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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

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    2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
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    Mercedes-Benz MLC prepares to take on BMW X6
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Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts

Posted Apr 24th 2014 8:44AM

Jaguar XJ, XF and XK

With most recalls seemingly affecting mass-market vehicles, it'd be all too easy to assume, consciously or otherwise, that higher-end automobiles never face such issues. But the main reason we don't see the NHTSA recalling more luxury automobiles isn't because of their quality, we'd postulate: it's because of their relative scarcity.

Take Jaguar Land Rover, recalls of whose vehicles we only seem to have cause to report about once a year. So if you're figuring they're about due, here you go. The Indian-owned British auto group has just announced two recalls, both regarding suspension components: one affecting Jaguars and another concerning – you guessed it – Land Rovers.

First up we have a recall for 2013 to 2014 model year Jaguar XJ, XF and XK models – a whopping 297 of them – which have been found to have problematic toe links. Separation of the toe link from the rear sub-frame could result in impaired stability and control over the vehicle's direction, so JLR is calling them in to replace the nuts and washers on the rear toe links.

Just as simple is the second recall affecting the 2014 Range Rover Evoque. JLR is calling in a grand total of (wait for it) two units to have problematic bolts in the right-hand rear suspension replaced before they separate from the vehicle. Scope out the full details of both recalls in the notices below.
Related Gallery2012 Jaguar XF
2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF

High-tech observatory only uses decades-old diesel trucks

Posted Apr 24th 2014 7:58AM

old trucks at NRAO

Head on out to Green Bank, WV, and you're likely to notice what looks like a giant satellite dish on the horizon. Only it's not a satellite dish. It's actually a fully steerable radio telescope – the largest of its kind in the world. It's funded by the federal government through the US National Science Foundation and operated by National Radio Astronomy Observatory. In short, it's one of the most advanced telecommunications devices in the world. So you'd expect them to service it with suitably advanced vehicles, right?

Wrong. Radio telescopes are hyper-sensitive to interference. That's why this one is located (alongside the NSA installation at Sugar Grove) inside the United States National Radio Quiet Zone. It's also why the NRAO only uses old diesel trucks to get anywhere near the telescope. Some of those trucks are 45 years old, but because they don't use spark plugs, computerized ECUs or even door chimes, they don't mess with the telescope. Head on over to Driving.ca to read exactly why.

News Source: Driving.ca

Image Credit: Raoul Pop

R/C fans' film tribute to Fast and Furious franchise

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 8:00PM

Fast and Furious homage

Fans of the Fast and Furious series have about a year to wait before the seventh installment in the franchise hits theaters, but in the meantime, let this homage to the series made with radio-controlled cars whet your appetite. It might lack the actors, but it nails the automotive action.

Vax Studio, the group that made the video, claims to be a group of amateurs, but these folks are incredibly talented. The short gives a real weight to the cars, despite being made from plastic. The makers even add in some computer-generated effects to liven up the action. At times, they actually look like real cars.

Starring a Nissan GT-R, a classic Camaro, a Nissan Silvia and a pair of modern Camaro police cars, it offers a little something for everybody, and it's definitely worth checking out. Scroll down to watch a car chase in small scale.

News Source: Vax Studio via YouTube, Car Scoops

Mercedes-Benz MLC prepares to take on BMW X6

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 7:15PM

Mercedes-Benz MLC spy shots

Just days ago, we showed you the new Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV – a swoopy crossover aimed squarely at the BMW X6. We sort of figured from the get-go that this thing had serious production intent, and lo, our trusty spy photographers have just caught this prototype of the slick Benz, likely to be named MLC, out on the road.

Even under heavy camouflage, it's easy to see that the shape of the MLC – including specific elements like the front fascia design and S-Class Coupe-inspired taillamps – have carried over from the concept. Good stuff – despite our tendency to roll our eyes at this whole crossover-coupe class, we can't argue that the Mercedes concept is a pretty handsome creation.

Based on the M-Class, our spies suggest that when the MLC goes into production, it'll use the same suite of engines as its more traditional-looking sibling, including a 3.5-liter V6, twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8, and a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6. Of course, the concept car was fitted with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, so there's also a good chance of seeing that in the production car, as well. We wouldn't rule out a hotter AMG-tuned version, either, with that burly 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 underhood.

Based on just how far along in development the MLC seems to be, we don't think it'll be too long before the production car makes its debut. Our best guess: early 2015. Have a look through the gallery above to see more of the MLC prototype.

Image Credit: CarPix

What next for Alan Mulally?

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 6:29PM

Alan Mulally

Alan Mulally has emerged as a hero when it comes to American manufacturing. He came to Ford in 2006 after serving as head of Boeing's commercial aircraft division, streamlined operations, sold off the costly elements of its Premier Automotive Group and saved Ford from having to be bailed out by the federal government like its cross-town rivals Chrysler and General Motors did. But as we reported mere days ago, he's widely expected to step down from the chief executive's office at Ford shortly.

So what's next for one of the most successful executives in the business? Hard to say, but don't expect Mulally to disappear into retirement. Though he didn't ultimately take the top job at Microsoft, industry insiders expect to see him in another influential position – likely as a board director or even chairman of another company. (We say "another company" and not Ford because while Bill Ford may have stepped aside as CEO to bring Mulally on board in the first place, we don't see him giving up his chairmanship of the board also.)

Mulally has likely already lined up his next move, and could either announce what that move will be as soon as Ford confirms Mark Fields as his successor, or could wait awhile. Insiders speculate that he could leverage his transportation and aerospace experience into a position at General Electric or a major airline, his manufacturing expertise to benefit a company like Procter & Gamble or his management skills at a consultancy firm.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Ford

First production Hongqi L-Series sells at Beijing Motor Show for $800,000

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 6:01PM

Hongqi L5, front three-quarter view

The Hongqi has arrived, and with it the greater hopes that powerful Chinese will ride in symbols of Chinese power. The Honqi L5 sedan produced by China's FAW Group, first unveiled last year (and called the L9 at the time), is - in some circles - intended to be among the homegrown replacements for the millions of foreign luxury cars the Chinese government purchases for important officials. Shown at this year's Beijing Motor Show in production guise and now available to civilians as well, a Chinese businessman bought the first one for "at least five million yuan" ($801K) according to Bloomberg.

About the length of a Rolls-Royce Phantom and weighing 7,000 pounds, there's an all-aluminum 6.0 liter V-12 up front with 402 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, a hydro-pneumatic suspension and "intelligent" 4-wheel-drive technology below. The passenger quarters mix modern and retro with a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel of sixties design, hand-carved, cloud-motif wood inlays surrounding a stack of digital displays and celadon-jade door handles.

A sub-brand of Chinese automaker FAW, "Hongqi" means "red flag" and the L5 mimes cues from the CA770 sedan FAW built in the fifties for the country's leaders. With its features, price and ostentation, private-sector Mandarin moguls might also make it the Chinese word for "Gatsby."
Related GalleryHongqi L5
Hongqi L5Hongqi L5Hongqi L5Hongqi L5Hongqi L5Hongqi L5

News Source: Bloomberg, Autoweek

Citroën CX-R concept makes late debut from China

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 5:30PM

Citroën C-XR Concept

We obsessively covered the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, but apparently Citroën decided it had one more vehicle to debut to join its DS 6WR and DS 5LS R at the Chinese show. This C-XR Concept is far less wildly styled than the two other models, however, as this concept is actually quite close to production spec.

The C-XR blends the styling of Citroën's hatchbacks with some SUV cues. Up front, it has a wide, chrome grille that links directly into the headlights, and lower down, there are vertically mounted LED running lights. The rear pillar has C-shaped chrome accents to link the chrome roof rails and belt line.

The concept isn't really meant to go off-road, but it gets a dash of ruggedness from its protective wheel arch cladding and raised ground clearance. The interior is still a secret, but the top does have a large panoramic sunroof to let light in. The concept's powertrain uses the company's THP 160 petrol engine with stop/start and an automatic gearbox. Scroll down to read the full release about the concept.
Related GalleryCitroën C-XR Concept
Citroën C-XR ConceptCitroën C-XR ConceptCitroën C-XR ConceptCitroën C-XR ConceptCitroën C-XR ConceptCitroën C-XR ConceptCitroën C-XR Concept

News Source: Citroën

Footkhana pits Ken Block against Neymar Jr.

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 5:00PM

Footkhana

Whether you're going for speed or for show, professional driving is as much about working the pedals as it about man-handling the wheel and shifter. And nobody does it quite like Ken Block. But is his fancy footwork up to par with that of an international soccer star like Neymar?

That's what sponsor Castrol set out to find out with this latest video. Called Footkhana, it pits the Brazilian footballer against the American rally driver for a little round of friendly Gymkhana-style competition. It's not the first time we're seeing a car used on the soccer pitch – Top Gear had that covered years ago – but for the legions of sports fans who like their motorsports as much as they do their footie, it's a must-see. Check it out below.

News Source: Castrol via YouTube

Helio Castroneves put on probation for sister's Indy-critical tweet

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 4:30PM

Grand Prix Of Baltimore - Day 1

Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has learned an important lesson about not sharing his Twitter account, even with family. Following the Grand Prix of Long Beach, where Castroneves finished 11th, a tweet appeared under his account and was later deleted that said: "Indycar officials continuing not punishing some drivers and giving green flag during an accident." It also included an image of a thumbs down over the IndyCar Series logo. It has been preserved online.

Later that day, Castroneves posted two further tweets apologizing for the remark. He said that he didn't write it or agree with it, and that his sister, Kati, was using his Twitter. She wrote on her own account taking full responsibility.

So what's the big deal? Castroneves apologized, and his sister owned up to the mistake. However, the IndyCar Series organizers didn't see it so cleanly. They put the driver on probation until June 30 for violating the sport's social media policy. Castroneves can still race, but he is under higher scrutiny for the time being. He can also appeal the ruling. You can read IndyCar's very brief statement on the probation below.

Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 4:00PM



The ink is still drying on the all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade sales brochures, but that hasn't stopped Texas-based Hennessey Performance (HPE) from leaping out of the gate with its own high-performance variant. In stock form, the big fourth-generation Cadillac flagship arrives with a new small block naturally aspirated 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Fresh out of the showroom, the 5,900-pound SUV will sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

While that is plenty fast for some owners, others don't want to be shamed by a 550 horsepower Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG or a 510 horsepower Land Rover Range Rover Sport - both will leave the stock Escalade at a stoplight.

The team at HPE has come to the rescue with its HPE550 supercharger upgrade, which includes a belt-driven supercharger, air-to-water intercooler, recalibrated engine management software and a three-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty. With 6 psi of boost, the direct-injected 6.2-liter is tuned to deliver an impressive 557 horsepower and 542 pound-feet of torque - gains of 32 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over stock. Although HPE isn't releasing performance figures as of yet, our math says that should be enough power to put the two Europeans in the Cadillac's rearview mirror. The company also offers a set of 20-inch lightweight H10 forged monoblock wheels, to further improve performance.

The HPE550 upgrade costs $15,950 installed. If that fits your budget, and satisfies your ego, find more detail from Hennessey in the press release, below.

News Source: Hennessey Performance

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

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

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