). At this price point, it could give higher-end Miata shoppers something to think about, particularly those who prefer alternative fuels.
With more than a year in the books since the concept debuted, look for Mini to make a decision soon or risk losing momentum.
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A new report that quotes insiders at BMW claims that the Bavarian automaker is nearing approval to build an electric-powered SUV to battle the upcoming Tesla Model X.
The report from the German media claims that BMW will manufacture the new SUV in the same plant that its other people and cargo haulers hail from in Spartanburg, NC. To help make room for this new model, BMW boss, Harald Kruger, wants to invest a whopping €1 billion ($1.29 million as of 2015) into the North Carolina plant.
According to the insider, the only thing standing in the way of the electric SUV and your local Bimmer dealer is a vote by the BMW’s board. There is no mention of when the board will make its final decision on the new all-electric SUV, but with the Model X due in dealers soon, I don’t look for BMW to wait too long. Reports point toward a debut of no later than 2018.
The insider also reports that BMW will tuck the new SUV in with the rest of the i sub-brand, joining the existing i3 hatchback and i8 sports car. Despite knowing it will sit in the i sub-brand, there is no indication of what exactly BMW will name this model.
Though this report supposedly comes from an “insider,” BMW claims that it is nothing more than speculation. That’s not too surprising, as publicly traded automakers often try to downplay these rumors in an attempt to avoid legal issues.
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If you were interested in getting your hands on the street-legal, track-prepped Aston Martin Vantage GT12, which the automaker initially renamed the GT3, you’re too late. The British automaker has just announced that the special edition sports car has just sold out.
This isn’t a rumor or a report that we’re going off here. Aston has officially released a press release letting the world know that they missed one of the most amazing Vantages to ever grace pavement.
There were several stages of awesomeness added to the GT12, and the first was getting its weight down to a svelte 1,535 kg (3,384 pounds) from its standard weight of 1,665 kg (3,670 pounds). Aston achieved this weight loss by adding in a carbon-fiber hood, front wings and door casings, and installing polycarbonate rear quarter-windows. Optionally, buyers may also toss in a carbon-fiber roof for even more weight savings.
Rounding out the awesome body of the GT12 is a large rear spoiler and a front splitter to increase downforce.
The cabin also helped in the weight-savings department by using lightweight carbon-fiber seats and center stack, an Alcantara- wrapped steering wheel. Adding a touch of class to the cabin are carbon-fiber “GT12” doorsill plaques.
Aston Martin also spent a little time massaging the 6.0-liter V-12 engine too. It tweaked the powerplant to 600 PS (592 horsepower), which is a 27 PS (roughly 27-horsepower) gain over the standard Aston Martin Vantage V12 S. The power boost was courtesy of revised magnesium intake manifolds and a titanium exhaust system.
Unfortunately, Aston Martin only built 100 examples of this track-ready sports car, so it’s no surprise that it sold out so quickly.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vantage GT12.
Since 2009, Chrysler has offered a Mopar version of one of its vehicles each year, and for 2015, it is adding this package to its 2015 Charger R/T. The 2015 Dodge Charger R/T gives buyers an updated look, improved performance, and an upgraded cabin.
Oftentimes, automakers release these models and limit them to several thousand models, thus stretching the term “limited edition.” However, the Mopar ’15 is about as limited as they come for an American muscle car at just 50 units. What’s more, the MSRP of the package is a relative bargain.
The question is whether this relatively light package is actually worth the extra scratch or not. Fortunately, with only 50 units up for grabs, chances are that Dodge will have no problem selling out. It will be particularly easy to sell these models to traditional muscle car enthusiasts, as many of them prefer a lower key car without too many in-your-face upgrades.
Continue reading to learn my thoughts on the 2015 Dodge Challenger Mopar ’15.
It’s no mystery that Toyota and Mazda have agreed to join forces in a technological sense. Now, a new report claims that some of the details surrounding this deal have leaked out. According to the report, Toyota is helping Mazda create an EV crossover and Mazda is allowing Toyota to use its 1.5-liter, super-thrifty Skyactiv-D engine.
The main focus here is what Mazda is getting out of the deal, as it has revolutionized the art of milking every last mile from each gallon of fuel recently. This movement to electrification could be an indicator that Skyactiv technology is about as advanced as it can get without a little boost.
What’s more, building an electric SUV and other EVs will help Mazda with the ever-tightening emission laws and the Zero Emission Vehicle regulations that are due to hit California in 2018.
This electric SUV will reportedly use Toyota’s plug-in hybrid technology and fuel-cell technology to hit its goal. The latter of the two technologies will help put potential buyers’ minds at ease regarding the battery’s range, as refilling the hydrogen tanks is not much different than filling gas tanks in existing cars.
It is whether the U.S. will get this crossover or not, but chances are we will at some point.
On the Toyota side of the equation, a source claims that Toyota will use the 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D engine in a small hybrid SUV. Thanks to the high fuel economy of the Skyactiv-D engine, this Prius-based SUV could travel up to 800 km (497 miles) on a tank of diesel fuel and a fully charged battery.
In addition to the hybrid SUV, look for Toyota to spread this thrifty diesel engine across its lineup, including the Lexus brand.
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Records come and records go, and one of the latest to fall is the fastest wheel change without the use of power tools. The above video shows you this fairly impressive feat.
The video shows four guys completing a wheel swap on a car with only a tire iron and a pair of jacks in 59.62 seconds. There are a few minor issues here and there, like the fact that you could see some of the guys were not tightening the lug nuts in the recommended crisscross pattern and none of them tightened the lug nuts to their required torque.
Regardless of the semantics of lug nut torque, I have to say that jacking up a car and swapping out the wheels in under a minute is pretty damn cool. What’s more, these four guys beat the standing record by a whopping 24.23 seconds. That’s quite an impressive feat indeed.
According to some of the commenters on the YouTube page, this record is a regular one to fall, and has fallen several times in the past decade. Despite its frequency of defeat, I think the 24-second gap between this record and the last one indicates that these guys will likely own this record for some time.
So kick back and enjoy this video, but take these guys’ process with a grain of salt. As a former mechanic, I can tell you to never remove the wheels of a car while it is in the air without jack stands, never lift both sides of a car at once with two jacks, and always torque your car’s lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications – “that’s tight enough” isn’t a safe policy.
You know you have “screw-you” money when you can afford to have Q by Aston Martin create seven bespoke Vanquish Coupes for yourself and six buddies. That is exactly what the founder of Storck Bikes did, and the first of these special Vanquish models was delivered today.
The bespoke Aston Martins go beyond the typical scope of Q by Aston Martin, which forced the bespoke arm to install a new addition to its manufacturing process. The item that required this special addition was the multi-layer carbon-fiber finish, which uses several layers of carbon fiber that results in a smooth finish.
With the carbon fiber in place, Aston took to painting a large portion of the car in jet black, but it left some sections of the lightweight material naked. This matte paintjob and the exposed carbon fiber play off each other nicely. Q also added in machined carbon-fiber Aston Martin wing emblems.
Inside the cabin, Aston continued with gloss-black accents, custom diamond quilting on the seats, and “One of Seven” logos on the headrests.
Under the hood, it looks as if things remained stock. This means that this bespoke sports car has the standard AM29 V-12 engine that produces 568 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. The power heads through a rear-mounted Touchtronic III eight-speed auto transmission as it heads to the rear wheels. This nets the standard Vanquish a 0-to-60 time of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 201 mph.
There is no mention of how much Mr. Storck paid to have these cars commissioned, but I can assure you it was a hefty sum above the base price of the Vanquishes.
Continue reading to learn more about this unique collection by Q by Aston Martin.
Asian countries, Japan and China specifically, get a lot of attention from luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes. Today, BMW has announced that it will deliver yet another special model to Asia in the form of the Japan-exclusive 5 Series Grace Line.
The Grace Line will be a package, much like the Sport Line and Luxury Line, but BMW will limit it to only 160 examples. Unlike so many “special” models exclusive to Asia, this limited 5 Series actually offers a lot of bang for the buck.
This model gains two exclusive colors (mineral and gray), exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels, exclusive matte-chrome bars on the grille, adaptive LED headlights, LED turn signals, LED cornering lights, LED fog lights, and a high-gloss Shadow Line exterior. On the inside, this special Bimmer gains Dakota leather sport seats with contrast stitching, heated front seats, a multifunction M steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather, a rear-window electric blind, and dedicated interior badges. As an option, buyers can also add a sunroof.
The Grace Line will be available on two versions of the BMW 5 Series, the 523i and the 523d. The 523i features a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine, which produces 135 kW (181 horsepower) and 270 Nm (199 foot-pounds) of torque. The 523d has a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo diesel engine that churns out 135 kW (181 horsepower) and 380 Nm (280 pound-feet) of torque. Both models use an eight-speed auto transmission.
Both the 523i Grace Line and the 523d Grace Line will hit showrooms on June 13th, 2015. The 523i will start from ¥7,200,000 ($57,855 as of 2015) and the 523d will base at ¥7,430,000 ($59,703 as of 2015).
Continue reading for the full story.
The Vision Gran Turismo project just keeps on rolling, as one manufacturer after another delivers high-tech and high-performance concepts for Gran Turismo 6 on PlayStation 3. The latest addition to this lineup of crazy supercars is the SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo concept.
There have been some really neat cars to come out of this project, like the 2015 Volkswagen GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo and the 2014 Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo, but this one takes the cake. It then smashes the cake into a zillion pieces just to prove how badass it really is.
In all seriousness, with over 2,000 horsepower available and the requirement of a G-suit in the X trim level, this is a digital version of sheer automotive genius. It’s too bad that this concept doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it to the production line in the next 15-plus years.
For those of you who have GT6 on PS3 and feel up to downloading this car, let us know in the comments just how awesome it is to pilot this crazy race car.
Continue reading my review of the SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo concept
Ford’s SYNC/MyFord Touch system has been a bit of a bust, as there have been numerous complaints about it being finicky, and in some cases, not working at all. Well, that may soon come to an end, as Ford has announced that its new Sync 3 will debut in the 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta.
As the proud owner of a Ford Focus ST3, my car has Sync/MyFord Touch, and I can say many of the issues reported are very much true. Sure, it broke the mold when it debuted in 2007, but the growing complaints are deafening. Some of my main complaints include the counterintuitive button placement on the touchscreen, the touchscreen sometimes doesn’t pick up your input, it’s slow to respond, and it’s downright buggy. However, the voice control is actually fairly decent, all things considered.
The new Sync 3 promises to deliver where the existing system failed, and build upon some of its better points. Some of the new features include a simpler voice-command structure, improved AppLink to automatically detect smartphones and their apps, Siri Eyes-Free integration with the iPhone, an all-new, quicker-responding captive touchscreen, response to smartphone gestures, tile-like icons with a quick-access tray on the bottom, and updates via Wi-Fi (no more flash drives for updates, yay!).
You can see a preview of the new and improved Sync 3 in the video above. I must say, it looks like a dramatic upgrade over the current system, but the current Sync system looked great at first too. Only time will tell if Ford has actually improved up on the existing system or just slathered a little lipstick on that pig.
Continue reading for the full story.
GMC really has no idea whether it wants to build a production version of its 2010 Granite Concept. However, it just keeps on extending the trademark. In fact, it’s extended it so many times that it just recently had to file for the trademark all over again.
After using up all five of its six-month extensions for the Granite trademark, General Motors had to reset the entire process and refile on May 26th, 2015. This constant renewing of the trademark means that this name must have some value to the brand, but the it remains unclear what the automaker plans to do with it.
For those who missed it, the Granite Concept was a C-segment crossover with suicide doors, a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that likely produced around 150 horsepower, and a high-tech cabin filled with all sorts of gadgets to keep your average tech nerd plugged in.
Why GMC never actually produced this Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, and Mini Countryman competitor is likely because the market wasn’t quite ready for an SUV this size. Now with these small SUVs sprouting like weeds in late spring, GMC is likely ready to pull the production trigger.
Now, don’t look for the suicide doors, the futuristic cabin, and all the gadgetry. Instead, look for a clean, compact people hauler with more traditional looks than its main competitors and slightly more off-road capabilities.
Continue reading for the full story.
With the European version of the latest-generation Civic having been launched in 2011, it sure took Honda long enough to bring out the Type R model. After countless teasers and what seemed like neverending testing sessions in various types of camouflage, the new Civic Type R has been finally launched at the Geneva Motor Show, along with the first official information about the model.
In case you were expecting an outrageous body kit, more than 300 horsepower and more torque than any other previous Type R model in history, your assumptions have been more than met by Honda, making the long wait until the reveal almost worth it. If anyone can truly make a sporting front-wheel-drive model that would be the engineers from Honda, and at least on paper the new Type R looks like an impressive piece of kit.
Updated 07/02/2015: The new Civic Type R went into production at the company’s European car manufacturing facility in Swindon, UK.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Honda Civic Type R.
It’s not quite the same as winning a Mustang, but Ford Motor Credit Company is offering folks the opportunity to take a long road trip in the 2015 Mustang in its Ford Credit Dream Drive Sweepstakes. On top of that, the winner will also get a nice wad of cash for the trip.
In this giveaway, Ford Motor Credit is offering one Canadian and one American the opportunity to pilot the Mustang along their predetermined route of choice. The winners can choose from six famous routes, including “Route 66” from Arizona to Las Vegas, “Going-to-the-Sun” Road from Glacier National Park to Flathead, Montana, “Pacific Coast Highway” from Monterey to Laguna Beach, California, “Great River Road” from Memphis, Tennessee to New Orleans, Louisiana, “Overseas Highway” from Miami to the Florida Keys, and “Trans-Canada Highway” from Kelowna, British Columbia, to Calgary, Alberta.
Along with getting to whip the Mustang along one of these awesome routes, Ford Motor Credit will also give the winners of the four-day, three-night road trip round-trip airfare and free lodging for you and a guest, a $750 gas card, a $1,500 gift card, a camera, and other "surprises along the way." The winners also get the opportunity to tailor the trip to their liking, like scheduling a tour at one of the destinations.
If you’re interested, you U.S.-based folks can enter at FordCreditDreamDrive.com and Canadians can enter here.
But hurry. The entry deadline is June 8th.
There is no mention of what 2015 Ford Mustang each winner will pilot, but I would assume that Fordwould put them in either the new Ecoboost model or the range-topping GT. It would be quite the buzzkill to have to pilot around the V-6-powered model.
Continue reading for the full story.
Do you want an 800-horsepower 2015 Ford Mustang by MMD and Chip Foose? Here’s your chance, as American Muscle is giving one away. To enter, just click here and fill out the entry form by August 3rd, 2015.
This MMD- and Foose-designed `Stang has all the goodies you need to make for one hell of a ride. On the outside, it has a front chin spoiler, a hood scoop, rocker panels, quarter-window louvers, a rear spoiler, and side scoops from MMD by Foose. Rolling stock and custom stripes are both provided by Foose.
Inside the cabin, there are custom doorsill plates and headrests created custom by MMD by Foose.
But the engine is where all the real excitement happens, as this Mustang GT features the Bama Supercharger Package, which includes a 2.9-liter Whipple blower. The supercharger combined with a Magnaflow Competition cat-back exhaust system pushs the V-8 to its 800 horses (over 650 horsepower at the wheels).
Sending the power to the rear differential is a carbon-fiber driveshaft, while axle half-shafts rated at 1,400 horsepower get the power to the wheels from there.
With power comes the need for control, and MMD by Foose is happy to oblige with Vogtland Sport lowering springs. According to the fine print, the approximate value of this badass Mustang is $70,000, so even if you don’t want the car, you can likely sell it for a hefty sum.
The typical rules apply: you must be 18 years or older, must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada, etc., etc. You can catch all of the official rules under the entry form at the above link. One neat twist to this sweepstakes is that American Muscle doesn’t limit you to just one entry. You may enter once per week.
Continue reading for the full story.
According to a new report, BMW is seriously considering releasing a four-door version of the 2 Series dubbed the Gran Coupe. What’s more, the report indicates that it will retain the rear-wheel-drive underpinnings of its coupe and convertible siblings.
While the initial release of the Gran Coupe models, like the 4 Series and 6 Series Gran Coupes, confused me a bit, I am starting to get the hang of it. Regardless of my comprehension of the concept behind the Gran Coupe movement for Bimmer, I still don’t understand why BMW is moving into this micro-niche.
Sure, the CLA-Class, which will be the 2 Series Gran Coupe’s main competitor, sold great in its first year, but increased competition and a higher price will likely draw buyers away. The chances of the 2 Series Gran Coupe matching the sub-$30k that drew buyers to Mercedes lots in herds is highly unlikely though, considering the standard 2 Series Coupe starts at over $32,000.
One great thing that I can pull from this report is that BMW will likely keep the Gran Coupe, Coupe, and Convertible versions of the 2er on rear-wheel-drive platforms. This was up for debate as of late, as the 2 Series Gran Tourer uses a front-wheel-drive setup, leading some to speculate the base 2 Series models would follow suit. This should give the future Gran Coupe an advantage over the CLA when it comes to driving dynamics.
We’ll bring you more updates on this topic as info becomes available.
Continue reading for the full story.
It’s official, the Nissan IDx is dead, as Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America, has confirmed that there just isn’t a business case for a production version of the concept car.
The Nissan IDx has been a bit of an on-and-off concept car, as initial reports indicated that the concept’s warm reception would likely result in a production version of the rear-driven, four-cylinder sports coupe. A later report claimed that the Japanese automaker had de-emphasized the model.
The latest report stems from a conversation between The Truth About Cars and Loing. During this chat, Loing said, “IDX is an interesting project; a show car that received good reception. But, to go from concept to production, the reality always kicks in.” The reality that Loing is speaking of is that the bean counters need to make sure the model will result in at least a little profit.
Apparently, after much consideration, Nissan decided that profiting from the IDx simply isn’t a reality. The big issue is that the small, rear-wheel-drive coupe doesn’t have a chassis to call its own. Developing a new chassis for such a low-volume vehicle wouldn’t make business sense for Nissan, and the 370Z’s platform isn’t scalable down to the size the IDx needs.
Despite the fact that the IDx may be dead, its retro looks could live on in a performance-oriented, front-wheel-drive coupe. Sure, its proportions would be very different, but the Datsun 510-like styling cues could see their way to said performance coupe.
Considering the fact that the Nissan-Renault alliance is no stranger to performance front-wheel-drive cars, this wouldn’t be a difficult undertaking.
Continue reading for the full story.
It’s amazing how in a few hours a rumor can go from all but confirmed to completely denied. Well, this is exactly what happened with the LS7 V-8-powered ATS-V+, as it began as a report from an insider, but just hours later, Cadillac completely denied the model will ever exist.
The latest report is courtesy of Motor Authority, who spoke with Cadillac communication manager, David Caldwell, regarding this hotter version of the ATS-V. In the conversation, Caldwell made it very clear that there are no plans to put a larger, more powerful engine under the hood of the ATS-V.
He said, “The ATS-V we have today is supremely capable—so much so that it’s unlikely to receive a larger or different engine in the foreseeable future.” When asked specifically about the V-8 engine, he said, “Yes, we have another car coming that will take care of this beautifully, that being the CTS-V.”
Cadillac’s reasoning for this, according to Caldwell, is that the brand doesn’t want the ATS-V to just be a smaller version of the CTS-V. It wants them to have distinct differences, and the turbo V-6 in the ATS-V and supercharged V-8 in the CTS-V are large parts of these differences. Additionally, he said that the twin-turbo V-6 makes the smaller sibling more approachable than the CTS-V, opening the door for less-performance-driven owners.
So, while the ATS-V+ was a fun rumor while it lasted, we now have a pretty clear-cut answer on whether this model is real or just vaporware. From the sounds of it, it is a lot more of the latter.
Continue reading for the full story.
We were all saddened by the death of the Lancer Evolution, but a new report claims that Lance Bradley, head of Mitsubishi U.K., said that the Evo nameplate may see use on a hot SUV in the near future.
According to the report from Auto Express, the head of Mitsubishi’s U.K. arm says that the company is doing quite well financially, and can now afford to take risks. One big risk on the table is using the next-generation ASX crossover as the basis for a new Evolution model.
The new ASX, which will draw its design inspiration from the XR PHEV Concept, is set to debut next year in its standard setup, but a two-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid model will also hit the market shortly after. From the latter is where Bradley feels the Evolution could be born, as the brand can use technology from the i-MiEV Evolution II Pikes Peak racecar to make this timid SUV quite the performer.
In regards to taking a risk with an Evolution-badged SUV, Bradley said, “When you’re not making money, there are things you can’t do. When you are making money you can do things that are good for the brand, but won’t necessarily make that much money. We’re not at a point where it’ll definitely happen, but we’ve got a lot of senior management talking about it.”
Reading between the lines of that quote, I feel that we are at a pivotal point for the ASX Evolution. My fingers are crossed that senior management will see the value in keeping the Evo name alive and competing in the niche performance SUV segment.
Continue reading for the full story.
Earlier this year, Audi released the revamped 2016 R8 R8 e-tron, and at the 2015 CES Asia show, it released a self-driving version of the electric supercar dubbed the R8 e-tron Piloted Driving Concept.
One of the biggest concerns among gearheads when it comes to self-driving cars is that the fun of driving will be taken away. Well, when it comes to this insane concept supercar, there is plenty of fun to go around, thanks to its sub-four-second 0-to-60 time and agility. What’s more, its range rivals the likes of the Tesla Model S, and it looks cooler.
Unfortunately, this is just a concept car for now, but at the rate Audi is putting out these piloted concept models (read our reviews of the RS7 piloted driving concept here and the Prologue piloted driving concept here), it seems like this tech is on the verge of making it to showrooms.
Continue reading to learn more about this high-tech concept that debuted at the 2016 CES Asia show.
Typically, when an automaker invests capital into a production facility, it goes by unnoticed. However, amid rumors of a mid-engine Corvette, GM investing $439 million into the paint shop at the Bowling Green Corvette plant leaps off the paper to us as a sign of good things to come.
The press release doesn’t have any incriminating evidence of this rumored super-Corvette, but it does mention that the investment will include new tooling and robots, and building a 450,000 square-foot painting facility.
Other changes to the paint shop include a dry scrubber booth with a limestone-handling system that eliminates sludge water and waste, LED lights for the process decks for visual inspection, FANUC robots with versa-bell 3 electrostatic applicators to give each paintjob a smoother finish and to reduce lost paint materials by 25 percent, and high-efficiency baking ovens.
Could these heavy modifications to the paint shop be in anticipation of the hotly anticipated Corvette Zora ZR-1?
Unfortunately, it is hard to tell, as these modifications could simply be to improve flaws in the current paint shop or just to increase efficiency. Then again, an investment this big into the Corvette plant at this point in time just seems strangely coincidental.
Continue reading to learn more.
According to a new report, Cadillac is looking into possibly transplanting the Camaros Z/28’s 7.0-liter V-8 engine into the ATS-V and create an even more radical version of the fast caddy dubbed the ATS-V+.
Motor Trend doesn’t give up its source in this report, as it instead just says that it’s “dug up some more dirt” on the ATS-V+. I already expected the rumored hotter version of the ATS-V to have an updated suspension system, and other bits to make it even more track-ready, but rumors of a power boost also were swirling.
These rumors are coming to a head now, as the last time GM used this engine – in the 2015 Camaro Z/28 – it laid down 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque. Even if GM left this engine as is, that would be a nice power bump relative to the 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of twist the twin-turbo V-6 in the ATSV puts out.
The report also claims that the LS7 V-8 is lighter than the 3.6-liter V-6. I couldn’t find any information to personally confirm this, but if it is true, then this would make it even easier for Cadillac to turn the ATS-V into a track monster that snacks on M3s and M4s on a regular basis.
Continue reading for more information on this development.
Despite recent rumors of a smaller performance car from Chevy, there are no plans for one in the near future.
This report comes following an interview with General Motors product chief, Mark Reuss. In the interview, it is clear that Reuss wants to build a rival to the Focus RS and ST, the Golf R and GTI, and the upcoming Civic Type R, but he is also being cautious with funds. He noted that while these cars sell well when they first roll out, sales tend to taper off pretty quickly after the initial rollout.
One recent example is the freefall that the Scion FR-S has been on since its initial launch, but I feel there is much more behind the FR-S’ issues than just lack of interest. The FR-S has build-quality issues, an underwhelming engine, and questionable value.
This leads Reuss to the conclusion that there isn’t a business case for a go-fast small car, despite saying "I love those things. We know how to do them really well," when queried about a small performance car for Chevy in April 2015.
Ruess also points toward the fact that these go-fast small cars approach the next level of car in the segment as the reason there is no business case for them. For example, the 2015 Focus ST is actually more expensive than the base 2015 Mustang and the base Fusion. While I see his point, I still disagree with it, as they are completely different cars marketed to completely different buyers.
For now, I guess the Code 130R Concept will remain just that: a concept. However, Automotive News does note that Reuss stated that this is not a closed case, and Chevy may revisit a small performance car in the future.
Continue reading to learn more on this topic.
What makes a German luxury car even cooler? Adding “Black” somewhere in its name! And that is exactly what Porsche has done with the 911 Carrera Black Edition.
So what exactly is a “Black Edition” 911? Well, it’s black inside and out, for one. Therefore, for those of you living in SoCal, Florida, Arizona, or any other areas where the sun feels like it is approximately three inches from your nose nine months out of the year, this may not be the car for you. Unless you enjoy intoxicating scent of searing hamstrings on a hot summer day, that is.
Other than its oh-my-god-that’s-hot, black-on-black color scheme, the 911 Black Edition gives buyers a few exclusive bits and a ton of features for only a fraction of the price if you ticked them manually at the dealership. By my count, you save about two-thirds the amount by opting for the Black Edition when compared to going through the options list on a base 911 Carrera and adding all of the features.
So, do all of these discounted standard features make it worth owning this Porsche Easy Bake Oven?
Updated 07/27/2015: Porsche unveiled a very cool promo video showing how the special edition 911 Carrera Black Edition comes to life from black ink. Enjoy!
Continue reading to find out.
In the 2014 model year here in the U.S., BMW added the Competition Package to the M6 lineup. Now, with the 2016 M6 rolling into dealers, the German automaker has released an updated version of the Competition Package that carries a much bigger stick.
It’s odd to see BMW put this much work into the M6, which fits a pretty narrow niche and doesn’t have a plethora of competitors breathing down its tailpipe. However, the 15-horsepower bump and the slight suspension tweaking of the previous Competition Package likely wasn’t too enticing to buyers, so I assume this is the reason for giving it a significant boost for 2016.
So, what does this faster version of the already super-fast 2016 BMW M6 have to offer and will it finally be worth the added scratch that BMW is asking for it?
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 BMW M6 Competition Package and find out.
Ah, the VW Group and its weird stickers it uses to “camouflage” its models. The latest one our spy shooters caught wearing these odd-looking stickers was the Bentley Bentayga, and we have the images for you here.
It’s clear that this is a Bentley SUV, despite the team’s attempt to “cleverly” disguise its headlights and taillights. There are also a few odd stickers just forward of the rear fenders. I am not too sure what the test team was trying to hide with these stickers, but they are there and leave me wondering pondering the reason for using them.
There are still no certainties on the Bentayga’s drivetrain, but rumors are swirling about a possible diesel engine – a first for Bentley. Two engines that are near certainties are the 4.0-liter TFSI engine, and the just recently announce W-12 TSI engine. VW unveiled the latter at the International Vienna Motor Symposium, and it boasted a power boost to 608 PS (600 horsepower) at 6,000 rpm and 900 Nm (664 pound-feet) of torque from 1,500 rpm combined with a significant drop in emissions.
We’re sure that our spy photographers will be on the prowl for more Bentaygas in the wild, so keep it locked here for more.
Continue reading for the full story.
Once again, our spy photographers have snapped up a few spyshots of the 2018 BMW M5. This time around, however, our carparazzi didn’t catch it testing its new all-wheel-drive system in the snow. Instead, it caught the test mule out stretching its legs in the Munich sunshine.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much to see from these new shots, but we do get a nice look at the quad exhaust pipes – a telltale sign that this is an M5 mule. Also giving it away as an M5 was the sound coming from those pipes. Unfortunately, there is no video, so we can only go by what our spy shooters told us they heard.
An odd twist to this M5 is that there is an extra fuel cap on the left front fender, which is typically only present on a plug-in hybrid model. Before you traditionalists start storming the BMW offices over a possible M5 hybrid, allow me to pass on that or spy photographers have seen this on several non-hybrid 5er mules. Chances are that BMW is recycling body panels, and the fuel cap just happened to be on the panel it borrowed for this mule.
Under the hood of the new M5, look for a retuned version of the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 with around 600 horsepower. As I mentioned earlier, the 2018 BMW M5 will likely be the first of its kind to have available all-wheel drive.
Continue reading for more details on the 2018 BMW M5.
Volkswagen isn’t shy when it comes to producing wild concept cars, and now it has unveiled a high-performance plug-in-hybrid hot-hatch concept dubbed the GTE Sport.
Many of the wild concept cars that VW has produced recently have actually been confirmed for production. Models like the 2015 Golf R400 and the 2015 GTI Clubsport are both set to hit the production line, but this hybrid hot-hatch is not going to see showrooms any time soon.
Instead, this concept car is more of a technological study that will also gauge buyer interest in performance hybrids outside of the supercar realm. If this tech ever does land in a VW AG model, it will likely start in a model that is higher up the food chain than the Golf. Something like the 2015 Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE seems more of a feasible model in the near term.
Despite its lack of production future, the GTE Sport is still an intriguing model that gives us a look at what VW is working on.
Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Volkswagen GTE Sport concept car.
Sound the purist alarm, Audi has announced that it has completely sold out and will produce the tiny Q1 crossover. As if the Q3 wasn’t small enough, the Q1 will fit the bill as a challenger to four-wheeled micro-crossovers bearing the Mini and Fiat logos.
Maybe that was a bit dramatic, but I am certain that a large group of people let out a collective “what the…” with this confirmation. Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the super-small crossover segment is heating up, particularly in Europe, and Audi is trying to get in before anyone else.
Neither BMW nor Mercedes have anything quite this small in their crossover segments, as the X1 and GLA-Class are both more in the class of the Q3.
So, what in the world will the Q1 be and what will it offer buyers?
Updated 05/15/2015: While all we have so far on the Audi Q1 is pure speculation, we decided to create a rendering of what we think the Q1 might look like.
Continue reading my speculative preview on the 2016 Q1 to find out.
That happened quickly; the 2015 GTI Clubsport went from near-production concept to celebratory 40th anniversary model for the legendary GTI, and will see production starting in 2016.
The details are still not 100 percent clear on what the production GTI Clubsport will entail, but the fact that VW calls the concept “near-production” is a sign that what you see at Wörthersee is just about what the German automaker will deliver. This means that it’ll likely include a 195 kW (261-horsepower) 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood. This would make for a 51-horsepower bump over the base GTI.
On top of the extra juice, look for a revised chassis that includes wider wheels wrapped in sticky rubber, stiffer springs and dampers, thicker antiroll bars, and a lower ride height.
This special model should also include a body kit that not only gives the GTI a sexier look, but will also increase the downforce. This kit will likely include the pieces from the concept, including the revised front bumper, side sills, a roof-edge spoiler, and a rear diffuser.
I also expect to see a good bit of reworking on the inside to make it more track-focused; maybe some sportier seats, contrasting accents, a sportier steering wheel, and maybe some exclusive gauges.
There is no mention of whether the Golf GTI Clubsport will be offered in the U.S. or not, but stay tuned for more on that.
Continue reading for the full story.
With the Wörthersee gathering just around the corner, the Volkswagen Group is rolling out previews of all sorts of awesome concepts. Today, the German automaker is previewing a concept version of its GTI — dubbed the GTI Performance — that a group of 13 young apprentices developed for the show.
With the Wörthersee event not due to open its gates until May 14th, VW is only giving us a quick glimpse of the hatchback and its distinctive black-and-yellow paint. This leaves us with just a little taste of what these young folks have to offer, but it also leaves us wondering what else they have in store for us.
Luckily, we won’t have to wait much longer to find out how deep VW let these kids dive into the GTI.
Continue reading my preview of the GTI Performance concept to see what I think these apprentices will offer VW enthusiasts at Wörthersee.
Mercedes is in the process of revamping its lineup, and the E-Class is next in line. Recently, a savvy cameraman managed to catch the 2017 E-Class out testing on public roads, and you can see the video here.
It’s unfortunate that Mercedes covered up the new E-Class so well with that swirly camo, as its makes it tough to pick up any styling cues. Despite its attempts to cover up the big sedan, it’s no secret that the new E-Class will sit atop the new MRA rear-wheel-drive architecture, and it’ll use lighting more similar to its C-Class and S-Class brethren.
These new underpinnings will help make producing the E-Class less costly, as they are scalable from the small C-Class through the S-Class. In addition to keeping costs down, the new E-Class will also shed between 150 and 330 pounds, thanks to strategic use of aluminum and smaller engines.
Under its hood, the new E-Class should usher in a line of new inline-configuration powerplants. Rumor has it that we’ll see a 2.9-liter inline-six diesel engine with more than 310 horsepower, and possibly even a quad-turbo 2.9-liter with more than 400 horses to play with. The AMG model will likely rid itself of the 5.5-liter V-8 and switch to a hotter version of the 4.0-liter V-8 in the Mercedes-AMG C63.
So, what in the world does the 2016 Camaro have to do with the element Krypton? Your guess is as good as mine, but GM has just filed trademarks for the names “Krypton” and “Camaro Krypton,” according to GM Authority.
Either GM has something wild up its sleeve for the sixth-generation of its iconic muscle car, or it just thought that the name sounded cool and wanted to protect it. I believe more of the former, as this seems to align closely with the upcoming release of the Batman v Superman movie. For those who don’t know, Kryptonite is what causes Superman to lose his powers and Batman actually carries a hunk of it in his utility belt in case Superman ever gets out of line.
Automakers love being the part of blockbuster movies, so it wouldn’t shock me if Chevy releases a special version of the Camaro to go along with the Batman v Superman movie. Much like Audi does with the Avengers movies, Chevy may be looking at the Superman/Batman mashup as the perfect opportunity to get some worldwide publicity for its new muscle car.
Keep in mind that the new Camaro debuts at a during a special event on May 16th, so there is a possibility that we’ll learn something about this trademark filing at the presentation.
Let us know in the comments what you think this filing means.
Continue reading to learn more about this possible GM/DC Comics collaboration.
Fresh off a redesign in 2015, the VW Golf GTI is primed to take on the midrange of the hot-hatch market while its Golf R sibling tackles the top of the class. With the VW Wörthersee gathering set to kick off on May 13th, the Germans have previewed a special “near-production concept” that it’s calling the GTI Clubsport.
Unfortunately, Volkswagen chose to tease us on its Facebook page with sketches of the exterior of the GTI Clubsport but no real details. This makes it tough to piece together exactly what this model is. My gut tells me that it’ll be a special package that will make the GTI a more track-ready machine, but it could also be just a styling kit.
A track-tuned package would be the perfect middle ground between the GTI and the Golf R, but Volkswagen may not want to risk getting so close to its halo hatchback.
The Wörthersee gathering is right around the corner, so we’ll find out soon enough.
Updated 05/13/2015: Volkswagen dropped the official images and details on the new Golf GTI Clubsport concept.
Continue reading my preview of the GTI Clubsport to learn more about what I think this model has to offer.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is a hit-or-miss kind of crossov… err.. coup… err… whatever the hell you want to call it. Some may find it the perfect vehicle for their lifestyle of hauling oddly shaped cargo, while others may consider it a model that answers not a single need. Regardless of how you may feel about it, folks must enjoy these models as they keep on coming, and they are even arriving with special packages, like the GLE Coupe’s Night Package.
Despite its odd proportions and funky looks, the GLE Coupe is entering a strange time in the world of luxury crossovers. In this world, vehicles are becoming increasingly niche-oriented, resulting in models like the BMW X4, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the BMW X6, the Range Rover Evoque, and the upcoming Audi Q Junior.
The Night Package does little to change the polarizing looks of the GLE Coupe. Instead, it adds just a touch of specialness by way of high-gloss-black mirror caps and grille louvers. This package is available with any of the GLE Coupe’s 11 exterior colors.
There is no mention of Mercedes limiting this package to any particular model within the GLE Coupe lineup, but I have a feeling that the AMG model will not have it available. This means that this package can have powertrains ranging from a 3.0-liter diesel V-6 with 258 horsepower to a 3.0-liter gasoline-fueled V-6 with 333 horsepower.
Pricing for the Night Package is unknown, but I wouldn’t expect more than a few hundred dollars.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Night Package.
According to a report, Buick has filed a few intriguing trademarks recently, including the Avenir, the Regal Sport Touring, and the LaCrosse Sport Touring.
With Buick managing to survive GM’s purge back in the 2000s, it was clear that there was a future for the brand. In more recent years, the Buick brand has migrated away from the granddad’s-car image to a brand tuned more toward sub-luxury buyers. In addition to adding more luxury, it has also added a touch of youthfulness with models like the Verano and Regal Turbo, and the Cascada convertible. Because of its recent movement, seeing these new trademarks is really no surprise.
The Avenir name is the most interesting of the trademarks, as it could potentially signal the brand’s intentions to move forward with its super-luxurious 2015 Avenir Concept. A model like the Avenir would not necessarily sell well, but it would give the brand the level of prestige it needs for more buyers to consider buying a Buick instead of stretching for the Bimmer.
As for the Sport Touring models, there are a few scenarios. The most likely of these is that they are simply new trim levels that give the two models more sportiness and luxury. The other scenario requires a look across the Atlantic at the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer, which is essentially a station wagon version of the Regal. This points toward the possibility that Buick could be looking to release a pair of wagons based on the two sedans here in the U.S., but that is highly unlikely.
Continue reading for the full story.
Small in stature doesn’t always mean a car is unsafe, and that couldn’t be more true than with the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic. The IIHS solidified this recently by awarding the small econobox its coveted Top Safety Pick award after a disappointing showing initially.
“They sure don’t build them like they used to,” and it’s a dang good thing too. Years ago, folks thought the bigger and stronger a car was meant it was a safer car. More recently, automakers found that strategically positioning weak spots in cars, known as “crumple zones,” helped keep passengers safer by using the energy of a crash to fold these spots like an accordion instead of causing trauma to the passengers.
Crumple zones are old news though, as automakers have to deal with new and changing safety tests with each passing year. One such test is the controversial and hard-to-pass small overlap frontal crash. The 2015 Sonic initially did below average on this test, netting it a “marginal” rating from the IIHS and leaving it one “good” rating shy of the Top Safety Pick award.
Well, Chevy went to task improving the front-end structure, the doorsill, and the door hinge pillar on the 2015 Sonic in February 2015. With these improvements in place, the IIHS noted that intrusion into the driver’s space dropped from 6 inches to just 4 inches, resulting in a lower likelihood of injury. Additionally, the front and curtain airbags protected the crash-test dummy’s head better than in the previous test. In the previous test, the airbag deployed late, resulting in an increased potential for injury.
Those improvements were enough to jump the Sonic two levels in its small overlap test, earning it a “good” rating.
The 2015 Sonic also received “good” ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests on its way to the Top Safety Pick award.
Keep in mind that this award applies only to the Sonic hatchbacks and sedans built after February 2015.
Continue reading for the full story.
The news about the Q Junior has already broken, but now a new report suggests that the tiniest of the Audi SUVs will debut as early as 2019.
This report comes from Car Magazine who had a sit-down with a senior official within the company. In this interview, the magazine somehow came to the conclusion that the A1-based crossover will hit the market by 2019, but it didn’t point to a direct quote from the official regarding this.
It did, however, learn that Audi isn’t necessarily sold on the out-of-the-norm name. In true Audi fashion, this small SUV should carry the Q1 name, but Audi has to name its next small SUV — due in 2016 — the Q1 because Fiat owns the Q2 name. This leaves Audi no real choice but to go out of the normal pattern for this lifted, all-wheel-drive hatchback, and the Q Junior seems the best route for now.
With all of these SUVs, how will Audi ever differentiate them? The report claims that the Q Junior will have a sportier, two-door-coupecrossover design, making it more desirable to younger buyers. Also up the alley of the younger buyer is a base price that could start as low as €20,000 ($22,584 as of 2015).
Look for this new model to take on the likes of the GLA-Class and the BMW X1 once it hits the market. Its U.S. availability remains unknown, but keep in mind that we do not have the A1 here in the States, which could mean the platform just won’t work here.
Continue reading for the full story.
For many of us gearheads, the Tesla Model S is one of the cars atop our list of dream rigs, but if you’re like me, your wallet can’t quite support this dream. Well, your dream could soon become a reality, as Tesla has finally launched its preowned department that offers the Model S at a discount and with a warranty.
Currently, the inventory is limited only to select markets, including Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Florida, Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC, but the deals seem pretty aggressive. In fact, the lowest price available in the system is for a 2013 Model S 60 with 23,628 miles for $55,200. With this lower price, you also get a car that is inspected by Tesla pros, a four-year or 50,000-mile limited warranty, and 24-hour roadside assistance. You can read all of the warranty limitations here, but they seem pretty standard.
Now, while that price seems aggressive for a car that was around $70k brand new, keep in mind that you are not eligible for any federal tax credits when buying a used Model S. This means that after the taxman puts that nice $7,500 tax credit on your 1040, you can get the new Model S 70D for just $12,300 more than that used 60 kWh model. With that said, Tesla’s pricing does seem about in line with the un-certified used Model S units available on the open market, and you get the added security of a Tesla warranty.
There are some great deals to grab on this preowned site, like a 2012 P85 in Washington DC with 30,602 miles for just $62,900.
Continue reading to learn more about the Tesla Model S.
According to a report from Dutch publication, De Telegraaf, the Maserati Levante will debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show next January.
The Levante is yet another addition to the growing segment of luxury crossover SUVs that are there purely to be profit-drivers for their respective automakers. They in no way carry any sort of tradition, nor do they fit the mold of their builders. What they do is give struggling automakers the funds they need to build really cool cars moving forward. This is exactly why the public has grown to accept them.
According to reports, the Levante will debut with four available engines. One engine will be a diesel, which will likely not be a part of the American lineup, while the other engines will include two V-6s and a V-8.
The V-6 engines will likely be the same units used in the Ghibli. This means they’ll both be a 3.0-liters, but De Telegraaf states that their power will be north of 345 horsepower in the base Ghibli and the 404 horsepower in the Ghibli S. Reports are that the base 3.0-liter will hit the 350-horsepower mark, and the hotter V-6 will be around 450 ponies.
Maserati will tap Ferrari for its V-8 engine. The report claims that this V-8 – possibly a 3.8-liter – will produce upward of 580 horsepower.
Continue reading for more information on the 2017 Maserati Levante.
The old statement “there’s no replacement for displacement” is about as valid these days as a “Turbo” button on a PC. Apparently, Jaguar Land Rover is up to speed on this outdated thinking, as a new report claims that it will move toward three-cylinder engines. Along with this report is the claim that Jaguar will move away from V-6 engine and back to inline-six powerplants.
With modern electronics and ever-improving turbocharging technology, small-displacement engines are putting out more ponies per liter than ever before. According to the report, Land Rover will use a new line of Ingenium three-cylinder engines to power the Evoque, 2016 Discovery Sport, and F-Pace. Jaguar will also get in on the three-pot fun with future versions of the XE.
There is no mention of when these three-cylinder engines will be ready for production, but it shouldn’t be too long.
As for Jag’s movement back to inline-six engines, that will happen sooner than later, likely sometime after 2016. Jaguar will utilize its signature long hood to house a more fuel-efficient turbocharged I-6 engine. In addition to fuel savings, this movement to I-6 engines will hark back to Jaguars of yesteryear, giving nostalgia buffs a reason to love the British brand once again.
We’ll bring you more details as they roll out.
Continue reading to learn more about these new JLR engines.
Jaguar may have two more crossovers hitting the market by 2020. These two crossovers will flank the upcoming F-Pace in size – one smaller and one larger.
The larger of the two will be the J-Pace, which will take aim at the Audi Q8, BMW X7, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. This larger, seven-seat crossover will use the same aluminum architecture as the updated Land Rover Range Rover. The J-Pace should also use the same engines as the Range Rover, meaning a series of V-6 and V-8 engines in various states of tune, plus a plug-in hybrid version.
The E-Pace will likely takes most of its bones from the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and 2016 Discovery Sport. This means that the E-Pace will ride on the D8 architecture, making it a very scalable model in terms of size and drivetrains.
The report from Automobile Magazine speculates that this D8 architecture may make the E-Pace too similar to both the Disco Sport and the Evoque, so it may scale it down even further to compete with the likes of the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Continue reading to learn more about these two SUVs.
Note: 2016 F-Pace Rendering pictured here.
Norbert Reithofer is set to step down as the CEO of BMW on May 13th, but his successor and former production chief, Harald Krueger, is already starting to shake things up with the elimination of the i8S, M8, and other key Bimmer and Mini concepts.
The i8S was all but confirmed just months ago, but now this higher-output version of the already impressive i8 is on the scrapheap. Another high-profile BMW concept turned reject under the new regime is the M8. Initial reports about the M8 claimed it would share most of its styling elements with the i8, but under its hood, it would have a twin-turbo V-8 with about 600 horsepower.
While both the i8S and the M8 were awesome on paper, neither made too much business sense. Both would take away from potential i8 sales, despite the power and price differences, and there just isn’t much room in Bimmer’s customer base for this many supercars.
Also gone are the 9 Series coupe, the Z2 Roadster, and the 2 Series GT. The report from Automobile Magazine goes on to claim that Krueger also sent a few undisclosed Mini concepts packing.
In the midst of all this spring cleaning, there was one concept that remained: the i5. According to the report, the i5 will receive the go-ahead later in 2015 as a traditional, three-box sedan with a pure-electric powertrain or a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The all-electric model will reportedly use a 225-horsepower motor in the rear and a 135-horsepower motor up front, while the plug-in hybrid would use a 275-horsepower electric motor and either a three- or four-cylinder engine.
Continue reading to learn more about the elimination of these models.
BMW loves releasing random special editions in Japan, and oftentimes they are limited to only mild body kits and a few extra standard features. Well, for 2015, BMW has just released this Japan-exclusive version of the 320i and 320d that it calls the M Sport Style Edge.
Like many Asian special-edition Bimmers, this model’s updates are limited in terms of exclusivity, as most of the updates are simply added standard features. Things like upgraded rims, a new aero kit, and upgraded interior trim are just a few examples of what makes this Bimmer special. However, the fact that BMW will offer only several hundred of these M Sport Style Edge models may be enough to make up for its slight price hike.
You can check out our full review of the standard 320i here
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 BMW 320 M Sport Style Edge.
Since its U.S. debut in the 2012 model year, the Aventador has steadily seen the introduction of new and special models. For example, in 2013 came the introduction of the Aventador Roadster, and in 2014 came the release of the 50 Anniversario special edition. Now as we roll into the 2015 model year, Lamborghini has released yet another special Aventador: the Superveloce.
Like all Superveloce models prior to it, this special Aventador is nearly a race car, as Lambo focused on dropping its weight and retuning its V-12 powerplant to crank out a few extra horses. Additionally, the Aventador Superveloce receives revised aerodynamics to increase its downforce and efficiency significantly. The only glaring issue is its super-high price tag.
Is the 2015 Aventador Superveloce worth the extra scratch?
Updated 04/27/2015: The new Aventador SV made its Chinese debut at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show, and this was the perfect opportunity for Lamborghini to drop a new promotional video. Enjoy!
Continue reading my full review to find out.
Lexus only recently unveiled the 2016 RX, and it has a completely new look that some may love and others, not so much. At the Shanghai Auto Show, Lexus revealed a new addition to the redesigned RX lineup, in the form of the RX 200t.
The Lexus RX lineup dates back to the 1999 model year, which was when the U.S. first laid eyes upon the RX 300 crossover SUV. In 2004, the RX gained a new look, a 3.3-liter engine, and a new name: RX 330. In the 2007 model year, the RX’s engine grew again to a 3.5-liter V-6, which meant that a name change to the RX 350 also took place. Following its change to the RX 350, the SUV received a new look in 2010.
With its new four-cylinder addition for the 2016 model year, the RX is treading into new waters for this segment, as neither the Acura MDX nor the Infiniti QX60 have four-pot offerings. Is this movement to a smaller, turbocharged engine a good move for Lexus?
Continue reading my review of the RX 200t to find out.
There have been rumors and reports of a plug-in hybrid version of the upcoming CT6, but they remained unconfirmed until now. Today, at the Shanghai Auto Show, Cadillac confirmed that there will indeed be a plug-in version of its upcoming flagship.
When Cadillac first unveiled the 2016 CT6 at the 2015 New York Auto Show, it arrived with a trio of engine options. The smallest of the group was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumped out 265 horsepower. The two optional engines were both V-6s, but one was a 3.6-liter that produced 335 horsepower, while the other was a twin-turbo 3.0-liter with 400 ponies.
As of 2015, it appears as if the CT6 PHEV will only have to butt heads with the Mercedes S550 Plug-In Hybrid, as neither Audi nor BMW have released range-topping plug-in hybrid sedans. With the hybrid flagship market still in its very early stages, can this thrifty but expensive sedan thrive?
Continue reading my full preview of the 2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV.
McLaren is doing all it can to make its vehicles more accessible to the public, and the lineup set to springboard this effort is the Sports Series. At the 2015 New York Auto Show, the first of the Sports Series models, the 2016 570S, debuted with its 562-horsepower V-8 and $184,900 price tag. Less than a month later, at the Shanghai Auto Show, the Brits introduced the less-expensive 540C version.
The 540C is essentially a detuned and more accessible 570S, in terms of premium features. As its name implies, the 540C has less power than the 570S, but it’s still quite the performer. The real test is whether it can hang with the big-boys of this segment, like the 911 Turbo and the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. In the meantime, let’s have a closer look at the fourth new McLaren to break cover in 2015 (quite an achievement for the manufacturer).
Updated 04/20/2015: McLaren officially unveiled the second model in the Sports Series lineup at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show. The model will be put on sale in early 2016, with prices on the British market starting from £126,000 - or about $188,000 at the current exchange rates.
Continue reading to find out how this new McLaren sports car will stack up to its competition.
As we inch closer to the full-electric car taking the place of gasoline-fueled cars, we are seeing a transition to plug-in hybrids. These models give buyers a short EV distance and a standard hybrid setup for longer journeys. The Audi Q7 has already joined these ranks with the 2016 Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, and now it is spreading the e-tron love to China with the Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI.
I don’t know exactly why Audi decided to use a different engine in the China-spec Q7 e-tron, but I can only assume that it is because diesel engines are not popular there. In the U.S., we’ve had the same issues with diesel vehicles, but Audi’s never been overly shy about offering diesel-powered cars here.
How does this China-exclusive version of the Q7 e-tron stack up next to the already unveiled TDI version?
Find out by continuing to read my full review 2015 Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI.
With the luxury crossover SUV segment growing rapidly, Land Rover is looking to keep up with the Joneses. Reportedly, Land Rover will release a lengthened version of the Evoque by the end of 2016 to compete in this segment.
The Range Rover Evoque debuted in the 2012 model year in the U.S. to plenty of fanfare. It has quickly found a home as the brand’s third hottest-selling model in the U.S. behind the Range Rover Sport and the Range Rover. The global sales of the Evoque are even more impressive, as it has reached 125,000 units sold, despite initial estimate placing it at just 35,000 units per year. Basing a gap-filling SUV on the 2016 Evoque seems like a logical way to boost sales and hit a hot segment in which the brand struggles to compete.
Can a stretched Evoque really compete in this fast-growing segment with the likes of the Q7 and XC90?
Continue reading my full preview on the Land Rover Evoque Plus to find out.
Note: Standard Ranger Rover Evoque pictured here.
If there is one thing Acura knows well, it’s SUVs. It has long been an industry leader in luxury SUVs, and the RDX is no exception. It had massive success in 2014, as it led its class at 44,865 units sold. Despite this, Acura decided not to rest on its laurels, but has decided to give the RDX a refresh on the inside, outside, and under the skin. This new RDX debuted at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show on February 12.
With all of the details in hand, it is clear that Acura’s plan is to make every one of its vehicles as similar to the wildly successful TLX sedan as it can. Like the sedan, the 2016 RDX received the Jewel Eye headlights and a 3D grille. Also added were some tech updates and a slight power boost under the hood.
Updated 04/15/2015: Acura announced prices for the 2016 RDX, which is now on sale. The model will be priced from $35,270 – an increase of just $175 over the 2015 model year.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Acura RDX.
First launched for the 2012 model year, the Tesla Model S has gone through countless updates, ranging from minor over-the-air tweaks to huge powertrain updates. Despite these updates, there are two things that have remained consistent with the Model S, and those are its timeless looks and its status as a revolutionary model that’s trying to change the world’s view on electric vehicles. In late 2014, Tesla introduced a significant overhaul that marked the introduction of the “D,” which has a dual-motor all-wheel-drive system. For 2015, Tesla is introducing the new entry-level Model S 70D that replaces the old 60 kWh model.
This Model S 70D marks another key change for the Model S lineup, as it is the end of the line for rear-wheel-drive in the Model S. Like the elimination of the underpowered and shot-ranged 40 kWh model during the 2013 model year, and the introduction of the “D” in 2014, this is a natural move for the automaker. However, with the electric vehicle still in the toddler phase, is the market ready for this model?
Continue reading my full review to find out what I think of the Model S 70D.
For the 2014 model year, BMW decided to take the beautiful 3 Series and ugly it up a bit by releasing the Gran Turismo version. The 3 Series GT is the definition of a niche vehicle, as it hovers in the no man’s land between a wagon and a compact SUV. For the 2015 model year, the U.S.-spec 3 Series GT saw limited changes, but the Japan-spec model earned a new, limited-production model dubbed the 320i Gran Turismo Luxury Lounge.
This special model doesn’t have anything overly wild and crazy to make it special. Instead, BMW focused on adding in a handful of premium features without jacking up the price too much. The issue is with such a narrow niche and plenty of traditional wagons to choose from that offer more features, more room and a lower price, it is arguable whether this limited-edition 320i GT makes any sense or not.
Continue reading my review of the 2015 BMW 320i Gran Turismo Luxury Lounge to learn more.
The 2016 CT6 made its much-anticipated debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show to a pile of fanfare, but this isn’t the only trick Cadillac has up its sleeve with its new flagship sedan. There have been rumors floating around about a hybrid version of the CT6, and reports claimed that Mark Reuss, GM’s product chief, confirmed the model during an investors meeting in the fall of 2014. In New York, Auto Blog caught up to Reuss and got him to all but confirm the model’s debut at the Shanghai Auto Show, which kicks off on April 22, 2015.
According to the report, when Auto Blog queried Reuss about the CT6 Hybrid, he said “We’ve really got to wait until we finish rounding out the portfolio,” then followed that up with "The Shanghai show is where you should look for all of it. So stay tuned."
If that’s not a confirmation of the hybrid CT6, then I don’t know what it is.
The details surrounding the hybrid powertrain are still unknown, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see it take some technology from the 2016 Chevy Volt. It won’t be a range-extended EV like the Volt, but rather a plug-in hybrid with a short electric-only range.
The report also discusses the V-Series version of the CT6, which Reuss seemed less confident about. He did make it clear that Caddy is tossing the idea around, but it is still trying to determine if it makes business sense.
Continue reading to learn more.
The Veloster debuted in 2012 with a 138-horsepower engine that just didn’t quite match up with its sporty looks. In the following year, Hyundai made up for this with the 2013 Turbo model that made use of a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that delivered 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Even with the new Turbo model, the hatchback still left a lot to be desired, but a new mid-engine concept, dubbed the 2015 Veloster RM15, shows the full potential of the sporty Korean hatchback.
The name, Racing Midship, implies that Hyundai developed this concept as a racecar, but there is no other mention of this being a track-only car. Therefore, I believe that this concept will act as a gauge to see just how interested buyers would be in a mid-engine performance Veloster. I, for one, am intrigued by the concept, but I am not too sure how much of it would actually make it to the production line even if there is enough interest.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Hyundai Veloster RM15.
Looking to cement its position as a global leader in hybrid cars, Toyota launched the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. For the 2016 model year, that means that seven out of Toyota’s 13 vehicles are offered with a hybrid powertrain. The introduction of the RAV4 Hybrid taps a surprisingly untouched market for a compact hybrid crossover. Small crossovers like the RAV4 are already efficient vehicles, so adding Toyota’s proven hybrid technology will give the RAV4 Hybrid an even bigger advantage at the pump.
Toyota has been discussing creating hybrid versions of all of its volume-selling models by 2020. We’ve already seen one SUV go that direction, with the Highlander Hybrid debuting in 2006, and now that trend will continue with the introduction of the 2016 Hybrid, which debuted at the 2015 New York Auto Show.
The big question with the launch of the RAV4 Hybrid is in regards to the hybrid marketplace as a whole. In 2014, hybrid sales fell by 8.8 percent and it hasn’t recovered yet. Only time will tell if Toyota’s gamble on the RAV4 Hybrid will pay off.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
Have you ever wanted to drive in a Beetle-shaped pair of blue jeans? Well, VW may just give you that opportunity after unveiling the 2015 Beetle Convertible Denim Concept at the New York International Auto Show. In what could have been one of the better April Fools Day pranks, VW modeled the exterior, interior, and even the convertible top of this Beetle to have various blue-jean-like features, including a 1980s favorite, stonewashed jeans.
You may be surprised to learn that the Jeans edition is sort of a tradition in the Beetle lineup. Back in 1974, during the rise ofin popularity of denim jeans, VW released the Jeans Bug, which had black “Jeans” logos on the doors and hood, Lemmerz GT wheels, and denim-style fabric on the seats with orange stitching (you know, the same hideous color stitching on dark-blue jeans).
Despite how odd this blue-jeans-inspired concept is, it certainly wasn’t the oddest of the slew of Beetle concepts this year. Vee-dub went all out this year, and we all need to tip our caps to the automaker for stepping outside the box with these models, despite how pointless they may seem.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Denim Concept.
The Mazda Miata MX-5 first hit the market in the 1990 model year as an attempt to resurrect the roadster market. Not only did the model succeed in making roadsters cool again, but it also has continued its uninterrupted run all the way into the 2016 model year. This model year brought about the fourth-generation Miata and a new, wilder appearance. For 2016, the Miata will continue offering a Club trim level, which will add in a little touch of sportiness with a revised chassis, some visual upgrades, and a few extra tech goodies.
The Club trim level will split the gap between the base Sport trim and the range-topping Grand Touring, giving buyers a nice middle-ground model to opt for. With the roadster market growing thinner in recent years, the Miata finds itself almost uncontested again, as the Nissan 370Z is nearly too expensive to matter, and the Mini Cooper Roadster is front driven and is a dead man walking that is gone after the 2015 model year.
With no direct competition to speak of, did Mazda go soft with the 2016 MX-5 Club?
Continue reading my review of the 2016 MX-5 Miata Club to find out.
Though it didn’t receive the warmest of welcomes from Porsche faithful when it debuted in 2010, the Panamera has become an accepted cog in the carmaker’s wheel. Between it and Porsche’s SUVs, the German brand makes the money it needs to fund awesome rigs like the 918 and the 911 GT3. For the 2016 model year, Porsche has added a new version of the Panamera that it has dubbed the “Edition.” Despite its weird name, the Panamera Edition adds a lot of value at a price that is only slightly north of the base model’s MSRP.
With tons of standard features and only a slight price hike, this is likely to be a hot seller in the next year. However, while this all looks great compared to the base Panamera, does this new Edition trim match up well against the likes of the BMW 740i or the Audi A8?
Continue reading my full review of the 2016 Porsche Panamera Edition to find out.
2015 Caterham Seven 360 R
Launched in 1973, after Caterham Cars purchased the rights for the roadster from Lotus, the Seven has soldiered on with few changes until 2015. Granted, the sports car received increasingly modern engines and state-of-the-art lightweight materials such as carbon-fiber, but from a design standpoint, the modern-day Seven is very similar to the car introduced more than four decades ago. For 2015, Caterham launched more updates and simplified the Seven lineup to five core models, all available with the new S and R equipment packages.
Among them there’s the 2015 Seven 360 R takes all that is good in the standard 360 and turns the dial up a bit. Sure, there are no massive drivetrain updates, but Caterham worked hard in other areas to make the 360 R a more track-ready machine. The best (or possibly the worst, depending on how you look at it) part about the 360 R is that it is almost a secret, because the updates are quite subtle and require a careful eye to spot.
Not available in the United States for the time being, the Seven 360 slots between the 270 and the 480 models. It uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and much like other modern Sevens, it can be equipped with an extensive range of options. Have a look at the review below for more info on that.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Caterham Seven 360 R.