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2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana stunt video impersonation

  • 2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana stunt video impersonation
  • 2015 Dodge Charger shows off its new look in New York [w/videos]
  • HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 New York Auto Show
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe rides to the top

Autoblog

Volvo shows inflatable child seat concept

Posted Apr 20th 2014 10:00AM

Volvo Unveils the Revolutionary Inflatable Child Seat Concept

Volvo is bringing its emphasis on safety and design to the littlest members of the family with its concept for an inflatable, rearward facing child safety seat. The design is meant to help traveling families by offering a lighter and less bulky alternative to traditional car seats.

The design is quite ingenious. The seat is covered in drop-stitched fabric, which fills with air to create the form of the seat. An electric motor in it allows inflation and deflation in less than 40 seconds, according to Volvo. It weighs less than 5 kilograms (11 pounds) and folds small enough when collapsed to fit into a bag. It even has a Bluetooth connection, so parents can begin expanding it remotely.

The inflatable seat in the brainchild of Lawrence Abele, Volvo's design manager at its Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles, CA. "For many, travelling with young children is a challenge; any assistance to simplify the parents' life with young children is a great thing," he said in a statement released by Volvo. The chair remains a concept for now, and the automaker isn't saying whether it's going to put it into production, but it's a clever solution to a common problem.

Scroll up for the video showing it in action and click continue to read the full release.

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News Source: Volvo via YouTube

Volkswagen Phaeton will make North American return in 2018?

Posted Apr 19th 2014 6:00PM



Volkswagen knows that its North American operations need some help, so it installed Michael Horn as CEO of its American operations a few months ago. In a new interview with Bloomberg, Horn goes into detail about his two-pronged focus for the company – making dealers happier and improving product.

Chief among that product news is confirmation that the VW Phaeton is going to return to the American (and likely Canadian) market in 2018 or 2019, a move VW has long been rumoured to be considering lately. The full-size luxury sedan hasn't been sold in Canada since the end of the 2006 model year, departing the market as a victim of slow sales. (The Phaeton has since been slightly updated overseas, where it continues to be offered.)

The complex Phaeton garnered a good amount of critical acclaim in its time on our market, yet it earned mostly perplexed looks from consumers who had trouble understanding the idea of a "People's Car" priced against competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (or the VW Group's own Audi A8, for that matter). It isn't immediately clear how VW intends to exempt the next-generation Phaeton from the same fate when it returns, nor is it clear whether the new model will share its underpinnings with the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, as the first iteration did.

According to the Bloomberg interview, Horn's other main goal is improving VW's dealer relations. He says that right now, dealers are unhappy with the company, and there is a "great distance" between them. The two sides are negotiating now to improve bonuses, marketing and other elements to get the network back on board.

"We need to connect closer from the American market to the German market," said Horn in the interview, and it looks like the company is making the first steps toward that goal. Click here to watch the full discussion.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: caranddriver.com

2015 Infiniti QX80 gets a minor refresh, fancy new trim

Posted Apr 19th 2014 2:00PM

2015 Infiniti QX80

Infiniti revealed an ever-so-slightly refreshed QX80 alongside its Q70 luxury sedan on thursday morning in New York. The biggest news for the brand's fullsize SUV is the addition of a range-topping trim level, unimaginatively dubbed the QX80 Limited.

The Big 80 sports a couple of styling tweaks in an effort to bring its appearance more in line with the brand's current design language. The "double-arch" grille with mesh inserts we first viewed on the Q50 now adorns the front fascia, and the head and taillights have gone full-LED. Still, it's hard to call this SUV anything but ugly. It's bulbous and almost brutish, which aren't generally words you want to have to use when talking about any kind of luxury vehicle.

There aren't many updates inside or to the drivetrain, either. Like the Q70, Infiniti has added a couple of new tech features, such as its Predictive Forward Collision Warning system and High Beam Assist. Although it's getting a bit long in the tooth, the interior remains nice, with lots of wood and leather all around. The SUV continues to use a 5.6-litre V8, which produces 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The Limited trim is an answer to the Range Rover Autobiography and the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Designo trims, which both top their respective lines. The cabin of the Limited comes with a unique Truffle Brown interior environment, which employs a combination of brown, black and silver leather, as well as real Ash trim featuring a matte finish and an Ultrasuede headliner. On the outside, smoked head and taillights, dark chrome trim and big 22-inch wheels will help to set the vehicle apart.

The 2015 QX80 will go on sale in the fall. Check out our high-res image gallery and the press release below if you're looking for more.

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Related Gallery2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited
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Image Credit: ive photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Problematic Porsche 911 shows the power of viral video

Posted Apr 18th 2014 8:00PM



When Nick Murray took delivery of his 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S in June 2013, he had saved for it for the past five years. He didn't just pluck a random 911 off a dealer lot. He specially ordered his car with thousands of dollars in extras tailored just to him, and he captured all of the options on his YouTube channel. The love affair didn't last long. Eventually the channel became a place for Nick to air his growing list of grievances about his deteriorating 911. Eventually, his mix of righteous indignation and sarcasm went viral.

Nick Murray Porsche 911By late December, he had already had four warranty repairs done on the car. Things got much worse in March. The computers began resetting whenever Nick drove over large bumps. There was also an acrid, electrical smell that occasionally permeated the cabin. Murray filed for Lemon Law protection. ​Porsche Cars North America contacted him for the first time to fix the problem, but it didn't help.

Things culminated in April when Murray put up a new video that showed more troubles. He began arbitration with Porsche and asked for either his full purchase price back or an exact replacement. The company countered with a portion of what the car was worth, based on its mileage. Murray refused and turned to his YouTube watchers for help. He asked them to spread the word, and the video went viral with over 800,000 views as of this writing. Supporters posted it multiple times on Porsche's Facebook and Twitter sites.

The pressure may have worked. Murray posted on the 6 Speed Online forums: "Good news! I have been contacted by PCNA to settle this. This whole mess will end today hopefully. Good that they are doing the right thing. Good for them." Later, he added another note on the forum and Facebook that the situation was resolved without going into detail.

Nick Twork, Product Communications Manager Porsche Cars North America, told Autoblog Canada the that company was "very aware of these videos." He confirmed that the Customer Care Department had been in contact with Murray, and it met "with him one-on-one." He promised that PCNA would work with him until "everyone is satisfied."

Click here to watch the last three videos starting from the most recent to see what he went through. Warning, there is some occasional salty language.

News Source: 6 Speed Online Facebook, Nick Murray via YouTube

2015 Infiniti Q70 stretches out in NYC

Posted Apr 18th 2014 3:59PM

2015 Infiniti Q70

Infiniti released its refreshed Q70 (the car formerly known as "M") in New York this morning. The luxury sedan is brings with it, quite literally, a big change: it's now the only vehicle in its segment to offer both long- and short-wheelbase options here in North America (other automakers do this in China). Currently, the two-wheelbase sedan strategy is exclusive to the ranks of fullsize players like the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, etc.

Infiniti has elongated the standard Q70's wheelbase from 114.2 inches to 120.1 inches, in doing so lengthening the car 7.3 inches overall. For the sake of comparison, a standard wheelbase Audi A8 runs 117.8 inches, so the Q70 is no slouch. The extension mostly benefits rear-seat occupants, who are treated to an extra 5.6 inches of legroom. We think the enlargement improves the car's aesthetic, as well.

In addition to the long-wheelbase option, there are a few other tweaks in store for 2015. New head and taillights are the biggest changes, with full LEDs in the back and LED accents in front. Aspects currently seen on the smaller Q50 are evident, as well, such as the "double-arch" grille that comes with mesh-finish inserts. The fascia also includes a new front bumper with integrated foglights. Interior changes seem to be fairly minimal, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The outgoing Q70 had a spacious (if dated), luxurious cabin with all kinds of high-quality materials.

Infiniti also added its Predictive Forward Collision Warning system to the Q70, which warns drivers of potential risks beyond their field of view, as well as its stellar AroundView Monitor system, which makes parking a breeze.

Mechanical changes are minimal. The base 3.7-litre V6 still pumps out 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, and the 5.6-litre V8 retains its 420 hp and 417 lb-ft. Both engines will be available on the long-wheelbase version (although the V8 will be slightly less powerful, producing only 416 hp and 414 lb-ft). A seven-speed automatic remains the only transmission across the board. The Q70 Hybrid, which employs a 302-hp, 3.5-litre V6, will not be available in long-wheelbase form.

For more info, check out Infiniti's rather extensive press release below.

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Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 BMW Alpina B6 Gran Coupe challenges the M6 in New York

Posted Apr 17th 2014 9:00AM

BMW Alpina B6 Gran Coupe

Despite being a well-respected outfit for decades, Alpina remains something of a mystery to many North American BMW fans. In Europe, Alpina has established itself as a first-rate source for breathed-upon high-performance Bimmers, and it's looking to continue picking up traction on our shores. North America has received a handful of Alpina models through BMW factory channels, namely the 7-Series-based B7, and now we're getting another fast four-door with the debut of the BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe at today's 2014 New York Auto Show.

The B6 Gran Coupe stands as an interesting sibling to the factory's M6 Grand Coupe. Both are propelled by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, but the tunes are quite different. The Alpina produces 540 horsepower and 540 pound-feet of torque, which is 20 hp less than the M6, but with 40 lb-ft more torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive mean that the B6 is about half a second quicker to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) than BMW's own creation. Plus, the B6 has an unrestricted top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph), making it one seriously rapid 6 Series Gran Coupe.

The sport sedan also wears other Alpina goodies like 20-inch versions of the brand's 21-spoke wheels and exclusive color options. The B6 Gran Coupe goes for US$118,225, and will be available through BMW dealers immediately after the auto show ends. More info about the B6 is in the release below.

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News Source: BMW

Image Credit: Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe rides to the top

Posted Apr 16th 2014 6:59PM

Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe

You've seen the power a 600-horespower engine can produce on a racetrack. You may have seen the results of what 600 horsepower looks like on a local highway. But have you seen what 600 horsepower can do in an elevator shaft? This might be a new one.

Mercedes-Benz introduced its 2015 S63 AMG Coupe in New York on Tuesday night, literally driving the 1,995 kilogram (4,400-pound) vehicle off an elevator in a Manhattan loft. Not that the car needed any extra hijinks to make an impression upon its entrance. This is a stylish, imposing vehicle.

Under the brawny hood is a hand-built, twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 engine, capable of producing 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes' seven-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission handles that force, which pushes the vehicle to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in 3.9 seconds. Power is sent to the road via the company's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.

Conventional widsom may say that Americans are buying fewer two-door vehicles than ever before, and that they're buying smaller cars than ever before. The S63 AMG Coupe, which launches this fall, joyfully thumbs its nose at such logic. There's every reason to think it will help AMG continue its growth from 32,000 worldwide units sold last year.

Mercedes-Benz also showed shots of the interior of its highly anticipated AMG-GT. Red and black leather encompassed what appeared to be a spacious cabin. More detail is expected on the AMG-GT this fall. Combined, both cars look like they'll keep AMG at the forefront of the luxury performance segment. Have a look at the S63 Coupe in the galleries above and below, and scroll down to read the company's official press blast.

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News Source: Mercedes-Benz

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 BMW M4 Convertible will give the best bad hair days

Posted Apr 16th 2014 12:31PM

2015 BMW M4 Convertible

BMW officially unveiled the 2015 M4 Convertible at the Javits Center in New York this morning. The droptop, which will slot in next to the M4 Coupe in BMW's performance line, offers infinitely more headroom, fresh air and sunshine for those that want a little more great outdoors and tousled hair with their M experience.

Visually, the M4 convertible is similar to the coupe, and carries on the hardtop's athletic stance with a long wheelbase, short front overhang, aerodynamic mirrors and in the case of this showcar, optional yellow-painted brake calipers. The car's expressive, angry face is perhaps the most notable aspect of its styling, screaming "get the hell out of my way!" with its signature twin-bar kidney grille, trio of air intakes and squinty LED headlights. Inside, the convertible employs three-temperature neck warmers (for chilly top-down days), an absurd amount of "M" logos and a wealth of luxury and technology features.

The rear-wheel-drive convertible uses the same engine as the coupe: a high-revving, twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six producing 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission. BMW says the car can make a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint in just 4.4 seconds when equipped with the manual.

While those power numbers certainly sound impressive, the M4 convertible's potential downfall is its weight. The addition of the power droptop pushes the car up to a hefty 1,840 kilograms (4,055 pounds), though that's still some 40 kilos (90 pounds) lighter than the previous-generation E93 M3 convertible. We aren't fretting just yet, though. BMW has earned the benefit of the doubt, with decades of experience making even big crossovers with physics-defying abilities.

For more info on BMW's newest open-air performance machine, check out the press release below.

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2015 BMW M4 Convertible Headed To 2014 New York Auto Show




Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Hyundai Sonata plays a more mature tune

Posted Apr 16th 2014 9:59AM

2015 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai's new North American CEO Dave Zuckowski pulled a silky sheet off of the redesigned 2015 Sonata here at the New York Auto Show, ushering in not only a new era of domestic stewardship for the company, but also a new, more mature design direction for its mass-market vehicles.

Though we've already seen the striking sedan in a wealth of recent photos, seeing the car in person confirmed that Hyundai has another hit on its hands. The Sonata employs the Korean automaker's new "Fluidic Sculpture 2.0" design language, which we already witnessed in the new, much lower-volume Genesis. Hyundai describes the language as being more dignified, respectable and confident. We certainly agree with that.

Gone are the swooping lines of old, which grabbed our attention on the previous generation. They've been replaced by straight edges and harder angles, most noticeably along the car's beltline. A larger, more refined grille with a wide air intake leads the car down the road. The stance is athletic, with a steeper, coupe-like roofline, quad chrome-tipped exhaust ports and horizontal lines in the rear, which give the car a planted look. The redesigned headlights are wing-like in appearance and, man, that burnt orange color is sexy.

Under the hood, the engines remain the same – a 2.4-litre four cylinder and 2.0-litre turbo-four – though both have been tweaked to improve performance, mostly in low-RPM situations. Additional updates include a redesigned and bigger interior, which Hyundai says greatly emphasizes ergonomics and comfort, a much more rigid platform, a wealth of new safety features and lots of new tech and infotainment updates, including the smart trunk, first seen on the new Genesis. It's one of the simplest, yet most novel features we've seen in 2014.

There's a lot to Hyundai's new midsize sedan. See the full presser below for all the info.

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News Source: Hyundai

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Michael Zak / AOL

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