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HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 LA Auto Show

  • HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 LA Auto Show
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG S 4Matic stands out in the LA crowd
  • 2016 Mazda CX-3 is the newest KODO designed crossover
  • 2016 Cadillac ATS-V blasts into LA Auto Show

Retro review of the twin-turbo Toyota Supra you missed in the '90s

Posted Nov 21st 2014 7:01PM

Toyota Supra TT Motorweek

The twin-turbo fourth-generation Toyota Supra has slowly built up a reputation as one of the premiere sports coupes of the 1990s. The image was partially helped by its inclusion in the original The Fast and the Furious in 2001, but even before that it was part of the quartet of Japanese performance machines along with the Acura NSX, Mazda RX-7 and Nissan 300ZX Twin-Turbo that defined speed for a generation of enthusiasts. Thanks to Motorweek's Retro Review series, now we get a chance to hear opinions on the Toyota from its original release.

Two things strike the viewer in the review. First, it shows what a performance standout the Supra TT is. A run to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in 5.1 seconds and 14 seconds in the quarter mile is strong against its contemporaries and makes it hardly a slouch today. The second surprising thing is just how flabbergasted the reviewers seem at the coupe. The price is up about $8,000 from the previous year, and MotorWeek isn't entirely impressed with the Toyota's weight saving measures that make the fourth-generation Supra a bit more raw than the last model.

The great thing about these retro takes is that there's no nostalgia in the way to cloud the reviewers' judgment. Check out the video to find out how the twin-turbo Supra was received before it became part of the performance pantheon.

News Source: MotorWeek via YouTube

Englishman builds amazing weaponized 100-hp Tuk Tuk from Far Cry 4

Posted Nov 21st 2014 6:00PM

To celebrate the release of the Playstation game Far Cry 4, Ubisoft partnered with wild English inventor Colin Furze on creating a weaponized tuk tuk that in-game hero Ajay Ghale uses to combat the Royal Army of Pagan Min. The original engine in the Bajaj tuk tuk - usually good for something like nine or ten horsepower to move around 270 kilograms - came out, replaced by the 100-horsepower engine from a Honda CBR 600. That is where the wheelies, drifting and burnouts come from.

And because it isn't wise to take on a warlord's army and ravenous beasts with a standard auto rickshaw, the red wonder gets Uzis that slide forward to shoot through holes up front, side-mounted AK47s and rear-facing flamethrowers. You can witness the carnage that results in the video here, and check out the series of build episodes advertised at the end.

via YouTube

Land Rover, Toyota big winners in ALG top resale value awards

Posted Nov 21st 2014 5:00PM

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR

"Residual value is important for automakers and consumers because it's a complete indicator of the vehicle's future value." – Larry Dominique

Toyota and Land Rover took home the top brand honors in ALG's 2015 Residual Value Awards, which will be presented this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Toyota won in the mainstream brand category, while Land Rover was honored in the luxury segment. In addition to brands, ALG recognized vehicles in individual segments, and notable winners included the Mazda3 for compact car, Subaru Legacy for midsize car and Dodge Charger for fullsize car. The Subaru WRX won in the sportscar category, while the Toyota Tundra earned top honors in the fullsize truck segment.

"Residual value is important for automakers and consumers because it's a complete indicator of the vehicle's future value, accounting for quality, durability and brand desirability, among other factors," said Larry Dominique, president of ALG and executive vice president of ALG-parent, TrueCar. "The award recipients demonstrate strong forecasted returns on investments for their owners."

There were eight first-time winners this year, including the Charger, WRX, Toyota Prius V and Audi TT. Toyota had the most model winners with six.

ALG passed out 26 awards – two for brands and 24 for models – based on vehicles that are expected to retain the best percentage of their MSRP after three years. This was the 15th iteration of the awards, which are given out annually, and you're welcome to read more in the press release below.

News Source: ALG

Image Credit: Land Rover

Infiniti's Detroit concept to be 'very, very, very, very close' to new Q60

Posted Nov 21st 2014 4:00PM

2014 Infiniti Q60

Add one more vehicle to the tally of reveals slated for the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Alfonso Albaisa, executive design director at Infiniti, has confirmed that the marque will be showing a new concept on January 13, the second media day.

More importantly, though, this concept won't be another flight of fancy like many of Infiniti's past show cars. Instead, it will foreshadow the arrival of a replacement for one of its oldest vehicles, the Q60, a model better known as the G37 Coupe.

"On January 13, you're going to see a concept car that's very, very, very, very close to the next Q60," Albaisa told Motor Trend. There isn't much to go on beyond that, sadly, although we are free to speculate.

Infiniti's past would indicate that the Q60 would carry on its role as a two-door version of the Q50 sedan, with styling influenced by its four-door sibling. While that makes sense, there's also an argument to be made for departing from the Q50's styling in favor of a more expressive look that could allow the two-door model to stand out.

Whichever avenue Infiniti chooses, we'll have an even better idea in just a few short months.

News Source: Motor Trend

Image Credit: Infiniti

Jay Leno gifts surprised army vet the world's most powerful muscle car

Posted Nov 21st 2014 3:00PM

Jay Leno, besides being a grade-A car guy, is also a pretty standup dude. The late-night host has been a fixture on USO tours, visiting troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan. His latest move, though, is a step beyond even a trip to a war zone.

After teaming with Al Roker's Shine A Light campaign, which raises money for the USO, Leno sought out a worthy US serviceman or woman to receive a special gift. After choosing from a pool, Cpl. Ethan Laberge was selected, at random, to meet with Leno and go for a spin in the world's most powerful muscle car, the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Cpl. Laberge was seriously wounded after shrapnel from an Afghani suicide bomber sliced through his left leg and arm. On top of that, the blast left the US Army corporal with a traumatic brain injury, and he's since gone through more surgeries than anyone should be forced to endure. Yet, he still suffers from lingering pain.

Leno met with the young soldier, and the two had lunch and went for a spin. Not a bad deal, but it was only going to get better for Cpl. Laberge. Click here to take a look at the video, straight from a segment on NBC's The Today Show.

Related Gallery2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

News Source: The Today Show via Road and Track

2016 Smart Fortwo to breed more potent Brabus version

Posted Nov 21st 2014 1:59PM

2016 Smart Fortwo

Those in the market for a city car with a bit of pep are undoubtedly pleased that Daimler has slotted a turbocharged three-cylinder engine into its new Smart Fortwo. But it's the only engine confirmed so far for North American dealers, and with only 89 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque on tap, there's still room for improvement. Fortunately Daimler is considering just such a prospect.

Speaking with Smart powertrain engineers while in Barcelona to drive the new Fortwo, Autoblog was told that the prospect of a more powerful Brabus model is indeed on the table, although details and exact specifications are still being worked out. We spotted just such a prototype under development this past summer, when our sources estimated the new Brabus model would offer between 105 and 120 hp. But looking at the relative increases which the venerable Daimler tuner has managed in the past, our appetites are whetted anticipating the possibility of something even more potent.

We could be looking at a new Smart Brabus with nearly 130 hp, which in a six-foot wheelbase could make it a real firecracker.

The first-generation Smart was offered in Europe as a Brabus model with 74 hp and 81 lb-ft, which was more than the output of any version offered in North America. A second Brabus model was then offered (again, sadly not in North America) with 101 hp and 108 lb-ft, which was even more powerful than even the turbo version of the incoming new model. Applying a similar formula, we could be looking at a new Smart Fortwo Brabus with substantially more power – potentially as much as 130 hp and 160 lb-ft. In a vehicle with a six-foot wheelbase, that kind of chutzpah could make it a real firecracker, especially when paired with upgraded brakes, suspension, rolling stock and aero (not to mention the conventional five-speed manual and six-speed DCT that have replaced the troublesome previous automated manual).

That output would also put it in line with the previous Renaultsport Twingo 133 – a model which Renault told us on our recent drive was a rather slow seller. But like the Daimler engineers, Renault spokesmen said they've yet to decide on a final strategy for a sport model of the new Twingo, which was jointly developed with the new Smart Forfour.

Ultimately, we understand that both partners in the rear-engined, rear-wheel drive city car project will likely settle on a performance strategy that both will enact jointly – although with neither the Forfour nor the Twingo coming to North America, our only hope in getting our hands on such a performance-oriented city car will rest on the Fortwo.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Noah Joseph / AOL

Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro packs plug-in hydrogen powertrain

Posted Nov 21st 2014 1:30PM

The Name Is Almost As Complicated As The Technology

Audi A7 H-Tron

If you think a plug-in diesel hybrid is an expensive proposition, just wait until you hear details about the just-revealed Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro. The "H" in H-Tron, as you might guess, stands for hydrogen, so say hello to a new concept that combines a plug-in battery system with a hydrogen fuel cell. Yeah, exactly.

Let's start with the numbers. On the plug-in side, the new H-Tron has an 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery that can power the car for up to 31 miles (50 km) on battery power. With electric motors on both axles – it's a Quattro, after all, but a through-the-road hybrid with electronic torque distribution management – the A7 H-Tron uses a hydrogen fuel cell and four (!) H2 tanks to offer about 62 miles per gallon (3.8L/100km) equivalent. Audi says the overall fuel cell stack efficiency is "as high as 60 per cent" while the electric motors operate at 95 per cent efficiency.

Efficiently turning all of that electricity into movement means the A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro has a total power output of 398.3 pound-feet of torque. The 4,299-pound (1,950-kilogram) concept can allegedly go from 0-100 km/h (0-62 miles per hour) in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). The car's total range is 500 kilometres (311 miles).

The A7 H-Tron is not the first plug-in hydrogen vehicle concept. That title goes to the Ford HySeries Edge. Mazda also considered putting a hydrogen range extender in the Mazda5 plug-in van.

News Source: Audi

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Jeremy Clarkson in trouble again over tweet, says it wasn't him

Posted Nov 21st 2014 1:00PM

Amber Lounge Fashion Monaco

There's a trend developing when it comes to the controversial host of the BBC's Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson. On the one hand, there have been more than a few times where the presenter inserted his foot very deep into his mouth with some racist or culturally insensitive joke. There are other times where the 54-year-old's guilt can certainly be questioned. We think this might be one of those times.

A photo emerged on Clarkson's Twitter account that showed a sign that read "Entrance to slope," which the host captioned with, "This is just obscene." The photo and caption could be seen as a reference to Clarkson's dressing down by the UK's equivalent of the Federal Communications Commission, OFCOM, after his comments during Top Gear's Christmas special. In that episode, the TG team built a bridge over a Thai river, which ended with a local man crossing it, with Clarkson pointing out that there was a slope on it. This double entendre led to an uproar in the UK press, a reprimand from OFCOM and a $1.66-million lawsuit from an Indian-born actress.

Considering that saga, it could pretty easily be alleged that Clarkson's tweet is simply making light of the situation. This time, though, Jezza says he wasn't the one behind the ill-conceived tweet, claiming he left his phone unattended before deleting the offending image.

What do you think? Is this much ado about nothing? Is Clarkson, once again, being insensitive? Scroll down for the Clarkson's string of tweets, including his slightly not-safe-for-work response to outlets like ​The Daily Mirror and The Independent (it involves a Shetland pony), and then make your argument in Comments.

News Source: The Independent via The Daily Mirror

Image Credit: Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Car and Driver 10 Best list may surprise you

Posted Nov 21st 2014 12:30PM

Tesla Model S

Car and Driver 10Best LogoCar and Driver is keeping the new blood pumping into its annual 10Best cars list with three new entries making it on for 2015 and a perennial favourite falling off. Among the biggest shocks this year is that the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series are no longer named, despite years of some portion of that lineup earning a mention. In another surprise, the Tesla Model S (specifically in S 60 trim to fit under the US$80,000 cost cap) makes it to the 2015 tally and is the only electrically motivated member of the group.

Despite the loss of the 3 Series, BMW isn't entirely shut out this year because the M235i gets its name on the list. Car and Driver argues that the little coupe feels like a welcome throwback to the E46 chassis M3 of the early 2000s. In addition to the Model S, the final newbie to the annual group is the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. The inclusion of these new members knocks the Audi A6/A7 family and Ford Fiesta ST out from the 2014 rundown.

The other seven models carry over from last year, including the Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Honda Accord, Mazda3, Mazda6, Porsche Boxster/Cayman and Volkswagen Golf/GTI.

The 2015 10Best cars list certainly seems to have something for everyone from the hot hatch fan to the family man and even the green car driver, thanks to the addition of the Tesla. Head over to Car and Driver to read its detailed explanations for each vehicle's inclusion, but if you think there's a model blatantly missing, let us know in Comments.

News Source: Car and Driver

Image Credit: Car and Driver, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Porsche, Tesla, Volkswagen