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Take a spin in a street-legal Lancia Group B rally car

Autoblog - 34 min 10 sec ago

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Lancia's death is sad for many, many reasons, chief among which is the end of its wonderful, wild rally heritage. While the brand might best be known for the Stratos and the Delta HF Integrale, there was another big name model, called the 037, that did its best to live up to the family name.

The last of a dying breed, the 037 debuted as a rear-driver at the dawn of all-wheel-drive dominance. Despite its disadvantage, though, it still captured a WRC championship in 1983, and managed to finish second to Audi in 1984 and Peugeot in 1986. It remains the last rear-drive car to win the WRC title.

As per Group B regulations, Lancia built a limited run of homolgation specials. The street version, the 037 Stradale, sports a 2.0-liter, supercharged Abarth engine - detuned from the rally cars, of course - while this particular example benefits from a rortier exhaust, meaning it produces somewhere around 240 horsepower, according to Toledano.

It's a truly stunning piece, and one worthy of coverage by the team at Petrolicious. Take a look at the video.

Continue reading Take a spin in a street-legal Lancia Group B rally car

Take a spin in a street-legal Lancia Group B rally car originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What you missed on 9.17.14

Autoblog - 1 hour 8 min ago

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First Drive: 2015 Kia Sedona

If today's minivan sales are any indication, young parents with newly expanding families just aren't willing to submit to the practical charms of the box-like minivan, if it means looking like their parents in the process. Yet, here is Kia launching an all-new Sedona into an increasingly slim market segment. Does the bling-tastic new sled have what it takes to turn the heads of crossover shoppers?




Detroit, This Is Your New Batmobile

We're not sure if they wear capes, but based on the remarkable images they're able to gather, we think our spy photographers are every-day super heroes. How else can you explain this stunning set of on-the-move images of the Batmobile from the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie? We've caught a glimpse of the car before, but nothing like this full set of pictures, showing the car on the streets of Detroit, and in painstaking detail.




Will the Apple Watch get you busted?

Apple's new wrist gizmo is not the only smartwatch, it's not the first smartwatch, heck, it's not even on sale yet. But it is the product with enough juice to start getting attention from the regulators. A new study out of the UK suggests that use of an Apple Watch while driving could be even more distracting than texting, and will carry the same penalties, too. Will that mindset, and those prohibitions, make their way to your state soon?




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What you missed on 9.17.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford to offer Police Interceptor surveillance tech to competitors [w/video]

Autoblog - 1 hour 35 min ago

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Ford unveiled its surveillance mode technology last year as an option for 2014 Ford Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility models, and it has been a huge success. Now, the automaker and its partner InterMotive Inc. have decided to license the patent-pending system, including possibly to competitors and the military.

The surveillance mode technology is all about improving officers' situational awareness when their vehicle is stationary, and they aren't paying total attention to their surroundings; when filling out paperwork, for example. When an officer activates the system, the rear radar begins monitoring what's happening behind the cruiser. If it detects someone coming up on the vehicle, then the rear camera turns on, the driver's side window closes and the doors lock. Of course, in busy environments with people constantly walking around, the police can also just keep surveillance mode turned off.

The whole setup is meant to give a cop a few extra seconds to ascertain whether a person getting close to their car means them harm. It even recently won the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executive's Award for the technology's ability to improve officer safety.

"We want to assist with and improve the security of all police officers - whether they are using a Ford Police Interceptor or a competitive vehicle," said Randy Freiburger, who supervises Ford's police and ambulance engineering in its relase. Companies that license the tech pay the Blue Oval a fee, and the deals mean expanded proliferation of the automaker's safety systems. Scroll down to see a video of surveillance mode in action and read the full announcement.

Continue reading Ford to offer Police Interceptor surveillance tech to competitors [w/video]

Ford to offer Police Interceptor surveillance tech to competitors [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ferrari 458 Speciale Spider will make Paris debut

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 23:31

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The news out of Ferrari is coming nearly as fast as its wonderful sports cars, as of late, with CEO Luca di Montezemolo stepping down and a special model for America upcoming. Now, it's looking increasingly likely that the 458 Speciale Spider is making its world debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in early October, confirming earlier rumors.

Di Montezemolo had already confirmed that the Prancing Horse would unveil a new car in Paris, but exactly which model it would be had been a mystery. However, an unnamed Ferrari insider has recently confirmed to 4WheelNews that it would be the droptop Speciale.

As the name suggests, the special model takes the sonorous 4.5-liter V8 engine from the 458 Speciale with 597 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque and drops it into the convertible hardtop from the Spider. According to the source, the special Ferrari is also getting new wheels, stripes and seats, but the folding top might mean losing the coupe's transparent engine cover.

There's the possibility that Ferrari could build even more Speciale Spiders than originally thought. Earlier rumors indicated that it might be limited to just 458 units worldwide. However, wealthy buyers reportedly already reserved many of them during private showings. With Sergio Marchionne reportedly scrapping di Montezemolo's 7,000-units-per-year production limit, more of these Prancing Horses could hit the road. Regardless of how many the company makes, we hope this high performance convertible actually shows its face in Paris in a few weeks.

Ferrari 458 Speciale Spider will make Paris debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM dealers have ordered 30k Colorado and Canyon pickups, 3rd shift added

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 22:44

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General Motors has an early success on its hands in the form of the initial rollout of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickup trucks. According to the automaker, dealers have ordered nearly 30,000 of the trucks thus far, a number that far exceeded GM's early expectations.

This high demand for the Colorado and Canyon twins has prompted GM to add a third shift to its Wentzville Assembly plant where the trucks are built, starting early next year. An extra shift will add an additional 750 jobs at the location to the 1,315 that were already employed there, according to the press release that you're welcome to read down below.

Such positive sales projections for the Canyon and Colorado may portend good things for the midsize pickup segment, which was once hugely popular but has more recently contracted, with the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma standing firm as the market leaders. Now that GM's entries are the most up-to-date, and with the segment's first diesel engine on the way, it will be interesting to see how the trucks continue to sell and if their hopeful success leads more automakers back onto the playing field.

Continue reading GM dealers have ordered 30k Colorado and Canyon pickups, 3rd shift added

GM dealers have ordered 30k Colorado and Canyon pickups, 3rd shift added originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan ZEOD RC on track and from behind the wheel

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 22:01

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The Nissan ZEOD RC hybrid racecar has had mixed success in its competition life. It was invented to do a completely electric, high-speed lap at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it was able to do in practice. However, when the big event actually came, the car lasted less than an hour before it had to bow out with transmission issues. Nissan hasn't completely given up on its experiment, though. The experience (and possibly some of the tech) is going to help with the GT-R LM racer next year, and now the ZEOD is getting its chance to see how it handles the Top Gear test track.

Unfortunately, it's not The Stig piloting the ZEOD; instead, the magazine's motoring editor Ollie Marriage is the lucky man for the job. The car's sharp shape seems to be a good metaphor for how it handles because it just seems to dart around the track. Its tiny, turbocharged 1.5-liter engine with 400 horsepower and two electric motors put out a claimed 750 horsepower, and that seems like plenty for the relatively short Top Gear course.

As usual of Top Gear, the cinematography here is fantastic, and a second video shows off a single lap of the course from around the car. It's amazing to watch, especially with its big screen constantly showing the camera view out of the rear. Scroll down to see both.

Continue reading Nissan ZEOD RC on track and from behind the wheel

Nissan ZEOD RC on track and from behind the wheel originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Honda Jazz looks like a good fit for Paris

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 21:28

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The quirky, utilitarian little hatchback that we know as the Honda Fit in the US carries the more melodious Jazz name in Europe. And while the newest Fit is already on sale in our market, folks are still waiting for it across the pond. Honda is unveiling its new Jazz Prototype to the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October, and it's nearly identical to what is currently on sale in North America. In fact, it's hard to image Honda changing much from this "prototype" before launching it for Europeans.

The Jazz's design is exactly what you would expect after even a glance at the current North American Fit. Except for a different wing at the rear, a shark fin antenna and a new set of wheels, this Jazz plays the same tune we've heard before.

The one thing keeping the Fit and Jazz from truly being identical siblings is that the European model packs Honda's new 1.3-liter i-VTEC Earth Dreams engine under the hood, rather than the 1.5-liter used in North America. But just like our Fit, the Jazz will be available with a six-speed manual or CVT. The Japanese automaker says that the Jazz goes on sale in the summer of 2015. Scroll down to read the company's announcement for its upcoming hatch.

Continue reading Honda Jazz looks like a good fit for Paris

Honda Jazz looks like a good fit for Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tesla steps up legal battle over direct sales in New Jersey

Leftlane - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 21:23
Company argues that it is exempt from franchise laws, MVC lacks enforcement authority.






Audi scores first CA autonomous car permit

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 20:45

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Audi apparently knows how to get to the front of a line when it comes to driverless vehicles. The German automaker had the honor of being the very first company to receive one of California's new autonomous vehicle driving permits. It was a perfect followup to it being among the earliest ones to get a similar permit in Nevada a few years ago.

Getting the California permit is a big deal for the automaker because the state is also home to Audi's Electronics Research Lab. Among its current projects, Audi is working on the human-machine interface to communicate whether the person or vehicle is actually controlling the driving. All of this hard work is building toward offering autonomous motoring in freeway conditions in the next five years, Audi claims.

Obviously, autonomous vehicles from companies like Google have been testing in California for a while, but the new permits are meant to safeguard public safety when testing the driverless cars in public. The new rules include things like always having a person able to take control and more stringent standards like registering each autonomous car and the eligible drivers with the state. Any models testing on public roads also have to carry at least $5 million in insurance in case of injury, death or property damage.

Audi has been toiling away at getting autonomous technology to work for years now. In addition to the Nevada testing, it recently showed off its Traffic Jam Assistant, and the company's driverless TTS made it up Pikes Peak in 2010. Scroll down to read about its latest step forward with the next-gen tech.

Continue reading Audi scores first CA autonomous car permit

Audi scores first CA autonomous car permit originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Top Gear pits V8 supercar against stunt plane, Komatsu tractor

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 20:00

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Traditional motorsports pit a bunch of roughly equivalent vehicles over a course to find out which driver has the most skill and which car has the right tweaks to score a victory against the competitors. But Top Gear is anything but traditional. It decided to stage two very different kinds of races to see how things went during the Top Gear Festival Sydney.

The first race of this video has Australian V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup in a Holden competing against a stunt plane. Unfortunately, even the hosts admit that the stunt doesn't quite go as expected, but it all looks pretty good as everything goes wrong.

The next competition probably goes closer to plan as Whincup lines up alongside James "Captain Slow" May in a Komatsu front-end loader. Obviously, the heads-up race would never work; so the challenge is much simpler. May just has to drive the 1,970 feet to the finish line faster than the V8 Supercar laps the whole 1.74-mile track. Whincup manages some impressive drifts during his lap. Check out the video to see who wins the two challenges.

Continue reading Top Gear pits V8 supercar against stunt plane, Komatsu tractor

Top Gear pits V8 supercar against stunt plane, Komatsu tractor originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lamborghini announces new car coming to Paris with cryptic teaser

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 19:15

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"Once perfection is achieved, you can just double it."

What in the name of Ferruccio Lamborghini does that mean? Well, we have no idea, and we think that's sorta the point. Lamborghini wants us to know that it's bringing something very interesting to the Paris Motor Show, and it wants the public and press alike wondering what it might have up its finely tailored sleeves.

Taking a look at the white-on-black line drawing that accompanies the teaser (click above to enlarge), we note a pretty clear fastback shape, which reminds us of the classic Espada, and we also know that the brand has long been considering a four-door sedan to add to its high-performance portfolio. Either way, a four-seater or a four-door machine could seemingly fit with the "double it" tagline of the teaser, and we're really just speculating anyway.

So, while we get nary a blink of sleep ahead of the car's October 2nd Paris debut, feel free to dissect the teaser yourselves and let us know what you think it is in Comments.

Lamborghini announces new car coming to Paris with cryptic teaser originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lamborghini teases mystery model for Paris debut

Leftlane - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 19:07
"Once perfection is achieved, you can just double it," event notice says.






Safety advocates quickly target Apple Watch for distracted driving

Leftlane - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 18:37
Regulators revive push against wearable technology behind the wheel.






Kia Soul getting turbo power, possible AWD

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 18:29

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It's been a long time coming, but it appears we might finally see a turbocharged Kia Soul next year. Kia officials reportedly confirmed the hotter Soul to Motor Trend recently, and also stated that the company is (still) investigating the use of all-wheel drive for the next generation of its boxy hatchback.

The turbo Soul will arrive with the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder found in the Forte, rated at 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. According to Motor Trend, Kia wanted to launch the hotter Soul this year, but didn't have the retuned steering or suspension calibration, as well as the larger brakes, ready in time. Transmission pairings weren't discussed, but Kia does mate both its six-speed manual and automatic units to the 1.6T.

As for all-wheel drive, this isn't the first time we've heard reports on this front, and it seems like a pretty natural fit, to us. Adding AWD would allow the Soul to better compete with vehicles like the Nissan Juke and the upcoming Chevy Trax and Jeep Renegade. But as of right now, a four-wheels-driven Soul hasn't been given an official go-ahead.

Kia Soul getting turbo power, possible AWD originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat gets 22 mpg EPA highway rating

Leftlane - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 17:57
Chrysler attempts to dispel rumors of emissions troubles.






Complete set of Batmobile images snapped on streets of Detroit

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 17:46

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Detroiters have been spotting the newest Batmobile from the upcoming film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, for a few weeks now. The leaks were steady enough that director Zack Snyder even tweeted out a glossy (yet cropped) image of how the vehicle will actually appear in the movie.

Still, we were as happy as kids when we saw this new set of Batmobile spy shots come through today, as there's nothing like seeing this movie-star-car in a real-life setting to emphasize just how wild it really is.

As we discussed before, heavy doses of the outgoing Tumbler Batmobile can be seen in the XXL proportions and glancing armor plating of this new car, though the sleek domed cockpit harkens back to Tim Burton's vision for the thing. Take a look at some of the snaps with the Batmobile next to cars on the street, and you'll get an idea of just how long and wide it really is.

It's notable, too, that this version of The Dark Knight's wheels is, perhaps, the most overtly offensive from an armaments perspective. The twinned guns on the nose of the car are far less subtle than hidden weapons on other Batmobiles - a topic discussed in some length after the Snyder shot was released. Perhaps having some extra shells in the air will be helpful when going up against The Man of Steel?

Complete set of Batmobile images snapped on streets of Detroit originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Kia Sedona

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 16:59

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Minivan sales have stagnated in recent years, and Kia tells me that no fewer than 15 models have been completely eliminated from the market since crossovers rose to prominence. So why in the world is the company not only sticking by the Sedona, but also actively investing in it, giving it a complete overhaul for the 2015 model year?

The Korean automaker isn't convinced that the minivan's "family box" reputation is truly warranted, and it sees an opportunity to snare younger, more active buyers by designing, engineering and marketing the Sedona as something versatile, edgy and comfortable. While that logic may seem both a bit familiar and somewhat far-fetched, Kia says forty-five percent of minivan buyers don't actually have kids and are instead simply looking for space, so the approach should be based at least in part on sound reasoning.

I spent an afternoon in Northern California behind the wheel of Kia's new non-minivan with a healthy does of skepticism about its new strategy, but an open mind, as well. Does the Sedona's execution live up to Kia's lofty criteria and expectations of what a nontraditional minivan should be? Will buyers ditch their CUVs for something with a little more junk in the trunk? Read on to find out.

Continue reading 2015 Kia Sedona

2015 Kia Sedona originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Is it illegal to use the Apple Watch while driving?

Autoblog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 16:29

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In conjunction with the typical Internet feeding frenzy that goes hand in hand with the announcement of each new iPhone, Apple has been cited in countless headlines this week after its debut of its new Apple Watch on September 9. The so-called "smartwatch" is far from an industry first - Samsung, Motorola and Pebble all have models on the market, and who can forget 2003's Fossil Wrist PDA? - but as per usual, Apple's entry is garnering more than its fair share of media attention.

The Apple Watch ("iWatch" to many) has also raised interest of a more ominous sort from certain regulatory bodies. Last week, multiple automotive outlets in the United Kingdom ran stories quoting officials from that country's Department for Transport as saying that use of an iWatch while driving would carry the same penalty as use of a mobile phone. For the Brits, then, getting nabbed checking an alert on one's wrist might mean the same 100-pound fine (about $160) that was instated last August.

For the Brits, getting nabbed checking an alert on one's wrist might mean a $160 fine.

If that seems like a strong response to a product that won't even hit the market until next year, UK road safety research body the Institute of Advanced Motorists would like to have a word. In a recent release, the IAM unfavorably compares the use of a smartwatch while driving to its studies of smartphone use, suggesting that such watches might demand two-handed use by drivers with "constant alerts" requiring "regular attention" from those behind the wheel.

Now, as right-hand steering wheels will tell you, the British and we Americans don't always see eye-to-eye on traffic code. With the exception of a few challenges to the legality of driving with Google Glass, distracted driving laws in the US haven't seemed to move past the paradigms of smartphones, hands-free headsets and texting.

Distraction.gov compiles a list of the distracted driving laws from state to state in the US, which really run the gamut from no bans at all (Montana), to primary offenses for the use of handheld phones, all texting, and any cell phone use whatsoever for bus drivers (California).

Most states have some laws on the books regarding texting while driving, however, as its consumption of visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver is the most negatively engaging.

Importantly, a lot of distracted driving laws also use the term "handheld" in their prohibitions. A smartwatch might not require the use of your hand any more than a traditional watch does, though many (Apple Watch included) will use touch controls for some features. It's logical that some of the "handheld" laws might transition to smartwatch use, though it's still pretty difficult to understand how these bans might be enforced with any consistency.

We reached out to representatives at the US Department of Transportation and others for comment, and have yet to get a statement, but the truth seems to be that this is an area that is still just being considered for study. As ever, the legal code will trail technology despite the best efforts of all involved. One thing seems pretty clear even now, though - we're all better drivers with both hands on the steering wheel.

Is it illegal to use the Apple Watch while driving? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spied: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Leftlane - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 16:26
Mercedes is planning a major overhaul for its E-Class sedan.






Paris preview: Citroen's 141mpg C4 Cactus Airflow 2L concept

Leftlane - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 16:18
Concept features improved aerodynamics, lightweight construction, 3-cylinder engine.