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2015 BMW S 1000 RR looks to retain sportbike supremacy

Posted Sep 30th 2014 5:29PM

2015 BMW S 1000 RR

The BMW S 1000 RR is already a pretty potent member of the superbike ranks, but BMW is revealing a host of upgrades for this two-wheeled lightning bolt at the Intermot 2014 motorcycle show that should make it even faster.

The biggest additions to the latest 1000 RR are its new cylinder head, lighter valves and different intake cam to tweak even more power from the bike's 1.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, and BMW now rates it at a claimed 196 horsepower (or 199 horses if you go with the European measurement, converted from 146 kilowatts), a boost over the first-gen's 193 ponies, and 83 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed gearbox. Those adjustments would probably be enough to make the cycle a tick faster alone, but the Bavarian engineers also cut 8.82 pounds (4 kg) to bring the motorcycle's weight with a full tank of fuel to a feather-light 450 pounds. Much of that diet comes from the redesigned exhaust that cuts about 6.6 pounds off the scales.

Cradling that tweaked engine is a redesigned, lighter frame with fully adjustable springs. The bike also comes standard with Race ABS, stability control, seven-step variable traction control and three riding modes. In terms of styling, all of these changes are communicated through an updated fairing with repositioned, though still asymmetric, headlights.

For buyers who want even more customization for their ride, BMW is happy to oblige. The company claims that the 1000 RR is the first model in the superbike class to offer optional cruise control. There's also an available dynamic traction control system that senses the cycle's lean angle and adjusts things accordingly. Those heading for the track can tick the box for Pro Riding mode that adds Slick and User settings, launch control and a programmable pitlane speed limiter. To shave a few more tenths off a lap, there's the HP Gear Shift Assist Pro system that allows for clutchless gear changes. Scroll down to read BMW's immense press release on the S 1000 RR for every detail you could ever want to know about this updated motorcycle.
Related GalleryBMW S 1000 RR
BMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RR

News Source: BMW

Autoblog Podcast #399

Cadillac Relocation And Naming, Paris Motor Show Preview, Tom Tjaarda Interview, Classic Cars For $3,000

Posted Sep 30th 2014 5:10PM

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #398 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Brandon Turkus, and Rob Sass of Hagerty Classic Cars Magazine talk about Cadillac's move to Manhattan and new naming convention, preview the Paris Motor Show, and finish up with the 3 Guys, 3 Grand Classic Car challenge. Also included is an interview with Tom Tjaarda, prolific designer of vehicles including the DeTomaso Pantera. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #399:


In The Autoblog Garage:
2015 BMW 428i Gran Coupe
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid
Jensen Interceptor

Hosts: Dan Roth, Michael Harley, Brandon Turkus
Runtime: 01:47:56

  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Cadillac Move - 24:02
  • Paris Motor Show - 39:22
  • Tom Tjaarda - 52:12
  • Hagerty $3000 Classics - 01:15:43
  • Q&A - 01:27:45

Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

Pontiac Firebird in latest Generation Gap scrap

Posted Sep 30th 2014 4:45PM

Generation Gap looks at the Pontiac Firebird

Generation Gap is mining the Lingenfelter collection again this week to compare two very different interpretations of the Pontiac Firebird. An original 1968 example goes toe-to-toe with a 2010 Lingenfelter Trans Am to see whether the old man or the modern re-imagining takes the crown.

Being from the Lingenfelter collection, both cars are absolutely immaculate. The '68 packs a Pontiac 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8 with a claimed 320 horsepower and some classic, muscular style with a hood-mounted tach. Plus, it's painted in an understated shade of green that you don't usually see.

In the other corner is Lingenfelter's pumped-up take on the classic shape based on the modern Camaro, and this is just one of six concept versions ever made. It wears an eye-catching, vintage-inspired livery of blue with a white stripe package. Under its shaker hood is a 455-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) V8 with a reported 655 hp and 610 pound-feet of torque.

Watch the hosts drive them both in the video to see which one you'd choose. Both choices certainly have their advantages.

News Source: Motor Trend Channel via YouTube

Walmart says Tracy Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt, responsible for his own injuries

Posted Sep 30th 2014 4:01PM

Tired Truck Drivers

There is such a thing as "bad public relations." We aren't fully sure Walmart understands this, considering that the retail giant is now blaming the injuries comedian Tracy Morgan suffered after his limo bus was hit by one of the company's trucks on his failure to wear a seatbelt, rather than, you know, getting hit by an allegedly speeding semi being driven by an, again allegedly, sleep-deprived, over-worked trucker.

According to recently released documents, Walmart claimed Morgan's injuries "were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs' failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device," and that the bus' passengers shouldn't be rewarded with damages because they "failed to mitigate their losses." The 45-year-old and others injured in the crash are suing Walmart in federal court following the June crash that left him severely injured and his friend, 62-year-old James "Jimmy Mac" MacNair, dead.

"Walmart filed its official response to the plaintiffs' lawsuit earlier today, and the company continues to stand willing to work with Mr. Morgan and the other plaintiffs to resolve this matter," spokesman Brooke Buchanan said in a statement, according to The Detroit Free Press.

News Source: The Detroit Free Press

Image Credit: Will Vaultz Photography / AP

Kawasaki Ninja H2R is a 300-hp supercharged carbon-fiber cruise missile [w/video]

Posted Sep 30th 2014 3:15PM

We don't get to cover the ins and outs of the motorcycle world as much as we'd like, but there was no way we could skip bringing you the latest announcement of the Kawasaki Ninja H2R.

Great Galloping Jesus, does this thing look incredible.

The Ninja nameplate has typically been synonymous with top-tier performance, and this carbon fiber-clad monster seeks to take that reputation to another level. Crouched inside of that green, tubular steel trellis frame is a 998cc inline-four engine that has been supercharged to the tune of 300 horsepower. That unprecedented figure is almost guaranteed to carry the H2R well past the 200-mile per-hour-mark, for any test-rider brave enough to keep the throttle pegged and skillful enough to keep the 17-inch slicks stuck to the Earth.

The new Ninja isn't a street-legal machine – as evidenced by its headlightless, bewinged face – but rather a showpiece for Kawasaki knowhow. A single-sided swingarm – a first for Kawasaki – holds the rear wheel in place, while the steel trellis takes up less space than would an aluminum twin-spar. The carbon-fiber work on the cowl was designed with assistance from the company's aerospace arm, while engineering of the centrifugal supercharger was aided by minds in the personal watercraft division. Teamwork makes the dream work, we always say.

And this particular dream is expected to be come a streetable reality, we're told, at this year's EICMA show. The new Ninja formula is expected to be shown on a street bike debut at the event. Don't expect the consumer version to be as wild, and as wildly powerful, but we do anticipate it'll be impressive.
Related GalleryKawasaki Ninja H2R
Kawasaki Ninja H2RKawasaki Ninja H2RKawasaki Ninja H2RKawasaki Ninja H2RKawasaki Ninja H2R

News Source: Kawasaki via Asphalt & Rubber

Ford Mustang 50th anniversary edition brings in $170k

Posted Sep 30th 2014 2:15PM

Ford Mustang 50 Years Limited Edition

Just the other day, we reported on the first Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat selling for a whopping $825,000 at auction. But impressive as that sum was, the Challenger wasn't the only sought-after modern muscle car to cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block in Las Vegas this past weekend. So did this rare Ford Mustang.

The last of 1,964 special-edition 50 Years Limited Edition pony cars sold for a princely $170,000, with proceeds benefiting the Edith and Benson Ford Heart & Vascular Institute, a branch of the Henry Ford Health System.

The pony car in question is based on the 2015 Ford Mustang GT and upgrades with a performance package and nearly every option on the book, along with a unique appearance package to set it apart in celebration of the Mustang's 50th anniversary. It's available in two exclusive shades – Wimbledon white or Kona blue – with either a manual or automatic transmission. Only 1,964 highly symbolic examples were to be built, and this was the last of them.

News Source: Ford

2014 Zero S and SR

Posted Sep 30th 2014 1:29PM

The Zero S and SR outside of company headquarters

I recently learned how to summon the ultimate power of the universe. Perhaps surprisingly, it didn't come about by bending a knee or popping a potion, but rather, through twisting my wrist. I'll tell you more about this revelation, but first, a confession.

Faithful readers may suspect that I am a bit taken with electric motorcycles. I write about them frequently for AutoblogGreen and spend a lot more time reading about them and following various racing and development efforts. Yet, despite my infatuation, I had never actually ridden one before showing up at the headquarters of Zero Motorcycles in Scotts Valley, CA a few weeks back. In fact, I'd never previously piloted any sort of motorcycle on the street. Something I may have neglected to mention to my generous hosts.

I grew up in Canada, and early on my Dad decided snowmobiles would be a better sort of recreational vehicle for our family's somewhat rural existence than motorbikes. He was probably right. I raced through tight forest trails and across open fields whenever there was snow on the ground (and sometimes when there wasn't), and it opened up the great outdoors to me far more than any sort of two-wheeled vehicle could. You can't easily ride twenty miles down a frozen river on a motorcycle, for instance. Heck, in a pinch one could even power a sled across a couple hundred feet of open water after a sudden thaw of the mighty Petitcodiac. (Note to my Mom: I never did this. Especially not twice.) But I digress.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Domenick Yoney / AOL, Zero Motorcycles

McLaren 650S GT3 stalks its prey in the woods

Posted Sep 30th 2014 12:45PM

McLaren 650S GT3

We're plenty excited about the new McLaren 650S GT3. While we've poured over images of the new racer, we've yet to see it in motion, which makes the arrival of this new video pretty fortuitous.

By clicking 'play' above, you'll see the 650S streaking through the forest, showing off its many good angles along with an ear-pleasing exhaust note that should fit in nicely on the racing grid. Of course, what grid that will be is open for discussion.

Rumors continue circulating that the replacement for the MP4-12C GT3 will herald McLaren's long-awaited return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other top-flight endurance series, provided it's converted to the GTE class standard. While that's yet to be confirmed, as of right now, it's a virtual certainty that this new model will take up the series currently contested by the GT3 class, including the Blancpain Endurance Series and Pirelli World Challenge.

Take a look at the video and let us know what you think in Comments.

News Source: McLaren Automotive via YouTube

2015 Honda CR-V

Meaningful Mid-Cycle Refresh Leaves This Cute-Ute All Grown Up

Posted Sep 30th 2014 11:57AM

2015 Honda CR-V

Predicting the future direction of Honda's compact CR-V would have been difficult based on the Civic-derived model that first arrived on our shores for the 1997 model year. The newcomer, selling alongside the body-on-frame Passport (a hastily rebadged Isuzu Rodeo), was a cute compact crossover with four doors and an awkward curb-side hinged tailgate thanks to its Japanese home-market design. The five-passenger CUV offered generous interior room, but its wheezy 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with an output of just 126 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque, required 11.7 seconds to bring the 3,153-pound vehicle to 60 miles per hour. Rear drum brakes didn't help much in the stopping department, but Honda offered safety-minded consumers optional anti-lock brakes on the premium trim.

Nearly two decades after its introduction, the CR-V has matured in spectacular manner. The refreshed 2015 Honda CR-V, now in its fourth generation, is dimensionally within two inches of its ancestor in overall length and nearly identical in height and wheelbase. That consistency of dimension is impressive in this age of size and segment creep, and it stands as a testament to how 'right' Honda engineers got the model's original packaging. Of course, the CR-V hasn't stood still – nearly everything else about the best-selling compact CUV has improved in leaps and bounds.

But Honda is not the only player in this hotly contested segment today, so the automaker has taken the unusual step of updating its fourth-generation model just a few years after its introduction in an effort to keep it seated on the podium. To learn more about the automaker's improvements, and form our own impressions, we spent a day driving the CR-V in sunny Southern California.

Vital Stats

2.4L I4
185 HP / 181 LB-FT
3 Years / 36,000 Miles
Base Price:
As-Tested Price:

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL, Honda

Ram increasing EcoDiesel production [w/video]

Posted Sep 30th 2014 11:30AM

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Production

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel shot out of the gate with strong sales by filling its initial allocation of 8,000 orders in just three days, in February. At the time, Ram expected that the oil-burning variant would account for around 10 percent of 1500 output, but it knew there was room to grow if the demand was there. Apparently it is, as the truck maker is doubling the diesel's production mix for the 2015 model year to 20 percent of the pickup's total volume.

Since hitting the market, the EcoDiesel has been a smashing success, according to Ram. The company claims that nearly 60 percent of its sales have been conquests from other truck brands, and its popularity has boosted the 1500's average transaction price, as well. In an accompanying video, brand president Bob Hegbloom said that customers have been demanding more of them.

"Innovation sometimes comes with risk, but being first to market with a diesel engine for the half-ton segment has shown to be a great decision for the Ram Brand," said Hegbloom in the company's release.

Now, Ram has a new deal with engine supplier VM Motori to allocate it even more of the EcoDiesel's 3.0-liter V6s for the 1500. They will be shipped to the recently enlarged Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan and Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico, and the actual production increase will be complete by the end of November.

While we might see more of them on the road, the 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is essentially carried over from last year's model. It still uses the same 3.0-liter V6 with 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Scroll down for the video from Hegbloom explaining the decision and the full release from Ram.

News Source: Ram Trucks, Chrysler Group LLC via YouTube

Dutch monster truck demonstration leaves three dead

Posted Sep 30th 2014 10:45AM


Tragedy struck during a monster truck demonstration at a car show in Haaksbergen, Netherlands, when the massive vehicle (pictured above) seemingly lost control and crashed into spectators. The calamity resulted in three fatalities and many injuries among bystanders.

Videos of the accident seemed to show the truck rolling over several cars, pivoting and crashing into the crowd at the end of the run, as people ran away for safety. According to British newspaper The Mirror, the rescue effort was swift with hospitals opening their doors and even ambulances from nearby Germany responding to help. The driver of the monster truck was reportedly arrested.

The Mirror initially reported two deaths and 18 injuries with six people in serious condition. However, the mayor of the Haaksbergen issued a statement on September 29 that revised the total to three fatalities and five people seriously harmed. A child, man and woman lost their lives in the tragedy, but the mayor didn't release their names or ages. A further update later said that the city would be working with investigators to find out what happened to cause the disaster.

The incident echoes a similarly devastating monster truck crash in Mexico, where eight people lost their lives. The driver in that case was later charged with manslaughter.

News Source: The Mirror, Haaksbergen [1], [2]

Image Credit: Vincent Jannink / AFP / Getty Images

Harley recalls 107,000 motorcycles due to clutch problem

Posted Sep 30th 2014 9:59AM

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic

Harley-Davidson is getting in on the recall chorus this year, announcing a six-figure callback of its Touring and CVO lines of cruisers. 105,746 Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Police Electra Glide, Street Glide Special, Street Glide, Tri Glide Ultra, CVO Limited, CVO Road King, CVO Breakout, Electra Glide Ultra Classic Twin Cooled, Ultra Limited Shrine, Street Glide Shrine and CVO Softail Deluxe are affected.

The problem focuses on clutch master cylinder, which could be prone to failure, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, could reduce the "pressure available to keep the clutch disengaged." If the clutch engages, NHTSA says the bike could creep forward unintentionally, raising the risk of a crash.

Separately, HD is also recalling 1,384 XG500 and XG750 (better known as Street 500 and Street 750) due to a problem with the neck of the fuel tank filler. Apparently, the neck may be "insufficiently flat," which could prevent the fuel cap from sealing properly and increasing the chance of a fuel spill.

The Touring line recall only affects 2014 models, while the 1,400 Street bikes are from model year 2015. In both cases, Harley will be notifying owners of the affected bikes, who will need to report in for free repairs (either a rebuilt clutch master cylinder or a new fuel tank).

Take a look below for the NHTSA bulletins on both the cruiser recall and the Street recall.

News Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Rolls-Royce to reach 4,000 units this year

Posted Sep 30th 2014 9:15AM

Rolls-Royce showroom

Rolls-Royce is, by nature, an exclusive auto marque, but it has been steadily increasing its sales to the point that it could be looking at 4,000 units by the end of this year, setting a new record for the German-owned British automaker.

You don't even need to go back a decade to find Rolls-Royce sales hovering around the 1,000-unit mark. But that was when Goodwood only offered the Phantom saloon. The subsequent addition of the Phantom DHC and Phantom Coupe helped expand its portfolio, enlarged even further by the addition of the Ghost in 2010, by which time total sales were reaching 3,000 units.

The Spirit of Ecstasy marque has been hovering around the 3,500 mark ever since, but with the Wraith now in the mix and its reach extending into growing markets around the world, Autocar reports that global sales could top 4,000 units this year. (Of course that pales in comparison to one-time sister brand Bentley, which topped 10,000 deliveries last year, but Rolls-Royce typically competes at a higher price bracket.)

That's all well and fine in the abstract, but what that means in concrete terms is that Goodwood stands to generate around $800 million in profits this year. That means it has the cash on hand to fund the development of its own models internally, without needing to rely on parent company BMW to provide the capital. The financial independence will be brought to bear first on the next-generation Phantom as well as on the next Ghost, but also on the SUV project that's currently on the table.

News Source: Autocar

Kia bringing updated Rio, Venga to Paris

Posted Sep 30th 2014 8:28AM

2015 Kia Rio

The Rio may not be the most popular Kia in the United States – not by a long shot – but it was the brand's top seller globally last year. Little wonder, then, that although the current fourth-generation model was only introduced in 2011, the Korean automaker is already rolling out a facelifted version.

Set to be revealed later this week at the Paris Motor Show, the 2015 Kia Rio has been updated inside, out and under the hood. The front end gets a new grille, bumper and foglights, there's a new bumper around back, and a fresh array of alloy wheels ranging in size from 15 inches to 17. There are also two new colors on offer, and the interior has been updated with a new center stack and chrome trim.

Powertrain options depend on local market demands but range from 74 horsepower to 107, driving the front wheels through a five- or six-speed manual or four-speed automatic and available with stop/start ignition. The updates were announced for the European-spec model; we're waiting for confirmation on what, if any, of these revisions will reach US showrooms, so watch this space.

While it's at it, Kia has also revealed an updated Venga, the mini-minivan based on the same platform as the Kia Soul and Hyundai i20, introduced in Europe five years ago. Scope out the full details of both models in the press releases below.
Related Gallery2015 Kia Rio
2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio2015 Kia Rio

News Source: Kia


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