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2015 Mercedes C-Class order guide leaked

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 3:29PM

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

We may not have an official starting price for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but as of right now, we can tell you about all the options for the eagerly anticipated new luxury sedan.

Benz Report has the entire order guide for the C-Class, with breakdowns from package pricing to how many different colors, wheel designs and lighting configurations will be available when the new model hits dealers later this year. As we mentioned in our initial review of the C-Class, there will be a pair of engine options, with the now familiar 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations and a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6, which can be had in all-wheel drive, only.

From there, though, the available options are impressive. Much like it does on the current car, Mercedes is offering a pair of packages that sort of define the entire car. With the C300, buyers will have the choice of either a Sport or Luxury package in addition to the base trim, while C400 buyers are limited to the Sport model.

The Sport package costs $2,500 (rising from $2,300 on the current C-Class), although the addition of 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and more supportive seats is sure to soften the blow. The Luxury Package is more reasonably priced, at $650, and options 17-inch multi-spoke wheels, a traditional Mercedes hood ornament, a softer suspension and the customer's choice of wood trim.

Once that's out of the way, buyers are faced with 10 color choices, three optional wheel choices that are independent of the Sport and Luxury packages, and a healthy array of interior leather and leatherette colors, as well as trims. Finally, there are seven option packages.

Most are carry overs from last year, with items like the Premium Pack, Driver Assistance Pack, Lighting Pack and Multimedia Pack seeing moderate tweaks in terms of content and pricing (the biggest price change involves the Lighting Pack, which is actually $640 cheaper). New packages include the $1,190 Airmatic Pack (adjustable Airmatic air suspension), the $2,300 Interior Pack (Vented leather seats, ambient lighting, memory settings for the passenger seat) and the $350 Air Balance Pack (Mercedes scented HVAC system). The standalone options sheet looks fairly vast, until you realize that a number of items are included on certain trims and with certain packages. The big-ticket items include the panoramic sunroof, which sees its price jump from $1,090 to $1,480, while a few items from the Driver Assistance Pack are also available à la carte.

Now, it should be stated that these prices could certainly change before the car arrives later this year. That said, this is a pretty handy guide as to what to expect when it comes time to order your very own C-Class. Hop over to Benz Report and have a look.

News Source: The Benz Report

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

GoPro learned to hoop from Meadowlark Lemon

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 2:57PM

Basketball Moonroof trick shots

Wait, wait, wait. We promise that there's something to do with cars in this story. Really, there is. It also, though, features some basketball antics. And the entire thing is possible thanks to the magic that is the GoPro.

Strategically situated, the little cameras capture David Kalb, a master when it comes to making trick basketball shots. This time, he's showing just what he can do when launching balls through the sunroof of a Honda Civic. That includes dribbling and sinking a layup (although we think he may have traveled when driving to the net).

Take a look below for the video, and let us know what you think of Kalb's tricks down in Comments.

News Source: GoPro via YouTube

LaFerrari XX may have lapped Nürburgring in 6:35

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 2:30PM

LaFerrari XX on the Nurburgring

Enthusiasts around the world – ourselves included – have been anxiously awaiting the ultimate supercar showdown. After all, we seldom see three of the world's preeminent exotic automakers come out with such closely matched machinery in such close proximity as we have with the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari. That showdown could occur on no better a playing field than the Nürburgring, but the automakers haven't exactly been playing ball.

Porsche set down a lap time of 6:57, staking its claim as the fastest street-legal production car ever to lap the vaunted Nordschleife. Rather than challenge Zuffenhausen head-on, though, McLaren has only said that the P1 has clocked a time of under seven minutes, and though Ferrari has been testing the new LaFerrari at the Ring, it hasn't released any official time at all. Maranello may, however, be preparing to announce an even faster time.

According to word we're receiving from across the pond, Ferrari has clocked a lap time of 6:35 – only it wasn't achieved in the road-going LaFerrari, but in the upcoming track-bound LaFerrari XX. That model, which was just confirmed and spied last week, will follow in the footsteps of the Enzo-based FXX and the 599XX, which itself recorded a lap time of 6:58 in 2010. Because it's not street-legal, it didn't contend for the same honors, and within a couple of months was pipped on the leaderboard for non-street-legal vehicles by the Pagani Zonda R by over ten seconds.

If verified, the LaFerrari XX lap time would make it the fastest production-based (but, due primarily to its slick tires, not street-legal) car ever to lap the Nürburgring, but would not be enough to dethrone the Porsche 956 in which Stefan Bellof clocked a 6:11 lap time to take pole position at the sports car endurance race in 1983.

News Source: AutoWeek.nl

GM reports thousands of ignition kits shipped, 1.4M owners notified

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 2:02PM

Ignition Switch Recall

General Motors ignition switch fix is gaining momentum. The first several thousand replacement kits, including new ignition switches, ignition cylinders and key sets, have been shipped out to dealers. GM also sent out the first 1.4 million recall letters to affected owners last week to let them schedule the repair. That is a little over half of the roughly 2.6 million vehicles that need their parts replaced.

The letter tells owners of affected models from between 2003 and 2007 that GM is ready for them to schedule the repair. The replacement parts should take around 90 minutes to install, it claims. Owners of 2008-2011 vehicles will have to wait a few more weeks for the recall to begin. The automaker will send a letter to them in early May, and they will receive a second letter later alerting them that the parts are available. In the meantime, the company advises them to drive with nothing more than their car key on their keyring.

This is the first solid data on the number of vehicles being worked on. In a recent report, GM spokesperson Jim Cain wouldn't discuss a specific figure of repaired vehicles. "We're on track," he said to Autoblog. "Every day, parts availability improves." Scroll down to read the automaker's full announcement.

News Source: General Motors

ETC

NY man who skipped paying toll 3,000 times fined over $28,000

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 1:29PM

RFK Bridge

New York City taxi driver Rodolfo Sanchez used an E-ZPass reported lost in 2011 and the close quarters that New Yorkers are used to, in order to save himself $28,000 in 18 months. During 1,061 crossings of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and 3,071 passages through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, instead of paying the toll at the tollbooth, Sanchez would tailgate the vehicle in front of him and get past the barrier before it came down. He kept the E-ZPass in his car because every NYC taxi driver is obligated to have one.

Turns out the transponder is what got him caught, since it never stopped transmitting a signal every time it went through the toll booth. When Metropolitan Transportation Authority officers (MTA) noticed numerous pings from an E-ZPass with no money on it, they matched up video footage with the cabs in the photos, then matched the cabs to taxi company records showing Sanchez was the man behind the wheel. Now under arrest, prosecutors have charged him with grand larceny, theft of service and criminal possession of stolen property.

Sanchez said he needed the money for his family, but now he'll have to figure out who's going to fill the family coffers when he goes to jail.

News Source: New York Times

Image Credit: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

W Motors Lykan Hypersport caught on the street

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 12:44PM

W Motors Lykan Hypersport

The W Motors Lykan Hypersport is a very perplexing supercar. Priced at an eye-popping $3.4 million, it looks like a Lamborghini turned up to 11. However, for a car that costs more than a McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari combined, it doesn't scream about its performance once the engine is started.

The Lykan Hypersport does fill the requirement of supercars to offer insane features. When it announced the car, W Motors promised diamond-encrusted LED taillights and a holographic interior display. The first models will actually be built in Italy, but production will move to the Middle East later.

With a mid-mounted, twin-turbo, 3.7-liter flat-six with a claimed 740 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque, the Hypersport doesn't lack for power. Still, that is somewhat lower than the 750 hp and 737 lb-ft rating from our previous story about it – the facts are often fluid in the rare world of brand new hypercar makers. W Motors also claims it can reach 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and an alleged top speed of 239 mph.

The possible downside is that the company seems to have tuned the exhaust to actually be rather subdued. For as much as it costs, it should send a shiver down your spine the split-second it gets on the throttle, but the Hypersport just rumbles along. Scroll down to hear the supercar for yourself and see if it inspires a $3.4 million purchase.

News Source: W Motors, Marchettino via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images Copyright W Motors

2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E

New Engine Makes S60 Quietly Competitive With German Rivals

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 11:57AM

2015 Volvo S60

For those not paying attention, Volvo has updated its S60 sedan range for 2015 with a new range of engines under the Drive-E label. Wearing the same T5 and T6 badges to note the relative levels of power under the hood, both engines are 2.0-liter four-cylinders, with the lesser being turbocharged and the greater being both supercharged and turbocharged.

Both Drive-E variants are currently only available in front-wheel-drive flavor, though Volvo will still happily sell you an S60 T5 AWD with the older 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder, or a top-of-the-line S60 T6 with a turbo'd 3.0-liter six-cylinder and all the wheels turning.

The car I drove for a week is perhaps the most balanced version of the S60 range, with that exotic sounding twin-charged 2.0-liter mill planted happily in the attractively sloping nose. Provided you're not hung up on front-drive dynamics, the T6 Drive-E might be a solid candidate for your next premium small sedan shopping list, as well.

Driving Notes
  • At 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the output of Volvo's twin-charged 2.0-liter mill is damn close to that of the outgoing turbo-six, while weighing close to 150 pounds less. The engine feels meaty down low, as you'd expect, with audible whine from the supercharger never letting you forget about the forced induction at low rpm.
  • With the transmission slotted into normal Drive mode, throttle response is pretty great when forcefully pulling away from stoplights or entering the highway. Moved into Sport mode, the programming becomes downright aggressive, and the torque available is palpable through your toes. Speed doesn't pile on instantaneously when passing on the highway at 70 miles per hour, but simply tap the throttle from 10 mph around town, and Sport mode will launch you gleefully past your neighbors if you aren't ready for it.
  • Past experience with the S60 had me expecting that this car would be a bit less engaging than it turned out to be. The single-mode suspension is pretty well balanced between a compliant ride and tight handling, unless you really push the car. At a good pace, there's more lean in the chassis than I'd like from a sporting tool, but not so much that I think it detracts from the mission of this laid-back yet quick sedan.
  • The steering isn't particularly meaty or full of feel, but it is quick. On bendy roads, the S60 changed direction in short order, and didn't feel to be overly heavy in the nose – thanks here again to that lighter engine. Go hard and the front-drive S60 will push wide, sure, but handling feels balanced in everyday, lukewarm corners.
  • Noted supercharger whine to the side, the confines of the S60 are mostly hushed at a cruise. The fast-moving Volvo sets a nice stage for conversation, listening to your favorite tunes – I found the Volvo Premium Sound System to be clear, if not rich – or generally making light time of long commutes.
  • The increased fuel efficiency of the Drive-E engine should also be friendly to posh commuter types. Volvo and the EPA quote 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on the highway. Those numbers put it well ahead of the curve for most smaller engined versions of primary luxury competitors – BMW 320i, Lexus IS 250, Audi A4 2.0T, etc. – while offering a lot more power. Looked at conversely, it competes almost toe-to-toe on power with the more potent versions of all those sedans, while being priced lower (sometimes a lot lower).
  • I actually think that BMW's 328d would make a really interesting head-to-head comparison with this T6 E-Drive. Both start in the high $30k range; the Volvo has more power and (I believe) a slightly more refined driving experience; the BMW has better fuel economy, newer tech and the benefit of rear-wheel-drive dynamics.
  • You can decide for yourself about the aesthetics of the Volvo, but I still find this bodystyle to be completely lovely, a few years on from its introduction and having been grafted a slightly redesigned nose. Likewise, the cabin feels on par with the best in the segment in terms of design, materials and comfort, though the suite of technology powering its comparatively tiny-screened infotainment system lags the class. Personally I'd abide the slightly outdated tech for the tradeoff of the amazing front seats – and I work on the Internet, people.
  • Volvo has done a great service in keeping its mainstay S60 relevant with the new powertrain upgrades, overall. As ever with Volvo models, this is a car that should appeal to those drivers with a taste for luxury, indifferent attitude about at-limit handling (no rear-drive bias) and a vague notion that German cars are for "other people."

Vital Stats

Engine:
Twin-Charged 2.0L I4
Power:
302 HP / 295 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$38,150
As-Tested Price:
$47,925

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Yamaha PES1 and PED1 electric motorcycles headed for production

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 11:30AM

Yamaha PES1

Yamaha PED1A big player in the two-wheeled world is hopping into the electric market. Yamaha's PES1 (pictured above) and PED1 (pictured right) battery-powered concepts are going into production in the near future, the company announced. Both bikes originally debuted at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

According to Visor Down, the Yamaha disclosed in its annual report that both cycles would be in production by 2016. "In addition to the advantages of being electrically powered, these motorcycles will offer the operability expected by existing motorcycle fans, together with a new riding experience," said a portion of the announcement.

If their skeletal looks don't give it away, these are some very light motorcycles. In concept form, Yamaha reported that the PES1 sport bike weighed less than 221 pounds, and the PED1 dirt bike weighed less than 187 pounds. Power came from a removable lithium-ion battery pack and brushless DC motor that were housed in a monocoque frame that was shared by both cycles. The concepts were equipped with a transmission with both manual and automatic modes.

Yamaha hasn't released performance figures for either bike yet. However, an earlier video suggested that the top speed of the PES1 was limited to 62 miles per hour. Granted, that was the concept version, and the production model could be faster.

Considering that Yamaha has a long and storied history of building fantastic bikes with internal combustion engines, we have high hopes it can do the same to challenge the electric cycle world.
Related GalleryYamaha PES1
Yamaha PES1Yamaha PES1Yamaha PES1Yamaha PES1Yamaha PES1Yamaha PES1Yamaha PES1Yamaha PES1

News Source: Visor Down

Image Credit: Yamaha

TVR sets up R&D center to launch new model in 2-3 years

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 10:45AM

TVR Sagaris

TVR has had a tough go of it lately. Once one of Britain's – if not the world's – preeminent sports car manufacturers, TVR has a history that stretches back as far as Ferrari's. But it fell on hard times after the start of the new millennium. The ailing company was purchased in 2004 by Russian tycoon Nikolay Smolensky, but after failing to produce a single vehicle since 2006, TVR shut down in 2012. The following year Smolensky sold what was left of the business to a consortium led by video game developer Les Edgar, who has been plotting a revival over the course of the year since. And now that revival is coming into focus.

According to Autocar, Edgar and company have set up a new R&D center in the south of England and are working at launching an all-new model in two to three years' time. That puts it behind the earlier schedule of launching two new models by 2015, but if and when the new project comes to fruition, we doubt many will care about the change of plans.

As for what form that new product will take, you can bet it will have its engine up front, driving the rear wheels, and a two-door cabin. It could pack a two-seat or two-plus-two setup, but the former seems more likely for that first model, with the latter potentially to follow down the line. Edgar says that the company is current evaluating certain parameters, such as whether to use a tubular backbone chassis as it did previously or to go with a more advanced carbon-fiber tub. TVR is apparently leaning towards outsourcing the engine for the time being, but could bring back the company's ubiquitous inline-six at some point on the near future.

Once it has an idea of how much its components will cost, TVR will have a better handle on how much it will charge for the finished product. But previous reports indicated that TVR would endeavor to undercut the price of an Aston Martin V8 Vantage that starts in the UK for around £80k and in the US for under $120k. As for whether the new TVR would ever make it to North America, now that's another matter entirely.
Related GalleryTVR Sagaris
TVR SagarisTVR SagarisTVR SagarisTVR SagarisTVR SagarisTVR SagarisTVR SagarisTVR Sagaris

News Source: Autocar

Mercedes to bridge gap to AMG with C450 Sport

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 10:00AM

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG Line Exterior Pack

Want to get your hands on a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but find the existing range-topping C400 too pedestrian and can't stretch to (or wait for) the upcoming new C63 AMG? We've got some good news for you, friend.

The latest word from Stuttgart has it that Mercedes is planning to bridge the gap with a new C450 Sport. Though not a full-on AMG model, it is said to benefit from the input of the engineers in Affalterbach. Power is tipped to come from the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 as the C400, but instead of 329 horsepower, it would offer more like 367.

The model would likely be offered in either rear-drive or rear-biased 4Matic all-wheel drive, but the smart money is on MBUSA only offering the latter in North America. You could, of course, expect to pay a premium over the as-yet unconfirmed price of the C400 – a good three grand or more considering the difference between the outgoing C300 and C350.

Considering that you could probably get the same boost out of an aftermarket ECU remap, though, Benz will need to offer a little extra in the form of upgraded rolling stock, suspension and trim to set it apart. The AMG Line exterior trim package pictured above would probably be a good place to start...

News Source: Autocar, BenzBoost.com

Honda exclusive to McLaren at least until 2017

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 9:29AM

McLaren and Honda rejoin forces

Next year Honda will return to Formula One after a seven-year absence, bringing the first Japanese automaker to compete in the top-tier racing series back into the fold. But though it started in 1964 much as it ended in 2008, running its own team (much like Ferrari and Mercedes do today), its new F1 program will see it revert to engine-supplier status (like Renault did when it sold its team to Lotus).

The arrangement will be exclusive to McLaren for the 2015 Formula One World Championship. But what fans and insiders alike have been wondering is how it might expand after that. Well, now we have at least part of the answer.

According to the F1 business insiders at Pitpass, Honda motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai told a group of journalists at this past weekend's race in Shanghai that the deal with McLaren will be exclusive not only in 2015, but also in 2016. In other words, it won't be until 2017 at the earliest before Honda might begin supplying engines to any other teams, if at all.

The last time McLaren and Honda collaborated, they proved an unassailable combination - one of the most successful partnerships in the history of motorsport. With Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost (subsequently replaced by Gerhard Berger) behind the wheel, McLaren-Honda won both the drivers' and constructors' titles four years running from 1988 through 1991, proving as winning a combination as Red Bull and Renault.

McLaren placed second under Honda power the following season in 1992, then meandered under Ford and Peugeot power before embarking on its long partnership with Mercedes that's still in effect this season. Meanwhile Honda left the series after 1992, only to return in 2000 with BAR, the team that it subsequently bought, then sold in 2009 to Ross Brawn who won the championship and ended up selling to Mercedes. That team is now leading the championship standings with nearly three times as many points as its closest challengers.

News Source: Pitpass

Renault gunning for sub-8-minute Nürburgring lap time

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 8:45AM

#Under8

UPDATE: A previous version of this article erroneously suggested Renault was aiming for a sub-8-second lap time. Clearly, this was a rather humorous typo, and it's been fixed. Thanks for all who pointed out the mistake in the Comments!

While hybrid hypercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari are thrown into the (at least hypothetical) battle for the sub-7-minute Nürburgring lap record, there's another war waging further down the time sheets. That's for the fastest lap clocked around the Nordschleife in a front-wheel-drive production vehicle.

Arguably more relevant to the common (European) man, this war is being waged between the top hot hatches on the Continental market. Seat became the current leader when it clocked a lap time of 7:58.4 in the new Leon Cupra 280, and Honda has made no secret of its intent to take the record with the upcoming Civic Type R. We wouldn't be surprised to see Opel go for it with the Astra OPC Extreme, but before any of these contenders came along, the record rightfully belonged to Renault.

The French automaker set a time of 8:16.9 with the Mégane R26.R back in 2008, then reset the record at 8:07.9 in 2011 with the newer Mégane Trophy. Evidently unhappy to see its bragging rights stolen away by the Spanish (and eyed by the Japanese and Germans), Renaultsport is apparently preparing an even hotter hatch with the explicit aim of setting a sub-8-minute lap time of its own.

Teased with the social media hashtag #Under8, the project is apparently bringing on board the collaboration of Michelin for tires, Akrapovic for the exhaust, Öhlins for the suspension and BRM as official timing partner. Accompanying the image above on Renault Sport's Facebook page just days ago was the caption "two months to go", hinting that the attempt will be made sometime in mid-June.

We'd assume the Mégane will once again serve as the base, and if they want the time to mean anything, it'll have to be offered for sale. Unfortunately since Renault doesn't market in North America it's all rather theoretical to us, but as far as theoretical challenges go, this one's shaping up to be one for the record books.

News Source: Renault Sport via Facebook

Toyota launches updated Yaris in Europe, Vitz in Japan [w/videos]

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 7:59AM

2015 Toyota Yaris (EU)

Toyota first launched the Yaris in 1999, though that model was sold in the North America as the Echo. The second generation arrived in 2005, replaced by the third in 2011. Sometime next year, Toyota is expected to roll out a new Yaris for North America, to be built in Mexico on the same platform as the next Mazda2. But before that comes to pass, Toyota has introduced a mild facelift for the Yaris in markets other than ours.

With styling cues borrowed from the new Aygo and the Yaris Hybrid-R concept, the new Yaris (for Europe) and Vitz (for Japan) are distinguished by updated styling front and rear. Though the European model bears a more aggressive look than the JDM version, both feature the new X motif that seems to be the new look for the whole family – particularly for small hatchbacks.

The back end has also been revised to incorporate new LED taillights and a (faux) diffuser in the bumper. The cabin, meanwhile, has been redesigned to feel roomier and quieter with upgraded equipment. The suspension has also been refined, and in Europe at least, Toyota will continue to offer the Yaris with a choice of 1.0- or 1.3-liter gasoline engines, 1.4-liter diesel or hybrid powertrains.

We'd tell you more about the varied specifications, but Toyota, in all its worldwide wisdom, oddly released one photo and a press release for the EU-spec Yaris, a whole mess of photos but no press release for the JDM-spec Vitz, but videos for both. There's also a performance-oriented G's version for Japan in the gallery above. As for the North American version, we're still waiting for official word from Toyota USA, so stay tuned.
Related Gallery2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz
2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz

News Source: Toyota

Hyundai presents 70 movies in 10 minutes... and it's very strange

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 8:01PM

Hyundai 70 movies video

Hyundai i10 ShortCuts 70 films in 10 minutesIt's not often we can use the term "trippy" to describe anything we post here at Autoblog, but this German video, promoted by Hyundai and starring the brand's European-spec i10 is trippy, surreal and totally bizarre. And we love it.

Movie buffs will appreciate this ridiculous mix of classic movies into a strange mishmash that makes no sense at all. From Silence of the Lambs to the Terminator series to Pulp Fiction, The Godfather and 300, there's the list of films parodied in this spot is wildly diverse. We've watched a few times, and while we can name the vast majority of classic films shown, we have no idea what the actual point of the video is.

Take a look below and let us know what you think in Comments. But beware, there is some NSFW language.

News Source: ShortCuts via YouTube

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