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2014 Renault Twingo [w/video]

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    2014 Renault Twingo [w/video]
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    2014 Cadillac ELR
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    Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept previews a fullsize future of luxury
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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

Posted Oct 1st 2014 1:28PM

2013 Mercedes C300 4Matic

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

Chrysler registers Trackhawk trademark

Posted Oct 1st 2014 9:30AM

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

There may not be many ways to forecast what an automaker is planning for the future, but there are some. Trademark applications are one of them, and Chrysler has just applied with the US Patent and Trademark Office to protect the name "Trackhawk." The question is, what's it planning on using it for? We don't know for sure, but we can put together an educated guess or two. And one guess is that Jeep will use the name to replace the letters SRT on the performance version of the Grand Cherokee.

How do we figure, you ask? From a number of developments. For starters, the SRT division has been reintegrated into the Dodge brand. Those letters currently appear on only two vehicles from outside the Dodge lineup: one is the Grand Cherokee SRT, and the other is the Chrysler 300 SRT. We've heard ruminations (however unconfirmed) that the latter could be either discontinued or possibly relabeled, and if the same proves true of the GC, the Trackhawk name could serve as a on-road performance counterpart to the Trailhawk label applied to off-road versions of models like the Cherokee and Renegade.

Logical it may be, but it's hardly a foregone conclusion. The Trackhawk name could just as easily be used for a new concept (like the Trailhawk name was in 2007), for another kind of trim level or for something else entirely. In fact we don't even know for sure it'll be used by the Jeep brand specifically, or used at all for that matter. Automakers have been known, after all, to register names they don't end up using.

We've reached out to Jeep for comment, but whether we hear back with any useful information or not, we have a feeling we'll be finding out one way or another before too long, so watch this space.

News Source: allpar.com via World Car Fans

Image Credit: Jeep

Mazda mulling furniture, designer goods in bid to command higher prices

Posted Oct 1st 2014 8:44AM

Mazda Kodo Chair

Brands like Porsche and Ferrari make a mint every year by selling branded lifestyle goods like shoes, hats and even wilder items. Bugatti takes things to the extremes with things like its $84,000 belt buckle. These products not only make their respective companies some extra money, but they reaffirm their high-end design aspirations to wealthy buyers. However, the next firm possibly dipping its toe into this upscale pool is a bit more mass-market – Mazda.

That's right. The Japanese automaker best known among enthusiasts for its segment-defining Miata and rotary engines is considering its own line of luxury goods in the coming years called Mazda Design. The project is the brainchild of styling boss Ikuo Maeda, and according to Automotive News, he has backing from company CEO Masamichi Kogai. Although the green light isn't quite on yet, Maeda is already brainstorming. "Not only furniture, but I'd like to build a Mazda Design brand. That's my dream," he said to Automotive News.

The possible project is just one aspect of Mazda's move to become a near-premium brand. According to Automotive News, it wants to see higher transaction prices partially by offering more stylish design than its rivals. Launching a line of luxury goods is meant to communicate this new focus to customers.

The Mazda Design line was previewed with the Kodo Chair (pictured above) at last year's Milan Design Week. Named after the brand's current, swoopy styling language, the seat mixed metal and leather in a reclined position to conjure up something out of a futuristic racecar.

Still, the move could be a gamble. Bugatti, Porsche and Ferrari sell vehicles to a wealthy clientele for whom dropping a few grand on something frivolous doesn't matter match. Mazda buyers might not have that luxury.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Mazda

Here's why the most-ticketed cars story is junk

Posted Oct 1st 2014 7:59AM

US-TRANSPORTATION-PROTEST

A recent study from Insurance.com found that owners of the Subaru WRX were the most likely people in the US to be ticketed for traffic infractions, with 33.6 percent of them receiving a citation in the last three years. Coming in a close second and third were drivers of the Pontiac GTO at 32.7 percent and the Scion FR-S at 32.6 percent. At first glance, this report looks like just a mildly interesting anecdote to tell your friends during a lull in conversation, but there seems to be a serious problem with the methodology here that might be blowing these numbers way out of proportion.

Insurance.com explains that it based the study on 557,238 drivers who requested online insurance quotes from its service from January 1, 2013 to July 2014. To make it onto the list, a vehicle needed over 50 quotes, and in the end that left 526 models.

However, these facts are almost useless because the list isn't based on percentages from the whole pool. The study's ranking comes from owners of specific vehicles, and these numbers aren't mentioned anywhere in the company's press release. All we know about the sample size for each model is that it's higher than 50. Assuming that amount for the WRX means it would only take about 17 people with tickets using the site to put the sporty car in first place.

These unknown model sample sizes might explain some of the extremely odd entries on the list. For example, the long-discontinued Mercury Topaz is in seventh place with 28.8 percent of its drivers receiving tickets. The GTO and Toyota Supra are also in the top ten and out of production. Just a few people searching for these vehicles could be the reason for these strange results.

Obviously automotive studies have their place, but this one just appears to have gotten confused along the way. Scroll down to read the report to see what we mean.

News Source: Insurance.com via The Detroit Free Press

Image Credit: Paul J. RIchards / AFP / Getty Images

Jay Leno's Mercedes 600 is dictator chic

Posted Sep 30th 2014 8:02PM

Mercedes-Benz 600 Kompressor

Here's a fun fact: certain classical songs double as excellent driving songs. Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries is one such example. So, as soon as you here those iconic notes, be certain you're in for some seriously cool sheet metal. Any Mercedes-Benz 600 would qualify for such a musical treatment, but Jay Leno's example is doubly worth a look.

Fortunately, the car collector/comedian is all too willing to show off his brown beauty as part of the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage. Leno is just one of the, sometimes disturbing, list of owners of the big sedan, which includes a wide range of dictators and Jeremy Clarkson.

His example is truly pristine, restored by 600 expert Karl Middelhauve. The complex hydraulic system receives plenty of attention from Leno, as does the expansive and impressive craftsmanship in the cabin. Finally, Leno takes the boat of a car out for a ride.

Take a look at the full video on the legendary Mercedes 600.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

What you missed on 9.30.14

Posted Sep 30th 2014 7:30PM

uturn


First Drive: 2015 Honda CR-V

Still not much changed from the just-right size it was when it debuted in the late 1990s, the 2015 Honda CR-V is otherwise a better vehicle in almost every conceivable way. We get behind the wheel of the newly revised small crossover, and find it to be just as useful as ever, while also being more luxurious than ever before. Get the scoop on this family cute-ute, here.





Kawasaki Ninja H2R has 300 hp... we're sold

If only we could ride it on the street. Actually, check that. When we heard today that Kawasaki's Ninja H2R – essentially a technology demonstrator set to debut at the upcoming EICMA show – was going to stuff 300 hp into its carbon-fiber-clad confines, we were equal parts astonished and terrified. While official specs are yet to be revealed, you can see a new set of images and some video of the Goliath right now.





Ram can't build EcoDiesels fast enough

Have you heard the one about American's hating on diesels? Well, forget it. When the number crunchers at Ram were forecasting sales of the trucks with the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, they anticipated the engine would account for about 10% of the sales mix. On the back of strong orders and sales in 2014 that number is being doubled for next year.



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