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BMW M4 vs. Lexus RC F in Head 2 Head sports coupe showdown

Posted Oct 29th 2014 12:45PM

BMW M4 and Lexus RC F

It's the showdown everyone's been looking forward to, the East versus West grudge match of the year. We're talking, of course, about the BMW M4 versus the Lexus RC F.

Although BMW uses a twin-turbo straight-six and the Lexus uses a free-breathing V8, the two are pretty closely matched on paper: a luxury coupe with over 400 horsepower channeled to the rear wheels.

The BMW has been doing these cars for longer, and the M4 boasts a higher power-to-weight ratio. But then the RC F has more power – and without forced induction to break up the rev range. So which is the better luxury muscle coupe? Watch the latest episode of Motor Trend Head 2 Head to find out.

News Source: Motor Trend via YouTube

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

A Seriously Irreverent Sedan

Posted Oct 29th 2014 11:57AM

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Including all-wheel-drive models, there are ten versions of the 2015 Dodge Charger. The tenth variant – better described as the ten-tenths variant and the topmost model – is this Charger SRT Hellcat.

Superficially, you already know what it is: take the massively powerful Hellcat engine that's Frankensteined into the Dodge Challenger and stitch it into the recently facelifted Charger sedan.

Oh, but that would be superficial knowledge indeed. Russ Ruedisueli, vehicle line executive and head engineer for SRT, claims the Charger Hellcat is, "The industry's most irreverent four-door supercar." We looked up the word "irreverent" in the Oxford dictionaries, and it turns out the word doesn't mean "707 horsepower," nor "650 pound-feet of torque" nor "3.7-second 0-60 time, and seats five adults." It does mean, "Showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously."

After a day piloting SRT's latest brute through the hills and dales surrounding our nation's capital, we've found that definition leaves the driver a fair bit of work to do. While the Charger SRT Hellcat is busy being contemptuous, pouring its profane growl all over the roads, if you have any sense at all, you will Respect it with a capital "R" and take it very, very seriously.

Vital Stats

Engine:
SC 6.2L V8
Power:
707 HP / 650 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$63,995

News Source: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

ETC

MI police looking for hit-and-run driver who left zombie hospitalized

Posted Oct 29th 2014 11:35AM

Comic-Con 2013 - Hyundai and Skybound present The Walking Dead 10th Anniversary Celebration Event

The typical way to kill a zombie is by destroying its brain. Anyone that's kept up on The Walking Dead can list off a multitude of ways to accomplish this grim task ranging from guns, knives, swords, crossbows, street signs and any number of a range of sharp or blunt household objects. One northern Michigan man apparently opted to use his car and run down a zombie. A fair play, except for the fact that the walker he hit was actually 45-year-old Jeffrey Alan Stiles, a Halloween reveler dressed as one of the dead.

Now, Stiles is going to be fine. His injuries were classified as "non-life-threatening" and he was in "good" condition at Hackey Hospital as of Sunday morning, according to M Live. Still, Ottawa County sheriffs are on the lookout for the driver that struck him.

"While he was outside, he decided to walk along the roadway to scare cars, as he was dressed like a zombie for the Halloween party," Ottawa County's Sgt. Matt Wilfong told M Live.

Sheriff's Deputies are asking for anyone with information on the incident to come forward. Contact information can be found on the department's website.

News Source: M Live

Image Credit: John Shearer / Invision / AP

2016 Chevy Volt will not need premium gas

Posted Oct 29th 2014 11:29AM

2016 Chevy Volt 1.5-liter engine

Buried in the new technical details of the 2016 Chevy Volt released yesterday was a throwaway line about a small but important change that's due to the new 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. The first-gen Volt has always required premium gas but the new powerplant will be happy burning plain old regular.

The Volt's chief engineer, Andrew Farah, told AutoblogGreen that the change was due to today's Volt owners explaining they were not happy paying for top-shelf petroleum. "The ability to use regular unleaded was based directly on customer feedback," he said. "Since the range extender is an all-new engine, it was optimized to use regular unleaded at the outset. Using regular fuel will not have effect on vehicle acceleration or other performance factors."

As Larry Nitz, GM's executive director of vehicle electrification, told AutoblogGreen yesterday, the new engine is more powerful and quieter than the outgoing 1.4-liter engine that's used in the current Volt. Fuel economy and EV range specs for the next-gen Volt are not expected until the full car is revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

News Source: GM

Ferrari to be spun off from Fiat Chrysler

Posted Oct 29th 2014 11:02AM

Fiat Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne smiling

The recently merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire has ambitious plans for growth, and it's going to need some big bucks in its coffers in order to enact them. Part of that cash injection is coming from the floating of its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, but now FCA has announced a further capital campaign to be based on the enormous asset that is Ferrari.

FCA's board of directors has just approved the separation of Ferrari from the rest of the group as a separate entity. Once that separation is complete, Ferrari will put 10 percent of its shares on the stock market "in the United States and possibly a European exchange" as well.

This isn't the first time that the idea of a Ferrari IPO has been raised. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Chrysler, Fiat and Ferrari (pictured above), first raised the idea four years ago. Former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo nixed the idea, but now that he's been discharged, it appears there's nothing to get in the way of Marchionne's desires.

The remaining 90-percent stake in Ferrari will be distributed among FCA's existing shareholders, of which the largest (at over 30 percent) is the Agnelli family's Exor investment company headed by Fiat chairman John Elkann.

News Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Image Credit: Chrysler

Detroit Electric shows new fastback style for SP:01

Posted Oct 29th 2014 10:32AM

Detroit Electric SP:01 Fastback

There's been a proud history of basing electric sports cars off of the Lotus Elise. Its lightweight architecture has formed the basis for the original Tesla Roadster, the PG Elektrus, the Rinspeed sQuba concept, the Zytek Elise prototype and the Dodge Circuit EV show car. But those projects have all come and gone. That run might not be over, though, as the next to raise the flag is Detroit Electric.

The startup showcased its SP:01 prototype over a year ago, and has been promising production ever since. Now it says it's on the verge, and has revealed a revised design for the production model – albeit in just the one solitary CGI image you see here. The updated shape, which looks rather similar to the comparably sized Alfa Romeo 4C, takes more of a fastback approach instead of the flying buttresses on the original design. The new form is designed to be more aerodynamic and incorporates an integrated rear wing and underbody diffuser to make it all the more so.

Although it's not showing us what it looks like yet, Detroit Electric also says it has updated the front end as well. Chief designer Jerry Chung says "The final design of the SP:01 incorporates signature Detroit Electric design DNA, carried over from the prototype model we revealed last year. Coupled with many motorsport visual cues, the new fastback design, bold face and sharp contours evoke the company's vision of pure electric performance."

Whatever it looks like, the Detroit Electric SP:01 is slated to go into production in the UK – not in Detroit or Holland as previously planned – next year, promising a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed set at 155 miles per hour, all on electric power.

News Source: Detroit Electric

Chrysler recalling 382k Ram HD diesel pickups, 184k SUVs

Posted Oct 29th 2014 10:17AM

2014 Ram HD

Between GM's ignition switches and Takata's airbags, it's been a big year for recalls, but they keep rolling in. The latest comes from Chrysler, which has announced a pair of recalls for certain heavy-duty pickups and SUVs.

The first issue revolves around the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine available in the 2010-2014 Ram HD trucks, including 2500 and 3500 series pickups as well as 4500 and 5500 series chassis cabs. In the affected units, "a terminal connector near the fuel heater may be subject to friction-induced corrosion," according to the first of the two announcements from Chrysler below.

The problem could result in overheating and fuel leakage. Chrysler launched its investigation following cases of overheating, none of which actually started a fire, much less an injury or accident. As a precautionary measure, however, Chrysler is instructing service technicians to replace the terminals on an estimated 381,876 Ram units around the world – the vast majority of those (314,704) registered in the US, another 59,432 in Canada, 1,803 in Mexico and 5,937 abroad.

The second recall involves the 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee. In the affected units, Chrysler has found that a debris cover can disrupt a circuit board's functioning and disable the vehicle's stability control system. Chrysler reports that it isn't aware of any injuries or accidents resulting from this issue, either, but to fix the problem, Chrysler technicians need only upgrade the software. This recall affects 184,186 units globally – 132,223 in the US, 8,871 in Canada, 4,742 in Mexico and a further 38,350 abroad.
Related Gallery2014 Ram HD
2014 Ram HD2014 Ram HD2014 Ram HD2014 Ram HD2014 Ram HD2014 Ram HD2014 Ram HD2014 Ram HD

News Source: Chrysler

Why basing car recalls on geography is stupid

Posted Oct 29th 2014 9:29AM

Air Bag Recall

Geographic or regional recalls – the practice of recalling vehicles based on their geographic location – may seem to make sense. After all, why recall a corrosion-prone spare tire carrier (as Toyota did in 2010 and 2012) in areas where rust isn't a major factor, or humidity-prone airbags (as per the Takata case) in dry climates? But the latest analysis suggests that the practice could be dangerously flawed.

Speaking with safety experts and congressional advocates, TheDetroitBureau.com notes that the Takata airbag issue does not necessarily only affect vehicles located in states with high levels of humidity on which the massive recall campaign has focused. The problem in this case revolves around is the essential mobility of automobiles. For one thing, owners of vehicles registered in northern states (like "snowbirds" based in the northeast but spending the winter in Florida) that have not been the focus of the recall may spend extended periods of time in southern states that are, but would be left outside the geographic region addressed by the recall. For another, used vehicles are often shifted from one part of the country to another, potentially transcending such regional lines.

While the high-profile case of Hien Tran – who was apparently killed by shrapnel from the faulty airbag in her Honda Accord in Orlando, FL – may make the case for regional recalls, the three other known fatalities resulting from the problematic airbags were registered in Oklahoma, Virginia and California. Those are all states which aren't particularly humid and were thus left outside the scope of the regional recall.

Issues like these have prompted lawmakers including Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthan (D-CT) to call for new safety regulations that would eliminate the practice of geographic recalls. "To issue a selective geographic recall is absolutely irresponsible and reprehensible when people living in other states may be equally at risk," Sen. Blumenthal said in an interview with the Bureau.

For our part, we can definitely see the point in limiting the practice of regional recalls. But in the case of the Takata debacle, where automakers lack the spare parts to enact the recall on millions of vehicles across the country at once, perhaps the best approach would be to start in those states with high levels of humidity and gradually work outwards to encompass all vehicles fitted with the troublesome equipment, regardless of where they're registered.

News Source: TheDetroitBureau.com

Image Credit: Carlos Osorio/AP

Holden chief Gerry Dorizas exits GM stage left

Posted Oct 29th 2014 8:44AM

Gerry DorizasHolden had a crisis of leadership over the past few years. GM's Australian division had three chief executives in as many years, before Mike Devereux steered it through a period of relative stability for the better part of three years. Devereux was succeeded earlier this year by Gerry Dorizas, but after less than eight months on the job, Dorizas is stepping down, too.

We can hardly blame the departing Holden chairman for jumping ship as General Motors strips the division of its autonomy, scraps its production capacity and turns it into a sales network instead of an automaker – and one that has to fight for its identity all along. It's a sad time for Holden and one over which we would not want to preside.

Unlike his predecessors Mark Reuss and Alan Batey who moved on to more senior leadership positions at GM, Dorizas appears to be leaving the company entirely in order to "pursue other opportunities." However his resignation, reportedly effective immediately, makes us wonder if there wasn't something else behind his departure. In his place, Holden's CFO Jeff Rolfs will fill in as interim MD until a (hopefully) more permanent replacement can be found.

News Source: motoring.com.au

Man runs over his own head after dropping cigarette in car

Posted Oct 29th 2014 8:00AM

Drivers Cellphone Ban

Smoking is very bad for you. It can cause cancer in obvious areas, like the lungs, larynx, esophagus, as well in other organs, like the kidneys, pancreas, stomach and bladder. It can cause emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke, among a score of lesser medical conditions. Oh, and it could make you run over your own head.

Okay, so maybe that last one is a bit less likely than the others, but it happened to a man in Aurora, CO, who accidentally dropped a lit cig down the front of his jacket. According to The Detroit Free Press, he jumped out of his van, trying to evacuate the cigarette from his jacket, only to be knocked down as the van rolled backwards and the driver's-side front tire ran over his head.

Despite some very serious injuries – he remains in critical condition in a local hospital – he's expected to survive.

News Source: The Detroit Free Press

Image Credit: David J. Phillip / AP

Chevy SSR gets shot at redemption vs. El Camino in Generation Gap Bowtie brawl

Posted Oct 28th 2014 7:58PM

Chevy SSR versus El Camino SS

It usually takes several years to figure out if a car's design is standing the test of time to become a future classic. When new, the Chevrolet SSR was derided at practically every turn, largely for its retrofuturistic styling and Trailblazer-based underpinnings, but now some time has passed. Maybe it's time for a revaluation.

This week Generation Gap aims to find out if the SSR's time has finally come, but it's putting the unusual pickup against the stiffest competition imaginable – a 1970 El Camino SS 454. They are both expressive Chevrolet pickups, but one of them is a better-regarded classic, and the other remains a bit of an automotive punchline.

A stock 2004 SSR would lose easily to the high-performance El Camino, and Generation Gap has attempted to even the odds just a little with an example tuned by Lingenfelter. Its 5.3-liter V8 features a supercharger to boost power to a claimed 385 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. Getting on the throttle is greeted by a scream of blower whine from under the hood, which is actually rather impressive.

However, the newer Chevy is fighting a previous heavyweight. The El Camino packs a 7.4-liter (454-cubic-inch) V8 pumping out 360 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque through a Muncie four-speed manual. It's just one of 325 made that way for that year.

Check out the video to see if it's time to reconsider Chevy's iconoclastic folding hardtop convertible muscle pickup.

News Source: Motor Trend Channel via YouTube

What you missed on 10.28.14

Posted Oct 28th 2014 7:30PM

uturn

2014 Citroën DS Cabrio Racing

Do you like your forbidden fruit with an air of Francophile about it? If so, prepare for a juicy snack. Not only is today's review subject French, but it's a racing-tuned, hot hatch with a quasi-convertible top, too. Though you'll never buy one (legally) on our shores, you can get the lowdown on just how racy this Citroën hatch is by clicking through, here.





Cadillac ATS-V Coupe spied ahead of LA

The standard version of the Cadillac ATS Coupe is already a tasty automotive treat, so getting an early look at the up-powered version of it has got us pretty excited. Set to get an official reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we fully expect that its twin-turbo V6 will have some impressive numbers attached to it.






2016 Chevy Volt powertrain revealed (kinda)

When Chevy tipped us that it would be revealing some details of the Gen 2 Voltec powertrain, we were excited to know more. As it turns out, The General is still playing things pretty close to the vest – including exactly how range will increase – but we do have some specs to share. Click through to see how you'll be Volting in a few years.




Top Stories

Ford gives police chiefs tech to surveil officers in their own cars

Posted Oct 28th 2014 7:00PM

Ford Police Interceptors

Police officers certainly have a difficult job in keeping the streets safe, but as public employees in positions of authority, there is still a very real need for oversight. To that end, Ford is partnering with a tech company to offer a new system called Ford Telematics for Law Enforcement on its line of Police Interceptor patrol vehicles that could make cops safer, while giving cities a better idea of what its officers are doing.

The system streams live data about cruisers back to the home base to people like the police chief or shift supervisor. That info includes expected things like speed, location and cornering acceleration, but it gets incredibly granular as well, with records of things like if emergency lights are on, or even if an officer is wearing a seatbelt.

Ford Telematics for Law Enforcement "ought to protect officers as much as it protects the public," said Ford spokesperson Chris Terry to Autoblog. Constantly monitoring patrol cars offers cities a lot of advantages, too. First, it reduces potential liability because a department can prove where each vehicle is at all times. Also, officers know they are being watched and may potentially drive more safely.

As a potential example of the system improving officer safety, according to the chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Ford's release, traffic accidents have been the leading cause of police fatalities in 14 of the last 16 years. A separate study from the group found that around half of the officers who died in a crash weren't wearing a seatbelt. Through monitoring, this solution might go some way toward mitigating that tragic figure.

All Ford Police Interceptor models can be ordered with the telematics system now, and according to Ford's Terry, the Los Angeles Police Department is already showing interest in acquiring it. To be clear, Ford doesn't have access to any of this data from municipalities; the automaker is simply offering the equipment as an option for departments to use. Scroll down to read the full press release about the new technology.

News Source: Ford, Police Chief Magazine

Chrysler-Fiat quality chief out after another poor Consumer Reports showing

Posted Oct 28th 2014 6:30PM

Matthew LidaneFiat Chrysler has announced a management change following the company's woeful performance in the latest Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey. Of the 28 brands surveyed, FCA's marques occupied the five the seven lowest scores, while Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat were the four lowest scorers.

Doug Betts, FCA's 51-year-old head of quality "left the company to pursue other interests," which, considering the aforementioned paragraph, means he was sacked. According to Automotive News, Betts joined Chrysler in 2007, defecting from Nissan, and, insiders report, had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with new boss Sergio Marchionne.

His replacement is the newly promoted Matthew Lidane (shown at inset), who was formerly VP of systems and components. Lidane has been at Chrysler since 1987 and was previously chief engineer of the Jeep product team as well as the vehicle line boss for the compact US wide platform which (ironically) underpins two of FCA's lowest scoring vehicles, the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee.

Scroll down for the official press release from Chrysler.

News Source: Chrysler

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