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PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG CLA45 By Schmidt Revolution

A lot of people love the Mercedes-AMG CLA45. At the same time, a lot of other people don’t like it (hate’s a strong word, isn’t it?). Whichever side of the fence you’re on, there’s no denying that the AMG CLA45 is a car that’s ripe for an aftermarket program. Schmidt Revolution isn’t the biggest tuning name in the business, but it has developed a few humdingers over the years. Safe to say, the tuner knows what it’s doing, and that’s all coming to play with its new program for the AMG CLA45 that’s highlighted by an engine upgrade that gives the sedan a stout 400 horsepower.

The program as a whole is simple yet refined. That’s a good mix for a car that suffers from its own identity crisis, albeit through no fault of its own. Schmidt smartly went against overdoing the modifications in lieu of a more purposeful upgrade that gave the AMG CLA45 a consistent look to go with improved performance credentials.

The kit isn’t going to set any speed records, but with the changes in place, it helps turn the AMG CLA45 become the kind of high-performance sedan that can live up to its AMG name.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

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PostHeaderIcon Watch the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Being Controlled By Remote: Video

The 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance hosted many spectacular debuts, one of which was the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6. A concept car that’s not likely to move into production anytime soon, the Vision 6 is modern rendition of pre-WWII luxury cars and it’s packed with innovative technology and an electric drivetrain that cranks out in excess of 700 horsepower. It also sports a massive stance that would match the grandeur of any Rolls-Royce, but, despite its imposing appearance, it can be controlled by remote.

A fresh video from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance shows the Maybach Vision 6 being moved back and forth via a small remote controller that can also turn the wheels. Interestingly enough, the vehicle moves pretty smooth despite its enormous size, which could mean that the remote is actually controlling the coupe’s all-electric drivetrain and not just an auxiliary motor.

At one point in the video, the man with the controller calls the Vision 6 an autonomous car, but that’s not exactly true. Although the concept features some sort of semi-autonomous tech, the fact that it is controlled by a person doesn’t make it fully autonomous. Still, this concept likely features a prototype version of Mercedes’ future autonomous technology and that remote control could very well be part of it. Parking would be infinitely easier, especially for a vehicle that’s six meters long.

For now, the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 will enter the history books as the world’s most expensive remote control car.

PostHeaderIcon Vergne Breaks Lap Record For All-Electric Series In Formula E

Last August, Lucas di Grassi clocked a 1:29.920 at the Donington Park GP Circuit during the fourth day of Formula E testing. That record has been holding strong ever since, well until now that is. Day two of Formula E’s preseason testing has turned out to be quite eventful with three drivers beating Grassi’s record during the morning run.

No. 3 for the day, driving for Renault e.dams, was Sebastien Buemi who posted a best lap of 1:29.765. Right on his tail was Felix Rosenqvist who drivers for Mahindra and posted a best lap of 1:29.719. Both of these times break Grassi’s record from last year, but Jean-Eric Vergne decided to push it to the limit a little more and managed to run a 1:29.634 around circuit during the morning test session.

On FIA’s Formula E webpage, Vergne spoke about his performance saying, “Today was really good considering we haven’t been driving at all this summer while other teams have covered a lot of mileage. I’m really pleased how the day went – we went through many things, and we still need to catch-up compared to the other teams to understand the new powertrain but the team have done a really good job. The pure performance already seems to be there!”

And there you have it. Another lap record set at Donington Park, just over a year after the 1:29.920 best lap was set by Lucas di Grassi.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon What You Need To Know About The Goodwood Revival

September’s not a particularly enthralling month in our shores. Summer’s winding down, school’s about to start, and the nearest auto show we have comes two months later in November in Los Angeles. There are some dog days that lie ahead for us, but that’s not the case for those across the pond, specifically those who will be attending the 2016 Goodwood Revival.

Yes, the Goodwood Revival is all set to take place from September 9 to 11, 2016. That’s less than three weeks away, which means that preparations are starting to heat up for the only motor racing event set up entirely in period.

On that note, here’s an important question: what exactly is the Goodwood Revival? It’s an interesting question since the event isn’t held in the U.S., and as such, it’s not all that familiar to a lot of people on this side of the Atlantic.

So to help those who don’t know about the Revival understand the event and why it’s important in automotive calendar, we’ve prepared a primer about the whole thing, complete with answers to certain questions you may have about the event. Who knows, by the time you’re done reading it, you might end up booking a ticket to the U.K. to attend the event. Anything’s possible, right?

Continue after the jump to read more about the Goodwood Revival.

PostHeaderIcon AM-RB 001 Hypercar Could Have Hybrid Drivetrain and Active Suspension

We’ve been anxiously awaiting the day that Red Bull and Aston Martin’s AM-RB 001 finally makes its debut. Sure, we’ve had the chance to see it pretty close up in its current state, but there’s still a lot about it that we just don’t know. What we do know is that the car will feature a bespoke V-12 that has the “potency to achieve a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio.” It will also have a race-spec transmission that was conceived by Adrian Newey himself.

Something new has popped up, however. If you take a quick journey over to Red Bull Racing’s career website, you’ll see that they are looking to hire a number of people for a number of jobs including mechanical design engineers, controls engineers, and there’s even an opening for a project manager. When I first stumbled onto the page, I laughed a little and thought to myself: “What? Did they fire the whole team?” But, I started looking into some of the descriptions and noticed some interesting wording.

In specific relation to the AM-RB 001, RBR is looking for mechanical design engineers that have experience with “automotive drivetrain integration – including hybridization.” Furthermore, it is also looking for a controls engineer that has experience with the specification of automotive control systems, including “gearbox/powertrain/hybrid/semi-active suspension.”

Keep reading for the rest of the story.

PostHeaderIcon McLaren P1 LM Plans To Smash Nurburgring Lap Record

The P1 is McLaren’s quickest and most powerful supercar yet. It is also the company’s first hybrid and will most likely inspire other similar vehicles in the future. More importantly, especially for die-hard enthusiasts, the P1 is a full-fledged, modern interpretation of the F1 in just about any department. Not only fast, powerful, expensive, and rare, the P1 also spawned a couple of stunning variations, the GTR and the LM. Come 2016 and the P1 could have yet another thing in common with its spiritual predecessor by setting a world record.

But unlike the F1, which became the world’s fastest production car in 1993 and held onto its record until 2005, the P1 could become the quickest production model to lap the Nurburgring. That’s the word from Lanzante, the British firm responsible for converting the P1 GTR into the road-legal P1 LM, which unveiled that the supercar is set to go for a Nürburgring lap record during a development testing phase planned by the end of 2016.

Lanzante will run the supercar at the Nurburgring to finalize its setup and said that even though a lap record isn’t a priority, an attempt is in the books, given that track and weather conditions are right. Company boss Dean Lanzante is confident that the P1 LM has what it takes to smash the current record

“We’ve seen what the road car is capable of there and we’ve got simulations of what our car can do,” he said according to Autocar. “Kenny Bräck is doing all of the driving, so if an opportunity arose, we have the right man for the job.”

On the other hand, Lanzante claims an attempt will only happen in certain conditions, as the firm doesn’t have the means to spend too much time at the “Green Hell.”

“We don’t have the finances or the time to do something like Porsche,” he said about the 918’s testing program and lap record. “If it rains, the track isn’t fast enough, so we can’t do a lap. And we don’t want to do a Koenigsegg,” he added in reference to Koenigsegg crashing the One:1 at the ’Ring ahead of its record attempt earlier this year.

There’s no estimate as to how quick the P1 LM would be around the Nordschleife, but it should be quicker than the standard P1, which lapped the track in less than seven minutes. As a brief reminder, McLaren declined to reveal the Nurburgring lap time of the P1, instead choosing only to confirm that it completed a full lap in under seven minutes.

The current lap record sits 6:48.00, a benchmark achieved in 2009 by the Radical SR8LM. The Radical SR8 is second with 6:56.08 (2005), while the Porsche 918 Spyder ranks third with 6:57.00 (2013). The Lamborghini Aventador SV is the last car with a sub-seven-minute lap, at 6.59.73 (2015).

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Delphi and Mobile Eye Join Forces to Create Fully Automated Driving Solution by 2019

Every auto manufacturer that matters is pushing to bring autonomy to its vehicles in the next few years. Some are hoping to bring fully autonomous cars to the market by the end of the decade, while others are thinking more conservatively and have a somewhat longer timetable. Regardless, at some point in the next 10 to 15 years, there will probably be a car on the market that literally doesn’t have a steering wheel. To date, most of this autonomous technology has been coming from outside sources – think about Tesla and Mobileye, for instance. But, as the push for autonomous cars continues to increase, automakers are bringing more technology development in-house, which could eventually pose a problem for outside suppliers like Mobile Eye.

In order to stay in the game, outside suppliers need to bring innovative new technology to automakers that trumps anything they can do in house. Delphi and Mobileye are hoping to do just that through a joint mission to develop a Level 4/5 automated driving solution. Apparently, this new solution will use key technology from both companies, including Mobile Ee’s EyeQ 4/5 System chip to go with software and controllers from Delphi. According to Mobile Eye, this technology will enable automakers to adopt the next level in automation with needing to invest incredible amounts of capital to get it off the ground.

Kevin Clark, Delphi’s President and CEO, said, “This partnership will allow us to give our customers an increased level of automated capabilities faster and more cost effectively. The collective expertise of our two organizations will accelerate the creation of new approaches and capabilities that would likely not have been possible working alone. This is a win-win for both companies and our customers.”

For the record, Level 4 automation means that a car can drive itself from point A to point B without a driver needing to do much of anything aside from provide a destination. With level 4 automation, however, unfavorable circumstances – like poor weather, for example – will require a driver to take over. Once Delphi and Mobile Eye’s new system can be taken updated to level 5 automation, the car will be able to drive itself regardless of circumstances, meaning car’s at this level won’t need a steering wheel, or pedals.

Keep reading for the rest of the story

PostHeaderIcon New Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Can Hit 60 MPH In First Gear

Although hitting 60 mph from a standing start as quick as possible isn’t exactly relevant unless you take your car to the drag strip, it’s a feature automakers have been using in their marketing blurbs for decades. Getting up to 60 mph as quick as possible depends on many factors beyond horsepower and torque. It’s also about grippy tires, whether power is sent to the front, rear or all four wheels, and how fast you or the automatic transmission can change gears. Granted, automatics are usually quicker than manuals, but that might not be the case with the brand-new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

According to Camaro engineer Al Oppenheiser, the new supercharged ZL1 can reach 60 mph in first gear. With the manual transmission, this means no shifting, which results in a quicker sprint. Given that the new vehicle is not only more powerful, but lighter too, we can expect a significant performance increase when the car hits the drag strip. With the previous-gen ZL1 needing four seconds to get from 0 to 60 with the manual, the redesigned model should be able to hit the benchmark in the mid-three-second range. That’s just a second slower than supercars such as the LaFerrari or a Tesla Model S with the new 100-kWh battery, and a tremendous figure for a muscle car.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Charging more for Autopilot Feature

You have to give Tesla some credit. In the face of all the scrutiny surrounding its Autopilot feature, the EV car manufacturer still understands that it’s in the business game and that game is all about making money. So while the company’s announcement of a new 100 kWh battery pack for the Model S and Model X P100D variants understandably grabbed the headlines, Tesla managed to also increase the price of the Autopilot feature from right under our noses.

Whereas the price for the Autopilot system amounted to $2,500 before or $3,000 to be enabled after delivery of the car, Tesla has increased the number to $3,000 and $3,500, respectively. Apparently, the price increase isn’t because of the new sensors that Tesla is reportedly adding for the second-gen version of the system. According to Electrek, a Tesla spokesperson referred to the price increase as nothing more than a “better reflection” of the system’s actual value.

Whether that is the case or not, the timing of the increase is curious given the rash of negative publicity that has been attributed to the Autopilot system. One would think that Tesla would try to keep a low profile on the feature until it sorts out the quirks, thus having a better justification for a price increase. But the company opted to do it now. Similar features aren’t exactly popping up everywhere these days so while the field is still relatively barren compared to what it’s going to be in a few years, a $500 increase isn’t that big of a deal for customers who have spent or are willing to spend north of $60,000 on either a Model S or a Model X.

Skeptics can criticize all they want; at the end of the day, Tesla is still in the money-making business and this 20-percent increase in the price of the Autopilot feature should be a good source of extra revenues for Elon Musk and company. Now about making the system safer for its drivers…

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M4 GT4

The BMW M4 came to be in 2013, when the German company unveiled its brand-new performance coupe in concept form. Production began in February 2014, when the M4 effectively replaced the previous M3 Coupe. The introduction of the M4 marked the end of the road for the M3 Coupe, with all two-door versions of the 3 Series being moved under the new 4 Series denomination. On top of the new styling and nomenclature, the M4 also gained a new engine. The previous naturally aspirated V-8 was replaced with turbocharged inline-six with enhanced performance and fuel economy.

Much like its predecessors, the M4 was also engineered for track use, spawning a successful DTM race car. However, unlike previous M3 Coupes, the M4 never made in other racing series. But things are set to change in 2017, when BMW will unleash a GT4-spec version of the two door coupe to replace the M3 GT4.

The new race car will compete in existing GT4 classes, which are included in various series in Europe, North America, and Asia. The car will be open to customer teams around the world, but will also be used to bring talented young drivers closer to the GT3 class as part of the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.

The newly developed GT sports car will complete its first tests at the end of 2016 and customers will be able to purchase in 2017, in time for the start of the 2018 racing season.

“The GT4 category is currently experiencing a boom. It offers affordable motorsport with cars of technical high-quality and, therefore, attracts a wide target audience. We see enormous potential around the world for privateer BMW teams for whom the BMW M4 GT4 is an option,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “The BMW M4 GT4 is designed perfectly for simple use by privateer teams.”

Updated 08/25/2016: Our spy photographers caught a strange looking BMW M4 testing around the Nürburgring. It features an extreme looking aero package, which make up believe we could look at the upcoming M4 GT4. Also, the guys over Gumbal were lucky enough to catch the same car on video testing at Nurburgring. Check it out and let us know what do you think about it!

Continue reading for our full review.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Rio

Introduced in 2000 as the company’s affordable subcompact, the Kia Rio is already in its third generation, each being redesigned after five to six years on the market. With the third-gen model in production since 2011, a brand-new model is underway. With the 2016 Paris Motor Show just around the corner, Kia has just announced the introduction of the fourth-generation Rio. The Korean brand has also given us our first look at the car by means of a three design sketches.

The photos show that the hatchback received a thorough makeover, now featuring a sportier exterior with styling cues borrowed from its larger, newer siblings. Longer, wider, and lower, the fourth-gen Rio aims to draw more customers into dealerships, particularly those who would rather purchase a Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo. Kia promises “class-leading practicality and safety technology,” and more “engaging ride and handling characteristics” to go with the more aggressive design.

The Korean brands also aims to improve global sales of the Rio, which is the manufacturer’s best-selling model, with more than 473,000 examples delivered in 2015. The fourth-generation model will enter production towards the end of 2016 for the European market, with production dates for the United Kingdom to be announced closer to launch. There’s no word on U.S. availability yet, but we’ll be back with more info as soon as we have it.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Kia Rio.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Issues Three Recalls in the U.S. for Various Problems

Recalls used to be something that didn’t really happen all that often, but these days, it seems like every manufacturer is taking a bite of shame pie. Ford is the most recent company to pop out recalls this month. Two of the recalls are safety related, and one is compliance related, leading to more than 100,000 vehicles affected. The first and most important involves Ford Taurus, Ford Flex, Ford Police Interceptor sedan, and the Lincoln MKS and MKT models built for the 2013 to 2015 model years. These models, if equipped with the twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V-6 could have a faulty fuel pump control module that could cause the engine to stall while driving, increasing the risk of an accident. A total of 88,151 of these vehicles are affected.

The next recall is also fuel related and involves the 2015 to 2016 Ford Transit with a 3.2-liter diesel engine. This model could have been equipped with a faulty fuel injection pump that could prevent the engine from starting. No injuries or accidents have been associated with this recall, but I’m sure a few owners have been pretty unhappy when their almost-new Transit failed to start in the morning. A total of 2,472 Transit vans are included in this recall.

The final recall involves the power window system of the 2017 Ford Escape. According to Ford, “the power window system configuration may exceed the regulatory requirement for remote actuation closing force, increasing the risk of injury.” So in other words, you, your child, or your dog could get one of your extremities pinched inside the window when it is being rolled up. A total of 23,150 examples of the 2017 Escape are affected and can be repaired with a simple update to the vehicle’s onboard computer software.

Before you call the dealer to schedule your appointment, you can head over to the NHTSA’s website and plug in your vehicle’s VIN to see if it is affected by these or any other recall campaigns on file.

Keep reading for the rest of the story

PostHeaderIcon Ferrari 488 GTS By Novitec Rosso

We may be in the dog days of summer, but for a perennially busy aftermarket tuner like Novitec Rosso, no amount of idle time can make up for creating a tuning program for one of the market’s newest supercars, the Ferrari 488 GTS. That’s exactly what the German tuner did, doing so only two months after unveiling a similar kit for the 488 GTB. Much like the earlier program, Novitec Rosso’s work on the 488 GTS revolves around an engine upgrade that puts some extra muscle to the Ferrari’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, resulting in a new output of 772 horsepower and 658 pound-feet of torque.

The numbers are identical to what the tuner was able to get out of the coupe version. Rest assured though, the effects are far different, both from a performance standpoint and from a wind-blowing-your-hair point-of-view. Better yet, the enhancements don’t just end with the engine upgrades. It wouldn’t be a Novitec Rosso tuning kit if it was strictly limited to that. The German tuner is also known for its carbon fiber aero bits and without disappointment, Novitec is also offering a full aerodynamic body kit that’s even been subjected to strenuous wind tunnel testing.

As expected, a new set of wheels is also part of the program and an interior upgrade that’s largely left to the whims and financial might of the customer. In other words, this tuning kit for the Ferrari 488 GTS is a trademark Novitec Rosso program, complete with all the bells and whistles that have come to define the well-established aftermarket company.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Model S Gets Upgraded Battery Pack; Now as Fast as LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder

When Tesla launched the Model S P90D a couple of years ago, it set some incredible records for electric cars, proving that EVs can accelerate from 0 to 60 in less than three seconds and return a range of over 200 miles at the same time. Come 2016 and Tesla is taking things even farther into ludicrous territory by dropping a 100-kWh battery in both the Model S sedan and Model X SUV, thus creating a new range-topping model, the P100D.

The new version also sets a couple of important benchmarks. For starters, the Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode will become the quickest accelerating production car, needing only 2.5 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. That’s as quick as the Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918 supercars. There’s no word on horsepower, but the P100D will definitely have more than the 762 horses that come with the P90D Ludicrous model. Range will also be better with the new battery, going up from 270 to 315 miles. Tihs makes the Model S the first EV to run for more than 300 miles on a single charge.

Moving over to the Model X, the P100D upgrade will give customers a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 2.9 seconds and a range of 289 miles. Compared to the P90D model, it’s 0.3 seconds quicker and returns 32 extra miles. For reference, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S hits 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Pretty slow, huh?

Pricing-wise, the Model S P100D will start at $134,500 and the Model X 100D will retail from $135,500. Model S and Model X P90D owners can upgrade their battery packs for $20,000, while customers that have already ordered a P90D but havn’t taken delivery, can get the extra power and range for an additional $10,000.

As spectacular as it sounds, creating the P100D wasn’t all fun and games, though. According to Elon Musk, going from 90 to 100 kWh was like a “50-percent increase in difficulty” and the battery’s complexity will make the P100D a low-volume model for now.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Volvo Trucks Beats Its Own Speed Record with 2,400-HP Semi: Video

You may recall last week when Volvo ran a teaser video about its newest high-performance semi truck. As oxymoronic as it sounds, this behemoth was custom built for one purpose only – to beat Volvo’s previous speed record made in 2012.

It’s called The Iron Knight and it’s powered by 13.0-liter D13 turbodiesel engine making 2,400 horsepower and a whopping 4,425 pound-feet of torque. Mounted mid-ship, it sends power through Volvo’s I-Shift dual-clutch automatic transmission to the rear tires. Unsurprisingly, the sprint to 62 mph takes only 4.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 171 mph despite its tremendous weight and flat face.

The driver is Volvo’s accomplished truck racer and test man, Boije Ovebrink. He’s also the same driver who set the 2012 record in Volvo’s Mean Green Hybrid truck. While the driver might be the same, Volvo’s truck has certainly changed. Gone is the hybrid system, as are 2,205 pounds of curb weight. The Iron Knight then packs on an additional 600 horsepower over the hybrid truck.

In order to break the FIA-sectioned record, the team would need to complete two runs, one in each direction, within an hour window. During the 500-meter run (0.31 of a mile), The Iron Knight posted a time of 13.710 seconds with an average speed of 81.58 mph. The truck then completed the 1,000-meter run (0.621 of a mile) in 21.290 seconds with an average speed of 105 mph. This beat Volvo’s previous 1,000-meter record time of 21.56 seconds.

Congrats, Volvo, on making one awesome truck.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley 8-Litre Tourer

When the Great Depression struck the world, the automotive industry, like other industries at the time, suffered dramatically. It took a serious toll on Bentley; so much so, that it didn’t take long for its finances to fall into shambles, and the company to be placed in receivership. Before that happened, however, Bentley tried to turn things around by introducing the Bentley 8 Litre. It was announced to the public on September 15, 1930, and was the last completely new model from Bentley before the company fell apart and Rolls-Royce Limited took ownership of the struggling company.

Due to the timing of the Great Depression, sales of Bentley’s newest wealthy people hauler were incredibly slow. With only 100 examples produced between 1930 and 1932, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Despite the fact that sales were poor, the 8 Litre was a fine automobile. It featured an 8-liter straight-six, and the chassis came at a cost of about $1,850. The model we’re here to talk about today is a 1932 tourer model that features coachwork by Vaden Plas. To put it shortly, the car is elegant and beautiful.

This specific model just went under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s auction during Monterey Car Week in 2016. We were on the scene and snagged a lot of good pictures of this beauty. So, let’s dive on in and take a closer look at this 1932 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Vaden Plas.

Keep reading for our full review.

PostHeaderIcon Two Teslas Stolen in Germany Have Yet To Be Located

As if Tesla’s issues with its Autopilot system aren’t bad enough, the American electric car maker may have another crisis on its hands after multiple reports from Germany indicate that a pair of Tesla Model S P90Ds have been stolen and have seemingly disappeared without a trace. Such an occurrence may be considered normal for some cars, but not for Tesla models. These cars come with a GPS tracking software that’s supposedly on 24/7, and yet, the thieves behind the two stolen Model S P90Ds thefts appear to have been able to disable the GPS systems of both cars, making it more complicated to trace their whereabouts.

The first incident reportedly took place in Dusseldorf, Germany on June 11, 2016 while the second incident occurring 22 miles away in Essen on August 2, 2016. There have been no indications on whether the two thefts are connected to each other, but the method by which both models were pilfered came with some striking similarities.

According to reports, both Model S P90Ds were stolen without the use of any key, leading to speculation that the thieves may have hacked into the Tesla accounts of their owner to unlock the cars and drive them away through a smartphone application.

Such tactics would’ve been easy to get a hold off had the GPS systems of both cars not gone AWOL. But neither of the cars have been tracked since they were reported stolen, which points to the alarming possibility that the GPS systems of both units were disabled. In the event that the thieves were able to hack into the cars and disable the GPS system, Tesla’s going to have another security issue to deal with.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Ken Okuyama Cars Kode57

Ken Okuyama Cars, a small auto design firm headed by Japanese industrial designer Ken Okuyama, unveiled its latest creation, the Kode57, at the Monterey Car Week. Just a prototype for now, the stunning Kode57 will become a limited-edition production car in the near feature, according to Okuyama, who promises a highly customizable supercar that will rival offerings from Ferrari and McLaren. Needless to say, the Kode57 is stunning to look at and its design alone is enough to challenge the most expensive and exclusive modern supercars.

In case you haven’t heard of Ken Okuyama before, you need to know that he’s not the kind of designer that surfaced over night. He is responsible for many iconic car designs and has worked for a number of famous companies, including General Motors, Porsche, and Pininfarina. At Porsche, he helped design the 996-generation 911 and the Boxster, while at GM, he worked in the company’s Advanced Concepts Center in California.

His collaboration with Pininfarina was arguably the most prolific. Appointed as creative director in 2004, Okuyama oversaw projects such as the Ferrari 599, fifth-generation Maserati Quattroporte, Mitsubishi Colt CZC, Maserati Birdcage 75th concept, and Ferrari P4/5, a one-off built for James Glickenhaus. However, his most notable design is that of the Ferrari Enzo, which he penned for Pininfarina before being appointed as creative director. Other projects included the Pininfarina Metrocubo and Ferrari Rossa, the latter a modern interpretation of the iconic Testa Rossa of the 1950s.

Following his departure from Pininfarina, Okuyama set up his own design firm. In 2008, he introduced the Kode7, a carbon-fiber and aluminum two-seater that became a production car in 2011. In 2013, he launched the Kode9, a sports car featuring a retro design. Production of the Kode9 began in 2014.

The new Kode57 features a much more aggressive design and its name pays homage to the year 1957, “an iconic year in which many legendary cars were born and motor racing gained a strong worldwide following.” Check it out below.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Pathfinder

In the past, Nissan has had a bad habit of letting the Pathfinder get old, with generations lasting eight to 10 years with a few minor facelifts in between. The fourth generation model made its debut for the 2013 model year and went through an update just a year later. There have been little changes since the last update, but nothing excessively serious. Now, Nissan has announced the 2017 model and, believe it or not, it’s a pretty big deal. As part of the facelift, the Pathfinder finds itself with a new 3.5-liter engine under the hood that offers more power, new front and rear fascias, new and updated technology, and there is even a bump up in towing capacity.

When speaking about the new engine, Michael Bunce – the Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America – said, “Like every area of a vehicle, engines evolve. The key in doing so successfully is in understanding where you are going with the changes. With the new Pathfinder, the goal wasn’t to add raw power, it was to enhance driving feel and confidence across the entire rpm range – whether merging on a freeway on-ramp or pulling a trailer full of watercraft up to a mountain lake.”

There really is more to talk about that just that new engine, so let’s take a good look at the 2017 Pathfinder and talk about all the changes that come with the new model year.

Update 08/24/2016: Nissan has finally announced pricing for the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder. Check out the Prices section below for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda RX-9 Tipped For 2020 Launch

Either dreams do come true or Mazda has been manipulating us all along. Four months after the automaker’s global director and senior managing executive officer Yuji Nakemine doused rumors of an RX sports car, a new report from Japan’s Holiday Auto magazine indicates that the long-awaited sports car successor to the RX-7 and RX-8 is actually going to be built.

According to the magazine, the model will be called the RX-9 and it will be launched on January 2020 as one of the highlights of the Japanese automaker’s upcoming 100th anniversary. The full details surrounding the new sports car have yet to be revealed, but some interesting nuggets of information have been mentioned, none more important that Mazda’s plan to use a new 1.6-liter twin-rotary engine that may or may not come with turbocharging and compression ignition. It is believed that the powertrain will be able to produce around 400 horsepower. A previous rumor indicated that the powertrain will actually come in a hybrid setup to allow electric turbocharging. That said, the new report from Holiday Auto made no mention of that specific configuration.

The magazine did say that Mazda is looking at a weight of no more than 1,300 kilos (2,204 pounds) for the RX-9. The objective, it appears, is to keep the weight as low as possible to improve the car’s aerodynamics and maximize the potential of the new rotary engine. Such a setup would make the RX-9 a potent performance coupe that can live up to the expectations of being one of the highlights of the company’s centenary celebrations.

A concept version has been touted to make an appearance at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show with the final production model scheduled to appear two years later at the same show.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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