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2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe

  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe
  • 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster
  • Chevy Camaro 1LE vs Ford Mustang with Performance Pack, surprises ensue
  • MotorWeek remembers retro icons: Toyota Supra and Acura NSX

Seyth Miersma

Driveclub [w/video]

Posted Oct 19th 2014 11:59AM

Confusing The Frosting With The Cake

Driveclub

DriveclubI've been waiting to play, to really play, this game for a long time. If you're a Playstation 4 user reading Autoblog, short odds say you have, too.

Driveclub is the first splashy, big-budget, heavily promoted racing title for the PS4. It was initially supposed to be a launch title for that system almost exactly one year ago, before a series of delays pushed the debut back until, well, last week. The product of the minds at Evolution Studios (you might recognize the outfit for its MotorStorm and WRC franchises), Driveclub has been touted as the driving/racing game most perfectly crafted to take advantage of the social, always-online nature of this new generation of consoles.

The eponymous "club" is the hook on which the game hangs; a collection of you and five of your tightest gamer homies, winning races, creating and completing challenges, earning money-like Fame points and all wearing the same paintjobs. With all of that wrapped up in what the studio calls an "incredible, authentic and immersive driving experience," and powered by Sony's impressive hardware, expectations for Driveclub have been high to say the least.

So, fresh from a few weeks of non-stop Forza Horizon 2 play – the surprisingly direct competitor for the Xbox One ­– I booted up and got to work. (Yes, guys, this counts as work).

Image Credit: Driveclub

2015 Audi A3

Posted Oct 15th 2014 11:58AM

What Does Your Car Say About You?

2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro

What kind of watch do you wear? Especially today, when wearing a wristwatch is practically obviated by the near-ubiquitous use of cellphones, the timepiece found on one's arm makes a statement about how people perceive themselves.

A sport watch from Nike or Garmin would seem to indicate enthusiasm for athletic pursuit. Inexpensive fashion statements from Nixon or Nooka could signify a love of high design. Splashing out on a true luxury timepiece from Rolex, Bell & Ross or Breitling serves as a sort of human plumage display to connote, "I have thousands of dollars – at least – of disposable income."

Any yet, every one of those mechanized bracelets is less functional than the iPhone or Galaxy in your front pocket.

A similar lesson can be seen in the world of luxury cars – and it's especially poignant in the hot entry-level premium segment that Audi's A3 has made its home. Looked at under the harsh lens of the non-premium car market, there are clearly vehicles that offer more – or at least equal – in terms of performance and feature-set than does the $31,100-base A3. That said, just as that vintage Omega Seamaster says something on your wrist that that admittedly more versatile Casio G-Shock does not, for some of us, piloting the sleekly designed Audi point-of-entry makes a kind of sense that the larger, more powerful and equally surefooted Subaru Legacy 3.6R, for example, does not.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II [w/video]

Posted Oct 12th 2014 12:00PM

Your Reputation Precedes You

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

Rolls-Royce Director of Global Communications Richard Carter tells me that his storied employer is "a company that does not chase volume." In a perfect world, mused Carter, the carmaker would sell "one less" of its ultra-luxury vehicles than the fast-expanding world market demands.

And, thanks in no small part to the unprecedented success of the Series I Rolls-Royce Ghost that launched in 2010, the Brit brand seems well positioned to strike that perfect balance between exclusivity and record profits. In 2003 (the year in which the first BMW-backed Rolls rolled off the line in West Sussex), the company managed to sell around 500 cars. This year, with the first run of already-back-ordered Ghost Series II models still weeks away from delivery, the marque will top 4,000 units for the first time in its history.

Considering that each one of those "units" – a somewhat unsatisfying term for motor car this special ­– will gross Rolls-Royce $300,000 if we're being very conservative, you'll quickly see that creating a very desirable product for one of the best brands in the world negates the need to chase volume. The rich and free-spending are chasing this Ghost, instead.

So, how do you refresh (I'm told that a Rolls-Royce would never be subjected to a "facelift") a luxury sedan that is already so affecting to drive, be driven in and to behold? I flew south to Dallas, TX, to drive the new Ghost Series II in and amongst the genuinely rich folks to find out.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Top torque-to-weight ratios performance cars under $115k, $50k and $30k

Posted Oct 10th 2014 12:00PM



Horsepower may steal a lot of headlines, but the always-more-complex torque figure is often a critical one for both the workingman and the motoring playboy. The measure of rotational force is a function of horsepower and engine rpm, and it's also the twist that can liquefy one's tires or haul one's horse trailer. Good stuff.

Sure, there's a big difference in how the torque is applied from a turbocharged six-cylinder in a Swedish luxury sedan and a massive heavy-duty truck's turbo-diesel. But being the car/stat geeks that we are, we think it's kinda neat that those two vehicles rank near each other where torque and weight intersect. Thus, our list of top cars with the best torque-to-weight ratios money can buy.

For this list, we've given you figures as pounds per every one pound-foot. Broken down into broad price categories of $30K to $115K, we've got a mixed bag of 2014 and 2015 models here, too. Every effort has been made to select the most up-to-date prices and specs, and we've also to omitted some '14 cars that won't be re-upped after the ongoing yearly changeover... READ MORE

Note: All figures will remain in pounds as opposed to kilograms - as the data only makes sense that way.

Image Credit: Richard Price / Dodge, Copyright 2014 AOL, AOL

Renault Espace is the minivan that isn't [w/video]

Posted Oct 5th 2014 11:00AM

The Renault Espace at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

A one-box shape, three-rows of seating, a huge feature set and sliding rear doors: these are the elements that make up what we know as "minivan." That's a category that the Renault Espace has headlined, in Europe, for decades now. Well, until the new generation's launch at this year's Paris Motor Show, where the French automaker has – sort of, kind of – changed up the minivan formula in favor of something distinctly more crossover-flavored.

Not that family buyers are going to be devoid of function now that Espace has ditched the sliders and added a tiny bit of ride height. Renault still presents seating for seven and ample, configurable cargo space, but with this new hauler said space is presented in a more attractive and higher-design space than we've yet seen.

The forward cabin is dominated by light, with the sloping windshield meeting up with a gigantic glass roof – both serving to make the space feel open and airy. Espace drivers will see a Tesla-sized touchscreen in place of traditional instrumentation on the center stack, an elegant, leather and metal shift lever, and substantial-looking wood and brightwork just about everywhere. The instrument cluster is digital and completely configurable, too, with Renault even offering a slew of colourways for the display lighting.

Renault plans to offer the Espace with three turbocharged powerplants at launch – interestingly all with the same 1.6-litre displacement but with different outputs. The horsepower leader of the trio is the gasoline-powered Energy TCe 200 EDC (rolls right off the tongue), with 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. There are two diesel options, as well, the big boy making 160 hp and 280 lb-ft, and slightly weaker version good for 130 hp and 236 lb-ft. Six- and seven-speed automatics are on offer, as well.

Renault has even packed in its 4Control four-wheel-steering system to make the non-minivan more maneuverable than ever before.

Does the lack of sliders truly change this stylish box from a minivan to a crossover? We'll let you decide that (using the simply massive press release below as your guide), but we think no matter what Renault calls it, French customers are in for a win.

Related GalleryRenault Espace at 2014 Paris Motor Show
Renault Espace at 2014 Paris Motor ShowRenault Espace at 2014 Paris Motor ShowRenault Espace at 2014 Paris Motor Show

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

2015 Ford C-Max gets a corporate nose job [w/video]

Posted Oct 4th 2014 8:00AM

2015 Ford C-Max

Ford might not have the splashiest booth here at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, but the automaker is showing off quite a bit of hardware that will actually end up on roads across Europe. Parisians are no doubt tickled at getting to see the specifications of the Mustang tuned for The Continent (which has a revised suspension for European roads, and a few visual nips and tucks), in addition to the revised face of the family-friendly C-Max.

As you can see, C-Max styling has been revisited with a deft touch, grafting Ford's six-sided corporate grille on the nose, in place of the outgoing car's two-part affair. New headlights can also be found on the car's revised front fascia, though the rear end of the C-Max looks only slightly different than the current version.

Inside the cabin, Ford has consolidated controls and upped the ante in terms of material quality, with "black satin" and chrome details and more storage capacity, overall. Grocery-lugging moms and dads everywhere should appreciate the hands-free liftgate feature, as well.

In Europe, the C-Max will be powered by a 1.5-litre diesel engine, making roughly 104 horsepower, and spitting out just 99 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, or a 1.5-litre, gasoline-fed, EcoBoost engine.

Related Gallery2015 Ford C-Max
2015 Ford C-Max2015 Ford C-Max2015 Ford C-Max

Mercedes-AMG GT joins the Just As Good In Person club in Paris

Posted Oct 2nd 2014 3:00PM

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT

There are cars debuting in Paris this year that we've heard virtually nothing about until we showed up at Porte de Versailles, and others that we've hotly anticipated seeing for months or more. The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT falls distinctly into that second category. Approaching this year's motor-soiree, our only real question was, "Will it be as pretty in the tin as it is in pictures."

With our live gallery of images now in, we can answer ourselves pretty definitively: "Yep."

We didn't need to visit the Mercedes-Benz show stand to know that the GT will make 456 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque in standard trim, or 503 hp and 479 when the "S" badge is affixed. And that the sleek yellow and black body you see here will be capable of traveling from 0-60 miles per hour (0-96 km/h) in just 3.9 (or 3.7) seconds. Looks fast, is fast.

With that poser settled, really the only thing left to explore is just how good the thing is to actually drive. With rumors of a First Drive event happening some time in the next month or so, we anticipate being able to bring you that answer, as well. Boy oh boy do we anticipate it... Until then, have a good browse of our show gallery, and keep your eyes peeled for more to come.

Related Gallery2016 Mercedes-AMG GT
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Paris Motor Show 2014: 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT C63 AMG Reveal

Kawasaki Ninja H2R is a 300-hp supercharged carbon-fibre cruise missile [w/video]

Posted Sep 30th 2014 4:30PM



We don't get to cover the ins and outs of the motorcycle world as much as we'd like, but there was no way we could skip bringing you the latest announcement of the Kawasaki Ninja H2R.

Great Galloping Jesus, does this thing look incredible.

The Ninja nameplate has typically been synonymous with top-tier performance, and this carbon fibre-clad monster seeks to take that reputation to another level. Crouched inside of that green, tubular steel trellis frame is a 998cc inline-four engine that has been supercharged to the tune of 300 horsepower. That unprecedented figure is almost guaranteed to carry the H2R well past the 200-mile per-hour (320 km/h) mark, for any test-rider brave enough to keep the throttle pegged and skillful enough to keep the 17-inch slicks stuck to the Earth.

The new Ninja isn't a street-legal machine – as evidenced by its headlightless, bewinged face – but rather a showpiece for Kawasaki knowhow. A single-sided swingarm – a first for Kawasaki – holds the rear wheel in place, while the steel trellis takes up less space than would an aluminum twin-spar. The carbon-fibre work on the cowl was designed with assistance from the company's aerospace arm, while engineering of the centrifugal supercharger was aided by minds in the personal watercraft division. Teamwork makes the dream work, we always say.

And this particular dream is expected to become a streetable reality, we're told, at this year's EICMA show. The new Ninja formula is expected to be shown on a street bike debut at the event. Don't expect the consumer version to be as wild, and as wildly powerful, but we do anticipate it'll be impressive.

News Source: Kawasaki via Asphalt & Rubber

2015 GMC Canyon

Posted Sep 28th 2014 12:00PM

An Urbane Uptick On The Midsize Milieu



As discussed earlier today, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is a new standout in terms of midsize trucks. But the Colorado wasn't the only pickup the General Motors team brought to San Diego for us to sample. Also along for the ride was a pack of GMC Canyons, the slightly more expensive and polished platform-mate to the Chevy.

There's no question that the Canyon and the Colorado are a lot alike under the skin – almost entirely, in fact – so GMC has worked to first create some daylight between the two trucks by way of sheet metal. This is most obvious from the front view, where the blocky and blingy GMC grille replaces the more subdued tone and shape seen on the Chevy's nose. Projector headlights with LED running lights come as standard, and, again, with the squared-off look that is typical of the brand. 16-inch aluminum wheels come stock on the GMC, too, with the 17-inchers seen on my photo truck offered as standard equipment on the top-trim SLT.

GMC considers the Canyon to be the only premium truck in the segment (which is clearly true), and the team has spent a ton of time and effort to get the interior correct to prove out that point. "Any trim that looks like metal, is metal," I was told at the product briefing, a certain indication that the company is serious about bringing a new class of buyer to a truck segment that it hopes to redefine.

But it's not all chrome and heated leather seats. GMC has delivered a truck that's pretty swell to spend time in, from soup to nuts.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

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