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2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe

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Hyundai's bizarre pooping robot baby pitches new Sonata

Posted Dec 21st 2014 6:00PM



Hyundai is taking auto advertising to some very odd places with its latest commercial, called Exobaby, and starring a computer-generated robo-toddler. And yes, robot babies still make a doodoo now and again, it seems. There are certainly some very weird auto ads out there, but Hyundai's new challenger is entering the ring with this absolutely bizarre Exobaby commercial for the latest Sonata.

Blending inspiration from the video game Mega Man, the classic 1970s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man and a waking nightmare, Exobaby falls very deeply into the uncanny valley. Its proportions and movement come off as just slightly distorted, and the result is a baby that's more creepy than cute for this ad. Things get even odder just a few seconds in when the robo-toddler poops.

Ostensibly, the Exobaby ad is supposed to show off all of the high-tech features on the Sonata, but many viewers are just going to be left trying to figure out what they're watching. If you need just over a minute of weird advertising to lift your day, then this Hyundai commercial must be seen.

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News Source: HyundaiWorldwide via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright Hyundai

China's answer to Elon Musk seeks licence to build electric car

Posted Dec 21st 2014 4:00PM



With just under 7,000 electric vehicles capable of highway speeds sold in China in 2013 (versus over 200,000 slower models), the country's government plans a major investment of support behind its efficient auto industry in the near future. Including buying more of them for official purposes, the strategy includes issuing new automotive manufacturing licences to companies that want to build EVs but aren't currently automakers. At least one of these businesses believes that it can revolutionize the market with its vehicle.

Jia Yueting (pictured above) has a story that almost sounds like the Chinese counterpart to Elon Musk's. He was a young tech genius and at 41 years old has already taken at least two companies public.

Jia's current venture is Leshi Internet Information & Technology, a maker of web-enabled TVs, and according to Bloomberg his 44 per cent stake is worth about $2.3 billion. Now, his sights are set on succeeding in the auto industry.

Jia claims his EV is well under development and is promising next-gen technology that sounds hard to deliver on. According to Bloomberg, the vehicle would offer multiple touchscreens inside, autonomous driving and automatic parking – all for a reasonable price. He already reportedly has people working in Silicon Valley to develop the systems and has an investment in a battery company, as well. The next step is getting the government licence that potentially allows the dream to become a reality.

Even his Jia's model doesn't live up to its big promises, there are other companies in China wanting to build EVs. According to Bloomberg, Fisker owner Wanxiang is also applying for a manufacturing licence, and it already has ties to the industry as an automotive parts supplier with over $23 billion in annual revenue.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: ChinaFotoPress / ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

2015 Audi RS5 Coupe Sport is one of 75

Posted Dec 21st 2014 2:00PM



Audi has released a new limited edition of its V8-powered RS5, with the 2015 Sport edition. Limited to just 75 units and designed by the German manufacturers Exclusive customization team, the stylish RS5 starts at US$87,575.

That's nearly US$17,000 more than the standard RS5, although you might struggle to see why. The Sport adds beautiful 20-inch 5-V-spke wheels, along with plenty of nice leatherwork in the cabin. That includes the black-and-Crimson-Red Nappa leather seats, which feature an embossed RS logo in the seatback, as well as Crimson Red leather door inserts. Contrast stitching in the leather-wrapped wheel and shifter boot match the shade on the seats and door inserts.

Audi will paint the limited-edition RS5 in either Daytona Gray or Nardo Gray for no charge or, if you're willing to pay a bit more, you can chose from one of the shades from the manufacturer's Exclusive catalog. There's no mention of how much these custom hues will cost, though.

Beyond that, the RS5 Sport is the same thumper that's been on sale for several years, with a 4.2-litre, 450-horsepower V8 under the hood and a seven-speed, S-Tronic transmission dispatching power to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

News Source: Audi

Peter Max staring down $1M lawsuit over Corvette collection sale

Posted Dec 21st 2014 10:00AM



Pop artist Peter Max recently sold off his collection of 36 vintage Chevrolet Corvettes – one each from 1953 to 1989 ­– for an undisclosed amount. The new owners have already announced plans to restore some of them and auction the models off sometime soon. Up until then, the sports cars had been languishing in various garages around New York City for decades and were caked in dust and grime. However, Max's end of the transaction has just become more complicated, because two men are suing the artist claiming he employed them to complete the deal first.

The men allege that Max hired them to broker the sale of the 36 Corvettes in exchange for a 10-per cent commission, according to the New York Post. They claim to have emails and text messages proving the existence of the deal, and are taking Max to court for $1 million over the squabble.

The collection of Corvettes was amassed in 1989 as part of a prize package from the television network VH1, and Max bought the cars from the winner intending on using them for an art project. He never got around to it, though, and parked the sports cars around New York, until he finally sold them over the summer.

News Source: New York Post

Image Credit: Barry Brecheisen / Invision / AP

Heads continue to roll at Scuderia Ferrari

Posted Dec 21st 2014 8:00AM



It's a year of restructuring at Ferrari – especially when it comes to the Formula One department. Dissatisfied with the team's performance of late, parent company Fiat fired Ferrari's chairman, replaced its team principal twice and brought in another multiple world champion to replace the one it already had. But that's not the end of it.

Under the direction of new chairman Sergio Marchionne and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, the Maranello-based outfit is undergoing a purge in its ranks. Ferrari has fired its veteran engineering director Pat Fry (pictured above at left), its chief designer Nicolas Tombazis (center) and its tire guru Hirohide Hamashima (whom the team picked up shortly after Bridgestone left the sport, not pictured).

In their places, Ferrari has named appropriate replacements, and has shuffled some additional staff around. F1 journalist Alberto Antonini, for example, has taken over the press office from Renato Bisignani who will now run the Scuderia's new commercial department. More vital, however, is James Allison, a longtime F1 engineer who previously worked for Ferrari for five years and returned from Lotus last year to take up position as the team's new technical director – too late to influence last season's chassis but now charged with developing next year's.

Whether the radical reshuffling of its staff will be enough to reverse the team's fortunes, nobody can say for certain at this point. But without a single grand prix victory this past season, things can hardly get any worse for what historically has been the most victorious team in all of motorsport.

News Source: Ferrari via Autosport [1], [2]

Explained: What Makes a Drift Car?

Posted Dec 20th 2014 8:00PM



Ever wonder what goes into making a good drift car?! Well, the experts at Driftworks specialise in building some pretty fun machines in the European drifting scene and this video above by our buddies at Xcar explores how to build one of these beasts.

While the video shows a number of awesome sideways-sliding vehicles, it takes a closer look at one owner's pride and joy: a modified Toyota AE86. Click here to watch this true drift classic in action and see what goes into making a great drift car.

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News Source: Xcar via AOL On

Edag planning this lightweight backlit-fabric sports car for Geneva

Posted Dec 20th 2014 6:00PM

The Light Cocoon concept from Edag Engineering, to be shown at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

At the Geneva Motor Show this year EDAG Engineering showed off its Genesis Cockpit concept. Built with a 3D printing technique called "fused deposition modeling," it was a skeletal passenger cell suspended inside a protective shell. At next year's Geneva show EDAG will present another take on the natural forms combined with 3D printing with its Light Cocoon concept (click the image to enlarge).

Whereas the Genesis took inspiration from a turtle skeleton, the Light Cocoon tips its hat to the humble leaf - the tree kind, not the Nissan kind - by being a fabric membrane stretched over a skeletal structure. EDAG considers its creation the "ultimate in lightweight construction," its outer coating a waterproof fabric from Jack Wolfskin called Texapore Softshell that we're told is one-quarter the weight of copier paper. Making the most of the design, backlighting shows off the coupe's 'bones' underneath its skin.

Undoubtedly a neat concept, it reminds us of the BMW GINA Light Visionary Model from 2008, which had an opaque fabric covering stretched over metal and carbon fibre wires. Its aim was not only light weight and a take on new build processes, it was a shape-shifter; electrohydraulic actuators could rearrange its skeleton. We look forward to checking out the Light Cocoon next year, but we're more interested in seeing how EDAG would render its Genesis cockpit as a complete vehicle. EDAG's official press release with a few more details is below.

News Source: EDAG Engineering

Vanquish 60th anniversary model has knobs made from classic Aston Martins

Posted Dec 20th 2014 4:00PM

Aston Martin Works 60th Anniversary Vanquish, front three-quarter view.

To celebrate 60 years at Newport Pagnell, Aston Martin Works is producing six different takes on the Aston Martin Vanquish in conjunction with personalization arm Q by Aston Martin, each themed to one of the previous six decades. The collectibles will come in coupe and convertible forms and wear exterior features that immediately identify them as anniversary cars, but their finest detail is in the cockpit: the metal for the console knob bezels will come from pistons taken out of six Aston Martins built in Newport Pagnell over the past 60 years.

The first has been shown at the company's Christmas gathering for customers, and it represents the most recent decade, 2005 to 2015; its knob bezels come from pistons that once did duty in an original Vanquish. Working backwards through time, the remaining five cars will be ornamented by pistons from a V8 Vantage supercharged, a V8 Vantage X-pack, a V8 Coupe, a DB5 and a DB 2/4 Mk II saloon. One of the bezels in each car will be inscribed with the relevant model, the other bezels will feature 60th anniversary text.

Elsewhere around the offerings, each will be ornamented with Anniversary Yellow side strakes and wheels, heavy weave carbon fiber, the Q symbol on the fenders, the new Aston Martin Works 60th Anniversary logo embroidered into its leather and embossed on its sideplates and duotone seats with yellow cross stitching. You must apply to the Works department to ascertain the price, or you can head below to read the press release, which is free.

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