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 [...]


November 20th, 2014

Lexus-LF-C2-Concept-LA-2014-1

When the shroud around the Lexus LF-C2 concept was lifted to reveal the latest concept car here at the LA Auto Show, the first thought that came into my mind was that this looked a lot more production ready than I had imagined. The only part of the car that looks “concepty” were the vented rear quarters and super slim side mirrors. The large hourglass front grill is there, the split headlights and the characteristic flared rear quarters from the RC F. Is this a preview of an upcoming RC or RC F Convertible? One thing I loved about the design were the pair of speed humps integrated into the trunk lid and the lack of any obvious soft-top storage area or hard-top mechanism.

Lexus is not being very forthcoming with their plans with the LF-C2 Concept, and in fact they just refer to the concept as a design study exploring styling themes involved with the Lexus brand’s future.

“The LF-C2 concept shows what’s in store for our brand’s future design direction,” said Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “This concept shows consumers around the world Lexus’ devotion to emotional designs as well as our passion for an exceptional driving experience.”

On the inside, buttons are replaced with touch-sensitive surfaces that surround the two LCD screens, one of which is essentially a giant touchscreen control panel. The center console extends through to the back of the car between the two rear seats and back up and eventually blending into the trunk between the speed humps. The concept was fitted with a bright white and grey interior that actually looked really pleasing and luxurious, which is huge because I hate light-colored interiors.

I’m definitely curious what the next iteration of this concept will be, or what an eventual production version will look like. Check out the gallery for way more pictures.

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November 20th, 2014

Volvo-V60-XC-LA-2014-1

Volvo makes great vehicles. They arguably kept the sport wagon segment alive when nobody else would touch it. Their cars look great, sound great, feel great and have that whole safety thing going for them as well. None of that has changed with the V60 XC. It was given the usual Cross Country treatment with increased ride height, skid plates, fender extenders, and available 250hp T5 engine. Sure, most of the V60 XCs sold will never see anything resembling what they’re built for, but then how many Ferraris see a race track? Regardless of their use, I’d welcome a sea of capable wagons over the glut of SUVs and crossovers we’ve got these days.

Check out the gallery and let us know if you agree!

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November 20th, 2014

vw-golf-r-sportwagen-la-auto-show-2014-1
Performance wagons are coming back in North America and, it took me awhile but, I’m fully on board. While cars like the E63S and CTS-V represent the higher-end market, they’re not for everyone. By that I mean they’re kind of expensive for people like me. Good news for us 20%ers though! Volkswagen is releasing a Golf R Wagon with the same 300hp and 4Motion as the hatch model. Combine that power with new launch control and the Golf R Sport Wagon will go from 0-60 in 5.1s while keeping fuel consumption down to 7L/100km.

Now, of course, it’s not coming to North America so it ends up being good news for absolutely nobody like me. It’s actually bad news. Like “Hey buddy, we’re making some ice cream specifically for you over here”
“Oh awesome, where are you?”
“Across a body of water so vast it’s difficult to comprehend”
“Neat”
“Oh, you can’t make it? Well here are some pictures of the ice cream”

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November 20th, 2014

vw-golf-r400-concept-la-auto-show-2014-1
The Golf R isn’t even out yet and Volkswagen is already teasing me with an even better version I can’t afford. At least this one is a concept so there’s no reason to get excited about it.

The Golf R400 is a 400hp version of the Golf R and was simply designed to highlight one of the many things the MQB platform can accomplish. Not much to talk about, so just take a look at it. Perhaps marvel that it shares the same platform as the new HyMotion Sport Wagon, Volkswagen’s first hydrogen powered vehicle.

While it’s still technically a concept, the HyMotion appears to be a complete package and is one of a handful of hydrogen in Los Angeles this year. They were short on details, but we’re excited to see where the HyMotion goes!

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November 20th, 2014

Ford-F-150-LA-2014-1

We’ve seen concepts, we’ve seen renderings and we’ve seen modded versions, but today in Los Angeles we finally got to experience the 2015 F-150 in its production form. We already wrote about all the new features in the new F-150, and there isn’t much to say about the exterior that you don’t already know, so let’s talk about the interior.

It’s newer than the old one.

That’s about it. The steering wheel is a little different, they replaced the circular vents with, uh, trapezoidal ones. Maybe rhomboidal? I don’t know, I don’t have wifi to look it up right now. Aside from that it’s pretty much the same. You get different accents with different trims but none of it feels significantly different from the outgoing model. That’s not to say it’s a poor interior, it’s just not all new. Of course I don’t own one, so I’m probably going to get yelled at for saying something so ignorant.

Take a look at the gallery and let me know just how wrong I am.

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November 20th, 2014

Porsche-Panamera-Exclusivo-LA-2014-3

Porsche is taking a page out of Bentley’s book and making a car that precisely 100 people care about because get f**ked we’re Porsche. They start with the flagship Panamera Turbo S Executive. 570hp twin turbo V8, AWD, and extended wheelbase so you’re comfortable while your chauffeur scoots you around town. Porsche then gives it a two-tone pallet inside and out, slaps some hilariously unbecoming screens in the back, only makes 100 of them and charges a $60,000 premium for it. Boom, the Panamera Exclusive Series is born.

I can’t remember the last time I was this disinterested in a Porsche. So yeah, great, here it is.

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November 20th, 2014

Chrysler-300-LA-2014-15

Today in a cool visual trickery laced unveiling, we were introduced to the 2015 Chrysler 300. Displaying an image of a 1955 Chrysler 300, upon which the 2015 is inspired by, the screen then faded away to reveal the updated model as it started up and rolled onto the stage here at the 2014 LA Auto Show.

For 2015 the 300 gets a revised front grill, updated LED headlights, new interior finishes, and new wheels. Also, now standard is the Chrysler TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. The Platinum model features quilted Nappa leather, hand-sanded wood, Poltrona Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel and console, along with chrome exterior details and larger 20″ wheels.

Inside, the latest-generation Uconnect system is included on the 7″ driver-information display but the clunky electronic transmission from last year’s 300 is now gone replaced with the rotary knob found on the Chrysler 200. Paddle shifters are also included on the updated 3-spoke steering wheel. Chrysler has also thrown in a new “Sport” button that enables a sport-tuned steering response; pedal, engine and transmission calibration; plus rear-biased torque on all-wheel-drive models for a more “fun” driving experience.

The 2015 300 will begin production later this year here in Canada at the Brampton plant. Canadian pricing wasn’t announced during the unveiling but prices for those south of the border remain the same as the 2014 models so as long as there isn’t any exchange rate adjustments we should see the same price here as well.

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November 20th, 2014

Ford-Explorer-LA-2014-3

It seems like just yesterday that the new police Explorers were roaming the streets, causing many a driver to ask aloud “Wait, shit, is that a Cop?”, but here we are at the 2014 LA Auto Show and Ford is revealing a refreshed model. At least now we’ll be more easily able to tell soccer Moms and police officers apart.

The new exterior follows Ford’s new language and looks good. Not spectacular, but certainly not offensive. The focus of this refresh is around the new 2.3L Ecoboost engine to replace the existing 2.0L, as well as a handful of new standard of living features like 180* front/rear cameras with washers and multi-mode park assist. The new park assist includes perpendicular, park-out and parallel assist modes to ensure that parking joins shifting a manual as an activity that only teenagers and weird old men pretend is relevant. These features, along with a hands-free liftgate, active grille shutters, and a bunch of USB ports scattered around the cabin wrap up the significant changes to the refreshed 2015 Ford Explorer.

Check out the new exterior and absolutely none of the new features I talked about in our gallery below.

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November 20th, 2014

Honda-HR-V-LA-2014-1

When we were at the New York Auto Show in the spring, we expected to finally see the much anticipated HR-V, a crossover based on the Fit platform. We were disappointed to only see a picture of the concept, as Honda was not ready at the time. Fast forward to Paris, and the HR-V concept finally makes it debut. Today, here at the 2014 LA Auto Show, the US spec HR-V gives North Americans the first sneak peek as to what this brand new crossover has to offer.

Powered by a 1.8L 4 cylinder I-VTEC engine making 138hp, the HR-V is coupled to either a CVT for owners looking for the most efficiency, or a 6 speed manual transmission or drivers looking for a little more sport. While the HR-V is available in both front wheel drive or all wheel drive configurations, the latter only applies if you opt for the CVT.

On the inside, the HR-V has a good amount of standard equipment, loaded with power windows, power mirrors, power locks, rearview camera, Bluetooth hands free phone link, and even Pandora radio. Yes, even the base trim gets all these goodies, making it a terrific value. The higher trim models, such as the EX and EX-L trims gets a 7-inch touchscreen display, blindspot assist, push start, paddle shifters, and heated seats.

Check out the gallery of the US spec HR-V after the jump.

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November 19th, 2014

Mazda-CX5-Mazda6-LA-2014-8

While all the attention may have been on the new baby-ute Mazda CX-3 that is joining the Mazda family, a couple of vehicles were given some mid-cycle refreshes by Mazda. The Mazda 6, which in my opinion still had a pretty fresh design was given a quick nip and tuck for the 2016 model year. The most obvious change is the revised grill which we saw Mazda CX-3. The newer grill really works with the larger profile of the Mazda6 mid-sized body. The new grill almost blends right into the LED portion of the redesigned headlights giving the front end more seamless look. The interior was not left alone as Mazda replaced the smaller built in infotainment screen with a larger free-standing screen that many automakers seem to be going with despite how ugly it looks. Under the hood, nothing is changed. This update just brings the Mazda6 in line with all the newer models that have come out since giving the lineup a more cohesive look.

The CX-5 received similar interior updates as the Mazda6 with the addition of the updated infotainment system first launched in the
2015 Mazda3. Mechanically, the updated CX-5 sees the addition of an electric parking brake and newly designed wheels. Of course as with all facelifts the headlights and taillights have been updated with some trims getting LED lighting. Exclusive to Mazda6 is the addition of a unique addition to the car’s nighttime lighting signature, as the distinctive five-point grille is edge-lit on certain trim levels.

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