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    2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition pays homage to 1964
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    2015 Hyundai Sonata plays a more mature tune
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2015 Acura TLX is all too familiar, despite its new tricks [w/videos]

Posted Apr 16th 2014 3:01PM

2015 Acura TLX

I'm confident in saying that the 2015 Acura TLX, revealed today at the New York Auto Show, will be a perfectly nice car to drive. It'll be nice to sit in, with plenty of luxurious amenities. It'll be... fine. And for Acura, "fine" is apparently good enough.

I say that because while the TLX is an all-new offering (it replaces both the TL and TSX), it hardly shakes up the Acura formula we've come to accept over the past few years. It looks like everything else in the automaker's lineup, complete with the neat LED headlamps and signature beaked grille. Power comes from either a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated inline-four with 206 horsepower, or a 3.5-liter V6 with 290 hp – engines we've tested in countless other Honda/Acura products. The front-wheel-drive version uses the Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) from the RLX, and high-end V6 models use the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) that we've enjoyed across the rest of the Acura range. Really, there's nothing to write home about here, except maybe, how that power is sent to the wheels.

Acura is finally – finally – moving beyond the world of the six-speed transmission, offering a new eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox with the 2.4-liter engine, and a swanky new nine-speed automatic with the 3.5-liter V6. This is arguably the biggest news surrounding the TLX, though do note, fuel economy hasn't vastly been improved in the process. The TLX 2.4 musters up 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg highway, while the front-drive V6 is rated at 21/34 mpg. Optioning for the V6 SH-AWD reduces things to 21/31 mpg.

Inside, it's more of the same – the company's dual-screen center console and infotainment system is used here, and it all looks like the same setup as in RLX, MDX, etc. That's not a bad thing – I like Acura's interiors – but again, there are seemingly few big advancements.

So yeah, the new TLX is fine. For driving, sitting in and other daily needs, "fine" is the order of the day. But if you were hoping for a fresh-faced, bold new offering from Acura here, 'fraid you're plum out of luck. Read more in the press release below, and check out a pair of videos.

News Source: Acura

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Jaguar testing hardcore F-Type R-S GT?

Posted Apr 16th 2014 2:30PM

Jaguar F-Type R-S GT prototype

Some automakers make a hardcore model, then sit back and revel in its awesomeness. Jaguar does things a little differently. It takes a standard production model, gives it more power, bigger brakes and a tighter suspension and slaps the letter R on it. Then it gives it even more power, even bigger brakes and an even tighter suspension and calls it an R-S. Sometimes the engineers in Coventry don't even think that's enough, so they strip out some weight and dial things up even further and call it an R-S GT.

So far, they've only gone that far with the XK (transformed first into the XKR, then the XKR-S, and finally the XKR-S GT), but with that model on its way out, Jaguar seems to be preparing to give the newer F-Type a similar treatment. Now we can't be sure that what we're looking at is an F-Type R-S GT, especially since the 550-horsepower engine from the XKR-S and XFR-S is already powering the existing F-Type R Coupe, but it does seem to have all the makings of a hardcore performance model.

Compared to the existing F-Type, the development model pictured here has a bigger front splitter (like the one on the Project 7 concept), a big rear wing and a set of what looks like pretty big lightweight alloys. It's also, tellingly, a roadster, which (unlike the coupe) has until now topped out at 500hp with the V8 S model. So while it may be hard to say exactly just what Jaguar has in store for us here (or what they'll call it), one thing's for sure: it's gonna be fast and loud.

Image Credit: CarPix

VW America president says Phaeton will return to US in 2018

Posted Apr 16th 2014 2:00PM

VW US Michael Horn

Volkswagen knows that its US operations need some help, so it installed Michael Horn as CEO of its American operations a few months ago. In a new interview with Bloomberg, Horn goes into detail about his two-pronged focus for the company – making dealers happier and improving product.

Chief among that product news is confirmation that the Phaeton is going to return to our market in 2018 or 2019, a move VW has long been rumored to be considering. The full-size luxury sedan hasn't been sold in the US since the end of the 2006 model year, departing the market as a victim of slow sales. (The Phaeton has since been slightly updated overseas, where it continues to be offered.)

The complex Phaeton garnered a good amount of critical acclaim in its time on our market, yet it earned mostly perplexed looks from consumers who had trouble understanding the idea of a "People's Car" priced against competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (or the VW Group's own Audi A8, for that matter). It isn't immediately clear how VW intends to exempt the next-generation Phaeton from the same fate when it returns, nor is it clear whether the new model will share its underpinnings with the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, as the first iteration did.

According to the Bloomberg interview, Horn's other main goal is improving VW's dealer relations. He says that right now, dealers are unhappy with the company, and there is a "great distance" between them. The two sides are negotiating now to improve bonuses, marketing and other elements to get the network back on board.

"We need to connect closer from the American market to the German market," said Horn in the interview, and it looks like the company is making the first steps toward that goal. Scroll down to watch the full discussion.

News Source: Bloomberg

2015 Nissan Murano is the Sport Sedan Concept of crossovers [w/video]

Posted Apr 16th 2014 1:30PM

2015 Nissan Murano

The edgy new Nissan Murano has just been officially unveiled at today's New York Auto Show following its online debut earlier this week. Wearing sheetmetal clearly inspired by the Japanese brand's creatively named Sport Sedan Concept, the third-generation Murano continues the tradition of offering dramatic styling and surprisingly premium interiors.

With headlights and a grille that look lifted from the Detroit Auto Show concept, the Murano arguably has more design presence than it's ever had before, thanks to its sharply styled headlights and in-your-face grille. The profile is highlighted by an aggressive kink in the beltline behind the C-pillar, while the rear of the crossover sports a smallish rear window and strongly styled C-shaped taillights.

The redesigned interior isn't quite as dramatic a departure as the exterior, with a layout reminiscent of the larger Pathfinder. The material quality, though, looks to be significantly improved for 2015. There are also no shortage of optional, upmarket interior items, like heated and cooled front seats, a heated rear bench and an upsized panoramic sunroof.

Take a look up top for our gallery of live images of the new Murano from the 2014 New York Auto Show. You can also view a short video, as well as the official press release by scrolling down.

News Source: Nissan, nissanusa via YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Ford Focus sedan shows its fresh face in New York

Posted Apr 16th 2014 1:01PM

2015 Ford Focus Sedan

That handsome fellow you see above is the 2015 Ford Focus sedan. We liked the looks of the 2014 Focus, and the updates for 2015 only improve things to our eyes, with the adoption of the Aston Martin-inspired grille that has been permeating Ford's lineup these last few years. Sweeping, slightly bulbous headlamps join a revised, more demure lower grille opening to round out the styling updates up front. The rest of the car's look is just slightly massaged, including new taillamp clusters that look much like they did last year.

New for 2015 is the availability of Ford's 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. There's also a new SE Sport Package that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, paddle shifters (when equipped with Ford's six-speed dual-clutch automatic) and a few body kit bits and pieces. Rounding out the mechanical changes are an updated electronic steering rack that promises better feel, suspension tweaks to make the ride more comfortable and some software updates designed to make the dual-clutch gearbox better behave itself.

In addition, inside there are a few interior upgrades, as well as some added comfort and safety tech that includes available blind-spot detection and lane-keeping assist, along with other more incremental changes that all add up to a better vehicle. We suggest you check out the official press release below for all the details, but not before scrolling through our image gallery of live shots above.

2015 BMW M4 Convertible will give the best bad hair days

Posted Apr 16th 2014 12:31PM

2015 BMW M4 Convertible

BMW officially unveiled the 2015 M4 Convertible at the Javits Center in New York this morning. The droptop, which will slot in next to the M4 Coupe in BMW's performance line, offers infinitely more headroom, fresh air and sunshine for those that want a little more great outdoors and tousled hair with their M experience.

Visually, the M4 convertible is similar to the coupe, and carries on the hardtop's athletic stance with a long wheelbase, short front overhang, aerodynamic mirrors and in the case of this showcar, optional yellow-painted brake calipers. The car's expressive, angry face is perhaps the most notable aspect of its styling, screaming "get the hell out of my way!" with its signature twin-bar kidney grille, trio of air intakes and squinty LED headlights. Inside, the convertible employs three-temperature neck warmers (for chilly top-down days), an absurd amount of "M" logos and a wealth of luxury and technology features.

The rear-wheel-drive convertible uses the same engine as the coupe: a high-revving, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six producing 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission. BMW says the car can make a 0-60 sprint in just 4.4 seconds when equipped with the manual.

While those power numbers certainly sound impressive, the M4 convertible's potential downfall is its weight. The addition of the power droptop pushes the car up to a hefty 4,055 pounds, though that's still some 90 pounds lighter than the previous-generation E93 M3 convertible. We aren't fretting just yet, though. BMW has earned the benefit of the doubt, with decades of experience making even big crossovers with physics-defying abilities.

For more info on BMW's newest open-air performance machine, check out the press release below.

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition pays homage to 1964

Posted Apr 16th 2014 11:58AM

2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition

The Ford Mustang was first shown to the public at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. Five decades later – almost to the day – Ford has rolled out its 2015 Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition at the New York Auto Show. Limited to just 1,964 examples, the rear-wheel drive coupes (no convertible has been announced) are based on the all-new 2015 Mustang GT fastback with performance pack. The standard equipment list is long, with buyers only offered a choice of color (Wimbledon White or Kona Blue) and transmission (a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic).

The exterior is distinguished with discreet chrome highlights and louvered rear quarter windows, something that won't be found on any other models. Other touches include a faux gas cap badge on the rear fascia. Inside the cabin, owners will find a cashmere-stitched, leather-wrapped steering wheel, with the same appointments carried to the instrument panel, shifter boot, center armrest, door inserts and seats. The front buckets are upholstered in two-tone cashmere and black leather, with the obligatory 50th logo on the seat backs.

As is only fitting, under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8, delivering 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Other enhancements, which are standard fare on Performance Package Mustang GT models, include six-piston Brembo front brakes, 19-inch alloys and high-performance summer rubber. Mustang enthusiasts will note that the 50 Year Limited Edition model marks the first time Ford is offering its Performance Package with an automatic gearbox.

Ford has said that the limited edition models will be some of the first off the assembly line when 2015 production begins later this year, so if you're interested, you might want to start hounding your dealer for an allocation today.

News Source: Ford

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Chevy Cruze brings a little nip, tuck to New York

Posted Apr 16th 2014 11:30AM

2015 Chevrolet Cruze

To say the refresh performed on the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze is mild would be an understatement. Besides a new grille and fascia that more closely follows Chevy's corporate styling theme as seen on the Malibu and Impala, there is very little to visually set the new Cruze apart from the old. Whether the updated look is an improvement is up for debate, but we're sure all 2015 Cruze shoppers will be pleased with the increased functionality of the car's in-cabin technology.

The 2015 Cruze boasts a seven-inch touchscreen in the center console powered by the latest versions of the brand's OnStar and MyLink software packages. With it comes the ability to act as a 4G wifi hotspot, Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users, and, soon, access to the new Chevrolet AppShop. The interior sees a few minor improvements, such as reshaped cupholders and some switches and buttons that have been made more conveniently accessible.

As we said, the updates are all pretty minor, but the Cruze has held up well since it first went on sale in North America for the 2010 model year. Check out our high-res image gallery of live shots from the New York Auto Show and feel free to read through the press release below.

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Journalist impersonates Schumacher's dad in bid to see comatose F1 champ

Posted Apr 16th 2014 11:00AM

France Schumacher Injured

There's little to nothing that a paparazzo won't do in order to get their shot. That can be a good thing when the shutterbug is on the trail of an automaker's latest prototype. Somewhat less so when it impedes on an individual's privacy, as the Schumacher family has discovered on numerous occasions.

Back in December we reported on a supposed journalist – though not one we'd ever want to keep company with – who dressed as a priest in order to gain access to the hospital room where Michael Schumacher lay comatose following his ski accident. But as it turns out he wasn't the only one who took to disguising his identity (and assuming someone else's) in order to get closer to the imperiled seven-time world champion.

According to Schumacher's manager/spokesperson Sabine Kehm, another individual tried to pass himself off as Michael's father Rolf Schumacher (pictured above with younger son Ralf) in order to get into the hospital room and, apparently, to snap a photo of Schumi in his hospital bed. Which only makes us wonder to what lows someone might sink to next in order to get that elusive picture.

The paparazzi may never get that chance, though. Schumacher has reportedly been showing signs of awareness and consciousness, even interacting (in limited capacity) with his surroundings. As his condition improves, Michael is expected to be moved to a rehabilitation clinic and eventually back home where his wife Corinna has reportedly installed some $17 million in medical equipment. Once out of the hospital, the Schumacher family may be able to exercise tighter control over security and refrain from releasing updates to the public on the retired Formula One driver's condition and progress.

News Source: Autoweek, World Car Fans

Image Credit: AP

2015 Toyota Camry ushers in 'sweeping redesign' [w/poll]

Posted Apr 16th 2014 10:27AM

2015 Toyota Camry

2015 toyota camryWith a dozen years atop the nation's best-selling car charts, you might think that there wouldn't be a lot of incentive for Toyota to rework its Camry, particularly so early in the life of the current model. But despite its unassailable sales totals, the midsize sedan has come in for substantial criticism for its milquetoast dynamics, piecemeal interiors and bland design.

As part of CEO Akio Toyoda's mantra to build more exciting cars, the 2015 Camry has arrived with a fresh new look and content that goes far beyond the Japanese automaker's typically slight mid-cycle redesigns. Featuring some 2,000 new parts, the 2015 Camry casts a 1.8-inch longer shadow and stretches across a widened track (0.4 inches). And it won't be just the widened track that should help deliver a more dynamic performance – Toyota is citing a stiffer chassis thanks to additional spot welds along with a rejiggered suspension, retuned electric power steering and a new two-stage brake booster for improved braking feel.

A new XSE trim promises the sportiest performance yet, including model-specific shock absorbers and springs, stiffer bushings, unique stability control programming and 18-inch wheels to go along with a unique front end treatment featuring mesh grille inserts and a revised fascia.

But Camry sales have rarely been driven by performance – millions of the things have been purchased due to the family sedan's ironclad reputation for attributes like reliability, strong resale value, comfort and ease of use. The latter two aspects often help secure the former, and to that end, Toyota has made a lot of changes to the Camry's interior, both seen and unseen. Visible changes include a redesigned gauge cluster with a new 4.2-inch TFT display, richer materials, a redesigned center stack and a console tray with available wireless charging. Hidden alterations include 30-percent more sound insulation to help deliver a serene ride.

Despite all these changes, the Camry's powertrains appear to be largely carryover, with an available 2.5-liter four-cylinder or 3.5-liter V6 engine, both yoked to conventional six-speed automatic transmissions. The Camry Hybrid will continue to be offered with a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder paired with an electric motor and electronic continuously variable transmission. As previously reported, the Camry Hybrid is joined by a new SE trim with a firmer suspension and retuned steering. So far, Toyota is keeping performance metrics close to the vest – there's no word yet on power, acceleration or fuel economy figures.

Most of the discussion coming out of today's New York Auto Show is likely to be centered on the Camry's very different looks – particularly in sportier XSE trim. With scowling headlamps, gaping new lower fascia and a sharply creased hood, this new model as far more attitude than its predecessor.

What do you think? Have a look in our gallery above, then vote in our poll.

What Do You Think Of The Looks Of The 2015 Toyota Camry?

News Source: Toyota

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid is the full package

Posted Apr 16th 2014 10:02AM

Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid
At next week's Beijing Motor Show, Volvo is set to introduce a new member of its plug-in hybrid family. The company has had success with the world's first diesel PHEV, the V60 plug-in hybrid, but the new S60L is dubbed a PPHEV. The extra P stands for petrol.

"This is our most technologically advanced powertrain ever" – Peter Mertens

Unsurprisingly given the debut location, the S60L PPHEV is a vehicle that is destined for the Chinese market. Volvo says the car should arrive in "early 2015" after production starts at the company's Chengdu plant. There is a chance that China-built Volvos will make their way to the US at some point, but whether that invasion fleet includes the S60L PPHEV is difficult to predict at this point.

Similar to the V60 PHEV, the plug-in S60L mates up a four-cylinder, 238-horsepower Drive-E turbo engine with a 68 hp electric motor fed by an 11.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to be, "an electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car all rolled into one," Volvo claims. The two power sources provide 350 and 200 newton meters of torque (258 and 148 pound-feet), respectively. The torque is routed through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and the whole package uses just two liters of fuel per kilometer (the equivalent of 117 miles per gallon) in default hybrid mode. All-electric range is a solid 30 miles. In a prepared statement (available below), Volvo's senior VP of research and development, Peter Mertens, called the setup, "our most technologically advanced powertrain ever." If it's that good, Volvo, go ahead and sell the car worldwide.

News Source: Volvo

2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe rides to the top

Posted Apr 16th 2014 9:31AM

Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe

You've seen the power a 600-horespower engine can produce on a racetrack. You may have seen the results of what 600 horsepower looks like on a local highway. But have you seen what 600 horsepower can do in an elevator shaft? This might be a new one.

Mercedes-Benz introduced its 2015 S63 AMG Coupe in New York on Tuesday night, literally driving the 4,400-pound vehicle off an elevator in a Manhattan loft. Not that the car needed any extra hijinks to make an impression upon its entrance. This is a stylish, imposing vehicle.

Under the brawny hood is a hand-built, twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 engine, capable of producing 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes' seven-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission handles that force, which pushes the vehicle to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds. Power is sent to the road via the company's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.

Conventional widsom may say that Americans are buying fewer two-door vehicles than ever before, and that they're buying smaller cars than ever before. The S63 AMG Coupe, which launches this fall, joyfully thumbs its nose at such logic. There's every reason to think it will help AMG continue its growth from 32,000 worldwide units sold last year.

Mercedes-Benz also showed shots of the interior of its highly anticipated AMG-GT. Red and black leather encompassed what appeared to be a spacious cabin. More detail is expected on the AMG-GT this fall. Combined, both cars look like they'll keep AMG at the forefront of the luxury performance segment. Have a look at the S63 Coupe in the galleries above and below, and scroll down to read the company's official press blast.

News Source: Mercedes-Benz

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

DS 6WR channels Citroën Wild Rubis into Beijing

Posted Apr 16th 2014 9:00AM



Citroën has unveiled preliminary images and information about "the first ever SUV for the brand," the DS 6WR, before the model's official debut at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show. Said to be directly inspired by the Wild Rubis concept that bowed in Shanghai last year, the new addition to the DS family breaks new ground for the French brand, while not exactly living up to the SUV tradition.

The DS 6WR will slot in at the top of the brand's luxury-oriented DS range (where it will also be built), offering space and versatility along with added size for Chinese customers. Citroën is as-yet unclear if the model will make it to Europe, or elsewhere in the world.

The French automaker will initially offer the utility vehicle with a choice of two engine options, an e-THP 160 and THP 200 – those numbers seem to reference output in metric horsepower, meaning roughly 158 hp and 197 hp, respectively. Each mill offers both direct injection and a twin-scroll turbo, and both mate up to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Despite a proliferation of SUV references in the short press release below, the DS 6WR's lack of all-wheel drive, even as an option, along with it's car-like styling and ride height have us calling this one firmly in crossover territory. The front-drive vehicle comes equipped with Citroën's "Grip Control" traction control system, in place of turning wheels at all corners.

You'll find just a few initial images of the wild DS 6WR in the gallery, and can look forward to more as we bring you live coverage from Beijing later this month.
Related GalleryCitroën DS 6WR
Citroën DS 6WRCitroën DS 6WRCitroën DS 6WR

News Source: Citroen

Ford overlooks the Big Apple in the 2015 Mustang Convertible [w/video]

Posted Apr 16th 2014 8:28AM

2015 Ford Mustang Convertible

Ford has done it again. Like in April of 1964, there is once again an all-new Mustang Convertible sitting on the observation deck of New York City's Empire State Building. This has been in the making for a little while, with the first report that Ford would recreate the sky-high publicity stunt coming out a few weeks back.

The process of getting the Mustang up there wasn't exactly easy. A Troy, MI-based company chopped up the new droptop, a necessary evil to get the Mustang on the Empire State Building's only freight elevator that runs to the 86th floor observation deck. But it was slightly more involved than just taking the car apart. The company, DST, built a mockup of the ESB's freight elevators, and then practiced its cuts on a second pre-production Mustang Convertible (measure twice, cut once).

The result of all this work are the images you see above. Yes, sitting in the crisp, morning air of midtown Manhattan, over 1,000 feet up, is this brilliant, Triple Yellow Mustang. Take a look up top for our gallery of images from today's event. You can also scroll down for videos and images of the process leading up to the ESB debut.

News Source: fordvideo1 via YouTube [1, 2, 3]

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

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