F1 For the Road – The Ferrari F50 »

It’s not often one gets handed the keys to a million dollar car. Well in this case, about 1.6 million, but who’s counting.

Performance Redefined: Nissan GTR »

The Nissan GTR is a bit of an enigma. It’s one of the rare few that satisfies more than one personality traits. It’s nearly untouchable at the Ring, only beat by the million dollar Porsche 918 when counting series production vehicles.

Life Lessons, Courtesy of Mercedes »

Before we start, I need to apologize for being late. Partly due to real life getting in the way, but mostly due to the fact that I struggled to write this.

Canadian JDM Invasion – Honda Integra Type-R »

This week, I had a chance to check out NRGie’s 1996 Honda Integra Type-R. While GTRs have dominated the JDM imports, the ITR is a bit of a hidden gem out of Japan.

The Track Rat: ESS Supercharged BMW M3 »

This week, I had the pleasure of driving Jason’s (CSMRX7) amazing track weapon, the ESS Supercharged BMW E90 M3. I may be an AMG fanboy as of late [...]


January 14th, 2015

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Buried amongst all the announcements during the 2015 North American International Auto Show, Porsche has announced it has given their Cayenne Turbo S a slight bump in power. By locating the turbos directly inside the exhaust manifolds, the re-engineered 4.8L V8 now generates 570 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. The extra power has enabled the Cayenne to lap the Nurburgring in 7:59.74 minutes, besting the Range Rover Sport SVR by over 15 seconds which had just set the SUV record this past summer.

Housing the turbos inside the exhaust manifold helps Porsche achieve better combustion and as you can see, more power. The extra 20 horsepower and 37 lb-ft of torque not only provides better ‘ring times but also shaves 0.4 seconds off the 0-60 time, down to 3.8 seconds. That’s faster than most performance coupes and sedans. Top speed of the Cayenne Turbo S is now 176mph.

While the engine has been reworked, Porsche chose to leave the exterior styling alone. In any case, we still included some pictures of the new Cayenne Turbo S in our gallery so take a gander.

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January 13th, 2015

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Mercedes-Benz is ready to battle Audi’s S-Line and BMW’s M Performance line by introducing the new AMG Sport line of Mercedes-Benz cars. Not fully an AMG, the new AMG Sport line bridges the gap between Mercedes-Benz and the hardcore Mercedes-AMG cars by adding some AMG technology to an otherwise mainstream Mercedes-Benz model. The second vehicle in this new line (the GLE450 AMG Sport being the first), the C450 AMG Sport improves upon the C400 by borrowing some of the suspension pieces from the C63, as well as AMG body pieces, transmission modes, and a bump in power thanks to more turbo boost in the engine management system.

By pumping up the turbo boost pressure from the C400, the C450 AMG Sport now delivers 367hp from the same engine, while delivering the same fuel efficiency. The 4Matic AWD system stays onboard (it’s not available in the C63), allowing the car to rocket to 60mph in only 4.7 seconds. Lifted from the C63, the 3 stage dampening adjustments coupled with the front axel and steering knuckles allow the C450 to feel a little more like its AMG bigger brother in the corners, while delivering better body roll control than the pedestrian C400. The addition of a Sport+ driving program allows the C450 to feel a little more sportier to the driver behind the wheel.

The C450 AMG Sport hits showrooms this fall, with orders beginning in the summer. Check out our full gallery below for a closer look.

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January 13th, 2015

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Whenever I hear the word Rebel, I repeat “Rebel Without a Cause” in my head. I think it was a movie. A movie I have never seen. It starred James Dean who I would suggest was a car guy. He was cool.

Unlike James Dean, this truck is not cool. Much like the movie, I would like to un-see this monstrosity. The Ram Rebel is a truck that sits between the Sport and the Outdoorsman (as if Ram didn’t have enough trim levels already (9!!)). It sports standard air suspension, gets a 1 inch lift and some knobby 33″ Toyos as standard fare. You can get it any way you want with the Quad cab. 4X4, 4X2, V6, or V8. No EcoDiesel though. I guess there was a limit.

What is striking is how “look at me” this truck is. There is no mistaking what you are driving when rolling down the street in this vehicle. Massive RAM name on the tailgate and the grill. And get this, the seats have tread marks!

I think that this is Chrysler’s attempt to get more aftermarket dollars right at the factory. They are not only competing with the aftermarket, but also their own dealers. I don’t know how many times I have driven by a Ram dealer and see a brand new 1500 or 2500 jacked up to the sky waiting for someone to overpay for it.

It’s a perfect truck for roughneck country Alberta. All they need to do is include some white sunglasses and a coupon for a tribal tattoo at the local parlor.

So get out your Ed Hardy hat and your Von Dutch shirt and head over to a Ram dealership round about August for your fill of Rebel.

Live shots from Detroit by a guy with frosted tips who wants to take it outside after the break.

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January 13th, 2015

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When Hyundai brought the newly designed Sonata line-up to New York early in 2014 the hybrid trim was nowhere to be seen. Nobody at Beyond noticed, but most of us have problems seeing green anyway. For those of you left distraught by the absence, fret no more! The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is here in Detroit and it looks almost exactly like every other trim. Which, if you didn’t know, is a good thing. I was a huge fan of the last Sonata face-lift and, while this isn’t as dramatic a step forward, it’s further progress for the Koreans. Aside from the updated looks, the new hybrid replaces its 2.4L gas engine with a 2.0L making 154 hp and pairs it with a 51 hp electric motor.

Sitting right beside the standard Hybrid without any pomp or fanfare was the all-new Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, offering 22 miles of range on electricity alone. Hyundai advertised quick and programmable recharge stations, which allow you to “fuel” up your car overnight during off-peak hours when rates are at their lowest. Neither of these vehicles were the highlight of Hyundai’s presentation today, but both are extremely significant to the brand. Hyundai acknowledges that the Sonata, in all its forms, is the cornerstone of their brand at the moment and their success is tied to this one model. We’re sure the refreshed Hybrid and new Plug-In Hybrid will keep them on the right track, allowing them to release things like the Santa Cruz Utility Concept.

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January 13th, 2015

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Hot off the heels of the V60 Cross Country unveiled during the 2014 LA Auto Show, Volvo is back again with another XC model, the S60 Cross Country. Volvo is giving the Cross Country treatment to their Sedan for the first time but it makes sense as it seems like there are more and more all wheel drive options being offered. The S60 Cross Country is raised about 2 inches compared to a regular S60 and is given the usual fender treatments found on the Cross Country models. Under the hood is the 2.5L 5-cylinder T5 engine that pumps out 250 horsepower. If you recall, that is the same powerplant found in the V60 Cross Country.

I mentioned in my post about the XC90 R Design that I am loving the new Volvo vehicles and the S60 Cross Country is no exception. It’s a great vehicle and not just for old people anymore. It is a practical vehicle in Canada, and can even handle some minor skirmishes off the beaten path during your next family camping trip.

Continue Reading: Volvo S60 Inscription and Photo Gallery


January 13th, 2015

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While many people were expecting the Model X to makes its debut during this year’s North American International Auto Show, it is nowhere to be found. However, what they did bring to the show is the 691 horsepower Model S P85D that we are looking at in the flesh for the first time. Turns out, since the P85D looks just like the old P85, I have basically seen one before.

One new feature on the Model S is the new Rear Executive Seating option available for $2,000, although technically it’s $5,500 since it requires the $3,500 Premium Interior Package. This option removes the 5th seat and provides two roomier heavily bolstered rear seats essentially converting the Model S into a 2+2. The middle seat is replaced with an armrest and a pair of cupholders. There were rumblings of a longer wheelbase model to be built for the Chinese market, but for now it looks like this new executive seating option will have to do for those that get driven around. We’ve included lots of pictures of the seats in our gallery so check them out later.

Detail wise, the P85D gets its power from a pair of electric motors. There is a 221 horsepower motor up front and a bigger 470 horsepower driving the rear wheels. Together they rocket the Model S from 0-60 in just 3.2 seconds compared to 5.2 seconds on the 85D which uses two identical motors front and back that each deliver 188 horsepower.

While we were hoping to see the new Model X, or even some news on the upcoming Model 3 which is already getting some competition with the announcement of the Chevy Bolt Concept which is promising similar range at a slightly lower price point. Will the Tesla brand be enough to convince buyers to go with the Model 3? Will consumers even want budget EVs with gas prices so low?

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January 13th, 2015

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So Buick decided to bring out a concept to give us a peek into the future of Buick designs. So fitting then that they chose to call their concept the Avenir, french for ‘coming soon’ or ‘future’. If their commercials are any indication, Buick is trying to reinvent themselves and ensure that their designs are new and different and even unrecognizable as Buicks. Not to worry if you’re a big fan of Buicks though as they made sure that the Avenir Concept includes signature design elements such as the waterfall grille, which was notably absent from the Buick Cascada that was also announced at the show.

“Avenir embodies Buick design, which centers on effortless beauty and presence without pretense,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design. “It demonstrates the growing international reach of Buick and offers an exciting vision of where it can go.”

The long swooping design with big hood an rear focused design really gives the Avenir a luxurious (bentley-esque) look to it. This looks like a car you’d want to be driven around in. Given a longer wheelcase, I can see this working well in China’s market.

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January 13th, 2015

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I love car shows for a variety of reasons. Concepts aren’t usually one of those reasons. I don’t care what your creative team dreamt up. I don’t care how zany or powerful or exotic you can make your concept. I care about what I’m going to see on the road, what I’m going to have the opportunity to buy. Every now and then we’ll get concepts like the FT-1 or NSX where you can’t help but be excited, no matter how hard you resist. The Hyundai Santa Cruz Utility Concept is one of those. We all saw it under wraps but had no idea what it could be. Hyundai had been clever and added fake paneling to the back to make it look like a crossover or CUV, so when all the masks had been removed, you got what could have been the most genuinely shocked reaction I’ve ever seen at a car show. There were smiles, there were dropped jaws and there were “what the fuck”s. I don’t even remember who was on stage or what they were saying. I was too busy taking pictures and trying to wrap my head around what I was looking at. Hyundai calls it “convention-shattering” in their own press release, and they’re not wrong.

Even now, I don’t know how to describe it. You have to look and see for yourself. It’s got the size and cabin styling of a GLA – it seats five – but the hatch is replaced with a small box. To combat that small box, they’ve fitted it with an extension system which they claim will grow to the same length as a mid-size pickup, but only when you want it to. The only engine option they mentioned was a 190 hp, 300 ft/lb 2.0L turbo powerplant, which sounds about right for a vehicle of this class and size.

Honestly, I have no idea if they’re going to put this into production. If they do, I have no idea what they’d change. Lastly, I have no idea who would buy it. But it’s cool as hell and I hope that’s enough.

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January 13th, 2015

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After making its world debut at the Paris Motor Show, feel free to check out our coverage here, Volvo has brought a variant of the XC90 to Detroit. While we’re disappointed it isn’t a Polestar XC90, the XC90 R Design with its matte blue paint job was still a welcome sight. The trim pieces, roof rails and grille surrounds are done up really nicely in a matte silver, which really go great with the sportier body kit included with the R Design package. The side mirrors are also finished with silver caps. For wheels, the XC90 R Design comes with a set of 20″ or optional 22″ R Design wheels.

Moving inside you’ll find sport seats wrapped in Nubuck leather, a leather wrapped steering wheel, an R Design instrument cluster, floor mats, pedals, light up door sills and a sport shift knob. To make sure everyone knows you went with the R Design package, even the keyfob is a special R Design edition. There are however no powertrain upgrades exclusive to the R Design. Here’s hoping that Volvo has yet another variant planned for the future, one that involves Polestar.

I’ve always joked about how anyone that buys a Volvo is growing up, and definitely getting old but Volvo designs of late have really caught my eye. I was a fan of the XC90 when it was unveiled in Paris and when I saw pictures of the XC90 R design it made me like the XC90 even more. I would definitely look at this if I was I in the market for an SUV. Hit up our gallery for more shots including some interior ones.

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January 13th, 2015

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Mercedes-Benz may proclaim this year as the year of the SUV, but seeing all the unveils so far at the Detroit North American International Auto Show, it’s more like the year of the EV/PHV/PHEV. Many manufactures are chasing fuel economy, and even in the Mercedes-Benz press conference, they are targeting 10 new Plug-in Hybrids in their lineup within the next 2 years. Starting things off, the C350 Plug-in Hybrid is the first of the 10 out of Stuttgart.

Available in both sedan and wagon form (wagon is a European market exclusive), the C350 PHV puts out a total of 279hp, with the ability to drive in all electric mode for up to 30kms, while delivering only 2.1L/100km of fuel consumption. With more weight comes a necessity for better suspension control, which is why the C350 comes standard with AIRMATIC air suspension to offer drivers a more comfortable ride and sharper handling. Charging from a 220V outlet at home, the C350 PHV obtains a full charge in under 2 hours, replenishing the batteries for another 30kms of range.

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