Just Car Blog
|The Fiat 500 Abarth At The Targa Newfoundland: Video||
Now that we’ve run One Lap of America, the next motorsport event on our bucket list is the Targa Newfoundland. Essentially a series of stage races on closed public roads in Newfoundland, Canada, the race is renown for its challenging drives, spectacular scenery and warm hospitality. In fact, the only thing preventing us from running it in 2013 is our appalling lack of budget.
Until we hit the lottery, you’ll have to make do with this video of pro-drifter turned rally driver Samuel Hubinette, running the Targa Newfoundland with co-driver Jen Horsey in a Fiat 500 Abarth. According to Brandt Rosenbusch, Abarth Racing Team manager, the 500 Abarth entered was prepped for competition by gutting the interior, adding a roll cage, bolting in racing seats and harnesses, then adding a coilover suspension. While the car likely wasn’t the fastest in its category, we’re sure it was competitive.
The basic race is five days and covers some 2,200 kilometers (1,367 miles), but just getting to Newfoundland takes a serious amount of driving (or flying, if you’ve got the budget to have your race car hauled there). It’s run regardless of weather, which happened to include a hurricane during this year’s race; in other words, competitors really do need to be prepared for any eventuality.
It looks like Fiat is producing several videos from its experience at the 2012 Targa Newfoundland, so we’ll bring you the others as soon as Fiat puts them up.
|2012 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Review||
My hat is off to Nissan for introducing the all-new Nissan Murano AWD CrossCabriolet that they introduced in 2011. It takes imagination and guts to offer such a radial vehicle like none other before in the hot-selling crossover SUV segment.
Chevy did it first with the hardtop convertible pickup truck, the SSR (Super Sport Roadster), back in 2006 but stopped production in 2006 after only 24,150 vehicles were sold. Not enough to keep the ‘bean-counters’ happy. I loved the truck with a folding hardtop and real cargo box in the rear for cargo carrying convenience. After a week behind the wheel of the 2012 Murano AWD CrossCabriolet, I have come to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the Chevy SSR driving with the sun in my face and the wind blowing in my hair.
With it’s never seen before design and custom boutique style, the Murano CrossCabriolet is unlike anything on the road-blending all of the things people love in a convertible-excellent visibility all-around and open air enjoyment. Its extraordinarily engineered fully automatic cloth top folds to about the size of a 2-seat roadster top, providing ample room for four adults and adequate cargo room with the top up or down. For 2012, the advanced Nissan Hard Drive Navigation system is now available.
The all-new Murano CrossCabriolet is designed to overcome the traditional functional limitations of a convertible-limited trunk space, a cramped back seat or none at all, and a lack of flexibility for everyday life. It overcomes these obstacles, combining elegant design and state-of-the-art engineering. One of the priorities in the convertible top design was the retention of the traditional Murano silhouette with the top up, and a luxurious, sophisticated appearance with the top down. It achieves both!
The transformation of the Murano body from a Crossover to CrossCabriolet and from 4-door to 2-door meant more than just removing the top. Along with creating new front doors (7.9 in. longer than 4-door Murano front doors) and eliminating the B-pillars, the structure has been reinforced from the A-pillar rearward. The cloth convertible top also includes a rear glass skylight helping create the feeling of a wide-open interior environment even with the top in the closed position. Dual pop-up roll bars are also standard. The coefficient of drag remains close to that of the hardtop Murano, just 0.39 versus 0.37 Cd.
One of the keys to the CrossCabriolet’s design’s success is the convertible top’s exceptionally compact size when stowed which allows both additional interior and cargo volume. The hydraulically operated top mechanism includes an automatic power latch/unlatch system. Operation switches are located on the center console and driver’s door handle. With the top down, the stowed size is similar to that of a conventional 2-seat roadster. Trunk capacity with the top down is 7.6 cu.ft. enough to fit two sets of golf clubs or two carry-on suitcases. With the top closed, cargo capacity expands to 12.3 cu.ft.
Along with the unique convertible top appearance, the Murano CrossCabriolet exterior also includes HID/bi-functional xenon projector headlights with auto on/off function, front foglamps with Nissan 370Z inspired LED taillights. Other features include body-colored front/rear bumpers, chrome door handles, body-colored dual power/heated outside mirrors, and rear window defroster with timer. Along with convertible style, the CrossCabriolet offers a high ground clearance-7.2 in. of a Murano for easy entry and exit.
The luxurious Murano CrossCabriolet interior starts with a foundation of the top-of-the-line Murano LE and takes it to the next level of standard features and convenience items. The tall windshield and A-pillar design combines with the body’s high beltline and high rear seat shoulders to help reduce conventional interior air turbulence with the top down, allowing conversation between occupants. Premium materials are used throughout the interior with the standard diagonally quilted leather-appointed seats available in premium double-stitched leather for added elegance. The interior’s curving sculpted lines, half-matte chromed trim finish and unique wood-tone trim, tuned to match each of three available interior colors, add an additional rich quality feel.
The Murano CrossCabriolet is powered by the proven 3.5 liter DOHC CVTC V6 engine that pumps out 265 hp at 6,000 rpm and 248 lb.ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm, giving it excellent get-up-an-go acceleration and plenty of cruising power. It is hooked up to the Intelligent AWD CVT (continuously variable transmission) that pulls great and is very quiet, unlike other CVT trany’s.
As a result of the vehicle’s heavy curb weight of 4,438 lbs. the fully independent suspension is tuned soft with twin-tube struts and a 25mm solid stabilizer bar up front and a multi-link setup in the rear featuring twin-tube gas-charged shocks and a 20mm tubular stabilizer bar for limited lean for this high-riding Crossover SUV. You guide the new Murano CrossCabriolet using the excellent speed-sensitive power-assisted Rack & Pinion system with excellent feedback from the road surface and great on-center feel.
The vehicle rides on giant 8X20 in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 235/55R20 in. all-season radial tires for excellent grip and a smooth ride.
Slowing the big Murano CrossCabriolet down from speed are large 4-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 12.6 in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 12.1 in. vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear. Standard ABS, EBD and BA along with VSC and Traction Control help you maintain your chosen direction when braking hard on slick or wet pavement.
The vehicle comes fully equipped with a long list of standard features including 8-way power/heated driver’s seat with power lumbar support/4-way manual heated front passenger seat with easy entry function to the rear seats, heated steering wheel, 2-position driver’s seat memory system for seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors, passenger seatback easy entry release button on the instrument panel for driver access, driver/front passenger seatback map pockets, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and Nissan Intelligent Key with push button start/stop.
Every 2012 Murano CrossCabriolet is also available with standard Bluetooth Hands-free Phone system, Homelink universal transceiver and rearview monitor, and an optional Nissan Hard Drive Navigation system with XM NavTraffic with Real-Time traffic information, XM NavWeather, Bluetooth Streaming audio, voice recognition and a 7 in. VGA touch screen. Open-air tunes are provided by a Bose AM-FM-CD audio system with 8-speakers including a subwoofer, automatic audio adjustment for soft-top up/down position, integrated interface system for iPod, speed sensitive volume control and auxiliary audio input jack and XM satellite radio. You’ll also see dual map lights and lighted dual vanity mirrors, cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.
Standard safety features include driver/front passenger airbags, side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints, tire pressure monitor, front/rear crumple zones, vehicle security system, Nissan vehicle immobilizer system, 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/loaders and steel beams in each door.
While the all-new Nissan Murano AWD CrossCabriolet looks like a crossover SUV but it is really a cruiser-on the highway, in town, on the boulevard, or on the backroads, with the sun in your face and the wind in your hair. The rear seats do not fold down like a typical SUV but it is comfortable with the latest features to keep any cruising enthusiast happy.
COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: Nissan Murano AWD CrossCabriolet As-Tested $44,540.00
- Engine: 3.5 liter DOHC V6 265 hp @ 6,000 rpm / 248 lb.ft. torque @ 4,400 rpm
- Wheelbase: 111.2 in.
- Total length: 190.1 in.
- Total width: 74.5 in.
- Total height: 66.2 n.
- Track: f/r-63.4/63.4 in.
- Ground clearance: 7.2 in.
- Headroom: f/r-40.2/38.7 in.
- Legroom: f/r-42.5/32.7 in.
- Fuel tank: 21.7 gallons
- Turning circle: 39.4 ft.
- Passenger volume: 106.2 cu.ft.
- Cargo volume: 12.3 cu.ft.
- EPA mileage: 17 mpg/city, 22mpg/highway
|Ford Shows Twin Turbo Mustang Cobra Jet Concept At SEMA: Video||
In the process of developing its fuel-saving EcoBoost technology, Ford has learned a thing or two about optimizing a twin-turbo setup for maximum performance, too. It makes sense, then, that Ford would find a way to add a biturbo setup to its factory-built, turn-key drag racer, the limited-production Mustang Cobra Jet.
Relaunched in 2008, the modern Cobra Jets originally got a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8, but this was swapped for the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 in 2011. Customers can now buy Cobra Jets with or without a supercharger, and it’s likely that the twin-turbo Cobra Jet will join the lineup in the not-too-distant future.
Why turbocharging over supercharging? As Ford explains it, the 2.9-liter supercharger used on the Cobra Jet can rob as much as 100 horsepower from the engine at high boost. Turbos, on the other hand, produce nearly “free” horsepower, but need to be tuned to overcome turbo lag. For the Cobra Jet, Ford is using ball-bearing turbos with low-inertia titanium aluminide turbine wheels for the quickest spool-up.
Ford isn’t releasing performance numbers on the concept Mustang just yet, as it’s still in the developmental stage. Once the setup is optimized for both performance and durability, we’re sure it will be terrorizing dragstrips from coast to coast.
|2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4MATIC Review & Test Drive||
For almost as long as the automobile has been around, Mercedes-Benz has been pioneering the way to establish a certain expectation when it comes to a premium mode of transportation on 4 wheels. Having a strong presence in the crossover and SUV segments, the Benz refreshes their new compact-sized 2013 GLK350, to make a statement much larger than its sheer size thanks to several improvements.
For 2013 the GLK350 gets significant updates including a new direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 302 horsepower and 273, revised power steering, an engine start/stop system to conserve fuel and slightly updated styling inside and out.
The Mercedes-Benz GLK class has always been a well-perceived compact luxury SUV since its introduction as a 2010 model 3 years ago. With a multitude of options, trim levels, solid construction and chiseled styling, the baby-Benz luxury crossover SUV sets itself apart from other compact-sized crossovers on the market. With Mercedes-Benz taking an already pleasing formula wrapped in a smallish package and making it even better for the 2013 model year, it makes the case to avoid over-looking what has become a major sales force for the German automaker.
Having many driving characteristics from its C-class sedan sibling, the GLK350 adds an upright demeanor to what many consider to be an excellent driving, but tall, car. During my time in the all-new 2013 GLK350, it kept its Germanic spirit for its adaptive car-like ride and road-going mannerism. However, the new GLK350 does feel heavy on the road, tipping the scale just over 4,000 pounds for my all-wheel-drive 4MATIC test vehicle. Piloting the new 2013 GLK350 is mostly an enjoyable experience aside from really pushing the limits of the heavy compact SUV. Heavy braking and acceleration brings about a surprising amount of body motion. In relative perspective, the size of the new GLK350 really does not constitute is weight. Fortunately, the new re-worked and direct-injected V6 helps move the extra heft around with some added authority. The outgoing GLK350 has only 268 horsepower from the same displacement V6. The new direct-injection V6 adds 34 much-needed horsepower to the equation.
The new GLK350 has a solid and firm body as you tend to take note of when just closing the doors. Craftsmanship is superb leaving no qualms about the new GLK350’s fit and finish. Even the interior leaves no stones unturned when it comes to perception of quality materials and layout. The tall body structure of the GLK350 does not allow air to slip away easily at highway speeds as a low road-hugging compact luxury sedan would. Having said that, it is unfortunate to mention that the GLK350 suffers from a bit of unexpected wind noise on the highway. Although, the drivetrain remains quite, silky smooth and non-intrusive at just about any RPM.
The interior of the new 2013 GLK350 has been reworked adding a next-level of refinement and luxury. Like other Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the new GLK350 gets a familiarized layout of controls and the arrangement of the dashboard. Though, some of the controls require a longer-than-normal familiarization for those not acclimated to the new Benz interior language. Seating positions are excellent but the seats themselves proved to be surprisingly hard for long drives. The center LCD screen is perceived to be on smallish side but makes up for it with its clarity and high resolution. The multifunction COMAND knob is a reasonable way of navigating the central screen for navigation, stereo, Bluetooth streaming, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a short list of infotainment settings. Though, it will require time to fully acquaint yourself on how the COMAND system responds to various inputs. I would say with confidence that BMW’s iDrive system initially requires much less of a learning curve when compared to Benz’s COMAND system. Climate controls are mounted low, but are straight forward enough to leave out a guessing game.
Seating area is about average for this class of a vehicle up front, but the rear seating area becomes rather cramped for adults. The GLK350 also skimps on cargo space. The power liftgate, part of the optional premium package, smoothly opens up to an easily accessible but smallish 54.7 cubic feet (considerably smaller than the competition) with the rear seat-backs folded down. The GLK350 may be best suited for couples without too much ‘baggage’. Headroom is, however, plentiful due to the GLK350’s tall and almost boxy body structure.
The new 2013 GLK-Class comes standard with a 7-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel-drive powered by the new 302-horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque V6 engine. The only other trim level offered with the petrol engine is the 4MATIC, adding a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. Working in harmony, the GLK350 4MATIC has respectable performance with a 0-60 mph time of 6.4 seconds. It is estimated that the rear-wheel-drive GLK350 will hit 60 mph closer to 6-seconds flat considering it saves some weight by not carrying around the all-wheel-drive mechanics. Fuel economy in the new 2013 GLK350 4MATIC is slightly better than before getting an estimated 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
A GLK250 BlueTEC turbocharged 2.1-liter 4-cylinder with 190 horsepower and a robust 369 lb-ft of torque is the only other trim level offered for the GLK class but will only be available starting spring of 2013.
The new 2013 GLK350, in true Mercedes-Benz fashion, gets a large blanket of safety features, some optional and most standard. All GLK350 trim levels get stability control, traction control. Antilock brakes, active front head restraints, front side airbags, curtain airbags, front pelvic airbags and a driver knee airbag. The driver drowsiness monitor is also standard along with the new-for 2013 mbrace 2 emergency communications system, which provides automatic crash notification, roadside assistance connectivity and an owner-alert system that sends a notification when a pre-set boundary or speed is exceeded by another driver. The latter of the systems proves to be beneficial when say a teen or valet gets behind the wheel.
A long list of optional packages and features are available for the GLK350. My loaded up GLK350 4MATIC included the optional Premium Package, which includes auto-dimming driver side and rearview mirrors, memory for driver’s seat/power steering column/exterior mirrors, 4-way power lumbar support, power liftgate, panorama sunroof w/ power sunshade, iPod/MP3 Media interface w/ cable, SirusXM radio and a 115V AC outlet. From there, my GLK350 4MATIC gets a full-leather seating package with premium interior lighting, comfort headrests and passenger memory seat. A multimedia package added rearview camera, voice control for telephone, radio and navigation, COMAND system with hard drive navigation, in-dash 6-disc DVD/CD changer, MB apps – mbrace2 and Gracenote Media Database all fed through a 7-inch color LCD display. An AMG Styling package on my GLK350 4MATIC test vehicle included 20-inch AMG Twin 5-spoke wheels, AMG-designed front and rear bumpers, bushed aluminum roof rails and LED daytime running lights. The last package, a Driver Assistance Package, includes DISTRONIC PLUS with adaptive cruise control and PRE-SAFE, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. With all of the safety nets, the GLK350 does its best to keep the driver alert and actively help prevent accidents. All of this active safety equipment and optional packages come at a price, roughly $15,000-worth of high-tech gadgetry.
The new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 starts at a respectable $37,090. Moving up to the GLK350 4MATIC trim adds another $2,000. Tacking on a full list of options easily pushes the price to over $54,000, possibly placing the little-SUV-Benz in another dimension. Still, if unsurpassed build quality and the prided Mercedes-Benz name-plate with all of the prestige that comes with it is what you seek, then you shall find exactly what you are looking for in the new GLK350.
Copyright: 2012 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: Base GLK350 MSRP $37,090 / As-Tested GLK350 4MATIC $54,925
- Engine: 3.5-liter V6 DOHC Direct-Injected 302 horsepower @ 6500 rpm / 273 ft-lbs. torque @ 3500 rpm
- Wheelbase: 108.5in.
- Total length: 178.3in.
- Total width: 74.3in.
- Total height: 66.9in.
- Track: f/r-60.7/60.8in.
- Headroom: f/r-39.1/39.7in.
- Legroom: f/r-41.4/35.1in.
- Fuel tank: 17.4-gallons
- Turning circle: 37.7-ft.
- Curb weight: 4,079 lbs.
- EPA mileage: 19 mpg/city, 24 mpg/highway
- 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
|2013 Chevy Camaro To Come In Hot Wheels Edition||
Growing up, we’d bet that all of us had extensive collections of Hot Wheels cars and related accessories. Eventually we progressed on to slot cars, then things with motors and wheels, and eventually, real cars. For many of us, our passion for automobiles can be traced back to our first Hot Wheels track set, complete with jumps, loops and clamps that provided plenty of gravity-induced acceleration.
Chevy understands that some people never grow out of that, so it’s created an officially licensed Camaro Hot Wheels Edition, which made its official debut at this week’s SEMA show. Available in both V-6 and V-8 versions, as well as coupe of convertible body styles, each special edition Camaro starts with a Kinetic Blue paint job with ghost flame graphics.
Next, the cars get a ZL1 upper grille, a ZL1 rear spoiler (coupes only), an aero body kit, 21-inch wheels (complete with the familiar red stripe), matte hood graphics, blackout taillight panel graphics and Hot Wheels logos. Inside, Hot Wheels cars get a black leather trimmed interior with red accent stitching and Hot Wheels logos on the seats and door sills.
A limited run of Hot Wheels Camaros will be built in the first quarter of 2013, so we wouldn’t put off a trip to your local Chevy dealer if you want one parked in your own garage. The package will add $6,995 to the price of the car.
|Video: Infiniti to use Steer-by-Wire System by 2013||
The conventional steering system in vehicles involve a link between the front wheels and the steering wheel. This usually consists of hydraulics for modern cars. The conventional system used for steering a vehicle develop hydraulic pressure via a pump driven by a belt. This pump actually causes the engine some fuel efficiency and horsepower, which will not be acceptable when all manufacturers are hoping to improve the fuel efficiency of their fleets.
Nissan has taken a step to advance the electric steering system to another level. It came up with its version of the steer-by-wire system that promises quicker response, better control, and improved feel on different driving surfaces.
The new steering system consists of a force actuator, several ECUs, actuator for the steering angle, and a clutch that will serve as a mechanical linkage. It is also equipped with a camera a camera and another module that will aids the system to have a better control.
The steering input is processed by an actuator and sent to the ECU. The processing module then tells the actuator how much steering should be provided. The setup is basically quicker than the response of mechanically-based system.
The system also helps the driver by guiding the front wheels on rough pavements and grooved surfaces. This is also true when the vehicle encounters crosswinds and helps the vehicle to stay on its lane.
The camera monitors the road and detects deviations from the lane. The car will make the necessary corrections when the car departs from the lane due to factors like driver fatigue.
The new steering system is expected to be implemented on the models of Infiniti by next year.
|McLaren Special Operations Builds One-Off MP4-12C||
While we’d be happy with a bone stock McLaren MP4-12C, right off the showroom floor, many buyers are not. Imagine the embarrassment of rolling up to your company’s Christmas party, only to find the guy from the mail room driving the exact same MP4-12C that you just bought. That’s where McLaren’s Special Operations division comes into play.
At McLaren, Special Operations will customize your MP4-12C or MP4-12C Spider any way you want. Need your center console carbon fiber to match your paint? Want more visible carbon fiber on the outside of your car? How about wheels that aren’t standard in the McLaren catalog? Special Operations can do these things, and plenty more, limited primarily by your budget and imagination.
To highlight some of the custom pieces available, Special Operations has built a one-off MP4-12C in matte Volcano Orange with matching carbon fiber console trim. We’ll admit that sounds a bit garish, but McLaren’s designers actually manage to make it look tasteful, even if it’s not subtle.
McLaren really wants to highlight its products in the Middle Eastern market, so the car will be put on display at dealers in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Manama. After that (assuming it isn’t sold while on tour), we expect the car to hit the remaining big events on the 2013 auto show circuit.
McLaren may not offer the same level of bespoke customization as Rolls-Royce (there’s no champagne chiller or crystal flute holder, for example), but its Special Operations division is standing by to ensure that your MP4-12C is unlike any other on the road.
|BMW Launches M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Edition for U.S. – Red, White, Blue||
By now some enthusiasts strongly believe that BMW has really over-done the whole Frozen color M3 offerings, especially with a price tag of just over $75K for these limited production variants. BMW does not seem to think anything has been over-done, which is why they have yet another BMW M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Edition launched in a selection of three different colors: Red, White and Blue.
The Special variant of Frozen M3 Coupes is limited to 150 units and made available exclusively in the United States, which does hand and hand with the available colors. All of the new 2013 BMW M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Edition vehicles will feature a carbon fiber roof panel, 19-inch matte black alloy wheels, 10mm lowered suspension, sport mapping for the EDC (electronic dampening control) and DSC (dynamic stability control). Other aspects of the Frozen Limited Edition M3s conclude with a 6-speed manual transmission, black extended Novillo leather interior with contrast stitching, carbon leather trim and high-gloss kidney/side gills and exhaust pipe tips.
On the options list you get to choose a Cold Weather Package, M-DCT transmission, heated front seats, moonroof and auto high-beam headlights.
The 2013 BMW M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Edition gets a price tag of $76,395 including destination and handling charge.
Hit up the full press release below for additional information.
2013 BMW M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Edition press release
Offered in three unique Frozen exterior finishes – red, white and blue.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 26, 2012 … BMW today announced the 2013 BMW M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Edition. For the first time, the M3 Frozen Limited Edition will be available in a choice of frozen exterior finishes. Appropriate to this election season in the US, those choices are Frozen Red, Frozen White and Frozen Blue. The interior will sport black extended Novillo leather with contrasting stitching to match the exterior color. In total,150 examples will be available for US customers with production beginning in January 2013. In addition to the standard equipment included in the base MSRP of $76,395 (including Destination and Handling), customers will be able to tailor their 2013 M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Edition with a selection of optional equipment.
All 2013 M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Editions will include the following features:
- BMW Individual Frozen Red, White, or Blue exterior paint
- Competition Package including:
- Matte black 19” light alloy wheels
- Electronic Damper Control
- Lowered suspension (-10 mm)
- Sport mapping for EDC and DSC
- Premium Package
- Black Extended Novillo leather with contrast stitching in exterior color on seats, headrests, door inserts, armrests, middle console, and door pulls.
- Carbon leather trim with contrast stitching in exterior color
- High-gloss black kidney grilles
- High-gloss black side gills
- High-gloss black exhaust pipe tips
- 6-speed manual transmission
- Carbon fiber roof panel
In addition, customers will be able to tailor the 2013 M3 Coupe Frozen Limited Edition with the following options:
- Cold Weather Package
- M-DCT Transmission
- Rear spoiler delete
- Heated Front Seats
- Automatic High Beams
- Satellite Radio with 1-year subscription
- BMW Apps
- BMW Individual Enhanced Premium Sound
Customers have the option to begin the relationship with their limited edition BMW M3 with either European Delivery at BMW Welt in Munich or with a Performance Center Delivery in Spartanburg, SC where a range of driver education experiences, including the BMW M School are available.
|Jay Leno Gets Electrified Driving 2013 Tesla Model S: Video||
As you would expect, Jay Leno gets his hands on just about every sports car or semi-interesting vehicle to hit the automotive market. With that said, what is poised to be the most ‘attractive’ electric car offering yet, Jay gets to give us a run-down of the new Tesla Model S fully-electric luxury sedan in the latest Jay Leno’s Garage video.
As many journalists and automotive outlets get to review the new Tesla Model S, we get to have a slightly different perspective from Jay and Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen of the new 300-mile range and sleek-looking electrified luxury sedan made in America. Enjoy!
|The A.Kahn Porsche Cayenne||
The mission to tone down the look of the Porsche Cayenne in favour of a sleeker vehicle is an exemplary example of how a first-class SUV can gain acceptance within the Porsche firmament.
Afzal Kahn insists elements borne out of diametrically opposite functions will appeal to customers far and wide. And the principal British designer insists the Kahn Porsche Cayenne exudes eccentricity, expertise and style.
The Kahn wide track aerodynamic styling package consists of vented front and rear wide wheel arches with integrated front and rear air dams, a lower boot lid spoiler, LED daytime running lights for front wheel arch vents, sports lowering module, vented foot pedals in machined aluminum, door handles finished in matte black, brake calipers finished in liquid gold, exterior Kahn enamel wing shields, privacy tinted glass, welcome ambient illumination package – under car Ice white illumination and Kahn enamel tailgate logo.
The motoring supremacy does not end here – centered round a radical design and interconnected in order to coalesce design and engineering expression, the Kahn cross hair exhausts in stainless steel reflect an attraction to a pluto-matic lifestyle: a first cousin only to silence, and manners.
Inside is the ‘bespoke touch’, and this particular vehicle comes complete with black and carbon quilted and perforated leather with ivory contrast stitching, black £ carbon quilted leather centre glovebox, Kahn investing in British industry logo, speedo & rev counter facia in red and cream and floor mats in black charcoal finish.
Kahn wheels sit perfectly on any vehicle, conveying the essence of the vehicle’s identity. Created using state-of-the art manufacturing and materials technology, the 22” Kahn RS wheels (Rear Concaved) are finished in the colour of your choice and fit all original centre caps. With simple clean lines, soft organic surfaces on the edge of the spoke and a purposeful mechanical centre, the RS wheels are synonymous with elegance and innovation.
For more A.Kahn designs, click here.
|Bugatti ‘SuperVeyron’ Set to Debut at Frankfurt with 1,600 Horsepower||
The infamous Bugatti Veyron will have the last say in who the king of the fastest production land-vehicle around is with the introduction of yet another Veyron dubbed the ‘SuperVeyron’. The new SuperVeyron, set to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next fall, will tout 1,600 horsepower from a retuned W16 engine (9.6-liters) enabling this beast to reach a top speed of 288 mph and a speculated 0-62 mph time of 1.8 seconds.
It looks as if Bugatti is not leaving any stone unturned when the new Ferrari Enzo successor drops. At the same time, this new bug literally kills two birds with one stone by potentially shattering the standing mile record at 283 mph that we reported on today. Let the horsepower and top-speed wars commence!
The price of the new SuperVeyron is expected to exceed $2.5 million.
[source: Automobile Magazine]
|New Standing Mile Record Set By 283 mph Ford GT||
The standing mile, for many years now, has been a highly competitive event for those willing to push their exotic car to the limit on closed airfields across the United States of America. Not only do enthusiasts set out to see how fast they can get their sports car or exotic up to within the full distance of a mile, but very few make it a point to set the Guinness World Record. One particular Performance Power Racing Twin Turbo 2006 Ford GT took home the record at 283.232 mph at Kennedy Space Center over the weekend.
The standing mile requires participants to start from a dead stop and accelerate to their hearts content through a one-mile mark. At the mark the vehicle’s speed is recorded. There is no doubt that this is a horsepower battle and the Ford GT to take home the new world record has plenty of it, about 1,700 horsepower. Another astonishing point about this ubber-fast Ford GT is that it is still street legal and has working air-conditioning to boot.
We know what you are thinking, this car is faster than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. Yes, you would be correct to make that point, which is probably why Bugatti is introducing a “SuperVeyron” with 1,600 horsepower – More on that in another post!
|2013 Audi S6, S7 And S8: First Drive Report||
We don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world, and nowhere is that more evident than in the world of luxury cars. There are manufacturers who build sport sedans that handle well, but fall short in the ride comfort department. There are also automakers who coddle buyers with ample luxury, yet deliver as much excitement as a documentary on the evolution of the paper clip.
In between these extremes lies Audi, which offers up an impressively diverse range of luxury and sporting automobiles. It’s point-of-entry A models serve up all the amenities that luxury buyers expect, including interiors that we consistently find to be best in class. While these A models lean more towards luxury than performance and handling, S Line accessories can be used to enhance appearance, even if they really don’t up the capabilities.
The next rung of the Audi ladder is its S models, designed to offer up additional performance and improved handling without sacrificing luxury or ride comfort. If you still want an additional bit of schnell with your Audi, its RS models (limited to the TT-RS and the RS5 in the U.S., for now) give you maximum performance, at the expense of some ride comfort.
Audi’s S6 and S8 have been out of production as the models change generations, but both are back in the U.S. market for the 2013 model year. Joining them for the first time is an S version of Audi’s four-door coup, the A7. While the S6 and S7 share a platform and powertrain, the larger S8 gets a unique chassis and a heavily-revised version of Audi’s new 4.0-liter, twin-turbo TFSI V-8.
In S6 and S7 duty, the 4.0-liter V-8 makes 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque and sends its output to all four wheels via a seven-speed S tronic transmission. The combination is good enough to produce a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds, and launch control helps ensure that no thrust is wasted as wheelspin. Audi’s sport rear differential is standard on all S models, too, ensuring that post-apex acceleration is maximized, regardless of conditions.
While the S8 also gets Audi’s 4.0-liter TFSI V-8, it’s significantly revised compared to the 4.0-liter V-8 in the S6 and S7. The most obvious change is dual air intakes, but internally the engine gets larger turbo compressors (resulting in higher boost), revised camshafts and different ECU programming. As a result, the S8 makes 520 horsepower and 481 pound-feet or torque, requiring the use of Audi’s eight-speed Tiptronic transmission to handle the additional torque. Despite the S8’s 4,641 pound curb weight, the uprated V-8 is powerful enough to get the car from 0-60 mph in under four seconds.
The design of both 4.0-liter V-8s is absolutely ingenious, and the engine is currently the most compact turbocharged V-8 on the market. To maximize its use of space, Audi fit both twin-scroll turbochargers into the valley between the cylinder banks, and topped the assembly with the intercooler. The intakes are on the outside of the engine, where the exhaust plumbing sits on a conventional V-8. The exhaust exits from the inside of the cylinder banks, allowing Audi to place its catalytic converters as close to the escaping exhaust gasses as possible. As a result, the engine reaches its ideal operating temperature more quickly, and Audi assures us that heat soak isn’t an issue thanks to the insulation used in the engine’s construction.
Inside, S models give buyers all the luxury, connectivity and infotainment amenities they could want. Audi Connect transforms all S models into a T-Mobile wireless hotspot, and Audi’s navigation system works with Google Earth mapping and Google Voice location searches. While the standard sport seats in the S6 and S7 are outstanding, the 22-way power-adjustable sport seats in the S8 are sublime; in fact, we’re fairly certain they’re our new favorites in the entire automotive world.
The performance of each new S model is as distinctive as its appearance. While the S6 is the most sporting of the bunch, the S7 wins on style points and the S8 is nearly in a league by itself. Despite being the largest of the bunch, the S8 drives a thousand pounds lighter, and its sure-footed acceleration is breathtaking. Put another way, nothing with the S8’s dimensions should accelerate so quickly, corner so confidently and stop in as short a distance.
While all are exceptional luxury sport sedans, if we had to pick a favorite, it would be the S6. Perhaps the car’s smaller dimensions and lightest weight played to its advantage, but we suspect there’s more to it than that. Our guess is that Audi engineered the S6 to be a bit more aggressive and a bit more entertaining than the S7 and luxury-leaning S8, even if the performance numbers don’t indicate an appreciable difference between the S6 and S7.
While all produced confidence-inspiring handling, grin-inducing acceleration and amazing braking abilities, the S6 gave us the highest level of feedback and seemed the most eager to be driven hard. Maybe the fact that we drove the S6 after the S7 and S8 had something to do with it, but the S6 felt immediately familiar, and we were more comfortable testing the S6’s limits than we were probing those of the other S models.
If you’re in the market for a mid to full size sport sedan, the S6 should be on your shopping list. The S7 provides nearly the same performance, but throws in the added benefit of its fastback, four-door coupe styling. If you need more room still, Audi’s full-size S8 will not disappoint with delivered luxury or performance capabilities.
Pricing on Audi’s new S models starts at $72,795 for the 2013 S6, $79,695 for the S7 and $110,895 for the S8. All come well-equipped, but all can be fitted with additional luxury amenities such as a Bang & Olufsen audio system, adaptive cruise control and an infrared night vision system.
Disclaimer: Audi paid for airfare and lodging and gave us really nice swag, allowing us to bring you coverage of its new S models. We say that’s irrelevant, since we would have said the same things if we’d driven them in the press fleet.
|Chris Harris On Cars: Drop-Top Flogging in McLaren MP4-12C Spider – Video||
Chris Harris gets to flog the new McLaren Mp4-12C Spider around the Ascari Race Resort in the latest DRIVE video. The McLaren MP4-12C is among the hottest exotics currently around. To compete with drop-top variants of what enthusiasts fortunate enough choose to take fast weekend drives, McLaren recently introduced a Spider version of their prided MP4-12C with a little extra power over the first offerings of the MP4-12C – getting a total of 625 ponies. Does the added power, tweaking and power-folding top make a difference? Hear what he has to say about the 625 horsepower drop-top creation here on his latest On Cars video and find out. Enjoy!
|2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid Review & Test Drive||
‘LONGER, SLEEKER AND MORE FUEL EFFICIENT’
Not only is the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion sleeker and longer, it is the first sedan to offer gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, each with expected top fuel economy, underscoring Ford’s commitment to give customers the power of choice. I tested the Fusion hybrid SE model and enjoyed the ride and didn’t mind passing gas stations on long drives.
The front fascia reminds me of the new Mustang with the wide-mouth front grille that uses horizontal chrome bars giving it a luxury look, thin yet wide projector-beam headlamp clusters that give the front end a wider look, a lower front bumper with another air intake, and a lower splitter to enhance downforce and add to its stability at highway speeds. The sleek silhouette features steeply raked windshield ‘A’ pillars and thin roof pillars suggesting the car is nimble and light on its feet. A full-perimeter chrome strip wraps around the greenhouse giving the new Fusion an added luxury touch. All of these features further set it apart from the powertrain/cabin/trunk ‘three-box’ designs synonymous with other midsize sedans. Fusion demonstrates that a tasteful, well-executed design does not require add-ons or visual clutter. The rear mirrors the front with thin wraparound LED taillights, a lip spoiler and single polished chrome exhaust tip on the hybrid model that I tested. From any angle, the all-new 2013 Fusion looks new, fresh and contemporary. I liked the new look and so did other drivers that gave me the ‘thumbs-up’ when passing by and asking what model it was when parked.
Powering the all-new Fusion Hybrid is a combination of gasoline powered, all-new 2.0 liter, DOHC, all-aluminum Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine featuring intake variable camshaft timing that is significantly downsized from the previous 2.5 liter unit and 10% more efficient than a traditional four-cycle engine. It generates 141 hp at 6,000 rpm and 129 lb.ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The electric motor is a permanent magnet AC Synchronous motor that generates 117 lb.ft. of torque. It features all-new lithium-ion batteries that also save weight and generate more power than previous nickel-metal hydride batteries. These new batteries, besides saving weight, and generating more power than before, raises maximum speed under electric-only power from 47 mph to 62 mph. It is quite amazing to be riding at 60 mph on the highway with no vibration or noise coming from the gasoline engine. EPA fuel economy stats are 47 mpg/city and 44 mph/highway-best in-class.
Also more new and notable features in the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the 10% increase in body strength using more high-strength steel including Boron; active noise control using the audio system to cancel out unwanted powertrain noise plus acoustic underbody shields and weight-saving sound-absorption material that together minimize road noise and powertrain noise while boosting aerodynamic efficiency for better fuel economy; also new is adding a full-perimeter hood seal to be among the midsize sedan segment leaders in giving drivers a very quiet ride; class-exclusive Lane Keeping System that helps you maintain proper lane position, alerting you if it detects drowsiness or erratic lane-keeping; adaptive cruise control that maintains proper following distance when slower traffic is detected ahead, and sounds a collision warning if necessary, Active Park Assist can identify a suitable parallel parking space and steer the car into the spot with minimal driver input; and Blind Sport Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert that warns of traffic in a your blind spot, or oncoming traffic backing out of a parking space with obstructed views. This is part of the Technology Package and I highly recommend it to keep you and your passengers’ safe in all types of driving situations.
The gasoline/electric engine is mated to a new HF35 eCVT hyrid powersplit transaxle that puts the power down on the road. This continuously variable transmission is quiet and pulls the combined system power of 188 hp with power when needed to pass on the highway or around slower city traffic.
The all-new Fusion Hybrid is even more fun to drive with a specially tuned electric power-assisted rack & pinion steering system that has great feel for the road surface and quick feedback of your inputs. It really helps with the enjoyment of driving the new Fusion. Enjoyment is further enhanced with its fully independent suspension that gives the car a more dynamic character that will please any well-seasoned enthusiast while increasing the confidence level of less-experienced drivers. Up front is a MacPherson strut setup with gas-pressurized gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. The rear is a control link setup with gas-pressurized gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. The ride is solid at cruising speeds and very nimble and light when maneuvering around slow city traffic.
Further increasing your confidence behind the wheel is the powerful, 4-wheel steel disc braking system with regenerative brakes that give back power to the batteries. Up front are 300 mm vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and the rear solid discs measure 302 mm and are clamped with single-piston calipers. You maintain control during severe braking times with standard ABS, Traction Control and AdvanceTrak stability control with roll-stability control. The brakes when pressed hard are very linear and have a very good feel for the amount of pressure you will apply when braking. The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE rides on 7.5 X 17 in. aluminum wheels wrapped with 235/50R17 in. low rolling resistance tires to enhance the mpg.
All four doors open wide to present you with a warm and inviting interior. It offers a sporty, driver-oriented environment with next-generation seating that brings expanded functionality. A higher center console supports the driver-centric theme and yields clever storage for items you want to keep handy. Additional passenger space was designed-in by moving the instrument panel toward the windshield, contributing to the cabin’s airy, open environment. Thinner, lighter frames support the comfortable next-generation seats trimmed with fabric using recycled sustainable yarns or soft leather in the SE and Titanium trim levels. Interior surfaces are softer to the touch and interior and exterior gaps are minimized, while extra care has been taken to upholster or cover each edge and every surface a custom can touch. When the trunk lid is opened, for example, a spring-loaded cover automatically conceals the trunk latch hardware. The new gauge cluster is called ‘SmartGauge with EcoGuide that is a unique instrument cluster that gives hybrid owners a more connected driving experience by coaching them to further maximize fuel efficiency. It features full-color, liquid crystal display (LCD) screens on either side of the analog speedometer that can be configured to show different levels of information, including fuel and battery power levels, average and instant miles per gallon, as well as growing leaves and vines that track and reward your driving efficiency.
Standard features in the SE grade Fusion Hybrid not mentioned above includes integrated spotted power-remote/heated/manual folding side mirrors, keyless entry keyboard, easy fuel capless fuel filler, heated/10-way power driver’s seat/2-way power front passenger seat, 60/40 split fold rear bench seat, A/C dual climate control, three power-points, power windows/door locks with front one-touch express up/down, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, center console with dual cupholders, stick shifter and storage bin with leather armrest, front/rear floor mats, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, rear heating ducts, rear window defroster, intermittent variable wipers/washers, AM-FM-CD-Sirius stereo radio with 6-speakers, message center with trip computer, MyKey, remote keyless entry, grab handles above each door, pull-down rear center armrest with dual cupholders, and thick-cut pile carpeting.
Options aboard my test Fusion SE hybrid not mentioned above included a great navigation system with GPS.
Standard safety systems include Securilock passage anti-theft, dual front airbags, dual side-impact upfront, driver knee airbags, side curtain airbags, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, tire pressure monitor, 3-point seatbelts including front pretensioners/load limiters, perimeter alarm, child rear door locks, and the LATCH system for child seats.
The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion SE hybrid is a great looking, great performing and is loaded with the latest high-tech goodies to keep you and your passenger safe and well connected. It is expected to deliver better fuel economy and efficiency than either the Toyota Camry hybrid or the Hyundai Sonata hybrid.
COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: $27,200.00 base
- Wheelbase: 112.2 in.
- Total length: 191.8 in.
- Total width: 72.9 in.
- Total height: 58.2 in.
- Track: f/r-62.3/62 in.
- Headroom: f/r-39.2/37.8 in.
- Legroom: f/r-44.3/38.3 in.
- Passenger volume: 102.8 cu.ft.
- Luggage: 12 cu.ft.
- Turning circle: 37.5 ft.
- Fuel tank: 13.5 gallons
- Curb weight: 3,615 lbs.