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Bad News For Enthusiasts: More CVTs On The Way 31
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, CVT Transmission, Kurt, News, Transmissions on 07 31st, 2012

Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT – image: Subaru

On paper, continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) sound like a good idea. Instead of relying on a fixed number of gear ratios, CVTs use belts or chains and variable-sized pulleys to constantly change the gear ratios to suit driving conditions. Since they have fewer parts, they’re less expensive to build, and they usually reduce fuel consumption, so manufacturers love them. Some CVTs even come with a “manual shift” feature that allows drivers to select a (simulation of a) fixed gear ratio.

For those of us who love to drive, CVTs are a giant step backward in automotive technology, turning the automobile into just another soulless appliance, like a toaster oven with more moving parts. CVTs run the gamut from truly horrible (like the unit Ford used in its old Freestyle wagon) to merely “least worst” (like the CVTs currently used by Nissan). In our experience, CVTs produce lots of noise as the engine winds out, but little that resembles forward motion; in fact, CVTs feel the same to us as a failing automatic transmission, and that’s not a good thing.

Now Automotive News (subscription required), via Autoblog, reports that more CVTs are on the way; in fact, we can expect to see more than double the number of CVTs on the market over the next four years. In 2005, only one percent of new vehicles were equipped with CVTs, but by 2010 that number had jumped to seven percent. If projections by IHS Automotive are correct, 16 percent of new vehicles delivered by 2016 will be equipped with the much-loathed gearboxes.

Yes, we know that CVTs have gotten better in recent years, much the same way that root canal surgery has been improved, too. Frankly, we aren’t eager to sign up for either, and we sincerely hope that manufacturers abandon their love affair with CVTs. Conventional automatic transmissions have progressed to the point the we (generally) don’t complain about driving them anymore, and seven or eight forward speeds is plenty to provide both acceleration and fuel economy.

Lexus Adds Sports-Appeal to new 2013 Lexus LS 460 & 600hL Hybrid: Official Release 31
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, LEXUS, Lexus LS460, Lexus LS600h, News on 07 31st, 2012

There was a time that Lexus and Sport did not coexist. In the past couple of years, Lexus has slowly rolled out vehicles destined for the garage of enthusiasts. It is obvious that they do not want to stop this forward momentum as they have officially introduced the new 2013 Lexus LS 460, what looks to be the sportiest LS ever.

The leaked images that we have seen circulated over the internet this week surely caught the eye of enthusiasts. Lexus’ new luxury flagship comes in four different flavors, the LS 460, LS 460L, LS 460 F Sport in RWD or all-wheel-drive and the AWD LS 600hL hybrid.

In true Lexus form, the new LS will feature a barrage of luxury options and amenities with unsurpassed refinement. A new Lexus Climate Concierge to control the ambient temperature, seat temp and steering wheel temp. The cabin is quieter than ever and occupants may enjoy their own Shiatsu Massage with the optional Ottoman Seating Package.

In the performance department, the new Lexus LS 460 F Sport features air suspension that can lower the vehicle by almost a half inch, 19-inch forged wheels, six-pot Brembo brake calipers up front, heavily bolstered steats, paddle shifters, aluminum trim and a Torsen limited-slip differential on the RWD model. It is rather obvious that Lexus isn’t messing around to attract a broader enthusiast base even for their big luxury-liner.

Official pricing has not been released yet. Hit up the full release below for all of the details and additional information on the new 2013 Lexus LS.

Lexus LS Flagship Luxury Sedans Redesigned For 2013 Model Year

San Francisco, Calif. – July 30, 2012 – With its dynamic handling, bold new design and superior craftsmanship, the 2013 LS flagship models hail the future of the Lexus brand as it embarks on its third decade in the premium luxury category. While retaining many of the qualities that have defined Lexus for more than 20 years, the LS reaches new heights with an exciting blend of beautiful design, modern refinement and advanced technology.

The 2013 LS line-up includes the LS 460, LS 460L, LS 600hL hybrid, and the first-ever LS 460 F SPORT. LS 460 and LS 460L are available in RWD and AWD. The LS Hybrid is available with a full-time AWD system.

The all-new LS 460 F SPORT combines a more aggressive exterior with a unique sport interior featuring F SPORT seats with larger bolsters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters and genuine aluminum trim. With a sport tuned air suspension that has been lowered 0.4 inches, a Torsen® limited slip rear differential (RWD model), Brembo six-piston caliper brakes, and 19″ forged wheels with summer or all-season tires, the LS F SPORT promises to be the most engaging LS ever.

The entire 2013 LS lineup is refined with dynamic, fresh styling that reflects the bold new face of Lexus. The aggressive spindle grille gives the new LS a greater road presence and stronger brand identity while heralding a significant improvement in driving dynamics, responsiveness and handling.

Increased body rigidity enhances stability, and allows for a more comfortable ride. Pitch and bounce control has been enhanced by adopting new frequency dependent shock absorbers, resulting in an even flatter, road-hugging ride. Revised steering offers improvements in accuracy and turn-in response. The braking system has been adjusted for more immediate power and greater pedal feel.

Available safety enhancements include the industry’s most advanced Pre-Collision Safety (A-PCS) system with Collision Avoidance Assist. This system is designed to assist the driver in avoiding or mitigating collisions with vehicles and pedestrians under a wide range of city and highway speeds. At speeds lower than 24 miles per hour, this technology helps the LS to avoid accidents by automatically bringing the LS to a full stop.

The driver-focused interior integrates modern refinement with intuitive technology. The Advanced Illumination System (AIS), an all-LED interior lighting system, illuminates to greet the approaching occupants and then fades in sequence with the vehicle starting procedure.

The new, available Lexus Climate Concierge offers maximum comfort for every LS occupant. The customizable system uses multiple sensors to automatically regulate not only the temperature of the cabin, but also the climate control seats and the heated steering wheel, quickly bringing each occupant to their preferred temperature.

The standard navigation system is displayed on a 12.3-inch, split-screen, high-resolution multi-media display which is large enough to support simultaneous viewing of a large map display and other vehicle functions.

A next-generation Remote Touch, with one-push confirmation, is standard on all models and enables smooth, intuitive control of many vehicle systems. The Remote Touch allows the user to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with a controller conveniently located within easy reach on the center console. A number of well-placed buttons on the steering wheel and instrument panel enable the direct control of frequently used functions (e.g. temperature setting, fan speed, preset audio stations, etc.)

Lexus Enform® with App Suite leverages the customers’ mobile phone technology to provide a new level of connectivity and information management. Users can conduct local searches through Bing™, utilize voice-enabled apps to make restaurant reservations through OpenTable®, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com, tap into internet radio, including Pandora® or iHeartRadio, search business reviews on Yelp and check in on Facebook places. A one-year trial subscription is included for the App Suite.

• Numerous stabilizing fins help the LS to be one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in its segment with a coefficient drag of 0.26.
• Laser screw welding, body adhesives and other structural reinforcements increase rigidity and enhance stability, steering feel and handling.
• New standard Drive Mode Select allows the driver to choose from 3 distinct drive settings (Eco, Normal and Sport). Vehicles equipped with the available air suspension add Comfort and Sport S+ modes.
• The available Air Suspension with Variable Gear Ratio Steering automatically adjusts the damping force for optimal comfort and performance.
• The available AWD system features a central, permanently engaged, Torsen Limited Slip center Differential (LSD) to further enhance grip, traction and cornering stability.
• Noise-reduction wheels channel resonant noise from the main air chamber to adjacent hollow areas within the wheels via resonator holes, resulting in an incredibly quiet ride.

• The Advanced Pre-Collision Safety system (APCS) can detect stationary pedestrians and those moving at speeds of up to three miles per hour and stop the vehicle from a speed of 24 miles per hour if a collision with another vehicle is imminent.
• Available Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) constantly monitors the distance to vehicles ahead and is capable of operating at any speed. The system can bring the vehicle to a complete stop, and accelerate away once the road ahead is clear
• An upgraded, optional Lane-Keep Assist system (LKA) helps the driver stay in the intended lane.
• New to LS, the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) uses rear millimeter-wave radar to monitor the vehicle rear side blind spots at 10 miles per hour or more. This feature includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) which automatically operates when the vehicle is in reverse, alerting drivers to the approach of other vehicles when backing out of a parking place.
• The Available Automatic High Beam system features a camera located in the inner mirror that detects light sources in front of the vehicle – including the headlamps of oncoming vehicles, the tail lamps of a vehicle ahead and street lighting – to automatically switch the high beams on and off accordingly.

• Enhancements have been made to the sound insulation for an even quieter cabin.
• Redesigned front seats minimize pressure peaks and increase support. Both front seats feature an improved standard heating and cooling system with larger heating and cooling areas and reduced heating and cooling times.
• All AWD models including the LS600hL feature a heated steering wheel and Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heating elements which warm the front cabin area quickly after vehicle start-up. Windshield de-icer and headlamp washers are standard on AWD models.
• The LS features a standard Lexus Premium Audio System with a nine channel amplifier, 10 speakers, CD / DVD player changer, DVD audio and video compatibility, MP3 sound enhancement, HD Radio™ with iTunes tagging, and a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio. Standard entertainment and connectivity advancements include enhanced Bluetooth® capability with automatic phonebook download and streaming audio.
• The optional Mark Levinson Reference Surround System provides a 5.1 home theatre surround with 7.1 architecture , discrete circuitry, 15 channel, ML3-16 Processor Power Amplifier covering a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz, and 450 watts with less than 0.1% Total Harmonic Distortion (THD).

Luxury Options
• Available Power rear seats with Climate Concierge.
• An available Ottoman Seating Package with Shiatsu Massage and a Rear Seat Entertainment System featuring a Blu-ray DVD player, an SD card slot and a retractable, ceiling mounted, nine-inch full-color VGA screen.

Exterior Design
• The inverted trapezoidal upper grille and slanted lower grille that were first introduced on the GS sedan have been combined and integrated into a single element on the LS to create a more prominent spindle shape.
• When equipped with the optional three projector LED headlamp unit, the LS offers all LED exterior lighting, including turn signals an fog lamps
• LS 460 F SPORT features a unique front fascia with an enhanced three-dimensional mesh grille, larger cooling openings, black grille surround, and round fog lamps. A chrome-plated bar running along the bottom edge of the rear bumper accentuates the lowered center of gravity. F SPORT exterior badging completes the look.
• LS F SPORT offers six exterior colors; Ultra White is exclusive to F SPORT.

Interior Design
• The dashboard is divided into two distinct zones: an upper Display Zone, with the large, 12.3-inch, LCD multi-display screen, and a lower Operation Zone, which allows access to system controls such as the second generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI).
• The driver’s instrument meter cluster incorporates high-visibility, large diameter Optitron dials; a 5.8-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Multi-information screen; and an aluminum analog clock with a GPS-based time correction function.
• The interior is offered in 5 color schemes: Ivory, Light Gray, Black, Black and Saddle Tan, and a newly available Topaz Brown.
• Optional wood includes Walnut, Shimamoku Espresso, Matte Brown Bird’s Eye Maple. The LS 600h L also offers an eco- friendly Bamboo wood trim.
• The new, Shimamoku finish is an example of the finest traditional Japanese craftsmanship. Shimamoku, translated as “striped wood,” involves the painstaking layering of angle-cut dark and light shaded wood veneers in a unique process which involves 67 manufacturing steps over the course of 38 days.
• The LS 460 F SPORT features aluminum ornamentation and a unique interior, featuring a black Alcantara headliner.

• 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles.
• 72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage.
• 72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.
• Eight years/100,000 miles hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery-control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter.

Avid Enthusiast Visits BMW Art Car Collection – London Exhibition Gallery 31
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, BMW, BMW Art Car, BMW Art Car Collection, London 2012 Olympics on 07 31st, 2012

One avid reader of Automotive Addicts recently took a trip to London to partake of the 2012 Summer Olympic activities. During his trip, he stop by the BMW Art Car exhibition showing cars by 16 international artists on over six floors in the NCP Car Park on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch.

The exhibition of BMW Art Cars will be on display until August 4th and will include several world-renowned vehicles ranging from the year 1975 to 2010. Some of the vehicles in the gallery below you will recognize and others you may have never seen.

For anyone in the area who may be enjoying the Olympics, even if you are not a car enthusiast, we strongly urge you to take time out to view the one-of-a-kind BMW Art Car Collection.

We would like to personally thank Demir H. for sharing his BMW Art Car Collection images with us.


Hyundai Expands The 2013 Elantra Lineup – Review 31
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe, 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT, Automotive, First Drive, Hyundai, Kurt, Test Drives on 07 31st, 2012

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

In the not-too-distant past, when friends and relatives asked for a recommendation on affordable but reliable cars, the answer, almost without fail, was “just go buy a Honda Civic.” Today, that answer (for us, anyway) has turned into “just go buy a Hyundai Elantra.” It offers up solid construction, great fuel economy, an unbeatable warranty if something does go wrong, and styling (both inside and out) that’s fresh, not just warmed-over from a few years back.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

If the Elantra had a weakness, it was the lack of diversity across the model range. Only the sedan had been restyled (in “fluidic sculpture” form) in recent years, with the compact Elantra Touring wagon soldiering on from the previous generation. If you wanted a coupe or a hatchback instead of a sedan, you were out of luck, which reduced the appeal of Hyundai’s compact offering to a rather specific demographic.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

Not any more, as Hyundai has recently introduced both an Elantra Coupe and an all-new Elantra hatchback, called the Elantra GT. Both new variants have distinct personalities, and as we all learned from Pulp Fiction, personality goes a long way.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

First, the Elantra Coupe is more than just an Elantra Sedan with two doors lopped off. The styling is a bit more evolved than the sedan, allowing the Coupe to stand on its own, design wise. Compared to the current Honda Civic Coupe, the two-door Elantra offers up a longer wheelbase and a wider track, which contributes to both handling and interior volume. It’s bigger than a Kia Forte Koup inside, too, and actually qualifies as a midsize car by EPA classification.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

Using the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine found on other Elantra models, the Elantra Coupe serves up fuel economy rated at 40 mpg highway / 29 mpg city (with the six-speed manual gearbox) or 39 mpg highway and 28 mpg city (with the automatic). With a modest 145 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque on tap, the Elantra Coupe is best described as “somewhat sporty,” with the car’s real focus being on economy and value.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

Don’t expect the Elantra Coupe to be a boring ride, however. The car is light, tipping the scales at around 2,800 pounds, which makes it feel livelier than the numbers would indicate and sportier than the Elantra sedan. Opt for the range-topping SE model, and you’ll get a sport-tuned suspension that adds to the entertainment value. With the six-speed manual transmission, the car provides more bang-for-the-buck entertainment than you’d expect in the Elantra Coupe’s price bracket.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

There’s quite a bit of standard and available content, too, including Bluetooth phone integration and audio streaming; navigation; rearview camera; leather seating surfaces; dual-zone climate control with ionization; heated front seats and a power sunroof. Considering that the Elantra Coupe range starts at $18,220 and tops out at $21,520, we’d call that a lot of value for the money.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

The real star of the Elantra lineup, in our opinion anyway, is the new Elantra GT. As with the outgoing Elantra Touring model, the Elantra GT is a “world car,” designed to sell in markets around the globe. It comes with slightly updated fluidic sculpture styling, which gives the car a more contemporary look than most hatchback competitors. We’d say that the car’s looks alone will draw buyers, and it only gets better when you climb behind the wheel.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

The Elantra GT makes due with the same 1.8-liter Nu engine found throughout the Elantra lineup, but it manages to feel more engaging in the GT. The car’s weight isn’t significantly different from the Coupe, and both share the same gear ratios, yet the GT somehow feels stronger and sportier. Perhaps its the car’s Sachs dampers, or the adjustable ratio steering, but the new Elantra GT clearly punches above its weight in bang-for-the-buck entertainment value. We wouldn’t expect it to beat a Fiat 500 Abarth in an autocross, but it will still put a smile on your face and is a more practical daily driver.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

Even fuel economy remains impressive, with the GT delivering 39 mpg highway and 28 mpg city, regardless of transmission choice. Buy it for fuel economy, and you get the added benefit of its entertainment value. Buy it for its fun factor, and you get the benefit of the car’s fuel economy; for compact hatch shoppers, it’s a win-win scenario.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

Inside, the Elantra GT steps up its game with available features like a cooled glove box, a power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, leather upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control with ionization. Pricing starts at $19,170 for the base model with a manual transmission, and tops out at $25,270 for an Elantra GT with the automatic transmission, Style package and Tech package. Given the level of content included, we’d call that a serious bargain.

Porsche 918 Spyder Gets Legendary Martini Racing Team Brand Livery 31
Posted by Darryl in Automotive, featured, hybrid, News, porsche, Porsche 918, Porsche 918 Spyder on 07 31st, 2012

The new Porsche 918 Spyder is well under way for testing while enthusiasts anticipate this new hybrid exotic to hit local streets. Porsche AG and the legendary Martini (racing team) brand have signed a partnership agreement once again to make the Martini livery available for the new 918 Spyder.

The new 770 horsepower Porsche 918 Spyder was almost a no-show but as the hype suggests, we will see the 918 live on now with the availability in a shaken, not stirred, Martini form. What you see here is the latest Porsche 918 prototype in full Martini design, reminiscent of the original Martini Porsche race cars.


Porsche 918 Spyder specifications*  


Two-seater Spyder; carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) monocoque interlocked with CFRP unit carrier; two-piece Targa roof; fixed roll-over protection system.


Parallel full hybrid; 4.6-litre V8 mid-engine with dry-sump lubrication; hybrid module with electric motor and decoupler; electric motor with decoupler and gear unit on front axle; electrical system recuperation; four cooling circuits for motors, transmission and battery;  thermal management.

Engine Power:

greater than 570 hp (V8 engine)

approx. 90 kW (hybrid module on rear axle)

approx. 80 kW (electric motor on front axle)

greater than 770 hp (combined)


Double-wishbone front axle; electro-mechanical power steering; multi-link rear axle with adaptive electro-mechanical system for individual rear wheel steering; optional electro-pneumatic lift system on front axle.

Brake system:

High-performance hybrid brake system with adaptive recuperation; ceramic brake discs (PCCB).

Energy supply:

Lithium-ion battery with 6.8 kWh capacity (BOL nominal), 202 kW maximum power and mains-compatible plug-in charger.


Top speed greater than 325 km/h

purely electric greater than 150 km/h

Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h less than 3.0 s

NEDC Consumption:  

Total approx. 3.0 l/100 km

CO2 emissions: Total approx. 70 g/km


Purely electric greater than 25 km

Driving trials of the Porsche 918 Spyder are entering the next phase. A permanent fixture of the test programme for the 918 Spyder – and in the tuning process for all Porsche vehicles – is the 20.8 km long Nordschleife of the Nurburgring race course with its many bends and selective passages. After all, a lap time of less than seven minutes and 22 seconds is one of the development goals of the innovative super sports car with a plug-in hybrid drive.

The 918 Spyder combines a high-performance internal combustion engine with electric drives at the rear and front axles to achieve extraordinary driving performance and efficiency. The systems’ combined power output is expected to be greater than 770 hp. The car’s NEDC fuel consumption is forecast to be only around three litres per 100 km, which is equivalent to CO2 emissions of about 70 g/km. The monocoque, consisting of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP), reduces the car’s weight and delivers remarkable rigidity and precision. Other highlights are the car’s fully variable aerodynamics; adaptive rear axle steering and “top pipes” exhaust system which routes the pipes upwards. All of this makes the Porsche 918 Spyder a super sports car for the future, even though the styling of the prototypes is reminiscent of historical models.

The latest test vehicle is now turning laps in the legendary Martini® Racing look of many historic Porsche race cars, particularly from the 1970s. More than nearly any other race car design, the Martini® Racing look quickly attained cult status in those times and is still in vogue today. Martini® was already the official partner of the Porsche factory team between 1973 and 1978. Back then, the attractively designed “Martini® Porsche” race cars with their numerous victories were a centre of conversation. These victories included finishing first overall at Targa-Florio in 1973, winning the Sports Car World Championship in 1976 and overall victories at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1976 and 1977. As early as 1971, a Porsche 917 finished first in the legendary endurance race in Le Mans with the support of Martini®. Whether a Porsche 908, 917, 935 or 936 or one of various 911 RS or RSR models, common to all of these race cars was the memorable Martini® Racing design implemented in a wide variety of forms.

Now, a new edition of this successful partnership is making the Martini® Racing design exclusively available to the innovative 918 Spyder. Porsche AG and the Martini® brand, represented by Bacardi & Company Limited of Switzerland, have once again signed a partnership agreement to make this possible.

[source: Porsche AG]

Jaguar C-X75 to get 4-cylinder turbo that produces over 500HP 31
Posted by Jonas in 4-cyclinder turbo, 500HP, Jaguar, Jaguar C-X75, jaguar cars on 07 31st, 2012

The production version of Jaguar’s C-X75 concept is right on schedule for its debut in 2013, although without the jet-turbine technology as originally planned. The car manufacturer will instead make do with a conventional engine working in tandem with a hybrid system.

Some reporters were recently invited at the Gaydon facility of Jaguar in England. The carmaker revealed that the engine they will be using is far from being usual. It will be a four-cylinder powerplant that only has a 1.6-liter displacement but can produce at least 500 horses while revving at 10,000 rpm. This power is possible due to a number of technologies such as supercharging, turbocharging, and fuel injection.

The powerplant can either transfer the engine to the rear wheels via a single clutch gearbox with seven speeds or produce electricity to recharge a battery pack. The lithium ion batteries can run two electric motors positioned at each axle. The car can blast from 0 to 60 mph in a little less than 3 seconds while the top speed is expected to go over 200 mph.

There will be several driving modes available including hybrid modes and all electric. We are quite surprised though that there is no gas-only mode. The car can run on electric power alone and be able to go 37 miles with an acceleration from stand still to 60 mph in less than six seconds.

Looking at the numbers, they are pretty impressive. You have to remember though that there are some hybrid supercars out there that can have a performance similar to what this car can do. The C-X75 will battle it out with the successors of the McLaren F1, 918 Spyder by Porsche, and the Ferrari Enzo.

Jaguar will only produce 200 units of the C-X75 with a tag price close to $1 million each.

Driving 101: Do I REALLY Need To Use Premium Gas? 30
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Driving, fuel, Kurt, News, Technical on 07 30th, 2012

Gas Pump – image by flickr user blmurch

Buying a new car these days is an incredibly expensive proposition, and the costs hardly stop when you pay off the car. Low profile tires on big wheels may look cool, but they’re also incredibly expensive to replace (at least if you purchase the kind of performance-oriented rubber your car was designed for). Opt for high-end carbon ceramic brakes, and replacement pads and rotors will likely cost in the thousands of dollars. Even fueling your car on a regular basis can be expensive if the manufacturer recommends premium gas for best performance.

One of the questions we get asked on a regular basis is “does it matter what grade of gas I put in my car?” The short form answer is “yes,” but how much it matters is determined by a lot of different factors. In some cases, your penalty will simply be reduced performance, but in other cases you risk detonation, which in extreme cases can destroy your engine. In any event. a car designed for premium fuel won’t run as well on regular, and will likely consume more of the cheap stuff, reducing your perceived savings.

Regular gas, believe it or not, is more combustible than premium gas, and it burns quicker. Engines that support the use of regular unleaded fuel typically have lower compression ratios, and don’t rely on turbocharging or supercharging to make power. In other words, engines designed to run on regular unleaded fuel tend to be stuffed in economy cars and mainstream sedans that don’t need to make a lot of power.

Modern engines often use specially shaped combustion chambers, high compression ratios, gasoline direct injection and forced induction to ensure a complete (and cleaner) burn of fuel, and produce more power from a smaller displacement. The end result is that the engine runs best on gasoline that won’t ignite before it’s suppose to, a condition called “preignition” or “detonation.” From inside the car, you’ll hear this as knock in the engine, and knock is a very, very bad thing.

The quick explanation is this: fuel vapor in the combustion chamber is igniting before it’s suppose to, likely before the compression stroke is through. Instead of the explosion happening when the piston reaches top dead center, it’s happening when the piston is still moving upwards. The net result can be catastrophic engine damage, which is why modern engines are equipped with knock sensors to detect and correct for this. When these sensors detect preignition, timing is set back until preignition is no longer a threat; the down side is that engine output is reduced, too, meaning your car doesn’t make the horsepower and torque it’s supposed to.

Under normal driving conditions. knock sensors can generally compensate for using regular gas in a vehicle designed for premium. Under more severe conditions, such as towing, mountain driving, extreme heat or a combination of these factors, knock sensors may not be able to retard timing enough to prevent engine damage.

Manufacturers are aware of this, which is why they rate their vehicles accordingly. If you see “Premium Fuel Required” in your owners manual, our suggestion is that you follow this to the letter and fill your car only with premium fuel. On the other hand, if your manual says “Premium Fuel Recommended,” you can likely get away with a tank of the cheap stuff as long as you’re willing to sacrifice fuel economy and performance. We still wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s unlikely you’ll face any severe consequences.

If the difference in price between a tank full of premium gas and a tank full of regular gas is going to break the bank for you, our suggestion is simple: buy another vehicle that doesn’t require premium fuel. On the other hand, we believe in getting all the horsepower we pay for, so all of our vehicles that specify premium get filled with it, each and every time.

Image credit: flickr user blmurch

2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Laps VIR in 2:58:34 & Priced from $37,035 30
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2013 Chevy Camaro 1LE, Automotive, Camaro, Chevrolet, News, video on 07 30th, 2012

The new 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE is turning some heads as it is now priced starting at just $37,035, which gets you a vehicle capable of lapping Virginia International Raceway in 2:58:34. If you are keeping tally, that is 4.46 seconds faster than what the Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca ran VIR. Not to mention, the Camaro 1LE does it for almost $13,000 less than the Boss 302 Laguna Seca.

The new 2013 Chevy Camaro 1LE has naturally been pitted against the Boss 302 in the minds of enthusiasts and so far has exceeded expectations not only in the styling department, but in price and its added performance capabilities.

The new 2013 Camaro 1LE invokes styling from the 580-hp Camaro ZL1 but keeps the Camaro SS V8’s power at 426 horsepower. The 1LE package is essentially a $3,500 add-on for the 2013 Camaro SS with manual transmission in either 1SS or 2SS trims.

The 1LE package has its own unique gearing, sport suspension setup with monotube rear dampers, thicker stabilizer bars and ZL1-spec wheel bearings, toe links, rear shock mounts, 20-inch wheels and sticky 285/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G:2 tires.

Hit up the video of the new 2013 Camaro 1LE performing its VIR run. Enjoy!

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: First Drive 30
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Automotive, featured, First Drive, Hyundai, Kurt, Test Drives on 07 30th, 2012

The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

When Hyundai rolled out its funky three-door-plus hatch Veloster, we were more than a little intrigued. The car featured clean-sheet styling, a somewhat bolder version of the “fluidic sculpture” language that Hyundai debuted on the more mainstream Sonata and Elantra. It boasted a surprisingly stiff chassis and suspension that was limited mostly by the automaker’s choice of all-season radial tires. While the Veloster was a good looking car that offered up surprisingly capable handling at an affordable price point, most of us wished the car made a bit more power from its 1.6-liter engine.

Enter the Veloster Turbo, Hyundai’s 201 horsepower punch to the face of the MINI Cooper S and the Volkswagen GTI. It’s got 195 pound-feet of torque, a unique aero kit, slightly stickier all-season radial tires mounted on unique 18-inch wheels, bigger brakes and a slightly different interior than the the standard Veloster. Oddly enough, it comes with the exact same suspension tuning as the base Veloster, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, The Turbo’s ride (and its chassis) is plenty stiff, so Hyundai doesn’t see a need to fix something that isn’t broken.

Speaking of suspension tuning, the Veloster’s rear suspension uses something that Hyundai calls a V-Beam axle, with an integrated 23-millimeter stabilizer bar. Purists will cry “foul,” since it’s not a fully independent setup, but it works well enough for any kind of velocity you’ll encounter on public roads. Would a fully-independent suspension offer better handling? Theoretically, yes, but at an added cost that would raise the sticker price of the Veloster Turbo beyond what Hyundai wants to charge. Besides, Hyundai views the Veloster Turbo as a “sporty” car, not as a sports car (like its Genesis Coupe).

Also new on the Veloster Turbo is Hyundai’s first foray into the world of matte paint. If you’re willing to cough up the additional $1,000, Hyundai will sell you a Veloster Turbo in the dark Matte Gray finish (seen here) that looks sensational on the car. Only a limited number will be produced, so the trick may be getting your hands on one before they’re sold out. As with BMW’s “frozen” paints, Hyundai’s gloss-less finish will require a bit more care and upkeep, and each car comes with a comprehensive kit for protecting the finish. Washing must be done by hand, and a special paint sealer is used instead of wax.

As good as the Veloster Turbo is to look at, it’s even better to drive. Blessed with a torque curve that’s flatter than the state of Nebraska, the Veloster Turbo pulls with reasonable authority from down low to near redline. With a 0-60 mph time in the 6.8 second range, it won’t out-accelerate a Mazdaspeed3, but we’d argue that the Veloster Turbo is an easier car to live with on a daily basis, and it certainly is better-equipped.

Image: Hyundai Motor America

We spent our time behind the wheel with the six-speed manual version, which we found to have a light clutch feel and smooth shift throws, making the car easy to drive even for those new to rowing their own gears. The dual-clutch automatic offered on the base Veloster isn’t available on the Turbo, since Hyundai felt the gearbox wasn’t up to the car’s added grunt. Instead, buyers wanting an automatic transmission Veloster Turbo get a more conventional six-speed automatic transmission, equipped with paddle shifters for added control.

Image: Hyundai Motor America

The Veloster Turbo gives drivers a quicker steering ratio than the base Veloster, which makes the car even more willing to change direction. Brakes grab with authority, and the difference between base and Turbo models is immediately noticeable when you jump on the binders. Like the base model, however, the Turbo is somewhat let down by its all-season radial tires; if you plan on tracking or autocrossing your Veloster Turbo, an upgrade to stickier summer-only rubber should be considered mandatory.

Image: Hyundai Motor America

While the Veloster Turbo accelerated with enthusiasm compared to a base Veloster, it didn’t feel as quick to us as a Volkswagen GTI, a MINI Cooper S or a Fiat 500 Abarth. That’s not criticism, because in many ways the Veloster Turbo is aimed at a slightly different audience than these cars, and is priced accordingly, beginning at just $21,950. That’s the domain of the Honda Civic Si, and we’d say that the Veloster Turbo trumps the new Civic Si in every measurable way. The Hyundai also offers up connectivity features (like Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system) that simply aren’t available from other manufacturers, and for some buyers that may be the deciding factor.

If we had to sum up the Veloster Turbo in a single sentence, it would be: This is the car that Hyundai should have built all along. It’s quick enough to be entertaining, yet priced for a general audience. It’s distinctive enough to stand out in a crowd, without being over the top. Finally, it’s handling is impressive, and strong aftermarket support will quickly address anything that Hyundai hasn’t. Just in case the Veloster Turbo isn’t hard-core enough to pique your interest, consider this: a well-placed source within Hyundai confirmed that the Veloster Turbo isn’t likely to sit atop the range for long. Does that mean an R-Spec is in the works, with even more power and even better handling? If we were the betting type, we’d say its likely.


  • Price: Base Veloster Turbo $21,950.00
  • Engine: 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve Turbocharged 4-cylinder 201 horsepower @ 6000 rpm / 195 ft-lbs. @ 1750-4500 rpm
  • Track: f/r-61.3/61.8in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.2/35.3in. with sunroof
  • Legroom: f/r-43.9/31.7in.
  • Passenger volume: 80.8cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: 15.5cu.ft. with seats up/34.7cu.ft. with seats down
  • Fuel tank: 13.2 gallons
  • 0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 26 mpg/city, 38 mpg/highway

2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport Official Images Leaked 30
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, LEXUS, Lexus LS460, Lexus LS600h, News on 07 30th, 2012

It is somewhat apparent that Lexus is attempting to redefine themselves with a sportier image alongside of Toyota and Scion. Not only has Scion introduced one of the most sought-after rear-wheel-drive sports coupes, but the Lexus brand is slowly rolling out new F-Sport-trimmed Lexus vehicles with a real sports-appeal, at least visually. The latest F-Sport to show its face via leaked official photos is the upcoming 2013 Lexus LS460 F Sport.

The new 2013 Lexus LS is set to be officially revealed later today, when we will be able to get the specific details of what will be powering their latest luxury sedan. We expect the powertrains to include a 4.6-liter V8 with 380 horsepower and the option to upgrade standard rear-wheel-drive with an advanced all-wheel-drive system.

The top-of-the-line LS600h hybrid may feature a new 5.0-liter V8 working in sync with a set of electric motors to produce a total of 438 horsepower.

PI-VR GmbH vred 5.54

[source: ClubLexus]

2013 Porsche Cayman Spotted 30
Posted by Kelly Levinsohn in Automotive News, Popular on 07 30th, 2012

The latest prototype of the 2013 Porsche Cayman has been spotted. Images taken of the vehicle show that it is almost complete and ready for its official unveling at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show toward the end of the year.

The new Cayman will essentially be a hard-top version of the Porsche Boxster, with both vehicles sharing almost all of their features including interior panels, powertrains and wheel designs.

Motor Authority states that, “Drivetrain specifications should come in just a tick above the Boxster’s potent figures: in base form, the Boxster uses a 2.7-liter flat six to generate 265 horsepower, while the Boxster S gets a 3.4-liter engine good for 315 horsepower. They run to 60 mph in 5.4 and 4.7 seconds, respectively, when equipped with the seven-speed PDK transmission. We expect the Cayman to add 10-20 horsepower to the Boxster’s figures, shaving a tenth or two off its acceleration times.”

Can A New Camaro ZL1 Match A Pro Touring 1969 Camaro? Video 27
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 1969 Camaro, 2012 Camaro ZL1, Automotive, Chevrolet, Kurt, Pro Touring, video on 07 27th, 2012

Mark Stielow’s Red Devil Camaro

Off the showroom floor, the new Camaro ZL1 will accelerate quicker, stop shorter and carry more speed into corners than any production Camaro we can think of, including the legendary 1969 Camaro ZL1. It comes with a full factory warranty, too, at a price that’s tens of thousands of dollars less than building a comparable car yourself.

What the new Camaro lacks, however, is vintage cool. If you wanted the authenticity of an original Camaro with the performance of a modern one, you could build yourself a Pro Touring car, assuming that money was no object. Enter Mark Stielow, a GM engineer and Pro Touring icon who’s constructed numerous Pro Touring vintage Camaros. Stielow’s latest effort, called the Red Devil, boasts over 750 horsepower from a supercharged LS9 V-8, and comes with a modern suspension (that still retains the car’s live axle), racing-spec brakes and amenities such as an audio system and air conditioning.

Could a heavily-modified 1969 Camaro run with Chevrolet’s latest big dog, the Camaro ZL1, around Michigan’s Ginger Man Raceway? That was the question posed by Hot Rod magazine, who recently hired Stielow to drive both cars for the comparison. The Red Devil puts down over 170 more horsepower while hauling less mass around, but the ZL1 has a wider track and the advantage of performance-focused stability control. Stielow helped develop the ZL1, so he’s on intimate terms with both cars, and a data logging system is used to make sure he’s not sandbagging in either Camaro.

Which is faster? Check out the video below for the answer.

TGIF Epicness: Koenigsegg Agera R On and Off Track Videos 27
Posted by Darryl in Automotive, Koenigsegg, Koenigsegg Agera, Koenigsegg Agera R, video on 07 27th, 2012

Feast your eyes on the Koenigsegg Agera R on and off of the track! All I have to say is ______ . Okay, I’m speechless.

Some the videos below of the 1,000+ horsepower Agera R you may have seen, others, maybe not. Either way, this is a great way to cap off your Friday before you watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics later tonight.


Jay Leno Takes Fiat 500 Abarth Out for a ‘Burnout’ Spin: Video 27
Posted by Darryl in 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth, Automotive, Fiat, Jay Leno, Jay Leno's Garage, video on 07 27th, 2012

The small Italian Fiat 500 and the performance-enhanced Fiat 500 Abarth are making there mark in America, sometimes in a literal way, at the hand of many enthusiasts including Jay Leno. In the latest Jay Leno’s Garage episode, Jay takes the small 160 horsepower for an exciting drive after getting a complete run-down from Fiat North America’s very own Tim Kuniskis.

MINI’s John Cooper Works GP Laps The Nürburgring In 8:23 – Video 27
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works GP, Automotive, Kurt, MINI, video on 07 27th, 2012

MINI’s first John Cooper Works GP was a special edition launched to more or less commemorate the end of the revival’s first generation. Available in (very) limited quantities only in 2006, the JCW GP got more of everything that makes a MINI Cooper special. First, it got bumped up to 218 horsepower, got bigger brakes, got additional chassis bracing and was fitted with a stiffer, adjustable suspension. Next, it went on a diet, losing sound deadening and its back seat in the name of weight savings. It got special paint and graphics, too, further separating it from the rest of the product line.

That car was fast enough to lap Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife in 8:42, which made it 10 seconds faster around the Green Hell than a MINI Cooper S. For 2013, MINI is reviving the JCW GP, and it promises to be even more impressive than the original. How much more impressive? Try 19 seconds quicker around the ‘Ring than the 2006 version, giving it a time of 8:23. If you’re keeping score at home, that makes the upcoming MINI JCW GP faster than a 2009 Ford Focus RS and just one second slower than an E46 BMW M3.

MINI hasn’t released horsepower numbers for the new car just yet, but we know it will follow the same formula as the first JCW GP. Expect a stiffer (and fully adjustable) suspension, extreme-performance summer-only tires, uprated brakes, a stiffer chassis and serious weight reduction. Like the original, it will come wearing a unique paint and graphics package, complete with an aero body kit. Pricing hasn’t been set, and we have no idea how many will be imported into the United States, but if you want one, now is the time to start talking to your local MINI dealer.