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Chevy Silverado Midnight Edition coming to Chicago

Posted Jan 31st 2015 4:02PM

Between the GMC Canyon Nightfall Edition and Chevy Silverado Custom Sport, the truck divisions of General Motors had no lack of blacked-out custom pickups to showcase at the Detroit Auto Show this year. But now the General has announced one more.

Called the Midnight Edition, for this special Silverado blacks out all the trim, including the grille, bumpers, headlamp bezels, tow hooks, fog lamps, side and beltline moldings, 19-inch wheels, bedliner and bowtie emblems. It's based on the Silverado 1500 with the Z71 package, so it also boasts an off-road suspension, locking rear differential, hill-descent control and trailering pack. While it was at it, Chevy has also thrown in rear park assist and power heated door mirrors.

Buyers will be able to choose between double- or crew-cab models, but no more than 5,000 examples will be produced this year, each priced at a premium pegged between US$1,595 and US$1,995 (depending on the model). The Silverado Midnight edition debuts today at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco and will be showcased at the Chicago Auto Show next month, around the time that deliveries will commence. No word on Canadian availability or pricing yet. Stay tuned.

News Source: Chevrolet

Top 10 Most Evil Looking Classic Cars

Posted Jan 31st 2015 2:00PM

There's no question that cars have their own distinct personas, especially older cars of the classic variety. Some cars ooze utilitarian functionality, some cars ooze cute and bubbly, and some cars ooze sinister looking, evil design.

In 2015 it's easy to lose sight of some of these classic characteristics. With the design of so many mass market production cars geared towards ultimate fuel economy and performance numbers, they often end up losing their styling personas in the mad rush of the "my car gets better fuel mileage than yours" wars.

In tribute to the design days-gone-by, the car gurus at Hagerty have put together an excellent list of the Top 10 Most Evil Looking Classic Cars. According to Hagerty, "Here are a handful of production cars that look as if they could scatter children and make law-abiding citizens run for their lives." Check them out in our photo gallery.

Related GalleryTop 10 worst cars that should've never been made
Top 10 worst cars that should've never been madeTop 10 worst cars that should've never been madeTop 10 worst cars that should've never been madeTop 10 worst cars that should've never been madeTop 10 worst cars that should've never been madeTop 10 worst cars that should've never been madeTop 10 worst cars that should've never been madeTop 10 worst cars that should've never been made

News Source: Hagerty

Image Credit: Flickr - Respective Users

Jaguar Land Rover's latest tech makes roads safer for bikes [w/video]

Posted Jan 31st 2015 12:01PM

Safety in automobiles isn't just about protecting the occupants anymore. It's about protecting pedestrians who might be struck by an automobile, and as Jaguar Land Rover is demonstrating, it's about protecting cyclists as well.

The latest experimental safety system from the British automaker is called Bike Sense, and it builds upon technologies the company has demonstrated recently, taking them a step further to make the road safer for those riding on two wheels. The system uses a combination of colors, sounds and vibrations to alert the driver of a potential hazard that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Demonstrated on an XJ sedan, the system identifies nearby two-wheeled vehicles as pedal-powered or motorized, and alerts the driver accordingly. If a cycle is passing a the vehicle's blind spot, the top of the seat will vibrate to virtually "tap" the driver on the left or right shoulder, prompting him or her to look over that shoulder for the hazard. LEDs inside the cabin will then illuminate amber to red in the direction that the bike is passing.

The system will even chime a bicycle bell or motorcycle horn as the two-wheeled vehicle approaches, and vibrate or stiffen the accelerator pedal if the driver keeps moving towards the obstacle. And if an occupant of the parked vehicle starts to open the door into the path of moving vehicle, it'll flash a light, sound an alarm and even vibrate the door handle to warn the occupant of the oncoming hazard.

We could imagine the alerts getting a little distracting, but JLR says the system is designed to prioritize potential hazards when their are groups of pedestrians, bicyclists and/or motorcycle riders on a busy urban street.

This is, of course, just the latest in a long string of new systems JLR has under development, following such technologies as the Transparent Bonnet, the Smart Assistant, the Virtual Windscreen for track sessions and the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen for city driving.

Related GalleryJaguar Land Rover Bike Sense
Jaguar Land Rover Bike SenseJaguar Land Rover Bike SenseJaguar Land Rover Bike SenseJaguar Land Rover Bike SenseJaguar Land Rover Bike SenseJaguar Land Rover Bike Sense

News Source: Jaguar Land Rover

Image Credit: Jaguar Land Rover

2014 BMW i3, i8 sales strong enough to reach almost 17,800 last year

Posted Jan 31st 2015 10:00AM

BMW makes its futuristic i brand vehicles – the i3 and i8 – at a plant in Leipzig, Germany. But the customers most willing to buy one of these plug-in cars live where the lightweight carbon fiber used in the body structure is made: North America.

Speaking at the Detroit Auto Show a couple of weeks ago, Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management at BMW AG, said, "The US and North America is already our largest market for our electric vehicles, the BMW i3 and BMW i8. Worldwide, we sold close to 18,000 BMW i models last year. Nearly three-quarters of these sales occurred in the second half of the year, when the global rollout really got underway. Demand for these vehicles continues to be high and I'm delighted that we've been able to increase production to meet that demand."

That sounds great, but the numbers aren't huge. Globally, BMW sold over two million vehicles in 2014, and 17,793 of those were plug-in i vehicles (16,052 of the i3 and 1,741 i8s). The production increase wasn't huge. BMW was making just 10 i8 vehicles a day at the beginning, but doubled that to 20 last fall. Since last spring (around April or May), the company has been making over 100 i3s a day, BMW spokesperson Verena Von L'estocq tells AutoblogGreen. Getting production right this first year has meant slow going, but "We're comfortable now," she said, adding that BMW expects more production increases in the future.

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2015 BMW i32015 BMW i32015 BMW i32015 BMW i32015 BMW i32015 BMW i32015 BMW i32015 BMW i3

Image Credit: BMW, Copyright 2014: Mark Pereira / AOL

Glickenhaus reveals carbon chassis for SGC 003

Posted Jan 30th 2015 6:00PM

SGC 003 chassis

Aside from being a Hollywood director and investment banker, James Glickenhaus has one of the most awesome car collections around, full of classic Ferrari racers. But that wasn't enough for him, so he started commissioning his own: the Enzo-based Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina and the 430-based P4/5 Competizione. But basing his supercars on existing ones has evidently proven tiresome for the venerable collector, so now he's building his own.

The SGC 003 is set to debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, and will surely be exciting for Ferrari enthusiasts, but here's the thing: it's not based on a Ferrari. It's being built around a custom carbon-fibre monocoque chassis that his racing outfit, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, has designed from the ground up. And here it is.

Revealed in this preview video, the SGC 003 chassis will underpin a new sports endurance racer that is set to take on one of the most punishing races in the world: the Nürburgring 24 Hours, where its predecessor competed two years in a row. We're looking forward to seeing the finished product, but in the meantime you can check out the video below for an advance look at what to expect.

News Source: Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, Road & Track via YouTube

Porsche 911 GT3 RS getting all-new atmospheric engine

Posted Jan 30th 2015 5:00PM

Porsche surprised many of its most puritanical enthusiasts when it took a decidedly more usable approach with the current 911 GT3. But when the new GT3 RS debuts, it promises to be a much more extreme departure. And a big part of that comes down to the engine.

At the Detroit Auto Show this week, Auto Express spoke with Porsche R&D chief Wolfgang Hatz – who also happens to be head of engine and transmission development for the entire Volkswagen group. Hatz revealed that Porsche has developed a completely new engine for the GT3 RS, and while previous rumors suggested the RS would go turbo to fill in for the lack of a GT2 (and make the most out of its displacement), Hatz confirmed that it will be naturally aspirated. Considering that Porsche rarely goes downwards when it comes to 911 engine displacement, only upwards, we'd expect the new RS to pick up where the previous 4.0 left off.

The new GT3 RS is also expected to pack a more extreme suspension, aero and stripped-out interior, but those hoping for an old-school approach may be disappointed to learn that the new RS will (at least at launch) only be available with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission – though a manual version could follow if there's enough demand.

In a related development, Hatz also hinted that the Cayman GT4 could debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with an even more extreme approach than the previous Cayman R. The new top-of-the-line Cayman is reportedly being developed to comply with GT4 class racing regulations but be fully homologated for road use.

News Source: Auto Express

Image Credit: CarPix

McLaren P1 GTR production model debuting in Geneva

Posted Jan 30th 2015 4:00PM

The GTR nomenclature has always held a special meaning to the folks at McLaren. The F1 GTR was a racing champion in its day, and the coupe's overall victory at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans went a long way towards cementing that supercar as a world icon. Now, McLaren is bringing the trio of letters back for the track-only P1 GTR, and the company's latest teaser video reveals this even quicker supercar's production debut is at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March.

We last saw the P1 GTR as a concept during the Monterey Car Week (pictured below). In that form, it boasted the standard version's 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 but turned the wick up to 986 horsepower, an 83-hp improvement. It also sported a wider front track, lower ride height and mirrors moved to the A-pillars. This latest version appears to further refine the shape of the body, and the gaping front almost looks like it has fangs.

As a track-only model, the GTR is somewhat similar to Ferrari's XX programs. McLaren is promising a full support package to drivers, including time behind the wheel in the company's racing simulator. Actual production for these behemoths isn't set to begin until later in 2015, but watch this teaser for a taste of what's to come in Switzerland.

Related GalleryMcLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014
McLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014McLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014McLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014McLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014McLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014McLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014McLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014McLaren P1 GTR: Monterey 2014

Related GalleryMcLaren P1 GTR prototype on track
McLaren P1 GTR prototype on trackMcLaren P1 GTR prototype on trackMcLaren P1 GTR prototype on trackMcLaren P1 GTR prototype on trackMcLaren P1 GTR prototype on trackMcLaren P1 GTR prototype on trackMcLaren P1 GTR prototype on trackMcLaren P1 GTR prototype on track

News Source: McLaren Automotive via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright 2015 Drew Phillips / AOL

Lamborghini spotted filming new Aventador SV completely undisguised

Posted Jan 30th 2015 3:00PM

There is a great tradition at Lamborghini in turning its mid-engined V12 supercars into Super Veloce ("High Speed") versions. So after the Aventador hit the scene, we knew it would only be a matter of time before it was to receive the SV treatment. And here it is, spied completely undisguised during a video shoot.

Now, we first spotted what we thought was the Aventador SV way back in April, 2013 – the same day, incidentally, that the LP720-4 50° Anniversario edition surfaced. That was a long time ago, however, and what we see here looks like a different beast entirely. It's got a completely reshaped front bumper, bigger air intakes, deeper side sills and a fresh set of steamroller alloys. Out back, there's a massive rear wing and below it, a new rear end with a bigger diffuser and – instead of one central exhaust – four individual pipes to let the big twelve-cylinder engine breath.

Speaking of which, you can expect the Aventador SV to come with a big power bump. Just how big, we don't know for sure, but we can extrapolate. When the Miura SV hit the scene in the early 1970s, it only packed 15 more horsepower than the existing model. Though the Countach bred a series of variants over its long lifetime, it never got an SV edition. The Diablo SV arrived five years after its donor with an 18-horse bump, later raised by another 19 hp. But after the Murciélago arrived in 2001 with 572 hp and bumped up to 631 hp in 2006, the SV model came in 2009 with 661 hp.

Given that the "standard" Aventador has been out since 2011, we're about on schedule for the Super Veloce, and if precedent proves anything, we could be looking at upwards of 750 horses to come riding around the mountain when they come to the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Image Credit: Borja Perez/CarPix

Why 2015 is going to be a huge year for trucks

Posted Jan 30th 2015 2:00PM

Four Reasons Pickups Are More Important Than Ever

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn took center stage to introduce the 2016 Titan last week at the Detroit Auto Show. He spoke of the truck's new features, impressive Cummins V8 diesel engine and the extensive amount of time and money required to build a modern, competitive pickup truck.

"We have done all of this because we see opportunity – an opportunity in the unmet needs of today's American truck customers," Ghosn said.

He was speaking about the Titan, but his thoughts echo the industry's mindset: When it comes to trucks, find an opportunity and attack.

Even with CAFE regulations looming and fickle consumer preferences, investing in trucks is a no-brainer for automakers. Some consumers will always need a truck for their job or lifestyle. And some people will always want one, whether they need it or not.

With that in mind, here are four reasons why the pickup-truck sector is more important than ever and poised for growth in 2015.

Image Credit: Nissan, Toyota, Ram, Ford