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What you missed on 8.5.2014

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Recalls/TSBs, Cadillac

Daily U-Turn

Autoblog readers share unpopular opinions

Last week Autoblog editors went on record with some of our most unpopular opinions about cars and driving. In response our never-shy readership presented an awful lot of interesting and controversial opinions of their own. Here, we choose some of the reader responses we found most compelling (some downright strange) to feature and respond to. Click through to see what's it's like when the inmates run the asylum.

First Drive: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Cadillac's sport-sedan ATS was hailed as a legitimate contender for the BMW 3 Series throne, so removing two doors and sharpening the styling should only help it's case, right? You've heard the one about the book and it's cover... We get behind the wheel of the new Caddy two-door; finding a lot to love and a little bit to gripe about in the process.

Life sentences for execs that delay recalls?

Senator Claire McCaskill has introduced legislation that would drastically increase NHTSA's budget, remove a maximum limit on fines for automakers and punish executives at car companies if they knowingly delayed recalling cars. When we say punish, we mean punish; McCaskill's proposed law would see penalties as high as life imprisonment for execs, where recall violations resulted in death.

Top Stories

  • Ducati Scrambler to debut September 30
  • 2015 Chevy Colorado to start at $20,100*, GMC Canyon at $20,995**
  • Detroit so broke it can't afford the right batteries for parking meters that make it millions
Read more..


Cadillac reveals stretched ATS-L in China [UPDATE]

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, China, Cadillac, Luxury

2015 Cadillac ATS-L

UPDATE: Shanghai GM has issued an official press release on the ATS-L, which we've included below, and which mentions only the turbo four as the sole engine on offer. The text has been updated accordingly.

In the market for a new Cadillac, but need more space than an ATS can afford? Then you'll want to look at the larger CTS. Unless you live in China, where buyers - often chauffeured instead of driving themselves - seem to prefer a long-wheelbase version of a smaller sedan than upgrading to a larger one. For those buyers, Cadillac has released the new ATS-L.

Based on the existing ATS sports sedan, the ATS-L offers an extra 3.3 inches of rear legroom over the model we get here. As a result, the ATS-L stretches its wheelbase to 112.5 inches and its overall length to 186 inches, while riding a quarter-inch lower than the standard-wheelbase model, which itself was recently updated. That places its length in between the regular ATS and the CTS available Stateside.

Otherwise it's essentially the same sedan, but whereas the standard ATS sedan offers three engine choices (ranging from a 2.0-liter four to a 3.6-liter V6), the ATS-L is apparently being offered only with the 2.0-liter turbo four, propelling the long-wheelbase sedan to 62 in 6.2 seconds. Other features include Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, high-performance run-flat tires and - despite the longer wheelbase - perfect 50/50 weight balance front to rear.

Of course this model, produced locally for the Chinese market, isn't likely to make the transpacific voyage to US showrooms, so American buyers will still have to choose between the standard ATS, the larger CTS or the even larger XTS.

Continue reading Cadillac reveals stretched ATS-L in China [UPDATE]

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Cadillac reveals stretched ATS-L in China

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, China, Cadillac, Luxury

2015 Cadillac ATS-L

In the market for a new Cadillac, but need more space than an ATS can afford? Then you'll want to look at the larger CTS. Unless you live in China, where buyers - often chauffeured instead of driving themselves - seem to prefer a long-wheelbase version of a smaller sedan than upgrading to a larger one. For those buyers, Cadillac has released the new ATS-L.

Based on the existing ATS sports sedan, the ATS-L offers an extra 3.3 inches of rear legroom over the model we get here. As a result, the ATS-L stretches its wheelbase to 112.5 inches and its overall length to 186 inches, while riding a quarter-inch lower than the standard-wheelbase model, which itself was recently updated. That places its length in between the regular ATS and the CTS available Stateside.

Otherwise it's essentially the same sedan, but appears to ditch the base 2.0-liter four to offer either the 2.0-liter turbo four or 3.6-liter V6. Of course this model, produced locally for the Chinese market, isn't likely to make the transpacific voyage to US showrooms, so American buyers will still have to choose between the standard ATS, the larger CTS or the even larger XTS.

Read more..


What you missed on 7.28.14

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Videos, Cadillac, Ford, Infiniti, Scion, Motorcycles, Special/Limited Editions, Luxury, MISC, Racing

Daily U-Turn

First Drive: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge PrototypeInfiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype

It's quick - 0-60 in under four seconds. It's fast - top speed is estimated at around 186 miles per hour. And, rather surprisingly considering its status as a prototype, it drives pretty darn well. With a heart of gold borrowed from the Nissan GT-R mated to all-wheel-drive hung off a luxurious sedan chassis, this is one vehicle we openly beg and plead enters production. Soon.

Polaris Slingshot enters the fray on three wheelsPolaris Slingshot

The fact that it only has three wheels on which to stand means the government classifies the Polaris Slingshot as a motorcycle. That means you'll need an appropriate license to operate it, and it probably means you'll need to wear head and/or eye protection. But with an enviable power-to-weight ratio to go along with what's sure to be a thrilling drive experience, those may be small prices to pay. Speaking of which, this sucker will start just shy of $20,000.

Rain an equalizer at Hungarian Grand Prix2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

How thankful we are that rain doesn't keep these open-cockpit Formula 1 cars in the paddock. The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix proved once again that changing weather conditions are one rather natural way of adding some excitement to the race track. Check out our full race recap for all the details of what went down in Hungary.

Top Stories

  • Translogic takes a look at the 2014 Cadillac ELR
  • 2015 Ford F-150 pricing announced, aluminum-bodied truck up just $395
  • Scion xB to be replaced by Auris hatchbach, iQ dead after 2014
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Translogic 155: 2014 Cadillac ELR

07/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Hybrids/Alternative, Videos, Cadillac, Translogic

Cadillac ELR

For the past decade, Cadillac has been searching for ways to breathe life into its lineup of luxury sedans and SUVs. While it has enjoyed recent success with the CTS and Escalade, brand perception still skews older and stuffier than Caddy's German and Japanese counterparts.

Can the electrified Cadillac ELR shock the system and return a pulse to this storied American brand, or will the Chevy Volt-based plug-in price itself out of the market?

Host Jonathon Buckley heads to Los Angeles to test the 2014 Cadillac ELR.

Continue reading Translogic 155: 2014 Cadillac ELR

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Weekly Recap: New bosses try to jump-start Cadillac and Lincoln

07/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Hirings/Firings, Aston Martin, Cadillac, Dodge, Ford, GM, Infiniti, Lincoln, Nissan, Luxury, Read This

Cadillac and Lincoln

Both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.

It's ironic that Cadillac and Lincoln got new bosses within days of each other this month. It's also a commentary on the fact both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.

Cadillac has received barrels of good ink in recent years, thanks to its sporty, fun-to-drive cars with gaudy horsepower figures and eye-catching designs. The problem is sales have been uneven, and this year they've fallen 1.9 percent to 82,117 vehicles.

Enter Johan de Nysschen. You know him from such roles as the head of Audi in the United States and more recently, as the global boss of Infiniti. Both brands have somewhat underdog status compared with segment leaders Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus, and de Nysschen was lauded for his work at his previous stops, overseeing sales and product successes.

Cadillac went out and got a "name" with a proven track record. The 54-year-old South African brings strong leadership and industry credibility to a brand that needs both. He'll be tested right away, as 554,328 Cadillac CTS and SRX models were recalled in June in the United States for ignition switch problems. More recalls involving Cadillacs and other General Motors vehicles for a welding problem was also announced in July.

He's taking over for Bob Ferguson, who had been dividing his time between Cadillac and handling GM recall response on Capital Hill. Ferguson moved to a full-time role as GM's top public policy and government relations executive in July.

Meanwhile, Ford tapped a relatively obscure engineer, Kumar Galhotra, to lead Lincoln. He's replacing an industry star, Jim Farley, who's giving up the reins at Lincoln to focus on his other job - overseeing Ford's global marketing efforts.

Galhotra doesn't have as much name recognition as Farley or de Nysschen, but that means nothing. Lincoln needs momentum, and the only way Galhotra will ultimately be measured is through increasing sales and strengthening the product portfolio.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: New bosses try to jump-start Cadillac and Lincoln

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These are the top luxury cars bought by people entering the segment for the first time

07/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, Luxury

Volvo C70

Let's say you just got a big promotion at work or the kids are moving out of the house, and you finally have some extra money. You decide to blow it all at once and treat yourself by upgrading your ride. Naturally, you look to a luxury automaker. What do you choose?

Models like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class may be tailor-made to introduce buyers to the premium segment, but a new study finds that they don't garner the highest rates of non-luxury customer conquests. It turns out that a Volvo leads among folks moving up to a premium brand, and it isn't even one that's made anymore, at that.

A recent study by Polk and IHS Automotive looked at what models had the highest rates of buyers upgrading from a non-luxury segment. The information comes from its new vehicle registration data through April 2014. All ten top models boasted conquest rates of over 50 percent, but the Volvo C70 led the field with 68.01 percent of its customers coming from non-premium brands.

It's an odd winner because the C70 isn't even available as a new model anymore, having been discontinued after the 2013 model year. It isn't the only car no longer offered that's on the list, either. The BMW 128i is in seventh place with 53.93 percent of conquest buyers despite leaving us in MY 2014. It seems likely that some of these vehicles are still on dealer lots, and buyers are getting good incentives to pick them up at lower prices.

According to Polk, the 10 models with the highest conquest rates from non-luxury segments are:

  • Volvo C70 - 68.01 percent
  • Infiniti JX35 (QX60) - 63.89 percent
  • Acura ILX - 59.66 percent
  • Audi A3 - 57.34 percent
  • Cadillac ATS - 56.88 percent
  • Acura RDX - 56.53 percent
  • BMW 128i - 53.93 percent
  • Lexus CT 200h - 53.17 percent
  • Land Rover LR2 - 52.47 percent
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class - 51.83 percent
If you're curious about the other side of the table, the Mercedes S-Class is the least likely vehicle for new luxury buyers to choose at 10.35 percent. Although, that's not exactly a shock - with a starting price of nearly $100,000, it would be quite a leap up from a Camry or Accord.
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40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Coupes, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Wagons/Estates, Government/Legal, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Lexus, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Luxury

The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.

I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.

Beyond knowing that it existed, and occasionally seeing a surcharge for it listed on the specification sheet for a press car I'd been loaned, I didn't really understand how the GGT worked or was calculated.

Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency makes learning about the GGT (and a lot of other stuff) pretty simple. EPA.gov has a clearly written explanation of the tax and the tax schedule. That schedule, operating with miles-per-gallon ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, clearly lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam. Basically, if a car's combined fuel economy rating is 22.5 mpg or higher it's off the hook ­- trucks, minivans and SUVs are all exempt from the GGT - if the rating is lower, per vehicle taxes range from $1,000 to $7,700 for the very thirstiest.

Simple, right?

Continue reading 40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax

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The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE]

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Scion, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

Acura TL

Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception.

Japan's automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet. Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD, and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC.

From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives.

German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler-made Routan. Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Huracán in the Lamborghini lineup, while Volvo ends production of the XC90 in advance of the new model's arrival.

It's a long list to wrap your head around, but our compatriots over at The Car Connection have summed it all up in the video below, and we've assembled the slideshow above with photos of each. The question is, which of these models will you miss the most? Share your thoughts in Comments.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated that Infiniti is discontinuing the G37 that was already replaced by the Q50. While that's technically true, as we reported earlier this year, the G37 as we know it will continue to live on, and has been renamed Q40 for the 2015 model year.

Continue reading The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE]

Read more..

The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video]

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Scion, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

Acura TL

Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception.

Japan's automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet. Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD, and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC. Meanwhile Infiniti is finally discontinuing the G37 that was already replaced by the newer Q50.

From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives.

German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler-made Routan. Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Huracán in the Lamborghini lineup, while Volvo ends production of the XC90 in advance of the new model's arrival.

It's a long list to wrap your head around, but our compatriots over at The Car Connection have summed it all up in the video below, and we've assembled the slideshow above with photos of each. The question is, which of these models will you miss the most? Share your thoughts in Comments.

Continue reading The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video]

Read more..

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