21 May 2013
The Renault Mégane R.S. Red Bull Racing RB8 is a special edition hatchback celebrating the company's third year in a row powering Infiniti Red Bull Racing to the Formula One Constructor's Championship. The French carmaker did the same thing last year with the Megane R.S. Red Bull Racing RB7, but whereas last year's model came in the black and yellow livery associated with Renault factory racing teams, this one hews closer to Infiniti Red Bull colors, with an exclusive Crépuscule Blue finish and platinum gray accents.
Other signs as to the hatchack's purpose are the Red Bull logos on the rear quarter panels, the badging on the sills and inside and the laurel stickers on the rear windows. Helping fulfill the buyer's need for speed are a set of 19-inch black wheels shod in the same Bridgestone rubber that got the Megane around the Nürburgring in record time for a production front-wheel-drive car. The car also includes the first use of Renault's new R-Link multimedia tablet and the second generation of the R.S. Monitor.
It will go on sale in 26 countries that sadly fail to include ours. Its arrival in French dealerships is slated for June at a starting price of 36,000 euro ($46,445 US, taxes included), and it will be withdrawn from sale on September 30, 2013 to make good on its limited-edition promise. There's more on it in the press release and video below.
Renault and Red Bull Racing team up for awesome sports Megane [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 May 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
21 May 2013 9:31pm GMT
2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 2 Series, People trust autonomous cars
Episode #334 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Zach Bowman and Jeff Ross talk about the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 2 Series recently snagged by spy photographers, and a new study that indicates public support for autonomous automobiles. We wrap up with your questions and comments, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #334:
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21 May 2013 9:16pm GMT
As one of the premier sports cars in the world, the Porsche 911 is always driving around with a target on its rear-engined backside. If a new report is to be believed, the latest automaker with plans to build a 911-fighting sports coupe could be McLaren. Motor Trend is reporting that the recent news that Honda and McLaren are teaming up to build Formula One racecars could bear road-going fruit as well.
According to the article, the unnamed entry-level McLaren coupe may be powered by a Honda-sourced engine, but a detuned version of the 3.8-liter V8 from the MP4-12C is said to be more likely. All in, though, there is no solid information on the car just yet. As a reminder, M/T points out that the last time McLaren partnered up with a mainstream automaker, the world was introduced to the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
21 May 2013 9:02pm GMT
An annual market study of the strongest brands across various industries has seen Toyota leapfrog BMW as the world's most valuable automotive brand. Toyota's 2013 brand value rose to $24.5 billion, up 12 percent versus 2012 numbers according to market research company Millward Brown's BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands list. BMW's value fell slightly; down by 2 percent to a total of $24 billion.
Mercedes-Benz finished in third place in the automotive category, up 11 percent from 2012 for a valuation of $18 billion. Honda ($12.4 billion, down 2 percent) and Nissan ($10.2 billion, up 3 percent) rounded out the top five for the category. Volkswagen was the only other auto brand that finished in the top 100 overall, in 100th place. Audi made the greatest percentage gain over 2012, up 18 percent to $5.5 billion, but finished outside of the top 100.
Technology companies dominated the overall list, with Apple, Google and IBM ranking one through three. Couture brand Prada was 2013's biggest gainer, rising by 63 percent over 2012.
21 May 2013 8:33pm GMT
Would you know what to do if your car crashed into the sea and began to sink? For every foot you descend towards Davey Jones' Locker, 850 pounds of pressure are being exerted on your car door, making the simple act of opening it and exiting an impossibility at the worst possible time.
For this episode of The List, we've brought our hosts, Jessi and Patrick, to the experts at Amphibious Medics to learn the various techniques for escaping a car underwater. That's right, there's more than one school of thought on the best course of action in these situations, and we're going to try them all. While our hosts express their preference for which technique worked best for them, we're no experts and encourage you to do your own research.
Of course, we set up a completely controlled situation wherein we could ensure the safety of Jessi and Patrick, so don't try this at home with your winter beater and a local pond. We found a location perfectly suited for dunking cars, hired some trained medics and divers to watch their backs, and enlisted the services of the show's trusty BMW 3 Series (see its other starring roles in Work as a Professional Stunt Driver and Buy a Used Car Online) to play the part of the hapless sinking auto.
Will this knowledge ever come in handy? About 400 people die from vehicle-related drownings in the United States each year, so the odds are ever in your favor on this one. But if you ever do find yourself slowly sinking underwater in your car, you'll be glad you scrolled down to watch.
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21 May 2013 7:57pm GMT
Filed under: Toys/Games
Microsoft has just unveiled the third generation of its Xbox gaming console, called Xbox One, and the first game demoed on stage was the fifth installment of the Forza Motorsport franchise. The teaser trailer for Forza Motorsport 5 shown during the keynote pitted the two supercars of McLaren against each other: the original F1 and the upcoming P1.
Developed by longtime steward of the franchise, Turn 10 Studios, Forza Motorsport 5 will return to the more traditional simulation-style format of its forebears, as opposed to the open sandbox party world of the more recent Forza Horizon. The new game will be a launch title for Xbox One, so expect a release date in Q4 2013 in time for the holiday shopping season. With a built-in Blu-ray drive, 500 GB hard drive, 8 GB of RAM and 64-bit system architecture, the Xbox One should have the bits underhood to make the best-looking console racing game ever (assuming Sony doesn't move Gran Turismo 6 to its upcoming next-gen Playstation 4 console).
We're also pretty excited about the system's built-in Kinect, with a 250k pixel depth sensor. In addition to facilitating gesture- and voice-based commands for Xbox One, the sensor is said to be sensitive enough to measure human body temperature - that's as cool as it is freaky and could have interesting ramifications for hardcore racing simulations.
The Xbox One keynote presentation has just finished up, but you can view the whole thing on Xbox.com. Expect a lot more news about the system, Forza 5 and other racing titles as we get close to E3 in June.
21 May 2013 7:15pm GMT
To date, the best idea we have of what the 2014 Toyota Corolla will look like is the shape and styling of the Furia Concept from this year's Detroit Auto Show. Obviously the compact car will turn down the wick a fair bit from that orange machine, and now we have one more scintilla of an idea of what the final product will look like.
Published today on Toyota's official Facebook page, the image above clearly shows the rear quarter of the 2014 Corolla S. Though the low angle is pretty wonky, we can make out that the shape of the taillight cluster is very similar to that of the Furia, albeit without the same LED treatment, A hint of a trunk-lid spoiler is also in evidence, and also follows the Furia's lead.
Toyota points out that the new Corolla will be shown in earnest on June 6. Expect to see the full version of the car by that date at the latest - online leaks have a tendancy to speed these things up.
2014 Toyota Corolla shows just enough to keep us interested originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 May 2013 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
21 May 2013 6:28pm GMT
Playing a game of Frisbee is rarely about power - it's more about agility, precision and open-air enjoyment. Much the same can be said of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, whose charm has always originated more from its finesse and tactility rather than brute strength and outright speed, qualities the evergreen roadster has traditionally lacked.
So consider it a fine match that Mazda has taken a couple of its popular convertibles out with a handful of crack Frisbee players and put them on a closed circuit in Surrey, England for a stylish game of catch. It's a simple recipe for entertainment - check out the video by scrolling below.
21 May 2013 5:45pm GMT
Redefining Super Luxury On A Shrinking Planet
Anyone on Earth with access to the Internet, a television or radio for the last 20 years knows that China is no longer the poor stronghold for strict Communist ideals that it was for much of the 20th Century. (Well, at least not in some places.) Traveling to China twice in less than a month - first to Shanghai for a very international auto show and now to Beijing to drive and review the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur - I've learned that there's no lack of personal wealth, at least in two of the world's largest cities.
And yet, even I think the scene before me is a little bit ridiculous. Here I am, slowly climbing up a hillside to reach a fortification at something called Zhuanduo Pass, where roughly a dozen pristine examples of Western decadence sit idling their hand-built 12-cylinder engines in the shadow of China's revered and awesome Great Wall. Not five kilometers south of here, I'd passed an old man in traditional all-black garb, literally carrying a bundle of sticks on his back from one side of a village to the other. Now as I look through the snug-fitting and silent side glass of my $200,000+ palace on wheels, I'm more apt to see fat German tourists crisping in the hot Chinese sun while blowing the equivalent of an average Chinese monthly paycheck on lunch and a few Great Wall souvenirs.
Of course, it's nothing like the average Chinese person that Bentley is targeting with this new Flying Spur. There is a rapidly ballooning class of rich and super rich in the People's Republic these days; China can now lay claim to around 100 billionaires (in US dollars), as well as some 60,000+ individuals worth more than $16 million and, famously, now more than 1 million millionaires. Considering that Bentley had a booming year in 2012 by selling 8,510 vehicles, the importance of what is quickly becoming the world's biggest luxury car market is easy to see.
And that's why, despite the cost of hauling me from Ann Arbor to Beijing and back, and despite the cognitive dissonance of driving a $200,000+ car through villages whose buildings are probably worth less in total, Bentley jumped through a whole lot of hoops to pull off what it says is the first-ever global vehicle launch in China. I've got to tell you, if this is what being a trailblazer feels like, I could get used to it.
21 May 2013 4:57pm GMT
Filed under: Etc.
Are you the next new member of the Autoblog team? We're looking to add a new contract freelance writer to our ranks, and if you're it, we want to know. You are hopefully familiar with our style and already know that we write about cars and the automotive industry obsessively, authoritatively and with a personal touch. Here's what we're after:
Daily news writer: This position will require 6-8 hours of availability per day, five days per week to write and produce daily news posts. Availability during normal North American working hours is preferable, though not a requirement. Likewise, location in North America, particularly Michigan, California or New York City is preferred, though not required. Professional writing experience is necessary, and preference will be given to those with experience in the automotive space. This position, at least initially, will not include reviewing vehicles or attending auto shows (either foreign and domestic). Maybe you'll get there, but that's not what we are looking for or need right now.
Want to apply? Read on!
Want to work for Autoblog? We're looking for a new writer! originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 May 2013 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
21 May 2013 4:31pm GMT
A monstrous supercharged V8 engine could be in store for Chrysler and SRT products, if recent rumors are to be believed. Allpar is reporting that the forced-induction V8 - Chrysler's first, if this goes down - could make its debut this summer.
The story goes that the Hellcat would be based on a 6.2-liter Hemi engine, rather than on the existing 5.7- or 6.4-liter versions of the company's vaunted mill. In any case, the general consensus is that the motor will have gobs of power. Modest estimates call for between 500 to 570 horsepower, with some outliers predicting a figure as high as 600 hp. That figure would put the output of the Hellcat awfully close to that of the 640-hp V10 in the SRT Viper, too. Allpar contends that a slightly less powerful version would allow Chrysler to keep costs below that of the more powerful Ford Shelby GT500, which might be a sweet spot.
The Hellcat could debut in a number of SRT products. SRT versions of the Charger, Challenger and 300 are all up for grabs, as is the rumored SRT Barracuda.
Chrysler readying Hellcat V8 with Viper-like power originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 May 2013 10:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
21 May 2013 3:57pm GMT
News 21 May, 2013
Stephen Odell issues 'wide-ranging call to enable car manufacturers to flourish'
21 May 2013 3:32pm GMT
Filed under: Technology
One of the largest hurdles facing autonomous vehicles is cost. The technology to implement driverless cars is already here. Google, Audi and other companies have proved over and over again that the tech is viable and at least theoretically safe for public streets, but few people feel comfortable shelling out the $75,000 premium it would take to make your car chauffeur you about.
Ionut Budisteanu, a 19-year-old student from Romania, may have found a way to make autonomous driving tech more affordable. Budisteanu won a $75,000 scholarship in the International Science and Engineering Fair for creating a system that uses a cheaper, lower-resolution three-dimensional radar system paired with a webcam in place of the pricey high-definition 3D radar Google uses.
As a result, Budisteanu was able to cut costs from $75,000 to $4,000. His system uses artificial intelligence software to identify curbs, lane markings and other small objects on the road with the webcam while the radar system locates people, cars and houses. In his tests, the system performed as intended 47 out of 50 times. He believes he can improve accuracy with a slightly higher definition radar system while still keeping costs low.
Student wins Intel science fair with super cheap autonomous car tech originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 May 2013 10:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
21 May 2013 3:14pm GMT
By the end of this decade, India is expected to be one of the top three car markets in the world, but automakers are already starting to duke it out for sales. In terms of premium brands, Automotive News says that Audi has jumped out to an early lead for sales in the country due in large part to the recent introduction of the Audi Q3 (shown above).
In 2012, Audi's sales increased 43 percent, rising to 9,350 units and outselling BMW (8,686) and Mercedes-Benz (7,015), both of which experienced a drop in sales last year of 9.5 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively. While none of these sales figures are particularly significant on a global scale, the article says that the market for premium cars in India is expected to quadruple by 2020 up to around 120,000 units. AN attributes Audi's lead to its offering of new SUVs while its rivals have been focusing on small hatchbacks.
21 May 2013 2:28pm GMT
Despite the company's recent string of successes, there's still a lot of skepticism about Tesla out there. Some of the negativity focuses on the lack of recharging infrastructure, some on the company's expensive cars and how it'll be difficult to make a mass-market car. And when it comes to the company's stock price - TSLA is currently at around $90 - the predictions are all over the map. Some say it's still worth shorting (that is, predicting it will drop). Some say it could reach $200 before too long; others warn it will fall to somewhere in the $20-$40 range.
"There is a fundamental view of a scenario where Tesla becomes the next GM or Ford."
Still, the big news - that is, something that's actually happened, not just bloviations about the future - is that Tesla raised more than a billion dollars in cash last week by increasing the amount of debt and equity it was offering. Instead of selling a total 2.7 million common shares, CEO Elon Musk put up 3.39 million, and bought $100 million himself. This showed confidence, which was admittedly already there, and Tesla raised far more than the $830 million originally expected. The money will be used, in part, to pay back the US government for the $465-million Department of Energy loan.
The good news prompted an unnamed banker to tell IFR what it looks like on the other side of the skepticism spectrum: "[CEO Elon] Musk has a vision of creating a $50 billion-plus company in five years," adding, "There is a fundamental view of a scenario where Tesla becomes the next GM or Ford."
*UPDATE: Musk just Tweeted that Tesla will likely pay back the DOE loan Wednesday.
Tesla raises $1 billion as stock climbs; predictions have it at $200 (or $37) *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 21 May 2013 08:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
21 May 2013 1:45pm GMT
A host of carbon fiber parts designed and made in Germany are what turn the McLaren MP4-12C Spider into the Gemballa GT Spider. The 625-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 is untouched, almost everything else is heavily touched. There's the body kit that includes new front and rear bumpers, side skirts, new tailpipes and logos. Swing up the doors and you'll find a reskinned interior in leather and Alcantara in your choice of color, plus color-matched gauges. That will run you 19,980 euro ($25,647 US) including paint and installation, but it can alternatively be shipped internationally if you'd like to have your own people install it.
The GForged-one wheels are an inch larger than the standard units, at 20 inches up front and 21 inches in back, but don't change the weight of the car. There are two styles and two finishes available, and shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber they'll require 7,980 euro ($10,243) of your hard earned. Throw down a little more and you can have the brake calipers painted, too.
If this number whispers seductive German nothings in your ear, check out the press release below and the high-res gallery above.
21 May 2013 12:59pm GMT
News 21 May, 2013
Renault and Red Bull celebrate a third F1 constructor's title with special edition Renaultsport Megane RB8
21 May 2013 9:02am GMT
The Silver Lake sand dunes see their fair share of well-built trophy trucks executing impressive jumps. Drivers build insane pieces of machinery for the express purpose of sailing through the air like mad men and women.
Mike Higgins is no stranger to the area. His heavily modified Ford trophy truck has gone flying through the sky on more than one occasion, but he recently bit off more than he could chew. After hitting a particularly lofty dune, Higgins went airborne for a ridiculous 180 feet before becoming intimately familiar with the finer points of gravity.
While Higgins nailed the jump, his landing fell short of wowing the judges. The impact very nearly broke his truck in two. Despite the mechanical mayhem, the driver walked away without a scratch, proving that occasionally miracles really do happen. You can check out the jump and the subsequent destruction below for yourself. Be warned: there's a fair bit of foul language.
21 May 2013 12:57am GMT
20 May 2013
News 20 May, 2013
2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed 12-14 July, will feature seven F1 teams and a celebration of fifty years of the Porsche 911
20 May 2013 9:55am GMT
19 May 2013
News 19 May, 2013
Facelifted BMW 5 Series, 5 Series Touring and 5 Series GT models revealed
19 May 2013 11:48am GMT
News 19 May, 2013
New look for facelifted BMW M5; Competition Package option for M5 and M6
19 May 2013 11:05am GMT
17 May 2013
News 19 May, 2013
One-off Aston Martin CC100 sports car revealed to celebrate Aston Martin's centenary
17 May 2013 3:43pm GMT
News 17 May, 2013
All the razzmatazz from the Mercedes S-Class launch, which was held in an aircraft hangar near Hamburg
17 May 2013 10:21am GMT
Videos 17 May, 2013
Watch a group of guys have fun in the sun with two Mazda MX-5s and a frisbee
17 May 2013 10:04am GMT
News 17 May, 2013
The latest on the new BMW X5, including release date, price and rumours ahead of its Frankfurt Motor Show debut
17 May 2013 9:15am GMT
16 May 2013
News 17 May, 2013
The BMW 2 Series has been spied undisguised in sporty M235i trim ahead of its debut later this year
16 May 2013 3:13pm GMT
News 16 May, 2013
The new Peugeot 308 release date early 2014, 308 GTi in 2015
16 May 2013 11:54am GMT
Car group tests 16 May, 2013
Thousands of you gave your verdict, and now we can reveal the Driver Power results in full
16 May 2013 9:08am GMT
News 16 May, 2013
The new S-Class opens the door to self-driving cars, says Mercedes
16 May 2013 8:41am GMT
15 May 2013
News 15 May, 2013
The offices of Shell and BP have been raided after claims they may have rigged oil prices for more than a decade
15 May 2013 6:00pm GMT
News 15 May, 2013
Alfa Romeo has unveiled a Fast and Furious 6 Limited Edition Giulietta
15 May 2013 10:28am GMT
News 15 May, 2013
The BMW Gran Lusso Pininfarina concept will be unveiled later this month, possibly previewing a new 8 Series
15 May 2013 8:15am GMT