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2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe

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Ford GT successor to debut in Detroit and go racing

Posted Dec 19th 2014 3:00PM

Ford GT supercar - red

Anticipation for all of the exciting reveals at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show just a few weeks away is building to a fever pitch, and rumors are mounting that Ford has a big surprise in store in the shape of a future performance halo model.

Insider sources speaking to Autoweek claim the next Ford supercar is definitely going to be revealed at the Detroit show in early January. However, the model is not necessarily the next-generation Ford GT in terms of its name or design aesthetic. Instead, one of these people indicates that the new halo model might drop retro styling altogether.

If the latest reports are to be believed, Ford's high-performance project goes beyond something to just grab headlines and rocket down the street. According to Autoweek, the automaker is also reportedly employing Chip Ganassi Racing to run a two-car racing effort in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in 2016. That would allegedly include a trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans to race on the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT40's win in 1966. The speculation goes that at least the racing version might use a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 for power. However, the motorsports part of the program may not be announced during the auto show reveal.

Rumours about the new halo car from the Blue Oval and its racing intentions have been percolating for months. The company might have considered an LMP2 entry, but speculation popped up later about the production supercar. A more recent report suggested that Ford might show a new Shelby GT350R Mustang, a successor to the F-150 Raptor and next Ford GT in Detroit.

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News Source: Autoweek

Image Credit: Ford

2015 Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 fills an F-150 Raptor-sized void

Posted Dec 19th 2014 2:00PM

2015 Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged

Ford is rumoured to possibly debut a new F-150 Raptor at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January, but whether that's the case or not, Hennessey Performance is ready to fill the muscle truck niche now with its latest VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged based on the 2015 F-150.

The fantastically named VelociRaptor package has been available on the regular Raptor for the past few years, taking power up to 600 horsepower or more, depending on what the buyer desired. With the latest one, the performance truck is now based on the aluminum-bodied F-150, specifically the FX4 Super Crew model with the 5.0-litre V8.

"Having Ford's world-class new truck design, with a weight savings of nearly 700 pounds (317 kilograms), our VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged will have an even greater level of performance and driving excitement," said founder John Hennessey in the company's release.

The heart of VelociRaptor is the Roots-type supercharger running at 8 psi on the V8. With help from upgraded fuel injectors, a proprietary engine management system and stainless steel exhaust, it boosts grunt from a stock 385 horsepower to over 600 hp. To make sure that power gets to the road, the package also includes 33-inch BFGoodrich mounted on 17-inch Hennessey wheels. For buyers in need of more, the company offers optional parts including an off-road coilover suspension, different front and rear bumpers, a winch, LED light bar and Brembo brakes.

Speaking to Autoblog, Hennessey said he feels confident that the latest VelociRaptor could do high-four-second sprints to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h), compared to the outgoing model in the low-five-second range.

Prices for the VelociRaptor start at US$73,500, which includes the donor F-150, and orders are open now. Actual deliveries should start by March at the latest, according to Hennessey. The company also plans to offer a similar package for EcoBoost F-150s later. Scroll down to read the full announcement about this muscle truck.

News Source: Hennessey Performance

Valet Mode Captures Joyride In Red Corvette

Posted Dec 19th 2014 1:00PM

Performance recorder catches thrill-seeking valet in the act

Surveillance Camera Captures Valet Going On Joyride In Red Corvette

A man in California is among the first to catch a valet behaving badly in his 2015 Corvette using a controversial built-in recording feature.

Dan Cowles told KTLA 5 when he bought his dream car, a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, he opted for the Performance Data Recorder. The Corvette PDR uses a high-definition camera mounted in the windshield header, a microphone in the cabin and a GPS receiver that record and track the sports car's movements and sounds. They work together to produce a video with telemetry overlay, so you can see acceleration rates, lap times and g-forces. The system can be customized to show extensive performance data, or simply video of your drive like a traditional dash cam. It also comes with Valet Mode, which locks the glove box, disables entertainment and records video. The audio recording feature ran afoul of several state's recording consent laws, but this video has no audio, indicating the fix may have been as easy as turning off the microphone.

Cowles dropped off his hot red 'Vette with the valets at the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts in Costa Mesa, CA. When he got his car back he checked the PDR and discovered footage of the valet taking a short, but intense, joyride in the garage.

In the video, the valet finds a straightaway in a tiered parking garage and pushes the car to 50 miles per hour in five seconds before quickly stopping. He then parks the car without incident. The valet then gets out of the car and takes one more admiring look at the front.

The valet company has yet to commented on the video, according to Fox News, but valets everywhere should be on notice; that little red Corvette you have your eye on may have its eyes on you.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Performance Data Recorder

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Autoblog's ultimate holiday rides

Posted Dec 19th 2014 12:00PM

Our Editors Choose Their Sleds For The Season

Ferrari FF

Over the hills and through the woods, it's the time of year when many of us visit family and friends for the holidays. But getting there can be a chore. It's cold and snowy across much of North America, and even if the climate is favourable, the drive to grandmother's house often is not.

Think back to holiday road trips of yore: They probably included crying babies, antsy children, hungover adults and frequent bathrooms stops all around. Now, we're all at different life stages here at Autoblog, and the perfect car for one staffer might be as useful as a team of Budweiser Clydesdales to another. Some of us bounce from family event to family event with children and a labrador in tow, while others prefer a quieter, simpler holiday. But whatever the endeavour, we all need wheels. With that in mind, here is the unofficial Autoblog list of the ultimate cars in which to tackle the holiday season.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 / AOL

Lamborghini Asterion could still see showrooms

Posted Dec 19th 2014 11:00AM

Lamborghini Asterion, front three-quarter view.

At the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Maxim after the introduction of the stunning Asterion hybrid, "I strongly believe that this is not a car that will be in production, and we will not do it." However, the Asterion concept came more than a year after Winklemann told that same magazine, at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, that "Lamborghini was not interested in hybrids." He repeated the sentiment in Paris, saying, "We're still not interested."

Well, someone at Lamborghini (or the Volkswagen Group?) does appear to be interested. The company's head of R&D, Maurizio Reggiani, told Autocar the story of the Asterion's development "started a couple of years ago" and is still being carried out in order to understand a real world hybrid application that would satisfy Lamborghini brand values – meaning electric assistance for a naturally aspirated engine with a high cylinder count.

Reggiani never hints about the Asterion actually going on sale, but does tell Autocar, "The discussions inside Lamborghini now are about the potential cost of the car," and how it would be positioned. Having been told that it could sell for the price of the Aventador plus the hybrid drivetrain, Autocar figures an MSRP of 350,000 pounds (CAD$640K). The phrase "hybrid supercar" immediately brings three cracking coupes to mind, but the Asterion – were it to make production – wouldn't target that group; said Winklemann in that Maxim interview, "It's not meant to go on the racetrack. The acceleration is good, and the top speed, but in handling it would be out-beaten by the others. It's more a hyper-cruiser." We're fine with that, Mr. Winklemann – we think the Aston Martin Vanquish, Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari F12 Berlinetta could use the company. Bring it.

News Source: Autocar

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2016 Toyota Tacoma teased again

Posted Dec 19th 2014 10:30AM

2016 Toyota Tacoma Front Teaser

Toyota is following up its muddy teaser of the back of the 2016 Tacoma with a dusty new one that shows the truck's face for the first time. Without seeing more of the pickup, it's impossible to make any educated judgments, but the company appears to be taking the Taco's styling in a new direction.

The 2016 Tacoma features a hexagonal grille outlined in chrome and a narrow intake underneath visually connecting the foglights. The headlights take on a squinting look, and this shot suggests LED running lights at the outer edge (perhaps just for top-level trims). You can also just make out a bit boxier of a flare for the front fender.

The truckmaker hasn't announced anything about the Tacoma's powertrain, but we spied a prototype testing several months ago with a six-speed manual transmission. That one reportedly rode on a modified version of the current model's frame, as well. Toyota apparently has high hopes, though, because it's ramping up production at the Taco's factory in Mexico by 41 per cent.

The truck debuts at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show on January 12, and you can read Toyota's to-the-point press release about it below.

News Source: Toyota

Cadillac CT6 will get high-res streaming video rearview mirror

Posted Dec 19th 2014 10:00AM

Cadillac CT6 Streaming Camera Mirror

Cadillac is preparing a big upgrade to the humble rearview mirror, adding a streaming video function that it claims will improve a driver's field of vision by 300 per cent. The new system will debut on the 2016 CT6 flagship.

The streaming system, which eliminates the visual obstructions caused by passengers, headrests and the rear pillars, relies on a 1280-by-240-pixel TFT display and a high-definition camera to reduce glare and improve visibility in low-light conditions. That camera even addresses one of the big annoyances of today's camera systems, by adding a hydrophobic coating to keep the camera lens clear. The system can easily be switched off at the press of a button, at which point the driver has a simple electrochromatic mirror at his disposal.

"The closest comparison to this kind of rear vision would be driving a convertible with the top down," Travis Hester, the CT6's executive chief engineer said in a statement. "The streaming video is a significant enhancement for the luxury customer interested in purposeful technology." Scroll down for the press release from Cadillac.

News Source: Cadillac

Bernie Ecclestone's Christmas card pokes fun at his legal issues

Posted Dec 19th 2014 9:00AM

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is now poking fun at the settlement he made with the state of Bavaria following his bribery trial earlier this year. His chosen avenue for this jest? A Christmas card.

The card features a masked rider sticking up a cartoonish Ecclestone, who's holding a bag labeled "$100 Million," referencing the settlement amount from the 84-year-old's bribery trial. In a word bubble, the rider says, "This is not a robbery. I am collecting for the Bavarian state." Ecclestone's settlement saw US$99 million go to Bavaria and US$1 million to a children's charity.

According to Reuters, the inside of the card reads, "Maybe now we can have a Formula One race in the really nice city of Munich, Germany."

We do wonder if this was the revenge Ecclestone was talking about following the settlement. Take a look at the card's cover in the tweet up top.

News Source: Reuters, Alec Baldwin via Twitter

Alfa Romeo working on high-performance engines

Posted Dec 19th 2014 8:00AM

Alfa Romeo grille

During the big Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCA US LLC announcement of its five-year plan earlier this year, the strategy for Alfa Romeo was easily summarized by brand boss Harald Wester: "Go back to the Alfa Romeo that people admired." Easier said than done. With the 4C as one step in that procedure, we might see the next when the company unveils its midsize sedan in June with a trio of new engines with up to 480 horsepower.

Anonymous sources at suppliers are already making some big claims about the new mills to Automotive News Europe. The top of the heap is reportedly a 2.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 making up to 480 hp, based on the 3.0-litre engine in the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli. Below it is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that's claimed to produce between 180 hp and 330 hp for rear- or all-wheel drive applications. Finally, there's potentially a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four with between 135 hp and 210 hp.

Little has been officially announced about the midsize sedan, but it was possibly spied testing recently hidden under the body of a Ghibli. It was rumored to be rear-wheel drive with a size between the BMW 3 Series and 5 Series, and a high-performance GTA version was also speculated. According to ANE, the vehicle won't be called the Giulia and won't hit the market in the US until 2016.

In addition to the midsize model's engines, FCA is also reportedly working on an updated version of its 3.0-litre diesel V6 sourced from VM Motori with new 275-hp and 340-hp versions. They are likely slated for Alfa's future large sedan and SUV.