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2015 Infiniti Q70L

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    2015 Infiniti Q70L
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    2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport targets lux CUVs with off-road chops, room for seven
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    Land Rover Discovery Sport photos hit the web early
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    Subaru WRX hatchback mule spotted
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What you missed on 9.2.14

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 7:32PM

Daily U-Turn

Infiniti Q70L2015 Infiniti Q70L tested

Is bigger really better? That's the question we're asking in our review of the long-wheelbase Infiniti Q70L. The luxury brand's 5 Series-fighter gains some rear spaciousness among other tweaks for the 2015 model year, and we see if this added capaciousness adds to the sedan's appeal. Read all about it in our quick spin.




Land Rover Discovery SportLand Rover Discovery Sport revealed

The Land Rover LR2 is dead! Long live the Land Rover LR2! With its new Discovery Sport, Land Rover finally has a truly competitive offering in the midsize luxury crossover set, ready to battle stalwarts like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. We've got the full smattering of details about the new compact LR. Check it all out, here.




Subaru WRXSubaru WRX hatchback spied

Despite the on-again, off-again rumors, it looks like Subaru might be building a five-door version of its new WRX after all. Our trusty spy photographers caught this 'Rex-ified mule testing, leading us to believe there will be even more to love about our favorite little Subie in the not-too-distant future.



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2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport targets lux CUVs with off-road chops, room for seven

LR2 Replacement Arrives In Early 2015, Priced From $37,995*

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 7:01PM

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover's latest product offensive has targeted the brand's high-end Range Rover line, with the eponymous fullsize model receiving rave reviews alongside critical acclaim for the midsize Sport and compact Evoque. As we found when testing the LR4, that's left the standard Land Rover models in a particularly bad place, a fact that's doubly true when analyzing the entry-level Land Rover, the unloved LR2.

For 2015, Land Rover has finally turned its attentions to the LR2, wisely ditching the alpha-numeric nonsense and bestowing a new title on its entry level offering. Meet the Discovery Sport. Boasting seating for seven, a 240-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine, a nine-speed automatic and a sub-$40,000 starting price, Land Rover is hoping to do the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK what the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover did to the X5 and GL-Class.

News Source: Land Rover

Ford F-450 claims best-in-class towing, company abandons practice of removing items to boost payload number

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 6:30PM

2015 Ford F-450 Super Duty

The ongoing heavy-duty truck battle between Ford and Ram is showing no signs of slowing down. The Blue Oval is trying to remove at least one point of contention between the two brands by testing its 2015 F-450 Super Duty using the Society of Automotive Engineers J2807 towing standard, which Ram also uses. In the new evaluation, the F-450 is rated at a max towing capacity of 31,200 pounds. That's an identical amount as under Ford's own, previous test.

"We leave no doubt with customers that the F-450 pickup truck has best-in-class towing of 31,200 pounds – whether tested using our own internal towing standards or SAE J2807," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development, in the company's release.

At the same time, Ford is also changing how it calculates the F-450's payload. Instead of using its minimum curb weight as before, the brand is now using the truck's base curb weight. The revision lowers the pickup's rating to 5,300 pounds, compared to 5,450 pounds previously. The company said in its announcement that the reason for this is "aligning its payload rating practices with other manufacturers to make it easier for customers to compare vehicles." General Motors made a similar switch for its pickups in August.

The SAE J2807 evaluation is somewhat different from Ford's previous test, and the new standard requires about 400 pounds of additional weight in the pickup than before. Still, the towing figure is the same 31,200 pounds in each analysis. Because of the new test, the company is also re-rating the F-450's gross combined weight rating to 40,400 pounds.

Ram is already firing back with the following statement: "Ram Truck stands firm on our claims within the 350/3500 segment with best-in-class 30,000 pounds of towing capacity, best-in-class 865 lb-ft of torque and best-in-class payload of 7,390 pounds. Additionally, unlike our competitors, our entire 2015 Ram Heavy Duty line up adheres to J2807 test criteria, not just one model."

No matter where you fall in this debate, it seems like customers are getting the best out of truck makers fighting to top each other's specs. Scroll down to read Ford's complete announcement of its new figures for the F-450.

News Source: Ford

Auto parts price-fixing is everywhere, crackdown threatens business model

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 5:45PM

Auto Parts Price Fixing

China's recently instigated push to go after price fixing and monopolistic practices in the automotive sector has garnered a lot of ink, but regulatory bodies around the world have been tackling the issue for years. Lithium-ion battery makers were targeted in 2012, the US Department of Justice hit a cabal of Japanese suppliers for $740M in 2013 and Toyo Tires after that, the EU went after exhaust parts makers earlier this year. Nor are the investigations confined to the auto industry: aluminum purchasers like Coca-Cola sued banks over reducing supply to drive up prices and railway company Deutsche Bahn is suing US airlines over cargo prices.

Automaker execs speaking to Reuters say that price-fixing isn't new and that, while Japanese companies have been taking huge public hits, "that's not the exception, but the typical business condition we deal with routinely around the world." In Singapore, such collusion among parts makers was so structured and refined that they collectively called it the Market Share and Profit Protection Initiative. And wherever it's been practiced, it's worked – the Reuters report notes that parts suppliers not only keep prices high for the manufacturers, they then charge up to ten times more for replacement parts - the exact same parts - for dealer service centers and repair shops. That's given some suppliers better profit margins than the automakers they supply.

What everyone is waiting to see is whether the investigations and fines will lead the suppliers to change their business models, swapping conspiracy for "low cost and high quality" via leaner production processes.

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

2015 Toyota Camry priced at $22,970*, Hybrid at $26,790*

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 5:00PM

2015 Toyota Camry

We last saw the heavily revised 2015 Toyota Camry at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Now, it's finally time for the best-selling car in the US to hit the roads in late September, and Toyota is announcing how much the updated model actually costs.

The basic Camry LE rings up for $22,970 (*not including a $825 delivery, processing and handling fee). That's up slightly from the base price of $22,425 for the 2014.5 LE, but the updated sedan has some 2,000 new parts, while also being 1.8 inches longer and boasting a 0.4-inch wider track. The rest of the trim levels include the SE for $23,840, sporty new XSE for $26,150 and XLE at $26,150. Opting for the V6 is the XSE and XLE bumps pricing to $31,370.

Separately, the Camry Hybrid gets its own LE, SE and XLE trims. The LE starts at $26,790 with a standard, power driver's seat and 4.2-inch information display. The SE for $27,995 gets an improved interior and the XLE at $29,980 has leather, heated front seats, LED running lights and more.

Powertrains carry over with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic available on all non-hybrid models and a 3.5-liter V6 with a six-speed auto optional for the XSE and XLE. The Camry Hybrid maintains its 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and CVT.

Despite the slight price jump, even base LE models get features like an eight-way power driver's seat and heated outside mirrors. The SE also adds a 4.2-inch multi-information display and direct tire pressure monitor system.

Jumping up to the XSE adds leather, heated front seats and a power passenger seat, and the top XLE features Ultrasuede seat inserts. Both of these also get LED running lights and Toyota's Entune Audio Plus multimedia system. V6 models also have full LED headlights, Smart Key and navigation on a seven-inch infotainment system. Scroll down for all of the details about the updated Camry in the press release below.

News Source: Toyota

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips, Brandon Turkus / AOL

Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #395 LIVE!

2015 Volvo XC90, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Subaru WRX Hatch Spy Shots, 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Powertrain Rumors

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 4:45PM

Autoblog podcast graphic

We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #395 this evening. Check out the topics below or drop us your questions and comments via the Q&A module. And don't forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.

Discussion Topics For Autoblog Podcast Episode #395
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Uber banned across Germany

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 4:25PM

Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App

A German court has issued a nationwide ban on Uber, the increasingly popular, taxi-replacing, ride-hailing app. The ban will run until later this year until the "legality" of the service can be determined, The New York Times' Bits blog reports.

Uber has announced that it would appeal the decision, which only affects the budget UberPop service, and maintain its operations in the country, even though its employees – not, interestingly, its freelance drivers – could be arrested for violating the Frankfurt court's injunction. The company's luxury minded Uber Black service, which is more akin to a chauffeured livery service rather than a cab, is not affected by the court ruling.

The court claims that some of the Uber pilots were lacking the proper permits and insurance necessary to work as a cabbie. The company is currently facing a 250,000-euro fine (about $330,000 at today's rates), a figure that's only set to increase if the company continues to violate the German ban.

The latest complaint was brought by trade body Taxi Deutschland, whose chairman, Dieter Schlenker, compared the start-up's business model to a "locust."

"Uber operates with billions of cash from Goldman Sachs and Google, wraps itself up to look like a start-up and sells itself as the saviour of the new economy," Schlenker said, according to NYT.

As for Uber? "You cannot put the brakes on progress," the company said in a statement.

News Source: The New York Times' Bits

Image Credit: David Ramos / Getty Images

Dodge gives 2015 Viper slight power increase, new GT model

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 3:44PM

2015 Dodge Viper SRT

With its troubling sales figures, the newly rechristened SRT Dodge Viper needs to come out swinging for 2015. To do that, Dodge has made a number of tweaks and changes that will hopefully carry the V10-powered sports car into more successful days.

First up for 2015 is a new GT model, which aims to marry the reasonable price of the base car with the adjustable suspension and trick stability control program of the GTS model. The GT also sports a cabin that's covered in Alcantara suede and Nappa leather as standard.

Also new for 2015 is the SRT TA 2.0 Special Edition, which expands on last year's Viper TA by adding new aerodynamic bits and bobs, including a larger rear wing, which ups downforce at 150 miles per hour from 278 pounds to 400 pounds.

Two new shades of paint and a new appearance pack are joining the Viper's color palette. The new shades, Stryker Purple and Yorange sport the "liquid mercury" appearance. Not surprisingly, neither shade is particularly subtle. The new Ceramic Blue Edition Package, meanwhile, sports the aforementioned Ceramic Blue paint, black stripes and black, five-spoke "Rattler wheels." Other aesthetic tweaks include a Satin Black exhaust bezel, orange brake calipers and carbon fiber brake ducts.

Regardless of which trim, edition or shade you opt for in your 2015 Viper, you'll benefit from an 8.4-liter V10 that is both more powerful and more fuel efficient (because owners of V10-powered sports cars can be environmentally conscious, too). Power is up a modest five ponies, to 645 horsepower, while the Viper's highway fuel economy rating has increased from 19 to 20 mpg. Neither one is a dynamite increase, but we suppose every bit helps. In what should be a most welcomed change, though, Dodge has also tweaked the sixth ratio of the Tremec six-speed manual, with the promise of a quieter ride at highway speeds.

Expect exact pricing details to arrive as the 2015 Viper's launch date, which is also unknown, nears. Until then, scroll down for the full press blast from Dodge.
Related Gallery2015 Dodge Viper
2015 Dodge Viper2015 Dodge Viper2015 Dodge Viper2015 Dodge Viper2015 Dodge Viper2015 Dodge Viper2015 Dodge Viper2015 Dodge Viper

News Source: Dodge

Land Rover Discovery Sport photos hit the web early

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 2:58PM

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Shortly before its official premiere, the first official-looking photos of the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport have leaked online, thanks to Italian site Autoblog.it (no relation!). The new midsize crossover effectively replaces the LR2/Freelander, and will most notably be offered with seven-passenger seating.

Right now, all we have are the photos in the attached gallery, showing what sort of looks like a puffed-up Evoque. Interestingly, the new Disco ditches the typical "LAND ROVER" badging from its nose and rump, in favor of the prominent "DISCOVERY" lettering. That said, we like what we see, with clean lines and an overall style that's more in line with the rest of the brand's newer offerings.

We'll have the full details in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned.

News Source: Autoblog.it via Carscoops

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT gets power increase, minor tweaks for 2015

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 2:28PM

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee

As a brand within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, SRT may have an uncertain future, but it's pumping out some seriously mean machines anyway. The supercharged Hellcat V8 may be gobbling up most of the headlines with its 707 horsepower, but even the Grand Cherokee SRT is getting some small updates for the 2015 model year.

Most importantly for many enthusiasts, the Grand Cherokee SRT is getting a slight power bump. Don't expect the 700+ hp from the Hellcat, but this SUV sees a modest 5-hp and 5-pound-feet of torque improvement to bring output to 475 hp and 470 lb-ft for its 6.4-liter V8 with an eight-speed automatic. The minor change doesn't change the sprint to 60 miles per hour, clocking in at the same 4.8 seconds, or the tow rating at 7,200 pounds. Still, more grunt is never a bad idea.

Another new addition is the Active Noise Canceling system as a standard feature for this powerful SUV. It adds four microphones around the vehicle and uses the stereo system to nullify extraneous sound. However, Jeep claims that the meaty exhaust note from the V8 still gets through into the cabin for driver enjoyment.

Finally, Jeep has the new Red Vapor package for the Grand Cherokee SRT to add a bit more aggression to its look. According to brand spokesperson Dan Reid, it's priced at $3,995, and it's only available in Redline Red Pearl Clear Coat, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat and Bright White Clear Coat exterior colors. The pack adds black badges around the SUV, and parts of the upper and lower grille trim are also replaced with black pieces. The mean look is completed with five-spoke, 20-inch wheels in black chrome with bright center caps. The engine also gets a new, dark red cover.

Inside, the Red Vapor pack includes a backlit SRT logo on the steering wheel with anodized silver trim. Plus, the rest of the interior gets light black chrome and red accents.

Reid also told Autoblog, "The base MSRP for the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is $64,495", plus a $995 destination fee. Scroll down to read about all of the specs for Jeep's muscle-bound SUV.

News Source: Jeep

Mercedes G65 AMG coming to US for 2016

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 2:00PM

Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG

If you're in the market for a high-performance SUV, you've got plenty of choices at your disposal, and soon you'll have even more. And a healthy portion of those come with a Silver Star on the nose. Mercedes-Benz already offers the ML63 AMG, GL63 AMG and G63 AMG – all powered by the same 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 – in American showrooms. Soon the smaller GLA45 AMG will join them as well. But if it's more power you're after, we've got good news, because the latest word is that Benz is finally bringing over its flagship G65 AMG.

Similar to the G63 AMG, the G65 is based on the German automaker's iconic Geländewagen, but packs a monstrous 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 – the same unit that has powered everything from the S65 AMG and SL65 AMG to the previous Maybach and even the Pagani Huayra. In the G65, that gargantuan engine churns out 604 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, channeled to all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The G65 has been on the market overseas since 2012, but was kept away from these shores. According to Automotive News, however, Mercedes will finally bring its most powerful sport-ute to American showrooms. And not a moment too soon, either, as Land Rover just came out with its Range Rover Sport SVR; rivals like Bentley, Lamborghini and Maserati are all working on performance SUVs of their own; and competitors like Porsche and BMW aren't likely to give up fighting, either.

Expect the G65 to launch in the US as a 2016 model with a price tag tipped to top $250,000.

Subaru WRX hatchback mule spotted

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 1:29PM

Subaru WRX Hatchback spy shots

Despite on-again, off-again rumors, this latest set of spy shots seems to indicate that yes, a five-door Subaru WRX is indeed in the works. Subtlety is key with this test mule, but there are clear bits of evidence that indicate a hotter hatchback is what's being developed here.

First, notice the WRX-spec front fascia grafted onto this ordinary-looking Impreza hatch. From there, we can clearly see the tiny bit of added width – most obvious on the roof and at the rear, near the fuel door and taillamps. And of course, let's not forget about that bulge in the hood, consisting of a metal panel that covers the hood scoop and can apparently be removed thanks to a series of screws, according to our spies. The WRX's more robust exhaust and larger wheel/tire package have not been added to this mule, though we're told that this is commonplace for Subaru prototypes – those bits should be added on as the car's development progresses.

We fully expect a WRX hatchback to be, well, just that – mechanically, it should be identical to the sedan brethren, though our spies indicate that Subaru could be testing an updated version of the WRX-spec boxer engine. Of course, there's always a chance that this could be something else entirely, given the on-and-off reports of the five-door 'Rex's existence in the first place...

Image Credit: KGP Photography

M-thusiast pops the question at BMW Welt

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 12:44PM

Marriage proposal at BMW Welt

We've seen all manner of marriage proposals over the years, but our favorites, of course, revolve around cars. One guy proposed to his girlfriend at a traffic stop, another during an autocross event, while yet another got dozens of Mazda MX-5 owners together to spell "Marry Me?" in Miatas. This latest proposal, however, put the M in Marriage as only a BMW enthusiast could.

While visiting BMW Welt in Munich, Bachir from Lebanon rolled out in a new blue M3 and got down on one knee in front of the gathered crowds to pop the question to Layal, his girlfriend of one year.

We'll let you watch the clip for yourself to see how it went, but suffice it to say that she was delighted. The couple plan to drive to the church in a procession of M cars for what promises to be a high-octane ceremony in their home country.

News Source: BMW via YouTube, World Car Fans

2015 Infiniti Q70L

It's A Long Story...

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 11:57AM

Infiniti Q70L

A quick look at a scatter plot that charts rear legroom against luxury sedan MSRPs reveals a dearth of spacious bargains – few, if any, luxury sedans offer exceptionally spacious rear accommodations at a relatively low starting price. To fill the vacuum, Infiniti has made its Q70 available in a Q70L variant – in English, long wheelbase – for 2015.

The artist formerly known as the Infiniti M has been available in stretched-out form in the Chinese market for two years, and the US introduction is accompanied by several updates that include slightly reworked styling cues, and refinements to the drivetrain and chassis. The Q70L's wheelbase extends 5.9 inches (with a commensurate expansion of knee room), while overall length increases to 202 inches, a 7.3-inch bump. Powertrain options include a 3.7-liter V6 which produces 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque (starting at $51,350), or a 5.6-liter V8 that yields 420 hp and 417 lb-ft (and climbs to $64,550). The long-wheelbase treatment adds $1,500 to Q70 MSRPs. Not surprisingly, the Hybrid version is not available with the L treatment.

Up to three Q70L rear passengers are treated to reading lamps, a 12-volt power outlet, rear door close assist, and available heated seats. Unlike its Far Eastern counterpart (and competitors like the $61,500 Hyundai Equus), the US-spec Q70L's rear seats don't recline. Bummer.

What to make of this stretched Infiniti that's just 1.2 inches of legroom shy of an S-Class? The Q70 has never quite compared dynamically to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5 Series, and the longer wheelbase makes it even harder for the Japanese sedan to compete when it comes to driving satisfaction. What the Q70L does offer, however, are rather plush interior accommodations that include available semi-analine leather and Japanese Ash trim that's been bedazzled by sprinklings of genuine silver mixed into the lacquer.

A test drive of the 2015 Infiniti Q70L through New York City and into the sinewy roads leading to Bear Mountain revealed even greater rifts between the lengthened sedan and its sporty competitors. Where does this leave Infiniti's Q70L amidst the macrocosm of luxury sedans, which include the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, and Jaguar XF?

Driving Notes
  • Lengthening the wheelbase adds approximately 100 pounds of mass to the Q70L's curb weight, the equivalent of throwing a skinny kid in the back seat, give or take a few cheeseburgers. It's not a significant increase in tonnage, but the longer body makes the L variant feel noticeably less nimble than the standard-issue Q70, aided by the fact that the steering ratio has not been altered.
  • Ride quality felt somewhat busy but controlled over NYC's notoriously irregular pavement, while rural roads outside of Manhattan revealed a more sedate side to the sedan's damping.
  • The Q70L's cabin is pleasantly quiet, thanks in part to active noise canceling technology and new-for-2015 improvements including added insulation and better seals. There's still a faint but noticeable engine induction sound, which lends an air of sportiness to the aural experience.
  • Our V8-powered tester delivered strong, but not head-pinning, oomph. Despite what seemed like reasonably swift acceleration (Infiniti doesn't publish official 0-60 times), the Q70L's grunt doesn't inspire particularly leadfooted driving.
  • At least visually speaking, the Q70L's driving experience is all about the curves. Two humps dominate the instrument cluster, which is framed by the hood's bulbous profile. Arcs of wood and leather bind the interior, and the center stack is distinguished by its wave-like shape.
  • The Q70L is all about the expanded rear seating area, and a stint in its aft compartment revealed plenty of space, but a disappointing lack of amenities. Legroom is indeed generous, though the passenger experience doesn't feel particularly special. Unlike Hyundai's Equus, the Infiniti doesn't have a panel of controls that make the back perch feel like a first-class airline throne. The seats can be heated but not cooled, and they don't recline.
Perhaps this stretched-out five-seater will gain traction within that obscure segment of the population that would rather be chauffeured in midlevel luxury, rather than take the wheel themselves. We're a bit hazy on this rather specific target demographic, which seems more likely to reside in a Shanghai suburb than in a major metropolitan US city, but suppose the Q70L's sales figures will be the ultimate measure of its success.

Vital Stats

Engine:
5.6L V8
Power:
420 HP / 417 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$51,350

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Basem Wasef / AOL

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