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Porsche considering X6-style Cayenne coupe

SUV Reviews - Mon, 05/05/2014 - 19:40

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2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS

It was practically unthinkable when Porsche introduced the Cayenne in 2002. An SUV... from Porsche? Purists balked, but customers flocked, and the Cayenne propelled the its holding company into such profitability that it practically took over the entire Volkswagen Group. It's now been twelve years since the original Cayenne arrived as the first production Porsche with more than two doors, and Zuffenhausen has since followed up with the Panamera, the Macan and the second-generation Cayenne. But it isn't about to stop there.

The latest intel coming in from overseas suggests that Porsche is in the advanced stages of designing a slant-back, five-door Cayenne coupe to take on the likes of the BMW X6 and upcoming Mercedes-Benz MLC. Though the business case (however solid BMW may have already demonstrated it to be) is still being considered, if approved it would join the upcoming third-generation Cayenne on the production line in Leipzig as early as 2018 - a year after the new Cayenne itself is expected to arrive.

The Cayenne coupe would share much with the more conventional MkIII Cayenne (and for that matter the next Audi Q7 and VW Touareg as well as the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Falcon) but differentiate itself with a more stylish (if less practical) roofline and an altogether sportier attitude. Autocar reports that the design calls for tauter sheetmetal and sportier cabin inspired by the 918 Spyder. Pricing would be positioned a good 15-20 percent higher than the regular Cayenne, and the "coupe" version would likely be offered with most, if not all of the engines available in the conventional version - including gasoline, diesel, turbo and possibly even hybrid options ranging all the way up to the 550-horsepower Turbo S.

Porsche considering X6-style Cayenne coupe originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 May 2014 18:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche considering X6-style Cayenne coupe

Luxury Cars - Mon, 05/05/2014 - 19:40

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2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS

It was practically unthinkable when Porsche introduced the Cayenne in 2002. An SUV... from Porsche? Purists balked, but customers flocked, and the Cayenne propelled the its holding company into such profitability that it practically took over the entire Volkswagen Group. It's now been twelve years since the original Cayenne arrived as the first production Porsche with more than two doors, and Zuffenhausen has since followed up with the Panamera, the Macan and the second-generation Cayenne. But it isn't about to stop there.

The latest intel coming in from overseas suggests that Porsche is in the advanced stages of designing a slant-back, five-door Cayenne coupe to take on the likes of the BMW X6 and upcoming Mercedes-Benz MLC. Though the business case (however solid BMW may have already demonstrated it to be) is still being considered, if approved it would join the upcoming third-generation Cayenne on the production line in Leipzig as early as 2018 - a year after the new Cayenne itself is expected to arrive.

The Cayenne coupe would share much with the more conventional MkIII Cayenne (and for that matter the next Audi Q7 and VW Touareg as well as the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Falcon) but differentiate itself with a more stylish (if less practical) roofline and an altogether sportier attitude. Autocar reports that the design calls for tauter sheetmetal and sportier cabin inspired by the 918 Spyder. Pricing would be positioned a good 15-20 percent higher than the regular Cayenne, and the "coupe" version would likely be offered with most, if not all of the engines available in the conventional version - including gasoline, diesel, turbo and possibly even hybrid options ranging all the way up to the 550-horsepower Turbo S.

Porsche considering X6-style Cayenne coupe originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 May 2014 18:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4

Luxury Cars - Mon, 05/05/2014 - 12:57

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2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4

It was probably the best headache I've ever had in my life. A spicy combination of Lamborghini's superlative new 2015 Huracán LP 610-4, fast-as-you-can-drive laps of the tricky Ascari race circuit, 80 kilometers of the Ronda Road and a healthy dose of southern Spanish sun had left me with a bit of a pounder. That cocktail of speed and noise had also granted me one of the best days of driving in my life.

As an encore to Gallardo, the single most successful Lamborghini model in history, and following on the heels of the most profitable era the company has ever known, the stakes for this Huracán could hardly be higher. What's more, considering that stablemate Avendator hasn't exactly come in for universal praise (despite its unquestionable commercial success), I flew to Spain with a small pit of doubt in my generally buoyant heart. Could Huracán possibly let me down?

It could, maybe. But it didn't. This is a car that most assuredly lives up to the hype, and is fully worthy of wearing the crown won for it by the outgoing Gallardo. Sorry for the spoiler.

A couple of aspirin, rehydration and a few minibar cervezas later, my headache was more or less forgotten. But the drive of this heartthrob Huracán is something that I'd keep with me for a lot longer.

Continue reading 2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4

2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 May 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests

Luxury Cars - Sun, 05/04/2014 - 20:23

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Hyundai Genesis Gauntlet

For better or worse, technology like adaptive cruise control, backup cameras, lane keeping assist and other safety features have revolutionized the way cars drive. Hyundai is proving just how advanced its assists are in a trio of new videos starring veteran stunt and race driver Rhys Millen.

Each video puts Millen behind the wheel of a 2015 Hyundai Genesis with all of its windows blacked out. He's challenged to prove the usefulness of the car's backup camera, lane assist and automatic emergency braking by making it through three dangerous situations while driving blind.

At about two-minutes each, the videos are quick to watch, even if the amount of danger Millen is ever really in seems somewhat questionable. The one titled The Gauntlet, which tests the backup cam to swinging transport containers, is probably the best of the bunch. Scroll down to watch all three videos and see how you think Hyundai's safety assists stack up.

Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests

2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 May 2014 19:23:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests

Automotive Technology - Sun, 05/04/2014 - 20:23

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Hyundai Genesis Gauntlet

For better or worse, technology like adaptive cruise control, backup cameras, lane keeping assist and other safety features have revolutionized the way cars drive. Hyundai is proving just how advanced its assists are in a trio of new videos starring veteran stunt and race driver Rhys Millen.

Each video puts Millen behind the wheel of a 2015 Hyundai Genesis with all of its windows blacked out. He's challenged to prove the usefulness of the car's backup camera, lane assist and automatic emergency braking by making it through three dangerous situations while driving blind.

At about two-minutes each, the videos are quick to watch, even if the amount of danger Millen is ever really in seems somewhat questionable. The one titled The Gauntlet, which tests the backup cam to swinging transport containers, is probably the best of the bunch. Scroll down to watch all three videos and see how you think Hyundai's safety assists stack up.

Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests

2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 May 2014 19:23:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FL man facing $48,000 fine for operating cell phone jammer in his Toyota

Automotive Technology - Sun, 05/04/2014 - 16:10

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A trade exhibitor shows a portable pockeSometimes one man's great idea is everyone else's idea of a huge breach of the law. Using a phone while driving is completely legal in Florida, but it still bothered Jason R. Humphreys. He responded by allegedly operating a cellphone jammer from his Toyota Highlander for about two years until Federal Communications Commission officers and sheriffs finally caught him.

Humphreys' device wasn't discovered until a cellphone carrier noticed regular interference in its towers along a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 4 around Tampa, FL. The company contacted the FCC to investigate, and it identified the vehicle with direction-finding equipment. According to Network World, when sheriffs pulled the Toyota over, their radios stopped working to contact the dispatcher, and they found the jammer under a cover in the backseat.

While it may seem relatively harmless, operating a cellphone jammer is quite illegal in the US. Humphreys is charged with allegedly operating the device and causing interference. However, the FCC only fined him for one violation each, totaling $48,000. The organization could have levied as much as $337,000 because he blocked signals for so long.

FL man facing $48,000 fine for operating cell phone jammer in his Toyota originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 May 2014 15:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VW introduces radically different new consumer site, draws mixed reviews

Automotive Technology - Fri, 05/02/2014 - 18:15

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2014 Volkswagen Website

The one thing that is certain in life is change, especially in the fast-moving world of the internet. So it's not usually news when an automaker redesigns its website. However, Volkswagen of America just launched a major revamp of its site to try and make it a less intimidating way to research about and buy its cars. It's simple and clean, but the new look is drawing the ire of some few visitors because its minimalist design makes some information hard to find.

The goal was to "take away the intimidation and make buyers feel empowered."

The new site has a simplified, tablet-first concept that reduces the number of necessary clicks to find a car. The biggest change, though, is that it replaces the traditional configurator to build and price with "Find a Match." With it, users choose things like the model, color, engine and features they want, and the database finds corresponding models from nearby dealers. While it's a quick way to find a vehicle, you're searching for rather than creating a specific car. The system also obscures the cost of individual options and packages.

Paige Parrent, Digital Platforms Manager at Volkswagen Marketing, guided the design process for the new site. The goal was to "take away the intimidation and make buyers feel empowered," she told Autoblog. That meant making the build process more transparent and giving users immediate feedback. It's no longer about what's possible, but what's available. "We want to match people with the cars they love."

Online dating and e-commerce websites inspired the layout.

Users can still find prices by trim level, but it's an obtuse process. They have to go to the model page, select "Explore Trims," and then "View Trims." This section is also where a vehicle's full specs are located. Generally, the site only calls out basic technical data like fuel economy and power. Focus testing, says VW, showed those details were most important to buyers. At the moment, there is no way to view dealer-installed options on the car when finding a match, but Parrent said this feature would be added later.

Online dating and e-commerce websites inspired the layout. Like dating, logic plays a role in buying a car, but it's an emotional decision in the end, Parrent believes. Aesthetically, the site works well with quick load times and detailed images, and some users are responding well. "They appreciate the boldness of the design," said Parrent. That said, it might take time for the brand's enthusiasts to get used to the streamlined, less-technical flow.

Check out the gallery above for some examples of the new layout or just go to VW.com. Scroll down to read the automaker's press release about the revamp.

Continue reading VW introduces radically different new consumer site, draws mixed reviews

VW introduces radically different new consumer site, draws mixed reviews originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 May 2014 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Drifting can be dangerous for spectators, too

Luxury Cars - Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:00

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Idiots drifting

Okay kids, here's your lesson for the day. When you go to a motorsports event (that isn't a rally), there are these things called walls. They're big and hard. There might be stacks of tires in front of them. There are also these things called barriers, catch fences and run-off areas. They exist to protect you, the spectator, when something inevitably goes wrong on the track.

If you don't have these things, you probably shouldn't be watching whatever four-wheeled mayhem is taking place. This gentleman learned that the hard way, after getting a bit too close while some hoon drifts his BMW 3 Series.

Scroll down for the video, and be warned, while there isn't any blood that we can see, some viewers might find the sight of a human getting punted by a BMW disturbing.

Continue reading Drifting can be dangerous for spectators, too

Drifting can be dangerous for spectators, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 May 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BMW M2 reportedly green-lit

Luxury Cars - Thu, 05/01/2014 - 14:31

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BMW M235i

A BMW M2 is on the way, according to a sub-forum in the Bimmerpost empire. Of course, we're actively enjoying a few grains of salt, just to be safe, as the post doesn't mention explicit sources, saying only that "multiple inside sources (who have been accurate in the past)," have confirmed the car.

Provided the forum is correct, though, there's some juicy information here. Production is allegedly slated for late fall 2015, with deliveries likely starting in early 2016. The new sports coupe should arrive with 365 to 375 horsepower, courtesy of an upgraded version of BMW's N55 turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six.

The report claims BMW also considered a modified version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Mini Cooper S. That engine, known internally as the B48, would have been called the S48 for M2 duty, a significance that we're sure BMW purists would appreciate (the only BMW four-cylinder engine to wear an S designation was the four-cylinder from the legendary E30 M3).

The juiciest tip, though, is the M2's internal code-name - pyrat2. According to the post, "pyrat" was the code-name for the 1 Series M Coupe. If this is correct, then, we're almost certainly looking at a clear successor to the limited-run 1M Coupe. Unlike that car, though, the M2 is likely to be part of a far more standard production run, not just a one-year proposition.

This is all pretty great news. Take your prescribed grains of salt, and then hop into Comments and let us know what you think.

BMW M2 reportedly green-lit originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 May 2014 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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XCAR marks 20-year anniversary of Senna's passing with Mercedes 190E Cosworth

Luxury Cars - Thu, 05/01/2014 - 13:45

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 Ayrton Senna and the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth

While the automotive world is focusing on the twentieth anniversary of Ayrton Senna's death, there was much, much more to the legendary driver than his untimely passing at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

XCAR has the story of a younger Senna, who, by a stroke of luck, found himself matched up against a veritable dream team of nine Formula One champions, not to mention a cadre of German touring car aces. A "probably still pissed (drunk)" James Hunt, hard-driving Niki Lauda and future champion and rival Alain Prost, were in attendance for the one-off, spec race, which was put on by Mercedes-Benz, in honor of the opening of the Nürburgring's Grand Prix circuit. And Senna was on hand with the explicit goal of besting them all.

Each driver was handed a lightly modified, but brand-new 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth, a car that can best be though of as the distant ancestor of the lovable C63 AMG. As for the race itself, well, it was sort of like an introduction of what the sport could come to expect from the Brazilian.

Take a look below for the full video on Senna and the Cossie.

Continue reading XCAR marks 20-year anniversary of Senna's passing with Mercedes 190E Cosworth

XCAR marks 20-year anniversary of Senna's passing with Mercedes 190E Cosworth originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 May 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015.5 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar [w/video]

Luxury Cars - Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:57

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2015 Volvo S60 Polestar

Polestar Performance has been around since 1996, but until recently, it only did two things: manage Volvo motorsports operations and run a specialist consumer-facing side that built concept cars and boosted Volvo's turbocharged production cars by 15 to 60 horsepower. Five years ago, it fulfilled its long-held desire to engineer an actual production car, first creating the C30 Polestar Performance Concept, a showcar that led to the C30 Polestar Limited Edition.

That foray led to the berserker, 508-horsepower 2013 S60 Polestar Concept that Auto Motor und Sport called "a hard slap in the face to the Germans," and that model led to the limited-edition S60 Polestar production car just for Australia, a car reviewers swooned for, with one comparing its chassis finesse to the Ferrari 458 Italia.

All of which is to say, Polestar has a good start for a motorsports and tuning company to make good on its production car dreams. The 2015 Volvo S60 Polestar and V60 Polestar keep that momentum going, and beautifully at that.

Continue reading 2015.5 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar [w/video]

2015.5 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 May 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next Mazda CX-9 to launch by 2016, could get turbo-four

Automotive Technology - Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:16

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2013 Mazda CX-9

Mazda has a lot going on these days, what with launching the new Mazda6 and Mazda3, with the new Mazda2 just around the corner. We know the new Miata is also on the way, and after that it looks like the next vehicle in its lineup due for an overhaul is the CX-9 crossover, due to launch by 2016. The move makes sense because the CUV is growing long in the tooth. It was first introduced in 2007 and was refreshed twice since then.

The next-generation CX-9 will move away from Ford-derived components like the V6 in the current model and will likely use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, a final decision hasn't been made yet. "If I ask Mr. Hitomi, our top guy of powertrains at Mazda, he believes the downsizing turbo solution costs more. But real downsizing means six-cylinder to four-cylinder turbo could make sense from a cost point of view," said Mazda's global marketing boss Masahiro Moro to CarAdvice at the New York Auto Show. The executive said a hybrid powertrain option would be unlikely, but markets outside the US could get a diesel, as well.

Moro also tipped his hand at future Mazda model plans. He hints that the Japanese automaker is considering building a luxury vehicle with a six-cylinder engine. "It's too early, we don't have a car yet. But we are collecting advice as to V6 or straight-six," he said to CarAdvice. We'll definitely be watching.

Next Mazda CX-9 to launch by 2016, could get turbo-four originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 May 2014 11:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lexus launches supercharged LX 570 in Middle East

SUV Reviews - Thu, 05/01/2014 - 09:44

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Lexus LX570 Supercharger

The Lexus LX SUV is a very muscular, old-school vehicle. Based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, it's still a big, body-on-frame SUV, but inside it offers acres of leather and luxury tech. The brand's Kuwaiti distributor is taking it machismo even further for the local market with the new LX 570 Supercharger.

As the name suggests, the upgraded SUV grafts a supercharger onto the LX 570's 5.7-liter V8 to boost it to 450 horsepower, from 383 hp in the naturally aspirated version in the US (or 362 hp in the standard Kuwaiti version), and it uses the same six-speed automatic as the standard model. To signal the improved strength, much of exterior chrome is replaced with black trim. It also wears special 20-inch wheels and a rear spoiler. The interior is fitted with crimson leather seats and red-accented carpet. It also gets an aluminum sill plate that says "Supercharger." Like the standard Kuwait-spec LX 570, it has two fuel tanks with a total combined capacity of 36.46 gallons, which should help satiate the likely thirsty, forced-induction V8.

The LX 570 Supercharger won't be rumbling down streets outside of the Middle East, though. According to Lexus spokesperson Bill Kwong, this is a project by the distributor in the region. The supercharged engine also has "issues with emissions" in the US, especially in California, he told Autoblog. Too bad, it would be an interesting Range Rover alternative.

Lexus launches supercharged LX 570 in Middle East originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 May 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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eBay Find of the Day: 1981 Porsche 928 convertible by Carelli

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/30/2014 - 19:28

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1981 Porsche 928 Convertible by Carelli Design

The Porsche 928 was perhaps the consummate European GT of its day. With a powerful front-mounted V8 engine that grew in displacement as the model years went on, it was capable of eating up the miles at triple-digit speeds in great comfort for occupants. It was also an unusual beauty, with its sharp front and curved rear featuring innovative integrated bumpers.

Currently for auction on eBay Motors is one of the rarest 928s you're likely to find, in a handsome combination of Guards Red paint and tan leather interior, though we wouldn't mind a less-showy finish to the factory wheels. According to the seller, this car is one of eight 928 convertibles by Carelli Design, a firm that's still in business.

1981 Porsche 928 convertibleThe auction claims that these cars were made in 1981 as a feasibility study between Carelli and Porsche for a possible production 928 convertible. The seller says he worked at the dealership where the car is said to have been originally sold $103,000. To remove the roof and hide the convertible top, there were significant changes made to the body and interior, including redesigned doors and a completely new trunk. As you can see in the gallery, when down, the top is completely hidden in a very factory-like fashion. When up, it looks slightly awkward, though (and we'd really like to see a rear three-quarter view to check out the blind spots).

The car is mechanically stock, with a 4.5-liter V8 and an automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. Over the years, an aftermarket muffler, exhaust tip and switch to control the antenna have been installed. The seller claims there are just 6,333 miles on this rare Porsche convertible.

As of this writing, the auction sits at $25,100 with 2 bids and the reserve not met. The seller touts that the car comes with a certificate of authenticity from Porsche and a Motor Trend article about the Carelli-prepared 928s.

eBay Find of the Day: 1981 Porsche 928 convertible by Carelli originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Apr 2014 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FB Tuning debuts 400-hp carbon-bodied Chrysler Crossfire in Monaco

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/30/2014 - 17:58

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FB-ONE

The Chrysler Crossfire was, suffice it to say, a matter of taste. Based on old Mercedes-Benz mechanicals, it included retro styling accents and an armadillo roofline. Some loved it, but there was clearly room for improvement - not to mention more sales - and that's just what Italian coachbuilder FB Tuning had to showcase at the Top Marques show in Monaco this year.

Called the FB-ONE, it's based on the Crossfire, which itself was based on the same R170 chassis as the first-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK. It packs the same 3.2-liter V6 as well, which FB claims to have tuned farther than anything Daimler-Chrysler ever managed with the same engine. Whereas the SLK32 AMG packed 354 horsepower and the Crossfire SRT-6 offered 330, the FB-One packs a nice, round 400 hp, which ought to be good for a 0-60 time of little over four seconds.

As you can see, that's not all they've done with FB-One. It's also been rebodied in carbon fiber, with gold accents, deep-dish alloys that look like they came out of a casino and the headlights from an Audi A8. Whether the result is your cup of tea likely depends, as it did with the Crossfire in the first place, on your own personal tastes, so check it out for yourself in the video below.

Continue reading FB Tuning debuts 400-hp carbon-bodied Chrysler Crossfire in Monaco

FB Tuning debuts 400-hp carbon-bodied Chrysler Crossfire in Monaco originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Apr 2014 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover L Autobiography

SUV Reviews - Wed, 04/30/2014 - 12:57

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover L Autobiography

When it comes to fullsize, ultra-luxurious SUVs, you can't do much better than a Range Rover. We've gushed over the biggest Land Rover several times, praising this latest generation's powerful engines, luxurious interiors, and ability to climb both mountainsides and social ladders all while looking fantastic.

Capable as it may be, Land Rover's mission with the Range Rover is to also create an absolutely top-shelf luxury experience, something that's perhaps best illustrated here with the company's new long-wheelbase model. In previous generations, rear seat accommodations were always a sore spot, with compromised legroom and tricky ingress and egress.

By stretching the wheelbase by nearly eight inches, this longer Rangie now offers an additional 7.3 inches of legroom. And with a new executive rear seating package that replaces the traditional bench for a proper two-plus-two arrangement, the back seats now feature an additional 17 degrees of recline. It all comes at a price - roughly $146,000 as-tested - but combined with the more luxurious rear seat accommodations, that hefty price tag actually seems like sort of a bargain. Think about it: Sure, you can get a stretched S-Class or 7 Series for slightly less coin, but the Range Rover is far more capacious, functional, and has all that off-road prowess, to boot. Don't think of this thing as just a stretched Range Rover. Think of it as the most luxurious fullsize SUV you can buy today - and maybe tomorrow, too.

Driving Notes
  • Mechanically speaking, the long-wheelbase model doesn't shake up the Range Rover package too much. Nor does it from a design standpoint. Oh sure, you can really see that added length, especially in the profile view. But aside from that, the only added visual cues are small 'L' badges on the aluminum character line below the doors. The extended Range Rover is still handsome as ever, and the extra length doesn't make it look awkward, or too-long, like some stretched-wheelbase cars.
  • Nothing is different under the hood, either, where Land Rover's 5.0-liter supercharged V8 still keeps things rockin' with 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Like the standard-wheelbase models, this power is all managed through a buttery-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, and the same four-wheel drive and off-road capability is there.
  • This powertrain still makes for a bloody quick Range Rover, especially considering its size and heft - the longer model adds some 287 pounds to the overall curb weight, tipping the scales at a healthy 5,137 pounds. That's a lot of weight, but it's still less than standard-wheelbase rivals (the Lexus LX 570 weighs a galling 6,000 pounds), and it remains a significant decrease from the outgoing model thanks to its new aluminum-intensive construction. And with that 5.0-liter supercharged heart pumping out the power, Land Rover estimates that its largest Range Rover will still sprint to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds.
  • On the road, the LWB model is every bit as good to drive as the standard configuration, though some full-size SUV attributes like a bit of vagueness in the steering, a fair amount of body roll, and noticeable front/rear pitch during takeoff and landing have been baked in (the latter being a longtime air-suspended Land Rover hallmark). Stretching the wheelbase does make the Range Rover a bit more compliant and limousine-like on the highway, with pavement irregularities being seemingly more smothered than before.
  • Should you venture off road, the LWB Range Rover is nearly every bit as capable as its more compact (ha!) sister. All of the excellent off-road terrain management settings are there, and approach and departure angles haven't changed in stretching the wheelbase. The breakover angle has decreased slightly, however - 18.4 to 26.1 degrees (normal vs. off-road heights) in the LWB, compared to 20.1 to 28.3 degrees in the normal-wheelbase model.
  • In all, there isn't a whole lot of difference from behind the wheel, but to critique the long-wheelbase Range Rover on its dynamics would be missing its point entirely. The big-ticket feature here, is what's in store for the folks you're chauffeuring around.
  • We aren't exaggerating here when we say that the executive seating package on this Range Rover provides for one of the most luxurious and spacious rear compartments we've ever had the privilege of experiencing. There's headroom, knee room, legroom and shoulder room galore, with individually heated, cooled and massaging rear thrones. What's more, Land Rover offers individual rear seat entertainment systems, four-zone climate control and a massive panoramic sunroof. Combine those attributes with the SUV's stadium seating, and you've got all the makings of a truly first-class experience.
  • Nothing in the class - no Mercedes-Benz, no BMW, no Lexus, no Audi - offers this sort of rear seat accommodation. Land Rover has created something that will likely rival - and perhaps, best - what Bentley is planning for its upcoming SUV, if not its Flying Spur.
  • That isn't completely without fault, though our cabin complaints mostly concern the cockpit. We still don't love Land Rover's slow-to-respond touchscreen infotainment system, and some of the minor controls feel cheap considering how luxurious the rest of the interior is.
  • Our tester's orange-tan leather may come across as a bit much for some eyes (these photos don't help), but it's all up to would-be owners how they spec their new ride. Land Rover offers a host of other interior color combos, and it doesn't change the fact that this cabin is otherwise top-notch as far as comfort and refinement goes.
  • Of course, all this added goodness comes at a price. Long-wheelbase models start at $106,225, and can only be had with the 5.0-liter SC V8. From there, adding the Autobiography trim adds a hefty $36,800 to the bottom line, which allows you to select the executive rear seating pack, and adds a healthy upgrade of interior luxury and small upgrades to the exterior (unique 21-inch wheels, chrome-plated grille and more). Want something even more outrageous? Land Rover will sell you a limited-edition LWB Autobiography Black, for $185,000.
  • You can scoff all you want at the $146,000 bottom line for this tester, but again, considering it will likely rival what Bentley offers with its SUV - a vehicle that should easily cost twice as much - in the right light, it's kind of a bargain. And with a powerful engine, genuine go-anywhere capability and serious street cred, what is perhaps the best fullsize SUV money can buy just got better. Who says size doesn't matter?

2014 Land Rover Range Rover L Autobiography originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover L Autobiography

Luxury Cars - Wed, 04/30/2014 - 12:57

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover L Autobiography

When it comes to fullsize, ultra-luxurious SUVs, you can't do much better than a Range Rover. We've gushed over the biggest Land Rover several times, praising this latest generation's powerful engines, luxurious interiors, and ability to climb both mountainsides and social ladders all while looking fantastic.

Capable as it may be, Land Rover's mission with the Range Rover is to also create an absolutely top-shelf luxury experience, something that's perhaps best illustrated here with the company's new long-wheelbase model. In previous generations, rear seat accommodations were always a sore spot, with compromised legroom and tricky ingress and egress.

By stretching the wheelbase by nearly eight inches, this longer Rangie now offers an additional 7.3 inches of legroom. And with a new executive rear seating package that replaces the traditional bench for a proper two-plus-two arrangement, the back seats now feature an additional 17 degrees of recline. It all comes at a price - roughly $146,000 as-tested - but combined with the more luxurious rear seat accommodations, that hefty price tag actually seems like sort of a bargain. Think about it: Sure, you can get a stretched S-Class or 7 Series for slightly less coin, but the Range Rover is far more capacious, functional, and has all that off-road prowess, to boot. Don't think of this thing as just a stretched Range Rover. Think of it as the most luxurious fullsize SUV you can buy today - and maybe tomorrow, too.

Driving Notes
  • Mechanically speaking, the long-wheelbase model doesn't shake up the Range Rover package too much. Nor does it from a design standpoint. Oh sure, you can really see that added length, especially in the profile view. But aside from that, the only added visual cues are small 'L' badges on the aluminum character line below the doors. The extended Range Rover is still handsome as ever, and the extra length doesn't make it look awkward, or too-long, like some stretched-wheelbase cars.
  • Nothing is different under the hood, either, where Land Rover's 5.0-liter supercharged V8 still keeps things rockin' with 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Like the standard-wheelbase models, this power is all managed through a buttery-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, and the same four-wheel drive and off-road capability is there.
  • This powertrain still makes for a bloody quick Range Rover, especially considering its size and heft - the longer model adds some 287 pounds to the overall curb weight, tipping the scales at a healthy 5,137 pounds. That's a lot of weight, but it's still less than standard-wheelbase rivals (the Lexus LX 570 weighs a galling 6,000 pounds), and it remains a significant decrease from the outgoing model thanks to its new aluminum-intensive construction. And with that 5.0-liter supercharged heart pumping out the power, Land Rover estimates that its largest Range Rover will still sprint to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds.
  • On the road, the LWB model is every bit as good to drive as the standard configuration, though some full-size SUV attributes like a bit of vagueness in the steering, a fair amount of body roll, and noticeable front/rear pitch during takeoff and landing have been baked in (the latter being a longtime air-suspended Land Rover hallmark). Stretching the wheelbase does make the Range Rover a bit more compliant and limousine-like on the highway, with pavement irregularities being seemingly more smothered than before.
  • Should you venture off road, the LWB Range Rover is nearly every bit as capable as its more compact (ha!) sister. All of the excellent off-road terrain management settings are there, and approach and departure angles haven't changed in stretching the wheelbase. The breakover angle has decreased slightly, however - 18.4 to 26.1 degrees (normal vs. off-road heights) in the LWB, compared to 20.1 to 28.3 degrees in the normal-wheelbase model.
  • In all, there isn't a whole lot of difference from behind the wheel, but to critique the long-wheelbase Range Rover on its dynamics would be missing its point entirely. The big-ticket feature here, is what's in store for the folks you're chauffeuring around.
  • We aren't exaggerating here when we say that the executive seating package on this Range Rover provides for one of the most luxurious and spacious rear compartments we've ever had the privilege of experiencing. There's headroom, knee room, legroom and shoulder room galore, with individually heated, cooled and massaging rear thrones. What's more, Land Rover offers individual rear seat entertainment systems, four-zone climate control and a massive panoramic sunroof. Combine those attributes with the SUV's stadium seating, and you've got all the makings of a truly first-class experience.
  • Nothing in the class - no Mercedes-Benz, no BMW, no Lexus, no Audi - offers this sort of rear seat accommodation. Land Rover has created something that will likely rival - and perhaps, best - what Bentley is planning for its upcoming SUV, if not its Flying Spur.
  • That isn't completely without fault, though our cabin complaints mostly concern the cockpit. We still don't love Land Rover's slow-to-respond touchscreen infotainment system, and some of the minor controls feel cheap considering how luxurious the rest of the interior is.
  • Our tester's orange-tan leather may come across as a bit much for some eyes (these photos don't help), but it's all up to would-be owners how they spec their new ride. Land Rover offers a host of other interior color combos, and it doesn't change the fact that this cabin is otherwise top-notch as far as comfort and refinement goes.
  • Of course, all this added goodness comes at a price. Long-wheelbase models start at $106,225, and can only be had with the 5.0-liter SC V8. From there, adding the Autobiography trim adds a hefty $36,800 to the bottom line, which allows you to select the executive rear seating pack, and adds a healthy upgrade of interior luxury and small upgrades to the exterior (unique 21-inch wheels, chrome-plated grille and more). Want something even more outrageous? Land Rover will sell you a limited-edition LWB Autobiography Black, for $185,000.
  • You can scoff all you want at the $146,000 bottom line for this tester, but again, considering it will likely rival what Bentley offers with its SUV - a vehicle that should easily cost twice as much - in the right light, it's kind of a bargain. And with a powerful engine, genuine go-anywhere capability and serious street cred, what is perhaps the best fullsize SUV money can buy just got better. Who says size doesn't matter?

2014 Land Rover Range Rover L Autobiography originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes considering GLA-based crossover coupe

SUV Reviews - Wed, 04/30/2014 - 12:30

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Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

BMW opened a whole Pandora's Box when it introduced the X6 back in 2008. Sure it made little sense, sacrificing all that "utility" for a little more "sport," but it's been a solid success for BMW - especially considering the nominal expense it cost to develop the X6 on top of the X5 on which it's based. Little wonder that, while BMW has already followed up with a smaller version in the form of the X4, other automakers are starting to catch up. And that includes Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUVThe German automaker is preparing to launch a new MLC, based on the M-Class but with a sportier silhouette, and previewed it with the Concept Coupe SUV at the Beijing Motor Show. But that's just the start, according to the latest report from Automotive News Europe.

Mercedes is reportedly considering spinning off an entire line of crossovers more for use on the road than off it. Which may go without saying for most crossovers on the market, but considering the Geländwagen with which Mercedes got its start in SUVs, would mean an even further departure than it has undertaken already.

Next in the pipeline could be a smaller coupe-style crossover based on the littlest member of the Benz SUV family, the GLA. The added model would likely be called GLC and give Mercedes another variant to spin off its new front-drive platform alongside the existing GLA, the CLA-Class four-door coupe and the European-market A-Class hatchback, not to mention the B-Class MPV.

Mercedes considering GLA-based crossover coupe originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aston Martin confirms new platform under development

Automotive Technology - Wed, 04/30/2014 - 09:44

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Aston Martin One-77 production

It's been thirteen years since Aston Martin introduced the original V12 Vanquish. The model was effectively been replaced twice over by the time it reached its Bar Mitzvah, but its underlying platform is still around. And not just around, either: it underpins everything Aston makes and has made ever since it came on the scene, save for the Cygnet and the One-77 supercar. That includes the V8 and V12 Vantage, the short-lived Virage, the new Vanquish, the DB9, DBS, V12 Zagato and even the four-door Rapide. But while it may seem like forever that Aston's been using the VH platform, it won't be around forever more.

In announcing its positive financial results for 2013, Aston Martin CFO Hanno Kirner confirmed: "We are engineering a completely new architecture and technologies to ensure that our next generation of sports cars is at the forefront of design, performance and technology." The new platform is expected to underpin the next generation of Astons Martin, and will be powered by a new V8 engine being developed by Mercedes-AMG, similar to the arrangement that sees V12s furnished to Pagani for the Huayra.

Whether an AMG-developed V12 is also in the cards for Aston Martin remains to be seen - the company ran on V8 power alone from the mid 70s (when its six-cylinder engine was retired) until the Ford-developed DB7 brought six- and then twelve-cylinder power. That aging but glorious 6.0-liter engine, by the way, still powers the vast majority of the company's lineup.

The platform and associated technologies are being funded by the influx of capital from shareholders Investindustrial, Primewagon and Adeem Investment and by a 13-percent increase in revenue due to the launch of the new Vanquish Volante and V12 Vantage S, as well as the company's expansion into new markets like Mexico and Thailand.

It wasn't long ago that upon spending a week with the company's Vanquish coupe that we fell just short of love, wondering aloud how long Aston could weather its uncertain financial picture while still relying heavily on elderly technology and drivetrains cradled in elderly platforms. We now appear to have our answer, and we like what we're hearing.

Continue reading Aston Martin confirms new platform under development

Aston Martin confirms new platform under development originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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World's Best Dad invites Lamborghini owners to son's birthday party

Luxury Cars - Tue, 04/29/2014 - 20:58

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Jacob turns 8 with a surprise Lamborghini-themed birthday

The resulting unalloyed joy, as you'll see in the footage below, is priceless.

One of my defining moments as a budding car enthusiast came the first time I got to see a Lamborghini up close. I was out in Los Angeles visiting a relative with my mother and sister, and I took the change of scenery as an opportunity to look for more exotic cars than my middle-class Midwestern upbringing would usually encounter. We were on a walk, when off in the distance I saw - and heard - something extraordinary: An early '80s Lamborghini Countach, black with those bronze five-hole wheels, pulling into a parking spot. My mom still takes great joy in periodically retelling the events of that day, and as the story goes, I joyfully took off without warning, chasing the car down the street shouting "Lamborghini!" "Lamborghini!!" in my best eight-year-old Italian accent.

I must've still been adorable, because the owner not only let me sit in his car, scissor door open and ridiculous grin on my face, he left me playing around in its interior, nonchalantly telling me to shut the door when I was done. Just like that, he left, disappearing into a shop across the street. I can't tell you how long I sat in the car, or how many photos I demanded my mother take of me with my borrowed Bell and Howell, but I can remember being astounded at how low it was - I could crouch as if sitting on the bumper and still see over it! That was around 30 years ago, and I still have a couple of those dog-eared pictures.

Funnily enough, my memorable Lamborghini encounter is pretty similar to that of the young boy featured in this video. At age seven, however, Jacob is clearly ahead of the curve. As the story goes, his father left a message on Lamborghini Los Angeles North's Facebook page, asking if someone with "a kind heart" would help him help make his Lamborghini-fanatic child's birthday wish come true. And "come true" it did, with the dealership helping organize not just a ride-along in an Aventador, but also a small cavalcade of other Lambos, all of which all showed up unannounced at his house on Jacob's birthday. The resulting unalloyed joy, as you'll see in the footage below, is priceless.

As car enthusiasts, most of us have been lucky enough to have memorable defining car experiences, those fleeting moments in our personal back catalogs that have come to mean so much more than they first appeared to be. Thanks in part to the kindness of Lamborghini-driving stranger several decades ago, I still make a point of inviting onlookers of all ages in for a closer look whenever I am fortunate enough to have the keys to something nice.

I suspect after his grand, Lamborghini-filled birthday, young Jacob will grow to do the same when he's an adult... because that's how new enthusiasts are born.

Continue reading World's Best Dad invites Lamborghini owners to son's birthday party

World's Best Dad invites Lamborghini owners to son's birthday party originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Apr 2014 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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