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Range Rover Sport SVR sets 'Ring record for SUVs [w/video]

Posted Jul 30th 2014 5:06PM

Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR at the Nürburgring

Nürburgring lap times, it should come as no surprise, have become the ultimate bragging rights for performance automakers. So much so, in fact, that the records have been categorized. The Porsche 956 has held the outright record at 6:11 since 1983, the Pagani Zonda R is the fastest production-based track car at 6:47, the Radical SR8 LM the fastest (albeit barely) street-legal vehicle at 6:48 and the Porsche 918 Spyder the fastest fully street-legal series production vehicle at 6:57. But beyond that, automakers have begun to stake their claims for individual vehicle types, like the Renaultsport Mégane 275 Trophy-R that set the record for the fastest front-drive hot hatch at 7:54.36 just last month. And now Land Rover has claimed the record for the fastest SUV ever to lap the Nordschleife.

The record-setting SUV, of course, is not a rough-and-tumble Defender or a stretched-out Range Rover L, but the brand's upcoming new performance flagship, the Range Rover Sport SVR. The vehicle was previewed recently at Goodwood where it showcased the might of JLR's ubiquitous 5.0-liter supercharged V8 in the same 542-horsepower spec as the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake we recently drove at the Nürburgring as well.

The Range Rover Sport SVR managed a hugely impressive lap time of 8 minutes 14 seconds, which puts it well ahead of the previous Range Rover Sport Supercharged that lapped the track in 8:55 back in 2009 and the Holden VF SS V Redline that claimed the record last year for the fastest utility vehicle at 8:19. Not bad for a vehicle with a 2.8-foot wading depth and a two-speed transfer case.

Of course with so many GT-Rs, Lambos and Porsche Turbos lapping the track, it couldn't claim the fastest AWD lap, but it is nearly three seconds faster than the Renaultsport Mégane R26.R that held the previous front-drive record before Renault and Seat started going at it earlier this year. And in the same spirit of competition, maybe we'll see Porsche bring its new Cayenne Turbo or Mercedes one of its AMG sport-utes to the Ring in an effort to take Land Rover's crown. After all, if we don't pay attention to this kind of irrelevant one-upmanship here in the blogosphere, who will? Scope out the footage and statement below, as well as the additional images we've uploaded to the gallery above.

News Source: Land Rover

Fiat recalls nearly 30,000 Fiat 500L models

Posted Jul 30th 2014 4:28PM

2014 Fiat 500L

Fiat has announced a recall of 29,500 Fiat 500L hatchbacks in the US and Canadian markets due to concerns that the roomiest member of the Fiat range features knee airbags that won't deploy unless the occupant's seatbelt is fastened.

There have been no injuries reported due to this issue, which affects vehicles from model years 2014 and 2015. Of the nearly 30,000 vehicles covered in this recall, 25,500 come from the US market, while the remaining 4,000 are from Canada. It's not clear what the underlying cause of this issue is.

Fiat knows of no injuries relating to this problem. As per usual, owners will be notified and asked to report in for a free repair.

Scroll down for a brief statement from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Related Gallery2014 Fiat 500L: Review
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Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat ringtone revs up [w/video]

Posted Jul 30th 2014 4:01PM

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The best (or worst, depending on your views) thing about smartphones is that you're able to carry lots, and lots of useful stuff around in your pocket. That means you can always have a phone, messaging service, email, flashlight, calculator, dictionary, encyclopedia, and literally thousands of other things on your person at all times. Now, we can add one more thing for you to carry about in your little slab of aluminum, glass and plastic – a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Now, you obviously can't carry around a 707-horsepower muscle car around in your pocket. That'd be ridiculous, impractical and uncomfortable. You can, however, carry around the noise made by said muscle car's 6.2-liter, supercharged Hemi V8, thanks to a new, free-to-download ringtone from the folks at Dodge and SRT.

We can't embed the ringtone here, so if you'd like to hear exactly how it'll sound when your phone goes off, you'll need to head over to the SRT Hellcat's page. If that's more trouble than it's worth, the same ringtone was attached to a tiny speaker on the press kit for the mighty Challenger, and was captured on video by our own Seyth Miersma (don't worry, he's already been soundly dressed down for shooting a video in portrait mode).

Scroll down for both the video of the ringtone, and the official press release from Dodge.

News Source: Seyth Miersma via Facebook

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Icon Helios streamliner with Tesla bones is a dream from which we don't want to wake

Posted Jul 30th 2014 3:33PM

Icon Helios Streamliner

Icon Helios StreamlinerWhen it comes to truly, genuinely interesting automotive design and craftsmanship, Icon is one of the finest outfits in the game. We've covered the company and its founder, Jonathan Ward, in the past, and have remarked on just how fully and intricately done the automotive art it turns out is. The company's next big thing, though, is a far cry from the modified Land Rovers and Chevy Thriftmaster pickups.

The sketches you see above are of the Helios, Icon's latest mad creation. While still remarkably early in the planning phases, it's safe to say that the streamlined, Art Deco-inspired, boat-tailed (every vehicle should be boat-tailed) coupe is the company's single most ambitious vehicle yet.

"Although almost all of our projects thus far have been recreations inspired by vintage vehicles, I am fascinated about the concept of revisiting history in our own way," Ward told Jalopnik staffer and former Autoblog editor Damon Lavrinc. "The most interesting way to do this is by celebrating a particular era of design, or design language."

Technically speaking, the era that Ward is referring to never existed.

It's a world where there was no Black Friday, or Great Depression or second world war. Instead, man's fascination with aircraft and aerodynamics soldiered on untarnished by war and poverty, translating to four-wheeled creations so extreme they'd make the radical, rocket-inspired designs of the 1950s blush.

It is a stunning concept as a simple vehicle – you could drop this onto a Honda Civic platform and it'd still be a marvel. But it's Ward's plan for a powertrain that ups the already ample dose of outlandishness inherent in the Helios.

"In keeping with the founding premise at ICON, of fusing vintage design with the best modern drive experience and technology, I can think of no better platform to build this on, than the Tesla," Ward told Jalopnik.

In particular, Ward is targeting the upcoming Model X.

"I want to take the new Model X platform – so selectable AWD, 380-mile range, pure electric – and fuse it with this lost language," Ward said, adding that he's actively trying to score a meeting with Tesla founder Elon Musk and that he "will move mountains to figure out how to get [it] built."

Here's hoping that he can make that happen, because the automotive world sorely needs something this wild, this extreme and this utterly, utterly breathtaking.

You can expand the images above or head over to Jalopnik for a closer look at the Helios. After that, be sure to visit the Comments. We really want to hear from you on this one.

News Source: Jalopnik

Image Credit: Icon

New drifting world record set in Toyota GT86

Posted Jul 30th 2014 2:58PM

The world's longest drift

We have entered a drifting arms race. Last year, BMW smashed the Guinness World Record for the longest drift by hanging the tail out for 51.3 miles around a wet skid pad in an M5 at the BMW Performance Driving School in South Carolina. That beat the previous milestone of nearly seven miles. Now, Bimmer's record is up in smoke as well and is in the possession of a Toyota.

German driver Harald Müller pummeled the old record to drift for 89.55 miles around a 0.15-mile (235.5-meter) course in Samsun, Turkey, in a Toyota GT86 (or Scion FR-S as it's known in the US). According to the Guinness World Records website, it took him 612 laps and 2 hours, 25 minutes and 18 seconds to manage the achievement. Sit back to watch a few minutes of the German's two and a half hours behind the wheel with the tail out.

News Source: Guinness World Records, crazyspeed300 via YouTube, Jalopnik

Land Rover previews new seven-seat Discovery Sport

Posted Jul 30th 2014 2:31PM

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Every automaker has its own way of revealing its new models. Some just pull the veil off the thing when it's ready, while others release hints and teasers leading up to the full reveal. Jaguar Land Rover seems to be taking a different approach, purposely releasing images of its new products wearing camouflaging body wraps before taking those wraps off at long last. That's the tactic it seems to be taking with the new XE sports sedan, as it is with the Range Rover Sport SVR, and now it's following a similar path with the upcoming new Discovery Sport.

Previewed by the Discovery Vision concept at the New York Auto Show a few months ago, the new Discovery Sport is slated to join the Discovery (known in North America as the LR4) in the Land Rover lineup next year, and appears to carry over the concept's styling: compared to the boxier existing model, the Discovery Sport (like the Discovery Vision) has a higher beltline, more swept-back greenhouse and forward-swept C-pillar, but a roofline that appears to taper off where the concept's was straight.

Land Rover has confirmed that the Discovery Sport will – like the LR4, Discovery Vision and Range Rover Sport – offer a third row of seats for seven-passenger capacity, as revealed by the "peeled-back" camo. The Discovery Sport will be manufactured at the Halewood plant where the Freelander and Evoque are made. Scroll down below for official details from the automaker.

News Source: Land Rover

Jaguar shows the face of its upcoming XE S sports sedan

Posted Jul 30th 2014 1:58PM

2016 Jaguar XE S

Jaguar has a bunch of projects in the hopper, from the replacements for the XJ sedan and XK coupe/convertible to its very first crossover. But arguably the most important among them is the XE – the British automaker's upcoming new sports sedan. Coventry has given us all sorts of peeks at what to expect from the new XE, from a shadowy rendering of the front end to a photo of a camo-wrapped prototype. But this is our best look yet.

As part of an announcement of a planned audio-visual spectacle scheduled to herald the arrival of the XE, Jaguar has released the image you see above, showing the undisguised XE in apparent S specification. From what we can see, it sports a fascia that looks pretty much exactly as we'd expect, though that's no bad thing. The XE is set to introduce the new Ingenium family of 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Whether the XE S shown here would carry a version of that (with a potential supercharger) or transplant the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 from the F-Type S remains to be seen, but whatever's under the hood, we'd expect it to hold the top end of the XE range – at least for the car's introduction before a potential R, R-S or SVR version might come along to supplant it.

One way or another, don't be surprised if you see some BMW 3 Series sedans pacing down the street nervously for the next little while. In the meantime, you can scope out all the glorious details of Jaguar's planned collaborations with the likes of Emeli Sandé, Stella McCartney and Idris Elba as part of the FEEL XE campaign in the press release below.

News Source: Jaguar

2016 Chevy Volt to make auto show debut this season

Posted Jul 30th 2014 1:30PM

2016 Chevy Volt spy shot

Ever since we saw that spy shots of the 2016 Chevy Volt, we've been hungering for more information on the next-gen version of GM's green halo car. It appears we might not have long to wait, at least for an official tease.

An inside source that wishes to remain anonymous told AutoblogGreen that GM will make two announcements regarding the second-gen Volt at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, MI next week. The first, and most intriguing, is that that we will get our first glimpse of the new Volt at some point during the upcoming auto show season. That means either Los Angeles later this year or else Detroit, Chicago or New York in early 2015. The second bit of news is that GM will be moving production of the electric motors from Mexico to Michigan.

Details and official confirmation are, of course, missing and Chevrolet declined comment to AutoblogGreen. We should know more next week.

Kia teases next Sorento [w/video]

Posted Jul 30th 2014 1:00PM

Kia Sorento

We recently spotted it testing, and now Kia digitally dropped all of the cladding and obfuscation from its next-generation Sorento crossover to tease its true face. For the new model, it certainly looks as if the company's designers will evolve the current CUV's shape to be a bit more curvaceous than before.

According to Kia, the new design has a lower roofline and higher beltline than the current model, and the side windows certainly look a lot narrower than they are now. These renderings also hint at the next Sorento's more rectangular, vertical front end with the Korean automaker's now recognizable "tiger-nose grille." At the back, the styling appears to be a bit more rounded with the rear glass and taillights wrapping around slightly.

We won't have to base our opinions on renderings for long. Kia says that it will unveil the new Sorento in Korea at the end of August and will debut it to Europeans at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in early October. Scroll down to watch a video showing off some more renderings of the upcoming model and read Kia's teaser release.

News Source: Kia, Kia Motors UK via YouTube

Kawasaki recounts the highs and lows of the 2014 Isle of Man TT

Posted Jul 30th 2014 12:30PM

Kawasaki at the Isle of Man

There's no event in the world of motorsports quite like the annual Isle of Man TT. The course is long and treacherous, the scenery breathtaking, the motorcycles fast and the riders like gods on celestial chariots of two wheels. It's an amazing experience, and one that Kawasaki has decided to focus its efforts on, capturing the highs and lows of its time on the Isle in video form.

If there's any one motorcycle manufacturer that has had a foothold on the TT, it's Honda, representing most of the top riders of the last few decades, but more recently there has been surging participation from the likes of BMW, Suzuki, Yamaha, the aforementioned Kawasaki and others. At the 2014 running, Kawasaki performed pretty well for itself, scoring victories in the sidecar and Lightweight TT classes and reaching the podium in Superstock.

Scroll down below for all the action.

News Source: Kawasaki Motors via YouTube, Asphalt & Rubber

2014 Nissan Frontier Diesel Mule [w/poll]

Intriguing Engineering Exercise Might Portend 2019 Production Model

Posted Jul 30th 2014 11:57AM

2014 Nissan Frontier mule with Cummins diesel engine - front three-quarter view

Last August, Nissan shook the truck world when it officially announced plans to source a diesel option from Cummins for its long-overdue Titan replacement, its full-size pickup that's slated to drop this January at the Detroit Auto Show. The 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel is expected to make somewhere around 300 horsepower and north of 500 pound-feet of torque. This combination of an all-new truck with this new powerplant promises to dramatically change the competitive landscape, splitting the difference between the heavy-duty goliaths from the Detroit Three and the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel. And the intrigue moved a step further when the Frontier Diesel Runner Concept showed up at February's Chicago Auto Show, as it displayed a growing relationship between Nissan and Cummins in a very interesting potential future product.

That concept would melt its clear acrylic hood if the engine ran too long, but this month, we got a chance to test drive a production mule, an otherwise normal Frontier with a Cummins 2.8-liter diesel four-pot under the hood and a ZF eight-speed automatic changing gears. The powertrain figures to be a direct competitor to the 2.8-liter Duramax promised for General Motors' Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, but will Nissan build it? All signs point to probably. Officially, Nissan is taking no position on the future of this program, but a concept followed by putting journalists into a test mule suggests the company is considering the option very seriously. Here's what we gleaned from a brief drive around the posh suburbs of Nashville:
  • Before we get too deep into this Quick Spin, realize this Frontier is absolutely a mule, not a prototype. More or less cobbled together with duct tape and baling wire, it's not meant to be representative of a finished product, or even a started product. The transmission and shifter is straight out of a Chrysler 300 and the shifter surround is cut out of a panel of plastic. The "Low Sulfur Diesel Only" sticker is, well, just stuck on. We're looking at a "What if?" mockup.
  • The engine is essentially a tweaked version of a Chinese-built, gray-iron 2.8-liter four cylinder. With 16 valves, the obligatory turbocharger and common-rail injection, this Cummins engine is already used for on- and off-highway applications. In things like generators, small earth-moving machines and large turf-management equipment (giant lawnmowers) it carries the "QSF" label, and for cabover trucks in Asia and other on-road applications, it's dubbed ISF. Some tunes offer as few as 49 hp, but it'll run until the sun explodes.
  • This truck gets an intercooler up front wedged behind the grille, and combined with the base software, it develops 200 horses and a stout 350 lb-ft of torque, but this is not yet the smooth, quiet modern diesel we've come to expect. She's a rough character, albeit with a caveat: There has been zero software tuning done for the Frontier mule. Smoothness in a diesel comes from precisely controlling combustion, and while the engine is capable of eight fuel-injection events per cycle, there are only two with this software. Clatter, clatter, clatter, clatter.
  • It may be loud at idle and under acceleration, but this dog offers bite to match its bark. Tons of torque and eager throttle response at times overwhelms the ZF gearbox (which also hasn't really been tuned) and a "ka-chunk!" shift squawks the rear tires. Midway through full-throttle acceleration, the turbo's wastegate locks closed and the engine really takes off, revving ahead quicker than the bottom of the range.
  • At cruising speed, though, this is a surprisingly smooth and easygoing engine, almost quiet even. That shouldn't really be a surprise since tugging the weight of a truck and passengers is akin to a quarter horse pulling a little red wagon.
  • Although nobody ever confirmed the product plan before Nissan's PR team put the clamps on its engineering staff, we were able to gather a few juicy tidbits about the program. One unnamed official let slip that engineers are targeting 2019 diesel emissions and particulate requirements for the rig, which may indicate potential production timing. Another interesting item is Cummins would consider shifting to a compacted graphite iron block with an aluminum head to cut down on weight and improve performance. Finally, Cummins prefers to build where it sells, so US domestic production for the engine would be seriously considered if a Frontier Diesel gets a green light.
Keep an eye on this space. A modernized Cummins ISF in the next-gen Frontier would offer buyers good power and fuel economy without needing a step stool to reach the seats. It all comes down to price.

Would a next-generation Nissan Frontier Cummins diesel be a success in the US?

Vital Stats

Engine:
2.8L Turbodiesel V6
Power:
200 HP / 350 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$30,000 (est)

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Ben Wojdyla / AOL

Parents of terminally ill child sue after son dies following make-a-wish-style ride

Posted Jul 30th 2014 11:30AM

Porsche Boxster

Some stories are so sad and depressing, they make you want to go back to bed and pull the covers over your head. This is one such story. 14-year-old Raphael Wittman was suffering from an unspecified form of terminal cancer when he was invited by the children's cancer charity Kinder Krebs Hilfe to a charity drive organized by Porsche Forum Austria. During the drive, the Porsche Boxster Wittman was riding in was involved in a head-on collision. Both of his legs were broken and he bit off his tongue in the wreck. He died seven weeks later, in a Vienna hospital. Now, his father is suing the charity, claiming that the accident robbed his son of the will to live.

"The accident set off a chain of events starting with the doctors putting him on new medication for the cancer he had. He was always a fighter, but suddenly he was saying that he was not going to fight any more," Franz Wittman told Austria's Kurier, according to The Guardian. "We would have had a wonderful last time together [on vacation] but it never happened because of the accident."

Father and son were originally planning to go to Tenerife to spend time together, although those plans were cancelled following the accident.

Franz Wittman is angry that in the weeks following the accident and his son's July 5 passing, the family was not contacted by the Porsche Forum or Kinder Krebs Hilfe, aside from the gift of an iPhone given to Raphael from the driver that was behind the wheel, The Daily Mail reports. Any compensation from the legal action, Wittmann says, is "not for me, it's for my son."

"We are speechless," Karin Benedik, the head of Kinder Krebshilfe, told The Guardian. "We helped this family, and now our name is being dragged through the mud. We don't want to say any more because we need to see what the accusations are, but as far as we're concerned we were not the organizers and are not responsible."

Wittman's lawyer, Dr. Astrid Wagner, seems to think her client is on sound legal footing.

"It was a charity event but these things should be properly organized and that means that the should be insurance as well as anything else," Wagner told The Mail.

News Source: The Guardian, The Daily Mail via Gawker

Mini Cooper Countryman only small car to earn good grade in latest IIHS crash tests [w/video]

Posted Jul 30th 2014 11:01AM



Competitors in the small-car segment didn't do nearly as well. Four vehicles earned "poor" grades.

Only one small car out of 12 tested earned a good grade in the latest round of crash-test results compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Mini Cooper Countryman received a "good" ranking on the organization's small-front overlap test.

Its competitors in the small-car segment didn't do nearly as well. Four vehicles earned "poor" grades, including the all-electric Nissan Leaf and Juke, the Mazda5 and the Fiat 500L, and two more earned marginal scores.

Introduced two years ago, the small front overlap test has been a difficult one for automakers to master, particularly so for small cars, which have less weight to absorb the forces of a car accident. So far, IIHS has tested 32 vehicles in the small-car segment and 13 have earned marginal or poor scores. On the flip side, 19 earned good or acceptable scores.

"Consumers trading the inherent safety of a larger vehicle for the convenience or fuel economy of a small car should focus their search on these vehicles with state-of-the-art safety designs," said Joe Nolan, senior vice president for vehicle research at IIHS.

News Source: IIHS via YouTube

Hyundai recalls 883k Sonatas over detaching shift cable

Posted Jul 30th 2014 10:15AM

2013 Hyundai Sonata

There are plenty of things that can go wrong in a car, some more vital than others. Automakers try their best to make sure they don't, but things slip through, like the shift cables on the Hyundai Sonata.

Hyundai and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found that, on 883,000 units of the MY2011-2014 Sonata manufactured between December 11, 2009, and May 29, 2014, the shift cable in the transmission is prone to detach from the shift lever. As a result, the gear indicated and the gear engaged might not match, which could set the vehicle in motion unexpectedly. Worse than that, the Park position might not engage altogether, and without the hand brake pulled, that could lead the car to roll away without warning.

In an entirely separate recall affecting a much smaller number of 2015 Sonatas, Hyundai has found that the front brake calipers could fracture. This second recall affects a relatively small 5,650 units manufactured between April 25 and June 16, 2014.

In both cases, Hyundai is instructing owners to bring in their vehicles to have the parts repaired (in the case of the shift cables) or replaced (in the case of the brake calipers), but in the latter instance, it's also warning owners not to drive their cars until the issue is addressed. Find details of both recalls in the notices below.
Related Gallery2013 Hyundai Sonata
2013 Hyundai Sonata2013 Hyundai Sonata2013 Hyundai Sonata2013 Hyundai Sonata2013 Hyundai Sonata2013 Hyundai Sonata2013 Hyundai Sonata2013 Hyundai Sonata
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