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 [...]


April 1st, 2015

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Kia has updated the Optima. It was shown here in New York today. Dimensionally bigger in every direction, it brings a challenge to the hotly contested mid-size market.

3 Engine choices. A 1.6L Turbo 4 that makes 178hp. A 2.4 GDI that makes 185hp and a 2.0L Turbo that pushes 247. The first engine comes mated to a 7-speed DCT (a first for Kia). The others come with a 6-speed auto. Luxury features abound and Kia gave the Optima better seats. A First for Kia is a large panoramic sunroof support structure made with carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, which helps reduce weight and lower the vehicle’s center of gravity.

No pricing information. Should go on sale in the last quarter of the year.

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April 1st, 2015

2016-hyundai-tucson-nyias-1

Today, Hyundai revealed an all-new version of its Tucson crossover at the New York Auto Show. The 2016 Tucson has been given a slew of small updates to update its look moving it a bit closer to its bigger brother, Santa Fe crossover. The A pillars are pushed back to create a longer hood line and a slight forward rake on the wheel arches give the new Tucson a bolder stance. The trapezoidal grille has been updated with the newer look found on the Santa Fe’s front end.

While its hard to tell in pictures, the new Tucson is slightly bigger than the outgoing version. The overall length has grown by 3 inches and the wheelbase has been increased by a couple inches offering an additional 5 cubic feet of space (nearly 20% increase). Great news if you plan on bringing that new big screen TV home. For the first time, Hyundai is offering optional 19″ wheels on the Tucson.

On the technology side, emergency breaking with edestrian detection, rearview camera, lane departure warning, and blind spot detection are all included and the new Tucson also features a hands-free smart powerlift gate, which they noted does not require a spare foot to operate (hah!). Other comfort and convenience features include a segment first ventilated front seats in addition to the heated front and rear seats. Up front, another first for the new Tucson are available LED headlights and daytime running lights. LEDs can also be found out back in the taillights and even the door handles are fitted with convenient proximity LED lighting

Under the hood is a standard 2.0L four cylinder that delivers an estimated 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. An optional 1.6L turbocharge four-cylinder bumps that up slightly to 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The turbo motor is mated to a segment-first dual clutch transmission. Peak torque on the 1.6L turbo motor hits early at 1500 rpm. Hyundai rolled out a pair of the new Tucson onto their stage and we shot a bunch of pictures of both so check it out after the break.

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April 1st, 2015

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Many Honda fanboys were anticipating a Honda Civic Type-R unveiling today in New York but having covered many auto shows in the past, I knew not to have false hopes for vehicles especially when it comes to Honda. They were after all the company that first announced the HR-V by showing a picture of one on the screen and then followed up at the next show after that with Asimo and a motorized self balancing bar stool (haha, not really). Today, they actually brought a vehicle to unveil at their press conference and while it wasn’t the Civic Type-R it was still good news for Honda fans.

They revealed a new Civic Concept that previews what is to come from Honda for the 2016 model year. It had long been rumored that Honda would be expanding the market for the Civic that is available overseas. While Honda hasn’t confirmed that the “euro civic” is in fact coming to North America, they have confirmed that the Civic would now be exported to key markets around the world so we’re just going to assume that means the Civic will now be a global model and that the neutered North American Civic will be no longer. Honda is looking to boost production of their UK plant that churns out these Civic models and they won’t be able to do that without significantly expanding the market that these vehicles ship to. Many are also holding out on the possibility that this means the hot Type-R model will be available in North America.

Now before you get all excited, what you see here is still just a concept of what the next generation Civic coupe will look like when it does arrive here. That means the aggressive front and rear bumpers will be gone. That flattened center exhaust? Gone. Wraparound LED taillights? Gone. The LED matrix headlights? Probably gone. How else will they differentiate the Acura ILX? All this will be moot because the only thing anyone and everyone cares about is that the Civic Type-R is coming to North America! The next year will be an interesting one for Honda fans as Honda is now back in the hot hatch game in North America joining the likes of the GLA, Focus RS, and Golf R. We took a ton of pictures so check out the gallery after the break.

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April 1st, 2015

infiniti-qx30-concept-nyias-5

The Infiniti QX30 Concept was unveiled earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show and like other concept vehicles released lately, it is not too far from production. In fact Infiniti has said they plan to bring out the production version next year and as you can see in the photos there really isn’t much work to bring it to production specs. The body work will of course get toned down a bit but the wavy lines aren’t too aggressive as it is in my opinion. The front end on the concept is a bit busy and will likely be where we will see the most changes when the production version comes out. The over-sized air intakes on the lower front fascia will probably get smaller and be filled in with some sort of fog light.

Under the hood, the concept is packing a 2.0L turbocharged engine coupled with a 7-speed automatic transmission. The engine is supplied by Mercedes-Benz (right out of the B250) so it’ll likely be about 220 horsepower. It rides on a set of 21″ wheels which sit under a set of plastic fender flares on all four corners. If you’re thinking this is similar to something like an Audi Allroad, you couldn’t be more correct. Like the Allroad, the QX30 Concept is essentially a Q30 Concept with a bit more road clearance and wider plastic over-fenders.

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April 1st, 2015

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As has become the new fashion for manufacturers lately, Mercedes released press photos and information about the M-Class facelift to the internet a week before it’s debut at the New York International Autoshow. My guess is that manufacturers are doing this to pre-empt inevitable leaks and disregarded embargoes of their new releases.

This facelift of the current M-Class allows Mercedes to rename their mid-size SUV into the recently announced change in the naming convention. It follows the latest design language that began with the refreshed E-class in 2013. Softer faces adorn most of the line.

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April 1st, 2015

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I’ve been supporting McLaren in Formula One for as long as I can remember, cheering on the likes of Senna, Häkkinen, and Montoya in the glory days. Sure they’re dead last in F1 this year, and it’s been painful watching them struggle, but there’s nowhere to go but up at this point for the second oldest Formula One team on the grid. Their new road car division however, has been really hitting the marks with products that caters to Generation X’ers struggling through mid-life crisis with really deep pocket books. And today, with the unveiling of the McLaren 570S Coupé, the price of admission just got a little more affordable.

Targeting the upper sports car customers, McLaren has aggressively set the target in the $180,000 range, making the 570S by far the most attainable McLaren to date. First in the line of the newly minted McLaren Sports Series, the 570S brings race derived technology and unparalleled performance into this sports car segment held by the Porsche 911 Turbo, the Audi R8, and the now discontinued Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

What does McLaren bring to the table? The 570S features the only car in its class with a Carbon Fiber monocoque, dubbed the MonoCell II in McLaren speak. Derived from the 650S’s MonoCell, it weighs around 170lbs in the 570S, offers exceptional strength and stiffness, and brings the weight of the 570S down to around 2900lbs. The engine, another derivative from the 650S, pumps out 562hp (570PS, hence the name), giving the 570S a blistering 5.2lb/hp power to weight ratio. The combination results in a 0-100km/h time of 3.2 seconds, 0-200km/h blast in 9.5 seconds, and a top speed of 204mph in a mid-engine RWD package under $200k. Isn’t it great having big brother pay all the R&D bills?

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April 1st, 2015

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The Boxster is one of the most fun convertibles in the Porsche lineup. Lightweight and nimble, the Boxster is the one to take through the mountains on a spirited drive. The newly unveiled Boxster Spyder improves on the Boxster by cutting even more weight. The roof is now manually raised and lowered, and with a manual being the only transmission choice, these changes drop weight even lower than the standard Boxster.

Powered by a 3.8L flat six, the Boxster Spyder features a stiffer and lower (by 20mm) suspension setup, a smaller steering wheel, as well as brakes from the 911 Carrera S. The 0 to 60mph sprint drops to 4.3 seconds, and keep the throttle buried long enough, will reach a terminal velocity of 180mph.

Check out our gallery below live from the New York Auto Show unveil.

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April 1st, 2015

2016-range-rover-svautobiography-nyias-1

Land Rover debuted their new range topping model, the Range Rover SVAutobiography today in New York. Replacing the Autobiography Black at the top of the Range Rover line-up, the SVAutobiography is available with the supercharged 5.0L V8 found under the hood of the Range Rover Sport SVR with a few tuning changes bumping it to 543 horsepower and 501 lb-ft torque. That’s an increase of 40 horsepower and 50 lb-ft of torque. The motor is paired with an 8-speed automatic. It is the most powerful production Range Rover in the model’s 45-year history.

Aside from the additional power, the SVAutobiography does boast a whole host of extravagant enhancements both inside and outside. Inside you’ll find an exclusive premium interior with unique aluminum trims. Much of the driver’s switchgear including the start-stop surround and rotary controls are machined from solid aluminium with beautiful knurled details, as are the foot pedals. This detailing continues to both the front and rear centre consoles, with distinctive materials for the cup holder and socket covers. New armrest adjusters not only bring a similar level of machined detail, but also make them even easier to use. For the first time, customers will be able order their vehicle with a unique duo-tone body color option. The Santorini Black upper body color can be matched with 9 color options. The grille is also finished in a two toned graphite and polished chrome finish. For those that order their Range Rover with the 543 horsepower motor, quad tailpipes will be fitted out back as a subtle reminder to those behind you of what is lurking under the hood.

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April 1st, 2015

lincoln-continental-concept-nyias-3

The Lincoln Motor Company has revealed a new concept vehicle that brings back the Continental name to its lineup. I’ve been a big fan of all the recent vehicles from Lincoln (yeah, even if they’re just restyled and rebranded Ford models) and this Continental Concept is no exception. I’m glad it has an actual name though as I am starting to lose track of all the MKx models. It appears that the new flagship of the Lincoln Motor Company will not just be borrowed from the Ford lineup as this is an all-new design built from the ground up. It will even get an exclusive 3.0L EcoBoost engine. As with all concepts vehicles, it is laden with stuff that will more than likely be ditched when the production version rolls out. The good news is that we won’t have to wait too long as Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO announced we’ll see the production version next year.

The Continental Concept sports some really clean sleek lines, especially for a concept. Out front is a chrome grille sporting the four point Lincoln logo flanked by a grid of repeating mini Lincoln emblems. The headlights are reminiscent of the LED matrix “jewel-eye” headlights from Acura but also feature a laser powered high beam option, but it’s not clear if they’ll make it to the production version. Going down the side, the Continental Concept keeps it pretty simple with just a simple fender emblem emblazoned with the Continental name. The concept features hidden electronic door handles that are flush with the top of the door until the key is detected in proximity. A simple touch of the underside of the handle and the doors pop open effortlessly. At night, the vehicle lights up both the exterior and interior to guide the way inviting you inside. Around back the signature full-width LED taillights look especially slick, shining through the chrome taillight surrounds. Lincoln calls it the “light-through-chrome” technology, fitting I guess.

“Luxury at its best is about simplifying and quietly exceeding expectations, rather than being the loudest statement on the road,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO. “The Concept showcases the promise of quiet luxury from Lincoln going forward. It also is a strong indication of what’s to come next year as we introduce our new Lincoln Continental full-size luxury sedan.”

Moving inside the Continental Concept doesn’t disappoint if you’re looking for luxury features. Patented 30-way seats adorn the interior and the front passenger seat even features a lie flat position at the touch of a button. The seats are wrapped in Venetian leather, as are the door panels. The headliner is wrapped in satin, and the carpets are made of shearling wool. Soft-gold LED lights glow from the center console and from the halo light overhead. One really cool feature is the sunroof that can be tinted with a touch of a button, allowing the interior to cool by as much as 18F in direct sunlight.

We’ve added even more pictures in our gallery, so check it out!

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April 1st, 2015

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580hp.

0-60 in 2 seconds.

Need I say more?

Subaru has always had a small corner of my heart. Having owned a 2005 STi, I know what it is like to own and drive one on a daily basis. The VT15x is not a daily driver. It is an incredible machine that will conquer the rally cross tracks this coming year. It is a co-venture with Vermont SportsCar to tackle the X Games Rallycross and Red Bull Global Rallycross.

It sports a 2.0L boxer 4 and a 6-speed SADEV sequential gearbox.
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