Tag Archives: First Drive

First Drive: 2014 Hyundai Equus

By Seyth Miersma

2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate

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A Lesson In How To Out-Lexus The LS

I think that the new BMW 4 Series is an attractive coupe. The design is a little bit on the wrong side of “fussy” I’ll grant you, and I don’t particularly care for the look of the scalloped, black-bordered vents on the fender sides – functional though they may be. But for the most part, I find the coupe to be pretty pleasing to look at.

You all, by and large, do not care for the 4 Series. (For the sake of constructing my intellectual argument, I’m going to make the ridiculous statistical assumption that the 140 or so comments on our 4 Series First Drive provide a representative opinion of our readership as a whole.) In the first 24 hours after we published our review of the car, you felt moved to comment that it was “ugly,” “REALLY ugly” and “a disappointment” among other, less reprintable statements of ardor.

So clearly we see things a little differently in terms of styling, but what does any of this have to do with the 2014 Hyundai Equus?

Continue reading 2014 Hyundai Equus

2014 Hyundai Equus originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Freaky Five-Door: Audi Prices 560-HP 2014 RS7 from $105,795

By Alexander Stoklosa

2014 Audi RS7

Audi’s A7 luxury five-door is one of the most attractive cars on the market, but it has since birthed the higher-performance S7 and now, this: The 2014 RS7. Compared to the S7 and regular A7, the RS7 packs an additional 140 and 250 horsepower, respectively. Now Audi has revealed how much more than those two models the RS7 will cost. At a starting price of $105,795, the RS7 will set buyers back quite a bit more than the A7 and S7, but then Audi claims it can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and top out at 174 mph.

For those who aren’t keen on doing the math, allow us to crunch the numbers and illuminate how the RS7 costs $40,400 more than the A7, which is powered by a 310-hp, supercharged V-6. The next-speediest model in the A7 family, the S7, is still $24,700 cheaper; it is powered by a lower-output version of the RS7’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8. On the upside, the RS7 is quite a bit more affordable than the (less expensive) BMW M6 Gran Coupe, which, like the RS7, is just a slinkier version of a regular sedan. (The RS7 essentially is a sultrier RS6 sedan, while the BMW is an M5 with a less-practical back seat.) Mercedes-Benz’s rough equal for the RS7, the CLS63 AMG, was priced at less than $100,000 before it was refreshed for 2014—pricing for that car is not yet available, but it is still down 10 ponies on the Audi. (Mercedes-Benz hasn’t revealed how much it will charge for its newly all-wheel-drive E63 AMG wagon, but it should come in near the RS7.) Impressively, the RS7 is rated for the same 27 mpg on the highway as the S7 (down 1 mpg from the V-6 A7) and just 1 mpg lower in the city, thanks to engine stop-start and cylinder-deactivation features.



While buyers can get the A7 in Premium Plus and Prestige trims, content-wise, the RS7 comes standard with the ritzier Prestige gear. As befits a car in this price category, the RS7 is available with a number of luxury options and packages. Techies will gravitate toward the $500 Cold Weather package, $2800 Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise, front and rear cameras, lane-keeping assist, Audi Pre Sense Plus pre-crash system), the $5900 Bang & Olufsen sound system, and $2800 Innovation package (head-up display, night-vision camera). Vanity fans will dig the $2000 Comfort Seating package (ritzier leather with diamond-quilted inserts, 22-way power front seats with a massage function and ventilation), $4000 Carbon-Optic package (high-gloss black and carbon-fiber exterior trim; also requires $1000 sports exhaust), and $1000 21-inch five-spoke wheels.

Go all-in on the options, and the RS7’s price tag easily exceeds $130,000—but when you consider that Audi refuses to send Americans its excellent RS6 Avant wagon, what price can you put on owning a luxurious, …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

First Drive: 2014 Toyota Tundra

By Michael Harley

2014 Toyota Tundra

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Raising A White Flag To The Competition

We all benefit from highly competitive battles. In the automotive sector, few campaigns are so closely fought as the decades-long struggle for supremacy in the fullsize half-ton pickup truck segment. The Ford F-150 has dominated for ages, but Chevrolet, Ram and GMC have been closing the gap with freshly redesigned trucks that are rocking the industry.

Today’s half-ton trucks are better than they’ve ever been, and we have fierce competition to thank for that.

But where does the segment leave a truck from an automaker that has chosen to no longer fight and deliver its best product? What kind of vehicle comes from a company that has relinquished any desire to strive for the top of the class – one who is now content offering nothing more than minor updates and mediocrity in an aim to placate brand loyalists?

Such a calculated underachiever would look a lot like the 2014 Toyota Tundra.

Continue reading 2014 Toyota Tundra

2014 Toyota Tundra originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Audi Cutting Distracting Apps from 4G LTE Service, Only Available for 2015 A3

By Clifford Atiyeh

Because Audi drivers are important, they need to access information immediately. As they’re riding your backside in the right lane, they’re checking stocks and grabbing Google searches with their fingers, all thanks to an embedded 3G data modem. Now that Audi is increasing data speeds for its vaunted MMI system by nearly tenfold, we can expect their drivers to exhibit even less patience.

In Europe, Audi has just launched the industry’s first in-car 4G LTE service on the 2014 S3 Sportback. By November, 4G LTE will be introduced across all European A3 models; we won’t see it until the 2015 A3 sedan launches next spring. Just like cell phones, the switch to 4G requires a hardware upgrade, which means it’ll trickle up the Audi lineup when each model receives its scheduled refresh. For the R8 and TT—the only two models on sale without Audi connect internet services—4G won’t roll out until they see a new generation.

The announcement comes months after General Motors said it would install 4G LTE connections in most 2015 models. While Audi expects to be first to market, GM is adding the feature on several models next year, not just one.

With speed comes the ability to multitask, and that means some of Audi’s most noteworthy features—the reading of emails and ability to dictate text messages—won’t be offered in the U.S. because of distraction concerns. Audi said it’s currently talking with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—our take on NHTSA’s distracted-driving guidelines can be found here—to decide which features it can offer without incurring the wrath of government regulators. That means you’ll have to stop first to read about your buddy’s late-night hookup and your aunt’s expert political opinions.



Currently, Audi offers unlimited 3G service through T-Mobile that’s free for the first six months and then $15 per month thereafter. Audi said it was negotiating among carriers (GM has selected AT&T) and would announce pricing closer to the L.A. auto show in November. We wouldn’t be surprised if the rates doubled to $30 per month, which is what most wireless carriers charge for a single smartphone.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Volkswagen Will Bring the Phaeton Back to America—Just Not for Another Two Years

By Jens Meiners

The next generation of the Volkswagen Phaeton will, in fact, be offered in the U.S., but don’t expect it to be unveiled any time soon. There is no substance to rumors that it will be unveiled at the 2014 Detroit auto show, company sources have told Car and Driver. Look instead for a debut late in 2014 or 2015, likely at a European or Chinese auto show, before coming to market as a 2016 model. There is no urgency on VW’s part to replace the venerable luxury sedan.

The original Phaeton, a pet project of Ferdinand Piëch that was launched in 2002, has not performed well in North America—or anywhere else, for that matter. It was yanked from American VW dealers after the 2006 model by former VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder as part of his power struggle with Piëch, who heads the supervisory board. However, a company insider tell us that the discontinuation of VW’s S-class–fighter was “one of the smartest decisions ever,” adding, “We couldn’t give them away.”

The Dresden-built luxo-cruiser serves as the technical basis for Bentley’s Continental GT and Flying Spur, actually surpassing both in several aspects when it comes to attention to detail. Despite that enormous technological merit, the Phaeton has been let down by Volkswagen’s image—it’s awfully tough to sell the uninitiated on a $93,000 VW, even if it does have chops good enough for Bentley.



The second generation of the Phaeton is being developed to make use of the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform, which is loosely shared with the Audi A8, and will return to American showrooms. Our intelligence suggests that the new Phaeton will be powered by a choice of a turbocharged VR6, a turbocharged V-8, a V-6 turbo-diesel, and potentially a hybrid in some form. Unfortunately, we hear there’s very little chance that the Group’s famous W-12 has a future in the Phaeton. Even if engineered to perfection, as we fully expect the next Phaeton to be, it won’t be quite the same without four banks of cylinders providing seemingly endless thrust for the most luxurious VW-badged ride imaginable.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

First Images of 2014 BMW i3 EV Leak onto Dutch Website

By Alexander Stoklosa

2014 BMW i3 EV

The first official images of the 2014 BMW i3 have leaked onto the internet just days before the electric car’s debut. The photos appeared on the Dutch site Autoblog.nl, and appear to show a production-ready silver i3. (To see the full set of images, head over to Autoblog.nl.) As expected, the 2014 i3 looks nearly identical to the i3 Concept Coupe, which itself was a visual evolution of the original i3 concept from 2011.



We’ve already driven an i3 prototype, and we know how much BMW plans to charge customers for its little electric car, but we expect final fuel-economy and technical details to be revealed at the car’s official debut in the coming days. The 2014 BMW i3 goes on sale in the second quarter of next year.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

First Drive: 2014 Buick LaCrosse

By Seyth Miersma

2014 Buick LaCrosse - front three-quarter view

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A Nice, New Buick Aims For Middle Of The Road

Any time someone describes some portion of a car or a driving experience as being “nice,” I want to either A) throttle them or B) run as fast and as far as I can from that vehicle. “Nice” is among the most insidious words in the English language – at best it’s vague, and at worst, it conveys the exact opposite of its literal meaning. Yet it seems to be used with damnable frequency when it comes to verbally illustrating vehicles. “It looks really nice,” or “These seats feel nice,” or, heaven forefend, “It’s got a nice ride,” are all windy signifiers of absolutely nothing resembling a concrete opinion. “Nice” is the adjectival equivalent of meekly smiling and nodding your head.

Of course, I’m as guilty as the next person of having thrown English’s least powerful descriptor around. There’s even a chance that, rant aside, you’ll catch me making nice in reviews to come. That’s fine, but you should know that when you stumble upon such usage, past or future, that you’ve found a sentence in which I’m simply applying a bare minimum of effort to the task.

Right, let’s talk about the newly updated 2014 Buick LaCrosse.

Continue reading 2014 Buick LaCrosse

2014 Buick LaCrosse originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

2014 BMW 435i First Drive: The Driving Machine Returns

By Jeff Sabatini

2014 BMW 435i coupe

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

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

First Drive: 2014 BMW 4 Series

By Steven J. Ewing

2014 BMW 4 Series

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Because Four Is Greater Than Three

Say what you will about the name 4 Series, there is a method to BMW’s madness. On one hand, it’s easy enough to just buy into the logic that odd numbers are reserved for sedans and wagons, and that even numbers are reserved for coupes and convertibles. On the other hand, consider the idea that the higher numbers are used to separate the more dynamic, more engaging vehicles that use the same platform. It’s that sort of separation that differentiates the 6 Series so nicely from its 5 Series roots, after all. And if we’re being cynical, it also allows BMW to charge a bit more money for its lower-volume offerings.

So with the new two-door version of the 3 Series, BMW has gone the route of strengthening the dynamic virtues of its F30 chassis to create a car that’s more removed from its sedan kin than one might think. And after spending some time with the new 4 Series on the roads around Lisbon, Portugal, as well as the famous Circuito do Estoril racetrack, it’s increasingly clear that calling this car a 3 Series Coupe simply wouldn’t be fair.

Continue reading 2014 BMW 4 Series

2014 BMW 4 Series originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Volkswagen Group Green Lights Bentley’s SUV Project

By Jens Meiners

A Bentley SUV will go on sale in 2016, but it likely won’t look like this early design proposal of the EXP 9 F concept.

It’s official: the Bentley SUV will happen. Today, Volkswagen Group chief Martin Winterkorn declared that the long-rumored off-roader—previewed by the unfortunately styled EXP 9 F concept at the 2012 Geneva auto show—will go on sale from 2016. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s presence added a political dimension to the announcement, highlighting Bentley’s investment of more than £800 million, roughly $1.2 billion, which will see the SUV built in Crewe and generate 1000 jobs in the U.K.

No further details were provided, but Bentley did say, however, that the new model “will be a thoroughbred Bentley” and “the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market.” The SUV moving to production will be a late triumph for Wolfgang Dürheimer, the recently dismissed head of Audi’s R&D program, who was Bentley’s CEO when work on the SUV model commenced.

Echoing Dürheimer’s remarks of last summer, Bentley maintains that the reaction of customers to a Bentley SUV has been “extremely positive.” Nevertheless, the vehicle will receive a complete makeover; design chief Luc Donckerwolke is in charge of a comprehensive restyling that will address some of the concerns about the model’s design.



What we know is that the Bentley SUV will be based on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB architecture, originally designed by Audi and to be shared with the next generation of Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg, and Porsche Cayenne. It will be available with a range of powertrain options that will include a hybrid, a V-8 diesel, and a twin-turbo W-12. Competition will come from the likes of Range Rover, an upcoming Jaguar SUV, and top-drawer versions of the Porsche Cayenne and the Audi Q7. Perhaps most interesting will be the dynamic between Bentley and Lamborghini, as Audi CEO Rupert Stadler announced that the Italians’ Urus SUV project will arrive on showroom floors roughly at the same time as Bentley’s SUV. Just how the VW Group plans to position two similar models with such historic badges and astronomical sticker prices will be fascinating to say the least.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV [w/video]

By Jeffrey N. Ross

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

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Side Effects May Include Grinning and Tire Chirping

For anyone who has yet to experience the joys of indoor go-karting, you’re missing out. Electric karts race around the inside of former big-box retail establishments, warehouses and the like delivering more excitement than you typically get from those rickety old concession karts powered by lawnmower engines. Since we can’t afford anything wearing a Tesla badge, these usually come to mind when someone mentions an electric vehicle that’s fun. After driving the 2014 Chevrolet Spark, though, our mental association might just be out of date.

Thanks to their instant torque, an EV being a hoot to drive shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, but Chevy’s all-new Spark EV is making its bid to rise to the top of this growing class, a field that includes the Fiat 500e, Mitsubishi i-Miev, Nissan Leaf, Scion iQ EV and Smart Fortwo ED, and it’s doing so with more torque, better efficiency and a lower price. With a name like “Spark,” it would be easy to assume that this small car was conceived with an EV model in mind from the beginning, but that’s not the case.

Even entering its third generation in 2009 (the first two weren’t sold in North America), General Motors admitted that the Spark was not designed with an EV drivetrain in mind. Just four years later, though, the Spark EV is hitting America’s roads – in California and Oregon – so we headed to scenic Portland, OR to check out Chevy’s new battery electric vehicle (BEV) and the first EV for General Motors since the controversial EV1.

Continue reading 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV [w/video]

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

First Drive: Italdesign Giugiaro Parcour Concept

By Matt Davis

Italdesign Giugiaro Parcour Concept

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Coachbuilt Italian Finery Rides High In The Mediterranean

Apparently, the appropriate gift to give for the 45th anniversary of almost anything is a blue sapphire stone. I cannot imagine Autoblog readers craving a story about that, so I’m glad that Italdesign Giugiaro spared me that gig and instead created this truly interesting Parcour concept to mark its 45th anniversary.

Parcour is named after the generally urban activity of French origin (spelled “parkour”), of throwing one’s (presumably) agile body off walls and railings in an anti-gravity freestyle momentum ballet. This sometimes ends up being broadcast on YouTube, particularly to show a parkour session gone horribly wrong, with the star taking a metal banister in the cojones or receiving a fetching bouquet of twisted fingers. Clearly design boss at Giugiaro, Fabrizio Giugiaro (son of legend Giorgetto), and his squad had more coordinated good parkour-ing in mind when they let me drive their cool creation on the island of Sardinia. (I live not far away, so it’s a one-hour flight with the herds on a low-cost airline.)

It’s been a while since a traditional Turin house created a million-dollar running prototype or showcar that it felt like entrusting to a journalist or two. Recent years have been distracting, to say the least, for the likes of Bertone, Pininfarina and Giugiaro, as the global crisis threatened to suck them under for good. Italdesign-Giugiaro did a very wise thing in May 2010 and allowed longtime partner Volkswagen Group to buy a majority stake, thus securing the future of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s dream factory. But all of these dealings have put drives like this on hold for a bit while all t’s were crossed and i’s dotted.

Continue reading Italdesign Giugiaro Parcour Concept

Italdesign Giugiaro Parcour Concept originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Quick Spin: 2013 Mercedes A45 AMG 4Matic [w/video]

By Matt Davis

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United States customers desiring one of the new smaller AMG models from Mercedes-Benz will really enjoy their 2014 CLA45. It’s swift, authoritative, more alive in your hands than any other AMG model has ever been, and it’s the only compact practical AMG you’ll ever be able to get anyway.

Little ghost-like leaks keep on happening from some apparent “source” in Germany, telling young cub reporters from the US that the A-Class hatchback range is also coming to the land of hashbrowns. The way we read it, the A-Class, however, will never come to the States, folks, at least not in this decade, anyway.

More’s the pity, because, as we and all others noticed at the recent drive event in Germany, for both the A45 and the CLA45, it’s the hatch that truly pulls no punches on dynamism. The CLA has clearly been massaged to be just a touch to be more civil than the excitingly bratty A45.

Driving Notes

  • As we said in the recent First Drive for the CLA45, the A45 is a decidedly different concoction from the usual straight-line marauders of the AMG lineup. The chassis is dramatically more alive and communicative, and we really like it.
  • From now on, AMG is putting some form of 4Matic traction under every car. That means some compromises – good and not so – will happen. In this case, the hang-on all-wheel-drive unit creates a much more capable sporting drive versus a straight front-wheel-drive setup.
  • That said, some people who talk like they’ve driven the car will shower both the A45 and CLA45 with their prejudiced derision. They’ll proclaim – no matter what we say – that these are cheapo overpriced front-drive Euro econoboxes. It also means that there’ll be more of these great cars for those of us who dig ’em.
  • While we dashed around on roads and Autobahn, our track time for this event was relegated to AMG Performance chassis-prepped A45 AMG Edition 1 units, a limited-run setup for Europe that pimps the ride out to around €57,000 base price (roughly $75,000 due to exhilarating European taxation policies and an overvalued Euro). Ride along for a spot of this action, in the video below.
  • Realistically, an A45 would need to start at around $45k in the US. The fully tricked Edition 1 as at this track, however, would bring about $60k for starters. Enough to make American blog comments go ballistic.
  • The optional matte Mountain Grey Designo exterior paint and darkened multitudinous-spoked 19-inch AMG wheelset of our street-tester A45, go together like ham and eggs. This unit had everything on it apart from the Edition 1 trickery and overly excited aero bits, and we think it’s all the better for it.
  • The experts on hand at this drive event finally admitted that the ratings of the elasto-kinematics fore and aft of the suspension were, in fact, different for the A45 versus the CLA45. The handling that is possible with the hatch is pure …read more

    Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

First Drive: 2014 Audi RS7 [w/video]

By Matt Davis

2014 Audi RS7

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Stunning Sportback Gets The Performance To Match

Saying the 2014 Audi RS7 Sportback is not as good as the not-for-North-America Audi RS6 Avant we recently tested is a bit like saying one more strip of crispy bacon would make our Waffle House All-Star Special breakfast even more special. The RS7 goes to ten while the RS6 goes to eleven, maybe, but they both rock our world. The RS7 is meant for the far wider buying audience worldwide, not just for western European family bombing runs, as with the RS6 Avant.

But, hey, this RS7 simply hurtles down the road in a singularly sexy way. And if you really want this bodystyle – and who could blame you? – the RS6 Avant doesn’t really even matter anyway. After a full day on perfect dry and warm Swabian two-lanes driving this Audi very hard, we barely thought about it at all.

Continue reading 2014 Audi RS7 [w/video]

2014 Audi RS7 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Next-Generation Mazda 2 Allegedly Previewed in Japanese Magazine, Inherits Kodo Design Language

By Alexander Stoklosa

2014 Mazda 2

If this image from a Japanese publication is the real deal, it looks as though the next-generation Mazda 2 (called Demio in other markets) will inherit the same Kodo design language worn by the Mazda 6, CX-5, and all-new Mazda 3. The grille and headlight treatment are especially reminiscent of the 3, 6, and CX-5′s mugs, although the body sides seem fairly free of the creases and bulges found on those other Mazdas. This image—which includes a graphic element with the number “2014″—lead us to believe the next 2 will debut fairly soon, probably early next year. 



We already know that the next 2 will share its underpinnings with the next-generation Toyota Yaris, and the pair will be built in Mazda’s new production facility in Mexico. We expect the same suite of Skyactiv fuel-efficiency-boosting technologies that are baked into the Mazda 3, Mazda 6, and CX-5 will trickle down to the 2. But fuel-economy is boring—all we care about is whether the new 2 drives as well as it does now. Given how enjoyable our time behind the wheel of the 2014 Mazda 3 was, we don’t think we’ll be disappointed.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

The Return of Datsun: Say Hello to Go

By Justin Berkowitz

2014 Datsun GO

This is the first new Datsun in, well, about three decades. A Datsun? You mean the brand that:

  1. Built that fun 280Z I had until it morphed from car into rust?
  2. Turned into Nissan?
  3. I’ve only heard of because of the profanity-laden car-rental scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles?

Yeah, that Datsun. Except that the new Datsun Go is probably not very fun, probably rustproofed, and a Nissan turned into it. The idea is to sell the five-door hatchback in India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Russia for about the same price as a smaller car from a more mainstream brand. It’s not an original idea. Renault, which is half-merged with Nissan and shares Carlos Ghosn as a CEO, has raked in millions with its cheap ‘n’ rugged Dacia brand.

The Go is definitely simple. It sits on Nissan’s Type-V platform, which also underpins the Micra, a Fiesta-sized car that Nissan sells around the world in countries where the Versa is considered not-tiny. Motivation comes from a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine—horsepower number not named yet, but two digits are guaranteed—and a five-speed manual transmission. A radio is optional, or, in its place, a clever dock for a smartphone that hooks into the car’s speaker system. And, um, that’s kind of it.

For the industry-interested among you, a few points merit attention. First, we’re unclear why Mr. Ghosn needed to resurrect the Datsun name for this car; Nissan doesn’t exactly have a high-class reputation around the world that would be ruined with a budget model like this. And name aside, why reinvent the budget car? There’s already an entire range of Dacias, and if there’s a compulsion to sell them as Nissans or Datsuns, a logo will glue to the front pretty easily. (In fact, Nissan already sells rebadged Dacias, like the Duster-cum-Terrano.)



Lastly, look at where Datsun is being sold initially: South Africa, India, Indonesia. Similarity? They’re all developing markets with expanding middle classes, sure, but they’re all right-hand-drive. They also are countries where many shoppers prefer sedans, and that is strong enough that it has forced a number of companies to turn small hatchbacks into stumpy little sedans. Datsun is going to need a sedan stat, and an automatic transmission, too. Although left-hand-drive versions are coming for the Russian market, Ghosn told us recently that he’s not in a rush to roll out Datsun around the world. He wasn’t even enthusiastic about his home country of Brazil, which is the archetype market for low-cost cars like this.

And the U.S.? Forget about it. Datsun is just history.

2014 Datsun GO Photo Gallery

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

First Drive: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class [w/video]

By Chris Paukert

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Technology Meets Magic In The New Standard Bearer

If you’re like us, you’ve been eagerly awaiting this car for the better part of 10 years. No, not the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class specifically, but rather the technology underneath it. Perhaps you remember the Bose active suspension system? Yes, Bose – a company better known for overpriced audio equipment – revealed an amazingly sophisticated automotive suspension system about a decade ago, demonstrating it via a pair of 1994 Lexus LS luxury sedans. One LS was fitted with the system, and the other went without. The two could be seen on split-screen video performing a battery of ride and handling exercises, with the Bose car experiencing remarkably little body roll and head toss thanks to its network of electromagnetic motors and microprocessors. It was as if the car looked at the road ahead and the suspension used that data to actively counter inputs and keep the chassis level and drama-free. Bose revealed the technology back in 2004, but it had been working on the technology since the Carter Administration. We’ve seen active suspensions before and since, but even now, the Bose’s performance seems positively next-level, with body control that boggles the mind. And that’s before the jump at the end of the video presentation.

As it turns out, the Bose demonstrator car was keyed to the course it ran in the video – it wasn’t examining the road at all, it was preprogrammed to expect those surface conditions. This might explain why a decade on, we still haven’t been able to buy such a system in a production car. It’s that missing anticipatory quality – the road scanning – that hasn’t happened. Until now. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class features just this sort of technology, though the suspension itself shares nothing with Bose’s architecture. Daimler’s so-called Magic Body Control combines the S-Class’ hydraulic Active Body Control (ABC) suspension with stereoscopic twin cameras mounted ahead of the rearview mirror to scan ahead and relax or firm up the suspension in preparation for the road surfaces ahead. Hitting your first speed bump with the system activated is nothing short of spooky – the Michelins feel for all the world like they’re sluicing through the traffic-calming nuisance as if it’s made of room-temperature brie. Like it isn’t even there. You’ll laugh and clap – we did.

The Michelins sluice through the traffic-calming nuisance as if it’s made of room-temperature brie.

Yet this brand of Magic has its limitations: it only works during the day, foul weather can cause the system to pack up (if the camera gets blocked by snow, for instance) and it’s really most effective over large disturbances like the aforementioned speed bump, as it’s not yet quick-witted enough to catch subtler potholes and such. Oddly, it also only works …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Report: Maserati Ghibli pricing announced for UK

By Damon Lowney

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Maserati’s newest car, Ghibli, is a stunningly well-proportioned luxury sedan mixing the styling of the larger Quattroporte sedan and the GranTurismo coupe. We found it plenty good to in our First Drive review, and now we know how much it will cost (in the UK, at least).

Ghibli pricing announced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is for customers in the UK, but based on current exchange rates and prices of other Maseratis sold here in the US, we can estimate its MSRP for our market. The base Ghibli, with a twin-turbocharged V6 making 325 horsepower, will cost 52,275 pounds for the Bits, making $75,000 a good guess for American buyers. If that number holds true, however, the Ghibli would be in a price category above its main competition from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Take a step up to the Ghibli S, sporting a naturally aspirated V8 producing 404 hp, and you’ll have to fork out 63,415 pounds or an estimated $91,000 here.

Just for kicks, the Europe-only Ghibli Diesel, which makes 270 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque with its diesel V6, is the least-expensive Maserati 48,830 pounds. Running an estimated $70k for us, we’d really like to have that one, too. After all, the sparkplug-less engine is the same one found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel.

Maserati Ghibli pricing announced for UK originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Jul 2013 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Ram 1500 wins Consumer Reports fullsize truck test

By Damon Lowney

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Vehicles that perform well in road tests by some of the most popular automotive publications, such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend and Automobile, don’t always score well in in Consumer Reports’ more regimented, practical test procedures, so the Ram 1500’s climb to the top of CR‘s scoreboard is a boon for the well-received pickup truck, which CR also put on its “recommended” list.

To start off with, the freshened 2013 Ram 1500 has a lighter, stiffer chassis than before, and the four-wheel-drive Crew Cab that CR bought and tested performed flawlessly and achieved class-leading fuel economy (15 miles per gallon) with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 – the most popular engine choice for the 1500 – and the new eight-speed automatic transmission. The unique-in-its-class rear coil spring setup endowed the truck with “one of the best rides of any pickup,” CR reports. That helped it earn its class-leading road-test score of 78, well ahead of the nearest competition still in production, the Toyota Tundra (69) and the Ford F-150 (68). It’s worth noting, however, that the Chevrolet Avalanche outscores the 1500 by two points (80), but production of that vehicle ends after the current 2013 model year.

About the only things the publication could find wrong with the truck were a heavy tailgate and a high step up into the cabin. Get ready for the next round later this summer when CR is finished testing the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, which is doing well so far in the publication’s tests.

To see what we think of the 1500, head over to our First Drive review of the Ram 1500 SLT with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, and feel free to take a look at the Consumer Reports press release below.

Continue reading Ram 1500 wins Consumer Reports fullsize truck test

Ram 1500 wins Consumer Reports fullsize truck test originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Jul 2013 06:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hammer Down! Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes-Benz W196 Sells for $29.6 Million

By John Lamm

Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand-Prix race car

Auctioneer Robert Brooks rapped the hammer at the Bonhams Goodwood sale, sending a Mercedes-Benz W196 grand-prix race car (detailed here) to a new owner and setting a new automotive record for most expensive car ever auctioned. Just how much will it cost its new owner when it’s all said and done? $29,650,095. What you get for that sort of money is W196 chassis number 00006/54, the 2.5-liter straight-eight open-wheel Formula 1 car driven by Juan Manuel Fangio to win the 1954 German and Swiss Grands Prix.

If you had taken our advice, you’d have won the lottery and bought yourself this W196. Even for those who use hundreds as kindling, we wonder what level of wealth is required to keep these wonderfully complex machines running. Mercedes likely would be happy to oversee the upkeep, but the lucky owner surely must be thinking, “How much is this going to cost me?” If it was up to us, we’d put the W196 on display in its beautifully unrestored condition, just as last raced.



Fangio’s W196 may have set the world’s record price, but it’s still a few shekels short of the outright sticker-price title. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO built for Sir Stirling Moss changed hands in a private sale last summer for a rumored $35 million. The $29 million and change, however, does smash the previous auction record set at $16.4 million when a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa rolled onto the auction block.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver