Lexus has taken aim squarely at the likes of Mercedes-AMG and BMW M GmbH with its F line of performance models like the old IS F and the new RC F - and now it's preparing to showcase another one at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.
There's little information to go on from the brief statement accompanying these two teaser images, but the Japanese automaker refers to its as "a track-ready" model. Could that mean a more extreme version of the RC F? Possibly, but the headlights are different - just like the units on the LF-C2 concept were different as well. It could just as easily be a concept for a new GS or LS sedan in F spec, even a reboot of the CT hybrid hatchback, or maybe a showcar of another nature altogether.
Whatever it is, it looks enticing, what with the carbon fiber bits, low-profile rubber, lightweight alloys and oversized brakes. As for what form it'll take, we'll find out sooner or later, so watch this space.Permalink | Email this | Comments
About a month ago KTM announced the development of a new racecar in conjunction with Reiter Engineering, which we know mostly from its Lamborghini FIA GT racers. Based on the X-Bow, the renderings so far show the exterior gets a fully enclosed cockpit, some serious wheel arches and a giant wing hanging off the back; the front aspect reminds us of the Gumpert Apollo. It doesn't have a name yet, but is being engineered to run in both the SRO GT4 European racing series and the GT-S class in the Pirelli World Challenge.
The Audi-sourced 2.0-liter TSFI engine will churn out roughly 320 horsepower and get it up to speed via a Holinger six-speed sequential gearbox, a racing ABS system slows everything down. Reiter doesn't quote final numbers yet, waiting to find out what the balance-of-power regulations in both series' will dictate.
The new racer will be sold and maintained by Reiter, and should be ready for next year's racing season. The press release below has a few more details.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Pop artist Peter Max recently sold off his collection of 36 vintage Chevrolet Corvettes - one each from 1953 to 1989 - for an undisclosed amount. The new owners have already announced plans to restore some of them and auction the models off sometime soon. Up until then, the sports cars had been languishing in various garages around New York City for decades and were caked in dust and grime. However, Max's end of the transaction has just become more complicated, because two men are suing the artist claiming he employed them to complete the deal first.
The men allege that Max hired them to broker the sale of the 36 Corvettes in exchange for a 10-percent commission, according to the New York Post. They claim to have emails and text messages proving the existence of the deal, and are taking Max to court for $1 million over the squabble.
The collection of Corvettes was amassed in 1989 as part of a prize package from the television network VH1, and Max bought the cars from the winner intending on using them for an art project. He never got around to it, though, and parked the sports cars around New York, until he finally sold them over the summer.
Peter Max staring down $1M lawsuit over Corvette collection sale originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Well, this is at least a little disappointing. It turns out Cadillac's long-awaited flagship, the CT6, won't be ushering in a wholesale change in the company's design. That's coming from GM Design guru Ed Welburn, meaning it should be taken as gospel (unless of course he's just trying to hoodwink us).
"It'll be different and it will certainly stand out in the portfolio," Welburn told Automotive News. "But you won't see a real shift in direction."
Instead, Art and Science will be shown in yet another new form, and will "continue to evolve," according to Welburn, although what that means is unclear. What we can say for certain, though, is that Art and Science on the CT6 will not evolve into the stunning Elmiraj Concept.
"I think Elmiraj was more of an influence on some other things we're working on for Cadillac," Welburn said, we're guessing with a smirk and an air of mystery.
Considering we have yet to see the CT6, it's hard to tell whether this will be good news or bad, although based on the critical reception to the Elmiraj, we're a little bit disappointed by Welburn's statements. Still, only time will tell whether the styling of the CT6 will really work out.
Cadillac CT6 styling will be evolutionary, not like Elmiraj originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 09:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Given the volume of vehicles we're talking about, this is a significant development for GM's bottom line.Bring your car into the dealership for service, and you may need a loaner car in exchange. And with so many recalls being carried out, that means a lot of loaners - especially at General Motors dealerships. That could be one of the reasons why GM is massively expanding its loaner fleet program.
While many Chevrolet and Buick-GMC dealerships have an on-site rental car location operated by a third party like Enterprise (which may or may not provide a GM vehicle), others manage their own loaner fleets. But while the range of dealerships operating such fleets was once small, reports Automotive News, the number has been growing rapidly: from the locations responsible for only 20 percent of those brands' sales two years ago to about 90 percent today.
The impetus for that growth comes down to a massive expansion of GM's Courtesy Transportation Program. The initiative encourages dealers to ramp up their loaner fleet to a maximum size determined by GM, with a mix determined by the dealer itself, so that a showroom in Texas can be bolstered with a fleet of pickup trucks and a dealer in California can employ more Volt and Camaro Convertible loaners. The dealership gets a $500 credit for each vehicle its puts in its fleet, and can use those vehicles as loaners for service customers, as multi-day test drivers or to rent out separately.
The vehicles remain in the dealer's fleet for 90 days or 7,500 miles, then they can be sold as used, but with new-car incentives. The dealer gets a fleet of loaners, customers get to use the loaners, try out a new car overnight or buy a barely used car with attractive incentives, and GM gets to clock more sales. But therein lies the kicker: the automaker counts the dispatch of the loaner new vehicle to the dealership as a new-car sale, which could end up distorting its sales figures. Counting loaner vehicles as sold vehicles is something of an industry-standard practice, but given the volume of vehicles we're talking about, this is a significant development for GM's bottom line.
One dealership - Paddock Chevrolet in Kenmore, NY, for example - had no loaner fleet two years ago, but now runs a fleet of 50 vehicles. Multiply that by the 4,000 or so dealers GM has across America and you're talking about the potential for hundreds of thousands of these sorts of sales. But then, not every dealership is going to take part in the program, let alone on that scale. Cadillac, for example, runs its own loaner program. And even some Chevy or Buick-GMC dealers aren't going to take part, preferring to let a company like Enterprise handle the complicated logistics instead. But no matter which way you slice it, GM's going to be moving - if not necessarily selling - a lot of extra metal under this program.
GM program sees dealers taking on way more loaner cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Finally. After spending years rounding three bases in the development of the second coming of the Acura NSX, we can espy home base just beyond the turn of the year. Here is your first teaser image for the profoundly anticipated coupe that will show itself in production form at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. (We've even brightened it up for you, but feel free to see it in high-res, original form, along with a few other teaser shots, here.) What we can see of it looks like the last camouflaged prototype we saw at the 'Ring, save for switching out the prorotype's traditional headlights for Acura's jeweled units.
After years of foreplay, well... let's just say we're ready. The coupe, its zirconium e-coat and its twin-turbocharged Sport Hybrid power unit - aimed at Ferrari 458 Italia performance for Audi R8 money - will be uncovered on January 12, 2015 at 11:50 AM Eastern time, and you can watch it as it happens at www.youtube.com/acura. There's a teaser video, below, to whet your appetites.
Next month's NSX debut kicks off what John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, calls "The Year of Honda." Speaking to members of the media at an event in Detroit Tuesday, Mendel said that following the NSX, Honda will debut a new version of the Pilot SUV in 2015, as well as a redesigned Ridgeline pickup. Mendel also confirmed that Honda will launch small-displacement, turbocharged engines for use in production vehicles. As for Acura, the company's luxury division will offer the new ILX this year, and Mendel hinted that the RDX and MDX crossovers will get a few updates to make them more competitive within their respective segments.
It sounds like a busy year, for sure. And we're ready and waiting (we've been waiting...) for the NSX to kick it all off. Head below to read the official confirmation statement, and to see a teaser video.
Acura NSX coming to Detroit, the wait is almost over [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Gutiérrez climbed up through the formula racing ladder, winning the 2008 Formula BMW Europe and 2010 GP3 titles before getting his start as a test driver with the Sauber team - a role which he held for two seasons while simultaneously putting up a good fight and winning races in GP2. Sauber promoted him to the race seat in 2013 (when he placed a career-best seventh place at the Japanese Grand Prix) and kept him on board for another season. But after failing to finish in the points even once this past year, both he and veteran team-mate Adrian Sutil were both replaced for next season. Taking their place will be Marcus Ericsson (who drove for Caterham this year) and newcomer Felipe Nasr (who served this season as test driver at Williams).
That's left Gutiérrez without a race seat, but Scuderia Ferrari has snapped him up as its official test and reserve driver for next season. In that capacity he'll be offered the chance to drive top-flight machinery and hone his skills with a front-running team, and will be on standby should either Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen be unable to drive at one grand prix or another.
Most of the other teams have yet to confirm their third drivers, but Williams recently announced it was promoting Susie Wolff to the job and McLaren confirmed Kevin Magnussen was bumped down for next season to make way for Alonso.
The move may strike some as odd since Gutiérrez is not part of the Ferrari Driver Academy development program, but Sauber has long shared close ties with the Maranello-based team. Ferrari supplies engines to Sauber, which in turn sometimes graduates drivers to the Scuderia. Former Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella both drove for Sauber, and current drivers Vettel and Raikkonen both got their starts there as well.
Ferrari picks up ex-Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez as test pilot originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 08:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Xcar has channeled its inner Dukes of Hazzard, but uses a BRP Can-Am Maverick as substitute for the General Lee and a muddy English field instead of Hazzard County, Kentucky Georgia. The Maverick is a side-by-side or utility task vehicle (SxS or UTV) from the same folks who make the Spyder, but BRP considers this is a "Sport 2-Seater" of the UTV world that will "get you in front of the pack."
It does so with a 976-cc, V-twin Rotax engine with 101 horsepower that propels the Maverick's 1,294 pounds, it can be either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive at the flick of a switch, it's got 14 inches of suspension travel, and it's road legal in the UK. Eschewing the sanity of the road, Xcar flogs it in an English field and finds the Maverick is capable of a great many things, including the reward of "a childish state of giddiness."Permalink | Email this | Comments
Autoblog's ultimate holiday rides
Like many of you, our editors have a lot going on during the coming holidays - moving between parties, schlepping people and things, or generally just trying to blast through the nasty winter weather that's common in so many parts of the country. That in mind, we've compiled a list of our ultimate holiday cruisers - these are the cars we'd love to have to make the holiday season even brighter.
Long-term 2015 Subaru WRX update
It's been an interesting few months in the life of our long-term Subaru WRX. The car was unfortunately involved in an accident that had it stuck in the body shop for several weeks. And when the blue 'Rex was returned, good as new, we saw fit to properly equip it for winter, with some meaty snow tires and an excellent set of gold wheels. Read all about it, here.
New Cadillac CTS-V coming to Detroit
There's a ton of exciting stuff on deck for next month's Detroit Auto Show, and today, we learned about another especially sexy piece of the NAIAS puzzle. The next-generation Cadillac CTS-V will bow under the lights of Cobo Hall, likely packing some serious performance. That's all we know for now, but stay tuned for more on this hot luxury sedan.
- Chrysler officially rebrands as FCA US LLC
- James Bond Spectre villain to drive never-was Jaguar C-X75 supercar
- Tesla China president steps down after fewer than 9 months on the job
It's an over-played trope that senior citizens are bad with technology. Its regular use as a comedic device, though, overshadows a more dire circumstance that comes when elderly citizens are paired with gizmos and gadgets they don't fully understand.
A couple from New Zealand spent the night in their new, smart-key-equipped Mazda3 after thinking they'd locked themselves in, in what The Otago Daily Times called "a series of 'Murphy's Law' events." The two thought the car wouldn't function without the key fob, which had accidentally been left outside of the car, along with the owner's manual. That, along with the combination of stress, darkness and a lack of overall information about the car nearly killed Mollieanne and Brian Smith.
After thinking they'd become trapped, the Smiths, 65 and 68, respectively, tried honking the horn to alert neighbors - it was Guy Fawkes Night, so the sound was drowned out by fireworks - and even took the Mazda's jack to a window in their attempt to escape.
When they were discovered and freed 13 hours later, Mrs. Smith was unconscious and Mr. Smith was having trouble breathing, with emergency crews telling the couple another half hour in the car would have killed them. Mr. Smith later told The Otago Daily Times he was "very methodical," but couldn't figure out how to unlock the car.
"Once I found out how simple it was to unlock it I kicked myself that I did not find the way out," the 68-year-old told The Times. "I had this mind-set that I did not have the transponder [so I could not get out]."
Mazda New Zealand pointed out that is not the case.
"It's not a design flaw with the car," Mazda New Zealand General Manager Glenn Harris told The Times. "What we have said to the [dealership] network is, with new technologies, don't forget to show customers how to use them in their entirety [and] how to override them. There is always a manual process to override them."
Kiwi seniors accidentally lock themselves in Mazda3 for 13 hours, nearly die originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Gasoline in the US continues its weeks-long descent with prices down about 13 cents a gallon over last week to $2.544, which is lower by around 69 cents/gallon from this time last year, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Many drivers are welcoming the lower bills at the gas station as a fantastic holiday gift, but Ford investors are somewhat spooked over the potential sales implications for the 2015 F-150.
Market analyst Rod Lache of Deutsche Bank recently downgraded Ford's stock from a buy to hold, according to TheDetroitBureau.com, and his report to investors may have played a part in a drop in the company's share price. Lache praised the truck's powertrain and lightweight technology, but wrote, "We question whether consumers will pay the price for this content with $2-$3 gas," in his report, according to the website.
Whether buyers actually turn away from the F-150 is mostly speculative at this point because it only recently began production. With around 700 pounds of weight loss thanks in parts to its new aluminum parts, the latest Ford pickup offers up to 26 miles per gallon on the highway, plus segment-best payload and towing ratings. Prices are up somewhat in part to pay for additional standard features, though.
Still, any further dip in Ford's stock is bad news this year. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, the company's shares are down about 7.5 percent this year. On December 15, the price fell to $14.28, the lowest since November 10.
Cheap gas has Ford investors nervous over 2015 F-150 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
For kids around the globe, tis the season for Santa, reindeer and presents. For the automotive industry, the last quarter of each year is reserved for awards, whether they come from Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Automobile, or yes, Autoblog. The latest to get released comes from our friends at Autoweek.
The magazine has echoed other outlets, naming a Volkswagen hatchback and a small pickup from General Motors as its Best of the Best. Unlike Motor Trend, which handed out its golden calipers to the Chevrolet Colorado and Volkswagen Golf range, Autoweek doled out its awards to the Colorado's twin, the GMC Canyon, while singling out the hottest version of the Golf, the GTI.
"This is the best hot-hatch on the American market - and it may be the best car you can buy for less than $30K," one AW staffer said in the publication's article on the feature. Other staffers praised the absolute value provided by the GTI and the overall fun factor.
The Canyon, meanwhile, was saluted for being "the perfect size," not to mention its excellent build quality, feature-rich cabin and overall practicality. "It's truly a truck in the most honest sense of the word," Autoweek wrote of the Canyon.
Scroll down for the full press release on the announcement from Autoweek, which includes comments from both Volkswagen and GMC. And then head over and read AW's full feature on the awards.
Autoweek dubs GMC Canyon, VW GTI its 2015 'Best of the Best' originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Episode #410 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Chris Paukert, and Greg Migliore talk about the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the next generation Audi Q7, and Ford's promise of 12 new performance models by 2020. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #410:
In The Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Chris Paukert, Greg Migliore
- Intro and Garage - 00:00
- Tacoma - 24:17
- Barn Find - 38:27
- DB10 - 49:23
- Q&A - 01:00:00
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com
Review the show in iTunesPermalink | Email this | Comments
Do you need to be the person with the most unique vehicle on your block, a car or truck people constantly stop and ask questions about? Well, the Reboot Buggy from designer Joey Ruiter might be the ultimate answer to your iconoclastic desire, and it's now for auction on eBay Motors.
The concept of a "box on wheels" gets thrown around fairly often to describe vehicles, but it's hard to think of a better way to describe the Reboot Buggy. Without an arch or a curve on any part of its (almost nonexistent) body, it's a shape you'd expect a superhero to be driving. It rides on a custom tube chassis with aluminum body panels and doors from polycarbonate.
Autoblog senior editor Seyth Miersma got to drive the Reboot Buggy earlier this year and described its addictive handling both on and off road. Power comes from a mid-mounted 6.3-liter V8 making a claimed 470 horsepower that routes through a three-speed automatic to drive the rear wheels. To keep all that power down, the suspension is fully independent at all four corners and offers 26 inches of travel at the front and rear. Beefy 40-inch grip in the rough stuff pretty well, too.
No need to worry about where to drive the Reboot Buggy, either. Not only is it street legal with a Michigan title, but the winning bidder also gets an enclosed trailer with custom rear doors to fit the vehicle's 92.5-inch width. The auction ends on Saturday, December 20, and as of this writing, bidding currently sits at $10,187 with the reserve not yet met.
eBay Find of the Day: J. Ruiter Reboot Buggy [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ford is rumored to possibly debut a new F-150 Raptor at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January, but whether that's the case or not, Hennessey Performance is ready to fill the muscle truck niche now with its latest VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged based on the 2015 F-150.
The fantastically named VelociRaptor package has been available on the regular Raptor for the past few years, taking power up to 600 horsepower or more, depending on what the buyer desired. With the latest one, the performance truck is now based on the aluminum-bodied F-150, specifically the FX4 Super Crew model with the 5.0-liter V8.
"Having Ford's world-class new truck design, with a weight savings of nearly 700 pounds, our VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged will have an even greater level of performance and driving excitement," said founder John Hennessey in the company's release.
The heart of VelociRaptor is the Roots-type supercharger running at 8 psi on the V8. With help from upgraded fuel injectors, a proprietary engine management system and stainless steel exhaust, it boosts grunt from a stock 385 horsepower to over 600 hp. To make sure that power gets to the road, the package also includes 33-inch BFGoodrich mounted on 17-inch Hennessey wheels. For buyers in need of more, the company offers optional parts including an off-road coilover suspension, different front and rear bumpers, a winch, LED light bar and Brembo brakes.
Speaking to Autoblog, Hennessey said he feels confident that the latest VelociRaptor could do high-four-second sprints to 60 miles per hour, compared to the outgoing model in the low-five-second range.
Prices for the VelociRaptor start at $73,500, which includes the donor F-150, and orders are open now. Actual deliveries should start by March at the latest, according to Hennessey. The company also plans to offer a similar package for EcoBoost F-150s later. Scroll down to read the full announcement about this muscle truck.
2015 Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 fills an F-150 Raptor-sized void originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments