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2014 Porsche 911 Pfaff Tuning GT3 Alternative

  • 2014 Porsche 911 Pfaff Tuning GT3 Alternative
  • 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
  • Audi reveals new TT spec racer
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe

Jonathon Ramsey

Race Recap: 2014 Russian Grand Prix is like Valencia, but in Russian

Posted Oct 15th 2014 11:00AM

Graphic for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix.

The Sochi International Street Circuit used to host the Russian Formula One Grand Prix has a few things in common with the Valencia Street Circuit that was used to host the European Grand Prix. Both are built among existing infrastructure used for other events, both contain long, narrow stretches run between concrete walls and chain link fencing, and both are, shall we say, not exactly exciting.

We wouldn't know that after qualifying, though, when Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes AMG Petronas finally put in a mistake-free Saturday to line up first on the grid, ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg in second. Valtteri Bottas got his Williams closer than anyone expected, blistering the first two sectors but falling apart in the third and ending up third on the grid. Behind him, Jenson Button impressed in the McLaren in fourth, Daniil Kvyat even more impressive in the Toro Rosso, taking fifth in front of his home crowd. Kevin Magnussen put the second McLaren in sixth, Daniel Ricciardo was the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing in seventh ahead of a Ferrari duo who knew they'd have a hard time, Fernando Alonso in eighth and Kimi Räikkönen in ninth. Jean-Eric Vergne made sure to keep himself in the news with tenth position.

When the lights went out, the most exciting events of the entire race happened in just sixty metres of the braking zone going into Turn 2.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AFP / Getty / AOL

2015 Ferrari F60 America debuts on Rodeo Drive

Posted Oct 13th 2014 2:00PM

Ferrari F60 America

Unless you own a very special Ferrari, the only way you were going to park on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills this weekend was to walk there and sit down on a bench. Otherwise, occupying the length of the plutomaniac's thoroughfare was everything from a 1948 166 MM Barchetta, the very first Ferrari imported to North America, to the brand new 458 Speciale A, introduced at the Paris Motor Show earlier this month. A collection of 60 significant Ferraris were on display to celebrate the marque's 60th anniversary in North America, and it was the most impressive gathering of Italian metal we've seen since the company threw its 50th anniversary event at Pebble Beach a decade ago.

How about a Le Mans class-winning 250 GTO, the 1954 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe that won best of show at Pebble Beach back in August, or one of the stunning 330 P4 race cars that was part of the 1-2-3 finish at Daytona in 1967? All parked on Rodeo Drive!

The special-est of them all received an introduction from new company chairman Sergio Marchionne, that being the F60 America. Exclusively made for the North American market, all ten of them are already sold for a reported $2.5M each, the F60 America reaches back to early American-branded offerings like the 340 and 375, and North American-focused convertibles like the 1967 275 NART Spider, 1969 365 GTS4 Daytona Spider and 2005 575 Superamerica.

Unlike those Spiders, however, the F60 America is a voluptuous departure from the F12 Berlinetta it's based on, with the subtracted top opening up the flex of its hips, pairing nicely with the swell over the front fenders. As we told our photographer Drew Phillips, we're looking at the future of Pebble Beach, and you can enjoy it in the photos above or the rest of the Ferraris on display in the gallery below.

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The New Ferrari 458 Speciale A

World's biggest aluminum supplier says automotive-grade sales will triple

Posted Oct 12th 2014 10:00AM

2015 Ford F-150 at the Detroit Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

Novelis, based out of Atlanta, is the largest supplier of aluminum sheet to the auto industry, counting Ford, Audi and Jaguar among its clients. It's owned by Mumbai, India-based metals company Hindalco, the world's largest producer of aluminum sheet, and company reps see the aluminum market and their place in it expanding. In June, Novelis' VP of global recycling forecast carmaker demand for aluminum sheet to increase five-fold by 2020. The managing director at Hindalco said the company expected its own sales to rise three-fold, driven by the race to better fuel economy and lower emissions.

The demand for more will increase after that, according to another Novelis exec, with the weight of all aluminum content – such as sheet, plate, extrusions, foil – in global light vehicle production to approach 35 billion pounds (16 billion kilograms) by 2025. Today, aluminum weight for annual global vehicle production is only seven billion pounds (3.5 billion kilograms) according to market research firm Ducker Worldwide and the The Aluminum Association's Aluminum Transport Group, with "guaranteed" growth for the next 50 years. With demand already outstripping supply, you can expect an accelerated and guaranteed growth in the prices of new cars as well.

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2016 Audi TTS

Posted Oct 7th 2014 12:00PM

More Brawn, More Focus From This Fashion-Forward Coupe

2016 Audi TTS

We recently drove the Audi TT, and although we wish it were radically entertaining instead of merely very fun, it's nevertheless a sharp coupe that vaults ahead of its predecessor with an inspired interior and eager handling. That car will be precursor to this TTS when it gets here a year from now, with the TTS adding adjectives like "more" and "better" to just about everything found on the base coupe. Yet with the standard car having already put on such a fine edge, we took the TTS wheel in the roads around Spain and at the Ascari race track to find out how much more and how much better it will be. READ MORE >>

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Race Recap: 2014 Japanese Grand Prix is wet, woebegone

Posted Oct 6th 2014 1:00PM

Graphic for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Typhoon Phanfone made landfall in Japan on Sunday, causing a slow start to a very wet and strategy-heavy race, all of it overshadowed by the race-ending injury to Marussia driver Jules Bianchi.

Before that, Nico Rosberg made the most of two days of dry running, leading two of the three Free Practice sessions and getting his Mercedes AMG Petronas onto pole. Teammate Lewis Hamilton had been faster around the circuit in FP2, but a crash in FP2 and mistakes at the hairpin in qualifying seemed to remove him from his groove, leaving him in second place. The two Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were next but couldn't get within 0.6 seconds of Rosberg's time. Fernando Alonso put the first Ferrari in fifth, followed by Daniel Ricciardo in the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button in the two McLarens. Sebastian Vettel took ninth for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, while Kimi Räikkönen nabbed the last top ten spot for Ferrari.

For the first time all weekend, the clouds rolled in on Sunday morning, and they still haven't lifted.

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

Honda HR-V Prototype looks awfully familiar

Posted Oct 3rd 2014 10:00AM

Honda HR-V Prototype at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

Is there anything quite so exciting as seeing a brand-new vehicle for the very first time? Part of the allure of auto shows is the chance to see new ideas, just before they're fully baked and ready for public consumption. "Prototypes" you might say, of production models that are just around the corner. Or, in the case of the Honda HR-V, already down the block a ways.

Here in Paris, Honda has unveiled its HR-V Prototype, a nearly production-ready version of a "new SUV for Europe." Before we take umbrage with that SUV designation – as far as we can tell the Fit-based crossover isn't much of a mudder – we should address the fact that at this year's New York Auto Show in April, Honda handed over just a few images and specs of the actually production-read HR-V for North America. Presumably this is a "prototype" for Europe, where the NYC car is North America-specific, but we're still scratching our heads a bit.

No matter! Here in France, Honda tells us that the utile little hatch will be available powered by both a 1.5-litre gasoline engine (the one American customers will see), and a 1.6-litre diesel unit, both wearing the company's Earth Dreams Technology label and presumably running cleaner and more frugally than ever. In Europe, a standard six-speed manual will come with both mills, while the 1.5-litre will offer the option of a continuously variable transmission.

Inside, expect the same bigger-inside-than-outside magic that we've discussed with the standard Fit (or "Jazz" here in Paris) thanks to Honda's seriously flexible Magic Seat.

The HR-V will shed its prototype designation and go on sale in Europe next summer.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Race Recap: 2014 Singapore Grand Prix is back-to-front

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 1:59PM



To paraphrase Guy Fawkes, 'Remember, remember the twenty-first of September.' That's the day the 2014 Formula One Championship took another big turn – and at one of the year's least interesting races, traditionally – putting Lewis Hamilton back at the top of the standings. Not only that, it did so by borrowing the template from the British Grand Prix this year: put Hamilton in front, retire Nico Rosberg.

It was close until then, though, Hamilton lining up on pole for Mercedes AMG Petronas just seven thousandths of a second ahead of Rosberg. Daniel Ricciardo, the year's greatest opportunist, took third ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing, followed by Fernando Alonso in fifth for Ferrari. The Williams' looked like they'd be in trouble on Friday, but as usual they dredged up some pace on Saturday, Felipe Massa taking sixth ahead of Kimi Räikkönen in the second Ferrari, the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas in eighth. Kevin Magnussen saved a little bit of face for McLaren in ninth, and Daniil Kvyat did another solid job to line up tenth in his Toro Rosso.

Before it even started, the race wouldn't look the same.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AP Photo | Getty Images/AFP

2015 Ford Mustang GT [w/video]

Posted Sep 19th 2014 12:00PM

2015 Ford Mustang

At 50 years old, the object of fantasies, a tuner's dream, a movie star and more than nine million strong, it couldn't be truer to say that the Ford Mustang needs no introduction. This newest 2015 Mustang, however – making the biggest changes we've seen to the pony car since perhaps 1964.5 – is something Ford has been introducing all year long.

We went on a Deep Dive, covered the way it looks when it was revealed, detailed the engine specs, got a ride in the EcoBoost and listened to the V8, got rolling footage and watched it do a standard-feature burnout.

The only thing left to do? Drive it! Having now done so for a few hours around Los Angeles, what we can tell you is to forget everything you know about the Ford Mustang. This new car shames the old, redefines the model and gallops far ahead of anything else in the segment... READ FULL REVIEW

2016 Audi TT [w/video]

Posted Sep 10th 2014 11:58AM

The Slight Sandpapering Of An Icon

2016 Audi TT

What came first, the metrosexual or the Audi TT? While it was close, the descriptor-turned-epithet preceded the 1995 concept car by one year. However, they were both notable cultural evolutions and they happened to work together perfectly. Hugh Grant, playing the cad Will Freeman in the 2002 film About a Boy, could not have chosen a better example of character than his silver TT.

A decade later, the original TT was still important enough that when rumours of the third-generation coupe began to surface in late 2012, the most exciting fantasy was that the 2014 coupe might "recapture some of the distinctiveness and impact" of a 16-year-old car (the TT came to market in 1998). Even speculation by dedicated Audi observers thought the brand would do something novel, even if not mimicry. The obvious takeaway: no one was going to be lighting any candles for the departed second generation. All of that is why when the first leaked image slipped onto the Internet, people began to get suspicious. When the third generation took the stage at the Geneva Motor Show, we could almost hear the digital deflation over the Ethernet, our poll results notwithstanding.

Yet it's still the TT, and in spite of having seen its interior and virtual cockpit and clocked its specs, we couldn't judge it before heading to Marbella, Spain to drive it. What we found out was while it's better than the second generation, it's still very much a TT.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

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