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Chicago Auto Show leaks 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata to produce 155 hp

Posted Jan 27th 2015 3:00PM



UPDATE: Mazda wasn't willing to confirm or deny the figures cited by the Chicago Auto Show, although we're betting the 155-horsepower figure is a bit on the low side. As for the CAS page, a Mazda spokesman told Autoblog that they "aren't sure where they got that number." The horsepower estimate has since been pulled down.

Well, someone may have made a boo-boo. The Chicago Auto Show is currently hosting a page that claims the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 will produce 155 horsepower, courtesy of a 2.0-litre, Skyactiv four-cylinder. If this is correct, it'd be the first time the MX-5's North American power output had been revealed.

The 155 hp figure would account for a 12-hp drop from that of the outgoing MX-5, though, a corresponding weight loss should still improve the power-to-weight ratio for the 2016 model.

Now, the 2015 Chicago Auto Show page could simply be following previous reports, including one from us here at Autoblog. As recently as October, it was being reported that the MX-5 would be powered by a 2.0-litre, Skyactiv four-cylinder, a version of which is producing 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque in the Mazda3.

Naturally, we've reached out to Mazda for comment – or perhaps even confirmation – on the info from the Chicago Auto Show's website. Of course, as soon as we hear anything, we'll update this story.

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News Source: Chicago Auto Show

Image Credit: Mazda

Ford reveals new F-150 Raptor packs 450 horsepower

Posted Jan 27th 2015 2:00PM



Between the new GT supercar, Shelby GT350R muscle car and F-150 Raptor off-roader, Ford had quite the array of performance machinery on display at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. One thing it didn't reveal about any of the three, however, is how much power they'd pack, but a senior executive at the Blue Oval automaker has reportedly let the cat out of the bag when it comes to the Raptor.

During a televised interview during the Rolex 24 at Daytona this past weekend, Ford's product development chief Raj Nair is said to have revealed that the new F-150 Raptor will offer 450 horsepower. That's pretty impressive from a 3.5-litre turbocharged V6, and would put the new Raptor out ahead of the 411 hp produced by the 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 in the previous SVT Raptor.

That doesn't give us the whole picture, though, because in a vehicle this big especially, torque will play a huge factor. The outgoing Raptor offered 424 pound-feet of twist, and the existing 3.5-litre EcoBoost engine is already producing 420 lb-ft – so it seems fairly safe to assume the new Raptor will eclipse those figures as well, but we'll have to wait for official word to find out for sure.

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News Source: Automobile

Image Credit: Ford

8 things you learn while driving a cop car [w/videos]

Posted Jan 27th 2015 1:00PM

Notes From A Week With The 2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit




Let me start off with the obvious: it is absolutely illegal to impersonate a police officer. And now that that's out of the way, I'd just like to say that driving a cop car is really, really cool!

Here's the background to this story: Dodge unveiled its redesigned 2015 Charger Pursuit police cruiser, and graciously allowed my 'trustworthy' Autoblog colleagues and I to drive it for a week. That meant we would spend a week with the cop car, and the goal here was to see just how different the behind-the-wheel driving experience is, from a civilian's point of view. After all, it's not technically a police car – it isn't officially affiliated with any city, it doesn't say "police" anywhere on it, and it's been fitted with buzzkill-worthy "NOT IN SERVICE" magnets (easily removed for photos, of course).

But that meant nothing. As Seyth and I found out after our week of testing, most people can't tell the difference, and the Charger Pursuit commands all the same reactions as any normal cop car would on the road. Here are a few things we noticed during our time as wannabe cops... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

2015 Jeep Renegade [w/video]

Posted Jan 27th 2015 12:00PM



Would it surprise you to hear that a strong, vocal and loyal owner base can sometimes be a hindrance to automakers? Of course, no brand would ever admit such a thing. And sure, on the surface, you might think that having people passionately champion a brand would provide nothing but perks. As we've seen over the years, though, there are plenty of times when that's not the case.

Jeep has most recently fought this battle following the arrival of the new Cherokee, where two-tracking purists and rock-crawling enthusiasts bemoaned the nameplate's dip into Crossoverdom. Now, with its latest vehicle, the off-road brand is trying to keep this vocal minority happy (or at least quiet) while building a crossover that has general-purpose appeal to consumers in an increasingly crowded and important small CUV market.

This balancing act has produced the 2015 Renegade, a vehicle that, following our testing in sunny San Jose, CA, we're quite confident will appeal to both brand loyalists and the uninitiated, alike.

Before we dig into the meat of our First Drive, if you're here looking for a review of the 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk and its off-road abilities, you're out of luck. We did drive it, both on- and off-road, and will be publishing a feature on it in the very near future. But for now, we're focusing on the volume model of the 2015 Renegade, which starts from $19,995 here in Canada... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2015 AOL / Autoblog

Toyota spotlights Amy Purdy in new ad ahead of Super Bowl

Posted Jan 27th 2015 11:30AM



The Super Bowl is still days away, but companies can't seem to help revealing their spots ahead of the big game. We already know a little of what Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have in store for us, and now the Japanese automaker is premiering one of its inspiring commercials for the refreshed 2015 Camry.

The ad stars Paralympic snowboarder and former Dancing with the Stars contestant Amy Purdy as she works through life's difficulties to succeed. Titled How Great I Am, the true highlight of the commercial is the rousing and humorous speech from Muhammad Ali over the action that fits the theme of perseverance perfectly.

While this spot is supposed to run before the Super Bowl actually begins, Toyota also has another ad for the second quarter of the game showing fathers and their children. It's all part of the brand's One Bold Choice campaign for the updated sedan.

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News Source: Toyota USA via YouTube

BBC erecting 30-foot tall Stig in Warsaw

Posted Jan 27th 2015 11:00AM



Some say he stands 30 feet (9 metres) tall, and that he took over two months to build out of fiberglass. All we know is, he's called The Stig. That's right, boys and girls – the BBC has commissioned this giant statue of the hot-shoe mascot of the hit show Top Gear, and he's on his way across northern Europe.

Measuring 30 feet (9 metres) tall and made out of fiberglass, the giant installation was conceived and created by three sculptors over the course of more than two months. To put its size into perspective, consider that even without the legs, just the torso and head alone would stand 12 feet (3.6 metres) tall – as high as one of those red double-decker buses you'd see patrolling the streets of London.

Now completed at the Top Gear headquarters at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, UK, it's embarking on a three-day road trip by flatbed truck from England to Poland, passing along the way through Amsterdam and Berlin before finally arriving in Warsaw. There he'll be erected opposite the Palace of Science and Culture, a landmark of the Polish capital.

The project was undertaken to mark the launch of BBC Brit, a new channel earmarked towards chaps with bloke-centric content – including Top Gear, which will now be hosted on the new channel.

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News Source: BBC

AWD BMW M5 is headed our way

Posted Jan 27th 2015 10:00AM



BMW M5 All-Wheel Drive Spy ShotsRemember the rumour about the BMW M5 going all-wheel drive? Well, there's definitely some truth there because these spy shots show BMW testing the Autobahn-storming sedan with the ability to spin the front and rear wheels.

Our spy shooters grew suspicious when they saw this seemingly normal-looking M5 appearing to turn all four wheels during ice testing. They checked it out and snapped these shots underneath clearly showing power routed to the front axle.

While this shows that the tech is at least being tested on a current-gen M5, all-wheel drive is probably not coming until the next 5 Series model, which is already being evaluated. The idea of power going to the front and rear axles for this sport sedan might polarize some hardcore brand fans as a break with tradition. However, the head of the M division thinks the change is a priority to actually put torque down effectively. The future vehicle is slated to get at least 600 horsepower and pack it into a lighter platform. Rear-drive M5 purists can take heart, though. The all-wheel-drive system would reportedly be an option, and it would be rear-biased to still let drivers hang the tail out, if the desire arises.

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Image Credit: CarPix

Bob Lutz builds the case for a mid-engined Corvette

Posted Jan 27th 2015 9:00AM



Rumours of a mid-engine Corvette are like automotive industry folklore at this point. Every once in a while, news pops up that it might be happening or is under development, but nothing actually ever comes to fruition as something people can actually buy.

The latest spy shots strongly suggest a mid-engine 'Vette is in the cards, yet again, possibly for 2018. Now, an op ed by former General Motors executive (and definite performance car fan) Bob Lutz in Road & Track gives the inside scoop on the history of one of these proposals and lays out how to make it happen today.

According to Lutz, the company's engineers believed the C6 ZR1 was at the limit for front-engine, rear-wheel drive performance in that package, and the only solution was to move the powerplant behind the driver. Lutz even got then CEO Rick Wagoner on board. The scheme made it at least as far as clay models for mid-engine versions of the 'Vette and Cadillac XLR. Eventually, a lack of money got in the way, though, bringing the project to an end.

Lutz puts a lot of faith in GM's current leaders, especially Mary Barra and Mark Reuss. He thinks the chances of a mid-engine 'Vette happening this time are better than 50 percent. The model, rumoured to be named Zora, could offer over 700 horsepower in an ultra lightweight body and be priced at about US$120,000 to "suck the doors off everybody." Head over to Road & Track to get some insights from this highly respected and entertaining auto industry veteran.

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News Source: Road & Track

Image Credit: Chevrolet

Nissan's front-engined Le Mans car caught testing at COTA

Posted Jan 27th 2015 8:00AM



As far as we can tell, not only is it true, it's wilder than we could have expected: not only does the Nissan LMP1 entry for Le Mans have its engine in the front, it apparently uses that combustion engine to power the front wheels while its KERS unit powers the rear wheels. Those rear wheels could be of smaller diameter than the front wheels, and total system horsepower for the racer "is a conservative 2,000 [hp]." And check out how far back that pilot is sitting... READ MORE

News Source: Jalopnik, Mulsanne Corner [1], [2]

Image Credit: Jalopnik

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