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Such Sweet Sorrow: Cadillac's CTS-V gets an Irish wake

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    Translogic 164: Driving the fuel cell vehicles of the 2014 LA Auto Show
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Nissan will build just 45 examples of this 45th Anniversary GT-R

Posted Nov 26th 2014 7:00PM

Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Edition

It's been 45 years since the release of the original Nissan Skyline GT-R, so to celebrate, the Japanese automaker has announced this special commemorative edition.

Based on the newly updated 2015 Nissan GT-R in Premium trim, the 45th Anniversary edition is done up in a unique shade called Silica Brass – the same color as the legendary R34-gen 2001 Skyline GT-R M-Spec. It also comes with the requisite special badging inside and under the hood, but unfortunately, that's about the extent of the special touches applied to this celebratory model.

Nissan will only make 45 highly symbolic examples of this special edition, each to be sold on a strictly first-come, first-served basis. And unfortunately they'll be restricted to the Japanese market, where they'll each command a sticker price of 10,787,040 yen – equivalent to about $91,700 at today's rates, which is already a good ten grand less than what you'd pay for a standard GT-R in the US, anyway.

News Source: Nissan

Audi following Tesla with 280-mile EV family car

Posted Nov 26th 2014 6:30PM

The Audi R8 etron at the Silvretta Rally, front three-quarter view.

The press days are finished at the LA Auto Show, but things said there are still making news. While in California, Audi technical development chief Ulrich Hackenberg told reporters that his employer plans to release an electric car with a range of 280 miles "around 2017." Hackenberg wouldn't say what kind of car - or crossover, perhaps - it will be, but one report said it would be "a large car, fitting five large people with ample luggage space." Most observers expect it to be a sedan to take on the Tesla Model S.

It's no secret that Audi respects Tesla, and there have been hints that The House of Quattro is ready to really flex its progress-through-technology muscles in Tesla's direction. Audi will be applying lessons learned in the development of the coming R8 E-tron to the future electric car, after it managed to double the range of the electric sports car thanks to new battery technology to 450 kilometers, or 281 miles.

This puts another tentative all-electric Audi in the mix and another Tesla competitor, after rumors of a possible electric Q8 from February of this year. If an electric Q8 does happen, it's expected to be a challenger to the Tesla Model X. And that might not be all: Bloomberg reported in June that Audi had "devised blueprints for several high-performance electric saloons and sport-utility vehicles."

News Source: AutoExpress

Honda builds 300-millionth motorcycle, it's a Gold Wing

Posted Nov 26th 2014 5:45PM



Honda has been selling motorcycles in Japan since 1949. And it's been selling bikes to US customers since John Travolta had a paper route. Combine all those years, huge markets and great products, and apparently the number you come up with is 300,000,000. Wowza.

Starting with the iconic 98-cc Dream Type-D you see above, Honda announced that it has built its 300-millionth motorcycle this month. The company currently sells all manner of powersports goodness, of course – ATVs, side-by-sides and two-wheelers – at 32 facilities in 22 countries.

Honda motorcycles took our country by storm in the 1960s, taking the title as the best-selling bike brand in the world during that decade, largely on the back of the Honda 50 or "Super Cub" bike. Honda's success in the '60s also helped to justify the establishment its first manufacturing footprint in North America, in Marysville, OH in 1979.

The company mentions, in the press release you'll find below, that lucky number 300 million was a Gold Wing produced at the Kumamoto factory in Japan. We're celebrating that tidbit with a heaping helping of historic Gold Wing photography, in the gallery of Honda bikes, above.

Image Credit: Honda

Innovative dad creates dangerously impressive motocross swing

Posted Nov 26th 2014 4:58PM

Feast your eyes on the motoswing

You can make a swing out of just about anything: chain, rope, a plank of wood, even an old tire. But what if that tire is still attached to a motorized vehicle?

That's the question one enthusiastic father set out to answer when he hooked up a dirtbike to a rope and up to a tree in Burrillville, RI – a small town of 16,000 or so on the outskirts of Providence. His answer may not be the smartest or the most responsible, but it sure looks like fun. Let's just hope he doesn't let the kids play on it, because this strikes us as one of those things that's just bound to end with a trip to the emergency room.

News Source: yosip1115 via YouTube

Tesla in talks with BMW about batteries, charging collaborations

Posted Nov 26th 2014 4:28PM

Tesla Motor's New EV unveiled

With Toyota and Daimler no longer holding Tesla shares, the electric vehicle company might be looking for a new partner – possibly a Bavarian one. In a new interview with Germany's Der Spiegel, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that he has had talks with BMW execs about future collaboration.

"We are talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations," Musk said in the interview, according to Reuters. However, a Tesla spokesperson has tempered things by saying no formal agreements are in place at the moment.

In the same interview, Musk reportedly praised BMW's use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic in its i sub-brand offerings, and said he would like to have a battery factory in Germany in the next five or six years.

The possibility of technological cooperation between Tesla and BMW has been a hot topic this year. In June, Musk reportedly met with BMW execs, and the two companies were also rumored to have met with Nissan to discuss charging technology. When Daimler sold off its shares, there was talk of it opening the way for possible collaboration between the two automakers, as well.

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP Photo

Lexus RX replacement to debut in Detroit?

Posted Nov 26th 2014 3:59PM

2013 Lexus RX

The 2015 Detroit Auto Show is shaping up to be a big one for Lexus, with Group Vice President Jeff Bracken confirming to Ward's Auto that the Japanese luxury marque will have at least one, and possibly two, all-new-model introductions.

Ward's seems to think that one of those vehicles will be the new RX crossover, one of the brand's most popular (and oldest) offerings. The complete and utter lack of spy photos of the new RX doesn't necessarily support Ward's argument, although if the new CUV ends up being based on the JDM Toyota Harrier, as previously reported, the absence of camouflaged images might make some sense.

As for that other vehicle, it's hard to say what we might see. Were we to put our money on it, though, the long-awaited GS F would be a strong contender for a Detroit debut. The high-performance challenger to the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG has been spotted almost completely undisguised as recently as October. On top of that, Detroit's reputation as a performance-focused show (last year's show saw debuts of the Ford Mustang, BMW M3 and M4, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Volkswagen Golf R and Porsche 911 Targa) makes the GS F's appearance there a fair bet.

One thing we can count on at least hearing about when Detroit rolls around is Lexus' strong sales position. The company's 2014 sales should crest 305,000 units by the end of the year, marking the first time the company had passed the 300,000-unit mark since 2007. Bracken told Ward's that should be an easy task, particularly with the brand's "best month of the year," December, still to come.
Related Gallery2013 Lexus RX350
2013 Lexus RX3502013 Lexus RX3502013 Lexus RX3502013 Lexus RX3502013 Lexus RX3502013 Lexus RX3502013 Lexus RX3502013 Lexus RX350

News Source: Ward's Auto

Image Credit: Lexus, CarPix

Mini phasing out Coupe, Roadster next year

Posted Nov 26th 2014 3:30PM

2012 Mini Cooper Coupe

With its previous generation, Mini went for a maximalist strategy, expanding its lineup to include seven derivatives. But with the new generation, BMW's retro Anglo-Saxon brand is shifting gears to a "superhero strategy" focusing on core models with volume sales potential rather than small niches.

That, according to the latest reports, will spell the end of the Coupe and Roadster models introduced in the outgoing generation. Speaking with AutoGuide at the LA Auto Show last week, Mini USA product planning chief Patrick McKenna confirmed that both the two-seat models "will actually go out of production next year" and that "they've run their life cycle."

Though we've yet to receive word on the future of the Paceman, we wouldn't hold our breath for its long-term prospects either. Under the new strategy, Mini is expected to focus more on models like the base Hardtop (now available with three or five doors) and the Countryman – which, between the two of them, account for roughly 75 percent of Mini sales, the other models slicing up the remaining quarter of the pie.

Will you miss them? Will these short-lived Minis become future collectibles, or will they be soon forgotten? Have your say in Comments.
Related Gallery2012 Mini Cooper Coupe
2012 Mini Cooper Coupe2012 Mini Cooper Coupe2012 Mini Cooper Coupe2012 Mini Cooper Coupe2012 Mini Cooper Coupe2012 Mini Cooper Coupe2012 Mini Cooper Coupe2012 Mini Cooper Coupe

News Source: AutoGuide

Ken Box 2 is cardboard drifting greatness

Posted Nov 26th 2014 2:58PM

Ken Box Gymkhana  2

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Ken Block must spend a lot of time blushing. At this point, the videos online that parody or take inspiration from the drifter's Gymkhana series vastly outnumber his authentic output. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, as some of the clips are nearly as good as the original in their own way. Case in point: last year's Ken Box Gymkhana had a guy on a Razor Crazy Cart covered in a cardboard box with dubbed-in sound drifting through a warehouse. It made the little vehicles look like a ton of fun to drive, and the team has returned for a sequel to take the stunts even further.

This time, Box is back on his Crazy Cart, but the setting moves outdoors to a shipping yard full of containers and other obstacles to drift around. The driver makes full use of the cart's handbrake and caster wheels for the stunts, and some of them look pretty dangerous this time, including one that involves a moving truck. The real Ken Block has been doing some crazy things of is own as of late, flinging his crazy custom Ford Mustang restomod around Los Angeles. Now, check out this video to see the fun possible for a fraction of that power and investment.

News Source: Crazy Cart TV via YouTube

Nissan teases next-gen Titan in 'Truckumentary'

Posted Nov 26th 2014 2:31PM

Nissan Titan Truckumentary

The Nissan Titan has grown long in the tooth over its decade on the market, especially against major competitors on the truck scene like the latest Ford F-150. Not for long, though, because the next-generation Titan is expected to debut at the upcoming auto show in Detroit in January.

Ahead of that big unveiling, the Japanese brand is launching what it calls the Nissan Titan Truckumentary, a series of videos delving into what it takes to engineer a fullsize pickup. The first teaser clip is already online and shows the next-gen Titan wearing camouflage amidst engineering snippets. Hopefully, future releases starting in mid-December will give an even better look.

Until now, Nissan has kept Titan development a guarded secret, but it did reveal that a 5.0-liter diesel V8 from Cummins with claims of over-300 horsepower and around 550 pound-feet of torque will be part of the powertrain range. The truck was has also been rumored to offer a wider range of models than before, including the possibility of a regular cab version and a V6 engine option. Earlier spy shots have given an even clearer view than this video, showing a pickup with headlights pushed out to the corners.

Check out the video above to hear what Nissan engineers have to say about developing the new Titan, and read below for the automaker's announcement of the Truckumentary series.

News Source: Nissan, Nissan Newsroom via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright KGP Photography

Renault-Nissan has sold 200,000 EVs, claims 58 percent global share

Posted Nov 26th 2014 1:56PM

Renault ev concepts

The all-electric Renault Zoe sold 10,000 units during its first year on sale and the French automaker has sold a total of about 51,500 EVs since starting sales of its four-vehicle EV lineup in 2011. Renault's collection also includes the Twizy two-seater, the Fluence sedan and the Kangoo van – just look at the awesome concepts from 2009 in the gallery above. Throw in the fact that the Nissan Leaf has sold around 150,000 around the world and some sales of the e-NV200 delivery van, and we get to a banner headline for the Renault-Nissan Alliance: the companies have sold over 200,000 EVs since the Leaf went at sale in the end of 2010.

The Alliance announced it crossed the 100,000 EV sales mark in July 2013, so we can calculate that the two companies are selling roughly 6,250 EVs a month, with the Leaf making up the bulk of that figure (the car is averaging around 3,000 units a month in the US alone). Nissan says that Leaf has cumulatively sold around 67,000 Leafs in the US, 46,500 in Japan and 31,000 in Europe.

The 6,250 sales per month is a rough estimate, since the Alliance says its sales are up 20 percent this year compared to last. Still, all told, Renault-Nissan claims it has 58 percent of the global market share for EVs, and its battery-powered vehicles have driven four billion kilometers (2.48-billion miles), which has prevented 450 million kilograms of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Who wants to bet when the 300,000 threshold will be crossed?

News Source: Renault-Nissan Alliance

Subaru launches STI-tuned Forester tS in Japan

Posted Nov 26th 2014 1:29PM

Subaru Forester tS

Subaru Forester tSSubaru Tecnica International, better known by its initials, STI, has finally unveiled its work at tuning the Forester into a higher performance machine. Unfortunately while tweaks to the suspension and styling are plentiful, it's not clear how much acceleration is going to improve from just a few minor upgrades to the powertrain.

All of the tS models come with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable transmission. STI fits new software to control the engine and gearbox, plus a cooler for the CVT, but Subaru doesn't say what effect this has on overall performance. The Sport Sharp driving mode has also been also retuned in the SI-Drive system.

However, the Forester tS should definitely be a better handler with a 0.6-inch (15-mm) drop for the suspension and STI parts for the strut tower brace and rear subframe support. The upgrade to forged 19-inch wheels from BBS and commensurately larger tires should help the CUV stick to the road better, too, and Brembo ventilated brake discs front and rear can bring things to a halt.

On the outside, the Forester tS wears some subtle updates with a cherry-red pinstripe running around the front grille and rear bumper. STI also fits a new front and rear spoiler, plus black mirrors provide a little contrast on each side. Inside, there are some new seats up front with a mix of black leather and Ultrasuede with red stitching and matching door panels.

We were hoping Subaru might let STI go wild on the Forester to create a higher-riding take on the WRX STI, but that didn't happen. The tS goes on sale in Japan on November 25 and is limited to just 300 units. Prices ring up at 4,027,778 yen before the country's consumption tax ($34,170). Scroll down for all the details about this hotted-up crossover.

News Source: Subaru

Translogic 164: Driving the fuel cell vehicles of the 2014 LA Auto Show

We Get An Early Steer Of The Toyota Mirai, Volkswagen Passat HyMotion And Audi A7 H-Tron

Posted Nov 26th 2014 12:45PM

Toyota Mirai

The LA Auto Show is known for its environmentally friendly vehicle debuts. At last year's show, hydrogen fuel cell concepts from Honda and Toyota joined a lease-ready Hyundai Tuscan FCEV to cast a green hue over the convention center. This year, automakers took us a step closer to a fuel cell future by offering drives of their hydrogen-electric hybrids.

Translogic host Jonathon Buckley takes a ride in the Toyota Mirai, which is headed for production in 2016. He follows that with a spin in the Volkswagen Passat HyMotion and the Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro concept. Which of these fuel cell vehicles holds the most promise? Tune in to find out.

Such Sweet Sorrow: Cadillac's CTS-V gets an Irish wake

We Join GM At COTA To Give Its Performance Hero A Worthy Sendoff

Posted Nov 26th 2014 11:58AM

Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The honkin', stonkin' second-generation CTS-V, powered by Cadillac's brawny supercharged 6.2-liter V8 has been a very good thing. And now that the 500 final coupes – the only CTS-Vs designated 2015 models – have been built (just five remain unsold as of this writing), it is indeed a good thing that's come to an end.

But Cadillac is not letting 2009–2015 CTS-V go gently into that good night, even as its replacement is poised to debut in just in just two months at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Instead, Cadillac invited us to Austin's Circuit of the Americas racetrack for what it called an "Irish wake" for the model that has proven to be one of the quickest and most charismatic models in General Motors' history.

If you don't know what an Irish wake is, if you envision storytelling, songs, debauchery and more than a little liquor, you'll be in the ballpark. In this case, though, adrenaline substituted in for the booze, with squealing tires and shrieking V8s providing the singing. The debauchery took the form of an all-you-can-drive lapping of COTA in all three bodystyles – coupe, sedan and wagon – and the stories were told by the grins plastered on our faces all day.

Vital Stats

Engine:
SC 6.2L V8
Power:
556 HP / 551 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
Base Price:
$64,900

News Source: Copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL

Next VW GTI to get 10-speed dual-clutch gearbox

Posted Nov 26th 2014 11:31AM

VW Golf GTI

Following on Volkswagen's official announcement that it was working on a ten-speed, dual-clutch transmission, Auto Express has it on "good authority" that the new transmission will end up in the next GTI, GTD and Golf R. The brand's current seven-speed will be retained for lesser eight-generation Golfs.

While the new gearbox won't be limited to just the higher-end Golf range, the new hatchback, expected in 2017, will be the first to get it, Auto Express reports. The new DSG is the same size as the Volkswagen Group's seven-speed dual-clutch, and will easily fit into VAG's MQB platform, so we should expect it to filter into the rest of the Group's vehicles, much like the seven-speed 'box has.

The ten-speed is likely to see applications beyond even the small cars of the MQB platform. The gearbox can handle 405 pound-feet of torque, according to AE, making its application in larger offerings such as the gas-powered MLB cars and crossovers a likelihood.

Beyond the new gearbox, Volkswagen is also toying with mild-hybrid tech for the standard Golf and better batteries for the e-Golf. As we said, expect the new Golf to arrive in European markets in 2017, with the current Euro-market Golf getting updated next year. As for the US, we wouldn't be surprised if VW followed the trail blazed by the Mark 7, with a North American arrival for the eight-gem Golf slated for a year or so after sales in Europe begin.

News Source: Auto Express via PaulTan.org

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

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