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2015 Acura NSX burns to the ground at the 'Ring [w/video]

Posted Jul 25th 2014 1:00PM

2015 Acura NSX fire

Assuming all goes to plan, automakers test their vehicles to the breaking point in the months and years leading up to that vehicle's actual release into the public. Which is good, because it's much better for a car to break in glorious fashion in the hands of the company that produces it than in the driveway of an owner who just spent their hard-earned cash to get it.

Such was the case with this production-guise Acura NSX prototype that we saw running around the Nürburgring just the other day. We can't be 100-per cent certain, but the burned-out carcass is wearing the same number plate as the car that was spotted earlier, so it's likely the very same NSX. We have no idea what was the cause of the blaze that turned this Acura into the car-b-q you see pictured above, but our spy shooters on the ground in Germany say it was not involved in any collision, having caught on fire all on its own with engineers behind the wheel. There is speculation that the batteries exploding were the cause but we don't have confirmation as of yet.

The good news is that nobody was hurt, though the car is quite clearly a complete loss. We're sure there's another ready to to test in the burned car's place... just as soon as the engineers at Honda figure out exactly what went wrong. Have a look at the smoldering aftermath up above, and feel free to scroll down below to see a video of the car in much better circumstances.

Related Gallery2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots
2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots2015 Acura NSX Spy Shots

Image Credit: CarPix

2015 Ford Expedition

Posted Jul 25th 2014 12:00PM

2015 Ford Expedition

While the tide of bigger-is-better SUVs has been in recession since, well, the recession, fullsize utes are still very much with us. Conservative creatures that have been loathe to evolve, fullsize SUVs nonetheless remain enduringly popular among large families, livery customers, and anyone with lots of friends, relatives, and toys to tug around. With respect to Toyota and Nissan, the only players that really matter in the segment are the new-for-2015 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, the GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, and this truck: the Ford Expedition, the latest evolution of which we just drove for the first time at a press preview in West Virginia.

Unlike the General Motors utilities, the standard Expedition and the long-wheelbase Expedition EL are not all-new, but rather are heavily refreshed versions of the same basic truck Ford started selling way back in 2007. The front fascia is where most of the exterior update happens for 2015, with a new three-bar grille design, halogen projector headlamps, and new bumper design with available LED foglamps. Despite all the new bits, the facelift breaks exactly zero ground in terms of design; in fact, it already looks dated, and will only look older once the macho 2015 F-150 bows later this year. Even less has changed out back, where the tailgate gets a wide chrome band spanning the taillamps and a new chrome exhaust tip. Other exterior changes are generally limited to colors and an all-new wheel lineup that includes a gleaming set of six-spoke 22-inch polished wheels on high-end models.

Speaking of high-end models, a new Platinum trim is positioned above the cowboy-spec King Ranch model for 2015. Both the Platinum and King Ranch get their own color combos and exterior trim finishes (satin metal for the Platinum, chrome everywhere and ginormous badges for the King Ranch) and posh, leather-lined interiors with their own aesthetic. The Expedition family also now includes a price-leading XL model, as well as XLT and Limited grades.

That's nice and all, but we didn't fly to Appalachia to ogle new headlights and caress leather seats. The real draw was to see how the Expedition fares after making the switch from its outgoing V8 to turbocharged V6 power, the only way it will come henceforth. The change makes sense on paper, given that the turbo six – the same engine found in the F-150 EcoBoost – simply trounces the old V8 with 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, compared to the outgoing 5.4's 310 hp and meager 365 lb-ft of torque. Notably, the EcoBoost V6 also outmuscles the 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque produced by the 5.3-litre base V8 in GM's portfolio, though it comes up shy of their forceful – and thirsty – optional 420-hp, 460 lb-ft 6.2-litre V8.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL / Ford

BMW predicts 2 Series Active Tourer will have 75% conquest rate

Posted Jul 25th 2014 11:01AM

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

In the last few years, BMW has definitively proven that it wasn't a slave to its legacy. In North America, the 3 Series was generally associated with smooth, flat-six engines, but the Bavarian brand dropped a four-cylinder turbo into it. The company was also known for its sports sedans, and it went green with the i3 and i8. Now, rear-wheel drive is off the table as defining its vehicles, as well. With the imminent launch of the 2 Series Active Tourer, the Bavarian's models are going front drive and opening up themselves to a whole new group of customers, so the thinking goes.

"We are expecting the Active Tourer will have a conquest rate of around 75 per cent," said Frank Niederlaender, a BMW product manger, to Automotive News Europe. If you're not hip to the lingo, that means three quarters of the hatchback's buyers would come from other brands – an impressive figure, if accurate.

When it hits the road, the 2 Series Active Tourer will be the first BMW-branded vehicle to use the company's UKL front-wheel drive platform, already on the current Mini Cooper. The roomy hatchback is aimed at young families looking for a car that is luxurious but can still tote around the tots. It launches in Europe in September to compete against similar models like the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, but the Bimmer isn't crossing the Atlantic to North America until early 2015, according to ANE.

Of course, the 2 Series Active Tourer is just step one of BMW's front-wheel drive future. A plug-in hybrid version is already testing, and the next X1 moves to the same platform, too. According to ANE, a three-row Active Tourer is also in the works, which is possibly related to the recently spied new CUV.

Related GalleryBMW 2 Series Active Tourer
BMW 2 Series Active TourerBMW 2 Series Active TourerBMW 2 Series Active TourerBMW 2 Series Active TourerBMW 2 Series Active TourerBMW 2 Series Active TourerBMW 2 Series Active TourerBMW 2 Series Active Tourer


Top luxury cars for first time buyers

Posted Jul 25th 2014 10:00AM



Let's say you just got a big promotion at work or the kids are moving out of the house, and you finally have some extra money. You decide to blow it all at once and treat yourself by upgrading your ride. Naturally, you look to a luxury automaker. What do you choose?

Models like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class may be tailor-made to introduce buyers to luxury models, but a new study finds that they don't garner the highest rates of non-luxury customer conquests. It turns out that a Volvo leads among folks moving up to a premium brand, and it isn't even one that's made anymore, at that... READ MORE

Related GalleryTop 10 most extravagant luxury car options
Top 10 most extravagant luxury car optionsTop 10 most extravagant luxury car optionsTop 10 most extravagant luxury car optionsTop 10 most extravagant luxury car optionsTop 10 most extravagant luxury car optionsTop 10 most extravagant luxury car optionsTop 10 most extravagant luxury car optionsTop 10 most extravagant luxury car options

News Source: Polk

Image Credit: Car and Driver, Copyright Autoblog Canada / AOL

Mall in China debuts bigger pink parking spots just for women

Posted Jul 25th 2014 9:00AM

AFP

A Chinese mall is in the spotlight after creating larger parking spots specifically designed for women. The ten pink outlined spaces, which are found at the Dashijiedaduhui -- "World Metropolis" - shopping centre in the northern city of Dalian, were drawn in after managers decided women were having difficulty getting into narrower spaces.

They are approximately 30 centimetres wider than normal, and bear the statement "respectfully reserved for women."

These spaces come on the heels of Chinese policemen offering undeniably skewed advice to female drivers last year, like not to panic if they suddenly can't find their way to their destination, or to release the handbrake before beginning to drive... READ MORE

News Source: Newsy via AOL On, The Huffington Post Canada

Image Credit: NBC / Newsy via AOL On, Johannes Eisele via Getty Images

Proof cars of the '90s were awesome with Supra, Stealth, RX-7, Corvette, 968, 300ZX comparo

Posted Jul 24th 2014 7:59PM



Oh, the heady days of 1993, back when the Clinton Presidency was just getting underway, and it seemed like every hot new rock band was coming out of Seattle. Sports cars in North America had finally shaken off the shackles that slowed them during the '70s and '80s, and you could buy any number of legitimately quick vehicles again. MotorWeek recently went digging into its archives to find this six-model test from 1993 showing off some of the best semi-affordable performance coupes that money could buy at the time, and it's priceless.

Featuring the 1994 model year Toyota Supra in twin-turbo guise and MY 1993 versions of the Porsche 968, Nissan 300ZX TT, Mazda RX-7, Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo and Chevrolet Corvette LT-1, MotorWeek definitely covered all of the bases. One thing that might surprise younger readers is these cars' performance. The video only provides 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) acceleration times, but several of these vehicles would still be considered pretty potent today – over 20 years since going on sale. The Supra is especially impressive, hitting 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in just 5 seconds. Even today, that's nothing to sneeze at.

Given their performance potential and still-attractive looks, it's amazing that some of these coupes are old enough to drink now. The progress of interior design and safety equipment in the intervening years is pretty shocking, though. In most of these models, having two airbags is touted as a big deal. Scroll down to watch a Throwback Thursday blast from the past about some of the '90s best sports cars.

News Source: MotorWeek via YouTube

HIGHLIGHTS: CSCS Round 3 at Toronto Motorsports Park

Posted Jul 24th 2014 7:00PM



Another CSCS (Canadian Sports Compact Series) Sunday funday is in the books and we're already looking forward to the next. As you guys may already know, CSCS is the biggest sport compact racing series in Canada. Enthusiast from all over the country, and even some of our neightbours from down south travel up to Ontario both to compete and spectate. There's something for all sorts of enthusiast at CSCS. Drag, drift, circuit, show, food and plenty of eye candy to leave you with a sore neck for a while... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Santiago Gomez / AOL

First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2

Posted Jul 24th 2014 6:00PM

Forza Horizon 2 Car List

With its September 30 release date just over two months away, Turn 10 Studios has slowly started releasing the car list for Forza Horizon 2, the sequel to 2012's Forza Horizon.

While the final list will be on the smaller side, with just over 200 vehicles, as per usual, those that were selected are decidedly different from your average sports car. We've included the entire list below, in the press release, but we thought you'd like to see some of the highlights right here.

First, there are a number of new entries to the Forza universe, led by the 1973 Renault Alpine A110 and the 1954 Jaguar XK120. Both of these sportsters should prove excellent companions on the scenic European roads of FH2. They're also joined by freshman entries like the 2013 Vauxhall Corsa VXR, as well as a few funkier and more interesting vehicles, like the 1963 Volkswagen Type 2 and the venerable Willys MB.

As for the main, 100-car list, the vast majority are offered in Forza Motorsport 5, although for the first time, many are offered as standard rather than downloadable extras. Cars like the Audi RS2 Avant, Abarth Fiat 131, Jaguar D-Type and the Lotus Eleven are included as standard vehicles. They're joined by cars that originally launched with FM5, like the 1994 Mazda MX-5, 1997 BMW M3, and Audi R8 V10 plus.

Scroll below for the full volley of details on the initial 100 cars. Forza Horizon 2 will hit shelves on September 30, exclusively for gamers on the Xbox One.

Image Credit: Turn 10 Studios

BMW 5 Series wagon makes incognito grocery run by way of the 'Ring [UPDATE]

Posted Jul 24th 2014 5:00PM

BMW 5 Series Wagon: Spy Shots

UPDATE: The 5 Series prototype seen in these photos is previewing a new generation of wagon for the model, not simply a mid-cycle refresh. The text has been updated to reflect this.

With a debut in 2009, it's high time that BMW delivered the world with the next generation of its popular 5 Series. While we aren't expecting to see it here in the United States, that changeover will include the vehicle shown above, the 5 Series wagon.

This is only the second time we've spotted the camo'd, long-roof 5er in the past year, and while it was chained to a flat-bed in those snaps, today, we can see it lapping the Nürburgring. In addition to the images from the track, we also have our first look at the cabin of the 5 Series, although even it is covered in camouflage, making it quite difficult to spot anything of substance.

As for the exterior, expect modest changes for the new 5er, with typical tweaks like new headlights and taillights, and perhaps a freshened front fascia. Considering we last saw the upcoming 5 Series just over a year ago, we'd expect an auto show debut for this smoothed-over model in the not-so-distant future, with Paris a leading candidate.

Take a look up top for our full gallery of spy photos.

Image Credit: CarPix

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