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Five reasons to love or hate the culture of North American cars

  • Five reasons to love or hate the culture of North American cars
  • 2015 Honda CR-V
  • Morgan Plus 8 Speedster hits the track versus BMW R Nine T
  • 2014 Cadillac ELR

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 is silent but deadly [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 7:59AM

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4

The weirdest thing happened last night. During the annual Volkswagen Group Night festivities, everyone waited in anticipation for the Lamborghini section of the press conference. It's usually a treat for the senses – cool to look at, backed up by a ferocious sound that bellows throughout the venue. But not this time. There was no music, there were no laser lights, and most remarkably, there was no sound. The Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 drove onto stage under fully silent electric power. Audibly, at least, it was perhaps the most anti-climactic Lambo introduction we've ever witnessed.

And that's the big story with this new Lamborghini concept: it's a plug-in hybrid. Of course, it's still a product of the storied Italian supercar maker, so that electric powertrain is mated to a 5.2-litre V10, and total system output is rated at a staggering 910 horsepower. It'll run up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) on pure electric power at speeds of up to 125 km/h (78 miles per hour), and its 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time is estimated to be three seconds flat. Top speed? 320 km/h (199 mph). In other words, it may be capable of silence, but it still carries a stick, and it's still very much a Lambo.

So will the company actually build something like this? Right now, it doesn't look likely. Back in August at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Autoblog spoke with Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann about the then-off-the-record Asterion concept, who told us that if the automaker should choose to expand its model range, the bigger priority right now would be the Urus crossover. This is merely just a way to show how Lamborghini might present a gasoline-electric vehicle. And after scoping it out in person here at the Paris Motor Show, we have to say, it's cool. The styling is a bit softer and understated compared to the audacious Aventador or angular Huracán. But it still has quite a presence and it's still very much a Raging Bull.

See the Asterion for yourself in the new gallery of live photos above, and read more about the PHEV concept in the press release below and check out an Asterion walkaround video with Winkelmann from our friends at Autoline while you're there.

Related GalleryLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 Concept
Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 Concept


News Source: Lamborghini, Autoline Network via YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Honda Civic Type R Concept is the shape of hot things to come

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 7:15AM

Honda Civic Type R

Soon, kids. Soon. The next-generation Honda Civic Type R is finally coming, and we're getting another preview of the hot hatch here at the Paris Motor Show. Of course, this one probably won't be headed to North America (boo!), but it doesn't mean we can't get excited. After all, we're big fans of little turbo hatches, and from what we know right now, this one sure sounds sweet.

Underneath that new blue paint and red decals is a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four, reportedly good for 276 horsepower. Honda tells us there's a "steer axis" system with adaptive dampers, and with the push of its +R button, the suspension, steering and torque mapping are all altered to make this Type R even more Type R-ier than before. In fact, Honda says this Civic will surpass every Type R that came before it – that means every Integra, Accord, Civic and even the NSX. Hot diggity.

We've got a fresh batch of images of the Type R Concept up top, and Honda's press release is available below. Hopefully it won't be long before the production car is finally revealed.

Related GalleryHonda Civic Type R Concept II
Honda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept II


Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition is back in black [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 6:30AM

Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition

Earlier this year, I spent the weekend with an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante in a particularly interesting shade of green – the same car you see photographed here, for our First Drive. When it was dropped off, I remember just staring at it, taking in all of its lines, the curves, its pronounced hips – all the details. To say the Vanquish is a gorgeous car is a vast understatement. And here at the Paris Motor Show, the already classy range-topping Aston coupe dons an even more gorgeous appearance in the form of the Carbon Edition.

Aston Martin has already given similar treatments to its Vantage, DB9 and DBS (the Vanquish's predecessor), and the svelte look can be had on either the coupe or convertible models, available in black or white. The car gets black window surrounds, darker headlight trim, gloss black alloy wheels and a stylish herringbone carbon fiber trim in the cabin to go with the quilted leather upholstery.

One thing that's left unchanged with the Carbon Edition is the massive, old-school powerplant underhood: Aston's 6.0-litre naturally aspirated V12 with 568 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Hitting 60 miles per hour takes just 3.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of just over 320 km/h (200 mph).

Have a look at the Carbon Aston in our live gallery above, and click below for a short video showing the sleek new Vanquish.

Related GalleryAston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition
Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon EditionAston Martin Vanquish Carbon EditionAston Martin Vanquish Carbon EditionAston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition


Watch Dale Earnhardt Jr. review a Chevy Spark

Posted Oct 1st 2014 8:01PM

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Chevy Spark Review

As a NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., gets to be a spokesman for many, many things. His team's sponsors range from eBay, to Hellman's Mayonnaise, to Wrangler clothing, to Mountain Dew. The number 88's biggest sponsor, though, is Chevrolet.

So, when we hear that Junior is going to "review" a Chevrolet Spark, you can forgive us for raising an eyebrow. This video comes from one of the #88 car's most visible sponsors – Kelley Blue Book – and sees the wildly popular driver sample the brand's smallest offering, delivering praise and smiles through gritted teeth.

It's kind of terrible. Take a look and see what we mean.

Related Gallery2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review
2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review2013 Chevrolet Spark: Review


News Source: Kelley Blue Book via YouTube

Jay Leno's Mercedes 600 is dictator chic

Posted Oct 1st 2014 7:00PM

Mercedes-Benz 600 Kompressor

Here's a fun fact: certain classical songs double as excellent driving songs. Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries is one such example. So, as soon as you here those iconic notes, be certain you're in for some seriously cool sheet metal. Any Mercedes-Benz 600 would qualify for such a musical treatment, but Jay Leno's example is doubly worth a look.

Fortunately, the car collector/comedian is all too willing to show off his brown beauty as part of the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage. Leno is just one of the, sometimes disturbing, list of owners of the big sedan, which includes a wide range of dictators and Jeremy Clarkson.

His example is truly pristine, restored by 600 expert Karl Middelhauve. The complex hydraulic system receives plenty of attention from Leno, as does the expansive and impressive craftsmanship in the cabin. Finally, Leno takes the boat of a car out for a ride.

Take a look at the full video on the legendary Mercedes 600.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

James Bond's Goldfinger Aston Martin still missing after 17 years

Posted Oct 1st 2014 6:00PM

James Bond stolen DB5

James Bond is inextricably linked with British motoring, especially Aston Martin, but the spy with a license to kill is missing one of his most famous cars. The original DB5 packed with gadgets for the movie Goldfinger has been lost for the last 17 years with no leads as to its whereabouts.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the original release of Goldfinger – the third film that came out in the James Bond series. The movie was a smashing success in its day and forged the connection between the super spy and Aston Martin. After all, the car was every little boy's dream with machine guns in the front fenders, tire cutters in the wheels, an ejector seat and other amazing gadgets.

After it's life on the big screen, the original gadget car eventually ended up in Boca Raton, FL, at least until 1997. That's when a real-life Auric Goldfinger heisted the DB5, and it hasn't been seen since. A recent report from WPTV from West Palm Beach, FL, talked to people from the area familiar with the caper and its status today.

Assuming the car is still intact, Bond's Aston Martin would likely be worth several million dollars on the open market these days. For example, a DB5 that appeared in Goldfinger and Thunderball sold in 2010 at auction for $4.6 million.

Click here to check out the video for the full story on this long lost movie star.

Related GalleryJames Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5
James Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5James Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5James Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5James Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5James Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5James Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5James Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5James Bond Car Auction - Aston Martin DB5

2015 BMW S 1000 RR looks to retain sportbike supremacy

Posted Oct 1st 2014 5:00PM

2015 BMW S 1000 RR

The BMW S 1000 RR is already a pretty potent member of the superbike ranks, but BMW is revealing a host of upgrades for this two-wheeled lightning bolt at the Intermot 2014 motorcycle show that should make it even faster.

The biggest additions to the latest 1000 RR are its new cylinder head, lighter valves and different intake cam to tweak even more power from the bike's 1.0-litre, four-cylinder engine, and BMW now rates it at a claimed 196 horsepower (or 199 horses if you go with the European measurement, converted from 146 kilowatts), a boost over the first-gen's 193 ponies, and 83 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed gearbox. Those adjustments would probably be enough to make the cycle a tick faster alone, but the Bavarian engineers also cut 8.82 pounds (4 kg) to bring the motorcycle's weight with a full tank of fuel to a feather-light 450 pounds (204 kg). Much of that diet comes from the redesigned exhaust that cuts about 6.6 pounds (3 kg) off the scales.

Cradling that tweaked engine is a redesigned, lighter frame with fully adjustable springs. The bike also comes standard with Race ABS, stability control, seven-step variable traction control and three riding modes. In terms of styling, all of these changes are communicated through an updated fairing with repositioned, though still asymmetric, headlights.

For buyers who want even more customization for their ride, BMW is happy to oblige. The company claims that the 1000 RR is the first model in the superbike class to offer optional cruise control. There's also an available dynamic traction control system that senses the cycle's lean angle and adjusts things accordingly. Those heading for the track can tick the box for Pro Riding mode that adds Slick and User settings, launch control and a programmable pitlane speed limiter. To shave a few more tenths off a lap, there's the HP Gear Shift Assist Pro system that allows for clutchless gear changes. Scroll down to read BMW's immense press release on the S 1000 RR for every detail you could ever want to know about this updated motorcycle.

News Source: BMW

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept previews a fullsize future of luxury

Posted Oct 1st 2014 4:30PM

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Infiniti Q80 InspirationWell, this certainly looks like a concept, doesn't it? From the wide, portal-esque door openings to the boat tail rear window design, there's just so much about the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration that looks like it would never actually reach production that we're impressed the automaker had the gumption to put the machine together and show it off at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

This marks the first time that Infiniti has shown any sort of real intent to enter into the rarefied air of the fullsize luxury sedan segment since the Q45, populated as it is by the likes of the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Those are extremely heavy hitters to market against, and Infiniti sounds anxious to throw its hat in the ring.

"We aim to do this with elegance, style, and emotion," says Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President, Product Strategy. "This car is making a statement. Q80 Inspiration is a precursor of a production model in this segment and, as such, integral to our future."

Infiniti says we should expect to see production powertrains within the next two years that use the kind of technology debuted in the Q80 Inspiration. A twin-turbocharged, 3.0-litre V6 engine is paired with one or more (details are scarce, sadly) electric motors to provide 550 horsepower and on-demand all-wheel drive. What's more, Infiniti is quoting 42.8 miles per gallon (5.5L/100km) and CO2 emissions of about 129g/km for this concept, though we don't know how those figures are calculated or on what driving cycle. In any case, power and efficiency are always welcome.

The Q80 Inspiration previews a future fullsize luxury sedan from Infiniti.

Inside, Infiniti says it wanted to pack as much technology into the Q80 Inspiration as possible, without overcomplicating the driving experience. In addition to driver-activated autonomous capability, both the driver and passenger get innovative Head-Up Displays projected on the windshield, while rear-seat passengers each get their own touchscreen units. Leather and Alcantara appear to cover just about everything else.

We wouldn't expect all of the truly showstopping details to make it into production, but the overall flowing design ethos, along with what Infiniti is calling its human-centric take on high-tech interior and autonomous driving technology seem likely to join its turbocharged drivetrain buoyed by a brace of electric motors as likely additions to a future fullsize luxury sedan from Infiniti.

There's plenty more information to glean from the official press blast below, along with a full image gallery above.

News Source: Infiniti

Audi TT Sportback Concept evolves the five-door breed ahead of Paris debut

Posted Oct 1st 2014 4:00PM

Audi TT Sportback Concept

One week after a leaked sketch ran on these very pages, Audi has introduced the latest member of a "potential TT family," according to Audi board member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. This is the TT Sportback Concept, a five-door, 400-horsepower version of the brand's stylish sports car and at this point, it looks darn likely to herald the debut of a third body style for Audi's design icon.

Unveiled at the expansive Volkswagen group night celebration ahead of the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the TT Sportback Concept is the most evolved version of a form factor that's seen a slow striptease throughout 2014, first with the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept in Detroit and, more recently, in the Offroad Concept from the Beijing Motor Show.

For Paris, the car being shown by Audi is absent traditional concept car traits like oversized wheels, miniscule mirrors and bizarre interior treatments, giving it a far more production ready appearance than either of the previous TT-based concepts. The exterior, meanwhile, is clearly reminiscent of the third-generation car (that roofline is pure TT), although there are a number of styling decisions that remind us of the compact A3, particularly in regards to the taillights.

This heavy production basis does not, we're guessing, extend to the engine bay, which is home to a 400-horsepower, 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder. That zesty powerplant and its 332 pound-feet of torque allows the TT Sportback to hit 100 km/h (62 miles per hour) in a scant 3.9 seconds. A seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission manages this grunt, and shifts the 2.0T's power to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

We'll have much more on the TT Sportback Concept and everything else coming from the Volkswagen Group at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in the coming days. In the meantime, scroll down for the full press release from Audi, and check out the brand's newest concept car in the gallery, above.

News Source: Audi

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