- Video: Chris Harris + M5 + GT-R. You’ll want to watch this
Pitting the Nissan GT-R against the all-new BMW M5 is ridiculous. They’re two different beasts in two different classes with two different purposes. It’s a cynical, SEO-optimized comparison. And even worse, it’s already been done. But…
We can’t help but post on it. Not because it’s clicky or that a few of us have man-crushes on Chris Harris. No. It’s because watching the two cars being flogged back-to-back on a damp circuit demonstrates how technologically sophisticated each one is and how they go about putting the power down so differently. You can actually see the GT-R – traction control switched off – trying to right itself as Harris flings it sideways, while the M5 slackens and goes neutral while the turbocharged eight responds like a naturally aspirated mill.
Scary with a capital “F?” Indeed. But just as educating as it is entertaining. See for yourself below the fold.
Chris Harris + M5 + GT-R. You’ll want to watch this originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Video: BMW goes blurry (again) in 1 Series M Performance parts teaser
BMW apparently set a precedent when it teased its trio of M-fettled diesels. That video showed a speeding X6 with all the tell-tale bits of kit blurred out. Now, BMW is ready to give us a taste of its new 1 Series fitted with an assortment of M Performance baubles and it’s taking a similar tact to tease us.
In the video after the jump you’ll see the 2012 BMW 1 Series hatch running around the paddock and the track with all the “important” M stuff – fascias, mirrors, etc. – strategically blurred out.
Like the M diesels, we’re hoping this is more than just an assortment of tacked-on body mods and more of a comprehensive, factory-approved upgrade path. We’ll find out soon enough, as there’s a solid change we’ll see the M Performance 1 Series in Geneva next month.
BMW goes blurry (again) in 1 Series M Performance parts teaser originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Spy Shots: 2014 Cadillac CTS grows to compete with BMW 5 Series
The Cadillac CTS has always been a bit of a anomaly in the luxury segment, spanning the space between the entry-level BMW 3 Series/Mercedes-Benz C-Class/Audi A4 and mid-size 5 Series/E-Class/A6. But with the introduction of the 2013 Cadillac ATS, the CTS has room to grow, and based on these first set of spy shots, it’s doing just that.
Based off a stretched version of the Alpha platform that’s underpinning its smaller sibling, the 2014 CTS’ wheelbase is likely to grow a few inches, affording rear seat passengers up to 40 inches of leg room. While the front overhangs are still short and will continue on with Cadillac’s Art and Science design motif with angular headlamps that stretch up the front fenders, the rear will likely extend a bit further back, maximizing trunk room in the process.
It’s expected that the base engine will continue to be a V6, but churning out something in the neighborhood of 350 horsepower, possibly through the use of forced induction. The current six-speed automatic will likely be swapped in favor of a new eight-speed auto ‘box to keep up with the rest of the luxury set.
If we had to place bets, we’d put our money on the 2014 CTS debuting at the Detroit Auto Show next year, with sales beginning late in 2013.
2014 Cadillac CTS grows to compete with BMW 5 Series originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Rumormill: 2015 Ford Focus RS to get five doors, turbo four and active noise cancellation
Engines keep getting smaller, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting weaker. Case in point: Ford, which is developing a new 2.3-liter four with turbocharging and direct injection. It’s rumored to go into the Mustang in a couple of years, but sources from across the pond (read: Hot Hatch country) expect it to power the next Focus RS.
The engine would crank out at least 320 horsepower, and replace the 2.5-liter inline-five that Ford borrowed from Volvo (from which it has since divested) for the previous Focus RS. If you’re worried that a turbo four would lack the roar of the previous five, Ford is reportedly preparing to equip the new Focus RS with active noise cancellation and pipe in sound to replace it.
Ford is reportedly ruling out the all-wheel drive you’d expect from other hot hatches like the Subaru WRX or Volkswagen Golf R, due to high weight and cost, in favor of the RevoKnuckle torque-steer compensation system found in the previous Focus RS, and similar to the systems used in the Renaultsport Megane and Vauxhall Astra VXR.
Since the new Focus has yet to appear in any form other than four-door sedan, five-door wagon or five-door hatch, Top Gear expects the new Focus RS to pack five doors where the previous model had three.
2015 Ford Focus RS to get five doors, turbo four and active noise cancellation originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Auctions: Extremely rare 1913 Hispano-Suiza Type Alfonso XIII headed for Amelia Island
Cars get their names from a wide variety of sources: animals, places, the founders of the company that makes them… Some, of course, have completely meaningless names concocted by marketing departments, or bear alphanumeric codes that show where they stand in the company’s line-up. But this car was named for a king.
The young King Alfonso XIII of Spain was an early gentleman driver, motoring enthusiast and patron of Hispano-Suiza. He was such a fan, in fact, that he owned a good 30 of them, and drove them around Europe. The company, honored by his patronage, named its Type 15T in his honor: Type Alfonso XIII.
Few such examples, rare as they are, ever change hands, but the example you see here is destined for the auction block when RM Auctions sets up shop March 10 at Amelia Island. This 1913 model – chassis # 718 – is one of only four built, and packs a 3.6-liter inline four with 64 horsepower – not much by today’s standards, but a veritable supercar in its time, capable of hitting a top speed of 80 miles an hour. It’s also got more patina to it than an antique shop, but that’s not all: it also comes with two bodies, one for the winter (pictured here) and open coachwork that could be installed for the summer.
It’s expected to fetch between $750,000 and a cool million when the hammer drops, but if that’s not entirely within your budget, you can check it out in the gallery of high-resolution images above, along with the auctioneer’s description after the jump.
Extremely rare 1913 Hispano-Suiza Type Alfonso XIII headed for Amelia Island originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Spy Shots: Is this the 2012 Audi A3?
Audi is expected to unveil its new A3 at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show next month, but when it does, we’ll already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. And not just because the German automaker’s entire range pretty much boils down (for better or worse) to a single design applied to a variety of shapes, but because it apparently has more leaks than a kid who wets his bed.
First, the overall shape of the car was leaked from every angle when Audi presented its new Connect infotainment system at CES, and now – following hot on the heels of the unexpected early reveal of the RS4 Avant – this solitary image has found its way onto the interwebs.
It shows what appears to be the production-ready A3 three-door hatch we’re expecting to see in just a couple of weeks on the floor of the Geneva Palexpo, and while it could be a rendering, you can count us among the fooled if it is.
- Video: Translogic circles back to check out the YikeBike
We’ve seen a lot of motorized bicycles over the years, but none look quite like the YikeBike. It looks like a miniature nineteenth century Penny Farthing bike that has no pedals and a backwards handle bar. But once you go beyond the looks of the YikeBike, the engineering is pretty interesting.
The YikeBike can be folded up to the size of a suitcase, it can be had in various composite materials including carbon fiber, and it is electrically powered. It even captures energy via regenerative braking. The downside? It only goes 12 miles per hour, and it could cost as much as $3,800. Oh, and it’s impossible to look cool while riding a YikeBike.
Translogic’s Bradley Hasemeyer traveled to England to try the YikeBike For himself, and the five-minute video is available after the jump. Yes, it looks awkward, but we’d be happy to give it a go ourselves.
- Official: Ferrari rolling into Geneva with upgraded California
What’s even better than a Ferrari? A lighter, more powerful Ferrari, of course. And that’s precisely what Maranello has announced with a mid-cycle refresh for what is perhaps its least appreciated product: the California.
The upgraded model destined to debut at the Geneva Motor Show benefits from 30 more horsepower and 30 kilograms (66 pounds) less weight. The former, now up to 490 hp, is achieved through the fitment of a new exhaust manifold and tweaking the ECU, while the latter comes courtesy of ever-evolving aluminum manufacturing processes. The result is a 0-62 mph run in 3.8 seconds with a modified torque curve.
Along with the upgrades, Ferrari is also offering a new Handling Speciale package that packs magnetorheological dampers (similar to those initially developed for the 599 GTB Fiorano) that can more rapidly adjust the suspension on the fly, coupled with a quicker steering ratio and stiffer springs.
Decidedly evolutionary as the improvements are, they ought to make what’s already one of the most capable cabrios cruising the boulevard even more so. We’ll be on hand in just a few weeks to bring you more on the updated California live from the floor of the Geneva Palexpo, but for now you can delve into the press release after the jump and the pair of high-resolution images released thus far in the gallery below.
Ferrari rolling into Geneva with upgraded California originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Report: Obama’s proposed budget calls for upping plug-in vehicle tax credit to $10,000
As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to try and get a million plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015. In his State of the Union address in 2011, he repeated that number and proposed turning the $7,500 tax credit into a point-of-purchase rebate. That hasn’t yet happened, but in the President’s proposed budget that was released this week, Obama took another stab at promoting plug-ins: upping the maximum credit to $10,000.
To go along with pushing PHEVs, the budget calls for cutting more subsidies that Big Oil currently enjoys. Of course, the President’s political opponents quickly called the proposal nothing more than a “campaign document” that would divide America. Others are proposing that the PHEV tax credit be eliminated entirely.
Getting to a million plug-ins in four years will be tough. Last year, the top two plug-ins, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, sold just 17,345 units, combined. Add in sales of the Tesla Roadster and the new Mitsubishi i, and that leaves 980,000 or so to go. Do you think an extra $2,500 off the price of the car – plus more models to choose from – will do the trick?
Obama’s proposed budget calls for upping plug-in vehicle tax credit to $10,000 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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