Car enthusiasts have been clamoring for a replacement for Toyota's iconic Supra for years now, and the Toyota FT-1 concept unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show is our best look yet at just such a car. The work of America's own Calty Design Research, the FT-1 steps away from Toyota's more eco-friendly concepts of late and delivers something truly exciting--a powerful, agile sports car with sensuous curves and a focused interior layout. Gearhead Toyota boss Akio Toyoda gave designers a simple but important motive before they set to work on the car: Make it cool.
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Calty has a long and illustrious history of producing interesting designs--it's previously worked on the original 1978 Celica, the Lexus SC400, the Supra and the FT-HS concept--and the FT-1 concept is no different. The profile is long and low, the low nose leads into an extended hood, and the concept features powerful rear haunches for the traditional sports car stance. One of the designers' main goals was to create a form that looked sculpted by the wind and by speed, at once remaining functional--hence the large air intakes either side of the extended nose, and the deep side intakes aft of the doors.
While hard to tell from some angles, that black area on the hood isn't just paint, either. Like on many supercars, the FT-1 features a glass panel to allow a glimpse at the internal combustion engine below. There are large alloy wheels, a deep front spoiler and a pronounced kick to the rear end, not dissimilar from the aggressive, cab-back shape of American sports cars like the Corvette and Viper. For the car's glasshouse, there's more than a passing nod to one of Toyota's most celebrated models--the stunning 2000GT. ( Continue… )
Those in the market for the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class need not only opt for the 2015 S65 AMG if they’re after a V-12 under the hood. The German automaker has introduced an S600 model at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show this week, complete with a twin-turbocharged V-12 engine and some exclusive tech goodies.
The latest S-Class has impressed us at every turn in V-8 guise, from the 2014 S550 to the 2014 S63 AMG, and the new V-12-powered S600 should offer just as much in the way of luxury, style, and competence along with the knowledge that there’s a brute of an engine waiting to be unleashed at every turn.
The engine isn’t simply a hand-me-down from the previous generation. The new unit displaces 6.0 liters instead of 5.5 liters this time around, and its output registers at 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque. That’s 13 more horsepower than before but the real story is the torque level, which peaks at just 1,900 rpm. The engine also features a fuel-saving stop-start system. Gear shifts are handled by the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic. ( Continue… )
The all-new 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck, the latest version of America’s best-selling vehicle, has been revealed on the eve of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. The new workhorse is radically different to anything we’ve seen before in the full-size pickup market, as it features a body that’s mostly aluminum and an available engine that displaces just 2.7 liters.
In designing the backbone of the F-150, Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] engineers improved the truck’s signature fully boxed ladder frame, which now incorporates high-strength steel to make it stronger and lighter. Aluminum, featuring a similar grade to that used in the military and aerospace industry, has been applied to the body, helping to save upwards of 700 pounds from the kerb weight. ( Continue… )
A new King Corvette has arrived, and it definitely gives General Motors [NYSE:GM] some bragging rights at the Detroit Auto Show. With “at least 625 horsepower,” and 635 pound-feet of torque, this top-performance variant of the latest C7 Stingray could shake up the roster of top production-car performance numbers.
And it sets the form for the Corvette C7.R race car, also shown here at Detroit and headed for Daytona later this month.
The Z06 is powered by an all-new 6.2-liter ‘LT4’ supercharged V-8, making at least 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque—37 percent more horsepower and 40 percent more torque than the ‘standard’ 2014 Corvette Stingray.
The LT4 engine is only one inch taller than the LT1 in the Corvette Stingray. The LT4 is one of the only supercharged engines in the world to incorporate cylinder deactivation technology, and it also has variable valve timing. ( Continue… )
The company says it's tougher, smarter, and more capable than ever before--and looking at the styling, it's hard to argue on the first point.
We're aware that many of our readers are less than keen on big pickup trucks, and the brash, square-edged styling, three-bar grille, and enormous proportions are unlikely to change that.
It isn't hugely different from before--Ford knows better than to mess too much with the formula which has kept it at the top of sales charts for years--but the new grille, unique divided headlights, and familiar proportions should appeal to new and old buyers alike.
Lighter than before
Restyle aside, the most interesting development with the new body is its construction, now aluminum in an effort to reduce weight.
There's only so much you can do with a full size truck body sitting on a steel chassis, but the upshot is a reduction in weight of up to 700 lbs compared to the previous model--a not insignificant figure and one that should aid the F-150's performance, handling characteristics and of course, efficiency.
It's also stronger than before, according to Ford, as well as being more corrosion resistant--always important for a hard-working truck. ( Continue… )
General Motors' redesigned 2014 full-size pickup trucks have only been on the market for a few months, but now they're being called back to the dealer to fix a potential flaw.
Cylinder deactivation--branded Active Fuel Management by GM--shuts off some cylinders when extra power isn't needed, to improve fuel economy.
The trucks are only supposed to use two cylinders when idling, but a software glitch is causing them to idle with most of their cylinders. This can cause exhaust components to overheat, and hence potentially catch fire.
The problem is signaled by a "check engine" light on the dashboard and an "engine power reduced" message in the driver information center.
Toyota’s iconic hybrid, the Prius, has held quite a reputation for safety, as well as for efficiency and technology, of course. Yet new results from the federal government show that it’s been downgraded from five stars to four stars in New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) safety ratings.
In the new set of crash tests, conducted last month on a 2014 model, the Prius earned just a four-star rating in the frontal barrier test. That was enough to keep its frontal score at four stars—the same as before—but nudge its Overall rating down to four stars in the frontal category.
The previous test, applied to the 2013 Prius, had been of a 2011 model, in February 2011.
The federal frontal test uses an average-sized adult dummy, with the car run at 35 mph into a fixed barrier. And the star rating is based on force measurements (and injury likelihood) at the head, neck, chest, and legs.
However, the Prius remains a top five-star performer for all federal side tests, including the side barrier test (for driver and passenger) and the side pole test, which simulates a side collision with a narrow, fixed object like a utility pole or tree.
In our full review of the 2014 Toyota Prius, we do note that this model includes seven standard airbags—including a driver’s knee bag—and it achieves the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ accolade.
Of course, it’s also worth taking this all into perspective, and noting that the Prius was last redesigned for 2010, with its occupant protection remaining competitive—and close to top-notch—five years later.
Tesla Motors is in the midst of another trial by fire.
Tesla will ship new charger connectors--which connect the Tesla charging cord to a wall outlet--to owners over the next two weeks, CEO Elon Musk said in an interview.
Musk noted that the overheating may be caused by substandard household wiring. ( Continue… )
It lets the car recapture energy from momentum, which would otherwise be wasted as brake heat, by running the electric motor in reverse to recharge the battery. ( Continue… )
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China became the first nation to surpass 20 million new-car sales last year, Bloomberg reports. That represents a 14 percent increase over 2012, and continues its reign as the world's largest car market.
Sales are expected to grow by a further 10 percent in 2014, according to the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. ( Continue… )