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Mercedes AMG GT3 racecar due in 2016

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 9:01AM

The 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S, front three-quarter view.

Our life with the Mercedes-AMG GT has only just begun, and a full life it looks like it will be. The latest in preposterous two-doors from AMG is launching in GT and GT S flavors, but a few more branches of the family tree are already planned: a racing entry for the FIA GT3 championship is scheduled to appear in 2016, giving the current SLS AMG GT3 another year to gobble up victories before it takes a drive across the Styx.

More exciting for those who only suit up on Sunday for church, whispers are that a we'll also get a streetable version of the race car - not called "GT3" because that alphanumeric is owned by Porsche, but definitely aimed at its Stuttgart rival. AMG boss Tobias Moers told Autocar the objective for that car is "more power, less weight, better aerodynamics and different suspension but the targets should be the power to weight ratio, drivability, lap time and tremendous feel." Those targets will be aided by a carbon fiber weight-loss regime of up to 220 pounds and more power - perhaps 550 horsepower - from the currently "very understressed" engine.

Supposing that still isn't enough for you, then the Black Series version should curl your toes, if you can wait until 2018 for it.

News Source: Top Gear

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Watch Ford build a Mustang atop Burj Khalifa, world's tallest building

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 7:03PM

Ford Mustang at top of Burj Khalifa

In 1965, a Ford Mustang Convertible proudly went on display at the top of the Empire State Building, the world's tallest building at the time. Earlier this year, the Blue Oval recreated the stunt by bringing the latest droptop 'Stang to the sky-high structure during the New York Auto Show. Unfortunately, while still iconic, the New York skyscraper has lost the world title. Of course, an automaker can't let something like that get in the way of a good publicity stunt.

For the inauguration of the Ford business unit in the Middle East and Africa, the brand gave the 2015 Mustang Convertible an even bigger building to climb – the biggest in fact. The droptop made its way to the 112th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. To put a final topper on the whole event, executive chairman Bill Ford was the one to affix the car's famous badge, making it complete.

Like with the Empire State Building spectacle, getting the Mustang to the top wasn't as simple as just driving it off the elevator. Check out the video above to see how it was done, and scroll down to read Ford's press release about the event.

News Source: Ford, Ford Middle East via YouTube

Will states start to prevent you from registering cars that have pending recalls?

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 5:00PM

Air Bag Recall

The impact of 2014 – henceforth known as Year of the Recalls – will have long-ranging consequences on the auto industry. One of the biggest changes, though, might not be in the way manufacturers inform the government of pending recalls or in the way Uncle Sam punishes automakers that violate its rules, but in the ability to sell cars with pending recalls. And strangely enough, the charge is being led by an automaker.

Honda Executive Vice President Rick Schostek, pictured above, argued during a meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee that the government needs to take a role in mandating that consumers have recall services performed. That could include withholding registration for vehicles with pending recalls, Bloomberg reports. Honda is just one of the automakers currently embroiled in the massive Takata airbag recall.

"It's a good idea," safety advocate Clarence Ditlow said, according to Bloomberg. "California won't give you a registration if you have an emissions recall. Why not a safety recall?"

"Honda is going to use any innovative tools to find customers and get these recalls done," Schostek told the Transportation Committee. The exec, aside from echoing Ditlow's viewpoint, also argued for requiring dealerships and garages to inform vehicle owners of incomplete recalls, regardless of the service provided. Schostek also made an argument that state governments could step in, as well.

Whatever ends up happening, it's fair to say that between Takata and General Motors, the future of recalls for American consumers are set for significant changes.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Land Rover to lodge complaint with China over LandWind's Evoque copycat

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 2:59PM

LandWind X7

Despite its position as a communist state, the People's Republic of China has taken a decidedly laissez-faire attitude towards copyright infringement. It's why, as evidenced in an old episode of Top Gear, you can buy a fake Omega, wear fake Ray-Bans, talk on a fake iPhone and drink at a fake Starbucks. It's also why Chinese automakers so shamelessly rip off the designs of western automobiles (exhibits A, B, C, D and E). Land Rover is the latest automaker to take exception to this practice.

The Indian-owned, British-made off-road brand is calling out the Chinese over the LandWind X7 which, like all good fakes, is a remarkably close approximation of the real thing, that goes for a lot less money. In this case, the Range Rover Evoque, which the X7 apes, sells for 40,000 pounds ($62,000 at today's rates) Autocar reports, while the Chinese version will retail for a meager 14,000 quid ($22,000).

With the X7 making its debut at the Guangzhou Motor Show, Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ralf Speth opted to take a strong stance, issuing a resolute statement against LandWind's new SUV to Autocar:

"The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing. The simple principal is that it is not something that should happen; the intellectual property is owned by Jaguar Land Rover and if you break that IP then you are in breach of international regulations that apply around the world.

As a company we have invested heavily in China with our joint venture partner Chery. That commitment is based on a clear business plan, that allows us to hit our sales targets at clear prices. Anything that damages the potential profitability of our plant damages the integrity of those plans.

I will talk to our officials and I will talk to our partners at Chery to find a way around this situation. I cannot imagine Chinese officials will be happy at any actions that undermine the credibility of the country. What we have seen today is not correct."

According to Autocar, LandWind is a joint venture between two of China's larger automakers – Changan Auto and Jiangling Motors – which count Peugeot-Citroen and Ford as their JV partners, respectively. It's unclear how, or even if, any action by Land Rover could impact the two Chinese companies' partners.
Related GalleryLandWind X7
LandWind X7LandWind X7LandWind X7LandWind X7LandWind X7LandWind X7LandWind X7LandWind X7

News Source: Autocar

Image Credit: Indian Autos Blog, Copyright 2014 AOL

Feds chastise Marchionne over Jeep recall, only 13% repaired so far

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 1:00PM

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Following the significant outcry surrounding the General Motors and Takata airbag safety crises this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seems to be taking a much more aggressive role in pushing owners to repair their recalled vehicles. In the agency's latest move, it's urging Jeep drivers to get their models fixed. Acting NHTSA administrator David Friedman even sent a letter to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne pressing him to get more of the SUVs fixed.

The problem goes back to the recall of the 2002-2007 Liberty and 1993-1998 Grand Cherokee because of the possibility for the fuel tank to rupture in some rear crashes. The campaign affected over 1.5 million vehicles, but Chrysler initially refused NHTSA's request for a repair campaign. The automaker eventually came up with a fix that involved adding a trailer hitch to provide extra protection to the tank. The feds believe the danger "will be reduced by the remedy now offered by Chrysler," according to the statement.

However, this latest push comes out of NHTSA's concern that only three percent of the affected vehicles are repaired, although Chrysler maintains some 13.4 percent have actually been fixed. The agency is asking the automaker to reach out to owners "proactively," and get them to bring the Jeeps in dealers. According to the the feds' statement, the company "has nearly 400,000 parts available" to perform the fixes, and it's still producing more.

Friedman's letter to Marchionne goes even further, alleging NHTSA has received reports that dealers are turning customers away who request the recall. He asks the CEO to prove within 15 days that these claims are false. "Given the low rates of repair that Chrysler has reported more than a year after the recall, significantly more aggressive steps are required," says a portion of the note.

According to The Detroit News, Chrysler has subsequently promised to speed up the recall work, vowing that all dealers will have at least 12 repair kits in stock by Monday. Further, it has announced plans to ramp up its notification campaign with Facebook ads and public service announcements.

Scroll down to read NHTSA's full statement on the matter, and Friedman's letter to Marchionne can be read in PDF format, here.

News Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, [2], The Detroit News

Image Credit: Jeep

Weekly Recap: Racing legend Jim Hall explains Chevy's futuristic Chaparral concept

Plus: Vettel Set To Join Ferrari, Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Launches In 2016 And Lincoln Adds Black Label Line

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 11:00AM

Chevy Chaparral Gran Turismo Concept

"I said our cars are built to be winners." – Jim Hall

Racing legend Jim Hall never thought he'd be a video game consultant, but when Chevrolet asked for his advice to create a futuristic Chaparral for the Vision Gran Turismo series, he was eager to help.

He reviewed early sketches and suggested some changes that made it onto the concept, including the addition of a camera that's mounted onto a mast over the cabin to aid the driver.

The Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept was revealed this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show and will be part of a downloadable update for PlayStation 3's Gran Turismo 6 in December. Theoretically, at least, it uses a laser-beam propulsion system and an air-powered generator to produce 900 horsepower in the video game. It's capable of sprinting to 60 miles per hour in 1.5 seconds en route to a top speed of 240 mph.

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL, Getty Images, Toyota, Lincoln

Jaguar to go racing with F-Type GT3?

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 8:59AM

Jaguar F-Type Project 7

Most British automakers have some manner of racing program. Aston Martin, Lotus and McLaren race as a matter of course. Bentley recently got back into racing, Morgan has dabbled here and there, even Land Rover has its off-road racing programs. The only one, it seems, that isn't racing these days is Jaguar... but that could be about to change.

The latest intel from the UK suggests that Jaguar is closely evaluating the prospect of building a GT3-spec racer based on the F-Type. Like the Bentley Continental GT3 co-developed with M-Sport (not to mention Coventry's own successful partnership with TWR), the Jaguar program would need an established racing outfit to help develop the car and field it, and the automaker is said to be evaluating three potential partners.

The development of the GT3 racer would allow Jaguar to compete (or sell cars for others to compete) in a variety of racing series around the world, including the Blancpain Endurance Series, the European Le Mans Series and, if properly adapted, other series like the United SportsCar Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Jaguar's car would have to compete with such rivals as the Aston Martin Vantage GTE, Audi R8 LMS, Ferrari 458 GT, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Current FIA GT3 regulations use a Balance of Performance equation that allows for a curb weight between 1,200 and 1,300 kilograms (2,645 to 2,866 pounds) and produce between 500 and 600 horsepower. A more cost-effective GT4 racer could follow. But the best part is that Jaguar could, according to the report in Autocar, develop a road-going version as well, even more focused than the Project 7 pictured above and similar to what Bentley did with the Continental GT3-R.

Jaguar of course has had a rich history with motor racing, reaching back to its dominance at Le Mans in the 1950s with the C-Type and D-Type, extending through the TWR partnership in touring car and endurance racing in the 1980s and 90s, to the short-lived Formula One team that became Red Bull Racing. It launched a GT2-spec XKR a few years ago and was tipped to be developing a new LMP1 prototype, but neither are on the track today, where Jaguars only compete in vintage racing.
Related GalleryJaguar F-Type Project 7
Jaguar F-Type Project 7Jaguar F-Type Project 7Jaguar F-Type Project 7Jaguar F-Type Project 7Jaguar F-Type Project 7Jaguar F-Type Project 7Jaguar F-Type Project 7Jaguar F-Type Project 7

News Source: Autocar

Englishman builds amazing weaponized 100-hp Tuk Tuk from Far Cry 4

Posted Nov 21st 2014 8:02PM



To celebrate the release of the Playstation game Far Cry 4, Ubisoft partnered with wild English inventor Colin Furze on creating a weaponized tuk tuk that in-game hero Ajay Ghale uses to combat the Royal Army of Pagan Min. The original engine in the Bajaj tuk tuk - usually good for something like nine or ten horsepower to move around 600 pounds - came out, replaced by the 100-horsepower engine from a Honda CBR 600. That is where the wheelies, drifting and burnouts come from.

And because it isn't wise to take on a warlord's army and ravenous beasts with a standard auto rickshaw, the red wonder gets Uzis that slide forward to shoot through holes up front, side-mounted AK47s and rear-facing flamethrowers. You can witness the carnage that results in the video here, and check out the series of build episodes advertised at the end.

News Source: colinfurze via YouTube, autoblog.it

What you missed on 11.21.14

Posted Nov 21st 2014 7:30PM

uturn

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet  - front three-quarter view, red2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet Quick Spin

It's Audi is expanding its entry-level A3 range with this new Cabriolet model. The droptop four-seater may not be wearing a Volkswagen badge, but it picks up where the discontinued Eos left off, adding available all-wheel drive and a premium badge. We drive it and see if it's worth the money.





Mazda2 sedan - front three-quarter dynamic viewMazda2 Sedan Images Released

North America is already expected to get a new hatchback version of the Mazda2 subcompact, but now that we've seen the new sedan variant, we want the chance to drive it, too. These first images come courtesy of Mazda as the car gets ready for its official reveal at the Thailand International Motor Expo on November 28.




2015 Ford F-150 - Front three-quarter view2015 Ford F-150 to get up to 26 miles per gallon

The We've been waiting for fuel economy ratings on Ford's new aluminum-intensive F-150 pickup for a long time, and now we've got 'em. In its most efficient guise, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost-equipped F-Series will score 26 mpg according to the EPA. That's an impressive figure, the best among gas full-size pickups. However, your mileage may vary – Autoblog has had particular difficulty achieving EPA estimates on a number of Ford EcoBoost vehicles, including the new F-150




Top Stories

Renault spotted testing hotter Twingo

Posted Nov 21st 2014 7:00PM

Renaultsport Twingo prototype

With a rear-engine, rear-drive setup, the Renault Twingo (like its Smart cousin) has the opportunity to be a real firecracker. Unfortunately, even in turbocharged guise, its tiny three-cylinder engine has other ideas. But when we spoke to Renault's engineers at the Twingo's launch in France a couple of months ago, we were told a strategy was being worked out for a performance model. And that appears to be what we're looking at right here.

At first glance this prototype might look like any other Twingo, save for the mismatched alloys. But closer inspection picks up on some differences that tell us something hotter is afoot. And most of those changes are found around the back where the engine is. It's got little air intakes (like those found on the Smart versions) positioned above the rear wheels, to feed more air into the engine bay. It's got a bigger spoiler, and (functional or not) a diffuser at the bottom, with a pair of exhaust pipes poking out. There are even some rivets around the tailgate.

Just what all of that is hiding, we don't know. We're expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 120-130 horsepower, but it could come from an upgraded version of one of the three-cylinder, sub-liter engines already offered, or could come from something bigger. Whatever the powertrain, it's likely being co-developed, just like the vehicle itself, along with Smart that will offer its own Brabus version.

Whether Renault chooses to call its version a Renaultsport like the last Twingo or undersell it a little with a GT or Gordini badge is another matter, but if our experience with the Twingo, Forfour and Fortwo (to say nothing of Renaultsport's famous hot hatches) are anything to go by, the upgrades ought to make the finished product a real blast – especially with upgraded brakes, rolling stock and suspension to handle the extra juice.

Image Credit: CarPix

Subaru prices 2015 XV Crosstrek from $21,595*

Posted Nov 21st 2014 6:30PM

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

Less than a month ago, Subaru announced a series of minor revisions for its ruggedized Impreza, the XV Crosstrek. And now it's revealed US pricing for that updated model.

For 2015, Subaru has introduced a new entry-level model, the XV Crosstrek 2.0i, that starts at $21,595 (*plus an $850 destination charge). That's $400 less than it used to charge for what was the base 2.0i Premium, which has grown $300 more expensive but includes a new multimedia system. (The destination charge has also increased by $25.)

Go for the CVT instead of the five-speed manual that comes standard and you'll be looking at $23,295 for the Premium model, and step up to the top-of-the-line Limited trim (which comes with the CVT) and you'll shell out $24,795 – again, those prices not including delivery. The hybrid version holds the same pricing as the previous model year at $25,995 or $29,295, depending on trim (plus the new $850 destination charge).

The EyeSight system that earned its place on our Technology of the Year shortlist, bundled with the multimedia system, adds another $1,295, the moonroof another $1,000, but if you tick all the options (moonroof, nav, keyless entry, push-button start and EyeSight) it all comes bundled at $2,795. Certain trim levels encompass some of those options though, so prospective buyers will want to thumb through the full press release below.

News Source: Subaru

VW boss confirms Subaru-aping Golf Alltrack for US

Posted Nov 21st 2014 5:46PM

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Subaru needs to watch out, because the Japanese brand with a utilitarian image has a big bull's eye on its back. Not only is Acura considering going 100-percent all-wheel drive in a bid to mimic the successful automaker, Volkswagen has just confirmed that the Golf Alltrack is coming to the US as another competitor for Subaru's popular Outback crossover.

Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn has confirmed the addition of the higher-riding, all-wheel drive version of the Golf SportWagen to Automotive News, indicating that the model will arrive in the US in 2016. "That's what our dealers, our customers, are asking us for," he said to the industry publication.

The Golf Alltrack, which debuted at the Paris Motor Show in early October, has an extra 0.75 inches of ride height and protective black cladding all the way around. Its biggest mechanical differentiator from other Golfs is its Haldex all-wheel drive system, a setup that can completely unhook from the rear axle when not needed to save fuel. In Europe, the Alltrack is available with a turbocharged 1.8-liter with 178 horsepower and two diesels offering between 109hp and 182 hp. However, Horn made no mention of likely powertrains for the US.

Horn tells Automotive News that all-wheel drive tooling is currently being installed at the Puebla, Mexico, factory where the standard Golf Sportwagen is built. VW might have tipped its hand about this possibility several months ago when press shots of the wagon were released for the US with TDI and 4Motion badges. Horn says he expects even the front-wheel drive version to be a sales hit here, suggesting it may eventually account for 50 percent of the Golf range's volume.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL, Volkswagen

Retro review of the twin-turbo Toyota Supra you missed in the '90s

Posted Nov 21st 2014 4:58PM

Toyota Supra TT Motorweek

The twin-turbo fourth-generation Toyota Supra has slowly built up a reputation as one of the premiere sports coupes of the 1990s. The image was partially helped by its inclusion in the original The Fast and the Furious in 2001, but even before that it was part of the quartet of Japanese performance machines along with the Acura NSX, Mazda RX-7 and Nissan 300ZX Twin-Turbo that defined speed for a generation of enthusiasts. Thanks to Motorweek's Retro Review series, now we get a chance to hear opinions on the Toyota from its original release.

Two things strike the viewer in the review. First, it shows what a performance standout the Supra TT is. A run to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds and 14 seconds in the quarter mile is strong against its contemporaries and makes it hardly a slouch today. The second surprising thing is just how flabbergasted the reviewers seem at the coupe. The price is up about $8,000 from the previous year, and MotorWeek isn't entirely impressed with the Toyota's weight saving measures that make the fourth-generation Supra a bit more raw than the last model.

The great thing about these retro takes is that there's no nostalgia in the way to cloud the reviewers' judgment. Check out the video to find out how the twin-turbo Supra was received before it became part of the performance pantheon.

News Source: MotorWeek via YouTube

Jeremy Clarkson in trouble again over tweet, says it wasn't him

Posted Nov 21st 2014 4:32PM

Amber Lounge Fashion Monaco

There's a trend developing when it comes to the controversial host of the BBC's Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson. On the one hand, there have been more than a few times where the presenter inserted his foot very deep into his mouth with some racist or culturally insensitive joke. There are other times where the 54-year-old's guilt can certainly be questioned. This might be one of those times.

A photo emerged on Clarkson's Twitter account that showed a sign that read "Entrance to slope," which the host captioned with, "This is just obscene." The photo and caption could be seen as a reference to Clarkson's dressing down by the UK's equivalent of the Federal Communications Commission, OFCOM, after his comments during Top Gear's Christmas special. In that episode, the TG team built a bridge over a Thai river, which ended with a local man crossing it, with Clarkson pointing out that there was a slope on it. This racial double entendre led to an uproar in the UK press, a reprimand from OFCOM and a $1.66-million lawsuit from an Indian actress.

Considering that saga, it could pretty easily be alleged that Clarkson's tweet is simply making light of the situation. This time, though, Jezza says he wasn't the one behind the ill-conceived tweet, claiming he left his phone unattended before deleting the offending image.

What do you think? Is this much ado about nothing? Is Clarkson, once again, being insensitive? Scroll down for the Clarkson's string of tweets, including his slightly not-safe-for-work response to outlets like ‚ÄčThe Daily Mirror and The Independent (it involves a Shetland pony), and then make your argument in Comments.

News Source: The Independent via The Daily Mirror

Image Credit: Mark Thompson / Getty Images

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