Skip to main content

We obsessively cover the auto industry

76 New Articles in this week Hide Featured

Chevy Camaro 1LE vs Ford Mustang with Performance Pack, surprises ensue

  • Chevy Camaro 1LE vs Ford Mustang with Performance Pack, surprises ensue
  • MotorWeek remembers retro icons: Toyota Supra and Acura NSX
  • 2015 BMW X6
  • Artist draws all over husband's Nissan GT-R with a sharpie... and it's awesome

German man drives Mercedes 896,000 kms on epic 26-year road trip [w/video]

Posted Oct 19th 2014 8:00PM

Mercedes G-Class

It's a common dream to just drop everything, load up the car and make a life on the open road travelling from place to place. The vast of majority of us just fantasize about it, but it's a reality for the German couple Gunther and Christine Holtorf. They are just finishing what might be the world's longest road trip covering around 560,000 miles (896,000 kilometres) in a Mercedes-Benz 300GD named Otto (pictured above right) over the past 26 years.

Their goal was to visit as many countries as possible, and they ended up reached 215, including places like base camp at Mount Everest; they definitely achieved their dream. The same distance would have gotten them from the Earth to the moon and back, plus a few thousand extra miles to just cruise around.

Holtorf claims that Otto remained mostly stock for the odyssey. "The entire drivetrain with the engine, transmission and axles is still original," he said. However, some upgraded suspension parts were installed to handle the extra load from all the supplies the couple needed to carry.

Otto isn't retiring quite yet, but the hard part is over. The 300GD is going on display briefly at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and then taking a tour of the company's dealers in Europe beginning in February 2015.

Coinciding with the latest stop in Otto's voyage, the G-Class is celebrating its 35th anniversary. To commemorate it in Europe, Mercedes is launching the Edition 35 version (pictured above left) of the long-living truck. It gets obsidian black metallic parts for the bumpers, wheels arches, side mirrors and roof and a similar motif for the interior, as well. "I promise that there will still be a G-Class in the future," said Daimler chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche in the company's announcement.

There's a full chronicle of the trip with many videos, but it's in German. The BBC also has an excellent long-form piece about the couple in English. Scroll down to watch a brief video about the journey that's also auf Deutsch and read Mercedes' press release.

News Source: Mercedes-Benz, Ottos Reise, BBC News, Stern via YouTube

Former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year turned drug trafficker getting early release from prison

Posted Oct 19th 2014 5:58PM

Randy Lanier

Racing drivers live the fast life, but it's not all glory and fame. That's especially true of Randy Lanier – the former professional racing driver was sentenced in 1988 to life without parole on drug trafficking charges. But now he's being released.

Born in Virginia and raised in South Florida, Lanier won the IMSA GTP title in 1984 and was named Rookie of the Year at the 1986 Indianapolis 500. He even raced at Le Mans for the famous Ferrari-affiliated North American Racing Team and drove for the twelve-time Le Mans winners at Joest Racing. But questions began to arise as to how, exactly, Lanier was financing his racing career. The FBI investigated, and as it turns out, it was through a massive, multi-million-dollar drug trafficking operation.

Together with his partner Ben Kramer (who had ties to Meyer Lansky), Lanier was sentenced in 1988 by federal court in the Southern District of Illinois to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But it seems that life without parole isn't what it used to be, and Lanier is going home. Or almost, anyway. He'll be forced to live in a half-way house for the first six months of his release, and will be under close scrutiny for the next three years. The strange thing is that the same Illinois court that sentenced him and which has now signed his release won't say why he's being set free.

The answer could come down to revised sentencing guidelines that are being applied retroactively by the US federal judicial system, aimed at alleviating the number of Americans incarcerated over drug charges. Just why authorities remain so tight-lipped on the reason for releasing a convicted drug kingpin and alleged murderer, however, remains unclear. But at 60 years old and with a bad hip (possibly resulting from having broken his leg during the Michigan 500 in '86), we wouldn't expect Lanier to pick up his racing career where it left off. According to Autoweek which investigated and broke the story, Lanier will be working at a South Florida classic car museum.

News Source: Autoweek

Image Credit: Indycar courtesy of Autoweek

Why Lincoln loves funny Ellen and Conan MKC ad spoofs [w/videos]

Posted Oct 19th 2014 4:00PM

Ellen DeGeneres Greatly Improves Matthew McConaughey's Weird Car Ad

You would think that commercial being ridiculed across the Internet would be an advertising executive's worst nightmare, but that's not necessarily the case. At least not when it comes to Lincoln and its latest campaign to promote the new MKC.

The campaign features Matthew McConaughey channeling his characters from True Detective and The Lincoln Lawyer, and was quickly spoofed by both Conan O'Brien and Ellen DeGeneres. But instead of shaking their heads in dismay at the comedy talk-show hosts' take on their ad, Lincoln and its advertising firm Hudson Rouge welcome the free publicity.

"We're flattered. Just to get out into the public mind with parodies says you've achieved a certain amount of notoriety," Hudson Rouge CCO Jon Pearce told Automotive News. "It's hard to put a dollar amount on earned media. We couldn't ask for better."

While the two original ads themselves garnered a combined 677,000 views on YouTube, Conan's spoof attracted 219,000 views, and Ellen's another 3.1 million. We've included both spoofs below for your viewing pleasure. The social-media popularity has undoubtedly garnered some buzz for Lincoln, which has fallen from #1 status among luxury auto marques in North America, back in 1998 to eighth place this year.

Related Gallery2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive
2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive2015 Lincoln MKC: First Drive

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Lincoln

Chrysler teases upcoming outlay of SEMA cars

Posted Oct 19th 2014 2:00PM

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles teaser

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is hauling a multitude of modified models to the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas this November, and the company is releasing the first teasing sketches of many of them.

Unfortunately, FCA isn't giving many solid details on any of the concepts other than saying the vehicles from Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat all benefit from tuning from its Mopar performance brand. The teaser photos include a sinister-looking Chrysler 200S, Fiat 500 Abarth with two-tone paint and a scorpion on the hood, a red and black 500L, seemingly two different takes on the Jeep Renegade, a green Dodge Challenger wearing the T/A badge, an orange and black Dart, a very neon Charger, just the outline of a red and black Viper, a Ram ProMaster in Mopar livery and a Ram pickup called the Outdoorsman.

Take a look through the gallery to see what you think of the sketches for these concepts, and scroll down for the full announcement from FCA.

News Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Driveclub [w/video]

Posted Oct 19th 2014 11:59AM

Confusing The Frosting With The Cake


DriveclubI've been waiting to play, to really play, this game for a long time. If you're a Playstation 4 user reading Autoblog, short odds say you have, too.

Driveclub is the first splashy, big-budget, heavily promoted racing title for the PS4. It was initially supposed to be a launch title for that system almost exactly one year ago, before a series of delays pushed the debut back until, well, last week. The product of the minds at Evolution Studios (you might recognize the outfit for its MotorStorm and WRC franchises), Driveclub has been touted as the driving/racing game most perfectly crafted to take advantage of the social, always-online nature of this new generation of consoles.

The eponymous "club" is the hook on which the game hangs; a collection of you and five of your tightest gamer homies, winning races, creating and completing challenges, earning money-like Fame points and all wearing the same paintjobs. With all of that wrapped up in what the studio calls an "incredible, authentic and immersive driving experience," and powered by Sony's impressive hardware, expectations for Driveclub have been high to say the least.

So, fresh from a few weeks of non-stop Forza Horizon 2 play – the surprisingly direct competitor for the Xbox One ­– I booted up and got to work. (Yes, guys, this counts as work).

Image Credit: Driveclub

Ariel Atom gets even more insane with 3S model [w/video]

Posted Oct 19th 2014 10:01AM

Ariel Atom 3S

As far as performance machines go, they don't come much more focused than the Ariel Atom. And they keep getting more extreme in their performance capabilities, leading up to the latest version you see here.

Called the Atom 3S, it's based on the latest third-generation track toy, but comes packaged with all the best equipment. Its 2.4-litre Honda engine has been turbocharged up to 365 horsepower, which makes it the most powerful Atom short of the bonkers 500-hp V8 model. It's also got a new five-stage traction control system adjustable from inside the cockpit, Alcon four-piston brake calipers gripping two-piece floating discs and adjustable dampers for the F1-style pushrod suspension. It even comes packaged with the full glass windscreen and LCD cockpit display, and buyers will be able to choose between three transmissions: standard, close ratio or a new Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox.

All of that adds up to blistering performance figures: 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) comes in under 2.8 seconds, and the quarter mile is covered in an estimated 10.7 seconds. As you can see from the video below, the Atom 3S will even cover the full course at Virginia International Raceway in a blistering 1:58, making it quicker than the Atom spec racer and about on pace with a Formula Ford single-seater. Best of all, it's available in the US for under US$90k, but if that seems too rich for your blood, you can spec out your own Atom 3 starting at US$64,500.

Related GalleryAriel Atom in Canada
Ariel Atom in CanadaAriel Atom in CanadaAriel Atom in CanadaAriel Atom in CanadaAriel Atom in CanadaAriel Atom in CanadaAriel Atom in CanadaAriel Atom in Canada

News Source: Ariel

2015 Toyota Camry set to circle NASCAR track near you

Posted Oct 19th 2014 8:00AM

2015 Toyota Camry NASCAR Sprint Cup racer

Toyota recently introduced the all-new 2015 Camry for the street, so it follows that it should want to promote its new bread-and-butter sedan by putting it out on the racetrack as well. And that's just what it's done here with the release of the new Toyota Camry for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The new Camry represents the first reskin of the standard stock car chassis since the Gen-6 model was introduced in 2012. Toyota's Calty Design studio worked closely with series organizers to determine which parts could be redesigned to more closely resemble the new production model, and what you see here is the result. Since it is based on the same control chassis as all the others, the Camry's skin is applied over a steel tube frame and powered by an old-school 5.86-litre pushrod V8 mated to a four-speed manual gearbox.

Although the idea of a Japanese automaker in American stock car racing didn't initially get the warmest reception from some of the good ol' boys when it first entered the series back in 2007, it has by now become a staple of the NASCAR circuit. After all, it's hard for even the most patriotic of racing fans to argue with the US-built Camry's ranking as one of the most American cars by content on the market.

Toyota Racing Development will roll out the new Camry at Daytona in February during Speedweeks, after which it will also reveal a new Camry for the second-tier Xfinity Series (currently known as the Nationwide Series).

News Source: Toyota

How to turn a Pontiac Fiero into a trackday car

Posted Oct 18th 2014 8:00PM

Pontiac Fiero track car video

Imagine hitting the track in a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports coupe that's affordable and has pretty good parts availability. It might sound like a pipe dream, but it's actually quite possible, if you're willing to think a little outside the box. The Pontiac Fiero is out there just waiting for a little work to turn it into a competent racing machine.

Think about it for a second. Of course, we would all like to be snaking through the curves in something exotic, but what happens when you crash or something breaks? The bills are going to mount up quickly. However, if you ball up a Fiero at the track, as long as you're not hurt, then it's not a huge tragedy.

That's basically the story of Steven Snyder in a new video from Drive starring Matt Farah. Snyder wanted to go to the track cheaply and ended up with an awesome little Fiero with a huge wing and a claimed 220 horsepower at the wheels thanks to a V6 from a Chevrolet Lumina. Check out the video to see how this pint-size Pontiac performs.

News Source: Drive via YouTube

Audi RS7 prototype is world's sportiest self-driving car [w/video]

Posted Oct 18th 2014 6:00PM

Audi RS7 Piloted Driving Concept

Audi may not be the only automaker out there toying with self-driving automobile technology, but it is arguably the fastest of them. A few years back, it raced unleashed a driverless TTS on the Bonneville Salt Flats, then sent it up Pikes Peak and around Thunderhill. But now it's taking things a step further with the vehicle you see here.

This RS7 Sportback has been fitted with steering, brakes, throttle and transmission hooked up to a computer system that combines GPS, high-frequency radio signals and 3D imaging camera to drive the vehicle autonomously not just in slow-paced, stop-and-go traffic, but around the track at the same pace a professional racing driver would push it: full throttle on the straights, full braking before the corner and 1.1-g of cornering force.

As promised, Audi plans to unleash the self-driving RS7 – which it calls "the sportiest piloted driving car in the world" – at Hockenheim next weekend prior to the DTM season finale, where it is anticipated to pull a 2:10 lap time. The next stage will be to set it lose on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, all 154 turns and 13 miles (21 km) of it, which ought to pose a heck of a challenge to the engineers from Ingolstadt. In the meantime you can scope it out in the high-res image gallery above and the second teaser video below.

News Source: Audi