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2014 New York Auto Show Preview

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Leno's steam-powered 1925 Doble E-20 is fascinating

Posted Apr 15th 2014 7:59PM

Doble E-20

The steam-powered car is considered an old-fashioned relic in today's age, but in his latest video showing off his 1925 Doble E-20, Jay Leno demonstrates that at its best, steam provided a realistic challenge to the internal combustion engine. This car has some real provenance too. Famous industrialist Howard Hughes is counted among its owners, and Leno claims he liked it so much because it was the only car that performed as well as his Duesenberg.

While the Doble's four-cylinder compound engine makes only 150 horsepower, it produces a staggering 1,000 pound-feet of torque, according to Leno. That much power means that a transmission isn't necessary, and it directly drives the rear end.

For much of the video, Leno puts on his teacher's cap and explains step-by-step how the Doble's advanced steam engine works, and it's a very complicated piece of machinery, especially if your are used to internal combustion engines. One of the most interesting parts is the system's efficiency, because after being used in the engine, the gas is condensed back into water and heated again.

If you're a fan of engineering or mechanical systems, this is a fascinating video to watch, and it's amazing how functional the Doble makes steam power appear. In fact, it's almost possible to see steam as a realistic alternative to modern engines. Scroll down to watch Professor Leno give you an inside look at his idea of the pinnacle of the steam-powered automobile.

2015 Audi RS7 Dynamic Edition coming to New York Auto Show

Posted Apr 15th 2014 7:30PM

2014 Audi RS7 Dynamic Edition

The Audi RS7 is already one of the most stylish sports sedans (hatch, wagon, whatever...) on the road today with flowing roof and hunkered down appearance. Now the German automaker is taking that formula even further with the introduction of the RS7 Dynamic Edition at the 2014 New York Auto Show, and the addition of a long list of unique options.

When it goes on sale early this summer, the Dynamic Edition won't come cheap. Prices start at US$146,045, which is US$41,145 over a base RS7 (No word on Canadian pricing yet). The extra money allows opulent additions like Black Valcona honeycomb-stitched leather sport seats, Crimson Red seatbelts and interior stitching, Tornado Red brake calipers with the RS7 logo, Audi's Dynamic Ride Control suspension and a sport exhaust. It rides on 21-inch, five-spoke wheels with Gloss Black accents. Also carbon fiber pieces replace the front splitter, rear diffuser and engine cover.

The DRC suspension is a late addition to the RS7's options list and comes standard on the Dynamic Edition. It uses three-stage adjustable dampers that are cross-linked and integrated into the driving mode selection and rear differential.

Of course, the special edition still comes equipped with the RS7's 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 pumping out 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. That'll get the big sedan to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) is a quick 3.7 seconds, while the cylinder-on-demand function makes it run as a four-cylinder when all the power isn't needed.

News Source: Audi

Bugatti reveals Black Bess as fifth Legend edition Veyron

Posted Apr 15th 2014 7:00PM

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse Black Bess

Say what you will about all the special editions Bugatti makes out of the Veyron. The fact of the matter is that they sell, and sell quickly. In fact, each of the four Legend editions to date – all of which have been limited to three examples, amounting to twelve cars – has sold out at prices hovering around the $3 million mark, helping Bugatti sell the last few dozen examples of the Veyron roadsters it has to build before the model is retired entirely. And you can bet this one will sell out just as fast.

It's called Black Bess, and unlike the previous examples in the series that paid homage to specific people in Bugatti's history, this one honors a specific car. But not just any car: "the first ever street legal super sports car," in the automaker's own words. That epitaph belongs to the Type 18, a pre-war Bugatti with an inline-four that produced just 100 horsepower (less than a tenth of the Vitesse's output) and topped out at 160 km/h (100 miles per hour) – mind-blowing speed in its time. Named after a famous English racing horse, Bugatti only made seven Type 18s, one of which was raced by Ettore himself, and another was bought by legendary aviator Roland Garros.

To pay tribute to such an instrumental vehicle in the marque's history, Bugatti decked out a Vitesse roadster – complete with open roof and 1,184-horsepower quad-turbo W16 engine – in black with 24-carat gold accents. The interior is upholstered in light beige and brown leather with red leather steering wheel and trim. The door panels feature imagery of the original T18 and Roland Garros' plane, rendered in a specially-developed ink on leather.

As with the previous versions, Bugatti will only make three examples, each commanding a €2.15 million (about $3M) purchase price. The first of the three is being presented at the Beijing Motor Show, but if your travel plans don't include a stop in the Chinese capital this month, you can scope it out in the high-res image gallery above and the details in the press release below. The final Legend edition, which we still expect will honor Elisabeth Junek, will be presented at Pebble Beach in August.

News Source: Bugatti

BMW details Concept X5 eDrive ahead of New York debut

Posted Apr 15th 2014 6:30PM

BMW Concept X5 eDrive

Already weighing more than most other types of vehicles and with the space to accommodate the extra equipment, crossovers and SUVs arguably make for one of the more ideal platforms to transform into a hybrid. And there have been a handful of them – like the Audi Q5, Infiniti QX60/Nissan Pathfinder, Porsche Cayenne/Volkswagen Touareg, Lexus RX450h/Toyota Highlander and Cadillac Escalade/Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon – but by and large the majority of hybrids on the market are sedans and hatchbacks. BMW, however, looks poised to join the minority with the X5.

The Bavarian automaker showcased the X5 eDrive concept at Frankfurt last year, and as promised, has now revealed the followup it will present at the New York Auto Show in just a few days. The new Concept X5 eDrive, as BMW has now revealed, pairs a 2.0-litre turbo four good for 245 horsepower to a 95-hp electric motor to deliver a combined 340 horsepower. Its lithium-ion battery can power it for up to 32 kilometres (20 miles) and at speeds up to 120 km/h (75 miles per hour) before the gasoline engine needs to kick in. All that without sacrificing the vehicle's utility, maintaining an almost perfectly flat loading floor with 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, and without sacrificing much on performance, either: with a 0-100 km/h time of seven seconds flat, the X5 eDrive concept is quicker off the line than the production X5 with the 2.5-litre turbodiesel and just a tenth off of the 3.0-litre turbodiesel.

With the full technical details now released (you can delve into it all in the press release below), the only question remains when BMW will actually put the X5 eDrive into production. Given its appearance in New York, though, we gather that whenever it does reach showrooms, it'll reach North American ones as well.

News Source: BMW

Ford Transit Skyliner Concept is a Gulfstream for the road

Posted Apr 15th 2014 5:57PM

Ford Transit Skyliner

If you are afraid to fly or just want to arrive at your ultimate destination in absolute comfort, then the Ford Transit Skyliner concept might be the perfect vehicle for you. Built by Galpin Auto Sports and based on a 2015 Transit, the van is basically a private jet on wheels. It even has a touch of Transformers about it with the ability to switch between four modes by pressing a button in a smartphone app.

Based on the long wheelbase, high-roof model with 487 cubic feet of cargo space and 6 feet, 9.5 inches of interior height, the Skyliner has movable captains chairs that shift around among four modes. In theater mode, the seats turn and recline to face a 52-inch retractable movie screen with 7.2 surround sound. For business, a motorized table unfolds, and the chairs gather around it. There is a mode for tailgating where the door opens four-feet wide, and, when traveling, passengers can recline back with footrests that extend for maximum comfort.

To make the ride even plusher, there is a satellite and media server to meet your entertainment needs, and there is even a built-in bar in the back. If this Ford had a bathroom, you could live in it. Of course, you would need to hire a driver to enjoy all the amenities in the back.

The exterior of the van wears a custom silver paint with contrasting gray on the lower portion and chrome trim. The Transit goes on sale this summer, and the Skyliner is going to be on display at the New York Auto Show. Scroll down to read the official announcement.

News Source: Ford

2015 VW Jetta gets official just ahead of NYC reveal

Posted Apr 15th 2014 5:30PM

2015 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen has offered up the lightest of refreshes on its Jetta for 2015, making subtle styling tweaks to the front, rear and interior while adding a few doses of new equipment. One of the biggest tweaks is the new, 2.0-litre TDI engine, which is now more efficient, returning 5.2 L/100 km (45 miles per gallon) on the freeway (compared to 5.6 L/100 km or 42 mpg on the 2014 model) while retaining the previous engine's 236 pound-feet of torque.

Normally, we'd run through visual changes first, but really, the tweaks made are so minor that only the staunchest of VW enthusiast is going to notice them. The new, optional xenon headlights and their 15 LED running lights are the most obvious changes, while the LED taillights of the GLI and Hybrid should stick out a bit. VW's primary focus, it seems, was on the exterior's aerodynamics, rather than aesthetics.

The trunklid is slightly more aerodynamic, as is the front fascia and the rain gutters along the A-pillars. Sill covers, wheel spoilers and an underbody panel on the rear axle are less noticeable aero tweaks. Both the Jetta 1.8T and TDI include an active grille shutter on the radiator, to further reduce drag at speed.

Volkswagen has made some mild tweaks to the interior, with a color multi-function display and some new chrome trim on "mid and high-level trims." The big changes on the interior are the wealth of new driver assistance features. Blind spot monitoring comes to the Jetta, along with cross-traffic alert and frontal collision warning. It's unclear if these will be options or part of a pre-determined package or trim level.

We'll have more on the Jetta and Jetta TDI from the floor of the 2014 New York Auto Show. Take a look below for the full press release.

News Source: Volkswagen

2015 Chevrolet Cruze refresh adds Malibu's face and upgraded tech

Posted Apr 15th 2014 5:01PM

2015 Chevrolet Cruze

The Chevrolet Cruze has proven to be one of the brand's best-selling cars worldwide with over 2.5-million moved globally since its launch, and for the 2014 New York Auto Show, Chevy is taking an if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it approach to the sedan with a slight exterior refresh and some tech upgrades. This isn't to be confused with the global Cruze that is rumoured for the Beijing Motor Show, which rides on a shorter wheelbase.

On the outside, the refresh is limited to some small changes to the front end. The grille has the more angular shape from the Malibu to bring styling in line with its big brother. The LT and LTZ trims also receive LED running lights that are mounted below the headlights.

The infotainment system may be getting the biggest update of the whole car. The system now alerts driver's to text messages and reads them over Bluetooth, and iPhone iOS 6 and 7 users benefit from Siri Eyes Free voice controls. A 4G LTE connection from OnStar allows the car to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Finally, the seven-inch touchscreen display has additional USB ports. Later, Chevy is launching an update to support its AppShop service that allows additional features to be downloaded directly.

The interior has some minor styling tweaks as well. The cupholders are reshaped to be more useful. Also, the button layout is slightly altered with the trunk release now on center console and the door lock controls on the doors, instead of the console.

None of these changes are earth shattering, but they at least keep the Cruze competitive in terms of its tech. Scroll down to read the full release about the updates.

News Source: Chevrolet

2015 Nissan Murano looks ready for 2014 New York Auto Show debut

Posted Apr 15th 2014 3:57PM

2015 Nissan Murano

2015 Nissan Murano rear 3/4Nissan's Murano stands as one of the originators of the crossover movement – it was perhaps the first such vehicle to throw out the idea that a CUV had to look like a boxy, cladded-up sport utility vehicle in order to be successful. Now poised to enter its third generation, the midsize Nissan is not only getting a new look and a host of new technologies, it's getting a new home: Canton, MS.

With dramatic new styling presaged by the Resonance Concept at last year's Detroit Auto Show, the new Murano debuting at this week's New York Auto Show includes a toned-down "V-Motion" nose and the Japanese automaker's trademark boomerang-shaped light fixtures. Aside from the chunky chrome U-shaped grille element up front, the new Murano's most striking design detail is its cantilevered roof with funky "disconnected" D-pillars, a floating look reinforced by a greenhouse edged in brightwork. Overall, it's a much more bold and expressive piece of design than Nissan's recent second-generation Rogue, fitting, as the Murano has always been on the daring end of CUV design.

Boasting a 0.31 coefficient of drag and a ton of sheetmetal surface development, the Murano's new form is available with LED headlamps and features active grille shutters for improved aerodynamics. The company claims visibility has been improved as well – and not just because of its brilliant available Around View Monitor camera system – Nissan says it has "optimized the angles and thickness of the bottom of the A-pillar," along with fiddling with the size and location of the side mirrors.

Power continues to be delivered by VQ-Series 3.5-litre eV6, tuned here to deliver 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, just as it did last year. That power is routed through Nissan's latest Xtronic continually variable transmission, with standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. Fuel economy figures have not yet been released, but Nissan says it expects a 20-per cent improvement over the outgoing model's middling figures thanks to a 59-kilo (130-pound) weight loss, improved aerodynamics and a more efficient powertrain. This, despite a larger footprint.

The interior is all-new as well, and it needed to be – the newer, less-costly Rogue had grown in size and ambition, crowding the Kyushu-built second-generation Murano's space and besting its cabin quality. The 2015 Murano looks to have successfully separated itself from its upstart sibling, with so-called "Zero Gravity" seats like those found in the Altima, along with available heating and cooling (rear seats are also available heated), a much larger panoramic moonroof and an upsized cargo area. While not the most practical of colors, the leather-lined ivory cabin seen here looks very premium, offset by piano black trim and some unusual white striated "wood" on the center console, doors and dashboard.

It is not yet clear what this means for the bizarre Murano CrossCabriolet, a two-door convertible model introduced for the 2011 model year. Based on the outgoing second-generation Murano architecture, the writing appears to be on the wall for this slow-selling nichemobile.

The 2015 Murano will become the ninth model built in Nissan's Mississippi plant, and it will hit dealers in the fourth quarter of this year. Feel free to check below to watch an official video and read all the details in the press release.

Image Credit: Nissan

More affordable Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT to debut in New York [w/video]

Posted Apr 15th 2014 2:58PM

2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT

2015 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon EditionAston Martin has never been touted for the affordability of its cars, but with its new V8 Vantage GT, it's at least taking a stab at the concept. Priced at US$99,900, the company probably feels like it's giving them away.

Aston Martin says its Vantage GT is inspired by its long history in motorsports. Available as either a coupe or convertible (at extra cost), the GT packs the automaker's 4.7-litre V8 pumping out 430 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque capable of getting it to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in 4.6 seconds and to a top speed of 305 km/h (190 miles per hour). Buyers can choose between either a seven-speed automated manual with magnesium paddle shifters or a traditional six-speed manual.

Despite the stripped-down price, buyers aren't going to be missing many amenities in the GT. It comes standard with graphite-painted alloy wheels and black trim around the headlights side windows, exhausts and taillights. An optional graphics pack recalls Aston Martin's 24 Hours of Le Mans success with contrasting colours on the grille, mirror caps, rear diffuser and – on coupes – the A-pillar. The interior gets carbon-fibre sill plates, Alcantara door panels and sport seats from the V12 Vantage S. North American sales begin in the third quarter.

The other new Aston slated for reveal at this week's New York Auto Show is the DB9 Carbon Edition, which is aimed at carbon fibre lovers. It adds loads of the stuff inside and out in a traditional mix of luxury and high performance. It begins as a standard DB9 with a 6.0-litre V12 rated at 510 hp and 457 lb-ft and a six-speed automatic transmission. The big engine cruises to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.6 seconds and to a top speed of 295 km/h (183 mph).

The Carbon Edition is actually separated into two different editions. Carbon Black models come in Carbon Black II exterior paint, and Carbon White models use Stratus White. Both come with a wide variety of carbon trim, including on the side strakes and taillight trim, with a black mesh grille and window trim accentuating the look. Buyers can also add an optional carbon fiber front splitter rear diffuser and mirror caps. Prices start at US$199,995 and deliveries begin in the third quarter. Scroll down to get all of the details on the new Astons, and to see a Bloomberg video with Julian Jenkins, Aston Martin's president of the Americas, talking up his company's new entry-level baby.

Related Gallery2015 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition
2015 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition2015 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition2015 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition2015 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition

News Source: Aston Martin, Bloomberg