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Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

'Pothole Killer' faster than a four-man road crew

39 min 31 sec ago

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Residents of Florida, the American Southwest and everywhere else where snowfall is greeted with the sort of panic normally reserved for extraterrestrial invasions or the discontinuation of Twinkies, look away. This doesn't concern you.

If you live in a land that's been gripped by the Polar Vortex, has experienced immense, record-breaking amounts of snowfall and has the roads to prove it, though, look on this wonderful machine with joy. It's called the Pothole Killer, and it's here to put the traditional patching crew out of business.

It can repair a pothole in two minutes. That's 120 seconds. It gets better, though, because only one person is needed for the job. Compare that with the amount of time it takes a four-man crew to make a typically dodgy repair job, and the Pothole Killer is a big improvement. It's not perfect, though, as shown in a report from Detroit's ABC affiliate.

The mixture used to patch the holes is 35 percent water, which limits the machine's use in cold weather. And as shown in the news report, even though it's plenty quick to make repairs, a few brutal winters are all that are needed to destroy roads all over again. That said, the speed of repairs and the reduction in man power do have their advantages.

What about the cost, though? Well, the machine itself is $335,800, according to Gizmodo. Municipalities can rent it for three months for $130,000, or about $43,300 per month, which, believe it or not, is more affordable than running a four-man crew, which includes labor costs, fuel for the trucks and asphalt (not to mention the slower, less reliable repairs). Monroe County, MI, where this video was shot, has already spent over $100,000 this spring, when repair season generally runs well into the summer. It's not the best solution to the pothole problem, but it seems better than what's been done in the past.

Take a look below to see it in action.

Continue reading 'Pothole Killer' faster than a four-man road crew

'Pothole Killer' faster than a four-man road crew originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

1 hour 14 min ago

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"The Ultimate Driving Machine" has been BMW's tagline for nearly 40 years. Launched in the 1970s, the marketing campaign was a stroke of genius by ad firm Ammirati & Puris, as the phrase helped differentiate the imported Bavarian cars from their fellow European rivals by subtly pointing out that Mercedes-Benz and Audi were offering luxury models, while BMW was selling sporty and youthful driving dynamics. The campaign worked - some would argue that stands among the most effective ad campaigns ever - and countless Baby Boomers embraced the brand's fun-to-drive image by taking delivery of the company's new models.

BMW still boasts that its vehicles are "The Ultimate Driving Machine" four decades later, but the brand is very different today. It offered just a few model lines in the mid-1970s, and only a handful of vehicles within. In 2014, the automaker offers an exhaustive range comprised of nearly a dozen lines with almost 50 different models. To survive and thrive, BMW has decided it must massively broaden its appeal.

One of the latest arrivals to BMW's ever-growing stable is the 2014 3 Series Gran Turismo. The five-door hatchback is best thought of as a smaller version of the company's 5 Series Gran Turismo built on stretched 3 Series platform that, in the case of this test car, shares the running gear of the 328i xDrive sedan. On paper, the five-passenger vehicle checks all the proper boxes with regards to performance, utility and economy. But does this family-focused 3 Series still deliver driving dynamics that qualify it for the title of Ultimate Driving Machine?

Continue reading 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Top Gear producer expresses regret over 'light-hearted' racist joke

1 hour 39 min ago

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Generally, when you're globally known like the team at Top Gear and are getting sued for $1.66 million over claims of racism, it's in your best interest to apologize early, often and profusely. You should not, however, apologize a month after the fact, when the furor had already died down. Someone, apparently, didn't teach this lesson to TG Executive Producer Andy Wilman, who has ruffled feathers with an oddly worded apology for the incident, nearly a month after it happened.

"We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word 'slope' is considered by some to be offensive," Wilman said. Claiming ignorance strikes us as a reasonable defense - most of the Autoblog team and many of the readers that commented on our original story had never heard that particular slur. He then eviscerates his defense by saying this:

"When we used the word 'slope' in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it."


Claiming ignorance that a term is racist and then admitting that you were using said term to refer to someone of a different race kind of indicates that you knew what you were up to.

Wilman then bewilderingly goes on to claim that the phrase isn't well known in the United Kingdom, and that the furor seems to be coming from the United States and Australia. This ignores the fact that a Indian-born British actress and a British law firm are the ones suing Top Gear.

All told, this seems like a pretty bad play on the part of Wilman and the TG team.

Top Gear producer expresses regret over 'light-hearted' racist joke originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mini interns turn Paceman into Adventure pickup

2 hours 10 min ago

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With coupes and convertibles, hatchbacks and crossovers, Mini has done just about every bodystyle we could think of, and then a few more as concepts. But it hasn't done a pickup. At least it hadn't until now.

What we have here is a Mini Paceman (that, of course, being the coupe version of the Countryman) which has been transformed into a pickup by a group of BMW interns. It's called the Mini Paceman Adventure, and it's currently on display at the Mini dealership in Munich. According to BimmerToday.de, the project involved not only chopping the roof and installing a makeshift pickup bed, but also reinforcing the body, reforming the underbody and B-pillar, fitting off-road tires (including a spare fitted to a roof rack) and a handful of other minor modifications.

The photos are a little sketchy (although the dealership tells us a better set will be available soon), but from what we can see, it looks like a pretty solid project - one that makes us wonder if the apprentices' bosses might be paying attention. Because next to the Mini Coupe with its oddball backwards-hat roof treatment, this one-off looks as sensible as you'd expect from a group of German interns.

Mini interns turn Paceman into Adventure pickup originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan recalls 3,065 Pathfinders for transmission fluid leak

2 hours 39 min ago

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Nissan is recalling 3,065 units of the 2013 Pathfinder equipped with the CVT, due to a potential transmission fluid leak. On crossovers built from April 18, 2012 to October 3,2012 "inadequate clamping force" on the hose connected to the internal oil cooler can cause the hose to come loose and let fluid escape. A severe loss of fluid can cause the transmission to stop working properly.

The recall is the result of a safety investigation begun last September, when it was thought a recall could involve 110,000 units of the Pathfinder and Infiniti JX35. Asked for comment about how such a large number of vehicles potentially involved could end up with just 3,065 being recalled, Nissan rep Steve Yaeger told Autoblog that Nissan initiated a service campaign for the issue last year - a service campaign notifies owners to take their vehicles to the dealer for repair of "what is generally not a safety issue" - and that there was a "production improvement" that addressed the clamping issue. The service campaign included the vehicles being recalled, but the recall is limited to just those vehicles that were built before the production-line fix.

Nissan will begin informing affected owners next month, at which time owners can take their vehicles to dealers to have the hose clamp repaired. The press release below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more information.

Continue reading Nissan recalls 3,065 Pathfinders for transmission fluid leak

Nissan recalls 3,065 Pathfinders for transmission fluid leak originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market

3 hours 10 min ago

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The Land Rover hybrid models are growing both in terms of offerings and in size. At the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, the brand unveiled the Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid to join the standard version and Range Rover Sport Hybrid.

The long-wheelbase Range Rover's powertrain is identical to what is offered in the standard Range Rover Hybrid. It combines the brand's SDV6 3.0-liter turbodiesel with an electric motor producing 47 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. It grants a total system output of 335 hp and 516 lb-ft, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox from ZF routes power to all four wheels. The company claims the hybrid adds 265 pounds of weight to the SUV. However, it gives a 26-percent improvement in emissions and is rated at about 37 miles per gallon in the EU combined cycle. It can even run purely on electric power for a mile at speeds up to 30 mph, and regenerative braking keeps the system topped up.

The styling remains nearly identical to the standard LWB Range Rover. There are a few Hybrid badges, and that's about it. However, rear seat passengers get to take advantage of the cavernous backseat that adds 7.3 inches of room over the regular Rangie.

Orders for the SUV begin in May, and Chinese deliveries begin around the end of the year. However, like the rest of the hybrid Range Rovers, it likely won't be coming to North America anytime soon. Last year, Land Rover's US boss said the diesel hybrid would come here eventually, but he didn't give a timeframe. We have contacted the company for an update. Scroll down to read the full release about Land Rover's massive new Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid.

Continue reading Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market

Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota updates Euro-market GT86 suspension, appearance

3 hours 40 min ago

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While we were busy ogling the Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0 with its Yuzu yellow paint and a workover by Toyota Racing Development, and the Japanese Toyota 86 buyers were trying out their Playstation-compatible Sports Drive Logger telemetry system, the European 2015 Toyota GT86 got fitted with some new parts of its own. New on next year's model are stiffer mounts for the front suspension and rear shock absorbers, and new shocks in the back for better damping and less friction. Toyota says the result is sharper steering and less body roll.

Inside, the instrument panel and center console get decorated with a "carbon-fiber motif." There are new shades of pearl white and silver to dress up the outside, and the roof gets a shark-fin antenna for sharper looks and aero. It goes on sale this summer, and you can read everything we just told you in the press release below. We've reached out to Scion to see if we'll get the same upgrades on the FR-S this summer, too, company PR rep Nancy Hubbell telling us, "The European changes are among those being considered for the US model FR-S and we'll have final confirmation soon."

Continue reading Toyota updates Euro-market GT86 suspension, appearance

Toyota updates Euro-market GT86 suspension, appearance originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts

4 hours 27 min ago

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With most recalls seemingly affecting mass-market vehicles, it'd be all too easy to assume, consciously or otherwise, that higher-end automobiles never face such issues. But the main reason we don't see the NHTSA recalling more luxury automobiles isn't because of their quality, we'd postulate: it's because of their relative scarcity.

Take Jaguar Land Rover, recalls of whose vehicles we only seem to have cause to report about once a year. So if you're figuring they're about due, here you go. The Indian-owned British auto group has just announced two recalls, both regarding suspension components: one affecting Jaguars and another concerning - you guessed it - Land Rovers.

First up we have a recall for 2013 to 2014 model year Jaguar XJ, XF and XK models - a whopping 297 of them - which have been found to have problematic toe links. Separation of the toe link from the rear sub-frame could result in impaired stability and control over the vehicle's direction, so JLR is calling them in to replace the nuts and washers on the rear toe links.

Just as simple is the second recall affecting the 2014 Range Rover Evoque. JLR is calling in a grand total of (wait for it) two units to have problematic bolts in the right-hand rear suspension replaced before they separate from the vehicle. Scope out the full details of both recalls in the notices below.

Continue reading Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts

Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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High-tech observatory only uses decades-old diesel trucks

5 hours 13 min ago

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Head on out to Green Bank, WV, and you're likely to notice what looks like a giant satellite dish on the horizon. Only it's not a satellite dish. It's actually a fully steerable radio telescope - the largest of its kind in the world. It's funded by the federal government through the US National Science Foundation and operated by National Radio Astronomy Observatory. In short, it's one of the most advanced telecommunications devices in the world. So you'd expect them to service it with suitably advanced vehicles, right?

Wrong. Radio telescopes are hyper-sensitive to interference. That's why this one is located (alongside the NSA installation at Sugar Grove) inside the United States National Radio Quiet Zone. It's also why the NRAO only uses old diesel trucks to get anywhere near the telescope. Some of those trucks are 45 years old, but because they don't use spark plugs, computerized ECUs or even door chimes, they don't mess with the telescope. Head on over to Driving.ca to read exactly why.

High-tech observatory only uses decades-old diesel trucks originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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R/C fans' film tribute to Fast and Furious franchise

17 hours 11 min ago

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Fans of the Fast and Furious series have about a year to wait before the seventh installment in the franchise hits theaters, but in the meantime, let this homage to the series made with radio-controlled cars whet your appetite. It might lack the actors, but it nails the automotive action.

Vax Studio, the group that made the video, claims to be a group of amateurs, but these folks are incredibly talented. The short gives a real weight to the cars, despite being made from plastic. The makers even add in some computer-generated effects to liven up the action. At times, they actually look like real cars.

Starring a Nissan GT-R, a classic Camaro, a Nissan Silvia and a pair of modern Camaro police cars, it offers a little something for everybody, and it's definitely worth checking out. Scroll down to watch a car chase in small scale.

Continue reading R/C fans' film tribute to Fast and Furious franchise

R/C fans' film tribute to Fast and Furious franchise originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes-Benz MLC prepares to take on BMW X6

17 hours 56 min ago

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Just days ago, we showed you the new Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV - a swoopy crossover aimed squarely at the BMW X6. We sort of figured from the get-go that this thing had serious production intent, and lo, our trusty spy photographers have just caught this prototype of the slick Benz, likely to be named MLC, out on the road.

Even under heavy camouflage, it's easy to see that the shape of the MLC - including specific elements like the front fascia design and S-Class Coupe-inspired taillamps - have carried over from the concept. Good stuff - despite our tendency to roll our eyes at this whole crossover-coupe class, we can't argue that the Mercedes concept is a pretty handsome creation.

Based on the M-Class, our spies suggest that when the MLC goes into production, it'll use the same suite of engines as its more traditional-looking sibling, including a 3.5-liter V6, twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8, and a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6. Of course, the concept car was fitted with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, so there's also a good chance of seeing that in the production car, as well. We wouldn't rule out a hotter AMG-tuned version, either, with that burly 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 underhood.

Based on just how far along in development the MLC seems to be, we don't think it'll be too long before the production car makes its debut. Our best guess: early 2015. Have a look through the gallery above to see more of the MLC prototype.

Mercedes-Benz MLC prepares to take on BMW X6 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What next for Alan Mulally?

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 23:29

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Alan Mulally has emerged as a hero when it comes to American manufacturing. He came to Ford in 2006 after serving as head of Boeing's commercial aircraft division, streamlined operations, sold off the costly elements of its Premier Automotive Group and saved Ford from having to be bailed out by the federal government like its cross-town rivals Chrysler and General Motors did. But as we reported mere days ago, he's widely expected to step down from the chief executive's office at Ford shortly.

So what's next for one of the most successful executives in the business? Hard to say, but don't expect Mulally to disappear into retirement. Though he didn't ultimately take the top job at Microsoft, industry insiders expect to see him in another influential position - likely as a board director or even chairman of another company. (We say "another company" and not Ford because while Bill Ford may have stepped aside as CEO to bring Mulally on board in the first place, we don't see him giving up his chairmanship of the board also.)

Mulally has likely already lined up his next move, and could either announce what that move will be as soon as Ford confirms Mark Fields as his successor, or could wait awhile. Insiders speculate that he could leverage his transportation and aerospace experience into a position at General Electric or a major airline, his manufacturing expertise to benefit a company like Procter & Gamble or his management skills at a consultancy firm.

What next for Alan Mulally? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First production Hongqi L-Series sells at Beijing Motor Show for $800,000

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 23:01

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The Hongqi has arrived, and with it the greater hopes that powerful Chinese will ride in symbols of Chinese power. The Honqi L5 sedan produced by China's FAW Group, first unveiled last year (and called the L9 at the time), is - in some circles - intended to be among the homegrown replacements for the millions of foreign luxury cars the Chinese government purchases for important officials. Shown at this year's Beijing Motor Show in production guise and now available to civilians as well, a Chinese businessman bought the first one for "at least five million yuan" ($801K) according to Bloomberg.

About the length of a Rolls-Royce Phantom and weighing 7,000 pounds, there's an all-aluminum 6.0 liter V-12 up front with 402 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, a hydro-pneumatic suspension and "intelligent" 4-wheel-drive technology below. The passenger quarters mix modern and retro with a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel of sixties design, hand-carved, cloud-motif wood inlays surrounding a stack of digital displays and celadon-jade door handles.

A sub-brand of Chinese automaker FAW, "Hongqi" means "red flag" and the L5 mimes cues from the CA770 sedan FAW built in the fifties for the country's leaders. With its features, price and ostentation, private-sector Mandarin moguls might also make it the Chinese word for "Gatsby."

First production Hongqi L-Series sells at Beijing Motor Show for $800,000 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Citroën CX-R concept makes late debut from China

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:30

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We obsessively covered the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, but apparently Citroën decided it had one more vehicle to debut to join its DS 6WR and DS 5LS R at the Chinese show. This C-XR Concept is far less wildly styled than the two other models, however, as this concept is actually quite close to production spec.

The C-XR blends the styling of Citroën's hatchbacks with some SUV cues. Up front, it has a wide, chrome grille that links directly into the headlights, and lower down, there are vertically mounted LED running lights. The rear pillar has C-shaped chrome accents to link the chrome roof rails and belt line.

The concept isn't really meant to go off-road, but it gets a dash of ruggedness from its protective wheel arch cladding and raised ground clearance. The interior is still a secret, but the top does have a large panoramic sunroof to let light in. The concept's powertrain uses the company's THP 160 petrol engine with stop/start and an automatic gearbox. Scroll down to read the full release about the concept.

Continue reading Citroën CX-R concept makes late debut from China

Citroën CX-R concept makes late debut from China originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Footkhana pits Ken Block against Neymar Jr.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:00

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Whether you're going for speed or for show, professional driving is as much about working the pedals as it about man-handling the wheel and shifter. And nobody does it quite like Ken Block. But is his fancy footwork up to par with that of an international soccer star like Neymar?

That's what sponsor Castrol set out to find out with this latest video. Called Footkhana, it pits the Brazilian footballer against the American rally driver for a little round of friendly Gymkhana-style competition. It's not the first time we're seeing a car used on the soccer pitch - Top Gear had that covered years ago - but for the legions of sports fans who like their motorsports as much as they do their footie, it's a must-see. Check it out below.

Continue reading Footkhana pits Ken Block against Neymar Jr.

Footkhana pits Ken Block against Neymar Jr. originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Helio Castroneves put on probation for sister's Indy-critical tweet

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:30

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Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has learned an important lesson about not sharing his Twitter account, even with family. Following the Grand Prix of Long Beach, where Castroneves finished 11th, a tweet appeared under his account and was later deleted that said: "Indycar officials continuing not punishing some drivers and giving green flag during an accident." It also included an image of a thumbs down over the IndyCar Series logo. It has been preserved online.

Later that day, Castroneves posted two further tweets apologizing for the remark. He said that he didn't write it or agree with it, and that his sister, Kati, was using his Twitter. She wrote on her own account taking full responsibility.

So what's the big deal? Castroneves apologized, and his sister owned up to the mistake. However, the IndyCar Series organizers didn't see it so cleanly. They put the driver on probation until June 30 for violating the sport's social media policy. Castroneves can still race, but he is under higher scrutiny for the time being. He can also appeal the ruling. You can read IndyCar's very brief statement on the probation below.

Continue reading Helio Castroneves put on probation for sister's Indy-critical tweet

Helio Castroneves put on probation for sister's Indy-critical tweet originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:00

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The ink is still drying on the all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade sales brochures, but that hasn't stopped Texas-based Hennessey Performance (HPE) from leaping out of the gate with its own high-performance variant. In stock form, the big fourth-generation Cadillac flagship arrives with a new small block naturally aspirated 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Fresh out of the showroom, the 5,900-pound SUV will sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

While that is plenty fast for some owners, others don't want to be shamed by a 550 horsepower Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG or a 510 horsepower Land Rover Range Rover Sport - both will leave the stock Escalade at a stoplight.

The team at HPE has come to the rescue with its HPE550 supercharger upgrade, which includes a belt-driven supercharger, air-to-water intercooler, recalibrated engine management software and a three-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty. With 6 psi of boost, the direct-injected 6.2-liter is tuned to deliver an impressive 557 horsepower and 542 pound-feet of torque - gains of 32 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over stock. Although HPE isn't releasing performance figures as of yet, our math says that should be enough power to put the two Europeans in the Cadillac's rearview mirror. The company also offers a set of 20-inch lightweight H10 forged monoblock wheels, to further improve performance.

The HPE550 upgrade costs $15,950 installed. If that fits your budget, and satisfies your ego, find more detail from Hennessey in the press release, below.

Continue reading Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Mercedes C-Class order guide leaked

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:29

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We may not have an official starting price for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but as of right now, we can tell you about all the options for the eagerly anticipated new luxury sedan.

Benz Report has the entire order guide for the C-Class, with breakdowns from package pricing to how many different colors, wheel designs and lighting configurations will be available when the new model hits dealers later this year. As we mentioned in our initial review of the C-Class, there will be a pair of engine options, with the now familiar 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations and a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6, which can be had in all-wheel drive, only.

From there, though, the available options are impressive. Much like it does on the current car, Mercedes is offering a pair of packages that sort of define the entire car. With the C300, buyers will have the choice of either a Sport or Luxury package in addition to the base trim, while C400 buyers are limited to the Sport model.

The Sport package costs $2,500 (rising from $2,300 on the current C-Class), although the addition of 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and more supportive seats is sure to soften the blow. The Luxury Package is more reasonably priced, at $650, and options 17-inch multi-spoke wheels, a traditional Mercedes hood ornament, a softer suspension and the customer's choice of wood trim.

Once that's out of the way, buyers are faced with 10 color choices, three optional wheel choices that are independent of the Sport and Luxury packages, and a healthy array of interior leather and leatherette colors, as well as trims. Finally, there are seven option packages.

Most are carry overs from last year, with items like the Premium Pack, Driver Assistance Pack, Lighting Pack and Multimedia Pack seeing moderate tweaks in terms of content and pricing (the biggest price change involves the Lighting Pack, which is actually $640 cheaper). New packages include the $1,190 Airmatic Pack (adjustable Airmatic air suspension), the $2,300 Interior Pack (Vented leather seats, ambient lighting, memory settings for the passenger seat) and the $350 Air Balance Pack (Mercedes scented HVAC system). The standalone options sheet looks fairly vast, until you realize that a number of items are included on certain trims and with certain packages. The big-ticket items include the panoramic sunroof, which sees its price jump from $1,090 to $1,480, while a few items from the Driver Assistance Pack are also available à la carte.

Now, it should be stated that these prices could certainly change before the car arrives later this year. That said, this is a pretty handy guide as to what to expect when it comes time to order your very own C-Class. Hop over to Benz Report and have a look.

2015 Mercedes C-Class order guide leaked originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GoPro learned to hoop from Meadowlark Lemon

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 19:57

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Wait, wait, wait. We promise that there's something to do with cars in this story. Really, there is. It also, though, features some basketball antics. And the entire thing is possible thanks to the magic that is the GoPro.

Strategically situated, the little cameras capture David Kalb, a master when it comes to making trick basketball shots. This time, he's showing just what he can do when launching balls through the sunroof of a Honda Civic. That includes dribbling and sinking a layup (although we think he may have traveled when driving to the net).

Take a look below for the video, and let us know what you think of Kalb's tricks down in Comments.

Continue reading GoPro learned to hoop from Meadowlark Lemon

GoPro learned to hoop from Meadowlark Lemon originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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LaFerrari XX may have lapped Nürburgring in 6:35

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 19:30

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Enthusiasts around the world - ourselves included - have been anxiously awaiting the ultimate supercar showdown. After all, we seldom see three of the world's preeminent exotic automakers come out with such closely matched machinery in such close proximity as we have with the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari. That showdown could occur on no better a playing field than the Nürburgring, but the automakers haven't exactly been playing ball.

Porsche set down a lap time of 6:57, staking its claim as the fastest street-legal production car ever to lap the vaunted Nordschleife. Rather than challenge Zuffenhausen head-on, though, McLaren has only said that the P1 has clocked a time of under seven minutes, and though Ferrari has been testing the new LaFerrari at the Ring, it hasn't released any official time at all. Maranello may, however, be preparing to announce an even faster time.

According to word we're receiving from across the pond, Ferrari has clocked a lap time of 6:35 - only it wasn't achieved in the road-going LaFerrari, but in the upcoming track-bound LaFerrari XX. That model, which was just confirmed and spied last week, will follow in the footsteps of the Enzo-based FXX and the 599XX, which itself recorded a lap time of 6:58 in 2010. Because it's not street-legal, it didn't contend for the same honors, and within a couple of months was pipped on the leaderboard for non-street-legal vehicles by the Pagani Zonda R by over ten seconds.

If verified, the LaFerrari XX lap time would make it the fastest production-based (but, due primarily to its slick tires, not street-legal) car ever to lap the Nürburgring, but would not be enough to dethrone the Porsche 956 in which Stefan Bellof clocked a 6:11 lap time to take pole position at the sports car endurance race in 1983.

LaFerrari XX may have lapped Nürburgring in 6:35 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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