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Audi Sport sets up new shop in Neuburg

Posted Sep 14th 2014 9:00AM

Audi Sport Neuburg

Racing fans may know Audi best for its Le Mans team that's positively dominated the endurance racing scene. But as formidable as its Le Mans program is, that's only one of the racing disciplines in which Audi competes. It also competes in the full FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as Germany's popular DTM touring car series and supports customer teams in GT racing series around the world. And now the competition division is getting a new headquarters.

Audi Sport has until now been based in an old supermarket near to the company's head offices in Ingolstadt, but is now moving into a brand new, state-of-the-art facility 12 miles (19 kilometres) to the west in nearby Neuburg. The result of some 20 years of planning and two years of construction, the complex covers 116 acres of land in Neuburg-Heinrichsheim and will house engineers, technicians and other staff who deal with the R18 E-Tron Quattro, the RS5 DTM and R8 LMS Ultra that compete the world over.

The facility was officially opened this past Saturday with participation from top Audi brass and local government officials and included demonstrations from all three of those racecars around the on-site test track. The works team has begun moving in and the customer racing department will move into its new Motorsport Competence Center in the first half of 2015.

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News Source: Audi

Translogic 158: Works Electric Rover and Custom Chopper

Posted Sep 13th 2014 8:00PM

Works Electric Rover

Translogic host Jonathon Buckley heads to Portland, OR on a mission to prove that scooters aren't just a toy fad. A motorized scooter can be a viable solution to the "last mile" problem many city commuters face.

Meet the Works Electric Rover, a serious scooter made from aircraft-grade aluminum, capable of speeds up to 35 miles per hour. Jonathon chats with Works Electric CEO Brad Baker, and takes the Rover for a ride around downtown Portland. Afterward, our host gets a turn on Brad's Customer Chopper, an all-electric motorcycle born in the same garage as the Rover.

Police officers using controversial network to keep tabs on motorists [w/video]

Posted Sep 13th 2014 7:00PM

Critics Question Constitutionality Of Nationwide Program

full length of traffic officer...

Information includes details like motorists' social security numbers, addresses, identifying tattoos and hunches about which drivers to stop.

Law enforcement officers across the United States have been using a private intelligence network to compile and share detailed information about motorists in the United States.

Despite warnings from state and federal officials that the system may be unconstitutional, the Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System has gathered information about both criminals and innocent drivers alike, the Washington Post reported Monday. Information shared by approximately 25,000 police officers includes details like motorists' social security numbers, addresses, identifying tattoos and hunches about which drivers to stop.

Certain states prohibit law enforcement from using the system and a federal prosecutor in Nebraska has warned the program could violate civil liberties, as well as policies that govern how sensitive law enforcement information is passed.

The Post revealed the program's existence amid a detailed investigative report on how law enforcement has used civil forfeiture laws to seize millions of dollars from motorists, many of whom were never convicted of any crimes.

Police agencies linked to the Black Asphalt network saw their proceeds from forfeiture seizures increase by 32 per cent from 2005 through today – three times the increase seen by other departments.

"A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network's chat rooms and sharing 'trophy shots' of money and drugs," The Post reported. "Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities."

News Source: The Washington Post

Stanford opens its Revs automotive digital library

Posted Sep 13th 2014 6:00PM

Grand Prix de Spa Grand Touring Race from Revs

Are you a fan of vintage racing, or just old cars in general, and can't find enough classic pictures online to feed your habit? Then we have found the perfect site for you. Stanford University has opened its Revs Digital Library online – a wonderfully curated and cited page of automobilia that already includes nearly 200,000 images spanning most of the history of the car.

The photos come from the Revs Institute for Automotive Research in Naples, FL, and Stanford is promising to digitize even more images to the website as it receives them, according to the university's announcement. At the moment, there's a definite focus on motorsports with a wide variety of races from North America and Europe. There are even old stock car pictures, which you rarely see many of. This is really a treasure trove of automotive history though with a lot of old press shots in the mix, as well.

Even better, the collection is fantastically curated. There are galleries on specific topics, like a collection of crashes, or you can mix and match searches by brand, venue, year and even some specific people, to find exactly what interests you. The images are all presented as thumbnails and are also in a zoomable format. Get ready to waste a few evenings checking out these classic photos.

Fiat 500X teased ahead of Paris debut

Posted Sep 13th 2014 3:59PM

Fiat 500X

One of the expected debuts at next month's Paris Motor Show will be the alleged platform-mate to the upcoming Jeep Renegade. That car, the Fiat 500X, has been subject to a fair share of speculation and spy photos, but Fiat has been mostly quiet on the matter. That is, until now.

The Italian manufacturer has released this 39-second teaser video which provides a first, fleeting glimpse of the new mini-CUV, allowing us to determine a few styling features.

First, the styling appears to be a rather significant departure from the polarizing looks of the 500L, with the rear end looking more akin to the standard 500. The front fascia is tweaked and looks ruggedized, with what looks like a protective treatment under the lower intake. The profile features a more dramatic greenhouse, with a significantly larger, aggressively raked D-pillar. The body rides noticeably higher, as well.

We'll have much more on the new 500X in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

News Source: Fiat 500 via YouTube, Car

Citroën spins off premium brand with Divine DS concept [w/video]

Posted Sep 13th 2014 2:57PM

Divine DS

With one of Europe's biggest auto shows now just a month away, European automakers are preparing to showcase their latest wares. And since this year the salon is in Paris, you can bet that French automakers will seize the opportunity as well – French automakers like Citroën, for example, which has revealed this new concept car. Thing is, while it's clearly made by Citroën, it doesn't wear the name or any of its badges. The Divine DS concept you see here is being presented exclusively as a DS model, leading a spin-off of the Chevron marque's premium line into its own stand-alone division in Europe much as it has in China. And this concept previews that brand's new styling direction.

The five-door hatch, measuring 165 inches long and 78 inches wide, is about the size of the current Citroën DS4 (which itself is about the size of a VW Golf) but at 53 inches tall sits lower to the ground than the existing pseudo-crossover. Power comes from a 1.6-litre turbo four with 270 horsepower, but the Divine DS concept is less about its specifications than its design.

Sitting low on 20-inch wheels, with spindly mirrors, hidden door handles and no bumpers to speak of, the Divine DS is clearly more show car than production preview. The French automaker describes the design as "spectacular, elegant and enchanting," which may be a bit of a stretch, but it does cut a rather slick profile for an everyday hatchback, with sharp creases, bold angles and a faceted roof design that opens to deploy the rear-view camera.

Open the door and you'll see an interior that is at least as striking as the exterior, with a highly individualized and customizable cabin. Described by the DS brand as "hyper-typage," the haute couture cockpit is presented in three themes: Mâle (with carbon fibre and red stitching), Parisienne Chic (with ivory leather and pleated silk) and Fatale Punk (with black padded leather and Swarovski crystal-embedded fabric). Technological features include laser turning indicators, holographic head-up display and a 10.4-inch touchscreen monitor. Check out the full gallery of high-resolution images above and the video and press release for more details below.

News Source: DS

New entry-level Mercedes SL400 drops price of range by over $20k

Posted Sep 13th 2014 2:00PM

2015 Mercedes SL400

As one of the premier luxury droptops from Mercedes-Benz, the SL-Class has never been an inexpensive proposition. But the German brand is making it a little bit more accessible for the 2015 model year with its new SL400.

The new entry-level model has quietly shown up on Mercedes' consumer site, and pricing starts at $84,000, plus the usual $925 destination charge. While that's still a lot of money, it's a massive discount, ringing up at a whopping $22,900 less than the $107,825 Mercedes-Benz SL550... READ MORE

News Source: Mercedes-Benz via Automobile

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT gets power increase, minor tweaks for 2015

Posted Sep 13th 2014 1:00PM

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee

As a brand within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, SRT may have an uncertain future, but it's pumping out some seriously mean machines anyway. The supercharged Hellcat V8 may be gobbling up most of the headlines with its 707 horsepower, but even the Grand Cherokee SRT is getting some small updates for the 2015 model year.

Most importantly for many enthusiasts, the Grand Cherokee SRT is getting a slight power bump. Don't expect the 700+ hp from the Hellcat, but this SUV sees a modest 5-hp and 5-pound-feet of torque improvement to bring output to 475 hp and 470 lb-ft for its 6.4-litre V8 with an eight-speed automatic. The minor change doesn't change the sprint to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h), clocking in at the same 4.8 seconds, or the tow rating at 7,200 pounds (3,265 kilograms). Still, more grunt is never a bad idea.

Another new addition is the Active Noise Canceling system as a standard feature for this powerful SUV. It adds four microphones around the vehicle and uses the stereo system to nullify extraneous sound. However, Jeep claims that the meaty exhaust note from the V8 still gets through into the cabin for driver enjoyment.

Finally, Jeep has the new Red Vapor package for the Grand Cherokee SRT to add a bit more aggression to its look. According to brand spokesperson Dan Reid, it's priced at US$3,995, and it's only available in Redline Red Pearl Clear Coat, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat and Bright White Clear Coat exterior colors. The pack adds black badges around the SUV, and parts of the upper and lower grille trim are also replaced with black pieces. The mean look is completed with five-spoke, 20-inch wheels in black chrome with bright center caps. The engine also gets a new, dark red cover.

Inside, the Red Vapor pack includes a backlit SRT logo on the steering wheel with anodized silver trim. Plus, the rest of the interior gets light black chrome and red accents.

Reid also told Autoblog, "The base MSRP for the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is US$64,495", plus a US$995 destination fee. (Canadian pricing has yet to be announced.) Scroll down to read about all of the specs for Jeep's muscle-bound SUV.

News Source: Jeep

2015 Infiniti Q70L

Posted Sep 13th 2014 12:00PM

It's A Long Story...

Infiniti Q70L

A quick look at a scatter plot that charts rear legroom against luxury sedan MSRPs reveals a dearth of spacious bargains – few, if any, luxury sedans offer exceptionally spacious rear accommodations at a relatively low starting price. To fill the vacuum, Infiniti has made its Q70 available in a Q70L variant – in English, long wheelbase – for 2015.

The artist formerly known as the Infiniti M has been available in stretched-out form in the Chinese market for two years, and the North American introduction is accompanied by several updates that include slightly reworked styling cues, and refinements to the drivetrain and chassis. The Q70L's wheelbase extends 5.9 inches (with a commensurate expansion of knee room), while overall length increases to 202 inches, a 7.3-inch bump. Powertrain options include a 3.7-litre V6 which produces 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque (starting at US$51,350), or a 5.6-litre V8 that yields 420 hp and 417 lb-ft (and climbs to US$64,550). The long-wheelbase treatment adds US$1,500 to Q70 MSRPs. Not surprisingly, the Hybrid version is not available with the L treatment. (Canadian info/pricing has yet to be announced.)

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Basem Wasef / AOL