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Auto Blog

Mercedes-AMG GT to debut on September 9

Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:56:00 EST

Mercedes-Benz kept the SLR McLaren around for a solid eight years. The SLS AMG hasn't even been around for five, but already Benz is preparing to roll out its next sports car. We've been anticipating the arrival of the new Mercedes-AMG GT for some time now, but now we've got the exact date of its debut.
This latest video gives us plenty of figures to chew on, from the amount of camouflage sheets used to wrap the prototypes to the temperatures at which they were tested. But the salient detail is that the coupe - which is expected to cost less than its SLS forbearer - will officially be unveiled on September 9.
Expect a public debut to follow at the Paris Motor Show the following month, after which its new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 will be available in two states of tune: 462 horsepower or 510, nestling comfortably in between the V8 and V10 versions of the Audi R8 and just a few steps behind the Porsche 911 GT3 and Turbo.

Will the new Mazda Miata be available with multiple engines?

Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST

At this point, the countdown until the launch of the all-new, fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata can be measured in hours until its September 3 unveiling as easily as it can in days. With the debut of such a highly anticipated model so close, the rumors about the new sports car are starting to boil over.
We recently heard that the new Miata would likely get a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder with a six-speed manual, plus a decent drop in weight compared to the current gen. There's even the rumored possibility of a fastback coupe version sometime in the future.
Now, Australia's GoAuto is adding another dollop of speculation into the mix with the claim that there could be "potentially more engine options," according to Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders to the website. The more potent option would still be the 2.0-liter Skyactiv with a power bump from its current 167 hp to closer to 200 ponies. The other possible powerplant option would be a 1.5-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder taken from the upcoming Mazda2 replacement. This version would also ditch some of the MX-5's more premium features to cut the weight and the price slightly.

Lambo considering Huracan GT3 for United SportsCar Championship

Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:00:00 EST

With all the versions of the Gallardo that Lamborghini made over the course of that model's dozen year lifecycle, we knew the debut of the new Huracán would only be the start. And now we're getting an idea of what Sant'Agata has in store. Before too long, there'll be a new Spyder, and likely a rear-drive version as well. But racing teams are more eagerly anticipating the new competition versions. There's the new Super Trofeo spec racer that Lambo unveiled in Monterey a couple of weeks ago, but now we're receiving word of a new GT3 racer as well.
Based closely on the Super Trofeo, the Huracán GT3 is reportedly being designed to meet the regulations of numerous racing series - including, the latest reports will have us know, the United SportsCar Championship that competes in North America. This according to Sportscar365.com, which spoke to Lamborghini's chief test driver Giorgio Sanna at Virginia International Raceway recently.
Unlike some of its rivals, racing has not traditionally been a core value at Lamborghini, but it has competed here and there. It previously relied on Reiter Engineering to develop racing versions of the Murcielago and Gallardo, but is said to be doing the Huracán GT3 almost entirely in-house, with a modicum of input from Dallara, the racing chassis manufacturer founded by the man widely credited with developing the Miura and Espada in the 1960s.

Watch Sebastian Vettel become first driver to lap Sochi GP circuit

Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:28:00 EST


In April of last year, Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard drove the unpaved Sochi Formula One circuit in a pair of Infiniti M sedans, getting both muddy and airborne in the process. Now with tarmac laid down and fences put up, Vettel and Coulthard have gone back to the Black Sea vacation spot for another hot lap, this time in a Q50 Hybrid and without the need for mud flaps.
Sochi has earned the blessing of F1's race director, so now the next test will be the fans. With a healthy amount of wall-and-fencing along the straights, it has shades of Valencia for the viewer. We hope it will be much more exciting than its Spanish counterpart when racing happens on October 12. You'll find more videos below covering Infiniti's visits to the Sochi Autodrom, and a press release on the latest lap.

Infiniti Q50S getting G37's hydraulic steering for 2016

Sun, 31 Aug 2014 18:30:00 EST

Sometimes, new technology doesn't make things better. Take the march of power steering technology as an example. Electrically assisted systems are in vogue at the moment for their ability to increase fuel efficiency, but tuning them to offer good feedback remains something of a dark art. Some automakers get it, but most don't. The previous hydraulically assisted setups just seem to be inherently more communicative when driven with enthusiasm. And it looks like Infiniti might be learning this lesson the hard way.
In talking with Keith St. Clair, the luxury brand's head of product planning, Car and Driver has learned that the Q50S is probably going to ditch its standard electrically assisted steering in favor of a hydraulic system derived from the old G37, a model soon to be renamed the Q40. The system should make the sedan more engaging behind the wheel, but it still won't help those who tick the option box for Infiniti's controversial Direct Adaptive Steering drive-by-wire system.
According to St. Clair, Infiniti's engineers have heard the complaints of critics and previous G37 owners about the Q50S model's electric steering system, and wanted to see what they could do. They didn't have to go far to figure it out - all it required was taking the steering rack off of a G37 and putting it onto the Q50S. After a little tweaking, "the car is a blast to drive," St. Clair reports. Now, the company is said to be fast-tracking the switch, and it could be ready for the 2016 model year.

Lamando is Chinese for VW Jetta CC [w/video]

Sun, 31 Aug 2014 16:58:00 EST

Volkswagen is not messing around when it characterizes its new MQB architecture as modular. It's already underpinning the VW Golf, Audi A3, Seat Leon and Skoda Octavia, and will soon form the basis for many more. And here is the latest.
Unveiled at the Chengdu Motor Show in China this weekend is the new Volkswagen Lamando, a four-door coupe similar in size to a Jetta but with the svelter roofline of the larger Passat-based CC to go after the Mercedes-Benz CLA. It's essentially the production version of the New Midsize Coupe concept that previewed its arrival at the Beijing Motor Show this past April, and will be built locally for local consumption by VW's joint venture with SAIC.
Power comes from either a 1.4- or 2.0-liter turbo four mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, with an equivalent price tag below $30,000. Whether this or any similar vehicle ever arrives in North American showrooms remains to be seen, but we'll be watching to find out. In the meantime you can scope it out in the trippy video below and the photos in the gallery above.

Ford hybrid sales rebound following MPG controversy

Sun, 31 Aug 2014 13:00:00 EST

Ford hybrid customers apparently have very short memories. With two EPA fuel economy reratings in the last year, sales of the C-Max, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ haven't been too terribly dented, Ward's Auto reports.
All three vehicles saw sales dips following the August 2013 rerating, although sales of the MKZ Hybrid had begun to rebound as early as November of that year. C-Max sales, meanwhile, took slightly longer, with sales on a steadily improving course as early as February of this year.
The second rerating, in June of this year, has had an even smaller effect on the Blue Oval's hybrids. The C-Max has actually been subject to a sales increase, while both the MKZ and Fusion saw minor sales drops (less than 400 units between the two in the month following the rerating).

Corvette museum to fill in sinkhole, leave five cars unrestored

Sun, 31 Aug 2014 10:58:00 EST

Preservation or restoration. That's the question that faces anyone dealing with classic cars, and it's the issue with which the National Corvette Museum is grappling in the wake of the sinkhole that opened up in its midst this past February.
In the months since the damage was inflicted, the museum had planned to keep at least part of the sinkhole open as a sort of memorial and tourist attraction so that visitors could see what happened. Unfortunately, it turned out that keeping the hole open would cost the museum more than closing it up. Much more, if you can believe it: instead of the earlier estimates that initially placed the cost of preserving a portion of the sinkhole at around $500,000, the eventual cost estimates rose to over $1 million.
Even if the museum had the funds in order to do so, the visible portion of the sinkhole would still require 35-foot retaining walls, steel beams and other reinforcements (not to mention proper humidity control required to deal with vapors emitted from the hole) that would have defeated the point altogether. So in the end, the board of directors have voted at its quarterly meeting to completely fill it in.

Volvo PV444 turns 70

Sun, 31 Aug 2014 08:58:00 EST

Volvo has made all manner of vehicles over the course of its long history, including coupes, convertibles, hatchbacks, sedans, wagons and SUVs. But the vehicle that started it all was the PV444.
Or rather, we should say, the PV444 is what re-started it all. Because while it wasn't Volvo's first model, it was the first one it produced after the war. Monday, September 1, will mark 70 years since the PV444 first debuted at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm pictured above, where the company received 148,437 visitors.
That presentation there took place shortly before the end of World War II when the vehicle wasn't even finished yet. A team of 40 engineers and designers were still fine-tuning the final version, but were eager to show the public what it would start building after the last bullet was fired and peace would return to Europe.

The sunniest Ferrari collection you've ever seen, shot for Forza mag

Sat, 30 Aug 2014 19:02:00 EST

There's a stable of about 40 beautiful prancing horses hiding in a Tennessee garage. These thoroughbreds aren't out to win the next Triple Crown, though. Instead, this is one of the best collections of Ferraris in the world where you would probably least expect it.
Photographer and auto journalist Clint Davis went there to write a story about collector Phil Bachman for the Ferrari-focused Forza magazine, and he took some dazzling photographs to go along with his words. At the same time, he brought along a friend to film their day meeting Bachman and his sublime collection.
Amassing this many sensational vehicles would be amazing anyway, but Bachman takes his Ferrari obsession even further. He prefers to get his cars in yellow and tries to get the last production example of a given model. In fact, he already has a reservation for the final LaFerrari. You can probably figure out in what color. Keep your eyes open here for glimpses of a plethora of vintage beauties, but the star of the show might be a yellow FXX.