Ah, if we had a nickel for every time we wrote this sentence, we'd be quite well off: Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble again. The notorious host of the BBC's wildly successful Top Gear, Clarkson's latest controversy surrounds a tweet he sent while filming a special for the show in northern Australia.
Apparently, the 54-year-old Englishman chose to broadcast that he was driving with a beer in his car's cupholder. Now, there's nothing wrong with driving a vehicle, sober, with an unopened can of suds in the cabin. You don't get into truly illegal waters until the top has been popped, which Clarkson never admitted to. Still, that hasn't stopped a rather vicious rebuttal from the masses on Twitter, accusing the host of condoning drinking and driving.
One user called the host "a bloody idiot," although a fair few came to his defense, pointing out that he never said he was drinking the beer. Still, for someone that can so effortlessly court controversy, it seems like a pretty absent-minded move on his part, especially considering the rather short leash he's on with the BBC.
This is also not the first time Clarkson has raised the public's ire when it comes to drinking and driving. Clarkson and co-host James May were accused of encouraging the risky behavior by drinking gin and tonics while driving to the North Pole, as part of a previous TG special.
Take a look below for Clarkson's latest attempt at swallowing his own foot.
Top Gear's Clarkson in trouble again over beer tweet originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
BMW obviously builds motorcycles, and Volkswagen Group owns Ducati. Now, fellow German automaker Daimler is hopping into the two-wheel game by buying a 25-percent stake in Italian sportbike maker MV Agusta for an undisclosed price.
According to Daimler's press release, its Mercedes-AMG division is actually the one that's going to be working with MV Agusta in a "long-term partnership," including coordinated marketing and sales. The automaker is also appointing a member to the motorcycle company's board of directors. At this time, there's no mention of actually co-developing models together, though.
"MV Agusta and Mercedes-AMG are a perfect brand fit: Two complementary companies that stand for design, high performance and excellence. Mercedes-AMG will help MV Agusta to further expand globally and to accelerate our growth," said MV Agusta president and CEO Giovanni Castiglioni in Daimler's announcement.
The support of a huge automaker like Daimler might be the jolt that MV Agusta needs at the moment. The company was founded in 1945 and built a reputation for crafting racing-winning motorcycles. However, in recent years things have been tough. Harley-Davidson wasn't able to turn the situation around, and the bike maker has been searching for a buyer for much of this year. First, Fiat was rumored to be interested. More recently, Daimler was reported to be considering purchasing a minority stake. Apparently, that deal worked out in the end. Scroll down to read the official announcement of the purchase.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Unfortunately, for many people, a ride in the back of the hearse is the last chance they ever get to be in a car. In the case of "Madness" from AMS Performance, it could get folks to their final resting place faster than anything else around.
Based around an actual hearse from a 1996 Chevrolet Caprice originally converted by Superior Coaches, Madness has been the ongoing project of AMS Performance Vice President Arne Toman for years. The idea was partially inspired when he saw the Guinness Record for the fastest hearse was a a 13.72-second quarter mile, and that seemed quite beatable.
In the video above, under the hood of this beast is a Chevy LQ4 6.0-liter V8 out of a van with light mods like new cams and valve springs. However, it also has a turbo running at around 23 psi that brings power to around 1,000 horsepower. It makes this hearse go like a bat out of hell, It can hit 60 miles per hour in about 2.3 seconds at the strip, but the interior still has air conditioning, a stereo and all of the original equipment to carry a casket in the back.
Since shooting this video, AMS has installed an upgraded 6.0-liter mill, a new rear differential and stronger transmission, and they reportedly allow power to be bumped to 1,300 hp. It should make the quarter mile go even faster. Check out this clip to see what a 1,000-hp hearse can do at the drag strip, and scroll down to read even more about it.
World's Fastest Hearse now up to 1,300 hp, looking for more records originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Like few other cars we can remember, people want to talk about the 2015 BMW i8. Drive one, and you'll soon find out what we mean. They stop you at gas stations. They accost you in Walgreen's parking lots. They stream out of neighborhood bars, beers in hand.
At least, that was our experience this week during Autoblog's Technology of the Year testing. We had the pleasure of driving the plug-in hybrid BMW sports car up to and around Petoskey, MI, a resort town where seeing such exotics is rare enough, let alone in the off season. It made for some interesting conversations - so we began writing down some of the comments the butterfly-doored coupe inspired. Here's a sampling:
- "Wanna race for pinks? I'll go easy on you." - Acne-covered teenage pizza delivery driver in a sad-looking Ford Taurus parked at a Valero gas station near Grayling (which incidentally didn't actually have gas).
- The proprietor of the Good Hart General Store, a quaint food emporium/post office nestled into the area's famed M-119 'Tunnel of Trees' route, gestured toward me and then said to a woman in the store: "I've almost got him talked into $5,000 and my Jeep." Her laughing response: "Yeah, bullshit!"
- "Is that a 'boy car' or a 'girl car'?" - Female cashier at Pond Hill Farm, a farm/pumpkin patch/trout pond/tasting room/pickler/pig race complex.
- "Is that a Lamborghini, or is that a Ferrari?" - Father with son carrying pumpkins.
- "Well, you must be quite pleased with yourself." *Pauses and again looks at i8* "Understandably." - 20-something woman carrying a tiny sweatered dog.
- "That looks like you're driving the future." - Walgreen's clerk who followed us out to the parking lot after we stopped to buy some pens.
- "I have to ask, with that gorgeous car, are ya'll lost?" - Friendly patrol officer who followed us for eight miles through the Tunnel of Trees, only to turn around and question us in front of the Legs Inn.
2015 BMW i8 sets everyone's tongues wagging in Northern Michigan originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Toyota Prius is the undisputed king of the hybrid market, but Hyundai and Kia are hoping to challenge its reign in the coming years with their own dedicated model. However, in all likelihood this is the same technology being shared between them. "We will take the lead in the future by raising the competitiveness of our environment-friendly cars like hybrid-only cars, plug-in hybrid cars and fuel cell hydrogen cars," Hyundai Motor CEO Kim Choong-ho said to Reuters, during the launch of another vehicle in South Korea.
While Kim didn't say when the model would be ready, Autocar in Europe spoke to people at Kia, who said that the company's own hybrid was two years away and codenamed the DE. The initial vehicle is reportedly a five-door hatchback that's about 169-inches long, with more conventional styling than the Prius. Its powertrain is reportedly based around a 1.6-liter engine with electric assist. A plug-in version might follow later, and other bodystyles on the platform are possible. A recently spotted test mule might show the current state of development on the project (pictured above).
According to Reuters, the decision for the new vehicle comes in order to meet tighter emissions in some markets. However, it seems like a challenging move for the US market. Hyundai already sells its Tucson fuel cell in limited quantities and the Sonata hybrid, and Kia has the Optima hybrid and Soul EV. Industry analysts are also predicting that hybrids might have a hard time versus internal combustion engines in the coming years. In addition, Toyota is rumored to get fuel economy close to 60 miles per gallon for some versions of the next Prius. All of these factors make selling the models here a potentially difficult undertaking.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mopar is heading to the SEMA show in Las Vegas with a fleet of customized vehicles that appeal to enthusiasts of all stripes. There's a Dodge Viper ACR concept that follows in the lineage of the supercar's great road racing past, and a custom Ram ProMaster that might just be the ultimate outdoor party machine.
We got an inside look at Mopar's cars that will be on display at the show, which also include a Dodge Challenger T/A concept, two crazy Jeeps and a Ram 2500 Outdoorsman that could change the way you camp. While these are some of our favorites, Mopar is bringing plenty to SEMA, so let us know your top choices in the comments section.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Any kid lucky enough to grow up in Detroit is familiar with the Henry Ford Museum. It's huge, full of shiny things and a great place to take a child and let them burn off some energy. After several field trips and weekend outings however, the dusty concept vehicles and famous aircraft tend to lose their punch for youngsters. As a fifth grader, I was already gazing on the museum's many gems with glassy eyes. On yet another school trip, we made our way to John F. Kennedy's death car, a gleaming black Lincoln limo. The aging volunteer docent told our little group something I had never heard before.
"You know, this car is haunted. Several employees have reported seeing a gray presence right here," he said, pointing to the back passenger side seat.
I perked up. Now here was something I had never heard before. A haunted car? Sure, it happened in Goosebumps, but this was real life. It made sense, in a way. Cars can be violent, emotional places. That's certainly the case with JFK's limo, as well as the other four cars on this list. And maybe those gut-wrenching deaths can permanently doom a car.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Tesla will soon put its all-electric Model X crossover on sale, and if it's anywhere near as successful as the brand's four-door sedan the Model S, then it'll be a hell of an attention getter for mainstream automakers. Land Rover isn't waiting for proof of the Model X's success, though.
According to reports, Land Rover could be preparing an all-electric Range Rover. Likely more crossover than full-size SUV, the new vehicle would probably be far more aerodynamic than current models. But the new EV would still take advantage of LR's high-tech aluminum structure, and could potentially be a close relative of the production Jaguar C-X17, according to Autocar.
It seems unlikely that this new Land Rover EV will have the off-road chops of the brand's other models, but that doesn't mean that will be useless on the rough stuff. AC, citing Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern, claims that a height-adjustable air suspension will allow a low, aerodynamic ride height for high-speed travel while it can easily be transitioned to a higher level for off-road duty.
As for range, AC believes (and we agree) that a successful effort would need to get as close as possible to the Model S' 265-mile EV range.
Autocar is anticipating a price of around 90,000 pounds, equivalent to $144,000, which roughly matches the cost of a UK-market Model S. If the Range Rover EV comes stateside, we'd wager that prices will start under six figures, much like the US-market Tesla.
Is Land Rover developing an all-electric Tesla Model X rival? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ferrari will pay a $3.5 million penalty for family to comply with oversight requirements set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The federal agency that oversees road safety in the United States announced Friday morning that Ferrari had not submitted early warning reports for the past three years. These reports help the agency identify potential or existing safety threats.
In the wake of the rolling recalls for defective General Motors ignition switches, there has been considerable scrutiny of NHTSA's handling - or mishandling - of these early warning reports. Friday's fine is an indication the agency is taking its enforcement mandates more seriously, albeit against a manufacturer that has no large-scale presence on American roads.
"There is no excuse for failing to follow laws created to keep drivers safe," US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a written statement, "and our aggressive enforcement action today underscores the point that all automakers will be held accountable if they fail to do their part in our mission to keep Americans safe on the road."
Federal law requires manufacturers to file EWR reports quarterly, and NHTSA officials say Ferrari failed to do so for three years and also failed to report three fatal accidents. As a small-volume manufacturer, Ferrari wasn't required to submit the quarterly reports until it fell under the Fiat banner in 2011, though it has always needed to report fatal accidents.
In a statement, Ferrari spokesperson Krista Florin said the missed reporters were inadvertent, and that Ferrari had implemented new procedures to "ensure full compliance in the future."
NHTSA fines Ferrari $3.5 million for missing reports originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ford's booth at the SEMA Show this year looks to have two, big themes. The Blue Oval is bringing over a dozen takes on the 2015 Mustang to the event, and it's now also announcing five customized versions on the 2015 Transit to join the modded pony cars. Each of the vans shows off a different use for the spacious commercial vehicle, from plush luxury to offroad ruggedness.
You probably don't think of the Transit as hitting the trails, but that's just what the take on the design from the Vegas Off-Road Experience (pictured above) is for. The company gives people the opportunity to drive a desert race truck, and this custom is meant to drive them to events. It should be able to take on the terrain a little better with off-road wheels and tires and fender flares, but inside passengers get serious luxury thanks to a 60-inch LED TV and video game systems.
Alternatively the blazing red Designed Travel Transit (right) is all about long road trips. The interior features four captain's chairs with heating, cooling and massage functions, and there's a 4K 50-inch TV to watch. For a touch of added class, the floor is made from hickory.
Formula Drift is going purely for function with its Transit (left). It's meant to be a support vehicle during competitions, and the interior is packed with fire and safety equipment, plus a Kawasaki Mule support vehicle. The series actually plans to use this custom during events next year.
Detroit Custom Coach wanted a vehicle for VIP travel in the city. It seats eight and features a cocktail bar, wood floor and TVs inside.
Finally, Galpin Auto Sports is displaying its Transit Skyliner yet again. It's basically the ultimate in luxury cruising with four captain's chairs, a bar and a 52-inch retractable movie screen with 7.2 surround system. There's even matching luggage. Scroll down to read all of the details about this quintet of customs in Ford's official press release.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Driving a Porsche should feel like a privileged experience. But if you need one with extra space in the back, and have been turned off by the success of the Panamera that has made it ubiquitous, you may be intrigued by Porsche's latest reveal.
Set to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the new Panamera Exclusive Series stands out with some unique touches. It's based on the top-of-the-line Panamera Turbo S Executive, which tells you it comes with the 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 in top 570-horsepower spec, but also with the extended wheelbase that provides for extra space in the otherwise crowded rear seat. And that's not all.
Porsche Exclusive has also given this special-edition Panamera a unique two-tone black and brown paintjob, a set of 20-inch Sport Classic wheels painted black, and an interior done up in Nappa leather - two-tone black and brown to compliment the exterior - with dark walnut and piano black trim and a pair of 10.1-inch rear-seat touchscreens.
Porsche will only offer 100 examples worldwide, each individually numbered and equipped with a set of fitted Poltrona Frau leather luggage - all yours for $263,900 (plus $995 destination). That makes it over $63k more than the base price on the Panamera Turbo S Executive that was already the most expensive model Porsche offers this side of the 918 Spyder (pipping even the 911 Turbo S Cabrio) and also one of the most expensive four-doors on the market.
Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series to debut in LA for $260k originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Looking forward to getting your mitts on a new Land Rover Discovery Sport? Well you should, because it promises to be a markedly better product than the Freelander/LR2 it replaces. Just don't assume it will necessarily be built in the UK, as just about every Land Rover has in the company's 66-year history.
The new Discovery Sport (pictured above in Sao Paulo) will, of course, be built in the UK, at the Halewood plant where the Evoque is made and which has in the past handled the Freelander, the Jaguar X-Type and a variety of Fords. But it will also be assembled for local consumption at JLR's new factory in Changsu, China. And, according to the press release down below, it will also be made for the Latin American market at the new factory being built in Brazil.
The new plant is being built in Itatiaia on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and will come online in 2016. Once it gets up to speed by the end of 2020, it will have the capacity to build 24,000 vehicles each year, ratcheting its workforce up from 400 when it opens to nearly 1,000 when all's said and done.
The Discovery Sport will be one of the products made there for the local market, but it surely won't be the only one. As in China, we expect the Evoque will be built there as well, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the new Jaguar XE join it in the near future, either. Don't expect the Brazilian-made vehicles to be sold in the US, though: those will likely still be imported from the UK... at least, that is, until the facility said to be under consideration for the southern United States opens its doors.
Land Rover to build Discovery Sport at new Brazilian factory originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments