Drive Away 2Day

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2008 Morgan Aero 8 : Photos
2008 Morgan Aero 8 : Photos

Sources : 2008 Morgan Aero 8 Photo
Peugeot Hoggar Concept : Concept Cars
Peugeot Hoggar Concept : Concept Cars

Resembling an imposing 2-seater buggy, the Peugeot Hoggar looks avant-garde and unreal at first sight. Vast open spaces spring to mind, easily accessible to judge from the car's robustness and latent power.

The Style
In elevation, the Hoggar has no overhang, thereby offering a highly compact volume with condensed proportions. The front wing rises over the tyre and falls back gently, before rising again abruptly at the rear wheel. This creates a general profile that is both elegant and dynamic and which, combined with the rear projection, expresses the strength and robustness of a crouching animal ready to pounce.

Following the example of the RCs , the bonnet s front end envelops the grille, which houses the lion badge of the marque. Its rear end extends into the passenger compartment by means of dual, rounded sections that pass through the windscreen and culminate in two instrument panels.

The cat-like headlamps resemble half-closed but watchful eyes, while at the rear a sinewy impression is created, reinforcing the animal nature of the Hoggar, ready to leap from dune to dune.

The cultured interior features the refinement of metal and leather. Like everything which the passengers are in contact with, the dynamically designed seats are padded and covered with supple leather synonymous with luxury and comfort.

The Hoggar is a sports car for extreme conditions, with two seats and two up to the minute power trains deployed transversally, one at the front, the other at the rear, giving it the attributes of a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

The car consists principally of a one-piece carbon honeycomb shell reinforced by two upper longitudinal roll-over bars made from stainless steel, each with a diameter of 76 mm. These tubes also serve as an air intake and air conduit to the front engine (left-hand tube) and rear engine (right-hand tube).

At the front of the carbon structure, as at the rear, there is a tubular sub-frame designed to support each power train. Attached to the carbon shell at six points at the front and four at the rear, these tubular frames also accommodate all suspension fittings, including the double wishbones.

Each power train incorporates the same turbocharged four-cylinder Diesel HDi engine with dual overhead camshaft and sixteen valves. Their displacement is 2168 cm3 and their maximum power 133 kW. The two engines therefore supply a combined power of 266 kW or nearly 360 bhp and a maximum torque of 800 Nm.

Each ML 6C gearbox is driven by electrically-controlled hydraulic actuators. The sequential gear change operates by means of control plates under the steering wheel or a lever on the central console. A fully automatic mode is also available.

The suspension of this concept car features double wishbones at the front and rear. Each axle is equipped with an anti-roll bar. The light-alloy wishbones allow generous clearance both in terms of compression (250 mm) and expansion (250 mm). To guarantee steering accuracy despite a total travel of 500 mm, each front suspension unit has a decoupled pivot. The four suspension units are fitted with two spring/gas damper units, each equipped with a gas reservoir. This additional capacity makes it possible to increase the volume of available gas while retaining a compact damper body.

On board this ultra high-tech open-air vehicle, natural leather and aluminium feature strongly. Two people can sit in the one-piece, cast light-alloy seats, which have leather upholstery. Each occupant is secured by a safety belt, a true four-point harness connected to four small inertia reels.

Because the Hoggar is designed as an open-air vehicle, the driver's position is largely open and does not have a roof. The doors are in fact two small panels, forming part of the front wings, beneath which the ground can easily be seen. These panels open in the gull-wing style.

Diode technology is widely used for all of the vehicle's signalling lights. For the direction indicator function, the front headlamps incorporate three orange-tinted plexiglass bars, cut like crystal, behind which are located LEDs.

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Sources : Peugeot Hoggar Concept Photo | Peugeot Hoggar Concept Article | Peugeot Hoggar Concept Photo 2 | Peugeot Hoggar Concept Photo 3 | Peugeot Hoggar Concept Photo 4
1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk.1A : Classic Cars
1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk.1A : Classic Cars

The Rootes Group (Hillman, Singer, Sunbeam, and Humber) was a reasonably successful fringe player in the early foreign car movement in the U.S. They played it exceedingly safe with small sedans like the Hillman Minx and the rather soft but pleasant Sunbeam Alpine sports car. The Alpine consistently sold well in the U.S., but Rootes management was looking for something more exciting to appeal to the burgeoning American youth and performance market.

The Shelby Cobra of 1962 was the inspiration for the Sunbeam Tiger, and Rootes West Coast Director Ian Garrad was quick to grasp the significance. At his direction, two prototypes were constructed using Alpine shells, one by Carroll Shelby and the other by Ken Miles. After a test drive by Lord Rootes himself, the project was given official blessing with Jensen Motors in West Bromwich, England, assembling the cars.

Unlike the Cobra, the Tiger used a low-horsepower, 164-hp version of the Ford 260-c.i. small-block engine, and performance was relatively mild (although in an entirely different league from the Alpine). It was enough to stress the chassis and braking of the Alpine, though. Stock Tigers (which are few and far between) are best driven at something less than 10/10s.

A mild refresh occurred after Sunbeam built 3,700 cars, with squarer doors, a vinyl convertible boot, and added cabin ventilation. These cars are now known as Tiger Mk IAs, and just over 2,700 were built.

Chrysler’s purchase of Rootes spelled the end for the Tiger. The notion of having to back an engine built by rival Ford was just too much and no Chrysler V-8 would fit the tight confines of the Alpine’s engine compartment without an extensive re-design. Before the ax fell, however, the most exciting Tiger was released for 1967. The Mk II at last had Ford’s 289-c.i. V-8 and a few stylistic differences from the Alpine in the form of unique headlight trim, an egg-crate grille, and lower body striping. Fewer than 800 Tiger IIs were built, making them the most desirable of the line, after the ill-fated Le Mans cars.

Tigers remain both charismatic and undervalued collector cars. Ford mechanicals make them robust and easy to maintain and modern fixes for things like marginal cooling and braking are plentiful, which brings to mind the dearth of stock examples. Hard tops and LAT/Shelby options like magnesium wheels are desirable. Boss 302 transplants, fender flares, and hood scoops are not. Fakes made from Alpine Vs are out there as well (known as Algers and Tipines). Check to make sure the car that you’re interested in is on the Tiger Register.

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Sources : 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk.1A Photo | 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk.1A Article
2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid : Current Models
2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid : Current Models

For 2014, the Ford Fusion Hybrid lineup expands to include a less expensive base S trim level. Newly available features include inflatable rear seatbelts, a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.

Within the hybrid sedan segment, the pickings are pretty slim. This is especially true if you're looking for one with an upscale vibe that doesn't carry a premium price tag. The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is one of the few hybrid midsize sedans that meets these requirements with its neatly tailored styling, fine road manners and wealth of high-tech luxury and safety features.

Of course, job one for a hybrid is to deliver high fuel economy. The Fusion Hybrid's got you covered here, too. Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, the Fusion Hybrid boasts EPA fuel economy numbers of 47 mpg in all three cycles: city, highway and combined. That's a rare achievement considering that most hybrids do their best work in the city. These numbers are also considerably higher than those of the popular Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Although the Camry is a solid choice in this class, we prefer the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid for its more engaging style and personality. We'd also recommend the Fusion Hybrid over the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Kia Optima Hybrid, neither of which matches the Fusion's refinement. The closest competitor this year is the new Honda Accord Hybrid, as it largely matches the Fusion in terms of road manners, interior quality and feature content. A Volkswagen Passat equipped with the fuel-efficient turbocharged diesel engine (TDI) might be another alternative if you do a lot of highway driving.

Overall, though, the Fusion Hybrid is a must-see for hybrid shoppers and perhaps even those just looking at midsize sedans in general.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is available in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium. (The plug-in, extended-range version of the Fusion Hybrid, called the Fusion Energi, is reviewed separately.)

Standard equipment on the S includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, full power accessories, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, the voice-activated Sync audio/cell phone interface and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and USB port/iPod interface.

The SE adds color-keyed rocker moldings, heated mirrors, a keyless entry keypad, rear air vents, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a rear seat center armrest and satellite radio.

A few option packages are also available for the SE. The Appearance package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Luxury package includes foglights, auto-dimming mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver memory settings and a four-way power passenger seat. Opting for the Technology package equips the SE with the MyFord Touch electronics interface (with 8-inch touchscreen and two 4-inch configurable gauge cluster displays), an upgraded version of Sync, a rearview camera and a 110-volt power outlet. Eighteen-inch wheels and keyless ignition/entry are also optional.

Springing for the top-of-the-line Titanium effectively gets you the SE's optional features listed above as standard as well as remote start, sport front seats and an upgraded Sony 12-speaker audio system (with HD radio).

The Fusion Hybrid SE (with the Technology package selected) and Titanium can also be equipped with a navigation system, an automated parallel-parking system, a heated steering wheel and adaptive cruise control with collision warning system and brake intervention. For the SE and Titanium, Ford additionally offers the Luxury Driver Assist package, which includes automatic high-beam control, a 110-volt power outlet, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning and lane assist. A sunroof is optional for both the SE and Titanium, and the Titanium can be had with ventilated front seats.

Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine joined to an electric motor that's fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. Combined, they produce 188 horsepower that's sent to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).

According to the EPA, the Fusion Hybrid achieves an estimated 47 mpg city/47 mpg highway and 47 mpg in combined driving. That's by far the best of any midsize hybrid sedan and just a few mpg lower than the vaunted Toyota Prius.

In Edmunds track testing, the Fusion Hybrid posted an 8.4-second time to 60 mph, placing it alongside the Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid in acceleration.

The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags. The Ford Sync system includes an emergency crash notification feature that automatically dials 911 when paired with a compatible cell phone. Also standard is Ford's MyKey, which can be used to set certain parameters for teen drivers.

Optional equipment includes parking sensors and a rearview camera, as well as a number of driver assist systems. These include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, driver drowsiness detection, lane-departure warning and lane assist (it automatically helps the driver keep the car in its lane) and collision warning with brake support.

In Edmunds testing, the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid stopped from 60 mph in 132 feet, which is a little longer than average for its class.

The government gave the Fusion Hybrid five out of five stars for overall crash protection, along with five stars for frontal protection and four stars for side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the non-hybrid, but otherwise similar Fusion the highest possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, high-quality materials show Ford's continuing dedication to improving the passenger environment. The dashboard and center stack are uncluttered and tastefully designed, although this look can come across as austere and uninviting, especially with the all-black interior.

With the highly adjustable power driver seat, just about everybody should be able to find a comfortable driving position. The passenger seat is just as supportive, while the split-folding rear seats are well contoured and have plenty of legroom. You might think that the Fusion's swoopy styling would cut down on rear headroom, but it's comparable to its competition, with enough clearance for normal-size adults. Outward visibility to the front is good thanks to the Fusion's relatively slender front roof pillars.

Less appealing is the optional MyFord Touch system. The 8-inch main display controls various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice (Sync), touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It's a smart idea in theory, and it does provide some nice customization and smartphone integration possibilities. Unfortunately, there's a learning curve involved for the user, and we've found the system prone to glitches and slow to respond. In addition, many of the touchscreen icons are difficult to locate and press while on the move.

Compared with the standard Fusion, the Hybrid's trunk space takes a hit due to the packaging of the battery pack. As such, the Hybrid's checks in at 12 cubic feet, or 4 fewer cubes than the non-hybrid Fusion. Still, that's on par with the trunks of other midsize hybrid sedans.

Driving Impressions
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid's acceleration is adequate for daily use around town. There's generally enough passing power on the highway, too, especially if you plan ahead. As with most hybrid cars, acclimating to the regenerative braking system (which is used to recharge the battery pack) requires a little time, and inching either forward or backward into a parking stall takes a delicate touch on the brake pedal.

Thanks to extensive acoustic insulation, Ford has made good on its promise of low levels of road and wind noise. At a 70-mph cruise, the Fusion Hybrid is still luxury-car quiet. The only time we've found the Fusion Hybrid louder than a non-hybrid Fusion is during maximum acceleration, when the engine is working its hardest.

Thanks to its sophisticated suspension design, the 2014 Fusion Hybrid possesses impressive handling and ride dynamics. Driven through turns, the Fusion Hybrid is confident and composed, and its steering is remarkably communicative.

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Sources : 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid Photo | 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid Article | 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid Photo 2 | 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid Photo 3 | 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid Engine Photo | 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid Interior Photo
Parkour 997 "4 Guys Vs 1 Porsche 997" : Videos

Parkour 997 "4 Guys Vs 1 Porsche 997" : Videos

Host : Pascal Lemoine Projet TV

"When an obstacle gets in your way you can hold the fate for responsible. We prefer to think of it as a gift. That is our freedom: overcoming the obstacle together."

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Sources : Parkour 997 "4 Guys Vs 1 Porsche 997" Photo | Parkour 997 "4 Guys Vs 1 Porsche 997" Video
Chrysler Says June Sales In The US Up : News
Chrysler Says June Sales In The US Up For The 39th Straight Month : News

Chrysler’s sales in the US increased in June for the 39th consecutive month.

“We will achieve our 39th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s head of U.S. sales, told reporters today at the automaker’s proving grounds here. “We’ve seen it pretty consistent. I would say good, not weak, not great, just kind of good, in the month of June.”

It seems that the automaker’s redesigned Ram pickups, Jeep SUVs and the new Dodge Dart have managed to considerably increase sales. From January to May, Chrysler’s sales in the US increased 9%, surpassing the industrywide increase of 7.3%. Ram pickup sales rose 23% during the first five months of the year, close to GM’s and Ford’s large pickup sales.

For Chrysler, GM and Ford pickups are the main source of profit, and sales in this segment were helped by housing recovery and a record energy production. Fiat, Chrysler’s owners, relies on the US automaker’s profit to offset losses in the crisis-affected Europe. This week Chrysler has also began production of its 2014 Jeep Cherokee at the Toledo plant, in Ohio, and it will reach dealers in the US in August.

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Sources : Chrysler Says June Sales In The US Up For The 39th Straight Month Photo | Chrysler Says June Sales In The US Up For The 39th Straight Month Article
Honda PUYO : Concept Cars
Honda PUYO : Concept Cars

The Honda PUYO which first went on show at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show is a concept car which is designed to convey a warm, friendly attitude.

The designers chose a 'Seamless Soft Box' shape for the exterior of the PUYO. The goal was to create a design with the personality of a lovable pet, while also taking advantage of the space a mono-box design allows.

The Honda PUYO's 'gel body' features soft materials to promote greater real-world safety, especially in the case of accidents involving pedestrians. The body also has the ability to light up in order to guide people into the vehicle and notify them of the vehicle's condition. This gives the PUYO a more intuitive relationship between the occupants and itself.

The interior of the PUYO was designed to have a 'Silky Feel', and provide a refreshing, welcoming feeling of space. The almost seamless 360 degree views help create an open feeling for the passengers. The PUYO also features unusual solutions for the control interfaces, such as an instrument panel monitor, controls that raise up when the vehicle starts up, luminous fluid meter displays, and a joystick for directional control of the vehicle. The joystick controls the steering of the PUYO which utilizes all four wheels to allow the vehicle to turn almost on the spot.

The Honda PUYO concept brings together 'clean', 'safe' and 'fun' functionality in an environmentally responsible, ergonomic design. It's not incredibly attractive, but as a city car the PUYO would be fantastic.

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Sources : Honda PUYO Photo | Honda PUYO Article
2013 Scion FR-S By TAngelo Racing : Photos
2013 Scion FR-S By TAngelo Racing : Photos

Sources : 2013 Scion FR-S By TAngelo Racing Photo
2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP...
2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP : Current Models

Back in February, Mini invited me to come try out its brand-new Paceman coupe-crossover-hatchback thing in Puerto Rico, and not long after, I spit out a Quick Spin detailing my impressions of the little-big two-door. But here's what I didn't tell you: Mini also let me loose on those fine, curvaceous, tropical roads in its hottest hatch, the John Cooper Works GP. And while that behind-the-wheel gigglefest would have no doubt made for a story laden with positive notes and warm regards, the truth is, I only drove it for 15 minutes, so I couldn't in good conscience offer much of a story to you. (European Editor Matt Davis also got a short stint behind the wheel of the GP late last year.)

So for the sake of due diligence, I buckled down and spent a full eight days with the JCW GP back home in Detroit, just as springtime was starting to stick here in southeast Michigan. But after my time with the Mini, I was wishing that I could have just been left with my GP memories from Puerto Rico, where I was pushing the little hotbox hard around smooth corners and flexing every one of its muscles to eke out the full JCW GP experience in only a short timeframe.

This was indeed a bittersweet homecoming.

There's that old saying about April showers bringing May flowers, and if that little ditty is true, next month had better be a vibrant tapestry of floral delight here in Detroit. As I said, Mini was kind enough to give me eight days with the JCW GP at home in The D, and it rained every single one of them, even turning to snow for a short while. There were very brief periods of sun and warmth during the car's time in my care (as in, it stopped raining long enough for me to hastily bang out the photos you see accompanying this text), but let's just say that if front-wheel-drive hot hatch rainstorm wrangling were a sport, you'd want me on your fantasy team.

So in many of these particularly wet conditions, where there wasn't much hooliganism to be had while slumming through traffic on the notoriously flood-prone stretch of the M-10 freeway on the Motor City's northwest side, all I could do was focus on the car as it stands, not as it drives. And if you like what Mini has to offer in its other models, you won't find anything to hate about the John Cooper Works GP.

Outside, it's like a red-over-gray bulldog, all aggressively stanced and ready to go. The JCW GP sits 20 millimeters lower to the ground thanks to its fully adjustable coilover suspension (there's a wrench in the glovebox, kids) and it rides on lightweight 17-inch four-spoke wheels – a design that pays homage to the first-generation GP kit from 2006. Those rollers are wrapped in ultra-sticky Kumho Ecsta V400 215/40R17 tires (not-as-hardcore 205/45-series rubbers are also available), which proved to be a highly integral part of the overall GP experience – but more on that later.

Other visual changes for the GP include the unique Thunder Gray paint with red accents on the more aggressive front fascia, not to mention those cute little red mirrors, as well as red/black/white GP decals on the hood and doors. Around back, a big ol' wing has been bolted to the C-pillar, and there's a larger rear diffuser with dual center exhaust that sounds, well, amazing. Of course, lots of aero bits are found along the lower front fascia and side sills, and it's all there to make this car nothing short of excellent on the road. Those of you who remember the old GP Kit will recall the serialized number just above the driver's door, and Mini tells us that this can be done on the new model, as well. In fact, folks who own that first-gen GP can even reserve their same number should they choose to order the new model.

A huge factor in the Mini's excellence is its overall weight reduction – some 121 pounds have been removed versus the normal John Cooper Works Hardtop, meaning at 2,558 pounds, the GP is only 23 pounds heavier than a base Cooper Hardtop. A big part of this has to do with what's inside the car, or rather, what isn't. The rear seat has been removed in favor of a red bar that spans the strut towers, but do note this piece of metal apparently has absolutely no structural significance. It doesn't make the car any stiffer, and Mini tells us it's only there to keep luggage from flying into the forward cabin during hard stops. Honestly, we like the rear seat delete setup, since – let's be honest – that rear bench isn't exactly fit for passengers anyway. Instead, you just get a fully usable cargo area that's capable of lugging 25.5 cubic feet of your precious goods. That said, we're function-over-form types at Autoblog, and it seems like an opportunity was wasted not making the crossbrace... well, an actual crossbrac.

Up front, new Recaro seats are standard (they're optional extras on other Hardtop models), but the whole cockpit is, basically, the same as it ever was. We're all really growing tired of the Mini's kitschy-over-function cabin, though the high-quality leather and plastics used throughout the interior remain appreciated. The dark surfaces blend nicely with red highlights on the shift knob, badges and contrast stitching, and the thicker JCW steering wheel is as joyous as ever to grab onto, free of any sort of buttonry.

The beating heart of the John Cooper Works GP is the same 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in every other S-and-above Mini model. Here, 211 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque are on tap. That's only three more stallions than the normal JCW Hardtop, for those taking notes, but Mini says that because of its lighter weight, this is the quickest vehicle the company has produced to date, able to hit 60 miles per hour in just a hair under six seconds. And it feels every bit as quick from behind the wheel.

So let's start with the positives: On the flat, smooth, dry pavement of Puerto Rico, I could have easily decided that this is the best-driving Mini I've ever tested. And it all has to do with how that power gets transferred to the road. The 121 pounds of reduced heft is noticeable, as the GP doesn't feel as fat as other Minis when you're really caning it, especially during hard cornering. Off the line, typical turbo Mini attributes like torque steer are still present, but it's easy to manage, and with the full torque (including small moments of overboost) coming on strong at 1,750 RPM, there's never a lack of power in any gear.

Mini only offers the GP with the same Getrag six-speed manual transmission used in its other models, and it's once again a joy to use here in the hottest JCW. The clutch's substantial effort required can lead to a tired left leg after prolonged use, and I'll admit, the gearbox could certainly benefit from a short-shift kit (maybe one specifically for the GP), but overall, rowing your own cogs is as fun as ever.

Which brings me to my eight days with the JCW GP in Detroit, where I dodged potholes and experienced the joys of hydroplaning on soaked highways. The real problem here is that while the stiffer suspension bits make for a truly rewarding driving experience on perfect pavement, your spine will surely suffer on worn, broken surfaces.

On top of that, because the excellent, typically go-kart-like Mini steering is so in tune with exactly what the wheels are doing, hitting a frost heave with one front wheel at speed will result in an instantaneous and unpleasant reaction from the steering wheel. So while the GP is a joy to toss around on good roads, it becomes rather more challenging when you're trying to drive quickly over blemished pavement. With other Minis, we can blame much of this phenomenon on run-flat tires, but that's not the case with these purpose-developed Kumho shoes, as they're regular high-performance radials.

But now, I need to talk about the obvious elephant in the room: pricing. Simply put, this thing ain't cheap. The John Cooper Works GP is limited to a production run of only 2,000 units, all of which sticker for $39,950, including $700 for destination, which represents a whopping increase of $8,450 over a standard JCW Hardtop model, a car that already starts at $6,800 more than my go-to choice for everyday Mini fun, the $24,000 Cooper S Hardtop. Just for the sake of comparison, I built my ideal Cooper S on Mini's online configurator, and with every option that I'd want (not necessarily need), the grand total comes to $30,000 dead, meaning I'd have to warrant spending an extra $10,000 for the added awesomeness of the GP. And I just can't do it. (At least the first-generation GP still offers impressive resale value – hopefully these will pick up the baton where it left off.)

I love Minis, and despite the ark-worthy rainy season that plagued my test in Detroit, I still maintain that the GP is the best-driving example from the brand I've ever tested. The problem, however, is that it isn't that much better than the already-enjoyable Cooper S, and you give up a lot in the way of refinement and functionality from a daily-driver standpoint if you live in an area with roads like mine. California? The ownership picture, as well as the weather, is probably altogether sunnier. Either way, as a second car, this thing is a sweetheart, and I have no doubt that Mini will sell every last one of the 2,000 it produces. Even so, it's a good thing I have those memories from Puerto Rico – that way there's at least a huge helping of sugar to salve the harsh taste left in my mouth after eight days at home.

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Sources : 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Photo | 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Article | 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Photo | 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Wheel Photo | 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Interior Photo | 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Engine Photo | 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Rear Photo 2 | 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Rear Photo 3
James Bond’s Lotus Submarine : News
James Bond’s Lotus Submarine Heads To Auction : News

The fully functioning Lotus Esprit submarine piloted by James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me has been consigned by RM Auctions for its coming sale in London this September.

The car, which was nicknamed Wet Nellie on the set of the 1976 film, is based on a 1977 Series I Esprit and, according to RM, cost $100,000 to convert to submarine duty. Though other Esprits were used in the film, Nellie commanded the most screen time.

RM cites a curious post-production narrative for the car. After filming, the Esprit entered a storage unit in Long Island, New York, which had been paid upfront for a decade. But when subsequent billings went delinquent, the unit’s contents were offered in a blind auction, with no indication of what they might be. A local couple entered the winning bid (undisclosed by RM), and discovered the car under blankets when they opened the unit. After authentication, the vehicle was on show briefly at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, but has been rarely displayed publically since emerging from its Long Island exile.

RM did not reveal a pre-auction estimate for the Esprit, arguably the second most recognisable Bond car of all time, but Meghan McGrail, an RM spokeswoman, said the Esprit was expected to fetch over £500,000 ($760,000). The original Bond car, an Aston Martin DB5 used in 1964’s Goldfinger, was sold by the company for £2.9m at its London sale in 2010.

The Esprit will be offered without reserve at RM’s Battersea sale on 8 to 9 September.

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Sources : James Bond’s Lotus Submarine Heads To Auction Photo | James Bond’s Lotus Submarine Heads To Auction Article | James Bond’s Lotus Submarine Photo 2
Geneva Motor Show 2013 : Videos

Geneva Motor Show 2013 : Videos

Host : Nori Event | Automotive Media

These are our impressions of the Geneva Motor Show 2013!

Including lots of highlights, world premieres, supercars and hypercars, as the McLaren P1, the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Lamborghini Veneno!

We captured them in a special way, more cinematic than journalistic - and we hope you like it! Leave your feedback in the comment section.

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Sources : Geneva Motor Show 2013 Photo | Geneva Motor Show 2013 Video
1942 Alfa Romeo 6c 2500 : Photos
1942 Alfa Romeo 6c 2500 : Photos

Sources : 1942 Alfa Romeo 6c 2500 Photo
1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R : Classic Cars
1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R : Classic Cars

The W 196 R was the first formula racing car built by Daimler-Benz after the war. Following their pre-war success, no one doubted that Daimler-Benz would return to formula racing. The first entry of the new W 196 R in the French GP at Reims ended with great success: Drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling would score a double victory. The next entry at Silverstone, however, was less successful, probably due to the streamlined body which was unsuitable for that track. This experience resulted in the development of the open wheel 'monoposto' body. Subsequently, various versions of the car were manufactured with different wheelbases, engine displacement and braking system configurations.

The car featured here was driven in the monoposto form by Fangio to victory in the Grand Prix of Buenos Aires. Sir Stirling Moss piloted the car in streamliner configuration at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The first six seasons of the F1 championship were completely taken over by a single make, Ferrari. The rules were adapted in 1954 and either 750 cc engines with forced aspiration of 2500 cc engine with natural aspiration were allowed. This was now the time for Mercedes-Benz to re-enter the Grand Prix racing, twenty years from when the first Mercedes Benz GP vehicle, the W25.

There were 15 models constructed; the Mercedes-Benz W 196 R was sold as either an open wheel variant dubbed the 'Monoposto' or an aerodynamic version called the Streamliner. Mercedes-Benz returned to Formula 1 racing with the Mercedes W196 in 1954. Introduced at the 1954 Reims Grand Prix, the W196 looked like nothing else on the grid. Even under the streamlined body, all new cutting edge innovations were introduced. The 'Typ Monza' version impressed the racing world with its premiere at Reims. The controversial fully enclosed streamliner bodywork with the aerodynamic shape was a sight that had never before been seen by the adoring public. A smaller frontal area was the result of the straight 8 cylinder engine being titled 37 degrees. A desmodromic valve operating system was placed in the W196 and no valve springs closed the valves, instead one camshaft opened the valves and a second one closed them again.

Nine victories were claimed by the W 196 Streamliner that included fastest lap, plus 8 pole positions in 12 Grand Prix races by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio. Juan Manual Fangio achieved world championship titles in 1954 and 1955 in a combination of streamliner and monoposto variations of the W196. The W196's first victory at Grand Prix was achieved by Fangio with his team mate Kling just a few meters behind him. Moss lead three other W196's to victory at the British Grand Prix at Aintree in 1955.

Originally developed for the 300 SL, Bosch direct fuel injection was utilized. The drum brakes were moved inboard to decrease the unsprung weight. The Mercedes-Benz W196 Streamliner was quite a complex vehicle, and a tribute to its pre-war cousins.

During its production run, a variety of versions of the W196 was built. The streamlined version for high speed tracks like Reims, Monz and Avus and more conventional bodied versions for the road racing tracks. A short wheel base version was constructed for the 1955 season and an even shorter model for the '55 Monaco Grand Prix. The latter model was built with outboard brakes for cooling reasons.

Unfortunately tragedy was in store for the 1955 season as 87 people were tragically killed by a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR that flew into a grandstand. Mercedes-Benz chose to withdraw from mortorsport, and didn't make the return that fans had hoped.

Today, the W 196 R is on display as part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Collection.

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Sources : 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Photo | 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Article
Jaguar C-X75 : Concept Cars

Jaguar C-X75 : Concept Cars

Jaguar desperately needs a BMW 3-series fighter priced between $30,000 and $40,000. While we continue to wait for that rumored announcement, Jaguar is using the très chic Paris auto show to unveil an eleventy-billion-dollar, two-seat, twin-turbine, quad-electric-motor-powered 205-mph slingshot that should be in production in about, oh, never. Cue the Star Wars theme. Did we mention that there was British government agency money involved in this project?

The C-X75 is at heart a research project designed to fuse aerospace and automotive technologies. The car was developed over a nine-month span and paid for by Jag, while the powertrain springs from a joint project with the British government–sponsored Technology Strategy Board. On the most basic level, the car’s complex powertrain is a range-extending hybrid that operates roughly like the Chevrolet Volt's. In the Jag, a 19-kWh, 330-pound cache of lithium-ion batteries provides up to 68 miles of pure-electric AWD propulsion from four 195-hp electric motors. Mounted inboard, each drives a single wheel through a 3:1 gear reduction, and together create a claimed 1180 lb-ft of torque. (Four electric motors? Maybe Jaguar should have called it the XJ440.)

When the battery pack is exhausted, two miniature gas turbines weighing 77 pounds each and making 94 hp at 80,000 rpm provide recharging power and also can boost the electric-motor output when high performance is required. The turbines, made by the English company Bladon Jets and housed in a box behind the two seats with inlet air channeled through ducts around the occupant’s heads, extend the range to 560 miles.

Jag is claiming 0-to-62-mph times of 3.4 seconds for the 3000-pound C-X75, about as quick as a Ferrari 458 Italia, with the quarter-mile accomplished in 10.3 seconds at 156 mph. Under hard acceleration, its runs solely on electricity to 60 mph, then one turbine kicks in to assist up to 120 mph. Beyond that, both turbines assist the C-X75 to its top speed. All of this is theoretical, since nobody has driven this machine at a speed faster than a crawl. The brakes are from the supercharged XFR sedan, though, so the 5-to-0-mph stops are surely furious.

Either way, it’s a stunning, road-sucking, mid-engined machine that looks like a windblown sliver of mercury, yet another attractive opus from the Jaguar design shop run by Ian Callum. Befitting Jaguar, the chassis is an aluminum spaceframe. The outer panels are fiberglass. A moveable airfoil on the underbody Venturi tunnel directs airflow according to the car’s speed, while the turbines’ hot exhaust gasses flow through vectored nozzles to increase downforce. Also, the grille and brake-cooling ducts seal themselves when not needed.

Inside is a nearly all-glass cockpit consisting of high-res LCD touch screens for gauges and information displays and electroluminescent lighting.

Talk about dumping the retro shtick.

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Sources : Jaguar C-X75 Photo | The Jaguar C-X75 Prototype Video | Jaguar C-X75 Article | Jaguar C-X75 Photo 2
2014 Audi A7 : Current Models
2014 Audi A7 : Current Models

The Audi A7 is a luxurious mid-size five-door hatchback based on the A6, but with more sumptuous styling. It competes with other "four-door coupes" like the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Plus, there are performance-oriented versions of the A7 available–the hot S7 edition, and the even faster RS7 editions arrives in showrooms soon.

No matter whether you call the Audi A7 a fastback, a four-door coupe, or a hatchback, we've found the A7 to be one of the best entries of its kind—and that's whether you go by refinement, performance, or features in addition to style. The sloping rear makes the A7 one the best-looking vehicles you can buy today, and it also makes it one of a small set of vehicles crafted specifically to appeal to design enthusiasts.

The A7 is more a sport sedan than a sports car, and even then not a sharply honed one unless you trim up to the high-performance S7. But we've found the A7 to be both fun-to-drive and well-mannered enough for the daily commute or long-distance road trips. The 310-horsepower, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 (TFSI 3.0) engine fits the quiet character of a luxury car yet churns out the torque just off idle and develops a raspy bark when called on. It's matched with Audi's eight-speed automatic transmission, which proves a willing companion and comes with Tiptronic manual controls. Quattro all-wheel drive delivers power to all four wheels, and Audi Drive Select allows the driver to pick among four different modes that control the way the transmission responds, the feel of the steering, and throttle responsiveness, among other variables.

The Audi S7, meanwhile, has a twin-turbo V-8 with 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, delivered through quattro all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It can still deliver up to 27 mpg while it's ripping off 0-60 mph runs in 4.5 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. It's the best derivative of the A6 family we've driven yet.

There's great isolation from road and wind noise inside, and as in Audi's TT sports car, an integrated spoiler extends (at 80 mph in the A7) to improve aerodynamics—then it retracts back at 50 mph. Hydraulic bushings help mute out harshness, as do frameless doors, and the A7 stays stiff yet light through the extensive use of aluminum in its structure. The hatchback body style and sloping rear roofline to add practicality and versatility to the A7, with the rear seatbacks folding forward to expand cargo space. Rear-seat passengers may note that headroom is somewhat tight in back, and they'll likely need to duck to get in—though for most buyers it will be a small price for the A7's beautiful roofline and just-right proportions.

Inside, the A7 gets some of the best elements of the cabin from Audi's A8 flagship—including superb materials and trims and Audi's MMI Plus screen-based system, which includes a combination rotary controller and an interface for audio navigation, and calling functions. In addition to the controller, there's also MMI Touch, which lets you enter destinations, phonebook entries, and such by tracing out individual letters, one at a time. The navigation system in the A7 also includes 3D Google Earth imagery; combined with SiriusXM Traffic updates, it's one of the best systems on the market.

The A7 was new to the U.S. market for the 2012 model year, and for 2013 there were only a few minor feature and option changes on the A7--although the 2013 Audi S7 was added to the lineup. There's more to come next year, when the even hotter Audi RS 7, with higher specific output and a track-ready suspension, comes to the U.S., in mid-2014.

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Sources : 2014 Audi A7 Photo | 2014 Audi A7 Article | 2014 Audi A7 Rear Photo | 2014 Audi A7 Interior Photo
Nissan Adds 900 Jobs To Make Rogue...
Nissan Adds 900 Jobs To Make Rogue At Tenn. Plant : News

Nissan is adding 900 jobs to start making the Rogue crossover SUV at its Tennessee plant, the Japanese automaker announced Thursday.

The new jobs are in addition to 800 positions added at the Smyrna plant last year, and will bring total employment at the suburban Nashville facility to more than 7,000. Hiring is already underway, and Rogue production is scheduled to begin this fall.

Building the Rogue in the United States for the first time is part of the Japanese automaker's plan to have 85 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. produced in North America.

Bill Krueger, Nissan's senior vice president of manufacturing, said in a news release that the new production "underscores Nissan's longtime commitment to our employees and expanding operations around the country."

This month marks the 30th anniversary of Nissan producing vehicles in the U.S. The plant in Smyrna plant built its first pickup truck in June 1983. It now makes Nissan's most popular car, the midsize Altima sedan, and the all-electric Leaf. It also produces the Maxima, Pathfinder and Infiniti JX.

Production of the Frontier and Xterra were recently shifted to Nissan's Canton, Miss., assembly plant.

Nissan's American headquarters are located in Franklin, just outside Nashville. The company also has an engine plant in Decherd, Tenn. Nissan's U.S. plants have combined to make more than 12 million vehicles.

Through May, Nissan sold 65,533 Rogues in the U.S., a 4.4 percent increase from a year ago. But the Rogue, with an aging design, isn't growing as fast as the market for crossover sport utility vehicles. That segment is up 14 percent through May, according to Autodata Corp.

The new production at the Tennessee plant will be of an all-new version of the Rogue.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam lauded the jobs announcement.

"I want to congratulate Nissan for their accomplishments over the last 30 years and the tremendous impact their success has had on the state's economy and the thousands of people they employ," he said in a statement.

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Sources : Nissan Adds 900 Jobs To Make Rogue At Tenn. Plant Photo | Nissan Adds 900 Jobs To Make Rogue At Tenn. Plant Article
1930 Duesenberg Model J : Classic Cars
1930 Duesenberg Model J : Classic Cars

The Duesenberg Mode J was introduced in December 1928 to universal applause. It was proclaimed 'the world's finest motor car.' The Duesenberg chassis sold for $8,500, and depending on the coachwork selected, as in this example, a LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton, could cost up to $25,000, a stupendous sum for this period.

Any discussion of the Model J leads to engines and horsepower. The car is powered by a Lycoming, straight-eight, 420-cid, engine with an advertised 265 horsepower and some said was even higher. The engine was equipped with dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, a performance enhancement used to this day. The car was capable of 89 mph in 2nd gear and 112-116 in high gear. The speedometer is calibrated to 150 mph. This made the oversized hydraulic, vacuum-assisted, brakes a necessity.

Images evoke memories. Few images can evoke a whole gamut of feelings, memories or ideals. But the Duesenberg Model J can captivate an audience with its beauty and elegant design, all while transporting many others to a place in time filled with images of depression, hunger, a time of great lacking, perhaps even, hatred and jealousy. Such a symbol and source of emotion is the Duesenberg Model J.

E.L. Cord purchased Duesenberg from the Duesenberg brothers Fred and August. Cord wanted the name and the engineering talent of the brothers in order to make luxury road cars. Cord wanted his new company to produce what would be considered the best cars in the world and he challenged Fred to design such a car. Cord wanted the biggest, fastest and even the most expensive car in the world. After twenty-seven months of design work, the Model J was born.

How ironic Duesenberg gave its Model J the added name 'Phaeton'. The origin of the word is Greek and tells of a mythological story where Phaeton, son of Helios and Clymene, took his father's sun-chariot but ended up crashing it and almost set fire to the earth.

The Model J debuted at the 1928 New York Auto Salon to much acclaim. It was the star of the show that year. Duesenberg's Model J was so popular that Duesenberg order enough parts to make 500 examples. Delivery of the first models didn't take place for another six months as the company wanted to thoroughly test its concept to ensure it would meet its standards for quality and performance.

The first Model Js were delivered to the public just five months before the stock market was rocked by 'Black Tuesday'. As a result of the depression coming to grip America at that time, Cord's businesses were struggling to stay afloat during the very trying economic times. Cord's dream of the biggest, fastest and most expensive was beginning to fade away with reality. However, the true disparity of the Great Depression actually saved the Duesenberg Model J.

While all were affected, those with wealth and means were by no means as largely impacted as those who were middle-class or poorer. Those who had wealth continued to enjoy it, and, therefore, the Model J. This does not mean the Model J survived totally unscathed. Cord had expected Duesenberg would sell 500 examples. In the end, only about 300 had been built. However, very soon, nothing exemplified or typified wealth as the Model J. This also led those who were without, when they saw one, to be reminded of where they were and what they were facing. For many, the Model J became an object of desire. For others, the Model J could have become an object that led to feelings of despair.

If there is one example of the Model J that could evoke such messages, feelings and emotions, the example that crossed the block at this year's auction would have been it. A Duesenberg Model J in all its elegant beauty is always something to behold. But the model that was offered at this year's auction was even more special, even more-rare.

This number Model J is one of only two short-wheelbase Model J Phaetons ever built by the coachbuilder Derham. Derham started out, as did many, building coaches for carriages. After the First World War, and the death of the father, a dispute broke out amongst the remaining brothers. One left to start his own company. The other two were able to overcome the dispute and actually became quite noteworthy, even more so than before the war had begun. Just as with concept car designers throughout the years, the Derham brothers realized they would achieve greater success building only a few models of coaches. In itself, this makes any Derham built car extremely rare.

The design of the 2136 chassis is nothing short of perfection and elegance. However, the car, itself, has gone through quite a lot in its history. The car was sold in 1930 to Charles Hooper Crosby of Piedmont, California. From that moment on, 2136 experienced quite the celebrity life. The car had many famous owners, or, passengers. Though only a distant relation, Bing Crosby had ridden in the car. Bruce Kellog, of Hollywood, had, at one point in time, owned it. This wouldn't be the last time Hollywood came beckoning for the car.

After the late 30s, and throughout the Second World War, the car fell into some incredible disrepair and was even slated for the wrecking yard. After being saved, the car exchanged hands many times until it was restored at some point during the 1960s. The restoration was quite complete, enough that Hollywood came knocking and contracted it to appear in an Elvis Presley movie. Elvis left his own mark on the car when he damaged the underside of the front grill. Besides having the dent repaired, Presley even made an offer for the car, but it was refused.

The car was taken in an asset seizure in the late 1990s, but was then purchased in 2004. The car was then sent to RM Auto Restoration for a complete show-quality restoration. It was found that when it was originally restored back in the 1960s many of the components were correct and were in rather good condition. The entire chassis went through a painstaking process looking for cracks in any of the metal, decay in the wood or damage to any other part of the car. The entire car, at some point in time, had been dismantled and cataloged to check for authenticity and need for repair. Great care was taken in restoring the car. Soon, its elegant beauty began to be reflected again.

The interior went through another painstaking process. Pieces for the restoration of the interior were cut to original pattern dimensions. The entire wood work inside the interior was refinished.

The car's engine, gearbox and suspension members were completely torn down and rebuilt to factory specifications or better. The suspension and brake system was entirely torn down, checked, repaired and reinstalled.

The car emerged in time to be part of the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, which had a special focus that year called 'The Year of the Duesenberg'. What emerged though was a wonderful and storied Model J Phaeton. The car was finished in superb tones of grey, which only highlights the beautiful chrome. This Model J has a three-speed transmission and vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic brakes. The car sports a four-wheel semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension and a front beam and live rear axle. With its restored 265 bhp, 420 cu. in. inline eight-cylinder engine, and the iconic beautiful exhaust pipes that exit out the sides of the engine cowling, this Model J looks 'like a Duesy'.

A Model J is a cornerstone for any collection. The grace and styling of this Model J Phaeton represents the intentions of Mr. Cord very well. It exemplifies luxury and privilege. It typifies the elegant and exclusive detailing that many associate with that day and age. The graceful lines of the body design, as well as, the simple, but classic leather interior evokes and exudes the very definition of American royalty.

It clearly states the disparity of the late 1920s and 30s. It is the object of desire, the dream, in the imagination of the poor man and the very definition of quality those with means came to expect. Clearly, the Duesenberg Model J Phaeton, perhaps more than any other car in America, can cause such a flood of emotion and feeling. That is because even its design and appointments are expressions of those emotions and feelings. The car has the ability to say and express so much, and that is what makes it such a classic and defining motor car.

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Sources : 1930 Duesenberg Model J Photo | 1930 Duesenberg Model J Article
Toyota ME.WE Concept : Concept Cars
Toyota ME.WE Concept : Concept Cars

Leave it to Toyota to build a plastic-wrapped electric eco-box on wheels from a mission statement about freedom, lightness, and fighting back against the mountain of constraints faced by modern vehicles. The odd-looking vehicle in question springs from a collaboration between Toyota’s European design operations and noted industrial designer Jean-Marie Massaud, and is called the ME.WE concept. Literally sheathed in recyclable polypropylene and vaguely resembling an oversized, motorized Styrofoam cooler with a pair of futons inside, the ME.WE is what happens when Toyota tries letting its hair down.

The impetus for the car, as presented by Toyota and designer Massaud, is full of dramatic hyperbole regarding the sad direction of society and its increasingly abrasive interaction with mobility. As Massaud describes the car’s reason for being, “By losing sight of reality and as a result of an idealized approach, the car has become an accumulation of constraints more than a source of freedom. However, our lives and needs require more adaptability, simplicity, and lightness.” If Massaud were talking about what we think he’s talking about, we agree—the world needs more sports cars. Unfortunately, neither Massaud nor Toyota had sports cars in mind, and the ME.WE that resulted from this highbrow banter is about as sporty as an intermittent windshield wiper.

Boastfully, Toyota declares that, “until now, no car has been able to resolve the contradictions of real life as well as the ME.WE does.” Of course, given the ME.WE’s nonexistent production plans and the apparent inadequacy of other cars at solving deep existential issues, we suppose that reduces our contradiction-solving options to good old-fashioned therapy. The ME.WE aims to fundamentally change the world’s perspective on mobility through three lenses: pertinence (adapting to users’ actual needs), synthesis (streamlining production, reducing waste), and modernity.

Volkswagen Thing Meets Little Tikes Cozy Coupe
Addressing synthesis and modernity, Toyota gave the ME.WE a lightweight, tubular aluminum structure onto which interchangeable, weird-looking plastic body panels can be attached. Theoretically, the 100-percent recyclable panels could be molded with a variety of surface treatments for a unique look, and Toyota helpfully provides images of several unattractive potential combinations. Somehow—we assume by way of rearranging the body panels—the ME.WE is “a pickup, convertible, off-roader, and small city car all in one.” Chalk up a “W” in the pertinence column. The concept’s plain exterior likely has more to do with Massaud’s feelings that modern vehicles offer “a plethora of promises that support egos and social status through excessive hype about innovation” than any kind of intentional aesthetic.

At 134.5 inches long, 68.9 inches wide, and 63 inches tall, the ME.WE is about as wide and tall as a Mini Cooper Countryman, while being more than two feet shorter. Power comes from space-saving electric wheel-hub motors—on either two or all four wheels—and a floor-mounted battery pack of unspecified capacity. Toyota claims the ME.WE is “thus liberated from traditional packaging constraints,” and that it weighs just over 1650 pounds. Putting aside for the moment that this sounds a lot like “excessive hype about innovation,” the interior makes the most of Toyota’s powertrain packaging coup. There is a pair of very cool bench seats; the rear one can fold under the front to make room for cargo, and the headrests dangle from the ME.WE’s ceiling. The driver faces a pleasingly simple control array consisting of a steering wheel and a single display that shows speed, battery charge, trip information, and navigation instructions beamed in from a smartphone.

Ignoring the lofty logic behind its creation, we actually sort of like the ME.WE and its oddball, futuristic Fiat Jolly vibe. That said, we couldn’t ignore that the press literature described how Massaud had “identified a number of inconsistencies in the way we appreciate and understand the car” before starting the project. It’s unlikely that we enthusiasts are the “we” to which Massaud refers: We think we’ve got a pretty good understanding and appreciation of the automobile.

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Sources : Toyota ME.WE Concept Photo | Toyota ME.WE Concept Article | Toyota ME.WE Concept Photo 2 | Toyota ME.WE Concept Photo 3
2014 Mazda3 : Current Models
2014 Mazda3 : Current Models

Confirming what we already mostly knew about what the 2014 Mazda3 would look like, since the embargo has been porous from the get-go, here are the leaked official Mazda shots of the Euro-spec Mazda3. This is pretty much what the North American car will look like.

And it's a looker, if I do say so.

R&T is already partial to the Mazda6, whose new design language is fantastic. And the driving experience was good enough that, as I've mentioned before, we were passing up the keys to much flashier rides and fighting over the 6, eager to check out the shockingly good automatic gearbox.

All that bodes well for the Mazda3, which from initial reports will be lighter than its predecessor. Expect a nicer interior, too, with an HUD available as well as the now-obligatory protruding-from-the-dashboard infotainment screen.

We'll get you confirmed information about the powertrain and as many specs as we can get our hands on when it's all confirmed by Mazda, but I'll give you a hint: the engine name rhymes with "dry captive."

UPDATE: You want numbers? We got numbers for you. The following has been confirmed with Mazda. Let's start with the powertrains.

In North America, the 3 will have two available engines. The 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine will produce 155 hp at 6000 rpm, and 150 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. The other engine is the 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G that's already found in the CX-5 and Mazda6, making 184 hp at 5700 rpm and 185 lb-ft at 3250 rpm.

As for transmissions, the 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic that we expected have been confirmed.

Interestingly, the 2014 Mazda3 will be the first vehicle in the world to use regenerative braking and a capacitor to power the whole electronic system. That's what Mazda is referring to as the i-ELOOP system. No word on the efficiency gain from this system yet.

Outside, the Mazda3 is slightly shorter overall, but with a 2.4 inch longer wheelbase. It's also slippery: when the active grill shutters are spec'd, Cd drops to 0.255, which Mazda claims is best-in-class.

Inside, the big news is the HUD, which Mazda will integrate into all Mazda vehicles going forward as part of a "human-machine-interface" system. That conjures up images of cyborgs, but really the point is to combat driver distraction. We know the HUD display will carry all the normal driving info you'd expect, but it's not clear what other information will be displayed.

Also of note: the sedan will be unveiled in a couple of weeks. A Mazdaspeed version is probably in the works, as Mazda took pains to mention at the debut that "Mazdaspeed is alive and well." Buyers will be able to get their hands on the new Mazda3 around September, and the car will be built in Japan. A Mexican plant will supplement Japanese production starting in spring of 2014.

Diesel? No plans to make a SKYACTIV-D version at this point. That could be code for pretty much anything in manufacturer-speak, so we'll have to wait and see what direction Mazda goes there. Likely the reception of the Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D will be the key factor in a possible diesel Mazda3, but our European and Japanese friends get the diesel engine right off the bat.

If we get any more juicy details, we'll update you.

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Sources : 2014 Mazda3 Photo | 2014 Mazda3 Article
Where It All Started: The Mustang 1 Concept...

Where It All Started: The Mustang 1 Concept : Videos

Host : Ford Mustang

It¹s the early 1960s and America is changing; new music, new movies and new young drivers looking for a different kind of ride. Ford realizes it must change with the times. Two years before the launch of the car that would become a worldwide sensation, the first concept car bearing the Mustang name emerges from the Ford design studios.

The entire Mustang project was code-named ³Allegro² since many of the engineers and designers working on the concept are musicians. In order to keep the true nature of the project under wraps, they use musical terms as a code. While the diminutive, two-seat sports car doesn¹t make it to production in concept form, a number of design cues do along with the Mustang name.

We¹re collecting and sharing some of those stories each week on Mustang Countdown as we explore how this pony earned such a special place in the hearts of fans from not only New York to California, but Shanghai to London and Iceland to Argentina.

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Sources : Where It All Started: The Mustang 1 Concept Photo | Where It All Started: The Mustang 1 Concept Video
2011 Morgan Aero SuperSports : Photos
2011 Morgan Aero SuperSports : Photos

Sources : 2011 Morgan Aero SuperSports Photo
Auto Thefts In The US Increased In 2012 : News
Auto Thefts In The US Increased In 2012 For The First Time Since 2003 : News

According to NICB auto thefts in the US have increased in 2012 for the first time in eight consecutive years, as thieves took advantage of the budget cuts and reduced police forces

The National Insurance Crime Bureau said that auto thefts increased 1.3% in 2012 from 715,373 in 2011, when thefts dropped 3% compared with 2010. In 2011 auto thefts reached the lowest level since 1967.

“There were budget crunches in a lot of areas,” Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the Des Plaines, Illinois-based NICB, said in a telephone interview. “There have been layoffs of police. There’s been less focus on non-violent crimes, because there’s been more focus, as there should be, on violent crimes and crimes against people.”

The first place in auto thefts last year was taken by Modesto, California with an increase of 29% from the previous year to almost 817 cars per 100,000 people. Modesto Police Sergeant Rick Armendariz said that over the past 4 years the number of police officers in the city has been reduced by 30%. New York City area had 26,311 thefts, or 133 cars per 100,000 people, while Midland, Michigan has the fewest auto thefts.

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Sources : Auto Thefts In The US Increased In 2012 For The First Time Since 2003 Photo | Auto Thefts In The US Increased In 2012 For The First Time Since 2003 Article
Ford Shelby Cobra : Concept Cars

Ford Shelby Cobra : Concept Cars

The new Ford Shelby Cobra concept marks the latest step in an exciting evolution of Ford concept vehicles, with an evocative design, bonafide performance credentials and – thanks to engineering as nimble and efficient as a sports car – a level of feasibility that is already close to production-level.

Like the 2002 Ford GT40 concept, the Ford Shelby Cobra draws on Ford’s emotional and performance roots in a thoroughly modern interpretation that reinforces the company’s product-led momentum. It takes its place with the 2005 Ford Mustang, Five Hundred sedan and Freestyle crossover in the "Year of the Car," the largest new-product barrage in Ford’s history.

"Our lineup of new 2005 cars is all about momentum," said Jim Padilla, executive vice president and president of the Americas, Ford Motor Company. "But the Ford Shelby Cobra concept is all about speed."

The Ford Shelby Cobra’s design reinforces this mission, with minimalist interior and exterior elements that emphasize its performance-oriented function. Cues like the massive grille opening, side vents, low-back seats and bulging wheel arches establish an emotional connection with Carroll Shelby’s original 1960s Cobras, but no dimensions or proportions are copied in this thoroughly modern two-seater.

The Ford Shelby Cobra concept team drew heavily on the Ford GT production car – especially the space frame and suspension – to maximize efficiencies. Although the cars have vastly different characters and different dimensions, smart engineering quickly adapted the rear-mid-engine Ford GT platform to this front-mid-engine application.

Inspired by the biggest, baddest Cobra of all – the renowned 427 – Ford engineers created a new aluminum-block V-10 to power the Ford Shelby Cobra concept. This 6.4-liter engine, adapted from Ford’s MOD family, delivers the rush of raw power associated with that big 1960s V-8 monster – with 605 horsepower and 501 foot-pounds of torque – without the aid of supercharging or turbocharging.

This combination of brute force and thorough engineering has created a rarity in the world of auto shows – a concept car that can actually do, rather than merely promise, zero to 60 in under four seconds, and would easily exceed 100 mph if not electronically limited. With show cars typically limited to a stately 15 mph or so, this fact points at the level of engineering packed into the Ford Shelby Cobra concept – and points to the authenticity that comes from working with Carroll Shelby once again.

"I'm sure the question on everyone’s mind at this point is, ‘Are you going to build a production version?’ The answer is, ‘We'll see.’ If we get the same overwhelming reaction to the Cobra concept as we did to the GT concept, anything is possible," said J Mays, group vice president, Design.

A New Legend is Born
As the saying goes, too much power is almost enough. So thought Carroll Shelby when he shoe-horned a 427-cubic-inch Ford V-8 under the hood of a small British roadster, giving birth to the legendary 427 Cobra.

Four decades later, Ford’s Advanced Product Creation team – an in-house think-tank cum skunk works – explored the idea of applying Shelby’s famous formula to the latest components and architectures Ford has to offer. The result is the Ford Shelby Cobra concept, a radical new roadster, fully engineered for high-speed testing, completed in just five months by a small, tightly focused team of enthusiasts.

This production-feasible roadster has a 427-inspired 605-horsepower, all-aluminum V-10 engine mounted at the front of an advanced aluminum chassis modified from the rear-engine Ford GT.

It weighs slightly more than 3,000 pounds and is about as long as a Mazda Miata. There’s no roof, no side glass, not even a radio. "That’s the formula," said Carroll Shelby. "It’s a massive motor in a tiny, lightweight car."

Highly Evolved Engineering
The Ford Shelby Cobra concept is not just a huge engine with a pair of seats along for the ride. Owing to its front engine and rear transaxle layout, the roadster has nearly perfect weight distribution and a world-class supercar suspension for agility to match its alacrity.

What’s more, this ultimate roadster seats full-size adults without compromise. It actually has more front-seat legroom than a Ford Crown Victoria sedan. This key packaging achievement wouldn’t be necessary on a typical show car – but is absolutely essential to demonstrate production feasibility.

"We put together the mechanicals of a world-class supercar in a compact roadster package that can seat full-size adults," said Manfred Rumpel, manager, Advanced Product Creation. "And we did it in just five months on a budget smaller than that for many nonfunctional, nonengineered show cars."

The secret to the team’s success was Ford’s stepped-up efforts toward commonality, speed and the expertise of a team of engineers who had previously completed the all-new Ford GT in just 15 months.

"With the Ford GT, we now have a collection of supercar components," said Chris Theodore, vice president, Advanced Product Creation. "We also have a team of engineers who know how to work fast to get the job done.

"It can take a year to build a concept car that doesn’t even run or is speed-limited to 15 mph," Theodore said. "But in five months, we built one that will do 100 mph on the racetrack today."

Evocative, Modern Design
Honoring the Cobra heritage is a fully modern architecture with subtle styling cues that hint at the legendary Cobras of the 1960s.

"What we’re trying to do is not just take the audience somewhere they haven’t been in a very long time, but take them somewhere they’ve never been – and there’s a lot of magic in trying to do that," Mays said.

First and foremost, the Ford Shelby Cobra concept is a performance car, and every surface and line has its roots in the car’s engineering mettle.

"The powertrain, the space frame and the suspension were all key elements in the design, although for the most part, you don’t see them," said Richard Hutting, chief designer. "These established our proportions and naturally led to a race-bred shape that evokes the original Shelby Cobra, without sharing a single dimension or proportion. Just like its underpinnings, this car is thoroughly modern in every way."

While the design is clearly 21st century, the roadster is intentionally familiar. Key details – the dominant grille opening, hood scoop, vertical bumper bars and stacked lamps front and rear – establish the historical connection to Shelby’s original creation.

"When you’re setting out to tell a story about an automobile in a fresh, contemporary way, you’re not actually looking to create beauty – you’re looking to create meaning," said Mays. "We have interpreted that raw, aggressive Cobra attitude in a very modern way."

The Ford Shelby Cobra concept completes the trilogy of Ford’s greatest performance vehicles: the GT40, Mustang and Shelby Cobra. It heralds a new era of speed from Ford, the company that best knows and most loves performance cars.

Ford And Shelby: Partners At The Finish Line For More Than Four Decades
Carroll Shelby’s role in the program was more than that of a spiritual leader. "As soon as we decided to build the Cobra, J Mays and I went to talk with him," Theodore said. "Carroll has been involved every step of the way."

Shelby’s presence at every management review provided authenticity, as well as real contributions to the program. For example, he and Theodore independently hit on the breakthrough idea of the rear transaxle.

It might shock many young racing hopefuls today to learn that Shelby didn’t enter his first automobile race – a quarter-mile drag meet – until he was nearly 30 years of age. What’s no surprise, of course, is that the hot rod Shelby drove to the finish line that day in 1952 was powered by a Ford V-8.

Shelby may have started late, but he was a winner from the beginning. Just two years into Shelby’s driving career, Aston Martin’s racing manager, John Wyer, recruited him to co-drive a DB3 at the Sebring endurance race. Within months, the chicken farmer from Texas was bumping elbows and trading paint with the likes of glamorous grand prix drivers Juan-Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill and Paul Frère. He won Europe’s prestigious 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans in 1959, driving an Aston Martin DBR1 with Roy Salvadori.

Early in 1962, Shelby drove his second Ford-powered race car. It was the first mockup for the Cobra, Shelby’s now-legendary marriage of a lightweight British roadster body with a small-block Ford V-8. By January 1963, he had homologated the car under the FIA’s GT III class rules and was lapping Corvette Stingrays at Riverside Raceway in Southern California.

In January 1965, Ford hired Shelby to lend his expertise to the upstart GT40 campaign. While Ford and Shelby took on Ferrari at Le Mans with the GT40, and won, they continued to fight Corvette at home with the Cobra. Production of the vehicle, which had a 1-ton weight advantage over the Corvette, began in June 1962 and continued through March 1967.

The first 75 Cobras that Shelby built were powered by Ford’s 260-cubic-inch V-8; 51 more had the larger and far more powerful 289.

Shelby first installed the Ford "side-oiler" 427 engine in the Cobra in October 1963, but the combination of this powerful engine and the rear leaf-spring suspension made the car treacherous to drive. Ford helped Shelby completely redesign the chassis, including an all-new coil-spring rear suspension, and by January 1965, Shelby introduced the production 427 Cobra – the car many enthusiasts herald as the ultimate street-legal racer.

"Our original objective was to build a sports car that would outrun Corvette," Shelby said. "I never dreamed it would become the icon that it did."

The Ford Shelby Cobra concept, like the legendary 1960s original, features a utilitarian body tightly wrapped around a race-bred engine and chassis. Every surface and line has its roots in the car’s uncompromised performance.

"We let the powertrain, the space frame and the suspension dictate the architecture for the body," said Richard Hutting, chief designer. "The result was a very authentic, modern and desirable shape that does justice to the original Shelby Cobra, but doesn’t share a single dimension or proportion with it."

Through key design details – the dominant grille opening, vertical bumper bars, stacked lamps front and rear, side air extractors and, most importantly, the powerful bulge over each rear wheel – the historical connection to Shelby’s original creation is undeniable.

Surprising Package
While Ford Design is known for its modern interpretations of legendary vehicles – the Ford GT, Mustang and Thunderbird, to name just a few – it also leads the industry in innovative ways to carry people and cargo.

From the Model A to the first Mustang, to the world’s most versatile sport utility vehicles, Ford has a history of packaging efficiency, and the Ford Shelby Cobra concept is no exception.

A key engineering decision – to mount the concept’s six-speed manual transmission at the rear of the car – enabled designers to give the car almost 3 inches more legroom than similar competitors’ performance vehicles, while providing nearly perfect weight distribution.

"From a package perspective, the rear-mounted transmission and the small-diameter, twin-plate clutch made for a larger foot space than typically possible in such a small car with a large engine. This 10-cylinder, 605-horsepower, all-out sportscar has more legroom than in a Ford Crown Victoria sedan," Hutting said. "We also didn’t have to compromise the driving position by offsetting the pedals – an important consideration in a performance car."

Long Wheelbase, Short Overall Length
Performance elements help to define the exterior, as well. Because the engine sits rearward of the front wheels, the front overhang is extraordinarily short. An equally brief rear overhang gives the Cobra concept a 100-inch wheelbase – longer than that of a Dodge Viper, but with a head-to-tail measurement that is more than 20 inches shorter. In fact, the front and rear overhangs are both shorter than on the 1965 Shelby Cobra – the rear considerably so.

These proportions place the Ford Shelby Cobra concept into a league of its own among production-feasible vehicles, communicating rear-drive power and serious performance. The car's stance on the road is unmistakably purposeful, with only 4.5 inches of clearance between the carbon-fiber chin spoiler and the pavement. From the rear, powerfully bulging wheel arches embrace the massive 19-inch rear wheels, signifying that that’s where the power comes to the ground.

Clean, Unadorned Surface Language
Just as designers used the mechanical package to drive the Ford Shelby Cobra concept’s proportions and attitude, they drew from the car’s racing persona to create a clean, unembellished "wrapper" for the powertrain and chassis.

The front section of the body is a forward-tilting "clamshell." This simple design provides immediate, wide-open access to the powertrain and front suspension while defining the clean hood profile. Prominent design elements include the oversized grille opening for the radiator and the chin scoop below it for the oil cooler.

The headlamps and driving lamps at the front of the car are stacked vertically, as on the original Shelby Cobra.

"These lamps, combined with the vertical billet-aluminum bumper bars, the grille opening and the muscular fenders, are the way the front of the concept communicates ‘Cobra,’ " Hutting said.

In character with the Ford Shelby Cobra concept’s uncompromised performance, there are no windshield wipers, no side windows and no convertible top – it is a fair-weather-only racing machine.

The sides of the body are pure function. Just aft of each front wheel is a prominent rectangular air extractor – to cool the engine and the brakes – and a conventional forward-swinging door with a dramatically simple shut line that terminates at the rear fender. To emphasize the clean body sides, designers also omitted door handles.

The decision to forgo exterior door handles left the team with a quandary: How do you open the doors? They briefly looked at incorporating an electronic button but settled on the original, elegantly simple Cobra solution of placing the inside handle up high, where it can easily be reached from outside the car.

"It’s a race car," Hutting said. "The driver would rather reach inside to open the door than carry the weight of two more handles."

Aluminum A-pillars and dual roll hoops behind the low-back seats are modern touches that expose the advanced aluminum space frame while echoing the form and function of the classic chrome roll hoops used on some original Cobras.

Rearview Camera System for Clean Flanks
In keeping with its racing mission, the Ford Shelby Cobra concept does without side mirrors in favor of a higher-tech, lower-drag design. A trio of video cameras – mounted high in each A-pillar and at the center of the windshield frame – create real-time color images that are displayed on a digital version of the traditional center-mounted rear-view mirror. The images from each camera are stitched together on this liquid-crystal display to form a perfect 180-degree panorama of the competition.

A mere 27 inches of rear overhang (measured from the axle line to the bumper) and other rear design details further develop the themes of uncompromised performance and Cobra heritage.

Benefiting from four decades of aerodynamics research, the Ford Shelby Cobra concept departs from the original car by incorporating carbon-fiber "barge boards" to manage air extraction from the side vents, and a carbon-fiber diffuser in the rear to create downforce. These aerodynamic aids borrow heavily from wind tunnel lessons learned with the Ford GT and Formula 1 racing and were devised and tested with the aid of computational fluid dynamics software.

The rear transaxle cover is left exposed and becomes a design element that conveys mechanical strength.

Small, stacked round taillamps and vertical billet-aluminum bumper bars subtly trace their bloodlines back to the original Cobra.

"Even within the very modern framework of the short overhang and exposed underbody aero effects," Hutting said, "the rear of the car has Cobra cues to connect it to the legend."

A bright, Tungsten Silver metallic paint reinforces the car’s mechanical precision, while twin stripes in a lighter shade of silver run fore and aft over the hood and rear deck, in a nod to Shelby’s traditional race car stripes.

Seven-spoke BBS racing wheels were chosen for strength and light weight. Dramatically larger than the 15-inch wheels of the original Cobra, they measure 18 inches in front and 19 inches at the rear. The wheels wear lower profile rubber all around – with the massive 35-series rear tires measuring more than 13.5 inches wide.

"When you see those massive tires under their bulging fenders and those exposed aerodynamic aids, you know at a glance that this is a serious racing machine," Hutting said.

Purposeful Interior
Proving that a minimalist roadster also can be comfortable, the 605-horsepower Ford Shelby Cobra concept offers none of the traditional electric amenities, yet boasts more front-seat legroom than a Ford Crown Victoria sedan.

The rear-mounted transmission offers a huge advantage in interior packaging: The driver and passenger are positioned close together near the vehicle centerline and separated by a narrow driveline tunnel. The spacious foot wells are nearly rectangular, in marked contrast to vehicles where the transmission tunnel hump severely restricts the driver’s foot room on the right, or the front wheel intrudes on the left – or both. The Ford Shelby Cobra concept driving position is comfortable and ergonomic, with an adjustable steering column.

The carbon-fiber racing seats with five-point belts offer support for high-performance driving. Their low-back profile – a nod to traditional sports cars – is made possible because the roll hoops behind the seatbacks are padded to double as head restraints. This allowed designers to capture the old-school feeling of the original Cobra seats in a thoroughly modern execution.

The cockpit is trimmed in aluminum, with electric blue splashed on the seat trim and steering column. A full-width aluminum instrument panel spans the cockpit in one unbroken swath – a throwback to the true "dash boards" of yesteryear and a contrast with today’s driver-centric cockpits. Instruments include a 220-mph speedometer, 10,000-rpm tachometer and critical temperature and pressure readouts.

There is also a fuel pump switch, an under-hood fire-suppression system release and an emergency master kill switch to comply with racing rules.

What’s missing? "There’s no audio system at all," Hutting said. "The tuned exhaust makes its own music."

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Sources : Ford Shelby Cobra Photo | Ford Shelby Cobra Concept Dyno Run Video | Ford Shelby Cobra Article