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2015 Acura NSX burns to the ground at the 'Ring [w/video]

  • 2015 Acura NSX burns to the ground at the 'Ring [w/video]
  • Proof cars of the '90s were awesome with Supra, Stealth, RX-7, Corvette, 968, 300ZX comparo
  • Subaru WRX STI vs. Audi S3 in compact AWD dustup
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]

Smart highlights safety of new Fortwo by crashing into much bigger brother

Posted Jul 27th 2014 8:01PM

Smart ForTwo versus S-Class crash test

Smart is just getting ready to launch its new Fortwo and Forfour minicars, riding on a completely different platform, and the diminutive brand wants to show that its latest creations can stand up to some serious abuse. For such a tiny car, the crashworthiness of the Smarts is a legitimate concern when taking on larger, heavier vehicles. To prove their survivability, the company filmed a head-on collision pitting the latest Fortwo against a Mercedes-Benz S-Class weighing more than twice as much.

When it unveiled the latest cars, Smart touted that it crash-tested them against the larger Mercedes-Benz C-Class and S-Class. Among their updates, the Fortwo and Forfour use a substructure containing ultra-high strength, hot-formed steel and maximum-strength, multiphase steel. They also have larger crumple zones.

Of course, Smart can make all the claims that it wants about the cars' safety, but actually showing it to people is much more convincing. At 5,088 pounds (2,308 kilograms), the S-Class dominates the 2,478-pound (1,124-kilogram) Fortwo in terms of weight. Scroll down to see how the little hatchback fares against the more expensive, luxury sedan in a 31-mile-per-hour (50 km/h) frontal crash.

News Source: Daimler AG via YouTube

An open letter to every teen getting a driver's licence

Posted Jul 27th 2014 5:59PM

Legislature and You-Teen Drivers

Reid HollisterMy son Reid (pictured on the left, at right) would have turned 25 this month. I say would because he died, the driver in a one-car crash, at age 17, just 11 months after getting his driver's licence.

My son's death devastated our family and our community. After seven years, we don't cry as much as we used to, but we are left with painful wonder: what would Reid have been doing today if he had lived?

I start with my tragedy only to introduce myself as more interested in safe teen driving than the average parent. If my opening has made you roll your eyes, I ask you to give me a few hundred words of your time, based on my promise that the rest of this is about you, not me.

You may have heard of the famous prayer asking for the ability to accept what we cannot change, the courage to change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Safe teen driving is similar. Let me explain.
Timothy Hollister is an attorney and teen safety advocate in Connecticut. Author of Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through Dangers of Driving, he has been a rational voice promoting better teen driving education and increased awareness of parents' role in keeping their children safe behind the wheel.

Image Credit: Gary S. Chapman / Marc Serota / Invision / Associated Press

Has Aston Martin abandoned plans for a Lagonda SUV?

Posted Jul 27th 2014 4:00PM

Aston Martin Lagonda SUV

Aston Martin Lagonda SedanAston Martin may possibly (hopefully?) axe plans for a Lagonda-badged SUV, according to a new report from the blokes at Piston Heads. If this is true, it'd serve as proof that the auto gods are good, and want us to be happy.

The report is based on statements made by Director of Design Marek Reichman.

"We still have plans for the brand. There might be some surprises in the marque's re-establishment into the market place, but as a very unique coachbuilt experience. And that's probably what's most befitting of the brand," Reichman told PH when asked about the Lagonda SUV, which debuted way back in 2009.

"That was a different time [when the Lagonda debuted]," Reichman continued. "It was [Dr. Ulrich Bez's] time. And now we're in a very, very different time, with a different plan and with a different projection of what that brand should become."

Considering the spy shots we've already seen (inset), PH's conclusion that the Lagonda brand would be reborn as an ultra-exclusive sedan doesn't seem far off. As for the rumours that AM would look to Mercedes-Benz for its SUV architecture, well, it's not looking so good any more.

What do you think? Should Aston Martin launch a sedan above the Rapide? What would you expect in terms of price and performance? Let us know in Comments.

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News Source: Piston Heads

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL, KGP Photography

Toyota engineer warns automous cars could increase fuel use, urban sprawl

Posted Jul 27th 2014 2:00PM

Google Autonomous Car

An increasing number of people are starting to consider the potential downsides of a transition to autonomous cars. The FBI is already looking at them for the potential ill effects on law enforcement, and a scientist for Toyota is raising the possibility that driverless vehicles could actually be detrimental to the environment over the long term.

Ken Laberteaux, who studies future transportation for Toyota, thinks that autonomous cars could lead to more pollution, not less, says Bloomberg. However, Laberteaux's theory isn't so much based purely on science as it is considering behavioral and historical trends. "US history shows that anytime you make driving easier, there seems to be this inexhaustible desire to live further from things," said Laberteaux during a presentation at the Automated Vehicles Symposium in San Francisco, CA, cited by Bloomberg.

Laberteaux's belief is that if commuters can make their drives easier, then they will be more willing to live farther away from the cities where they work. The end result would be more urban sprawl and increased pollution from the longer travel times.

The hypothesis is completely the opposite of how we generally think about autonomous vehicles, with some experiments showing fuel economy improvements by as much as 20 per cent. However, Laberteaux is looking beyond one-off observations and extrapolating further. With the law still figuring out how to get driverless cars on the road, we're probably still decades from finding out what effects they will actually have on the world.

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News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Google

Jaguar builds F-Type to support Tour de France team [w/video]

Posted Jul 27th 2014 12:00PM

Jaguar F-Type Coupe Team Sky Concept

The Tour de France is typically a two-wheeled affair, dominated by cyclists yearning to capture the prestigious yellow jersey. While the 2014 event winds its way through Europe, Stage 20 will see an altogether different conveyance wind along the route between Bergerac and Périgueux – the Jaguar F-Type Coupe.

As part of its partnership with the British cyclists of Team Sky, Jag has enlisted its new Special Operations division to build a one-off F-Type Coupe, based on the 550-horsepower, supercharged R model.

SpecOps has removed the rear glass and come up with a creative solution to mount a pair of Team Sky's racing cycles in the back. Aside from that upgrade, the cabin boasts new upholstery in the colors of Team Sky's traditional livery. A separate power supply has been established below the bikes in what's left of the trunk, which provides juice for a set of radios and microphones, so that the team's director can communicate with the riders.

Now, before the wealthy amateur cyclists of the world dial up their local dealer and attempt to order their very own F-Type with a bike rack in place of the rear window, Jaguar has already stated that it will not be putting this one-off into production.

Scroll down and take a look at a video of the new car's build process, as well as a the official press release from Jaguar. And keep an eye open for the F-Type on July 26, when Stage 20 of the 2014 Tour de France is ran.

News Source: Jaguar via YouTube

Porsche's 959 is still poster-worthy after all these years

Posted Jul 26th 2014 8:00PM

Xcar: Porsche 959

Today, we have the Porsche 918 Spyder. Before that, there was the Carrera GT. While both of those cars are dramatic departures from the traditional, rear-engine Porsche formula, they owe their very existence to another wild child of the iconic German brand – the 959.

Like so many of the great performance cars of yesteryear, the 959 was a homologation special, built just so Porsche could go racing in the clinically insane Group B rally series. Fewer than 400 959s hit the streets, but those that did were some of the most advanced cars of the 1980s. A rear-mounted, twin-turbocharged flat-six sent its power through a still-rare all-wheel-drive system, creating a race-inspired rocket that was, for a short time, the fastest production car on the planet.

Xcar has the story of the 959, from its inception to its conquest of the Paris-Dakar rally, which is interspersed with a drive of the legendary coupe. Scroll down for the full video.

News Source: XCARFilms via youTube

Peugeot details 2008 DKR with 340-hp diesel [w/video]

Posted Jul 26th 2014 6:00PM

Peugeot 2008 DKR

It would be all too easy to write off Peugeot Sport these days. The French automaker's competition division, once run by FIA president Jean Todt (before he was head of Ferrari), hasn't competed in Formula One in 14 years, in the World Rally Championship in nearly a decade, and shut down its Le Mans Prototype program – the only one to really challenge Audi in the modern era – two years ago.

Peugeot is still racing, though – it's just selecting individual events instead of entire seasons in one series or another. It conquered Pikes Peak last year with Sébastien Loeb and posted the top time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed with the same car and driver just last weekend. And next year, it will take on the famously gruelling Dakar Rally with the 2008 DKR.

The French outfit announced the new off-road racer in March and revealed it in April, but it kept the key technical details a secret until now. As development progresses, Peugeot has revealed that the 2008 DKR packs a twin-turbodiesel V6 mounted amidships and driving 340 horsepower to only two wheels (presumably the rear ones) instead of all four.

The 2WD setup means a lighter weight and clearance in the rulebook to use bigger 37-inch tires, which it's fitted to a suspension with 18 inches of travel. Plus if Team Peugeot Total manages to win the rally raid, it'll be the first to do so in a two-wheel-drive diesel.

Fortunately Peugeot has lined up a crack team of drivers to handle the 2008 DKR, lead by two-time World Rally Champion and 2010 Dakar winner Carlos Sainz. Five-time Dakar motorbike winner Cyril Despres and Stéphane Peterhansel (who has won at Dakar five times each on two wheels and on four, including the last two years) will share the wheel. Check out their ride in the video and press release below.

News Source: Peugeot

Skoda releases rugged new Octavia Scout soft-roader [w/video]

Posted Jul 26th 2014 4:00PM

2014 Skoda Octavia Scout

Automakers may be paying a lot of attention these days to making their crossovers and SUVs drive more like cars, but at the same time, they're also making cars that feel more like SUVs. We're talking about models like the Subaru Outback, Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70. These soft-road (if not quite off-road) wagons have a particularly keen following overseas, and that point is not lost on Volkswagen. In fact the German auto giant has soft-road models under each of its mainstream brands: Volkswagen calls it Alltrack, Audi has Allroad, Seat recently introduced the X-Perience version of its Leon wagon and Škoda offers higher-riding, more rugged versions of its wagons which it calls Scout. And here is the latest one.

The new Škoda Octavia Scout is based on the same MQB platform that underpins the VW Golf, Audi A3 and Seat Leon. Starting with the Octavia Combi wagon, the Scout adds a Haldex-5 all-wheel drive system with an locking electronic differential and more rugged lower body cladding including a new front bumper with metallic insert, fog lights, black lower door panels and wheel arches. It rides on 17-inch alloys mounted on a suspension jacked up an extra inch, and the interior has been redone to match the more rugged outwards appearance.

Although the Octavia Scout, like the rest of the Škoda range, will not be sold in North America, around 8 percent of Octavia wagon buyers overseas opt for the Scout version – totalling around 53,600 units sold between its introduction in 2007 and the end of 2013. With the new model, customers will be able to choose between three engines, including a 1.8-litre turbo four with 180 horsepower or a 2.0-litre TDI with either 135 or 184 hp. Scope out the full details in the press release and the b-roll footage below.

News Source: Skoda

US Marines testing GUSS automated vehicle that could save lives

Posted Jul 26th 2014 1:59PM

GUSS autonomous army vehicle

The machine you see in the video here is the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate. Called GUSS for short – because who doesn't like a handy-dandy nickname – this vehicle, as its proper name suggests, is capable of operating without a driver.

It's possible to get in and drive, as you'll see in the video below, but the novel part of GUSS is that it uses a series of sensors and on-board computer programming to navigate itself over all kinds of terrain, day or night, no matter the weather. The machine above is undergoing testing by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab during Rim of the Pacific 2014 at Kahuku Training Area on Oahu, Hawaii, according to the video's description.

Based on a military machine that's more like an armored ATV than a Jeep, GUSS is only capable of moving at speeds up to five miles per hour, which makes it a bit less useful than, say, an automated HMMWV, but it's still just a prototype, and we're sure the technology will spread. To see the self-driven vehicle in action, scroll below.

News Source: AiirSource via YouTube, Gizmodo