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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

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    2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
  • New York
    We obsessively covered the 2014 New York Auto Show [w/video]
  • Podcast
    Autoblog Podcast #377
  • Beijing
    Audi TT Offroad concept packs 408 hybrid horsepower, yet returns 123 mpg
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Honda exclusive to McLaren at least until 2017

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 9:29AM

McLaren and Honda rejoin forces

Next year Honda will return to Formula One after a seven-year absence, bringing the first Japanese automaker to compete in the top-tier racing series back into the fold. But though it started in 1964 much as it ended in 2008, running its own team (much like Ferrari and Mercedes do today), its new F1 program will see it revert to engine-supplier status (like Renault did when it sold its team to Lotus).

The arrangement will be exclusive to McLaren for the 2015 Formula One World Championship. But what fans and insiders alike have been wondering is how it might expand after that. Well, now we have at least part of the answer.

According to the F1 business insiders at Pitpass, Honda motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai told a group of journalists at this past weekend's race in Shanghai that the deal with McLaren will be exclusive not only in 2015, but also in 2016. In other words, it won't be until 2017 at the earliest before Honda might begin supplying engines to any other teams, if at all.

The last time McLaren and Honda collaborated, they proved an unassailable combination - one of the most successful partnerships in the history of motorsport. With Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost (subsequently replaced by Gerhard Berger) behind the wheel, McLaren-Honda won both the drivers' and constructors' titles four years running from 1988 through 1991, proving as winning a combination as Red Bull and Renault.

McLaren placed second under Honda power the following season in 1992, then meandered under Ford and Peugeot power before embarking on its long partnership with Mercedes that's still in effect this season. Meanwhile Honda left the series after 1992, only to return in 2000 with BAR, the team that it subsequently bought, then sold in 2009 to Ross Brawn who won the championship and ended up selling to Mercedes. That team is now leading the championship standings with nearly three times as many points as its closest challengers.

News Source: Pitpass

Renault gunning for sub-8-minute Nürburgring lap time

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 8:45AM

#Under8

UPDATE: A previous version of this article erroneously suggested Renault was aiming for a sub-8-second lap time. Clearly, this was a rather humorous typo, and it's been fixed. Thanks for all who pointed out the mistake in the Comments!

While hybrid hypercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari are thrown into the (at least hypothetical) battle for the sub-7-minute Nürburgring lap record, there's another war waging further down the time sheets. That's for the fastest lap clocked around the Nordschleife in a front-wheel-drive production vehicle.

Arguably more relevant to the common (European) man, this war is being waged between the top hot hatches on the Continental market. Seat became the current leader when it clocked a lap time of 7:58.4 in the new Leon Cupra 280, and Honda has made no secret of its intent to take the record with the upcoming Civic Type R. We wouldn't be surprised to see Opel go for it with the Astra OPC Extreme, but before any of these contenders came along, the record rightfully belonged to Renault.

The French automaker set a time of 8:16.9 with the Mégane R26.R back in 2008, then reset the record at 8:07.9 in 2011 with the newer Mégane Trophy. Evidently unhappy to see its bragging rights stolen away by the Spanish (and eyed by the Japanese and Germans), Renaultsport is apparently preparing an even hotter hatch with the explicit aim of setting a sub-8-second lap time of its own.

Teased with the social media hashtag #Under8, the project is apparently bringing on board the collaboration of Michelin for tires, Akrapovic for the exhaust, Öhlins for the suspension and BRM as official timing partner. Accompanying the image above on Renault Sport's Facebook page just days ago was the caption "two months to go", hinting that the attempt will be made sometime in mid-June.

We'd assume the Mégane will once again serve as the base, and if they want the time to mean anything, it'll have to be offered for sale. Unfortunately since Renault doesn't market in North America it's all rather theoretical to us, but as far as theoretical challenges go, this one's shaping up to be one for the record books.

News Source: Renault Sport via Facebook

Toyota launches updated Yaris in Europe, Vitz in Japan [w/videos]

Posted Apr 23rd 2014 7:59AM

2015 Toyota Yaris (EU)

Toyota first launched the Yaris in 1999, though that model was sold in the North America as the Echo. The second generation arrived in 2005, replaced by the third in 2011. Sometime next year, Toyota is expected to roll out a new Yaris for North America, to be built in Mexico on the same platform as the next Mazda2. But before that comes to pass, Toyota has introduced a mild facelift for the Yaris in markets other than ours.

With styling cues borrowed from the new Aygo and the Yaris Hybrid-R concept, the new Yaris (for Europe) and Vitz (for Japan) are distinguished by updated styling front and rear. Though the European model bears a more aggressive look than the JDM version, both feature the new X motif that seems to be the new look for the whole family – particularly for small hatchbacks.

The back end has also been revised to incorporate new LED taillights and a (faux) diffuser in the bumper. The cabin, meanwhile, has been redesigned to feel roomier and quieter with upgraded equipment. The suspension has also been refined, and in Europe at least, Toyota will continue to offer the Yaris with a choice of 1.0- or 1.3-liter gasoline engines, 1.4-liter diesel or hybrid powertrains.

We'd tell you more about the varied specifications, but Toyota, in all its worldwide wisdom, oddly released one photo and a press release for the EU-spec Yaris, a whole mess of photos but no press release for the JDM-spec Vitz, but videos for both. There's also a performance-oriented G's version for Japan in the gallery above. As for the North American version, we're still waiting for official word from Toyota USA, so stay tuned.
Related Gallery2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz
2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz2015 Toyota Yaris/Vitz

News Source: Toyota

Hyundai presents 70 movies in 10 minutes... and it's very strange

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 8:01PM

Hyundai 70 movies video

Hyundai i10 ShortCuts 70 films in 10 minutesIt's not often we can use the term "trippy" to describe anything we post here at Autoblog, but this German video, promoted by Hyundai and starring the brand's European-spec i10 is trippy, surreal and totally bizarre. And we love it.

Movie buffs will appreciate this ridiculous mix of classic movies into a strange mishmash that makes no sense at all. From Silence of the Lambs to the Terminator series to Pulp Fiction, The Godfather and 300, there's the list of films parodied in this spot is wildly diverse. We've watched a few times, and while we can name the vast majority of classic films shown, we have no idea what the actual point of the video is.

Take a look below and let us know what you think in Comments. But beware, there is some NSFW language.

News Source: ShortCuts via YouTube

Ferrari threatening to fine journalists $69,000 for breaking LaFerrari embargo?

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 7:15PM

Ferrari LaFerrari

In automotive journalism, we deal with embargoes on a regular basis. For the uninitiated, these are agreements between publications like Autoblog and manufacturers. While news embargoes (where pubs are provided with information and images and agree to hold until a predetermined date) are fairly common, today, we're focusing on drive embargoes. These are what we generally end up signing when we attend a vehicle launch. Generally, these are in the media's best interest. As drive programs are spread out over a week or two with multiple different "waves" of media, drive embargoes put the biggest and smallest publications on level footing when it comes to publishing reviews.

According to a report from Autocar's Steve Sutcliffe, Ferrari has taken its drive embargo for the LaFerrari hypercar a bit too far. See, initial reviews from the few publications that attended the drive event for the hybrid-powered monster can hit the newsstand or internet on April 30. Originally, syndicated stories – those sold by freelancers or publications to other outlets – couldn't be published until May 12. These syndicated reviews are big money for larger magazines and, in the case of freelance journalists, are a primary source of revenue. Inexplicably, though, Ferrari has pushed the syndication embargo back to May 26, which is bad news for everyone involved (aside from Ferrari).

This could have been nothing more than an annoyance. The stories would still get sold (although it might be for a bit less coin, considering the initial reviews will be nearly a month old) and you'll still be bombarded by reviews of the LaFerrari not once, but twice, just as Ferrari planned.

What's truly weird, though, is what Ferrari is doing to try and enforce its syndication embargo – the Scuderia is threatening to fine journalists 50,000 euro ($69,000 at today's rates) if their embargoed copy or images are published before May 26. Let's keep in mind, this isn't a leak of driving impressions – those are almost certainly going to be published at 12:01 AM on April 30 by every publication that attended the drive program – it's merely the secondary publication of an old review.

Not only is the reasoning for this absolutely bewildering – Ferrari doesn't seem to gain anything by limiting secondary publishing of LaFerrari reviews – but as Jalopnik's Matt Hardigree points out, it basically puts a price tag on breaking an embargo. Publications that aren't invited to drive the LaFerrari but can afford to pay the $69,000 fine have no reason to follow the embargo (they obviously weren't invited to drive the car, so why worry about angering Ferrari?).

Sutcliffe has a more concise breakdown of the entire affair over at Autocar. Have a look, and then head back here and let us know what you think.
Related GalleryFerrari LaFerrari
Ferrari LaFerrariFerrari LaFerrariFerrari LaFerrariFerrari LaFerrariFerrari LaFerrariFerrari LaFerrariFerrari LaFerrari

News Source: Autocar via Jalopnik

Lexus IS 250 to get new turbo four?

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 6:29PM

Lexus IS 250

"All show, no go." That's how I described the 2014 Lexus IS 250 F Sport that you see above, when I reviewed it back in November. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to like about the new IS, but the 204-horsepower, 2.5-liter V6 in the IS 250 is not on that list. In my review, I suggested that Lexus ought to get on the bandwagon of offering a small-displacement, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine in its base IS (like its rivals), and now the folks at Motor Trend are furthering that discussion.

Lexus pulled the wraps off its new NX 200t crossover at the Beijing show recently, and it'll be the first vehicle in the company's lineup to use a brand-new – you guessed it – 2.0-liter turbo-four. With 238 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque on tap, that represents a healthy increase over the 204 hp and anemic 185 lb-ft currently being offered with the 2.5-liter V6, and we imagine the fuel economy gains will be rather significant, too. For comparison, the Lexus' four-pot power numbers are very close to the 240 hp and 255 lb-ft offered in the same-sized engine that BMW uses in the 328i.

Motor Trend also posits that Lexus may consider changing the base IS' name from 250 to 200, or perhaps 200t, to properly reflect the new engine's displacement. Of course, that's assuming Lexus doesn't pull a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, and no longer has its alphanumeric names properly reflect the size of the powerplant found underhood.

Assuming Lexus does throw the 2.0T into the IS – the company said it plans to use this engine in several of its other vehicles – Motor Trend says it should show up around 2016. All I know is, that day can't come soon enough.

News Source: Motor Trend

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

2014 Chevy Impala being investigated over braking issue

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 5:44PM

2014 Chevrolet Impala

General Motors' recent recall woes may only be getting worse. According to The Detroit News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into 60,000 2014 Chevrolet Impala models over concerns relating to the sedan's emergency braking system.

The News reports that the NHTSA probe comes on the heels of a single complaint, citing "inappropriate activation of the emergency braking system." The official complaint states that the driver "alleges that the driver assist system inappropriately activated emergency braking bringing the vehicle to a complete stop under what the driver considered to be full braking force."

NHTSA reports that the driver "heard three to four beeps from the forward collision avoidance system" in the vehicle in question (a rental 2014 Impala with just 2,500 miles on the odometer), and that "this was immediately followed by an autonomous brake activation resulting in their vehicle being struck from the rear by another vehicle." No police report was filed following this incident, and there were no injuries.

A General Motors spokesperson told The Detroit News that the company is fully cooperating with this preliminary investigation. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

News Source: The Detroit News

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

Watch the boys from Hot Rod hoon a Corvette worthy of a sinkhole

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 5:02PM

Hot Rod Magazine: Roadkill

Have you read Mike Harley's awesome write up of the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible yet? The car Harley tests is the polar opposite of what you see above. Yes, the boys from Hot Rod Magazine's Roadkill series are back, and this time they're driving the world's worst Corvette from Florida (where else?) to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY.

Their mission? To put this god-awful car into the sinkhole that swallowed up a number priceless Vettes at the museum back in February. Now, you may be looking at the photo above and thinking, "Hey, that doesn't look that bad. I mean, sure, the headlights are wonky and is that a bald eagle on the trunk?" Trust us, it is.

The two hosts face all manner of challenges - as per usual - along the way, from a run-in with Don Schumacher that nearly sends the pair to Las Vegas instead of Kentucky, to encounters with the local police to your typical batch of mechanical gremlins. It all makes for a seriously entertaining 22 minutes of video, all of which you can see by scrolling down.

News Source: Motor Trend Channel via YouTube

Saturn Ion steering probe closed by NHTSA

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 4:26PM

Saturn Ion

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed its investigation into faulty electric power steering motors affecting 334,728 Saturn Ions from 2004-2007, because General Motors has issued a recall for them. The group's research found that the part failed at a high rate in the vehicles.

GM recalled over 1.3 million vehicles a few weeks ago, including the Ion, because the power steering could suddenly fail. If broken, the cars could still turn, but it took greater effort. The automaker is also covering 96,324 2003 Ions with a lifetime warranty for their motors, but it's not immediately replacing them.

NHTSA opened its investigation into the motors in September 2011, and it found 4,787 complaints and 30,560 warranty claims that showed failure for the Ion alone. It estimated a complaint rate of 14.3 incidents per 1,000 vehicles and warranty claim rate of 9.1 percent. The investigation also found evidence of 12 crashes caused by loss of steering, two of which resulted in injuries.

According to The Detroit News, the Ion wasn't initially going to be included in the recall. During the House's hearing into GM's ignition switch recall, it presented an email from October 2011 to Mary Barra that notified her of the bad steering motors and said the "Ion data did not justify being included" in the recall. At some point, the automaker apparently changed its decision. NHTSA's investigation report can be downloaded as a PDF.

News Source: The Detroit News, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF)

Image Credit: General Motors

Subaru WRX hatchback back off the table

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 4:01PM

Subaru WRX

It's fair to see we're rather fond of the new Subaru WRX. That's not to say we don't have a number of issues with the budget sports sedan, though. Foremost among those complaints is that it's short exactly one door.

Yes, the sedan-only WRX is just fine, but we'd be lying if we said we weren't missing the long-roofed, five-door model of years past. More pressing than our sentimentality, though, is the business case for a WRX wagon - half of the 2013 WRX and STI models sold had five doors. As a general rule, ignoring half of your former customers isn't the best strategy for long-term success.

There was some hope, as recently as a few weeks ago, though, that Subaru would right this wrong and offer a real, five-door WRX. An Australian reporter managed to corner project manager Masuo Takatsu, who said strong interest from the US meant that the Subaru mothership was considering a WRX with a hatch rather than a trunk.

Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case, as Subaru USA is dashing any and all hope of a second body style. According to Motor Trend, the company's US arm reached out to Japan and, despite the statements made by Takatsu, confirmed that there were no plans for a WRX wagon. Sigh...
Related Gallery2015 Subaru WRX
2015 Subaru WRX2015 Subaru WRX2015 Subaru WRX2015 Subaru WRX2015 Subaru WRX2015 Subaru WRX2015 Subaru WRX2015 Subaru WRX

News Source: Motor Trend

Image Credit: Subaru

Autoblog Podcast #377

New York Auto Show and Beijing Motor Show wrap-ups

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 3:44PM

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #377 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Steven Ewing talk about the New York Auto Show, the Beijing Motor Show (and a tangent or two). We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #377:

play


Topics: In the Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing
Runtime: 01:24:17

Rundown:
  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • New York Auto Show - 29:43
  • Beijing Motor Show - 55:31
  • Q&A - 01:03:46

Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

2015 Ford Mustang option prices gallop onto the web

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 3:30PM

2015 Ford Mustang GT

The 2015 Ford Mustang is one of the most anticipated cars of the year, despite the fact that production hasn't yet begun. What's a pony car fan to do? It turns out that Ford already has pricing and options information about the vehicle in its dealer ordering system. A few enterprising folks have snapped some pictures from it and have posted them online. You might not be able to drive your car yet, but you can at least see what it might cost.

At the moment, Ford appears to be splitting the Mustang into five models – 3.7-liter V6, 2.3-liter EcoBoost, GT with the 5.0-liter V8, 50th Anniversary and SVT. There are 10 available paint colors, 2 of which require an extra outlay. Triple Yellow is $495, and Ruby Red Tint is $395. Regardless of model, navigation goes for $795, and reverse parking assist is $295.

For both the EcoBoost and GT, the six-speed automatic tacks an extra $1,195 to the sticker, and adaptive cruise control is the same price. The GT also has a limited-slip 3.55 rear end for $395 and a GT Performance package for $2,495. Recaro leather seats add an extra $1,595. For the EcoBoost, there's something called EcoBoost Performance package for $1,995. The system doesn't say what the packages include.

The info here also fits exactly with what we know about the Mustang 50th Anniversary Edition from the New York Auto Show. The package comes in Kona Blue or Wimbledon White with a special leather interior. According to this data, it adds $1,595 to the cost of a Mustang GT.

A user at the Mustang 6G forums also has images from the ordering system, and they include some info on the SVT model. While there are no prices, options include a track package, tech package and available Alcantara or leather seats.

Note, the pricing and options listed here could still change. That said, it's still fun to check them out. Information on colors and body styles can be downloaded as a PDF from The Mustang Source forum, and the rest can be viewed at Mustang 6G. Happy building.

News Source: Mustang 6G, The Mustang Source via Jalopnik

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Icon 4x4 gets lavish short film treatment

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 2:58PM

Icon 4X4 Thriftmaster

Icon is one of the coolest American boutique vehicle builders around today, known in part for its talent of combining the looks of classic vehicles with modern powertrains and features to create something beautiful. A new video takes a sentimental look at the company's philosophy and at two of its more recent creations – the Thriftmaster truck and E-Flyer bicycle.

Icon sees itself as a company that is picking up the pieces of American style by making products the best they can possibly be. The two vehicles in the video show off that dedication. The E-Flyer is an electric bicycle with a 35-mile range and derestricted 35-mile-per-hour top speed, and it's priced at the relatively affordable price of $4,995.

The Thriftmaster is an even better expression of what the Icon does so well. While it looks like an old truck on the outside, a 5.3-liter V8 lurks under the hood with 315 horsepower or 435 hp in supercharged form. The pickup also packs all the modern conveniences like four-wheel disc brakes, navigation and on-board Wi-Fi. The company plans to build just five of them starting at $220,000 each. Scroll down to watch the video and get a better understanding of how Icon goes about its business.

News Source: William Bradford via Vimeo

Infiniti all but certain to produce Q50 Eau Rouge [w/video]

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 2:30PM

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype at Milbrook

These pages are full of projects that automakers have tried to get moving but never quite managed to. And Infiniti has had its fair share, particularly when it comes to high-performance models. It's tried to drum up excitement with the Infiniti Performance Line and with its partnerships with Red Bull Racing and its star driver, but models like the G37 IPL and FX Sebastian Vettel edition never amounted to a real challenge to the likes of Mercedes-AMG and BMW's M division. There was talk of a sedan version of the Nissan GT-R to wear an Infiniti badge, but those rumors amounted to even less. The Q50 Eau Rouge, however, could finally be the ticket.

The concept debuted at the Detroit Auto Show a few months ago without an engine (or at least not one we were made aware of) but with all manner of carbon-fiber aerodynamic components. It then rolled in to Geneva with the beating heart of the GT-R – a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 tuned to 560 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque – and arrived in Beijing earlier this week in an even more evolved form. And according to the chatter coming out of China (whose financial hub of Hong Kong, incidentally, serves as Infiniti's home base), it's all but certain to be approved for production.

"At this stage it would take more to stop the car getting made than to start things," says Auto Express, citing an unnamed source. The finished product would look much like the versions we've seen until now, and while it would be available in an array of colors, that metallic blood red could emerge as Infinit's signature performance color.

The vehicle has been undergoing testing at the Milbrook Proving Ground in the UK where four-time world champion Vettel has been helping engineers refine the car, tweaking the suspension, aerodynamics and various components. Infiniti released a 30-second clip showing Seb behind the wheel a couple weeks ago, and has now released a slightly longer 50-second clip (included below) indicating that the Eau Rouge will be capable of reaching 62 miles per hour in under four seconds. By that metric alone, the Eau Rouge would be quick enough to trounce not only a BMW M3, but also the bigger M5.

News Source: Auto Express

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