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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nissan IDX production model to get sharper, less retro styling




Autoblog Performance





Nissan IDX production model to get sharper, less retro styling



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Nissan IDx Concept



The Nissan IDx seems like the type of concept that auto enthusiasts wish they could be driving. With a compact size, style inspired by the classic Datsun 510 and a rear-wheel-drive powertrain, it certainly ticks many of the boxes that people want. Unfortunately, the car seems to be miles away from actually getting a green light for production, but rumors about the retro coupe's future keep cropping up.



The last we heard about the IDx, the biggest complication with the coupe was that it was a tough project to make profitable. Nissan didn't have a cheap enough rear-wheel drive platform to make the affordable coupe work. The latest rumors point to a potential solution to this problem. According to Motoring from Australia speaking to an insider close to Nissan, the new plan is to tweak the styling to be less retro and adapt the car to work on the platform for the forthcoming, next-generation Z car.



The new look reportedly cribs from the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept from the 2014 Detroit Motor Show, including its floating roof design and sharper edges around the fenders. In terms of power, the source tells Motoring, the IDx could use a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with around 180 horsepower on tap. That might not sound like too much, but remember the Z car itself is rumored to get smaller and lighter when it's new generation hits the stage. If the weight is low enough, potentially using it for the IDx might just work.

Nissan IDX production model to get sharper, less retro styling originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 23 Aug 2014 16:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Subaru WRX S4 gets big power bump in Japan




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Subaru WRX S4 gets big power bump in Japan



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2015 Subaru WRX S4



Subaru WRX S4 rear three-quarter viewA month after originally teasing it, Subaru is finally unveiling its WRX S4 model for Japan. It's a bit more than just a plush take on the sport sedan, because Subaru is fitting a more powerful version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine than we get on these shores.



The company says that S4 stands for "'Sports performance', 'Safety performance', 'Smart driving' and 'Sophisticated feel," and it certainly looks like this Rex ticks all of those boxes. The most surprising feature is the Japanese model's 2.0-liter turbo engine boasting 296 horsepower (221 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque in this application. That's quite a healthy upgrade over the 268 hp and 258 lb-ft that Americans get in the standard WRX, and it's even nipping at the heels of the 305 hp and 290 lb-ft from the STI with a 2.5-liter mill that we get over here.



While extra power is always welcome, enthusiasts might not be so thrilled that Subaru's Sport Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission is the sedan's only available gearbox. However, it offers a simulated eight-speed shifting mode when drivers notch the car into Sport# driving mode. Of course, the S4 also packs Subie's trademark all-wheel drive with Vehicle Dynamics Control and Active Torque Vectoring as standard.



Additional noteworthy differences include firmer steering box mounts for better feel and an electronic parking brake, a move that will likely delight commuters as it offends handbrake turn artists. The chassis and body have likewise received attention, with additional high-tensile steel and strengthened joints. Subaru says the bodywork as has actually been lightened in the process, though it isn't immediately clear how.



Looking at the S4, the appearance differences are fairly minor compared to its US counterpart. The grille and lower air dam get completely filled in with silver mesh, and it has a somewhat different 18-inch wheel design. Inside, drivers are nestled into sport seats and grip a flat-bottom steering wheel. Red stitching and piano black trim finish off the interior looks to lend a sporty look.



For improved safety, the company's latest Eyesight system boasts color recognition and a wider viewing angle than before. Systems like Pre-Collision Braking Control, Active Lane Keep steering assistance system and Adaptive Cruise Control are also available. Scroll down to read Subaru's full announcement of this tech-packed WRX for Japan.

Continue reading Subaru WRX S4 gets big power bump in Japan

Subaru WRX S4 gets big power bump in Japan originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 price and power compared against rivals




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2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 price and power compared against rivals



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The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the most powerful production car ever from General Motors, and it's a technological landmark in the long lineage of Corvettes. It's also more affordable than you might think.





The 2015 Z06 starts at $78,995* - not chump change, but well below the price ranges of key competitors.



As was announced earlier today, the 2015 Z06 has a starting price of $78,995 for the coupe and $83,995 for the convertible, *including $995 in destination charges. That's not chump change, but it's well below the price ranges of several of its key competitors.



The Corvette has long been compared with the Porsche 911, but the Z06's 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque easily eclipses the most powerful 911, the Turbo S (560 hp, 516 lb-ft). The Z06 also costs less than half as much, as the Turbo S has a starting MSRP of $182,700, and then tacks on a $995-shipping charge.

Continue reading 2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 price and power compared against rivals

2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 price and power compared against rivals originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Dallara working on its own sports car project




Autoblog Performance





Dallara working on its own sports car project



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KTM X-Bow GT



If the name Dallara doesn't ring a bell, you're probably not a racing fan. Because while Dallara is, like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani, a performance automaker based in northern Italy, it focuses on racing cars and doesn't produce cars for the road. At least not under its own name, anyway. But that's about to change.



Speaking with Car magazine, company founder Gian Paolo Dallara indicated that his firm is working on its own sports car project that will hit the market in 2017. The vehicle is tipped to use a carbon monocoque chassis with a high-output, lightweight turbo four mounted amidships. It may offer an open roof of some sort, but don't expect much in the way of creature comforts. Dallara is tipped to make no more than 100 examples per year, with a price tag of around $100,000 - that is, if it were to be offered Stateside altogether, which we're afraid it likely won't.



When reached for comment, Dallara CEO Andrea Pontremoli would only confirm to Autoblog that his boss did indeed speak with the journalist who wrote the report, but would not disclose any details (or even the existence) of such a project.



Though this would be the first road car to bear the Dallara name, it would not be the first one it has developed. In addition to building racing chassis for such disciplines as Formula 3, Formula E and Indy, Dallara helped develop the Alfa Romeo 4C, KTM X-Bow (pictured above), Bugatti Veyron and Maserati MC12. Prior to starting his own firm, Paolo had worked for Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini as well, working on such noteworthy road-car projects as the 250 GTO and Miura.

Dallara working on its own sports car project originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:34:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seat lives up to reputation with Leon Cupra Sub8 Performance Pack




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Seat lives up to reputation with Leon Cupra Sub8 Performance Pack



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Seat Leon Cupra 280 with Sub8 Performance Pack



Under 8. That's the new benchmark for hot hatches, expressed in the number of minutes it takes to get around the Nürburgring. Although Renault has since beat its time with the Mégane RS 275 Trophy, it was Seat that was the first to break that time in a front-drive car with the Leon Cupra 280. Critics pointed out that the record-setting car was equipped with certain add-ons over the production version, but now Seat is offering those upgrades to customers as part of a new package.



Called, appropriately enough, the Sub8 Performance Pack, the kit adds such features as upgraded brakes (measuring 370 mm with four-piston Brembo calipers), 19-inch alloys (in either black or orange) and body-colored side skirts. Buyers can also opt for the semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires at less than half of what Renault charges for the same on its ultimate Mégane, and a new set of racing buckets. For those in the market, Seat is also introducing white and black appearance packages, with an orange one to follow.



Scroll down below for all the details.

Continue reading Seat lives up to reputation with Leon Cupra Sub8 Performance Pack

Seat lives up to reputation with Leon Cupra Sub8 Performance Pack originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Aston Martin may be forced to stop selling DB9, Vantage in US [w/poll]




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Aston Martin may be forced to stop selling DB9, Vantage in US [w/poll]



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Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster



There are any number of factors that are making it increasingly difficult for a small-scale, independent automaker like Aston Martin to stay competitive in today's automotive marketplace, from purchasing power to R&D capacity. But the latest factor endangering Aston's viability on the marketplace seems to be coming down to tighter government safety standards.



The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is enacting new side-impact crash regulations that require vehicles to better withstand the impact from running into a pole or tree - narrow-gauge fixed objects you're likely to find lining public streets. The standard has been phased in over the last few years, but while an exemption to the gradual phase-in was granted to low-volume manufacturers, even those automakers will have to meet the cut-off next month. And convertibles (which were granted a further extension) will have to meet them by September 2015.



Unfortunately for Aston Martin, two of its core models - the Vantage and DB9 - do not pass the test. That would mean that it would have to stop selling both those model lines (which just also happen to be its oldest), but a spokesman for the brand's US dealers is petitioning the government body to grant them an exception.



According to James R. Walker, chairman of Aston's US dealer advisory panel and owner of the dealership in Washington, DC, losing the V8 Vantage coupe, V12 Vantage coupe and DB9 coupe next month would cost dealers about 25 percent of its gross profits, and losing the convertible versions of the same next year would cut another 40 percent of their profits. The combined 65 percent drop in sales (assuming, of course, that sales of the recently updated but more expensive Vanquish and Rapide wouldn't rise to make up for it) would mean that many of the 35 dealers across the US would have to close, putting the 230 people who work at the dealers (and another 300 related personnel) out of work.



On that basis, Walker is asking the government to grant an exemption for the DB9 through August 2016 and for the Vantage through August 2017. By then, we're lead to assume, their replacement (or replacements) will have arrived, meeting the new crash standards. We've reached out to Aston Martin for comment on the issue and will update you as soon as we hear back. In the meantime, voice your opinion on the issue in our online poll below.



View Poll

Aston Martin may be forced to stop selling DB9, Vantage in US [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

All six Bugatti Veyron Legend Editions gather at the Quail




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All six Bugatti Veyron Legend Editions gather at the Quail



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Bugatti 16.4 Veyron Legend Editions



Walk through the entrance to the Quail, make a right, and you'll be greeted by $18 million worth of car. Sure, that's not an unusual sight during Monterey Car Week, where classics are being auctioned off for well beyond that, but we're talking about $18 million of brand new car. We're talking about all six of the Bugatti Veyron Legend Editions.



One year after the first Legend Veyron made its debut in Monterey, Bugatti has completed the limited-run series of six. All of these cars are unique creations that celebrate the automaker's history - the sextet includes the Jean-Pierre Wimille, Jean Bugatti, Meo Costantini, Rembrandt Bugatti, Black Bess and Ettore Bugatti editions. Only three examples of each special edition will be made, all priced at 2.35 million euro ($3.14 million, based on today's rates).



It's super rare to see multiple Veyrons in one place at one time, and this might be the only time in history where all six Legends cars are displayed together at once. Have a look at all of 'em for yourself in the gallery above.

All six Bugatti Veyron Legend Editions gather at the Quail originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 16 Aug 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014 Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance gives the best view in town




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2014 Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance gives the best view in town



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2014 Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance



Situated on rolling hills right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, the Monterey Peninsula in California might be one of the most picturesque areas in the United States, but when the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and its related events arrive each year, they bring along a plethora of million-dollar cars that make the view just that much better. You don't have to be a DuPont or a Vanderbilt to check out these amazing automobiles, though, especially if you're an early bird.



The Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance starts early Thursday morning is one of the first big events of this automotive celebration, and it might actually be the weekend's best-kept secret, especially since it's completely free. The event brings together a pack of ultra-rare vintage cars to wind through Northern California's scenic, ocean-side roads as well as a jaunt to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a display in the quaint town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.



The greatest part of this gathering is that, before setting off at around 8:00 AM, these vintage classics are all lined up for anyone to check out, and the crowds are fairly light. There are rare Ferraris, Maseratis, Bentleys and practically every other exotic brand just sitting there to walk up to and check out. Plus, you actually get to hear them start up and drive away.



As the vehicles complete their tour through the misty morning air, people set up chairs in Carmel to watch these classics go on display on the boulevard. Where else can you go to get the opportunity to smell a steam car's slightly sweet exhaust and then see a bunch of vintage Rolls-Royces roll in within just minutes of each other? Autoblog's Drew Phillips was on hand to snap photos of the fantastic vehicles on tour; take a look at the gallery.

2014 Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance gives the best view in town originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Audi mechanic takes owner's S4 home for the weekend




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Audi mechanic takes owner's S4 home for the weekend



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2013 Audi S4



When you bring your car to a dealer, you expect a technician to take it out for a spin, just to make sure there aren't any noises, rattles or other behavior that you may have missed. Maybe they run a few miles along a predetermined test route or take a quick run down the highway. You do not, however, expect a tech to abscond with you vehicle for a full weekend



That is just what happened to Chris Jackson, though, an Audi S4 owner in Calgary. His car was taken to Glenmore Audi - as mandated in his lease agreement - due to an issue with the navigation system. After realizing he'd left something in the car, he swung by the dealer on Saturday to pick it up, only to discover the car wasn't on the dealer's lot.



Naturally, he approached the dealer about the missing sedan.



"And the dealer's response was, 'It's okay, just go home, your car's fine, it's probably just somewhere on the lot. We can't find it.'"



According to Jackson, who spoke to the CBC, he lapped the dealership lot three times looking for the Ibis White S4. After two-and-a-half hours of fighting with the dealership and a call to the Mounties, the dealer finally started reaching out to its mechanics.



"The only way that they had actually even decided that they were going to call these guys was that I'd called the police and said, 'My car's missing, the dealer doesn't know where it is. I don't know where it is, that's a stolen car,'" Jackson said.



According to the owner of Glenmore Audi, the tech took the car to test the nav system over an extended period, but that still isn't sitting well with Jackson.



"The police officer we spoke with said I've never heard of anything like this before, it's clearly ethically wrong," Jackson said. Jackson and his wife, Angela, told the CBC that the tech put about 500 kilometers on the car (about 310 miles) over the weekend.



What do you think? Is this just a big misunderstanding? Would you be okay with an unknown tech taking your supercharged sports sedan home for a weekend of unsupervised use? We want to hear from you in Comments.

Audi mechanic takes owner's S4 home for the weekend originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 13 Aug 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

2015 Audi S3 configurator goes live with all the black and silver paint you've hoped for




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2015 Audi S3 configurator goes live with all the black and silver paint you've hoped for



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It has already been nearly a year since we completed our First Drive of the premium pocket rocket Audi S3, with official pricing for the car detailed earlier this summer. Those are facts, but facts won't help you while away your lunchtime in blissful, car-dreaming reverie, will they?



No, for help with imagining just exactly the kind of Audi S3 that you'd like to put in your garage, the freshly launched configurator is just the thing.



Every 2015 Audi S3 will come with 2.0T power under the hood - to the tune of 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The most basic Premium Plus trim (an interesting renaming of "entry level" we'll grant you) starts at $41,100 before destination, while the higher-content Prestige asks $47,000. The extra six grand buys you full LED lighting, tri-zone climate control, S model appearance upgrades like quad exhaust tips and a more advanced infotainment suite with Bang & Olufsen sound.



Nine paint options are available at launch, though only one, Brilliant Black, comes without an additional upcharge. Most of the other hues will run you an extra $550, though if you're sweet on the looks of the Panther Black Crystal (seen above), you'll have to shell out $1,075 for the look. Your choice of three interior colorways are all cost-free options, however.



There are really only two options packages beyond the trim level differences: a technology pack for $1,400 and a performance pack for $1,500. The performance upgrades include 19-inch five spoke wheels (an inch larger than the standard rolling stock, with the same 225-section tires), and Audi's magnetic ride control. The tech pack brings lane assist and adaptive cruise to help you crush those long road trips, along with an emergency city braking system for low-speed stops and a front camera with distance sensor for tight parking spots.



Finally, if you intend on putting folks (young or old) in the small rear seating area, we'd recommend dropping the $350 extra for rear side airbags. Always hoon responsibly.

2015 Audi S3 configurator goes live with all the black and silver paint you've hoped for originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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