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2014 Renault Twingo [w/video]

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    2014 Renault Twingo [w/video]
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    2015 Ford Mustang GT road test ride-along
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    Volkswagen XL Sport brings high-performance fuel-sipping to Paris
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    Lamborghini reveals Asterion LPI 910-4 hybrid hypercar concept
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Audi TT Sportback Concept evolves the five-door breed

Posted Oct 1st 2014 3:58PM

Audi TT Sportback Concept

One week after a leaked sketch ran on these very pages, Audi has introduced the latest member of a "potential TT family," according to Audi board member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. This is the TT Sportback Concept, a five-door, 400-horsepower version of the brand's stylish sports car and at this point, it looks darn likely to herald the debut of a third body style for Audi's design icon.

Unveiled at the expansive Volkswagen group night celebration ahead of the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the TT Sportback Concept is the most evolved version of a form factor that's seen a slow striptease throughout 2014, first with the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept in Detroit and, more recently, in the Offroad Concept from the Beijing Motor Show.

For Paris, the car being shown by Audi is absent traditional concept car traits like oversized wheels, miniscule mirrors and bizarre interior treatments, giving it a far more production ready appearance than either of the previous TT-based concepts. The exterior, meanwhile, is clearly reminiscent of the third-generation car (that roofline is pure TT), although there are a number of styling decisions that remind us of the compact A3, particularly in regards to the taillights.

This heavy production basis does not, we're guessing, extend to the engine bay, which is home to a 400-horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. That zesty powerplant and its 332 pound-feet of torque allows the TT Sportback to hit 62 miles per hour in a scant 3.9 seconds. A seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission manages this grunt, and shifts the 2.0T's power to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

We'll have much more on the TT Sportback Concept and everything else coming from the Volkswagen Group at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in the coming days. In the meantime, scroll down for the full press release from Audi, and check out the brand's newest concept car in the gallery, above.
Related GalleryAudi TT Sportback Concept
Audi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback Concept

News Source: Audi

Chevy Trax to start at $20,120*

Posted Oct 1st 2014 3:30PM

2015 Chevrolet Trax

The Chevrolet Trax is the slightly more meat-and-potatoes cousin to the Buick Encore, with the same platform and engine underneath but a touch less luxury. The little compact crossover is on its way to US dealers in January 2015, and Chevy is finally announcing the base price for this runabout CUV at $20,120 (*plus $875 for destination) when it goes on sale. That's around $4,000 less than a starter Encore before its destination fee.

For that money, buyers get a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, and EPA estimated fuel economy of 26 miles per gallon city and 34 mpg highway. Features like a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, rearview camera and keyless entry come standard, as well. Moving up through the LS, LT and LTZ trims adds even more kit. While the Trax might look fairly small on the outside, the rear seats and the front passenger seat all fold down for a maximum amount of space when needed.

In addition to that, all of the trims are offered with all-wheel drive for $1,500. Other available options include remote start and Chevy's OnStar 4G LTE system to act as a WiFi hotspot.

Chevy tells us it is holding a launch event for the Trax in December, so hopefully we'll be able to tell you how it drives before the New Year arrives. Scroll down for the company's full announcement of the price and options.

News Source: Chevrolet

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

Volkswagen XL Sport brings high-performance fuel-sipping to Paris

Posted Oct 1st 2014 3:00PM

Volkswagen XL Sport

Just over one year ago, we reported on rumors that Volkswagen was pairing with its then-new corporate cousin, Italian motorcycle maker Ducatti, to build a high-performance version of the XL1, a vehicle that we (actually, I) said would be a "firecracker," thanks to its super-low curb weight, slippery aerodynamics and alleged 190-horsepower engine. Now, only slightly late for its rumored Geneva Motor Show debut, VW is trotting out the so-called XL Sport to the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

Total output has jumped to 197 horsepower, thanks to the presence of a Ducatti 1199 Superleggera V-twin, which has been mated up to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. In addition to screaming its way to 11,000 rpm, the two-cylinder engine will help the XL Sport zip to 62 miles per hour in a brisk 5.8 seconds before reaching a top speed of 168 miles per hour.

168 mph is a lofty speed for a 200-hp vehicle, and it wouldn't be possible without VW's obsessive streamlining of the XL Sport's body.

That's a lofty speed for a 200-horsepower vehicle, and it wouldn't be possible without VW's obsessive streamlining of the XL Sport's body. Featuring a 0.258 coefficient of drag, it's not as efficient as the standard XL1's 0.189, thanks to the presence of wider tires, increased downforce and additional cooling ducts. Still, the XL is sleek enough for VW to claim the title of most aerodynamic sports car.

A pushrod rear suspension and forged magnesium wheels are just a few of the race-minded items underpinning the XL Sport, indicating that on top of being a quick little scamp, it should prove a capable dancer.

While Volkswagen is planning on building 250 XL1s, at this point there's no indication that the XL Sport will be sold to the public. We're guessing that question could depend on the public's reaction to the unique sportster when it makes its debut in the coming days at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

Scroll down for the full press release from Volkswagen, and then head into the gallery and take a closer look at the XL Sport.
Related GalleryVolkswagen XL Sport
Volkswagen XL SportVolkswagen XL SportVolkswagen XL SportVolkswagen XL SportVolkswagen XL SportVolkswagen XL SportVolkswagen XL SportVolkswagen XL Sport

News Source: Volkswagen

Lamborghini reveals Asterion LPI 910-4 hybrid hypercar concept

Posted Oct 1st 2014 2:32PM

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4

There are automakers that roll out concept cars regularly as a matter of course, and there are those that rarely do. Lamborghini falls squarely in the latter category, which makes the vehicle you see here - revealed just a day before the Paris Motor Show - such a rare treat.

It's called the Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4, and if you're familiar with Sant'Agata nomenclature, you're probably already picking apart its specs based on those letters and numbers: LP for longitudinal posterior, telling you this is, like all other contemporary Raging Bulls, a mid-engined supercar. 910 tells you how much metric horsepower it packs. The 4 tells you it's all-wheel drive. But along with the name Asterion, borrowed from a mythical minotaur (a hybrid man-bull, for those unschooled in Greek mythology), it's the letter I – standing for "Ibrido" – which speaks of the novelty of this concept.

That's right, you're looking at the first gasoline-electric hybrid Lamborghini. A plug-in hybrid, in fact, that can travel 31 miles on electricity alone. The powertrain combines the 5.2-liter V10 and seven-speed DSG from the Huracán (good for 610 metric horsepower) to a trio of electric motors (good for another 300) to bring total output up to a claimed 910 – equivalent to 897 hp by our standards - assuming all four motors are running at peak output at the same time. That makes it the most powerful Lamborghini we've ever seen, and puts it in league with the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari. The result is a 0-62 time quoted at three seconds flat and a top speed of 199 miles per hour, or up to 78 mph in pure electric mode.

That's right, you're looking at the first gasoline-electric hybrid Lamborghini.

Of course there's more to the Asterion than its powertrain, exceptional as it is. The striking form is pure Lambo, all sharp angles, intersecting lines and big vents. Closer to the softer Huracán than the pure visual aggression of the Aventador, the concept has a longer front deck vaguely reminiscent of the Miura. The interior, like those of every production Lambo since Urraco (and the LM002) is a pure two-seater, rendered in a decidedly lighter tan and brown but with all the requisite carbon-fiber trim. The doors open more out than up, something in between the Huracán's conventional portals and the Aventador's scissors, in a similar (but more aggressive) approach to the swan doors you'd find on an Aston Martin.

The big question, of course, is whether Lamborghini has any intention of building the Asterion, and any answer at this point would be pure speculation. But considering how much attention (and what big price tags) its rivals have garnered for their hybrid hypercars, and the capacity Lambo has created for producing small runs of rare machinery like the Veneno and Sesto Elemento, our reaction would likely be more delighted than shocked. Whether or not the Asterion itself ever reaches customer hands, though, you can bet that the hybrid powertrain eventually will, in some form or another.

News Source: Lamborghini

GM outlines strategy for new products, growth in China

Plans To Be Supported By 'Fortress Balance Sheet'

Posted Oct 1st 2014 2:30PM

GM CEO Mary Barra

"Our strategic plan is a pathway to earn customers for life and create significant shareholder value in the process." – Mary Barra

General Motors laid out ambitious plans on Wednesday to become the world's "most valued automotive company," a goal it says it can reach by strengthening its business in China, rebuilding the Cadillac luxury brand and fixing the foundering GM Europe operations.

The plan also calls for fewer product underpinnings, which will be shared globally in a bid to reduce costs and complexities, an injection of new products in the United States and an increased focus on emerging technologies like autonomous driving. In 2019, GM said almost half of its products will be new or significantly refreshed in the last 18 months, up from 27 percent next year.

The plan has been under development since CEO Mary Barra took over from Dan Akerson in January and is a blueprint for keeping the new, leaner GM profitable and in a position to react quickly to customers' needs.

"Our strategic plan is a pathway to earn customers for life and create significant shareholder value in the process," Barra said in a statement. "Every chance to connect with a customer is an opportunity to build a stronger relationship."

News Source: General Motors

Fiat observes Paris Fashion Week with 500 Couture special edition

Posted Oct 1st 2014 2:01PM

Fiat 500 Ron Arad Edition

The Paris Motor Show may be where the bulk of new cars will be presented this week in the French capital, but it's not the only place. Fiat has chosen the swank Champs Elysées to unveil a trio of special-edition Cinquecento models as part of Fashion Week.

The first in the 500 Couture line will be the Fiat 500 Ron Arad Edition, born out of a collaboration with the noted Israeli fashion designer. As you can see above, it features a metallic black paint job emblazoned with the silhouette of the original Cinquecento, showing just how much bigger the current 500 is than its progenitor. It also features a glass sunroof, chrome trim, white mirror caps, 16-inch alloys and a black interior with Poltrona Frau leather and all the fixin's.

The 500 Ron Arad edition is joined by the 500 Comics and 500 Camouflage show cars, the former with a vibrant yellow and black paint job and stitching graphics, the latter with a gray/green treatment with bright yellow mirror caps. See 'em all in the image gallery above.
Related GalleryFiat 500 Couture
Fiat 500 CoutureFiat 500 CoutureFiat 500 CoutureFiat 500 CoutureFiat 500 CoutureFiat 500 CoutureFiat 500 CoutureFiat 500 Couture

News Source: Fiat

Mercedes forced to lower MPG ratings on two C300 models *UPDATE

Posted Oct 1st 2014 1:28PM

2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic

*UPDATE: Donna Boland, manager of corporate communications at Mercedes Benz USA, told AutoblogGreen that the sticker change only applied to around 500 C-Class vehicles on dealer lots, since a new C-Class came out in late August. "About 500 are left in the United States, and we've relabeled them," she said.

First Hyundai, then Ford and now Mercedes-Benz. The list of companies that have had to change their vehicles' official EPA fuel economy ratings has just grown by one with the announcement that the 2013 and 2014 C300 4-Matic FFV and PZEV versions need to have their EPA labels adjusted.

The changes aren't massive, at most one mile per gallon.

The changes aren't massive, at most one mile per gallon, but they are lower than before. The FFV version goes from 20 to 19 mpg in the city while the PZEV drops one mpg across the board from 23/20/29 combined/city/highway) to 22/19/28. The FFV's combined (22) and highway (27) ratings stay the same. Other Mercedes vehicles that were spot checked turned out to have accurate labels.

The problem, which is reminiscent of the issues that Ford had with the Total Road Load Horsepower, was that "Mercedes underestimated the impact of aerodynamic drag and tire rolling resistance known as 'road-load,'" the EPA said in a statement you can read below. We have asked Mercedes for more information on the issue but have not yet heard back.

We're not sure how many vehicles the EPA is retesting (or asking to be retested), but the agency says that the C300 models were evaluated again by Mercedes "with EPA oversight" and the EPA did its own tests at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, MI. Christopher Grundler, the director of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said that the EPA knows that the changes are minimal, but that, "it is important that our oversight system is producing the correct results because even one MPG matters to consumers."

In case you need a primer in the recent history of companies adjusting their EPA numbers, check out this and this. Based on today's news, we won't be surprised to hear more changes are coming.
Related Gallery2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic
2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic

Corvette Z06 cracks 3-second 0-60, 1.2 g on skidpad

Quarter Mile Dispatched In 10.95 Seconds At 127 MPH

Posted Oct 1st 2014 1:00PM

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Ever since Chevy took the lid off, we knew the new Corvette Z06 would be fast. We just didn't know how fast, until now...

Hot off the presses, Chevrolet has now confirmed that the new Z06 will run from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds – 2.95 seconds, to be precise, when equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Stick with the standard seven-speed manual and you're looking at 3.2 seconds, which is still a few tenths quicker than the previous ZR1, which the new Z06 effectively replaces. It's awfully hard to verify such things, but this could very well be the first front-engine, rear-drive production car to crack the three-second barrier.

Impressed? Hold on, there's more: the Z06 will run the quarter-mile in 10.95 seconds with the automatic, 11.2 with the manual – either way reaching 127 mph by the end of the strip. It takes less than 100 feet (barely longer than a regulation basketball court) to stop from 60 mph, and will circle the skidpad at 1.2 g. (All the downforce that helps achieve that last figure, though, is expected to hamper the as-yet unquoted top speed.)

If you're wondering how all those elements add up, GM reports that the new Z06 is the fastest vehicle ever to lap its 2.9-mile road course at Milford, knocking a full second off the ZR1's previous record. Not too shabby for a vehicle costing less than $80k. Feel free to read all the official details below.

News Source: Chevrolet

Honda Civic Type R on track to smash 'Ring record, eclipse NSX

Posted Oct 1st 2014 12:31PM

Honda Civic Type R

Honda has made some serious performance machinery over the course of its history, but few products have been as hotly anticipated as the upcoming new Civic Type R. Following a deep and proud history of Type R Hondas, the latest Japanese hot hatch is continuing its long striptease at the Paris Motor Show this week. But before it does, Honda has released this video clip featuring project leader Suehiro Hasshi – and he has some bold claims to make.

For one, he says it'll be the best Type R yet – and that's quite a statement considering some of its predecessors, including the almighty NSX Type R. Hasshi-san also reiterates Honda's aim of snatching the front-drive lap record at the Nürburgring away from the likes of Renault and Seat, and reports that the Honda team is on track to chew every bit it's biting off. In short, the new Civic Type R ought to be sensational.

News Source: Honda via YouTube

2014 Renault Twingo [w/video]

The Rear-Engined Hatchback, However Improbable

Posted Oct 1st 2014 11:59AM

2014 Renault Twingo

In cars, as in all things, there exists a huge chasm between what is possible and what is probable. It may be possible, for example, that within a few years, we'll be zipping around town in hydrogen-powered, autonomous flying cars. But the likelihood is that we'll all be driving four-wheeled vehicles with internal combustion engines and our hands at ten and two for the foreseeable future – just as we have for generations. The same goes for the layout of those cars we drive.

It's possible for automakers to put the engine just about anywhere they want. And there are those that place them behind the cabin. But those are mostly exotics. The overwhelming probability is that the next car you buy – like the one before it, the one in which you were driven home from the hospital and every one in between – will have its engine up front.

That's what makes this new Renault Twingo so intriguing. While competitors like Volkswagen and Fiat succeeded their rear-engined hatchbacks with conventional front-engined ones, Renault has gone the opposite direction with its new Twingo, switching from a front-engine layout to a rear one. Think Porsche 911, only far, far more accessible. That is, at least, for European buyers, because Renault doesn't sell any of its models (Twingo included) in North America. So we boarded a flight for France to see if this new-old approach has merit.

Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 898cc I3
Power:
90 HP / 100 LB-FT
Transmission:
5-Speed Manual
Base Price:
10,800 euros
As-Tested Price:
15,700 euros

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Noah Joseph / AOL

Jaguar XE bares its claws in 74 images [w/video]

Posted Oct 1st 2014 11:28AM

2016 Jaguar XE Prestige

The XE may prove to be the most vital new model to Jaguar's expansion. But to date we've only really seen it in top-spec, supercharged XE S form. That ends right here and now, however, as Jaguar releases details, photos and even a brief video clip showing the entire range – including those most customers are bound to buy.

Globally speaking – or at least in its home market – Jaguar will offer the XE with five different engines and in four different trim levels. The new Ingenium engine family includes two diesels and two turbocharged gasoline options along with the top-of-the-line supercharged V6 that will serve as the XE's performance flagship model, at least until a new SVR version comes along. Both six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions are on offer, and overseas buyers will also be able to choose between base SE, mid-range Prestige, opulent Portfolio, dynamic R-Sport and range-topping S trim levels.

Of course not every engine is available in each trim level and with either transmission, so instead of 40 combinations we're looking at 22. Once the XE reaches American showrooms, we'll likely be looking at even fewer, as we're not expecting the manual and diesel versions to be offered Stateside. Stay tuned as well for our live impressions from the floor of the Paris Motor Show. But in the meantime you can scope out all the details and UK specifications in the press release below, along with the short video and the gallery of 74 high-resolution images above.
Related Gallery2016 Jaguar XE
2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE

News Source: Jaguar

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept previews a fullsize future of luxury

Posted Oct 1st 2014 11:03AM

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Infiniti Q80 InspirationWell, this certainly looks like a concept, doesn't it? From the wide, portal-esque door opeings to the boattail rear window design, there's just so much about the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration that looks like it would never actually reach production that we're impressed the automaker had the gumption to put the machine together and show it off at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

This marks the first time that Infiniti has shown any sort of real intent to enter into the rarefied air of the fullsize luxury sedan segment since the Q45, populated as it is by the likes of the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Those are extremely heavy hitters to market against, and Infiniti sounds anxious to throw its hat in the ring.

"We aim to do this with elegance, style, and emotion," says Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President, Product Strategy. "This car is making a statement. Q80 Inspiration is a precursor of a production model in this segment and, as such, integral to our future."

Infiniti says we should expect to see production powertrains within the next two years that use the kind of technology debuted in the Q80 Inspiration. A twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 engine is paired with one or more (details are scarce, sadly) electric motors to provide 550 horsepower and on-demand all-wheel drive. What's more, Infiniti is quoting 42.8 miles per gallon and CO2 emissions of about 129g/km for this concept, though we don't know how those figures are calculated or on what driving cycle. In any case, power and efficiency are always welcome.

The Q80 Inspiration previews a future fullsize luxury sedan from Infiniti.

Inside, Infiniti says it wanted to pack as much technology into the Q80 Inspiration as possible, without overcomplicating the driving experience. In addition to driver-activated autonomous capability, both the driver and passenger get innovative Head-Up Displays projected on the windshield, while rear-seat passengers each get their own touchscreen units. Leather and Alcantara appear to cover just about everything else.

We wouldn't expect all of the truly showstopping details to make it into production, but the overall flowing design ethos, along with what Infiniti is calling its human-centric take on high-tech interior and autonomous driving technology seem likely to join its turbocharged drivetrain buoyed by a brace of electric motors as likely additions to a future fullsize luxury sedan from Infiniti.

There's plenty more information to glean from the official press blast below, along with a full image gallery above. You know what

News Source: Infiniti

Hyundai Genesis gets stanced by Ark Performance for SEMA

Posted Oct 1st 2014 10:15AM

Hyundai Genesis Ark Performance SEMA Concept

Hyundai has yet another high-performance concept for the upcoming 2014 SEMA Show in November to join its 708-horsepower Sonata. For this one, Ark Performance is taking the Genesis Sedan and pumping up the output by supercharging its 5.0-liter V8, along with a mile-long list of other modifications to mix speed with added luxury.

Ark calls the tuner concept the AR550 in reference to taking the Genesis' standard 420 horsepower V8 and boosting it an extra 130 hp with a Rotrex supercharger to bring total output to 550 hp. The mill also benefits from a freer breathing intake and exhaust, new engine management and more.

All of that extra power would be nearly useless without upgrades elsewhere to handle it, and Ark has some big additions to include. The one-off rides on an air suspension system and stiffer front and rear sway bars. To bring things to a halt faster, larger brakes from Brembo replace the standard units.

To show off the additional performance aesthetically, Ark Performance also completely overhauls the exterior of the Genesis with its own bodykit and forged, bronze-colored wheels. The modifications include parts to widen the front and rear bumpers, including the fenders, a carbon fiber front splitter, new side skirts and a rear diffuser. Inside, the tuner wants to keep occupants comfy even while cruising at high speed with custom diamond-stitched seats and door panels from Katzkin.

According to the tuner, the whole package of the AR550 is supposed to imagine Hyundai's answer to the Bahnstorming executive sedans from AMG and the BMW M division. Scroll down to read the full release about it.

News Source: Hyundai

Cadillac to bolster CT sedans with XT crossovers

Posted Oct 1st 2014 10:15AM

Cadillac SRX

Cadillac is moving swiftly to change up its naming scheme. Barely over a week ago we received our first indication that it was considering a different name its the upcoming flagship sedan previously known as LTS. Then Cadillac not only revealed the model would be called CT6, but announced that it would set the stage with a massive overhaul of its model nomenclature. And now we have another piece of the puzzle.

According to Forbes, Cadillac will not only rename its sedans with the letters CT, but will realign its utility vehicles under the banner of XT – both to be followed by a number indicating its place in the lineup. The one exception will be the Escalade, whose nameplate has such a strong following that it would be foolish for Cadillac to cast it aside. That leaves only the SRX (pictured above), but makes room for a new crop of crossovers said to be in the works.

It's a similar approach which Cadillac's new boss Johan de Nysschen took in revising the naming scheme at Infiniti. While it's bound to ruffle some feathers and scratch some heads in the beginning – especially since the company's current flagship sedan is called XTS – it's equally sure to make sense of it all in the long run. All we need to know now is what Nysschen and his marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus plan to call the coupes.
Related Gallery2013 Cadillac SRX
2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX

News Source: Forbes

Image Credit: Cadillac

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