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  • Paris
    Toyota C-HR Concept is a high-riding hybrid hatch [w/video]
  • Official
    Volkswagen XL Sport brings high-performance fuel-sipping to Paris
  • Official
    Lamborghini reveals Asterion LPI 910-4 hybrid hypercar concept [UPDATE]
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Mitsubishi recalling i-MiEV models for brake problem

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 8:20AM

Mitsubishi I-Miev

Mitsubishi is issuing a recall for the 2010-2014 i-MiEV that affects 1,810 units of the little electric car, because it's possible for the brake vacuum pump to stop working. If this happens, the result would be longer stopping distances, according to the company. The affected models were built between September 15, 2009, and March 25, 2014.

While this is just a single recall, there are actually two things that can cause this brake problem on the i-MiEV, according to Mitsubishi's filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. First, bad programming in the EV-ECU could cause the system to "falsely judge that the relay contact point is stuck," according to the full NHTSA defect notice PDF. Second, the vacuum pump exhaust hole could be corroded and blocked due to being splashed with road salt. However, the company says that if either fault happens, the brake warning lamp would illuminate, and there would be an audible alarm.

Depending on which issue is affecting an owner's i-MiEV, Mitsubishi is going to reprogram the software, replace the pump or both. Scroll down to read the recall report from NHTSA.
Related GalleryMitsubishi i-MiEV
Mitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEVMitsubishi i-MiEV

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

Image Credit: Mitsubishi

2015 Mini Hardtop 5-Door isn't for the country, man [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 8:01AM

2015 Mini Hardtop 5 Door

We've seen it in super high-res glory, and we can even build one on the automaker's website, but the Paris Motor Show marks the official coming out party for the new Mini Hardtop 4 Door (which is what it's called in the US, despite this Euro car having "5 Door" badging). It's a stretched version of the third-generation Mini Hardtop, but with an extra set of doors for rear seat passengers. Think of it as a more useful Clubman, but with a lower ride height and less rugged-ness than the Countryman. Got it? Good.

Engine options carry over from the normal Mini Hardtop range, with a 1.5-liter turbo-three and a 2.0-liter turbo-four offering 134 and 189 horsepower, respectively. The rest of the car is everything else you know and love from the Mini range, just with a more spacious rear bench. And as you'd expect, there's a nearly endless pallet of customization options.

The Hardtop 4 Door arrives at US dealerships just before the end of the year, commanding a roughly $1,000 premium over its three-door kin. Scope out our new live shots in the gallery above, and take in the extensive press blast, below.

2015 BMW 2 Series Cabriolet flips its lid [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 7:30AM

2015 BMW 2 Series Cabriolet

Early next year, BMW will offer droptop versions of its entry-level 2 Series. Available in both 228i and M235i guise, the 2 Series Cabriolet will no doubt take everything we already like (and don't like) about the Twoer and add that wind-in-your-hair experience. Of course, taking in all the extra sun comes at a price – $37,900 for the 228i and $47,700 for the M235i, not including $950 for destination. Those prices represent increases of $5,800 and $4,600, respectively.

Powertrain specs are identical to the coupes, with the 228i powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four good for 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The more potent M235i gets BMW's turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six, with 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of push, and can hit 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds. That's with the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is available with either engine. And for those who prefer to row their own, BMW will thankfully offer a six-speed manual gearbox with both powerplants, as well.

Following the Paris Motor Show unveiling, the pair will be shown in the US at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November before hitting dealers a few months later. Have a look at the new droptop in our fresh batch of images live from the Porte de Versailles exhibition center, and read BMW's lengthy press blast, below, for all of the official information.

News Source: BMW

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Toyota C-HR Concept is a high-riding hybrid hatch [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 7:00AM

Toyota C-HR Concept

Despite having the tendency to offer decidedly bland production cars, Toyota occasionally surprises us with interesting concept cars. Such is the case with the C-HR concept making its debut at the Paris Motor Show this week. It's a concept showing forward-thinking design that hints at "a type of crossover vehicle Toyota would like to bring to market," according to the automaker's release, and it rides on an all-new platform and uses a hybrid powertrain.

About that powertrain: Toyota isn't revealing anything, just saying that it will – brace yourselves – "deliver significantly improved fuel efficiency" (over what, exactly?) The car also uses a brand-new architecture, though it hasn't really revealed any major details about that aspect, either.

It's a high-riding, muscular thing, with a rakish hatchback shape. Should it reach production, Toyota says it would take the shape of a C-segment crossover. It'd be cool to see something like this hit the road someday, but for now, we won't hold our breath.

See the C-HR for yourself in the galleries above and below, and scroll down for the full press release.

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 is silent but deadly [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 6:30AM

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4

The weirdest thing happened last night. During the annual Volkswagen Group Night festivities, everyone waited in anticipation for the Lamborghini section of the press conference. It's usually a treat for the senses – cool to look at, backed up by a ferocious sound that bellows throughout the venue. But not this time. There was no music, there were no laser lights, and most remarkably, there was no sound. The Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 drove onto stage under fully silent electric power. Audibly, at least, it was perhaps the most anti-climactic Lambo introduction we've ever witnessed.

And that's the big story with this new Lamborghini concept: it's a plug-in hybrid. Of course, it's still a product of the storied Italian supercar maker, so that electric powertrain is mated to a 5.2-liter V10, and total system output is rated at a staggering 910 horsepower. It'll run up to 31 miles on pure electric power at speeds of up to 78 miles per hour, and its 0-62 time is estimated to be three seconds flat. Top speed? 199 mph. In other words, it may be capable of silence, but it still carries a stick, and it's still very much a Lambo.

So will the company actually build something like this? Right now, it doesn't look likely. Back in August at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Autoblog spoke with Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann about the then-off-the-record Asterion concept, who told us that if the automaker should choose to expand its model range, the bigger priority right now would be the Urus crossover. This is merely just a way to show how Lamborghini might present a gasoline-electric vehicle. And after scoping it out in person here at the Paris Motor Show, we have to say, it's cool. The styling is a bit softer and understated compared to the audacious Aventador or angular Huracán. But it still has quite a presence and it's still very much a Raging Bull.

See the Asterion for yourself in the new gallery of live photos above, and read more about the PHEV concept in the press release below and check out an Asterion walkaround video with Winkelmann from our friends at Autoline while you're there.

News Source: Lamborghini, Autoline Network via YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

72-month loans enticing consumers to buy loaded cars

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 6:00AM

auto sales

Longer loan terms and favorable interest rates are tempting consumers into pricier and more feature-laden vehicles, consequently driving average transaction prices up about three percent since 2009, according to a new report by Automotive News.

It's that first bit, about longer loan terms, that has helped bump transaction prices. The availability of no-interest, 72-month loans, AN reports, is allowing buyers targeting a maximum monthly payment of $500 to spend $6,000 more than on a more traditional five-year loan. Even for those with a more mainstream, $400-per-month target, a 72-month loan means customers can spend an extra $4,800.

Not only is this good news for automakers, who are enjoying rapid sales of pricier cars, trucks and SUVs, but dealers are enjoying the move to six-year loans. "I can't tell you the last time I saw something less than 72 [months]," Pete Munson, general manager of Great Lakes Chevrolet in Ohio, told Automotive News. "They just want the most car for the least amount of monthly payment. They don't look at the overall price of the car."

Kris Byrd, of Sheehy Nissan in Virginia, echoed Munson's statement. "More people will come in and pay for the leather and pay for the navigation," Byrd told AN. "People are coming in and wanting the Rogue SL with the Premium Package and all the bells and whistles."

More than just optional goodies, buyers are moving to bigger vehicles in general, thanks to the generous loan terms. AN reports that sales of compact CUVs is up 14 percent and that overall SUV sales are up 24 percent, both of which compare very favorably to the flat growth rates of compact and midsize sedans. This is far from the first time we've heard that sedans are struggling against CUV/SUV popularity.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you consider a 72-month loan? We'd really like to hear from you, so head into Comments and have your say.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Steven Senne / AP Photo

Honda Civic Type R Concept is the shape of hot things to come

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 5:31AM

Honda Civic Type R

Soon, kids. Soon. The next-generation Honda Civic Type R is finally coming, and we're getting another preview of the hot hatch here at the Paris Motor Show. Of course, this one probably won't be headed to the United States (boo!), but it doesn't mean we can't get excited. After all, we're big fans of little turbo hatches, and from what we know right now, this one sure sounds sweet.

Underneath that new blue paint and red decals is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, reportedly good for 276 horsepower. Honda tells us there's a "steer axis" system with adaptive dampers, and with the push of its +R button, the suspension, steering and torque mapping are all altered to make this Type R even more Type R-ier than before. In fact, Honda says this Civic will surpass every Type R that came before it – that means every Integra, Accord, Civic and even the NSX. Hot diggity.

We've got a fresh batch of images of the Type R Concept up top, and Honda's press release is available below. Hopefully it won't be long before the production car is finally revealed.

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition is back in black [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 4:58AM

Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition

Earlier this year, I spent the weekend with an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante in a particularly interesting shade of green – the same car you see photographed here, for our First Drive. When it was dropped off, I remember just staring at it, taking in all of its lines, the curves, its pronounced hips – all the details. To say the Vanquish is a gorgeous car is a vast understatement. And here at the Paris Motor Show, the already classy range-topping Aston coupe dons an even more gorgeous appearance in the form of the Carbon Edition.

Aston Martin has already given similar treatments to its Vantage, DB9 and DBS (the Vanquish's predecessor), and the svelte look can be had on either the coupe or convertible models, available in black or white. The car gets black window surrounds, darker headlight trim, gloss black alloy wheels and a stylish herringbone carbon fiber trim in the cabin to go with the quilted leather upholstery.

One thing that's left unchanged with the Carbon Edition is the massive, old-school powerplant underhood: Aston's 6.0-liter naturally aspirated V12 with 568 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Hitting 60 miles per hour takes just 3.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of just over 200 mph.

Have a look at the Carbon Aston in our live gallery above, and click below for a short video showing the sleek new Vanquish.

Lexus GS F points its gaping grille at the BMW M5

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 4:29AM

Lexus GS F: Spy Shots

A mere trio of weeks after the latest report in the slow-moving Lexus GS F rumor cycle, we have a brand new batch of spy photos of the BMW M5-fighting sedan. Looking more and more production ready – notice the more finished exhausts compared to our last round of photos – the GS F can be seen poking around what we imagine is Germany.

If the RC and RC F Coupes are any indication, it looks like Lexus will start fitting its high-performance models with a new, single-frame version of the spindle grille while a dual-frame grille will be reserved for lesser trims. Backing up that suspicion is the new single-frame grille found on this prototype, marking the first time the suspected F line styling piece has been seen on a GS F prototype.

The aforementioned staggered quad exhausts look good on the GS' rear end, while a none-too-subtle rear spoiler ups the rear's visual flair. The low-profile rubber and the multi-spoke, black wheels are nice touches that work well with the front fascia features, in addition to the new, camo'd grille and substantial brake cooling ducts.

With such a high degree of finality on this prototype, here's hoping we see the production GS F sooner rather than later.

Image Credit: CarPix

2015 Ducati Scrambler is retro and ready

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 4:00AM

2015 Ducati Scrambler

Casual motorcycle fans will know Ducati best as purveyors of cutting-edge superbikes and nakeds, but with the market for retro cycles heating up, the Italian manufacturer has finally unleashed its long-awaited Scrambler. First shown earlier this week at the International Motorcycle Fair in Cologne, Germany, the new bike has also been revealed here at the Paris Motor Show adjacent to offerings from its parent automakers Audi and Lamborghini.

The Scrambler's upright design is seemingly a mix of dirt bike cues and vintage '60s Ducati flair, and it features an 803cc L-twin engine rated at 74 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque. The oil- and air-cooled engine employs a six-speed gearbox and a chain drive to get power to the ground, and anti-lock brakes are standard fit. Weight is quoted at 375 pounds dry or 410 pounds all wet and ready to play.

At first blush, we're quite taken with the 2015 Scrambler, as it promises both a more comfortable riding position and real versatility to go along with its handsome trellis frame, thin-spoke wheels backed by Brembo brakes and throwback big-eyed headlamp – the latter secreting LED guts.

When it arrives stateside in January, the Scrambler will carry an unusually accessible price point for a Ducati, as well, starting from $8,495, with an additional trio of trims – Classic, Full Throttle and Urban Enduro to follow wearing $9,995 MSRPs.

Alfa Sprint Speciale racer looks fantastic, sounds even better

Posted Oct 1st 2014 8:01PM

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale

Nothing quite sounds like a vintage Alfa Romeo four-cylinder engine at full gallop, especially in motorsport trim. With a combination of low-frequency burbling played over a high-pitch scream, they really know how to sing. This week Petrolicious takes a look at a truly unique Alfa Sprint Speciale that's just as adept at competing in the wide-open La Carrera Panamericana vintage race in Mexico as it is snaking through some undulating, tree-lined back roads.

Ostensibly, this is a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale, although it's really much more the creation of Alfa-restorer Conrad Stevenson. The roof section, including the holes for the windshield and rear glass, is original to one of these fantastic-looking coupes. But everything below that is Stevenson's handiwork. To shape the styling, he combined the original Bertone design with his own ideas to purpose build the car for the challenges of the Mexican race.

As usual, Petrolicious nails every aspect of the production, especially the handheld camera work inside the cabin as the car negotiates the curves. It really communicates the connection between this swoopy Alfa and its builder. Plus, the sound mix lets the engine play its glorious tune.

News Source: Petrolicious via YouTube

What you missed on 10.1.14

Posted Oct 1st 2014 7:30PM


Lamborghini Shows Asterion hypercar concept

The media days of the 2014 Paris Motor Show might technically start tomorrow, but the party has clearly begun already. The early star in Paris is this Lamborghini Asterion concept, which melds V10 muscle with an electric drivetrain 910 total-system-horsepower. The understated, über-powerful Lambo shared the stage at VW's Group Night with an impressive Volkswagen XL Sport concept, too. Let the show commence!

First Drive: 2015 Renault Twingo

Just in time for the Paris show, we get a drive in the all new, rear-engined-runabout from Renault. Sharing the same platform that will underpin the upcoming generation of Smart cars here in the US, the first-impressions of the nippy, Europe-only Twingo present and interesting preview. Read on to find out if the thrid-gen Twingo has what it takes to regain sales prominence in the Old World.

Corvette Z06 will do 0-60 in 2.95 seconds

We all expected that the 650-horsepower 2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 would be very quick, but until this morning we didn't understand just how bonkers the spec sheet would be. Nailing the 60-mph figure in less than 3 seconds is wild, but so is achieving a radical 1.2 gs on the company skidpad. If you're like us, you're probably drooling to know what this new monster 'Vette is actually like to drive; satiate a bit of that curiosity with some more Z06 facts and figures, here.

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General Motors names new cyber security chief

Posted Oct 1st 2014 7:01PM

General Motors made a splash earlier this month when it announced it would add wireless hotspots to many vehicles in its 2015 lineup and introduce more advanced technology going forward.

It's probably no coincidence, then, that the company recently named its first-ever director of cyber security. GM announced that Jeff Massimilla, a former engineering group manager in charge of infotainment systems, would assume the new role.

Massimilla, sitting in the driver's seat in the above picture, is a University of Michigan engineering graduate who has focused on center-stack technology throughout his career at GM and also recently served as a program manager for Cadillac CUE. He'll head a team that's tackling one of the most vexing challenges in the auto industry right now – keeping vehicles secure.

Cars have becoming mobile computers in recent years. Dozens of small computers on each vehicle run every conceivable system, from seat-belt tensioners to telematics units to brakes. As vehicle software becomes more advanced and cars use real-time data for safety information, the security of these systems has gained importance.

GM's WiFi hotspots, which offer users a 4G connection available through its OnStar infotainment system, push the technology and needs for security one step further. In its advertising, the company says the availability of an integrated WiFi hotspot provides a more powerful connection than a smart phone or mobile hotspot for consumers.

Researchers fear these external-facing infotainment units are precisely the point hackers will target. "We consider it to be the holy grail because of its range," says Chris Valasek, director of vehicle research at IOActive, a software security company.

There are no reports yet of an actual cyber attack co-opting a vehicle on American roads, but researchers have demonstrated it is possible to both remotely and physically compromise a car and manipulate key functions, like steering and braking. Earlier this month, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told automakers he wanted them to collaborate on ways to standardize security procedures and develop protocols by the end of next year.

Massimilla has served in a variety of roles during his tenure with GM, previously serving in the company's next-generation infotainment department and as a director of global validation. In his new role, he'll report to Ken Morris, GM's vice president of global product integrity.

Image Credit: General Motors

British Honda CR-V looks tough, gets diesel and 9-speed auto

Posted Oct 1st 2014 6:31PM

Honda CR-V European Model

Honda just took the wraps off of its thoroughly updated 2015 CR-V for the US, with a touch more style and improved powertrain to provide more torque and better fuel economy. In our First Drive, we found that all of the changes really focused the CUV even more towards the desires of its audience of mostly families. European crossover shoppers don't have to wait too long to see these tweaks for themselves and get a few exclusive upgrades of their own.

While US models get a torquier gasoline engine, Europe loves its diesels. Therefore, the CR-V over there benefits from a more powerful 1.6-liter i-DTEC oil-burner that produces 158 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This new addition is only available on the four-wheel drive version, and it replaces the previous 2.2-liter diesel in the lineup. Also as opposed to the CVT here, there's now an optional nine-speed automatic gearbox across the pond.

According to Honda, the new diesel with a six-speed manual drops emissions by 11 percent compared to its predecessor. Opting for the nine-speed auto makes things 20 percent cleaner in contrast to the previous 2.2-liter CR-V with an auto.

Aesthetically, the latest European CR-V is essentially identical to our refreshed model. It wears the same updated front end with a new grille and LED running lights. It also has the tweaked rear with a chrome bar running across the hatch and slightly altered taillight design. The dark wheels of this show car do add an air of brutishness that we haven't seen before, however.

The updated European CR-V will get its debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, and it'll be built at Honda's plant in Swindon, England. Scroll down for the company's full announcement.
Related GalleryHonda CR-V European Model
Honda CR-V European ModelHonda CR-V European ModelHonda CR-V European ModelHonda CR-V European ModelHonda CR-V European ModelHonda CR-V European ModelHonda CR-V European Model

News Source: Honda


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