Posts Tagged ‘window tint’
The BMW 3- and 4-Series are effectively the same car, only the 3-Series comes with four doors while the 4-Series uses two (replacing the outgoing 3-Series coupe). When it comes to the 2015 M3 and M4, same rules apply. They both shed weight compared to their predecessors, go faster, produce better fuel ratings, and ditch their V-8 motors in favor of a brand new twin-turbocharged inline 6. Sounds promising.
However, many may lament the lack of a V-8, but in today’s age where fuel efficiency ratings are everything, smaller engines with turbos are becoming more prevalent. This one adds oomph, boasting 425 hp with peak power between 5,500 rpm and 7,300 rpm — unusually high for a turbo motor. Peak torque arrives as low as 1,800 rpm, cranking an impressive 406 lb.-ft. That helps both cars shift to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the M-DCT automatic transmission, or 4.1 seconds with the standard 6-speed manual. Yes, the manual (now with auto rev-matching) remains. Hoorah.
Back to fuel efficiency: The new M3 and M4 are approximately 176 lbs. lighter than the outgoing models — due to additional use of carbon-fiber and aluminum (the M3 Coupe now gets the carbon roof), a lighter engine and gearbox, along with other weight-saving tricks — both cars can now claim a 25-percent increase in fuel efficiency. They are also notably stiffer, too, featuring an e-diff that promises “effortless drifting” and launch control to maximize the lightening fast acceleration. A lap time app is also available, offering a way for drivers to analyze their performance from their phones.
Many outlets are reporting the new M3 and M4 has a system called “Smokey Burnout Control,” something that is rumored to be on the 2015 Ford Mustang. But don’t get too excited. According to BMW, this is not a new system. It has, in fact, been an “unnamed feature of the M-DCT versions of the E92 M3, current M5 and M6 for several years.”
U.S. pricing has not yet been released, but we’ll see the new M3 and M4 at the Detroit auto show in January, appearing in dealerships early next summer.
Called Intrado, Hyundai’s new concept car takes the form of a high-riding crossover with styling that takes its cues from the Korean automaker’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language. Designed and engineered in Germany, the concept bears the codename HED-9, a giveaway that it’s the ninth concept from Hyundai Europe Design. Inspiration is said to have been drawn from aircraft, with a lightweight form and a name borrowed from the underside of an airplane’s wing.
Hyundai isn’t saying much more, revealing only the teaser rendering above. But it has indicated that the Intrado concept packs a new hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain that’s both smaller and lighter than the one powering the existing ix35 Fuel Cell, which (last we heard) Hyundai was hoping to bring Stateside as part of its Tuscon lineup by 2014 with a $499/month lease.
As we move into the heart of the holiday season, folks are looking for all sorts of unique presents for loved ones (and themselves). This is the time of year, we are bombarded with ads featuring luxury cars with bows on top, and marketing suggesting that someone might actually buy a car as a present for a family member. While its likely more common for a parent to buy a clunker for a son or daughter, there are well-heeled buyers who line up for the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas car– and this year’s vehicle is quite fantastic.
Though Neiman Marcus has been around for more than a century, they luxury catalog started the car thing with the 1995 Christmas book. They have promoted everything from BMW Z4’s to a GMC Suburban “Sony Edition” in 1998. But there were a few years in which the cars sold stupendously fast.
In 2002, the catalog featured a 2004 Cadillac XLR, but not for long. In just 14 minutes, buyers snatched up all 101 examples. The following year, the BMW 6 Series coupe matched that pace, selling 50 cars in 7 minutes.
For the 2004 Catalog, 60 examples of the 2005 Maserati Quattroporte were offered, and they sold out in a scant 4 minutes. That’s nothing compared to the 2006 Neiman Marcus car– a 2007 BMW M6 Convertible. All 50 examples were gone in 92 seconds.
The most vehicles ever moved in the shortest time happened in 2010. Chevrolet had just released the Camaro, and while they are commonplace today– the Camaro had grown men weeping when it debuted the Detroit auto show.
Chevy allotted 100 examples of the Camaro Convertible to Neiman Marcus, at a price of $75,000 each, and they were gone in three minutes.
In 2011, Neiman Marcus chose to showcase the then-new Ferrari FF. Ten Ferrari’s were earmarked for the catalog. The V12-powered, four-wheel-drive, shooting brake (two-door vehicle with a wagon body style) sold out in just 50 minutes.
Last year, the vehicle of choice was the McLaren 12C Spyder. The drop-top McLaren was yet another convertible supercar with look that could kill from a mile out. At $354,000, the 12C was ridiculously expensive, but still managed to sell all twelve examples in less than two hours.
This year’s vehicle is the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. This spectacular, head-turning convertible has the sense of occasion fit for the tax bracket that would be shopping for convertibles in the same place as Eau de toilette and five-thousand-thread-count bed sheets– for their guest room.
Despite the price of $344,500, the vehicle has already sold out. Aston Martin could not confirm how long it took to sell all 10 examples of the convertible supercar, but we would expect that probably only took hours– or minutes!
It’s fascinating to see how the cars have become exponentially more expensive, yet sill sell out. The older cars, though luxurious and tasteful, were far more attainable. Perhaps it speaks to the fact that the rich are just getting richer. Next year, Neiman Marcus could be selling the lunar rover– converted to run on beluga caviar and liquidized bitcoins.
In a small, pristine garage in North County San Diego, an unusual project is under way. Huddled around a single steel chassis, a team of expert automotive welders is fabricating a new high-tech supercar, dubbed the Lucra L148. It’s the brainchild of Luke Richards, a quixotic entrepreneur and former pilot, who founded Lucra Cars in 2006. If all goes as planned, Richards and his team of 12 full-time craftsmen hope to create one of the most technologically advanced American supercars ever made.
Unlike most supercar projects, which can take years, if not decades, to complete, Richards plans to deliver the first L148 in the summer of 2014, just one year after the initial renderings. He expects the price to be comparable to that of a new Ferrari or Aston Martin, around $260,000. “A lot of guys try to build a $100,000 car that’s as good as a $300,000 car, but then what you end up with is a failed, expensive, cheap car, all at once,” said Richards. “It needs the correct budget to be built right.”
That hefty budget will include a computer-designed carbon-fiber exterior, a lightweight, super-strong chassis made from chromoly steel – the same material used on Baja 1000 Pro Trucks – mated to a 700-hp GM LS V-8 engine, and several components Richards refer to as being “mil-spec,” or military specification, including a wiring harness typically found on most military aircraft. And unlike Richards’ first creation, the LC470, which was featured in “The Fast and Furious 6“ and on a recent episode ofTop Gear U.S., the L148 will come equipped with air conditioning, satellite radio, and GPS navigation. Hallelujah.
But to understand what makes the L148 unique, and not just some cobbled-together custom car, it’s important to understand how Lucra Cars came to be.
Richards, 42, was born in England, the son of an English father and an American mother. When his parents divorced and his mother returned to the United States, Richards became the product of an intercontinental breakup, spending half his time in Connecticut and the other half in London.
Along the way, he developed a simultaneous appreciation for American muscle cars and finely-tuned European sports cars.”My dad always said you can have a car that goes fast in the straightaways or handles well in the turns, but you can’t have both,” he said. “And that was the attitude for a long time, that you couldn’t merge them together at all.”
Following numerous stints in the car business, Richards moved to San Diego and launched Lucra Cars, promising to build a car that would marry American power with European precision handling. “I couldn’t afford an automotive franchise at the time, so I created Lucra,” he said, noting that prior to starting the business, he had taken up residence on his small vintage boat docked in San Diego Harbor. “Besides, owning a dealership would not have done anything for my creative needs.”
Interestingly, Richards says he credits his extensive automotive expertise to an early passion for 1:8 scale radio-controlled cars. “I learned all about aerodynamics and I had all this gear – slicks and extra tires, different bodies and wings, fully adjustable suspensions – it was like running a little Indy Car,” he said, noting that he holds fond memories of racing RC cars with his father at London’s now-defunct Crystal Palace circuit. “They were like little cruise missiles on the ground – sway bars, shocks, disc brakes, gears – everything a real car has, they have.”
The early days of the company were challenging as Richards struggled to find footing in California’s highly competitive custom car scene. But after the introduction of the LC470, a lightning fast, Lister-inspired roadster, he was able to catch the eye of legendary movie car designer Dennis McCarthy, who asked Richards to consult on numerous high profile projects, including several of “The Fast and Furious“ movies.
“Profit is kind of an equal spread between selling our own cars, helping to design vehicles for Hollywood, and a bit of restoration work,” said Richards, adding that he has sold 57 examples of the LC470, which range in price from $90,000 to $130,000, depending on engine options.
With interest in the LC470 at an all-time high and the introduction of the L148 just a few months away, Richards hopes to be selling between 100 and 200 cars per year within the next five years. “From there I would like to see the next stage of Lucra happen where we get a much larger level of funding and where we go forward and build a big production car — where we move up to the level of Lotus,” he said. “Basically, everything should multiply by 10 every time you make a jump.”
He’s also aware that most niche-market automotive manufacturers often struggle in the face of heavy competition from larger brands. But he doesn’t care. Richards explained that he is out to change the landscape, instead of conform to it. “If you’re in a band, you can play cover songs all day long and play in the local bar down the street till the cows come home,” he said. “If you want to make something of yourself, you have to go write your own music at some point. Otherwise, you are never going to be Van Halen.”
When it comes to its plug-in hybrid SUVs, Volvo is willing to sacrifice a bit of range to go a lot further, in the global sense. The Swedish automaker started producing a diesel plug-in hybrid version of the V60 late last year but doesn’t plan to make that model available around the world. Instead, Volvo will replace it with a gasoline-drinking plug-in hybrid XC90 crossover, Australia’s Drive.com says, citing Volvo executive Lex Kerssemakers. The new plug-in hybrid will use a gas-powered four-cylinder turbo as its engine and deliver at least 300 horsepower. Production of that SUV will start late next year.
Volvo says moving from diesel to gas will shave about five percent off the model’s 120 miles per gallon equivalent fuel economy rating (per the more lenient European standards), so the SUV will still have fuel economy worth bragging about. Kerssemakers said that gas power, as opposed to diesel, would be an easier sell outside Europe. Volvo started making the diesel plug-in last November. The company said at the time that it initially planned to make 1,000 units for the 2013 model year but that advance orders caused them to boost that number to as many as 6,000 vehicles for the 2014 model year.
While they’re just starting to catch on en masse in the U.S., diesel-powered vehicles have long been in service around the world. Diesel cars offer a more miserly approach to fuel consumption but not to the detriment of performance, which consumer-grade hybrids tend to suffer from.
A new round of emissions standards punched a dent in diesel sales, but since then, their numbers have seen steady increases, and more manufacturers are developing cars and trucks that are readily compliant with America’s newer diesel standards. Even American companies are jumping on the bandwagon.
Here are six new diesel models slated for 2014, hand-picked by GreenCarReports, each offering some not-insignificant fuel consumption advantages over traditional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.
1. Audi A6
Audi has a whole slew of new diesel models bound for the U.S. next year, and the A6 is one of them. The midsize sedan achieves a combined 29 miles per gallon from a 3-liter V6 turbo diesel that puts out 240 horsepower and an impressive 406 pounds-feet of torque. Diesel variants of the A7, A8, and Q5 will be joining the A6 as well as the incumbent Q7.
2. BMW 328d
In BMW’s revival of the 328d, the new car will use a 2-liter, four-cylinder power plant, good for 180 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque. The new 328d is aimed at improved fuel efficiency, with 37 miles per gallon combined, whereas the previous generation was more power and performance oriented.
3. Chevrolet Cruze
As one of the more affordable options shown here, General Motors (NYSE:GM) has slid a diesel unit with 151 horsepower into its compact car, which is good for 33 miles per gallon combined — 27 in the city and 46 on the highway. The 2014 Cruze is Chevy’s first diesel passenger car in 28 years.
4. Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
Like the Chevy, the new Grand Cherokee with the EcoDiesel option is Jeep’s first foray into the oil-burning market in several years. The 3-liter V6 turbo diesel unit produces 240 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque, and is offered courtesy of Jeep’s parent, Fiat (FIATY.PK). It’s good for 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway when equipped with four-wheel drive.
5. Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The Ram represents the only diesel-powered light-duty pickup in the market, as its competition only uses the diesel units in its heavy-duty trucks. The Ram uses the same 3-liter V6 that’s fitted to the Jeep, presumably with similar consumption figures. Ram says owners can make back the higher purchase cost — $2,850 over the standard ICE model — in fuel savings within three years,depending on how many miles the truck covers and the local price of diesel fuel.
6. Volkswagen Golf TDI
The Golf TDI has long represented one of America’s top-selling diesel models, andVolkswagen (VLKAY.PK) is throwing a redesigned version at the market next year as a 2015 model, though no 2014 model will be introduced. Currently, the car manages around 30 miles per gallon in the city and 42 on the highway, but it wouldn’t be outlandish to expect higher figures upon the car’s release.
DETROIT (AP) — For years, the joke in the auto industry was that a mass-produced car that runs on hydrogen was always a decade away.
“These things are now ready for prime time,” John Krafcik, Hyundai’s North American CEO, said last week. His company plans to announce details of the new Tucson on Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Even as the industry focused on battery-powered and hybrid cars, automakers such as Hyundai, Honda and Toyota kept up research on fuel cells. Now they appear to have conquered obstacles such as high costs, safety concerns and a lack of filling stations. These vehicles could help the companies meet stricter future fuel-economy standards.
Automakers have been dabbling in hydrogen-powered cars since the 1960s. General Motors announced a test fleet of hydrogen-powered Chevy Equinoxes in the mid-2000s, and Honda leased about two-dozen FCX Clarity models for $600 per month starting in 2005.
President George W. Bush allocated $1.2 billion for hydrogen research and said in his 2003 State of the Union address: “The first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen and pollution free.” But the program was largely scrapped by the Obama administration, which focused more on battery-powered vehicles.
Hyundai now is making Bush’s forecast come true, beating other auto companies to the mass market with Tucsons that have electric motors powered by a stack of hydrogen fuel cells. Hyundai plans to start selling the vehicles in Southern California and eventually spread to other areas as filling stations are built.
Hyundai says it has overcome safety and storage issues with a rear-mounted tank that has passed numerous crash tests without incident. As for filling stations, the California Air Resources Board says there currently are nine open to the public in the state. Legislators recently allocated about $100 million, or $20 million a year, to build 100 more.
Also at the Los Angeles show, Honda Motor Co. is scheduled to show off a fuel-cell concept vehicle, which it says hints at the aerodynamic design of the next generation fuel-cell vehicle to be launched in 2015. Further details weren’t available.
Toyota Motor Corp. is scheduled to unveil its own concept fuel-cell vehicle at this week’s Tokyo Motor Show. That one also is likely for distribution in the mass market in 2015.
General Motors continues work on its fuel-cell vehicles.
The largest U.S. automaker, which has spent a lot of time and resources on battery-powered cars such as the Chevrolet Volt, has no fuel-cell vehicles currently in its new product pipeline, spokesman Dan Flores said Monday. He said more work needs to be done on cost and infrastructure to make the cars viable.
Hyundai is expected to introduce prices and details of how its cars will be sold or leased at the Los Angeles show. Automakers usually offer leases when they put new technology on the market.
Hydrogen cars likely will help automakers meet new goals from eight key states to put more zero-emissions cars on the road. The states, including California and New York, pledged late last month to work together to put 3.3 million battery-powered cars, plug-in hybrids and other clean-burning vehicles on the roads in those states by 2025. That’s more than 15 times as many zero-emission vehicles projected to be in use in the entire U.S. by 2015.
The other states in the pact are Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. The eight states together represent about 23 percent of the U.S. auto market.
The new Corvette has more power and better fuel economy than last year’s model. It’s powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine that can put out as much as 460 horsepower but that can also get 29 miles per gallon in highway cruising.
“The Corvette has long been a tremendous performance value wrapped in an all-American package,” the magazine says in its review of the car. “Now, however, with new-found sophistication and user-friendliness, the [new Corvette] should melt the barriers that have kept away so many driving enthusiasts.”
Automobile Magazine editor-in-chief Jean Jennings lauded the Corvette’s overall design, performance, quality and comfort.
“The automobile of the year has to set a standard,” she said. “It has to break a category in a way that really excites us,” she said.
The new Corvette should finally repair the image that Corvette has had for years as a car that only appealed to those seeking a flashy look, not real performance and sophistication. The new car’s interior, in particular, is a break from Corvettes of the past, which, even when they offered serious performance, were disappointingly cheap, she said.
In CNNMoney’s own test drive of the new Corvette, we found it be a huge improvement over an already very credible sports car. The new interior has a much nicer design and higher quality than the outgoing model, while the car feels quicker, better balanced and more intuitive to drive.
Prices for the base Stingray start at just under $52,000.
To be eligible for the award, a car must be completely or substantially new for the new model year. This is the second major award for General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) in recent weeks. The Cadillac CTS was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year earlier this month. Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine are both owned by Source Interlink, but the two magazines operate independently.
At the same time that it announced the award for the Corvette, Automobile announced that it was naming Tadge Juechter, lead engineer on the Corvette, as its Man of the Year.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released the list of the top 10 most stolen 2010-2012 model sports cars. The list includes:
2. Ford Mustang
5. Audi A5/S5
7. Nissan 370Z
8. BMW 6 Series
9. Porsche 911
10. Volkswagen Eos
Ron Burgundy’s influence goes far beyond the confines of San Diego.
After the “Anchorman” character created by Will Ferrell became the spokesman for the 2014 Dodge Durango, sales of the re-engineered vehicle climbed a whopping 59 percent in October and are up 50 percent for the year, Ad Age reports. No, we’re not making this up.
In fact, Edmunds.com analyst Michelle Krebs verified that shopping for the Durango “soared” since the ads launched on Oct. 5, which makes all these numbers totally legit.
Burgundy, who appears clad in his signature leisure suit, has increased web traffic by 80 percent, Dodge brand boss Tim Kuniskis confirmed. “Durango sales have been very strong this year,” he explained, “and the Ron Burgundy Durango ads are absolutely building on that momentum.”
What’s even more impressive, however, is the fact that so far Dodge has only unveiled nine videos, which, it turns out, is only a fraction of what Ferrell shot on behalf of the car for Funny or Die.
“We went into production with 30 scripts written, but over the course of two days, we broke all previously held records and shot 25 different spots of the 30 we had written,” Funny or Die’s vice president of branding explained. “Will was so prolific with the jokes. When we got into post-production, we didn’t just have 25 spots — we had different versions of each. So if you put out everything we could possibly run, it would be up around 70 different spots.”
Apparently, the powers-that-be decided to do just that. And now there are 70 ads for the Durango that we will all have to watch.
In the videos, the mustachioed news anchor proves he’s as charming as ever as he taunts a horse, insists “Dodge” starts with a “soft D,” and encourages buyers to “Put it in Grandma’s name.”
Our takeaway from all this is that we should buy a Durango immediately and drive it to the theater on Dec. 20 to see “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” Also, we should bring Grandma … as long as she promises to stay classy.