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Frankfurt: Editors’ Choice: Top Five 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Debuts

By Autoblog Staff

2013 Frankfurt Auto Show

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By our story count, this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show was one of the busiest auto shows on record. We brought you more than 70 reveals from the center of the action, and are still finding and compiling a lot of other content with Frankfurt-origins as well.

With such a massive amount of raw data to choose from, picking just five debuts to highlight in our regular Editors’ Choice feature was no small job. As usual, Autoblog staffers were tasked only with awarding points to the cars and concepts that spoke to us the most – our favorite things to look at, read about and write about from the show. Said another way, these are not necessarily the most important or impressive debuts from the Messe; the winners reflect our personal favorites.

As you’ll read below, there were a lot more concept cars than production vehicles that knocked our socks off this time than in years past. Arguably the most impressive production debut – Porsche’s 918 Spyder – came close to the top five but was held back a little by being overly familiar (the danger of a super-long rollout plan). But really, this crop of conceptual metal was just superbly executed. Read our list below and then tell us where we went wrong and right, in Comments.

Continue reading Editors’ Choice: Top Five 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Debuts

Editors’ Choice: Top Five 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Debuts originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ETC: Mercedes drastically reduces size of S-Class with new model cars

By Brandon Turkus

Mercedes-Benz S-Class scale models

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Mercedes-Benz takes its all-new S-Class quite seriously, even by German standards. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that even a scale-model Sonderklasse is carefully crafted. The miniatures in question cover the 2014 S-Class and come courtesy of three brands, in three different sizes, and are available through the Mercedes-Benz Collection.

The largest, and not surprisingly priciest, model is a 1:18-scale (making it about 11.4 inches long) creation from Norev. It features 145 individual parts, with opening and closing doors, trunk, and hood. For those that like to play with their expensive toys, the Norev S-Class comes with gloves. Dropping down the line is a 1:43-scale from Schuco that sits at 4.5 inches long. Like the larger model, it has a sunroof, detailed headlights, and multi-spoke wheels. With 55 parts, the doors, hood, and trunk can’t be manipulated, but it does come on a stylish plinth, with a case. The smallest model is by Herpa, and is a tiny 1:87-scale (about 2.3 inches long) miniature. Only 26 parts are used, but like the Schuco, it comes on a plinth and with a case.

All three models come with a choice of three paints, with Diamond White Metallic available across the range. The Norev model adds Blue Anthracite and Iridium Silver, while the Schuco can be had in Diamond Silver and Magnetite Black. The Herpa, meanwhile, runs a mix of the two, with Blue Anthracite and Magnetite Black.

Pricing is only available in euros, and includes Germany’s 19-percent value added tax. The Norev is 79.90 euros ($106.06), the Schuco is 29.90 euros ($39.69) and the Herpa is 15.90 euros ($21.11, all conversions are today’s rates.) Scroll down below for a press release from Mercedes.

Continue reading Mercedes drastically reduces size of S-Class with new model cars

Mercedes drastically reduces size of S-Class with new model cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Fiat 500L Lounge 5-Door Review & Test Drive

By Malcolm Hogan

2014-fiat-500l-2

In America, some will surprisingly find embedded deep into the younger culture the desire to accept new-found fashion statements as well as new innovation. With the introduction of Fiat in the states, not only has the young culture accepted what is considered as a new ‘statement’ of rolling fashion, but every other age group has embraced the Italian brand with curiosity being the initiator.

The curious and inquisitive minds of just about every age group have taken on yet another endeavor to welcome the all-new Fiat 500L, dubbed the 5-Dorr Urban Utility Vehicle . We first had the Fiat 500 with a multitude of various trims already claiming its acceptance on US shores. The joint efforts of Chrysler and Fiat’s US synergy now birth the larger 5-door and 5-passenger Fiat 500L.

2014-fiat-500l-side-1

The all-new 2014 Fiat 500L literally builds upon the foundational design of the current 500 with a stretched wheelbase, 5 doors, an economically fit drivetrain and crossover-like versatility. Having had the chance the drive the new Fiat 500L I was taken back to my preconceived thoughts of older European “larger” Fiats that were not so appetizing to the eye. For the new Fiat 500L, it brings about face that a mother can love as well as long-time friends – but not without expressing its self-proclaimed cute aspects in your own choice words.

The new Fiat 500L isn’t ugly; it just has a unique personality. Those who have already become acclimated to the current Fiat 500’s looks will have no qualms with falling in love all over with the 500L, especially when you get a good look at its larger bodily dimensions. The new Fiat 500L, to most, won’t fall into an obvious automotive category in America, though it will appease those who seek something different yet large enough to cutely transport humans and stuff. Basically, you can call it a wagon and avoid getting frowning faces from all of your friends.

2014-fiat-500l-dashboard

A total of 4 trim levels are available to choose from for the new Fiat 500L – all having the same engine starting with the Pop version getting a standard six-speed manual transmission, 16-inch steel wheels, tilt & telescoping steering column, cruise control, power-heated exterior mirrors and a Uconnect 5-inch touch screen LCD for operation of the audio system and Bluetooth functions. The next trim is the 500L Easy adding the choice of 3 roof colors, 16-inch aluminum wheels and availability of the 6-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission as an option. The Fiat 500L Trekking trim adds 6 exterior color choices and unique satin-silver body-bumper moldings and door handles. The top-range 500L Lounge trim adds the automatic transmission as standard equipment and you get chrome exterior mirrors, door handles and body side molding inserts. The Lounge version, as found on my test vehicle, opens up the availability to add on a dual-panel power sunroof encompassing most of the roof itself. One thing to …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Automotive Addicts

Report: Jaguar readying SUV for Frankfurt debut

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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In an effort to target higher-volume vehicle segments, Jaguar is getting ready to introduce its first-ever crossover, and Autoweek reports that we could see it debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. We’ve heard in the past that the new Jaguar crossover could carry the name XQ, but the report also mentions that the Q-type name is still in the running (now wouldn’t Audi just love that?).

A little more clear than the crossover’s name, AW says the cargo-friendly Jaguar should ride on the same platform as the upcoming Jaguar XS compact sedan rather than using a Land Rover platform. As for the on-sale date, it still sounds like the XS will hit the roads first in 2015 with the crossover model due out in 2016.

Jaguar readying SUV for Frankfurt debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 07:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Scion xD

Now in its seventh year, the Scion xD has stayed the same while newer subcompacts have improved by leaps and bounds. In 2007, there was no Ford Fiesta, the Honda Fit was in its previous generation, and the unloved Chevrolet Aveo did little to thrill buyers of the smallest cars. Against that competition, Scion’s five-door hatchback… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid / Energi

In their second year on the market, the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid and its plug-in hybrid sibling, the Fusion Energi, remain attractive and efficient versions of the stylish and well-received Fusion mid-size sedan that was all new for the 2013 model year. All Fusions share remarkably good handling, sleek lines that remind some of nothing… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

Video: Griswold Family travels to Disney in the Family Truckster, for real

By Jeremy Korzeniewski

Wagon Queen Family Truckster

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Is there anyone among us who didn’t laugh uncontrollably at the Family Truckster that transported Clark, Ellen, Rusty and Audrey (along with a few other, less fortunate souls…) to Wally World in National Lampoon’s Vacation? We thought not. Such a classic piece of Hollywood automobilia deserves such recognition, we think, and we’re happy to report that one real-life Griswold Family has replicated the movie’s fateful trip the best way it can: with a Wagon Queen Family Truckster of their very own.

Wally World exists only in the imagination of the movies, and that’s fine because Disney World not only exists but is a perfect fill-in for the Griswold Family Vacation. The family may not be greeted by the late, great John Candy, and they probably aren’t going to see Christie Brinkley in a bright red Ferrari, but they will for sure see Mickey Mouse, and hopefully even Tinker Bell, if they’re lucky.

Check out the video below to see the real-life Griswold Family and their faithful recreation of the infamous Family Truckster, and feel free to head on over to the official Disney blog for more on the family and their vacationing travails. Finally, check out another fan-made Family Truckster here.

Continue reading Griswold Family travels to Disney in the Family Truckster, for real

Griswold Family travels to Disney in the Family Truckster, for real originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Motopeds occupy muddy middle ground between moped and mountain bike [w/video]

By Damon Lowney

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Motorized bicycles have been around for a long time, but it isn’t often that they’re as cool as the off-road-oriented contraption called the Motoped. Looking more like a skinny dirtbike with pedals than a mountain bike or moped, Motopeds mount a 50-155cc Honda XR50/CRF50 engine and swingarm to a custom frame with downhill mountain bike suspension components and brakes.

Being able to ride quietly on the sidewalk, switch on the four-stroke Honda engine (or similar Chinese design, if you’d like to go the cheaper route), then pretend you’re Ricky Carmichael for the rest of the way home sounds like great fun to us, but take note of your state’s laws before you do so. In California, for example, the two main laws in the vehicle code require motorized bicycles to have automatic transmissions and less than two brake horsepower to be legal. Also take not that the Motoped is a build-it-yourself ordeal after buying the frame, though the company supplies a parts list with many options depending on price range. If you’re interested, visit the company’s Kickstarter for a discounted price on the frame (as long as the Kickstarter goal is met).

Whatever motor is featured in the video below is the one we want – we have a strong feeling it has more than two horsepower. Or wait for the electric motor version, which is under development, says Motopeds spokesman Joe Rajakaruna.

Continue reading Motopeds occupy muddy middle ground between moped and mountain bike [w/video]

Motopeds occupy muddy middle ground between moped and mountain bike [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 BMW 328d rated at 32/45 mpg

By Steven J. Ewing

2014 BMW 328d

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BMW still hasn’t released official fuel economy numbers for its diesel-powered 2014 328d, but now, those mileage ratings have been posted on the EPA’s FuelEconomy.gov website. As expected, the 328d is quite an efficient little machine, with the rear-wheel-drive sedan good for 32 miles per gallon in the city and 45 mpg highway. That even bests the 30/42 mpg of the smaller Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

The last time BMW offered a diesel 3 Series in our market, it was the six-cylinder 335d, which – while mighty quick and excellent to drive – was only offered as a rear-wheel-drive sedan and was rated at 23 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. For 2014, BMW will offer the 328d with optional xDrive all-wheel drive, though that reduces the fuel economy numbers to 31/43 mpg. Beyond that, the BMW will even sell you a 328d xDrive wagon, which nets the same 31/43 mpg rating, according to FuelEconomy.gov.

Look for the 2014 BMW 328d to hit dealerships this fall, and when it launches, it will be the only diesel offering in its class (until the next Mercedes-Benz C-Class arrives, anyway). Lexus and Infiniti will offer hybrid versions of the IS and Q50, respectively, but we’ve always had a taste for torque, and the 328d’s 2.0-liter engine with 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of twist shouldn’t disappoint.

2014 BMW 328d rated at 32/45 mpg originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Climb to the Clouds returning thanks to Subaru title sponsorship [w/video]

By Jonathon Ramsey

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The Mt. Washington Hillclimb, otherwise known as the Climb to the Clouds, hasn’t been done since 2011. That year, Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins set a new record for the event first held in 1904, running the 7.6-mile vertiginous course in 6:11.54. The race will be return in 2014 with the help of that very carmaker, Subaru of America having stepped in to the title sponsor role for what will be the Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb.

Taking place from June 26-29, 75 modern and vintage cars will spend three days racing up the 6,288-foot-high mountain. It’s not as long nor as high as Pikes Peak, but it does have something that the Colorado competition doesn’t: gravel; about 13 percent of the Mt. Washington Carriage Road still hasn’t been paved.

If you want to know what a record-breaking run up the northeast’s highest peak looks like, check out Higgins behind the wheel in the video below.

Continue reading Climb to the Clouds returning thanks to Subaru title sponsorship [w/video]

Climb to the Clouds returning thanks to Subaru title sponsorship [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: France formally moves to ban Mercedes vehicles using contested refrigerant

By Jonathon Ramsey

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That didn’t take long. Shortly after a French administrative court gave the French government a ten-day window to reconsider its ban on registrations of Mercedes-Benz A-, B- and CLA-Class cars using the prohibited R134a refrigerant, the government cited an EU directive to formalize banning the sale of the cars. The country’s environmental ministry said that registrations “will remain forbidden in France as long as the company does not to conform to European regulations,” meaning so long as they do not use the approved R1234yf refrigerant.

Daimler had won the administrative court decision by challenging France’s application of a “safeguard” provision in which the EU allows a country to block sales of cars that would “seriously harm the environment.” In spite of Daimler’s victory, France has cited that very provision as basis for the continuation of the ban.

Daimler got permission from Germany’s KBA federal motor authority to keep selling cars with the coolant banned by EU politicians, and is using that national permission as the right to sell the cars throughout Europe. Meanwhile, above that battle, German politicians are asking the EU to let Mercedes sell the cars in France while the KBA does more testing, at the same time as the EU is threatening Germany with repercussions if it doesn’t bring the KBA and Daimler into line.

The German carmaker has said France’s “argument is absolutely incomprehensible” and has vowed more courtroom action. The three models comprise most of Mercedes’ business in France; more than 4,500 vehicles have been kept from being registered, 2,704 of which have already been sold.

France formally moves to ban Mercedes vehicles using contested refrigerant originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Porsche Macan caught completely uncovered

By Brandon Turkus

Porsche Macan Spy Photo front three-quarter tight

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Porsche is preparing to launch its sub-Cayenne CUV, with a suspected debut at the 2013 Los Angeles International Auto Show, which means we’re right about at the point where undisguised models start scampering around the cities and towns of Germany. Our spy photographers snagged just such a model, with only the headlights and taillights concealed by camouflage (no, those comically large lamps aren’t a production item).

The undisguised car looks like a tiny Cayenne. Not really surprising, we know, but it’s impressive to see how the Cayenne’s styling works with the smaller proportions of the Macan. It looks squat, athletic and poised, like it’s a small, “sporty” crossover we’d actually want to drive. Both the Macan and the Macan Turbo are shown, with the more powerful model sporting a set of quad exhausts.

The only big questions now concern the shape of the lights and the interior. From the photos, we can see a rough outline of the headlights, although the taillights are more difficult to discern. The interior remains a mystery.

Thankfully, LA is less than four months away, so we won’t have too long to wait to see a fully uncovered Macan.

Porsche Macan caught completely uncovered originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch Terrafugia Transition flying car make its first public flight

By Damon Lowney

Terrafugia Transition made its first public takeoff.

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The boundless imagination of post-war American car design has long been on display at the AirVenture museum in the form of the 1949 Aerocar. But as of Monday, flying cars became a bit more relevant when the long-delayed, street-legal Terrafugia Transition took off and flew in public for the first time, reports the Journal Sentinel.

It was the first day of the EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, an international event where the newest in aviation technology is often unveiled. The Transition took off, flew smoothly and circled around the airfield for the public audience, and the low-speed landing looked especially drama-free, with all four of the flying car’s wheels touching the ground at the same time. After landing, the pilot parked for a minute to show off a crucial feature: motorized self-folding wings. The pilot/driver can fold the wings up after a flight and be ready for street driving without ever having to get out of the vehicle. The vintage Aerocar, on the other hand, had removable wings that had to be towed when it was driven on the street.

While everything seemed to go as planned for the Transition, at the 31-second mark in the first video we noticed that the wings didn’t fold up at the same speed, which has us questioning the effectiveness of the prototype’s wing-folding mechanism. It’s a good thing that this is the second of three generations of prototypes, so Terrafugia has plenty of time to iron out the details.

Look for the Transition to go on sale in 2015 or 2016 with a projected price tag of $279,000. The company is taking $10,000 refundable deposits now, the Journal Sentinel reports, and over 100 people have already reserved their own flying car. Check the takeoff, flight and landing in the videos below.

Continue reading Watch Terrafugia Transition flying car make its first public flight

Watch Terrafugia Transition flying car make its first public flight originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Porsche Macan Turbo Spy Photos: Nearly Undisguised, a Baby Cayenne Emerges

By Alexander Stoklosa

2015 Porsche Macan (spy photo)

What It Is: Porsche’s upcoming mid-size SUV, the Macan, caught testing wearing almost no camouflage. The Macan, which carried a code name of Cajun—short for “Cayenne Junior”—is smaller than the Cayenne and designed to bring even more buyers into the Porsche fold. Our spy photographers previously captured a Macan prototype out for testing, but it had considerably more camouflage than the car you see here. We’ve also gleaned new details about the Macan’s powertrain in the interim.  READ MORE ››

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

2013 Ford Taurus 2.0L EcoBoost Tested: Boost Sure, Eco Not So Much

By Austin Lindberg

The first Taurus blasted onto the scene in the mid-1980s as Ford’s volume sedan, stunning the automotive world with an aero-focused design that sent competitors scrambling and buyers storming into Blue Oval showrooms. (It subsequently appeared on seven straight 10Best Cars lists.) By 1992, the Taurus was the bestselling car in America, a title it held through 1995. But 1996 saw the Taurus stumble through a controversial redesign, and the badge disappeared for a spell in the mid-2000s before being resurrected on a larger car—the Fusion had taken over mid-sizer duties—when the Five Hundred was renamed. READ MORE ››

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Official: Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse brings one-make series to the road

By Damon Lowney

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Lamborghini announced a new Gallardo model today, the all-wheel-drive LP 570-4 Squadra Corse, and it’s almost identical to the LP 570-4 Super Trofeo single-series race car. Its world premiere will be held at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The street-legal Squadra Corse shares key components with the Super Trofeo – both of which are based on the Gallardo Superleggera – including the 570-horsepower V10, carbon fiber rear wing and removable engine hood made in the same material. The rear wing produces up to three times more downforce than what’s found on the LP 560-4. Through the generous use of weight-saving materials and components, the Squadra Corse weighs in at 2,954 pounds, which is 154 pounds lighter than the LP 560-4. To stop all of that mass, standard production carbon-ceramic brakes are used.

Carbon fiber bucket seats with Alcantara center inserts replace the regular seats, though buyers can option them back in. Alcantara also covers the underside of the dashboard. The door panels, center console cover, handbrake frame and lower section of the steering wheel are all made in carbon fiber.

Courtesy of the weight savings, the Squadra Corse has impressive performance. Hitting 60 miles per hour takes just 3.4 seconds, but even more impressive is its run to 124 mph in 10.4 seconds. The racecar for the street tops out at a slightly hilarious 199 mph.

The Squadra Corse was named after a new department at Lamborghini Automobili, which handles all motorsports activities, such as the Super Trofeo one-make race series. Check out the press release below for more juicy details.

Continue reading Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse brings one-make series to the road

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse brings one-make series to the road originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog