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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]

Hyundai's zombie obsession is just good business

Posted Jul 25th 2014 6:01PM

Hyundai Tucson

In case you somehow missed it, Hyundai has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with The Walking Dead, the critically acclaimed zombie apocalypse show that entertains the masses while they're waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones. Fans of the show will recognize Rick, Michonne, Carol, Maggie and Glenn's mint green Hyundai Tucson, a staple vehicle for the crew of survivors, but the relationship between manufacturer and show goes far beyond that. There's a whole line of Zombie Survival Machines, as well as a special-edition production model (shown above). Heck, even Hyundai's post-LA Auto Show party featured actors staggering about as startlingly realistic walkers (TWD's name for zombies).

So what is it about the dead that quickens the pulse of Hyundai's marketing department? Ward's Auto has a great interview with Steve Shannon, the brand's US vice president of marketing. In it, Shannon describes the sudden nature of the tie-in between the show and the automaker, while describing how the company's corporate overlords in South Korea saw the results of the deal. It's an interesting insight into automotive product placement, as well as Hyundai's marketing philosophy and plans for the future (spoiler alert: the Tucson, which has had a role in the show for several seasons, was seemingly abandoned at the end of season four).

Head over to Ward's and have a look.

News Source: Ward's Auto

Audi A3 outselling Mercedes CLA 2 to 1 in its first 3 months on sale

Posted Jul 25th 2014 4:59PM

2015 Audi A3 Sedan

The Audi A3 is on fire in North American showrooms. Not literally of course, that would be horrible, and the situation we're referring to is a good thing indeed, as the Four Rings has a serious hit on its hands with the compact luxury sedan. Looking at just its first three months on the market, the entry-level model is outselling the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class by nearly two to one.

The CLA was one of the hottest new cars of last year. Mercedes even called it the company's best launch in 20 years, but it sees as if that early sales performance has not been sustainable. According to Bloomberg, the CLA has seen its sales drop year-over-year in seven of the last eight months, and the new A3 came at just the right time to fill that void.

In June, Mercedes shifted 1,658 CLAs in North America, compared to 2,452 for the A3. The Merc has sold more units so far this year but only because the Audi sedan has only been on sale for three full months. With the two cars being relatively comparable as compact, front-wheel-drive, German luxury sedans, it appears buyers prefer the Four Rings over the Mercedes star, so far at least.

The A3's popularity might be partially generational. According to Bloomberg, citing research from Autotrader, Millennials consider Audi as the brand that best reflects their personality, while Mercedes is ranked third. Audi doesn't want to allow its good image with young buyers to slide either, so it's marketing to them heavily with the sedan with events like targeted launch parties. It appears to be working, too. A company spokesperson recently told Autoblog that a little over 25 per cent of the sedan's customers were 30-years-old or younger, compared to about 18 per cent for the A4. The idea is that if the company can grab consumers early, then they may keep coming back later in life.

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News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley, Seyth Miersma / AOL

Will next Mazda2 get PHEV with rotary engine as range extender?

Posted Jul 25th 2014 4:00PM

Mazda2 RE Plug-in hybrid

Every few months, it seems a rumour crops up about plans from Mazda to revive the rotary engine. Last November, its CEO said the only way another one could happen is if the project was profitable, and then a month later the automaker showed off the Mazda2 RE Range Extender with a 330cc Wankel engine mounted in the rear. Now, Australian auto site Motoring reports that the PHEV may actually make production in the next-gen Mazda2 sometime after it's initial launch.

Martin Benders, managing director of Mazda in Australia, spoke to Motoring about the company's future with hybrids and basically reiterated what the CEO said last year. The Japanese automaker only plans to offer electrified powertrains in places where they can sell in sufficient numbers to be profitable, like Japan.

Mazda has been playing with the rotary range-extender idea for years. In the RE prototype, the engine was exclusively used to charge the lithium-ion batteries when they were running low, and a 100-horsepower electric motor provided all of the propulsion. It gave the little hatch an estimated range of about 250 miles (400 kilometres). The company reportedly took inspiration from its Skyactiv engines to make the Wankel have lower friction and a lighter weight.

The next-generation Mazda2 is rumoured to debut during the Paris Motor Show wearing Mazda's Kodo design language. While the hybrid supposedly won't be part of the initial launch lineup, the internal combustion powertrain lineup will consist of gas and diesel versions of Mazda's 1.5-litre Skyactiv four-cylinder. However, the new diesel version is not likely to be available in North America.

News Source: Motoring

Image Credit: Mazda

Father-son team grows close by building tuned Porsche

Posted Jul 25th 2014 2:58PM

Porsche 911 father-son project

We've seen several heartwarming videos of kids bonding over cars with their parents, whether racing together or giving them as gifts. The story of Leh Keen and his father McGrath, though, is somewhat different. Not many dads are looking for a vehicle quite this mental.

As Leh tells it, his dad saw a video online of one of the wild Porsches from Japanese tuner Rauh-Welt Begriff and decided that he needed one of the creations in his own garage. Since Leh knows something about cars himself as a driver for Alex Job Racing in the United SportsCar Championship, McGrath put his son in charge of managing the build from the company.

When the car made it to the US for completion from Rauh's famed builder Nakai-san, father and son bonded over the red, widebody 993-platform 911. The final product is certainly eye-catching. Scroll down to watch the video that features not only an engrossing father-son tale but also a seriously wicked, tuned Porsche from one of Japan's finest.

News Source: eGarage via YouTube

Importfest 2014 brings top tuners to Toronto this weekend

Posted Jul 25th 2014 2:00PM



The aftermarket tuner car scene isn't quite what it used to be, but Importfest 2014 continues to prove why it's touted as "Canada's biggest, baddest car show" (where "bad" is meant to be good). Taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Saturday July 26 from 12pm-12am, this late night car show plans to take over the heart of Toronto's downtown core.

With roots dating back to 2001, Importfest organizer's have certainly earned some bragging rights over this show's long history with plenty of successful Toronto and Vancouver based events to show for it. Wondering just what kind of cars will turn up this year? Well, you'll have to check out our photo gallery from last year to get a first hand look at what to expect at Importfest 2014 and watch the preview video below for more.

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Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Ronnie Fung / AOL , Importfest via A. LEONG

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

Posted Jul 25th 2014 1:00PM

2015 Acura NSX fire

Assuming all goes to plan, automakers test their vehicles to the breaking point in the months and years leading up to that vehicle's actual release into the public. Which is good, because it's much better for a car to break in glorious fashion in the hands of the company that produces it than in the driveway of an owner who just spent their hard-earned cash to get it.

Such was the case with this production-guise Acura NSX prototype that we saw running around the Nürburgring just the other day. We can't be 100-per cent certain, but the burned-out carcass is wearing the same number plate as the car that was spotted earlier, so it's likely the very same NSX. We have no idea what was the cause of the blaze that turned this Acura into the car-b-q you see pictured above, but our spy shooters on the ground in Germany say it was not involved in any collision, having caught on fire all on its own with engineers behind the wheel. There is speculation that the batteries exploding were the cause but we don't have confirmation as of yet.

The good news is that nobody was hurt, though the car is quite clearly a complete loss. We're sure there's another ready to to test in the burned car's place... just as soon as the engineers at Honda figure out exactly what went wrong. Have a look at the smoldering aftermath up above, and feel free to scroll down below to see a video of the car in much better circumstances.

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Image Credit: CarPix

2015 Ford Expedition

Posted Jul 25th 2014 12:00PM

2015 Ford Expedition

While the tide of bigger-is-better SUVs has been in recession since, well, the recession, fullsize utes are still very much with us. Conservative creatures that have been loathe to evolve, fullsize SUVs nonetheless remain enduringly popular among large families, livery customers, and anyone with lots of friends, relatives, and toys to tug around. With respect to Toyota and Nissan, the only players that really matter in the segment are the new-for-2015 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, the GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, and this truck: the Ford Expedition, the latest evolution of which we just drove for the first time at a press preview in West Virginia.

Unlike the General Motors utilities, the standard Expedition and the long-wheelbase Expedition EL are not all-new, but rather are heavily refreshed versions of the same basic truck Ford started selling way back in 2007. The front fascia is where most of the exterior update happens for 2015, with a new three-bar grille design, halogen projector headlamps, and new bumper design with available LED foglamps. Despite all the new bits, the facelift breaks exactly zero ground in terms of design; in fact, it already looks dated, and will only look older once the macho 2015 F-150 bows later this year. Even less has changed out back, where the tailgate gets a wide chrome band spanning the taillamps and a new chrome exhaust tip. Other exterior changes are generally limited to colors and an all-new wheel lineup that includes a gleaming set of six-spoke 22-inch polished wheels on high-end models.

Speaking of high-end models, a new Platinum trim is positioned above the cowboy-spec King Ranch model for 2015. Both the Platinum and King Ranch get their own color combos and exterior trim finishes (satin metal for the Platinum, chrome everywhere and ginormous badges for the King Ranch) and posh, leather-lined interiors with their own aesthetic. The Expedition family also now includes a price-leading XL model, as well as XLT and Limited grades.

That's nice and all, but we didn't fly to Appalachia to ogle new headlights and caress leather seats. The real draw was to see how the Expedition fares after making the switch from its outgoing V8 to turbocharged V6 power, the only way it will come henceforth. The change makes sense on paper, given that the turbo six – the same engine found in the F-150 EcoBoost – simply trounces the old V8 with 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, compared to the outgoing 5.4's 310 hp and meager 365 lb-ft of torque. Notably, the EcoBoost V6 also outmuscles the 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque produced by the 5.3-litre base V8 in GM's portfolio, though it comes up shy of their forceful – and thirsty – optional 420-hp, 460 lb-ft 6.2-litre V8.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL / Ford

BMW predicts 2 Series Active Tourer will have 75% conquest rate

Posted Jul 25th 2014 11:01AM

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

In the last few years, BMW has definitively proven that it wasn't a slave to its legacy. In North America, the 3 Series was generally associated with smooth, flat-six engines, but the Bavarian brand dropped a four-cylinder turbo into it. The company was also known for its sports sedans, and it went green with the i3 and i8. Now, rear-wheel drive is off the table as defining its vehicles, as well. With the imminent launch of the 2 Series Active Tourer, the Bavarian's models are going front drive and opening up themselves to a whole new group of customers, so the thinking goes.

"We are expecting the Active Tourer will have a conquest rate of around 75 per cent," said Frank Niederlaender, a BMW product manger, to Automotive News Europe. If you're not hip to the lingo, that means three quarters of the hatchback's buyers would come from other brands – an impressive figure, if accurate.

When it hits the road, the 2 Series Active Tourer will be the first BMW-branded vehicle to use the company's UKL front-wheel drive platform, already on the current Mini Cooper. The roomy hatchback is aimed at young families looking for a car that is luxurious but can still tote around the tots. It launches in Europe in September to compete against similar models like the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, but the Bimmer isn't crossing the Atlantic to North America until early 2015, according to ANE.

Of course, the 2 Series Active Tourer is just step one of BMW's front-wheel drive future. A plug-in hybrid version is already testing, and the next X1 moves to the same platform, too. According to ANE, a three-row Active Tourer is also in the works, which is possibly related to the recently spied new CUV.

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Top luxury cars for first time buyers

Posted Jul 25th 2014 10:00AM



Let's say you just got a big promotion at work or the kids are moving out of the house, and you finally have some extra money. You decide to blow it all at once and treat yourself by upgrading your ride. Naturally, you look to a luxury automaker. What do you choose?

Models like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class may be tailor-made to introduce buyers to luxury models, but a new study finds that they don't garner the highest rates of non-luxury customer conquests. It turns out that a Volvo leads among folks moving up to a premium brand, and it isn't even one that's made anymore, at that... READ MORE

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News Source: Polk

Image Credit: Car and Driver, Copyright Autoblog Canada / AOL

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