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2016 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype [w/video]

  • 2016 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype [w/video]
  • Father-son team grows close by building tuned Porsche
  • Proof cars of the '90s were awesome with Supra, Stealth, RX-7, Corvette, 968, 300ZX comparo
  • Subaru WRX STI vs. Audi S3 in compact AWD dustup

Jaguar teaches Mena Suvari and Sebastian Stan how to drive the F-Type

Posted Jul 28th 2014 1:59PM

Jaguar F-Type Coupe R at the Circuit of the Americas

Automakers conduct driver training programs on racing circuits around the world for a variety of participants: journalists, customers, even celebrities. And at a recent session of the Jaguar Performance Driving Academy at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, the Leaping Cat marque had a couple of the Hollywood types in the paddock.

In addition to the various (evidently well-heeled) members of the public, learning how to pilot the new F-Type Coupe R on the track this time around were actors Sebastian Stan and Mena Suvari. You might recognize Stan from his roll as Bucky Barnes in the Captain America movies and Suvari from such red, white and blue favourites as American Beauty and the American Pie franchise, but both got a first-hand taste of one of Britain's finest courtesy of Jaguar.

So how did it go? Well, as one of the less-famous participants put it, it was #awesomesauce." We couldn't possibly reproduce in words her enthusiasm in person and on camera, so you'll just have to watch the video below to see for yourself.

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News Source: Jaguar via YouTube

HIGHLIGHTS: Importfest 2014 takes over downtown Toronto

Posted Jul 28th 2014 1:30PM



Importfest 2014 stormed into Toronto this weekend with hundreds of the hottest tuner cars, luxury vehicles and exotic super cars (including Deadmau5's Nyan Cat powered Purrari) on display inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

With roots dating back to 2001, Importfest organizer's have certainly earned themselves some well deserved bragging rights over the years with plenty of success to show for it. Wondering just what kind of cars showed up to compete at Canada's 'biggest and baddest' custom car show?

Click here to view our full photo gallery from Importfest 2014 and let us know what you liked most on our facebook page.



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Image Credit: Copyrights 2014 Santiago Gomez / AOL

Convertible owners more educated, well to do

Posted Jul 28th 2014 1:00PM



A new study from Experian Automotive seeks to quantify the traits that identify the convertible-loving droptop driver. Of course, after reading through the findings, this just kind of confirms a lot of things that have been kind of obvious about convertible owners for kind of a long time.

They're educated, wealthy and older than the average new car customers, with 50 per cent holding a bachelor's degree, 19 per cent reporting a household income in excess of $175,000 (11.7 per cent cleared $1 million), and 72 per cent were over the age of 45. Considering the traditionally higher cost of a convertible, and the fact that many are probably second or third cars, these factoids aren't exactly shocking. Even the most popular locations for convertibles aren't all that surprising. Los Angeles is number one, followed by New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta.

What is surprising, though, are the most popular vehicles during the study. We agree with four of the five entries – the Ford Mustang, Mazda MX-5, BMW 3 Series and the Chevrolet Corvette captured positions one, three, four and five, respectively. The number two position, though, is inexplicable. It's held by the Chrysler Sebring (we're thinking Experian is referring to the 200). So, if this study proves nothing else, it's evidence that age, education and money can't totally prevent bad decisions.

Of course, we wouldn't put too much faith in these findings. Our big issue is the perilously short time period that this data was gleaned from. Experian only looked at new vehicle registrations during the first quarter of 2014. Aside from the limited time to collect findings and watch trends develop, analyzing convertible buying trends during the single coldest winter in recent memory hardly seems prudent.

With that in mind, head below and take a look at Experian's findings, including analysis between convertible drivers and the average new-car customer.

News Source: Experian Automotive via TheDetroitBureau.com

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

2016 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype [w/video]

Posted Jul 28th 2014 11:57AM

2016 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype

It only takes about half a lap of the Millbrook Proving Grounds for me to become convinced that Infiniti must build this car.

The sedan I am piloting around the English circuit is a working prototype of the Q50 Eau Rouge Concept that made its world debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. As a refresher, the exquisitely painted, burgundy metallic, four-door show car is based on the production Q50, enhanced with Infiniti Red Bull Racing-inspired carbon-fibre bodywork, aerodynamic upgrades and – as we would come to learn at the Geneva Motor Show a few months later – fitted with a beastly twin-turbocharged engine shared with the parent company's spectacular Nissan GT-R.

Despite lacking the concept's gorgeously expensive paint, the vinyl-wrapped red prototype seen here is much more appealing than the static concept, as it is mechanically complete – it can be driven – thus explaining why I have traveled one-third of the way around the world to test this enthusiast-tuned, one-of-a-kind machine at one of Europe's premier testing facilities.

The Q50 Eau Rouge, named after the signature high-speed corner at Belgium's famed Spa-Francorchamps race circuit, is an intriguing program for a number of reasons. First, the Japanese luxury brand has never offered a flagship sport sedan of this magnitude. Second, the push came from Johan de Nysschen – the man tasked with turning Infiniti around who recently announced his departure from the company at the end of the month. Lastly, the working prototype was built by a small team in England, thousands of miles from Infiniti's Hong Kong headquarters, which allowed the program to move unimpeded by coagulating corporate culture. While launching the Eau Rouge program isn't as extreme as renaming all of its models, it would be easy to argue that this is a very radical move for the often-conservative Japanese automaker.

Image Credit: Infiniti UK

Race Recap: 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix a thrilling wet mess

Posted Jul 28th 2014 11:00AM



Three Free Practice sessions left us thinking Lewis Hamilton looked good to claim another victory for Mercedes AMG Petronas and close up the Driver's World Championship race, but the first qualifying session for the 2014 Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix threw out that script. A fuel leak in Q3 set Hamilton's car aflame and he never set a time. His chassis damaged beyond repair, the team built him a new one and he started from pit lane. That same session also claimed Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen, when a bad call about whether to go out again dropped him down to 17th and out for the day.

Without a real challenge, that put Hamilton's teammate-slash-nemesis Nico Rosberg on pole in the other Mercedes, followed by a resurgent Sebastian Vettel in the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Valtteri Bottas in the first Williams and Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull. Fernando Alonso waved the scarlet in fifth for Ferrari but figured he could be in third place by the end of the first lap. Felipe Massa put the second Williams in sixth, followed by Jenson Button in the first McLaren, Jean-Eric Vergne getting up to eighth for Toro Rosso, Nico Hülkenberg in ninth for Force India and Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren.

When rain poured on the 4.381-kilometre Hungaroring before the race, every script up and down the field got rewritten, and they would continue come in for revision almost every one of the 70 laps.

Image Credit: F1, Darko Vojinovic / AP, Lars Baron / Getty , Mark Thompson / Getty, Drew Gibson / Getty

Tesla halts production to prep for Model X

Posted Jul 28th 2014 10:00AM

Tesla Model X

That darling of the electric car world, Tesla, is idling production at its factory in Fremont, CA, for the first time in order to expand the factory in preparation for its future Model X crossover. The US$100-million renovation will add 25 robots and upgrades to the body shop and assembly line to support the new vehicle.

Since it will be offering two models simultaneously, Tesla will need to be able to keep up with the pace of demand. "This represents the single biggest investment in the plant since we really started operations and enables us for higher volumes," said Tesla spokesperson Simon Sproule to Bloomberg. The new robots will be able to boost production by 25 per cent and will allow the automaker to build the Model S and Model X on the same assembly line. There won't be too much downtime at the California plant, though. The upgrades will be finished within the next two weeks.

With these factory updates, the Model X may finally get its electrically powered wheels on the road. The CUV has been delayed multiple times since its announcement. It was originally supposed to be on sale in early 2014, then later in the year, but now the latest news from Elon Musk places the crossover's launch in the second quarter of 2015.

Until the Model X is on sale, the renovations should also provide a nice lift in Model S assembly. In the company's first quarter financial report, Tesla said that it expected the sedan's production rate to grow from about 700 cars per week to 1,000 per week by the end of the year, with the expectation of selling a total of 35,000 of them in 2014. That should help quell demand in new markets like the UK and expansion in Europe.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

Subaru teasing new WRX S4 model ahead of Japanese debut

Posted Jul 28th 2014 9:00AM

Subaru WRX S4 teaser

The Subaru WRX range is growing just a little bit larger, at least in Japan, with the automaker's teasing announcement of a new version called the S4. Unfortunately, the company is keeping details about its latest all-wheel drive sport sedan a closely guarded secret for the moment.

From what we can glean, it appears that the S4 might be a more luxurious take on the WRX. According to the release, the name stands for the four qualities that Subaru wants the sedan to have: "'Sports performance', 'Safety performance', 'Smart driving' and 'Sophisticated feel.'" As part of this focus, the car comes with the company's EyeSight camera system. Thankfully, we don't have too long to wait to find out what all of the buzz words actually mean because Subaru is unveiling the S4 on August 25 in Japan.

The automaker also launched a teaser website for the S4 that you can check out, here, but at the moment it doesn't provide any more details about the new sport sedan. The site just has countdown until the August reveal. There's also no indication yet whether this potentially more premium WRX could make it North America. Scroll down to read the Subaru's rather concise teaser for the upcoming S4.

News Source: Subaru [1], [2]

Smart highlights safety of new Fortwo by crashing into much bigger brother

Posted Jul 27th 2014 8:01PM

Smart ForTwo versus S-Class crash test

Smart is just getting ready to launch its new Fortwo and Forfour minicars, riding on a completely different platform, and the diminutive brand wants to show that its latest creations can stand up to some serious abuse. For such a tiny car, the crashworthiness of the Smarts is a legitimate concern when taking on larger, heavier vehicles. To prove their survivability, the company filmed a head-on collision pitting the latest Fortwo against a Mercedes-Benz S-Class weighing more than twice as much.

When it unveiled the latest cars, Smart touted that it crash-tested them against the larger Mercedes-Benz C-Class and S-Class. Among their updates, the Fortwo and Forfour use a substructure containing ultra-high strength, hot-formed steel and maximum-strength, multiphase steel. They also have larger crumple zones.

Of course, Smart can make all the claims that it wants about the cars' safety, but actually showing it to people is much more convincing. At 5,088 pounds (2,308 kilograms), the S-Class dominates the 2,478-pound (1,124-kilogram) Fortwo in terms of weight. Scroll down to see how the little hatchback fares against the more expensive, luxury sedan in a 31-mile-per-hour (50 km/h) frontal crash.

News Source: Daimler AG via YouTube

An open letter to every teen getting a driver's licence

Posted Jul 27th 2014 5:59PM

Legislature and You-Teen Drivers

Reid HollisterMy son Reid (pictured on the left, at right) would have turned 25 this month. I say would because he died, the driver in a one-car crash, at age 17, just 11 months after getting his driver's licence.

My son's death devastated our family and our community. After seven years, we don't cry as much as we used to, but we are left with painful wonder: what would Reid have been doing today if he had lived?

I start with my tragedy only to introduce myself as more interested in safe teen driving than the average parent. If my opening has made you roll your eyes, I ask you to give me a few hundred words of your time, based on my promise that the rest of this is about you, not me.

You may have heard of the famous prayer asking for the ability to accept what we cannot change, the courage to change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Safe teen driving is similar. Let me explain... READ MORE
Timothy Hollister is an attorney and teen safety advocate. Author of Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through Dangers of Driving, he has been a rational voice promoting better teen driving education and increased awareness of parents' role in keeping their children safe behind the wheel.

Image Credit: Gary S. Chapman / Marc Serota / Invision / Associated Press

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