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    Volkswagen XL Sport brings Ducati power to Paris
  • Paris
    Toyota C-HR Concept is a high-riding hybrid hatch [w/videos]
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    Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 is silent but deadly [w/video]
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Behold the coolest yet most terrifying crash test video ever

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 12:21PM

Truck crash test

Whatever you may have to say about US foreign policy, the bottom line is that there are American embassies and consulates in places around the world that aren't necessarily friendly towards America. That's how we end up with State Department facilities in far-flung locations getting attacked. Some of those attacks can be thwarted through good intelligence, effective security and maybe an eagle-eyed sniper or two on the roof, but it takes something a bit more concrete to stop a speeding truck packed with explosives.

Enter the engineers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute who came up with the solution depicted in this video. They were tasked with developing a way of preventing the explosives on the back of a truck moving at 50 miles per hour from advancing towards an installation, and their simple but evidently highly effective solution involves a large metal pipe mounted in an untold volume of concrete. The video itself may be perfectly safe for work, but the words you're bound to scream at the moment of impact likely won't be. Watch what happens when unstoppable force meets immovable object.

News Source: The Texas Tribune via YouTube, Motor Authority

Volkswagen XL Sport brings Ducati power to Paris

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 11:59AM

Volkswagen XL Sport

The XL Sport is a tantalizing blend of lightweight technologies, extreme aerodynamic focus and high-performance punch.

One of the biggest deals at the 2014 Paris Motor Show is this, the Volkswagen XL Sport Concept. Boasting an engine donated by the wild Ducati 1199 Superleggera motorcycle and based on the limited edition, fuel-sipping XL1, the XL Sport is a tantalizing blend of lightweight technologies, extreme aerodynamic focus and high-performance punch.

While yesterday's news focused on the performance aspects of the XL Sport, including the 197-horsepower V-twin, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and slippery 0.258 drag coefficient, we're going to focus on the car's looks this time (mostly because we have some spiffy new live images), which in our eye, are exquisite.

The XL Sport maintains two of the XL1's most defining features: a wide, low shape and a kammback rear end. For performance duty, Volkswagen sacrificed the smooth body of the XL1 in order to fit large cooling ducts behind the rear doors, to better feed air into the Ducati engine.

The front end is more aggressive, with a prominent chin spoiler, while a significantly larger and wider wheel/tire package delivers additional grip and aesthetic appeal at the expense of aero efficiency. The door's character lines look more defined, likely to better feed air into the side-mounted intakes while a substantial rear spoiler helps keep the rear-end pinned at the XL Sport's 168-mile-per-hour top speed. Our team on the ground in Paris, meanwhile, reports that this concept's matte paint is a particular highlight of the low-slung VeeDub. We can't be certain, but we're pretty sure it's Sepang Blue, a matte shade found on the Audi R8.

Inside the cabin, a set of aluminum-alloy shift paddles have spawned from the back of the flat-bottomed steering wheel, while anodized accents, red contrast stitching and a digital instrument cluster round out the most significant interior upgrades.

Take a look up top for our complete round up of live images of the new XL Sport Concept direct from the floor of the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

News Source: Volkswagen

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed is totally torque-tastic

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 11:40AM

2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed

Eight hundred and eleven pound-feet of torque. Really, that's all you need to know about the 2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed. It's the same ultra-luxurious cruiser that we've enjoyed for a few years now, but the crew in Crewe has upgraded its engine to create absolutely astonishing performance.

The storied 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 has been massaged for the Mulsanne Speed to produce an equally impressive 530 horsepower (25 more than the standard model), but it's that 811 lb-ft of twist available from an ultra-low 1,750 rpm that makes this thing so worthy of its faster nomenclature. Hitting 60 miles per hour will take just 4.8 seconds (keep in mind, this thing weighs almost three tons), and the sedan will top out at 190 mph.

It's awesome, this Mulsanne. And we can't wait to twist some pavement when it launches this winter. Scroll down for more info in Bentley's press blast.

2015 Roush Mustang lineup officially revealed

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 11:19AM

Roush Mustang RS2

Just last week, Saleen revealed initial details of its tuning program for the new Ford Mustang. And now Roush is following suit.

Available in three stages – based on the V6 (RS), EcoBoost (RS1) and V8 (RS2) models – the 2015 Roush Mustangs all feature the venerable Ford tuner's latest R7 aero kit complete with remodeled fascia, five-blade grille, gaping air dam with integrated driving lamps and splitter. Around back there's a one-piece deck spoiler and "race-inspired lower aero-valance."

Stage 1 and Stage 2 models also get a quad-tip exhaust, and all versions are available with an enhanced suspension and 20-inch alloys. The cabin's been upgraded as well, but Roush has not as of yet released actual engine upgrades, leaving the 3.7-liter V6 with its stock 300 horsepower, the 2.3-liter turbo-four with 310 hp and the 5.0-liter V8 with 435 hp. Hopefully Jack Roush and company will have some horsepower-boosting changes to announce in the near future.

Related Gallery2015 Roush Mustang RS
2015 Roush Mustang RS2015 Roush Mustang RS2015 Roush Mustang RS2015 Roush Mustang RS2015 Roush Mustang RS2015 Roush Mustang RS2015 Roush Mustang RS2015 Roush Mustang RS

News Source: Roush

2015 Audi TTS Roadster opens up for all to see [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 11:01AM

2015 Audi TTS Roadster

The five-door Sportback concept may be garnering the lion's share of attention as far as the TT goes, but that's just for show. The more tangible news from Audi's stylish sports car range at the
this year is the Roadster.

Like its predecessors, the new Audi TT Roadster ditches the coupe's fixed roof and rear seats in favor of an open two-seat cockpit with a traditional folding fabric enclosure that's quieter and lighter than the previous TT's mechanism.

Mirroring the coupe version, Audi's latest convertible will initially be offered in three guises: with a 2.0-liter TDI or a 2.0-liter turbo four producing either 184 horsepower or 310 – the latter as the TTS Roadster you see here in all its glory, which will serve as the performance flagship of the range... at least until a new TT RS comes along. Check it out in our gallery above and in a walkaround video from the folks at Autoline below.

News Source: Audi via Autoline Network, YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Infiniti QX70 S Design goes dark in the City of Light

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 10:41AM

Infiniti QX70 S Design at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

As Infiniti continues its attempts at making inroads in the European market, it's showing off a sharper-looking version of its QX70 crossover. Much as it does in the US market, the CUV, formerly known as the FX, is adding an S Design trim.

The new trim pack adds plenty of dark chrome to the exterior of the fashion-forward QX70, with the stuff finding its way onto the grille, foglight surrounds and side grilles. While not dark chrome, the 21-inch alloys, mirror caps and roof rails are now painted black, while the headlights are smoked. Black lacquer trim, black leather and purple stitching stand out in the S Design's cabin.

Hop up top for our full gallery of live photos of Europe's new, dark-chrome-adorned QX70, and then head below for the original press release, issued by Infiniti earlier this month.
Related GalleryInfiniti QX70 S Design
Infiniti QX70 S DesignInfiniti QX70 S DesignInfiniti QX70 S DesignInfiniti QX70 S DesignInfiniti QX70 S DesignInfiniti QX70 S DesignInfiniti QX70 S DesignInfiniti QX70 S Design

News Source: Infiniti

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Honda HR-V Prototype looks awfully familiar

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 10:20AM

Honda HR-V Prototype at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

Is there anything quite so exciting as seeing a brand-new vehicle for the very first time? Part of the allure of auto shows is the chance to see new ideas, just before they're fully baked and ready for public consumption. "Prototypes" you might say, of production models that are just around the corner. Or, in the case of the Honda HR-V, already down the block a ways.

Here in Paris, Honda has unveiled its HR-V Prototype, a nearly production-ready version of a "new SUV for Europe." Before we take umbrage with that SUV designation – as far as we can tell the Fit-based crossover isn't much of a mudder – we should address the fact that at this year's New York Auto Show in April, Honda handed over just a few images and specs of the actually production-read HR-V for the US. Presumably this is a "prototype" for Europe, where the NYC car is US-specific, but we're still scratching our heads a bit.

No matter! Here in France, Honda tells us that the utile little hatch will be available powered by both a 1.5-liter gasoline engine (the one American customers will see), and a 1.6-liter diesel unit, both wearing the company's Earth Dreams Technology label and presumably running cleaner and more frugally than ever. In Europe, a standard six-speed manual will come with both mills, while the 1.5-liter will offer the option of a continuously variable transmission.

Inside, expect the same bigger-inside-than-outside magic that we've discussed with the standard Fit (or "Jazz" here in Paris) thanks to Honda's seriously flexible Magic Seat.

The HR-V will shed its prototype designation and go on sale in Europe next summer.
Related GalleryHonda HR-V Prototype
Honda HR-V PrototypeHonda HR-V PrototypeHonda HR-V PrototypeHonda HR-V PrototypeHonda HR-V PrototypeHonda HR-V PrototypeHonda HR-V PrototypeHonda HR-V Prototype

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Audi R8 LMX illuminates the City of Light with lasers

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 10:00AM

2014 Audi R8 LMX

Hard as it may seem to believe, the Audi R8 has been around for the better part of a decade. But does that make us love it any less? Hardly, especially not when Audi keeps rolling out ever-more enticing versions like the one you see here.

Debuting at the Paris Motor Show, the new Audi R8 LMX is the most powerful version of the supercar we've seen yet, thanks to a 5.2-liter V10 engine tuned to deliver 570 metric horsepower. That's 562 by our count, making it ten horses more potent than the R8 GT, or 37 more than the standard ten-cylinder R8 5.2 FSI – enough to propel the LMX to 62 in 3.4 seconds.

That's not all that sets the LMX apart, however, as Audi has fit it with cutting-edge laser-beam headlights. It comes exclusively as a coupe in Ara Blue with carbon fiber trim, special wheels, red brake calipers and a black leather cockpit. Only 99 examples will be made, and with those laser headlights banned in the US, your best chance of seeing one is in the gallery of live images above.

Watch Dale Earnhardt Jr. review a Chevy Spark

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 9:39AM

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Chevy Spark Review

As a NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., gets to be a spokesman for many, many things. His team's sponsors range from eBay, to Hellman's Mayonnaise, to Wrangler clothing, to Mountain Dew. The number 88's biggest sponsor, though, is Chevrolet.

So, when we hear that Junior is going to "review" a Chevrolet Spark, you can forgive us for raising an eyebrow. This video comes from one of the #88 car's most visible sponsors – Kelley Blue Book – and sees the wildly popular driver sample the brand's smallest offering, delivering praise and smiles through gritted teeth.

It's kind of terrible. Take a look and see what we mean.

News Source: Kelley Blue Book via YouTube

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid electrifies France

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 9:21AM

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Which automaker offers the greatest variety of plug-in hybrids? Nope, it's not Toyota. Not GM either. It's not Ford, not Honda and not BMW. Believe it or not, it's Porsche. And this is its latest, presented at the Paris Motor Show.

The new Cayenne S E-Hybrid joins the Panamera S E-Hybrid and the 918 Spyder in Porsche's growing hybrid lineup that will, at this rate, probably bring in gasoline-electric versions of the 911, Boxster, Cayman and Macan too. It's based on the recently updated Cayenne, but stands out from the rest thanks to the combination of its supercharged 3.0-liter V6, eight-speed automatic transmission, 95-horsepower electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.

That's more power than the previous Cayenne S Hybrid, and can also be topped off directly from the mains. Which may not have seemed very Porsche just a dozen years ago – especially in crossover form – but somehow seems highly characteristic by now.

News Source: Porsche

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Audi TT Sportback Concept rounds out an icon

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 9:01AM

Audi TT Sportback Concept

That German automakers seem singularly fixated on filling any white space between their models isn't new – the last decade-plus has seen their showrooms overflowing with niche models, some of which seemingly occupy sub-genres of sub-genres. To our eyes, there's often diminishing aesthetic and utilitarian returns to go along with the heightened price tags that accompany these models, but we're beginning to think Audi is tackling its personal diversity initiative best. Unlike the often heavy-handed designs from rivals (we're looking at you, BMW), Ingolstadt seems to be doing doing a more graceful job of carving out models between models. The latest proof of this is the TT Sportback Concept, just unveiled here at the Paris Motor Show.

After showing off its Allroad Shooting Brake Concept in Detroit and, more recently, in the Offroad Concept in Beijing amidst rumors of the TT sports car platform expanding into an entire family, we're not surprised to see this more utilitarian five-door hatchback showcar here in France. This, despite the fact that Audi already counts similarly proportioned A5 Sportback and A7 Sportback models in its lineup.

Of the TT line extension concepts, this Sportback certainly looks the most production ready, with a bare minimum of showcar tinsel masking realistic proportions and detailing. We think it's quite handsome from stem to stern, even if it's a bit familiar looking. The design incorporates Audi's trademark big-grille look with the TT's prominent arched roofline and heavily radiused fenders, along with a rear lighting graphic that subtly echoes the A3. Despite its leggy looks, the TT Sportback Concept is surprisingly compact, spanning less than a foot longer overall than the production 2016 TT despite its 4.7-inch longer wheelbase and extra set of doors. Those sleek looks come at least partially as the result of an overall height that sits 1.2 inches lower than the TT coupe.

The gutsy 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder underhood punches out 400 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque through a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox and Audi's trademark Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Audi claims that the powertrain combination will go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds, which sounds an awful lot like RS-level performance to us.

News Source: Audi

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Tesla spies something that begins with the letter D

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 8:40AM

Tesla D teaser

Lest there be any doubt to the contrary, Tesla is a company on the move. Following the sensational Tesla Roadster, the Model S is now humming down roads across the country and around the world. And there's more to come: the entry-level Model 3, the upcoming Model X crossover... and something else. Two somethings, to be precise, going by this latest, cryptic tweet from Tesla chief Elon Musk.

The image enclosed appears to show the front of a Model S peering out from under a partially open garage door emblazoned with the letter D. Just what that letter stands for, we don't know. Usually we'd guess it stood for "diesel," but given that Teslas are powered purely by electricity, that'd probably be viewed as a backwards step. Drive? Possibly, if Tesla has an all-wheel-drive sedan in the works (which is does).

Whatever it is, we'll have to wait until October 9 before Tesla reveals the full thing. At that point it will also reveal "something else," though it's given even less indication as to what that might be. The Model 3? Production-ready Model X? A new Roadster? We'll find out in a week's time.

News Source: Elon Musk via Twitter

Mitsubishi recalling i-MiEV models for brake problem

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 8:20AM

Mitsubishi I-Miev

Mitsubishi is issuing a recall for the 2010-2014 i-MiEV that affects 1,810 units of the little electric car, because it's possible for the brake vacuum pump to stop working. If this happens, the result would be longer stopping distances, according to the company. The affected models were built between September 15, 2009, and March 25, 2014.

While this is just a single recall, there are actually two things that can cause this brake problem on the i-MiEV, according to Mitsubishi's filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. First, bad programming in the EV-ECU could cause the system to "falsely judge that the relay contact point is stuck," according to the full NHTSA defect notice PDF. Second, the vacuum pump exhaust hole could be corroded and blocked due to being splashed with road salt. However, the company says that if either fault happens, the brake warning lamp would illuminate, and there would be an audible alarm.

Depending on which issue is affecting an owner's i-MiEV, Mitsubishi is going to reprogram the software, replace the pump or both. Scroll down to read the recall report from NHTSA.
Related GalleryMitsubishi i-MiEV
Mitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEV

News Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, [2]

Image Credit: Mitsubishi

2015 Mini Hardtop 5-Door isn't for the country, man [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 8:01AM

2015 Mini Hardtop 5 Door

We've seen it in super high-res glory, and we can even build one on the automaker's website, but the Paris Motor Show marks the official coming out party for the new Mini Hardtop 4 Door (which is what it's called in the US, despite this Euro car having "5 Door" badging). It's a stretched version of the third-generation Mini Hardtop, but with an extra set of doors for rear seat passengers. Think of it as a more useful Clubman, but with a lower ride height and less rugged-ness than the Countryman. Got it? Good.

Engine options carry over from the normal Mini Hardtop range, with a 1.5-liter turbo-three and a 2.0-liter turbo-four offering 134 and 189 horsepower, respectively. The rest of the car is everything else you know and love from the Mini range, just with a more spacious rear bench. And as you'd expect, there's a nearly endless pallet of customization options.

The Hardtop 4 Door arrives at US dealerships just before the end of the year, commanding a roughly $1,000 premium over its three-door kin. Scope out our new live shots in the gallery above, and take in the extensive press blast, below.
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