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2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe

  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe
  • Acura NSX coming to Detroit, the wait is almost over [w/video]
  • 2015 Subaru WRX: Accident, wheels and tires
  • Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ANDIAL Edition

Did Neil Young just spill the beans on a 2016 Lincoln Continental? [w/video]

Posted Dec 18th 2014 11:00AM

Neil Young Memorabilia

Neil Young may be better known as a singer-songwriter and rock n' roll icon than he is for his involvement with cars, but the Canadian-born musician is not without his automotive credentials. His latest book, after all, is titled "Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars," and one of his most famous songs, "From Hank to Hendrix," was written about his old station wagon. But does that mean he's got an inside line on new cars coming out?

In an appearance on CNBC's Mad Money with Matt Cramer this week, the Y in CSNY was plugging Pono, a portable music player and service he developed. During the segment, which you can watch in the video clip below, Young mentioned that his company was working on a new in-car audio integration with Harman, which as we know just signed a deal with Lincoln.

Here's where it gets interesting: The Godfather of Grunge mentioned that Pono and Harman were preparing to put the system in the 2016 Lincoln Continental. The thing is, Lincoln hasn't made a Continental for a dozen years now. Does Neil know something we don't, or did he simply misspeak? He is, after all, working on an electric-converted '59 Continental he calls the LincVolt, so it wouldn't be hard to imagine he got mixed up. But maybe, just maybe, it was the first bit of leaked info that Ford's luxury division is planning on shifting away from its MK-based naming scheme and reviving at least one iconic nameplate.

News Source: CNBC via The Detroit News

Image Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP

GM ignition switch recall fund reaches 100 approved claims for deaths, injuries

Posted Dec 18th 2014 10:30AM

General Motors Investigation

The General Motors ignition-switch compensation fund has the macabre task of determining whether to pay settlements to those who claim to be hurt by the automaker's faulty parts. The group, led by star attorney Kenneth Feinberg, has been accepting claims since August 1, and the latest statistics have brought to light quite a grisly figure. It has now offered 100 people remuneration for injuries or deaths due to the bad switches.

From a total of 2,236 claims so far, the fund has approved 42 deaths and 58 injuries, according to The Washington Post. Of these, 57 people have received their settlement offers, and 22 have been paid. As of yet, no one has rejected payment for an accepted case.

The numbers of people affected have risen steadily since the fund's creation. Feinberg even extended the deadline to submit claims until January 31, 2015. When he made that announcement, the group had received 2,105 cases that included 33 deaths and a total of 39 injuries.

With over a month to go before the deadline, it's likely that even more affected people could be offered settlements. Especially because, according to The Washington Post, Feinberg still has 445 claims under review. Before the fund was created, GM's investigation acknowledged 13 deaths and 54 crashes related to the faulty switches.

News Source: The Washington Post

Image Credit: Molly Riley / AP Photo

This dream home theatre and office happens to be in a Cadillac Escalade [w/video]

Posted Dec 18th 2014 10:00AM

Lexani Concept One Curve Cadillac Escalade

Lexani Concept Curve One Cadillac EscaladeNeed to take a ride cross country in the lap of luxury while still getting some work done? Short of a tour bus, the Concept One Curve from Lexani Motorcars might be one of the most comfy options imaginable.

Lexani is usually known for creating opulent armoured vehicles, but for the Concept One Curve it focuses on converting a 2015 Cadillac Escalade into a place for work or play. The company strips out the standard passenger compartment to install a higher ceiling with LED lighting, two leather-upholstered power captain's chairs and jump seats. However, the real highlight is a 48-inch curved 4K television mounted against the driver's partition. Don't worry about missing your favourite shows because there's a TracVision Satellite, too. The driver gets a re-covered seat of their own up front.

If business needs to get done, the vehicle also includes a Mac Mini computer, tables stowed in the seats and connections for video conferencing. Of course, if you're riding in something this lavish, security might be a concern too. In addition to the window shades, the Concept One Curve features cameras to know what's going on outside. A touchscreen management system lets occupants control the whole setup from the luxurious chairs.

Lexani claims that if all of this somehow isn't enough for a buyer, it offers even more options to fit their needs. Scroll down to watch a video tour and read more about this rolling home theatre.

News Source: Lexani Motorcars via YouTube

Most and least reliable crossovers of 2014

Posted Dec 18th 2014 9:00AM

Chances are, if you're in the market for a small crossover or SUV, you're keenly interested in knowing how reliable your brand-new vehicle will (or won't) be. It's only natural to expect good reliability in 2014, but some manufacturers always seem to do a better job when it comes to making vehicles that last.

For 2014, Consumer Reports polled its readers to find out which small crossovers and SUVs proved the most reliable, and we've compiled the top three and bottom three performers. Scroll through our gallery or click below to find out which small utility vehicles are the best, and which are the worst.

Related GallerySafest Crossovers and SUVs of 2014
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News Source: AOL Autos, Consumer Reports

Image Credit: AOL Library

Raminator sets world record for fastest monster truck [w/video]

Posted Dec 17th 2014 8:00PM

Raminator at Circuit of the Americas

Monster trucks are made for a lot of things: crushing jalopies, jumping over jalopies, wowing spectators while crushing and jumping over jalopies, and so on. But powerful as they tend to be, monster trucks are not built for outright speed. Still, one has to be faster than another, and as it turns out, Raminator is the fastest of them all.

Alongside Rammunition and the new Mopar Muscle, Raminator is one of three Ram-based monster trucks run by the Hall Brothers Racing Team with support from Chrysler. It's been named Truck of the Year by the Monster Truck Racing Association a record eight times, its driver Mark Hall has been named the association's Driver of the Year nine times and its crew chief Tim Hall its Mechanic of the Year five times. And now Raminator and the Hall Brothers have claimed the Guinness World Record for the fastest monster truck, recording a top speed of 99.10 mph (159.4 km/h) to break the previous record of 96.8 mph (155.7 km/h).

The record was set at the Circuit of the Americas, the 3.4-mile (5.5-kilometre) track built on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, to host the United States Grand Prix. Aside from Formula One, the track has hosted endurance racing, touring cars and motorbikes, and while Raminator may not be the fastest vehicle ever to lap the circuit, it's surely one of the biggest. Click here to scope out the video from the record run below.

News Source: Ram

40 Years of BMW captured in awesome 10-second GIF

Posted Dec 17th 2014 7:00PM

Ever wonder how the current BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe evolved from a boxy 1970s classic? If so, this 10-second GIF above does a pretty darn good job of summing it all up right before your eyes. At first glance there seem to be few similarities between the vintage BMWs of the 1960s and 1970s and today's models. Look closer, though, and you can see the clear imprint of a lineage in numerous subtle but persistent details.

"The 4 Series Gran Coupe is like a spaceship in comparison to the 2002," says Erik Goplen, Creative Director, Global Automotive Design at BMW Group DesignworksUSA. "But it's definitely baby steps when you're in the process and in the throes."

To help reveal the continuity of BMW's design history, re:form worked with Remedy Editorial in San Francisco to create animated GIFs connecting over 40 years of car models into a few seconds of video. The set begins with the classic 2002 model BMW, takes in all six iterations of the 3 Series, and culminates with the 4 Series Gran Coupe released this year. Enjoy.

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A History of the BMW Roadsters: From the E30 to the Present Day

News Source: BMW / re:form, re:form via

Porsche's high-tech 'magic mirror' turns every car into a Macan

Posted Dec 17th 2014 6:00PM

A Porsche campaign puts a large screen at a valet stand in Los Angeles. As people drive up, they see themselves pulling up in a Porsche Macan.

Porsche calls it the "Magic Mirror," but it's less a reflective device and more 12 high-def screens that track drivers pulling into the valet area at a mall in Los Angeles. As they pass the screens in their cars, they get to see what they'd look like pulling up in a Macan, Porsche's newest and smallest crossover.

It could be considered the experiential evolution of a prior campaign that let people imagine how a Porsche would look in their driveways, an idea that was taken even further by a dealer in Toronto a few years later. Check out the video to see how it was done and how it was received.

Related Gallery2015 Porsche Macan: First Drive
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News Source: Porsche via YouTube

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

BMW 2 Series gets 3-cylinder Mini engine

Posted Dec 17th 2014 5:00PM

2015 BMW 2 Series

BMW Three-CylinderBMW just keeps lopping off cylinders from its engines and sliding the ever-more-diminutive mills into its models. This spring, Europeans will get some of the automaker's smallest yet thanks to a new entry-level 2 Series that will share a powerplant with the Mini Cooper. The Bavarian company will also introduce a few other tweaks to the compact coupe across the pond.

The 218i is the new 2 Series base model, and it shares its 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder with the latest family of Minis. The engine makes the same 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, but BMW does have some tiny changes for it. First, the orientation is swapped to fit lengthwise under the hood and drive the rear wheels. Just as importantly, buyers can order it with an eight-speed automatic, rather than the six-speed in the Minis.

BMW claims that the little engine gives the 218i a 50:50 weight distribution, and it takes around 8.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) with the standard six-speed manual – tack on another tenth for the automatic. Either way, top speed is still a perfectly respectable 212 km/h (132 mph). Those acceleration numbers, incidentally, are over a second slower than what the latest Cooper is quoted at.

Beyond this new base model, BMW will bring a few other additions to the 2 Series for Europe. The 220d oil burner will be available with xDrive all-wheel drive, and the company will introduce several new equipment bundles called Advantage, Luxury Line, Sport Line and M Sport. Each will bundle various options and trims together to appeal to buyers. No word yet on whether the 218i will eventually make it to North America, but we aren't holding our breath. Scroll down to read BMW's lengthy release about all of the changes set for the 2 Series.

News Source: BMW

Hot Wheels loses Ferrari diecast contract to Chinese company

Posted Dec 17th 2014 4:00PM

Ferrari Store Opens In Rome

If you're anything like this writer, chances are you've got a diecast model or two kicking around the house. And if one of those models replicates a Ferrari, chances are it's made by Hot Wheels. The Mattel brand secured an exclusive contract from the Maranello automaker in the late 1990s, but the latest word from Hemmings has it that Ferrari has ended its partnership with Hot Wheels and awarded it instead to the May Cheong Group.

Unless you're an avid diecast collector, you may not have heard of May Cheong, but you may have heard of its brands Maisto and Bburago. Both brands are longtime players in the model car market, but it's the Bburago part of the deal that's particularly interesting.

Founded in Italy, Bburago made a name for itself largely due to the scale Ferrari models it made back in the day. But when the Prancing Horse marque awarded the exclusive contract to Mattel, and with increasing competition from the Far East, Bburago collapsed. May Cheong swept in and scooped it up, and now the Italian model brand, along with its onetime rival Maisto, will be producing diecast Ferraris once again.

Whether Bburago will use any of its old tooling to resume production of Ferrari scale models or start from scratch with all-new equipment remains to be seen, as does the matter of whether either it or Maisto will be able to produce the same quality of models as Hot Wheels has with some of its higher-end offerings. Like most collectors, this writer's looking forward to finding out. Looks like it's time to buy another display case.

News Source: Hemmings Daily

Image Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty