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Auto Blog

Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:05:00 EST

Kia is getting all set for this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and among its vehicles is something that seems pretty mean.
The Korean company is keeping details quiet about what's under the hood of what it calls the High-Performance K900, but from listening to this video it certainly sounds fantastic with quite a meaty growl. There might be some form of forced induction going on, though we can't say for sure. Elsewhere on the car, Kia isn't being so tight-lipped. The High Performance wears a custom shade of gray paint with a one-off body kit, featuring carbon fiber inserts. It also sports 21-inch gloss black wheels and black chrome trim.
Honestly, we were left scratching our head a little when LeBron James signed on to be the "luxury brand ambassador" for the K900. However, if he were driving this around Cleveland, the endorsement might make a little more sense. Check out the video above to glimpse the concept for SEMA, and read the little that Kia is saying about it in the release below.

Chevy City Express headed for dealers

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:01:00 EST

With competition coming from the Ford Transit Connect, it's high time Chevrolet got in on the compact hauling action and took the fight to its cross-town rival... and it's doing so with a little help from Nissan. The Chevy City Express, a badge-engineered Nissan NV200, is now arriving at dealers, giving Bowtie fans a counter to Dearborn's compact van.
"Our existing customers will love getting behind the wheel of the City Express when it's at their Chevrolet dealership," Ed Peper, GM's vice president of fleet and commercial vehicles said in a statement. "But we're most looking forward to giving potential new customers the opportunity to experience one of many Chevrolet commercial vehicles that best fit their needs."
Prices for the 2015 City Express start at $22,950. Scroll down for the official announcement from Chevrolet.

Weekly Recap: Tesla's sales ban fortified in Michigan as franchise laws draw fire

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST



"Tesla's quest to own its stores has brought to light issues that have long faced the industry." - Adam Jones
Tesla's fight to challenge dealer franchise laws moved to the home state of the American auto industry this week, as the governor of Michigan signed a controversial bill that excludes Tesla from selling its electric cars directly to consumers.

Nissan GT-R goes on Rockies Alberta adventure with Epic Drives

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:59:00 EST

Years after its original debut, the Nissan GT-R remains a much-feared, well-regarded entry in the sports car landscape. Sure, many of its original competitors are onto new generations these days, but Nissan has continually improved the GT-R, giving it meaningful tweaks almost every year since it came to the US market for 2009. Reviewers also just seem to keep finding things to praise about the all-wheel drive, turbocharged coupe. In this episode of Epic Drives, the GT-R proves that in addition to being a quite pleasant road trip companion around the province of Alberta, Canada, in a pinch it can go off-road to herd some horses, too.
At its heart, Epic Drives amounts to half travelogue and half driving review. So in between snaking the GT-R through some picturesque roads, host Arthur St. Antoine takes a tour of Alberta and the Canadian Rockies. If you're in the mood to take a drive in the Nissan through a landscape that blends the looks of a prairie, the Alps and fjords, then have a seat and check this video out.

What you missed on 10.24.14

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:32:00 EST

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack
The goodness of the 2015 Dodge Challenger isn't just limited to that 707-horsepower Hellcat model. As associate editor Brandon Turkus explains, there's plenty to love about the Challenger R/T with its Scat Pack kit, complete with a 6.4-liter V8, eight-speed automatic transmission, and more poise than ever before. Read all about it in today's Quick Spin.
Fiat-Chrysler SEMA lineup revealed

Artist Peter Max's Corvette collection headed to auction [w/video]

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:29:00 EST

Sometimes, the stories that lead to cars turning up at auction are as interesting as the vehicles themselves. That's absolutely the case with the Peter Max (pictured above) collection of vintage Chevrolet Corvette models that are scheduled to cross the block in the spring of 2016.
Max is perhaps best known as a '60s pop artist who mixed vibrant colors with iconic imagery. However, classic car fans around New York City might know him better for storing a collection of 36 vintage 'Vettes in public parking garages for decades. The assortment is pretty special because it consists of one example of every model year from the original 1953 up until 1989, according to The New York Times.
Unfortunately, New York parking garages aren't really known for their cleanliness, and photos show the artist's Chevrolet collection neglected, caked in dirt and dust. After moving the collection around between several locations in the past few years, Max finally brokered a deal to sell them all off for an undisclosed price earlier this summer.

Porsche working on turbo V12 for Putin limo project?

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:44:00 EST

Porsche is best known for building very well-regarded sports cars and better-selling utility vehicles. Come to the company with a big enough bag of cash, though, and the Porsche Engineering division can create just about anything. The group's past projects include working with Harley-Davidson, Mercedes-Benz and corporate cousin Audi, but if rumors prove true, then its latest partner might be the last one you'd expect.
Russian website Wroom reports that Porsche Engineering is building the engine for the Project Cortege government limousine project for Russian president Vladimir Putin. The mill is supposedly a turbocharged V12 displacing between 6.0- and 6.6-liters and making around 800 horsepower. When complete, it will reportedly be built by ZMZ with Russian-sourced parts.
The limo is expected to debut in 2017, according to Wroom, but it's just the beginning of Putin's grandiose plans, which also goes by the name of the Motorcade Project. The same platform is also meant to underpin several vehicles for use by the government, including an SUV, a small bus and a sedan. All of them would reportedly have a longitudinally mounted engine and all-wheel drive.

Ford Q3 pretax profits drop to $1.18B

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:28:00 EST

Following positive third quarter financial results recently from General Motors, rival Ford took a tumble in Q3. The automaker posted pre-tax profits of $1.18 billion, compared to about $2.59 billion in Q3 2013, a drop of around 54 percent. Net income also suffered with $835 million made in the quarter, versus $1.272 billion last year, a decline of about 34 percent. The Blue Oval blamed the gloomy figures on three reasons in its release: "lower volume, higher warranty costs and adverse balance sheet exchange effects."
There were problems of one kind or another in practically every region. North America experienced higher warranty costs than expected, partially due to recalls. The sales volume for the quarter was 665,000 units, versus 725,000 in Q3 2013, and pre-tax results amounted to $1.41 billion versus $2.296 billion last year.
South America and Europe both posted worse pre-tax results than last year. On the bright side, European volume was up slightly to 321,000 vehicles, from 303,000 in Q3 2013. The Middle East and Africa also lost $15 million, but that was an improvement compared to the $25 million loss previously experienced in this region.

2015 Honda CR-V performs poorly in Swedish AWD test [w/video]

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:45:00 EST

Swedish auto magazine Teknikens Värld has never been afraid to call out automakers when a vehicle fails one of its battery of examinations. Its famous Moose Test recently caught the Porsche Macan out, and a few years ago, there was a protracted argument between Teknikens Värld and Jeep over the performance of a Grand Cherokee in that evaluation.
This time, the 2015 Honda CR-V is raising the magazine's hackles, but it has nothing to do with avoiding a giant mammal. Snow is obviously an issue in Sweden, and Teknikens Värld has a test that challenges all-wheel drive systems in low-traction settings. On a slanted surface, the Swedes put the vehicles' front wheels on rollers with no traction and demands the rears accelerate away. The Honda couldn't do it. Teknikens Värld claims that it initially found the same result last year from the European CR-V, but Honda Sweden put out a software upgrade correcting the behavior in the test. This year, the CUV went back to failing.
While that's the magazine's side, Honda Sweden doesn't see the test as fair. In a statement to Teknikens Värld, the company explains the way the CUV's all-wheel drive system works. It also claims that the test isn't simulating a realistic situation. "In real conditions, regardless of the surface, there is a certain amount of friction always available for both front and rear wheels," the announcement says. "A scenario like the roll test with such a high difference in grip between the front and the rear wheels is highly unlikely."

Ferrari Testarossa featured in retrospective by owner Harry Metcalfe

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:00:00 EST

Harry Metcalfe, of Evo fame, got our attention earlier this week with a review of the 1954 Series I Land Rover. Today, he's gone a bit more... '80s.
Yes, this is a 1987 Ferrari Testarossa, one of the most vulgar cars from a decade synonymous with vulgar design. While your author might not be keen on its square rear end and cheese-grater doors and fenders, Metcalfe seems to like it quite a bit, giving a detailed walkthrough of his Rosso Corsa subject. That walkthrough includes some time on a subject we can certainly get behind - the TR's flat-12 engine.
Take a look at the latest from Harry's Garage.