Drive Away 2Day

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1959 Austin Healey Sebring Sprite : Classic Cars
1959 Austin Healey Sebring Sprite : Classic Cars

In 1958,the United States launched its first successful satellite, Explorer 1, into orbit; the F-104 Starfighter set a new in-flight speed world record at Mach 1.4; and England's Austin-Healey sports car company launched its tiny Bugeye Sprite. While the last may not seem a monumental achievement, for the sports car world, it certainly was.

Austin-Healey was then known for its larger, high-powered sports cars, the "Big Healeys," as they'd be referred to in relation to the little Sprite. The automaker was founded six years earlier as a joint venture between the British Motor Company (BMC) and the Donald Healey Motor Company. Healey was an enterprising Brit who had done a bit of racing himself, and went on to produce boutique sports cars in limited volumes. By the time Austin-Healey was formed, his cars had achieved numerous racing successes, including a class win at the 1949 Mille Miglia with the 2.4-liter Healey Silverstone sedan, and he'd even collaborated with American automaker Nash on the Pininfarina-bodied Nash-Healey sports car. Since Austin-Healey's first production model, the 100 (named for its 100-mph top speed), began rolling off the production line in 1954, the company had also been known for performance. While the BMC partnership meant Healey was able to produce -- and sell -- higher quantities of cars, the automaker was by no means a large-volume producer. Nevertheless, just over 4600 four-cylinder Healey 100s had been sold by the end of the model's production run in 1956, with the car continuously evolving. Healey's cars by now were well-known at such prestigious events as Le Mans and the Mille Miglia, and they were being campaigned by gentleman drivers and up-and-coming racers on both U.S. coasts.

To replace the four-cylinder Healey 100, a new 100-6 model entered production in 1956. With its longer wheelbase, six-cylinder engine, and less rounded bodywork, the 100-6 was an evolution of sorts. Still, it had lost some of the original car's magic. The styling was less racy and more elegant. The 100-6 was heavier than its predecessor, and with only an incremental increase in power over the 100-4, performance was stagnant. Perhaps most telling that Austin-Healey was growing up was the loss of the flip-down windshield and addition of two small rear seats. The 100-6 was the most refined, expensive, and practical Healey yet. And that got Donald and BMC to thinking about potential buyers who had been priced out of a new Austin-Healey, and those who wanted a more back-to-basics sports car.

"It's something on the order of a buzzsaw ripping through a can of marbles -- a raucous, almost harsh sound of something very small trying hard to be very big. "

The Austin-Healey Sprite was both of those things. Affordable and simplistic, the Sprite was a step between a diminutive 750cc Berkeley and a 1.5-liter MGA. With a 948cc engine producing around 48 hp, the Sprite was adequately quick for a car of its class. But it wasn't just about speed. It was about building an honest-to-goodness sports car that anyone with a decent job could afford to buy, drive to work on weekdays, and then race at the track on weekends. It was cheap at $1795 and simple to work on. Its clamshell hood allowed easy access to the engine and just about every other component forward of the cabin.

BMC and Healey knew the car's biggest market was bound to be the U.S., where the sports car craze was flourishing. With a prestigious nameplate and an affordable price, the car would be a sure hit. But just to be certain, BMC wanted to promote its new small sports car with some flash. The 12-Hour race at Sebring, Florida, was the U.S.' first European-style endurance circuit event to rate on an international level. Born of a grassroots effort on the old military runways of Sebring's airport, the race attracted nearly all the large factory teams -- Ferrari and Jaguar included -- and established itself as a must-run event. Austin-Healey figured it would use the race in much the same way other automakers had: as a marketing machine for its cars. The decision was made to leave the big 100-6s at home for the 1959 race, and show America what the little Sprite could do.

Quickly, four 1958 Sprites were picked off the assembly line, and with a four-month time frame, the cars were given to Healey and his son, Geoffrey, to prep for racing use. Some of the mods came straight from BMC's existing competition department, including an XSP compe-tition version of the 948cc engine. The special engine was balanced and blueprinted for efficiency and reliability, and featured light cylinder head work, domed pistons, special cams, larger 1.25-inch twin SU carburetors, and a tubular racing exhaust system. Paired to the racing engine was a dual-disc clutch and close-ratio four-speed gearbox, a large-capacity fuel tank, and a heavy-duty generator. A Jensen fiberglass hardtop was fitted to each Sprite, and Dunlop "light car" disc brakes and knock-off 13-inch wire wheels were installed. Inside went a large Smiths chronometric tacho-meter. Stiffer springs were included, along with a front anti-roll bar.

By all accounts, the 1959 running of the 12 Hours of Sebring was a soggy affair, with torrential rain falling during much of the weekend, including the last half of the race. The three factory-prepped cars (the fourth was kept as a reserve car) were entered in the race numbered sequentially 53, 54, and 55, driven by professional drivers and one automotive journalist, John Christy, who wrote about the experience in an article for Sports Cars Illustrated. In the end, all three cars not only finished (despite a throttle linkage issue and a cracked header, both fixed), but took a 1-2-3 victory in the GT 1.0 class for cars with displacement between 750 cc and 1.0 liter. Following the race, the third-place-finishing number 55 car was even healthy enough to be driven from Sebring to Los Angeles.

Fast-forward 53 years, and I find myself behind the right-hand- drive steering wheel of car number 54, the very Sprite in which racers Hugh Sutherland and Phil Stiles led cars 53 and 55 to victory at Sebring. I'm on my way to Lake Merritt, chasing a minivan across rush-hour traffic in Oakland, California, realizing very quickly that, while this little Austin-Healey Sprite may look cute and charming with its instantly recognizable bug-eye headlamps and adorable blue-and-white paint scheme, it's still a race car. Just getting the Sprite started is a slightly involved procedure. Make sure the red kill switch mounted on the rollbar is in the on position, and pull out the black knob on the dash marked C for choke. Then, slot the key into the ignition switch and give it a turn to the H position. Pull the unmarked black dash-mounted knob to switch on the fuel pump and, finally, pull the black knob next to it marked S to engage the starter. In an instant, the little 948cc I-4 barks into life.

I wasn't expecting the car to be quite so loud. How much racket can 948cc make, anyway? Turns out the answer is enough to fear being arrested, not to mention going completely deaf. The bark from the diminutive four-banger is only just bearable at low revs without the earplugs I neglected to bring. Above 3000 rpm, all hell breaks loose, as the lumpy, impatient drone disappears from the exhaust note to be replaced with a sound much more intimidating. It's something on the order of a buzzsaw ripping through a can of marbles -- the raucous, almost harsh sound of something very small trying hard to be very big. You wouldn't call the noise pretty as much as you'd call it intense. Despite the extensive modifications, the Bugeye is fairly easy to keep buzzing along in traffic. The clutch pedal is only slightly heavy, and while the brakes require a firm shove before they seem to do much at all, they ultimately do a fine job of bringing the car to a stop at the sub-50 mph speeds I'm limited to by traffic. The Sprite's steering, heavy at parking speeds, is tactile and light at anything over 5 mph, and visibility is good through the featherweight hardtop's rear Perspex window. Still, this Sebring Sprite is no car to hand over to your grandmother. Besides the ear-splitting noise, the gear change is tricky with its closely positioned and indistinct gates; and the transmission, while of the synchromesh style, seems to appreciate rev-matched gear changes both up and down the cogs. (The racing-duty two-disc clutch that keeps the mainshaft spinning longer may be to blame.) The ride is firm, and the Sprite hops and crashes over uneven stretches of road, the hardtop squeaking and rattling constantly.

To be fair, this race car is completely out of its element. It would much prefer to be back at Sebring, ripping down the same tarmac on the front straight on which aircraft used to land, leading its fellow BMC team members to victory.

Engine 57.8 cu in/948cc OHV I-4 2x2-bbl SU H24 carburetors
Power and torque (DIN) 55 hp @ 5800 rpm, 59 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Drivetrain 4-speed manual, RWD
Brakes front: solid disc; rear: solid disc
Suspension front: control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; rear: live-axle, leaf springs
Dimensions: L: 137.0 in, W: 54.0 in, H: 48.0 in
Weight 1790 lb
Performance 0-60 mph: 14.2 sec, quarter mile: 20.0 sec @ 69 mph, 60-0 mph: N/A (Road & Track, August 1960
Price when new $1975 (road car)

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Sources : 1959 Austin Healey Sebring Sprite Photo | 1959 Austin Healey Sebring Sprite Article
Rinspeed Budii : Videos

Rinspeed Budii : Videos

Swiss design and engineering firm Rinspeed made it clear last year that its vision of driving in the future is an autonomous one, and that cars, rather than being a tool to simply take you from point A to point B, will become an extension of your lounge or office. Now, Rinspeed is taking this concept to the next level with its Budii concept, which is described as a “friend on wheels.” The concept, which is based on a BMW i3, is fully autonomous and also has the ability to communicate with surrounding vehicles. But when the owner feels like doing the driving, they have the option of taking over.

Rinspeed, like most of the major automakers, sees self-driving cars as the ideal solution for eliminating road accidents, but rather than permanently removing control of a car Rinspeed prefers to let the owner takeover whenever they like. The steering wheel in the Budii features a robotic arm that enables either the driver or front passenger to steer. And if nobody feels like steering, the steering wheel is simply parked in the center position. Mercedes-Benz showed a similar concept at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in the form of the F015.

“Autonomous driving undoubtedly offers the opportunity to drastically diminish some of the drawbacks of private transport; for example, the number of traffic accidents could drop worldwide,” Rinspeed founder Frank Rinderknecht said in a statement. “The transition from traditional to autonomous driving will take place in stages; consequently, man and machine will still have a few years left to get used to this new form of mobility and the different interplay between people and technology it will entail, time they both will need.”

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Sources : Rinspeed Budii Photo | Rinspeed Budii Article
2015 BMW 228i : Current Models

Just last year, the BMW 2-Series replaced the 1-Series Coupe, keeping its fundamental place in the automaker's lineup but bringing improved styling, better handling, and upgraded size and materials. And now, for 2015, there's more important news for the lineup: a convertible body style and all-wheel drive.

The 2-Series slots right into the 1-Series’ former position in the BMW range, but there's some significant change that BMW fans especially are going to spot right away. The 2-Series exterior is smoother, sleeker, and better-proportioned in every respect; it's longer, wider, and more spacious than the 1-Series as well. Perhaps owing to its slight increase in size, the curves, vents, and angles come together in a more graceful, artful way with the 2-Series. The mix of a relatively long hood, arched roof, and stubby tail speak to classic sports-coupe proportions, while managing to echo the look of the new 4-Series coupe at the same time.

The cabin of the 2015 BMW 2-Series is clearly driver-centric, with instruments and controls oriented for easy access. Materials look as good as they feel, and BMW offers a range of upgrades and trim lines to customize the car to the buyer’s preferences.

Two engines are available in the 2-Series: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder for the 228i, rated at 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque; and a 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder in the M235i that’s good for 322 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and new for the 2015 model year, xDrive all-wheel drive is available. M235i models have the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or eight-speed automatic; 228i coupes also offer the choice, but 228i convertibles come with the automatic only.

Despite the powerful engines and sprightly acceleration, the 2-Series manages fair gas mileage in rear-drive form, with the 228i returning 23 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. In M235i form, mileage drops as low as 19/26/22 mpg.

Performance in the 2-Series is brisk. Even the base model accelerates to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, while the M235i does the deed in 4.8 seconds. All-wheel drive shaves a couple tenths from either figure. Also new for the 2015 model year is a Track Handling Package code-named ZTR. Available on both rear- and all-wheel-drive 228i models, the new package adds the Adaptive M Suspension system, variable sport steering, M Sport Brakes, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, 18-inch wheels, and revised springs that reduce ride height by 10 mm. The new Track Handling Package costs $1,600 when chosen with the M Sport or Sport Line options, or $2,200 without.

Whichever version of 2-Series you may prefer, you’ll find the cabin surprisingly spacious for a sports coupe, with ample front seat space in every dimension and a wide range of adjustability for seating and steering wheel position. The rear seat is markedly roomier than the 1-Series, but still not quite comfortable for the full range of adult body sizes. An “Easy Entry” function improves accessibility to the rear seat, however--critical inside the Convertible, which is narrower in the back seat due to top packaging and hardware for its pop-up roll protection.

The convertible top, by the way, raises or lowers in 20 seconds, and can be operated at speeds of up to 30 mph.

Cargo space is fair, if not impressive, with 13.8 cubic feet available in the trunk. The rear seats are split-folding, offering room for larger cargo when necessary (though access is narrower on convertibles due to body-structure additions). Up front you’ll find two cupholders, a glove box, and large door pockets for small-item storage.

The 2015 BMW 2-Series hasn’t yet been rated by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And while the 2-Series doesn’t offer much advanced active-safety wizardry, or the cutting-edge technology of the brand’s full-size sedans, it does have a fair array of available high-tech equipment, including navigation with iDrive, a touch-sensitive console controller, driver assistance and connected telematics services, several advanced safety features, and a central display up to 8.8 inches wide. On the entertainment front, a Harmon Kardon HiFi audio system is available, as is Bluetooth audio streaming, app compatibility, and more.

Pricing for the 2015 BMW 2-Series starts at $33,050 for the 228i, rising $1,800 to $33,850 for the all-wheel-drive 228i xDrive. The M235i starts at $44,050, while the M235i xDrive begins at $45,850. Convertibles are priced from $38,850 for the 228i, $40,650 for the 228i xDrive, and $48,650 for the M235i.

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Sources : 2015 BMW 228i Photo | 2015 BMW 228i Article
2015 Skoda Superb : Current Models
2015 Skoda Superb : Current Models

Skoda has revealed official pictures of its new Superb, set to arrive in the UK in summer. We were granted an early viewing of the car you see here and drove prototype mules in December, but only now can we reveal how it looks – ahead of its Geneva Motor Show debut next month – plus UK specs.

Styled by Skoda design chief Josef Kaban, the new Superb follows other new models like the Fabia by showing off a more confident, image-led look. From the front, it borrows key design themes from the bold Vision C concept car revealed at Geneva last year.

The Skoda corporate grille sits prominently and is flanked by angular headlights; short front overhangs and a low nose, as on its VW Passat big brother, give a sporty profile, and gone is the old Superb’s slightly dumpy rear three-quarter look – in its place is a coupé-like roofline and flared, muscular shoulders.

Inside, it’s a sober affair with the dash featuring the brand’s familiar, but conventional style. Skoda wants the Superb to be top of the pile for tech and there’s a whole host of clever gizmos.

Depending on spec, front and rear passengers can control the infotainment system via iPad, there’s Apple CarPlay and, from 2016, there’ll be wireless smartphone charging. Skoda hasn’t forgotten the neat touches, either, as there’s a small umbrella located in each front door, loads of boot space (625 litres when the seats are up and 1,760 litres when they’re down) and masses of rear legroom – the brand claims it’s double that of the Vauxhall Insignia. Owners can also specify ‘Virtual Pedal’ – this sees the boot open when the driver waves their foot under the rear bumper.

Skoda predicts 70 per cent of Superb sales in the UK will be to fleets, and while prices will be revealed after Geneva, we’re told to expect the line-up to range from £20,000 to £35,000 for the 280 4x4 DSG.

Skoda has revealed the first official image of the Superb's cabin ahead of the wraps coming off at Geneva. It doesn't reveal any great surprises, but it's easy to see the firm has improved quality and functionality ahead of forcing any innovation.

The design conventional and predictably sober but felt superbly put together in our prototype. Skoda also claims rear legroom is double that available in the Insignia. There’s a bigger boot, too, at 625 litres (with the seats up) and 1,760 (seats down), and the current Superb’s nifty hatch/saloon tailgate has been ditched for a more traditional hatchback format. Gone is the one big umbrella slotted into the rear door, too, replaced by two smaller umbrellas, one in each of the front doors. Owners can also specify ‘Virtual Pedal’ – this sees the boot open when the driver waves their foot under the rear bumper.

The tech is improved as well. Front and rear passengers can control the infotainment system via iPad, it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay, and, from 2016, there’ll be wireless smartphone charging.

Petrol engine options for the Superb in the UK will comprise a 148bhp 1.4 and a high-performance engine from the SEAT Leon Cupra 280 – a 2.0-litre turbo with 276bhp, four-wheel drive and a dual-clutch DSG gearbox. Diesel fans will get a choice of 148bhp and 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI engines with six-speed manual or DSG boxes, plus a super-frugal 1.6-litre GreenLine emitting just 96g/km of CO2. This will arrive in 2016 along with the Superb Estate; a plug-in hybrid like the VW Passat GTE still hasn’t been ruled out.

Some UK spec details have been revealed, and there will be five trim levels. S models will get 16-inch wheels, city emergency braking, Bluetooth and DAB, while SE versions add 17-inch wheels, sat-nav and phone mirroring. Topping the range will be SE-L and posh Laurin & Klement models, while the GreenLine will have its own spec reflecting its eco credentials.

The new Superb is one of the most important cars for Skoda. Since the first-generation Superb entered the fray in 2001, the firm has sold more than 700,000 worldwide over two model incarnations. But Skoda chairman Prof Dr Winfried Vahland wants the newcomer to exceed 700,000 in its lifetime.

“We want to be the best in the class – at the very top,” he told us, while sitting in the passenger seat during our drive. “We’re not talking about beating the Passat here – that’s moved up a class – but we want the new Superb to sit above cars like the Vauxhall Insignia. We want to be the most technological model you can buy in this class.”

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Sources : 2015 Skoda Superb Photo | 2015 Skoda Superb Article
Koenigsegg's Geneva Surprise : News
Koenigsegg's Geneva Surprise : News

So bonkers it's almost a damn rocket ship. Koenigsegg is continuing to tease its Geneva show lineup. As previously reported, both the Agera RS and Regera will be making their live debuts, but it’s the latter that's going to be just out of this world. In another Facebook teaser, Koenigsegg released a single image and some details about the Regera megacar. That’s right. A megacar. According to Koenigsegg, the Regera will be "the fastest accelerating, most powerful production car ever."

Like last year's One:1 megacar, we fully expect the Regera to produce at least 1,360 horsepower. Koenigsegg also stated the Regera offers "a luxury Megacar alternative to (its) traditional extreme lighweight race-like road cars." We’ll bring you all the details and plenty of live photos from Geneva in exactly two weeks.

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Sources : Regera Photo | Regera Article
State-Of-The-Art: Tesla : Videos

State-Of-The-Art: Tesla : Videos

Since its release in 2012, the Tesla Model S has become an unqualified hit in the luxury car world, a new symbol for progress and technology. It has also inspired countless tech-savvy individuals to create a crowdsourced marketing campaign for the company, including Digital Giant, which just released what is arguably the best Tesla fan commercial yet.

That’s high praise considering some of the past contenders like Gallons of Light and Modern Spaceship, but after you’ve watched this brief video, I think you’ll agree. Digital Giant, which describes itself as a “multi-discipline image studio”, undertook this project they call LIGHTDRIVE to combine some of the latest filming and imaging techniques with the techiest car in the world.

From the video description:

From the onset, we wanted to create a piece that combined our artistic tastes with state of the art production methodologies, and LightDrive is the realisation of that desire. With a small, close-knit crew of super talented friends and collaborators we harnessed the freedoms gifted by the latest state of the art cameras, camera cars, drones and bespoke technologies to create a piece that we hope appeals to the sci-fi junky and car enthusiast alike. This made working with a Tesla Model S the obvious choice of vehicle. Tesla is not only a brand we identify with on all levels, it is a case of automotive fiction meeting science fact, and to drive one is to understand that the game has changed.

While Tesla as a “gamechanger” may be a bit of a trope in the auto industry right now, it’s hard to argue otherwise. The Tesla Model S has quickly become a car the young and wealthy aspire to own, a status symbol not just for the environmentally conscious, but for those who consider themselves trendsetters and cutting-edge.

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Sources : Tesla Photo | Tesla Article
Tonino Lamborghini Mobile 88 Tauri : Accessories
Tonino Lamborghini Mobile 88 Tauri : Accessories

For a product to deserve the Lamborghini moniker it needs three things: high cost, style, and performance. At CES 2015, Tonino Lamborghini Mobile was showing off its new 88 Tauri Android-powered smartphone. With a price tag of $6,000, it certainly meets the first criteria. However, after getting some hands-on time with it, we're not sure if it completely lives up to the style and performance of its namesake.

Step Aside, Vertu.
Externally, the 88 Tauri bears all the hallmarks of other luxury phones, such as a premium build using automotive grade stainless steel, hand-stitched leather, and the option to have it gold-plated. The leather is available in five different colors, including black, brown, red, orange, and blue, and each phone is assembled by hand. Despite the premium materials, it doesn't feel as luxurious as we'd like for its price, especially when compared to phones from the other major player in the luxury phone category, Vertu.

While most of Vertu's phones are far north of the $6,000 price of the 88 Tauri, it does have the new Aster smartphone that is in the same price range and does look to be a nicer device, at least in the very short time we were allowed to touch one.

When we asked how the 88 Tauri compared to Vertu's offerings, Tonino Lamborghini said it didn't consider them to be in the same category since Vertu's phones cost more and use "older mobile technology." This isn't entirely accurate however, since both the 88 Tauri and the Aster are powered by a Snapdragon 801 SoC.

The 88 Tauri looks like a phone that's trying too hard to be different. Rather than looking sporty, it looks a bit garish due to the unnecessary riveted grip panels and speaker grille on the back, along with the tapered sides on each corner and angled cuts to the camera accent panel shown above.

It would also be nice to see an additional luxury material like carbon fiber used for the accent pieces of the phone. Interestingly, unlike most other luxury phones, the 88 Tauri does not use sapphire glass for its display, instead using its own custom shatter and scratch-proof glass, which Tonino Lamborghini claims is better.

While the 88 Tauri falls short of our style expectations, it's still a well-made, premium looking phone. The stainless steel makes it a very heavy device though, and when combined with its large size and boxy design it becomes a little unwieldy.

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Sources : Tonino Lamborghini Mobile 88 Tauri Photo | Tonino Lamborghini Mobile 88 Tauri Article
1974 Toyota Celica GT : Classic Cars
1974 Toyota Celica GT : Classic Cars

The Toyota Celica is a compact sports car which was produced by the Japanese company Toyota from 1970 to 2006. The Celica name was ultimately derived from the Latin word coelica meaning "heavenly" or "celestial". In Japan, the Celica was exclusive to Toyota Japanese dealerships Toyota Corolla Store.

Throughout its life span the Celica has been powered by various four-cylinder engines. The most significant change occurred in August 1985, when the car's drive layout was changed from rear wheel drive to front wheel drive. During the first three generations, American market Celicas were powered by various versions of Toyota's R series engines. The four-wheel drive turbocharged model called GT-Four worldwide (All-Trac Turbo in the US) was produced from 1986 to 1999. Variable Valve Timing came in certain Japanese models starting in December 1997, and became standard in all models from 2000 on. Through seven generations, the model has gone through many revisions and design forks, including the Toyota Celica Supra (later known as the Toyota Supra). The Celica was available as notchback and liftback coupes, as well as a convertible.

The first Celica for North America, 1971 ST was powered by 1.9-liter 8R engine. The 1972–1974 models have 2.0-liter 18R-C engines. For 1975–77, the engine for the North American Celica is the 2.2-liter 20R. The Celica GT and LT models were introduced in the U.S. for the 1974 model year. The top-line GT included a 5-speed manual transmission, rocker panel GT stripes, and styled steel wheels with chrome trim rings. The LT was marketed as an economy model. Mid-1974 saw minor changes in the Celica's trim and badges and slightly different wheel arches. The A30 automatic transmission became an option on North American ST and LT models starting in the 1973 model year. For 1975, the 1974 body was used, but body-color plastic fascia and sturdier chrome and black rubber bumpers, replaced the chrome bumpers used in the earlier cars (in accordance with US Federal bumper laws). Unfortunately the early 8R and 18R series engines proved to be less than durable, with early failures common. The 1974 18R-C engine's durability was improved somewhat, but the 20R introduced for 1975 proved to be a better engine in most respects.

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Sources : 1974 Toyota Celica GT Photo | 1974 Toyota Celica GT Article
EX-GM CEO Speaks On Apple Car : News
EX-GM CEO Speaks On Apple Car : News

Amid rumors that Apple is developing an electric vehicle, former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has shared his opinion on Apple's plans, suggesting the Cupertino company avoid getting into a business with such low margins.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Akerson said that Apple may be underestimating the difficulty of operating in the car business, as it's hard to navigate regulatory and safety requirements. "A lot of people who don't ever operate in it don't understand and have a tendency to underestimate," he said

"They'd better think carefully if they want to get into the hard-core manufacturing," he said of Apple. "We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into car. They have no idea what they're getting into if they get into that."

According to Akerson, Apple should stick with the iPhone, which has much higher margins than a car and none of the issues with safety. As highlighted by Bloomberg, while Apple made $18 billion in December with a gross margin of 39.9 percent, GM made just $2 billion with a gross margin of 14 percent.

Akerson doesn't believe Apple should get into the car business, but he does admire Apple's entrance into the car infotainment arena with CarPlay. Speaking on his time as CEO of General Motors, Akerson said that he absolutely would have partnered with Apple. "I'd have turned over the infotainment and interconnectivity of every car."

News of Apple's electric car plans surfaced last week after The Wall Street Journal shared details on a secret project at the company. Apple is said to have hundreds of employees working on the car in a secret research lab near its Cupertino headquarters. The car, which is electric, could potentially resemble a minivan.

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Sources : Apple Car Photo | EX-GM CEO Speaks Article
NanoFlowCell Quantino : Concept Cars
NanoFlowCell Quantino : Concept Cars

Niche automaker NanoFlowCell has just teased its second new product set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2015. This particular vehicle is dubbed the NanoFlowCell Quantino and has been designed as a small sports car.

As with other vehicles from NanoFlowCell, the Quantino uses an extremely advanced drive system which utilises positively and negatively charged ionic liquid stored in two 175-litres. The science behind the system is mind-blowingly confusing but the end result is that about 136 hp is delivered by the Quantino sports car.

As a result of this, the Liechtenstein-based company claims the Quantino will sprint to a top speed of 200 km/h and be capable of covering over 1000 km (620 miles) on a single charge.

Discussing the car, chief technical officer Nunzio La Vecchia said, “As the small brother of the QUANT E and the QUANT F, we wanted to emphasize the fact that the QUANTiNO belongs to the QUANT family. Both the front and rear end clearly demonstrate this kinship. In particular, the large 22-inch wheels which the QUANTiNO has adopted from its big brothers in the QUANT family set it apart in its class in terms of appearance.

“The QUANTiNO is an electric vehicle for everyone. Affordable and featuring an extravagant, unique design. It is not just a concept vehicle – it will become reality in the course of this year. We will be driving the QUANTiNO in 2015. And we aim to attain approval for road use very quickly,” he said.

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Sources : NanoFlowCell Quantino Photo | NanoFlowCell Quantino Article
2015 Ram Laramie Limited : Current Models
2015 Ram Laramie Limited : Current Models

Here is the second nail in the coffin of the crosshair grille, and more generally, the notion that Ram pickups need to look alike.

The 2015 Ram Laramie Limited isn't here to tow more than the other guy or look good on a worksite; it's here to convert successful, image-conscious buyers' money into a couple tons of chrome-slathered pickup. And Ram doesn't want anyone to forget about it, either.

What is it? Just about the most well-equipped Ram you can buy. The Laramie Limited trim brings full leather seating, an (optional) thick frosting of chrome, and a lot of fancy-looking materials to 1500, 2500, and 3500 models. The aforementioned leather, for example, gets special stitching that looks like hand-painted pinstriping. And the seat map pockets get chrome buckles like those found on fancy Italian luggage.

Little details abound. Grab handles integrated into the A- and B-pillars? Wrapped in leather. Little "Limited" badges everywhere you look remind buyers that they've spent enough to hit the fancy leagues.

That's why there's a 20-inch wide chrome "RAM" badge screaming in all-caps from the tailgate. That's why there's a new porcine-nostrilled billet grille (a flashier take on what we saw introduced on the Rebel) also transmitting the "RAM" message loud enough to get shushed by passing librarians.

And lest the rolling stock be confused with that of a lesser model, new 20-inch forged aluminum wheels set off the 1500 Laramie Limited, and different 20-inch polished aluminum six-spokes grace the Heavy Duty models.

Ultimately, there's zero chance of mistaking the Limited with another profit-maximized trim level.

Which is exactly the point. The Limited isn't a new name—it's been available for a while and as a compliment to the universe of other semi-premium and premium trims, like the Laramie and its Longhorn variant. It's just now firmly ensconced atop the heap.

Add in the new Rebel, and the existing Sport and Outdoorsman (the latter two seem likely to get more individualized appearance treatments in the future), and you can cut the Ram cake as thick or thin as you'd like.

The 2015 Ram Laramie Longhorn 1500 will be available in the second quarter of this year; Heavy Duty versions (the 2500 is shown above) will arrive later as 2016 models.

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Sources : Ram Laramie Limited Photo | Ram Laramie Limited Article
Alfa Romeo Gloria : Photos
Alfa Romeo Gloria : Photos

Sources : Alfa Romeo Gloria Photo
1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint : Classic Cars
1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint : Classic Cars

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta (series 750 and 101) was a compact automobile manufactured by the Italian car maker Alfa Romeo from 1954 to 1965. The Giulietta was introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1954 and almost 132,000 were built in the Portello factory in Milan.

The first Giulietta model was a coupé, the Giulietta Sprint, introduced in late 1954. This was followed by a sedan in spring 1955 and in mid 1955, the open two-seat Giulietta Spider, featuring convertible bodywork by Pininfarina. In 1957 more powerful Berlina version, called Giulietta TI (Turismo Internazionale) was presented with minor cosmetic changes to the hood, the dial lights and rear lamps.

Carrozzeria Colli also made the Giulietta station wagon variant called Giulietta Promiscua. 91 examples of this version were built. Carrozzeria Boneschi also made a few station wagon examples called Weekendina.

Restyling 1959
A new version of the Giulietta debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1959. The fuel tank was now incorporated in the right rear fender and was equipped with a door. The nose was redefined with more rounded wings, recessed lights, new headlights and grille rings revised with horizontal bars. The interior was much more organized and the dashboard instruments had an elongated bore including the tachometer. The series number was changed from 750/753 to the 101 series.

Restyling 1961
In 1961, the TI version was upgraded to 74 PS (54 kW). With this new engine the car could reach a speed of almost 160 km/h (99 mph). Production of the standard Berlina continued until 1963, whilst the TI continued for one year more. Production figures were:
Berlina 39,057
TI 92,728
Sprint 24,084
Sprint Veloce 3,058
Spider 14,300
Spider Veloce 2,796
Promiscua (Wagon )

Giulietta engines
The Giulietta used an Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine of 1290 cc straight-4, with a light alloy cylinder block and an alloy cylinder head with twin overhead camshafts. The original Giulietta engine produced a power output of 62 hp (46 kW) in the sedan and 80 hp (60 kW) in the Giulietta Sprint. This was to be increased to 100 hp (75 kW) in later sporting models such as the Giulietta Sprint Speciale and the Giulietta Sprint Zagato. 1.3l engine had 74mm bore and 75mm stroke. (Read More)

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Sources : 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Photo | 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Information
2015 Nissan Sentra : Current Models
2015 Nissan Sentra : Current Models

The Nissan Sentra offers compact sedan buyers a well-trimmed interior, generous rear seat and trunk space, and excellent fuel efficiency. A slightly anemic engine and mellow chassis tuning mean that the Sentra is hardly the quickest or most exciting of its competitive set, but for those simply seeking comfortable and economical transportation, it fits the bill quite nicely. Recent Changes For its second year on the market, the Sentra receives a dizzying array of equipment revisions (detailed below). Highlights include newly standard Bluetooth connectivity, USB inputs, cruise control and automatic headlights for all models.

Additionally, the FE + SV trim level has been discontinued, leaving the FE + S as the sole max-efficiency Sentra.

Stylistically, the Sentra closely resembles its bigger brother, the midsize Altima sedan; both are distinguished by Nissan's trapezoidal grille and feature comparable headlight and side window treatments.

The similarities continue inside, where the simple, pleasing design of the Sentra's cabin are rendered in upscale materials seemingly pulled from the Altima. The Sentra also takes after the Altima in size, being one of the larger sedans in its segment in terms of legroom and trunk space, with the latter measuring a midsize-like 15.3 cubic inches.

Notable luxury extras available for the Sentra include a Bose audio system, heated front seats and a rearview camera. There's also an optional navigation system - updated for the latest model year with improved voice recognition - with a 5.8-inch display screen, point-of-interest search powered by Google and available NavTraffic and NavWeather functions. It's bundled with NissanConnect, a connectivity system that includes Bluetooth with streaming audio, Pandora radio capability, and a Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant setup that reads incoming text messages and allows drivers to reply without taking their hands off of the steering wheel.

When paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) - standard on all but the base model - the Sentra is capable of impressive mileage: 30 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Economy-focused FE models add aerodynamic underbody panels, low rolling-resistance tires and a rear spoiler to increase highway efficiency to the magic 40-mpg mark.

The price to pay for the Sentra's fuel-thrifty ways is less power and acceleration than many competitors, with the standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder producing just 130 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque. The entry-level six-speed manual helps hasten passing maneuvers but increases consumption to 27/36 mpg. Competent and predicable on the road, the Sentra is nonetheless not the most engaging compact sedan around; more fun can be had in rivals like the Ford Focus or Mazda Mazda3.

Trim Level Breakdown
Nissan sells the Sentra in seven different trim levels: S 6MT, S CVT, FE+ S, SV, SR and SL.

The S 6MT comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with AUX and USB inputs, Bluetooth, a trip computer, automatic headlights, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and 16-inch steel wheels. As its name suggests, the S CVT largely mirrors the S 6MT's content but substitutes a CVT for the six-speed manual.

The FE + S enhances fuel economy by adding aerodynamic underbody panels, low rolling resistance tires and a rear spoiler.

The SV builds on the S CVT's features with premium cloth upholstery, two extra speakers for the sound system, a rearview camera and a 5.0-inch audio display with NissanConnect Bluetooth and streaming audio, Mobile Apps, hands-free text messaging assistant, SiriusXM satellite radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and rear disc brakes.

A newly available Appearance Package for the SV adds a power sliding moonroof, dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, 16-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels and a rear spoiler.

The SR expands on the SV with a sporty body kit, foglights, a rear spoiler, a proximity key with push-button start and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The range-topping SL marries the SV's equipment with the goodies in the Driver's Package. Additionally, it includes dual-zone climate control, foglights, imitation wood interior trim, heated exterior mirrors and unique 17-inch alloy wheels. Last year's Leather Package has been added as standard equipment, bringing leather upholstery along with heated front seats.

The SV, SR and SL are offered with the Premium Package, which adds an eight-speaker Bose stereo, a sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also available is the Navigation Package with - you guessed it - a navigation system.

Occupant Safety
All Sentra models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side-curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

Key Competitors
The Sentra's closets rivals are similarly safe, reliable and efficient machines like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. The Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte bring heightened style to the table, while the Ford Focus and Mazda Mazda3 combine upmarket interior appointments with grin-worthy handling.

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Sources : Nissan Sentra Photo | Nissan Sentra Article
2016 Kia Sportspace : Concept Cars
2016 Kia Sportspace : Concept Cars


Kia has taken the wraps off a new concept, set to debut at the Geneva motor show during the first week of March. Dubbed Sportspace, the concept is meant to preview a next-generation Kia Optima, replacing a model which has been on sale in various markets since 2010.

The Sportspace concept is a midsize station wagon with a dramatically styled D-pillar, meant to serve as a grand tourer. The design of the front fascia is an evolution of Kia's "tiger nose" grille, while the rear section has a distinctly Italian look to it -- it doesn't take much squinting to see an Alfa Romeo shield in place of the Kia badge on the rear hatch. The Sportspace concept was developed at Kia's Frankfurt design studio, previewing a body style still very popular in Europe.

"We set out to design a car that is a totally new breed of grand tourer -- one for active people who need reasonable cargo space on the weekend, but don't want to compromise moving around in style, comfort and with an element of sportiness," said Gregory Guillaume, chief designer of Kia Europe.

The current Kia Optima is not offered as a station wagon in other markets, so we'll have to wait and see whether the company will make a choice to expand the range. Right now Kia's stateside lineup lacks what we would consider a station wagon in the classic sense, unless one counts the five-door Forte5.

The next-generation Optima is expected to debut late in 2015 as a 2016 model year sedan.

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Sources : Kia Sportspace Photo | Kia Sportspace Article
Apple Car In The Works? : News
Apple Car In The Works? : News

The mere prospect of a car from Apple is sending shockwaves across the tech world. So, what could Apple be planning exactly?

The most salient rumor so far is that Apple is developing an electric car to challenge Tesla. Which begs the question that just about everyone is asking: How does Apple get from an iPhone to a car?

Though a car is a big leap from a handheld device, the reported move by Apple shouldn’t be a complete surprise. With Tesla leading the way on electric cars and Google working on self-driving car technology, the hub of leading-edge car technology is shifting to Silicon Valley.

That’s because the car is quickly becoming a complex mobile device: a rolling computer loaded with chips, software, and wireless connectivity. And higher-end cars are brimming with artificial intelligence that controls the car’s operation, prevents crashes, and responds to voice commands.

That’s right in Apple’s wheelhouse. “In our view, as more things become computers, we believe Apple is very well positioned [to develop] hardware and software innovations together across a vast digital ecosystem,” said Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald, in a note to investors on Tuesday, commenting on the prospects for an Apple car. White also cited comments last year from Ford that the car is “the smartphone of the future.”

Here’s what reports have said so far:

Several hundred Apple employees are working “secretly” on an Apple-branded electric vehicle, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing sources. Code-named “Titan,” the initial design is said to be similar to a minivan.

The car would be self-driving, according to Reuters. The focus is on “electric and connected-car technologies, while studying the potential for automated driving,” Reuters reported, citing a source.

Apple has met with manufacturers including high-end vehicle contract manufacturer Magna Steyr, according to The Wall Street Journal. Customers of Magna Steyr – a unit of Canadian auto supplier Magna International – include Chrysler, Mercedes, and BMW. Apple may be exploring limited initial manufacturing by partnering with an outside manufacturer like Steyr. Which makes sense since electric cars are still produced in relatively small quantities.

Apple CEO Tim Cook approved the project a year ago, according to the Journal. Product design Vice President Steve Zadesky – a former Ford engineer – leads the group. Zadesky was one of the leaders at Apple that developed the iPod and iPhone. The team, working at a secret location near Apple headquarters in Cupertino, is “researching different types of robotics, metals and materials consistent with automobile manufacturing,” the Journal said, citing sources. Time reported that star designer Marc Newson, who joined Apple last year, already has experience in car design. Newson designed the Ford 021C concept car that was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1999.

Apple already offers CarPlay. CarPlay puts popular iPhone functions on a big screen inthe car’s dashboard, offering voice control and interaction through Siri in order to make using the iPhone eyes- and hands-free.

So, how feasible is all of this? “Apple has had trouble with the contract manufacturing of its phones. How is it going to get cars manufactured?” Erik Gordon, a professor at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, told “Will its software for connected and autonomous vehicles give us cars that drive into each other until Apple sends out a patch fixing the bugs?”

Needless to say, those are problems Apple is likely working on right now, but Professor Gordon has a point. Designing and building a self-driving electric car would probably be Apple’s greatest technological challenge yet. So, don’t expect to find an Apple car dealership sandwiched between a Cadillac and BMW dealer on auto row any time soon.

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Sources : Apple Car Photo | Apple Car Article
2016 Cadillac Eldorado : Photos
2016 Cadillac Eldorado : Photos

Sources : 2016 Cadillac Eldorado Photo
Wolverine Centennial 1000-Mile Boot : Accessories
Wolverine Centennial 1000-Mile Boot : Accessories

Wolverine celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Original 1000 Mile Boot Pattern with a special Centennial Edition Boot. Meticulously designed to replicate the craftsmanship and aesthetic of the 1000 Mile Boot first introduced in 1914, the Centennial Edition 1000 Mile Boot features Horween Leather Company’s Genuine American Bison and is made in Wolverine’s Big Rapids, Michigan, factory.

The Centennial Edition is made from the Original 1000 Mile pattern, featuring time-tested Goodyear Welt construction and a leather outsole with a Vibram® heel. Fully lined.

On-site Review
"Great looking pair of boots. I can remember my grandfather would always wear this same boot year round. The leather seems to be very high quality. The lacing hooks are not smooth on the back and are causing deep scratches in the leather on the tongue. The deciding factor to purchase was the boot being Made in the USA. Over all happy with my decision."

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Wolverine Centennial 1000-Mile Boot

Sources : Wolverine Centennial 1000-Mile Boot Photo | Wolverine Centennial 1000-Mile Boot Article
1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo : Classic Cars
1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo : Classic Cars

It’s nice to see someone still deeply in love with their pristine eighties time-capsule 300ZX. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it, but it’s always been a bit difficult to muster any warmth for Nissan’s Z cars after they turned the truly remarkable original 240Z into an ever more porky and ugly caricature of itself. The 300ZX was an attempt to ditch the over-wrought original styling cues for a clean new look, but by then the ZX was severely tainted by image issues, the price of its success.

This Z31 generation of Z cars was based on the chassis of its 280 ZX predecessor, but it introduced the VG 30 series engine, the first of a long line of Nissan’s increasingly highly-regarded V6s. In its first appearance here, it had SOHC heads and power outputs that seem laughable today for what was then a leading edge design: 160-165 hp for the normally aspirated version, and 200-205 for the turbo, as installed here. European turbo models had a better “Nismo” cam profile, and produced 230 hp. Given its 3,000 lb weight, the 300ZX was an adequate but hardly sparkling performer in un-turbo form.

The chassis of the 280ZX and this generation 300ZX was never in particular high regard, and had a rep for being a bit floppy at the limits, and generally uninspiring. Perfectly adequate for the overwhelming percentage of buyers, who wanted something to go with their suburban version of the Miami Vice look while tooling down the freeway. Somehow, the Toyota Supra’s relative lack of sales success protected it from the ZX car’s cheap gold chain image.

Its successor, the second generation (Z32) ZX300, was a much more ambitious attempt to regain true sports car creds with an all-new chassis and higher output DOHC engines. It received critical acclaim in the press and its styling was certainly more ambitious than the rather anodyne and generic version here, even with its tacked on fender extensions and sills. That’s not to say that with the right preparation, the 300ZX couldn’t be a winner on the race track, but frankly that has more to do with other factors than what was being actually sold at the dealer. Paul Newman drove one to its only Trans Am win in 1986. Good publicity, but not enough to keep redeem this generation 300ZX from also-ran status.

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Sources : 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo Photo | 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo Article
2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS : Concept Cars
2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS : Concept Cars

Getting ready to shake up the sports car market next year is the 2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Coming from the legendary brand that has been releasing continuously high quality vehicles that will stand the test of time, this new Chevelle is bound to please everyone patiently anticipating its arrival. This new generation is rumored to see a bevy of improvements from the design to the performance side of the spectrum. Certainly plenty to be excited about.

Engine and Powertrain
Coming from a long line of established sports cars, this new and improved Chevelle’s engine alignment will, without a doubt, be the main attraction and its announcement is already eagerly anticipated. Chevy has, unfortunately, remained tight lipped on this subject. However, if you are to believe the rumors the 2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS will feature two different engine variations, depending on the trim of your choice. The base engine out of the two will reportedly be a turbo drive inline-4 2.0 liter engine, capable of producing 294 horsepower. A step up from the base one will be a 3.3 liter V6 engine, whose numbers have not been calculated but that will certainly offer a greater amount of power, as well as a faster acceleration.

After the engine, the most anticipated feature of the 2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS is perhaps the design, that has been rumored to receive a couple of alterations. The exterior design has always been one of the strong-suits of this sports car, so it is particularly exciting to see how Chevy will progress with it. It has been rumored that they are moving in a more modern direction with a reportedly a fresher and more aerodynamic design. Expect some drastic measures taken to restyling the front of the vehicle, namely the grille and headlights, that will receive a new design to help round up that aerodynamics of the vehicle.

Inside, expect to see some drastic changes as well. The 2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS is rumored to feature a new and improved cabin with refreshed interior styling. Something to be excited about is the electrically adjustable drivers seat that guarantees the best driving experience you can have. Expect to see some refreshments when it comes tho the dashboard and the control panel that will be all together more sophisticated and modern. There will be some improvements to the entertainment and safety system as well. They will be updated to feature the latest innovations and technology from the high-tech and safety system world.

2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS Release Date and Price
Chevrolet has not offered up any official information regarding the price and release date considering it is still too early for those details to emerge. Being a 2016 model, expect to see the new Chevelle at the beginning of next year at the soonest. As for the pricing, early estimates suggest the starting price to be at around $30,000.

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Sources : 2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS Photo | 2016 Chevrolet Chevelle SS Article
BMW i8 Updated For Geneva : News
BMW i8 Updated For Geneva : News

BMW is updating its plug-in electric hybrid sports car, the i8, with additional standard equipment for the Geneva Motor Show, set to kick off in March. There will be new options for interior styling, and inclusion of the Pure Impulse Experience program, which, according to a press release, comprises “exclusive lifestyle options in the areas of culture, design, travel and gastronomy in keeping with the progressive and sustainable ‘next premium’ approach of the BMW i brand.”

Basically, that means members get benefits like a membership to Club magazine, invitations to attend special events, tips on finding new eco-resorts, and opportunities to dine in some of the top restaurants.

The update coincides with additional international services now available to i3 and i8 customers. Dubbed the 360° ELECTRIC program, i owners may now participate in things like ChargeNow, an expanding charging and payment service with fast-charge stations supporting international roaming. Or there’s ParkNow, the web- and app-based service to help drivers find parking spaces in hundreds of cities across North America, filtering through search results by price, distance, and availability of charging services and car washes. There’s also DriveNow, which arranges car-sharing options among 390,000 registered users in the U.S. and Europe. Finally, BMW is taking on a “second-life” project in the U.S., Germany, and China, whereby lithium-ion batteries that have passed their roadworthiness life cycles are recycled as stationary energy-storage devices.

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Sources : BMW i8 Photo | BMW i8 Article
2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i : Current Models
2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i : Current Models

We have a whole lotta love around here for Subaru’s Impreza-based and turbo-wild WRX and STI. Be that as it may, the base Impreza sedan and five-door are more, well, quietly competent. For 2015, Subaru has given its Imprezas a midcycle update that probably won’t change too many hearts and minds here at Car and Driver but should keep the Impreza relevant and competitive. The enhancements should also help keep Subaru on the enigmatic sales tear it’s been on for a few years now.

The changes start at the very front with a new bumper, grille, outboard L-shaped trim pieces, and headlights, all of which work together to bring newfound class to the Impreza’s visage while better connecting it with the square-jawed 2014 Legacy. New mirrors are said to improve aerodynamics, while sedan models get a new lip spoiler for the same reason.

Little else has changed outside the car—it looks pretty humdrum, quite frankly—but the interior gets some much-needed attention in the form of upgraded materials and more sound deadening (including thicker side-window glass), the latter change directly addressing one of our chief complaints about the current car. The Impreza sedan continues to be offered in base, Premium, and Limited grades, while five-door models add Sport Premium and Sport Limited trim levels. All Imprezas now feature touch-screen infotainment systems—measuring 6.2 inches in lower grades and 7.0 inches in higher trims—as well as cruise control, backup cameras, and, at long last, one-touch turn signals for lane changes. Impreza Limited, Sport Premium, and Sport Limited trim levels also get integrated turn signals for their exterior mirrors, while Limited versions of each body style feature more-sophisticated gauges with an LCD multi-information display.

The Impreza joins the Legacy, Outback, and Forester in offering Subaru’s nifty stereoscopic EyeSight driver-assistance system that combines adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, and lane-departure warning. New to the EyeSight system for 2015 are steering-responsive fog lights that activate individually to help illuminate curves.

Mechanical updates are few. The engine is still a 148-hp boxer four-cylinder with 145 lb-ft of torque, and a five-speed manual transmission continues to serve as the default gearbox for base sedan and Sport Premium models. The CVT is now standard on the rest of the lineup and has been recalibrated to behave more like a six-speed automatic, according to Subaru. As with every new Subaru besides the BRZ, all Imprezas remain all-wheel drive. Meanwhile, EPA-estimated fuel economy has crept up by 1 mpg to 28 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway for the CVT sedan, while five-speed four-doors get 25/34. Sport models score 1 mpg lower than that across the board.

Given how little has changed underhood, we don’t expect the Impreza’s acceleration to improve much from the 8.0-second 0-to-60-mph time mustered by our manual-equipped 2012 long-termer and 9.0 seconds for a 2012 automatic model we tested, although we’re definitely interested in finding out the extent to which the 2015 Impreza’s quicker steering rack enlivens handling.

Pricing remains unknown at this point, but don’t expect pre-option stickers to rise too much from the $18,690 to $23,990 of the 2014 model range.

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Sources : 2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Photo | 2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Article
Jaguar D-Type : Classic Cars
Jaguar D-Type : Classic Cars

The D-Type Jaguar is an excellent example of what happens when you take an aeronautical engineer and have him design you a racing car. Post-WWII Britain was brimming with engineers used to the fast-paced design and engineering required during times of war, and this mindset helped launch the country to the forefront of both automobile and motorcycle design.

In the case of the D-Type, Jaguar hired a former Bristol Aeroplane Company engineer to design the monocoque – resulting in one of the most aerodynamic and beautiful cars of the 1950s. The engineer’s name was Malcolm Sawyer and he paid fastidious attention to the D-Type’s frontal area, going so far as to get the engine changed to a dry sump design and tilting it 8½°.

In order to minimise weight, aircraft grade aluminium alloy was used throughout, including an all-aluminium sub-frame attaching the engine to the bulkhead. Interestingly, the designers opted to carry fuel in a deformable Marston Aviation Division bag – common practice in aircraft applications but almost unheard of in automobiles.

Looking at the specifications of the car it’s not hard to see why it achieved so much success – it was powered by a 300bhp, 3781cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with triple Weber carburettors, a four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension, a live rear axle with trailing links, a transverse torsion bar and competition spec four-wheel disc brakes.

With a kerb weight of just 864 kilograms (1905 lbs), the power to weight ratio offered by the D-Type is impressive even by today’s standards. Sadly, Jaguar chose to cut funding to its motor sport department at the end of the 1956 season, which meant that for 1957 onwards the only D-Types racing where entered by privateers.

The D-Type you see here was one such privateer car, it was ordered new by Curt Lincoln – a Finnish tennis player with a deep love of motor racing. In order to avoid as much import tax as possible he requested that Jaguar make the car look as second hand as possible, amazingly the factory agreed and wound the odometer forwards, scuffed up the pedals and carpets, and even added an old steering wheel.

The trickery worked and the Finnish customs agents didn’t tax it as a new vehicle, after some light modifications the car won first in class at the famous Elaintarhanajo – Finland’s version of Monaco which was run on the inner city streets of Helsinki. It would later be fitted with spiked tires and used for ice racing throughout Scandinavia, in 1959 it was sent back to Coventry for a full refurbishment ands shortly after it found its way into private ownership.

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Sources : Jaguar D-Type Photo | Jaguar D-Type Article
2016 Lotus Evora : Current Models
2016 Lotus Evora : Current Models

The 2016 Lotus Evora has been spied.

Set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the facelifted model has a new front bumper, a revised grille and larger air intakes with LED daytime running lights. The rear end largely carries over but there's a new rear wing and an aggressive rear diffuser.

Interior changes appear relatively limited as there's circular air vents, a three-spoke steering wheel and a familiar instrument cluster.

Engine options will likely carryover with minor modifications for improved performance. There's no word on specifics but the entry-level model currently has a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 276 bhp (205 kW) and 258 lb-ft (349 Nm) of torque. It enables the car to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds before hitting a top speed of 163 mph (262 km/h).

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Sources : 2016 Lotus Evora Photo | 2016 Lotus Evora Article
2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel : Current Models
2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel : Current Models

Even though our time with the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel was short, this compact 4-door diesel made a big impression, primarily for its styling and package, and secondarily for its fuel-efficient powertrain. Of course, comparisons with the 2015 VW Jetta TDI are unavoidable, both compete in the same segment, offer virtually the same fuel economy and performance from 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesels and cost about the same.

Just from the standpoint of the engine alone, the VW edges the Chevy for its quieter operation of the 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel, but that's almost a given because of the long tradition that the German automaker has in making compression ignition engines. The 2015 Cruze diesel is a credible first effort, but standing outside the car while it's running, you hear the clatter and coffee grinder din that you expect to hear from non-turbo diesels. From behind the wheel, the noise insulation in the Cruze's cabin keeps the engine noise from being an annoyance.

Spirited performance
And it's behind the wheel that the Chevy Cruze Diesel has a chance to shine. It feels spirited thanks to the 264 lb ft of torque and 151 horsepower (compared to the Jetta's 150 horsepower and 236 lb ft of torque). An added benefit is the 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission in the Cruze, it feels much smoother, especially at initial throttle tip-in than the DSG twin-clutch automated manual in the TDI. The Jetta has a European-inspired suspension and steering, while the Cruze is biased a bit more towards a compliant ride, though the electric power steering is properly dialed in to balance steering ease with on-center precision.

Both cars are smart looking in exterior design, but the edge in comfort goes to the Cruze which has a slightly roomier rear seat. Even though the Chevy's interior is nicely executed, it doesn't quite match the levels of the materials used in the Jetta.

Fuel economy is the diesel's calling card, and the Cruze promises a 33 mpg combined on the EPA cycle with 46 mpg on the highway, one highway mpg better than the DSG-equipped 2015 Jetta TDI. Our test vehicle started with a base price of $25,660 and after the addition of such creature comforts and safety items like a power sunroof, navigation, rearview camera, parking, rear cross traffic and blind spot alerts, comes in at $29,430. The 2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel is not only a nicely equipped, comfortable compact sedan with the room of a mid-size offering, it's a smart way for GM to introduce the benefits of diesels to car buyers who may have never considered the technology.

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Could Driverless Cars Own Themselves? : News
Could Driverless Cars Own Themselves? : News

Forget buying an electric-powered Tesla, sharing a Zipcar or hiring an Uber - the most disruptive force in getting from A to B on four wheels could be cars that own themselves.

Emancipated automobiles sounds like a crazy concept. But the man advocating the idea goes further: he thinks they'll have babies.

OK, let's briefly shift into reverse and introduce Mike Hearn.

The Zurich-based software developer is both an ex-Google engineer and one of the leading Bitcoin software developers. The virtual currency plays a key role in his scheme, but we'll get to that in a bit.

For now, the key thing to know is that he's not actively working on his transport-of-the-future concept, but instead offers it up as a "thought experiment" to inspire.

Coded to be cheap
At the heart of his vision is the idea that once driverless cars become commonplace, most people won't want or need to own a vehicle any more.

And in a world dominated by self-steering taxis, each ride becomes cheaper if the vehicles are autonomous rather than owned and run by major corporations.

"The funny thing about a car that owns itself is that we can encode whatever rules we like into its software," explains Mr Hearn.

"We can program it to make a little bit of profit, so it's got some money for a rainy day, but not excessive amounts. We can make it the most moral, socially minded capitalist possible."

Instead of controlling which car goes where via proprietary software, the cars would communicate with people and the surrounding infrastructure via a new internet-based commerce system, he dubs the Tradenet.

"You would be using an app that goes onto Tradenet and says: 'Here I am, this is where I want to go, give me your best offers,'" the developer says.

"The autonomous taxis out there would then submit their best prices, and that might be based on how far away they are, how much fuel they have, the quality of their programming.

"Eventually you pick one - or your phone does it for you - and it's not just by the cheapest price, but whether the car has a good track record of actually completing rides successfully and how nice a vehicle it is."

The car, in turn, would communicate with the sensor-equipped roads it drives on, offering its passengers the ability to pay extra to go in faster lanes or unlock access to shortcuts - the cost of which would be determined by how many others wanted the same thing.

Employed by automobiles
To be clear, these robots-on-wheels would not be self-aware.

"We're not assuming any kind of Skynet-style artificial intelligence," Mr Hearn states, referring to the Terminator movies.

But they would be programmed to seek self-improvement in order to avoid becoming obsolete. This would involve using earnings to hire human programmers to tweak their code.

After an update the cars could run the new software during half their pick-ups but not the other half, so as to determine whether to make the upgrades permanent.

Other costs would include paying to be refuelled, insured and maintained.

To ensure the system would scale up to meet demand, Mr Hearn suggests something a bit odd: the cars could club together with any surplus earnings they had to pay factories to build more of them.

"After it rolls off the production line... the new car would compete in effect with the existing cars, but would begin by giving a proportion of its profits to its parents.

"You can imagine it being a birth loan, and eventually it would pay off its debts and become a fully-fledged autonomous vehicle of its own."

Death, too, is woven into the system, helping weed out clapped-out models.

"If there were too many cars and the human population drops, for example, then some of those cars could put themselves in long-term parking and switch themselves off for a while to see if things improve," Mr Hearn says. "Or you could get immigrant vehicles driving to another city looking for work.

"Ultimately, they could just run out of fuel one day. They would go bankrupt, effectively, and become available for salvage."

Since banks might struggle with this concept - at least at first - it's proposed the vehicles use a digital currency like bitcoins for their transactions, since the "wallets" used to store and trade the digital currency are not restricted to people or organisations.

"Some people would find it creepy and weird, and they would refuse to do business with machines," acknowledges Mr Hearn. "They would hate the idea of a machine being an economic equal to them - a modern Ludditism, if you like.

"But one interesting thing computers can do is prove to a third party what software they are running.

"And then it would be the most transparent business partner. You would have no risk of it ripping you off, no risk of misunderstandings, and some people would actually find that preferable."

Changing course
One expert, who has considered the proposal, suggested it was both "realistic and idealistic" at the same time.

Realistic, because the technologies involved are likely to become available within the next 10 to 20 years. Idealistic, because it flies in the face of how the car industry works.

"I can't see it happening," remarks Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Aston Business School in Birmingham.

"There will still be economies of scale in production and in purchasing.

"So, I think you'll still get dominant groups emerging - maybe you'll sign up with Bumblecar one day and the next day switch over to Freewheel or something - but there will still be these big groups that operate fleets.

"And they would be able to out-compete individual self-owned vehicles."

After hearing Mr Hearn wax lyrical about his vision, it's somewhat depressing to hear he also thinks we are being steered towards a different destination: a world in which his ex-employer Google, which is spending a small fortune researching self-drive vehicles, and existing car pick-up services such as Uber and Lyft, may come to dominate the roads.

But a backlash could still change our course, he believes.

"We're heading towards even more centralisation of technology and power and profit - we see this in all sectors," he states.

"Even when people have designed decentralised technologies, what you get is a winner-takes-all environment where one or two big Silicon Valley start-ups spend their way to dominance and then become entrenched.

"The autonomous agent idea is almost a reaction against the current trend. Perhaps the solution is actually more technology and radical decentralisation."

Maybe. But the one thing still needed, ironically, would be an organisation willing to drive the concept forward.

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Sources : Driverless Car Photo | Driverless Cars Article