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Mercedes' AMG Sport line to spread across lineup

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Mercedes Benz, Luxury

Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport Estate

If you want a performance-oriented Audi but can't stretch to an RS model, you can go for an S instead. If you want a performance-oriented BMW but can't stretch to a full M car, you can go for an M Performance model instead. If you want a performance-oriented Mercedes but can't stretch to an AMG model... you're out of luck. But you won't be for long, as circulating reports indicate that Benz is planning to launch a second line of AMG Sport models.

As we reported a few months ago, Mercedes is preparing to launch a C450 AMG Sport to slot in between the new C400 and upcoming C63 AMG, with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 producing around 367 horsepower - a few dozen horses more than the C400 but still a hundred or so shy of the C63. The model was subsequently spotted in wagon guise, pictured above.

The C-Class won't be the only one to get the AMG Sport treatment, however. Autocar reports that, while not all Mercedes models are slated at first to get the mid-level performance upgrade, many models will - including the A-, E-, S-, M, GL, GLK and GLA-Class models, as well as the upcoming MLC crossover coupe.

While they won't all get the same engine, each AMG Sport model is expected to undergo a similar transformation, with upgraded suspensions, wider tracks, reprogrammed electronics and more. Expect both gasoline and diesel versions to be offered (at least in certain markets), taking Mercedes into performance diesel territory for the first time to rival BMW's trio of M550d, X5 M50d and X6 M50d as well as Audi's SQ5 TDI and (currently concept-only) RS5 TDI.

The new line, to be jointly developed by Mercedes and its AMG performance division, would also give the Silver Star a three-tiered performance line-up, starting with the new AMG Sport line, followed by the AMG range and topping out with the AMG S models.

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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

  • Ford announces free brake pad offer if customers stop by dealers
  • Jay Leno gets his denim mitts on Dodge's new Challenger Hellcat
  • It's been 5 years since Cash For Clunkers, was it a success? [w/poll]
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R&T chases down a burglar in the million-mile Miata

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Convertibles, Economy, Sports/GTs, Mazda, Read This

Road and Track Million-Mile Miata

Is the answer always Mazda Miata? We discussed this in passing on the Autoblog Podcast earlier this week, and most assuredly the answer is "no." For example, the little MX-5 would be a terrible people carrier, and it'd be useless off road. You can't really tow anything of substance with it, either. Still, if push came to shove, it's satisfying to know that the diminutive roadster could eke out a career as a chase vehicle for the police.

That fact was proven when Road & Track editor Chris Cantle did something that he himself recognizes as "stupid." Upon returning home, Cantle discovered a "twenty-something" actively burgling his home. The resulting story is easily one of the more entertaining episodes to come out of the 1990 MX-5's service to the team at R&T and, we're guessing, will be one of the highlights of the Million-Mile Miata challenge.

Be sure to head over to Road & Track for a full retelling of the chase from Cantle, as well as a follow-up on the saga.

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Ducati Diavel lines up against Corvette Stingray on the drag strip

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Videos, Chevrolet, Motorcycles

Ducati Diavel vs Corvette Stingray

Car vs Bike: It's a story we've heard told and seen played out countless times before, but it's one of which we never get tired. Or seldom, anyway, especially when it pits such lust-worthy machinery against each other.

In this latest drag race is the Chevy Corvette Stingray Convertible piloted by sports and stock car racing veteran Tommy Kendall, lining up on the drag strip against the Ducati Diavel Carbon ridden by AMA racer Rich Gadson. Both are highly accomplished in their respective disciplines and come from famous racing families - so the competition comes down mainly to the vehicles.

The Vette, of course, has more power, but while the Ducati may be more of a cruiser than a sport bike, it's got all the muscle you could ask for on the drag strip. So which one takes the cake? Watch the video to find out.

Continue reading Ducati Diavel lines up against Corvette Stingray on the drag strip

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BMW X4 M40i spotted testing in Germany

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Sports/GTs, Crossovers/CUVs, BMW

2016 BMW X4 M40i

The stream of segment-busting BMW variants is showing no signs of letting up, and with the latest addition now upon us, questions have been circulating as to whether the Bavarian automaker would do an M version of the new X4 crossover. The jury may still be out on that proposition, but the latest intel suggests that, while a full-on X4 M may not be in the cards, a next-best-thing X4 M40i is in the works. And that appears to be what we're looking at in this fresh batch of spy shots.

Spotted for the first time undergoing testing in Germany, this X4 is tipped to be the next addition to the M Performance line that's already given us near-boiling models like the M135i and M235i on the one hand and the diesel-powered M550d, X5 M50d and X6 M50d on the other. Power in this case is tipped to come from the same 3.0-liter turbo six as the upcoming M2, producing between 360 and 380 horsepower.

Unlike the current top-of-that-specific-line X4 35i, which has two tailpipes on one side, this partially-camouflaged prototype has one pipe protruding from each corner of the rear bumper, but looks like it could easily accommodate twin pipes on both sides. Expect commensurate suspension, brake, rolling stock, aero and trim upgrades to come as part of the package, though they likely won't be quite as substantial as those applied to the X5 M and X6 M.

Sources expect the X4 M40i (or whatever it's ultimately called) to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015 before production gets underway in December.

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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?

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

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Final Lexus IS F rolls off assembly line in Japan, bound for US

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Plants/Manufacturing, Lexus, Luxury

Lexus IS F

We knew this day would come, but it's nonetheless a bit of a sad one for Lexus enthusiasts as the very last example of the IS F has rolled off the assembly line in Tahara, Japan. Decked out in its trademark bright blue, the final IS F is destined for a customer right here in the United States.

Far from just another now-defunct model in an endless succession, the IS F marked the first time that Lexus did a proper performance model, debuting in production guise at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show alongside the LFA concept long before the latter entered production and took the idea of the high-performance Lexus even further. The IS F may not have sold in huge numbers, but it definitely marked a milestone for Toyota's luxury division.

Don't cry too much, however, as the new RC F that effectively takes its place packs an even mightier punch. While both are powered by essentially the same 5.0-liter V8 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic driving the rear wheels, the outgoing sedan's 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque is easily outgunned by the new coupe's 450 hp and 383 lb-ft.

The news was posted on Facebook by Yikihiko Yaguchi, the Toyota performance engineer responsible for both the IS F and RC F. Now, feel free to join us in a moment of silence...

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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.

Continue reading Porsche goes karting in its Cayman GTS

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Lamborghini Accademia heading to Laguna Seca

08/02/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Supercars, Lamborghini

Lamborghini Accademia

If you want to learn how to get the most out of your Lambo, who better to teach you than Lamborghini itself. That's why the Bolognese automaker has launched the Lamborghini Accademia. Developed by the factory's Squadra Corse competition department, the Lamborghini Accademia is set up to show customers how to handle their supercars on a closed track and with the expert tutelage of factory instructors.

The trouble for American customers, though, is that the Accademia has (this year, at least) only held sessions at European tracks like Imola in Italy and Hockenheim in Germany. Not that the cost of a transatlantic flight would deter someone splurging six figures on a supercar, mind you, but we're glad to report now that the program is coming to North America for the first time.

Between September 14 and 17, the Lamborghini Accademia will be setting up shop at California's legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. That's where instructors will run groups of 24 students through the finer points of slalom, acceleration, braking, drifting and section-by-section learning of the famous track, from the Andretti Hairpin to the famous Corkscrew... all from behind the wheel of the new Huracán LP 610-4. Not a bad place to experience the Raging Bull marque's latest creation, or a bad car in which to experience one of America's finest racing circuits.

Continue reading Lamborghini Accademia heading to Laguna Seca

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What you missed on 8.1.14

08/02/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Tech, Dodge, By the Numbers

Daily U-Turn

By The Numbers: July 2014

It's summertime and the car buying comes easy. This month's By The Numbers report shows bullish sales from GM in spite of the continued recall madness, and Toyota overtaking Ford in the US sales race for the very first time this year.

Guys more open to Google Car than ladies

A new survey about the openness of the public to the charms of autonomous vehicles, finds some interesting gaps in the data provided by each gender. The tenor of public opinion about self-driving cars might be looking up, but if these results hold water Americans aren't exactly ready to jump behind the wheel and let the bots do the driving just yet. Once more around the block, Jeeves.

Charger Hellcat could debut at Dream Cruise

What has 707 horsepower, four doors, an insatiable appetite for gasoline and a vendetta against rear tires? If you answered "Dodge Charger Hellcat" you win a cookie. The SRT boys haven't confirmed it yet, but all indications point towards Dodge making a muscle-sedan splash at the Woodward Dream Cruise this year, bringing along the supercharged-Hemi version of its Charger sedan. Hold your breath and look for rubber smoke.

Top Stories

  • How the 'unpretentious beauty' of 'flyover states' will influence your next car color
  • Hyundai recalls over 419k vehicles in three campaigns
  • 2015 North American Car and Truck of the Year long list revealed
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