Dig the Infiniti QX70 but wish it were just a touch more low-key? Infiniti will have the answer at the fast-approaching Paris Motor Show, where it will launch the QX70S Design.
Based on the vehicle erstwhile known as the FX, the QX70S Design gets dark chrome all over: on the grille, foglight surrounds, side air vents, side sills and license plate surround. The headlights are smoked and the 21-inch six-spoke wheels, roof rails and mirror caps are painted black.
The darkened treatment continues inside with black lacquer trim and black leather with purple stitching. The S Design otherwise gets all the equipment of the S Premium model. It goes on sale in Europe right after its debut in Paris, and while we're told this trim isn't planned for the North American market, there's no telling what the future will hold.
Infiniti darkens down QX70S Design for Paris debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
"It may fly within Japan, but not globally," VW's Shoji said.It's long been battered into our beleaguered auto writer brains that the ultimate future source of motivation for tomorrow's cars and trucks is not gasoline, diesel, electricity, natural gas, propane or solar power - it's the hydrogen fuel cell. It's been the Next Big Thing since the start of Next Big Things.
Despite decades of prophesizing, the availability of fuel-cell vehicles and the infrastructure to go with them remains exceedingly limited. And to hear Volkswagen explain it, things aren't poised to get any better any time soon.
The German manufacturer's Japanese president, Shigeru Shoji, tells Bloomberg that FCVs aren't likely to catch on beyond Japan's borders, where the vehicles have a shot at catching on due to huge subsidies offered by the government. Hydrogen buyers in Japan can receive up to $28,500 in breaks from the government if they adopt the zero-emissions vehicles.
"It may fly within Japan, but not globally," Shoji told Bloomberg in an interview.
The heart of the issue rests, not surprisingly, with costs. Because storing and transporting hydrogen and building out the necessary infrastructure to make it available to consumers is so pricy, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - which as Bloomberg explains it, is targeting a "hydrogen society" - needs to incentivize adoption.
Volkswagen's statement comes as Toyota prepares to launch a fuel-cell vehicle (shown above) on the American West Coast. With sales slated to kick off year, Toyota expects the cost to fill up the FCV to start at around $50 before falling to $30. VW, doesn't seem too sure of that, though.
"There are still a lot of questions lingering about how practical it is even though Toyota launches next year," VW spokesman Yasuo Maruta told Bloomberg. "By the time it gets very usable by the normal customers, it's maybe still a decade or two decades away."Permalink | Email this | Comments
Oprah kicked off her 19th season in dramatic fashion by giving all 276 members of the studio audience a free car.Molly Vielweber's Pontiac G6 appears unremarkable at first glance. It wears forest green paint, rolls on five-spoke aluminum wheels, and it has a sizeable scrape in the driver's side door, the scar of a decade's worth of hard use. You wouldn't notice it parked at a big box store or cruising on the highway. Pontiac made hundreds of thousands of G6s in the 2000s, and a lot are still on the road. It's unremarkable in every way except for the front license plate, which reads, "Oprah 6."
But this is not just any G6. This car is a part of television history.
Vielweber won her G6 10 years ago at a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show, when Oprah kicked off her 19th season in dramatic fashion by giving all 276 members of the studio audience a free car. It was an unprecedented stunt that changed lives, generated controversy and ultimately failed to provide enough of a marketing lift for Pontiac, which would be shuttered just over five years later.
September 13 marks the 10-year anniversary of the memorable event, which caught everyone, including audience members, by surprise. In a masterful display of showmanship, Oprah dialed up the suspense to match the enormity - and cost - of the event. First she gave away 11 cars, which would have been a landmark TV promotion by itself. But then she coyly announced: "I've got a little twist."
Looking back at Oprah's free-car giveaway 10 years later originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mercedes-Benz designed the AMG GT to compete head-on with the Porsche 911. It's a clear, singular purpose, and Benz brings a lot of money, technology and race-bred expertise to the fight.
The AMG GT is Merc's followup to the awesome SLS AMG, the retro-modern, gullwing-doored coupe that took us by storm half a decade ago. But this new GT coupe is a more focused sports car than the SLS, rather than an all out supercar capable of extreme performance. It's got a brand-new V8 engine, and state-of-the-art technology that help it to not only be a proper Mercedes, but to be a serious performer.
Mercedes will sell its new baby in two models. The GT S arrives first, in spring 2015, followed by the standard GT in mid-2016. Of course, there's room to grow from there. And while Porsche may have already expanded its 911 range to include a vast variety of models, here's how Stuttgart's icon stacks up against Affalterbach's bad boy.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Our favorite Ferraris of the Montezemolo Era
Big news at Ferrari: CEO Luca di Montezemolo is officially stepping down. In his wake, he leaves quite a legacy, and thus, the Autoblog editors have been reminiscing about our favorite Prancing Horse models from Montezemolo's tenure. Of course, what started as a simple discussion turned into an all out battle, but you can read our staff's five favorite Ferraris from the '90s and '00s, here.
Driving Maserati's diesel-powered Ghibli
Slowly but surely, automakers are warming up to the idea of diesel engines in sports car applications. We've seen products from Porsche, BMW, and Audi all burning hot oil, and the latest darling comes from Maserati, with its diesel-powered Ghibli sedan. This one isn't headed Stateside anytime soon, but European Editor Noah Joseph took it for a spin to see how a diesel powerplant affects the already-good Ghibli. Read his notes, here.
Mazda MX-5 Miata to ditch hardtop?
Say it ain't so! Could Mazda be ditching the power folding hardtop with its fourth-generation MX-5 Miata? There's plenty of evidence that suggests this could be the case, but there's also a solid argument for the hardtop to live on. Read all about it in our report, and of course, let us know your thoughts on this matter, as well.
- These are the front-runners to take over at Ferrari
- Custom Tesla Model S features incredible light-up paint
- Conan O'Brien takes McConaughey's Lincoln ad to its logical conclusion
An automaker with as rich a heritage as Jaguar is bound to create a few experts along the way... and some divergent opinions, too. So on the eve of the debut of the new XE, Jaguar brought together three experts to whittle down the long list of classic Leaping Cats to just ten.
For this gargantuan task, it brought in Ian Callum (who, as the company's chief designer, knows a thing or two about Jaguars), Lord Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox (the Earl of March and founder of the Goodwood Revival) and Brian Johnson - who may be better known as the frontman of AC/DC, but also a classic car enthusiast, collector and racer in his own right.
So what did the designer, the nobleman and the celebrity choose? The SS100, XK120 (namely number NUB 120), the C-Type that competed at the 1953 Mille Miglia, the D-Type that won at Reims, the Mk II sedan, the E-Type that served as the Geneva Motor Show car, the one and only XJ13, company founder Sir William Lyons' personal XJ6 S1, the TWR XJS touring car and the 1988 Le Mans-winning XJR-9.
Strikes us as a solid list (even if the latest F-Type and XJ220 are missing) and you can watch the trio narrowing down their choices in this video clip.
Ian Callum, Brian Johnson and Lord March pick 10 top Jaguars originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Turning airport runways into racetracks is nothing new. Sebring, Silverstone and the Top Gear test track were all made out of former military air bases. Mirabel airport north of Montreal - one of the largest airports ever built - has had part of its disused runways turned into a race course. And the Indy races in Cleveland and Edmonton were both held at local airports. It's not every day that your average driver, however, gets to drive down an airport runway - much less an active one. But that's what Race the Runway is all about.
Benefiting the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow, the event is held on an auxiliary runway at Edinburgh Airport in Scotland and allows charitable gearheads the opportunity to drag-race their supercars down the strip while passenger jets take off and touch down on adjacent runways. This year's event brought out a wide array of performance machinery, ranging from Ferraris and Lamborghinis to a Nissan GT-R and Tesla Model S. Since Mercedes sponsors the event, it brought out a whole mess of its own AMG performance models, but the most exciting was undoubtedly the Mercedes F1 W03 grand prix racer.
Driven by former F1 driver and current WEC points leader Anthony Davidson, the car (which Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg drove in 2012) accelerated from a standstill to 62 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds, reached 124 mph in 5.7, 186 in 14.9 and after two ticks over 20 seconds, had reached a top speed of 192.6 mph. If you're having a hard time wrapping your mind around that kind of speed, just watch the footage to see how quickly Davidson manages to outpace the McLaren 650S alongside which the organizers, somewhat ironically, lined him up for the final heat.
Mercedes F1 races the runway in Edinburgh [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Cars get stolen all the time. It's an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless. It's just unusual when the same guy steals the same car twice, but that's what apparently occurred recently in Fontana, CA.
That's where one Earnie Hooks was arrested late last month driving a black Ferrari 458 Spider. According to police, Hooks was intoxicated when he arrived at a roadside checkpoint, and when they ran the plates, they found the car was reported as stolen.
Hooks managed to evade police (not too hard to imagine given the car he was driving) and later abandoned the car, which was taken to the impound. Around 3 am the next morning, though, someone broke into the impound and stole the car... again. Hooks was found five days later in Studio City, still driving the stolen Ferrari. He was arrested and somehow still had the gall to plead not guilty to the charges of car theft and resisting arrest.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Italian cars have a reputation for drawing out the fiery, emotional and passionate sides of car enthusiasts - something that becomes abundantly clear when you ask a group of Autoblog editors to rank a list of their favorites.
With the departure of Luca di Montezemolo from Ferrari being fresh on our collective minds today, your friendly team of editors started pleasantly discussing which of the cars launched during his era was our favorite. The conversation was rousing, so we thought it would be entertaining to put the choices to a quick ranked vote, and bring you a sort of Editors' Choice list for road-going Ferraris from the 1990s through today.
Then, of course, all hell broke loose.
A schism between defenders of the LaFerrari and the Enzo essentially nullified each others' votes (with five points awarded for a first place selection, down through one for a fifth). Meanwhile, the F12 consortium was aghast at the gall of the 599 supporters. And, though none of us are speaking to each other anymore, we did find collective love for a model you might not guess on first glance (it received only one first place vote). But you'll have to scroll down to read for yourselves how it all went down. God help us.
Autoblog remembers its favorite Ferrari models of the Montezemolo Era originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Racing driver and Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust is a very busy guy. After all, he's competing in rounds of both Global Rallycross series and FIA World Rallycross Championship, not to mention his TV duties. However, we probably shouldn't feel too sorry for him, because his job puts him behind the wheel of some truly crazy machinery.
Case in point is his latest ride in Global Rallycross - the Volkswagen Beetle GRC. The German company claims that this all-wheel drive Bug makes around 540 horsepower from its 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and can shoot to 60 in under 2 seconds. Plus, if this video is any indication, this Volkswagen sounds like a machine gun when throwing revs at idle, and it can do some wonderfully easy four-wheel drifts.
Previously, Foust was driving a VW Polo for Andretti Autosport in GRC, but the team unveiled the look of the Beetle GRC at the Chicago Auto Show. Now, Foust is finally getting to show off his new office to the public, and like VW's tagline for the new car claims, it's way hotter than Herbie.
Tanner Foust checks out his new VW Beetle GRC rally car originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Kia must have thought VW was aiming a little high when the German automaker priced its upcoming electric vehicle for the US market. Kia has just announced that the price for its new Soul EV will be $33,700 (before any tax incentives) when it comes to the US later this year. That's well above the base model Nissan Leaf, which starts at $28,980, but a few thousand dollars below the Volkswagen e-Golf, which starts at $35,445.
The upper end Plus model starts at $35,700.The Soul EV will come in two trim levels, with the upper end Plus model starting at $35,700. The extra $2,000 will get you leather-trimmed heated and ventilated seats, fog lamps and power folding mirrors. As any EV driver in a cold climate will tell you, heated seats can do a lot for your body comfort when electrons count. Every Soul EV will have an onboard 6.6-kW charger, a nav system, a rear camera and Kia's UVO EV Services connection (with app) - as well as Kia's $800 destination charge. There are a few more details in the press release below. The Soul also has something that its competitors don't: an official range of 93 miles thanks to a 27-kWh lithium ion battery pack. The Leaf sits pretty at 84 miles while the e-Golf has not yet been officially rated.
For those more interested in leasing than buying, the cost will be $249 per month with $1,999 down for the base model. Kia will announce more lease details closer to launch this fall. By the way, the Soul EV will be "initially available in certain California markets only with limited availability," so only some of you will have the option to get one from the start. Kia has said that the Soul EV will be available in other states -Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland - as well, so expect announcements on that front at some point.
Kia Soul EV priced at $33,700*, leases start at $249/month originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
We all had to see this coming. Conan O'Brien has released a parody of Matthew McConaughey's new ads for the 2015 Lincoln MKC and remixed them with lines from one of his most critically acclaimed recent roles.
The now much darker commercial probably isn't how Lincoln would prefer the MKC to be marketed, but really in a few of the actual ads, McConaughey already seems moments away from breaking into a full Rustin Cohle from True Detective impression. The cadence and tone of his voice are just so close to that character, especially in the one where he's talking to the bull standing in the middle of the road. It very nearly verges on parody anyway; Conan is just turning all of this up to 11.
It's a little surprising that the writers didn't dig a little deeper into the McConaughey oeuvre for the parody. Maybe McConaughey could have taken the MKC for a party at the Moon Tower from Dazed and Confused. In any case, it's worth a quick watch, so check it out.
Conan O'Brien takes McConaughey's Lincoln ad to its logical conclusion originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments