Author Archives: Alex Nishimoto

First 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Hammers for $300,000 at Auction

By | January 21, 2018

The very first example of the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt has sold at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale sale for $300,000. All that money will go toward the non-profit Boys Republic school for troubled youth.

We don’t yet know what the special-edition model will retail for when it goes on sale later this year, but you can count on it being much less than the hammer price for this auction. Though $300,000 is a lot to pay for a Mustang, the new owner has the satisfaction of knowing he or she has the very first copy (VIN 001) of the new Mustang Bullitt. The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt features a modified 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 that makes 475 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, up 15 hp from a standard GT. It also gets a six-speed manual transmission with a cue ball shift knob, special leather-trimmed Recaro seats, Highland Green paint, Bullitt badges, and all the goodies from Performance Package 1. The Bullitt will be a limited-production model, though the size of the run hasn’t been announced yet.




Those who’ve been following the Bullitt saga will recognize this auction listing as the one that gave away the Bullitt’s surprise debut in Detroit. When it was discovered in early January, the listing described a “special new Ford Mustang,” and said 100 percent of proceeds from its sale would go to charity. Automakers routinely auction off the first example of a new model for charity, and the charity in this case was pretty specific and unusual. Steve McQueen, star of 1968’s Bullitt, attended Boys Republic and remained associated with the school long after graduating, so one only had to connect the dots to figure out what Ford had in store.




















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First 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Sells for $300,000

By | January 21, 2018

The very first example of the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt has sold at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale sale for $300,000. All that money will go toward the non-profit Boys Republic school for troubled youth.

We don’t yet know what the special-edition model will retail for when it goes on sale later this year, but you can count on it being much less than the hammer price for this auction. Though $300,000 is a lot to pay for a Mustang, the new owner has the satisfaction of knowing he or she has the very first copy (VIN 001) of the new Mustang Bullitt. The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt features a modified 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 that makes 475 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, up 15 hp from a standard GT. It also gets a six-speed manual transmission with a cue ball shift knob, special leather-trimmed Recaro seats, Highland Green paint, Bullitt badges, and all the goodies from Performance Package 1. The Bullitt will be a limited-production model, though the size of the run hasn’t been announced yet.




Those who’ve been following the Bullitt saga will recognize this auction listing as the one that gave away the Bullitt’s surprise debut in Detroit. When it was discovered in early January, the listing described a “special new Ford Mustang,” and said 100 percent of proceeds from its sale would go to charity. Automakers routinely auction off the first example of a new model for charity, and the charity in this case was pretty specific and unusual. Steve McQueen, star of 1968’s Bullitt, attended Boys Republic and remained associated with the school long after graduating, so one only had to connect the dots to figure out what Ford had in store.

Source: Barrett-Jackson




















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FCA CEO Considering Alfa Romeo for IndyCar

By | January 20, 2018

Late last year, Alfa Romeo signed on as the title sponsor for Sauber F1 Team beginning in 2018, which will mark the brand’s return to Formula 1 after a 32-year absence. But F1 may not be the only open-wheel series where you can see the Alfa Romeo cross and serpent logo. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed his interest in IndyCar.

“Why not Alfa Romeo in IndyCar? We are thinking about it,” he told Motorsport.com in an interview at the Detroit auto show.

Further evidence could be that IndyCar president of competition and operations Jay Frye confirmed that IndyCar had met with around 10 OEM brands over the past several months about possible participation in the series. He would not confirm whether FCA was one of the companies involved in the talks, however.

In Detroit, the Verizon IndyCar Series unveiled its universal aero kit, a versatile racing package that will be suitable for road courses, street courses, and ovals. The kit is built around the Dallara IR-12 chassis, and includes specially developed aero bodywork for each type of race. The new car will race beginning with the 2018 season, and has already received praise for looking better than the race car it replaces.

In Detroit, Marchionne expressed his admiration for Dallara’s founder. “Gian Paolo Dallara–I consider him a great, the best Italian engineer around,” he told Motorsport.com. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s committing to an IndyCar bid, but he’s clearly a fan of the firm behind the series’ new hardware.

Every team will run the new Dallara chassis, but they’ll have some choice when it comes to engines. Currently, the rules specify a naturally aspirated 2.2-liter DOHC V-6. There are only two OEM suppliers, Honda and Chevrolet, and both have expressed interest in more manufacturer competition. Will Alfa join the IndyCar party? We’ll have to wait and see.

The post FCA CEO Considering Alfa Romeo for IndyCar appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Marchionne Considers Entering IndyCar With Alfa Romeo

By | January 20, 2018

Late last year, Alfa Romeo signed on as the title sponsor for Sauber F1 Team beginning in 2018, which will mark the brand’s return to Formula 1 after a 32-year absence. But F1 may not be the only open-wheel series where you can see the Alfa Romeo cross and serpent logo. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed his interest in IndyCar.

“Why not Alfa Romeo in IndyCar? We are thinking about it,” he told Motorsport.com in an interview at the Detroit auto show.

Further evidence could be that IndyCar president of competition and operations Jay Frye confirmed that IndyCar had met with around 10 OEM brands over the past several months about possible participation in the series. He would not confirm whether FCA was one of the companies involved in the talks, however.

In Detroit, the Verizon IndyCar Series unveiled its universal aero kit, a versatile racing package that will be suitable for road courses, street courses, and ovals. The kit is built around the Dallara IR-12 chassis, and includes specially developed aero bodywork for each type of race. The new car will race beginning with the 2018 season, and has already received praise for looking better than the race car it replaces.

In Detroit, Marchionne expressed his admiration for Dallara’s founder. “Gian Paolo Dallara–I consider him a great, the best Italian engineer around,” he told Motorsport.com. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s committing to an IndyCar bid, but he’s clearly a fan of the firm behind the series’ new hardware.

Every team will run the new Dallara chassis, but they’ll have some choice when it comes to engines. Currently, the rules specify a naturally aspirated 2.2-liter DOHC V-6. There are only two OEM suppliers, Honda and Chevrolet, and both have expressed interest in more manufacturer competition. Will Alfa join the IndyCar party? We’ll have to wait and see.

Source: Motorsport.com

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War of the Hot Hatches Between Hyundai and VW Sparks Over Veloster N

By | January 19, 2018

The Detroit auto show had very few surprises this year, but one of our favorites was the Hyundai Veloster N. We’ve known it was in the works and would be closely related to the i30 N sold in Europe, but we had no idea it would debut so soon. If Hyundai’s testing chief is to be believed, the Veloster N will be a blast to drive while offering a little more daily practicality than a Honda Civic Type R. But a conversation he had with another outlet about the Veloster N may have started the War of the Hot Hatches between Hyundai and Volkswagen.

Speaking to Australia’s Motoring, Albert Biermann, the head of Hyundai’s N division, promised that the Veloster N would be much more capable on the track than most of its competitors, as well as more fun to drive. In the process, though, he took aim at the longtime king of hot hatches, the Volkswagen GTI.

“There can be GTIs that are suitable for the track driving, but if you take the standard GTI, it’s not like that,” he said. “So with the N we clearly want to be more suitable for track driving, and give it more character and the most important thing—make it much more fun to drive.” But Biermann didn’t stop there.

“It’s a great car,” he said, describing the GTI, “but after two laps the fun is over. I mean you know.” When asked for more details about what went wrong after the second lap, he responded, “Everything.”

The first comment wasn’t particularly controversial, as it focused on how Hyundai wanted to position the Veloster N in the segment. But the second comment went further, claiming the GTI couldn’t handle track duty. After Motoring published those quotes in an article, Michael Bartsch, the head of Volkswagen Australia, had a few words for Biermann.

“Extraordinary claims are being made for supposed rivals that are not yet on sale. While any skunkworks can turn out a track day special, the expertise and experience required to engineer a GTI or an R—cars that also excel in the real world—is rather more hard won,” Bartsch told Motoring. “When you’ve owned a GTI or an R, it’s difficult to settle for anything less. Volkswagen offers not only the most accomplished fast and fun compact cars in the world, it provides the world’s widest range. There is now a performance Golf for everyone.”

We certainly understand why Bartsch would want to respond, but it’s a little surprising to see him go on the record like that. Usually, when executives are asked to respond to comments from someone at another automaker, their response is something along the lines of, “We welcome this new competition. A rising tide raises all ships.” Something about Biermann’s comments must have gotten under his skin.

Then again, maybe it has less to do with the comments themselves and more to do with who made them. Before Biermann joined Hyundai, he was the head of BMW’s M division. He has more than three decades of experience developing high-performance vehicles, and if anyone can help Hyundai build a credible GTI killer, it’s Biermann. Priced right, the Veloster N could do some real damage to the GTI’s sales numbers.

Whether Volkswagen does or not, we have to say, we certainly welcome its new rivalry with Hyundai. Fresh competition will force this whole segment to improve, and when the cars get better, drivers win.


















































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Toyota’s Jim Lentz Talks Off-Road SUV, Apple CarPlay, and More

By | January 19, 2018

Jim Lentz has been Toyota’s top American executive for more than a decade, calmly guiding the Toyota, Lexus, and Scion brands through the recession and into the current boom. Lentz spoke to Motor Trend at the Detroit auto show in January.

Toyota and Mazda just announced a shared plant in Alabama that will build Corollas and a small Mazda SUV. What happens to the plants already building Corollas?

A few years ago, we were trying to find more capacity for RAV4. We decided to move all K-platform vehicles toward the northern part of the U.S., the C-platform vehicles to the south, and trucks in the southwest. We moved Corolla out of Canada to Guanajuato, Mexico, to make room for more RAVs. And we used our Baja plant for more Tacomas, which we were building at a 60,000-unit annual rate in December. The pickup market continues to grow, so we needed more pickup capacity. At the same time, there was an opportunity with Mazda. The quickest way to make this happen was to move Tacoma production to Guanajuato. That solved our most pressing need. We sold 329,000 Corollas in America last year, plus another 50-ish in Canada. We have Mississippi building 165,000, and the new joint venture in Alabama will build 150,000 more. (Mazda gets the other 150,000 from the Alabama plant.) So we have 310,000 capacity in North America. Either we need to find a way to build a few more depending on demand, or we get a few from Japan. We think that’s the right long-term sustainable Corolla number.

Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz

First sharing the Yaris with Mazda2, now the plant. Is Toyota getting cozy with Mazda?

The biggest thing is the philosophy of the two companies. They are both headquartered in an area where they’ve been for a long time. We’re in Nagoya, and Mazda is having the 100th anniversary of being in Hiroshima in 2020. Mazda is a company that really loves cars and loves driving cars. That’s a good match for us and for (Toyota Motor CEO and company scion) Akio (Toyoda). The head of Mazda and Akio really hit it off. Mazda is part of a mobility group working with us on the e-Palette (concept), along with Uber, Amazon, and Pizza Hut. And they are working with Denso, working on the fundamentals of EV platforms. This has evolved over time.

You predicted years ago that the RAV4 would outsell the Camry, and now it has. How far can SUVs go?

Last year, we sold 407,000 RAVs including Canada, and Camry was 387,000. The shift from passenger cars to light trucks been shifting 3–4 percentage points a year. That’s going to slow, but there still will be some movement. Obviously the big growth has been in the small SUV segment, and I don’t see that slowing down. I still think they will be red hot. If any one segment has surprised me it was entry (subcompact) SUV. I thought it would have been hotter, but it also shows people know the value of the (compact) SUV.

Toyota has shown some interesting, rugged small SUV concepts such as the FT-4X. Do you see a return of an FJ Cruiser-type vehicle?

There’s room for an authentic small off-road SUV. Everyone moved out of that segment because of truck CAFE ratings, but the 4Runner continues to do well in its segment. But we’re getting a lot of requests from folks who want another FJ or some variant. Some of our concepts are along those lines. We’ll see how market testing goes. As all these SUVs get larger, and we see proliferation in the overall SUV segment—there is room on the lower end in terms of price or authenticity for an authentic, off-road, frame-based SUV, which is what the FJ was. This would be for people going outdoors but truly going off-road. This would not be about all-wheel drive for safety; this would be four-wheel drive with ground clearance. The difference is in wheel travel, and you can only do that with frame-based. This could be FJ-sized, but for an enthusiast, it’s gotta be something with a small wheelbase to be more maneuverable when in the rocks. We’ll do some testing with small concepts.

Where does the SUV trend leave the 4Runner and Sequoia?

The jury is still out. Most SUVs have gone car-based because they needed to get lighter. There’s market demand for frame-based SUVs, but we have to crunch all the CAFE numbers to see if there’s room for them in our lineup. 4Runner continues to do well, but the softest segment is for big SUVs, where Sequoia is. It’s been OK but not great because the midsize SUV rear-seat packages are so good, and the size has gotten larger. If you have a large family and a lot of cargo, you gotta go large. But the segment was flat, whereas midsize was up 6.5 percent and small was up 8.9 percent. But entry SUV was down 1.3.

BMW has already shown its Z4, which will be shared with a Toyota sports car. Anything you want to say about the new Supra?

We have no announcements yet. This is the longest introduction in the history of mankind.

Toyota recently announced it would launch 10 EVs globally by the early 2020s. But how many are destined for the U.S. market?

It depends on where market heads in the U.S. We’ve talked about 5.5 million electrified vehicles by 2030,

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Ferrari 488 GTO Reportedly Will Be Faster Than a LaFerrari

By | January 19, 2018

The Ferrari 488 GTB is a very good driver’s car. But just because it’s already fantastic doesn’t mean it can’t improve. And if the latest alleged leak is to be believed, Ferrari has an updated version in the works that will take everything we love about the 488 GTB and make it even better. It’s even rumored to be faster than the LaFerrari hypercar.

The fan site Ferrari Photo Page claims it was recently contacted by an anonymous insider who attended a private preview of the car Ferrari called the “Sport Special Series.” Even better, this tipster was able to capture photos of the slide show that reveal quite a few details of the upcoming even-more-hardcore 488, most likely called the 488 GTO.

You can head to the page for a closer look at the images, but according to the presentation, this new car will get the most powerful V-8 ever put into a production Ferrari. No specific figures were given, but a previous report suggests it will make more than 700 hp. The engine will be derived from the one found in the 488 Challenge race car and 10 percent lighter than the one in the regular 488. It will also offer a “unique track-like sound” that we can’t wait to hear.

Expect the Sport Special Series coupe to be lighter, too, not simply more powerful. The presentation claims the glovebox has been removed, the floor will be made of aluminum, and the wheels will be 40 percent lighter than standard alloy rims. The hood, both bumpers, and the spoiler will all be carbon fiber. To further reduce weight, carbon fiber will be used extensively throughout the cabin, giving this car more carbon fiber than Ferrari has ever used on a full-production vehicle.

To continue Ferrari’s quest to make sure this car offers a “race-like experience even to non-professional drivers,” it will get a GTE-inspired diffuser, an active spoiler, racing-oriented transmission programming, an “extremely direct steering ratio,” and Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires. Overall, the 488 GTO is said to be 20 percent more aerodynamic than the 488 GTB.

Put it all together, and Ferrari Photo Page‘s source says the new 488 will be faster than the LaFerrari. For any version of the 488 to be able to compete with Ferrari’s hybrid hypercar in any way is definitely impressive, but it still isn’t clear what “faster” means in this context. Will the 488 GTO be able to beat the LaFerrari’s 220-mph top speed? Will it be able to lap a specific track with a faster time than the LaFerrari? Did the source mix up the terms “faster” and “quicker,” meaning the new GTO can out-accelerate the LaFerrari over a certain distance?

Hopefully, Ferrari will answer those questions for us when the 488 GTO is officially revealed, most likely at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The post Ferrari 488 GTO Reportedly Will Be Faster Than a LaFerrari appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Eighth-Gen Volkswagen Golf to Begin Production Summer of 2019

By | January 19, 2018

Roughly a year and a half from now, the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf will begin production, the automaker announced at the Golf 8 Supplier Summit. Yes, the Volkswagen Golf is such a big deal in other parts of the world that it has its own supplier summit.

VW says the Golf 8 will begin production in 75 weeks, which works out to late June 2019. The main plant at VW’s Wolfsburg facility will remain the flagship site for Golf production, but the compact will continue to be produced elsewhere in the world.

Volkswagen will invest €1.8 billion (roughly $2.2 billion) in the next-gen Golf family, and much of that will likely go toward upgrades and retooling for the Wolfsburg plant, Europe’s largest car factory.

Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant

Volkswagen says 120 suppliers were in attendance, and the automaker will now work with the selected parts makers to streamline the start of Golf production. Of those suppliers, 80 percent are already making parts for the current Golf.

It’s not clear if the other 20 percent will replace existing suppliers that just didn’t make the cut or will produce completely new components for the Golf line. As we previously reported, the next-gen Golf is said to receive a 48-volt electrical system and mild hybrid setup to boost performance and fuel economy.

VW will also reportedly improve the MQB platform with more lightweight materials to reduce weight by roughly 110 pounds.

“Together with the I.D. family, the introduction of the upcoming Golf generation will be the most strategically important product launch for the brand,” said Volkswagen board member for procurement Ralf Brandstätter, in a release.












The I.D. family of all-electric cars is set to launch the same year as the new Golf in 2019, starting with the I.D. hatchback and followed by a crossover based on the I.D. Crozz concept in 2020 and the retro I.D. Buzz microbus tribute in 2022.

Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport-concept pictured above and Seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf pictured below.
















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Eighth-Gen Volkswagen Golf to Begin Production in June 2019

By | January 19, 2018

Roughly a year and a half from now, the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf will begin production, the automaker announced at the Golf 8 Supplier Summit. Yes, the Volkswagen Golf is such a big deal in other parts of the world that it has its own supplier summit.

VW says the Golf 8 will begin production in 75 weeks, which works out to late June 2019. The main plant at VW’s Wolfsburg facility will remain the flagship site for Golf production, but the compact will continue to be produced elsewhere in the world. Volkswagen will invest €1.8 billion (roughly $2.2 billion) in the next-gen Golf family, and much of that will likely go toward upgrades and retooling for the Wolfsburg plant, Europe’s largest car factory.

Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant

Volkswagen says 120 suppliers were in attendance, and the automaker will now work with the selected parts makers to streamline the start of Golf production. Of those suppliers, 80 percent are already making parts for the current Golf. It’s not clear if the other 20 percent will replace existing suppliers that just didn’t make the cut or will produce completely new components for the Golf line. As we previously reported, the next-gen Golf is said to receive a 48-volt electrical system and mild hybrid setup to boost performance and fuel economy. VW will also reportedly improve the MQB platform with more lightweight materials to reduce weight by roughly 110 pounds.

“Together with the I.D. family, the introduction of the upcoming Golf generation will be the most strategically important product launch for the brand,” said Volkswagen board member for procurement Ralf Brandstätter, in a release.

The I.D. family of all-electric cars is set to launch the same year as the new Golf in 2019, starting with the I.D. hatchback and followed by a crossover based on the I.D. Crozz concept in 2020 and the retro I.D. Buzz microbus tribute in 2022.

Seventh-gen Volkswagen Golf pictured below

Source: Volkswagen
















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How the Ram 1500, Ford Ranger, and Chevrolet Silverado Compare in 5 Areas

By | January 18, 2018

The 2018 Detroit auto show was the most truck-heavy show we’ve seen in years, with three major automakers debuting new pickups. GM and Fiat-Chrysler had new generations of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 to show, and Ford brought back the midsize Ranger to our shores after an absence of nearly a decade. We don’t have all the specs yet—and yes, the Ranger is in a different class than the Silverado and Ram—but we can still compare these new trucks in a few key areas.


Engines

The new 2019 Ram 1500’s gas 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engines mostly carry over but receive new eTorque starter/generators fed by a small battery pack that provide between 12-16 hp and 90-130 lb-ft of torque, depending on application. The eTorque motors also restart the engine in 0.55 second after shutting off via the new stop/start capability. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is set to return in 2019 without the eTorque mild hybrid system.

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado’s full engine lineup is unknown but will again include 5.3- and 6.2-liter V-8 options, now equipped with cylinder deactivation tech that can shut off as many as seven cylinders. But the big news is an all-new Duramax 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six that GM promises will deliver better performance than the competition, possibly meaning 30 mpg on the highway. A four-cylinder hybrid could be offered in the future. Chevy says a total of six engine and transmission choices will be available on the Silverado 1500.

Meanwhile, the 2019 Ford Ranger will launch with a version of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four found in other Ford products. It’s a second-generation turbo-four and features a forged steel crankshaft and twin-scroll turbocharger. No specs were revealed, but it could make around 280 hp and 310 lb-ft like the unit available in the Explorer. Future engine options could include a turbodiesel five-cylinder that’s available in other markets, but no hard details have surfaced yet.





Transmissions

Given that these are next-gen trucks, high gear counts are to be expected, and all three deliver. The 2019 Ram 1500 uses a specially tuned version of FCA’s eight-speed automatic, which has been programmed with more than 40 shift maps to work in concert with the eTorque system. Meanwhile, the Silverado and Ranger both use the 10-speed automatic that was jointly developed by GM and Ford. The Hydra-Matic 10-speed can be found on Silverados with the diesel and 6.2-liter V-8, and it comes with stop/start tech.









Infotainment

All three trucks get their respective automaker’s latest infotainment system, but the Ram 1500 Limited steals the show with a segment-first 12.0-inch touchscreen running Uconnect 4C (the display is shown above). The screen is brighter and sharper than FCA’s others, producing 1,000 candela per square meter and matching the resolution of the iPhone 8’s Retina HD display. Lesser Ram 1500 models will continue to use the 8.4-inch touchscreen. SiriusXM Guardian offers a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot for a subscription fee.

Base Chevy Silverado 1500 work trucks will get a 7.0-inch color touchscreen, and LT models and up get an 8.0-inch unit. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection continues to be offered for a subscription fee. The Ford Ranger gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen available with Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system and also offers a 4G Wi-Fi through the subscription-based FordPass. All three trucks are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (when properly equipped), but only the Ford is available with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant.





Bed

Although connectivity is great, people buy trucks to do truck stuff—and the bed is a big part of that. The 2019 Ram 1500 will be available in multiple cab and bed configurations, and the bed in each features sides that have been raised 1.3 inches to increase box capacity. RamBox in-bed storage continues to be offered and adds a 115-volt power outlet and repositioned lighting in the lids.

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado’s bed gains nearly 7 inches in width, thanks to new construction methods. The bed floor is made of roll-formed high-strength steel and is rated for 500 megapascals of force (up from 340 MPa in the previous model). An in-bed 120-volt outlet provides up to 400 watts, enough juice for most large power tools. GM’s CornerStep bumpers are now taller to accommodate work boots, but the Silverado’s big party trick is its available power tailgate that can lower and raise using the key fob.

Ford didn’t provide dimensions for the U.S.-market Ranger, but the truck will be offered as a four-door supercrew or a supercab with two rear half doors, so there will likely be different bed sizes.





Off-Road Chops

Not all truck owners will take their rigs off-road, but those who do will appreciate that the Ram 1500, Silverado, and Ranger all have the capability to do so, along with special variants designed to do it better.

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BMW Extends Range of Tesla Model 3-Rivaling iNext EV

By | January 15, 2018

During remarks today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, BMW announced its iNext EV will have a range of up to 435 miles when it goes on sale in 2021.

The iNext was announced last May at BMW’s annual shareholders meeting. At that time, the pure electric vehicle’s range was estimated at “over 300 miles.” BMW did not elaborate then or now what standard the range was estimated under, be it European, American, or internal projections.

2017 BMW i Vision Dynamics concept

The iNext concept previews a future midsize luxury crossover for BMW’s nascent i brand, which emphasizes electrified powertrains and self-driving technology. The iNext will boast SAE Level 3 autonomous capability when it goes on sale, allowing the vehicle to drive itself in most situations. Level 3 requires the driver to be ready to take over at any moment, however. As soon as a year later, BMW will upgrade it to Level 4 autonomy, which will allow drivers to safely take their eyes off the road as well as their hands off the wheel. BMW is also promising a “Boost” mode that will project performance driving tips on the windshield.

The iNext will directly compete with the planned Tesla Model Y, a Model 3-based crossover that has been announced but not revealed yet. The new range announcement tentatively makes the iNext among the longest-range EVs on the horizon, though new pronouncements are coming every day. Were the iNext on sale now, it would easily best the Tesla Model 3’s long-range battery, which goes 310 miles, and offer greater autonomous driving capability. Tesla has promised increased autonomous capability in the future, but it’s unclear when Level 3 and 4 capability will become available.

BMW also used its 2018 Detroit auto show press conference to debut the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe. The automaker revealed the i8 Roadster in L.A. late last year, and at the same time gave us all the details on the updated i8 Coupe. But we hadn’t seen the fixed-roof version of the refreshed i8 in the sheetmetal until now. The i8 Coupe continues to use a 2+2 seating configuration, unlike the Roadster which is strictly a two-seater. Just like the convertible variant, the i8 Coupe gets a boost in output to 369 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. All-electric range is also improved thanks to a larger 11.6-kilwatt-hour battery pack, allowing for 18 miles instead of 15 with the old lithium-ion unit. The coupe is estimated to hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.












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PHOTOS! Cars of the 2018 Detroit Auto Show

By | January 15, 2018

The 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) has begun, and Detroit has already delivered some remarkable sheetmetal. From the highly anticipated reveal of the U.S.-spec Ford Ranger to the surprise debut of the Ford Mustang Bullitt, the show is shaping up to be an exciting one. But with so many big premieres happening in such a short span of time, it can be tough to keep track of them all. That’s why we’ve collected photos of all the most important 2018 Detroit auto show debuts in one post.

Keep checking back throughout the show for more updates.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class


















2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt




















2019 Volkswagen Jetta


















































2019 Ford Edge ST
























2019 Ford Ranger



















2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country



























2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (and LTZ)





















2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss




























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Racing Legend Dan Gurney Dies at 86

By | January 14, 2018

In the world of auto racing, the word “legendary” is thrown around more than it probably should be. But for American race car driver Dan Gurney, the term accurately describes the man, his achievements, and his contributions to the sport. It is with great sadness that we report that Daniel Sexton Gurney has died at the age of 86, reportedly due to complications from pneumonia.

With a career that spanned decades and crossed multiple racing disciplines, Gurney was a true renaissance man. Between 1957 and 1980, he competed in Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, CanAm, and numerous other series. Along with Carroll Shelby, Gurney founded the All American Racers team in 1964, which raced through the late ‘90s in open-wheel and sports car series. He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind the wheel of a Ford GT40 with A.J. Foyt in 1967, when he famously started the tradition of spraying champagne after a race victory. In addition to being a successful driver, Gurney was also a team owner and sometimes inventor, credited with designing the Gurney flap and Alligator motorcycle. Just a few years ago, he patented a new type of internal combustion engine. Being as prolific as he was in the racing and automotive worlds, Gurney’s name appeared numerous times in the pages of Motor Trend over the years. He was even featured on the cover of our January 1970 issue.

“With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon today, January 14, 2018,” Gurney’s family wrote in a statement. “In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on this earth, we say ‘Godspeed.’”

Our thoughts are with the Gurney family in this difficult time.








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Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Ford Edge

By | January 12, 2018

After four model years, the Ford Edge is receiving its mid-cycle refresh for 2019. The crossover has been revamped to fit in with the rest of Ford’s modern lineup, and a new ST model has been introduced to inject some sportiness into the midsizer. But how does the new look compare to the pre-refresh car? Compare for yourself below.












The 2019 Ford Edge maintains the hexagonal grille introduced in 2015, but it’s now smaller with more rounded corners. The headlights have also been redesigned and no longer touch the edges of the grille. Meanwhile, the front bumper has been completely restyled with new foglight surrounds and a different intake opening in the lower front valance. The ST model gets a larger grille with mesh insert and red ST badging and a unique front valance with black accents.








Predictably, the 2019 model’s profile doesn’t change much from the outgoing Edge. Titanium models still offer chrome window trim, and there’s still a roof-mounted rear spoiler that visually extends the roofline. The standard 2019 Edge does receive four new wheel designs, however, and the ST gets special 20-inch wheels or optional 21-inch five-spoke alloys finished in gloss black. The taillights have been completely redesigned, and are no longer connected in the middle of the liftgate. Though there’s no longer a continuous lens across the back, the taillights are still joined by a black trim piece. The ST has molded tailpipes and a unique rear bumper flanked by vents.








Inside, the biggest change is the replacement of the shifter with a rotary dial controlling a new eight-speed automatic transmission. This frees up space in the center console and generally makes the cabin look more modern, even though not much else has changed besides the shifter. An available wireless charging pad is also new, located in the cubby in front of the transmission dial. An available 8.0-inch touchscreen still offers Sync 3, and the speedometer in the center of the gauge cluster is still flanked by dual TFT screens. The ST trim receives special seats with extra bolstering and embossed ST logos, ST badging on the steering wheel, and Ford Performance door sill guards.

What do you think of the refreshed 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST? Do they move the crossover’s design forward? Tell us your thoughts on our Facebook page.



































































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Toyota GR Super Sport Concept Revealed at Tokyo Auto Salon 2018

By | January 12, 2018

Last month, Toyota teased a new sports car concept called the GR Super Sport, and we speculated it could be essentially a Le Mans prototype racer for the road. The concept just debuted at Tokyo Auto Salon 2018, and it seems our assessment was correct.

The GR Super Sport Concept was developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing, the Japanese automaker’s motorsports and performance arm, as a next-gen “super sports car.” Rather than take an existing production car and massage it into a sports car, Toyota Gazoo Racing took what it has learned from racing at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship and applied it to a no-compromise vehicle designed from the ground up, according to Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama.

The result is an LMP-looking coupe powered by a twin-turbo 2.4-liter V-6 hybrid system developed from the Toyota TS050 Hybrid’s powertrain. The system uses most of the same parts as the TS050 and produces a combined 986 hp, Toyota says.




“Although it will be some time before you all have the opportunity to get behind the wheel, I hope that the GR Super Sport Concept will give you a taste of what we aim to achieve with our next-generation sports cars,” Tomoyama said in a release.

We hope we don’t have to wait too long, as having another race car-derived hypercar to face off with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG Project One and Aston Martin Valkyrie would make for one hell of a comparison test.




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Toyota GR Super Sport Concept Packs LMP1-Derived 986-HP Powertrain

By | January 12, 2018

Last month, Toyota teased a new sports car concept called the GR Super Sport, and we speculated it could be essentially a Le Mans prototype racer for the road. The concept just debuted at Tokyo Auto Salon 2018, and it seems our assessment was correct.

The GR Super Sport Concept was developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing, the Japanese automaker’s motorsports and performance arm, as a next-gen “super sports car.” Rather than take an existing production car and massage it into a sports car, Toyota Gazoo Racing took what it has learned from racing at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship and applied it to a no-compromise vehicle designed from the ground up, according to Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama. The result is an LMP-looking coupe powered by a twin-turbo 2.4-liter V-6 hybrid system developed from the Toyota TS050 Hybrid’s powertrain. The system uses most of the same parts as the TS050 and produces a combined 986 hp, Toyota says.




“Although it will be some time before you all have the opportunity to get behind the wheel, I hope that the GR Super Sport Concept will give you a taste of what we aim to achieve with our next-generation sports cars,” Tomoyama said in a release.

We hope we don’t have to wait too long, as having another race car-derived hypercar to face off with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG Project One and Aston Martin Valkyrie would make for one hell of a comparison test.

Source: Toyota




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Video Shows the 2019 Ford Edge ST Inside and Out

By | January 11, 2018

The 2019 Ford Edge ST just dropped ahead of its official debut in Detroit next week. There’s a lot to know about the high-performance variant of the Edge crossover, and Detroit editor Alisa Priddle is here to give you the highlights in this exclusive video.

As Priddle explains in the video, the 2019 Ford Edge ST is the first SUV to wear the ST badge. That may sound sacrilegious to some, but the Edge ST at least has the power to back up its aggressive exterior treatment. It packs a version of Ford’s twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 that produces 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, up 20 hp and 30 lb-ft from the unit in the 2017 Ford Edge Sport. The model also gets a firmer suspension, larger brakes, and 20-inch wheels wrapped in summer tires. All-wheel drive is standard, and the ST has a specially tuned Sport mode and more liberal stability control setting to enhance the driving experience and allow for more sliding action.

The exterior features unique styling with a wider mesh grille, bespoke front and rear bumpers, and dual exhaust tips. Ford didn’t forget to inject some sportiness into the Edge ST’s interior, either. The seats receive extra bolstering and embossed ST logos and are upholstered in black leather with fabric inserts. Paddle shifters are available across the lineup but are fully manual in the ST, according to Ford.

Check out the full video below to learn all about the 2019 Ford Edge ST.

Toyota e-Palette Concept at CES is a Versatile Mobility Pod

By | January 8, 2018

The future is big and boxy, according to Toyota, which just revealed its vision for mobility at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Called the e-Palette concept, the tall, rectangular electric vehicle is designed to shuttle goods and people around busy metropolitan areas, in addition to offering popup space for various businesses.

The concept isn’t just a distant pipedream, however. Toyota also announced at CES partnerships based around the e-Palette that will develop specific uses for Toyota’s new Mobility Services Platform. Partners for the e-Palette Alliance include Amazon, Pizza Hut, Uber, DiDi, and Mazda. Given the companies already on board, you can guess some of the services the e-Palette might provide in the future.

Like most vehicles debuting at CES these days, the e-Palette is fully electric and autonomous. The platform is also designed to be highly flexible, with three sizes proposed offering different lengths and volumes. Lengths will range from 4-7 meters (roughly 13-23 feet), depending on intended use. The concept on display at CES measures roughly 15.7 feet long, 6.5 feet wide, and 7.4 feet tall. The boxy shape, of course, affords generous interior space. Transporting passengers and cargo are a few obvious applications, but Toyota also envisions mobile hotel rooms and retail spaces for the e-Palette. The vehicles will support Toyota’s own self-driving tech, but the control interface can also accommodate partner companies’ own autonomous driving systems.

Toyota will conduct feasibility studies for the e-Palette in select regions, including the U.S., by the early 2020s. The company also hopes to have the autonomous mobility boxes running around Tokyo in time for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Source: Toyota

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2018 Kia Stinger GT Long-Term Arrival: Long Shot

By | January 8, 2018

It’s one thing to take aim at a target from the shooting line. It’s quite another to take aim from clear across the field—and still land on the paper. That’s what Kia appeared to do with the Stinger at our 2018 Car of the Year program, where we named it a finalist in one of the most competitive COTY fields to date. Seemingly out of nowhere, there’s now another option to the swoopy liftback four-doors from BMW and Audi. But does it pose a real threat to the Audi A5 Sportback, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, and others? To find out, we’ve taken delivery of a 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 RWD for one whole year, and I have the great fortune of being its chaperone.

Take one look at our 2018 Car of the Year notebook, and it’s easy to see how impressed we were with the newcomer from Kia. “[Interior] materials all look remarkably high quality,” said technical director Frank Markus. “The Stinger drives more European than anything from Korea so far—and most things from Japan,” said international bureau chief Angus MacKenzie. “There’s a measured, almost Germanic, weighting to all the controls and to the body motions.”




And though not all judges agreed on the Stinger’s road manners and interior, there was no argument about its sexy exterior design. MacKenzie described the Stinger as “beautifully surfaced and visually arresting,” going on to say, “It looks like an elegant four-door fastback, with a hint of the old Maserati 3200 GT.”

The Stinger has just begun to hit the streets at the time of this writing, so our tester has attracted plenty of attention. Whether it was curious passersby at the gas station wanting to know what it was or Dodge Chargers on the freeway wanting to see what it could do, our bright HiChroma Red Stinger GT simply could not be left alone no matter where I took it. I blame Kia design boss Peter Schreyer for penning such a seductive shape. We’ll see if the looks, comments, and stoplight engine revs continue after the Stinger has been out for a few months.

Being a GT model, our tester packs a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 that pumps out a healthy 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. We opted for a rear-drive V-6 variant for many reasons, but mostly because we like drifting. The GT2 trim starts at a spendy-for-a-Kia but reasonable-for-a-premium-sport-sedan $50,100. You do get advanced driver assist features such as forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and Driver Attention Warning as standard. As such, this car is essentially already fully loaded and comes to us with no additional options.








Of course, you don’t have to spend that much to get in a Stinger. A base 2.0-liter turbo starts at $32,800, and a base GT, which packs the same 365-hp punch as our car, starts just under $40,000. Are the extra bells and whistles worth the money? We hope to have an answer within the next 12 months.

We’re just as eager to see how easy this car is to live with day to day as we are to take it out on our favorite back roads and perhaps the occasional autocross or track day. We’re also eager to see how the Stinger stacks up against more expensive rivals from Germany in terms of quality, comfort, value, and fun. The arrow has landed on the target, but just how close is it to the bull’s-eye? Stay tuned as we find out.

2018 Kia Stinger GT
BASE PRICE $39,250
PRICE AS TESTED $50,100
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 3.3L/365-hp/376-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
WHEELBASE 114.1 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 190.2 x 73.6 x 55.1 in
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 19/25/21 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/135 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.91 lb/mile



























































































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Mid-Engine Corvette Ready for Its Closeup in the Snow

By | January 8, 2018

It’s now 2018, and that means we’re inching closer to the highly anticipated reveal of the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette. We’ve seen camouflaged prototypes plenty of times before, but these latest shots captured in the snow reveal the upcoming supercar’s dual-caliper rear brakes.

The front brakes feature one large multi-piston caliper, but in back you can clearly see a second caliper opposite the primary clamping unit. Both sets of rotors appear to be steel.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot more to see in these shots. The mid-engine proportions are very apparent when viewed from the side, but that thick camo still hides this Corvette’s exterior details.

Though we don’t know what it looks like yet, we know a lot about the mid-engine Corvette’s powertrain thanks to numerous leaks. A set of leaked CAD drawings that surfaced online late last year appeared to show a longitudinally mounted twin-turbo V-8.

A report from IHS Markit unearthed by Corvette Forum, the same site that posted the CAD drawings, suggested that engine could make as much as 850 hp. It is believed the mid-engine Corvette will offer two twin-turbo DOHC V-8 engines, including a 4.2-liter and 5.5-liter.
















There’s still a chance the mid-engine Corvette might make its surprise debut in Detroit this month, but at this point we’re guessing we’ll see it later in the year. Please don’t make us wait too much longer, GM.

Photo source: KGP Photography

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