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  • New York
    We obsessively covered the 2014 New York Auto Show
  • Official
    BMW Vision Future Luxury arrives in Beijing dressed to the nines
  • Official
    Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept is an even hotter hatch
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Shanghai GM debuts Trax and redesigned Cruze in Beijing

Posted Apr 19th 2014 6:55PM

CDM Chevrolet Cruze

Shanghai GM, General Motors' joint-venture partner in China, has officially unveiled a pair of new entries for Chevrolet in the People's Republic. First up is the Trax, a vehicle that is also set to arrive in the American market.

The Trax appears largely unchanged for China, following the theme set by the USDM model, which in turn was plucked from other markets around the globe. Based largely on the Buick Encore/Opel Mokka, the CDM variant offers the same 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found around the globe. All-wheel drive and Chevrolet's MyLink system are available, just like on Trax models sold in Canada and other world markets.

The Cruze is the bigger news. While we're set to receive a lightly refreshed model here in the US, the Chinese market is getting something more extensive. Images of the new fascia were first seen a few weeks back, giving us our first indication that there'd be a separation between the US and China. The CDM Cruze draws inspiration from the Tru 140S Concept, shown a few years ago in Detroit. That accounts for the Dodge Dart-like headlights and more aggressive lines, which Shanghai GM calls "coupe-like."

Two engines will be available when the Cruze launches in China, both of which come from GM's latest family of Ecotec mills. A 1.5-liter naturally aspirated engine and a 1.4-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder provide motivation, while the Chinese market will have a choice of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or a six-speed automatic.

We're a bit short on images of the CDM Cruze and Trax, although once more pics become available, we'll be sure to update this gallery. Until then, scroll down up and have a look. You can also take a peek at the official press release, below.

News Source: Shanghai GM

BMW Vision Future Luxury arrives in Beijing dressed to the nines

Posted Apr 19th 2014 6:00PM

BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept

BMW Vision Future Luxury ConceptAlmost two weeks ago, we reported that BMW may be bringing a concept to the 2014 Beijing Motor Show that could herald a flagship 9 Series model that would be better suited to do battle with the tip-top of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class range than the current 7 Series. Well, here it is. This is the Vision Future Luxury Concept, and straight away, it looks suited to the role of ultra-luxury flagship.

In our original story, we reported that the Beijing concept would wear styling similar to the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe that was shown in Villa d'Este nearly a year ago. Unlike that car, the Vision Future Luxury sports four doors, although its roofline plunges aggressively enough for it to be considered a four-door coupe. That doesn't mean it will compromise on rear-seat space, however. Judging by the length of the rear doors alone, this is a very large vehicle.

Its styling, though, is, as we reported, quite familiar. We can see the evolution of the Concours' concept's styling, with a narrower grille that still leads up into the hood. The thin headlights use BMW's Laserlight technology while retaining a shape similar to the Gran Lusso, and the lower intake is dominated by a carbon-fiber air deflector on both ends. BMW's Air Breather system can be found behind the front wheels, adding an accent along the lower portion of the doors. In back, organic LED lighting is used for the super-slim taillights.

Considering that this car has "Luxury" in its name, the cabin should be a pretty nice place to spend time. There's no shortage of concept car styling, but the overall sense of design looks like a nice evolution of the styling we see on newer Bimmers. BMW opted for a layered design to the interior materials, using carbon fabric as a base before adding an aluminum support layer. Finally, wood and aniline leather are added, as needed. There's no shortage of exposed carbon fiber, but it's found in such tasteful doses that it looks quite nice.

Being a concept, BMW took the opportunity to include a few next-gen interior technologies. A new head-up display projects information onto the road, highlighting certain buildings or road signs, for example. Rear-seat occupants, meanwhile, have access to a detachable Touch Command Tablet, which can access BMW's Luxury Concierge Service, as well as games, the Internet and trip information. There are two other seat-mounted displays for rear-seat occupants, as well.

Make no mistake, this might be a wild, out-there concept, and there's no talk of what might potentially power it, but much of its look seems very much grounded in reality. Perhaps, like the Vision concept that went before it, we'll be talking about this fullsize, four-door coupe for the next few years. Take a look above to see what BMW's put together for the PRC's annual Auto China show, and then scroll down for the official press release on the Vision Future Luxury concept.

News Source: BMW

TT Offroad Concept shows Audi's design icon isn't afraid to play dirty

Posted Apr 19th 2014 4:31PM

Audi TT Offroad Concept

We'll step right out and say we like the TT Offroad Concept, but there's something that's just a bit too... familiar about it. Yes, this yellow five-door looks like a not-so-distant relative of the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept that debuted at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. So, we've seen the production TT, a super-light, high-performance model and now we're seeing a crossover. Does any of this sound familiar? Considering the Detroit concept earned an editors' choice award for that show, you can imagine how we feel about the strikingly similar TT Offroad, which is debuting at the Beijing Motor Show.

The two concepts share a propulsion system – a high-performance version of Audi's E-Tron plug-in-hybrid drivetrain. Total system output sits at 408 horsepower, thanks to a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder and a 40-kilowatt electric motor in front and an 85-kW motor on the rear axle, for all-wheel drive. 62 miles per hour arrives in 5.2 seconds, while the TT Offroad is limited to 155 mph. Fuel economy is impressive, with a claimed 123.8 US miles per gallon on the European cycle.

The most obvious different between these two, then, are their looks. The TT looks a bit tougher, thanks to its larger 21-inch wheels and narrower headlights, but its more conventional belt and roofline give it more of an Audi Q3's look. Out back, a slightly restyled bumper is the sole differentiator between the two vehicles.

The TT enjoys a slightly more upscale cabin, with Stone Gray leather seats with yellow contrast stitching from Poltrona Frau. A diamond-pattern is stitched in the seat inners, while the headliner and other interior points are finished in Alcantara. Like the exterior and the powertrain, though, these two are very, very similar in terms of their TT-based layout.

It's way too early to guess whether Audi will attempt to expand the TT family beyond its long-running coupe and convertible models. It certainly seems plausible, though, particularly when you hear high-ranking Audi officials say stuff like this: "[The TT Offroad Concept is] a glimpse of how we might imagine a new model in a future TT family." The latter remark comes from Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, a member of Audi's board of management for technical development. Sources don't get much higher than that.

Take a look below for the press blast on the TT Offroad Concept, and then hop up top for the official images of the rough-and-tumble TT in the gallery.
Related GalleryAudi TT Offroad Concept
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News Source: Audi

Porsche giving Nick Murray exactly what he deserves [w/video]

Posted Apr 19th 2014 3:59PM

Nick Murray Porsche 911

The tale of Nick Murray and his lemon Porsche 911 appears to have come to a satisfactory end. As noted in the original story about Murray, he and Porsche Cars North America met and came to a resolution. However, we didn't know exactly what that meant, until now.

Murray has created a new video explaining that PCNA offered to buy back the car at full price or give him an exact replacement for it. This was exactly what he was asking for. Murray remains pro-Porsche in the new video. "I am definitely considering reordering a Porsche 911," he says.

Porsche also posted a message on its Facebook page that clarified the situation. "We at Porsche have always sought excellence in all that we do. We know you expect it of us. And when we don't meet that standard, we make every effort to improve," said a portion of the note.

It's good to see a level-headed guy like Murray succeed. He's getting what he wants, but he doesn't seem to harbor any ill will towards the company. Scroll down to watch the latest video. Warning, there is some very vulgar NSFW language when he reads several YouTube comments left on his previous video.

News Source: Porsche Facebook, Nick Murray via YouTube

Morgan announces Plus 8 Speedster

Posted Apr 19th 2014 2:03PM

Morgan Plus 8 Roadster rendering

The Morgan Motor Company is the consummate automotive industry survivor. While a name like Triumph is fading, Morgan is still is in business building a relatively small number of sports cars annually. This year is a big milestone for the company. Its Pickersleigh Road factory in England has been building cars for the last 100 years. To celebrate the centenary, Morgan is launching the new Plus 8 Speedster.

The model's design follows Morgan's classic formula of a long, low hood with protruding headlights and a short rear deck. While it has classic style, a thoroughly modern powertrain hides under the bonnet. Propelling the Speedster is a 367-horsepower, 4.8-liter BMW V8 and either a six-speed speed manual or ZF six-speed automatic. Morgan claims it is enough grunt to get the car to 62 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds and to a top speed of 148 miles per hour. The company's latest aluminum chassis underpins everything, but a leather belt is in place holding down the hood like on the vintage cars.

As you can see from the renderings in the gallery, the Speedster is highly customizable. Buyers can order roll hoops, wheel louvers, several wheel designs and even a top if they are afraid of getting wet. A Morgan rep told Autoblog that the "final specification and price list will be released in two weeks." Production will begin in June, and first cars will be ready before the end of the summer. Prices will start at 69,995 pounds. Scroll down to read the full details about a vehicle that has been a century in the making.

News Source: Morgan

Ford Escort returns, just not for US

Posted Apr 19th 2014 12:02PM

Ford Escort

Ford is set to give the burgeoning Chinese market its very own C-segment model, while also reviving one of the brand's more notable nameplates. The new Escort, which will make its world debut at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show will be built in the People's Republic at the Changan Ford joint venture facility.

The Escort's exterior is best thought of as a mix of the finer points from the US market Focus and Fusion, with the Aston Martin-ish grille and narrow, wraparound taillights presenting a clean look at either end of the car. It's all fairly true to the concept car from last year's Shanghai Motor Show. That said, this exterior job is almost too clean. There doesn't seem to be a lot of character or substance beyond the typical Ford looks.

There's a similar issue in the cabin - it all looks pretty nice, but the design is rather plain, particularly when viewed alongside the display-filled cabin of a US-spec car. Still, there looks to be a fair amount of space in both the front and back seats, and the trunk isn't exactly tiny, either.

Riding on the Blue Oval's global C-segment platform, which underpins the US and European-market Ford Focus, the Escort is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder which Ford promises will deliver "outstanding" fuel economy.

Take a look above and below for the official images and press information from Ford.

News Source: Ford

Ford confirms Everest SUV production for China

Posted Apr 19th 2014 12:01PM

Ford Everest

According to Ford, the Chinese SUV segment grew by 49 percent in 2013, and the Blue Oval held a 4.5 percent market share. At the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, Ford is showing the Everest SUV that, while just a concept for now, will go into production in the near future.

The Everest is a big, brawny seven-seat SUV that mixes solid, chiseled styling and contemporary Ford design cues. Up front there is an angular version of the trapezoidal grille and sharp, wraparound headlights. The beltline rises in the rear to make the back appear higher than the front. The rear seems just as chiseled, with the taillights resting in jagged scallops. There is no doubt that this concept means to look rugged, and ready for rough roads – the whole thing looks pretty great.

The truck was penned by Ford's Asia Pacific design and engineering team in Australia, and it was first shown in Sydney last year. Ford's JMC joint venture will build the truck for the Chinese market, and it will be sold at Ford dealers there. The Blue Oval isn't hinting at what powers the production version yet, but it reportedly shares some components with the foreign-market Ranger.

Don't get up any hopes of the Everest coming here. "We have no plans for it at the moment," said Ford spokesperson William Mattiace, about its US prospects. Scroll down to read the official press blast.

News Source: Ford

Pagani to reveal Huayra Roadster within two years

Posted Apr 19th 2014 10:01AM

Pagani Huayra

Over the course of fourteen years of production, Pagani made more special editions and versions of the Zonda than we would care to count. But over the past three years since its debut, we've only seen the one version of the Huayra.

That won't be the case forever, though. In correspondence with Autoblog, company spokesman Luca Venturi confirmed that Pagani is indeed working on a roadster version of the Huayra, just as it had done with the Zonda before it. The Huayra Roadster will likely carry all of the same mechanical features as the coupe on which it is based, including the 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 which Mercedes-AMG builds for Pagani.

Expect all 720 horsepower to continue being transmitted to the rear wheels through the Huayra's seven-speed, single-clutch sequential gearbox, which Pagani chose over a more advanced dual-clutch gearbox due to its lighter weight. By the same token, we wouldn't expect a complex folding hard-top like you'd find on the likes of the Ferrari 458 Spider or McLaren 650S. Pagani would more likely go with removable roof panel like the one found on the Zonda Roadster or Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport.

Pagani tells us that the Huayra Roadster is currently under development and will debut sometime within the next two years, which is a little behind the three-year timeframe we were told to expect... three years ago. But despite the epic pace at which their supercars can cover ground, things can move slower than expected at exotic automakers like Pagani. You can bet that when it does arrive, though, the Huayra Roadster will command even more than the $1.5 million Pagani gets for the existing coupe.

As for the prospect of special editions like Pagani made out of now-retired Zonda, perhaps Venturi put it best: "There's nothing planned yet in this direction, but let me say that every single Pagani is a kind of special edition: they're so suited around the customer that we might call every Huayra as a special Huayra."

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Matt Davis / AOL

Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept is an even hotter hatch

Posted Apr 19th 2014 8:00AM

Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept

Several years ago, Volkswagen showed up at the annual Wörthersee expo with what could only be described as a concept worthy of pants-wetting excitement – at least, for hot hatch enthusiasts like me. What VW had done was shoehorn its twin-turbocarged, 6.0-liter W12 engine behind a Golf GTI's front seats, creating the GTI W12 650 – a car that could hit 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and top out at a stunning 201 miles per hour. Of course, the thing never saw production, but Volkswagen's tendency to build hilarious hot hatch concepts hasn't stopped, many of which have also graced the Wörthersee show. And I've been smitten every time.

It goes without saying, then, that I'm grinning from ear to ear while reading over the spec list for this Golf R 400 Concept that'll be unveiled in Beijing this week. No, it doesn't have a crazy, twelve-cylinder engine, but it does use a modified version of the same 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that powers the rest of the lovely GTI and Golf R range, mated to Volkswagen's tried-and-true, six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Here, the 2.0T is tuned to produce 395 horsepower (or 400 PS, hence the name) and 332 pound-feet of torque, which means this all-wheel-drive concept can reportedly hit 62 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds – only two-tenths of a second slower than the 6.0-liter W12 monster from 2007. God bless ye modern turbo-fours.

Visually, the Golf R 400 looks like any hotter-hatch should, with a 20-millimeter lowered stance, unique 19-inch wheels, and some oddly cool, Lemon Yellow accents. Inside, that gray-and-yellow theme carries over, with awesome seats, Alcantara everywhere, and fine leather trim. It doesn't stray too far from the production Golf R's interior, and that's fine with me.

In fact, much of the Golf R 400 isn't too drastic of a departure from the already-awesome Golf R. And while Volkswagen says the 400 "reflects the sporty potential of the model series," it's got far more production potential than the W12 650 that made me giddy all those years ago. Fingers crossed, folks. Scroll down for more info in the press blast.

News Source: Volkswagen

Petrolicious finds an oasis of Chevy SS models in the desert

Posted Apr 18th 2014 8:00PM

1972 Chevelle SS

The things we are interested in while young often grow into passions later in life. Take Mark Lundquist for example, whose car collection is highlighted in a new video from Petrolicious. Out of high school in the late 1960s, he worked at a gas station and filled up many of the era's most prized muscle cars. He wanted one but couldn't afford it until years later after his kids went to college. Now, he finally has his dream collection, which includes two classic Chevrolet Super Sports.

First, there is a sleeper '65 Malibu SS with a fuel-injected 502-cubic-inch Chevy big block crate engine, making 502 horsepower and 567 pound-feet for torque hiding under the hood. The car might not scream out about its power at first glance, but it has enough muscle to hit Lundquist in the head with the sun visor whenever he gets on the throttle.

His other SS is a '72 Chevelle. He bought it bone stock with a 402-cubic-inch big block engine. Since the purchase, Lundquist redid the interior and had it painted, but he kept it otherwise as it left the factory. Both cars reside in a special garage full of automotive memorabilia in Joshua Tree, CA. If you're a fan of big 'ole American muscle, then scroll down to check out the video.

News Source: Petrolicious via YouTube

Chris Harris explains why the world's best car is... the Citroën 2CV?

Posted Apr 18th 2014 7:15PM

Screencap of Drive Channel's Chris Harris driving his favorite car, a Citroen 2CV

Most recently we've seen Chris Harris in the driver's seat of a Jaguar F-Type, a McLaren P1 prototype and a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. And outside the car, there was his indignation over the demonization of the Porsche Carrera GT after Paul Walker's death. So you might not expect him to say of a 1957 Citroën 2CV with all of 12 horsepower, "it's the antidote to all the modern stuff I drive."

That's only the beginning of the hosannas, Harris going on to call the runabout designed to carry two farmers and 50 kilograms of potatoes at 39 miles per hour "the most interesting car I have or ever will own." We could tell you why, but it sounds so much more distinguished when he does it. So you can watch him do so in the video below. Unsurprisingly, not a single drift was given that day.

News Source: Drive via YouTube

Škoda headed to Wörthersee with CitiJet roadster concept

Posted Apr 18th 2014 6:29PM

Skoda CitiJet

Every year, fans of Volkswagen Group performance cars gather at a lake in Austria to celebrate the GTI Treffen. But what started as a fan-fest for VW hot hatches has long since expanded to include other brands under the company's sprawling umbrella, and Škoda never misses out.

In 2012, for example, the Czech automaker rolled in to Wörthersee with a concept rally car based on the tiny Citigo (itself a rebadged VW Up!). The year before it did up a roadster based on the Fabia S2000. This year, however, it's planning the bring the two together with the CitiJet concept.

Based once again on the Citigo, the CitiJet is the work of sixteen young apprentices working for Škoda. What they've put together is a tiny roadster with a 1.0-liter engine driving just 75 horsepower to the front set of 16-inch alloys. Inside the open cockpit are two seats, a red leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel, blue LED lighting and a 300-watt sound system.

The whole thing is finished off in a two-tone blue and white color scheme offset by racing stripes in what looks like a similar approach to the red and grey on the Rapid Sport concept from Frankfurt last year. Unfortunately we've only got a rendering and a work-in-progress build photo to go on at the moment, but Škoda is sure to drop the full monte sometime between now and its live debut at Wörthersee late next month.

News Source: Škoda

Subaru to return to Isle of Man with 2015 WRX STI hoping to set new record [w/videos]

Posted Apr 18th 2014 5:44PM

Dave Higgins sets a lap record around the Isle of Man TT course in a 2011 Subaru WRX STI sedan.

This is what it looked like when Mark Higgins set the lap record at the 37.75-mile TT Mountain Course on the Isle of Man in 2011 in a Subaru WRX STI. And it will probably look much the same when Higgins returns to the chunk of land in the Irish Sea to with the aim of breaking his record, set at an average speed of 115.36 miles per hour, but he'll do so in a 2015 WRX STI.

As in 2011, he'll drive a mostly stock US sedan fitted with a roll cage, race harness, fire suppression system and upgraded springs and dampers. We're sure he'll be hoping to avoid a repeat of "The biggest moment of my life," though. There's a press release below with more information on the coming attempt, including dates, and we've included a video of that "moment" as well as one of the whole record run. Godspeed, Mr. Higgins.

News Source: Subaru

2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana impersonation in Malaysia

Posted Apr 18th 2014 5:02PM

Screencap of a Malaysian video promo for the new Mini.

Mini Malaysia wants you - at least those of you in Southeast Asia - to know that the new Mini has a riptide of adrenaline and sharp teeth underneath its larger, more ergonomically efficient exterior. To make the point it enlisted the aid of Putrajaya roads, local agency Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid and four local action sports stars: Fizzy, Shuk, Rizlan and Nasa.

A bog standard Mini Cooper S is the star, its 192-horsepower engine and rollcage-free cabin reinforcing the message that you can do the same thing in a model right off the showroom floor... if you happen to have the same skills as Ivan Khong, the Malaysian Gymkhana Champion behind the wheel. You can read the backstory in the press release and watch how it all comes together in the video below.

News Source: Mini Malaysia via YouTube

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