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2014 Renault Twingo [w/video]

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2014 Renault Twingo [w/video]

The Rear-Engined Hatchback, However Improbable

Posted Oct 1st 2014 11:59AM

2014 Renault Twingo

In cars, as in all things, there exists a huge chasm between what is possible and what is probable. It may be possible, for example, that within a few years, we'll be zipping around town in hydrogen-powered, autonomous flying cars. But the likelihood is that we'll all be driving four-wheeled vehicles with internal combustion engines and our hands at ten and two for the foreseeable future – just as we have for generations. The same goes for the layout of those cars we drive.

It's possible for automakers to put the engine just about anywhere they want. And there are those that place them behind the cabin. But those are mostly exotics. The overwhelming probability is that the next car you buy – like the one before it, the one in which you were driven home from the hospital and every one in between – will have its engine up front.

That's what makes this new Renault Twingo so intriguing. While competitors like Volkswagen and Fiat succeeded their rear-engined hatchbacks with conventional front-engined ones, Renault has gone the opposite direction with its new Twingo, switching from a front-engine layout to a rear one. Think Porsche 911, only far, far more accessible. That is, at least, for European buyers, because Renault doesn't sell any of its models (Twingo included) in North America. So we boarded a flight for France to see if this new-old approach has merit.

Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 898cc I3
Power:
90 HP / 100 LB-FT
Transmission:
5-Speed Manual
Base Price:
10,800 euros
As-Tested Price:
15,700 euros

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Noah Joseph / AOL

Jaguar XE bares its claws in 74 images [w/video]

Posted Oct 1st 2014 11:28AM

2016 Jaguar XE Prestige

The XE may prove to be the most vital new model to Jaguar's expansion. But to date we've only really seen it in top-spec, supercharged XE S form. That ends right here and now, however, as Jaguar releases details, photos and even a brief video clip showing the entire range – including those most customers are bound to buy.

Globally speaking – or at least in its home market – Jaguar will offer the XE with five different engines and in four different trim levels. The new Ingenium engine family includes two diesels and two turbocharged gasoline options along with the top-of-the-line supercharged V6 that will serve as the XE's performance flagship model, at least until a new SVR version comes along. Both six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions are on offer, and overseas buyers will also be able to choose between base SE, mid-range Prestige, opulent Portfolio, dynamic R-Sport and range-topping S trim levels.

Of course not every engine is available in each trim level and with either transmission, so instead of 40 combinations we're looking at 22. Once the XE reaches American showrooms, we'll likely be looking at even fewer, as we're not expecting the manual and diesel versions to be offered Stateside. Stay tuned as well for our live impressions from the floor of the Paris Motor Show. But in the meantime you can scope out all the details and UK specifications in the press release below, along with the short video and the gallery of 74 high-resolution images above.
Related Gallery2016 Jaguar XE
2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE

News Source: Jaguar

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept previews a fullsize future of luxury

Posted Oct 1st 2014 11:03AM

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Infiniti Q80 InspirationWell, this certainly looks like a concept, doesn't it? From the wide, portal-esque door opeings to the boattail rear window design, there's just so much about the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration that looks like it would never actually reach production that we're impressed the automaker had the gumption to put the machine together and show it off at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

This marks the first time that Infiniti has shown any sort of real intent to enter into the rarefied air of the fullsize luxury sedan segment since the Q45, populated as it is by the likes of the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Those are extremely heavy hitters to market against, and Infiniti sounds anxious to throw its hat in the ring.

"We aim to do this with elegance, style, and emotion," says Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President, Product Strategy. "This car is making a statement. Q80 Inspiration is a precursor of a production model in this segment and, as such, integral to our future."

Infiniti says we should expect to see production powertrains within the next two years that use the kind of technology debuted in the Q80 Inspiration. A twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 engine is paired with one or more (details are scarce, sadly) electric motors to provide 550 horsepower and on-demand all-wheel drive. What's more, Infiniti is quoting 42.8 miles per gallon and CO2 emissions of about 129g/km for this concept, though we don't know how those figures are calculated or on what driving cycle. In any case, power and efficiency are always welcome.

The Q80 Inspiration previews a future fullsize luxury sedan from Infiniti.

Inside, Infiniti says it wanted to pack as much technology into the Q80 Inspiration as possible, without overcomplicating the driving experience. In addition to driver-activated autonomous capability, both the driver and passenger get innovative Head-Up Displays projected on the windshield, while rear-seat passengers each get their own touchscreen units. Leather and Alcantara appear to cover just about everything else.

We wouldn't expect all of the truly showstopping details to make it into production, but the overall flowing design ethos, along with what Infiniti is calling its human-centric take on high-tech interior and autonomous driving technology seem likely to join its turbocharged drivetrain buoyed by a brace of electric motors as likely additions to a future fullsize luxury sedan from Infiniti.

There's plenty more information to glean from the official press blast below, along with a full image gallery above. You know what

News Source: Infiniti

Cadillac to bolster CT sedans with XT crossovers

Posted Oct 1st 2014 10:15AM

Cadillac SRX

Cadillac is moving swiftly to change up its naming scheme. Barely over a week ago we received our first indication that it was considering a different name its the upcoming flagship sedan previously known as LTS. Then Cadillac not only revealed the model would be called CT6, but announced that it would set the stage with a massive overhaul of its model nomenclature. And now we have another piece of the puzzle.

According to Forbes, Cadillac will not only rename its sedans with the letters CT, but will realign its utility vehicles under the banner of XT – both to be followed by a number indicating its place in the lineup. The one exception will be the Escalade, whose nameplate has such a strong following that it would be foolish for Cadillac to cast it aside. That leaves only the SRX (pictured above), but makes room for a new crop of crossovers said to be in the works.

It's a similar approach which Cadillac's new boss Johan de Nysschen took in revising the naming scheme at Infiniti. While it's bound to ruffle some feathers and scratch some heads in the beginning – especially since the company's current flagship sedan is called XTS – it's equally sure to make sense of it all in the long run. All we need to know now is what Nysschen and his marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus plan to call the coupes.
Related Gallery2013 Cadillac SRX
2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX2013 Cadillac SRX

News Source: Forbes

Image Credit: Cadillac

Hyundai Genesis gets stanced by Ark Performance for SEMA

Posted Oct 1st 2014 10:15AM

Hyundai Genesis Ark Performance SEMA Concept

Hyundai has yet another high-performance concept for the upcoming 2014 SEMA Show in November to join its 708-horsepower Sonata. For this one, Ark Performance is taking the Genesis Sedan and pumping up the output by supercharging its 5.0-liter V8, along with a mile-long list of other modifications to mix speed with added luxury.

Ark calls the tuner concept the AR550 in reference to taking the Genesis' standard 420 horsepower V8 and boosting it an extra 130 hp with a Rotrex supercharger to bring total output to 550 hp. The mill also benefits from a freer breathing intake and exhaust, new engine management and more.

All of that extra power would be nearly useless without upgrades elsewhere to handle it, and Ark has some big additions to include. The one-off rides on an air suspension system and stiffer front and rear sway bars. To bring things to a halt faster, larger brakes from Brembo replace the standard units.

To show off the additional performance aesthetically, Ark Performance also completely overhauls the exterior of the Genesis with its own bodykit and forged, bronze-colored wheels. The modifications include parts to widen the front and rear bumpers, including the fenders, a carbon fiber front splitter, new side skirts and a rear diffuser. Inside, the tuner wants to keep occupants comfy even while cruising at high speed with custom diamond-stitched seats and door panels from Katzkin.

According to the tuner, the whole package of the AR550 is supposed to imagine Hyundai's answer to the Bahnstorming executive sedans from AMG and the BMW M division. Scroll down to read the full release about it.

News Source: Hyundai

Chrysler registers Trackhawk trademark

Posted Oct 1st 2014 9:30AM

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

There may not be many ways to forecast what an automaker is planning for the future, but there are some. Trademark applications are one of them, and Chrysler has just applied with the US Patent and Trademark Office to protect the name "Trackhawk." The question is, what's it planning on using it for? We don't know for sure, but we can put together an educated guess or two. And one guess is that Jeep will use the name to replace the letters SRT on the performance version of the Grand Cherokee.

How do we figure, you ask? From a number of developments. For starters, the SRT division has been reintegrated into the Dodge brand. Those letters currently appear on only two vehicles from outside the Dodge lineup: one is the Grand Cherokee SRT, and the other is the Chrysler 300 SRT. We've heard ruminations (however unconfirmed) that the latter could be either discontinued or possibly relabeled, and if the same proves true of the GC, the Trackhawk name could serve as a on-road performance counterpart to the Trailhawk label applied to off-road versions of models like the Cherokee and Renegade.

Logical it may be, but it's hardly a foregone conclusion. The Trackhawk name could just as easily be used for a new concept (like the Trailhawk name was in 2007), for another kind of trim level or for something else entirely. In fact we don't even know for sure it'll be used by the Jeep brand specifically, or used at all for that matter. Automakers have been known, after all, to register names they don't end up using.

We've reached out to Jeep for comment, but whether we hear back with any useful information or not, we have a feeling we'll be finding out one way or another before too long, so watch this space.

News Source: allpar.com via World Car Fans

Image Credit: Jeep

Mazda mulling furniture, designer goods in bid to command higher prices

Posted Oct 1st 2014 8:44AM

Mazda Kodo Chair

Brands like Porsche and Ferrari make a mint every year by selling branded lifestyle goods like shoes, hats and even wilder items. Bugatti takes things to the extremes with things like its $84,000 belt buckle. These products not only make their respective companies some extra money, but they reaffirm their high-end design aspirations to wealthy buyers. However, the next firm possibly dipping its toe into this upscale pool is a bit more mass-market – Mazda.

That's right. The Japanese automaker best known among enthusiasts for its segment-defining Miata and rotary engines is considering its own line of luxury goods in the coming years called Mazda Design. The project is the brainchild of styling boss Ikuo Maeda, and according to Automotive News, he has backing from company CEO Masamichi Kogai. Although the green light isn't quite on yet, Maeda is already brainstorming. "Not only furniture, but I'd like to build a Mazda Design brand. That's my dream," he said to Automotive News.

The possible project is just one aspect of Mazda's move to become a near-premium brand. According to Automotive News, it wants to see higher transaction prices partially by offering more stylish design than its rivals. Launching a line of luxury goods is meant to communicate this new focus to customers.

The Mazda Design line was previewed with the Kodo Chair (pictured above) at last year's Milan Design Week. Named after the brand's current, swoopy styling language, the seat mixed metal and leather in a reclined position to conjure up something out of a futuristic racecar.

Still, the move could be a gamble. Bugatti, Porsche and Ferrari sell vehicles to a wealthy clientele for whom dropping a few grand on something frivolous doesn't matter match. Mazda buyers might not have that luxury.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Mazda

Here's why the most-ticketed cars story is junk

Posted Oct 1st 2014 7:59AM

US-TRANSPORTATION-PROTEST

A recent study from Insurance.com found that owners of the Subaru WRX were the most likely people in the US to be ticketed for traffic infractions, with 33.6 percent of them receiving a citation in the last three years. Coming in a close second and third were drivers of the Pontiac GTO at 32.7 percent and the Scion FR-S at 32.6 percent. At first glance, this report looks like just a mildly interesting anecdote to tell your friends during a lull in conversation, but there seems to be a serious problem with the methodology here that might be blowing these numbers way out of proportion.

Insurance.com explains that it based the study on 557,238 drivers who requested online insurance quotes from its service from January 1, 2013 to July 2014. To make it onto the list, a vehicle needed over 50 quotes, and in the end that left 526 models.

However, these facts are almost useless because the list isn't based on percentages from the whole pool. The study's ranking comes from owners of specific vehicles, and these numbers aren't mentioned anywhere in the company's press release. All we know about the sample size for each model is that it's higher than 50. Assuming that amount for the WRX means it would only take about 17 people with tickets using the site to put the sporty car in first place.

These unknown model sample sizes might explain some of the extremely odd entries on the list. For example, the long-discontinued Mercury Topaz is in seventh place with 28.8 percent of its drivers receiving tickets. The GTO and Toyota Supra are also in the top ten and out of production. Just a few people searching for these vehicles could be the reason for these strange results.

Obviously automotive studies have their place, but this one just appears to have gotten confused along the way. Scroll down to read the report to see what we mean.

News Source: Insurance.com via The Detroit Free Press

Image Credit: Paul J. RIchards / AFP / Getty Images

Jay Leno's Mercedes 600 is dictator chic

Posted Sep 30th 2014 8:02PM

Mercedes-Benz 600 Kompressor

Here's a fun fact: certain classical songs double as excellent driving songs. Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries is one such example. So, as soon as you here those iconic notes, be certain you're in for some seriously cool sheet metal. Any Mercedes-Benz 600 would qualify for such a musical treatment, but Jay Leno's example is doubly worth a look.

Fortunately, the car collector/comedian is all too willing to show off his brown beauty as part of the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage. Leno is just one of the, sometimes disturbing, list of owners of the big sedan, which includes a wide range of dictators and Jeremy Clarkson.

His example is truly pristine, restored by 600 expert Karl Middelhauve. The complex hydraulic system receives plenty of attention from Leno, as does the expansive and impressive craftsmanship in the cabin. Finally, Leno takes the boat of a car out for a ride.

Take a look at the full video on the legendary Mercedes 600.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

What you missed on 9.30.14

Posted Sep 30th 2014 7:30PM

uturn


First Drive: 2015 Honda CR-V

Still not much changed from the just-right size it was when it debuted in the late 1990s, the 2015 Honda CR-V is otherwise a better vehicle in almost every conceivable way. We get behind the wheel of the newly revised small crossover, and find it to be just as useful as ever, while also being more luxurious than ever before. Get the scoop on this family cute-ute, here.





Kawasaki Ninja H2R has 300 hp... we're sold

If only we could ride it on the street. Actually, check that. When we heard today that Kawasaki's Ninja H2R – essentially a technology demonstrator set to debut at the upcoming EICMA show – was going to stuff 300 hp into its carbon-fiber-clad confines, we were equal parts astonished and terrified. While official specs are yet to be revealed, you can see a new set of images and some video of the Goliath right now.





Ram can't build EcoDiesels fast enough

Have you heard the one about American's hating on diesels? Well, forget it. When the number crunchers at Ram were forecasting sales of the trucks with the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, they anticipated the engine would account for about 10% of the sales mix. On the back of strong orders and sales in 2014 that number is being doubled for next year.



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Aston Martin finally drops the veil on its new Lagonda sedan

Posted Sep 30th 2014 7:00PM

Aston Martin Lagonda

Aston Martin has finally released the floodgates, delivering official images of the all-new Lagonda sedan, the company's latest expression of its long-serving VH architecture and 6.0-liter V12.

Set for an extremely limited production, the hand-built Lagonda's William Towns-inspired, carbon-fiber exterior has been a point of conversation since the new sedan first crept in front of a camera's lens some four months ago. While that evolved exterior isn't exactly new, we are getting our very first look at the Lagonda's beautifully crafted cabin.

Aston Martin's Q branch had a big hand in the cabin work, adding wide swaths of leather and elaborate hand-stitching to the Rapide-based interior. Unlike the Rapide, though, those rear thrones look considerably more accommodating, particularly in regards to rear headroom.

From a performance perspective, we have it on good authority that the Lagonda is currently exceeding 175 miles per hour in testing and that this first production model weighs no more than the Rapide, which we're guessing is thanks to the aforementioned carbon-fiber body.

The first deliveries of the Lagonda are slated to begin during the first quarter of 2015. We're hoping we'll have much more info as that date approaches. Until then, we have ten images of the new Lagonda, several of which feature the beautiful, Q-spec interior. Have a look and then head down to Comments and let us know what you think.
Related GalleryAston Martin Lagonda
Aston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin Lagonda

Image Credit: Aston Martin

Ducati Scrambler finally makes its official debut

Posted Sep 30th 2014 6:30PM

Ducati Scrambler Icon

After months of teasing, Ducati is finally premiering the 2015 Scrambler at the Intermot 2014 motorcycle show in Cologne, Germany, but this reinterpreted retro bike doesn't actually hit the streets until January of 2015, so there's still some waiting to do. It will be offered in four trims that are each slightly tweaked to appeal to those looking for vintage style, modern usability or a mix of both.

Ducati Scrambler IconThe latest Scrambler harkens back to the simple, single-cylinder Ducati models of the '60s and '70s, before the brand absolutely cemented its focus on performance. Unlike a superbike, this is supposed to be very easy to ride with wide handle bars, a long seat and upright riding position. The company calls the new design "post-heritage" because it marries the original shape with modern execution. The styling features an exposed, trellis frame and intricately bundled exhaust pipes from Ducati's current range. However, the single big headlight (now LED powered) and teardrop fuel tank scream old-school.

Depending on how buyers want that styling, there are four trims to choose from. Icon is the basic layout mixing old and new cues. Urban Enduro goes for a dirt bike look with a big front fender over the tire. The Full Throttle is simple and unadorned, and the Classic goes fully towards the vintage.

Power for all of them comes from a fuel-injected, 803cc, oil- and air-cooled L-twin engine with two valves per cylinder rated at 74 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque. That's linked up to a six-speed gearbox and a chain drives the rear wheel. The whole bike weighs in at 375 pounds dry or 410 pounds with fluids and fuel. ABS is standard.

The Icon is launching first in January in red for $8,495 in the US (add an extra $100 for yellow). The Full Throttle, Urban Enduro and Classic trims will all go on sale later for $9,995. Scroll down to read the full release about the latest Ducati, and check out the gallery to see all of the models, including the complete specs.
Related Gallery2015 Ducati Scrambler
2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler

News Source: Ducati

Cadillac planning its own engines, halo cars

Posted Sep 30th 2014 6:00PM

Cadillac ATS Coupe

Cadillac is in the midst of some big changes. It's got a new chief executive. It's taking some distance from parent company General Motors and moving to a new headquarters in New York. And it's instituting a new naming scheme that will allow not only for a more clear progression in its lineup, but also for more models. But that's not the end of the story. Not by a long shot.

Speaking with Automobile magazine, Cadillac's new president Johan de Nysschen revealed his intention to develop several new models and powertrains. For starters, he does not want Cadillac to continue borrowing engines from the GM parts bin, but intends to develop a new range of engines specifically for the luxury automaker. The program will likely start with smaller-capacity engines but eventually lead to new V8s as well, taking the place of the long-serving Northstar engine that finally ended its lifespan a few years ago after some two decades of production. Along with other technologies, de Nysschen envisions possibly sharing these powertrains with other GM divisions, but developing them first and foremost for Cadillac.

The bigger question, however, is where those engines would go, and de Nysschen had some thoughts to share on that front as well. For starters, the former Infiniti and Audi exec sees room for an even bigger sedan above the upcoming new CT6 that will cap the current range. Maybe even two of them. But that's not all. Johan wants to see Cadillac get (back) into the sports car game with a new halo model or two – something it hasn't really done since the Corvette-based XLR roadster. A pair of new crossovers are also said to be in the works, flanking the SRX on both sides with smaller and larger models.

All of these plans de Nysschen hopes to get up and running within the next ten to fifteen years before he needs to retire. They're ambitious plans, to be certain, and paint a picture of a resurgent Cadillac that aims to once again become the world standard.
Related Gallery2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe
2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

News Source: Automobile via Car and Driver

2015 BMW S 1000 RR looks to retain sportbike supremacy

Posted Sep 30th 2014 5:29PM

2015 BMW S 1000 RR

The BMW S 1000 RR is already a pretty potent member of the superbike ranks, but BMW is revealing a host of upgrades for this two-wheeled lightning bolt at the Intermot 2014 motorcycle show that should make it even faster.

The biggest additions to the latest 1000 RR are its new cylinder head, lighter valves and different intake cam to tweak even more power from the bike's 1.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, and BMW now rates it at a claimed 196 horsepower (or 199 horses if you go with the European measurement, converted from 146 kilowatts), a boost over the first-gen's 193 ponies, and 83 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed gearbox. Those adjustments would probably be enough to make the cycle a tick faster alone, but the Bavarian engineers also cut 8.82 pounds (4 kg) to bring the motorcycle's weight with a full tank of fuel to a feather-light 450 pounds. Much of that diet comes from the redesigned exhaust that cuts about 6.6 pounds off the scales.

Cradling that tweaked engine is a redesigned, lighter frame with fully adjustable springs. The bike also comes standard with Race ABS, stability control, seven-step variable traction control and three riding modes. In terms of styling, all of these changes are communicated through an updated fairing with repositioned, though still asymmetric, headlights.

For buyers who want even more customization for their ride, BMW is happy to oblige. The company claims that the 1000 RR is the first model in the superbike class to offer optional cruise control. There's also an available dynamic traction control system that senses the cycle's lean angle and adjusts things accordingly. Those heading for the track can tick the box for Pro Riding mode that adds Slick and User settings, launch control and a programmable pitlane speed limiter. To shave a few more tenths off a lap, there's the HP Gear Shift Assist Pro system that allows for clutchless gear changes. Scroll down to read BMW's immense press release on the S 1000 RR for every detail you could ever want to know about this updated motorcycle.
Related GalleryBMW S 1000 RR
BMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RR

News Source: BMW

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