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2015 Ford Mustang production starts in Flat Rock

Posted Aug 28th 2014 10:58AM

2015 Ford Mustang Production

Today's the day, Ford fans. Production has officially commenced on the sixth-generation 2015 Mustang at the company's Flat Rock, MI factory. As production ramps up, sales should kick off in the coming months.

The production news isn't just a bit deal for American fans. With the new Mustang getting a bespoke right-hand-drive variant, the pony car's worldwide availability has swollen to include 120 different countries, including its home nation.

"Mustang is and will continue to be an automotive icon," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said in a statement. "Expanding its availability globally affords our customers around the world the opportunity to have a true firsthand Mustang experience – one unlike any other."

Ford's Flat Rock facility has built the Mustang since the fifth-generation car debuted in 2005. For the 2015 model, the facility was subject to a massive $555-million investment that saw it add a new flexible body shop among other enhancements. Alongside the Mustang, Ford also builds its Fusion sedan.

"What an honor it is for the hardworking and dedicated UAW Local 3000 workers of Flat Rock Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Mustang," Jimmy Settles, a UAW vice president, said. "I don't think there is any place in the world where this vehicle is not known. To build it right here in Michigan is something to be proud of."

Take a look below for the full press release from Ford, and then check out the gallery of the new Mustang rolling down the production line.

News Source: Ford

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution's curtain call will come with more power

Posted Aug 28th 2014 10:17AM

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR

We love the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, but by this point, we've accepted the fact that the its days are numbered, despite the noticeable back and forth that accompanied rumors of the vehicle's future for so many months and years. And while the Evo's coming death in 2015 is pretty sad, a report from Automotive News claims that the road-going rally machine will at least be leaving with a fairly substantial bang.

According to AN, Mitsubishi will send off the Evo with a Special Action Model. Limited to between 2,000 to 2,500 units and destined exclusively for the United States, the Evo X SAM should boast, most notably, a bump in power for its 291-pony, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. There should be a few other performance tweaks to accompany the increased output, although it's unclear what those might be. AN claims the limited-edition model will drop during the last six months of Evo production, some time next year.

AN's report was confirmed to us by Mitsubishi spokesman Alex Fedorak, who said that, yes, there will be "a US special edition in 2015." We've asked for additional information, but all we've heard back, so far, is that mum's the word. Here's hoping we won't be waiting too long to get official details.

Until then, what do you want to see for what could be the Lancer Evolution X's last hurrah? Give us your wish list in Comments.

Suzuki Vitara shows its face ahead of Paris debut

Posted Aug 28th 2014 9:30AM

Suzuki Vitara

The death of Suzuki's American automotive operations can be chalked up to many, many things. One thing it cannot be blamed on, however, is the arguable goodness of its products. The company's criminally underrated offerings included the Kizashi sedan, the SX4 compact and your author's personal favorite, the Grand Vitara.

The GV rode on a radically different version of General Motors' Theta platform, which underpins the American manufacturer's current crop of crossovers, like the Chevrolet Equinox. What made the Grand Vitara special, though, was that it wasn't just another run-of-the-mill CUV. Buying the cheapest model meant living with rear-wheel drive rather than the Theta's typical front drive. Spend a bit of money, though, and you'd end up with an honest-to-goodness off-roader, sporting selectable four-wheel drive complete with low-range gearbox. It also comfortably sat five, was reasonably efficient and was quite handsome. We aren't totally sure how it turned into this.

This, of course, being the new Vitara (it replaces the Escudo, the vehicle Americans know as the Grand Vitara), which will make its global debut at October's Paris Motor Show. The new crossover has ditched its four-wheel-drive system for a part-time all-wheel-drive system called Allgrip.

Suzuki is planning on launching the new CUV in the UK in the spring of 2015, although specific details beyond that are scarce. Of course, we expect to know more in just over a month, when the new Vitara debuts in Paris.

News Source: Suzuki

Renaultsport RS 01 hits the track with GT-R power

Posted Aug 28th 2014 8:44AM

Renaultsport RS 01

After just a bit of teasing, Renault has finally unveiled its newest racer, the Renaultsport RS 01. Destined for one-make competition in the World Series by Renault, the RS 01 features a carbon-fiber monocoque body from Dallara that allows it to slip in at just 2,425 pounds.

The sleek, aggressive racer boasts a mid-mounted, 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 that's been swiped from the Renault's corporate ally, Nissan. The GT-R-sourced engine has also been tweaked by Nismo, and is now singing to the tune of 500 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Mated up to that engine is a seven-speed sequential transmission from Sadev, which dispatches power via steering wheel-mounted paddles to the rear wheels. According to Renault, this combination places the RS 01 somewhere between a GT3-spec racer and a DTM car on the performance scale.

The pushrod suspension uses Öhlins adjustable dampers and it rides on unique, 18-inch Michelin rubber, while PFC Brakes delivered six-piston calipers and 15-inch rotors. Naturally, there are a range of aerodynamic aids to improve handling, although Renault hasn't specified just how much downforce is created.

What do you think of Renault's latest creation? How do you feel about it being limited to a one-make series? Should the French company build a road-going version? Take a look below at the press release, and then have your say in Comments.
Related GalleryRenaultsport RS 01
Renaultsport RS 01Renaultsport RS 01Renaultsport RS 01Renaultsport RS 01Renaultsport RS 01Renaultsport RS 01Renaultsport RS 01Renaultsport RS 01

News Source: Renault

Uber 'brand ambassadors' using burner phones, credit cards to sabotage Lyft

Posted Aug 28th 2014 7:59AM

Ridesharing Salt Lake City

The ongoing war of dominance in the mobile ridesharing industry between rival services Uber and Lyft (identified by its cars' pink mustaches) is showing no signs of stopping. One recent report based on Lyft data accused Uber's contractors of booking and canceling 5,560 rides since October 2013. New information is showing just how far Uber is willing to go to add to its roster of drivers, as well.

During Lyft's introduction to New York City, Uber set up a systematic approach to sway as many of its rival's drivers as possible to switch sides. According to The Verge, the company hired a street team of so-called brand ambassadors and gave them cell phones and credit card numbers to use. Their job was to hire Lyft drivers for a ride and try to talk them into changing teams. These recruiters would also take down driver information and cross-reference it so that their compatriots didn't waste energy by going after the same person multiple times. One anonymous ambassador speaking with The Verge, said that they received $750 each time they swayed someone to swap employers.

Now, Uber has decided to take a similar strategy nationwide with Operation SLOG, for Supplying Long-term Operations Growth. It recently announced the plan on its blog and immediately copped to the controversy that the company has experienced saying: "There's been a lot of discussion – and a lot of misinformation – about Uber's driver recruitment and the ridesharing industry's at large."

Uber claims that its drivers are small business owners, and it believes that the best way to add to its roster is direct marketing. "We can't successfully recruit drivers without talking to them," the business says on the blog. It also flatly denies ever intentionally canceling rides, despite earlier claims to the contrary. At the end of the post, Uber offers people the chance to sign up and join the team.

News Source: The Verge, Uber

Image Credit: Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Kaz: Pushing The Virtual Divide Gran Turismo documentary now free on YouTube

Posted Aug 27th 2014 7:59PM

Kaz: Pushing The Virtual Divide

The video game Gran Turismo arguably wasn't the first great driving simulator, but it came along at just the right time to do things no other console game had ever done so well before. First, the Sony PlayStation allowed for 3D graphics that could create a recognizable model of a car in 360 degrees. Also, GT offered a huge breadth of vehicles that could get almost anyone interested. Up to that point in time, most driving games focused on just Formula 1, rallying, production cars, or other specific subsets of the autosphere, but GT had everything, which made it possible to find your dream car and go racing. The full-length documentary movie Kaz: Pushing the Virtual Divide delves into the mind of series leader Kazunori Yamauchi, and now it's available for anyone to watch for free.

Kaz originally launched in the US on Hulu in January, but not everyone has access to that streaming service. The documentary looks at the history of Gran Turismo starting from its early development and interviews Yamauchi about his theory behind making it. It also examines some of the racing that the series of games is emulating and influencing, including little kids getting into karting and the Nissan GT Academy. It's all done with beautiful cinematography and direction from Tamir Moscovici, who also helmed a 30-minute documentary about Magnus Walker. Note: Large portions of the movie have Yamauchi speaking in his native Japanese, so you're going to want to turn on subtitles to watch this intriguing film.

News Source: Gran Turismo TV via YouTube

What you missed on 8.27.14

Posted Aug 27th 2014 7:32PM

Daily U-Turn

Kia Forte Koup2014 Kia Forte Koup reviewed

It's not a sports car, but the Kia Forte Koup offers 200 turbocharged horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission, and retuned suspension geometry to make it a more engaging offering than its sedan counterpart. But does all that add up to a car that's actually engaging for enthusiasts? Brandon Turkus puts one to the test in our latest review.




Ford F-150Tailgate up vs. down: which is more efficient?

We don't normally think of pickup trucks as being the most aerodynamic vehicles on the road, but drag does play a key role in how the vehicles are designed. Some folks think it's actually more efficient to drive with the tailgate down, but is that actually the case? Greg Migliore finds out with the help of the 2015 Ford F-150.




Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC90 deep dive

Yesterday, we brought you the full specs of the 2015 Volvo XC90. But our man Noah Joseph was on hand at the crossover's live reveal in Sweden, and reports that there's way more to this XC90 than you might think. This isn't just a new crossover, this is a new direction for the brand, and there's a whole lot to learn in our Deep Dive, here.



Top Stories

NHTSA opens investigation into Ford Explorer PI brakes

Posted Aug 27th 2014 6:59PM

Ford Explorer Police Interceptor

This year more than most, it's pleasant when we can string together a few days without word of an automaker or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announcing a bunch of new recalls. It's seemingly been a little quiet on this front lately (barring a spider-related Suzuki issue revealed early today), but now we have word of the government safety agency opening a Preliminary Evaluation into the 2013 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, a probe that could potentially affect an estimated 20,000 vehicles.

The issue being investigated concerns failures of the front brake hose on the vehicle that show "small splits in the hoses near the body side ferrule of the hose assembly," according to the agency, and the issue could result in longer stopping distances. The feds have reports of 13 malfunctions affecting 11 Explorer units. However, it's important to note that all of the incidents come from a single, unnamed metropolitan police fleet that operates 46 of them. According to The Detroit News, the failures generally took place between December and July.

NHTSA is investigating further to find if this is a more widespread issue than just this one fleet. Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker confirmed to us, "We are cooperating with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do." Scroll down to read the agency's report.

News Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [1], [2], The Detroit News

Image Credit: Ford

Buick Envision spied fully disrobed in China

Posted Aug 27th 2014 6:28PM

Buick Envision

The Buick Envision crossover is supposed to have its big reveal on August 28 and be on display at the Chengdu Motor Show, but apparently the new midsize crossover just can't wait to meet its public. Car News China caught a completely undisguised example parking outside of the convention center where the show is held.

The Buick designers are going right down the middle with the styling with nothing too flashy to turn off potential buyers. Still, it's a handsome CUV that kind of looks like a stretched Encore from some angles with vents along the hood, a large greenhouse and a prominent crease running down the side.

This new midsizer is hitting the Chinese market first and reportedly rides on GM's Delta platform that's also found underneath the Buick Verano. According to Car News China, prices there are between 160,000 yuan and 220,000 yuan ($26,000 - $35,800 at current rates). However, it's also rumored to eventually make its way across the Pacific to give Buick buyers in the US an option between the Encore compact crossover and larger Enclave.

Buick has already let a lot of the details slip about its newest Chinese model, including its interior with premium features like a heated, leather steering wheel and Bose noise cancelation. Power comes from two tunes of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with either 256 horsepower and 260 pound-feet or 200 hp and 207 lb-ft. Both get a six-speed automatic. We should know more about the brand's latest crossover when it fully debuts in Chengdu.

News Source: Car News China

Image Credit: Car News China

Ford GT designer Camilo Pardo wins Motor City Masters

Posted Aug 27th 2014 5:46PM

Camilo Pardo wins Motor City Masters

Motor City Masters pulled off its concept of Project Runway for cars rather well. In the end, the TruTV reality series came down to former Ford designer Camilo Pardo and multi-disciplined designer Bryan Thompson, but Pardo was always kind of the show's ringer as the person instrumental in the gorgeous shape of the Ford GT. In addition to the title of Motor City Master, he won the grand prize of $100,000 and a 2014 Camaro Z/28.

If you missed it, Motor City Masters challenged 10 designers and fabricators to come up with a concept around a different theme each week. The contestants were judged by former Mercedes-Benz designer Harald Belker and Jean Jennings, recent editor-in-chief of Automobile Magazine, plus a celebrity guest. Their final task spread over the last episodes was to first create a clay model of a next-generation Camaro SS, then mock up a full-size version of it.

You can still watch all of the episodes streaming on TruTV's website, and we suspect it'll be in rerun status on the cable network, too. Or if you just want a taste of what the show was like, check out our included show clip.

News Source: TruTV via YouTube

Ferrari 458 M spotted, is there a turbo under there?

Posted Aug 27th 2014 4:57PM

Ferrari 458 M Spy Shots

While it's still absolutely beautiful and a performance marvel (especially in Speciale trim), the Ferrari 458 Italia has to keep up with the rapidly evolving world in supercars if it wants to continue its success. Ferrari seems to know that it can't sit back and relax, because we're now seeing a disguised 458 testing for the second time.

Since we first saw it, rumor has emerged that it updated 458, reportedly called 458 M, may follow the lead of the recently revised California by using its turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 engine. The mill makes 553 horsepower and 557 pound-feet in that application, but those numbers clearly won't be enough for the Prancing Horse, because the standard 458 already makes more. Instead, Ferrari is expected to turn things up significantly to produce around 670hp, even more than the already gutsy Speciale.

Of course, to make the big change work, the 458 M must be able to ingest huge quantities of cool air to feed those turbos, and the camouflage on this test car is likely hiding the body changes to make that possible. Ferrari does a great job here of disguising things up front on this prototype, making it frustratingly hard to spot any changes.

However, there's much more to notice in profile and at the rear. The tape seams of the camo make it appear that there are some alterations along the rear shoulders, which would seem to be a perfect place for new air intakes. Around back, you can also clearly see a different exhaust design than the standard 458's three-outlet layout. This has two pipes nestled fairly deep into the diffuser, which doesn't quite match the design of the Speciale.

The 458 M is reportedly hitting the roads sometime in 2015, possibly with a Geneva Motor Show debut. Until then, feast your eyes on these spy shots.
Related GalleryFerrari 458 M Spy Shots
Ferrari 458 M Spy ShotsFerrari 458 M Spy ShotsFerrari 458 M Spy ShotsFerrari 458 M Spy ShotsFerrari 458 M Spy ShotsFerrari 458 M Spy ShotsFerrari 458 M Spy ShotsFerrari 458 M Spy Shots

Image Credit: CarPix

New entry-level Mercedes SL400 drops price of range by over $20k

Posted Aug 27th 2014 4:31PM

2015 Mercedes SL400

As one of the premier luxury droptops from Mercedes-Benz, the SL-Class has never been an inexpensive proposition. But the German brand is making it a little bit more accessible for the 2015 model year with its new SL400. The new entry-level model has quietly shown up on Mercedes' consumer site, and pricing starts at $84,000, plus the usual $925 destination charge. While that's still a lot of money, it's a massive discount, ringing up at a whopping $22,900 less than the $107,825 SL550.

Think of that savings as over $11,000 per cylinder, as the SL400 foregoes V8 power in favor of a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 with 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque and seven-speed automatic rated at 20 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway. Those numbers are roughly 100 hp and 160 lb-ft less than the SL550. Still, the new model can get to 60 miles per hour in a quick 5.1 seconds, compared to 4.5 for the its big brother.

Thankfully, buyers don't have to give up the optional luxuries that makes the SL special to get the cheaper model. The Air Scarf comes as part of the $4,900 Premium Package, Distronic adaptive cruise control is available as part of the $2,950 Driver Assistance Package and Benz's clever dimming Magic Sky Control roof is a separate option for $2,500. If the idea of a Mercedes-branded folding hardtop convertible that gives up a little power for a lot less money sounds good to you, then you're thinking like we are.

News Source: Mercedes-Benz via Automobile

This forgotten Chrysler was its bid for Humvee contract

Posted Aug 27th 2014 4:01PM

Chrysler Humvee Proposal

Today, the Humvee might be as associated with the dead automotive brand from General Motors as it is with the hard-working truck that has long served as one of the backbone vehicles of America's military. But Autoline host John McElroy is showing off a practically unknown part of the model's story by digging out some old photos from his personal archive.

The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle project, better known today as the Humvee, can be traced back to a US Department of Defense request for bids to build a new military truck. According to McElroy, he was invited to the Chrysler proving grounds in 1981 to check out the bid from the brand's defense division. The company's concept was that it might be able to build an inexpensive, capable vehicle by using off-the-shelf parts.

The angular body panels gave the truck a look almost like a modern, stealth vehicle. However, the flat look was actually just to make the tooling as cheap as possible to produce. Still, this Chrysler looked surprisingly futuristic for the early '80s. It's actually not too far away from the famous Lamborghini LM002, itself intended as a possible military-spec machine.

Obviously, Chrysler's proposal never made it to production, but it's interesting to think that if history had gone differently, this could have been America's military vehicle rather than the Hummer. Fast-forward to the 3:35-mark in the video to get the full scoop on this forgotten piece of automotive history.

News Source: Autoline Network via YouTube

Image Credit: Chrysler

Suzuki Kizashi recalled due to pesky spiders

Posted Aug 27th 2014 3:30PM

2010 Suzuki Kizashi

Spiders seem to love the fuel tanks of Japanese sedans. Mazda had to recall its Mazda6 twice for arachnid webs blocking their car's vent lines. Now, the Suzuki Kizashi is also being called in because spiders can block the car's evaporative canister vent hose, a condition which could cause excessive negative pressure in the tank, eventually leading to a crack and fuel leak. The campaign covers about 19,249 examples of the 2010-2013 model year Kizashi built from October 2009 through July 2012.

According to the automaker's defect notice released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the first report of a spiderweb blocking a vent line was in 2011. It began monitoring field data and found six more incidents from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, there was one more case, and with further investigation, Suzuki decided to initiate a recall. There are no reports of accidents or injuries of the webs causing accidents or injuries in the US.

In a similar move to Mazda, Suzuki is replacing the evaporative canister vent line with one that has a filter in place to keep the spiders out. Also, if the lines are obstructed by webs in a specific vehicle, the fuel tank will also get swapped. Scroll down to read the full recall announcement from NHTSA.

News Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [1], [2]

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

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