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Audi reveals new TT spec racer

Posted Oct 20th 2014 6:31PM

Audi Sport TT Cup

We've seen the coupe. We've seen the convertible. We're still waiting on word of the next variant, but before it arrives, Audi has revealed the racing version of the new TT.

Set to form the backbone of the inaugural Audi Sport TT Cup, the competition-spec sports coupe is closely based on the production version packs the same 2.0-liter turbo four and six-speed dual-clutch transmission as the road-going TTS, delivering the same 310 horsepower, but with a push-to-pass boost of an extra 30 hp.

It's also got an active differential, and while the full specifications have not yet been revealed, it's clear that Audi has also outfitted the TT racer with more aggressive aero, track-spec rolling stock and a stripped-out cockpit (complete with the Audi PS1 Safety Seat from the R8 LMS Ultra) to get weight down to from 2,700 pounds in stock production form to 2,480.

The Audi Sport TT Cup will kick off next season in Germany as a support series to the DTM championship with a grid of 24 cars – including 18 permanent spots and six reserved for a changing roster of guest drivers. Aspiring racers will be coached by former DTM and endurance driver Markus Winkelhock and the trophy winner will get a shot at a GT3 race seat.
Related GalleryAudi Sport TT Cup
Audi Sport TT CupAudi Sport TT CupAudi Sport TT CupAudi Sport TT CupAudi Sport TT CupAudi Sport TT CupAudi Sport TT CupAudi Sport TT Cup

News Source: Audi

Are America's railroads snubbing car shipments?

Posted Oct 20th 2014 6:00PM

Ford To Close More Than Eight North American PlantsBuilding a car, delivering it to a dealer and then selling to a consumer represents an enormous and elaborate process that relies on the seamless and often invisible work of many parts. The use of railways represents a huge part of that process, but according to a new report from Automotive News, automakers are getting rather upset with rail companies over delays in their shipping process.

According to AN, the federal government's Surface Transportation Board, the overseer of the nation's railways, has ordered rail carriers to deliver weekly reports on shipping schedules after shippers complained that their goods were being left at the depot in favor of other cargo.

These reports, the first of which will be issued on Wednesday, will detail everything from what sort of cargo is being hauled via rail car, to the type of train being used, the industry being served and any delays that crop up along the way.

While other industries have gotten in on the complaining, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is one of the most notable, representing 12 automakers.

"It appears that the priority of auto shipping has become less than that of other shippers," the AAM's vice president of governmental affairs, Shane Karr, told a US Senate committee last month, AN reports. According to Karr, one unnamed automaker has dropped an extra $13 million to ship 70,000 vehicles so that vehicles could be shipped by truck rather than by rail.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Barry Williams / Getty Images

Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #402 LIVE!

Audi A3 TDI Road Trip, Luxury Car Features We Love

Posted Oct 20th 2014 5:45PM

Autoblog podcast graphic

Hot on the heels of Autoblog Podcast #401, we're set to record Autoblog Podcast #402 this evening. Check out the topics below or drop us your questions and comments via the Q&A module. And don't forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.

Discussion Topics For Autoblog Podcast Episode #402

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Formula 1 racing back to Las Vegas?

Posted Oct 20th 2014 5:30PM

Formula One World Championship

"There's a million countries that would like to have an F1 race," said the sport's commercial director Bernie Ecclestone to The Independent recently, "but they can't afford it." Las Vegas wouldn't fall into the latter category, but while not exactly a country unto itself, it is apparently at the top of the former list.

According to a report in the British newspaper, negotiations to bring Formula One back to Vegas after a 32-year absence are in advanced stages. Track designer Hermann Tilke has reportedly visited the city with an eye towards setting up a street circuit that would incorporate a run down the famous Las Vegas Strip. Just when it might happen, however, remains unclear.

The development comes amidst a resurgence of F1 racing in North America. As recently as 2009, there was not a single grand prix on our fair continent after the Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from the calendar. But that race returned in 2010, joined by a new US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, starting in 2012. And while the proposed race in the New York/New Jersey area seems to have stalled, a new race is set to join next year's calendar in Mexico.

If the Vegas GP shapes up, we'd be looking at four races in North America alone – a vital market for the series, its sponsors and participating automakers where NASCAR (which races at the nearby Las Vegas Motor Speedway) is the far more popular form of motorsport and even IndyCar arguably has a bigger following.

The last time the F1 circus visited Las Vegas was for the lackluster Caesars Palace Grand Prix, which was held on an uninspired track set up in the casino's parking lot in 1981 (when it was joined on the calendar by Long Beach) and 1982 (in parallel with races in both Long Beach and Detroit). The new race would have to offer a more engaging layout, but as far as locations go, Vegas certainly has the infrastructure to deal with the influx of tourists who'd come to town for the spectacle.

News Source: The Independent via ESPN

Image Credit: alessio mazzocco/Flickr

Watch this BMW take flight at Viru Rally

Posted Oct 20th 2014 4:57PM

BMW M3 gets some air in Estonia

An E36 BMW 3 Series might be a good choice for a lot of purposes – a long road trip, a track day, rallycross, impressing your friends... but a full-on rally? It's rear-drive when the best rally machines are front- or all-wheel drive. But that didn't stop Pritt Koik and Alari-Uku Heldna from entering their stripped-out E36 in the Viru Rally in Estonia... or from getting some big air time when they did.

Fortunately the jump was not just caught on video... it was caught on video from three angles: two from the side of the rally stage and one from inside the cockpit. Check out all three below to see how this particular BMW got back into the aircraft business.

Space-minded Ural MИР comes with solar panel, unique repair instructions

Posted Oct 20th 2014 4:30PM

Ural Mir

Ural Mir motorcycle built-in wrenchThe individualist aspect of motorcycle culture is a well-known thing. Bikers pride themselves on being different, whether they're on the back of a Suzuki or a Harley-Davidson. Ural riders are particularly unique.

These Russian bikes are known for being robust, go-anywhere things, and they routinely arrive with sidecars and camouflage paintjobs. The brand's latest limited-edition model, though, does away with the camo'd color scheme and replaces it something a bit... extraterrestrial.

This is the Ural Mir, named in honor of the Shuttle-Mir program, a space-based collaboration between the United States and Russia that saw shuttles visit the orbiting station in a then-unprecedented spirit of cooperation.

In addition to its most obvious change, the Orbital White Metallic paint, the Ural Mir features a solar panel affixed atop the nose of the sidecar. According to Ural, it can serve as a battery tender or as a source of power for accessories. It can also be simply removed and replaced with a luggage rack, should you need more space (or if it's cloudy). High-intensity LEDs adorn the nose of the sidecar for peering into the pitch-black abyss.

The other cool feature of the Ural Mir is its special instruction system. A QR code has been fitted on a large wrench, and when accessed, it provides "when all else fails" instructions including a, um, clip from the disaster flick Armageddon. So yes, if your Ural brakes down, it seems the manufacturer advocates you beating it with a wrench to get it running again. Your results may vary.

The Ural Mir starts at $16,999 and will be limited to just 20 units and arrives at dealers in November. Take a look below at the press release from Ural Motorcycles and then head over and check out Ural's special instructions.
Related GalleryUral Mir Limited Edition
Ural Mir Limited EditionUral Mir Limited EditionUral Mir Limited EditionUral Mir Limited EditionUral Mir Limited EditionUral Mir Limited EditionUral Mir Limited EditionUral Mir Limited Edition

News Source: Ural

Porsche 918 Spyder already almost sold out?

Posted Oct 20th 2014 4:01PM

Porsche 918 Spyder

Still planning on getting your hands on a Porsche 918 Spyder? You'd better act quickly, because word has it that the hybrid hypercar is nearly sold out.

While Porsche has reportedly only delivered a little over 30 of the 918 examples of the Spyder it plans to manufacture in total, Automotive News says that production is sold out through late March or early April – just a few months shy of when production is set to wrap in July.

That's pretty impressive for a car with a base price of almost $850,000, especially one requiring a $200,000 deposit just to get your name on the list. Still, that sum is significantly less than its competitors get for the McLaren P1 or LaFerrari, both of which sell for over a million (if you can actually get on one at that price), though in fairness, production of each is limited to less than half of the 918 Spyder.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

ETC

Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean

Posted Oct 20th 2014 3:30PM

2015 Toyota Camry

Ever wonder where automakers get the names for their cars? You're not alone. The sitcom Seinfeld opened Episode 94 – the one where George Costanza buys a Chrysler LeBaron instead of a Volvo – with a bit about nameplates like Integra, Supra and Impreza. Toyota, clearly, is not exempt from choosing evocative but enigmatic names for its models, and now the Japanese automaker is taking us through the etymology of some of its nameplates.

Names like Supra may require no clarification, but what about Camry? That comes from the Japanese word kanmuri for Crown (which is, incidentally, the name of another Toyota sedan).

Yaris? According to the company, it's "an amalgamation of words from Greek mythology and German. In Greek mythology, 'Charis' was a symbol of beauty and elegance. Toyota swapped the 'Ch' with 'Ya' – German for 'yes' – to symbolize the perceived reaction of European markets to the car's styling."

Uh-huh. By comparison, Corolla couldn't be simpler – its name refers to the innermost ring of pedals around the center of a flower. Previa is derived from the Latin word for providence (as in foresight, not capital city in Rhode Island).

Some of these name meanings you may already be aware of, but others might still be a mystery, so head over to Toyota's UK blog to delve deeper into ten of the company's most 'iconic' names.
Related Gallery2015 Toyota Camry
2015 Toyota Camry2015 Toyota Camry2015 Toyota Camry2015 Toyota Camry2015 Toyota Camry2015 Toyota Camry2015 Toyota Camry2015 Toyota Camry

News Source: Toyota UK

Citizen pulls over unmarked WA police car, education ensues

Posted Oct 20th 2014 2:58PM

Can I see some ID, sir?

Dog bites man, that's not news. Man bites dog, now that's news. Or so goes the old newspaper adage, and we see it manifested all the time. Take this latest video clip for example. While it wouldn't usually be news to see a cop pulling over a motorist, seeing a motorist pulling over a cop and asking to see ID is another matter entirely.

The video comes courtesy of one Gavin Seim, a self-styled liberty activist and former congressional candidate from Washington State's 4th district. In this instance, Seim is advocating (and civically enforcing) a law on the books in Washington that precludes law enforcement officers from patrolling in unmarked vehicles, a measure designed so that motorists know they're being lawfully pulled over by police and not by an impersonator.

Seim sees a sheriff's deputy patrolling in an unmarked, plain-white Dodge Charger, so he flags him down and – in as clear a reversal of roles as we've ever seen – proceeds to ask the deputy for ID while alerting him to the state law which he's apparently violating. Fortunately, both parties act respectfully, as you can see from the video which Seim captured and posted online in both edited and full versions.

News Source: Gavin Seim via YouTube (1), (2), Carscoops

Jaguar Land Rover in talks for Southern US factory

Posted Oct 20th 2014 2:30PM

Land Rover Discovery Sport assembly at Halewood

Jaguar Land Rover is getting serious about global expansion, and that means it can't only build its vehicles in the UK anymore. The British automaker is cutting the ribbon at its new plant in China tomorrow, marking the opening of its first factory outside the UK. In 2016, it will open another factory in Brazil. But the latest intel has it that JLR is looking into a US factory, as well.

The report, which comes to us from the Sunday Times by way of Automotive News Europe, indicates that the company is evaluating locations for a North American factory, with options centering around Southern right-to-work states like South Carolina, where BMW operates its plant in Spartanburg and a wide array of other automotive operations are based as well. The JLR plant would reportedly ramp up to a capacity of 200,000 units per year.

In related news, while that new plant JLR is inaugurating in Changshu, China, is initially slated to produce the Range Rover Evoque, it is also expected to start building the new Discovery Sport as well – just like the Halewood plant in the UK that has handled Evoque assembly from the start and which just built its first Discovery Sport, as well.

Honda to present HR-V, updated Acura ILX at LA show

Posted Oct 20th 2014 1:59PM

2016 Honda HR-V

Honda has already showcased its new Fit-based crossover around the world. We've seen it in Tokyo wearing the Vezel name and we've seen it in Paris in 'prototype' form. We've even seen photos of the US-spec version. We just haven't seen that North American model in the flesh, but that'll all be fixed next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

2016 Acura ILX teaserThat's where Honda will, at long last, unveil the US version of its new HR-V subcompact. The Japanese automaker hasn't told us much else, save to say that the HR-V will, of course, slot in below the CR-V in US showrooms. It'll also feature the company's lauded Magic Seat system, "which allows for multiple seating configurations and the ability to fold the second row seat completely flat for added cargo space."

Alongside the HR-V, Honda's luxury division will also be showcasing a revised version of its ILX sedan at the LA show as well. Acura hasn't revealed precise details of what revisions are in store for its smallest sedan – or a more detailed photo than the teaser inset at right – but it is promising "a comprehensive update that include a potent new powertrain, more forceful, sporty exterior styling and a substantially upgraded interior design."
Related Gallery2015 Honda HR-V
2015 Honda HR-V2015 Honda HR-V2015 Honda HR-V2015 Honda HR-V

News Source: Honda

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

Posted Oct 20th 2014 1:30PM

2003 Honda Civic

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles "to act immediately" to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.

While NHSTA doesn't specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota's own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven't already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there.

We don't need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be – even in a stationary vehicle – but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to shrapnel being sprayed into the cabin.

If you're unsure whether your vehicle is covered under this campaign, NHTSA has a new VIN lookup tool for all recalls recently that could be handy in this situation. Scroll down for the full list of potentially affected models and the agency's statement – there are upwards of nearly five million vehicles that could be affected.
Related Gallery2003 Honda Civic
2003 Honda Civic2003 Honda Civic2003 Honda Civic2003 Honda Civic2003 Honda Civic2003 Honda Civic2003 Honda Civic2003 Honda Civic

News Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers

Posted Oct 20th 2014 12:57PM

Toyota Corolla

Toyota is re-notifying owners and expanding its Takata airbag inflator recall for some regions. The renewed campaign covers 247,000 examples of the Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra and Lexus SC430 that are located in southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. All of the models come from the 2001-2004 model years and have potentially faulty Takata-made inflators on the front passenger side. According to the company, testing shows the problem warrants "immediate action," and its press release says, "this action intensifies Toyota's efforts to reach customers and remedy previously recalled vehicles, and a small number of newly included vehicles."

According to Toyota, it submitted some recalled inflators to Takata for testing, and it found a high probability of rupturing in high humidity areas. The automaker said it had no reports yet of injuries or fatalities related to the problem.

This is Toyota's third inflator recall this year. In June, it called in for repair the same vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years in high-humidity areas, and it conducted a separate campaign nationwide for the parts in additional models. In April 2013, it also announced a fix campaign for 1.73-million vehicles worldwide for the same issue.

To fix the problem, Toyota will send a letter to owners this week, and dealers will replace the inflator. If the part isn't ready, dealers will deactivate the passenger side airbag and will advise owners that no one should sit there until repaired. Scroll down to read Toyota's full release.
Related Gallery2003-2006 Toyota Corolla
2003-2006 Toyota Corolla2003-2006 Toyota Corolla2003-2006 Toyota Corolla2003-2006 Toyota Corolla2003-2006 Toyota Corolla2003-2006 Toyota Corolla2003-2006 Toyota Corolla2003-2006 Toyota Corolla

News Source: Toyota

Translogic 161: Detroit bike culture explored

We Go For A Spin With Detroit Bikes, Slow Roll Detroit and the East Side Riders

Posted Oct 20th 2014 12:31PM



Detroit is known as the Motor City due to its rich automotive history and deep affinity for cars. So, what are all these people-powered, two-wheeled wonders doing everywhere?

Bike culture has taken over Detroit, from group rides that attract massive crowds to new manufacturing in old factories. Translogic host Jonathon Buckley heads to the D to investigate the trend, meeting with the head of assembly at Detroit Bikes, chatting up the co-founders of Detroit Slow Roll and taking a cruise with the East Side Riders.

Join us for this new episode of Translogic as we see how Detroit's motorized past may be contributing to its pedal-powered present.

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