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Audi TT Sportback Concept debuts with five-doors in Paris

  • Audi TT Sportback Concept debuts with five-doors in Paris
  • Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 is silent but deadly [w/video]
  • Honda Civic Type R Concept is the shape of hot things to come
  • Five reasons to love or hate the culture of North American cars

Audi R8 LMX illuminates the City of Light with lasers

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 10:00AM

2014 Audi R8 LMX

Hard as it may seem to believe, the Audi R8 has been around for the better part of a decade. But does that make us love it any less? Hardly, especially not when Audi keeps rolling out ever-more enticing versions like the one you see here.

Debuting at the Paris Motor Show, the new Audi R8 LMX is the most powerful version of the supercar we've seen yet, thanks to a 5.2-litre V10 engine tuned to deliver 570 metric horsepower. That's 562 by our count, making it ten horses more potent than the R8 GT, or 37 more than the standard ten-cylinder R8 5.2 FSI – enough to propel the LMX to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4 seconds.

That's not all that sets the LMX apart, however, as Audi has fit it with cutting-edge laser-beam headlights. It comes exclusively as a coupe in Ara Blue with carbon fibre trim, special wheels, red brake calipers and a black leather cockpit. Only 99 examples will be made, and with those laser headlights banned in North America, your best chance of seeing one is in the gallery of live images above.

Related Gallery2014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 2014
2014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 20142014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 20142014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 20142014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 20142014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 20142014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 20142014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 20142014 Audi R8 LMX: Paris 2014


Audi TT Sportback Concept debuts with five-doors in Paris

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 9:15AM

Audi TT Sportback Concept

That German automakers seem singularly fixated on filling any white space between their models isn't new – the last decade-plus has seen their showrooms overflowing with niche models, some of which seemingly occupy sub-genres of sub-genres. To our eyes, there's often diminishing aesthetic and utilitarian returns to go along with the heightened price tags that accompany these models, but we're beginning to think Audi is tackling its personal diversity initiative best. Unlike the often heavy-handed designs from rivals (we're looking at you, BMW), Ingolstadt seems to be doing doing a more graceful job of carving out models between models. The latest proof of this is the TT Sportback Concept, just unveiled here at the Paris Motor Show.

After showing off its Allroad Shooting Brake Concept in Detroit and, more recently, in the Offroad Concept in Beijing amidst rumours of the TT sports car platform expanding into an entire family, we're not surprised to see this more utilitarian five-door hatchback showcar here in France. This, despite the fact that Audi already counts similarly proportioned A5 Sportback and A7 Sportback models in its lineup.

Of the TT line extension concepts, this Sportback certainly looks the most production ready, with a bare minimum of showcar tinsel masking realistic proportions and detailing. We think it's quite handsome from stem to stern, even if it's a bit familiar looking. The design incorporates Audi's trademark big-grille look with the TT's prominent arched roofline and heavily radiused fenders, along with a rear lighting graphic that subtly echoes the A3. Despite its leggy looks, the TT Sportback Concept is surprisingly compact, spanning less than a foot (305 mm) longer overall than the production 2016 TT despite its 4.7-inch (120-mm) longer wheelbase and extra set of doors. Those sleek looks come at least partially as the result of an overall height that sits 1.2 inches (30 mm) lower than the TT coupe.

The gutsy 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder underhood punches out 400 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque through a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox and Audi's trademark Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Audi claims that the powertrain combination will go from 0-100 km/h (0 to 62 miles per hour) in 3.9 seconds, which sounds an awful lot like RS-level performance to us.

Related GalleryAudi TT Sportback Concept
Audi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback ConceptAudi TT Sportback Concept

News Source: Audi

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Toyota C-HR Concept is a high-riding hybrid hatch [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 8:45AM

Toyota C-HR Concept

Despite having the tendency to offer decidedly bland production cars, Toyota occasionally surprises us with interesting concept cars. Such is the case with the C-HR concept making its debut at the Paris Motor Show this week. It's a concept showing forward-thinking design that hints at "a type of crossover vehicle Toyota would like to bring to market," according to the automaker's release, and it rides on an all-new platform and uses a hybrid powertrain.

About that powertrain: Toyota isn't revealing anything, just saying that it will – brace yourselves – "deliver significantly improved fuel efficiency" (over what, exactly?) The car also uses a brand-new architecture, though it hasn't really revealed any major details about that aspect, either.

It's a high-riding, muscular thing, with a rakish hatchback shape. Should it reach production, Toyota says it would take the shape of a C-segment crossover. It'd be cool to see something like this hit the road someday, but for now, we won't hold our breath.

See the C-HR for yourself in the galleries above and below, and scroll down for the full press release.

Related GalleryToyota C-HR concept teaser
Toyota C-HR concept teaserToyota C-HR concept teaserToyota C-HR concept teaser

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 is silent but deadly [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 7:59AM

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4

The weirdest thing happened last night. During the annual Volkswagen Group Night festivities, everyone waited in anticipation for the Lamborghini section of the press conference. It's usually a treat for the senses – cool to look at, backed up by a ferocious sound that bellows throughout the venue. But not this time. There was no music, there were no laser lights, and most remarkably, there was no sound. The Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 drove onto stage under fully silent electric power. Audibly, at least, it was perhaps the most anti-climactic Lambo introduction we've ever witnessed.

And that's the big story with this new Lamborghini concept: it's a plug-in hybrid. Of course, it's still a product of the storied Italian supercar maker, so that electric powertrain is mated to a 5.2-litre V10, and total system output is rated at a staggering 910 horsepower. It'll run up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) on pure electric power at speeds of up to 125 km/h (78 miles per hour), and its 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time is estimated to be three seconds flat. Top speed? 320 km/h (199 mph). In other words, it may be capable of silence, but it still carries a stick, and it's still very much a Lambo.

So will the company actually build something like this? Right now, it doesn't look likely. Back in August at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Autoblog spoke with Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann about the then-off-the-record Asterion concept, who told us that if the automaker should choose to expand its model range, the bigger priority right now would be the Urus crossover. This is merely just a way to show how Lamborghini might present a gasoline-electric vehicle. And after scoping it out in person here at the Paris Motor Show, we have to say, it's cool. The styling is a bit softer and understated compared to the audacious Aventador or angular Huracán. But it still has quite a presence and it's still very much a Raging Bull.

See the Asterion for yourself in the new gallery of live photos above, and read more about the PHEV concept in the press release below and check out an Asterion walkaround video with Winkelmann from our friends at Autoline while you're there.

Related GalleryLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 Concept
Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 ConceptLamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 Concept

News Source: Lamborghini, Autoline Network via YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Honda Civic Type R Concept is the shape of hot things to come

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 7:15AM

Honda Civic Type R

Soon, kids. Soon. The next-generation Honda Civic Type R is finally coming, and we're getting another preview of the hot hatch here at the Paris Motor Show. Of course, this one probably won't be headed to North America (boo!), but it doesn't mean we can't get excited. After all, we're big fans of little turbo hatches, and from what we know right now, this one sure sounds sweet.

Underneath that new blue paint and red decals is a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four, reportedly good for 276 horsepower. Honda tells us there's a "steer axis" system with adaptive dampers, and with the push of its +R button, the suspension, steering and torque mapping are all altered to make this Type R even more Type R-ier than before. In fact, Honda says this Civic will surpass every Type R that came before it – that means every Integra, Accord, Civic and even the NSX. Hot diggity.

We've got a fresh batch of images of the Type R Concept up top, and Honda's press release is available below. Hopefully it won't be long before the production car is finally revealed.

Related GalleryHonda Civic Type R Concept II
Honda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept II

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition is back in black [w/video]

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 6:30AM

Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition

Earlier this year, I spent the weekend with an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante in a particularly interesting shade of green – the same car you see photographed here, for our First Drive. When it was dropped off, I remember just staring at it, taking in all of its lines, the curves, its pronounced hips – all the details. To say the Vanquish is a gorgeous car is a vast understatement. And here at the Paris Motor Show, the already classy range-topping Aston coupe dons an even more gorgeous appearance in the form of the Carbon Edition.

Aston Martin has already given similar treatments to its Vantage, DB9 and DBS (the Vanquish's predecessor), and the svelte look can be had on either the coupe or convertible models, available in black or white. The car gets black window surrounds, darker headlight trim, gloss black alloy wheels and a stylish herringbone carbon fiber trim in the cabin to go with the quilted leather upholstery.

One thing that's left unchanged with the Carbon Edition is the massive, old-school powerplant underhood: Aston's 6.0-litre naturally aspirated V12 with 568 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Hitting 60 miles per hour takes just 3.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of just over 320 km/h (200 mph).

Have a look at the Carbon Aston in our live gallery above, and click below for a short video showing the sleek new Vanquish.

Related GalleryAston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition
Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon EditionAston Martin Vanquish Carbon EditionAston Martin Vanquish Carbon EditionAston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition


Watch Dale Earnhardt Jr. review a Chevy Spark

Posted Oct 1st 2014 8:01PM

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Chevy Spark Review

As a NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., gets to be a spokesman for many, many things. His team's sponsors range from eBay, to Hellman's Mayonnaise, to Wrangler clothing, to Mountain Dew. The number 88's biggest sponsor, though, is Chevrolet.

So, when we hear that Junior is going to "review" a Chevrolet Spark, you can forgive us for raising an eyebrow. This video comes from one of the #88 car's most visible sponsors – Kelley Blue Book – and sees the wildly popular driver sample the brand's smallest offering, delivering praise and smiles through gritted teeth.

It's kind of terrible. Take a look and see what we mean.

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News Source: Kelley Blue Book via YouTube

Jay Leno's Mercedes 600 is dictator chic

Posted Oct 1st 2014 7:00PM

Mercedes-Benz 600 Kompressor

Here's a fun fact: certain classical songs double as excellent driving songs. Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries is one such example. So, as soon as you here those iconic notes, be certain you're in for some seriously cool sheet metal. Any Mercedes-Benz 600 would qualify for such a musical treatment, but Jay Leno's example is doubly worth a look.

Fortunately, the car collector/comedian is all too willing to show off his brown beauty as part of the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage. Leno is just one of the, sometimes disturbing, list of owners of the big sedan, which includes a wide range of dictators and Jeremy Clarkson.

His example is truly pristine, restored by 600 expert Karl Middelhauve. The complex hydraulic system receives plenty of attention from Leno, as does the expansive and impressive craftsmanship in the cabin. Finally, Leno takes the boat of a car out for a ride.

Take a look at the full video on the legendary Mercedes 600.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

James Bond's Goldfinger Aston Martin still missing after 17 years

Posted Oct 1st 2014 6:00PM

James Bond stolen DB5

James Bond is inextricably linked with British motoring, especially Aston Martin, but the spy with a license to kill is missing one of his most famous cars. The original DB5 packed with gadgets for the movie Goldfinger has been lost for the last 17 years with no leads as to its whereabouts.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the original release of Goldfinger – the third film that came out in the James Bond series. The movie was a smashing success in its day and forged the connection between the super spy and Aston Martin. After all, the car was every little boy's dream with machine guns in the front fenders, tire cutters in the wheels, an ejector seat and other amazing gadgets.

After it's life on the big screen, the original gadget car eventually ended up in Boca Raton, FL, at least until 1997. That's when a real-life Auric Goldfinger heisted the DB5, and it hasn't been seen since. A recent report from WPTV from West Palm Beach, FL, talked to people from the area familiar with the caper and its status today.

Assuming the car is still intact, Bond's Aston Martin would likely be worth several million dollars on the open market these days. For example, a DB5 that appeared in Goldfinger and Thunderball sold in 2010 at auction for $4.6 million.

Click here to check out the video for the full story on this long lost movie star.

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