Drive Away 2Day

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1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S-Type Torpedo...
1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S-Type Torpedo Roadster : Classic Cars

Soon after the merger of Mercedes and Benz, the two started developing the world's fastest sports cars and the Saoutchik Torpedo roadster is one of them. Fortunately, some customers had the great intuition to order Mercedes- Benz's finest chassis to send it to Saoutchik in Paris.

At the time Mercedes-Benz had their own Sindelfingen factory for producing bodywork which was generally superior to anything else on the market. Saoutchik was probably the only independent body builder that could rival the best from Mercedes.

In Paris, Jaques Saoutchik created easily his most striking pre-war car on the 680 S-type chassis. The design took advantage of the Type 680's low slung chassis and did without running boards. Furthermore a low windshield, tasteful chrome accents and a sophisticated disappearing top added dramatic effect to sporting character of the chassis.

Inside, these cars were crafted to include intricate wood appointments, a giant wood-rimmed Mercedes-Benz steering wheel and reptile-skin upholstery.

Originally Saoutchik bodied 18 Torpedo Roadsters, 12 on the 680 S-Type chassis and six rarer short-wheel-base verions on the SS-type chassis.

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Sources : 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S-Type Torpedo Roadster Photo | 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S-Type Torpedo Roadster Article
Dartz Mojo : Concept Cars
Dartz Mojo : Concept Cars

Think of the name Dartz and, if you're up on your whale foreskin-upholstered SUVs, you'll invariably arrive at the Prombron. But while glad to furnish Eastern European mobsters with the machine that makes the Hummer look like a beauty queen, Dartz is keen to break out of the Prombron's mold with sleeker offerings. That's what led to the design of the chopped-down Nagel sedan and, more recently, to the Mojo roadster. Now Dartz has followed up with another design it calls the Jo-MoJo.

As promised, the Jo-Mojo is an electric roadster. Designed, like other Dartz concepts, by Eduard Gray, the Jo-Mojo packs an 80-horsepower electric motor that can be recharged (over who knows how long a timeframe) by a retractable solar panel that encloses the cockpit when parked and acts as the only roof to speak of.

For some inexplicable reason, even though the occupants are exposed to the elements in the open-air cabin, Dartz has also bothered to make the vehicle's body partially bulletproof. Thus, anyone riding shotgun might survive an attack from a rival syndicate, though anyone tall enough to see over the nonexistent windshield likely wouldn't.

Dartz says the roadster is slated to debut at the Top Marques show in Monaco – where else? – but if Monte Carlo isn't on your itinerary, you can check out the video clip and press release after the jump, along with the renderings in the high-res image gallery.

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Sources : Dartz Mojo Concept Photo | Dartz Mojo Concept Article
2013 Lucra LC470 : Photos
2013 Lucra LC470 : Photos

Sources : 2013 Lucra LC470 Photo
2014 Ford Explorer Sport : Current Models
2014 Ford Explorer Sport : Current Models

The 2014 Ford Explorer does build on its heritage, but on-road fluency and passenger comfort are clearly at center stage.

Among nameplates, the Ford Explorer is one of the best-known on the planet. Yet the latest version of the Explorer has taken a step away from truck influences and reeled in its trail image. It shares much of its running gear with Ford's large sedans, as well as the Ford Flex--and while that might not be the right stuff for the Rubicon it's just right for all-weather family transit.

Simply put, for almost everything that a family would throw at the Explorer, it does it better than before, and it does what the wide majority of us want to do in a crossover. It makes plenty of room for lots of people, or lots of stuff, and it does it much more efficiently than it ever did in the past. It holds on to those mud-running bona fides too--even if they probably were only ever weekend ambitions for most of their suburban owners.

In style, the Explorer doesn't turn away too abruptly from the past. Inside it does its best impression of a Taurus sedan in look and feel, albeit a little more upright. Performance is buttoned-down, almost to sport-wagon standards, with predictable, benign handling and available all-wheel drive. The 3.5-liter V-6 that's offered through most of the lineup is plenty quick, while the front-wheel-drive Explorer with an EcoBoost four is best kept for those who seldom if ever take advantage of this vehicles spacious seating. The Explorer Sport is a different personality--very quick, taut, and faster than any V-8 Explorer of the past; it's a crossover extension of the Taurus SHO, essentially.

Those carlike underpinnings mean that the 2014 Explorer can't quite hit the trails with the likes of the Grand Cherokee. But on-the-road handling is its forte, and it has quick, well-weighted steering plus terrific ride control, thanks to its substantial curb weight and an independent suspension. Highway miles truly are its friend.

That doesn't preclude it from getting dirty now and then. A Terrain Management system controls stability and other systems to limit wheelspin while maintaining a 5,000-pound towing capacity. It's definitely Explorer Lite compared to the distant past, but it's still quite capable, in the wider view.

The 2014 Ford Explorer has one of the most spacious interiors on the market--especially if you judge it by passenger space. Up to seven passengers can fit, and five adults will be fine in the front two rows. Getting into the third row is a little tougher than it is for the Ford Flex, as the Explorer sits taller. Every inch of this interior seems to be designed with family use in mind, and a power tailgate and power-folding seats are there to make it more convenient.

Going by safety, the Explorer is one of the safest vehicles Ford builds, with inflatable rear seat belts and rearview cameras and blind-spot detectors. It also woos gearheads of another kind with MyFord Touch, the convoluted but promising system that uses voice, button or touchscreen control to govern infotainment and other vehicle functions. For 2014, second-row heated seats and adaptive cruise control are newly available on the Limited, and automatic headlamps have been made standard.

From the 1990 original all the way to the current 2014 Ford Explorer, the shape of this American family vehicle has evolved quite profoundly--in several distinct generational cutoffs. Today's model honors that original, yet you can't ignore that it has carlike details woven in everywhere. While the former version was a trucky ute trying to look a bit more carlike, this is eseentially the opposite.

Up close, you'll see that the Explorer hits some high points of crossover SUV style. It's a dialect of sharp angles and straight lines, the opposite of softly rounded wagons like the Volvo XC90 (actually a distant cousin to it). The Explorer's visual DNA may be purely on loan here, but the tall body, big glass areas and the three-bar grille peg it as a Ford as much as its outline.

The high-performance Explorer Sport makes the most of the car-like side of its persona, with glossy black trim, 20-inch wheels, and mesh grille inserts. It has more in common with a Taurus SHO than with a big Expedition SUV, down to winged taillamps and a perforated grille, but the Explorer still avoids looking like a sedan or a minivan.

Inside, the current Explorer makes no attempt to give nod to the past--and that's perfectly fine. Early Explorers had miserable, plasticky interiors, which got better as it was groomed upmarket. Nevermind the ungainly dashes in the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. It's up there with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango in tailored good looks, with maybe a half-degree more of the contemporary in its win column, thanks to those exclamation points of metallic plastic on the center stack.

Audi and BMW are in its crosshairs, Ford says, and the Explorer delivers, in almost the same way the Flex and F-150 do. The cabin's a knockout, smoothing off transitions between dissimilar plastics and putting the curvy goodness into an interior that could have been confused for a shoe-store stockroom, in the past.

Forget about the Explorer being somewhat related to pickups; that's already several years in the past. The Explorer's now based on a set of Volvo-derived car mechanicals that underpin lots of Ford models, from the Taurus sedan to the Flex and Lincoln MKT crossovers. At its core the Explorer is a front-driver, with an option for all-wheel drive. The predictably safe, typically benign tall-wagon handling doesn't vary too much from model to model--but the powertrains do.

Are Ford Explorer owners going to venture very far off road? Ford has chosen wisely here, in trading off some of the Explorer's potential off-road ability and towing capability for big gains in gas mileage, handling, and ride comfort. Considering the way that owners actually use Explorer models--and have for decades--it's right in tune with respect to performance.

The standard engine on the Explorer is a 3.5-liter V-6, shared with many Ford vehicles, from the Edge to the Flex. With 290 horsepower, it's good for mid-eight-second 60-mph acceleration through a six-speed automatic transmission. If it sounds pedestrian, it's good to recognize that the six-cylinder's far more powerful on paper than the the V-8 in the prior edition. Acceleration from a stop is strong, and most models have a sport-shift mode for quicker throttle and shift responses, but these Explorers don't get shift paddles to go with the automatic. The transmission will hold lower gears when told, though, and that alone makes it more responsive than almost any competitive crossover.

In the name of gas mileage, there's another option. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque actually has more torque than the 255 lb-ft available with the V-6, yet it's a little less certain if you plan to haul a heavy load of passengers around on a regular basis. If you're the solo-commuter type, it's a $1,000 option that will actually pay off for itself pretty quickly, as it's rated at 20/28 mpg. Overall, this engine makes some grouching, flapping turbocharger noises that upset the Explorer's more refined demeanor. Paddle-shifters would have made this combination more drivable than it is, but they're not included; and keep in mind that towing capacity slides to 2,000 pounds.

Last year Ford introduced a new 350-horsepower, twin-turbo-V-6 Explorer Sport model; it's offered only with all-wheel drive and gets a raft of changes to go with its exceptional power (Ford says it's two seconds quicker to 60 mph than the standard six-cylinder model). Consider this a utility-vehicle version of the Taurus SHO; it gets quicker steering, 20-inch wheels and tires, upgraded brakes, and a stiffer front body structure. The Sport is far more fired up than the old Explorer V-8; just don't expect it to chase a Grand Cherokee SRT8.

In its basic front-drive versions, the Explorer's electric power steering and terrifically settled ride give it a nimble feel that's more like that of the smaller Edge. The Explorer carves into corners with zeal, and the steering unwinds with a feel that's closer to natural than some hydraulic-steer vehicles. The electric steering also means the Explorer can park itself--with the Active Park Assist options, which uses cameras to maneuver the steering while the driver keeps tabs on things with the brake pedal.

The 2014 Explorer can slosh through enough mud and ruts to get a family of seven to any ski resort or any bed and breakfast that doesn't require an overnight National Park Service permit. If you're arguing over the lack of a low-gear ratio and frame rails and skid plates, you're less likely to have been shopping an Explorer in the first place. There's a multi-traction drive system that spins from Normal to Mud and Ruts, Sand, and Snow modes, tailoring power and braking to suit the conditions.

In esoteric instances, those electronics can't quite match a really well-trained off-road driver, since they require a little slip in the system to start working. For the remaining 95 percent of us, it's welcome relief to worry less about descending a hill with brake and engine modulation instead of simply flicking a switch.

Space is really no problem in the 2014 Ford Explorer. It comes configured only as a seven-passenger wagon, and leaves five-passenger duties to the smaller Edge--and a sleeker, more urbane definition of three-row transportation to the Ford Flex. Across the lineup though, there's excellent headroom and front-seat comfort to go with flexible cargo capacity.

Perhaps it was a parting gift from Volvo, or the studying of driver fatigue has paid off: Ford has finally learned how to make more comfortable, supportive front seats, and the 2014 Explorer has them. Softer cushions are paired with just enough side bolstering where you need it, and the seats are power-operated with heating control.

Head room soars in front and the middle row of seats, even with the sunroof option ticked, and the wide center console doesn't cut into knee room very much.

In the second row, there's room for a child between two adults on the bench seat. Knee room is fine, head room is great--but the bottom cushion of the seat could be better tailored. It's short and angles down at its front edge. A pair of buckets can be ordered for the second row, and have the same cozy feel as those up front--without the optional ventilation, though.

The third-row seat is pretty cramped for adults, but it's more than adequate for children, who can climb into the narrow space created when you flip the middle row forward via an easy lever.

For cargo duty, the Explorer comes with a fold-away third-row seat, power-operated if you want. Power or fold the back seat and the middle seats, and the Explorer lays bare 81 cubic feet of cargo volume--almost all of it available for big, flat packages, since the seats fold nearly flat and wear an invulnerable grade of carpeting on their backs. With 21 cubic feet of space with the third row occupied by people, the storage space is fairly large, and lined with durable if inexpensive-looking plasticky material.

It's absolutely no exaggeration to call the Ford Explorer one of the safest models on the road.

With a stout body structure plus a slew of safety technologies, the 2014 Explorer makes a serious appeal to those who want the best occupant protection, along with some potentially useful accident-avoidance tools.

The Explorer has earned top scores in both of the major crash-test programs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick, including a "good" score on the roof-crush test--although it hasn't yet been tested in the new small-overlap frontal test. And it's earned five stars overall in the federal tests--with five-star scores in all the subcategories except for the mathematically determined rollover score.

The 2014 Ford Explorer has a special "curve control" feature for its stability control, which adapts throttle and brake to upcoming corners; trailer-sway control also helps make maximum use for its 5,000-pound towing capacity. Optional inflatable rear-seat belts, which come bundled with blind-spot monitors.

Every Explorer comes with great outward visibility, thanks to a high seating position, except to the rear quarters where thick C-pillars create a rather large blind spot. Bluetooth hands-free connectivity is standard, as is a rearview camera. And MyKey lets parents set volume and speed controls for kids who may borrow the Explorer.

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Sources : 2014 Ford Explorer Sport Photo | 2014 Ford Explorer Sport Article | 2014 Ford Explorer Sport Interior Photo | 2014 Ford Explorer Sport Photo 2 | 2014 Ford Explorer Sport Photo 3
Cadillac Quietly Unveils New, Old-Look : News
Cadillac Quietly Unveils New, Old-look Logo : News

As with its model line, Cadillac has performed surgery on its logo. The previous logo, at right, was a sleek bit of matte color and metal unveiled in 1999 as a result of Cadillac wanting a new icon to represent its "art & science" campaign. The aim was "to combine suggestions of high technology and elegance through faceted shapes-inspired by the stealth fighter and by gemstones." Sure.

The new logo cranks up the texture effect on the wreath, adds texture inside the crest, and plays up the embossing and light effects of the crest edge. It's new, but it's got a shiny bit of retro about it that we don't mind.

Cadillac doesn't appear to have said anything about it, and while it appears on the 60-day Guarantee site we can't tell if it's made it onto Caddy's official plot of the interwebs. The real test, though, will be how it looks when it makes it onto the cars. Thanks for the tip, Scott!

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Sources : Cadillac Quietly Unveils New, Old-look Logo Photo | Cadillac Quietly Unveils New, Old-look Logo Article
Porsche E-Mobility : Videos

Porsche E-Mobility : Videos

Host : Porsche

We build sports cars. Always have done. The impulse to move forward, to be faster, to come first is therefore established deep in our genes - not only when it comes to crossing the finishing line, but also, especially, with new ideas. So it is normal for us to go in new directions.

This consistent future-oriented direction is further supported by the Panamera S E-Hybrid* - as a plug-in hybrid in the sports saloon sector. Rechargeable via the socket, it bundles today our entire expertise and will start in the E-Mobility future of Porsche.

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Sources : Porsche E-Mobility Photo | Porsche E-Mobility Video
2014 Audi A8 : Current Models
2014 Audi A8 : Current Models

Audi has typically trailed its Teutonic rivals in the luxury-car sales race. However, as the 2014 Audi A8 illustrates, this sales ranking should not be construed as a reflection on the relative quality of the manufacturer's products. With a gorgeous cabin and handling that's distinctly and gloriously German, the A8 is, from roof to rubber, a class act that succeeds at elevating the driving experience in the large luxury sedan class.

Audi tweaked the formula last year by revamping its engine lineup for the full-size A8. For the first time, base models were powered by a V6, and that switch has proven to be quite satisfying from a performance and efficiency standpoint. A new turbocharged V8 also debuted as a midlevel choice. Now for 2014 the engine lineup sees another change, with the addition of a 3.0-liter diesel V6. Performance is quite satisfactory, with a 0-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds along with fuel economy that's the most frugal in the high-end luxury sedan segment: 24 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined.

Within and without, the A8 embodies deluxe sophistication. The materials in its cabin are top-rate, and evidence of superior craftsmanship abounds. Typical of the large luxury sedan class, there are two wheelbases available, with the longer "L" model providing extra rear legroom. You can add further decadence to the rear seat with a variety of options, including massaging rear seats or an extendable footrest in W12 models. Other draws to the A8 include standard all-wheel drive and an extensive collection of luxury and technology-oriented features.

Of course, most of these are traits that are shared by the A8's rivals, and selecting just one of these excellent luxury sedans is bound to be a challenge. Buyers with a yen for a sportier driving experience will want to check out the 2014 Porsche Panamera. If full-on luxury is more your thing, consider the sumptuous, all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. There's also the Jaguar XJ if you find the A8's styling a bit too anonymous, along with the BMW 7 Series, a perennial favorite even though it's now among the older models in this class. Still, despite fierce competition, the A8 is a great choice for buyers who appreciate understated opulence and a balanced approach to luxury and performance.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Audi A8 Quattro is an all-wheel-drive luxury sedan that is offered in regular- and long-wheelbase versions, the latter identified by an L badge and bestowed with 5 extra inches of rear legroom. Trim levels include 3.0T, L 3.0T, L 3.0 TDI, 4.0T, L 4.0T and L W12. Each designation corresponds to the wheelbase and engine type. The high-performance Audi S8 is reviewed separately.

Standard features for the base 3.0T include 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED running lights, a sunroof, an adaptive air suspension, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, heated 12-way adjustable front seats with driver memory, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, aluminum and wood interior trim, a power rear sunshade, a power-operated trunk lid and soft-close doors. Electronic features in the cabin include keyless ignition, a navigation system, a rearview camera, Audi's MMI electronics interface with voice control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a Bose surround-sound system with a CD player and an iPod interface. Also included is Audi Connect (enhanced Web-based navigation, information and Wifi access).

Although the A8 3.0T is well equipped, there are a number of available options. With the Warm Weather package you get four-zone climate control along with power rear side-window sunshades. An Extended Leather package wraps the armrests, center console and steering wheel airbag cap in leather.

On the long-wheelbase L 3.0T model, the Warm Weather package, Extended Leather package and piano-black interior inlays are included as standard.

To either wheelbase, 3.0T buyers may choose to add the Premium package, which includes 22-way multicontour comfort front seats with ventilation and pneumatic massage, full LED headlights, a blind-spot warning system and a rear collision-mitigation system. A Cold Weather package adds a heated steering wheel, a ski bag for the rear seat pass-through and heated rear seats. A Luxury package includes a faux-suede headliner, upgraded leather upholstery and dual-pane glass. The Rear Seat Comfort Plus package includes a five-passenger configuration with separate power rear outboard seats with ventilation and massage, and front passenger seat adjustment from the rear seat.

For a sportier A8, the Sport Plus package applies a sport-tuned air suspension, adaptive steering and a rear limited-slip differential. Finally, the Driver Assistance package includes a top-view parking camera system; adaptive cruise control; a lane-departure warning system; the more deluxe Pre-Sense Plus version of Audi's collision warning and braking system; and automatic high-beam control.

Stand-alone options include a panoramic sunroof, a solar sunroof (powers a ventilation fan to keep the car cool), a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system, a night vision camera (an infrared camera to detect animals and pedestrians up to 1,000 feet away) and a rear seat entertainment system (with two 10-inch headrest-mounted screens).

The 4.0T model has the same standard equipment as the 3.0T model, save for the addition of active noise-cancellation technology (included to compensate for its V8 engine's cylinder deactivation system), while the L TDI and L 4.0T are equipped like the L 3.0T. These models also feature optional equipment similar to the 3.0T models, but are additionally offered with an Audi Design Selection package that adds full leather upholstery, dual-pane glass, unique stitching and piping, an Alcantara headliner and unique wood and aluminum interior trim elements.

The prestige-level L W12 is essentially a fully loaded, four-seat version of the long-wheelbase model that is powered by a 12-cylinder engine. It includes all of the above-listed features, except for adaptive cruise control (and the more advanced collision avoidance system that comes with it), the solar sunroof, premium Bang & Olufsen audio and the night vision camera -- all of which remain stand-alone options. Also note that the 2014 Audi A8 L W12 rolls on 20-inch wheels and comes with standard adaptive steering. Optional is the Executive Rear Seat Comfort package. It includes one rear relaxation seat with a powered footrest, a 10-way power front passenger seat, a refrigerated cooler box and a 115-volt power outlet.

There's also the W12 Driver Assistance package, which includes adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system and a collision warning and braking system. Other option packages for the W12 include the W12 Sport package (sport suspension plus the limited-slip differential) and the Audi Design Selection package.

Powertrains and Performance
Powering the base model 2014 Audi A8 is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. All of this power is channeled through an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. In Edmunds testing, a long-wheelbase L 3.0T with the optional Sport Plus package accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, which is quicker than every V6-powered competitor and just off the pace of those packing V8s.

Also standard on the V6 is an automatic stop-start feature that shuts the engine off when the car comes to a stop. It helps to increase fuel economy, which is quite good for this class of car at an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 21 mpg in combined driving for either wheelbase.

Newly added this year is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine rated at 240 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. In our testing, an A8 TDI took 6.3 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph. At 24 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined, fuel economy with this engine is exceptional, and the engine comes only with the long-wheelbase configuration.

The turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 produces 420 hp and 444 lb-ft of torque. Stop-start, an eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive are also standard. In Edmunds testing, an A8 L 4.0T ran to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. The EPA estimates the 4.0T should earn 17 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined, or nearly the same as the supercharged V6. The L 4.0T is only slightly more thirsty at 16/26/19 mpg.

Audi A8s with the 6.3-liter W12 engine come only in long-wheelbase configuration. The 12-cylinder engine makes 500 hp and 463 lb-ft of torque. As with all A8s, an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard. Weighing in about 200 pounds more than the L 4.0T, the A8 L W12 will reach 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, according to Audi. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 13/21/16 mpg.

Standard safety equipment for every 2014 Audi A8 includes antilock brakes, stability and traction control, full-length side curtain airbags, front and rear seat side airbags and active front headrests. A rearview camera is standard on most A8s, while the W12 gets an enhanced camera array with a top-view display (optional on lesser models). A blind-spot monitor and lane-departure warning system are offered in a couple of available option packages. Also optional is Pre-Sense Plus, which uses the adaptive cruise control system's radar to monitor traffic and alerts the driver if a potential collision is detected, even applying the brakes (to a standstill when vehicle speed is below 20 mph). A night-vision camera is a stand-alone option.

In Edmunds brake testing of a V6-powered A8 with optional summer tires, the car came to a stop from 60 mph in an impressively short 104 feet. With the same tires, the TDI model needed only 109 feet. An A8 3.0T with all-season tires delivered us to a stop in 121 feet, which is average for similarly equipped cars in the class. An A8 L 4.0T with all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 114 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features
As Audi's flagship, the 2014 A8 represents the best that the company has to offer. Thanks to exquisite materials combined with impeccable craftsmanship, the cabin is one of the finest in any flagship luxury sedan.

As you'd expect, comfort is a priority and the A8 delivers it in heaping portions. The upgraded seats found in the Premium package adjust in so many ways that Audi needed to invent a more advanced means of controlling them, and they ultimately ensure that drivers of any size or shape will find an optimal position to motor away countless miles. Rear seat comfort is also noteworthy, especially in the long-wheelbase versions that provide an expansive 43 inches of rear legroom.

For technophiles, Audi's Multi Media Interface provides a long list of functions through a crystal-clear display. There's a bit of a learning curve to it, but with a little time, control of numerous systems becomes second nature. The unique remote touchpad (upon which you can "write" numbers and letters with your finger) also doubles as a radio preset panel. It may seem like a superfluous novelty at first, but it turns out to be as useful as it is cool.

If there's one complaint that seems to come up more than others, it would be the A8's lack of trunk space. At a paltry 13.2 cubic feet, cargo capacity is far below that of its competitors and not nearly adequate to accommodate luggage for four adults.

Driving Impressions
Power from the Audi A8's base V6 is plentiful, whether under acceleration or cruising down the highway. Passing slower cars is effortless and the brakes are equally up to the task of bringing the big sedan to a halt. The 4.0T power plant is even more impressive. While earning nearly the same fuel economy as the supercharged V6, the turbo V8 delivers a tidal wave of effortless torque to the point that a V8-equipped A8 will go toe to toe with almost any muscle car in a drag race.

Fortunately, there are few if any drawbacks to making the switch to the diesel-powered A8 TDI model. Acceleration is brisk thanks to the plentiful torque, and there's very little diesel clatter to be heard from the inside. The automatic stop-start function can be a little jarring on startup, but it is quick to react and requires no waiting to get back on the gas. For those who find it too disruptive, it can be disabled easily.

With its all-wheel drive, well-tuned suspension and crisp steering response, the A8 handles like a smaller, lighter sport sedan in either wheelbase configuration. Yet over broken pavement, the Audi flagship delivers a compliant, composed ride fully in keeping with its luxury sedan status. We also like its electronically adjustable settings for the chassis and engine calibration, which provide a much greater degree of driver customization than BMW's similar system.

All things considered, the 2014 Audi A8 is a worthy competitor among world-class luxury sedans. While the gap between these high-end sedans is narrow, the Audi A8 distinguishes itself as a bona fide driver's car.

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Sources : 2014 Audi A8 Photo | 2014 Audi A8 Article | 2014 Audi A8 Photo 2 | 2014 Audi A8 Engine Photo | 2014 Audi A8 Interior Photo
2008 Chevrolet Camaro GS Racecar : Concept...
2008 Chevrolet Camaro GS Racecar : Concept Cars

One of the most iconic cars of the legendary Trans Am road racing series was the distinctive blue-and-yellow Camaro of Mark Donohue. He was a dominant racer in the series and drove his #6 1969 model to the series championship that year.

With the assistance of GM's High Performance Vehicle Operations, North Carolina-based Riley Technologies re-created the look and feel of that standout racecar with a tribute that looks, sounds and drives like it's ready to do battle with its contemporary pony car competitors. In fact, the heritage-inspired racer is more than concept. It is an early prototype for the Grand Am Koni Challenge GS racing class. Racecars like the GS Concept are offered and manufactured by Riley Technologies for the 2009 Grand-Am season.

The GS Concept features the race-ready suspension, reinforced chassis and drivetrain conform to the specifications required of racecars certified for the series. In fact, this racecar has already logged many hours on the racetrack as Riley team members worked to dial-in the chassis and powertrain. Additional features include:

* Seam-welded production Camaro body-in-white
* Carbon fiber hood, trunk lid, doors and fenders
* Production LS3 V-8 engine (used with solid engine mounts)
* Tremec 6060 six-speed manual transmission with close-ratio gearing
* Three-inch exhaust system with Coast Fab mufflers
* C&R racing aluminum radiator
* Upgraded engine oil cooler
* Transmission and differential coolers

The GS Racecar Concept is shown at SEMA just as it was last driven off the track, with the grime, brake dust and body imperfections commensurate with a day's worth of racing. Indeed, it isn't a car that spent hundreds of hours in a body shop in a quest of sheet metal perfection. It displays the bruises of competition and wears them as badges of honor.

Like Donohue's '69 Camaro racecar, the GS Racecar Concept wears a deep blue paint scheme that is accented with yellow graphics, a yellow-painted interior and yellow racing wheels.

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Sources : 2008 Chevrolet Camaro GS Racecar Concept Photo | 2008 Chevrolet Camaro GS Racecar Concept Article
Welcome to RSRNurburg! : Videos

Welcome to RSRNurburg! : Videos

Host : RSR Nurburg

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Sources : Welcome to RSRNurburg! Photo | Welcome to RSRNurburg! Video
2013 Porsche 997TT By AWE Tuning : Photos
2013 Porsche 997TT By AWE Tuning : Photos

Sources : 2013 Porsche 997TT By AWE Tuning Photo
Chrysler Profit Rises 16% To $507 Million...
Chrysler Profit Rises 16% To $507 Million : News

Chrysler Group, riding sales gains in the U.S. and globally, reported net income of $507 million in the second quarter as strong sales of pickups and SUVs led the automaker to its eighth consecutive quarterly profit.

Earnings rose 16 percent from the $436 million posted during the same quarter of 2012, Chrysler said in a statement today. The automaker reduced its forecast for full-year profit.

Chrysler's U.S. sales in the quarter were 479,980, up 10 percent over the same period a year ago. The increase outpaced the industry's average rise of 8 percent. Of the automaker's brands, only its namesake Chrysler brand experienced a sales decline in the quarter.

Chrysler is expected to record its 40th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains when July sales are reported Thursday.

Second-quarter revenues grew 7 percent to $18 billion, up from $16.8 billion in 2012.

Chrysler reported cash of $11.9 billion, down from $12.1 billion one year ago.

The company reduced its year-end forecast of net income for 2013 from $2.2 billion to between $1.7 and $2.2 billion. It also revised its projected modified operating profit for the year downward from $3.8 billion to between $3.3 and $3.8 billion.

There was no immediate explanation for the downward forecast. The company scheduled an 8 a.m. EDT conference call to discuss the quarterly report.

Chrysler said it had recognized a charge of $151 million to conduct the voluntary safety recall of 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Jeep Libertys. In June, Chrysler agreed to add trailer hitch assemblies to those vehicles that didn't already have them to add further protection from low-energy rear-end collisions, and to quell a dispute with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

Increasing sales of re-engineered versions of its two most profitable vehicles -- the Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee -- helped Chrysler's average transaction price climb 3 percent to $32,005 in the second quarter, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Chrysler delivered 660,000 automobiles globally in the second quarter, including vehicles made for corporate parent Fiat S.p.A. and other automakers, up from 630,000 during the same period a year ago In the first quarter of 2013, deliveries dropped 5 percent to 574,000.

Chrysler's market share ticked up 0.1 percentage points in the first half of 2013 to 11.6 percent. Through June, the automaker's U.S. sales are up 9 percent in 2013, at 908,332, in a market that has advanced 8 percent.

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Sources : Chrysler Profit Rises 16% To $507 Million Photo | Chrysler Profit Rises 16% To $507 Million Article
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited : Photos
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited : Photos

Sources : 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Photo
1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Woodie : Classic Cars
1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Woodie : Classic Cars

Considered to be a very handsome vehicle, the Chevy Fleetmaster was introduced in the middle of 1941. One of the lowest quantities manufactured of any Chevy vehicles of all time, the Fleetmaster was a beautiful and very rare streetrod. Basically prewar designs, the Chevy Fleetline was in great demand and was a very popular seller.

On October 3, 1945 the Fleetmaster first rolled off the assembly line in very small numbers. At the time there was a shortage of critical materals, mostly sheet steel. Unfortunately a United Auto Works strike was called on November 21rst and production was unable to resume at a normal pace. The assembly lines halted completely and weren't resumed until March 13, 1946 when the strike was settled. Chevrolet became the first GM division to resume production on March 29th.

The 1946, '47 and '48 Chevy models were basically ‘warmed over' versions of the 1942 models. This was following four years with no civilian passenger vehicles being produced. Chevrolet chose to serve up existing models, much like its competitors. The demand for new vehicles was extreme, and the paid-for factory tooling was already in place. The Master DeLuxe became the Stylemaster while the Special DeLuxe was rebadged as the Fleetmaster. The Fleetline morphed into the Fleetmaster subseries. There was no business coupe in the Fleetmaster lineup, but other than that, the body type remained the same.

Featuring low, wide grillwork and headlights the 1942 Chevy Fleetmaster was basically the same as the final prewar series with only a few significant mechanical distinctions. In 1947 the grille and beltline molding were further advanced, and at this time the Fleetline Aerosedan was once again Chevy's volume leader, surpassing the 1946 Stylemaster Sport Sedan. The headlights smoothly blended into front that meshed into the doors much like Buick's style.

For the 1948 model year only a few minor modifications in the trim were made. Unfortunately the demand for the Fleetmaster was ebbing, and additional changes were no longer necessary. In January of 1949 there finally appeared a ‘true' postwar Chevrolet.

A total of 162,632 1946 Fleetmaster models were produced, 264,584 units in 1947 and 248,778 in 1948.

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Sources : 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Woodie Photo | 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Woodie Article
1995 Ford GT90 : Concept Cars
1995 Ford GT90 : Concept Cars

Launched at the 1995 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the Ford GT90 has gone into history as one of the most spectacular and influential concept cars. Ford spent just over six months and around $3 million to create the one-off machine. This was wholly justified as the GT90 served to introduce Ford's 'Edge' design philosophy to the world. Fortunately a considerable chunk of the resources was used to back up the revolutionary styling with a hugely impressive drivetrain.

As the name suggests, the GT90 was a modern interpretation of the all-conquering GT40 sports racer of the 1960s. The two machines share a similar drivetrain-layout and proportions but the GT90 is certainly not a retro design. The core of the fully functioning concept car is formed by an aluminium honeycomb monocoque. Although the majority of the car was custom built, some 'off the shelve' components were used to speed up development. Many of the existing parts used on the GT90 were lifted off the Jaguar XJ220. The biggest XJ220 sourced bits were the double wishbone suspension components on each corner.

Mounted amidships was a unique V12 engine, boosted by no fewer than four Garrett turbochargers. The 6-litre unit was built up of two of the quad-cam V8s found in the Lincoln Mk VIII road car. On one block the last two cylinders were cut off and on the other the first two. The two six cylinder blocks were vacuum-welded together to form a single engine. The quad-turbocharged V12 produced a mind-boggling 720 bhp at a time when the most powerful Ferrari struggled to get past the 500 mark. The all-aluminium engine was mated to a very sturdy five-speed Ricardo gearbox that was also used on the XJ220.

The spectacular rolling chassis was covered in lightweight carbon fibre body panels. With large flat planes, angles and triangular shapes, the exterior was a major departure from the clean, flowing designs that had become the norm in the early 1990s. Ford called it the 'Edge' design philosophy, which inspired a whole generation of road cars like the Ka, Cougar and Focus. Some elements can still be found on Blue Oval's latest products. One of the GT90's most spectacular feature was the massive canopy style front window that arcs well into the roof. The tail of the car sported a wing that raised from the deck for additional stability at high speeds.

The GT90 was received with universal acclaim at its 1995 NAIAS launch. It was subsequently toured around the world, making appearances at the Frankfurt and Tokyo shows. Several journalists were also allowed to sample Ford's new supercar and found the GT90 was much more than just a styling statement. Ford's official figures suggest it could accelerate from 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in just over three seconds on to a theoretical top speed of 253 mph (407 km/h).

Ford never had plans to produce the GT90 and after its show and test duties, it was retired to the Ford SVT facilities. Some years later Ford did produce a modern GT40 interpretation but this followed the original's design much closer. Now fifteen years after the GT90 was first introduced, Ford have decided to part with one of their most prized possessions. It was going to be during RM'sr Automobiles of Arizona auction at Scottsdale but it was withdrawn a few days before the sale.

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Sources : 1995 Ford GT90 Concept Photo | 1995 Ford GT90 Concept Article | 1995 Ford GT90 Concept Rear Photo | 1995 Ford GT90 Concept Interior Photo
Ford Recalls 33,021 C-Max Hybrid : News
Ford Recalls 33,021 C-Max Hybrid Cars Due To Roof Issue : News

Ford Motor Co (F.N) said it was recalling 33,021 C-Max hybrid cars because a roof component did not meet requirements for protecting against head injuries.

The vehicles were built between January 19, 2012, and June 26, 2013, in Michigan. Only vehicles without the optional panoramic glass roof are included in the recall.

Ford said it would install plastic energy-absorbing material under the roof on both sides of the vehicle to correct the problem.

No accidents or injuries have been attributed to the issue, the company said. Tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the company uncovered the roof safety issue.

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Sources : Ford Recalls 33,021 C-Max Hybrid Cars Due To Roof Issue Photo | Ford Recalls 33,021 C-Max Hybrid Cars Due To Roof Issue Article
2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible : Current Models
2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible : Current Models

Like a single-issue candidate, the Chrysler 200 convertible has stumped on one appeal. In the car’s case, it’s that the top goes down. Whether you opt for the conventional ragtop or the extra-cost foldable steel roof, the 200 provides an affordable open-air motoring experience for up to four adults, a commendable position that Chrysler is practically alone in offering. However, once you look beyond that point—say, once the sky clouds over—the rest of its agenda has proven distressing. Styling? Performance? Value? The rent is, indeed, too damn high.

Yet the 200 has campaigned on, playing to its snowbird base, seemingly content that the harshest criticism abated once it abandoned the Sebring nameplate for a numeric nom de plume and tidied up its appearance in 2011. Now Chrysler gives us the automotive equivalent of an October surprise, overhauling the 200 convertible’s suspension for 2013.

Revised with parts and tuning developed for the mostly badge-engineered Lancia Flavia, the 200’s handling is no longer spastic and clumsy. The biggest changes are reserved for the softtop model and include a front strut suspension with a new rebound spring and 12-percent-stiffer main springs, 23-percent-stiffer rear coils, a thicker front anti-roll bar (increased from 25 mm to 27), and revised damping all around. Chrysler says this firmer suspension calibration would have been too harsh in the retractable-hardtop model, which does at least benefit from a revised steering rack and rear toe link that have been deployed across the board. The whole package now feels well sorted. Steering effort is increased, feedback is improved, and body motions are much better controlled. The radical torque steer in 283-hp V-6 models like the one tested here has even been muted in everyday driving, in part by altering the transmission shift schedule.

It’s a momentous change, as if our candidate switched parties midstream. Yet we’re still talking about a 4058-pound front-driver, a car with plenty of understeer and spongy brakes. In most ways, the 200 convertible hews to its fundamentals—comfy cruising, easygoing handling—as fiercely as ever. And with the base V-6 car wearing an MSRP of $29,890, it’s not even a sun lover’s bargain compared with similarly priced and more engaging droptops such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, puny pony-car back seats notwithstanding.

But Chrysler says its convertibles have their own loyal following, and even if many of the 20,000 or so 200 convertibles sold each year are destined for Florida rental-car fleets, that’s an opportunity to impress customers unfamiliar with the brand. But now in its sixth model year after initially launching as the Sebring—a point in their life cycles when most vehicles are doing a slow fade to redesign or replacement—the 200 convertible finally has a multipoint platform on which to campaign.

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Sources : 2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible Photo | 2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible Article | 2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible Photo 2
Chris Browns Lamborghini Aventador : Videos

Chris Browns Lamborghini Aventador : Videos

Host : Jdizzle0305

Chris Brown took his Lamborghini Aventador to JCs Custom Paint to get a fresh paint job based on the Nike Foamposite Camo shoe.. watch the video! and please share it.

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Sources : Chris Browns Lamborghini Aventador Photo | Chris Browns Lamborghini Aventador Video
Batmobiles Racing : Videos

Batmobiles Racing : Videos

Host : Bat in the Sun

The concept of the SPBD web series is to take two super powered legends and make them battle! Every month we will release a new episode, where viewers will be able to vote to determine the winner. The show is hosted by Marisha Ray, with two debaters, Damian Beurer and Andy Liegl. Together they battle with their sci-fi/fantasy knowledge and comic wit to see who they think the winner will be. In addition, experts from specific fields will guest star and contribute valuable information.

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Sources : Batmobiles Racing Photo | Batmobiles Racing Video
2013 Volkswagen Taigun : Concept Cars
2013 Volkswagen Taigun : Concept Cars

At the 2012 São Paulo International Motor Show in Brazil, Volkswagen has presented the concept of a newly developed SUV in compact format in a world premiere: the Volkswagen Taigun Concept.

Technically, the Volkswagen Taigun Concept resembles the very contemporary New Small Family by Volkswagen, which it would round out in an upward direction if it were to be produced. The concept's exterior look follows the very concise and clear Volkswagen design DNA. This gives the Sport Utility Vehicle a sophisticated and powerful appearance. The VW Taigun is 3,859 mm long, 1,728 mm wide and 1,570 mm tall. Between the front and rear bumpers, the vehicle sports a wheelbase of 2,470 mm, which is large in relation to its exterior length. The results: short overhangs and appealing proportions.

The four-seat concept car is powered by a new 1.0-litre TSI engine with 81 kW / 110 PS. The Volkswagen Taigun Concept engine extends the range of the three-cylinder petrol engines by adding direct fuel injection plus turbocharging technology, which opens a new chapter in downsizing strategy at Volkswagen. The engine delivers a high torque of 175 Nm at a low 1,500/min. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand for Technical Development, comments: "The torque-strong three-cylinder is an ideal engine for such a compact SUV; it is a companion for driving through the urban environment that is as efficient as it is dynamic." The lightweight concept car, weighing 985 kg, has a top speed of 186 km/h and accelerates to 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds; its combined fuel consumption is about four and one-half litres of fuel per 100 km.

The Volkswagen Taigun Concept, which is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and size 205/50 R17 tyres, is also adept at handling offroad terrain thanks to its high engine torque and high ground clearance. Also providing a plus in active safety is the ESC electronic stabilisation programme.

The styling of the concept car, which is painted in "Seaside Blue", lives up to its sophisticated technological concept. The Taigun has an exterior look that is independent, confident and very logical and clean. In a side view, the flared wings catch the eye; their powerful form is smoothly integrated into the side section and extends into the doors.

The front and rear sections of the concept car are visually joined by a precisely sculpted character line beneath the side windows; at the rear, this line transitions into the C-pillars.

In the lower body area, the rugged side trim panels are appealing; they cover the side sills, wheel arches and lower sections of the bumpers. The vehicle's short overhangs are advantageous both visually and for space utilisation; in front the overhang is just 708 mm, and at the rear 681 mm. Last but not least, practical roof rails with integrated LED spotlights upgrade the vehicle's look in side profile.

Like the Volkswagen Tiguan and Touareg SUVs, the Taigun also exhibits lines that are dominated by horizontal design elements in front. A metal underbody protection panel was designed into the bumper. This was also done at the rear bumper. Overall, horizontal lines also define the styling at the rear section. The tailgate of the concept is designed in two-part construction. The upper section that extends down to the lower edge of the rear lights swings upward, while the lower section (1/3) extending to the underbody protection swings downwards towards the road.

As on the exterior, the designers developed a look for the interior that reflects, in its clarity, the spirit of the times in our urban world. Those with an affinity for the latest smart phones or tablet computers will also like the interior design, the feel of its surfaces and the layout of controls in the Volkswagen Taigun Concept. The SUV is also a prime example of optimal space utilisation. The tailgate encloses a 280 litre bootspace; when the rear bench seat is folded down, cargo capacity increases to 987 litres.

The operation of all interior functional elements is intuitive. Furthermore, the clean design, many storage surfaces and exceptionally good space conditions generate a very positive spacious feeling. Meanwhile, the youthful colour and material combinations highlight the offroad character of the Volkswagen Taigun Concept. Similarly, the concept development team designed individual solutions for user controls in the SUV as well. They include dials in the air nozzles on the dashboard - which for the first time can be used to control the temperature and blower speed and read their settings.

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Sources : 2013 Volkswagen Taigun Concept Photo | 2013 Volkswagen Taigun Concept Article | 2013 Volkswagen Taigun Concept Interior Photo | 2013 Volkswagen Taigun Concept Rear Photo
1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe : Classic Cars
1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe : Classic Cars

For the vintage car collectors, the 1950’s Ferrari has a special meaning, including 1953 when significant models came on the road, many being one-off editions. In the past, we have shown you mentionable auctions of Ferraris such as the 1953 Ferrari 375 coupe, which went on the market for $2 million, and the 1953 Ferrari Mille Miglia Berniletta which was looking at $4.3 million at the time of it’s auction. Now a one-off 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe Vignale is set to go under the hammer at the upcoming Bonham’s Quail Lodge auction in August this year. The reason why this particular edition marks a landmark amongst competing Ferrari models in Italian designing history, is that the coach work had been created by the noted Giovanni Michelotti for Vignale, as an unique offering from the house of Ferrari. However, there is no word on how much this exclusive edition car will finally bring at the auction event.

This 250 Europa Coupe was brought into Northern America by noted importer, Luigi Chinetti. Impressed by it’s architecture and external beauty, Chinetti took it to the 1954 New York Auto Show held at the Madison Square Garden. There were many more accolades the car received through the later years, and was hopefully retained within the American borders till 2009. Then came a Swiss buyer, who also took a liking for the exquisite design and special craftsmanship of this vehicle, and eventually went to win numerous awards. The foremost would be the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Ferrari Club of America National Concours shows, where the ‘Best of show’ and the First place in the shows were won by this 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe Vignale.

Over the years it’s existence, the car underwent large bouts of wear-and-tear, and hence needed extensive restoration. The tobacco and bruno siena shaded upholstery with the matching color tone along the body, needed a very precise restoration and hence a decent amount of resources from the Swiss owner’s end. However, the person who takes up this vehicle now, will be buying into the exact version of the car, as it had first come to America in 1954.

The 250 series is known to be perhaps the most intriguing series from the house of Ferrari. Most of this special series has received extremely rare marquetry, and the number of units for each rather limited. Taking that factor into consideration, this Ferrari Europa Coupe should be the envy of many collectors at the August Quail Lodge auction by Bonhams.

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Sources : 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe Photo | 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe Article | 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe Photo 2 | 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe Photo 3 | 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe Interior Photo
2013 Pagani Zonda R Gold : Photos
2013 Pagani Zonda R Gold : Photos

Sources : 2013 Pagani Zonda R Gold Photo
2014 BMW 435i : Current Models
2014 BMW 435i : Current Models

The sixth generation of the venerable BMW 3-series debuted for the 2012 model year to widespread acclaim from mommy bloggers, hypermilers, and the tech press alike, each group enthralled with the Ultimate Driving Machine’s new features. Or at least we imagine they were. Truthfully, we have no idea what these people thought and we don’t much care. But who else is going to get excited by a car that parks itself, helps you drive like Wayne Gerdes, and allows posting to Facebook while carving corners?

Apparently, us. Looking past BMW’s fascination with features that have little to do with the company’s core virtues, we found them mostly intact: good controls, dynamic handling, and excellent all-around performance. Despite a drop-off in the level of engagement in this newest 3-series, we have continued to enjoy the F30 sedan well enough to keep the model on our 10Best list, all the while hoping improvements might show up in subsequent variants. With the F32 4-series, that’s exactly what we’re getting.

Forensic Anthropology of a 3-series
The car formerly known as the 3-series coupe has been broken off into its own model line, a consequence of taxonomy being as important to Germans as punctuality and pretzels, but also because the 4-series is meant to diverge from its sedan sibling more than in the past. Outward suggestions are subtle: Bulging rear fender arches make the taper of the roof seem more extreme than it really is, and functional vents aft of the front wheels add brightwork as they channel air more efficiently through the wheel wells. The 4’s LED headlights are exclusive–or at least until the mid-cycle refresh of its sibling sedan.

BMW will offer the 4-series in four familiar configurations: 428i, 435i, 428i xDrive, and 435i xDrive. (No, we are not getting the detuned 420i or diesel 420d models sold in other markets.) Pricing starts at $41,425 for the 428i and $46,925 for the 435i, with all-wheel-drive versions tacking on an extra $2000. As in the 3-series, Luxury, Sport, and M Sport trim lines will be offered. The standard transmission is an eight-speed automatic, with a six-speed manual available as a no-cost option on all models save the 428i xDrive.

If the F30 is BMW expanding its tent, the F32 is the corner where enthusiasts are expected to take shelter. Although the basic structure and mechanicals carry over, including the 240-hp turbocharged four in the 428i and the 300-horse turbo inline-six in the 435i, a reworked chassis makes the coupe noticeably sportier. The 4-series is lower and wider, and its suspension is stiffer, too. A roofline two inches shorter than the sedan’s and a ride height 0.4 inch lower give the coupe a center of gravity BMW says measures 19.6 inches high, which would put it 0.1 inch above what we’ve measured for the Porsche Cayman. The front track of the sedan has been extended by 0.3 inch to 60.8 inches in the 4-series, and the rear track is an additional two inches wider. BMW added two braces between the front subframe and the body, similar to what would be used on a convertible, as well as firmer bushings and springs.

Less Formal, More Formidable
Nobody would tell us how much starch this adds to the recipe, but the 435i we drove felt more stable than an F30 sedan, with less fore-and-aft pitching and no deterioration in ride quality. Our car was a European Sport model with the Dynamic Handling package ($1000), which includes adaptive dampers and variable-ratio steering, and 19-inch wheels wrapped in performance rubber ($900). It also had the latest iDrive 4.2, which sees the infamous control knob return to its larger size, providing a suitable surface on the top of the knob for touch writing, a feature cribbed from Audi.

The elephant in the room is steering feel–or the relative lack thereof in the 3-series. The 4-series is better, especially at turn-in, thanks to those efforts made at stiffening the front end. But there are still a few degrees of numbness off-center and an artificiality to the heft that’s unmistakably different from all the little tugs and jerks that used to come through the wheel in the old 3-series with hydraulic assist. Suffice it to say that we’re still not satisfied.

BMW’s engineers are, however, proclaiming that the reduction in steering feel is both inescapable and intentional and that, in line with customer demand, they’ve removed only the “bad” feedback. They seem to believe it when they say they’ve developed the best electric power steering on the market. When we mentioned the Cayman, which offers superb electric steering, we were told that wasn’t fair because the F32 is not a sports car. Fine then, we’ll wait for the M4.

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Sources : 2014 BMW 435i Photo | 2014 BMW 435i Article | 2014 BMW 435i Photo 2 | 2014 BMW 435i Interior Photo
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta’s Cup Holder Costs $3,533...
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta’s Cup Holder Costs $3,533 : News

Ferrari Will Charge You $3,533 For A Carbon Fiber Cupholder

What you're looking at is an order form for a $380,668 Ferrari F12. And $3,533 of that price is for the cupholder alone.P

You can see the cupholder itself up on the right, nestled between the seats, looking absolutely ordinary.P

This order form was posted to Facebook by the appropriately-named Carbon McCoy. It is a clear top runner for Most Ridiculously Expensive Factory Option in the Car World, and it could easily have flown up our top ten list had the Ferrari F12 been out at the time of publishing.P

What's amazing is that at least one Ferrari customer claims to have seen the option go for $4,000.

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Sources : Ferrari F12 Berlinetta’s Cup Holder Costs $3,533 Photo | Ferrari F12 Berlinetta’s Cup Holder Costs $3,533 Article
Chevrolet Impala Tops Consumer Reports : News
Chevrolet Impala Is First Domestic Car To Top Consumer Reports Sedan Ratings In Two Decades : News

With a phoenix-like turnaround, the revamped 2014 Chevrolet Impala has changed the landscape of Consumer Reports ratings by earning the top spot overall for all sedans—and taking a position that has been held by Japanese and European models for at least the last 20 years.

The Impala has gone from the bottom of its class in Consumer Reports ratings, with a mediocre test score of 63—too low to be CR Recommended—to an "Excellent" 95 that places it not only at the top of its "Large Sedan" category, but also among the top-rated vehicles Consumer Reports has tested. Only two vehicles have a higher test score; the Tesla Model S hatchback and the BMW 135i coupe.

"The Impala's performance is one more indicator of an emerging domestic renaissance," said Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports automotive testing. "We've seen a number of redesigned American models—including the Chrysler 300, Ford Escape and Fusion, and Jeep Grand Cherokee— deliver world-class performance in our tests."

Consumer Reports engineers found the Impala rides like a luxury sedan, with a cushy and controlled demeanor, while delivering surprisingly agile handling, capable acceleration, and excellent braking. The Impala corners quite well for a large car, with prompt turn-in response and controlled body lean. Steering is nicely weighted; it's light enough for parking maneuvers and provides decent feedback. When pushed to its handling limits, the Impala proved secure, responsive, balanced, and easy to control.

Inside, the spacious cabin sets a new standard for Chevrolet fit and finish, with generally high-quality materials and trim. The backseat is roomy and comfortable, the trunk is huge, and controls are refreshingly intuitive and easy to use. The 22 mpg overall Consumer Reports measured with the Impala's 3.6-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission is competitive, but it's not the best in its class.

Despite its high test score, this Impala is too new for Consumer Reports to have reliability data, so it can't be Recommended. To be Recommended, a vehicle must perform well in CR's battery of tests, have average or better reliability in CR's Annual Auto Survey, and perform well in government and industry crash tests.

Consumer Reports has been testing, reviewing and comparing cars for more than 75 years. The organization started calculating numerical scores and compiling comparative overall ratings charts in 1992. In that time, the top-scoring sedan spot in Consumer Reports tests has been held 12 times by a Japanese model and nine times by a European model.

Overall, Consumer Reports found the Impala is competitive with cars that cost $20,000 more, including the Audi A6 and Lexus LS460L, as well as the recently reviewed Acura RLX and Jaguar XF.

Complete tests results for the Impala, Acura RLX and Jaguar XF, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Kia Sorrento, appear on today, and in the September issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands August 1. Updated daily, is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news, and car-buying information. Check out CR's ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.

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Sources : Chevrolet Impala Is First Domestic Car To Top Consumer Reports Sedan Ratings In Two Decades Photo | Chevrolet Impala Is First Domestic Car To Top Consumer Reports Sedan Ratings In Two Decades Article
2013 Lexus IS C : Current Models
2013 Lexus IS C : Current Models

When car companies portray life behind the wheel of a convertible, the ads typically depict attractive drivers motoring along the coast with the top down as the afternoon sun paints everything with a golden glow. And really, that's the whole point of getting a convertible, right? Pleasingly, the 2013 Lexus IS 350 C is capable of playing the starring role in those romantic al fresco fantasies.

Like many in its class, the IS 350 C features a retractable hardtop that raises and lowers in about 20 seconds and does a good job of keeping both the elements and unwanted noise at bay. It also serves to deter thieving miscreants much better than traditional soft tops.

Unlike its slightly more affordable sibling, the IS 250 C, the 306-horsepower IS 350 C has sufficient power to back up its racy looks. Further real-world appeal comes from a suspension that emphasizes ride comfort rather than sport and an interior replete with high-quality leather upholstery and a generous amount of standard equipment.

That said, there are other picks for a luxury convertible. Buyers looking for more excitement will prefer the convertible versions of the BMW 3 Series or Infiniti G37 more. The Audi A5, meanwhile, lacks a retractable hardtop but its rear seat and trunk space are the least compromised in this segment.

Overall, though, the 2013 Lexus IS 350 C should work well in your own unique convertible fantasies.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The four-passenger 2013 Lexus IS 350 C is a retractable-hardtop luxury convertible offered in one well-equipped trim level. The smaller-engine IS 250 C is reviewed separately.

Standard equipment on the IS 350 C includes 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors with built-in turn signals and puddle lamps, keyless entry/ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 10-way power front seats (includes two-way lumbar control), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also standard are the Safety Connect telematics system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, auxiliary audio input jack and iPod/USB interface.

The optional Luxury package includes bi-xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, upgraded leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, genuine wood trim and driver memory settings. The Navigation package adds a navigation system, a rearview camera, voice commands, HD radio and Lexus Enform telematics features. A 12-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system can be added to the navigation system.

Stand-alone options include parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision mitigation system. A variety of F Sport engine, suspension and brake performance parts, including 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels, are also available.

Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Lexus IS 350 C features a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 306 hp and 277 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission that includes manual shift control.

In Edmunds testing, an IS 350 C fitted with optional F Sport performance accessories accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.

Standard safety features on the 2013 Lexus IS 350 C include antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, front-seat knee airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags (unique among convertibles), pop-up rollover bars and Lexus Safety Connect emergency telematics.

Included with the optional adaptive cruise control is the Lexus Pre-Collision system, which can snug the front seatbelts and activate brake assist immediately when the driver presses the brake pedal in situations where sensors detect an impending collision.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Lexus IS 350 C (again with the F Sport upgrades) stopped from 60 mph in an impressive 111 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features
Inside the 2013 Lexus IS 350 C you'll find an attractive and well-stitched passenger cabin accented by top-quality materials. Gauges and controls are clear and intuitive, though models with the optional navigation system make it a little harder to get at touchscreen-controlled features like audio and climate settings while the nav system is in use. This year's navigation system does include the updated Lexus Enform service, however, which includes smartphone integration for apps such as Pandora, iHeart radio and Yelp.

Up front, the seats offer good comfort and support and the power-adjustable seats and steering wheel make it easy to find an ideal driving position. Rear seat occupants are not so lucky, as this is one of the tightest backseats in the segment and therefore only really useful in a pinch. Trunk space is limited as well, with an adequate 10.8 cubic feet of cargo room with the roof raised and a paltry 2.4 cubic feet with the top down. That's enough for a modest-sized golf bag and not much else.

Driving Impressions
Perhaps the most appropriate word to describe the experience of driving the 2013 Lexus IS 350 C is "refined." The body structure is solid enough to remain composed even over poor road surfaces, something not all convertibles can claim. The retractable hardtop enhances this feeling by minimizing noise levels and temperature extremes.

The 306-hp V6 is noticeably more lively than the IS 250 C's smaller engine, making the 350 C the only choice if performance is important to you. Unfortunately, the suspension tuning favors ride comfort, which softens handling to levels that driving enthusiasts won't like. For drivers who require more performance, Lexus' lineup of F Sport suspension, brake and engine upgrades are available to help firm things up.

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Sources : 2013 Lexus IS C Photo | 2013 Lexus IS C Article | 2013 Lexus IS C Interior Photo | 2013 Lexus IS C Photo 2 | 2013 Lexus IS C Engine Photo