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Such Sweet Sorrow: 2015 Cadillac CTS-V gets an Irish wake

  • Such Sweet Sorrow: 2015 Cadillac CTS-V gets an Irish wake
  • Watch Razor Crazy Carts turn office space into hilarious racetrack
  • 2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed
  • Top 15 cars plagued with recall problems

Lexus nixes RC convertible in favour of LS-based 3-row crossover [w/poll]

Posted Nov 26th 2014 5:00PM

Lexus LF-C2 Concept

When Lexus unveiled the LF-C2 concept at the LA Auto Show last week, it did two things: it previewed the direction in which the Japanese luxury automaker's design department was looking for the immediate future, and it previewed a cabrio version of the RC coupe (to replace the IS Convertible) on the other. But the latter, according to new reports, was ruled out before the concept ever took the stage.

Although the prospect of a convertible version was engineered right into the RC coupe's chassis, Motor Trend reports that plans to put such a vehicle into production were met with hostility by Lexus dealers, who were offered a two-door convertible instead of the three-row crossover they've been lobbying for.

As a result – and with a finite amount of development bucks on hand – Lexus is reportedly listening to its dealers, axing the RC Convertible program and proceeding instead with a seven-seat crossover. Plans to stretch the RX were reportedly ruled out, so Toyota is reportedly proceeding instead with a new model to be based on the LS sedan. The new model would take aim at the likes of the Mercedes GL, Audi Q7 and Infiniti QX60 when it arrives in three years as a 2018 model.

It's not the first time we've seen Toyota listen to dealers asking for a high-end people-mover: Earlier this year, dealers in Japan asked the automaker for a luxed-out minivan, prompting it to build the Esquire van just for the Japanese Domestic Market.

Should Lexus make an RC Convertible or a three-row crossover?

News Source: Motor Trend

Ram 1500 bests new F-150 in MT pickup shootout

Posted Nov 26th 2014 4:00PM

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2015 Ford F-150Ford's 2015 Ford F-150 is a technological tour-de-force, what with its aluminum-intensive construction and its powerful and efficient new 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine option. But now that it's hit the market, it's time to get down to brass tacks and find out how just the latest F-150 actually stands up to its rivals in the hyper-competitive fullsize segment.

Motor Trend is among the first to round up the Ford (in Lariat 2.7-litre 4X4 guise here) and put it up against the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman EcoDiesel 4x4 and 5.3-litre-equipped Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 to find out how Dearborn's new-think truck measures up.

The test put the trio through over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) of tough driving in California and Arizona in a variety of conditions from just cruising around unladen to hauling a trailer. MT found all three trucks to be competent, but the most praise got heaped on the Ram and the Ford, with the Chevrolet falling a step behind its competitors in many tests.

Among the Ford's most-liked features was its 2.7-litre, twin-turbo V6 that helped make the F-150 easily the quickest of the group, with some editors saying the engine felt about the same whether driving around with cargo in the bed or not. There was some minor turbo lag during acceleration while trailering, but that issue affected the Ram, too.

The Ram's powertrain was lauded, as well. The EcoDiesel was torquey around town, and the 1500's combination of an eight-speed automatic and air suspension was judged to be the best of the lot. It was the most difficult to get into the bed, though.

The Ram also won the fuel economy award by netting 20-miles-per-gallon (11.8L/100km) city and 28-mpg (8.4L/100km) highway in the test to beat its estimated ratings of 19/27 (14.4/8.7L/100km). The Ford's EcoBoost managed 17/22 (13.8/10.7L/100km), one mpg off each from the estimated numbers, and using a lot of throttle really depleted its efficiency. As MT notes, however, it would take time for the diesel's mileage savings to pay off at the pump for these two trucks.

In the end, the Ram just barely eked out the win, with the title partially earned because of "the Ford's unknown maintenance and aluminum repair costs," according to MT. Go check out the full comparison to read all of the details, then let us know what you think in Comments.

Related Gallery2015 Ford F-150: First Drive
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News Source: Motor Trend

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey, Drew Phillips / AOL

Ken Box 2 is cardboard drifting greatness

Posted Nov 26th 2014 3:00PM

Ken Box Gymkhana  2

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Ken Block must spend a lot of time blushing. At this point, the videos online that parody or take inspiration from the drifter's Gymkhana series vastly outnumber his authentic output. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, as some of the clips are nearly as good as the original in their own way. Case in point: last year's Ken Box Gymkhana had a guy on a Razor Crazy Cart covered in a cardboard box with dubbed-in sound drifting through a warehouse. It made the little vehicles look like a ton of fun to drive, and the team has returned for a sequel to take the stunts even further.

This time, Box is back on his Crazy Cart, but the setting moves outdoors to a shipping yard full of containers and other obstacles to drift around. The driver makes full use of the cart's handbrake and caster wheels for the stunts, and some of them look pretty dangerous this time, including one that involves a moving truck. The real Ken Block has been doing some crazy things of is own as of late, flinging his crazy custom Ford Mustang restomod around Los Angeles. Now, check out this video to see the fun possible for a fraction of that power and investment.

Related GalleryKen Block's Gymkhana 7
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News Source: Crazy Cart TV via YouTube

Audi Quattro concept production hopes still alive, could be more radical

Posted Nov 26th 2014 2:00PM

The Audi Sport Quattro Concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

The 2010 Audi Quattro Concept, front three-quarter view.Remember the gestation period of the Lexus LFA, the one that, in automotive time, took so long that its origins could have been carbon dated? We feel like it's déja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would have said, this time featuring the Audi Quattro and Audi Sport Quattro. It was 2010 when our cameras first glimpsed the Audi Quattro Concept (pictured right) at the Paris Motor Show, and we tasted its turbocharged 2.5-litre, five-cylinder powerplant not long after.

Last year we met the hybrid, 700-horsepower Audi Sport Quattro concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but we got no closer to finding out if there'd ever be a version we could buy. A report in Autocar keeps the flame of hope burning, quoting Audi design chief Marc Lichte at the LA Auto Show saying, "We are working on Quattro, it is still alive." Lichte went on to say, however, that the next imagining is "more extreme" than those we've seen, and, "There will be surprises."

Those words alone are a surprise. The last we heard about the Quattro revival was Audi boss Ulrich Hackenberg saying he wanted a more accessible homage to the original, and we don't know how "more extreme" jives with that. Seeing that Audi is serious about the idea, at least, we shouldn't have to wait long to find out. Just don't get your hopes up about its affordability yet.

Related GalleryAudi Quattro Concept: Quick Spin
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2014 Audi Sport Quattro Concept at IAA 2013

News Source: Autocar

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

We drive the fuel cell vehicles of the 2014 LA Auto Show

Posted Nov 26th 2014 1:00PM

We Get An Early Steer Of The Toyota Mirai, Volkswagen Passat HyMotion And Audi A7 H-Tron

Toyota Mirai

The LA Auto Show is known for its environmentally friendly vehicle debuts. At last year's show, hydrogen fuel cell concepts from Honda and Toyota joined a lease-ready Hyundai Tuscan FCEV to cast a green hue over the convention centre. This year, automakers took us a step closer to a fuel cell future by offering drives of their hydrogen-electric hybrids.

Translogic host Jonathon Buckley takes a ride in the Toyota Mirai, which is headed for production in 2016. He follows that with a spin in the Volkswagen Passat HyMotion and the Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro concept. Which of these fuel cell vehicles holds the most promise? Tune in to find out.

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Such Sweet Sorrow: 2015 Cadillac CTS-V gets an Irish wake

Posted Nov 26th 2014 12:00PM

We Join GM At COTA To Give Its Performance Hero A Worthy Sendoff

Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The honkin', stonkin' second-generation CTS-V, powered by Cadillac's brawny supercharged 6.2-litre V8 has been a very good thing. And now that the 500 final coupes – the only CTS-Vs designated 2015 models – have been built (just five remain unsold as of this writing), it is indeed a good thing that's come to an end.

But Cadillac is not letting 2009–2015 CTS-V go gently into that good night, even as its replacement is poised to debut in just in just two months at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Instead, Cadillac invited us to Austin's Circuit of the Americas (COTA) racetrack for what it called an "Irish wake" for the model that has proven to be one of the quickest and most charismatic models in General Motors' history.

If you don't know what an Irish wake is, if you envision storytelling, songs, debauchery and more than a little liquor, you'll be in the ballpark. In this case, though, adrenaline substituted in for the booze, with squealing tires and shrieking V8s providing the singing. The debauchery took the form of an all-you-can-drive lapping of COTA in all three bodystyles – coupe, sedan and wagon – and the stories were told by the grins plastered on our faces all day.

News Source: Copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL

Saleen says it's out of money, owes millions

Posted Nov 26th 2014 11:30AM

Saleen Four Sixteen

Saleen Automotive is best known for building hot numbers including countless tuned Ford Mustang muscle cars, and more recently, for offering a custom version of the Tesla Model S. Unfortunately, the company needs a huge infusion of cash even faster than its cars if it wants to stay on the road beyond the end of the year. In a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Saleen admits that its financial situation is dire, and it has just $7,261 in cash sitting in the bank as of September 30.

That lack of liquidity is just the very tip of the iceberg. According to Jalopnik, poring over the SEC documents reveals that Saleen Automotive owes $5,634,841, which includes about $500,000 in payroll taxes. Over $1 million of those bills are at least 90 days overdue, and the business expects to default on $398,176 owed to the bank unless an extension is granted. The money just isn't coming in to pay for all of this, either. Revenue is down by half, and Saleen is posting quarterly losses in the millions.

With just $668,629 in assets, the numbers don't balance out. Saleen is hoping to find a buyer to inject the millions needed to save it from going under but admits in the SEC filing: "These factors raise substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

Steve Saleen re-acquired the rights to the Saleen name in 2012 after a high-profile court battle. Publicly, the company appeared to be doing at least somewhat well, continuing to introduce the muscle cars for which it is known, as well as expanding its offerings into the world of electric cars with an eye toward the future. Clearly, based on this SEC filing, however, things are looking dire for the well-known outfit.

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News Source: Jalopnik

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Bentley to call its upcoming crossover Bentayga?

Posted Nov 26th 2014 11:00AM

Bentley SUV prototype

Development of Bentley's forthcoming utility vehicle is almost complete, and the British automaker has painted a vivid picture of what to expect: otherworldly luxurious, a range of powertrains including a twelve-pot and a hybrid, and a price tag that is sure to eclipse any other SUV or crossover on the market. One of the biggest questions still remaining, however, is what Bentley will call the thing, but we might have our answer right here.

According to Autovisie (the car section of Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf), Bentley has registered the name Bentayga – taken from a rock formation on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, that Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco.

The concept was originally showcased as the EXP 9 F. Though that handle was never expected to make it to production, the F supposedly stood for Falcon, leading to speculation that the final version would carry that name. But if the trademark application is anything to go by, we could be looking in the end at the Bentley Bentayga.

News Source: Autovisie

Image Credit: CarPix

Should an infotainment system determine which car you choose?

Posted Nov 26th 2014 10:00AM



In-car electronics are all the rage these days, with infotainment systems and tech features getting more and more attention from consumers and car critics alike. The only issue with these systems is that they are necessarily not essential.

What is an infotainment system? Well, it's a computerized setup that controls all of your in-car entertainment and information functionality, including navigation, audio, text messaging, phone calls, smartphone-enabled applications and rear-seat entertainment. They are usually accessible via a special controller or touch screen. Ford's MyFord Touch and BMW's ConnectedDrive / iDrive system are some of the most prominent examples in the industry.

The real question is whether the quality of an infotainment system is important enough to affect the choice of your vehicle. To figure that out, you will need to ask yourself the following questions...
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