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Why Mopar won't release a factory lift kit for the new Jeep Cherokee

SUV Reviews - 3 hours 4 min ago

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Jeep Cherokee Dakar concept, front three-quarter view.

The Jeep Cherokee Dakar concept showed off at the 2014 Easter Jeep Safari made a lot of online friends, even the Cherokee naysayers assenting that there's a monster Jeep underneath the Cherokee's skin if you're willing to go in and get it. But after reading Road & Track's write-up of what went into creating the Dakar, particularly its lift, you'll understand why you'll probably never see the components for it in the Jeep Performance Parts catalog.

The concept's press release mentions a "prototype Jeep Performance Parts lift kit, and additional suspension modifications." The short-story explanation is that the front struts on the standard Cherokee weren't engineered to accept any amount of lift, so the long story begins with the phrase, "an entirely new suspension." Head over to RT to read the details, and don't be afraid to ogle the Cherokee Dakar gallery and another awesome Jeep fancy that won't likely crawl over the hurdles imposed by production reality.

Why Mopar won't release a factory lift kit for the new Jeep Cherokee originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

Luxury Cars - 7 hours 35 min ago

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2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

"The Ultimate Driving Machine" has been BMW's tagline for nearly 40 years. Launched in the 1970s, the marketing campaign was a stroke of genius by ad firm Ammirati & Puris, as the phrase helped differentiate the imported Bavarian cars from their fellow European rivals by subtly pointing out that Mercedes-Benz and Audi were offering luxury models, while BMW was selling sporty and youthful driving dynamics. The campaign worked - some would argue that stands among the most effective ad campaigns ever - and countless Baby Boomers embraced the brand's fun-to-drive image by taking delivery of the company's new models.

BMW still boasts that its vehicles are "The Ultimate Driving Machine" four decades later, but the brand is very different today. It offered just a few model lines in the mid-1970s, and only a handful of vehicles within. In 2014, the automaker offers an exhaustive range comprised of nearly a dozen lines with almost 50 different models. To survive and thrive, BMW has decided it must massively broaden its appeal.

One of the latest arrivals to BMW's ever-growing stable is the 2014 3 Series Gran Turismo. The five-door hatchback is best thought of as a smaller version of the company's 5 Series Gran Turismo built on stretched 3 Series platform that, in the case of this test car, shares the running gear of the 328i xDrive sedan. On paper, the five-passenger vehicle checks all the proper boxes with regards to performance, utility and economy. But does this family-focused 3 Series still deliver driving dynamics that qualify it for the title of Ultimate Driving Machine?

Continue reading 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market

SUV Reviews - 9 hours 31 min ago

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Land Rover Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid

The Land Rover hybrid models are growing both in terms of offerings and in size. At the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, the brand unveiled the Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid to join the standard version and Range Rover Sport Hybrid.

The long-wheelbase Range Rover's powertrain is identical to what is offered in the standard Range Rover Hybrid. It combines the brand's SDV6 3.0-liter turbodiesel with an electric motor producing 47 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. It grants a total system output of 335 hp and 516 lb-ft, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox from ZF routes power to all four wheels. The company claims the hybrid adds 265 pounds of weight to the SUV. However, it gives a 26-percent improvement in emissions and is rated at about 37 miles per gallon in the EU combined cycle. It can even run purely on electric power for a mile at speeds up to 30 mph, and regenerative braking keeps the system topped up.

The styling remains nearly identical to the standard LWB Range Rover. There are a few Hybrid badges, and that's about it. However, rear seat passengers get to take advantage of the cavernous backseat that adds 7.3 inches of room over the regular Rangie.

Orders for the SUV begin in May, and Chinese deliveries begin around the end of the year. However, like the rest of the hybrid Range Rovers, it likely won't be coming to North America anytime soon. Last year, Land Rover's US boss said the diesel hybrid would come here eventually, but he didn't give a timeframe. We have contacted the company for an update. Scroll down to read the full release about Land Rover's massive new Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid.

Continue reading Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market

Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market

Luxury Cars - 9 hours 31 min ago

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Land Rover Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid

The Land Rover hybrid models are growing both in terms of offerings and in size. At the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, the brand unveiled the Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid to join the standard version and Range Rover Sport Hybrid.

The long-wheelbase Range Rover's powertrain is identical to what is offered in the standard Range Rover Hybrid. It combines the brand's SDV6 3.0-liter turbodiesel with an electric motor producing 47 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. It grants a total system output of 335 hp and 516 lb-ft, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox from ZF routes power to all four wheels. The company claims the hybrid adds 265 pounds of weight to the SUV. However, it gives a 26-percent improvement in emissions and is rated at about 37 miles per gallon in the EU combined cycle. It can even run purely on electric power for a mile at speeds up to 30 mph, and regenerative braking keeps the system topped up.

The styling remains nearly identical to the standard LWB Range Rover. There are a few Hybrid badges, and that's about it. However, rear seat passengers get to take advantage of the cavernous backseat that adds 7.3 inches of room over the regular Rangie.

Orders for the SUV begin in May, and Chinese deliveries begin around the end of the year. However, like the rest of the hybrid Range Rovers, it likely won't be coming to North America anytime soon. Last year, Land Rover's US boss said the diesel hybrid would come here eventually, but he didn't give a timeframe. We have contacted the company for an update. Scroll down to read the full release about Land Rover's massive new Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid.

Continue reading Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market

Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts

SUV Reviews - 10 hours 48 min ago

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Jaguar XJ, XF and XK

With most recalls seemingly affecting mass-market vehicles, it'd be all too easy to assume, consciously or otherwise, that higher-end automobiles never face such issues. But the main reason we don't see the NHTSA recalling more luxury automobiles isn't because of their quality, we'd postulate: it's because of their relative scarcity.

Take Jaguar Land Rover, recalls of whose vehicles we only seem to have cause to report about once a year. So if you're figuring they're about due, here you go. The Indian-owned British auto group has just announced two recalls, both regarding suspension components: one affecting Jaguars and another concerning - you guessed it - Land Rovers.

First up we have a recall for 2013 to 2014 model year Jaguar XJ, XF and XK models - a whopping 297 of them - which have been found to have problematic toe links. Separation of the toe link from the rear sub-frame could result in impaired stability and control over the vehicle's direction, so JLR is calling them in to replace the nuts and washers on the rear toe links.

Just as simple is the second recall affecting the 2014 Range Rover Evoque. JLR is calling in a grand total of (wait for it) two units to have problematic bolts in the right-hand rear suspension replaced before they separate from the vehicle. Scope out the full details of both recalls in the notices below.

Continue reading Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts

Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts

Luxury Cars - 10 hours 48 min ago

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Jaguar XJ, XF and XK

With most recalls seemingly affecting mass-market vehicles, it'd be all too easy to assume, consciously or otherwise, that higher-end automobiles never face such issues. But the main reason we don't see the NHTSA recalling more luxury automobiles isn't because of their quality, we'd postulate: it's because of their relative scarcity.

Take Jaguar Land Rover, recalls of whose vehicles we only seem to have cause to report about once a year. So if you're figuring they're about due, here you go. The Indian-owned British auto group has just announced two recalls, both regarding suspension components: one affecting Jaguars and another concerning - you guessed it - Land Rovers.

First up we have a recall for 2013 to 2014 model year Jaguar XJ, XF and XK models - a whopping 297 of them - which have been found to have problematic toe links. Separation of the toe link from the rear sub-frame could result in impaired stability and control over the vehicle's direction, so JLR is calling them in to replace the nuts and washers on the rear toe links.

Just as simple is the second recall affecting the 2014 Range Rover Evoque. JLR is calling in a grand total of (wait for it) two units to have problematic bolts in the right-hand rear suspension replaced before they separate from the vehicle. Scope out the full details of both recalls in the notices below.

Continue reading Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts

Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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High-tech observatory only uses decades-old diesel trucks

Automotive Technology - 11 hours 34 min ago

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old trucks at NRAO

Head on out to Green Bank, WV, and you're likely to notice what looks like a giant satellite dish on the horizon. Only it's not a satellite dish. It's actually a fully steerable radio telescope - the largest of its kind in the world. It's funded by the federal government through the US National Science Foundation and operated by National Radio Astronomy Observatory. In short, it's one of the most advanced telecommunications devices in the world. So you'd expect them to service it with suitably advanced vehicles, right?

Wrong. Radio telescopes are hyper-sensitive to interference. That's why this one is located (alongside the NSA installation at Sugar Grove) inside the United States National Radio Quiet Zone. It's also why the NRAO only uses old diesel trucks to get anywhere near the telescope. Some of those trucks are 45 years old, but because they don't use spark plugs, computerized ECUs or even door chimes, they don't mess with the telescope. Head on over to Driving.ca to read exactly why.

High-tech observatory only uses decades-old diesel trucks originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes-Benz MLC prepares to take on BMW X6

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:15

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Mercedes-Benz MLC spy shots

Just days ago, we showed you the new Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV - a swoopy crossover aimed squarely at the BMW X6. We sort of figured from the get-go that this thing had serious production intent, and lo, our trusty spy photographers have just caught this prototype of the slick Benz, likely to be named MLC, out on the road.

Even under heavy camouflage, it's easy to see that the shape of the MLC - including specific elements like the front fascia design and S-Class Coupe-inspired taillamps - have carried over from the concept. Good stuff - despite our tendency to roll our eyes at this whole crossover-coupe class, we can't argue that the Mercedes concept is a pretty handsome creation.

Based on the M-Class, our spies suggest that when the MLC goes into production, it'll use the same suite of engines as its more traditional-looking sibling, including a 3.5-liter V6, twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8, and a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6. Of course, the concept car was fitted with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, so there's also a good chance of seeing that in the production car, as well. We wouldn't rule out a hotter AMG-tuned version, either, with that burly 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 underhood.

Based on just how far along in development the MLC seems to be, we don't think it'll be too long before the production car makes its debut. Our best guess: early 2015. Have a look through the gallery above to see more of the MLC prototype.

Mercedes-Benz MLC prepares to take on BMW X6 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First production Hongqi L-Series sells at Beijing Motor Show for $800,000

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 19:01

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Hongqi L5, front three-quarter view

The Hongqi has arrived, and with it the greater hopes that powerful Chinese will ride in symbols of Chinese power. The Honqi L5 sedan produced by China's FAW Group, first unveiled last year (and called the L9 at the time), is - in some circles - intended to be among the homegrown replacements for the millions of foreign luxury cars the Chinese government purchases for important officials. Shown at this year's Beijing Motor Show in production guise and now available to civilians as well, a Chinese businessman bought the first one for "at least five million yuan" ($801K) according to Bloomberg.

About the length of a Rolls-Royce Phantom and weighing 7,000 pounds, there's an all-aluminum 6.0 liter V-12 up front with 402 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, a hydro-pneumatic suspension and "intelligent" 4-wheel-drive technology below. The passenger quarters mix modern and retro with a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel of sixties design, hand-carved, cloud-motif wood inlays surrounding a stack of digital displays and celadon-jade door handles.

A sub-brand of Chinese automaker FAW, "Hongqi" means "red flag" and the L5 mimes cues from the CA770 sedan FAW built in the fifties for the country's leaders. With its features, price and ostentation, private-sector Mandarin moguls might also make it the Chinese word for "Gatsby."

First production Hongqi L-Series sells at Beijing Motor Show for $800,000 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 17:00

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The ink is still drying on the all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade sales brochures, but that hasn't stopped Texas-based Hennessey Performance (HPE) from leaping out of the gate with its own high-performance variant. In stock form, the big fourth-generation Cadillac flagship arrives with a new small block naturally aspirated 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Fresh out of the showroom, the 5,900-pound SUV will sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

While that is plenty fast for some owners, others don't want to be shamed by a 550 horsepower Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG or a 510 horsepower Land Rover Range Rover Sport - both will leave the stock Escalade at a stoplight.

The team at HPE has come to the rescue with its HPE550 supercharger upgrade, which includes a belt-driven supercharger, air-to-water intercooler, recalibrated engine management software and a three-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty. With 6 psi of boost, the direct-injected 6.2-liter is tuned to deliver an impressive 557 horsepower and 542 pound-feet of torque - gains of 32 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over stock. Although HPE isn't releasing performance figures as of yet, our math says that should be enough power to put the two Europeans in the Cadillac's rearview mirror. The company also offers a set of 20-inch lightweight H10 forged monoblock wheels, to further improve performance.

The HPE550 upgrade costs $15,950 installed. If that fits your budget, and satisfies your ego, find more detail from Hennessey in the press release, below.

Continue reading Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade

SUV Reviews - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 17:00

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The ink is still drying on the all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade sales brochures, but that hasn't stopped Texas-based Hennessey Performance (HPE) from leaping out of the gate with its own high-performance variant. In stock form, the big fourth-generation Cadillac flagship arrives with a new small block naturally aspirated 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Fresh out of the showroom, the 5,900-pound SUV will sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

While that is plenty fast for some owners, others don't want to be shamed by a 550 horsepower Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG or a 510 horsepower Land Rover Range Rover Sport - both will leave the stock Escalade at a stoplight.

The team at HPE has come to the rescue with its HPE550 supercharger upgrade, which includes a belt-driven supercharger, air-to-water intercooler, recalibrated engine management software and a three-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty. With 6 psi of boost, the direct-injected 6.2-liter is tuned to deliver an impressive 557 horsepower and 542 pound-feet of torque - gains of 32 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over stock. Although HPE isn't releasing performance figures as of yet, our math says that should be enough power to put the two Europeans in the Cadillac's rearview mirror. The company also offers a set of 20-inch lightweight H10 forged monoblock wheels, to further improve performance.

The HPE550 upgrade costs $15,950 installed. If that fits your budget, and satisfies your ego, find more detail from Hennessey in the press release, below.

Continue reading Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Hennessy wastes no time in supercharging the 2015 Cadillac Escalade originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Mercedes C-Class order guide leaked

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 16:29

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

We may not have an official starting price for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but as of right now, we can tell you about all the options for the eagerly anticipated new luxury sedan.

Benz Report has the entire order guide for the C-Class, with breakdowns from package pricing to how many different colors, wheel designs and lighting configurations will be available when the new model hits dealers later this year. As we mentioned in our initial review of the C-Class, there will be a pair of engine options, with the now familiar 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations and a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6, which can be had in all-wheel drive, only.

From there, though, the available options are impressive. Much like it does on the current car, Mercedes is offering a pair of packages that sort of define the entire car. With the C300, buyers will have the choice of either a Sport or Luxury package in addition to the base trim, while C400 buyers are limited to the Sport model.

The Sport package costs $2,500 (rising from $2,300 on the current C-Class), although the addition of 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and more supportive seats is sure to soften the blow. The Luxury Package is more reasonably priced, at $650, and options 17-inch multi-spoke wheels, a traditional Mercedes hood ornament, a softer suspension and the customer's choice of wood trim.

Once that's out of the way, buyers are faced with 10 color choices, three optional wheel choices that are independent of the Sport and Luxury packages, and a healthy array of interior leather and leatherette colors, as well as trims. Finally, there are seven option packages.

Most are carry overs from last year, with items like the Premium Pack, Driver Assistance Pack, Lighting Pack and Multimedia Pack seeing moderate tweaks in terms of content and pricing (the biggest price change involves the Lighting Pack, which is actually $640 cheaper). New packages include the $1,190 Airmatic Pack (adjustable Airmatic air suspension), the $2,300 Interior Pack (Vented leather seats, ambient lighting, memory settings for the passenger seat) and the $350 Air Balance Pack (Mercedes scented HVAC system). The standalone options sheet looks fairly vast, until you realize that a number of items are included on certain trims and with certain packages. The big-ticket items include the panoramic sunroof, which sees its price jump from $1,090 to $1,480, while a few items from the Driver Assistance Pack are also available à la carte.

Now, it should be stated that these prices could certainly change before the car arrives later this year. That said, this is a pretty handy guide as to what to expect when it comes time to order your very own C-Class. Hop over to Benz Report and have a look.

2015 Mercedes C-Class order guide leaked originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:57

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2015 Volvo S60

For those not paying attention, Volvo has updated its S60 sedan range for 2015 with a new range of engines under the Drive-E label. Wearing the same T5 and T6 badges to note the relative levels of power under the hood, both engines are 2.0-liter four-cylinders, with the lesser being turbocharged and the greater being both supercharged and turbocharged.

Both Drive-E variants are currently only available in front-wheel-drive flavor, though Volvo will still happily sell you an S60 T5 AWD with the older 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder, or a top-of-the-line S60 T6 with a turbo'd 3.0-liter six-cylinder and all the wheels turning.

The car I drove for a week is perhaps the most balanced version of the S60 range, with that exotic sounding twin-charged 2.0-liter mill planted happily in the attractively sloping nose. Provided you're not hung up on front-drive dynamics, the T6 Drive-E might be a solid candidate for your next premium small sedan shopping list, as well.

Driving Notes
  • At 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the output of Volvo's twin-charged 2.0-liter mill is damn close to that of the outgoing turbo-six, while weighing close to 150 pounds less. The engine feels meaty down low, as you'd expect, with audible whine from the supercharger never letting you forget about the forced induction at low rpm.
  • With the transmission slotted into normal Drive mode, throttle response is pretty great when forcefully pulling away from stoplights or entering the highway. Moved into Sport mode, the programming becomes downright aggressive, and the torque available is palpable through your toes. Speed doesn't pile on instantaneously when passing on the highway at 70 miles per hour, but simply tap the throttle from 10 mph around town, and Sport mode will launch you gleefully past your neighbors if you aren't ready for it.
  • Past experience with the S60 had me expecting that this car would be a bit less engaging than it turned out to be. The single-mode suspension is pretty well balanced between a compliant ride and tight handling, unless you really push the car. At a good pace, there's more lean in the chassis than I'd like from a sporting tool, but not so much that I think it detracts from the mission of this laid-back yet quick sedan.
  • The steering isn't particularly meaty or full of feel, but it is quick. On bendy roads, the S60 changed direction in short order, and didn't feel to be overly heavy in the nose - thanks here again to that lighter engine. Go hard and the front-drive S60 will push wide, sure, but handling feels balanced in everyday, lukewarm corners.
  • Noted supercharger whine to the side, the confines of the S60 are mostly hushed at a cruise. The fast-moving Volvo sets a nice stage for conversation, listening to your favorite tunes - I found the Volvo Premium Sound System to be clear, if not rich - or generally making light time of long commutes.
  • The increased fuel efficiency of the Drive-E engine should also be friendly to posh commuter types. Volvo and the EPA quote 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on the highway. Those numbers put it well ahead of the curve for most smaller engined versions of primary luxury competitors - BMW 320i, Lexus IS 250, Audi A4 2.0T, etc. - while offering a lot more power. Looked at conversely, it competes almost toe-to-toe on power with the more potent versions of all those sedans, while being priced lower (sometimes a lot lower).
  • I actually think that BMW's 328d would make a really interesting head-to-head comparison with this T6 E-Drive. Both start in the high $30k range; the Volvo has more power and (I believe) a slightly more refined driving experience; the BMW has better fuel economy, newer tech and the benefit of rear-wheel-drive dynamics.
  • You can decide for yourself about the aesthetics of the Volvo, but I still find this bodystyle to be completely lovely, a few years on from its introduction and having been grafted a slightly redesigned nose. Likewise, the cabin feels on par with the best in the segment in terms of design, materials and comfort, though the suite of technology powering its comparatively tiny-screened infotainment system lags the class. Personally I'd abide the slightly outdated tech for the tradeoff of the amazing front seats - and I work on the Internet, people.
  • Volvo has done a great service in keeping its mainstay S60 relevant with the new powertrain upgrades, overall. As ever with Volvo models, this is a car that should appeal to those drivers with a taste for luxury, indifferent attitude about at-limit handling (no rear-drive bias) and a vague notion that German cars are for "other people."

2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Yamaha PES1 and PED1 electric motorcycles headed for production

Automotive Technology - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:30

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Yamaha PES1

Yamaha PED1A big player in the two-wheeled world is hopping into the electric market. Yamaha's PES1 (pictured above) and PED1 (pictured right) battery-powered concepts are going into production in the near future, the company announced. Both bikes originally debuted at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

According to Visor Down, the Yamaha disclosed in its annual report that both cycles would be in production by 2016. "In addition to the advantages of being electrically powered, these motorcycles will offer the operability expected by existing motorcycle fans, together with a new riding experience," said a portion of the announcement.

If their skeletal looks don't give it away, these are some very light motorcycles. In concept form, Yamaha reported that the PES1 sport bike weighed less than 221 pounds, and the PED1 dirt bike weighed less than 187 pounds. Power came from a removable lithium-ion battery pack and brushless DC motor that were housed in a monocoque frame that was shared by both cycles. The concepts were equipped with a transmission with both manual and automatic modes.

Yamaha hasn't released performance figures for either bike yet. However, an earlier video suggested that the top speed of the PES1 was limited to 62 miles per hour. Granted, that was the concept version, and the production model could be faster.

Considering that Yamaha has a long and storied history of building fantastic bikes with internal combustion engines, we have high hopes it can do the same to challenge the electric cycle world.

Yamaha PES1 and PED1 electric motorcycles headed for production originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes to bridge gap to AMG with C450 Sport

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:00

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG Line Exterior Pack

Want to get your hands on a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but find the existing range-topping C400 too pedestrian and can't stretch to (or wait for) the upcoming new C63 AMG? We've got some good news for you, friend.

The latest word from Stuttgart has it that Mercedes is planning to bridge the gap with a new C450 Sport. Though not a full-on AMG model, it is said to benefit from the input of the engineers in Affalterbach. Power is tipped to come from the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 as the C400, but instead of 329 horsepower, it would offer more like 367.

The model would likely be offered in either rear-drive or rear-biased 4Matic all-wheel drive, but the smart money is on MBUSA only offering the latter in North America. You could, of course, expect to pay a premium over the as-yet unconfirmed price of the C400 - a good three grand or more considering the difference between the outgoing C300 and C350.

Considering that you could probably get the same boost out of an aftermarket ECU remap, though, Benz will need to offer a little extra in the form of upgraded rolling stock, suspension and trim to set it apart. The AMG Line exterior trim package pictured above would probably be a good place to start...

Mercedes to bridge gap to AMG with C450 Sport originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lexus IS 250 to get new turbo four?

Luxury Cars - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 19:29

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Lexus IS 250

"All show, no go." That's how I described the 2014 Lexus IS 250 F Sport that you see above, when I reviewed it back in November. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to like about the new IS, but the 204-horsepower, 2.5-liter V6 in the IS 250 is not on that list. In my review, I suggested that Lexus ought to get on the bandwagon of offering a small-displacement, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine in its base IS (like its rivals), and now the folks at Motor Trend are furthering that discussion.

Lexus pulled the wraps off its new NX 200t crossover at the Beijing show recently, and it'll be the first vehicle in the company's lineup to use a brand-new - you guessed it - 2.0-liter turbo-four. With 238 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque on tap, that represents a healthy increase over the 204 hp and anemic 185 lb-ft currently being offered with the 2.5-liter V6, and we imagine the fuel economy gains will be rather significant, too. For comparison, the Lexus' four-pot power numbers are very close to the 240 hp and 255 lb-ft offered in the same-sized engine that BMW uses in the 328i.

Motor Trend also posits that Lexus may consider changing the base IS' name from 250 to 200, or perhaps 200t, to properly reflect the new engine's displacement. Of course, that's assuming Lexus doesn't pull a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, and no longer has its alphanumeric names properly reflect the size of the powerplant found underhood.

Assuming Lexus does throw the 2.0T into the IS - the company said it plans to use this engine in several of its other vehicles - Motor Trend says it should show up around 2016. All I know is, that day can't come soon enough.

Lexus IS 250 to get new turbo four? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Acura TLX launch delayed

Luxury Cars - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 14:28

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2015 Acura TLX

Last week in New York, Acura pulled the wraps off its all-new TLX sedan - a midsize model that replaces both the TSX and TL in one fell swoop. In a bit of behind-the-scenes full disclosure, we were originally scheduled to get our first drive of the car in early May. But an intrepid reader forwarded us an email to Acura dealers saying that the on-sale date of the TLX will be pushed back, and subsequently, the automaker confirmed to Autoblog that the official media launch has been postponed, as well. Acura spokesperson Chuck Schifsky tells us that the 2015 TLX will now go on sale later this summer.

"We don't view it as a major delay," Schifsky told Autoblog. The TLX is "the most technologically advanced Acura" yet - even more so than the original NSX, Schifsky says - and thus, there are "lots of systems to get sorted out." When asked if there is a specific component to point to regarding this delay, Schifsky told Autoblog that it's "not any one thing."

"We have determined that it is necessary to modify the production schedule for the 2015 TLX, which will move the on-sale date to late summer."

"The TLX has more advanced and customer-relevant technology than on any other Acura model in our history, and we must assure that all systems are ready for mass production. Further, it is critical that we have a stable and sustainable supply of vehicles and components to support the strong customer response that we expect for this all-new Acura sedan," a company spokesperson wrote to its dealers. "To achieve these goals, we have determined that it is necessary to modify the production schedule for the 2015 TLX, which will move the on-sale date to late summer."

The 2015 TLX uses both a 2.4-liter inline-four and a 3.5-liter V6, and will be the first Acura to use two brand-new transmissions. The 2.4-liter engine features an eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, and the 3.5-liter V6 uses a nine-speed automatic. What's more, the TLX features a reworked version of the Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) that debuted in the larger RLX, and the company's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is available, too.

"The 2015 TLX is the emotionally powerful car we've been longing for," Acura wrote to its dealers. So it goes without saying, the company has a whole lot riding on this all-new offering, and it's important to get it right from the start. Schifsky reiterates, "Don't put the car on sale until it's perfect."

2015 Acura TLX launch delayed originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

Autoblog New Car Reviews - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 12:57

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

It may be impossible to spend a day in Chevrolet's new C7 Corvette without someone asking what you think about the iconic sports car - magnetism is an understatement. I was approached by strangers in a grocery store parking lot, parents waiting for their children after school and enthusiasts on a canyon road after I had pulled to the side to take in the view.

All sneak up with a curious smile on their face, take a deep breath and then start spitting out questions like an overly aggressive prosecuting attorney. Is this the new Corvette? What do you think of it? Is it fast? How much does it cost?

While a closed-roof coupe offers a protective shield from the verbal onslaught - it's hard to field questions through a solid roof - the droptop Stingray Convertible allows the full inquisition to rain down each time one slows to a stop. These opportunities include incessant chatter with complete unknowns at stoplights, street corners and even while stuck in traffic.

Continue reading 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford Everest Concept shows China also has an affinity for big trucks

SUV Reviews - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 16:33

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Ford Everest Concept

The Ford Everest Concept SUV at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show shows the future of the Blue Oval's truck line in China. While a concept for now, we're told that JMC, Ford's Chinese joint-venture partner, will build a production version sometime in the near future.

With design from Ford's Asia Pacific design team, the handsome seven-passenger SUV shows off some very muscular styling with wraparound headlights that hook into the contours of the angular trapezoidal grille. The beltline rises up the body in the rear and makes the back appear higher than the front. The rear is made from hard, chiseled contours that give the truck a very tough look. The Everest looks ready for some rough roads.

Ford is keeping the interior and mechanical details about the Everest a secret for now, but the SUV is rumored to share some components with the overseas Ranger pickup. The company has no plans to sell the truck in North America. Scroll down to read the official announcement, including the few details on its production.

Continue reading Ford Everest Concept shows China also has an affinity for big trucks

Ford Everest Concept shows China also has an affinity for big trucks originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 Apr 2014 15:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Autoblog New Car Reviews - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 12:57

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

"No Land Rover has any business sounding like that!"

My dad's words hung in the air like the few stray puffs of exhaust trailing in my wake as I motored away from him following a nice dinner. His parting statement to me really summed up the experience of driving this Chile Red Range Rover Sport. This is a vehicle unlike anything else Land Rover has ever built - and it needs to be. The Sport has been the British marque's best-selling vehicle since it went on sale in 2005 - even in its predecessor's final full year of sales, 2012, it still netted a four-percent bump. That kind of staying power needs to be preserved.

Doing that would be difficult, though, as Land Rover launched a pair of particularly notable products before it was time to redesign the Sport. The Range Rover Evoque has set the design benchmark for the Land Rover brand, while the all-new, fourth-generation Range Rover was the best sport utility vehicle Land Rover has ever built, and arguably one of the very best on the road, full stop.

The task seemed clear, then: build a worthy successor to an SUV that customers have been clamoring to buy for the better part of decade, while also adding the design chutzpah of the Evoque and living up to the class-leading standards set by its big brother.

Continue reading 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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