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2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Review [w/video]

  • 2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Review [w/video]
  • SHOOTOUT: Jaguar F Type V6 S vs Triumph Street Triple R
  • 2015 Toyota Camry
  • Top 10 most stolen crossovers and SUVs

Michael Harley

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Posted Sep 22nd 2014 3:00PM



Toyota offers many flavours of its refreshed 2015 Camry, but those who choose to lower their operating cost-per-mile, squeeze 800-plus kilometres (500-plus miles) out of each tank of fuel or run a very efficient and reliable sedan in their taxi fleets will only be interested in one: the Camry Hybrid.

The exterior of the 2015 Camry Hybrid is nearly indistinguishable from its gasoline-only counterparts, with the same all-new sheetmetal and bumpers. The Hybrid is offered in LE, SE and XLE trims, meaning customers are offered base, sport or luxury configurations, respectively.

While Toyota expended quite a bit of effort resculpting and improving the 2015 Camry Hybrid, one area it didn't touch was the powertrain – it is virtually identical to last year's model (just like the gas version). Under the hood is a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine (156 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque) and an electric tractive motor (141 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque). Combined, and running through Toyota's unique Hybrid Synergy Drive electronic continuously variable transmission, the two produce 200 horsepower (Toyota does not list a combined torque figure, and we've asked for clarification). A 1.6 kilowatt-hour nickel-metal-hydride battery, packaged behind the rear seats, provides energy storage.

The test car featured here is the Camry Hybrid SE in Blue Crush Metallic, with the optional moonroof, wireless charging and Entune premium audio with navigation and app suite... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Nissan GT-R hits 327 km/h on public highway before it all goes wrong

Posted Sep 15th 2014 2:00PM



We are going to start with the disclaimer: do not try this at home. Ever.

That covered, we've been intrigued with a video that is making its rounds on the enthusiast forums. Shot from a dash cam, with a full performance overlay, it shows a modified 800 horsepower Nissan GT-R (with its twin-turbocharged engine bored and stroked to 4.3-litres) flying down a public Russian highway late at night. While we've viewed a similar lawless videos countless times before, what happens next is the real surprise.

As the GT-R driver hits 327 kilometers per hour, the right front tire unexpectedly loses pressure and instantaneously disintegrates from the centrifugal force (even though the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 is a run-flat tire, it doesn't stand a chance at four times its rated zero pressure speed). Shrapnel from the tire blows out the right front HID headlight (explaining the momentary flash of light) and the steel front quarter panel is peeled back like the lid on a can of sardines... but the driver holds it together and controls the Nissan to a safe stop, which takes place over an agonizing 32 seconds.

Regularly checking tire pressure and the tread surface are great ways to reduce the likelihood of a blowout, but road debris and heat buildup are variables that are hard to control. We don't know why this GT-R owner's tire blew, but we do know that they did nearly everything right from that point forward - hold the vehicle steady, lift off the accelerator pedal, gently apply the brake and coast to a safe stop. Aside from the extensive damage to the right front clip, there is a happy ending to the video because the driver did not panic and slam on the brakes - a mistake that likely would have sent the GT-R careening out of control.

One more thing: the video doesn't tell us who the driver is (for obvious reasons), but we are confident that they should be easy to identify by the bloodied lips from joyfully kissing the pavement once the crippled GT-R came to a stop... CLICK HERE TO WATCH

News Source: LiveLeak via MotorAuthority

2015 Cadillac Escalade

Posted Aug 29th 2014 12:15PM

Flying High In Caddy's First-Class SUV

2015 Cadillac Escalade

I have never liked traveling to Monterey, CA. The picturesque coastal city is about 300 miles (482 kilometres) from my home in Los Angeles, which means cramped and uncomfortable regional aircraft are part of the equation when the turnaround is only one night. Over the years, I have cursed the LA Basin's bumper-to-bumper traffic en route to the airport, argued with TSA personnel over carry-on baggage and waited countless hours for the fog to lift just for the anguish of being packed into a small regional jet for the flight. Of course, the process repeats on the trip home with equal misery.

Yet this time I am not suffering.

Cadillac has dropped its all-new 2015 Escalade in my driveway. Instead of battling city congestion, attempting to reason with misinformed government agents, snacking on a too-small bag of pretzels and physically rubbing shoulders with a dubious stranger for 90-plus minutes within the confines of a bumpy aircraft, I have chosen to forgo air travel and drive myself door-to-door in a fullsize luxury sport utility vehicle.

The trip should be less expensive, less stressful and it may even be quicker. Most importantly, if what Cadillac is saying about its all-new Escalade holds true, my drive will be more comfortable and unquestionably more enjoyable.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

BMW M3 vs. Porsche Macan in unlikely drag race battle

Posted Aug 25th 2014 7:59PM

Evo pits the M3 against the Macan Turbo in a drag race

If you want to move five passengers in very rapid fashion and you've got a $80,000+ budget, two newly introduced four-door models immediately come to mind – both are the highest performing vehicles in their respective segments. But which is faster off the line, to the 60-mile-per-hour (96 km/h) benchmark or flat-out over an even longer run? Evo took both to paved aircraft runway to find out.

In lane one we've got the all-new Porsche Macan Turbo, which boasts a twin-turbocharged, 3.6-litre V6 rated at 400 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The Porsche is fitted with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, and the 1,925-kilogram (4,244-pound) crossover has the traction advantage of standard all-wheel drive. In lane two is the all-new BMW M3, powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline-six rated at 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It is also equipped with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, but only the rear wheels of the 1,630-kilogram (3,595-pound) sedan are driven. Both the BMW and Porsche arrive with launch control, which helps to remove driver error off the line.

Which automaker's launch control system is better off the line? Does all-wheel-drive grip give the crossover the advantage it needs to overcome its adversary's power-to-weight advantage? Will aerodynamics factor into the results? Which would you put in your garage, and why? The video may surprise you.

News Source: Evo via YouTube

2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

Posted Aug 24th 2014 11:57AM

A Crossover That Sips Hydrogen And Drips Water

Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

Hyundai leased its first Tucson Fuel Cell crossover last week, which the automaker claims makes it the first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle (FCV) that has been offered to the public (Honda may have something to say about that...). The vehicle, which consumes hydrogen and emits only clean water vapour from its exhaust pipe, will initially only be offered for lease in Los Angeles and Orange County – two regions with the greatest density of approved hydrogen stations in the country – at a monthly fee of $499. Since the Tucson FCV rolls down the same Ulsan, Korea, production line as its gasoline-powered relative, production is scalable based on customer demand.

We attended the festivities with the dignitaries and elected officials - clapping until our hands hurt. But once it was over, we grabbed a set of keys and took the new FCV for a half-hour jaunt. According to the press materials, written with a welcomed sense of humour, Hyundai will offer it in three colours: white, white and optional white. Our test model was the latter. READ MORE...

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Acura TLX

Posted Aug 5th 2014 12:00PM



Immediately after landing at Washington's Dulles airport, an Acura representative handed me the keys to a 2014 TSX with fewer than 300 kilometres on its clock. The four-cylinder engine started and I pointed its signature beak towards a destination in Middleburg, VA. It was a curious move by the Japanese automaker, especially considering that I had flown no less than 3,700 kilometres to drive the discontinued vehicle's ostensible successor, the all-new 2015 Acura TLX.

Yet spending a solid 40 minutes with a sparkling-new version of the outgoing model that still smelled showroom fresh, allowed me an opportunity to scrutinize the dropped sedan and remind myself why it had never really blown me away – it was good at doing many things, but truly great at doing none.
Time with the TSX also started me thinking about the Acura TL, the second model that the TLX will effectively replace. I have better memories of the slightly larger sedan, especially the SH-AWD 6MT trim – it's a solid driver's car – but it, too, fell short in areas where competitors, including the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, excelled.

As I pulled up to the hotel a short while later, it became clear that Acura had some work to do. Its task over the next 48 hours would be to persuade me that its clean-sheet TLX was not only a worthy replacement for the TL and TSX, but a competitive player in this fiercely contested segment... READ MORE

2015 Acura TLX Drive Test at the Mojave Desert

News Source: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

2015 Porsche Macan S

Posted Jul 31st 2014 11:57AM

Stuttgart's Entry-Level Crossover Is Everything But



I'd be willing to bet that 99 per cent of all Porsche Macan owners will never take their vehicle on a track or see any more off-roading than a dirt path to a summer cottage, yet I maintain that there is no better venue to explore the absolute outer limits of the automaker's newest small family transport than on a racing circuit and an off-road course. It's testing at each extreme of the vehicle's operating envelope, with both challenges requiring very different capabilities. With that in mind, and looking forward to dirty floor mats and corded tires, I jumped at the opportunity from Porsche to wring out its new Macan S at Willow Springs International Raceway, located in Southern California's high desert.

The range-topping Macan Turbo (base price $82,200), with its 400 horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 gets most of the glory these days. But many, including myself, would argue that its slightly less powerful sibling, the Macan S, is actually the pick of the new litter. Despite having 60 fewer horses under the hood and giving up six-tenths of a second in the sprint to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h), it costs a massive $27,900 less – money better spent on equipment that improves the crossover's ride comfort and capability, or perhaps a well-used Boxster for weekends.

Despite a reasonably attractive starting price of $54,300 (plus $1,115 destination), very few Porsche buyers will leave the showroom with a base model. My Dark Blue Metallic Macan S tester was equipped with a slew of mechanical upgrades, including air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), Sport Chrono Package and 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels. A Premium Package and a few other miscellaneous options bloated its price to well over $75,000. That's a very steep price for the premium compact crossover segment, but it's still less than a base Macan Turbo.

Rather than toss us keys in the Willow Springs paddock, Porsche delivered its Macan models to us scribes in Pasadena and then routed us over Angeles Crest Highway towards the track, which is located near Edwards Air Force Base. This generously provided me with another three or so hours behind the wheel, most of it on twisty two-lane mountain roads that were a nice preamble before our track and off-road excursions... READ MORE

News Source: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL / Porsche

2016 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype [w/video]

Posted Jul 28th 2014 11:57AM

2016 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype

It only takes about half a lap of the Millbrook Proving Grounds for me to become convinced that Infiniti must build this car.

The sedan I am piloting around the English circuit is a working prototype of the Q50 Eau Rouge Concept that made its world debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. As a refresher, the exquisitely painted, burgundy metallic, four-door show car is based on the production Q50, enhanced with Infiniti Red Bull Racing-inspired carbon-fibre bodywork, aerodynamic upgrades and – as we would come to learn at the Geneva Motor Show a few months later – fitted with a beastly twin-turbocharged engine shared with the parent company's spectacular Nissan GT-R.

Despite lacking the concept's gorgeously expensive paint, the vinyl-wrapped red prototype seen here is much more appealing than the static concept, as it is mechanically complete – it can be driven – thus explaining why I have traveled one-third of the way around the world to test this enthusiast-tuned, one-of-a-kind machine at one of Europe's premier testing facilities.

The Q50 Eau Rouge, named after the signature high-speed corner at Belgium's famed Spa-Francorchamps race circuit, is an intriguing program for a number of reasons. First, the Japanese luxury brand has never offered a flagship sport sedan of this magnitude. Second, the push came from Johan de Nysschen – the man tasked with turning Infiniti around who recently announced his departure from the company at the end of the month. Lastly, the working prototype was built by a small team in England, thousands of miles from Infiniti's Hong Kong headquarters, which allowed the program to move unimpeded by coagulating corporate culture. While launching the Eau Rouge program isn't as extreme as renaming all of its models, it would be easy to argue that this is a very radical move for the often-conservative Japanese automaker.

Image Credit: Infiniti UK

2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT

Posted Jul 10th 2014 12:00PM

2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT

Only one thing is going through my mind as I blast down the Autobahn at 170 miles per hour (274 kilometres per hour): If someone were to give me $100,000 today, I'd go buy a new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT tomorrow.

I know there are a dozen other choices out there – cars that are more powerful, quicker around a road circuit and much less expensive, but you can keep your Corvette, your 911, your F-Type, your GT-R and your top-spec pony cars. My money would go towards this entry-level Brit with the metallic green paint and bright-yellow race-inspired accents.

Aston Martin has always crafted alluring – and expensive – automobiles. Yet this is the first time one of its offerings has come close to making sense to both the enthusiast's heart and to his or her accountant. It may sound absurd, but considering the GT's engineering, design, pedigree and hand-crafted execution, its US$99,900 sticker price (plus US$2,825 destination) makes it an absolute bargain.

To experience the new V8 Vantage GT, a model sold as the N430 in other markets, the British automaker invited me to attend this year's gruelling Nürburgring 24-hour race. Before I watched its race-prepared siblings lap the famed circuit for a full day (all four Vantage models that entered finished), I was handed the keys to my very own example – in Alloro green exterior paint with yellow club sport graphics – configured with a welcomed six-speed manual gearbox.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL, Aston Martin

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