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A 300 HP Ford Focus ST Is John Hennessey’s Daily Driver: Video 28
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Ford Focus ST, Automotive, Ford, Hennessey, Kurt, News, Tuners, video on 02 28th, 2013
John Hennessey's 300-horsepower Ford Focus ST
John Hennessey's 300-horsepower Ford Focus ST

John Hennessey’s 300-horsepower Ford Focus ST

John Hennessey’s company, Hennessey Performance Engineering, specializes in making fast cars go a lot, lot faster. It also builds the Venom GT supercar, which may be the best example of “too much horsepower” we’ve ever seen. As the head of the company, you’d expect Hennessey to pick a Venom GT, a 1,000-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V or perhaps a Ford F-150 Velociraptor as a daily driver.

Instead, Hennessey’s ride of choice for the work week grind is a Ford Focus ST. If this sounds like blasphemy, Hennessey manages to construct a solid argument for the hot hatch; it’s (relatively) good on gas, serves up plenty of room for hauling stuff, and it’s fun to drive, especially with a few Hennessey enhancements.

After a few weeks of driving the car in stock form, Hennessey and his crew designed a high-flow intake (good for about 13 horsepower to the front wheels) and a custom ECU reflash (good for about 27 horsepower and 40 pound-feet of torque) to give the car a bit more thrust. Looking for a bit more sound (and another seven horsepower), Hennessey bolted on a Magnaflow exhaust system, too.

The net result is a car that’s still practical, yet even more fun to drive. As the legendary tuner explains, the car will spin its tires through second and into third gear, and now makes “about as much horsepower as I’d want to drive,” at least in a front-wheel drive car.

If you have a Focus ST of your own, Hennessey Performance Engineering will sell you its HPE 300 kit, containing the intake, ECU reflash and custom badging, for a reasonable price of $995. That doesn’t include the stainless steel Magnaflow exhaust, (which Hennessey sells for $695), but we’d want to bolt one up just for the improved sound alone.

Interested? Head on over to Hennessey Performance Engineering for complete details.



Zagato-Bodied, Viper-Based Alfa Romeo To Appear At Amelia Island 28
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3, alfa-romeo, Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, auto show, Automotive, Kurt, News, Zagato on 02 28th, 2013
The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 - image: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 - image: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 – image: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

In modern times, Italian design firm Zagato is perhaps most closely associated with Aston Martin, but the Milan-based company has a lengthy history with Alfa Romeo as well. Through the 1930s, the vast majority of its creations were branded as Alfa Romeos, and the tradition has carried over to the present day.

At the 2010 Villa d’Este, Zagato showed a concept track car honoring 100 years of Alfa Romeo racing heritage. Though the Alfa Romeo Zagato Corsa TZ3 never saw production, a road-going variant was built in a limited quantity of just nine units. Based on a Dodge Viper ACR chassis and mechanicals, the first Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 was delivered in 2011.

The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 - image: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 – image: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Production of the stunning Italian-American masterpiece has now ended, and the last car built will make its official debut at this year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Painted in Azzurro Californina (“California Blue,” if you don’t speak Italian), the carbon fiber-bodied masterpiece is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, thanks to the 600-horsepower, 8.4-liter Viper V-10 beneath its hood.

We see this as just one more reason to attend the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. For ticket information, or a list of associated events, head on over to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance website.



Zagato-Bodied, Viper-Based Alfa Romeo To Appear At Amelia Island 28
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3, alfa-romeo, Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, auto show, Automotive, Kurt, News, Zagato on 02 28th, 2013
The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 - image: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 - image: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 – image: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

In modern times, Italian design firm Zagato is perhaps most closely associated with Aston Martin, but the Milan-based company has a lengthy history with Alfa Romeo as well. Through the 1930s, the vast majority of its creations were branded as Alfa Romeos, and the tradition has carried over to the present day.

At the 2010 Villa d’Este, Zagato showed a concept track car honoring 100 years of Alfa Romeo racing heritage. Though the Alfa Romeo Zagato Corsa TZ3 never saw production, a road-going variant was built in a limited quantity of just nine units. Based on a Dodge Viper ACR chassis and mechanicals, the first Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 was delivered in 2011.

The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 - image: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

The final Alfa Romeo Zagato Stradale TZ3 – image: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Production of the stunning Italian-American masterpiece has now ended, and the last car built will make its official debut at this year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Painted in Azzurro Californina (“California Blue,” if you don’t speak Italian), the carbon fiber-bodied masterpiece is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, thanks to the 600-horsepower, 8.4-liter Viper V-10 beneath its hood.

We see this as just one more reason to attend the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. For ticket information, or a list of associated events, head on over to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance website.



2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster Review & Test Drive 28
Feb
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, convertible, featured, Mercedes Benz, Mercedes-Benz SL550, Roadster, Test Drives on 02 28th, 2013
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550

2013-mercedes-benz-sl550

With Mercedes-Benz having a lineage that has stood the test of time for almost as long as the Automotive industry has been around, it is refreshing to testify to their latest SL roadster still pushing forward the luxury envelope without leaving anything to be desired.

The all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 exudes premium luxury appointments for two passengers with the enjoyment of a 429 horsepower and 516 ft-lbs. of torque twin-turbocharged direct-injected V8 engine and a convertible hard-top to boot. Not only does the new Benz SL550 accel over previous generations, but the new 5th generation reaches a new level of refinement and appeal to enthusiasts.

2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-side

The new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL is light on its feet where it can channel all of its brute force to the rear wheels through a smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission thrusting the newly sculpted body forward with authority. The new body panel structure is new composed of 90% aluminum and 10% magnesium allowing the SL to shed some unwanted weight over the previous generation, as much as 200 pounds, while stiffening the vehicle overall by 20%.

Proving to literally have a face-lift resembling the new Benz SLS AMG, the new Benz SL takes claim to its wider track, taller front fascia and lengthened body over the outgoing model. Even with the larger dimensions the new Benz SL remains to keep its curb weight right at 3,935 pounds. Shedding the extra weight allows the 4.7-liter direct-injected twin-turbocharged V8 prove its agility combined with a capable hard-top convertible chassis reaching 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.

2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-rear-3

In true Mercedes-Benz fashion, the new SL exudes luxury even with the quiet and quickly folding hard top up or down. Pushing enduring luxury amenities even further in Mercedes’ prided SL roadster, the roof is a never-ending joy by means of Magic Sky Control, basically an electronically controlled tinting of the glass panel delightfully encased in the roof top. When up, the roof can express a subdued sense of having a sunroof with a tinted glass shade that dims or lightens at the push of a button. It is simply an ingenious touch.

With the fun extending far beyond leaving the hard-top roof up, the new Mercedes-Benz SL fully retracts the top in just 21 seconds. Having a cabin as quite as any other luxury sports coupe when the top is up, the SL merely extends its luxurious cabin delight equally with the top or down.

2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-dashboard-seats

Part of keeping the driver and passenger encased in an unforgettable luxury-laced environment, the new Mercedes-Benz SL features AIRSCARF, which is a venting system that emits heat under the seat headrests aimed at the back of your neck. This is a highly sought-after option for the SL not only in cooler regions but for those starry nights when the temperature may have been considered too cool to let the top down. In a way, combined with the active bolstered, heated, massaging, ventilated and exceptionally perforated seats, the SL can be a yearlong fun machine.

Speaking of fun, the 4.7-liter forced-fed V8 engine implements power beyond numbers on paper. Although the horsepower figure of 429 is short of many sports cars, the new Benz SL can hang with some of the best through efficient power management via the well-adapted 7-speed automatic transmission and a curb weight kept to a minim for a large performance luxury hardtop convertible roadster. Selectable Eco, Sport and manual transmission (through steering wheel-mounted paddles) modes allow the driver to dial in an adapted shift program while the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system can be set to a desired Comfort, Normal or Sport mode.

2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-front-2

Driving dynamics of the new SL can sometimes come off as a bit artificial, mainly due to absence of much body roll when putting the SL into a sharp turn. Moreover, the SL seems to show a sign of its mass when really pushed to the limit, almost as if it wants to understeer just because the Active Body Control suspension kept the body as flat as an ironing board. Over all, the SL is well suited to be driven hard but begs to mislead the driver on quickly finding its limits, somewhat in part to the ample surging horsepower and low rpm-pumping torque. It is highly suggestive to leave the traction and stability control in place or your insurance company may not be happy about forking over the bill on your mishap. Though, it is likely you will walk away from incidents should they occur due to Mercedes-Benz’s efforts of a massive security blanket. Of course an abundance of active safety features are available to keep you from entering into the forbidden territory such as Distronic Plus with Pre-Safe Brake, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and an Attention Assist system.

The latest Active Body Control in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL is remarkable in its efforts to keep the vehicle balanced, almost level, through hard cornering. Additionally, the Active Body Control raises and lowers the suspension based on drive speeds and mode setting. As the vehicle nears highway speeds, the suspension adapts by lowering the vehicle for added stability. Set in full sport modes, the quick speed-adapted steering rack is slightly modified with added tension, the suspension limits body motion and the transmission holds lower gears longer but not to the point that it upsets an expected every-day smooth shift-pattern.

2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-seats

When inside of the new 2013 SL550, the abundance of luxury features and amenities can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. Though, Mercedes-Benz pulls off making many controls and access of class-leading features somewhat simplistic. I would not say the new SL is an easy machine to completely understand just by jumping in and driving into the sunset, but it fits like a glove after going on a 15-minute learning curve journey. The latest Mercedes-Benz COMMAND SYSTEM with navigation proves to be very responsive but does require taking time out for adapting yourself to an eccentric setup when put up against the likings of BMW’s iDrive or Audi’s Multimedia Interface.

Found on my SL test vehicle was just about every option offered through the long laundry list of advanced technology and a few first-time amenities such as the AIRSCARF system. The Harmon Kardon audio system is truly exceptional, one of the best I have heard in an OEM flavor – not to mention the clarity of its deep bass emitting through my chest and crisp highs noticeably captured with the top up or down.

2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-gauge-cluster

From a lax daily commuter to an adventurous enthusiast, Mercedes-Benz engineers didn’t spare their efforts to give the new SL550 true customization for just about any type of driver. Basking in the lap of luxury with a solitary quiet cabin is just as enjoyable as letting the hardtop down and letting your hair blow in the wind. You can do it all within the confides of an exceptional performance luxury hardtop convertible roadster laced in a plethora of luxury amenities to keep everyone entertained, comfortable and thrilled.

Of course this delighting enjoyment and satisfaction of a new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 comes at a vast price, about $125,000 when fully loaded. Starting price for the new 2013 SL550 is $105,500, a price point that is justified only after repeatedly treating yourself to world-class roadster with performance, good looks and true luxury appeal.

2013-mercedes-benz-sl550
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-side
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-rear-3
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-front-2
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-top-up
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-side-top-up
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-rear-2
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-front
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-rear-1
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-wheel-tire
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-front-grill
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-dashboard-seats
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-dashboard
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-gauge-cluster
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-seats
2013-mercedes-benz-sl550-door-trim

Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base SL550 $105.500 /$124,935 as tested including destination and delivery charges
  • Engine: 4.7 liter Direct Injected Twin Turbocharged V8 – 429 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm / 516 ft-lbs. @ 1,800 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 101.8 in.
  • Total length: 181.8 in.
  • Total width: 73.9 in.
  • Total height: 51.8 in.
  • Track: f/r-62.9/63 in.
  • Headroom: 39.1 in.
  • Legroom: 42.9 in.
  • Cargo volume: 13.5-top up/8.5 cu.ft. top down
  • Turning circle: 36.2 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 19.8 gallons
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds

 



2014 Ford Fiesta ST To Start At $22,195 27
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2014 Ford Fiesta ST, Automotive, Ford, Kurt, News on 02 27th, 2013
2014 Ford Fiesta ST - image: Ford Motor Company
2014 Ford Fiesta ST - image: Ford Motor Company

2014 Ford Fiesta ST – image: Ford Motor Company

Jost Capito, now the head of Volkswagen’s Motorsports efforts, used to develop performance vehicles for Ford. When we had a chance to sit down with him at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, the conversation eventually turned to his previous role as head of Ford’s SVT and Performance Vehicles group. Capito was quick to point out, with a gleam in his eye, that his last project for Ford was the Fiesta ST.

That tells us the new car will be something special, perhaps even better than the much beloved Ford Fiesta ST. We know it will come to market with an EcoBoost 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, pumping out 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque, though we don’t yet have performance specs for U.S. versions. On paper, it sounds quicker than the MINI Cooper S and the Fiat Abarth, and it’s certainly priced to out-sell both.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST - image: Ford Motor Company

2014 Ford Fiesta ST – image: Ford Motor Company

Though the Fiesta ST isn’t in dealerships just yet, Ford has launched a configurator website to build and price your own 2014 Fiesta ST. Skip every option, and the car will start at $22,195 including a destination charge of $795. Check every possible option box, and the sticker price still won’t hit $27,000, which sounds like a fair deal to us.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST - image: Ford Motor Company

2014 Ford Fiesta ST – image: Ford Motor Company

The trick for Ford will be bringing in enough Fiesta STs to meet demand, without bringing in so many that sales of the more expensive (and more profitable) Focus ST are cannibalized. We’re fans of the Fiat 500 Abarth, so we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a Fiesta ST to see how it measures up.



2013 Infiniti G37S Coupe Review & Test Drive 27
Feb
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, featured, G37, Infiniti, Infiniti G37, Test Drives on 02 27th, 2013
2013 Infiniti G37S Beauty Right Up Done Small

2013 Infiniti G37S Beauty Right Up Done Small

‘SPORTING PERFORMANCE AND LUXURY WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK’

The 2013 Infiniti G37 Sport 2+2 sports coupe with the 6-speed manual transmission continues to be the lowest priced luxury high-performance 2+2 sports coupe on the market.  My G37 Sport 2+2 sports coupe with the Technology Package was priced at only $44,900.00 and took care of all of the performance, comfort, infotainment and safety systems that I would want to enjoy in a luxury high-performance sports coupe.

I’m talking about a 330 hp V6 engine, a short-throw six-speed manual gearbox, fully independent sport-tuned suspension, a sport-tuned steering gear, powerful   brakes riding on 19X9 in. light alloy wheels wrapped with Bridgestone super-high-performance tires, and that’s just what lies under the stunning skin of the car.  I’ll speak to the design and interior accruements later, but first the hard-parts.

The G37 Sport 2+2 is powered by a 3.7 liter VQ-series all-aluminum, DOHC V6 with VVEL (variable valve event and lift) that generates a healthy 330 hp at 7,000rpm and 270 lb.ft. of torque at 5,200rpm.  Infiniti’s proprietary VVEL system combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable lift on the intake side to help improve performance and response.  This engine is so smooth yet quickly revs to its 7,500 redline.  The engine also features a ladder type frame construction, large crank journal and pin diameters, asymmetric pistons skirts, twin knock sensors, an electronically controlled drive-by-wire throttle for incredible quick response, lightweight pistons, Iridium spark plugs and a symmetric twin air intake system.  The specially tuned dual exhaust system features equal length exhaust manifolds and low muffler exhaust backpressure to help improve engine breathing.  When you push the start button on the dashboard you’ll hear low growl and when pushed the low growl increases to a wild loud growl.  Its music to my ears!

2013 Infiniti G37S Engine Done Small

All of the torque is transferred to the rear wheels through a standard six-speed, short-throw gearbox that is fun to use.  It is so precise that you go right into the next gear when increasing speed or quickly downshift when coming into a curve.  It’s precision in motion.  Also available is the electronically controlled seven-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, downshift rev matching, Drive Sport mode and adaptive shift control that allows for quicker shifts in sporty driving conditions, and available solid magnesium paddle shifters.  With the six-speed slushbox I felt more a part of the car as I was able to hold the shifts longer up or down.  You just can’t beat a manual gearbox but it is too bad that it is becoming less and less available in sports cars.  The power to the pavement is put down with a standard viscous limited-slip differential.  The G37 Sport blasts out to 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.1 seconds.  That’s fast, really fast for under $45,000.00!

2013 Infiniti G37S Beauty Side Done Small

What really separates the G37S coupe from other performance coupes is the fun to drive and thrilling sport-tuned fully independent suspension.  The ride is light and very neutral with an almost perfectly balanced (54/46 f/r) coupe.  The awesome ride characteristics first start with the second-generation FM (Front Mid-ship) platform.  The lightweight aluminum suspension components further enhance the G37S’s tremendous handling ability.  Up front is a double-wishbone setup with a single pivot lower wishbone and a long upper links, monotube gas-charged shocks, coil springs and a stabilizer bar.  The rear multi-link suspension separates the shock absorbers and coil springs, locating the shock absorber inline.

This setup gave me the feeling that I was riding on rails.  Straight-line travel at high-speed was very stable, while attacking a steep curve was spot on with no understeer and very little oversteer (unless I turned the traction control off), which really got my heart pumping.  In case I miss-calculated my approach, the stand vehicle dynamic control system kept me out of trouble by using the brakes and throttle control.  Blasting out of steep curves was fun and exciting with the tail slightly slipping out but getting back inline quickly.  The ride is always firm but never harsh.

2013 Infiniti G37S Beauty Rear Done Small

Braking from speed when entering a curve or when traveling straight ahead but needing to slow down from triple-digit speeds is the high-performance braking system.  Up front are 14 inch vented discs clamped with four-piston calipers and 13.8 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers in the rear.  Enhancing your braking power and control are the standard ABS, BA and EBD systems.

The exterior styling follows the sporty performance theme of what lies under the skin by its ‘sculpted from a solid piece of metal’ design.  The front fascia has cues from race cars with its deep slitter and upturned lower bumper with foglamps at the corners.  You also see Infiniti’s signature double-arch grille and L-shaped HID bi-functional xenon headlamps.  The aluminum hood also features the Infiniti standard ‘wave’ design.  From the side are steeply raked A-pillars, aero-styled power/heated sideview mirrors, pull-out door handles, flared fenders, a strong side character line and deep side sills that integrate into the large wheel wells filled with 19 inch high-performance wheels and tires.  The rear shows a broad fender flowing into the large LED taillights, a chrome rear spoiler mounted onto the rear of the trunk lid, a flat rear bumper, rear underbody air diffusers and large dual exhaust outlets with chrome finishers.  It is a look that is unique and sporty all-around.

2013 Infiniti G37S Dashboard Done Small

The interior is a perfect blend of sporty cues and luxury with excellent craftsmanship.  The Infiniti signature ‘double wave’ instrument panel design is outstanding and easy to use with a separate instrument cluster, a full-length center console and a center stack with the navigation buttons and dials up top, the audio system controls in the middle and the dual zone climate controls below.  The small leather-wrapped/aluminum shift knob is in the perfect place for ease of use and is surrounded by a chrome bezel.  All of the touch points are quality soft material that you would find in a luxury car and the Silk Obi aluminum interior trim adds a unique look to the instrument panel, center stack, the center console and door panels.  A standard double hand-stitched leather covered steering wheel features power tilt/telescoping for the perfect angle and reach and fits perfectly in your hands for easy use.  It features audio control and cruise control buttons as well as controls for the Bluetooth hands free communication system.  The easy to see instrument cluster features Infiniti’s electroluminescent instrumentation with white illumination and integrated multi-function information drive computer display with readouts for average fuel consumption, real-time fuel economy, average speed, elapsed time, running distance, distance to empty, outside temperature, warning displays, and odometer.  The Sport Package features leather bucket seats that are comfortable and very supportive.  They feature thigh extensions, and the driver’s side features power adjustments for the deeply cut side bolsters and adjustable torso.  The driver gets a 12-way power adjustment seat with lumbar and front passenger get 8-way power adjustments.  The seats also feature 2-way adjustable head restraints and a unique rear-seat access system with the front seats moving forward automatically at the touch of a button to allow small passengers into the rear seats.

2013 Infiniti G37S Front Seats Done Small

Standard features not mentioned above include aluminum pedals and foot rest, power express up/down windows, power door locks, heated seats, intelligent key with push button start/stop, aluminum kick plates, deep center console storage box with padded armrest, variable speed wipers/washers, cruise control, dual map lights, grab handles above each door, remote trunk release, ash tray with lighter, power sliding/tinted sunroof and storage slots in each door.

The standard technology package in my G37S includes the Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with a 7 inch color screen, Nav Traffic/Nav Weather, Rear View Monitor, rear sonar system, Infiniti Studio On Wheels by Bose with 11-speakers and a 3-way front door speaker array using 10 inch woofers, Bluetooth, Sirius satellite radio, USB connection port for iPod interface, auto headlamps, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, and Infiniti’s voice recognition.

2013 Infiniti G37S Cluster Done Small

Standard safety features include driver/front passenger front airbags/side impact airbags, 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, tire pressure monitoring system, vehicle security system, vehicle immobilizer system and emergency inside trunk release.

Enough said, the new 2013 Infiniti G37S 6MT remains one of the world’s greatest bargains for an entry level luxury high-performing sport coupe.  Inside, outside and under the skin, one can’t purchase a better vehicle for under $45,000.00.

2013 Infiniti G37S Beauty Right Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Beauty Right Up Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Beauty Side Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Beauty Rear Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Dashboard Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Cluster Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Front Seats Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Sport Bucket Seat Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Door Trim Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Badge Done Small
2013 Infiniti G37S Engine Done Small

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base G37 Coupe $40,400 / As-Tested G37 Sport Coupe $44,900.00
  • Engine: 3.7-liter DOHC V6 330 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm / 270 ft-lbs. torque @ 5,200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
  • Total length: 183.7 inch
  • Total width: 71.8 inches
  • Total height: 54.9 inches
  • Turning circle: 36.1 feet
  • Headroom: f/r-37.7 with moonroof/34.5 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-43.8/29.8 inches
  • Fuel tank: 20 gallons
  • Trunk: 7.4 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,708 pounds
  • EPA MPG mileage: 17mpg/city, 25mpg/highway
  • 0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds


Volkswagen To Debut Mk VII GTI In Geneva 27
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2014 Volkswagen GTI, auto show, Automotive, Geneva Auto Show, Kurt, News, Volkswagen on 02 27th, 2013
The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim - image: Volkswagen
The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim - image: Volkswagen

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim – image: Volkswagen

If you’re a fan of hot hatchbacks, here’s some good news: the world will see the introduction of the Mk VII VW GTI at the Geneva Motor Show, with European sales beginning this May.

Buyers across the pond can opt for the “normal” 2.0-liter engine, which will make 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, or they can check the box next to the “Performance Pack” option which bumps output to 230 hp. The Performance Pack also includes bigger brakes and a torque-sensing limited-slip differential, and we’re fairly certain that Volkswagen will allow less-litigation-happy European customers the ability to deactivate the stability control system for track day fun.

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim - image: Volkswagen

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim – image: Volkswagen

The GTI will again be offered with a six-speed manual transmission or the six-speed, dual-clutch DSG unit. Either is a superb choice, and it really comes down to how much of a purist the buyer is. The six-speed manual will return better fuel economy, but the DSG gearbox will result in quicker lap times.

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim - image: Volkswagen

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim – image: Volkswagen

Outside, the new GTI’s sleeker styling is enhanced by narrower headlights and taillights, 17-inch “Brooklyn” wheels (though 18-inch wheels will probably be offered here) and a body kit that includes side skirts, a roof spoiler and a rear diffuser. Inside, plaid cloth is back on base models (and that’s a good thing), but it looks like VW has modified what used to be the best steering wheel in the entire automotive industry. Look for the new GTI to get red accent stitching, a unique instrument cluster and stainless steel pedals, too.

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim - image: Volkswagen

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim – image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen claims a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 153 mph on standard models, with the Performance Pack shaving 1/10 of a second to 60 mph and adding 2 mph to the top speed. While these are European specifications, you can likely expect similar performance from U.S. spec cars.

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim - image: Volkswagen

The Mk VII VW GTI, in European trim – image: Volkswagen

And that’s where the bad news comes in. Since VW will build North America GTIs in Mexico, we’ve still got a while to wait on these shores. There’s no definitive word on when the new GTI will go on sale here, but we expect it won’t hit U.S. dealers before 2014.



Nismo Becomes Nissan’s Official Performance And Motorsport Brand 26
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, News, Nismo, nissan, racing on 02 26th, 2013
The new Nismo 370Z in Nismo's corporate headquarters and showroom - image: Nissan
The new Nismo 370Z in Nismo's corporate headquarters and showroom - image: Nissan

The new Nismo 370Z in Nismo’s corporate headquarters and showroom – image: Nissan

Nissan and its performance partner Nismo have been linked together for years, but now it’s official: Nismo has been confirmed as Nissan’s exclusive performance and motorsport brand. The Japanese automaker marked the occasion with the opening of a new Nismo corporate headquarters and R&D facility in Yokohama, Japan.

The good news for Nissan enthusiasts, as delivered by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, is that the Nismo brand will be expanding rapidly to cover a variety of Nissan models. In Ghosn’s words, “Nismo will bring new excitement to the Nissan portfolio with a broader range of affordable and innovative performance models for more markets and more people. Whether it’s a small car or a sports car, if it’s wearing the Nismo badge it offers something special – quality, functionality, and efficiency, with Nismo’s distinctive styling, sporty handling and dynamic performance capabilities.”

In the United States, the first new offering will be the Juke Nismo, possibly followed by a new Nismo 370Z (which Nissan says was developed for the European market). There are even plans for a Nismo GT-R, too, but details on what that may or may not include are lacking.

Nissan will be expanding its motorsports presence via the Nismo brand as well, and plans to run Nismo-prepared cars in the 24 Hours of LeMans (in 2014), the Australian V8 Supercar Series, GT3, Super GT and the Blancpain Endurance Series.



Audi Pushes it to the Limit in 2013 RS4 Avant Ultimate Paintball Duel: Video 26
Feb
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in audi, Audi RS4 Avant, Automotive, Editorial, Paintball, video, wagon on 02 26th, 2013
audi-rs4-avant-paintball-duel

audi-rs4-avant-paintball-duel

Paintball gun adventures go well with a group of car enthusiasts looking for something ‘extra’ to do on the weekends. We all like to have a little ‘legal’ fun defeating our opponent on the streets and doing ‘other’ things. Audi has taken that idea to the next level as they create the “Ultimate Paintball Duel” with two 2013 RS4 Avants featuring bonnet mounted paintball guns all while inside of a military aircraft hangar. Surely the two minutes it takes to watch this Audi film is all worth the while watching these 450 horsepower wagons hoon around. Enjoy!



McLaren Dishes The Dirt On Its P1 Supercar 26
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in auto show, Automotive, Geneva Motor Show, Kurt, mclaren, McLaren P1, News, supercars on 02 26th, 2013
McLaren's P1 plug-in hybrid supercar - image: McLaren
McLaren's P1 plug-in hybrid supercar - image: McLaren

McLaren’s P1 plug-in hybrid supercar – image: McLaren

Though we’re now just one week away from the reveal of McLaren’s P1 supercar, the company has decided to go public with the remainder of the car’s stats, including performance numbers and U.K. pricing.

McLaren's P1 plug-in hybrid supercar - image: McLaren

McLaren’s P1 plug-in hybrid supercar – image: McLaren

We’ve already told you that the P1’s plug-in hybrid drive system will generate a truly impressive 903 horsepower and 663 pound feet of torque, but McLaren hadn’t released any performance numbers to make those stats relevant. Now the company says the P1 will sprint from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in under 3.0 seconds and will hit 300 km/h (186 mph) from a standing start in less than 17 seconds, on the way to an electronically-limited top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph).

McLaren's P1 plug-in hybrid supercar - image: McLaren

McLaren’s P1 plug-in hybrid supercar – image: McLaren

McLaren says the P1 will get to 300 km/h five seconds quicker than the firm’s original F1 supercar, which remains astonishingly quick today, some 15 years after production ended. Backing up this performance potential are Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires developed specifically for the P1 by Pirelli, and a braking system designed for the P1 by Akebono. The material used in the car’s carbon-ceramic rotors was previously used in the space program, and the P1 represents its first use in an automotive application.

McLaren's P1 plug-in hybrid supercar - image: McLaren

McLaren’s P1 plug-in hybrid supercar – image: McLaren

To ensure exclusivity, McLaren is only building 375 P1s throughout the car’s production run (which is still over 3.5 times the number of F1 supercars constructed). In the U.K., the car will be priced from 866,000 pounds (roughly $1,313,000), excluding the fitted luggage and any bespoke options ordered through McLaren Special Operations. There’s no word yet on whether or not the car will be offered in the United States, and if so, at what price.

McLaren's P1 plug-in hybrid supercar - image: McLaren

McLaren’s P1 plug-in hybrid supercar – image: McLaren

If you’re still not sold on the car’s organic styling, you can blame the people who are serious about buying one. McLaren surveyed potential owners after the concept was shown last September, and the near-universal opinion was “don’t change a thing.” We’ll admit that the P1’s looks have grown on us, but we’d still rather park an original McLaren F1 in our own collection.



Celebrating 60 years with Aston Martin & Bertone 26
Feb
Posted by Kelly Levinsohn in Automotive News, Popular, Super car news on 02 26th, 2013

In celebration of 60 years of collaboration with Aston Martin, Bertone has introduced a one-off Rapide shooting brake – The 2013 Aston Martin Rapide Bertone.

The vehicle, that has been commissioned by an Aston Martin collector, keeps the regular Rapide’s 2+2 seating configuration with more room for passengers in the back and features the rear lights of the Vanquish super-GT.

However, the Rapide Bertone does not offer the same engine as that which is fitted into the Rapide S. Rather power comes from the outgoing Rapide’s 470bhp 6.0-litre V12.

bertone1
bertone2
bertone3

Source: Car Magazine



Bertone Shows Its Custom Aston Martin Shooting Brake Ahead Of Geneva Debut 25
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in ASTON MARTIN, auto show, Automotive, Bertone Jet 2+2, Geneva Motor Show, Kurt, News on 02 25th, 2013
Bertone Jet 2+2 Shooting Brake
Bertone Jet 2+2 Shooting Brake

Bertone Jet 2+2 Shooting Brake

Last week, design house Bertone released a dimly-lit image of what looked to be (yet another) four-door coupe, promising that we’d see it revealed at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. It turns out the sketch wasn’t of a four-door coupe at all; instead, Bertone was teasing its take on an Aston Martin Rapide Shooting Brake.

Bertone is calling its creation the Jet 2+2, and it’s a reprise of sorts to the company’’s Jet 2 shooting brake concept, launched in 2004. Like the Jet 2+2, Autocar (via Motor Authority) tells us that the original Jet 2 was based on an Aston Martin model, specifically the previous-generation Vanquish.

Bertone Jet 2+2 Shooting Brake

Bertone Jet 2+2 Shooting Brake

The Jet 2+2 is meant to honor Bertone’s 60-year history with Aston Martin, as well as Aston Martin’s 100th anniversary. Only one example will be built, but it’s already spoken for; in fact, the design was commissioned by an Aston Martin enthusiast who had received the full blessing of Gaydon, England automaker.

Bertone Jet 2+2 Shooting Brake

Bertone Jet 2+2 Shooting Brake

The Jet 2+2 may be one of one, but if you’ve got enough money and enough influence, we’re fairly certain that Bertone would be willing to undertake another collaboration with Aston Martin. If you have to ask what that would cost, however, you’re likely not serious about such a project.



This Is The New 2014 Jeep Cherokee 25
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2014 Jeep Cherokee, Automotive, Editorial, Jeep, Kurt, New York auto show on 02 25th, 2013
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee - image: Chrysler Group LLC
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee - image: Chrysler Group LLC

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee – image: Chrysler Group LLC

Jeep’s mid-size Liberty model ended its eleven-year production run last August, when the Toledo North Assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, was shut down to re-tool for a completely new model. There’s been little word on the new mid-size Jeep since then, but rumors began circulating earlier this month that Jeep would revise the iconic Cherokee name for the SUV in the United States.

That made perfect sense, since outside of North America, the Cherokee name never went away. Last week, Jeep finally revealed some early images of the new Cherokee, and we’re not the first to point out the SUV’s polarizing lines. Critics have dubbed it the “new Pontiac Aztec,” or even the spiritual revival of the quirky Isuzu Vehicross. We’d counter that with fan ravings on its good looks, but those comments are hard to find. We’re trying to be impartial, ourselves, but the best we can say for the styling is that it’s distinctive.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will debut at the New York Auto Show next month, and Chrysler is promising it will come to market with best-in-class capability, pleasing on-road mannerisms and a significant gain in fuel economy. It’s a given that the Cherokee will be built in a “Trail-Rated” version, too, and assembly will take place in Toledo, Ohio.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will hit dealer showrooms in the third quarter of 2013. Pricing and models will be announced closer to the launch, and we’ll bring you more details following the SUV’s official intro in New York.

In the mean time, we have to ask the question: what do you think of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee’s looks? Is it trend-setting, or has Jeep gone a step too far?



Nissan Teases Major NISMO Announcement 22
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, Motorsports, News, Nismo, nissan on 02 22nd, 2013
Nismo-teaser-image

Nismo-teaser-image

If you’re a fan of Nissan and its performance division, Nismo, you may want to check back with us next week. On February 26, Nissan will announce “major news” for its Nismo group, tied to the opening of a new factory located near Yokohama, Japan.

The news will come from Nissan head Carlos Ghosn, and the teaser promises a “new direction for Nismo’s core mission.” In the past, Nismo has been primarily focused on designing and building performance parts, as well as the occasional race car and street car. It’s no secret that Nissan wants to grow its market share, and introducing a more complete line of products aimed at enthusiasts is one way to do so.

Nissan already sells the track-focused Nismo 370Z on these shores, and a new version of the car will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show. The Juke Nismo will soon hit U.S. dealer showrooms, and it’s already proven to be a hit in Europe. Nismo’s new factory location will also include a showroom and retail operation, so it’s a safe bet that its product catalog of parts and complete vehicles is about to get a whole lot larger.

Expect Nissan to expand Nismo’s presence in professional motorsports as well, since nothing sells perfromance-oriented cars like victories on the track. We’ll bring you complete details on Nissan’s big news next week.



Technology Makes The Corvette Stingray Faster: Video 22
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2014 Corvette Stingray, Automotive, Chevrolet, Kurt, News, video on 02 22nd, 2013
The Driver Mode display in the 2014 Corvette Stingray
The Driver Mode display in the 2014 Corvette Stingray

The Driver Mode display in the 2014 Corvette Stingray

For decades, sports cars were all about compromise. The stiff suspension and quick throttle response that made them fast on the track often made them a handful on the street. Likewise, a car softened up for daily driving wouldn’t always yield entertaining track days or fast autocross times.

While magnetorheological suspensions (used on select Corvette C6 models, the Cadillac CTS-V and the Ferrari 458 Italia, to name a few examples) have given drivers an impressive range of suspension settings, the ideal car setup would also involve things like shift time, throttle response, stability control and steering ratio.

Enter the new Corvette Stingray, which gets a “Driver Mode” selector switch to call up one of five pre-programmed settings, including Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track. Each mode adjusts the suspension, transmission, traction control, stability control and fuel map to optimize performance, grip, comfort or fuel economy.

The new Stingray also gets an electronic limited slip differential, which adjusts the torque output to each rear wheel multiple times per second, based on available traction. Unlike mechanical systems, there’s no delay in shifting torque from one wheel to the other, meaning that the driver never feels the system in operation.

While other companies (such as Audi) use similar changeable-mode technology, the Corvette could have perhaps the broadest range of settings. We’ll reserve judgement until we get a chance to drive the new Stingray, but we imagine Eco mode and Track mode will feel as if you’re driving two different cars. Frankly, we can’t wait for our own turn behind the wheel.







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