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Jaguar F Type V6 S vs Triumph Street Triple R in open-air track attack

Posted Sep 21st 2014 7:45PM

Evo Track Battle: Jaguar F-Type V6 S Convertible vs. Triumph Street Triple R

Typically, these track battle videos pair up car against car or, in more disparate circumstances, car versus crossover, as we saw the other day. While the outcome of that battle was quite predictable, what'll happen when an equally fetching (and fast) four-wheeler is put up against one of the icons of the two-wheeled world? Evo just had to find out.

Matching up a Jaguar F-Type V6 S Convertible against a Triumph Street Triple R is at least more of an even fight than the last battle between the Porsche Cayman GTS and Macan Turbo. The Triumph has a 675-cc engine to work with, and is very light. Meanwhile, the Jag has a thumping 380-horsepower, 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 to haul about it's considerably heftier heft. Who will come out on top?

You'll need to watch the full video to find out.

News Source: Evo via YouTube

GM recalls Chevy Impala, Cadillac XTS for braking problem

Posted Sep 21st 2014 5:50PM

2014 Chevy Impala

Back in April, General Motors launched an investigation into braking issues affecting the 2014 Chevy Impala. Now there's a recall of both the Impala and the Cadillac XTS with which it shares its Epsilon II platform.

The issue apparently revolves around the electronic parking brake, which may not properly disengage. As a result, the rear brake pads could rub the rotor even while the vehicle is in motion, causing "significant heat, smoke and sparks." The earlier investigation had been launched following a complaint regarding the forward collision avoidance system, which is now either appears to have been unrelated or possibly a symptom of this larger issue.

The recall affects 2013-15 XTS models manufactured between February 14, 2012, and August 22, 2014, as well as 2014-15 Impalas manufactured between January 15, 2013, and August 22, 2014. The total number of affected vehicles reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration comes to precisely 132,921 units, while The Detroit News reports a higher total of 205,000 units - the difference potentially coming down to the scope within the US and more broadly across North America. Dealers will contact owners to update the software in order to fix the problem.
Related Gallery2014 Chevrolet Impala
2014 Chevrolet Impala2014 Chevrolet Impala2014 Chevrolet Impala2014 Chevrolet Impala2014 Chevrolet Impala2014 Chevrolet Impala2014 Chevrolet Impala2014 Chevrolet Impala

Opel reveals production Adam S pocket rocket ahead of Paris

Posted Sep 21st 2014 4:05PM

Opel Adam S

General Motors makes plenty of performance machinery, but it isn't huge in hot hatches. The closest you can get Stateside is the Chevy Sonic RS, and, while a perfectly reasonable vehicle in its own right, let's just say it doesn't quite keep pace with its European and Japanese rivals. GM does make hot hatches, it just usually leaves them up to its Opel division to sell overseas. Like the new Opel Adam S.

Previewed at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Opel has now announced the sportier version of its stylish city car to launch at the upcoming Paris Motor Show next month. The heart of the pocket rocket, pictured here with the optional Red n' Roll appearance package, is a 1.4-liter turbo four pumping out 150 horsepower – over 100 hp per liter and 50 percent more than the naturally aspirated version. That also puts it out ahead of the aforementioned Sonic RS (138 hp) and splits the difference between the Fiat 500 Turbo (sold as the base Abarth overseas) and the full-on 500 Abarth (595 in Euro speak).

Other upgrades, which you can read more about in the press release below, include a six-speed manual transmission, enhanced suspension, 18-inch wheels, OPC brakes, an upgraded body kit and an interior with Recaro buckets. All of which adds up to a 0-62 time of 8.5 seconds – which would see the Opel Adam S (and its Vauxhall counterpart) struggling to keep up with the competition, but leaving lesser versions of GM's stylish Euro hatch in the dust. Here's hoping a hotter OPC version is in the works.
Related Gallery2015 Opel Adam S
2015 Opel Adam S2015 Opel Adam S2015 Opel Adam S2015 Opel Adam S2015 Opel Adam S2015 Opel Adam S

News Source: Opel

Cadillac tipped to call flagship something other than LTS

Posted Sep 21st 2014 2:35PM

Cadillac Elmiraj Concept

Cadillac wouldn't be Cadillac without large sedans in its lineup, and while the XTS has had to hold down that end of the fort all on its own, it won't have to for too long. That's because the luxury brand in the General Motors portfolio is preparing to roll out its new LTS, stylistically previewed by the Elmiraj concept pictured above. Only now, the latest thinking is that the upcoming flagship model may not be called LTS at all.

As Automotive News points out, Cadillac's naming scheme is all over the place at the moment. The ATS slotting below the CTS makes sense (alphabetically), but where do the ELR, SRX and especially the Escalade fit into that naming hierarchy? And how would LTS – as the project has been known until now – sit above the XTS?

Fortunately, Cadillac may be on the case, as two of the division's most recent senior appointments seem keen to rationalize the naming scheme. One is Uwe Ellinghaus, who joined Cadillac as chief marketing officer late last year. Speaking of the brand's nomenclature last spring, Ellinghaus was quoted as saying, "We are aware that this is currently a weakness of the Cadillac brand." And his new boss is bound to agree.

Before recently joining Cadillac, incoming president Johan de Nysschen completely overhauled – or at least approved the complete overhaul of– Infiniti's naming scheme. That reorganization may have left us scratching our heads for the short term, but as time goes by, it's likely to make more sense. Before Cadillac and Infiniti, de Nysschen was at Audi, which ruffled a few feathers of its own when it applied a new naming scheme to follow the A8. But if Ingolstadt's example can teach us anything, it's that a more logical nomenclature, if carried out properly, works out for the best in the long term.
Related GalleryCadillac Elmiraj Concept
Cadillac Elmiraj ConceptCadillac Elmiraj ConceptCadillac Elmiraj ConceptCadillac Elmiraj ConceptCadillac Elmiraj ConceptCadillac Elmiraj ConceptCadillac Elmiraj ConceptCadillac Elmiraj Concept

Toyota C-HR hybrid crossover coupe concept leak ahead of Paris

Posted Sep 21st 2014 12:43PM

Toyota C-HR Concept

Last week, Toyota previewed an upcoming concept called the C-HR and promised it would debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. It didn't say much more or give us anything beyond a silhouette and the shape of the lights, but here we have the first images of the finalized form.

The C-HR envisions a hybrid crossover coupe with angular styling that looks ready to take on the Nissan Juke. It's far sportier than a RAV4, and looks closer to how we'd imagine the next-generation Scion FR-S would look like if it were riding on a jacked-up suspension – with some show car elements thrown in for good measure, like a gloating roof, radical lighting and the usual absence of door handles and usable wing mirrors.

Of course, this being a Toyota concept, it packs a hybrid powertrain, although specifications did not leak out along with the images. Overall the form looks pretty striking, if decidedly unsubtle. We'll look forward to bringing you more as the Paris show rapidly approaches.

News Source: Carscoops

Toyota to ramp up Tacoma production in Mexico by 41%

Posted Sep 21st 2014 11:04AM

Toyota Tacoma Mule

The Toyota Tacoma may be getting on in age, but that isn't stopping the Japanese manufacturer from ramping up production at the pickup's Baja California factory. The Mexican plant will soon be home to another 300 jobs as it increases total capacity by 41 percent. The increase is slated for April 2015.

The move is a curious one, considering the Tacoma's age and the fact that General Motors is preparing what, on the surface, appear to be two very competent challengers. The factory increase could be in preparation for the 2016 Taco (spy photos shown above), which is expected to represent a significant overhaul of the long-serving truck.

Toyota's decision to increase capacity could also be due to the factory building freeze implemented by President Akio Toyoda, according to Automotive News. Toyoda put a hold on new factories until 2016, asking executives to squeeze as much production as possible out of remaining factories before bringing any additional facilities online.

What do you think Toyota is up to? Is this just preparation for next-gen Tacoma production? Might a different vehicle altogether take up the additional capacity? Have your say in Comments.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: KGP Photography

New Fisker Karma will look a lot like the old one

Posted Sep 21st 2014 9:01AM

fisker karma

Fisker Automotive appears to be wrangling up its proverbial ducks and properly aligning them again after halting production nearly two years ago. After filing for bankruptcy, the Chinese company Wanxiang, like an angel made of money, scooped up the maker of the Karma range-extended electric sports car for the sizeable sum of $149.2 million. Now, Wanxiang is looking to relaunch the Karma by early 2015, and the car that we see upon its revival will likely look quite familiar.

An insider who wished to remain anonymous told Automotive News the new Karma "will have to be nearly identical to the 2012 model." Hoping to relaunch quickly, the company doesn't have the luxury of undergoing new safety testing and certification that would be required if it made major changes to the car. Also, the less engineering that needs to be done and the more old parts Fisker can take advantage of, the better.

However, another person close to the project paints a slightly different picture of the new Fisker Karma. "The new Karma will be different in many key areas," said the unnamed source, without giving specifics. "It will have noticeable upgrades."

Throwing a possible wrench in the works are Fisker's old suppliers, who are none too pleased about being left behind when the automaker stopped making cars. Many ended up clearing out the tools they were using to make parts for the Karma. With the time that has passed, one critical supplier suggests that the new Karma might be a bit stale, stating, "You're not buying something that's considered 'state of the art' necessarily."

Still, with only about 1,800 Fisker Karmas having been sold before the disruption, the renewed model, similar as it may be to the old, will still seem fresh to all those eyes that haven't yet beheld the sleek EV. Even if, as some worry, it takes a bit longer to get production back on track, there's sure to be many happy to see the new car (and even some of the old ones) on the road.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Fisker Automotive

Triumph takes us on an emotional journey over the salt

Posted Sep 20th 2014 7:01PM

Triumph Castrol Rocket at Bonneville Salt Flats

Every once in a while, Mother Nature has a rather tenuous relationship with her children. Such a scenario plays out each and every year as mankind clings to one of the last vestiges of open space left on our planet, the Bonneville Salt Flats, to which hundreds of men and women each year flock to take out their frustrations with the pace of life by attempting to outdo and one-up the accomplishments of those who dared make a similar attempt in years prior. It's a vicious cycle, and one that depends upon the cooperation of Mother Nature in order to keep itself perpetually spinning.

When it comes to actually producing some meaningful documentary-style video on the symbiotic relationship between mankind and Planet Earth, nobody does a better job than the British. Beautiful cinematography joined with well-written prose and a soothing voiceover with a pleasant accent makes for a nice way to spend a few minutes, and that's exactly what we suggest you do as you watch the videos we've embedded right down below. They are brought to you by Triumph and Castrol, which have teamed up to break the 400-mile-per-hour barrier in a machine they have aptly named Rocket.

News Source: Triumph North America via YouTube [1], [2]

Scion sketches SEMA spread starring Slayer, skateboarder

Posted Sep 20th 2014 5:00PM

Scion tC Slayer Concept

Scion xB Riley HawkI was in Nashville last weekend for a friend's bachelor party. It's all rather fuzzy, but I do recall that my friends and I found it hilarious to request Slayer every time one of the country groups on the Broadway strip asked for a specific song to be played. While there were a few good sports, most didn't find it too funny, largely because country music and Slayer don't mix all that well. Actually, Slayer and a lot of things don't mix too well. Like Slayer and Scion, Toyota's slowly withering youth brand.

This mish-mash hasn't prevented the Japanese budget brand from teaming with the metal group for a concept vehicle based on the tC coupe (shown above). If the Slayer link is a bit too extreme, Scion has a more mainstream xB, styled by skateboarder Riley Hawk on the way. Both new vehicles will be shown at the upcoming SEMA show, but Scion has opted to release a pair of sketches of both aftermarket creations ahead of the Las Vegas expo.

It's hard to tell what kind of exterior changes have been made to the tC, although Scion says the cabin now boasts a 32-inch monitor, as well as a heavily revamped stereo. As you can see, it will say "Slayer" on the door, in the band's stylized script.

"Slayer's fans are going to be excited when we reveal what a metal-inspired Scion tC looks like," Slayer guitarist Kerry King said in a statement. "Working with Scion has given us another way to reach new audiences and inspire them to keep going down their own paths."

As for the xB, the biggest change is the higher roof, which provides accommodations for both an upgraded stereo and skateboards. The overall inspiration for the boxy five-door was the 1970s, and it's been equipped suitably, with an 8-track player, shag carpets and wood-grain paneling.

Check back for more on these Scions, as well as the rest of the lunacy from the 2014 SEMA Show when it kicks off on November 4 in Las Vegas. Until then, scroll down for the official press release.

News Source: Scion

Fiat Chrysler interested in Piaggio; Mahindra considering Peugeot Motorcycles?

Posted Sep 20th 2014 3:00PM

2013 Vespa 946 scooter

We're not yet ready to call it a trend, but rumors have been flying that a couple more major automakers have set their sights on motorcycle manufacturers to add to their portfolios. If they do, they'll be following in the footsteps of the Volkswagen Group, which gobbled up Ducati and put it under the Audi brand in its ever-growing stable of nameplates.

According to rumors floating in from Italy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering bringing the Piaggio , which would likely include Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa, brand under its umbrella. While the automaker is currently denying such rumors, a tie-up wouldn't be without merit. In the eyes of certain financial or some-such experts, since BMW is well-known for both cars and motorcycles, a brand that competes could conceivably add in some two-wheeled flavor in order to truly rival the Bavarian firm on all levels, both on paper and in the minds of consumers.

We've also heard rumors that Daimler has more than a passing interest in MV Agusta, a storied Italian marque that has seen a number of ups and downs over the last several decades, and could conceivably market it as a sub-brand under Mercedes-Benz. And then there's Mahindra, which is said to be taking a long, hard look at Peugeot Motorcycles, the scooter-heavy brand that has been losing money for parent company PSA Peugeot Citroën for the last decade, according to Bloomberg.

In any case, while we're not quite sure which of these rumors are most likely to turn into reality, we can at least say that such a move wouldn't be without precedent, and wouldn't be terribly surprising given the current automaking climate. Stay tuned for more as we hear it.
Related Gallery2013 Vespa 946
2013 Vespa 9462013 Vespa 9462013 Vespa 9462013 Vespa 9462013 Vespa 9462013 Vespa 9462013 Vespa 9462013 Vespa 946

News Source: Allpar, Bloomberg

Nissan wants an American driver for its Le Mans team

Posted Sep 20th 2014 1:01PM

Nissan Le Mans race car

"We'll use every driver development tool we have to take them to the next level, but they will also have to step up." – Darren Cox

Nissan is aiming to put an American behind the wheel of one of its LMP1 racecars in 2016 as part of plans to grow its motorsports program in the United States.

The driver would compete in the LMP2 class and the new LMP3 class of the FIA World Endurance Car Championship next year and then graduate to the higher level of competition. Nissan said it would select candidates from its GT Academy program, including former winners Bryan Heitkotter, Steve Doherty and Nick McMillen, plus other drivers. Ultimately, the goal is to have an American on the grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

"We'll use every driver development tool we have to take them to the next level, but they will also have to step up," Darren Cox, Nismo global head of brand, marketing and sales, said in a statement. "It is going to take more than just talent to get them into an LMP1 car, but the opportunity will be there if they are prepared to work for it."

Nissan's LMP1 program will launch next season, competing against Audi, Toyota and Porsche on circuits around the world. It will be based in Indianapolis in the facility of an old Champ Car team, Forsythe Racing, and have facilities in Europe and Japan. The LMP1 racer takes the name of one of Nissan's most famous sports cars, and it will be called the GT-R LM Nismo. Nissan will field two cars, and possibly a third one at Le Mans, a spokesman said.

Founded in 2008, Nissan's GT Academy has taken video gamers and turned them into professional drivers-with extensive training that maximizes their talents and translates that into real-world racing skills. More than five million gamers have used the academy through PlayStation, Nissan said.

In other racing news, Nissan also announced it will supply engines for the LMP3 series, which launches next season in Europe.

News Source: Nissan

Image Credit: Nissan

Weekly Recap: NHTSA searches for answers after Congressional grilling

Plus: Notes On Mercedes, GM Midsize Trucks And Lincoln's Plans For China

Posted Sep 20th 2014 11:02AM

GM to Pay Record $35 Million Fine on Ignition-Switch Recall

By the end of the lengthy session, senators had painted the unflattering portrait of a toothless agency in disarray.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received a brutal one-two punch from Congress this week for its response to the General Motors ignition-switch scandal.

NHTSA was hammered in a 45-page House report, and then grilled by senators during a hearing on Capitol Hill. Both on paper and in person, legislators picked apart the agency's plodding, seemingly inept responses to GM, and questioned NHTSA's ability to serve as a watchdog for the auto industry, which has faced extensive recalls, fines and controversy in recent years.

Deputy administrator David Friedman, who's only been with NHTSA since 2013, had few answers when questioned on the hill, and by the end of the lengthy session, senators had painted the unflattering portrait of a toothless agency in disarray.

Yes, there was some grandstanding. But legislators, and Friedman's responses to their often-testy questions, illustrated a valuable point – NHTSA needs help. It needs more power, more people and more money to effectively regulate on of the most complex industries in the nation.

Image Credit: Bloomberg via Getty | Associated Press | Seyth Miersma / AOL | General Motors | Lincoln

Stop-start problems could lead to rise of ultracapacitors

Posted Sep 20th 2014 9:00AM

Battery

The proliferation of start-stop systems in today's cars and trucks is pretty simple to explain. With these systems, manufacturers have an easy, mostly unobtrusive way of boosting a vehicle's fuel economy. As with just about anything though, there are drawbacks to modern start-stop tech.

In particular, they're not great when paired with today's lead-acid batteries. These batteries limit the ability of the start-stop function to operate based on factors like charge level and temperature. If the battery is outside the parameters, the stop-start system won't function, curbing any potential fuel economy gains. Obviously, this problem will only become more noticeable as the battery ages.

Ultracapacitors could solve this problem, though, according to a new report from Ward's Auto. Because ultracapacitors can be cycled rapidly and they can store quite a lot of energy – they don't function via chemical reactions, like standard batteries – they could handle the stop-start duties when the battery isn't up to snuff.

There are other applications for the high-powered capacitors too, including regenerative braking functions, where their ability to harness energy can really be taken advantage of. Ward's has a great breakdown of the pros and cons in a fairly extensive feature on the future of this potentially big automotive technology.

News Source: Ward's Auto

Image Credit: AndyArmstrong/Flickr - CC 2.0

BMW X5 driver repeatedly fails to understand big rig braking distances

Posted Sep 19th 2014 8:00PM

Russian Semi repeatedly hits a BMW

Nobody should be shocked that a big, heavy vehicle like a semi truck takes a longer distance to stop than the average passenger car; it's just basic physics. However, this BMW X5 driver seemingly has a major problem grasping the concept, and it results in some serious damage to the back of his SUV.

The whole incident is very confusing to watch. The BMW doesn't even seem to have a reason to slow down before the semi slams into the back of it at fairly high speed. But to make the situation even weirder, the crashes just keep happening again and again.

To give the BMW driver a little credit, he appears amazingly calm when surveying the damage afterward. But you have to wonder what this guy was thinking when trying a harebrained move like this. Check out the video to watch the carnage unfold.

News Source: Aleksandr Prosvetov via YouTube

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