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2015 Mercedes C-Class starts at $38,400*

Posted Jul 29th 2014 3:31PM

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes-Benz just keeps dropping pricing bombshells on us. After unveiling the cost of the models of the upcoming GLA-Class compact crossover, now the 2015 C-Class, the German brand's bread-and-butter luxury sedan, is ready to unleash its secrets, as well.

The least expensive of the new models is the rear-wheel-drive C300 with a starting price of $38,400, plus a $925 delivery & destination charge, to bring the actual base price to $39,325. However, the two-wheel drive version doesn't hit the road until the first quarter of 2015. The first variants that people can actually buy arrive in September 2014, and they are the all-wheel drive C300 4Matic and C400 4Matic for $41,325 and $49,515, respectively, after the destination fee.

In addition to styling inspired by the S-Class, the 2015 C-Class models also have new engines. Both variants of the C300 use a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine pumping out 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful C400 uses a bi-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 329 hp and 354 lb-ft. All models get Mercedes' 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic gearbox. Merc is holding back on fuel economy numbers and 0-60-miles-per-hour specs until a bit closer to launch.

As befitting a Mercedes, all versions come packed with luxury features. The C300 comes quite well equipped as standard, with dual-zone climate control, power seats, a seven-inch infotainment display and more. Moving up to the C400 adds standard heated front seats, LED headlights and an upgraded stereo. Of course, there's also long list of options including improved interior upholstery, a sport package, upgraded infotainment and a whole lot more.

Comparing pricing of the 2015 C-Class to the 2014 model is rather tricky. The rear-wheel drive C300 is over $2,000 more expensive than the current C250, but if you look at the 2015 C300 4Matic versus the more comparable 2014 C300 4Matic, the latest one is only about $1,000 more. The C300 is also more expensive than the base BMW 320i, A4 or Lexus IS250, but the Mercedes is bringing more to the table in terms of engine power.

News Source: Mercedes-Benz

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

We go Unplugged to celebrate Mazda Miata Month

Posted Jul 29th 2014 2:58PM



Chances are good that you, loyal Autoblog reader, have long since chosen to follow us on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook. (If you haven't, feel free to take a second and do so right now.) Anyway, if you're one of our social media posse, you might have already heard that we're smack dab in the middle of Miata Month. We've gotten Mazda to loan us a couple of MX-5 Miatas, allowing us to say a protracted, tear-filled goodbye to the current generation (NC) of the beloved roadster, just before it exits stage right and ushers in the next generation.

You'll see a few more Miata Month items here on Autoblog after we've said our final farewell, but we absolutely wanted to make sure we created some great video evidence of our month, as well. Right down below, then, in its unfiltered-audio splendor, is the Autoblog Unplugged version of the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT. Your author had a pretty great time wringing out the roadster for the creation of our short vid, and we really hope you dig listening along.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

Mercedes rolls out versatile new Vito van

Posted Jul 29th 2014 2:15PM

2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito

Mercedes-Benz may be known for its luxury cars on this side of the Atlantic, but it's equally known around the world for making robust workhorses as well: trucks, buses and vans. It has started to turn Americans on to that idea with the successful transplant of the Sprinter van to North America, but it still has a whole range of commercial vehicles it doesn't offer here. It recently rolled out the Renault-built Citan to replace its Vaneo, replaced its Viano with the new V-Class, and it has now introduced a new Vito van as well.

More utilitarian than the V-Class, the Vito is a smaller alternative to the Sprinter and hits showrooms in other global markets in a wide array of configurations. For starters, it will be available in numerous lengths as a panel van, a passenger van or as a crew cab, a configuration that combines a four-door passenger compartment with a cargo bay in the back. It's also intriguingly available in front-, rear- or all-wheel drive, motivated by a pair of four-cylinder turbodiesels displacing 1.6 liters or 2.1 liters with power ranging from 136 horsepower up to 190. Regardless of engine selection, buyers can choose from either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic.

In addition to a wider range of powertrain and bodystyle choices, Mercedes has also redesigned the new Vito to be safer and more comfortable than the model it replaces. It has a more aerodynamic shape for a lower coefficient of drag that pairs with the new engines to help reduce fuel consumption. That's particularly important to the vehicle's competitiveness among fleet buyers, because improved fuel economy leads to reduced running costs. Further, the new Vito can be kept on the road for 25,000 miles over two years in between service intervals.

Despite the suspension that's been redesigned for a more compliant ride, the new Vito doesn't skimp on the utility. In fact, Mercedes claims it's got the highest payload capacity in its class at over 3,000 pounds and a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of over three tons, depending on spec. Read all about it in the press release below and scope out the range in the high-res image gallery above.
Related Gallery2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito
2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito

News Source: Mercedes-Benz

UK police move to seize mobile phones after all accidents

Posted Jul 29th 2014 1:29PM

Drivers Face Added Penalties Using Mobile Phones

There's little question that driving while holding your phone is incredibly dangerous. In the UK alone, some 500 people are estimated to be seriously injured or killed each year because of car and truck drivers using their phones behind the wheel – a staggering figure that is leading British authorities to take controversial action.

The UK's Association of Chief Police Officers has issued guidelines to law enforcement officials to confiscate the phones of anyone involved in a traffic accident so that police can determine if they were using their mobile devices when the accident took place. If a driver is found to have been using his or her phone and caused a serious crash, that driver could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.

While the police are determined to crack down on phone use behind the wheel, others are justifiably worried about where the measure could lead. "I am 100-percent against anyone texting while drive," Hugh Bladon of the Alliance of British Drivers said to Visordown, "But I'm worried police could overdo it, just because someone is involved in a minor shunt, surely it shouldn't mean they should lose their phone." Imagine having someone hit your car, then having the police confiscating your phone, leaving you with no way to get home, and you can see what Bladon is on about. Beyond the inconvenience, there's also further privacy concerns – will UK authorities have the right to search the rest of your phone, including emails and text messages?

News Source: Visordown

Image Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Toyota's Psy-style Waku-Doki ad inherits Japan's bizarre ad crown

What's the deal with Japan's offbeat commercial culture?

Posted Jul 29th 2014 12:45PM

Screencap from Toyota's Japanese

A new Japanese Toyota ad featuring crisply suited businessmen driving into the jungle only to segue into a Psy-style music-video dance-off with a gorilla and natives is the latest car commercial to go viral. Jungle Wakudoki is the newest installment in a grand tradition of bizarre ads from the island nation that are by turns hilarious, head-scratching and occasionally even frightening.

Let's face it: My people are weird.

I'm half-Japanese and take suitable pride in my Asian roots, but even I can't figure out what's been slipped into the water coolers of the country's ad agencies much of the time – or the nation at large, for that matter. From Japan's ubiquitous obsession with all things adorable (kawaii) to its offbeat sense of humor and its bizarrely perverse and violent tentacle porn, it's clear there's a lot going on in the culture, and only some of it bubbles up to the surface in its marketing efforts. Much of the strangest and most amazing ads are for non-transportation products (e.g. laundry soap, snacks, energy drinks), but the automotive space has its fair share. This latest Toyota ad had me trawling YouTube for a common theme, trying to make sense of why these spots are the way they are. Scroll down to watch the Toyota ad in question as well as a bunch of other examples of Japan's most bizarre car-related ads and see if you can't find the thread that runs between them. Is it just that something's being lost in translation? Have your say in Comments.

News Source: YouTube, [1], [2], [3]

2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke

Posted Jul 29th 2014 11:58AM

2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty

What weighs 30,000 pounds? Big Ben's Westminster bell. A navy ship anchor. Or as we found out during our first drive program for the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty, seven pallets of cinder blocks loaded onto a dual-axle gooseneck trailer. The test was part of a raft of towing demonstrations that showcased the new Super Duty's impressive tug capacity, which maxes out at 32,100 pounds. That's 1,200 more than its nearest rival, the Ram 3500, when equipped with its upgraded 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. Such is the heavy-duty pickup truck business, a diesel-fueled game of one-upmanship with only three players: Ford, Chevrolet/GMC and Ram. And in this game, the one with the most torque wins.

Until 2014, Ford was the one to beat, with its 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel bringing 400 hp and a massive 800 lb-ft of torque to the table. Then last year, Ram did exactly that, serving Ford with a beefed-up Cummins turbodiesel inline-six in its freshened Ram Heavy Duty truck line with 385 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to tow up to 30,000 pounds. But Ford claims it had designed its engine to be relatively easy to upgrade when the time called for it, so for 2015, Ford bolted a larger turbo to the Power Stroke, bringing output to an insane 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of twist, all without reducing fuel efficiency. Maximum tow capacity rises from 24,700 lbs to an incredible 31,200 lbs for the F-450 dually.

As for GM's HDs? They lag behind the lot with their 6.6-liter Duramax V-8, producing 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque. Yeah, you know things are serious when the trucks with 765 lb-ft are the knock-kneed wimps of the lot.

Yet all this one-upmanship isn't as crystal-clear as the spec sheets would have you believe. Ford and Ram are currently involved in a pissing match over how these tow ratings are calculated, and the solution might not be arrived at without legal intervention. We prefer firsthand drive impressions over spec-sheet bench racing (towing?), so we headed to West Virginia to saddle up and ride.

Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo-Diesel 6.7L V8
Power:
440 HP / 860 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$40,720
As-Tested Price:
$70,000 (est)

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL

ETC

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for sale in Germany at $64 million

Posted Jul 29th 2014 11:29AM

Ferrari 250 GTOs at Pebble Beach in 2011

Prices keep climbing for the Ferrari 250 GTO with virtually no end in sight. In 1969 one sold for just $2,500, but by the 1980s they were trading for hundreds of thousands, then millions, then tens of millions to the point that the last last year, one was reported to have changed hands at $52 million. But now there's a GTO for sale in Germany that could eclipse even that gargantuan price tag.

Ferrari made 39 examples of the 250 GTO between 1962 and 1962, and the item listing on mobile.de doesn't give much in the way of specifics as to which exactly we're looking at. But last we checked, there were only two GTOs in Germany, and the other one was silver. That leaves chassis number 3809GT, which was delivered new in '62 to Switzerland and participated in numerous endurance races and hillclimb events throughout the early 60s. 3809GT has been owned until now by one Hartmut Ibing, who bought it in 1976 when values were in the tens of thousands, not tens of millions. Given how his asset has appreciated so dramatically, and with less than 10,000 miles on the odometers over 52 years, we could understand how Ibing would want to cash out.

Of course we could be mistaken and we could be looking at an entirely different example – the vast majority were, after all, painted red and fitted with blue upholstery just like this one – but either way, we're looking at a price tag of 47.6 million euros. That's nearly $64 million at today's rates, inclusive of Germany's 19 percent VAT rate that adds a staggering $10 million in taxes to the pre-tax price of 40 million euros, which comes in under $54 million but would still be the most ever paid for a GTO (or really, just about any car ever made).

If that's too rich for your blood but you're still in the market, you could try your luck with the one which Bonhams will auction off at The Quail next month. Who knows, with no reserve price, maybe you'll do better. But more likely, the bidding will have driven the sale price up even higher and Ibing will rush to increase his asking price before a rejected bidder snaps his up.

News Source: mobile.de via Carscoops

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Dodge Viper getting small increase in power

Posted Jul 29th 2014 10:45AM

2014 SRT Viper GTS

The Viper is used to being the most powerful car in the Dodge and SRT stables, but the arrival of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat means that's no longer the case. The serpentine supercar is, however, reportedly getting a small boost in output for 2015, amounting to all of five horsepower.

The increase was uncovered by Road & Track courtesy of the SAE J1349 certification process to which Detroit's Big Three automakers submit themselves and which reports the Viper's output at 645 hp instead of the 640 it was rated at until now. There are a hundred factors that could have contributed to the relatively mild boost in output (best guess? nothing at all changed...), but we doubt anyone's going to complain about some extra horses under the hood.

The five-horsepower boost brings the Viper that much closer to the 650-hp Chevy Corvette Z06, not to mention the 707-hp Hellcat, but the Viper's impressive power-to-weight ratio ought to mean it'll have little problem keeping up in a straight line – which is just one of the reasons why Chrysler won't shoe-horn the Hellcat into the Viper: as R&T points out, the supercharged engine is too heavy and the blower makes it too tall to fit in the Viper's engine bay.

Chrysler's big-bore V10 engine has come a long way from the 400 horsepower it produced back in 1992, increasing displacement by only 24.5 cubic inches but power by over 60 percent over the past 22 years.

Fisker's new owner working out Karma's 250 'bugs' before introducing second model

Posted Jul 29th 2014 10:01AM

Fisker Atlantic

Fisker may be down, but it might not stay down forever. The company behind the Karma luxury hybrid shut down late last year and was purchased by Chinese OEM supplier Wanxiang Group, which intends to restart production. It just can't tell us when.

Speaking with Automotive News Europe, Wanxgiang executives indicated they have some work on their hands, sorting out 250 "bugs" it has found in the existing Karma. Once it has those sorted out, it plans to start production again at the Valmet plant in Finland before potentially moving assembly to the plant in Delaware that Fisker had acquired from General Motors. The executives were touring the United States to inspect their battery factory in Michigan, visit the plant in Delaware and meet with government officials in Washington.

Wanxiang apparently has even bigger ambitions than that, however. The latest news is that it intends to expand the rebooted Fisker with a second model sometime in 2017. The company has not provided any details as to what that form that model might take, but prior to its bankruptcy, Fisker displayed a smaller concept sedan called the Atlantic at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

Fisker had previously revealed the Surf wagon and Sunset convertible concepts based on the Karma as well, but there's no telling at this point if Wanxiang has any intent on putting those into production any time in the near future.
Related GalleryFisker Atlantic
Fisker AtlanticFisker AtlanticFisker AtlanticFisker AtlanticFisker AtlanticFisker AtlanticFisker AtlanticFisker Atlantic

eBay Find Of The Day: 1988 Saleen Ford Mustang General Tire 21R race car

Posted Jul 29th 2014 9:14AM

1988 Ford Mustang Saleen 21R General Tire racecar auction

Saleen may be making headlines these days for working on the Tesla Model S, but its history and bread-and-butter is all about the Ford Mustang. The rear-wheel-drive Dearborn pony cars singlehandedly put the company on the map in the '80s. Founder Steve Saleen was already a talented American racing driver when he started the venture, and like many auto industry businesses before him, Saleen went to the track to prove his vehicles' worth. Now, there's a chance to buy one of those early racers on eBay Motors.

Saleen Mustangs raced in the Sports Car Club of America Escort Endurance Championship – a series of multi-hour races meant to challenge man and machine. Ostensibly a showroom stock class, the cars had larger wheels, tuned suspensions and other upgrades that stretched the concept slightly. Saleen found major success though, taking the championship for its class in 1987 and winning the 24 Hours of Mosport consecutively from 1986 through 1988.

According to the seller, Saleen only built eight of these cars, and this one carries the #21R serial number. They all started life as new Mustangs from Ford dealers but were immediately stripped and prepped to go racing. Beyond obvious mods like a roll cage, they featured eight-inch wide wheels in front, an inch of additional track width, stiffer suspension bushings and much more.

Saleen #21R is still in its well-known "Bumblebee" livery and includes its SCCA logbook, original wheels, a Saleen title, Steve's signature on the interior and many of the company's ID tags still on the car, according to the auction. It carries a Buy It Now of $65,000, and the auction ends on August 13. That's not cheap, but it would likely be quite a conversation piece whenever it arrived for a day at the track.

News Source: eBay Motors

Honda Civic Tourer sports forbidden facelift

Posted Jul 29th 2014 8:30AM

Honda Civic Tourer: Spy Shots

Following up on a sextet of spy photos from June, we now have another batch of images of the facelifted Euro-spec Honda Civic undergoing testing in the United Kingdom. There's a bit more sheetmetal to this particular prototype, though, as our spy photographers have caught the upcoming Tourer model (pronounced "wagon" among us Yanks).

Like the hatchback we showed you last month, the new Tourer benefits from the same set of styling tweaks inspired by the Civic Type R Concept from March's Geneva Motor Show. That means it boasts a revised front fascia, albeit with a more heavily camouflaged version of the grille shown in last month's photos. It's a similar story below, where the intakes on this long-roof model wear more disguise, yet look to be virtually identical to what we've already seen.

While the headlights still look to be a straight lift from last month's car, the more upright nature of the Tourer's tailgate demands a more subdued character. Gone are the thin, curvy LED taillights, and in their place sit significantly more substantial units (with conventional bulbs), although they boast none of the design chutzpah shown on our last round of spy photos. Our spies claim LED taillights will be available, noting that they simply aren't fitted to this particular prototype, a distinction that suggests this is a lower-end model.

Look for the new European Civic family to make their grand entrance in early October, at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

Image Credit: CarPix

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA priced from $31,300*

Posted Jul 28th 2014 11:38PM

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic, front three-quarter view.

Mercedes-Benz has kindly let loose the price of the US-spec 2015 GLA-Class, telling Autoblog that the base 208-horsepower GLA250 in two-wheel drive form will go for $31,300 *not including a destination charge of $925. That makes for $32,225 in total to get one off the lot, a price predicted as early as last year and in our recent First Drive. The other two available models can push power to all four wheels, and after the destination fee is applied the GLA240 4Matic (pictured) will be $34,225 while the 355-horsepower GLA45 AMG will change lives and wallets to the tune of $49,225.

On the base scale, that puts the GLA250 just a few hundred dollar bills above the more powerful, rear-wheel-drive BMW X1 and a stack of hundreds below the less powerful, front-wheel-drive Audi Q3. If you're keeping in-house score, the GLA250 comes in at $1,400 above its sedan platform-mate with the same engine, the CLA250. At the high end, however, the competition doesn't have anything that can touch the AMG trim. Not that it should matter all that much – Mercedes needed something to keep these buyers in the family, and now it has it. If any of them should need even more power and more money spent, then there's always that 394-hp Brabus flavor. We'll have more info and details on each trim when Mercedes unleashes the shebang in the not-too-distant future.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

Jay Leno puts focus on some retro-inspired BMW bikes

Posted Jul 28th 2014 7:59PM

Quartet of retro-inspired BMWs

Jay Leno puts eight wheels on display this week for Jay Leno's Garage from a quartet of retro-inspired BMW motorcycles. They are the creations of husband and wife team Larry and Carol Romestant, who build each one in their home garage.

Larry is a former aerospace engineer who loves BMW bikes, especially the K models. Now, he's combining his passion with a real talent for fabrication to build his own cycles with his wife. With Larry and Carol the only ones working on these projects, it takes them six to nine months to build each one. In addition to the old-school looks, the motorcycles are supposed to be a bit more user friendly than stock. For example, one of them ditches the standard five-speed gearbox in favor of a six-speed unit to be a little more comfy when cruising at high speeds.

Since there isn't enough time to take all four of them for a ride, Jay picks his favorite to test out on the open road. Scroll down to see which one he chooses.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

What you missed on 7.28.14

Posted Jul 28th 2014 7:30PM

Daily U-Turn

First Drive: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge PrototypeInfiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype

It's quick – 0-60 in under four seconds. It's fast – top speed is estimated at around 186 miles per hour. And, rather surprisingly considering its status as a prototype, it drives pretty darn well. With a heart of gold borrowed from the Nissan GT-R mated to all-wheel-drive hung off a luxurious sedan chassis, this is one vehicle we openly beg and plead enters production. Soon.



Polaris Slingshot enters the fray on three wheelsPolaris Slingshot

The fact that it only has three wheels on which to stand means the government classifies the Polaris Slingshot as a motorcycle. That means you'll need an appropriate license to operate it, and it probably means you'll need to wear head and/or eye protection. But with an enviable power-to-weight ratio to go along with what's sure to be a thrilling drive experience, those may be small prices to pay. Speaking of which, this sucker will start just shy of $20,000.



Rain an equalizer at Hungarian Grand Prix2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

How thankful we are that rain doesn't keep these open-cockpit Formula 1 cars in the paddock. The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix proved once again that changing weather conditions are one rather natural way of adding some excitement to the race track. Check out our full race recap for all the details of what went down in Hungary.



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