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$76,400 Porsche S E-Hybrid will debut in Paris

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 23:30

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The 2015 Porsche Cayenne S E Hybrid will be an all-new model, one that adds a plug - and the required associated technological bits - to the currently available Cayenne S Hybrid. The most important of those bits is a 10.8-kWh lithium-ion battery, but Porsche's Calvin Kim told AutoblogGreen that the SUV's electric-only range is still pending certification, but Hybrid Cars says that Porsche is estimating it'll be somewhere between 11 and 22 miles, "depending on the style of driving and route topography."

Other than the new battery, the electric motor has been upgraded to a 95 horsepower/70 kW unit (up from the 47-hp/34 kW motor in the Cayenne hybrid without a plug). The overall powertrain now puts out a total of 416 hp and can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds. Alongside the electric parts, there's a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. You can find all of the E-Hybrid's available specs here and stay tuned for more information on the new plug-in SUV when it makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show in early October. The SUV will go on sale in the US on November 1, 2014 with a starting MSRP of $76,400, plus a destination charge of $995.

In a new press release (available below), Porsche is also proudly saying, once again, that it will be the world's only automaker offering three plug-in hybrid models, once the Cayenne S E-Hybrid hits the market. The others are the Panamera S E-Hybrid and the 918 Spyder. How long will this reign at the top last?

Continue reading $76,400 Porsche S E-Hybrid will debut in Paris

$76,400 Porsche S E-Hybrid will debut in Paris originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler recalls 350k vehicles over ignition switches

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 22:44

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Chrysler has announced a recall covering 349,442 vehicles due to ignition switches that can either become stuck or move without warning. All of the affected vehicles are from the 2008 model year, and were built before May 12, 2008.

The automaker has learned that ignition keys on some vehicles "may not fully return to the 'ON' position after rotation to the 'START' position during engine-startup," the company said in a statement. Additionally, "an ignition key may not fully return to the 'ON' position after rotation to the 'START' position and may inadvertently move through the 'ON' position to 'ACCESSORY' or 'OFF.'"

Chrysler says it is unaware of any related injuries, and notes that while reduced braking, engine or steering power is possible in such instances, the airbags are not affected. The later stands in contrast to General Motors' recent rash of high-profile recalls, and it's an important distinction that Chrysler (understandably) felt necessary to call out in bold print in its press release.

Vehicles affected by this recall include the Dodge Charger and Magnum, Chrysler 300, Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee. 292,224 of these vehicles are in the United States, 18,976 are in Canada, 4,947 are in Mexico, and another 33,295 are outside of North America.

Owners will be notified to schedule service, which, of course, will be performed free of charge. For now, the automaker is urging owners to ensure the ignition keys are set in the "ON" position after starting their vehicles. In addition, as a "supplementary precaution," Chrysler is urging customers to detach their ignition keys from the rest of their keys and key rings. Sounds familiar, eh?

Scroll down for the company's official statement.

Continue reading Chrysler recalls 350k vehicles over ignition switches

Chrysler recalls 350k vehicles over ignition switches originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NYT profiles Blue Nelson, a reclusive and interesting CA car collector

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 22:01

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If it weren't for his Dale Earnhardt Sr. looks, Blue Nelson could be one one of those soft-spoken, nondescript guys whom you meet briefly and never learn much more about. However, as The New York Times shows in a recent profile and video, behind closed doors, Nelson keeps a fascinatingly eclectic collection of automotive oddities and vintage bicycles.

While his main career is in the movie industry, Nelson's other job is as a car hunter. He takes on clients searching for a specific model and helps them find and restore the dream vehicle that they're after. Hiring him takes some dedication, though, because Nelson doesn't advertise his services. "If people want to find me, they know how to find me," he says in the video.

Beyond being an automotive private detective, Nelson has a fantastically varied collection of vehicles of his own. He likes to have models that people don't usually see, and his garage holds a classic Chrysler New Yorker and an extremely rare Rometsch convertible. Although, the one that means the most to him is the 1962 Porsche 356 convertible that Blue came home in as a baby. Check out the video to learn more about Nelson and his philosophy about forming a bond with a car.

Continue reading NYT profiles Blue Nelson, a reclusive and interesting CA car collector

NYT profiles Blue Nelson, a reclusive and interesting CA car collector originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Iveco shows futuristic hybrid commercial van concept

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 21:31

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European truck and commercial van maker Iveco is looking into the future with its Vision concept at the International Motor Show of Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, Germany. The innovative, hybrid delivery vehicle is meant to anticipate increasingly strict emissions limits, while still being able to get the job done.

The centerpiece of the Vision is what Iveco calls its Dual Energy technology, which is just a fancy name for a hybrid. While mixing electric motors and internal combustion engines isn't very novel anymore for passenger cars, it's still somewhat new in commercial vehicles. The system would allow the concept to run purely on electric power some of the time, like while making deliveries in urban areas. However, it could switch to hybrid mode for longer journeys, which still reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 25 percent, the company claims.

To suit the next-gen technology driving the concept, the Vision has a futuristic body to match. The front end is supposed to maximize driver visibility with squinting LED headlights, a wraparound greenhouse and holes in the A-pillars. Painted in cerulean blue with lighted trim along the side, it all looks very sci-fi.

Iveco claims Vision could offer the possibility of no more damaged packages, as well. Sensors in the load area would sense if items were shifting position, and the vehicle would activate "containment devices" to keep them from falling. That would mean no more crushed boxes from Amazon.

The Vision is just a concept for now, but Iveco says that all of its technologies are under investigation for possible use in future commercial models. Scroll down to read the full release about it.

Continue reading Iveco shows futuristic hybrid commercial van concept

Iveco shows futuristic hybrid commercial van concept originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Analysts: Auto sales to stabilize in September, finish 2014 strong

Leftlane - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 20:45
U.S. auto industry still expected to have best year since 2007.






2015 Ford F-150 configurator is ready to go to work

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 20:44

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Ford is inching towards the on-sale date for the eagerly anticipated, aluminum F-150 pickup. While we're preparing to drive the new truck (expect our take on it sooner rather than later), the best-seller has reached another, albeit more minor, milestone as its online configurator has officially been switched on.

We took to Ford's consumer website to mess about with it and see just how ridiculous of a truck we can build. Among the fun things we discovered were these two nuggets - the most expensive truck we could configure was not the top-end Platinum model, but instead the King Ranch, which rang up at $65,955. The other exciting discovery? The new truck would be available in a questionable shade called Blue Jeans (shown above with the optional contrasting Caribou paint). Yep, Blue Jeans.

You can head over to Ford's consumer page and build your very own aluminum F-150 now. Take a look.

2015 Ford F-150 configurator is ready to go to work originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Audi reveals S3 Limited Edition for US market

Leftlane - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 20:03
Package gets Daytona Gray paint, two-tone red interior, full range of performance options.






2015 Toyota Sienna

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 19:58

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It's hard to love a minivan, but it's very, very easy to use one. More than any other kind of vehicle - save a panel van, perhaps - the minivan is the most appliance-like of four-wheeled transportation devices. And most minivan buyers don't need to love their purchases; they just need to use them. So when it comes to a minivan's driving dynamics, who cares?

Well, we do. So we perked right up when Toyota talked about refinements it made to the 2015 Sienna, starting with some 142 added spot welds made to the body structure. Normally not stop-the-presses stuff, but Toyota says the added reinforcements prompted Sienna engineers to recalibrate the springs and shocks for improved handling, and our very limited wheel time along the (admittedly benign) roads on the Big Island of Hawaii revealed the 2015 Sienna SE model's handling to be tidier and more engaging than you'd expect for a porky, 4,560-pound, eight-passenger box on wheels.

Driving Notes
  • Styling has been updated for 2015 in the most minor of ways. Headlights and taillamps are new on most models, as are revised grille inserts for LE, XLE and Limited grades. SE and Limited trims get long, skinny LED running lamps underscoring the headlamp bezels. The Sienna still looks portly compared to the Chrysler Town & Country and the elegant new Sedona from Kia, especially in the Sienna's SE "Swagger Wagon" trim. But give Toyota credit for at least trying to style its four-wheeled appliance.
  • A reconfigured (and far more attractive) dashboard brings climate controls closer to the driver and incorporates standard touchscreen infotainment technology, while Limited models get a swanky new saddle-color leather treatment. More soft touch materials and satin chrome accents have found their way inside, upping the scale of the fitments appreciably. Other than that, however, there's not much that makes the Sienna special.
  • Seating position is darn near perfect, with excellent outward sight lines. The relocated shifter looks and feels better than previous years, and the new climate controls (now with rear temperature settings that can sync with either front passenger) are no longer the reach they used to be.
  • Thrust from the 266-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is ho-hum, even with just two adults aboard. Then again, no minivan makes much more or much less power than this, so as long as drivers aren't the perpetually late type, they should find Sienna's output perfectly acceptable. We wish, however, that it made less of a fuss at high revs - it's a bit gruff.
  • Brakes are surprisingly linear, responsive and even offer feel. Steering is well-weighted and 19-inch rolling stock offers decent grip.
  • Added structural stiffening and sound insulation has created a remarkably quiet environment, even in the lower SE model. It's quiet enough to hear your children's scheming thoughts, which you may choose to quash using the new Driver Easy Speak microphone.
  • Second-row outboard seats are comfortable, center position in eight-passenger configuration is tight.
  • Backup camera lacks predictive trajectory graphics, as do many such systems in the industry.
  • Pricing for the 2015 Sienna starts at $28,600 for a front-drive L and rises all the way to the Limited Premium all-wheel-drive model, which commands a heady $46,150 before options. A FWD SE like our test car bases at $34,900 (all prices are subject to a destination fee of $885). All of this means the Sienna is on the expensive side of the minivan ledger, but not out of line with key rivals like the Honda Odyssey.
As we said before, folks seldom shop for minivans - especially Toyota minivans - in search of something special. They merely want something functional. And they will find a whole lot of function - and a decent driving SE model - in the 2015 Sienna.

2015 Toyota Sienna originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lotus responds to rumors of demise, promises 2016 MY Evora

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 19:16

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It's not been a great week for Lotus. Seven days ago, the UK-based automaker laid off a quarter of its workforce, terminating "up to 325 jobs." And then, just a few days ago, it was reported that the company would be ending US sales of its well-received Evora due to the expiration of an airbag exemption. The Evora is the only vehicle Lotus sells in the US, meaning its end effectively removes the brand from the market.

That was apparently a bridge too far, though, as the company has issued defiant statement, claiming it'll be back, in both the US and Canada, for model year 2016, with an air-bag compliant Evora.

"I know that this will be welcome news to our thousands of owners and fans in North America, but the reality is that there was never any intention to leave. The North American market is vitally important for us and we intend to expand our dealer network and grow our sales volumes in the future," Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus said in a statement. "I would like to thank our fantastic Lotus following for their support over the years and remind them that we are working on many exciting products for the future. We will continue to explore our core values on how to make a sports car better by making it faster, lighter and maintain the pure driving experience."

So, there you have it. Lotus is skipping model year 2015, but will return to production sales for 2016. In the meantime, as the press release points out, the brand's 45 dealers will continue to sell the race-spec Elise S Cup R and Evora V6 Cup R. Here's hoping that's enough to keep these dealers afloat for another year or so.

Take a look below for the full press release from Lotus.

Continue reading Lotus responds to rumors of demise, promises 2016 MY Evora

Lotus responds to rumors of demise, promises 2016 MY Evora originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler expands ignition-switch recall to include 2008 models

Leftlane - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:30
Campaign lists Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Chrysler 300, Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee.






12 Instagram accounts we love

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:30

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Photographing a car seems deceptively simple. See car, take photo. But anyone who has ever attempted to convey what a car stirs in the enthusiast heart using hashtags knows it is not that easy. A car's personality can change from every angle. Lighting and background are deceptively important. Conditions like dust and even small scratches can send even hardened professionals' thumbs straight to the garbage can icon.

Not everyone can spend hours scrolling through filters to perfect a shot of a Lamborghini or Porsche. That's why we've scoured through the selfies and sunsets to find the best places on Instagram for cars. Check out this list of our go-to accounts celebrating the beautiful, crazy and unique design of cars throughout the world.

Continue reading 12 Instagram accounts we love

12 Instagram accounts we love originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jeep driver teaches Corvette owner a lesson in parking etiquette [Video]

Leftlane - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:15
This 4x4 owner ingeniously resolved a Corvette-induced parking shortage.






Cadillac aims to double China sales by 2015

Leftlane - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:05
GM expects China to become world's biggest luxury market by 2016.






Jurassic Park II RV found rotting, being restored for residence

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 17:45

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Usually, The Aficionauto takes a look at a famous vehicle (or replica) from films and TV to show the truth behind the movie magic. However, host Christopher Rutkowski is switching gears this week in the first part in an ongoing series. As teased at the end of an earlier video, Rutkowski is looking at the remains of the screen-used RV from the Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World, and he plans to chronicle the process of getting this dinosaur back on the road.

Once, this RV was the set for scenes in a Steven Spielberg movie, but after sitting exposed in the California desert for at least the past six years, it might as well have been eaten by a velociraptor. Among its indignities, the engine has been covered in rat droppings, and the extending side panel has frozen into position.

Getting this faded movie star ready for the limelight again is going to take a ton of work, and it all seems even crazier when you learn that the owner eventually wants to live in it. In speaking with Autoblog, Rutkowski says that the owner currently lives in Switzerland but visits California often. Eventually, he wants to reside in the RV when in the US.

Rutkowski plans to release a new part of the RV's restoration every two weeks for the next few months and still keep up with his usual Aficionauto videos. Figuring out whether this The Lost World star can actually be saved should be quite a process to watch.

Continue reading Jurassic Park II RV found rotting, being restored for residence

Jurassic Park II RV found rotting, being restored for residence originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Toyota Yaris

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 16:57

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Advertising firms have done an admirable job convincing consumers that the easiest way to find a best-in-segment car or truck is by looking at a few key metrics. In the most elementary terms, the vehicle with the highest horsepower, most gears in its transmission housing, lowest acceleration times and best fuel economy most certainly must be the class benchmark.

Yet as the commercials and billboards continue to drive that deceitful message, Toyota is betting shoppers in the subcompact segment are a bit more discerning. The Japanese automaker has just launched its updated 2015 Yaris, a three- and five-door offering that bucks the innovation and performance trends by offering what Toyota feels that entry-level buyers actually desire - reliability, practicality and a low sticker price.

It's sweltering in the tropical Hawaiian sun as I check out the deeply refreshed 2015 Yaris SE. This five-door hatchback, a range-topping version of the company's subcompact "sporty hatch" (Toyota's words, not mine), builds on the new-in-2012 generation by wearing new front and rear fascias, redesigned headlights and some attractive new wheels for the upcoming model year.

Overall, I like what I see. The front clip, with new LED daytime running lights, projector-beam headlight lenses and an oversized piano-black grille adds some character and aggression to a formerly nondescript vehicle. The wheel designs are big improvement, too, as their twisted spokes suggest motion even when standing still. The rear treatment, basically a new urethane bumper cap and redesigned taillamps, isn't as exciting as the front, almost appearing less sporty overall with the deletion of the chrome exhaust outlet, but it ties the package together. (It's interesting to note that the reverse lights have been moved from the taillamp cluster to a single unit at the bottom center of the bumper - one would think its much lower height would be less effective in terms of overall illumination.)

Continue reading 2015 Toyota Yaris

2015 Toyota Yaris originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Paris preview: Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Leftlane - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 16:52
New electrified SUV set for global debut ahead of November arrival in showrooms.






Chevrolet reveals 2015 Colorado Sport Concept

Leftlane - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 16:18
'Adventure'-focused model adds bumper assist steps, GearOn stowage system for kayaks and bikes.






Ferrari 458 Speciale A is most powerful Prancing Horse convertible ever

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 16:15

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Let all of the speculation finally end because the convertible version of the Ferrari 458 Speciale is here. However, the Prancing Horse isn't calling it a spider; instead it's dubbed the 458 Speciale A, which stands for Aperta or "open" in English. It's also limited to a scant 499 cars, a few more than the 458 first rumored.

Regardless of its name or production numbers, what really matters is Ferrari's claim that this is its the most powerful droptop production model ever. That is thanks to the same 4.5-liter V8 from the hardtop Speciale, with 597 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque.

The aluminum-retracting top doesn't change performance much, while letting the wind blow through the owner's hair at ludicrous speeds. Ferrari claims the setup adds about 110 pounds (50 kilograms) to the overall weight and can open or close within 14 seconds. Acceleration to 62 miles per hour is reported at 3.0 seconds, about a tenth slower than the coupe, and the Aperta can hustle to 124 mph in 9.5 seconds.

The 458 Speciale A debuting at the Paris Motor Show will wear a yellow body with a Blue Nart and Bianco Avus stripe running from nose to tail. The cockpit will have a matching yellow color for the seats along with Alcantara, and the door panels, center tunnel and tread plates will be covered in blue carbon fiber. Scroll down for the full release about this limited Prancing Horse.

Continue reading Ferrari 458 Speciale A is most powerful Prancing Horse convertible ever

Ferrari 458 Speciale A is most powerful Prancing Horse convertible ever originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford set to produce 5-millionth F-Series Super Duty

Leftlane - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 15:42
Milestone to be reached after 15 years of F-250 to F550 production.






White police officer shoots unarmed black motorist in South Carolina

Autoblog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 15:29

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A South Carolina state trooper has been fired from his job and arrested following the shooting of an unarmed motorist he may have pulled over for a seat-belt violation.

Trooper Sean Groubert, 31, faces felony assault charges after firing four shots at motorist Levar Jones during an incident that occurred Sept. 4 near Columbia, SC. The shooting appears to be a routine traffic stop - right up until the point Groubert opens fire.

Groubert faces one count of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, according to the arrest warrant. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison.

Video from the incident was released by authorities Wednesday (please note that the video is violent in nature and may be disturbing). It shows Groubert pulling up in his cruiser behind Jones, who was already exiting his vehicle in the parking lot of a gas station.

Groubert asks, "Can I see your license please?" Jones turned back toward his truck to retrieve his license, and four seconds after the trooper made his request, he opens fire.

"I'm just getting my license, you said get my license!" Jones says, shortly after putting his hands up and falling to the ground. "Why did you shoot me?" After a few moments of commotion, the officer says, "Well, you dove headfirst back into your car."

At the 1:57 mark of the video, Jones asked why the trooper pulled him over, and Groubert replies, "For a seat-belt violation, sir." Jones replies that he had just taken it off as he pulled into the gas station.

Jones was shot once in the hip, and The State newspaper reports he has been released from an area hospital and is recovering at home.

The magistrate who signed the arrest warrant wrote that the shooting was "without justification." The case will be prosecuted by the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office. The State, South Carolina's largest newspaper, reported there were five previous complaints against Groubert in his personnel file.

The shooting came less than one month after a similar incident in Ferguson, MO, in which another white police officer shot an unarmed black man, sparking protests over aggressive law-enforcement tactics.

Continue reading White police officer shoots unarmed black motorist in South Carolina

White police officer shoots unarmed black motorist in South Carolina originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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