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2015 Fiat 500X offers Italian Renegade spirit

Posted Nov 20th 2014 12:01AM

2015 Fiat 500X

The 500X will be built alongside the Jeep Renegade at Fiat's Melfi, Italy factory, with sales to begin during the first half of 2015.

Fiat is following up on the March unveiling of the Jeep Renegade with its own compact crossover, the oft-rumored and teased 500X, which is making its big debut later today at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Like the Renegade on which it shares a platform, the 500X comes to bat with the choice of a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder – the same 160-horsepower, 184-pound-feet mill used in the 500L, 500 Abarth and Dodge Dart – or Chrysler's 2.4-liter, 180-horsepower Tigershark four-cylinder. Also like the adorable Jeep, 500X customers can have their turbocharged engine with a six-speed manual, while the 2.4 is paired with a nine-speed auto. Front-drive is standard, while the optional all-wheel-drive system features a disconnecting rear axle for improved economy.

While the bits under the hood are identical to the Renegade, this new model dispatches the Jeep's blocky SUV-inspired looks for something more in keeping with a modern crossover. The influences from the 500L are clear, but Fiat's designers at Centro Stile in Turin have delivered something less polarizing than the brand's five-door hatch. The fascia is rounder with a trapezoidal nose to more closely resemble the standard 500, while the roofline plunges more aggressively at the rear of the car, creating a larger C-pillar. That move in particular goes a long way towards cancelling out the square shape. The total effect is a design that is far more elegant, especially in the Matte Bronze shown above.

The 500X also departs from the appearance of the Renegade in its cabin, where there's a chic Italian-ness on display. The dash is quite reminiscent of the 500L, but departs noticeably in the instrument cluster, where a three-binnacle setup can be found, complete with a central 3.5-inch TFT display. The central touchscreen is a five-inch unit, although Fiat will also offer a larger 6.5-inch display for those that enjoy a bit more screen real estate. Upholstery choices are decidedly Italian, with Fiat offering standard contrasting designs (black and red or dark brown and gray), as well as the rich Tobacco brown leather seats, shown above.

The 2015 500X will be available in five different trims, four of which should be familiar to Fiat customers. The base Pop, mid-level Easy and premium Lounge trims are joined by a more rugged and assertively styled Trekking and Trekking Plus. The 500X will be built alongside the Renegade at Fiat's Melfi, Italy factory, with sales to begin during the first half of 2015.

We'll have more on the 500X when it hits the stage in LA later today. While you wait for that, be sure to scroll down for Fiat's full press blast on its latest offering.

News Source: Fiat

BMW i8 named Autoblog's 2014 Technology of the Year [w/video]

Posted Nov 19th 2014 10:00PM

Autoblog 2014 Technology of the Year Award

The winner of Autoblog's 2014 Technology of the Year award was given this year for not just one technology, but for how a suite of technologies worked together to make one impressive vehicle.

The BMW i8 was named the winner Wednesday night at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles, just outside the Los Angeles Auto Show. Autoblog's editorial staff agreed that the i8, which drew crowds of attention during our testing days, represents a future of driving that we can't wait to see happen.

"I do believe that green vehicles solve a very fundamental problem, and if a car like the i8 can get a rich man with good knees (to get in and out of the car) to drive something with a plug instead of a 12-mpg sports car, then mission accomplished," says Sebastian Blanco, editor of AutoblogGreen and one of our judges.

The panel reviewed nearly 50 qualified submissions from readers, editorial staff and industry, the panel of judges named the following as finalists: Ultimately, we picked the car that excited us the most. The BMW i8 has a throaty exhaust note when accelerating. It's got carbon fiber, and a plug-in hybrid system that uses a small 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor. It has through-the-road all-wheel drive, and in Europe it'll come with laser beams for headlights.

All that, and it's a massive eye catcher. People stop and stare when they see this car, for good reason. It's simply gorgeous. For a more in-depth look at our testing of the car, click here.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a knight in white satin

Posted Nov 19th 2014 8:30PM

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

We're not going to lie to you. The reason you're seeing the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata on these pages again is solely because this is the first time we're seeing the roadster displayed in a color other than the ruby shade it was first shown in. Okay, okay, so this is the first time the Miata is being displayed at a North American auto show other than SEMA, and we'd say that this is the first time Mazda is showing a US-spec model, but clearly this is a right-hand-drive car. Either way, there's still not much to it yet, especially since Mazda is still withholding power and performance figures.

As expected, the ND Miata, as it is already known among the cognoscenti, will receive a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder and the buyer's choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic here in the US. The 1.5-liter model engine that had been linked to the car back in the rumormill stage will not make it to our showrooms.

Preliminary specifications still show the Miata measuring just 154.1 inches in length overall, with an increased track width to 68.1 inches and a low, low overall height of 49.0 inches. Despite the larger-displacement engine and its presumably heavier weight, Mazda is still claiming ideal 50:50 weight distribution and a weight loss of over 220 pounds versus today's NC generation. All of which sounds like the Miata has the right ingredients to make good on its promised Jinba Ittai ("rider and horse as one") driving experience.

It might be just plain ol' white paint, but you can color us excited.

Mini forgets to bring car to LA, shows Citysurfer concept scooter

Posted Nov 19th 2014 8:05PM

Mini Citysurfer Concept

See that red thing? It's the Mini Citysurfer Concept. It is not, in case you were wondering, an automobile. Yet despite this apparent shortcoming, Mini has placed it on a plinth at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The electric scooter weighs in at 40 pounds, can hit 15 miles per hour, cover 10 to 15 miles and can be folded up and charged in the trunk of a Mini Cooper (or any other vehicle with a 12-volt outlet and a roomy enough cargo area). According to the British marque, these qualities will give the scooter's owner the "spontaneous and convenient mobility even in those sections of an urban area not accessible to motorized vehicles."

It's not terribly difficult to see the appeal, as Mini explains it. With urban congestion becoming an increasingly serious problem – and some cities beginning to ban cars outright – the idea of an easy to charge and easy to stow runabout is extremely attractive. That's doubly true in the case of the Citysurfer, which is rather well equipped, as far as scooters go.

It rides on pneumatic tires with a disc brake on each end, while the vital electrical bits are protected from dirt and rain by the scooter's trim. In terms of rider comfort, the Citysurfer features a height-adjustable steering shaft and smartphone holder, so riders can navigate over the last mile of the trip.

Take a look below for the official press release on the Citysurfer Concept from Mini, and then head into Comments if you'd be interested in this sort of solution for urban driving.
Related GalleryMini Citysurfer Concept
Mini Citysurfer ConceptMini Citysurfer ConceptMini Citysurfer ConceptMini Citysurfer ConceptMini Citysurfer ConceptMini Citysurfer ConceptMini Citysurfer Concept

News Source: Mini

Lexus LF-C2 Concept shows polarizing looks are here to stay

Posted Nov 19th 2014 7:39PM

Lexus LF-C2 Concept

Well, that's one question answered. When Lexus released the first teaser for its LF-C2 Concept, we figured it'd be one of two things – either it'd be a convertible based on the LF-LC Concept car or it'd be a thinly veiled concept version of the RC Convertible. Turns out, it's kind of both.

The LF-LC styling straddles the wilder, concepty looks of the LF-LC and the still wild, but more grounded, looks of the RC. That doesn't mean it's not a polarizing piece of design, with Lexus styling trademarks like the dominating spindle grille and separate LED running lights. Lexus' knife-edge cuts and folds in the bodywork have been toned down relative to past concepts, but the overall look here, particularly in the rear fenders, is rather busy.

"The LF-C2 concept shows what's in store for our brand's future design direction," Lexus boss Jeff Bracken said. "This concept shows consumers around the world Lexus' devotion to emotional designs as well as our passion for an exceptional driving experience."

While it may be a four-seat convertible like the IS Convertible, the C2 differs in a big way, deleting any semblance of a roof mechanism. That's right, it's open air, all the time. That allows us to easily peak into a cabin that looks more like the interior of a production Lexus than a concept car. It's a nice piece of design that previews Lexus interior stylings, particularly with the dual-screen center stack. The decision to cover nearly every surface in shades of gray and white leather makes for a clean, stylish place interior, as well.

While Lexus doesn't give any indication of the production intent for the LF-C2 – meaning we don't know for certain whether a version of it will supplant the IS Convertible – the brand is unequivocal in its plans for the concept's styling language. How do you feel about that? Do you think the LF-C2's looks will do well when translated to a production car? Take a look at the gallery of live images, give the press release a read and then let us know what you think in Comments.

News Source: Lexus

Image Credit: Live images copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Obama nominates Mark Rosekind for next NHTSA administrator

Current NTSB Board Member Could Fill Void

Posted Nov 19th 2014 7:20PM

2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 1

Amid two of the greatest safety crises in automotive history, the federal agency charged with protecting American motorists may finally have a new leader.

The White House announced Wednesday that President Obama has nominated Mark Rosekind to become the next administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Rosekind has served the past four years as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, the independent government organization that investigates transportation accidents and makes recommendations to other agencies on how to strengthen safety. His appointment is still subject to Senate approval, but safety advocates believe he'll be an effective new leader for the beleaguered agency.

"I think he understands how to get things done and move things along," Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, tells Autoblog. "Washington is obviously a very polarized political community right now, and I think he'll be the kind of guy who can work with a lot of different organizations and bring them to the table."

Chevy reveals diesel-powered Colorado ZR2 Concept [w/video]

Posted Nov 19th 2014 7:00PM

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept, featuring the 2.8L Duramax Turbo Diesel. Â Taking off-roading to the next level.

Chevrolet is reintroducing its best-known off-road badge for the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, with the return of the ZR2 on the all-new Colorado pickup. While we're plenty excited about this particular concept, it's what sits under the hood that we're most excited for, because this particular vehicle is motivated by Chevy's eagerly anticipated 2.8-liter Duramax diesel.

With 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, this diesel-powered Colorado has a lot more going for it than just its engine. Its body is some four inches wider than the current top-end Colorado Z71 and features new front and rear fascias with integral skid plates, a built-in winch and flip-out tow hooks.

The ZR2 Concept isn't just all shirt and no trousers – it will be better able to handle trails, with increased stability and more aggressive approach and departure angles (30.7/22.7 degrees versus 25/21 on the Z71) thanks to the aforementioned body tweaks, two-inch lift and King coilover shocks. Adding to the concept's off-road abilities are 275/65 tires on 18-inch "bead-lock-style" wheels and electronically locking front and rear differentials.

In the cabin, Chevrolet has made a few aesthetic tweaks, with embroidered ZR2 logos in the headrests and new floormats. More functionally, though, are a new set of auxiliary switches for controlling the diffs and the winch.

Scroll down for the official press release from Chevrolet and check back for more on the ZR2 Concept from the floor of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Related GalleryChevrolet ZR2 Concept
Chevrolet ZR2 ConceptChevrolet ZR2 ConceptChevrolet ZR2 ConceptChevrolet ZR2 ConceptChevrolet ZR2 ConceptChevrolet ZR2 Concept

News Source: Chevrolet via YouTube

2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg [UPDATE]

Posted Nov 19th 2014 6:40PM

2015 Toyota Prius C

UPDATE: A previous version of this story said the Toyota Prius C returned 53 miles per gallon on the highway and 46 mpg in the city. This is incorrect. The Prius C actually returns 53 mpg in the city and 46 on the highway. The text has been edited to reflect this.

Few vehicles can match the affordable fuel economy of the $19,000, 53-mile-per-gallon Toyota Prius C, and that fact isn't likely to change for 2015, as the Japanese company has issued a moderate refresh of its sub-compact hybrid.

As mid-cycle refreshes go, this is a pretty standard affair, with a larger grille and tweaked LED headlights at the front of the Prius C, and more expressive taillights at the back. Toyota made some minor changes in the cabin, updating materials throughout, but not fiddling too much with the overall level of equipment.

Aside from those modest changes, this is the same fuel-efficient five-door, retaining its 1.5-liter, 73-horsepower, 82-pound-foot four-cylinder, while an electric motor tosses in an extra 26 ponies, for a total system output of 99 horsepower. Along with the 53-mpg city rating, the C will return 46 mpg on the highway.

Take a look below for the full press release from Toyota, and then be sure to check out the full gallery of live images, straight from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

News Source: Toyota

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Maserati Quattroporte gets the lightest possible updates

Posted Nov 19th 2014 6:20PM

2015 Maserati Quattroporte GTS

A week after its debut on the interwebs, Maserati has trotted out its freshened Quattroporte range at the LA Auto Show, giving us our first in-person look at the changes to the top-of-the-line GTS trim.

Maserati has tweaked the headlights across the range, while the GTS gains new body-color trim pieces on the lower bodywork. Red badging on the wheelcaps and and a freshened trident badge are some of the more obvious changes, while new lower bodywork is matched to the main exterior color. While these tweaks are nice, we aren't totally sure they deliver on the "sportier and aggressive appearance" that the Italian company is aiming for in model year 2015.

What do you think? Could Maserati have stood to go further for the 2015 Quattroporte, or is this sort of super-light freshening just what the doctor ordered? Let us know what you think in Comments.

News Source: Maserati

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 is a silver arrow aimed at Bentley [w/video]

Posted Nov 19th 2014 5:59PM

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600

The Mercedes-Maybach S600 is a car made for a town like Los Angeles, which so thoroughly enjoys excess. We're not only discussing the new car's wildly opulent interior, which is arguably the nicest ever fitted to a car with a Silver Arrow on its nose, but its mechanicals. Mercedes-Benz's engineers have had as much of a field day with the greasy bits of the Maybach S600 as the designers did with the cabin.

Under hood sits a 523-horsepower, 612-pound-foot, twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter V12 that can sling the upmarket S600 to 60 miles per hour in five seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. While those figures aren't immensely impressive, what they are, to borrow a phrase from Rolls-Royce, is "sufficient." Regardless, with peak torque coming in at just 1,900 rpm, we've little doubt any of the chauffeurs driving the Maybach will be complaining.

There's not much information available in Mercedes' sprawling press release on the suspension technology in its flagship S-Class, but expect some iteration of the brand's stellar Magic Body Control to deliver a truly sublime ride and handling experience.

Beyond that, though, the Maybach S600 should be exceedingly quiet, as its development benefitted from a new aeroacoustics which Mercedes claims makes it the quietest sedan on the planet. Noise-insulating seats, "intelligent air ducting," and even the wheel linings are feature specific items aimed at reducing unpleasant noises from the road.

The Maybach S600 would be impressive for its mechanicals alone, but it's the overall package that has us itching to drive this ultra-luxurious stunner. Until we can present you with what will probably be some extremely positive driving impressions, though, you'll have to settle for our live images from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Take a look at those, and then give a second look at Mercedes' massive press release on the king of the S-Class range.

News Source: Mercedes-Benz

Image Credit: Live images copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2016 Mazda CX-5 keeps it simple

Posted Nov 19th 2014 5:40PM

2016 Mazda CX-5

2016 Mazda CX-5 interiorTake a long, hard look, folks. This is the refreshed 2016 Mazda CX-5, which makes its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show today. And if you're thinking, "Say, that looks just like the old one," you really aren't alone. The visible updates certainly aren't major – Mazda has instead focused on giving the already-good CX-5 some thoughtful upgrades to make it a more attractive package than ever.

Outside, there are some slight changes to the styling, including new LED light signatures at the front and rear, as well as redesigned foglamp housings. Uplevel models also ride on attractive new 19-inch alloy wheels, with a dark finish.

Under the hood, it's all the same. Mazda's Skyactiv 2.0- and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines carry over, with 155 and 184 horsepower, respectively. Front-wheel-drive, 2.5-liter models get a small bump in fuel economy, too – the CUV is now rated at 26 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway, up from 25/32. Models equipped with the automatic transmission now benefit from different drive modes, as well.

Moving inside the cabin, the biggest news is the upgrade to the newer Mazda Connect infotainment system that debuted in the Mazda3. It uses a larger screen, with a cleaner, better-designed interface. This is an update that couldn't come soon enough. Additional interior improvements include more sound deadening, a new electronic parking brake, as well as some improved material and trim finishes. There's a host of new active safety features available, too, including radar-based cruise control with auto-brake support, lane-departure warning, and so on.

Read the full list of updates in Mazda's press release, below, and have a look at the 2016 CX-5 in the gallery above.
Related Gallery2016 Mazda CX-5: LA 2014
2016 Mazda CX-5: LA 20142016 Mazda CX-5: LA 20142016 Mazda CX-5: LA 20142016 Mazda CX-5: LA 20142016 Mazda CX-5: LA 20142016 Mazda CX-5: LA 20142016 Mazda CX-5: LA 20142016 Mazda CX-5: LA 2014

News Source: Mazda

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series is a seriously quick way to spend $260k

Posted Nov 19th 2014 5:20PM

2015 Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series

Porsche is usually associated with being a sports car brand, but with vehicles like the Cayenne and Panamera it takes a step into the world of luxury against firmly established players like Mercedes-Benz. One way for the company to poke its head above the high-class fray is by taking things further, and in the case of the Panamera Exclusive Series at the Los Angeles Auto Show, it means pushing grandeur to extreme levels.

Coming in at an absolutely eye-watering $263,900, plus $995 destination, the Panamera Exclusive starts its life as the already sumptuous Panamera Turbo S Executive with a 4.8-liter, twin-turbo V8 making 570 horsepower on an extended wheelbase. To help justify the extra $63,000 for the Exclusive, though, the model gets 20-inch black Sport Classic wheels and an interior in swaddled in Nappa leather with dark walnut and piano black trim. Rear passengers also get 10.1-inch touchscreens mounted on the back of the front seats. A set of fitted Poltrana Frau leather luggage is included with each one, as well.

The luxurious sedan earns it Exclusive moniker because just 100 of them are being made worldwide. Scroll down to read about Porsche's ultimate limousine.

News Source: Porsche

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Nissan details Craigslist 1996 Maxima restoration

Posted Nov 19th 2014 5:01PM

"Luxury Defined," in the most ironic sense the galaxy has ever known, is now "Luxury Restored," in the real and incredible sense. Last September, Luke Aker made ads to sell his 1996 Nissan Maxima GLE, the YouTube version being a mix truth, bombast, a British accent and a ratchet strap. The ad tickled Nissan such that it bought the car from Akes and made a donation to a charity of his choice. Then they consulted with the citizens of the Internet to decide what to do with it, the final vote being a complete restoration and display at the company's Nashville HQ.

Friends, Netizens, countrymen, the job is done. Nicknamed "Old Glory," comparing the old car with the new is like reading one of those shelter dog rescue stories where the loving family nurses an impossibly cute pup back to health with handheld nursing sessions, baby bottles of warm milk and whispered lullabies. Only Nissan probably didn't sing to the Maxima.

The Maxima is now on display, and we hope they've hung the ratchet strap with it. You can see Aker's new video on the transformation above, plus another video and press release below detailing the Maxima's journey back to New Glory.

News Source: Nissan

Audi R8 bids adieu with the 570-hp Competition in LA

Posted Nov 19th 2014 5:01PM

2015 Audi R8 Competition

Audi is saying auf Wiedersehen to the first-gen R8 at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the best way possible – the even more powerful, limited edition 2015 R8 Competition. This might be the vehicle's swansong, but it's going out with a bang.

Audi is sending just 60 of these supercars to the US, and the heart and soul is a beefed up version of the 5.2-liter V10 from the V10 Plus model. The mill now makes 570 horsepower, a 20-hp boost, and is mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch S Tronic gearbox. Audi claims that the potent package shoots the Competition to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and to a max speed of 199 mph.

The extra ponies might be enough for some, but Audi really wants to make the Competition something special. Matte carbon fiber pieces replace areas around the car, including the rear spoiler, side slides, front spoiler, rear diffuser and center console. For contrast, the wheels and exhaust pipes are painted in high-gloss black. Ceramic brake discs should be a useful aid with deceleration, too.

Orders for these scarce coupes begin in November and deliveries start in early 2015. A new R8 is due to be built at a factory in Neckarsulm eventually, but this is quite a way to say adieu for now. Scroll down for the full scoop on Audi's limited supercar.

News Source: Audi

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL


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