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Acura NSX bodywork to be sheathed in zirconium e-coat, fewer paint layers

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Tech, Videos, Supercars, Acura, Honda

Acura NSX prototype

Automakers make halo cars to drum up excitement and show off what they can do, but there's more to it than that. Advanced platforms allow a company's engineers to experiment with all sorts of technologies. And in the case of the upcoming new Acura NSX, that includes new paint processes.

Speaking with Autoline in this video interview, Honda's North American Senior VP Jon Minto talked about an innovative zirconium e-coat which it's applying to the new NSX. Unlike some experimental paints developed for Formula One, however, this coating is not designed to minimize drag or enhance cooling: it's designed to be more environmentally friendly.

It's one of a few measures which Honda is implementing on the NSX before expanding it to more accessible models, along with another process that uses fewer coats to reduce energy consumption by 40 percent. Watch the interview with Autoline host John McElroy right here.

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2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Driving, Luxury

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Save for a few years of its century-plus existence, Cadillac has offered its unique brand of American elegance in two-door, fixed-roof bodystyles. Most of these cars were big, floaty barges, of course, though its most recent offering was the wedge-shaped CTS Coupe. But whereas the CTS Coupe was a statement car - angular and severe, with somewhat limited appeal except to design snobs and provocateurs - the ATS Coupe represents a return to form for Cadillac, with a proper three-box (engine-cabin-trunk) body and a slightly lower price point that should broaden its appeal among a larger swath of the market.

Generally speaking, the 2015 ATS Coupe is a two-door version of the sporty ATS Sedan, though, surprisingly, the only common exterior components are the hood, headlamps, and sundry trim pieces on the front fascia (which features a slightly larger grille, a wider lower air intake, and the redesigned, laurel-less Cadillac crest). Even the mirrors are different. The body stretches 0.8 inches in length and 1.4 inches in width, the roof is 1.1 inches lower and the rear windscreen slopes at a flatter, sleeker angle. Interestingly, the windowsills are actually quite a bit lower, further slimming the car.

Thanks to its 0.8-inch wider front and rear wheel tracks as well as more tumblehome in the C-pillar area, the coupe sits lower and looks more planted than the ATS sedan, particularly from the rear three-quarter view. Filling the wheel wells is a family of slick 18x8-inch wheels, with 18x9-inchers coming on the rear axle of performance models. Even if all those changes haven't resulted in a wholly new look the way the CTS Coupe departs from its sedan progeny, the ATS two-door is a truly beautiful car that looks considerably better on the road than on a show stand. And for that, Cadillac deserves mighty praise.

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What you missed on 8.4.2014

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Coupes, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Trucks/Pickups, Supercars, Luxury

Daily U-Turn

First Drive: 2015 Acura TLX

Our man Michael Harley takes his turn behind the wheel of the brand-new Acura TLX and finds it a better car than either the TSX or TL, both of which it replaces in the automaker's lineup. Read the full review to find out the how and the why, and to see if it has what it takes to compete in such a hotly contested segment.

Ford F-Series Super Duty prototype burns while hot-weather testing

Yikes! Our intrepid spy shooters captured these images of a 2016 Ford F-Series Super Duty prototype burning to the ground out in Death Valley. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. The truck, as you can see, did not fare so well. Ford is investigating the cause of the blaze.

Hennessey Venom F5 gunning for 290 mph and 1,400 horsepower

How fast is fast enough? Well, we suppose that depends on who you ask. John Hennessey, for instance, has his sights set on 290 freaking miles per hour, and to achieve such ludicrous velocity, he's planning to pack 1,400 horsepower in the engine bay of his upcoming Venom F5. A total of 30 examples are planned. Get in line now.

Top Stories

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Hennessey Venom F5 to gun for 290 mph with 1,400 horsepower [UPDATE]

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Supercars, MISC

Hennessey Venom F5

UPDATE: Hennessey has released official renderings and verbiage on its forthcoming Venom F5, which we've incorporated into this story.

Hennessey Performance had good reason to fly the star-spangled banner with pride when it recorded a top speed of over 270 miles per hour at the Kennedy Space Center this past February. That was, after all, faster than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport ever recorded. Unfortunately, the run wasn't official enough to take the crown away (at least to the Guinness Book of World Records people), but instead of simply trying again, or squeezing a bit of extra power out of the existing Venom GT, Hennessey is reportedly going back to the drawing board with a comprehensive list of upgrades.

According to Hennessey, the project has been dubbed F5, not after the Northrop fighter jet but after the tornado classification. That might seem like a bit much for most any other car, but Hennessey plans on backing it up. For starters, the 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is being reworked to deliver as much as (if not more than) 1,400 horsepower, and a new single-clutch paddle-shift gearbox is being developed (a manual will still be offered). New bodywork is being designed atop the Lotus Elise-based chassis to further cut the Venom's drag coefficient while delivering all the downforce it'll need to stay on the road. It's also set to get a new GPS-based traction control system that will be programmable for specific racing circuits.

All that and more is giving Hennessey a target of topping 290 miles per hour, potentially to be achieved at Bonneville. The Texas-based company reportedly plans on making 30 examples, each with a price tag expected to exceed the existing Venom GT's $1.2-million MSRP.

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Audi starts production of new TT in Hungary

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Euro, Plants/Manufacturing, Audi

Audi TT production at Gyor

Audi sure made waves when it rolled out the original TT in the late 1990s, putting fashion forward with a stylish coupe that neatly summed up the design direction the company was headed in. But that was a decade and a half ago, and the TT has moved on considerably since then.

The German automaker has since revealed its third-generation TT, replacing the original twice over with ever-more performance-focused but no less stylish successors along the way. But it wasn't until last week that the first new MkIII TT rolled off the assembly line.

That took place, of course, in Gyor at Audi Hungaria Motor Kft. It's the same assembly plant that handles the company's A3 sedan and cabrio, with the facility also handling final assembly of the TT ever since the factory opened in 1997 and the model began rolling off the line in '98. Last November, the plant in Hungary built its 500,000th TT, and now officials are ushering in the era of the new model.

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Jay Leno gets his denim mitts on Dodge's new Challenger Hellcat

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Dodge, Celebrities

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is definitely the performance car of the moment. The fact that in the near future, people will be able to buy a 707-horsepower muscle machine straight from a major automaker for $59,995 and with a factory warranty almost seems absurd. We drove it recently and found the Hellcat to be just as much of a beast as its numbers would suggest. Now, it's a certain comedian's turn behind the wheel in the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage.

This week's guest is Dodge President and CEO Tim Kuniskis, and he's there to drop all sorts of interesting factoids about the Hellcat. For example, its Pirelli P Zero tires retail at around $300 each, he says. That makes its smoky burnouts a rather expensive proposition. Kuniskis, who recently hinted at a mystery Woodward Dream Cruise debut, also talks about the genesis of the 2015 SRT project with a goal to get over some of the standard Challenger's weight and size disadvantages. The fix is a supercharged V8, massive brakes and other goodies to smooth over the platform's more glaring shortcomings.

Leno appears to get a big kick out of the Hellcat. However, he can't seem to stop bringing up his desire to drive one with a six-speed manual. They obviously exist, but Kuniskis has an eight-speed automatic for the retired Tonight Show host to try out. Of course, as with any Hellcat video, there has to be at least one burnout. Despite the expensive tires, it seems like enthusiast's law at this point - and dear ol' Jay wouldn't want to break any rules, would he?

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Hennessey Venom F5 to gun for 290 mph with 1,400 horsepower

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Supercars, MISC

Hennessey Venom GT

Hennessey Performance had good reason to fly the star-spangled banner with pride when it recorded a top speed of over 270 miles per hour at the Kennedy Space Center this past February. That was, after all, faster than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport ever recorded. Unfortunately, the run wasn't official enough to take the crown away (at least to the Guinness Book of World Records people), but instead of simply trying again, or squeezing a bit of extra power out of the existing Venom GT, Hennessey is reportedly going back to the drawing board with a comprehensive list of upgrades.

According to Top Gear, the project is being dubbed F5, not after the Northrop fighter jet but after the tornado classification. That might seem like a bit much for most any other car, but Hennessey plans on backing it up. For starters, the 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is being reworked to deliver as much as (if not more than) 1,400 horsepower. New bodywork is being designed atop the Lotus Elise-based chassis to further cut the Venom's drag coefficient while delivering all the downforce it'll need to stay on the road. It's also set to get a new GPS-based traction control system that will be programmable for specific racing circuits.

All that and more is reportedly giving Hennessey a target of topping 290 miles per hour, potentially to be achieved at Bonneville. The Texas-based company reportedly plans on making 30 examples, each with a price tag expected to exceed the existing Venom GT's $1.2-million MSRP.

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Porsche goes karting in its Cayman GTS

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Porsche

Porsche Cayman GTS

Think Mini is the king of Go-Kart Handling[TM]? Well, you might be mistaken, as Porsche proves here it's fully capable of delivering a driving experience that'd fit in quite nicely on a go-kart track.

Using a new and very red Cayman GTS, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer invades a kart track in northern Italy and sets the mid-engined sports car loose to slip, slide and zip its way around the circuit. As far as videos for Sunday evening go, this one ticks all the boxes.

Take a look.

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Xcar checks if BMW's i8 offers moves as electrifying as its looks

08/03/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Hybrids/Alternative, Videos, BMW

BMW i8

If you were to plot the general opinion about hybrids since their introduction among auto enthusiasts, the resulting graph would likely be shaped somewhat like a "V." In the beginning interest was high, simply due the novelty of these new powertrains, then the line would gradually fall as the models got the stereotype of being boring commuters. Today, though, things might be back on the upswing. Vehicles like the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 and BMW i8 are showing that a hybrid doesn't have to be synonymous for dull. In its latest video, Xcar Films aims to find out if BMW's electrified sports coupe actually earns the brand's old moniker as the ultimate driving machine.

While the focus here is on what the i8 is like behind the wheel, one of the main highlights for the viewer is the interesting ways that Xcar shoots the BMW. It's not necessarily a beautiful vehicle, but seeing it in motion reveals all sorts of little intricacies that still photos don't pick up. For example, our eye catches the flying buttresses and little crevices scooped out of the corners when we get a look at the rear. It's just a fun car to look at.

With its 1.5-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder engine and electric motor, the i8 positions itself as the future of automotive performance. But its intriguing looks and cutting-edge use of carbon fiber would be wasted if the coupe didn't drive well. We won't spoil the final verdict, though, you'll have to watch the video above.

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Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo gets teaser trailer before Pebble Beach debut

08/02/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Videos, Lamborghini, Misc. Auto Shows, Racing

Lamborghini first tipped us to the coming arrival of its race-ready Huracán Super Trofeo, with this dark-and-camouflaged teaser image a few weeks back. Slated to replace the venerable Gallardo Super Trofeo in the brand's one-make series, the Huracán flavored for racing duty should result in a faster field.

However, before the new Super Trofeo car debuts on host circuits for the North American, European and Asian iterations of the series, it'll get a share of the spotlight at Pebble Beach. Lamborghini is scheduled to pull the wrapper off its new racecar at The Quail on August 15 - an event we're sure to be in attendance for.

Until then, we can offer up one more pulse-pounding teaser of the new Huracán, in the form of a new official video. The Super Trofeo Lamborghini is still wearing its under cover uniform in this bit, and the camera darts from focus to blur with irritating regularity, but you'll get the idea.

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