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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

PGO launches Cévennes Speedster in Europe

Posted Jul 14th 2013 8:30PM

2013 PGO Automobiles Cevennes

Now, from the "weird little French car" file, we give you the 2013 PGO Automobiles Cévennes speedster. Powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre BMW four-cylinder engine mounted midship, the little roadster serves up a healthy 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The modest muscle gets to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Consider our interest piqued.

PGO Automobiles says the new model tips the scales at a scant 998 kilograms (2,200 pounds) and features a theoretical top speed of 225 km/h (140 miles per hour). That's plenty fast enough to get you in trouble or get you dead. Fortunately, engineers also managed to bolster the car's rigidity by 15 per cent and a new MacPhereson strut setup front and rear helps the car handle the twisties with a bit more composure than previous efforts from the automaker.

As you may recollect, PGO Automobiles got its start manufacturing kit cars modeled after the Porsche 356. Its clear the company's designers have held on to some of their favourite elements from that car. Rounded fenders front and rear as well as familiar-looking headlights all harken back to the little German droptop, but elements like the smallish windshield and variety of air inlets clearly identify the car as French. We dig it.

News Source: PGO Automobiles via Motor Authority

2014 Nissan GT-R [w/video]

Posted Jul 11th 2013 11:57AM

Chasing The Legend

2014 Nissan GT-R

There are only a handful of vehicles in existence that can change you permanently – ones that have the power to rewire your concept of speed to fit their definition. Some five years after the Nissan GT-R legally touched down here in North America for the first time, the coupe is still bending perceptions of what it means to be a supercar in the modern age. For 2014, engineers reworked the GT-R's twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 engine for more power, tweaked the transmission and massaged the suspension for ever more speed. Yes, that's right, I said more speed.

The changes have sharpened one of the best performance buys on the market into a weapons-grade track assault vehicle that just so happens to be street legal. More than ever, this is a car that rankles established supercar players with names like Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche, and does so with a Nissan badge on the hood.
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Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Michael Harley / AOL

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid

Posted Jul 10th 2013 11:57AM

This Is Not The Acura You're Looking For

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid - front three-quarter view, silver

Mid-level luxury brands have always had to do a bit of leg work to distance themselves from their more common cousins. Thanks to generation after generation of pervasive badge engineering (much of it from the Big Three), buyers can't be blamed for looking at brands like Buick, Lincoln, Infiniti, Lexus and yes, Acura as tarted up versions of Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Toyota and Honda products. For much of its lifetime in the automotive landscape, however, Acura has excelled at putting distance between its offerings and that of its parent company thanks to cars with superior driving dynamics, quieter cabins and clean, attractive aesthetics.

Yes, outliers and dull spots can be found in the company's recent track record, but by and large, Acura products remain situated well above the Honda rabble. When the brand announced it was getting serious about the luxury small car game with the ILX, those of us with a set of the company's keys in our past couldn't help but envision an honest successor to the long-dead Integra. Turns out, that wasn't what Acura had in mind.

As you've likely heard by now, the ILX is the least premium vehicle to wear the Acura badge in some years, but where the standard car falls flat, the ILX Hybrid may have room to excel. Hybrid buyers are typically willing to sacrifice some measure of handling, cabin refinement and performance for fuel economy, and that seemingly lends this model a real shot at giving hybrid hardware from Lexus a run for its money.

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Zach Bowman / AOL

Rent-A-Racer: Hertz Dream Cars lets you rent an exotic

Posted Jul 8th 2013 2:15PM

SRT Viper

Good news for Canadian drivers traveling south of the border, as Hertz has officially resurrected the spirit of the company's Rent-A-Racer program, albeit on a slightly different level. If that name sounds familiar, it should. Carroll Shelby famously struck a deal with the rental car company back in 1966, and the result was a fleet of Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 for rent. Later, those cars were sold as GT350-H models, and today they are valuable collector cars.

Fast-forward a few decades and Hertz is back at it again with its Dream Service, though the lineup has changed a bit since the '60s. Now, you can rent an Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe, a Ferrari F430 Spider, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, E63 AMG or SLS AMG. The Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911, Boxster, Cayenne and Panamera are all up for grabs as well.

According to Autoweek, additional options include the Audi R8, Bentley Continental GT and the SRT Viper shown above. You can expect to pay around US$1,500 per day for the high-end options like the Gallardo. The R8 and Vantage will set you back around US$1,000 per day, while the Porsche Boxster comes in at a comparably reasonable US$395 per day. That cash will fetch you 75 miles (120 kms) of driving with charges ranging from around 49 cents to $3.00 per additional mile (1.6 km) over that number.

Hertz won't cover your insurance, however, and the company doesn't want you hammering these machines on a track. Then again, what they don't know...

Meanwhile, click here to learn the ins and outs of supercar rentals and then watch this video on the world's most exotic car rentals.

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News Source: Hertz, Autoweek

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Drew Phillips / AOL

2013 Mercedes-Benz G550

Posted Jul 8th 2013 11:58AM

Gentleman General Purpose

2013 Mercedes-Benz G550

There's an ATV slowly idling through the underbrush to my passenger side. Its rider's eyes are glued to the metallic purple bread van consuming every last square inch of the trail: a cube of glittering lunacy resting blissfully in the dappled light of a Tennessee morning.

"I ain't never seen a Mercedes up here before."

No sir, I suppose you haven't. I've spent the past three hours snaking the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G550 up and down the less-travelled trails of the Windrock OHV Recreation area, laughing maniacally as $120,900 worth of German engineering flexed, scrambled and burbled its way over the park's uncertain terrain. There are only a handful of vehicles in the world that can be equally at home pounding out triple digit highway runs, clawing up impossible loose rock ridges and stealing the show at the local valet stand. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz G550 counts itself among that select crew, and it may very well be my favourite of the bunch.

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Zach Bowman / AOL

Cadillac abandons plans for six-digit flagship sedan

Posted Jul 5th 2013 11:13AM

Cadillac Ciel Concept

So much for that party. Cadillac has announced that it is walking away from plans to build a high-dollar, rear-wheel-drive ultraluxury sedan. The low-volume model would have been based on the lusty Ciel Concept, and the production iteration would have carried a price tag well over $100,000. Executives with the automaker reportedly claim the model wouldn't have bolstered the brand enough to be worth the investment.

Even so, Automotive News reports Cadillac is still on track to build a range-topping four-door to go head-to-head with the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. That model will likely be constructed on the company's upcoming Omega rear-wheel-drive platform, but we won't see it bow until at least 2016. Right now, the front-wheel-drive XTS sits at the top of the Cadillac lineup, and while that machine and it's twin-turbocharged V6 variant makes a compelling argument against certain luxury entries, it falls short serving as a legitimate competitor for the likes of the 7 Series and S-Class for enthusiast drivers.
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Meet Kirobo, Toyota's robot that's headed for the International Space Station

Posted Jul 5th 2013 10:30AM

Toyota Kirobo Robot

We have seen the face of our future robotic overlords, and it's adorable. Meet Kirobo, the voice recognition bot by Toyota. The automaker built the little machine to take part in the world's first "human-robot conversation experiment" in space. Kirobo will launch from the Tanegashima Space Center and meet up with the International Space Station, where it will chat with Commander Koichi Wakata. Now, we aren't entirely sure why this experiment needs to take place in zero gravity, but far be it from us to stand between robots and science.

Of course, it's hard to mention robots and outer space without thinking of the Honda ASIMO and the machine's space suit aesthetics. General Motors has also sent a robot of its own into orbit. The company's Robonaut 2 was designed to help astronauts out during space walks. Sure, that's handy but can it warm their souls like Kirobo? We think not. Check out the video below.

News Source: Toyota Europe via YouTube

Subaru unveils catchily named WRX STI tS Type RA in Japan

Posted Jul 4th 2013 4:00PM

Subaru WRX STI tS Type RA - front three-quarter dynamic view, orange

We feel safe in saying it's time for Subaru to step away from the keyboard for a spell. The company just unveiled this new WRX STI tS Type RA in Japan, and while the car features all sorts of tricks to help it stand out from the rest of the WRX rabble, it also boasts a name that looks like the product of a good old fashioned QWERTY Hulk smash. Nomenclature aside, this WRX STI features a revised suspension with tweaked springs and dampers as well as a faster steering ratio, Brembo brakes and a front strut tower brace.

JDM buyers can pick between the ever-sexy (if loud) Tangerine Orange Pearl paint seen here, Satin White Pearl or Blue Mica. There's also available NBR Challenge Package, complete with a set of Recaro front seats, a few carbon fiber aero bits and 18-inch BBS forged wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE070 rubber. How's that for delicious?

Subaru is only planning to crank out 300 WRX STI tS Type RA units, two-thirds of which will carry the NBR goodies.
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News Source: Subaru via World Car Fans

Jaguar releases C-X75 concept build story

Posted Jul 4th 2013 9:00AM

Jaguar C-X75 Concept Story - video screencap

If you want to know what was going through the minds of decisionmakers at Jaguar when the company decided to build the batty C-X75 Concept, look no further than the quick video after the jump. Jaguar set about building a car with the performance of a Bugatti Veyron, the electric range of a Chevrolet Volt and the emissions of a Toyota Prius, and they turned to a legendary engineering firm to help make it happen. Williams, the same crew behind Williams F1, helped Jaguar stitch the concept car together, and the result is unlike anything we've seen before.

The twin-charged 1.6-litre four-cylinder mounted amidship is paired with an electric motor at each wheel for a combined output of over 850 horsepower. And, since the whole chassis is hewn from carbon fibre, a production version would've been light enough to give machines like the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari a run for their money. Shame they apparently couldn't make the business case work. Watch the concept build story in the video below for yourself.

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News Source: Jaguar via YouTube