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We obsessively covered the 2014 Monterey Car Week

Posted Aug 18th 2014 8:00PM

Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance

With each passing year, things just get more and more interesting at the annual Monterey Car Week. As we've seen yet again, it's not just about the historic automobiles anymore – new vehicles certainly have big presences at the various events. Beyond that, with a wide variety of sights to take in, there really is something for every car enthusiast here in Monterey, and we've had an absolute blast bringing it all of the pages of Autoblog for you over the past few days.

From McCall's Motorworks Revival, the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance, Quail, Motorsports Reunion, various auctions, and the fancy-shmancy Concours d'Elegance, there's been a lot to talk about over on America's left coast. Check out the best of the best in our roundup, below.

What you missed on 8.18.14

Posted Aug 18th 2014 7:30PM

Daily U-Turn

2014 Mercedes S63 AMG 4MaticWe take the 2014 Mercedes S63 AMG 4Matic for a Quick Spin

We start off talking about the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic by pointing out that it may be a bit of a bargain, coming in at a cost that's substantially less than its 12-cylinder sibling, the S65 AMG, while actually boasting a quicker 0-60 time. Still, at $161,935, this Benz better be a seriously good car. Read on to find out what we think.




Chevy Corvette Stingray convertibleChevrolet launches Valet Mode for 2015 Corvette

We're big fans of the latest Corvette Stingray, and Chevy seems intent to keep improving its overall package each and every year it's on the market, serving as a massive performance bargain in the process. For the 2015 model year, the Bowtie crew is adding a so-called Valet Mode to its Performance Data Recorder package. Read all the details here.



Aston Martin V12 Vantage S RoadsterWill Aston Martin be able to keep selling the DB9 and Vantage in the US?

Safety regulations may force Aston Martin to pull its popular DB9 and Vantage models out of the US market. Unless NHTSA agrees to offer the small automaker an exemption, for which it has already petitioned, these models won't meet the latest side-impact safety standards set for all new cars sold in the States. We'll be sure to keep you informed.



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Mercedes S-Class Maybach spotted on the 'Ring?

Posted Aug 18th 2014 7:00PM

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Maybach on the Nordschleife

It used to be that if you wanted a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, your choice pretty much came down to which engine you wanted, and that was that. But into the new S-Class, Mercedes is integrating several other model lines and extending its flagship family (both literally and figuratively) as far as it will stretch.

In addition to the sedan (already available in two wheelbase lengths in certain markets, in only the longer one in ours) Mercedes is already offering the new S-Class coupe and will soon launch a convertible version as well. But that's the end of the story. Not even close. Soon it will launch two ultra-luxurious, extended-wheelbase models: one called the Maybach and one called the Pullman. It's the former which we appear to have here in this latest spy video from the Nürburgring.

Replacing the previous Maybach 57, the new S-Class Maybach is expected to be based on the S65 AMG, keeping its 621-horsepower twin-turbo V12 but adding more space in the back (as evidenced by the modified C-pillar and rear side glass) and even more upscale accommodations. That will make it even heftier as well, but as you can see from this clip, Benz is keen to keep it handling on an even keel. Expect the new Maybach to arrive sometime next year, with the Pullman to follow in the place of the previous Maybach 62.

News Source: TouriClips via YouTube, GTspirit.com

How VW's hyper-efficient XL1 will influence the next Golf

Posted Aug 18th 2014 6:31PM

2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI, front three-quarter view.

In 2007, the European Union mandated fleet average CO2 emissions of 158.7 g/km. For 2015, that figure will drop to 130 g/km, and the target for 2020 is an ambitions 95 g/km. Thanks to some German politicking, that target will be phased in from 2020 to 2024, but it will still apply to 80 percent of passenger cars in that first year. In US miles per gallon, that's the equivalent of going from about 35 mpg to 42 mpg to 57 mpg. The current Volkswagen Golf is rated from 85 g/km of CO2 to 190 g/km depending on model – and zero for the e-Golf, so for the next-generation MkVIII hatch due in 2019, to meet the goal, Volkswagen engineers will need to introduce a bunch of new tricks. According to a report in Autocar, VW be mining its hyper-efficient XL1 for some of them.

Predictions for the next Golf include a variable-compression engine, an electric flywheel and an electric turbo, along with taking greater advantage of coasting. Volkswagen could be getting help from Audi with the electric turbo and variable-compression engine and electric turbo, with Audi already having shown off the former and brand technical boss Ulrich Hackenberg confirming the VW Group is working on the latter. It's possible the flywheel system could also have the mark of The Four Rings: Autocar mentions a British system that Volvo is testing, but the R18 e-tron Quattro racer has been using one for years.

The need for such features is because the company won't be able to net enough future gains from just aerodynamic improvements and advanced materials. As price will be a factor (the regulations are expected to "add hundreds of euros to the cost of building a car"), adding much more aluminum or carbon fiber is an unlikely option. We're told the next generation won't be longer or wider than the current car, and being Europe's most popular model, VW doesn't want to make a big bet on futuristic aero, but the report says the MkVIII will "likely" have "the most aerodynamic treatment yet seen on a production vehicle," the area where lessons learned from the XL1 will truly be seen.

News Source: Autocar

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

Indian city bans kite flying because of multiple motorist fatalities

Posted Aug 18th 2014 5:59PM



The skies above Chennai, India are a lot less colorful since police began cracking down on a craze menacing area birds and motorists alike: Kite flying.

The problem isn't kite flying per se, rather the types of kites being flown. In India, as well as many other countries surrounding the supercontinent, the competitive sport of kite 'fighting' is popular in poorer, crowded neighborhoods. Participants angle their kites, intentionally trying to bring down the competition with glass-coated strings that slice their opponents lines called 'maanja nool'. (Note: that's not blood in the photo above, that's a bandaged hand showing red-tinged glass paste).

Unintentional contact with these sticky, sharp strings has been blamed for injuries and deaths of motorists and pedestrians throughout cities in India. Considering the cramped quarters where these games are often played, it's little wonder that multiple injuries and deaths via maanja nool are reported every year.

Kite flying, a $2 million a year industry in India, has been banned in India's Motor City since 2009. The Chennai Kite Manufacturers and Sellers Association recently tried to have the ban lifted, saying those who manufacture the deadly string should be punished, not the kite makers. Regardless, the ban was upheld in the city's high court last month.

They may seem like child's play but make no mistake, these are killer kites. In 2009, two children died in Chennai after chasing kites with the sharp strings. In 2012, a motorist's throat was slit by a maanja string.

News Source: The Hindu, Audubon.org

Image Credit: Meena Kadri, Flickr, Wiki Commons

Motor City Masters finale set to air Tuesday

Posted Aug 18th 2014 5:15PM

Motor City Masters

Just like that, the first season of Motor City Masters is about to come to an end. Autoblog has an exclusive early look at a scene from the reality TV show's finale that will crown the last standing car designer from the ten who started. The challenge in the last episode is to create a clay model of a next-generation Chevrolet Camaro show car. This teaser clip doesn't show us much other than that Darby (pictured) is one of the two remaining contestants and she's got a last-minute idea that makes the higher-ups nervous.

We don't get to see him in the clip below, but bassist Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy is one of the guest judges joining Jean Jennings and Harald Belker, along with host Brooke Burns. If you want to catch up on the series or just see what you've missed, check out this playlist that includes a few full episodes on YouTube or see them on the show's site by clicking here.

The Motor City Masters season one finale will be shown in two parts, with Part 1 airing this Tuesday, August 19 at 10pm Eastern/Pacific on truTV.

News Source: TruTV

Daimler employees can set email to auto-delete during vacation

Posted Aug 18th 2014 4:29PM

Germany Daimler

The Internet has shrunk the world in terms of the way people communicate by making it possible to send an email from Oslo and have it show up in Cleveland almost immediately. But that instant contact has wrecked the work/life balance for many. They get home from a long day at the office, yet they can never fully put their feet up and relax because another hour or more of checking and replying to emails awaits. However, German automotive giant Daimler is putting an end to that churn, at least while its employees are on vacation.

About 100,000 Daimler employees in Germany are eligible to opt-in to a new program called Mail on Holiday, according to The Atlantic. When the workers go on vacation, they can switch it on, and the service auto-deletes all of their incoming email. "Our employees should relax on holiday and not read work-related emails," said Wilfried Porth, board member for human resources, to The Financial Times as cited by The Atlantic.

Mail on Holiday puts a thumb on the scale of work/life balance in favor of a little more free time. The system means that Daimler employees shouldn't even be tempted to check their email on vacation because there's nothing there – and it also avoids them coming back from a relaxing holiday only to find a mailbox packed full of hundreds of unread messages. These days, people are absolutely obsessed with their work, often to the detriment of their health, not to mention spending time with their families and friends. On one hand, Mail on Holiday sounds like the sort of vacation breakthrough we'd need to truly unplug and unwind, but on the other hand, it makes our skin crawl just thinking about the lack of communication. What's your perspective? Have your say in Comments.

News Source: The Atlantic

Image Credit: Gero Breloer / AP Photo

Hyundai mulling new Lexus-fighting upscale crossover

Posted Aug 18th 2014 3:45PM

2007 Hyundai Veracruz

The idea of Hyundai marketing a luxury automobile might have seemed ridiculous a decade ago, but that was before the Genesis sedan, Genesis coupe and Equus came along. Now that buyers seem more accustomed to the notion of an upscale Hyundai, the Korean automaker is said to be considering launching a luxury crossover to take on the likes of the Lexus RX and Cadillac SRX.

The report comes from our compatriots at Edmunds, who spoke to Dave Zuchowski, head of Hyundai's North American unit, who said that the project is not yet part of the company's plan, but that "it is something under consideration."

The last time Hyundai entered that territory was with the Veracruz (pictured above), a model that was sometimes compared to but ultimately failed to compete with the Lexus RX when it was sold between 2006 and 2011. The Veracruz was effectively replaced by the seven-passenger Santa Fe with which it shared its underpinnings. This new project being considered would similarly be based on the latest Santa Fe, and the challenge Hyundai is facing once again would be to position it as a sufficiently upscale product to warrant a premium sticker price.

As Zuchowski pointed out, the RX shares much with the Toyota Highlander, but Lexus has no trouble charging a premium for the RX – indeed, it's its most popular model – since they don't sit beside each other in the same dealerships. Since Hyundai has chosen against spinning off a separate luxury brand, it would have to create enough distance between the two to justify the luxury model's existence and asking price. To get there, it may have to at least spin off a more upscale sub-brand and showroom space to include the Genesis, Equus and new Veracruz - whatever name it ultimately carries.
Related Gallery2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz2007 Hyundai Veracruz2007 Hyundai Veracruz2007 Hyundai Veracruz2007 Hyundai Veracruz2007 Hyundai Veracruz2007 Hyundai Veracruz2007 Hyundai Veracruz

News Source: Edmunds

1967 Maserati Ghibli puts the grand in grand tourer

Posted Aug 18th 2014 2:58PM

1967 Maserati Ghibli, front three-quarter view.

Motor Tend technical director Frank Markus owns a 1967 Maserati Ghibli, bought back in the early 2000s when "they could be had for Camry money" – now Hagerty values them anywhere from $63,000 to $107,000. The grand tourer designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro outsold the more powerful and less expensive Ferrari 365 Daytona, and the more powerful and more expensive Lamborghini Miura.

Carlos Lago, host of the magazine's Ignition video series, figures it's because of the Ghibli's long-haul comfort and the tractability of its 4.7-liter V8 with 330-horsepower and 330 pound-feet accessed with a five-speed manual, even though he cites the powertrain and suspension as being behind the times.

There's no arguing about the Ghibli's sound, though. You can get several ears-full of it, as well as Lagos' and Markus' thoughts on the car, in the video above.

News Source: Ignition via YouTube

Ferrari to offer 458 examples of new Speciale Spider

Posted Aug 18th 2014 2:30PM

Ferrari 458 Speciale

Talk about first-world, one-percenter problems: you want to get a new Ferrari, you've even settled on the 458, but you can't decide between the Spider and the Speciale. It's a tough call, we know. But your pain will be over soon, if the latest rumors are to be believed.

Those rumors have it that, at an exclusive preview event for select customers at Pebble Beach this past weekend, Ferrari showed off a new 458 variant that combines the best attributes of the 458 Spider (namely its folding hardtop) with those of the 458 Speciale (those being its 600-horsepower engine and other go-fast bits).

Succeeding the similarly exclusive, best-of-both-worlds, F430-based 16M Scuderia Spider, the new 458 Speciale Spider (or whatever it's ultimately called) is said to be limited to 458 examples worldwide, and is expected to be unveiled to the public at the Paris Motor Show this coming October.

We've reached out for confirmation from Ferrari on the model's closed-doors debut in Monterey and upcoming reveal in Paris, so watch this space for an update when we've got it.
Related GalleryFerrari 458 Speciale
Ferrari 458 SpecialeFerrari 458 SpecialeFerrari 458 SpecialeFerrari 458 SpecialeFerrari 458 SpecialeFerrari 458 SpecialeFerrari 458 SpecialeFerrari 458 Speciale

News Source: 4WheelsNews

Image Credit: Ferrari

2014 Monterey Motorsports Reunion is a symphony of classic racers

Posted Aug 18th 2014 2:00PM

2014 Monterey Motorsports Reunion

With about 550 classic racecars lapping Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca over the course of the weekend, the Monterey Motorsports Reunion might be one of the largest vintage racing events in the country, maybe even the world. It was certainly one of the highlights of the lavish Monterey festivities last weekend.

This year's featured marque was Maserati, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary, and plenty of trident logos could be found on track, ranging from the 250F grand prix car to some of the company's later sports cars. Of course, with 15 groups of classic racers, there was basically something for any motorsports fan. Among the highlights were the Trans-Am race that brought together rumbling hunks of American muscle to jostle for position on track. There was also a fantastic class from the '50s and '60s with Ferraris, Corvettes and even a Volvo P1800 and Toyota S800 racing together.

Watching these iconic racers back on track at full pace was just a revelation to see, smell and hear. There were too many fantastic cars to list them all, but feel free to check out Autoblog's huge gallery from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to see if you spot your favorite racecars of yesteryear.

UAW claims it's nearing majority at VW's Tennessee plant

Posted Aug 18th 2014 1:30PM

Aerial view of Volkswagen's production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

After a rollercoaster push by the United Auto Workers to unionize the workforce at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, TN ended in defeat in February, the UAW may yet get its way. In July the labor organizer chartered UAW Local 42 based on volunteer participation of "any interested employees." At the announcement, the UAW said that "Upon Local 42 signing up a meaningful portion of Volkswagen's Chattanooga workforce, we're confident the company will recognize Local 42 by dealing with it as a members' union that represents those employees who join the local."

But this isn't just about the Local members. The UAW wants to get a majority of the plant's 1,500 workers signed up, on the hope that Volkswagen will recognize the Local 42 "as the exclusive bargaining agent for all of them." VW doesn't have to do this and hasn't offered any indication of its position, but the possibility is there. It is already public that VW's Global Group Works Council supports the efforts to unionize, the head of the council suggesting the South might not get another potential VW plant "If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place." The UAW wouldn't say how many employees have signed on to Local 42, only that it's more than 670.

Naturally, the mere chance that a union could still take over in spite of the election loss has riled at least one anti-union voter, and if it looks like they're being dragged into a situation they declined, we imagine the rollercoaster will get going again.

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Volkswagen

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas assemble by the shore at Pebble Beach

Posted Aug 18th 2014 1:01PM

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Gathering at Pebble Beach

Seeing one Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people because so few exist, and those that do generally trade hands for tens of millions of dollars. At this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, there are 20 of these amazing rarities lined up next to each other.

Situated right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, you can actually hear the waves lapping against the rocks during the quiet moments. Just a few feet away these thoroughbred Prancing Horses are on display and being polished to perfection. The Testa Rossas represent some of the most important historic racers in the world, and the mix here include a prototype, a Le Mans winner and models that counted drivers like Phil Hill and Dan Gurney behind the wheel.

Not all Testa Rossas were created equal, though. Ferrari built both factory racing and customer versions, and they came with curvaceous bodies from Scaglietti and a bit more angular look with dual snouts from Fantuzzi. Many of them also had further modifications from there to make each one about as unique as a snowflake. Check out our fabulous gallery of all 20 of these beautiful red heads on display together.

The Stig bungees a Lotus F1 car in Durban

Posted Aug 18th 2014 12:33PM

The Stig in a Lotus F1 car

Remember a couple of months ago when a mischievous Stig broke into the Lotus racing headquarters in Enstone and made off with an F1 car? Well, now we know where he went with it.

In this humorous clip from Top Gear, the tamed racing driver in the white suit disembarks with Pastor Maldonado's Lotus-Renault E22 (not the E21 he took from the team's headquarters, eagle-eye viewers might notice) in Durban, South Africa, and takes it to Moses Mabhida Stadium for the Top Gear Festival. After having some fun on a dirt bike, a chrome Mustang drift car and a few other curiosities, he hooks it up to a bungee cord and jumps off a tower behind the wheel.

Now we're not quite convinced they actually did this and that it wasn't all CGI, but it's still worth a watch and a laugh.

News Source: Top Gear via YouTube

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