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2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video]

Posted on July 22, 2014 by Jonathon Ramsey

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Ping Land Rover Range Rover - 2014 Gazelles rally participant

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come.

In case you missed it, be sure to read Part 1, here.

We stood in the north Saharan desert in Mech Irdane, Morocco under a high sun at 7:00 AM. The all-women's navigation challenge known as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles was only two days old, and in spite of a cool morning, it was already clear we'd need to make peace with a grueling desert captivity. The desert has no friends.

Part 1 tells the unintentionally intense story of our arrival in Mech Irdane and how we ended up in a broiling nowhere, with 320 women engaged in a colossal game of Capture the Flag. The abstract is that for eight days in March, the 24-year-old rally puts 160 teams of two women apiece in four classes of vehicles, charged with finding 60 flags hidden somewhere in 10,000 square miles of desert, navigating with 55-year-old maps using nothing more complex than a compass and a plotter. It's not a race for time but one for distance - the winner is the team that finds the most flags having driving the shortest distance possible over those eight days. Each team has paid $18,540 to enter. The winning team gets a medal. There are no other official prizes.

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come. Today, we had to get through the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

Continue reading 2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video]

2014 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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No heads have rolled at NHTSA over GM ignition switch recall scandal

Posted on by Noah Joseph

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Dep't Of Transportation Discusses Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication Technology

At this point, there's little question that General Motors deserves the bulk of the blame for not recalling the millions of vehicles affected by the ignition switch problem earlier than it did. And to a large degree, GM is facing the music and accepting blame for its mistakes, even if that acceptance won't bring back the 13 or more deaths attributed to the faulty components. But does GM deserve all the blame?

Fingers are now being pointed at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government body responsible for investigating potentially problematic vehicles and ordering recalls where necessary. But according to the administration and the Department of Transportation of which it's part, NHTSA is not to blame.

In fact, while GM has fired 15 employees over the ignition-switch debacle, The Detroit News notes that NHTSA has not dismissed or even disciplined a single employee for not having caught the problem sooner. Both NHTSA chief David Friedman (pictured above, right) and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (behind Friedman) say that the government is not to blame, and needn't be held accountable for not having ordered a recall because it could not have known there was a problem. This despite, NHTSA officials having alerted the agency to the issue back in 2007.

NHTSA may have to face some difficult questions and potential repercussions soon, however, as the commerce committees in both the House and the Senate plan to hold hearings into the matter later this year.

No heads have rolled at NHTSA over GM ignition switch recall scandal originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]

Posted on by Seyth Miersma

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Darrell Waltrip once said, "If the lion didn't bite the tamer every once in a while, it wouldn't be exciting." The sentiment behind that aphorism is causing my adrenal gland to wake up as Dodge and SRT drivers and engineers - somber-faced to a man - give me the track talk that will precede my driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT on the circuit at Portland International Raceway. PIR might not be Daytona, and the 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat might seem tame to a legend like ol' Jaws, but there's a not-small part of me that's thinking about how hard Dodge's fire-breathing kitty might bite.

Just a few hours previous, I'd gotten behind the wheel of the Hellcat for the first time, letting its hyperbole-spitting, supercharged V8 Hemi pull me yieldingly through Portland's morning commuter traffic. Lulled into a cocky certainty by the Challenger's good manners at low speed, I drove the throttle just a hair too deep, too fast when I ran on to the highway ramp. For just an instant the rear tires were utterly drenched in torque, and the back end of the big Dodge loosened up like a drift car on a wet track. Throttle steer lives at the fleeting whim of your right foot in this car.

It was no big thing to lay off the gas and pull the Hellcat back in line as I entered the highway, but the incident did get me to thinking: What will this car do to me on a road course?

With the track talk ended, I picked up a helmet and a head sock - stand-ins for the whip and the chair every good lion tamer needs - hoping like hell I wouldn't end up as a gravel-track snack for the new biggest predator in the muscle car circus.

Continue reading 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart spotted testing new Brabus Fortwo

Posted on by Noah Joseph

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2015 Smart Fortwo Brabus prototype

By now AMG has produced versions of just about everything Mercedes makes, right down to the A-Class, CLA and GLA. But while even the smallest of Benzes have fallen under Affalterbach's knife, Daimler's performance division steers clear of the Smart brand and its products. For that, the German automaker collaborates with another legendary Silver Star tuner.

Brabus first worked its magic on the original Smart Fortwo in 2003, packing a warmed-over 700cc engine with 74 horsepower along with upgraded aero and rolling stock. The second-generation Brabus model took things further with a 101-hp 1.0-liter engine and other go-fast(er) goodies. And now that the new Fortwo is upon us, it looks like Brabus is at it again.

Spied with a camo wrap but no visible body cladding, the new Brabus city car is expected to pack more of a punch than its predecessors, with estimates ranging from 105 to 120 hp - which may not be much for most cars, but promises to transform the Smart into something more aggressive, especially when paired with a sportier suspension, dual exhaust and aero kit.

Expect the new Brabus Smart to debut sometime next year, after which it'll be interesting to see how it might square off against a future Renaultsport version of the Twingo with which the new Smart cars share their rear-engined underpinnings.

Smart spotted testing new Brabus Fortwo originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart spotted testing new Brabus Fortwo

Posted on by Noah Joseph

Filed under: , , ,

2015 Smart Fortwo Brabus prototype

By now AMG has produced versions of just about everything Mercedes makes, right down to the A-Class, CLA and GLA. But while even the smallest of Benzes have fallen under Affalterbach's knife, Daimler's performance division steers clear of the Smart brand and its products. For that, the German automaker collaborates with another legendary Silver Star tuner.

Brabus first worked its magic on the original Smart Fortwo in 2003, packing a warmed-over 700cc engine with 74 horsepower along with upgraded aero and rolling stock. The second-generation Brabus model took things further with a 101-hp 1.0-liter engine and other go-fast(er) goodies. And now that the new Fortwo is upon us, it looks like Brabus is at it again.

Spied with a camo wrap but no visible body cladding, the new Brabus city car is expected to pack more of a punch than its predecessors, with estimates ranging from 105 to 120 hp - which may not be much for most cars, but promises to transform the Smart into something more aggressive, especially when paired with a sportier suspension, dual exhaust and aero kit.

Expect the new Brabus Smart to debut sometime next year, after which it'll be interesting to see how it might square off against a future Renaultsport version of the Twingo with which the new Smart cars share their rear-engined underpinnings.

Smart spotted testing new Brabus Fortwo originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Production Acura NSX spied getting sharper on the ‘Ring

Posted on by Seyth Miersma

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Acura hasn't been shy about trotting out the concept version of its upcoming NSX hybrid supercar - we've seen it colorized on Facebook, wearing Super GT drag and running wrapped at Mid Ohio - but until now, we've missed seeing the production version at all. Thankfully, our boys in the field have been diligently camped out by the Nürburgring, just the place for Acura engineers to get the NSX shaken down and ready for the public.

The first thing you'll likely notice (and no doubt appreciate) is that Acura is staying very true to the concept car. The same wind-tunnel-carved wedge shape is in evidence in the car's silhouette, and details like aggressively scalloped engine vents behind the cabin have made it through unscathed.

We do notice that there are some vertical elements at the bottom of the front fascia/grille that appear to be revised, and the mirrors are considerably less slinky than those of the concept car. Still, by and large, we're seeing a direct translation from show stand to real life here.

There haven't been any revelations about the powertrain in recent weeks, so expect the NSX to come fitted with a 400-plus-horsepower V6 engine mounted amidships, along with a series of electric motors for added grunt. Two of the electric powerplants are expected to turn the front wheels, and effect the most impressive-yet version of Acura's Super Handling All Wheel Drive.

Production Acura NSX spied getting sharper on the 'Ring originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Production Acura NSX spied getting sharper on the ‘Ring

Posted on by Seyth Miersma

Filed under: , , , ,



Acura hasn't been shy about trotting out the concept version of its upcoming NSX hybrid supercar - we've seen it colorized on Facebook, wearing Super GT drag and running wrapped at Mid Ohio - but until now, we've missed seeing the production version at all. Thankfully, our boys in the field have been diligently camped out by the Nürburgring, just the place for Acura engineers to get the NSX shaken down and ready for the public.

The first thing you'll likely notice (and no doubt appreciate) is that Acura is staying very true to the concept car. The same wind-tunnel-carved wedge shape is in evidence in the car's silhouette, and details like aggressively scalloped engine vents behind the cabin have made it through unscathed.

We do notice that there are some vertical elements at the bottom of the front fascia/grille that appear to be revised, and the mirrors are considerably less slinky than those of the concept car. Still, by and large, we're seeing a direct translation from show stand to real life here.

There haven't been any revelations about the powertrain in recent weeks, so expect the NSX to come fitted with a 400-plus-horsepower V6 engine mounted amidships, along with a series of electric motors for added grunt. Two of the electric powerplants are expected to turn the front wheels, and effect the most impressive-yet version of Acura's Super Handling All Wheel Drive.

Production Acura NSX spied getting sharper on the 'Ring originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar builds F-Type to support Tour de France team [w/video]

Posted on by Brandon Turkus

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Jaguar F-Type Coupe Team Sky Concept

The Tour de France is typically a two-wheeled affair, dominated by cyclists yearning to capture the prestigious yellow jersey. While the 2014 event winds its way through Europe, Stage 20 will see an altogether different conveyance wind along the route between Bergerac and Périgueux - the Jaguar F-Type Coupe.

As part of its partnership with the British cyclists of Team Sky, Jag has enlisted its new Special Operations division to build a one-off F-Type Coupe, based on the 550-horsepower, supercharged R model.

SpecOps has removed the rear glass and come up with a creative solution to mount a pair of Team Sky's racing cycles in the back. Aside from that upgrade, the cabin boasts new upholstery in the colors of Team Sky's traditional livery. A separate power supply has been established below the bikes in what's left of the trunk, which provides juice for a set of radios and microphones, so that the team's director can communicate with the riders.

Now, before the wealthy amateur cyclists of the world dial up their local dealer and attempt to order their very own F-Type with a bike rack in place of the rear window, Jaguar has already stated that it will not be putting this one-off into production.

Scroll down and take a look at a video of the new car's build process, as well as a the official press release from Jaguar. And keep an eye open for the F-Type on July 26, when Stage 20 of the 2014 Tour de France is ran.

Continue reading Jaguar builds F-Type to support Tour de France team [w/video]

Jaguar builds F-Type to support Tour de France team [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar builds F-Type to support Tour de France team [w/video]

Posted on by Brandon Turkus

Filed under: , , , ,

Jaguar F-Type Coupe Team Sky Concept

The Tour de France is typically a two-wheeled affair, dominated by cyclists yearning to capture the prestigious yellow jersey. While the 2014 event winds its way through Europe, Stage 20 will see an altogether different conveyance wind along the route between Bergerac and Périgueux - the Jaguar F-Type Coupe.

As part of its partnership with the British cyclists of Team Sky, Jag has enlisted its new Special Operations division to build a one-off F-Type Coupe, based on the 550-horsepower, supercharged R model.

SpecOps has removed the rear glass and come up with a creative solution to mount a pair of Team Sky's racing cycles in the back. Aside from that upgrade, the cabin boasts new upholstery in the colors of Team Sky's traditional livery. A separate power supply has been established below the bikes in what's left of the trunk, which provides juice for a set of radios and microphones, so that the team's director can communicate with the riders.

Now, before the wealthy amateur cyclists of the world dial up their local dealer and attempt to order their very own F-Type with a bike rack in place of the rear window, Jaguar has already stated that it will not be putting this one-off into production.

Scroll down and take a look at a video of the new car's build process, as well as a the official press release from Jaguar. And keep an eye open for the F-Type on July 26, when Stage 20 of the 2014 Tour de France is ran.

Continue reading Jaguar builds F-Type to support Tour de France team [w/video]

Jaguar builds F-Type to support Tour de France team [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What you missed on 7.21.14

Posted on by Autoblog Staff

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Daily U-Turn

Ford ExpeditionFirst Drive: 2015 Ford Expedition

It might not be totally all-new, but Ford's refreshed Expedition now features updated looks and twin-turbocharged power underhood. Of course, there are still plenty of old bones underneath that shiny sheetmetal. Does the big Ford have what it takes to compete with the rest of the fullsize set? Find out in our First Drive.




Gazelles RallyRallye Aïcha des Gazelles: Part 1

The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, now in its 24th running, is an all-female off-road rally through Morocco. It's one of the most grueling, challenging motorsports events in the world, and our man Jonathon Ramsey rode along with this year's competitors to see what it's all about. Read the first part of our two-installment story, here.




Chevy SSChevy SS getting 6MT, magnetic ride

Aw, yeah. Rumors had been circulating for a while regarding Chevy's SS performance sedan getting a much-needed manual transmission and magnetic ride suspension for the 2015 model year, and now, thanks to the official order guide, we've finally got confirmation of these updates. Consider us on the edge of our seats.



Top Stories

What you missed on 7.21.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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