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Recalls: Several Porsche 918 examples recalled over rear-axle control arm woes

When one dollies up about $845,000 for a new car, expectations for perfection aren’t irrational. But it seems over-engineering and eye-watering price tags still don’t buy perfection as Porsche and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have just issued a recall for five US-spec 918 Spyder supercars over problems with the rear-axle control arms. A total of 45 units worldwide are affected.

There’s a risk of the arms just flat-out breaking under use, and that’s not good by any stretch of means, especially at the speeds the 918 Spyder is capable of. Should a control arm fail, one could immediately lose control of their precious 918. Porsche is obviously on call to repair and replace all affected cars, free of charge.

No incidents and accidents have been reported, though Porsche stumbled upon the issue in June during the 918′s heavy-duty durability testing at the Nardo test track in Italy, where the automaker found and began investigating problematic parts while issuing a stop-sale.

Check out the press release after the jump.

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Report: Volkswagen to execute five-year product cycles in the US

The automobile industry is already fast paced as is, in order to keep customers interested in new products since products that become stale lost interest–this is quite the given.

As a result, Volkswagen Group of America’s Vice President of Quality and Service, Marc Trahan, recently told Edmunds that the People’s Car maker is going to implement five-year product cycles for cars in the US. Currently, the average running time for a model generation lasts for anywhere between six to eight years.

The new move to introduce new model generations every five years should allow Volkswagen to “keep models fresh and attractive.” Trahan didn’t say which models would see shortened lives, first, though this should usher in a radical new change for anyone who directly competes with Volkswagen. If Volkswagen introduces a new model every five years, others will have to do the same in order to keep up.

Speculation suggests the next-gen Jetta and Passats are the first to last only five years, though confirmation hasn’t been published since Volkswagen Group of America’s CEO, Michael Horn, did still say facelifted versions would happen three years after a product gets launched.

- By: Chris Chin

Source: Edmunds


Kia Soul EV offers up to 93-mile range, available for $26,200
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Kia released specifications and pricing on their latest model, a compliance car, that like the standard Soul, resembles a milk carton when entirely white.  Starting at $33,700 (before the $7,500) tax credit, the car’s price is inline with other EVs, save for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which starts at $22,995 before the $7,500 tax credit. Under the hood is a 109 bhp and 210 ft-lbs of torque producing monster antelope; this output is midpack for the class but the 27kWh lithium ion battery pack is not. Kia claims that this car has the best combined range, short of a Tesla Model S (265 miles), at 93 miles. The Chevy Spark EV (82 miles), Fiat 500e (87 miles), Ford Focus Electric (76 miles), Honda Fit EV (82 miles), Nissan Leaf (84 miles), Mitsubishi i-MiEV (62 miles) and Smart ForTwo ED (68 miles) offer lower ranges.

Is there a cost to the extended range? Second only to the 66bhp i-MiEV ‘s 13-second trip to 60 mph, the Kia takes a lengthy 12 seconds to accomplish the feat. For reference, the Chevy Spark EV pulls this off in 7.9 seconds and a Prius takes just over 10 seconds. Furthering its street cred as a green car, Kia has decided to spring for 52 pounds of plant-based interior plastics, which use a cellulose and sugar cane base, which is a first in this segment. Given the distinctive smell of Kia’s interior plastic choices, this can only improve things.

Efficiency ratings for the Soul EV are midpack at 105 MPGe on the combined cycle and as this is a roomy five-door FWD hatch, rear passengers lose only 3 inches off their feet as a result of the battery packs. For more information, check out the press release after the jump.

-By: Sawyer Sutton

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Report: Mazda MX-5 starts out with a 128 horsepower four
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Though we’ve been promised the full specifications of the MX-5 at the Paris Auto Show next month, a couple of details have dribbled out: power will come from a 1.5 liter Skyactiv gasser producing 128 bhp and 106 ft-lbs of torque. Given that Mazda’s stable incorporates quite a few different power outputs for their small four, this will likely be the base engine with optional upgrades, though how big the jump will be to the next level is unclear. Mazda has 181 bhp and 155 bhp options in the ’3, but there could be more options coming out down the road.

Click here for more news on the Mazda MX-5

Further removed from the options list are things like a power operated hard top; the top on the prototypes that have been shown appear to be power operated soft tops and this likely has a lot to do with the car’s 2,200-lb curb weight and a weight savings of 220 lbs over the previous (NC) generation. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more details on the best selling roadster in history that makes up one percent of Mazda’s global sales.

-By: Sawyer Sutton

Sources: Autoblog and Worldcarfans


Land Rover Discovery Sport: Resembles the Ford Explorer less, may offer a stick

Last week, Land Rover foisted their 7 seater quazi Discovery replacement on us. The car depicted above and in the video after the jump should slot in just slightly below the current Disco. With a footprint that is similar to many five-seater SUVs and crossovers such as the Acura MDX etc., the new little Disco offers a two-liter turbo four with an unknown amount of power on tap and fording ability that is somewhere shy of a yard. It offers up approach and departure angles of 25 and 31 with a breakover angle of 21 degrees, nothing to write home about, but an improvement over many cars in this class; given the styling, LR will likely attract buyers who have little interest in these figures.

For those cross shopping offerings from the VW group, BMW, and Mercedes, only time and on road manners will tell if this car will be a viable Q5/Q7-fighter. Though there’s no word on whether it will come stateside, a 6-speed manual transmission is available along with a 9-speed automatic. To scoop one up, you’ll have to wait until early 2015 to pick up the Liverpool-built SUV. For more information, check out the press release after the jump.

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Report: Tesla to offer a $35K car in 3 years, fully autonomous capability in 5

Though Tesla doesn’t seem to have any difficulty with selling its existing $70-90 Model S sedan, the company has an agenda to affect widespread change among the car-buying public. Though we’ve seen this through Elon Musk’s recent tweets about leaving their patents for all to use, the evidence that this is more than just an effort to raise capital comes in the form of comments during an interview with Nikkei.

For the price of a well-optioned family sedan, Tesla promises a more accessible electric car; though most of the compliance car market is floating around this price point, Tesla’s offering will likely offer greater range that the paltry 80 miles that seems to be the high water mark for most cars such as the Chevy Spark EV, Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e, etc. Though the company will be partnering with Toyota to deliver batteries and share electronics know-how, Musk stated that “I think in the long term, all Tesla cars will have auto-pilot capability.” For those of us interested in being more than a piece of meat though, the word “capability” was bandied about, thankfully not suggesting that it would be a defining feature of the cars.

-By: Sawyer Sutton

Source: Nikkei


Report: Mid-engined Corvette Zora ZR1 in the works

Little is known about this car, and given that the Z06 chucks out 650 bhp and costs just south of $80,000; anything turned up to 11 should cause quite a scene. The revisions to the chassis will not be updates to the C7, but major changes to be realized in the C8. For this highly tuned version, the price may start around $150,000 and production numbers will be limited to C6 ZR1 levels, somewhere around 1,500 copies.

As is tradition, the future car will use leaf springs and will go on a diet, likely a re-engineering of the existing aluminum frame and a preference to carbon fiber body panels over the tried-and-true fiberglass. According to Car and Driver, some of these weight saving and performance enhancing techniques have already been developed but the engineering required for mass production is still in process. Though we’re still in the nebulous phase of the next Corvette, one thing will remain unchanged: the use of a small-block V8.

-By: Sawyer Sutton

Source: Car and Driver


AutoNation Hennessey

AutoNation, America’s largest automotive retailer, has announced a partnership with Hennessey Performance to bring the tuner’s performance upgrades to it stores.

AutoNation operates a total of 273 franchises with 33 brands across 15 states.

“We’re excited and honored to team up with AutoNation,” said company founder and president, John Hennessey. “Now performance enthusiasts across the country can come see our specially built vehicles in person, take a test ride and order their new vehicle from AutoNation and then be sent to us for upgrades.”

In order to celebrate the new partnership, AutoNation and Hennessey will be going on a road show to offer customers an up-close look at Hennessey’s latest creations including the Supercharged Chevrolet Silverado and a Hennessey HPE650 Supercharged Chevrolet Corvette. The event will kick off at the AutoNation Chevrolet Fort Lauderdale store on September 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

“The Hennessey Performance vehicles have become the benchmark for high performing supercharged vehicles. We look forward to the kick-off of this program at AutoNation,” said Mike Jackson, Chairman.

More details here.


2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible unveiled – 4 engines available
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BMW has yanked the wraps off their latest convertible, which starts out at just a tick over $38K; over here in the US, we probably will not be getting the diesel, but it seems that a manual transmission is standard equipment for these cars, which will come in the existing 2 series variants: the 220i, 228i, and M235i, each cranking out 184, 245, and 326 horsepower, respectively. Both the 228i and the M235i top out at 155 mph per German green party rules and the latter car should have no trouble getting to 60 mph in five seconds flat when equipped with the 8-speed automatic.

Representing some of the few cars in BMW’s lineup that are in keeping with their heritage, this will likely be the last entry-level rear wheel drive 4-seat convertible with a manual transmission that we will be seeing from the Bavarians for the foreseeable future. The next-generation 1 series has been designated as a front wheel drive car.

BMW touts this car as being the only car in the segment with rear wheel drive, which they say “ensures outstanding dynamics.” The company also desperately wants the consumers to think of this car as an updated version of the 2002, which along with the Isetta, was the salvo of the less-than-profitable company in the late 1960s. Given where the next model is headed, this could be a pretty sought-after car 25 years down the road. If you’re looking to scoop one up, you will have to wait until February of 2015. For more information, check out the press release after the jump.

-By: Sawyer Sutton

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“Turn Around, Don’t Drown” It’s cliched and sounds like something that OSHA might cough up, but as indicated in the video below, it’s decent advice. Thanks to a bit of a hurricane, both a Toyota Sienna and sections of roadway are now slowly making their way out to sea.

Though it’s never enjoyable to watch infrastructure and people getting washed away in weather events, less of California will likely be on fire as a result of this storm, which has claimed the lives of at least two people and has weakened significantly after heading inland. Feel free to check out the video after the jump.

-By: Sawyer Sutton

Source: Road and Track

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