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    2015 Dodge Charger shows off its new look in New York [w/videos]
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    2015 Subaru Outback offers more room and better econ behind that new face
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    2015 Toyota Camry ushers in 'sweeping redesign' [w/poll]
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Jaguar sends off XK with limited-run Final 50 edition

Posted Apr 18th 2014 11:33AM

Jaguar XK Final 50 Edition

The Jaguar XK coupe and convertible are pointed at the production sunset, and the cars that will end their retail lives in the US will be the dubbed the XK Final Fifty Limited Edition. As the name implies there will be fifty of them made, 25 of the fixed-roof variety, 25 of the droptop.

As the name doesn't imply, however, they'll be based on the XKR and be injected with liberal doses of XKR-S and XKR-S GT: the 510-horsepower V8 from the XKR will be mated to normally optional items like the Dynamic and Performance Packs, machined front suspension components from the XKR-S and a 10-millimeter lower ride height, the louvered hood from the XKR-S GT and Vortex 20-inch forged wheels. The sheetmetal gets a bath in Ultimate Black paint "with special trim" and badged door sill plates. Convertibles will come black roofs, but the Performance Active Exhaust will keep you apprised of the 5.0-liter V8 bellows no matter which car you choose.

They'll go into production this summer and hit dealerships in the fall. There's a lengthy press release below with more info on how this cat will sing its swan song.

News Source: Jaguar

Henrik Fisker designs a chopper for Lauge Jensen

Posted Apr 18th 2014 11:02AM

Lauge Jensen Viking by Henrik Fisker

Henrik Fisker has designed some seriously beautiful vehicles over the course of his career thus far. You'd naturally associate his name with the Karma hybrid that shares it, or maybe the reskinned Mercedes SL and BMW 6 Series he crafted as a coachbuilder, but he was also responsible for such beautiful shapes as the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage, Tesla Model S and Artega GT. And now he's turned his attention to a motorcycle.

Called the Viking concept, the Fisker-designed chopper is the product of a collaboration with Lauge Jensen, a Danish custom bike shop owned by Lego scion Anders Kirk Johansen. The 660-pound Viking packs an air-cooled 45-degree V-twin engine (built, incidentally in Wisconsin, we wonder by whom) churning out 100 horsepower with a six-speed transmission to propel it to a 130-mile-per-hour top speed and meeting Euro IV emissions regulations. It's packaged into a rather sleek take on the classic hog, the curve of the fuel tank melding into the seat and the rear fender.

The Viking is set to be unveiled this week at the Top Marques show in Monaco where Lauge Jensen will watching to see how it's received. Given a positive reception, it could soon join the Great Dane in the company's lineup. Considering that bike already sells for €42,800 (about $60k), and that the Viking would likely command an even bigger premium, that would make for one very expensive chopper. Still, it might be one of the least expensive ways to get your hands on a Henrik Fisker original.

News Source: Lauge Jensen

Alfieri headed for production based on strong Maserati sales

Posted Apr 18th 2014 10:30AM

Maserati Alfieri concept

Maserati has been on a heck of a product surge recently. After years of subsiding on versions of the previous Quattroporte and the aging GranTurismo, the Modense automaker rolled out the new Quattroporte the year before last, the Ghibli last year, it will introduce the Levante crossover next year and – according to the latest intel – will begin production of the Alfieri sports car the year after that.

The Alfieri concept debuted just last month at the Geneva Motor Show, taking the form of a two-door sports car foreshadowing the brand's new design language. Reception was positive, but it appears that sales of Maserati's existing models is what's giving the Alfieri the green light.

According to Automotive News, citing an interview given by Maserati chief Harald Wester on Bloomberg Television, the brand has been getting 3,500 orders per month, putting it on track to sell 42,000 units this year – nearly three times as much as the 15,400 it sold in 2013. The profits generated off those orders could be enough by themselves to offset the losses which Fiat is expected to record this year based on flagging sales for the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep brands in Europe.

Sources says that it wouldn't take much for the Alfieri to be put into production. If and when it does, it would target the likes of the Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type, but we wouldn't be surprised to see it ditch the old V8 from the GranTurismo and adopt the newer twin-turbocharged V6 or V8 engines that power the latest QP and Ghibli.
Related GalleryMaserati Alfieri Concept
Maserati Alfieri ConceptMaserati Alfieri ConceptMaserati Alfieri ConceptMaserati Alfieri ConceptMaserati Alfieri ConceptMaserati Alfieri ConceptMaserati Alfieri ConceptMaserati Alfieri Concept

Nick Murray's problematic Porsche 911 shows the power of a viral video

Posted Apr 18th 2014 10:03AM

Nick Murray Porsche 911

When Nick Murray took delivery of his 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S in June 2013, he had saved for it for the past five years. He didn't just pluck a random 911 off a dealer lot. He specially ordered his car with thousands of dollars in extras tailored just to him, and he captured all of the options on his YouTube channel. The love affair didn't last long. Eventually the channel became a place for Nick to air his growing list of grievances about his deteriorating 911. Eventually, his mix of righteous indignation and sarcasm went viral.

Nick Murray Porsche 911By late December, he had already had four warranty repairs done on the car. Things got much worse in March. The computers began resetting whenever Nick drove over large bumps. There was also an acrid, electrical smell that occasionally permeated the cabin. Murray filed for Lemon Law protection. ​Porsche Cars North America contacted him for the first time to fix the problem, but it didn't help.

Things culminated in April when Murray put up a new video that showed more troubles. He began arbitration with Porsche and asked for either his full purchase price back or an exact replacement. The company countered with a portion of what the car was worth, based on its mileage. Murray refused and turned to his YouTube watchers for help. He asked them to spread the word, and the video went viral with over 800,000 views as of this writing. Supporters posted it multiple times on Porsche's Facebook and Twitter sites.

The pressure may have worked. Murray posted on the 6 Speed Online forums: "Good news! I have been contacted by PCNA to settle this. This whole mess will end today hopefully. Good that they are doing the right thing. Good for them." Later, he added another note on the forum and Facebook that the situation was resolved without going into detail.

Nick Twork, Product Communications Manager Porsche Cars North America, told Autoblog the that company was "very aware of these videos." He confirmed that the Customer Care Department had been in contact with Murray, and it met "with him one-on-one." He promised that PCNA would work with him until "everyone is satisfied."

Scroll down to watch the last three videos starting from the most recent to see what he went through. Warning, there is some occasional salty language.

News Source: 6 Speed Online, [1], [2], Facebook, Nick Murray via YouTube, [1], [2], [3]

Toyota launches new Passo hatchback in Japan [w/video]

Posted Apr 18th 2014 9:32AM

2015 Toyota Passo

With considerable manufacturing capacity here in the United States and even a NASCAR program, it'd be all too easy to categorize Toyota as an American automaker. Only it's not. It's Japanese, of course. And back in the Japanese Domestic Market, it offers a whole range of models we'll never see in North America. Models like the Crown sedan, Noah minivan and this, the new Passo hatchback.

Sold in various markets as the Daihatsu Boon, Daihatsu Sirion, Perodua Myvi and (for a time) the Subaru Justy, the Toyota Passo is a compact hatchback that slots in size-wise between the Yaris sold in America and the Aygo offered in Europe (except the Passo is taller than either).

Power comes from a 1.0-liter engine with 69 horsepower that can be had in front- or all-wheel drive, or a 1.3 driving 95 horses to the front wheels alone. A continuously variable transmission is on duty regardless of engine choice. Front-drive models get a stop/start system, but even all-wheel-drive versions are eligible for government tax credits. That's because, though the new Passo only appears to be mildly updated, the engines have been thoroughly reworked to deliver 30-percent better fuel economy than the previous model, coming in 20-percent better than the standards being enacted by the Japanese government for next year.

Powertrain configurations aside, Toyota is offering JDM customers a wide array of trim and equipment levels, all of which you can read about in the press release (and scope out in the video) below.
Related Gallery2015 Toyota Passo
2015 Toyota Passo2015 Toyota Passo2015 Toyota Passo2015 Toyota Passo2015 Toyota Passo2015 Toyota Passo2015 Toyota Passo2015 Toyota Passo

News Source: Toyota

Aston Martin requests exemption from stringent US safety regulations

Posted Apr 18th 2014 9:01AM

Aston Martin Vantage GT

If you were intrigued by the chance to buy a new Aston Martin Vantage GT for $99,900, it might be best not to wait too long. There is a slim chance that the Vantage and DB9 may not have much life left in the US because they don't meet new crash standards. Aston Martin has filed documents with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking that the new pole and moving barrier crash safety requirements – internally referred to as FMVSS 214 – be waived for the two models. The company is claiming "substantial economic hardship" and says that it can't afford to bring the vehicles into compliance.

We aren't talking about a huge number of vehicles here. The Rapide and Vanquish comply with the new rules, and Aston Martin predicts that it would import 670 Vantage and DB9 models into the States between September 1, 2014 and August 31, 2017. The automaker estimates it would cost around $30 million to make them compliant.

The company has indeed been in rough shape in the not-too-distant past. According to the documents, sales volume decreased by about 48 percent from a high of 7,281 units in 2007 to 3,786 vehicles in 2012. The automaker had planned to have new models ready in time so that it wouldn't need an exemption, but the global economic crisis delayed it. Interestingly, the paperwork reveals that Aston currently plans to launch a replacement for the DB9 between September 2016 and August 2017.

Aston Martin doesn't have very long for NHTSA to deliberate. The new rules go into effect for them on September 1, 2014 for hardtops, and September 1, 2015 for convertibles. While it would still be able to sell its other models here, it would certainly be a shock if it had to pull the the Vantage and DB9. Both documents are available in PDF format to download and read.

News Source: Regulations.Gov via Jalopnik

Ford E-Series chassis cabs and cutaways to survive mass Transit onslaught

Posted Apr 18th 2014 8:32AM

Ford E-350 chassis cab, front three-quarter view

In March 2013, Ford announced we'd be getting chassis cab and cutaway versions of the Transit. Since incoming Transit vans will soon be rolling over the grave of the E-Series van, it was assumed that all E-Series models would go six feet under as well. According to a report from PickupTrucks.com, however, that's not the case, the report claiming that the highly modifiable E-350 and E-450 chassis cab and cutaway versions will continue being produced in Avon Lake, Ohio "at least until 2020."

Being decades old, the be-cabbed E-Series platform has found its way under an army of heavy-duty shuttle buses, work truck and ambulances. Ford spokeswoman Jessica Enoch verified the production horizon, telling Autoblog that the particular E-Series configuration "are a higher GVWR than the Transit chassis cab and cutaway (available this summer), which is more Class 2 and a new segment for us." So there you have it.

News Source: PickupTrucks.com

Chevy and GMC trucks get CNG option pricing

Posted Apr 18th 2014 8:01AM

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD CNG at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, front three-quarter view

Chevrolet and GMC have clued us in to pricing of the bi-fuel option for the 2015 Silverado and Sierra 2500HD CNG and 3500HD CNG pickups: it starts at $9,500; we're still missing the rest of the pricing inferred by the word "starts," however. If you remember from the Chicago Auto Show introduction, the 6.0-liter V8 puts out 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque when drinking gas, 301 hp and 333 lb-ft when inhaling CNG.

Chevrolet figures that a bi-fuel Silverado HD is worth $2,000 in savings if driven 19,500 miles on CNG and 7,500 miles on gasoline in the span of a year, a recoup rate easily attainable to high-mileage fleet owners. It can be specced on double- and crew-cab pickups with single rear wheels, not on dualies.

The 2015 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana short-wheelbase passenger and cargo vans also get CNG options, starting at $10,825 for the three-tank system, and $12,090 for the four-tank system that can only be had on the cargo hauler. You'll find a bit more info on all of the permutations in the press release below.

We obsessively covered the 2014 New York Auto Show

Posted Apr 17th 2014 8:01PM

New York Auto Show

Every show, we're tasked with writing these wrap-up posts, and every time, nothing we ever come up with is as good as what our former Editor-In-Chief, John Neff, wrote back at the 2012 New York show. Besides, by the time you're reading this, we're all super tired. So for the sake of laziness hilarity, let's just put our nostalgia caps on and let this show wrap itself up with the words of Herr Neff.

The New York Auto Show has officially vomited on its shoes, stumbled out of the bar and taken a seat on the subway between a homeless person and RuPaul impersonator (actually, it might really be RuPaul). That's right folks, the party's over, and the Big Apple has told us that we don't have to go home, but we can't stay here.

Like a wasted hipster on his hands and knees scrounging loose change off the floor, we've gathered together all of the cars and concepts that debuted at this year's show. Enjoy perusing our New York Auto Show playlist while we pop a Tums and concentrate on surviving the cab ride to LaGuardia.

That's all from New York, folks. G'night!

Aston Martin shows what it does best with V8 Vantage GT, DB9 Carbon Edition

Ram's newest Power Wagon looks even more outlandish for 2014 [w/video]

2015 Infiniti QX80 gets a minor refresh, fancy new trim

2015 Audi RS7 Dynamic Edition is a pretty car for a pretty penny

2015 Sedona shows Kia hasn't given up on minivans

Dodge Challenger Scat Pack adds power and noise, with a warranty

2015 Infiniti Q70 stretches out in NYC

2015 Volvo Inscription models get classy with an upgraded leather interior

BMW offering Track Handling Package for 2 Series

2015 Dodge Challenger looks fresh, still plenty retro [w/video]

Mazda Miata 25th anniversary display is roadster heaven on Earth

Maserati surprises Manhattan with Centennial edition GranTurismo

2015 Dodge Charger shows off its new look in New York [w/videos]

Mazda reveals 25th anniversary edition MX-5 Miata alongside next-gen chassis

2015 Subaru Outback offers more room and better econ behind that new face

2016 Audi A3 Sportback headed to US under diesel power [w/video]

Ford Transit Skyliner Concept does discreet luxury in NYC

SRT Viper TA adds Anodized Carbon Special Edition

2015 BMW X4 is a budget X6

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition marks a day we never thought we'd see

2015 Ford Focus Electric hides in plain sight

2015 Volkswagen Jetta is new, we promise

2015 Nissan Versa Sedan continues to prioritize space and price over looks

Mini lifts veil on refreshed Countryman in New York

Scion announces FR-S Release Series 1.0 in New York

VW Golf TDI SportWagen really is a concept, sort of

Subaru previews rally-ready WRX STI for Global RallyCross

2015 BMW Alpina B6 Gran Coupe challenges the M6 in New York

2015 Acura TLX is all too familiar, despite its new tricks [w/videos]

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

2015 Ford Focus sedan shows its fresh face in New York

2015 BMW M4 Convertible will give the best bad hair days

2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition pays homage to 1964

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

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

2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe rides to the top

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

2015 Hyundai Sonata plays a more mature tune

2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 Convertible is a topless temptress

2015 Chevrolet Trax is the Encore's encore [w/video]

Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept bows early on the USS Intrepid

Ferrari LaFerrari XX confirmed, seen lapping the 'Ring?

Posted Apr 17th 2014 7:30PM

Ferrari LaFerrari XX spy shot

Ferrari makes road cars and they make race cars, but the automaker found a middle ground somewhere in between when it launched the FXX in 2005. Homologated neither for race or street, the FXX emerged as Maranello's first customer development prototype, "allowing" well-heeled clients to test new components for the factory from behind the wheel of one of the most extreme performance machines Ferrari had ever made.

The FXX was based on the Enzo, and was succeeded by the Fiorano-based 599XX. Given the apparent success of the program, we knew it would only be a matter of time before Ferrari would roll out the next XX prototype. But what would it be based on? The Enzo-succeeding LaFerrari? The F12 Berlinetta that replaced the 599 GTB Fiorano? Or another model entirely, like the 458 Italia, FF or California?

Well now we appear to have our answer. Speaking during the Ferrari Racing Days (an extravaganza of cavallinos prancing around a different racetrack each year, held recently in Sydney), Antonello Coletta confirmed that development is underway on a LaFerrari XX. And he ought to know, seeing as how he's the head of the company's new Sporting Activity Department that overseas all of Ferrari's on-track activities – including the XX program. The news was confirmed by Ferrari in correspondence with Autoblog. Oh, and perhaps because of the spy photos you see above, which were shot recently at the famed Nürburgring track, showing an unpainted LaFerrari of some sort making fast laps and testing various tire options.

Because LaFerrari is already as powerful as it is – packing 949 horsepower from its 6.3-liter V12 hybrid powertrain – Coletta says it would be difficult to make it accelerate any quicker or top out any faster, but with a revised suspension, more aggressive aerodynamics and slick tires, the resulting prototype ought to lap the circuit faster than the road car on which it is being based. "It is very hard to make a car more fast than a LaFerrari but this is the challenge," said to Coletta to the assembled members of the Australian motor press.

The vehicle is expected to be launched early next year, but apparently has nothing to do with the LaFerrari prototype spied undergoing testing recently, which was more of a rolling laboratory than a prelude to anything specific like the XX version or an upcoming Le Mans prototype. To that prospect Coletta says it depends largely on whether Formula One would institute a budget cap, claiming that the company doesn't have the resources to commit to two top-level racing programs at their current cost levels. Indeed none of the factory-backed efforts competing in the LMP1 category (namely Audi, Porsche and Toyota) currently compete in F1 as well.

News Source: Drive.com.au

Image Credit: CarPix

LAPD apologizes for tampering with patrol car recording equipment

Posted Apr 17th 2014 7:01PM

LAPD Revenge Killings

Perhaps you've heard this line from a police officer or some other person of authority, "If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you have to hide?" That would probably be one of the many questions being asked by the Los Angeles Police Commission - the civilian oversight board of the Los Angeles Police Department - of the LAPD itself, after it was revealed that officers had tampered with devices in police cruisers meant to record what they say.

The quick backstory: LAPD patrol cars are fitted with devices to videotape traffic stops and encounters, and officers wear transponders on their belts that capture audio and send it back to the vehicle recorder via an antenna on the car. In summer 2013 an internal LAPD audit found that antennas on patrol cars had been removed. Doing so doesn't disable the recorder, but it lessens the range over which it works.

After the investigation, Police Chief Charlie Beck told a then-recently-elected Police Commission member who's now the commission president, Steve Soboroff, about the problem and said that it had been resolved, with measures put in place to deter future incidents. But it went no further than that until this February, when the Commission noticed poor quality recordings being used in a shooting investigation; that's when the oversight board was officially informed of the tampering.

Chief Beck, an assistant chief and two deputy chiefs publicly apologized to the Commission this week, saying that the department "fell short" but that "The department did not try to hide this issue." The policemen also defended their decision not to conduct an investigation, saying it would be futile since numerous officers will use a single car throughout the day and there'd be no way to figure out who removed the antennas.

The chiefs said they have developed new protocols to ensure there's no more tampering, including officers documenting the presence of antennas at the beginning and end of each shift and spot checks by supervisors, but it isn't clear that the situation is solved: one antenna has been found missing, and "dozens" of the transmitters worn by officers "were found missing or damaged" in one single division.

News Source: Los Angeles Times

Image Credit: Reed Saxon / AP

Audi prepping minor refresh for S6

Posted Apr 17th 2014 6:40PM

Audi S6

Audi is well underway with testing for all of the refreshed versions of its A6-based sedan. We've already shown you shots of the Euro-spec A6 Allroad (which will wear some of its styling with our US-spec A6 sedan), and now we have some shots of a car that will actually arrive in the United States - the S6.

Like the Allroad, this will be quite a modest refresh, with tweaks to the headlights and taillights, as well as some slightly revised front and rear fascias. The headlights should get a new LED DRL pattern, although we doubt the changes will be much more drastic than that.

As with the Allroad, it seems likely that Audi will make a few very small changes to the interior, while the MMI infotainment system should also see an update. Changes under the hood, though, are more difficult to guess. That said, minor changes could be in store, but don't expect a dramatic increase in power or performance.

Image Credit: CarPix

MG Dynamo Concept EV is a 90-year celebration

Posted Apr 17th 2014 6:20PM

The MG Dynamo concept electric car, front three-quarter view.

As part of the celebrations for its 90th anniversary, and as a study of European appetites for small electric vehicles, MG has unveiled the Dynamo (click the photo above to enlarge). We didn't get detailed battery specs, but the little hatch is less than 12 feet long, weighs 2,376 pounds and gets up with 70 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. It has an 80-kilometer range when topped up, but rapid charging can restore 80 percent of its juice in just 30 minutes.

You can get a glimpse of the Dynamo and other current and future MG wares at the London headquarters of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) from April 16-28. The press release below has a little more info on the concept car, MG's banner quarter of UK sales and the MG90 event coming up at the Silverstone circuit in June. Wondering if and when an electric MG might reach production? So are we. MG's certainly not hinting, but at least we know the thought is in their minds...

News Source: MG

Aston Martin shows what it does best with V8 Vantage GT, DB9 Carbon Edition

Posted Apr 17th 2014 6:02PM

2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT

Aston Martin shocked us when it announced at the 2014 New York Auto Show that 2015 V8 Vantage GT (pictured above) was priced at $99,900. While hardly inexpensive, a sub-$100k Aston seemed like a bargain. It was joined by the unveiling of the DB9 Carbon Edition that mixed sport and luxury in the brand's traditional style.

The Vantage GT is available as a coupe, or for a little bit more money, as a convertible. Regardless of body, buyers get a 4.7-liter V8 with 430 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque, and that power is routed through a seven-speed automated manual with magnesium paddle shifters or a traditional six-speed manual. Even for a 'cheap' Aston, the GT still offers luxury features like Alcantara trim, carbon fiber doorsill plates and seats from the V12 Vantage S. The one on display in New York wears one of the optional motorsports-inspired graphics packs that add contrasting paint around the grille, mirror caps, rear diffuser blade and roof pillar.

The $199,995 DB9 Carbon Edition packs a 6.0-liter V12 rated at 510 hp and 457 lb-ft and a six-speed automatic transmission. Available as Carbon Black or Carbon White, the package adds carbon fiber side strakes and taillight trim. Buyers who want even more can add a carbon fiber front splitter, rear diffuser and mirror caps. Black leather covers the interior, and the shade of the contrasting stitching comes from that of the brake calipers. Deliveries for both models start in the third quarter. Scroll down to get the full scoop on them.

News Source: Aston Martin

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

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