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The 2019 Smart Forease Concept Looks Adorable and Cute at the Paris Motor Show

The 2019 Smart Forease Concept Looks Adorable and Cute at the Paris Motor Show

Cutesy concept follows a long line of cutesy concepts from Smart

Smart is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and it’s bringing the Foresee Tiny Speedster to the Paris Motor Show to commemorate the occasion. The Foresee is the latest concept in a long line of concepts to come out of smart, taking after other memorable creations like the Crossblade and the Forspeed. As it is, the Foresee is still a concept, and a production model is unlikely in the cards.

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2019 Ariel Atom 4

2019 Ariel Atom 4

It’s the fastest Ariel Atom yet!

Scheduled to make a debut at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the new Ariel Atom 4 comes with an all-new design reimagined from the ground up, a new engine, new suspension geometry, and more speed than ever. As a fourth generation vehicle, the new Ariel Atom introduces us with a delicate set of improvements focused on further refinement of the driving dynamics while offering more in terms of comfort and daily usability at the same time.

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Infiniti, BMW Take Home EyesOn Design Awards in Detroit

Infiniti, BMW Take Home EyesOn Design Awards in Detroit

It was a thin field, but all winners were worthy of their awards

The Detroit Auto Show was popping this week with enough debuts and concept car unveilings to make for an action-packed week. Two cars, in particular, were honored with EyesOn Design awards, one for being the best concept in the show, and another for being the best production vehicle. The Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept and the BMW X2 SUV took home top honors in the two categories, respectively.

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Top Gear Magazine Names the Bugatti Chiron as the "Hypercar of the Year"

Top Gear Magazine Names the Bugatti Chiron as the "Hypercar of the Year"

There were plenty of worthy choices, but the Chiron reigns supreme

11 years after the Bugatti Veyron took its rightful place on top of Top Gear’s hypercar mountain, it’s successor, the Bugatti Chiron, has equaled that feat. The all-conquering supercar took home the “Hypercar of the Year” award on the strength of possessing one of the most impressive credentials of any performance car in the world today. On that front alone, the Chiron boasts an 8.0-liter quad-turbo W-16 engine that produces a staggering 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. That translates to a sprint time to 60 mph of just 2.3 seconds and a limited top speed of 261 mph. Take out that limiter, and there’s no telling what the Chiron is capable of. Rumors have even suggested that it can reach 300 mph on a good day. It’s no wonder then that in declaring the Chiron as the “Hypercar of the Year,” the jury highlighted its incredible performance capabilities. “The thrust from rest to 100 mph (161 km/h) is insane but the way it bulldozes its way through the next 100 mph is spooky, and it just keeps going.” Hard to argue against that assessment.

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Texas Auto Writers Association - Cars of the Year

Texas Auto Writers Association - Cars of the Year

Dozens of cars evaluated at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack

Every spring, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the U.S. gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Car of Texas.” It’s the end result of the Texas Auto Writers Association’s Springtime Auto Roundup, a large-scale competition pitting vehicles against others in their class. Segment awards include the Family Car of Texas and the Performance Car of Texas, both highly coveted by automakers. This year’s competition moved from the legendary Texas Motor Speedway to the U.S.’ only Formula One racetrack, the Circuit of the Americas outside Austin.

As a member of TAWA, I flew to Austin ahead of the two-day driving event. Automakers had shipped vehicles across the country to participate, with PR reps and members from engineering departments on hand to answer questions. Dodge even brought its pre-production Durango SRT 392 for display and Toyota brought a 50th Anniversary Corolla set up with a crash test dummy and VR goggles to demonstrate its active safety systems. The competition was certainly fierce among the 10 categories but only three vehicles would be crowned overall winners.

Continue reading for the full results.

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Guess What! Your Ford Mustang is a Girl Car

Guess What! Your Ford Mustang is a Girl Car

Sorry guys, but women have a real love affair with it, and the Focus RS isn’t far off either!

The Ford Mustang – it’s known as a man’s car, a muscle car, and one to keep your distance from at any gathering of cars. But, maybe it’s not so much of a man’s car anymore, as a group of 17 women from 14 countries have just labeled it as the Women’s Performance Car of the Year for 2016. That’s right, while the Mustang is masculine and has that muscle car goodness every man loves, women really love it too. And, it’s not the only Ford that women love. The Focus RS is also widely loved by the fairer sex as it came in a very close second, nearly earning its own Women’s Performance Car of the Year title.

“Ford Mustang is surprisingly loved by women who are after a sexy, sporty, masculine car that turns heads,” said Juliet Potter, Women’s World Car of the Year jury member from Australia. “Combining the car’s silver-screen celebrity status with real-life practicality, Mustang screams, ‘I am in control!’ and delivers the same behind the wheel with above-average grip and suspension.”

The Women’s Performance car of the Year is the only vehicle honor in the world that is granted by a panel of all women. And, one could argue that they do have really good taste, as the Mustang was given the highest award after being compared to a total of 294 competitors. The women have roared. And sorry to tell you, fellas, she doesn’t want you; she wants your Mustang. The worst part is, you don’t see women crashing mustangs at car meets, so maybe they actually know how to drive them better, too. All jokes aside, this is just one of many awards the Mustang has won over its long life, and we’re sure there are more to come. Excellent choice ladies! Now, can you please teach the men in the world how to drive them?

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The 2016 Truck Rodeo: The Full Results

The 2016 Truck Rodeo: The Full Results

The nitty-gritty on the 70-plus vehicles at TAWA’s Truck Rodeo

By now you’ve probably read how the 2017 Ford Super Duty was crowned the Truck of Texas and that the 2017 Nissan Armada won the SUV of Texas. But the Super Duty and Armada were far from the only winners at this year’s Truck Rodeo put on by the Texas Auto Writers Association.

More than 70 journalists and social media influencers descended upon the 1,623-acre Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas to test approximately 71 pickup trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and commercial vehicles in TAWA’s annual event.

A total of 17 categories grouped the vehicles with their competition, ranging from compact crossovers and full-size SUVs to Off-Road pickups. Other categories included best connectivity, best technology, and best powertrain.

Keep reading for the full results.

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2017 Nissan Armada Named SUV of Texas

2017 Nissan Armada Named SUV of Texas

The Americanized Patrol gets the Lone Star State’s approval

The 2017 Nissan Armada was named the SUV of Texas in the 2016 Truck Rodeo competition held by the Texas Auto Writers Association. The grueling, two-day evaluation process took place on the 1,632-acre Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas and included more than 70 trucks, SUVs, and crossovers from across the industry. More than 70 TAWA members, yours truly included, drove the vehicles in a variety of on-road and challenging off-road courses that pushed vehicles to their limits. As voting concluded, it was the all-new Armada that scored more points for the title honor of SUV of Texas.

"We’re honored to have the all-new 2017 Nissan Armada recognized by the SUV experts of the Texas Auto Writers Association," said Fred Diaz, division vice president and general manager of North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles. "Armada provides a unique combination of luxury, power, and utility, including best-in-class standard towing and a suite of advanced Nissan Safety Shield technologies such as Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Backup Collision Intervention."

As Diaz points out, several of the Armada’s features stand out. Its towing capacity is rated at 8,500 pounds thanks to its 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 it shares with the Titan and Titan XD. The engine kicks out a respectable 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque though a seven-speed automatic transmission and optional full-time 4WD system with low range.

The Armada’s active and passive safety systems rank high with families. The suite includes Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Intervention, Backup Collision Intervention, and the 360-degree Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. Interestingly enough, the Armada is the only SUV to offer Backup Collision Intervention, which automatically stops the vehicle should something come inside its path.

While the Armada is based on the global Nissan Patrol and shares most of its parts with the Infiniti QX80, the Armada’s lower price point make it a better value. A RWD Armada in the base SV trim starts at $44,400. Opting for a 4WD version with the range-topping Platinum trim sends the price to $59,990 before options. The Armada joins the 2017 Ford Super Duty and 2017 Volvo XC90 in TAWA’s top honors. The Super Duty was named the Truck of Texas and for the second year in a row, the XC90 earned the CUV of Texas.

Continue reading for more information.

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2017 Ford Super Duty Named Truck of Texas

2017 Ford Super Duty Named Truck of Texas

We joined the Texas Auto Writers Association in the two-day evaluation

The all-new, aluminum-intensive 2017 Ford Super Duty was named the Truck of Texas by the Texas Auto Writers Association after a grueling two-day evaluation of every new or heavily refreshed pickup on the market at the 2016 Truck Rodeo. The competition included offerings from Ram, GMC, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda.

Automotive journalists from around the country, including your truly, converge in Texas every October for this event that concludes with numerous awards covering everything from crossovers to off-road pickups. The Truck of Texas award is the highest honor and is given to the truck that shows the most improvement in its segment while embodying the spirit of Texas truck culture.

Doug Scott, Ford’s Truck Group Marketing Manager, said, “We are honored to win the ‘Truck of Texas’ award as it underscores how the all-new 2017 Ford Super Duty lineup is the toughest, smartest, and most capable truck we’ve ever built.”

Furthermore, the Super Duty also won the Heavy Duty Pickup Truck segment, beating out the 2017 Ram 2500 Limited and 2017 Ram 2500 Longhorn editions. Ram didn’t leave empty handed, however. The 2017 Power Wagon took home the Off-Road Pickup Truck category, beating out the 2017 Nissan Titan PRO-4X Crew Cab. The category also included the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 All Terrain X and 2017 Ford F-250 4x4 Crew Cab King Ranch.

Ram also snagged the Luxury Pickup Truck category with its 2017 Ram 1500 Longhorn edition. The Full-Size Pickup Truck category was awarded to the 2017 Nissan Titan Texas Edition SL Crew Cab, with the 2017 F-150 4x4 Supercrew Lariat coming in second.

In total, more than 71 vehicles worth roughly $4 million competed in the Truck Rodeo. Approximately 70 journalists were in attendance. Last year’s winner was the 2016 Nissan Titan XD.

Continue reading for more information.

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1936 Lancia Astura Pininfarina Cabriolet Takes Top Honors At 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

1936 Lancia Astura Pininfarina Cabriolet Takes Top Honors At 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

An amazing, gorgeous vehicle.

Every year, Monterey Car Week serves as a venue for some of the biggest Auctions and car shows we see all year. Sunday, while being the last day of Monterey Car Week, is host to one of the most prestigious displays of historical and beautiful cars. Each year, cars are judged for things like authenticity, originality, design, elegance, and styling. At the end of the awards ceremony, each car that earned a best-in-class award is judged yet again to determine which car was the absolute best of show. This year, this prestigious award goes to a 1936 Lancia Astura Pininfarina Cabriolet owned by Richard Mattei out of Paradise Valley, Arizona.

This specific car actually has a pretty interesting history. It was one of just six cars built for a Lancia dealer in Italy. Each of the six had their own bespoke features, with the biggest feature on this model being the power time, and engraved side trim. Other features include curved side glass, a basket woven interior, wood-grained instruments, and let’s not forget the skirts covering the rear wheels. Talk about style. Rediscovered in poor condition in the 1960s, Pininfarina paid for a full restoration of the car to prevent it from being scrapped. It was later purchased by Eric Clapton. After a number of years, the Clapton sold the car back to Pininfarina where it resided in a museum. It underwent another full restoration recently, and needless to say, it was good enough to win it “Best of Show” at this years Concours d’ Elegance.

The owners were honored just to be invited to the Concours d’ Elegance this year, so you can imagine how amazing and honored they feel going home with the title of “Best of Show.” Stay tuned for updates and more high-resolution images.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance winner.

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Dodge Viper Wins An Unlikely Award

Dodge Viper Wins An Unlikely Award

Even more perplexing, the Viper has won the award four times in the last 13 years

The Dodge Viper has been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently. Not that it’s going to matter from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ perspective, but as the automaker prepares to once again send the Viper into the disabled list, it wouldn’t hurt for the model to get a little bit of shine, would it? How surprising is it then that the provider of good news is the Detroit Public Library’s National Automotive History Collection, which has named the Viper its most “Collectible Vehicle of the Future” for 2016.

For those not familiar with this award, the NAHC is basically predicting that models of the Viper launched in 2015 will fetch hefty sums in future auctions. The irony is overflowing on this one as the current state of the Viper doesn’t necessarily scream “future collector’s item.” On the contrary, the sports car’s paltry sales numbers are being blamed as the biggest reason why FCA is discontinuing the model for the time being. And yet, the NAHC thinks that the 2015 Viper has the potential to command frenzied bidding wars in future auctions?

Granted, the NAHC is a legitimate organization that touts itself as having “more than 600,000 documents” related to the auto industry, making it “the world’s most extensive public archive of automotive information.” The group didn’t earn that distinction by throwing out ridiculous statements and the NAHC Board of Trustees pays careful attention on the pulse of the industry to determine which model it thinks has a chance to be a future collectible.

But the Viper? It sounds silly to think about a model languishing in the sales charts being hailed as a future collectible. Even more perplexing, given the model’s tumultuous history since the turn of the century, is that the NAHC has bestowed the Viper the award three times before: 2003, 2007, and 2013. Maybe it deserved those awards at some point in its history, but there’s little indication about the 2015 Viper that points to it becoming a future must-have in any car collection.

Maybe the NAHC will be proven right 50 or so years from now. But today? It’s admittedly kind of hard to wrap our heads around the organization’s decision.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Ferrari's Twin-Turbo V-8 Won International Engine of the Year Award

Ferrari’s Twin-Turbo V-8 Won International Engine of the Year Award

Ferrari wins a number of awards, but none more important than the 3.9-liter being named the International Engine of the Year.

It’s unfortunate, but increasingly stiffer emissions regulations have all but killed the naturally aspirated engine in most major markets. Sports car engines that were once full of naturally aspirated soul have now been downsized and turned into exhaust-gas regurgitating whistle machines that are said to produce fewer emissions. Of course, there are benefits to turbocharging, like more power from less displacement and fewer emissions, though many say nothing can compete with the soul and growl of a naturally aspirated engine. Be that as it may, it doesn’t change the fact that Ferrari’s twin-turbo, 3.9-liter V-8 that is found in models like the Ferrari 488 GTB just received a pretty decent list of awards, including being named International Engine of the Year.

Along with being named the International Engine of the Year by 63 judges from 30 different countries, the V-8 powerplant was also given awards in the Performance Engine, New Engine, and 3.0-liter to 4.0-liter categories as well. According to Ferrari, it’s return to twin-turbo technology for its V-8 range has “set a new benchmark for turbo-charged engines.” Of course, the brand is boasting the zero-lag effect and the engine’s ability to deliver torque throughout a wide portion of the rev range.

Graham Johnson, the Co-Chairman of International Engine of the Year Awards, said, “It’s a giant leap forward for turbocharged engines in terms of efficiency, performance, and flexibility. It truly is the best engine in production today and will forever be remembered as one of the all-time greats.”

In addition to the big news about the 3.9-liter’s awards, the 6.3-liter V-12 found in the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and the F12tdf also to the “Above 4-liter” category at the same event. As it turns out, it’s a pretty happy day for Ferrari.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este – Recap

2016 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este – Recap

A garden party for the classic car elite

Perched on the edge of Lake Como, in the municipality of Cernobbio in Northern Italy, you’ll find the glamorous Villa d’Este hotel. Every year around springtime, this swank destination plays host to some of the most exclusive vintage automobiles on the planet, with millions upon millions of dollars in high-grade metal on display, complementing the surrounding natural beauty with handcrafted bodywork and polished tailpipes. The goal of the event is simple in theory, but highly nuanced in practice – win the hearts of those in attendance in a contest of elegance.

Think of it as a competitive automotive fashion show for the collector car upper crust, where only the most rare and highly coveted machines are invited to participate. An atmosphere of pageantry and tradition permeates throughout, creating the right environment in which to enjoy all that high-end four-wheeled sculpture.

First held in the 1929, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este went on hiatus during WWII, only to be re-launched in the mid ‘90s as a classic car event. This year, 52 vintage automobiles showed up to the party, as did a slew of forward-looking concepts from Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, and BMW. Despite initial threats of rain, the weather was warm and sunny, with blue skies and glittering water providing the perfect backdrop for nearly nine decades of vehicular excellence.

We’ve recapped all the big happenings from this year’s event right here, including the concepts and show winners, so read on for more.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

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