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Montreal hosts world's largest electric vehicle gathering to set new record

  • Montreal hosts world's largest electric vehicle gathering to set new record
  • Ford demonstrates Mustang's new Line Lock burnout feature
  • Audi TT Offroad Concept packs 408 hybrid horsepower punch
  • Editors' Choice: Top Five 2014 New York Auto Show Debuts [w/video]

Michael Harley

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 11:57AM

Exceptional, Yet Missing One Important Piece of the Puzzle

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

It may be impossible to spend a day in Chevrolet's new C7 Corvette without someone asking what you think about the iconic sports car – magnetism is an understatement. I was approached by strangers in a grocery store parking lot, parents waiting for their children after school and enthusiasts on a canyon road after I had pulled to the side to take in the view.

All sneak up with a curious smile on their face, take a deep breath and then start spitting out questions like an overly aggressive prosecuting attorney. Is this the new Corvette? What do you think of it? Is it fast? How much does it cost?

While a closed-roof coupe offers a protective shield from the verbal onslaught – it's hard to field questions through a solid roof – the droptop Stingray Convertible allows the full inquisition to rain down each time one slows to a stop. These opportunities include incessant chatter with complete unknowns at stoplights, street corners and even while stuck in traffic.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Audi TT Offroad Concept packs 408 hybrid horsepower punch

Posted Apr 22nd 2014 11:30AM

Audi TT Offroad Concept

Audi took the wraps of its TT Offroad Concept at the Beijing Motor Show, after teasing us with sketches earlier this month. "The Audi TT offroad concept provides a glimpse of how we might imagine a new model in the future TT family," says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development. "It combines the sporty genes of the TT with the strengths of a compact Audi SUV."

The latest in Audi's eTron show cars reminds us an awful lot of the the Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept that debuted a few months ago at the Detroit Auto Show. In addition to very similar physical appearances, the two share the same plug-in hybrid propulsion systems (the "plug-in" part is a bit misleading, as the concept simply needs to be parked over an inductive pad to take advantage of Audi Wireless Charging technology).

Proving that hybrid power never has to be a compromise, the TT Offroad Concept packs a 292 horsepower turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder under the hood. The combustion engine is assisted by two electric motors (rated at 40 kW at the front and 85 kW at the rear) to provide a total system output of 408 horsepower and nearly 480 pound-feet of torque. With all-wheel drive, the concept hits 60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.2 seconds and tops out at 250 km/h (155 mph) - while returning a provisional fuel efficiency of EPA 123 miles per gallon equivalent (1.9 L/100 km).

Inside the four-place cabin is Audi's forthcoming Virtual Cockpit Technology with a customizable 12.3-inch TFT display projecting high-quality 3D graphics to the driver. Other technology includes three Audi Smart Displays, which serve as mobile infotainment systems both in and out of the car, and a cabin ionizer to remove allergens from the cabin atmosphere. And, when owners tire of driving the TT Offroad Concept, they may tool around with a 1:8-scale radio-controlled car kept in a custom storage box in the trunk.

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Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

2015 Audi RS7 Dynamic Edition is a pretty car for a pretty penny

Posted Apr 18th 2014 8:00AM

Audi RS7 Dynamic Edition

Making its world debut at the New York Auto Show, and commanding a US$40,250 premium over the base RS7, is Audi's new 2015 RS7 Dynamic Edition that arrives with an MSRP of US$146,045 (Canadian pricing is not yet available but the base model starts at CAD$115,000). The range-topping hatchback is designed to showcase Audi's exclusive program, which allows customers to choose choose from the automaker's long list of options and then take the customization one step further with bespoke paintwork, upholstery, bodywork and wheels.

The interior features Black Valcona leather seats with Crimson Red honeycomb stitching, and matching Crimson Red seat belts. The contrasting color is carried through to the stitching on the dashboard, centre armrest, door panels, shift boot and centre console. Carbon fibre inlays provide additional contrast. The exterior is offering in four colours (Ibis White, Suzuka Gray metallic, Daytona Grey pearl and Phantom Black pearl), with each arriving with performance-oriented DRC suspension (with three-stage adjustable dampers), 21-inch Gloss Black wheels, Tornado Red painted brake calipers and sport exhaust. A carbon fibre front splitter, rear diffuser and carbon fibre engine cover complete the package.

Like the standard RS7, the Dynamic Edition arrives with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 rated at 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. With an eight-speed automatic transmission, running through Audi's Quattro permanent all-wheel drive and a sport differential, the four-passenger vehicle will crack the 60 mph (96 km/h) acceleration benchmark in a reported 3.7 seconds – and, thanks to cylinder-on-demand technology, it avoids a gas-guzzler tax. The RS7 Dynamic Edition arrives at dealerships in early summer.

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News Source: Audi

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2014 Porsche 911 Targa

Posted Apr 15th 2014 11:59AM

Feeling That 1960s Vibe All Over Again

2014 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa 4 - red

I've watched the electro-hydraulic roof panel open and close about 73 times in the past hour, but its fascinatingly complicated operation still has me mesmerized. I've concluded that only a German automaker – Porsche, to be more specific – would go through the trouble of engineering a roof system that essentially lifts the entire greenhouse off a vehicle, rearranges its components like a sliding-tile puzzle, and then reassembles all of them seamlessly (sans roof panel) to accurately recreate one of its most famed bodystyles.

The 2014 Porsche 911 Targa is a near-perfect modern interpretation of the automaker's 1965 911 Targa, a semi-convertible bodystyle that represents nearly 13 per cent of all 911 models sold since production started 50 years ago. While the early car's roof was purely manual in operation – that's the period-correct way of saying that the driver did all of the muscle work – today's Targa is a completely automated transformation that requires only that the driver hold down a cabin-mounted switch for a mere 19 seconds to let the captivating show run its course.

After studying the Targa's elaborate roof operation at its launch at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, I was sufficiently intrigued. To that end, I traveled one-third of the way around the planet to southern Italy, hoping that the Mediterranean climate would reveal a bit more about the reintroduction of the automaker's iconic sports car.

News Source: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Cadillac ELR

Posted Apr 11th 2014 12:00PM

2015 Cadillac ELR

Cadillac wowed crowds at the Detroit Auto Show in 2009 when it unveiled the Converj concept. At a time when hybrid vehicles were boring and electric vehicles induced range anxiety, the luxury brand's exciting new concept was a plug-in, extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) that promised sexy sheetmetal, a luxurious interior and a worry free range in excess of 500 kms. It was, as GM's Bob Lutz said at the show, the "Cadillac of electric vehicles."

Unfortunately, GM's financial turmoil at the time left little hope the Converj would ever see production. But this industry is full of surprises, and Cadillac unveiled the all-new Cadillac ELR at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year - the stunning visual twin of the Converj that had everyone doing a double-take - and readied its production... READ FULL REVIEW

Image Credit: AOL / Michael Harley

2014 Chevrolet SS

Posted Apr 5th 2014 11:59AM

You Better Run, You Better Take Cover

2014 Chevrolet SS

Not everyone is an automobile enthusiast, but for the most part, those who possess valid driver's licences are usually able to differentiate between a performance car and a luxury car. Furthermore, they are usually capable of telling approximately how old a car is based on its styling.

But not with the 2014 Chevrolet SS.

Even as its true devotees acknowledge the sedan's Pontiac GTO and Pontiac G8 ancestors while hoping that GM's latest will finally earn the merit and recognition it deserves, this made-in-Australia model is a real head scratcher to most. The low volume, rear-wheel drive sport sedan, fitted with a powerful V8 and the world's shortest options list, sits in most Chevrolet showrooms as nothing more than a US$45,000 mystery to most of the customers who walk in. (Note: Us Canadians don't get the SS here. Thanks for nothing, GM!)

"What is it?" was the most common question during my week with the Chevrolet SS. The answer took me a full seven days to figure out.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

David Brown Automotive talks Speedback with XCAR

Posted Apr 3rd 2014 7:58PM



David Brown Automotive, the British coachbuilder set to introduce its old-is-new-again Speedback at the Top Marques show in Monaco next month, has revealed a bit more of its upcoming offering in a video by XCAR. The Speedback is based on the platform and running gear of the soon-to-be-discontinued Jaguar XKR, with a design heavily influenced by 1960s-era cars from Ferrari, Maserati and Aston Martin.

While we've seen more than a few views of the Speedback, this behind-the-scenes shoot at Envisage Group, the Coventry-based company assembling the first running prototype, gives us a much closer look at the construction, build quality and unique features of the four-place coupe under proper lighting.

Peering inside the vehicle while it is still under construction reveals that the Speedback's handcrafted interior shows a heavy Jaguar/Land Rover influence (understandable, as Alan Mobberley, head of design for David Brown Automotive, was the chief designer of interiors for JLR). All of the modern conveniences are there, yet they've added some interesting touches. Many of the buttons on the dashboard are not plastic, but metal, incorporating tiny perforating holes to allow coloured illumination to show through. Most interesting to our eyes is the hatchback's drop-down tailgate, which tumbles open to reveal a picnic seat stored beneath the flat floor.

The Speedback has a polarizing appearance, with some of us liking its retro looks, while others prefer to simply look away. Watch the video below, then let us what you think of the car in Comments.


News Source: XCAR Films via YouTube

The Art of Bugatti exhibit opens at Mullin Automotive Museum

Posted Apr 2nd 2014 5:00PM

Art of Bugatti at the Mullin Automotive Museum

Southern California's wonderful jewel, the Mullin Automotive Museum, opened its latest exhibit this week and it is worthy of a road trip. Titled "The Art of Bugatti," the new show is an intimate look at more than a century's worth of Bugatti family creativity – automotive enthusiasts associate the name with cars, but the Italian-born, French-based Bugattis were accomplished sculptors, painters, furniture makers as well as car collectors. The work on exhibit in coastal Oxnard, about an hour northwest of Los Angeles, includes more than 40 automobiles (and an aircraft) from Ettore Bugatti, nearly two dozen pieces of sculpture from Rembrandt Bugatti and more than 40 pieces of furniture from Carlo Bugatti.

Peter Mullin, the museum's founder and chairman, owns the largest private collection of Bugattis in the world. This exhibit celebrates the achievements of the Bugatti family. "It was one of the rare artistic and artisanal families of the era. Everyone in the family just exuded huge artistic talent," said Mullin.

At an early private peek at the collection, our eyes were glazed over by the spectacular 1932 Bugatti Type 41 "Royale" Coupe de Ville, with a massive 12.7-litre straight-eight, and the 1927 Bugatti 35C race car, one of its most successful competitive models. The famed 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is also on display, which recently sold in the range of $30-40 million. One of the most unique items is the Bugatti 100P, a full scale reproduction of a V-tail wood twin-engine aircraft designed by Ettore Bugatti and Louis de Monge, built for the 1939 Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race (there are plans to fly it in the near future).

Tours of the museum are by advance reservation only, with both public and private viewings available. Click here to view our full photo gallery from the Mullin Automotive Museum.

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Scorching the Mojave Mile in a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Dinan S3-R BMW 1M Coupe

Posted Apr 2nd 2014 11:57AM

The Sublime Becomes Even More So

Dinan S3-R BMW 1M Coupe

I nearly shed tears a few years ago upon learning that BMW was only planning to produce a very limited quantity of its then-new 2011 1 Series M Coupe. In simplest terms, the two-door was a 1 Series fitted with a modified version of the automaker's twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six, and the running gear (gearbox, driveshaft, axles) from contemporary M3 models. It was also a return to form for the brand. Aggressively short and stubby in stature but packing telltale flared wheel arches that hinted at its potential, the four-seater was a spiritual successor to the original (and much loved) E30 M3 from decades earlier.

After spending a day with the original high-performance 1 at New York's Monticello Motor Club, I declared, "The little coupe with the big flares is old-school retro cool and deliciously fun to drive ... the new BMW 1 Series M Coupe doesn't target boy-racers, it targets enthusiasts." Yet sadly – and despite strong demand – BMW limited the model's production to just one year. All told, only 740 units made it to the States and only a mere 200 made it into Canada, and each was gobbled up at a starting price of $53,600, a price tag history will show to be a bargain.

Since I had little hope of even driving one again (let alone owning one), I deliberately pushed all memories of BMW's 1 Series M Coupe from my mind – until my phone rang recently. On the other end was a representative from Dinan Engineering who wanted to know if I would be interested in driving the company's new S3-R BMW 1M. A quick Google search revealed it to be a heavily modified version of the discontinued 1 Series M Coupe. As if they needed an answer...

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

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