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2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana stunt video impersonation

  • 2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana stunt video impersonation
  • 2015 Dodge Charger shows off its new look in New York [w/videos]
  • HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 New York Auto Show
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe rides to the top

Car dealer service study ranks best brands of 2014

Posted Apr 20th 2014 12:00PM



Cadillac and Buick have taken the trophies in J.D. Power's latest Customer Service Index Study examining satisfaction with dealer service. Surveying more than 90,000 owners and lessees of 2009-2013 model-year cars, the study found that those with pre-paid maintenance packages were ten per cent more likely to buy their next car from the same brand.

Dealer satisfaction scores have improved overall, Cadillac nabbed the luxury segment ahead of Audi and Lexus, taking the crown that Lexus held last year. Buick keeps the mass-market dealer satisfaction win in the family, finishing ahead of Volkswagen and last year's winner GMC. The study also found that service department use of tablets increased customer satisfaction, as did "best practices" like "providing helpful advice." Who knew?

Click here to find out the full details and findings in the press release below.

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Savings Experiment: Car Servicing

News Source: J.D. Power

Volvo shows inflatable child seat concept

Posted Apr 20th 2014 10:00AM

Volvo Unveils the Revolutionary Inflatable Child Seat Concept

Volvo is bringing its emphasis on safety and design to the littlest members of the family with its concept for an inflatable, rearward facing child safety seat. The design is meant to help traveling families by offering a lighter and less bulky alternative to traditional car seats.

The design is quite ingenious. The seat is covered in drop-stitched fabric, which fills with air to create the form of the seat. An electric motor in it allows inflation and deflation in less than 40 seconds, according to Volvo. It weighs less than 5 kilograms (11 pounds) and folds small enough when collapsed to fit into a bag. It even has a Bluetooth connection, so parents can begin expanding it remotely.

The inflatable seat in the brainchild of Lawrence Abele, Volvo's design manager at its Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles, CA. "For many, travelling with young children is a challenge; any assistance to simplify the parents' life with young children is a great thing," he said in a statement released by Volvo. The chair remains a concept for now, and the automaker isn't saying whether it's going to put it into production, but it's a clever solution to a common problem.

Scroll up for the video showing it in action and click continue to read the full release.

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News Source: Volvo via YouTube

2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana stunt video impersonation

Posted Apr 19th 2014 8:00PM

Screencap of a Malaysian video promo for the new Mini.

Mini Malaysia wants you - at least those of you in Southeast Asia - to know that the new Mini has a riptide of adrenaline and sharp teeth underneath its larger, more ergonomically efficient exterior. To make the point it enlisted the aid of Putrajaya roads, local agency Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid and four local action sports stars: Fizzy, Shuk, Rizlan and Nasa.

A bog standard Mini Cooper S is the star, its 192-horsepower engine and rollcage-free cabin reinforcing the message that you can do the same thing in a model right off the showroom floor... if you happen to have the same skills as Ivan Khong, the Malaysian Gymkhana Champion behind the wheel. You can click here to watch the full stunt driving video for yourself and read the backstory in the press release below.

Volkswagen Phaeton will make North American return in 2018?

Posted Apr 19th 2014 6:00PM



Volkswagen knows that its North American operations need some help, so it installed Michael Horn as CEO of its American operations a few months ago. In a new interview with Bloomberg, Horn goes into detail about his two-pronged focus for the company – making dealers happier and improving product.

Chief among that product news is confirmation that the VW Phaeton is going to return to the American (and likely Canadian) market in 2018 or 2019, a move VW has long been rumoured to be considering lately. The full-size luxury sedan hasn't been sold in Canada since the end of the 2006 model year, departing the market as a victim of slow sales. (The Phaeton has since been slightly updated overseas, where it continues to be offered.)

The complex Phaeton garnered a good amount of critical acclaim in its time on our market, yet it earned mostly perplexed looks from consumers who had trouble understanding the idea of a "People's Car" priced against competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (or the VW Group's own Audi A8, for that matter). It isn't immediately clear how VW intends to exempt the next-generation Phaeton from the same fate when it returns, nor is it clear whether the new model will share its underpinnings with the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, as the first iteration did.

According to the Bloomberg interview, Horn's other main goal is improving VW's dealer relations. He says that right now, dealers are unhappy with the company, and there is a "great distance" between them. The two sides are negotiating now to improve bonuses, marketing and other elements to get the network back on board.

"We need to connect closer from the American market to the German market," said Horn in the interview, and it looks like the company is making the first steps toward that goal. Click here to watch the full discussion.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: caranddriver.com

Bentley testing hardcore high-performance Continental GT V8 on Nurburgring?

Posted Apr 19th 2014 4:00PM

Bentley Continental GT V8

The Bentley Continental GT V8 is a darn good car. The GT V8 S, even more so. It's only logical, then that an even hotter Conti GT would be commensurately better. At least, we're hoping that's what the minds at Bentley's Crewe, UK headquarters were thinking when they dispatched this bewinged GT V8 to the Nürburgring.

This Conti GT stands out not only because of its wing, but because of its improved aerodynamics as a whole. A new front fascia, complete with a body-colour lip spoiler is the big visual takeaway of this car's sportier intensions, while our spies claim this white whale rides on a lowered, firmer suspension.

The real question about this car has to do with its powerplant, though. What's under hood? The GT V8 S returns an impressive 521 horsepower while the base Conti W12 churns out 567 ponies, meaning there isn't a lot of wiggle room between what is currently the priciest V8 model and the cheapest twelve-cylinder car. The 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8, though, is certainly capable of handling more than 521 hp, as Audi uses a 560-hp variant in the RS7. Our spies, meanwhile, suggest that this may merely be an even lighter version of the GT V8 S - maybe like an RS model - that is lighter and stiffer, but no more powerful.

It's really anyone's guess as to what Bentley is up to. Here's hoping we find out soon, though. Take a look up top for our gallery of images from the Nürburgring, and then hop down below into Comments and let us know what you think Bentley is playing at.

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Bentley Continental GT Speed: Fastest Ever Bentley Road Car

News Source: CarPix

Image Credit: CarPix

2015 Infiniti QX80 gets a minor refresh, fancy new trim

Posted Apr 19th 2014 2:00PM

2015 Infiniti QX80

Infiniti revealed an ever-so-slightly refreshed QX80 alongside its Q70 luxury sedan on thursday morning in New York. The biggest news for the brand's fullsize SUV is the addition of a range-topping trim level, unimaginatively dubbed the QX80 Limited.

The Big 80 sports a couple of styling tweaks in an effort to bring its appearance more in line with the brand's current design language. The "double-arch" grille with mesh inserts we first viewed on the Q50 now adorns the front fascia, and the head and taillights have gone full-LED. Still, it's hard to call this SUV anything but ugly. It's bulbous and almost brutish, which aren't generally words you want to have to use when talking about any kind of luxury vehicle.

There aren't many updates inside or to the drivetrain, either. Like the Q70, Infiniti has added a couple of new tech features, such as its Predictive Forward Collision Warning system and High Beam Assist. Although it's getting a bit long in the tooth, the interior remains nice, with lots of wood and leather all around. The SUV continues to use a 5.6-litre V8, which produces 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The Limited trim is an answer to the Range Rover Autobiography and the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Designo trims, which both top their respective lines. The cabin of the Limited comes with a unique Truffle Brown interior environment, which employs a combination of brown, black and silver leather, as well as real Ash trim featuring a matte finish and an Ultrasuede headliner. On the outside, smoked head and taillights, dark chrome trim and big 22-inch wheels will help to set the vehicle apart.

The 2015 QX80 will go on sale in the fall. Check out our high-res image gallery and the press release below if you're looking for more.

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Image Credit: ive photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

BMW to follow Honda back into F1?

Posted Apr 19th 2014 12:00PM

BMW Sauber F1.09 at Interlagos

The economic downturn wrought devastating effects on motor racing. Formula One alone lost half its engine suppliers when Honda left at the end of the 2008 season, and both BMW and Toyota followed at the end of 2009. But things are looking up again.

Cosworth may have dropped out this season, reducing the engine suppliers to three: Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes, the latter of which admits that it may have left had the engine formula not changed. But Mercedes has stayed and is dominating the championship. Honda is coming back next season. And word around the paddock is it may not be the only one.

According to Giancarlo Minardi – founder of the team now known as Scuderia Toro Rosso – BMW engineers have been conspicuously spotted lately at F1 test sessions and grands prix, lending to speculation that the new engine regulations may entice the Bavarian automaker back into the series. According to Minardi, BMW's marketing division is pushing for the automaker's return to F1, with the board slated to make a decision in May. BMW would be more likely to consider an engine-supply deal rather than taking a team over like it had with Sauber, but with which team or teams it might collaborate remains a big question mark at this point.

As if that's not enough, Ford is said to be considering taking over Cosworth's aborted V6 turbo engine program to take both outfits back into the sport as well. Cosworth supplied F1 engines under the Ford banner for years, but returned under its own name for four seasons from 2010 through 2013 before shuttering its program to develop an engine to meet the new regulations adopted this season.

With Honda, BMW and Ford back on the grid, F1 would be back up to six engine suppliers like it had been in the 2008 season that marked the highest level of participation from automakers in decades.

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Walter Reidl on the 2009 BMW Sauber F1 Car

News Source: Minardi via Axis of Oversteer

Image Credit: BMW

Ram's newest Power Wagon looks even more outlandish for 2014 [w/video]

Posted Apr 19th 2014 10:00AM

2014 Ram Power Wagon

The newest Ram Power Wagon is arguably the most imposing vehicle to be shown at the 2014 New York Auto Show, boasting a number of new aesthetic features, as well as a new graphics package.

Ram added a 6.4-litre V8 as an optional engine for 2014, but in the Power Wagon, it's the sole powerplant, boasting 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. An equally robust six-speed automatic backs up the brawny engine, while 4.10 gearing, an 11.5-inch rear axle and electronically locking front and rear diffs come standard.

A new five-link coil rear suspension and Bilstein monotube shocks should deliver a pretty comfortable ride, while the Power Wagon's off-road ability is complemented by the new Articulink system on the front suspension, which offers electronic sway-bar disconnect. 33-inch Goodyear rubber comes standard.

Naturally, the Power Wagon's stats are impressive - it can tow 4,903 kilograms (10,810 pounds), but it can also ford 30 inches of standing water and clear more than a few obstacles with its 14.5-inches of ground clearance.

We've got a pretty healthy gallery of live shots of the new Power Wagon, in addition to the video, images and press release provided by Ram when the big, bad truck debuted last week. Have a look and let us know what you think of the new pickup in Comments.

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Problematic Porsche 911 shows the power of viral video

Posted Apr 18th 2014 8:00PM



When Nick Murray took delivery of his 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S in June 2013, he had saved for it for the past five years. He didn't just pluck a random 911 off a dealer lot. He specially ordered his car with thousands of dollars in extras tailored just to him, and he captured all of the options on his YouTube channel. The love affair didn't last long. Eventually the channel became a place for Nick to air his growing list of grievances about his deteriorating 911. Eventually, his mix of righteous indignation and sarcasm went viral.

Nick Murray Porsche 911By late December, he had already had four warranty repairs done on the car. Things got much worse in March. The computers began resetting whenever Nick drove over large bumps. There was also an acrid, electrical smell that occasionally permeated the cabin. Murray filed for Lemon Law protection. ​Porsche Cars North America contacted him for the first time to fix the problem, but it didn't help.

Things culminated in April when Murray put up a new video that showed more troubles. He began arbitration with Porsche and asked for either his full purchase price back or an exact replacement. The company countered with a portion of what the car was worth, based on its mileage. Murray refused and turned to his YouTube watchers for help. He asked them to spread the word, and the video went viral with over 800,000 views as of this writing. Supporters posted it multiple times on Porsche's Facebook and Twitter sites.

The pressure may have worked. Murray posted on the 6 Speed Online forums: "Good news! I have been contacted by PCNA to settle this. This whole mess will end today hopefully. Good that they are doing the right thing. Good for them." Later, he added another note on the forum and Facebook that the situation was resolved without going into detail.

Nick Twork, Product Communications Manager Porsche Cars North America, told Autoblog Canada the that company was "very aware of these videos." He confirmed that the Customer Care Department had been in contact with Murray, and it met "with him one-on-one." He promised that PCNA would work with him until "everyone is satisfied."

Click here to watch the last three videos starting from the most recent to see what he went through. Warning, there is some occasional salty language.

News Source: 6 Speed Online Facebook, Nick Murray via YouTube

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