|_______________||11 || || Official: Need For Speed Rivals announced for Xbox One and Playstation 4 [w/video] |
Filed under: Videos, Ferrari, Toys/Games
Fresh from critical praise for the last installment in the series, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Electronic Arts has formally announced that Need For Speed Rivals will be the next title in the series. Set to hit stores on November 19, the game will also be the first Need For Speed to be available on next-generation consoles Xbox One and Playstation 4, as well as the current Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
The "rivals" in question for this NFS title are, of course, cops and street racers - nothing new there - but the gameplay is apparently getting a makeover. Players may choose to be racers, and live the life of evading cops, gaining infamy, videoing their slipperiest moves and earning Speed Points. They might also choose to play on the side of law enforcement; attaining higher ranks and faster police cars with more and increasingly challenging busts.
One big innovation in Rivals will be the use of a new play system called AllDrive. The concept is that a player can seamlessly move from playing in single player mode, to playing online with friends, without having to wait in a lobby or move through a menu interface. The game will merge one's play from single to multiplayer as your friends across the web go on and offline, and you can choose to interact with them or not, as you like.
One more item of note: Ferrari will be making its return to the NFS world in Rivals. The following press release mentions that the game has booked Ferrari for this new title, specifically calling out the F12 Berlinetta as being invited to the party. Continue on below for the official press release, as well as a short video teaser of the new game.
Continue reading Need For Speed Rivals announced for Xbox One and Playstation 4 [w/video]
Need For Speed Rivals announced for Xbox One and Playstation 4 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
|_______________||12 || || Spy Shots: Next-gen Toyota Prius spied inside and out |
Filed under: Spy Photos, Hybrid, Hatchback, Toyota
Toyota has built itself into the industry's standard-bearer when it comes to hybrids, and it isn't going to let the poster child for gas-electric vehicles get stale on the market. These spy shots captured in California are our first good look at the next-generation Prius, which could come to market wearing a 2015 model year designation.
Even though it looks like Toyota may have blown its annual camouflage budget on this mule, we can clearly see that it will have the same iconic half-moon design that has been with the car since 2003. If so, this goes against reports from last year that suggested the car would be getting a different look inspired by the 2013 NS4 Concept. Although, this could also indicate that the Prius family will continue to grow - adding a new sedan - to the existing Prius C, Prius V and Prius Plug-In lineup.
These spy shots also give us an indication as to what the interior will look like, with a more stylish three-spoke steering wheel and an instrument panel design that sort of reminds us of a BMW. On the other hand, all the tape, cobbled together pieces and lack of space for a center stack display screen has us thinking this isn't what the final product will resemble.
As for what will be powering the 2015 Prius, we hear that updated versions of the current electric system and engine will be employed, but it will carry over the nickel metal hydride batteries found in today's model. Still no word on the rumored possibility of all-wheel-drive system, either. In addition to a new design and updated powertrain, it sounds like production of the next-generation Prius could be making a move to the US, joining the line at Toyota's Tupelo, MS plant.
Next-gen Toyota Prius spied inside and out originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
|_______________||14 || || Quick Spin: 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel |
Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Chevrolet, Diesel, Quick Spins
Volkswagen has gotten pretty comfortable hogging the (admittedly small) non-premium diesel car market in the US. With Golf and Jetta, the German automaker has been the one and only choice for those interested in the torquey, high-mpg merits of turbocharged diesel power.
However, US customers seem to be growing more interested in the technology that has been the primary mode of propulsion in most of Europe for many years now. Mazda is quite close to bringing its Skyactiv-D diesel engines to our shores, and Chevrolet has finally maneuvered to repurpose its European 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine for US specification, which means it's cleaner here than overseas.
The first application of this rather impressive diesel engine is in the compact Chevy Cruze, which I spent a recent morning testing out. General Motors as a whole has high expectations for its new TDI-buster. Here's why:
- Since the Cruze Diesel has the Jetta TDI squarely in its targeting computer, allow me to start off with a tale of the tape for the two engines. Chevy's diesel displaces 2.0-liters, makes 151 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque (with an overboost mode that allows for brief moments of 280 lb-ft), consumes an EPA-estimated 46 miles per gallon on the highway and 27 in the city, and launches the Cruze from 0-60 miles per hour in 8.6 seconds. The Jetta TDI has a similar 2.0T diesel, with 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, is rated at 42 mpg highway and 30 mpg city, and will 'sprint' to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds (with DSG transmission). Chevy only offers a six-speed automatic with the Cruze Diesel, while VW will sell you a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual clutch gearbox.
- Turn the key on the Cruze Diesel and, if the windows are down, you'll hear a rather loud, clattering noise from the engine bay, at idle. The sound isn't worse than other small diesels we've heard, but it is surprising since the sealed-cabin quiet of the Cruze is remarkably high. With loads of attention paid to refinement at speed, the Cruze is all but silent on the highway (there's some wind noise), and the exhaust note only intrudes when approaching the 5,000-rpm redline.
- Power from the diesel engine feels super strong from even very low revs, as is expected, I guess. Peak torque is available at just 2,600 rpm, and a full 250 lb-ft can be had over the broad expanse between 1,750 and 3,000 rpm. Much like the Jetta, the Cruze isn't fast from a dead stop, but the acceleration from middle to high highway speeds (60 to 80 mph, let's say), is fantastic.
- I drove or rode for about 90 miles in total over this very short preview program, but early returns on the fuel economy are good. Cruising at around 75 mph on the highway saw the fuel econ meter settle at around 44 mpg after just 15 miles, so my guess would be that the estimated 46 mpg or better is easily within reach. (We know from experience that more than 50 mpg is was possible with our long-term Jetta TDI.) On the second leg of our trip, which started on country roads and headed back to the highway, I saw roughly 30 mpg after starting really aggressively and then settling into speed-limit driving around 40 mph. Again, with an EPA City rating of 27 mpg, I'd guess that the Cruze is set to have better real-world numbers than its window sticker would suggest.
- The overall ride characteristic of the Cruze matches its noiseless cabin, insofar as the car really smoothed out the road underneath me. I drove over some pretty broken down Michigan backroads in the car, and found that only the worst potholes and pavement breaks filtered through the softish suspension setup.
- That softness in the suspension, combined with low rolling resistance tires, meant that when I did try to corner aggressively in the Cruze I was met with a lot of vertical motion from the corners and loss of grip. The small Chevy does have a nicely balanced front-wheel-drive chassis for the most part, but handling is only satisfying up to a warmed-up point.
- In all, I think that the new Cruze Diesel presents an interesting counterpoint and alternative to the Jetta TDI, without being dramatically better or worse than the default diesel standard bearer. You can buy the Jetta for a cheaper starting price at $23,055 with no options, but Chevy has, for better or worse, piled on a good amount of kit to it's $24,885 basic Cruze Diesel. That sum (plus another $810 for destination) will get you remote keyless entry and start, heated front leather seating, MyLink with its Bluetooth connectivity and a touchscreen interface, 17-inch aluminum wheels and more. I think that the 2LT package ($380 for power, heated mirrors, rearview camera, etc), the $795 navigation option and the $100 option for a heated oil pan (great for cold starts) are really good values, too.
- What you get with the Jetta is an ever-so-slightly sportier package (thanks mostly to the better manual/DSG transmission options) and a little bit more brand prestige in the minds of most buyers. This diesel Cruze will need some time to penetrate into the land of enthusiasts and derv-geeks, I'm guessing, but it's a fine sedan in its own right, and worth at least a look from even the most ardent TDI supporter.
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
|_______________||15 || || Official: Renault unveiling Twin'Run concept in Monaco [w/video] |
Filed under: Concept Cars, Classics, Performance, Videos, Hatchback, Renault, Specialty, Racing
During last year's Monaco Formula One Grand Prix weekend, Renault introduced us to the Alpine A110-50. This year, it's another revival called Twin'Run - the follow up to the Twin'Z but not called TwinFun, as we previously thought - a smooth blue hatch to update all those yellowed memories of the Renault R5 Turbo and Clio V6. With the same footprint as the Twin'Z, this is the other side of the 'play' theme in Renault's six-stage exploration of the stages of life through concept cars.
The Twin'Z is admittedly a neat piece of work, but the Twin'Run one - and its murderous exhaust note - has our hot breath all over it. A steel, tubular chassis provides the structure. Within it, just ahead of the rear axle is a 3.5-liter V6 with 320 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, shifted through a six-speed sequential transmission. To keep its city-car proportions stable on 18-inch wheels, the fuel tank, radiator and hydraulic system are in the front, under the hood, resulting in a 43/57 front-to-rear weight balance.
The bodywork is a mix of glass fiber and carbon fiber, the squarish headlamps and supplemental quad headlamps a nod to the R5 Turbo rally car and its light rack for nighttime stages. Inside is lots of black and red Alcantara, a gauge cluster wrapped in white lacquer and aluminum pedals whose setup is said to be motorsports tested.
The whole package weighs 2,090 pounds, and you can read all about it in the press release below. There's also a very French short film to go with it that you know involves lots of models clad in lots of leather, and those vintage forbearers.
Continue reading Renault unveiling Twin'Run concept in Monaco [w/video]
Renault unveiling Twin'Run concept in Monaco [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 14:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
|_______________||16 || || Official: 2014 Fiat 500L to start at $19,100* |
Filed under: Car Buying, Hatchback, Fiat
We've already driven the decidedly weird-looking 500L in its European-spec form, and now the folks at Fiat have just released US-specific pricing, which means that our US media drive is coming up soon. If you want to get your hands on the biggest of the little Fiats, you'll need at least $19,100 (*plus $800 for destination).
That base price gets you the 500L Pop spec, powered by a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine (the only powerplant on offer), mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This base model comes equipped with 16-inch chrome-plated wheel covers (sexy!) and the usual list of standard features that pretty much every new car comes with. (You know, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, etc.) Next up in the range is the 500L Easy, which adds aluminum wheels, tinted rear glass, body-colored mirror caps, uplevel seat fabric and a premium audio system. The price of entry for this better-equipped model is $20,195.
Things start to get more interesting from there, with the rugged-ish 500L Trekking coming in at $21,195. Visually, the Trekking is set apart by its two-piece front and rear fascias with graphite inserts, fog lamps and 17-inch wheels. Finally, the range-topping 500L Lounge adds a dual-clutch six-speed transmission, unique 16-inch wheels, chrome exterior accents, heated leather seats, and more. That top-trim 500L starts at $24,195, and the Lounge, Trekking and Easy models are available with a no-cost Premier Package that includes goodies like rear park assist and a 6.5-inch touchscreen Uconnect infotainment interface. Be warned, though, this no-cost option will only be available during the first year of production.
The 500L's closest competitor, the Mini Countryman, is pricier, starting at $22,000 for the base Cooper model with front-wheel drive, but keep in mind that Mini offers two higher-output turbocharged engines, as well as All4 all-wheel drive on the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models. Scroll down for the full press blast with even more details.
Continue reading 2014 Fiat 500L to start at $19,100*
2014 Fiat 500L to start at $19,100* originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 13:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
|_______________||17 || || Official: BMW Concept 90 Motorcycle debuts at Villa d'Este |
Filed under: Concept Cars, Classics, BMW, Motorcycle, Specialty, Design/Style
The Concept 90 is one of two new vehicles BMW is showing off at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este on the tony shores of Lake Como in Italy. This year is the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad and the 40th anniversary of the R 90 S (inset) - the first production motorcycle to come with a front fairing - and BMW has worked with custom bike builder Roland Sands Design to craft a homage to the Daytona Orange boxer from the Seventies.
While following the line of its forbearer, obviously the Concept 90 has been sexed and sleeked up. The bodywork is of hand-worked aluminum, the giant halogen lamp of the 1975 model (which is when Daytona Orange was introduced) has gone LED, and the front engine cover, valve covers, exhaust and wheels have been made with a contrast-cut milling process.
For a finer description of the Concept 90 check out the press release below, or skip the words and go straight to the high-res images above.
Continue reading BMW Concept 90 Motorcycle debuts at Villa d'Este
BMW Concept 90 Motorcycle debuts at Villa d'Este originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
|_______________||18 || || Official: BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé bows at Villa d'Este |
Filed under: Concept Cars, Coupe, BMW, Design/Style, Luxury
The first collaboration between BMW and Pininfarina is this blunt-force two-door called the BMW Pininfarini Gran Lusso Coupe revealed at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. Said to be the "interpretation of a luxurious BMW Coupé as seen through the eyes of Pininfarina," once you get past all of the design-speak, you can focus on the full-bodied and keen-edged missile sitting on 21-inch wheels.
The long wheelbase makes for short overhangs. Up front, BMW's design language gets scraped across a whetstone, everything getting sharper, including the usually round cat's eye headlights that have gone dihedral. Under the hood is a V12, behind the twin-kidney grille in matte-sheen aluminium and high-gloss black. The same aluminum treatment also backs the taillights, the lenses designed to let air flow through them.
Inside is room for four, a cockpit canted toward the driver, Foglizzo leather in black and Tobacco Brown, 48,000-year-old kauri wood from New Zealand, deep pile carpet on the floors, a patterned virgin wool headliner and an "oblong aperture in the roof liner" set off by white LEDs.
There are words as flowery as the materials in the press release below and a gallery of high-res images to make sense of it all above. What do you think, should BMW consider a production version of this concept as a successor to the long-dormant 8 Series? Have your say in Comments.
Continue reading BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé bows at Villa d'Este
BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé bows at Villa d'Este originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
|_______________||19 || || First Drive: Gibbs Quadski [w/video] |
Filed under: First Drives, Specialty, MISCThe Ultimate Crossover
Having grown up in Michigan, I spent the entirety of my early adult life riding whatever powersport machine I could get my hands on, be it snowmobile, dirt bike, four-wheeler or personal watercraft. Pretty much, if it has an engine, I've ridden it. On Memorial Day weekends - the unofficial start of summer - I would usually split my time between tearing up two-tracks on dirt bikes and jumping waves on a jet ski. Now, Michigan-based Gibbs Sports has come up with an innovative amphibious vehicle that my 18-year-old self is glad never existed. It's called the Gibbs Quadski. Unlike those odd, six-wheeled amphibious machines that are built more for practicality than excitement, the Quadski was designed with enthusiasts in mind to create an enjoyable riding experience on both land and water.
The idea for the Quadski actually began with the Aquada, a street-legal amphibious concept car that gained the company a lot of publicity. But Gibbs learned the hard way that getting such a vehicle built was a difficult task when dealing with federal regulations pertaining to both street-legal cars and marine vessels. So the company has taken some of the technologies it developed for the Aquada and applied them to the Quadski, creating what is essentially part all-terrain vehicle, part personal watercraft and even part motorcycle.
Introduced late last year, the Gibbs Quadski is on sale now at a handful of dealers across the country (okay, mostly in Florida) with a staggering price of around $40,000. These days, your top-of-the-line ATVs and PWCs can easily top the $10,000 mark, so with this asking price, the Quadski is indeed being targeted at well-to-do early adopters and government agencies. At the moment, I'm neither, but Gibbs invited me to its custom-built test course in South Florida to put the Quadski through its paces on both land and sea.
Continue reading Gibbs Quadski [w/video]
Gibbs Quadski [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
|_______________||20 || || Video: Washington State bridge collapse victim talks about his ordeal |
Filed under: Truck, Safety, Videos, Ram
Dan Sligh and his wife were headed for a Memorial Day camping trip yesterday evening when the Interstate 5 bridge over Washington's Skagit River collapsed ahead of his Ram pickup. Sligh said he saw a big puff of dust after a tractor trailer struck a portion of the bridge, and the roadway quickly vanished into the river below. While he applied the brakes, the momentum of his truck and trailer propelled the couple right over the edge. While speaking with reporters, Sligh said he held on as tight as he could before seeing a white flash and feeling the cold water of the river rush into the cab.
The impact dislocated the Navy veteran's shoulder, but he was able to push it back into place in time to pull his wife from the wreckage. Early reports say the collapse occurred when a tractor trailer struck the bridge's overhead girders. One other individual fell into the water, but no one was killed in the ordeal. Federal inspectors had previously rated the structure "functionally deficient."
The bridge, near Seattle, carries around 77,000 vehicles per day and was built in 1955. Interestingly enough, the bridge's "functionally deficient" rating doesn't necessarily mean that the span was deemed unsafe, just that that portions of it required monitoring or repair. You can watch Sligh's CNN interview below.
Continue reading Washington State bridge collapse victim talks about his ordeal
Washington State bridge collapse victim talks about his ordeal originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments