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Ferrari F12tdf Adds More Power, More Speed, More Awesomeness

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Ferrari’s much-anticipated hard-core version of its superlative F12berlinetta has finally arrived, in the form of the F12tdf. The “tdf” stands for “Tour de France,” a name that was applied to a series of endurance-racing Ferraris from the 1950s and ’60s. Ferrari characterizes the F12tdf as “the ultimate expression of the concept of an extreme road car that is equally at home on the track,” and the modifications from the standard F12 are more extensive than you might imagine.

 

 

As with all things Ferrari, the specialness starts in the engine room. The naturally aspirated, 6.3-liter V-12 screams to 8900 rpm, and horsepower climbs from an already-ridiculous 730 to 769 at 8500 rpm. Torque increases from 509 lb-ft to 520, the full measure of which is on tap at 6750 rpm. Mechanical tappets and variable-geometry intake trumpets are among the “numerous modifications” to the engine. The F1 automated manual gearbox also boasts faster upshifts and downshifts.

 

 

Besides imbuing the F12tdf with more power, Ferrari says it also has excised nearly 250 pounds from the car. Also a result, factory acceleration times are down to just 2.9 seconds from 0-to-62 mph (versus 3.1 seconds for the F12berlinetta) and 7.9 seconds to 124 mph. The F12tdf also shaves two seconds off the F12berlinetta’s Fiorano lap time, now 1:21. Top speed is said to be “in excess of” 211 mph. Ferrari says braking distances are 100 feet from 62 mph, and 397 feet from 124 mph.

Beyond a more robust engine, there are chassis changes as well. The F12tdf boasts a wider front and rear track, as well as wider front tires (275-series, up from 250). More significant, the F12tdf also introduces rear-wheel steering (dubbed Virtual Short Wheelbase). Ferrari claims the system counters the increased tendency to oversteer caused by the stickier front tires, yielding greater high-speed stability yet also making for quick turn-in.

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/ferrari-f12tdf-adds-more-power-more-speed-more-awesomeness/

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2016 Toyota Prius Powertrain and Chassis Details Revealed (Mostly)

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We got a warm, cozy feeling after learning more about the 2016 Toyota Prius—warm like the car’s improved exhaust-heat-recirculation system and steering wheel with a heat-absorbing synthetic fabric. Or was it the cup of coffee we just drank?

Either way, Toyota has detailed the fourth-generation Prius’s powertrain and chassis—although not on every point—ahead of our drive of the car next month. Here’s what we now know:

For starters, the 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder carries over its output ratings of 98 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque, although Toyota says it has completely re-engineered the engine. Among the improvements: A higher-capacity exhaust-gas-recirculation system, new intake ports, redesigned coolant passages, and lower-friction piston skirts, and it also now uses a lower-viscosity oil.

 

The electric drive motor is smaller to save weight and to fit within a smaller transmission case, but it also loses a few ponies and pound-feet. It’s now rated at 71 horsepower and 120 lb-ft, compared to the current model’s 80 horsepower and 153 lb-ft.

As we heard last year, this motor will be supplemented by one of two battery packs: a nickel-metal-hydride unit in entry-level models and a more-powerful, more-energy-dense lithium-ion pack for top trims. Toyota shifted the battery from the cargo floor to beneath the rear seats, opening up two additional cubic feet of storage in the hatch.

Moving the battery also allowed Toyota to offer the Prius with optional all-wheel drive, called E-Four, that uses a second electric drive motor to spin the rear axle. With only 71 hp and 41 lb-ft to offer, E-Four’s second motor is more of the “bad weather peace of mind” type than, say, something Ludicrous.

 

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/2016-toyota-prius-powertrain-and-chassis-details-revealed-mostly/

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2016 Kia Optima Priced Optimally for Mid-Size War

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Kia has released pricing for the all-new 2016 Optima sedan and—surprise!—it costs the same as it did before. In today’s car-pricing climate, holding or cutting a car’s price is something of a coup, so kudos to Kia on that one. The Kia also undercuts most of its competition, including the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, and the Toyota Camry. Here’s a breakdown of the Optima’s five trim levels—LX, LX 1.6T, EX, SX, and SXL:

Optima LX: $22,665; standard equipment includes a manual six-way driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, cruise control, a driver’s automatic down window, a 5-inch touch screen, a backup camera, Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth, 16-inch aluminum wheels, and chrome exterior trim. The Kia Optima LX comes solely with a 185-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic.

 

 

Optima LX 1.6T: $24,815; as its name implies, the LX 1.6T trades the LX’s 2.4-liter four for a turbocharged 1.6-liter four making 178 horsepower (but 195 lb-ft of torque, 17 greater than the LX’s engine). The turbo is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This trim level also adds gray-finished 16-inch aluminum wheels, heated and power-folding side mirrors, acoustic front window glass, auto up/down front windows, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and pushbutton ignition with keyless entry.

Optima EX: $25,715; curiously, the EX goes back to the LX’s 2.4-liter four/six-speed automatic combo. Otherwise, it adds 17-inch wheels, LED taillights, dual projector-beam headlights, LED running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, two rapid-charge USB ports (on top of the non-rapid-charging port standard on every other model), a heated steering wheel and front seats, a 12-way power driver’s seat, woodgrain interior trim, and leather seating surfaces.

 

 

Optima SXL: $36,615; sharing its turbocharged 2.0-liter four with the SX, the SXL slathers the Optima in options. This means: quilted nappa leather seats, a 10-way power passenger seat, an electronic parking brake, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, automatic high beams,  LED reading lamps, heated second-row seats (outboard positions only), and special 18-inch wheels. The safety roster is impressive, too, with rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, and a surround-view camera.

 

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/2016-kia-optima-priced-optimally-for-mid-size-war/

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Hyundai and Rockstar Performance Garage Create Burly, Off-Road Tucson for SEMA

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Perhaps the last thing anyone expects of the innocuous Hyundai Tucson crossover is actual off-road swagger, so it’s rather amusing to see this SEMA-bound 2016 Tucson festooned in rock-crawling regalia by Rockstar Performance Garage. Think of it as the antithesis of the slammed, Bismoto-modified, 700-hp Tucson “anti-crossover” that will also be on display at this year’s SEMA show.

 

 

With black paint, custom bumpers, smoked lights, skid plates, multiple LED bars and light “spikes,” and, of course, an upgraded sound system, the RPG Tucson looks like something Batman might buy his son for his sixteenth birthday. It rides six inches higher than the stock Tucson, with fenders modified to make room for the 32-inch Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 tires wrapped around KMC 17-inch “Bully” wheels. The suspension, meanwhile, gets new 2.5-inch adjustable coilovers and shocks from King Shocks.

Under the hood, new turbo plumbing, a high-flow exhaust and new intake and intercooler systems are among the changes made to the 1.6-liter turbo four. While Hyundai did not specify how much output has been increased as a result of these new bits, it’s safe to say that it produces somewhat more than the stock motor’s 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. As for its all-wheel drive system? No word on any changes to that, so don’t expect to see it creeping though Moab any time soon.

 

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/hyundai-and-rockstar-performance-garage-create-burly-off-road-tucson-for-sema/

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Elon, Take the Wheel! We Test Tesla’s New Autopilot Feature

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Do you habitually dine while driving? Suffer from aggravated road-texting syndrome? Have yet to master Bluetooth communication skills? If so, you are a clinically distracted driver and a prime candidate for a Tesla Model S—now that the company has rolled out its new Autopilot feature.

As part of its continuous-improvement policy, every Model S manufactured after September 2014 is equipped with Autopilot hardware, the closest thing on the market to fully autonomous driving. That equipment is enabled as of October 8, via an automatic software download, assuming the car’s owner says “yes.” Autopilot provides adaptive cruise control, automatic hands-free lane keeping (Autosteer), on-demand lane changing (Auto Lane Change), automatic—hands and feet off—parallel parking (Autopark), and 360-degree collision warning (Side Collision Warning). (Adaptive cruise control and low-speed collision warning have been operational in Model S cars equipped with 6.0 software since the fall of 2014.)

 

 

Tesla charges a one-time fee of $2500 to activate the Autopilot capability, but the Side Collision Warning is free.

A select group of Tesla owners have enjoyed use of the alpha version of Autopilot for a month. What the rest of us are receiving is the 7.0 beta version upgraded with user feedback and the latest engineering changes. A new digital instrument cluster and center touch-screen displays with the necessary operating menus, driving icons, and warning symbols are also part of this upgrade.

The system consists of a dozen ultrasonic sensors, half of which wrap discreetly around each end of the car in the bumper fascias; one forward-looking camera positioned behind the windshield between the rear-view mirror and the roof header; and a radar sensor located in a low-center position in the grille. Servos and controllers steer the front wheels, apply the brakes, and command the drive motor(s).

The new driver’s display is also updated with an analog clock, outside temperature display, tire-pressure information, seatbelt warnings, and door-close status. Trip- and energy-monitoring apps are also updated. Some information appears automatically when necessary, other data can be called up with a switch located on the right steering-wheel spoke.

 

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/elon-take-the-wheel-we-test-teslas-new-autopilot-feature/

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2016 BMW M2 Circles the ’Ring in Under 8 Minutes

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BMW unveiled its new M2 only yesterday, but already we know the car’s Nürburgring lap time: 7:58. That makes it faster than the previous-generation, V-8–powered (E92) M3. Whoa.

 

 

With 365 horsepower, as much as 369 lb-ft of torque (with overboost), rear-wheel drive, and an Active M Differential in a compact package that is said to be 55 pounds lighter than the M235i, we knew the M2 would be a track monster. And indeed, according to BMW Blog, that 7:58 time puts the M2 in some fast company. It beats the E92 M3’s time of 8:05, and the 1 M Coupe’s 8:12 lap. It’s also knocking on the door of the 425-hp M4 coupe, which gets around the famous track in 7:52.

 

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/2016-bmw-m2-circles-the-ring-in-under-8-minutes/

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Snake, Binned? Dodge Viper Could Bow Out in 2017

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Could the iconic, but slow-selling, Dodge Viper be headed for its final off-ramp? That’s the implication buried in the proposed FCA/UAW contract, which has the boisterous muscle car’s Detroit assembly plant shutting down in 2017.

 

 

The news about the Conner Avenue facility, where the Viper is largely hand-built, comes from the obsessive Mopar watchers at Allpar. Conner Avenue has been the home of the Viper since its launch in 1992 and also built the Plymouth Prowler.

The Viper went away once before, in 2010, only to return for 2013. Not long after, however, in the fall of 2013, Chrysler was already having to slow production; the company halted production for two months the following spring, to let demand catch up with supply. Then came a $15,000 MSRP haircut, which dropped the base price of the 2015 car from just over $100,000 to closer to $85,000.

 

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/snake-binned-dodge-viper-could-bow-out-in-2017/

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GM’s Mark Reuss: Chevrolet Cruze Diesel and Cadillac Diesels Are on Track

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Will the VW diesel-emissions scandal permanently derail diesel technology for passenger cars in the United States? “No way,” says Mark Reuss, GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. Speaking at a recent press event, Reuss said that both the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze Diesel and the diesel program for Cadillac are safe.

 

 

Chevrolet has officially confirmed a diesel version of the redesigned 2016 Cruze, which is larger but lighter than its predecessor. The diesel is set to join the lineup for 2017, and Chevy hopes it will build on the performance of the outgoing Cruze Turbo Diesel. Chevrolet is sticking with the plan, said Reuss: “The Cruze Diesel is too good not to do it.”

 

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/gms-mark-reuss-chevrolet-cruze-diesel-and-cadillac-diesels-are-on-track/

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2017 Bentley Mulsanne facelift spied

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The spy shots suggest the styling tweaks for the facelifted car will be subtle, with a revised grille and air intakes. Black cladding partially obscures the new LED headlights, while the redesigned fascia creates a smoother overall shape, with particular focus paid to the front wings.

 

 

The bluff rear of the Mulsanne’s bootlid has also been made smoother, with minimal changes to the rear lights and bumper. The most noticeable alterations for the long-wheelbase version are the elongated rear doors and extended glasshouse.

The twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V8 engine, which was completely refreshed for the Mulsanne when it was launched in 2010, is expected to remain unchanged, with 505bhp and 752lb ft of torque. Bentley remains tight-lipped on details about the facelift, but with a hybrid Bentayga SUV already confirmed for production, a hybrid powertrain is likely to appear in the Mulsanne too, as previewed in 2014 in the Mulsanne-based Bentley Hybrid Concept.

 

 

The facelifted Mulsanne range is tipped to be followed by revised versions of the Brooklands coupé and Azure convertible, along with a production version of the Bentley Grand Convertible concept revealed at last year’s Los Angeles motor show.

 

Source: http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/2017-bentley-mulsanne-facelift-spied-0

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2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Spied in Production-Spec Four-Door SuperCrew Body

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When Ford’s all-new 2017 F-150 Raptor made its debut at last year’s Detroit auto show, it was in stubbier extended cab “SuperCab” form. But the truck will also be offered as a larger SuperCrew cab with four forward-hinged doors, and these photos of an undisguised prototype give us our best view yet at what the new four-door version will look like.

 

 

Unlike the four-door Raptor prototype that we saw testing off-road, this version wears the production model’s new front fascia (instead of a regular F-150’s nose), with “F-O-R-D” once again spelled out in the center of the Raptor-specific all-black mesh grille, the slatted hood, the unique front bumper that allows for steeper approach angles, and the front skid plate clearly visible underneath. The prototype also clearly shows the Raptor’s unique front and rear fenders, and the knobby off-road tires on black, six-spoke wheels.

 

 

The SuperCrew has the same 5.5-foot cargo box as the two-door SuperCab, and naturally it also will share the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 (promised to out-muscle the previous, 411-hp 6.2-liter V-8) and ten-speed automatic.

 

Source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/2017-ford-f-150-raptor-spied-in-production-spec-four-door-supercrew-body/

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