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SRT Viper TA adds Anodized Carbon Special Edition

Posted Apr 16th 2014 8:01PM

2015 SRT Viper TA Anodized Carbon Special Edition

Rare is good. Rare cars are very good. Rare Vipers are extra good. So what happens when you add a special edition to an already rare SRT Viper Time Attack? You get the Anodized Carbon Special Edition Viper TA.

SRT was already planning to offer 50 copies of the Anodized Carbon Special Editions, based on the GTS model. While that's pretty rare, the announcement that the last ten AC Vipers will be sold with the Time Attack equipment group makes it one of the most unique Vipers in quite some time.

The new models will wear a special dash plaque, in addition to their very special paint job. Metallic Matte Black paint covers the body, while Satin Black Vapor can be found on the exhausts, fuel door, brake ducts and rear bumper.

While the exterior does away with the TA's trademark orange paint, the interior still sports a bit of the retina-searing color, thanks to the contrast stitching on the cabin's Alcantara trim.

Aside from these few aesthetic changes, this matte gray Viper is just as brutally quick as the TA we drove back in November. You can read all about that test here, or you could just scroll up and have a look at our live images of the Anodized Carbon Special Edition. SRT's press release and stock images are available below.

2015 BMW X4 is a budget X6

Posted Apr 16th 2014 7:40PM

2015 BMW X4

We won't argue that crossovers are hugely successful vehicles, with automakers working to provide functional CUVs in a wide range of sizes. But over at BMW, things are just getting out of hand, as evidenced by this new X4 "Sports Activity Coupe" that debuts here at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

BMW is seeing fit to offer vehicles in even the most niche of niches, and the X4 is no exception. Want proof? Have a look at the X4, and the compare it to the X3, the 3 Series Gran Turismo, the 3 Series Sport Wagon, and the 4 Series Gran Coupe. Aside from marginal differences in things like ground clearance and the exact slope of the hatchback, what, exactly, is the difference?

Like the other models we just mentioned, the X4 is powered by either a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 240 horsepower or a more powerful, 3.0-liter turbo-six with 300 horsepower, and unsurprisingly, power is sent to the ground exclusively via the company's xDrive all-wheel-drive system. An eight-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox available with either engine. All sounds very familiar, right?

Even the shape is familiar, the X4 looking like a smaller, less-functional X6. It's not exactly what we'd call pretty, and it certainly isn't cheap, either. Pricing for the X4 whatcha-mobile starts at $45,625, including destination. Six-cylinder power will cost you just under $50,000, and considering BMW's extensive options list, we don't doubt that you'll easily be able to get one of these up into purely lavish territory.

Scroll down for BMW's official press blast, and check out our fresh crop of live images in the gallery above.

News Source: BMW

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition marks a day we never thought we'd see

Posted Apr 16th 2014 7:19PM

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition

Alfa Romeo has been teasing its return to the United States for years. Each time, it's seemingly been pushed back for one reason or another. The last time we had our Alfa fix fulfilled was when just a few hundred examples of the 8C Competizione crossed the pond late last decade. Now, though, it looks like finally Alfa will be coming back, showing this, the 4C Launch Edition, at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

By now, you should know the brief on the 4C – ultra-lightweight, mid-engined, turbocharged and with non-power-assisted steering. It's a driving instrument, and one we've admired from afar since it hit the European market.

The 4C Launch Edition is the opening volley of Alfa's US return and adds a number of items to the already appealing sports car. The 500 Launch Editions will be limited to three colors - Alfa Red, Rosso Competizione or Madreperla White. It sports standard bi-xenon headlamps, which do away with the polarizing covers that highlighted European models. A carbon-fiber spoiler and mirror caps and unique forged wheels round out the changes for first US-spec 4Cs.

The suspension is firmer, with performance-tuned shocks and stiffer front and rear sway bars. Meanwhile, a racing exhaust should help the turbocharged, four-cylinder engine make its presence known. It doesn't seem like the power output is changing thanks to the new exhaust, although we're expecting the 4C's already throaty warble will sound even better.

You can take a look up top for our full gallery of live images of the new 4C or you can scroll down and take a look at the official press release from Alfa Romeo. Then, hop into the Comments and let us know if you think of the latest Alfa to be sold in the US.

2015 Ford Focus Electric hides in plain sight

Posted Apr 16th 2014 7:00PM

2015 Ford Focus Electric

The styling changes to the 2015 Ford Focus were shown off at the recent Geneva Motor Show, so what the EV version looks like is not that much of a surprise. Still, the 2015 Focus Electric is making its world debut here at the New York Auto Show, so we wanted to know what changes we are looking at compared to both the internal combustion engine version and the earlier EV models.

The exterior visual distinctions between the ICE and EV are minimal, and basically nonexistent from the A-pillar to the rear. Up front, you can see the charge port, of course, but the front fascia has also undergone a bit of an adjustment. The front doesn't have the ICE version's flattened grille and the EV's Ford logo creates a bump in the hood line where none exists on the ICE. The 2015's grille is also different than the one on the 2014 Focus Electric, being slightly smaller (you can see this better if you compare pictures in our new gallery above to these of the 2011 Focus Electric and these of the gas-powered 2015 Focus).

The updated 2015 interior – which we couldn't access ourselves – has things like a new center stack, improved cupholders and is basically identical between the gas and electric models. With the car off, you can't even tell if you're in an EV or ICE, Seema Bardwaj, the US brand manager for the Focus, told AutoblogGreen. The only things that are different, she said, are extra menu screens to show EV powertrain information to the driver.

There is also a minor powertrain upgrade in the '15 EV compared to the '14 model: a single-digit increase in kW rating for the electric motor. The range (76 miles) and MPGe (105, combined) numbers for the 2015 MY are the same as they were before, Bardwaj said.
Related Gallery2015 Ford Focus EV
2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

2015 Volkswagen Jetta is new, we promise

Posted Apr 16th 2014 6:40PM

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Look closely, kids – you're staring at the face of a refreshed Volkswagen Jetta. Yeah, it's hard to tell, what with the only noticeable changes consisting of slightly updated headlamps and taillamps, and some other aerodynamic tweaks. But the big news for the 2015 Jetta is what you can't see.

For starters, there's a new version of Volkswagen's ever-excellent 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder diesel engine. With 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque on tap, it isn't vastly different in terms of output, but the big gain here is fuel economy. Volkswagen claims that with the six-speed manual transmission, the 2015 Jetta TDI will achieve up to 45 miles per gallon on the highway. And based on our experience with prior Jetta TDI models – our 2011 long-term car comes to mind – we don't think it'll be hard to crest 50 mpg every now and then, while still being pretty great to drive. The rest of the Jetta range will still be powered by 1.8- and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines, and the Hybrid and GLI models carry over with LED lamps.

Other noticeable changes are found in the Jetta's cabin, where there's a wealth of new driver assistance technology. Beyond that, chrome trim is available on mid- and high-range models, and there's a new multifunction color display. Nifty.

It might not look like much, but these updates to the compact Jetta should be enough to keep it fresh until the all-new model arrives in the not-too-distant future. Scroll down for more details in the official press blast.

Wolfgang Dürheimer retakes the reins at Bentley and Bugatti

Posted Apr 16th 2014 6:21PM

Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer displays

Wolfgang Dürheimer is still in play, with Bentley Motors announcing that he will return to the Chairman and CEO slot of the English company and French division Bugatti on June 1, 2014. He'll probably remember those chairs from the last time he filled them, since he was promoted to both positions in 2010 and remained there until September 2012, when he was installed as the head of R&D at Audi. That job only lasted until June of 2013, his nine-month tenure reported to be full of corporate drama that lead to his dismissal from the position.

But as if on gardening leave, he's been in the low-profile position of General Representative of the Volkswagen Group responsible for motorsport. Once back at Bentley, he will take over as the company works on getting its SUV to market and expanding its range. Both of those briefs Dürheimer will know well, having proved his ability at Porsche in the first decade of the new millennium. And even though no longer at Audi, his hybrid days don't appear to be over, as Bentley recently announced that it will hybridize of 90 percent of its lineup.

Dürheimer will also take on a third position, joining a VW Group committee focused on the US and Chinese markets. His successor at Bentley and Bugatti, Wolfgang Schreiber, has been promoted to "a leading position within the Volkswagen Group." There's a brief press release below with the official words.

Image Credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

VW previews retouched Touareg for Beijing

Posted Apr 16th 2014 6:00PM

2015 Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen is in New York this week showing off its new Jetta and Golf TDI SportWagen concept. But in less than a week, the German automaker will be off to China for the Beijing Motor Show, where it will showcase the revised Touareg you see here.

A subtle update on the Touareg that's been on the market in its current form for four years now, the facelifted model features reworked styling front and rear, an updated interior and a host of new technologies to keep it current in the highly competitive SUV market. Among those new features are larger bi-xenon headlights, coasting function, Google Maps integration and a post-collision braking system designed to prevent a second crash.

VW will offer the new Touareg with a variety of engines around the world, but in North America it'll carry over the same six-cylinder powertrain options as the outgoing model: a 3.6-liter V6 with 280 horsepower, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 240 hp (though torque isn't listed, we'd expect around 406 pound-feet, same as last year) and a hybrid that marries a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 to an electric motor that combine to deliver 380 hp.

Reduced friction from the tires, wind and eight-speed automatic transmission mean, however, that fuel consumption is improved by six percent. And when you're driving a big SUV, every little bit helps. Scope out the full details in the press release below.
Related Gallery2015 Volkswagen Touareg
2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg2015 Volkswagen Touareg

News Source: Volkswagen

2015 Nissan Versa Sedan continues to prioritize space and price over looks

Posted Apr 16th 2014 5:40PM

2015 Nissan Versa Sedan

Nissan's refresh of its cavernous Versa Sedan is on hand today at the 2014 New York Auto Show. While we continue to appreciate the Versa for its space and low price, this slight restyling of the four-door sedan hasn't done much for its uninspiring appearance.

Newly enlarged headlights and a reworked, more Altima-like grille are the biggest changes to the front of this Versa, although Nissan has also added some brightwork around the revised foglight housings. Integrated turn signals liven up the mirrors, while the rear of the car wears a new and almost strangely sporty bumper.

Perhaps more importantly for prospective owners, Nissan has also made a few interior tweaks, with a new steering wheel and a revised center stack leading the change. There's some new available tech on the top-end SL model, as well.

Power continues to be served up in the form of a 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder and the buyers choice of a five-speed manual, four-speed automatic (S models) or continuously variable transmission.

But more important that displacement, horsepower or aesthetics, is likely the Versa's bottom line: at $11,990 for starters (plus $810 destination), it continues to be America's least-expensive new car.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Mini lifts veil on refreshed Countryman in New York

Posted Apr 16th 2014 5:20PM

2015 Mini Countryman

When Mini introduced the Countryman in 2010, it emerged as the brand's first crossover, its first five-door model and its first to offer all-wheel drive. It also arrived mid-lifecycle in the last generation of Mini Cooper hatchback, with which it shares little more than a passing family resemblance. Now that the Anglo-Saxon automaker is moving on to its third generation of retro hatch, it's given the Countryman a bit of a refresh to keep it current.

Unveiled today at the New York Auto Show, the new Countryman incorporates some very minor cosmetic tweaks to the exterior – so minor, in fact, that you'd be hard pressed to tell one from the other even if viewed side by side. Some subtle enhancements have been implemented to the interior as well, where the large central speedometer remains where it was in the middle of the dashboard (unlike the new Cooper hatch that moves it to where you'd normally find the instrument cluster, behind the steering wheel). The rear seats, however, offer more adjustability.

Mini will offer the new Countryman worldwide in an array of powertrain configurations, ranging from the bare-bones Mini One Countryman with a 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated four offering just 98 horsepower all the way up to the twin-turbo John Cooper Works with 218 hp – North American customers will get the latter, but not the former. The mid-range Cooper S has been enhanced by seven horses to deliver 190 hp, while overseas-only diesel models range from 90 hp to 143. Buyers will be able to choose between a six-speed manual or automatic and front-or all-wheel drive. There are also some new colors on offer and a host of optional equipment, all of which you can read about in the press release below.

News Source: Mini

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Production Ford Escort heading for Beijing

Posted Apr 16th 2014 4:59PM

Ford Escort

Ford's long-dormant Escort nameplate returned affixed to a sedan concept at last year's Shanghai Motor Show. While not exactly a beauty, it showed a clean, straightforward take on Ford's current styling. The Blue Oval said at the time that it wanted to create a model that was stylish "but not one that is arrogant or pretentious." Job done. A year later, it looks like the minimalist vehicle might make its production debut at the Beijing Motor Show.

Autocar claims that the streetgoing version has been confirmed to it for the upcoming show, but so far, Ford isn't saying. If unveiled, the Escort is likely to be produced locally for the Chinese market with a domestic partner. Powertrain details remain a secret, but it seems highly likely that any production model would use a small three- or four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. Sales in other major world markets like ours are unlikely, but a test car was recently spotted in Europe.

Autoblog contacted Ford for confirmation, but the automaker demurred, with a spokesperson saying only, "At the moment, we are not confirming any vehicles planned for the show." It looks like we will have to wait to know for sure.

News Source: Autocar

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Scion announces FR-S Release Series 1.0 in New York

Posted Apr 16th 2014 4:40PM

2014 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0

In the market for a Scion FR-S (or Subaru BRZ), but don't want the same one your neighbor's got? Scion has good news for you. At the New York Auto Show today, the Japanese automaker has announced the availability of this FR-S Release Series 1.0.

As the first Release Series FR-S (the aging xB is debuting its tenth alongside it), this special edition has been spruced up by Toyota Racing Development with a series of visual and aerodynamic enhancements to give the FR-S a bit of extra edge. Included in the Release Series 1.0 is an upgraded aero kit, an exhaust tip for every cylinder in the engine (that makes four, folks), and a lowered suspension with TRD springs and HID headlamps. Did we mention it's all capped by Yuzu yellow paint?

Inside, you'll find black seats with T-pattern upholstery, a TRD steering wheel, shifter and cargo mat, dual-zone climate control and push-button ignition with smart key. Scion isn't saying exactly what this model will cost, but it is saying it will come in under $30,000 (before the $755 delivery charge).

Only 1,500 individually numbered examples will be made, with deliveries beginning in August.

News Source: Scion

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

VW Golf TDI SportWagen really is a concept, sort of

Posted Apr 16th 2014 4:21PM

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Concept

We know it doesn't look like a concept, but the Golf TDI SportWagen being shown at today's New York Auto Show is not (yet) a production model. There will indeed be a production car bearing the same name coming to these United States early next year, and it will look very much like the showcar seen above, but there are decisions that still need to be made lying under the wagon's skin before any of that can happen.

When the Golf SportWagen hits a dealership near you as a replacement for the departing Jetta Sportwagen, it will be equipped with one of two engine options, a standard 1.8-liter TSI four-cylinder unit running on gasoline and mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission or an optional 2.0-liter TDI mill sending its torque-rich diesel drippings to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or DSG automatic gearbox. What's questionable is whether or not we'll see optional 4Motion all-wheel drive, as this concept version is equipped with, here in the US.

We wouldn't hold our breath for 4Motion, honestly, but Volkswagen says it's "under consideration," so there's that. In any case, check out the diesely goodness of the Golf TDI SportWagen Concept in our live image gallery above and read the press release below for all the details.

News Source: Volkswagen

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Subaru previews rally-ready WRX STI for Global RallyCross

Posted Apr 16th 2014 4:00PM

Subaru WRX STI Global RallyCross car

Subaru's long and distinguished history in the world of rallying is about to get another chapter, as it's set to field a team in the Global RallyCross Championship. The car? The all-new WRX STI.

Yes, Subaru will be fielding a GRC challenger, with drivers Bucky Lasek and Sverre Isachsen at the helm. This particular car was teased earlier this week, and is a preview of the eventual GRC model which will launch this fall. The race-ready STI boasts a custom widebody kit with a carbon-fiber rear wing. The roof scoop and the mirrors are also made of carbon fiber, while the wheels are provided by Method. As with all GRC contenders this year, the WRX STI is shod in Yokohama spec rubber. It's not clear what sort of engine sits under the scooped hood, although we imagine we'll find out before the season kicks off in a few months.

Perhaps even more exciting is word that Subaru will also prepare a version of the WRX STI for stage rallies, with Travis Pastrana and David Higgins fielding the new car in the Rally America Championship. That car should arrive later this year.

Take a look up top for our live images of the new rally car, and then head into Comments and let us know if you think Subaru's decision to run GRC and RAC could eventually lead to a return performance in top-flight World Rally Championship series. Scroll down for the brief press release from Subaru Rally Team USA.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Paul Walker's brothers to help finish Fast and Furious 7

Posted Apr 16th 2014 3:41PM

BRITAIN Fast and Furious Premiere

Since Paul Walker's tragic death in a car accident in late November, one of many persistent questions being posed has centered on how Fast and Furious 7 intends to address the loss of its main character. Walker had reportedly completed most of his dramatic scenes for the upcoming film, but still had more action sequences to finish at the time of his passing.

According to CNN, F&F7 filmmakers have invited his brothers, Caleb and Cody, onto the set to fill gaps in action scenes where Walker's character, Brian O'Connor, should appear. The producers plan to use four body doubles for Walker. In post-production, they will have Walker's face and voice overlaid onto them.

Fast and Furious 7 was originally scheduled for release this summer, but after production was suspended, it was pushed back until April 10, 2015. The script has reportedly been rewritten to give Brian O'Connor a proper sendoff and shooting recently restarted in Abu Dhabi.

News Source: CNN

Image Credit: Joel Ryan / AP

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