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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]

  • First Drive
    2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]
  • Featured
    2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video]
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    How Hollywood furthered our automotive obsession [w/videos]
  • Official
    2015 Ford F-150 specs revealed, EcoBoost 2.7L to make 325 hp and 375 lb-ft [w/video]
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NC Modified race takes notes from pro wrestling

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 4:58PM

North Carolina Modified demolition derby

Few things make racing more exciting than a good rivalry. Whether it's watching Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton go at it in Formula One or tradin' paint in NASCAR, a good fued adds an extra dash of excitement to already tight competition. However, two drivers in a Modified division race in North Carolina might have taken things too far when they turned a short track oval into a demolition derby. The crowd absolutely loved it, though.

Ironically enough, the melee happened during what the Bowman Gray Stadium billed as the Night of Destruction with monster trucks and a demolition derby also on the docket for the evening, but these two drivers gave the crowd even more wreckage than they paid for. According to the track's press release, which you can read below, the #83 car led for the majority of the race. As the laps ticked down, the #1 car in second place made its move, but it spun the #83 in the process. In retaliation, the driver waited just off track for his rival to come back around and then exacted revenge.

In the aftermath, both men were docked points by NASCAR and put on probation – a seemingly light punishment for using a car as a weapon. Now that you have the backstory, scroll down and watch the insanity unfold.

News Source: Bowman Gray Racing [1], [2], roxxxtar74 via YouTube, Jalopnik

Audi and Porsche squabble over future product platforms

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 4:31PM

Audi R8: Spy Shots

In the buildup to the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi delivered an amusing video that worked on the playful rivalry between the German brand and its favorite frenemy, Porsche. We called it sibling rivalry, and at the time, it may have been just that. But just like sibling rivalries, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and that's just what seems to be about to happen in the formerly peaceful Volkswagen Group family.

A new report from Automobile calls out the growing animosity between Porsche, who is backed up by Bentley, and Audi, whose primary ally is Lamborghini. No blows have actually been thrown, although there is a fair amount of "he said, she said" going on.

As Porsche tells it, for example, the new global fullsize SUV architecture being developed by Audi isn't up to snuff, citing size and structure issues, as well as an inability to accommodate a wide variety of engines.

Audi and Lamborghini, meanwhile, are less than thrilled with the work that Porsche has done on the replacements for the next-next-generation R8 and Huracán, neither of which is due until early next decade. According to Automobile, the new platform probably won't be too kind to the various six-, eight- and 10-cylinder engines used by Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini.

More troubling than the "he said, she said," though, is the one-upmanship and competitiveness that's developing. Both Audi and Porsche are developing a luxury car platform, burning through some $4 billion of mom and dad's (Volkswagen's) money in the process.

Naturally, Porsche seems to think its modular standard platform (MSB), which is slated for the Panamera, would also do well in the Audi A6, A7 and A8. Audi, meanwhile, is happy building its own platform for the three largest cars in its portfolio. It's that sort of stunning inefficiency that can doom manufacturers, and it's certainly not something we'd expect from the Germans.

"If we don't call the shots here at HQ, Audi and Porsche will never get their acts together. What these guys fail to understand is that they have to cooperate, not fight each other. We need to prevent individual sports car architectures and excessive proliferation, and to make Porsche's MSB mandatory for both brands," an anonymous chief strategist for VW told Automobile. "Audi and Porsche must stop fighting over architectures and concentrate on diversification by content. It's as simple as that. And as difficult."

News Source: Automobile

Image Credit: CarPix

Subaru facing class-action suit over excess oil use

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 4:01PM

2013 Subaru Outback

A recently filed lawsuit in federal court against Subaru of America and its parent Fuji Heavy Industries claims that several recent models burn an excessive amount of oil. The case, which is seeking class-action status, covers examples of the 2011-2014 Forester, 2013 Legacy and 2013 Outback with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and the 2012-2013 Impreza and 2013 XV Crosstrek with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

The suit alleges that Subaru knew about the excessive oil consumption but didn't fix the problem, according to USA Today. It contends that owners have to spend an unreasonable amount of money to keep these models topped up with Texas tea, and that the people represented wouldn't have bought the vehicle if they had known that this could happen.

As proof of Subaru's knowledge of excessive oil use, the lawsuit cites four technical service bulletins from the company telling dealers about the issue, although, that would seem to partially invalidate the claim that the automaker hasn't attempted to fix things. The case was filed on behalf of two men, one with a 2014 Forester and the other with a 2013 Outback. "Following an extensive investigation, we now look forward to litigating the case," said Matthew Schelkopf, an attorney for the plaintiffs, to USA Today.

Autoblog reached out to Subaru of America for its response. "We're aware of the suit. We believe the oil use in our vehicles is in acceptable levels. We have worked with customers on this issue," said company spokesperson Michael McHale.
Related Gallery2013 Subaru Outback
2013 Subaru Outback2013 Subaru Outback2013 Subaru Outback2013 Subaru Outback2013 Subaru Outback2013 Subaru Outback2013 Subaru Outback2013 Subaru Outback

News Source: USA Today

Image Credit: Subaru

First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 3:33PM

Forza Horizon 2 Car List

With its September 30 release date just over two months away, Turn 10 Studios has slowly started releasing the car list for Forza Horizon 2, the sequel to 2012's Forza Horizon.

While the final list will be on the smaller side, with just over 200 vehicles, as per usual, those that were selected are decidedly different from your average sports car. We've included the entire list below, in the press release, but we thought you'd like to see some of the highlights right here.

First, there are a number of new entries to the Forza universe, led by the 1973 Renault Alpine A110 and the 1954 Jaguar XK120. Both of these sportsters should prove excellent companions on the scenic European roads of FH2. They're also joined by freshman entries like the 2013 Vauxhall Corsa VXR, as well as a few funkier and more interesting vehicles, like the 1963 Volkswagen Type 2 and the venerable Willys MB.

As for the main, 100-car list, the vast majority are offered in Forza Motorsport 5, although for the first time, many are offered as standard rather than downloadable extras. Cars like the Audi RS2 Avant, Abarth Fiat 131, Jaguar D-Type and the Lotus Eleven are included as standard vehicles. They're joined by cars that originally launched with FM5, like the 1994 Mazda MX-5, 1997 BMW M3, and Audi R8 V10 plus.

Scroll below for the full volley of details on the initial 100 cars. Forza Horizon 2 will hit shelves on September 30, exclusively for gamers on the Xbox One.

News Source: Turn 10 Studios

2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video]

Hitching A Ride In Morocco's Grueling All-Female Off-Road Rally

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 3:01PM

Ping Land Rover Range Rover - 2014 Gazelles rally participant

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come.

In case you missed it, be sure to read Part 1, here.

We stood in the north Saharan desert in Mech Irdane, Morocco under a high sun at 7:00 AM. The all-women's navigation challenge known as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles was only two days old, and in spite of a cool morning, it was already clear we'd need to make peace with a grueling desert captivity. The desert has no friends.

Part 1 tells the unintentionally intense story of our arrival in Mech Irdane and how we ended up in a broiling nowhere, with 320 women engaged in a colossal game of Capture the Flag. The abstract is that for eight days in March, the 24-year-old rally puts 160 teams of two women apiece in four classes of vehicles, charged with finding 60 flags hidden somewhere in 10,000 square miles of desert, navigating with 55-year-old maps using nothing more complex than a compass and a plotter. It's not a race for time but one for distance – the winner is the team that finds the most flags having driving the shortest distance possible over those eight days. Each team has paid $18,540 to enter. The winning team gets a medal. There are no other official prizes.

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come. Today, we had to get through the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL, Nicole Dreon

Tesla halts production to prep for Model X

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 2:15PM

Tesla Model X

That darling of the electric car world, Tesla, is idling production at its factory in Fremont, CA, for the first time in order to expand the factory in preparation for its future Model X crossover. The $100-million renovation will add 25 robots and upgrades to the body shop and assembly line to support the new vehicle.

Since it will be offering two models simultaneously, Tesla will need to be able to keep up with the pace of demand. "This represents the single biggest investment in the plant since we really started operations and enables us for higher volumes," said Tesla spokesperson Simon Sproule to Bloomberg. The new robots will be able to boost production by 25 percent and will allow the automaker to build the Model S and Model X on the same assembly line. There won't be too much downtime at the California plant, though. The upgrades will be finished within the next two weeks.

With these factory updates, the Model X may finally get its electrically powered wheels on the road. The CUV has been delayed multiple times since its announcement. It was originally supposed to be on sale in early 2014, then later in the year, but now the latest news from Elon Musk places the crossover's launch in the second quarter of 2015.

Until the Model X is on sale, the renovations should also provide a nice lift in Model S assembly. In the company's first quarter financial report, Tesla said that it expected the sedan's production rate to grow from about 700 cars per week to 1,000 per week by the end of the year, with the expectation of selling a total of 35,000 of them in 2014. That should help quell demand in new markets like the UK and expansion in Europe.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

No heads have rolled at NHTSA over GM ignition switch recall scandal

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 1:30PM

Dep't Of Transportation Discusses Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication Technology

At this point, there's little question that General Motors deserves the bulk of the blame for not recalling the millions of vehicles affected by the ignition switch problem earlier than it did. And to a large degree, GM is facing the music and accepting blame for its mistakes, even if that acceptance won't bring back the 13 or more deaths attributed to the faulty components. But does GM deserve all the blame?

Fingers are now being pointed at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government body responsible for investigating potentially problematic vehicles and ordering recalls where necessary. But according to the administration and the Department of Transportation of which it's part, NHTSA is not to blame.

In fact, while GM has fired 15 employees over the ignition-switch debacle, The Detroit News notes that NHTSA has not dismissed or even disciplined a single employee for not having caught the problem sooner. Both NHTSA chief David Friedman (pictured above, right) and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (behind Friedman) say that the government is not to blame, and needn't be held accountable for not having ordered a recall because it could not have known there was a problem. This despite, NHTSA officials having alerted the agency to the issue back in 2007.

NHTSA may have to face some difficult questions and potential repercussions soon, however, as the commerce committees in both the House and the Senate plan to hold hearings into the matter later this year.

News Source: The Detroit News

Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty

How Hollywood furthered our automotive obsession [w/videos]

Our Favorite Cars From The Big And Small Screens

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 1:01PM

Generally, General Lee

The car enthusiast's passion generally isn't founded in any single experience. It is a result of many influences, coming from places like our parents, our surrounding area's culture and, almost always, the media.

The automobile plays both major and minor roles in nearly every movie and TV show known to mankind. Today the editors at Autoblog and AOL Autos are paying homage to a few of these, acknowledging the ones that stand out in our minds as having played a profound part in forming our ardor for all things automotive.

Head on past the jump to see the cars from the big and small screen for which our staff still pines. And make sure to tell us about your favorite movie/TV cars, in Comments.

Image Credit: Bruno_me - Flickr

2015 Ford F-150 specs revealed, EcoBoost 2.7L to make 325 hp and 375 lb-ft [w/video]

Aluminum Yields Weight Drop To Around 4,400 Pounds

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 12:33PM



Our new man Greg Migliore is in attendance at a Ford media event at the Blue Oval's Dearborn, MI headquarters today, and he's reported in with a handful of the 2015 F-150 stats that we've been dying to know. Ford is slow-playing the news release here, but we can still offer up some interesting output and performance figures after half-year of waiting.

We have all be quite aware that Ford's shift to aluminum construction would save a lot of weight for F-150 models, and the results we're hearing now are duly impressive. For instance: in Super Crew trim, a 2015 F-150 is a whopping 732-pounds lighter than was its closest 2014-model-year equivalent. That's like hauling three middle-aged dudes to your bowling alley's league night for free. Polish your balls, guys.

Ford isn't willing to offer up any actual curb weights just yet, but if we take that 732-pound loss and extrapolate with the 5,128-pound curb weight of the 2014 F-150 Super Crew with the 3.7-liter V6, we can guesstimate that 2015 models will measure out in the 4,400-pound range. That's impressive.

We also learned just a bit about the new additions to the engine range. The base engine in the F-150 comes in the form of a naturally aspirated, 3.5-liter V6. That mill may be the little brother of the crew, but it still makes 283 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, giving the 4x2 pickup the a maximum payload of 1,910 pounds and a tow rating of 7,600 pounds.

Stepping up one rung on the ladder is the hotly anticipated 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, turbocharged to the tune of 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. In 4x2 guise, that blown mill allows for maximum payload and towing ratings of 2,250 and 8,500 pounds, respectively.

We're obviously still excited to learn actual miles-per-gallon ratings and curb weights for the Ford haulers, but in the meantime, you can scroll below to check out the official press release and an official video of the Blue Oval boys putting the EcoBoost F-150 through its towing paces at the Davis Dam in Arizona.

Related Gallery2015 Ford F-150
2015 Ford F-1502015 Ford F-1502015 Ford F-1502015 Ford F-1502015 Ford F-1502015 Ford F-1502015 Ford F-1502015 Ford F-150

Image Credit: Ford

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]

If You Ain't First, You're Last

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 11:57AM



Darrell Waltrip once said, "If the lion didn't bite the tamer every once in a while, it wouldn't be exciting." The sentiment behind that aphorism is causing my adrenal gland to wake up as Dodge and SRT drivers and engineers – somber-faced to a man – give me the track talk that will precede my driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT on the circuit at Portland International Raceway. PIR might not be Daytona, and the 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat might seem tame to a legend like ol' Jaws, but there's a not-small part of me that's thinking about how hard Dodge's fire-breathing kitty might bite.

Just a few hours previous, I'd gotten behind the wheel of the Hellcat for the first time, letting its hyperbole-spitting, supercharged V8 Hemi pull me yieldingly through Portland's morning commuter traffic. Lulled into a cocky certainty by the Challenger's good manners at low speed, I drove the throttle just a hair too deep, too fast when I ran on to the highway ramp. For just an instant the rear tires were utterly drenched in torque, and the back end of the big Dodge loosened up like a drift car on a wet track. Throttle steer lives at the fleeting whim of your right foot in this car.

It was no big thing to lay off the gas and pull the Hellcat back in line as I entered the highway, but the incident did get me to thinking: What will this car do to me on a road course?

With the track talk ended, I picked up a helmet and a head sock – stand-ins for the whip and the chair every good lion tamer needs – hoping like hell I wouldn't end up as a gravel-track snack for the new biggest predator in the muscle car circus.

Vital Stats

Engine:
SC 6.2L V8
Power:
707 HP / 650 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$59,995
As-Tested Price:
$65,265

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Smart spotted testing new Brabus Fortwo

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 11:30AM

2015 Smart Fortwo Brabus prototype

By now AMG has produced versions of just about everything Mercedes makes, right down to the A-Class, CLA and GLA. But while even the smallest of Benzes have fallen under Affalterbach's knife, Daimler's performance division steers clear of the Smart brand and its products. For that, the German automaker collaborates with another legendary Silver Star tuner.

Brabus first worked its magic on the original Smart Fortwo in 2003, packing a warmed-over 700cc engine with 74 horsepower along with upgraded aero and rolling stock. The second-generation Brabus model took things further with a 101-hp 1.0-liter engine and other go-fast(er) goodies. And now that the new Fortwo is upon us, it looks like Brabus is at it again.

Spied with a camo wrap but no visible body cladding, the new Brabus city car is expected to pack more of a punch than its predecessors, with estimates ranging from 105 to 120 hp – which may not be much for most cars, but promises to transform the Smart into something more aggressive, especially when paired with a sportier suspension, dual exhaust and aero kit.

Expect the new Brabus Smart to debut sometime next year, after which it'll be interesting to see how it might square off against a future Renaultsport version of the Twingo with which the new Smart cars share their rear-engined underpinnings.

Image Credit: CarPix

Autoblog Podcast #390

2015 Ford Mustang Specs, 2016 Smart, EPA Wants Road Tests, Autonomous Cars

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 11:21AM

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #390 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing and Sebastian Blanco from Autoblog Green talk about the 2015 Ford Mustang specs, the 2016 Smart models, a proposal to add real-world numbers to EPA economy tests and the potential downside of autonomous cars. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #390:

play


Topics:

In the Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Sebastian Blanco
Runtime: 01:33:35

Rundown:
  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Mustang Specs - 34:40
  • 2016 Smart Models - 51:14
  • EPA Tests - 01:02:57
  • Autonomous Cars - 01:11:19
  • Q&A - 01:21:22

Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

Production Acura NSX spied getting sharper on the 'Ring

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 10:44AM



Acura hasn't been shy about trotting out the concept version of its upcoming NSX hybrid supercar – we've seen it colorized on Facebook, wearing Super GT drag and running wrapped at Mid Ohio – but until now, we've missed seeing the production version at all. Thankfully, our boys in the field have been diligently camped out by the Nürburgring, just the place for Acura engineers to get the NSX shaken down and ready for the public.

The first thing you'll likely notice (and no doubt appreciate) is that Acura is staying very true to the concept car. The same wind-tunnel-carved wedge shape is in evidence in the car's silhouette, and details like aggressively scalloped engine vents behind the cabin have made it through unscathed.

We do notice that there are some vertical elements at the bottom of the front fascia/grille that appear to be revised, and the mirrors are considerably less slinky than those of the concept car. Still, by and large, we're seeing a direct translation from show stand to real life here.

There haven't been any revelations about the powertrain in recent weeks, so expect the NSX to come fitted with a 400-plus-horsepower V6 engine mounted amidships, along with a series of electric motors for added grunt. Two of the electric powerplants are expected to turn the front wheels, and effect the most impressive-yet version of Acura's Super Handling All Wheel Drive.
Related Gallery2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots
2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots

Image Credit: CarPix

Buick Envision CUV displays full-frontal nudity

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 9:58AM

2015 Buick Envision

Earlier this month, Shanghai GM gave us a glimpse of the production version of the Buick Envision concept revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show back in 2011. And now it's released the first unveiled shot and initial details of the crossover to slot in the considerable gap between the Encore and Enclave.

The new Envision is set later this year to reach Chinese showrooms, where it will be called the Ang Ke Wei, after which we're expecting it to arrive Stateside. The production-ready Envision is about the size of the Chevrolet Equinox or GMC Terrain, but is differentiated by a more upscale treatment and Buick's signature waterfall grille, flanked by Xenon headlamps and LED running lights and riding on 19-inch wheels.

Power comes from GM's familiar 2.0-liter turbo four with direct injection and stop/start ignition, driving 256 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. That's about all that GM's Chinese operation has announced at this point – it's not even clear what platform the vehicle is on – but you can check out the press release for yourself below.

News Source: Buick

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