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Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars

  • Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars
  • 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk [w/video]
  • 2017 Jaguar XE
  • Ford reveals new F-150 Raptor packs 450 horsepower

Michael Harley

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ANDIAL Edition

Posted Dec 15th 2014 11:57AM

Driving The Very First Fruit Of A Revitalized Motorsports Legend

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ANDIAL Edition

There is only one Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ANDIAL Edition on the planet, and its owner is standing patiently in the hot pits at Oklahoma's Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, watching attentively as his prized possession circles the challenging road course at speed.

I'm the lucky soul strapped firmly in the cockpit of the white-and-blue racecar. The tight carbon-fibre seat is cutting into my hips, the racket from the gearbox is making me deaf and a river of sweat is flowing off the tip my nose – blame the high ambient temperatures combined with the stress of driving someone else's expensive machine on an utterly unfamiliar circuit.

But don't expect me to complain, gripe or come into the pits early, as I'm having the time of my life – I've eagerly waited nearly half-a-year for this moment, and short of me blacking out, there's no way I'm cutting it short.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL / Porsche

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder: Touring the factory

Posted Dec 3rd 2014 12:00PM

A Privileged Look Inside Zuffenhausen Assembly

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Factory Tour

Willy Wonka granted just five lucky Golden Ticket holders access to his incredible chocolate factory, yet we consider ourselves just as fortunate, as Porsche invited us to be among the first of just four American journalists to see behind the closed doors of its 918 Spyder assembly plant in Zuffenhausen, Germany. Of course, there were no Oompa Loompas or flowing chocolate rivers, but the vast white hall tasked with producing only 918 examples of the automaker's limited-production flagship revealed details that make Wonka's Golden Egg sorting room seem rather mundane in comparison.

Unlike a traditional automobile manufacturing plant, which often encompass all processes of making a vehicle (e.g., stamping steel panels, welding components and painting), the 918 Spyder is built in an assembly plant. This means that hundreds of already manufactured parts, each crafted by Porsche offsite suppliers, are brought under one roof to be assembled into a perfectly finished product that is much sweeter – and far more expensive – than any candy delicacy.

Our tour guide was Michael Drolshagen, Porsche's Director of Production, Logistics and Quality - a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the engineering and assembly of the 918 Spyder. Drolshagen generously offered us unrestricted access to walk among the factory's 110 workers – and a couple-dozen vehicles in process – to photograph everything. This is a story best told with pictures, so we've put together a raft of our best images in a high-resolution gallery and captioned each with a detailed description. If you've still got questions, please voice them in Comments section and we'll do our best to answer.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

Posted Dec 1st 2014 12:00PM

Effectively Splitting The Middle Ground Between S and GT3

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

There are no fewer than 19 different models in today's Porsche 911 series. While each appeals to the enthusiast, the race-bred GT3 is the pinnacle of the automaker's rear-engined lineup. Unfortunately, and despite the GT3's racing circuit prowess, its rigid track-tuned persona is too grating for many as a daily driver. To satisfy those who put sporty driving dynamics at the top of their list, but don't want to compromise comfort, Porsche has introduced the 2015 911 Carrera GTS.

Raising its performance quotient, the GTS model boasts a handful of standard features that elevate it above its Carrera S siblings. Mechanically, it features an enhanced 3.8-litre flat-six bolted into the tail of the widebody platform (shared with the Carrera 4 and GT3). Other goodies include Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), a black-tipped Sport exhaust system and centrelock 20-inch 911 Turbo S wheels (five-lug wheels are a no-cost option). Cosmetically, the GTS is differentiated by its darkened lights, painted black wheels, Sport Design front spoiler, Sport Design exterior mirrors, black engine grille, rear black louvers (or lights on all-wheel drive models) and a 'GTS' logo on the lower doors. Inside the cabin are standard Sport Plus seats, Alcantera upholstery throughout with contrasting stitching, black gauges and anodized black aluminum trim.

Offering us an excellent opportunity to put the second-generation GTS through its paces on a variety of roads, Porsche tossed us the keys in the LA Basin and pointed us towards Willow Springs Raceway, in the Mojave Desert.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2016 Audi S6

Posted Nov 18th 2014 11:57AM

Enhancements Improve, But A Gentleman's Character Prevails

Minutes after spending time in the refreshed 2016 Audi A6 in Germany, we were tossed the keys to its enthusiast-tuned sibling, the Audi S6. In similar manner to its lesser brethren, the S6 has also been updated for the 2016 model year with a new look, a boost in power and additional technology.

Its aggressive demeanour is heralded by a redesigned signature single-frame grille, resculpted bumpers (front and rear) and new lights on both ends – the Matrix LED headlamps fitted to our European test car are impressive, but the US DOT has ensured that we won't see them (pun intended) for now. The cabin appointments have gone even further upscale, and the enhanced MMI infotainment system now runs more fluidly thanks to a faster NVIDIA graphics chip. The primary instrument cluster, facing the operator, has been redesigned to offer its own duplicate display to ease the driver's workload.

Under the hood, the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre TFSI V8 is bumped to 450 horsepower (a gain of 30), while torque remains the same at 406 pound-feet. The standard gearbox is Audi's seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch unit, sending power to all four wheels through the automaker's rear-biased Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Posted Nov 10th 2014 12:00PM

Creamy Complex Powertrain Delivers The E-Assisted Goods

Think of the electric motor in the facelifted 2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid as the cream filling in an Oreo cookie. Under the hood of this plug-in hybrid crossover is a 333-horsepower, supercharged 3.0-litre V6 with a 95-hp synchronous electric motor sandwiched between it and an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The clutched powertrain allows pure combustion, pure electric or a combination of both to drive all four wheels through Porsche's permanent all-wheel-drive system.

Differentiating itself from the Panamera S E-Hybrid sedan, which shares the same basic powertrain and stores energy in a 9.4-kWh battery, the Cayenne crossover is fit with a more robust 10.8-kWh lithium-ion battery that delivers an estimated pure-electric driving range of up to 35 kilometres (22 miles) at speeds of up to 125 km/h.

To be one of the very first media members to sample Porsche's latest fuel-efficient crossover, the automaker flew us to Frankfurt, Germany, to test the five-passenger Cayenne S E-Hybrid on its home turf... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL / Porsche AG

2016 Audi A6

Posted Nov 6th 2014 12:00PM

Boosted Power And New Gearbox Transform This Teutonic Sedan

2016 Audi A6 2.0 TFSI

After dodging light traffic for more than 10 miles (16 kilometres) at speeds never exceeding 85 miles per hour (135 km/h), the left lane of the derestricted autobahn ahead of us finally opens wide. This is the opportunity we've been waiting for, and we bury the accelerator against its stop and hold it there. The transmission attached to the turbocharged four-cylinder of our 2016 Audi A6 drops a couple gears and begins an arduous battle against aerodynamic drag.

The sleek sedan cuts through the wind effortlessly up until about 125 mph (200 km/h), after which the speedometer needle slows noticeably as the outside world continues to blur. By 145 mph (230 km/h), there's no longer a discernible feeling of acceleration, yet the bright-orange speedometer needle continues its climb. Finally, the speedometer nearly reaches 160 mph (258 km/h) before we are forced to firmly brake and return to saner speeds because of traffic looming ahead.

Automakers routinely host us in Europe and elsewhere to sample their wares in a much less restrictive driving environment. Which explains why we find ourselves standing in Dresden, Germany, a stunningly beautiful 800-year-old city along the Elbe River, overlooking Audi's latest executive express.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 McLaren 650S

Posted Oct 27th 2014 12:00PM

Making The MP4-12C A Distant Memory

2015 McLaren 650S

Otolith organs are the tiny acceleration-sensing parts of your inner ear that are extremely effective at telling your brain when you are changing velocity. They make easy work of elevator rides, subway cars and most roller coasters, but the organs are completely overpowered by the 2015 McLaren 650S – the acceleration from its twin-turbocharged V8 leaves them dazed and confused, an overwhelming, dizzy sensation topped off with a bout of queasiness.

The British automaker did not intend its MP4-12C successor to be nauseating – despite its effectiveness in this role – but the explosive way the rear-wheel-drive supercar puts its power down is absolutely mind-boggling. We've driven countless other exotics, but it's hard to point to a single example that changes velocity as quickly, and as capably, as this $330,000 (as tested), carbon fibre, street-legal racer. (The 650S starts at $287,000 in Canada, but as with any car like this, the options are the real killer.)

Some would consider a $1-million winning lottery ticket the key to happiness. We'd argue that spending five days with a Mako Blue McLaren 650S – barf bag poised in lap – is a much more gratifying prize... READ MORE

2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster

Posted Oct 20th 2014 11:57AM

Well-Seasoned Beauty Gets Shiftier

2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster

Aston Martin previewed its most powerful, quickest-accelerating and fastest production roadster ever at this year's Pebble Beach Concours. The 2015 V12 Vantage S Roadster is essentially a convertible version of the V12 Vantage S Coupe, which we reviewed last year, a model that drops the automaker's most potent powertrain into its smallest chassis.

Unlike the outgoing V12 Vantage Roadster, this new S model boasts a more powerful engine, a new transmission, new adaptive suspension and more luxurious appointments along with freshened styling. While last year's beloved six-speed manual gearbox is gone – a thought that continues to bring tears to our eyes – everything else about the updated roadster piques our interest. We recently spent a full day in the mountains and deserts surrounding Palm Springs with a China Grey (with red carbon fibre accents) version of the British automaker's latest.

Read on for more pics and our review.

2015 BMW X6

Posted Oct 16th 2014 12:00PM

2015 BMW X6

Most everyone would agree that BMW offers a range of very attractive and well-proportioned coupes, sedans, crossovers and wagons. Yet there is one member of its family that has always struck us as a bit odd: the X6.

Proudly coined "The world's first Sports Activity Coupe" by its German maker, the X6 features a wedge-shaped body with a characteristic sloping roofline that appears to squash the heads of its second-row occupants. The crossover rides high off the ground, with a pronounced gap between its chassis and oversized wheel/tire package, capped by short overhangs on both ends. Although curious to the eyes, its overall styling is masculine, and its stance aggressive.

Whether you consider the X6 to be attractive or an eyesore – opinions seem about equally divided – there is nobody at BMW questioning its business model. As of today, the automaker has sold more than 260,000 copies of its five-door crossover, which is why it has flown us to Spartanburg, SC, to sample its second-generation 2015 BMW X6.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL / BMW