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Volkswagen previews even hotter Golf R 400 concept

Posted Apr 17th 2014 11:25AM

Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept

This week in New York, Volkswagen had a new production car to unveil in the updated Jetta as well as a new concept in the Golf TDI SportWagen. But at the Beijing Motor Show later this week it'll have even more to showcase.

In addition to the refreshed Touareg and Midsize Coupé Concept, VW will present its Golf R 400 concept at the Chinese auto expo, taking its hot hatch another big step forward. Previewed by this trio of design sketches and a few key details, the Golf R 400 concept ups the power in Volkswagen's top hot hatch by a hundred horses to 394 horsepower. Delivered through a dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive, that power drops a full second off the 0-62 time, now down to a fleet 3.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 174 miles per hour.

The show car, set to be unveiled in just a couple of days, also brings with it new bumpers, bigger wheels packed into flared wheelarches and an upgraded interior with racing buckets. Silver Flake metallic paint contrasts with the gloss black roof and carbon mirror caps, with yellow highlights where the chrome would be on the existing Golf R or red on the GTI.

It bears noting that VW has been spotted testing recently testing what appears to be some higher-performance form of Golf-shaped hot hatchery on the Nurburgring, a vehicle we caught in spy shots recently. It's not immediately clear if this concept car and the red vehicle shown in our gallery below are related, but it certainly doesn't seem out of the question.

Scope out the press release below and watch this space for more as the Beijing show approaches at a suitably brisk pace.

News Source: Volkswagen

Image Credit: Spy shots copyright 2014 CarPix

2015 Subaru Outback offers more room and better econ behind that new face

Posted Apr 17th 2014 10:55AM

2015 Subaru Outback

While its new front fascia makes the biggest obvious impact, Subaru says changes to the entire 2015 Outback package make it roomier, more powerful, more efficient and quieter. The hexagonal grille gets it in line with the corporate template, to go along with a new shape to the lower grille and fog light cladding, a sharp crease for a shoulder line and a faster rake to the windshield. The rocker panel cladding and its 'toothed' molding remain, but it now also doubles as a step for when you want to place items on the roof rack.

Under the aluminum hood will either be a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine with 175 horsepower and a carryover 174 pound-feet of torque, or a 3.6-liter boxer six-cylinder with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft exclusively in the 3.6R Limited model. Paired to the lower-friction Lineartronic CVT that is the only shifting choice, and aided by features like the active grille shutter system and electric power steering, Subaru estimates fuel economy for the four-cylinder at 25 miles per gallon city, 33 highway and 28 combined, an increase of 1/3/2 mpg over the outgoing car. The sixer is pegged at 19 city, 27 highway and 22 combined, an increase of 2 mpg across the board.

The Outback has grown in every dimension, but never by more than 0.7 of an inch. The passenger cabin grows by 2.7 cubic feet, though, so occupants have more shoulder, hip, elbow and legroom. The cargo hold is enlarged by 1.2 cu-ft with the rear seats up, by 2.0 cu-ft with them down and the load floor is flatter. Accessing it is made easier by the memory height function on the power tailgate and new release handles for the rear thrones. Cabin ambiance is improved by sound abatement measures like an acoustic windshield, thicker panels and more noise-insulating foam.

The standard equipment list gets a little longer, with larger brakes and ventilated rear discs, a rear-view camera, welcome lighting, soft-touch materials and either 6.2-inch or 7-inch touchscreens for infotainment automatically among the goodies. The options list now includes steering-responsive fog lights on models equipped with Subaru's EyeSight system, and a rear vehicle detection system that bundles blind spot detection, lane change assist and a rear cross traffic alert.

It will roll into dealerships this summer, but before that, there's a press release below, a few images above and we'll get a close look at it on the New York Auto Show floor.

News Source: Subaru

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Land Rover Discovery Sport officially announced for production

Posted Apr 17th 2014 10:39AM

Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept

Land Rover unveiled its Discovery Vision concept (pictured above) at the New York Auto Show. Now the company has announced that the first vehicle to wear some of the concept's styling is going to be the new Discovery Sport. The Sport is the newest member of a whole new family of Disco models that LR has in the works.

Land Rover says that the Discovery Sport will go on sale as a premium compact SUV in 2015. The company claims in its release that: "This will be the most versatile and capable SUV in its segment and is the first expression of the Discovery Vision Concept unveiled here in New York." We don't have any images to go on just yet, aside from the concept car cues, but we do know the new model is likely to be a replacement for the aging LR2.

The Discovery Vision is a seven-passenger SUV concept is meant to show the general look of a whole family of new vehicles from Land Rover, including the smaller Sport. It's expected that a larger model will be used as a replacement for the current LR4/Discovery. Scroll down for LR's entire tease about the Discovery Sport.

News Source: Land Rover

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2016 Audi A3 Sportback headed to US under diesel power [w/video]

Posted Apr 17th 2014 10:21AM

2015 Audi A3 TDI Sportback

Ever get the feeling that automakers aren't really listening to what it is that you want in an automobile? Well, Audi is. Following what it calls "an outpouring of enthusiasts' support," the German automaker has announced that it is bringing the new, 2016 A3 Sportback to the US under diesel power, in the summer of 2015.

Unveiled today at the New York Auto Show, the new A3 TDI Sportback joins an expanding range of A3 models available Stateside. Whereas the Sportback hatch was until now only slated to be offered in E-Tron hybrid form, and the TDI only as a sedan, this model combines the bodystyle of the former with the power of the latter. The new TDI slots into the family alongside the gasoline-powered A3 and S3 sedans and A3 Cabriolet as well.

Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four with 150 horsepower and mated to a six-speed S tronic transmission. Because it's still a year away from launch, Audi tells us it hasn't determined figures for performance, fuel economy or carbon emissions numbers, but when it joins the company's considerable diesel offerings (which already include the A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7) as part of the new A3 rollout over the course of the next 18 months, you can bet it'll provide that combination of low-end grunt and long-range capability that diesel enthusiasts crave. In the meantime you can scope out the details and b-roll footage below for a closer look.

News Source: Audi

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Audi A3 named 2014 World Car of the Year

Posted Apr 17th 2014 10:00AM

2015 Audi A3

As usual, the second press day of the New York Auto Show was kicked off by the World Car of the Year Awards. Rather than fluff things up, we'll cut right to the chase: top honors go to the brand-new Audi A3, which bested the Mazda3 and BMW 4 Series for the all-important award.

Of course, the wonderful thing about the World Car awards is that there isn't just one big announcement – other honors are given out for specific categories. Here are the other winners from this year's ceremony: Have a look at our list of finalists to see which cars didn't make the cut, and be sure to let us know if you agree or disagree with the winners, in Comments.
Related Gallery2015 Audi A3: First Drive
2015 Audi A3: First Drive2015 Audi A3: First Drive2015 Audi A3: First Drive2015 Audi A3: First Drive2015 Audi A3: First Drive2015 Audi A3: First Drive2015 Audi A3: First Drive2015 Audi A3: First Drive

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL


2015 BMW X4 configurator is ready to get personal

Posted Apr 17th 2014 9:30AM

Screencap of the 2015 BMW X4 Configurator

The 2015 BMW X4 configurator is ready for your special touch. Starting with the 300-horsepower xDrive35i that starts at $48,925 after destination, our special touch aimed at a luxury cruiser and added $9,250 to proceedings for a final tally of $58,175. That got us the Technology, Lighting and Driver Assistance packages, navigation and enhanced USB and smartphone integration. We were tempted to go for the Dynamic Damping Control for just $1,000 and a set of 20-inch M Double Spoke Wheels, but the configurator didn't want to mix the M Sport Line with our Sparkling Brown metallic exterior hue so we skipped it.

We've covered the details on pricing and the breakdown of the order guide elsewhere, so you can always click through for refreshers. Or you can skip all those words and dive straight into trying to build an X4 that makes you say, "Yeah, now I get it."

News Source: BMW

Ford Transit Skyliner Concept does discreet luxury in NYC

Posted Apr 17th 2014 8:59AM

Ford Transit Skyliner Concept

There's something to be said for luxed-out vans. They're cool, and as a means of getting chauffeured about, they're extremely comfortable and far more low key than your typical executive luxury sedan. For the 2014 New York Auto Show, Galpin Auto Sports has shown the potential of the new-for-the-US Ford Transit as an ultra-luxurious people hauler.

The Transit Skyliner Concept, which we previewed last week, sports four finely crafted captain's buckets that can be moved into different formations based on need. Want to watch a movie? The seats can be swung around to face a 52-inch screen. Riding along with some business associates? A table can be popped up. There's even a configuration for tailgating.

The materials are, unsurprisingly, pretty plush. The leather seats and wood floors (yes, wood floors in a van) look great, while the trunk and its customized luggage are a nice touch, as well.

You can read our full rundown on the Transit Skyline Concept right here. You can also hop up top for our gallery of live images, direct from the floor of the Javits Center and the 2014 New York Auto Show. Scroll down for the full press release from Galpin Auto Sports.

Documents show GM rejected better ignition switch in 2001

Drawings Of Two Options Given To Investigators

Posted Apr 17th 2014 8:29AM

Ignition Switch closeup

Documents do not shed light on what motivated the decision to eschew use of the first switch.

General Motors made a fateful choice in the fall of 2001.

The company considered two options for ignition switches to be installed on the 2003 Saturn Ion. One drawing submitted that September contained an ignition switch that included a longer detent spring and plunger with greater torque.

In October, one month later, the company considered another engineering drawing that showed a shorter detent spring and plunger, which made it easier for the switch to move between the "run" and "accessory" positions.

Documents do not shed light on what motivated the decision to eschew use of the first switch, but GM's decision to go with the shorter switch has proven to have far-reaching consequences. The shorter switches have been linked to at least 32 car accidents resulting in at least 13 deaths.

Drawings of the two different switches were among the 200,000 pages of documents GM submitted to federal investigators who want to know why the company waited until this February to recall more than 2.5 million cars afflicted with the defective switches when it had knowledge of its flaws for more than a decade. The springs in the shorter switches were 9.6 millimeters; the springs in the longer ones were 12.3 millimeters, according to the documents. The difference between life and death was 2.7 millimeters.

On Wednesday, the Center for Auto Safety, which first noted the differences between the drawings, sent a letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, asking if she had been briefed about the differences in the parts – and the documents that illustrate them – in advance of Congressional hearings held earlier this month. Clarence Ditlow, the executive director of CAS, and Joan Claybrook, a former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, called on Barra to release all documents that shed light on the decision to select the switch utilizing the shorter detent spring and plunger.

News Source: Center For Auto Safety

Image Credit: Molly Riley / J. Scott Applewhite / AP

VW teases mini CC four-door coupe concept for China

Posted Apr 17th 2014 8:00AM

Rendering of a Volkswagen CC Coupe to be revealed at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, front three-quarter view

In the years before Volkswagen would admit that its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant would build the Passat, it referred to the vehicle the New Midsize Sedan. The sketch above is of sleek four-door called the New Midsize Coupe concept, to be introduced shortly at the Beijing Motor Show, but it warps the dimensions along the Passat-Jetta continuum: it's about 1.2 inches lower and the same amount shorter than the Jetta, but 2.3 inches wider – which makes it a touch wider than the Passat.

The accompanying press release shares just a few other tidbits, highlighting the concept's 220-horsepower, four-cylinder TSI engine on duty up front and the 20-inch low-profile tires it sits on. The project is identified as the "avant-garde proponent of a new, compact saloon class." Its pending introduction in China and production-friendly look has us thinking that this concept will shortly spawn a more compact CC for their roads, but not ours. And like seemingly everything else flowing out of VW these days, we're willing to bet a peek under the sheetmetal will reveal the German automaker's new MQB modular platform, too. You can check out the official words for more clues, in English and German, below.

News Source: Volkswagen

2015 Dodge Charger darts into NY traffic

Posted Apr 17th 2014 12:03AM

2015 Dodge Charger

2015 Dodge ChargerMeet the refreshed 2015 Dodge Charger; notice anything different? You would have to be pretty farsighted to miss the sedan's new Dart-like nose, and it's likely going to be quite polarizing to the car's fans. Gone are the previous furrowed, aggressive headlights in favor of a wider, friendlier look.

While the more rounded headlights and narrower grille are going to be the first thing most people notice, Dodge claims its designers have made changes to nearly every panel on the Charger. The hood dips down deeper at the front, and the doors show off a more angled version of the car's shoulder blister. LED running lights and taillights are standard on all models, and SXT and RT trims get LED foglights. Even though the front might not be as intimidating, Dodge has hung onto the sedan's muscular stance with angular contours making up the rest of the redesign.

Under the hood is the same engine range you've come to know over recent years. Both the 5.7-liter V8 and the 3.6-liter V6 return for 2015, with the Hemi making 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, and the standard Pentestar outputting 292 hp and 260 lb-ft. All models are now equipped with Chrysler's TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic as standard. Fuel economy for V8 Chargers is predicted at 16 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway, compared to 15 mpg / 25 mpg last year with a five-speed automatic. All models also come with electric power steering, and the axles are cast from aluminum to save weight.

The interior sees many of the same changes as the Challenger with a new 7-inch display located between the speedometer and tachometer, and all models but the SE come with an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system with optional navigation. Drivers hang on to a redesigned three-spoke steering wheel with available paddle shifters. There are a ton of new safety assistance features available on the sedan, including lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and more.

Trim levels are simplified from seven entries currently down to four: SE, SXT, R/T and R/T Road and Track. All-wheel drive is now optional on the base SE model, but it's no longer offered on the R/T, which means it won't be possible to get the 5.7-liter V8 driving all four wheels.

The new Charger will be on dealer lots by the end of the year. Scroll down for the entire detailed release on the refreshed sedan.
Related Gallery2015 Dodge Charger R/T
2015 Dodge Charger R/T2015 Dodge Charger R/T2015 Dodge Charger R/T2015 Dodge Charger R/T2015 Dodge Charger R/T2015 Dodge Charger R/T2015 Dodge Charger R/T2015 Dodge Charger R/T

News Source: Dodge

2015 Dodge Challenger gets 6.4L 485-HP V8 Scat Pack

Posted Apr 17th 2014 12:02AM

2015 Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker

While it's not seeing the drastic facelift of its brother, the Charger, at the 2014 New York Auto Show, the 2015 Challenger is packing some upgrades of its own. It wears even more retro-inspired styling cues, and there are new 6.4-liter Scat Pack and Shaker trims.

If you thought the Challenger looked retro before, Dodge is taking things even farther with inspiration for the refresh coming from the iconic 1971 model. Up front, it has a new split grille, a larger power bulge in the hood and projector fog lights. At the rear, the classic inspiration continues with split LED taillights with Gloss Black trim, and a rear valance panel redesigned to make the 2015 model look wider and lower.

2015 Dodge Charger R/TThe '71 motif is carried inside as well with a high-sill center console and aluminum gauge bezels. There's still more than a touch of modernity, with an available 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system and 7-inch customizable display between the retro-inspired speedometer and tachometer. For better safety, the Challenger is also now available with forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross path detection. Stability control and electric power steering are standard across all models too.

The biggest mechanical change for the refresh is that the TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic is now available throughout the range. It's standard on the SXT trim and optional on all other models.

Dodge is also adding the new 6.4-liter Scat Pack and Shaker models. The Scat Pack rumbles with Chrysler's venerable 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) V8, now with 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque, offered with either a six-speed manual or the eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. It also wears Brembo brakes to slow it down, and 20-inch wheels for style. Dodge predicts the big V8 with the automatic will hit 60 miles per hour in the mid-four-second range and sprints the quarter mile in the low 12-second range. The package also adds a bumblebee tail stripe, HID headlights and a gloss black grille surround.

The Shaker is available with either the 6.4-liter or 5.7-liter V8s and boosts performance with a functional hood scoop mated to a cold-air intake. It also comes standard with the Super Track Pak suspension package with Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, a black graphics package and sport seats.

Dodge must think that the retro style of the Challenger is one of its major selling points because it's leaning hard into the look for the refresh. Mixing it with more modern safety equipment is probably a good idea, though. Scroll down to read about all the changes for the 2015 model.

News Source: Dodge

SRT Viper TA adds Anodized Carbon Special Edition

Posted Apr 16th 2014 8:01PM

2015 SRT Viper TA Anodized Carbon Special Edition

Rare is good. Rare cars are very good. Rare Vipers are extra good. So what happens when you add a special edition to an already rare SRT Viper Time Attack? You get the Anodized Carbon Special Edition Viper TA.

SRT was already planning to offer 50 copies of the Anodized Carbon Special Editions, based on the GTS model. While that's pretty rare, the announcement that the last ten AC Vipers will be sold with the Time Attack equipment group makes it one of the most unique Vipers in quite some time.

The new models will wear a special dash plaque, in addition to their very special paint job. Metallic Matte Black paint covers the body, while Satin Black Vapor can be found on the exhausts, fuel door, brake ducts and rear bumper.

While the exterior does away with the TA's trademark orange paint, the interior still sports a bit of the retina-searing color, thanks to the contrast stitching on the cabin's Alcantara trim.

Aside from these few aesthetic changes, this matte gray Viper is just as brutally quick as the TA we drove back in November. You can read all about that test here, or you could just scroll up and have a look at our live images of the Anodized Carbon Special Edition. SRT's press release and stock images are available below.

2015 BMW X4 is a budget X6

Posted Apr 16th 2014 7:40PM

2015 BMW X4

We won't argue that crossovers are hugely successful vehicles, with automakers working to provide functional CUVs in a wide range of sizes. But over at BMW, things are just getting out of hand, as evidenced by this new X4 "Sports Activity Coupe" that debuts here at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

BMW is seeing fit to offer vehicles in even the most niche of niches, and the X4 is no exception. Want proof? Have a look at the X4, and the compare it to the X3, the 3 Series Gran Turismo, the 3 Series Sport Wagon, and the 4 Series Gran Coupe. Aside from marginal differences in things like ground clearance and the exact slope of the hatchback, what, exactly, is the difference?

Like the other models we just mentioned, the X4 is powered by either a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 240 horsepower or a more powerful, 3.0-liter turbo-six with 300 horsepower, and unsurprisingly, power is sent to the ground exclusively via the company's xDrive all-wheel-drive system. An eight-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox available with either engine. All sounds very familiar, right?

Even the shape is familiar, the X4 looking like a smaller, less-functional X6. It's not exactly what we'd call pretty, and it certainly isn't cheap, either. Pricing for the X4 whatcha-mobile starts at $45,625, including destination. Six-cylinder power will cost you just under $50,000, and considering BMW's extensive options list, we don't doubt that you'll easily be able to get one of these up into purely lavish territory.

Scroll down for BMW's official press blast, and check out our fresh crop of live images in the gallery above.

News Source: BMW

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition marks a day we never thought we'd see

Posted Apr 16th 2014 7:19PM

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition

Alfa Romeo has been teasing its return to the United States for years. Each time, it's seemingly been pushed back for one reason or another. The last time we had our Alfa fix fulfilled was when just a few hundred examples of the 8C Competizione crossed the pond late last decade. Now, though, it looks like finally Alfa will be coming back, showing this, the 4C Launch Edition, at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

By now, you should know the brief on the 4C – ultra-lightweight, mid-engined, turbocharged and with non-power-assisted steering. It's a driving instrument, and one we've admired from afar since it hit the European market.

The 4C Launch Edition is the opening volley of Alfa's US return and adds a number of items to the already appealing sports car. The 500 Launch Editions will be limited to three colors - Alfa Red, Rosso Competizione or Madreperla White. It sports standard bi-xenon headlamps, which do away with the polarizing covers that highlighted European models. A carbon-fiber spoiler and mirror caps and unique forged wheels round out the changes for first US-spec 4Cs.

The suspension is firmer, with performance-tuned shocks and stiffer front and rear sway bars. Meanwhile, a racing exhaust should help the turbocharged, four-cylinder engine make its presence known. It doesn't seem like the power output is changing thanks to the new exhaust, although we're expecting the 4C's already throaty warble will sound even better.

You can take a look up top for our full gallery of live images of the new 4C or you can scroll down and take a look at the official press release from Alfa Romeo. Then, hop into the Comments and let us know if you think of the latest Alfa to be sold in the US.

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