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We obsessively covered the 2014 Monterey Car Week

  • We obsessively covered the 2014 Monterey Car Week
  • Autoblog readers come clean with their own controversial automotive beliefs
  • 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 8AT
  • We cruised Woodward in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/video]

Jonathon Ramsey

Hyundai Motorsport tests its performance at the WRC Rally Finland

Posted Aug 20th 2014 10:00AM

How Rallying Is Improving The Breed, And Forecasting Hyundai Performance

A Hyundai i20 WRC driven by Thierry Neuville jumps in Rally Finland.

Autoblog joined Hyundai to check out the Neste Oil Rally Finland, where thousands of kilometers of lightly traveled, rolling gravel roads have turned out decades of astonishing racing and cold-blooded drivers. Even though the World Rally Championship is well tamed from its feral Group B days, Rally Finland is still the drivers' favorite, with the fastest speeds and the biggest jumps.

It's the rookie year for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, run by Hyundai Motorsport out of Alzenau, Germany. The squad entered the season aiming for podiums in the second half and looking to get its three cars to the finish at every race for maximum development data. It's already outdone itself, Thierry Neuville scoring third places in Mexico – where he used a bottle of Corona to fill his radiator – and Poland.

Denis Giraudet told us that the rally's sternest challenge is not one of heart, though. Giraudet isn't part of Hyundai Motorsport, he was our guide and he's been in the sport as a co-driver for more than 30 years; he won Rally Finland with Juha Kankunnen in 1993 in a Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD. Giraudet said the race tests that particular confidence that comes from about 18 inches below the heart: "Here, you have to go all out. If there's a problem, it's usually between the steering wheel and the seat."

Image Credit: Copyright Hyundai Motorsport, AKK Sports, Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

1967 Maserati Ghibli puts the grand in grand tourer

Posted Aug 19th 2014 3:00PM

1967 Maserati Ghibli, front three-quarter view.

Motor Tend technical director Frank Markus owns a 1967 Maserati Ghibli, bought back in the early 2000s when "they could be had for Camry money" – now Hagerty values them anywhere from $63,000 to $107,000. The grand tourer designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro outsold the more powerful and less expensive Ferrari 365 Daytona, and the more powerful and more expensive Lamborghini Miura.

Carlos Lago, host of the magazine's Ignition video series, figures it's because of the Ghibli's long-haul comfort and the tractability of its 4.7-litre V8 with 330-horsepower and 330 pound-feet accessed with a five-speed manual, even though he cites the powertrain and suspension as being behind the times.

There's no arguing about the Ghibli's sound, though. You can get several ears-full of it, as well as Lagos' and Markus' thoughts on the car, in the video below.

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News Source: Ignition via YouTube

This Decepticon-themed Maserati ticketed for imitating a police car

Posted Aug 19th 2014 12:59PM

Eric Clark

If you liked our recent list of the coolest cop cars on the planet, you'll love this story. Laws often vary from province to province and between state to state about how closely your car can mimic the look of a police car, which this Massachusetts driver might've wanted to have look into before customizing the car shown above.

Even though he's driving a Maserati GranTurismo in homage to the Transformer Barricade and it reads "Decepticons" and "To Punish and Enslave" on the sides – in two places – and a Twitter hashtag for #Halomafia, the police in Braintree, MA, aren't very appreciative of this car being driven around town by its hardcore Transformer fan.

An officer pulled the driver over and gave him a ticket for impersonating a police officer. Perhaps it was the "911," "K-9" and "Speed Enforcement" stickers that did it. The driver offered the fact that he was helping the police department because other drivers slowed when they saw him, but that didn't stop him from needing to make a district court appearance where, hopefully, he'll have a better explanation. We have a feeling he can get the case dismissed if he can get his Maserati to actually turn into Barricade... READ FULL STORY

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2014 Audi R8 V8

Posted Aug 19th 2014 11:57AM

Dissertating The Enigma That Is This Everyday Super Coupe

2014 Audi R8 V8

Where to even begin with the Audi R8 V8.

Let's start with the Ferrari 458 Italia, a car that doubles the base price of the Audi. It's much more fun to drive than it is to talk about; discussions among enthusiasts usually begin with someone saying, "It's amazing!" and end with everyone else agreeing. Opposite that is the vast, swirling nebula of cars that are often more fun to talk about than they are to drive.

In between, there are very few cars that are as fun to discuss as they are to drive, and this Audi is one. It's a car that challenges our notions about its actual competitive set and, even better, its philosophical competitive set, its driving experience, its price, its future, its present viewed from the future, and its verifiable and/or potential pedigree.

We recently attempted to sort out some of those notions during ten days in an R8 V8 driving from Munich to Le Mans. We arrived at quite a few answers, and although we walked away from it still confounded, there's no denying one thing: it is so, so good... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Chevy Corvette gets Valet Mode with Performance Data Recorder [w/video]

Posted Aug 19th 2014 10:00AM

2014 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, front three-quarter view.

For the 2015-model-year, Chevrolet introduces Valet Mode for the Corvette, an enhancement to the Performance Data Recorder (PDR) already available and to your peace of mind. The PDR already captures 720p HD video with a windshield-mounted camera, records interior audio with a cabin microphone and gathers telemetry data using GPS, saving the data to an SD card in the glovebox. You can then watch your track-day antics with various information overlays on the centre console screen.

Valet Mode will let you hit 'Replay' when your car gets pulled up front smelling vaguely of fricasseed clutch. Turned on by entering a four-digit code, it also locks the interior storage spaces and turns off the infotainment system. It can't be turned off until the code is re-entered. There's a press release below with more information as well as a video that explains how it works, with the obligatory dig at the 'Vette's biggest foe.

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News Source: Chevrolet

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Will Roegge makes 4K art of Jeff Zwart's 911 build and run up Pikes Peak

Posted Aug 18th 2014 8:00PM

Screenshot from a video of Jeff Zwart's 2014 run up Pikes Peak in a 911 GT3 Cup Turbo.

Will Roegge has turned his camera on Jeff Zwart and provided another gem, this time documenting Zwart's run up Pikes Peak and BBI Autosport. Bertim Besha dropped out of high school, then worked his way up to founding his own shop, BBI, that gathers a crew of tuners who are just as fastidious about their work as the customers are about their cars.

They prepped the 991-series Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Turbo, the product of combining a 911 GT2 that was the most powerful car Zwart drove up the mountain with a GT3 Cup that Zwart thought had the best handling. Two TiAL turbos and a lot of fettling make for a 3.8-litre flat-six with 700 horsepower, 700 pound-feet of torque and a 7,800-rpm redline. Zwart drove it to a heartbreaking second place this year, finishing less than 1.2 seconds behind the Time Attack 1 class winner when his car suffered its first mechanical issue of the week.

The first video below covers Besha, BBI and the build, the second is Zwart's run. As if the visuals weren't enough, sit back and enjoy the shrieking of the "Hill Climb Special," which is what the constellation Sirius would sound like if it could bark.

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News Source: Will Roegge via YouTube [1], [2]

Upcoming Audi Q1 rumoured to get high-performance SQ1 variant

Posted Aug 4th 2014 5:00PM

Rendering of the Audi Q1, side view.

The Audi Q1 isn't due for another two or three years, yet Auto Bild reports already that it will come in RS and SQ1 trims. According to the report, the RS Q1 will be powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder putting out 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, putting it about 70 hp and 8 lb-ft beyond the next-most-powerful gasoline engine in the standard range.

Depending on how you like your gumption served, however, the first SQ1 – like its European SQ5 sibling – go the diesel route with a 2.0-litre TDI fitted with twin turbos for 231 hp and 368 pound-feet of torque. That's an improvement of 47 hp and 88 lb-ft over the most powerful diesel engine said to be offered on the regular Q1.

The report goes on to say that there should be g-tron (natural gas) and e-tron versions of the Q1, and buyers will get a deep toy chest of assistance packages to equip it with. Starting price in Europe is expected to be around 25,000 euros (CAD$36,550), which, if correct, would make it 4,000 (CAD$5,850) euros less dear than the Q3 in Germany.

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News Source: Auto Bild via World Car Fans

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

Race Recap: 2014 German Grand Prix is relapse and recovery

Posted Jul 21st 2014 8:00PM



The 2014 German Formula 1 Grand Prix is the hump-day race in the season and the penultimate chance for drivers and teams to rack up points before the summer break. Trying to stay on top after his first DNF of the year at the British Grand Prix, Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Nico Rosberg didn't have to wait until the race for misfortune to find Lewis Hamilton; his British teammate crashed out of the Q2 qualifying session due to a brake failure, then had to change his gearbox due of the crash, a calamity that left him starting 20th on the grid.

Rosberg took pole ahead of the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, with Kevin Magnussen surprising everyone with a fourth place in his McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo put the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing in fifth, ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari pilot Fernando Alonso, Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, the Force India pair of Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez finishing the top ten.

In a replay of events in Britain but with a German accent, a first-lap incident brought out the Safety Car and the same Brazilian was taken out of the race.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AP Photo | Getty/AFP, AOL

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