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Autoblog Podcast #394

Supercharged Viper, Chevrolet Silverado Rally Edition, Supercharged Honda CR-Z, Alfa Romeo 6C

Posted Aug 26th 2014 4:44PM

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #394 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Michael Harley talk about the possibility of a supercharged Dodge Viper, the Chevrolet Silverado Rally Edition, the newly released supercharger kit for the Honda CR-Z, and rumblings of an Alfa Romeo 6C. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #394:

play


Topics:
In The Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Michael Harley
Runtime: 01:32:30

Rundown:
  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Supercharged Viper - 44:25
  • Chevrolet Silverado Rally Edition - 55:19
  • Supercharged Honda CR-Z - 01:00:52
  • Alfa Romeo 6C - 01:07:29
  • Q&A - 01:13:41

Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

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Lincoln trumpets $129M investment, 300 new jobs in Louisville for MKC

Posted Aug 26th 2014 4:16PM

2015 Lincoln MKC, front three-quarter view.

Remember when we used to talk about how close Lincoln was to being axed and how it seemed any day now the Grim Reaper would use it as a car service back to the grave? Last time we did it was, oh, not even a month ago. What a difference 27 days makes: Ford and Lincoln are trumpeting a $129M investment in the Louisville Assembly Plant that builds the MKC.

In July the MKC was the third-best-selling Lincoln of the brand's six offerings, beat by the MKZ and – by a much smaller margin – the MKX. It has sold 2,895 units in the two months it's been on sale, which is more than half the year-to-date sales of the MKS, MKT and Navigator. It's already important, is what we're trying to say, and this is before the Chinese market gets a crack at it later this year.

The money headed to Kentucky will be joined by 300 new workers, another marker in Ford's march to create 12,000 hourly jobs in the US by next year. You can read more about it in the press release below.

News Source: Lincoln

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

Mercedes M-Class to become GLE-Class next year

Posted Aug 26th 2014 3:32PM

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Automotive naming schemes can get a little bit weird as they age. Just look at the impending BMW lineup with a rear-wheel drive 2 Series and front-wheel drive 2 Series Active Tourer on sale together – of course, to say nothing of the fact that the 2 Series is actually the successor to the 1 Series coupe/convertible in the States. Crazy. However, Mercedes-Benz might be taking steps in the opposite direction to actually make its SUV and crossover lineup easier for customers to understand.

The first potential shift is dropping the M-Class name from the range because it just no longer fits within a naming structure that has SUVs and CUVs all starting with G. According to Car and Driver speaking with unnamed Mercedes insiders, when the crossover gets refreshed with updated styling in 2015, it's also getting a new name: GLE-Class. Then, when the Concept Coupe SUV goes into production, it would be called the GLE Coupe.

The rumored changes to the M-Class might be only the beginning, though. Once the GLE falls in place, the future version of the GLK-Class would possibly become the GLC-Class. Just those two revisions would give the Mercedes' mainstream SUV and CUV range a similar hierarchy as its sedans with the GLA-Class, GLC-Class, GLE-Class and GL-Class all having roughly corresponding models, plus the G-Class out on its own as its incomparable self. If it all actually happens, the re-naming should make the lineup easier to understand. Autoblog reached out to Mercedes spokesperson Christian Bokich to confirm all of this, but all he would say is, "I'm afraid that it's too early to tell at this point."

News Source: Car and Driver

Behind the scenes of BMW's 'Driftmob' [w/videos]

How BMW Pulled Off A Drifting Dream Sequence In A Cape Town Traffic Circle

Posted Aug 26th 2014 2:58PM

BMW Driftmob

All this, for one minute and 47 seconds of action-packed footage with no official plot.

We arrive in Cape Town, South Africa, on the third and final practice day for the drivers of a BMWStories internet video called The Epic Driftmob feat. BMW M235i. We are immediately whisked to a large, empty parking lot on the outskirts of Cape Town, where tires are squealing and chunks of rubber are flying as five red BMW M235i coupes churn up more smoke than a California wildfire. And the smell – it smells like heated metal, the kind of thing rev limiters are made for. Times five.

A couple dozen locals have lined up along a chain link fence, lured like moths to a flame by the sounds and scents and plumes of smoke emanating from the site. Each has their camera ready for the moment stunt coordinator Riley Harper says, "Action!"

This event – and Autoblog's involvement in it, specifically – was more or less an experiment on BMW's part to see if there is a story to be told from video production and photo shoots, normally marketing endeavors and something PR folks keep independent documentarians like us a long way away from. We were the only US media outlet invited, and we weren't there to drive a new product, just to take in one of its current (and in our opinion, one of its best) cars, the M235i coupe, do amazing things at the hands of some of the world's best drifters.
Related Gallery2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob
2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob2015 BMW M235i Drift Mob

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL / BMW

Chevy is building nearly 3x as many C7 Corvettes than it did the C6

Posted Aug 26th 2014 2:29PM

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

In case there aren't enough on the roads in your area to make the case, Corvette Blogger reports that at last weekend's Corvettes at Carlisle show, General Motors showed a graphic putting the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray production run at 37,288 units. That is about equal to the last three years of the C6 Corvette – combined – and includes Premiere Editions, regular retail sales, and "exports and captured fleet cars that were sellable units" according to Corvette product manager Harlan Charles. Coupes and convertibles equipped with the Z51 package outsold their base versions, and Torch Red narrowly beat Arctic White as the exterior hue of choice.

While that number ranks 14th on the all-time annual production chart, it's a very strong showing in the "modern era," going back 30 years to the introduction of the C3. In this millennium it's only beat by the first year of C6 production in 2005 at 37,372 units (when black was the best selling color and the Z51 only reached 40.8 percent of sales), and the third year of C6 production that hit 40,561 units (black was still the best color and 65.5 percent of buyers checked the Z51 box). Before that, you'd have to go all the way back to 1985 for a higher number.

The second year of C6 production declined even with the introduction of the Z06 – we'll see if the C7 Stingray's enhancements for the 2015 model year and the sales help of the bonkers yet absurdly reasonably priced Z06 can prevent that. Meanwhile, head over to Corvette Blogger for a fuller breakdown of the 2014 numbers.

News Source: Corvette Blogger

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Glickenhaus's SCG 003 to pack twin-turbo Honda V6?

Posted Aug 26th 2014 2:00PM

SCG 003 teaser rendering

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has made (or commissioned) two vehicles to date – the P4/5 and the P4/5 Competizione – and is now hard at work on its third. The first was based on the Ferrari Enzo and the second on a Ferrari F430, but the third is being developed independently from the ground up. The question, then, is what engine will it use?

Well now we may have our answer as Jalopnik reports that the SCG 003 (as it's known at the moment) will be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 sourced from Honda, fitted with twin turbochargers and producing in excess of 500 horsepower.

Honda's J35Y engine produces 278 horsepower in the Accord, 290 hp in the Acura MDX and 310 hp in the RLX. It also forms the basis for the HR35TT racing engine which Honda Performance Development puts in its Daytona Prototype, so if the rumors turn out to be true, chances are that's probably the engine in question – with the possible addition of a hybrid electric assist – but we'll have to sit tight to find out for sure.

News Source: Jalopnik

Death claim in GM ignition-switch lawsuit rises to 100

Posted Aug 26th 2014 1:28PM

GM logo on Renaissance Center

Nearly 300 people have filed claims in the General Motors ignition switch recall case, with around 100 claiming the defect led to their loved ones' fatal crashes while 184 people claim they were injured in crashes caused by the recalled ignition switch. The period for filing claims opened on August 1.

According to The Detroit Free Press, each claimant must prove that the ignition switch was the cause of the crash that led to the injury or death. Provided the ignition switch was proven to be the "proximate cause" behind the crash, GM's compensation boss, Ken Feinberg, will use actuarial tables and medical cost data to determine individual payouts. Families of those killed will get at least $1 million from the uncapped settlement fund, which GM is expecting to cost $400 to $600 million.

As we've reported previously, claims can be filed through the end of 2014, with payouts to begin 90 to 180 days after the initial filing. You can expect to hear plenty more about these payouts over the coming months.

News Source: The Detroit Free Press

Image Credit: Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images

Here's what a front-row seat looked like in 2014 Mille Miglia

Posted Aug 26th 2014 12:46PM

Jaguar F-Type Mille Miglia

From 1927 to 1957, the Mille Miglia was one of the great, romantic European road races of the golden era of motorsports. The cars were fast, beautiful and loud but also extremely dangerous and regularly claimed drivers' lives. After two fatal accidents in '57, the event finally had to reform and came back in 1977 as a historic rally held over the course of several days. That didn't make things boring, though, and Xcar found that out firsthand with a front-row seat to this year's race in a 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe.

Xcar was actually following the Jaguar team this year that included Ian Callum and Jay Leno in an XK120, which we previously got a glimpse of when it was covered on Jay Leno's Garage. Where Leno focuses on a more personal story of competing, this one takes a more macro view. You really get an idea of how crazy the Mille Miglia still is, and while the F-Type is way too new to actually compete in the rally, it can still wear an event sticker and drive with the vintage racers.

One amazing fact about today's Mille Miglia is that if you're competing in the event, there are basically no rules. The roads are technically still open to traffic, but the police shut down intersections and provide a rolling roadblock. Xcar's F-Type alternated between following on the course with the classics and snipping off chunks of the route to watch the participants arrive at each stop. Check out the video to experience fantastic historic rally.

News Source: XCAR Films via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright 2014 Matt Davis / AOL

2014 BMW R NineT

Germany Goes Cafe Cool, Finally Embraces Customization

Posted Aug 26th 2014 11:57AM

2014 BMW R nineT

BMW is taking a page from the Harley-Davidson playbook with its groundbreaking R NineT. A retro cafe racer with an urban hooligan twist, the bike is fully customizable from fork to exhaust. Of course, any motorcycle can be customized, but the fact that BMW has built its newest bike to encourage modification using parts that can be swapped with simple tools is a radical move for a motorcycle maker best known for its plug-and-play touring bikes.

To underscore exactly how radical, BMW has even partnered with custom heavy-hitter Roland Sands Design, which developed the initial concept for the bike and is now manufacturing a full line of parts and accessories for the R NineT, including radial valve covers ($950), retro racing saddles ($400-$420), radial gauge housing ($400) and a radial headlight bezel ($250), among other things, all of which can be swapped with a socket wrench or screwdriver instead of a hacksaw, wire cutters and TIG welder.

Alas, the bike I tested for two weeks was stock, so consider it a blank canvas.

In development since 2011, the $15,395 R NineT is a tribute to BMW's 1973 R90S superbike. As such, it's powered by a classic flat-twin that's been modernized with a gigantic 1,170-cc displacement and oil as well as air cooling. From the saddle, looking down, the protruding cylinders make the bike look as stocky as one would expect for a machine of German provenance. It's as if the R NineT is powered with wienerschnitzel instead of 91 octane.

Vital Stats

Engine:
1,170cc Flat-Twin
Power:
110 HP / 88 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
Base Price:
$14,900
As-Tested Price:
$15,395

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Susan Carpenter / AOL

TX officer allegedly lets 140-mph street racer go with a warning [w/poll]

Posted Aug 26th 2014 11:15AM

Mustang and Texas Police

Being pulled over by the police is one of the most nerve-racking situations that a driver can go through, and it's even worse when you know that the officer has you dead to rights for speeding well over the posted limit. In this video, the driver of a heavily modified Ford Mustang with a claimed 966 horsepower at the rear wheels could have easily lost his ride for doing triple-digit speeds and street racing, but a friendly Texas police officer appears to send him on his way with a simple warning.

What's more, the driver in question wasn't just speeding – his Mustang was the camera car for a bunch of rolling street races in the wee hours of the morning on a Texas highway. The driver was more than willing to mix it up in the action, too. Eventually the cops catch on and pick the 'Stang to pull over, but not before the Ford owner runs a claimed 140 mph. With only audio to go on after the car is pulled over, the police officer seems incredibly nonchalant about catching someone who was so brazenly breaking the law. Incredibly, the patrolman actually tells the driver that he's seen everyone racing tonight but ignored them. With traffic picking up, the cop says that it's time to "cut it out" and go home for the night. As far as this video shows, that was the end of it.

Warning: There is explicit, not-safe-for-work language in the video below.

What do you think, should the officer have let the motorist go with just a warning, or was he being too generous? Let us know in the poll below and in Comments.

Should the cop have let this driver go with just a warning?

News Source: 1320 Video via YouTube, Carscoops

eBay Find of the Day: 2006 Chevy Corvette custom is a two-tone wonder

Posted Aug 26th 2014 10:34AM

A two-tone C6 Chevrolet Corvette redone to mimic a car in the movie 'Transformers' on eBay.

We know what you're thinking, and yes, friends, it can be yours. This two-tone Chevrolet Corvette comes from Eagle, Idaho, a product of Z and M Customs in homage to the Corvette Stingray Concept that played the Autobot Sideswipe in the second Transformers film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. According to the seller, Arcturus401, Z and M only got nine of them out the door before General Motors expressed a lawyerly displeasure, and this is the only two-tone example among them.

Underneath the custom panels lives a 2006 C6 'Vette with an automatic transmission, black leather interior and extras like a head-up display, cold-air intake, a hood that opens electronically and a custom exhaust. A two-owner coupe, it's got 59,900 miles and a salvage title, but we're told its original owner only had the Transformers plastic surgery done in 2011.

Having just relisted it, at the time of this writing, the bidding is up to $6,200, and we don't see any notes about a reserve. If you're into this sort of thing, that could be considered a bargain: when another one of those nine owners put his blue example on eBay in 2010, he wanted at least $42,500. If you'd like more Z and M bona fides before hitting the 'Bid' button, they've done a Pontiac-based Lamborghini Aventador replica, too.

News Source: eBay Motors

2015 Volvo XC90 is the Swedish future

Stunning Interior And Optional 400-HP Plug-In Powertrain Among Highlights

Posted Aug 26th 2014 9:46AM

Volvo XC90

Dashboard of 2015 Volvo XC90It's been months since the Concept XC Coupe debuted at the Detroit Auto Show, Volvo's last show car previewing its all-new 2015 XC90. But the production model is finally here after years of development, and it signals the future of the Swedish automaker with its Scalable Product Architecture modular platform and cutting-edge new engine family.

The 2015 XC90 carries all-new styling, but is still familiar up front, with the company's logo slashing diagonally through its prominent, upright grille. Like the concept, it carries T-Shaped LED running lights through the headlights. The company calls them the "Thor's Hammer" design, an evocative designation that we think is fantastic. Under that new front end is a choice of two quite powerful, but very efficient powertrains. The standard XC90 gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged engine with all-wheel drive making an impressive 316 horsepower. Or if buyers want to be a little greener and more powerful, there is the XC90 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid with the same engine, albeit augmented with an electric motor to produce a staggering 400 hp.

The exterior styling is crisp, if not quite as sensual as Volvo's latest concepts, but we think the interior is the real star here, with a dashboard that looks like it came out of a Herman Miller catalog and a unique vertically oriented infotainment screen integrated into its center stack, perhaps taking a cue from Tesla. If the cabin feels as good as it looks, we think a lot of sales are going to be won inside.

Volvo prides itself on its safety reputation, and the new XC90 is no different with some brand-new tech. First, there's a run-off road protection package that absorbs energy between the seat and its frame that "cushions the vertical forces." There's also an intersection braking system that stops the crossover if it tries to pull out in front of an oncoming car.

US pricing for the XC90 T6 AWD starts at $48,900, and comes standard with luxury features like nav and a panoramic sunroof. There's also going to be a limited run of 1,927 First Edition models (the date the brand was founded) that come with all of the options and special badges but have to be reserved online starting on September 3rd at 10:00 AM ET. Prices for these exclusive vehicles start at $65,900.

Consider this an appetizer of our full coverage of the 2015 XC90. The embargo has been lifted after numerous leaks, but we have a Deep Dive delving into all of this Volvo's innovations going up shortly to help you learn the nitty-gritty details. Scroll down to read the official announcement for the next-generation Volvo and the First Edition model.
Related Gallery2015 Volvo XC90
2015 Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC90

News Source: Volvo

Formula E gets wireless-charging BMW i8 safety car [w/video]

Posted Aug 26th 2014 9:16AM

BMW i8 Formula E Safety Car

Racing series typically select a safety car appropriate to the kinds of racecars for which they'll be setting the pace. So you might find a Mercedes SLS pacing a Formula One grand prix, for example, and you're more likely to find a BMW M4 on duty at a DTM race and a Chevy Camaro or SS on an oval speedway for a NASCAR or Indy race. It would only stand to reason, then, that the FIA Formula E Championship kicking off next month in Beijing would press a plug-in into service as its safety car. But the organizers didn't go for your run-of-the-mill Nissan Leaf or Toyota Prius.

No, the safety car for Formula E will be a BMW i8 specially modified for the occasion. As you can see from the video below, the hybrid sports car packs a full roll cage, racing buckets with harnesses, special communications systems and on-board fire extinguishers. But that's not all.

In partnership with technological partner Qualcomm, the Formula E support fleet – including two examples each of the i8 and i3 – will feature inductive charging. So while one is out on the track, or at least sitting at the end of the pit lane waiting to be deployed – the other will be charging wirelessly. The vehicles are still pending FIA approval, and only one has been outfitted with the Qualcomm Halo wireless charging system (with the others to be retrofitted later), but they were all on hand for the recent practice race at Donnington Park.

The Qualcomm Safety Car, as it will officially be known, will be driven by longtime WTCC safety car driver Bruno Correia of Portugal. Although no mention is made in the press release or the presentation video below, it's not hard to imagine that the Formula E series might seek to adopt this technology for the racers as well in the near future.

News Source: Formula E, ElectricAutosport via YouTube

Is a wrecked Bugatti worth $250k?

Posted Aug 26th 2014 8:44AM

Wrecked Veyron

When a Bugatti Veyron crashed on a highway in Austria a few months ago, insurance company AXA estimated the cost of repairs at upwards of $800,000. Of course, there were worries that even after all the repairs the car may never drive quite the same. So rather than try, the insurance company evidently wrote it off and paid the owner the insured value of the car. But now it's got the wrecked Bugatti on its hands, and is looking to offload it.

This early model, built in 2008, has the original version's 987-horsepower 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine, a fixed roof and a blue and black livery – unlike some more recent examples that have adopted a removable roof panel, employed a more powerful 1,184-hp engine and moved away from the original two-tone paint schemes. It's got nearly 20,000 miles on the odometer and would still require the better part of a million bucks to get it running again... at which point it could be worth more in spare parts, which surely don't come cheap from the manufacturer in Molsheim.

Alternatively, with bidding currently hovering around a quarter million, you could just get yourself a brand spankin' new Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Huracán or McLaren 650S and actually get to drive it without spending eight hundred grand on repairs. But if you were looking to pick up a Veyron on the cheap, regardless of condition, this could be your chance.

News Source: AXA via MotorAuthority

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