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Seyth Miersma

2015 Ford F-150 specs revealed, EcoBoost 2.7L to make 325 hp and 375 lb-ft [w/video]

Posted Jul 24th 2014 2:59PM

Aluminum Yields Weight Drop To Around 1,995 kilograms (4,400 Pounds)



Our new man Greg Migliore is in attendance at a Ford media event at the Blue Oval's Dearborn, MI headquarters today, and he's reported in with a handful of the 2015 F-150 stats that we've been dying to know. Ford is slow-playing the news release here, but we can still offer up some interesting output and performance figures after half-year of waiting.

We have all be quite aware that Ford's shift to aluminum construction would save a lot of weight for F-150 models, and the results we're hearing now are duly impressive. For instance: in Super Crew trim, a 2015 F-150 is a whopping 332 kilos (732 pounds) lighter than was its closest 2014-model-year equivalent. That's like hauling three middle-aged dudes to your bowling alley's league night for free. Polish your balls, guys.

Ford isn't willing to offer up any actual curb weights just yet, but if we take that 332-kilo (732-pound) loss and extrapolate with the 2,326-kilogram (5,128-pound) curb weight of the 2014 F-150 Super Crew with the 3.7-litre V6, we can guesstimate that 2015 models will measure out in the 1,995-kilo (4,400-pound) range. That's impressive.

We also learned just a bit about the new additions to the engine range. The base engine in the F-150 comes in the form of a naturally aspirated, 3.5-litre V6. That mill may be the little brother of the crew, but it still makes 283 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, giving the 4x2 pickup the a maximum payload of 866 kilograms (1,910 pounds) and a tow rating of 3,447 kilograms (7,600 pounds).

Stepping up one rung on the ladder is the hotly anticipated 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6, turbocharged to the tune of 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. In 4x2 guise, that blown mill allows for maximum payload and towing ratings of 1,020 and 3,855 kilograms (2,250 and 8,500 pounds), respectively.

We're obviously still excited to learn actual L/100 km ratings and curb weights for the Ford haulers, but in the meantime, you can scroll below to check out the official press release and an official video of the Blue Oval boys putting the EcoBoost F-150 through its towing paces at the Davis Dam in Arizona.

Related Gallery2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost at Davis Dam
2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost at Davis Dam2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost at Davis Dam2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost at Davis Dam2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost at Davis Dam2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost at Davis Dam2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost at Davis Dam2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost at Davis Dam

News Source: Ford

Production Acura NSX spied getting sharper on the 'Ring

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 3:00PM



Acura hasn't been shy about trotting out the concept version of its upcoming NSX hybrid supercar – we've seen it colourized on Facebook, wearing Super GT drag and running wrapped at Mid Ohio – but until now, we've missed seeing the production version at all. Thankfully, our boys in the field have been diligently camped out by the Nürburgring, just the place for Acura engineers to get the NSX shaken down and ready for the public.

The first thing you'll likely notice (and no doubt appreciate) is that Acura is staying very true to the concept car. The same wind-tunnel-carved wedge shape is in evidence in the car's silhouette, and details like aggressively scalloped engine vents behind the cabin have made it through unscathed.

We do notice that there are some vertical elements at the bottom of the front fascia/grille that appear to be revised, and the mirrors are considerably less slinky than those of the concept car. Still, by and large, we're seeing a direct translation from show stand to real life here.

There haven't been any revelations about the powertrain in recent weeks, so expect the NSX to come fitted with a 400-plus-horsepower V6 engine mounted amidships, along with a series of electric motors for added grunt. Two of the electric powerplants are expected to turn the front wheels, and effect the most impressive-yet version of Acura's Super Handling All Wheel Drive.

News Source: CarPix

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 11:57AM

If You Ain't First, You're Last



Darrell Waltrip once said, "If the lion didn't bite the tamer every once in a while, it wouldn't be exciting." The sentiment behind that aphorism is causing my adrenal gland to wake up as Dodge and SRT drivers and engineers – somber-faced to a man – give me the track talk that will precede my driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT on the circuit at Portland International Raceway. PIR might not be Daytona, and the 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat might seem tame to a legend like ol' Jaws, but there's a not-small part of me that's thinking about how hard Dodge's fire-breathing kitty might bite.

Just a few hours previous, I'd gotten behind the wheel of the Hellcat for the first time, letting its hyperbole-spitting, supercharged V8 Hemi pull me yieldingly through Portland's morning commuter traffic. Lulled into a cocky certainty by the Challenger's good manners at low speed, I drove the throttle just a hair too deep, too fast when I ran on to the highway ramp. For just an instant the rear tires were utterly drenched in torque, and the back end of the big Dodge loosened up like a drift car on a wet track. Throttle steer lives at the fleeting whim of your right foot in this car.

It was no big thing to lay off the gas and pull the Hellcat back in line as I entered the highway, but the incident did get me to thinking: What will this car do to me on a road course?

With the track talk ended, I picked up a helmet and a head sock – stand-ins for the whip and the chair every good lion tamer needs – hoping like hell I wouldn't end up as a gravel-track snack for the new biggest predator in the muscle car circus... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Will Dodge limit 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat to 1,200 units?

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 10:00AM

2015 Dodge Challenge SRT Hellcat

With over 700 horsepower on tap and a price tag barely over $60k in Canada, Dodge appears on paper to have a winner on its hands with the new Challenger SRT Hellcat. But if you want to get your hands on one, you may have to act quicker than this most powerful of muscle cars covers the quarter-mile.

That's because, according to our compatriots over at Edmunds, Dodge may limit production – in the first year, at least – to just 1,200 units. That would amount to barely a quarter of the Challengers that Dodge moves each month, and would also mean only one Hellcat for every two Dodge dealers in North America - which could lead to some serious contention over which stores and which customers can get their hands on the ultimate Challenger.

Reached for comment, SRT spokesman Dan Reid told Autoblog Canada that "there is no plan to limit production of the Challenger Hellcat," echoing the words of Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis who told Edmunds: "We don't know what the market demand is." Which doesn't mean that it won't restrict production, but doesn't mean that it will, either. It just hasn't decided yet - or announced any such decision, at any rate - over what will be the final allocation strategy for what could be a game-changing muscle car. That is, at least, until new versions of the Mustang and Camaro come along in pursuit of Dodge's bragging rights...

News Source: Edmunds

Worse For Your Health: Rolling coal or burning rubber?

Posted Jul 15th 2014 5:00PM



A cursory Internet search reveals that both kinds of 'smoke' have some pretty scary ingredients.

With social, political and ecological concerns all wrapped up into one made-for-the-Internet phenomenon, there's no question that "rolling coal" has taken over the airwaves in the last few weeks. As many before me have pointed out, this practice isn't a new one, but renewed interest in (or horror at the exercise of) has flooded many of our feeds with terrifying photos, careening op-eds and viral videos.

If you're like me, one of the very first responses to said videos was probably along the lines of "that can't be good for you." Whether believing it an expression of personal freedoms, or with some notion of "sticking it to" those with opposing social mores, the so-called coal-rollers have got to know that they're exposing people to a serious health risk, right?

After consuming more than a few rolling-coal videos, I also began to wonder just where the practice stacked up, from a human heath perspective, versus a the more-common car enthusiast practice of laying a patch, smoking tires, lightin' 'em up, etc. In other words, is burning rubber any better for you than rolling coal?

A cursory Internet search reveals that both kinds of 'smoke' have some pretty scary ingredients. Diesel fumes consist of dangerous polyaromatic hydrocarbons, a lot of sulfuric acid and inorganic bits and pieces picked up from fuel and motor oil. Ignited rubber, meanwhile, discharges airborne latex along with traces of carbon black, oil, sulfur, steel and other metallic elements.

"Both are bad, very bad." – Dr. Scott McDonnell

Not having a clue what any of that actually means for air-sucking humans, I reached out to friend of Autoblog, Dr. Scott McDonnell, a cancer researcher and senior scientist at a large pharma company. Careful to point out that the question of "which is worse?" is a complicated one, McDonnell was able to shed a bit of light on the relative toxicity of burnt rubber and rolled coal.

"First off, " McDonnell told me, "both are bad, very bad."

Apparently the World Health Organization has listed both diesel exhaust and the whole rubber industry as "Group 1" carcinogens, meaning, "either specific components or the mixtures have been directly linked to causing cancer," says Scott. He goes on to point out that, "the science is settled on many of these," and "we even know the mechanism of action through which these components act to cause cancer."

The good doctor goes into a lot more detail, but the long and short of it is that both substances can hurt a person in one of two general ways: direct damage or mutation to your cells' DNA, and indirect damage by way of organic particles penetrating deep into one's lung tissues. The former can lead to a chain of events that directly causes cancer formation, while the latter can create a chronic inflammatory state that is "advantageous" for cancer growth, and serve as the jumping off point for asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Both peeling out and blowing your stack can have a seriously deleterious effect on your neighboring homo sapiens.

So the truth is that both peeling out and blowing your stack can have a seriously deleterious effect on your neighboring homo sapiens, but the key to true danger lies in the concentration. McDonnell admits that exposure to both substances is difficult to avoid in industrialized parts of the world, but "most of us have very limited and diluted exposure to them." With that said, McDonnell – and anyone that has seen the YouTube videos I have – points out that rolling coal may up the exposure ante in a terrifying way.

"Practices such as 'rolling coal' intentionally expose people to very high concentrations of these dangerous substances," says McDonnell. "Unfortunately many of the health effects may not manifest until years later, providing a pretty poor deterrent."

So, at least in terms of automotive applications (i.e. you don't work next to a tire fire), the terrifying tradition of rolling coal onto a neighboring driver, cyclist, pedestrian (or in some cases your friend or yourself), is a lot more worrisome than the occasional patch laying. (Though, given what we've learned, it might be advisable for local drag-strip workers to get some protective gear.) As for coal rollers, consider the sickness you might be doling out the next time you think about blasting the Prius in the lane next to you – we're breathing over here.

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News Source: YouTube

Dodge lets us drive 100-years' worth of history [w/videos]

Posted Jul 5th 2014 11:57AM



A raft of important production models from the last hundred years were available for me to either drive or ride in.

Dodge is 100 years old this year. So, as happened on Ford's recent centennial, the 50-year birthday of the Porsche 911, and others, the company has an excuse to trot out the highlights of its history next to its upcoming model lineup, and declare that "these are the fruits of the Dodge Boys' tree whose roots have grown strong." Or something like that. Never so hampered by marketing skepticism that I'll pass up the opportunity to burn someone else's rubber, I was happy to drive out to Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills, MI – former grand estate of the Dodge family – to hear the spiel.

Chrysler Group Historian Brandt Rosenbusch, the lucky so-and-so that manages the corporate museum, brought out an insanely great selection of motoring history for myself and my colleagues to take in, photograph, and drive. Greeting us in the swanky circle drive in front of the Dodge manse was a smattering of Dodge concept cars from the last twenty years or so, Viper, Sidewinder and Demon concepts included. Continuing out the gates, however, were a raft of important production models from the last hundred years, all available for me to either drive or (in some delicate instances) ride in. My mission, beyond keeping the stupid grin off my face long enough to look like a serious journalist, was to suss out any link between the past and the future of Dodge.

Spoiler: I found it. And I only broke one car in the process.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

These are the 7 deadliest racetracks ever

Posted Jul 2nd 2014 1:00PM



The tragic and completely bizarre accident that claimed the life of racer Bobby Goodin at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this weekend serves as yet another underscore to the dangers of motorsport. Advances in vehicle design, safety equipment and emergency medicine have all worked to make racing a less dangerous occupation than it once was, but there's no doubt about the fact that lives are on the line just about every time the ladies and gentlemen start their engines.

While Pikes Peak has seen its fair share of crashes – often times made more dramatic to behold for the altitudes at which the race is run – the Hill Climb hasn't been one of the most fatal events, historically. Despite its 92-year age and tortuous layout, Pikes Peak has claimed the lives of only five competitors. We say "only" not to make light of the loss of life; it's simply to say that there are racecourses in the world that have been much more deadly for drivers or riders.

So which tracks and courses have spilled the most competitor blood throughout the years? Check out the gallery for the seven most deadly of them.

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News Source: Wikipedia, [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]

Image Credit: Jacques Marqueton / AP, Grand Prix Photo / Darrell Ingham / Getty, totallycoolpix.com

Real FX could be the R/C slot car racing of the future

Posted Jun 29th 2014 2:00PM

Real FX slot cars

If you're of a certain age your simulated driving experiences probably followed an order something like this: Tonka, Hot Wheels, slot car track, radio controlled and finally (and at long last) driving/racing video games. We children of the 1980s had it rough, kids. Still, there's no denying that slot tracks and R/C cars had their charms, with cool, tangible vehicles that engaged a user differently than does even the most advanced console racer today.

Enter new-tech-meets-old-tech startup Real FX, which promises the visceral joys of R/C and slot cars, but with the ease and smarts of video game racing. Flexible, lightweight and configurable track sections guide radio-controlled cars, which make use of visual sensors and a kind of artificial intelligence for a heightened racing experience. Perhaps best of all, you don't even need another human to race; the Real FX cars can run in a Pace Car mode, providing just the kind of virtual opponent that makes solo video gaming so interesting.

The software can be programmed to include virtual tire blowouts, oil spills, engine malfunctions, mechanical wear and a whole host of other simulation-type experiences.

The only trouble is the Real FX is, as yet, only a Kickstarter project – still more than $50,000 away from being fully funded. Check out the video below for a deeper look at the mission, and decide for yourself if this is something your living room floor can't live without.

News Source: Kickstarter

Mike Ryan crashes Freightliner racer in Pikes Peak practice

Posted Jun 26th 2014 2:45PM



Racer Mike Ryan in his wrecked Freightliner hill climb specialAutoblog director of photography Drew Phillips is reporting that Unlimited Class driver Mike Ryan has suffered a significant crash during the end of today's practice session for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Driving his impressive No. 777 Freightliner racing truck, Phillips indicates that Ryan suffered apparent understeer on a left-hand turn in the lower section of the hill climb used for qualifying. Driver and truck apparently continued down an embankment of some 50 to 75 feet. The picture above shows the scene after emergency workers arrived.

Rescue workers on hand indicated that the driver was "okay," at the time, and a call to a representative of Mike Ryan Motorsports confirmed that the driver "is fine." Apparently Ryan called in to inform staff that he was unharmed, and he was able to avoid even a trip to the hospital.

It is still unclear how extensive the damage to the vehicle is, however. Drew Phillips has provided these first photos of the wrecked Freighliner, and as feared, it looks like it will be unable to make this year's race. The same may not be said of its hearty driver, Mike Ryan, however, who seems to be keeping a good sense of humor despite the crash (that's him pictured in the cab). Our man Phillips hears he might still contest The Peak with a Triumph bike run.

Readers that have tuned into our Pikes Peak coverage in years past will no doubt remember Ryan's Freightliner rides, as well as his name. Last year, Autoblog scribe Michael Harley even road along with Ryan in his Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special.

Related GalleryMike Ryan's Freightliner Crash At Pikes Peak 2014
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