Combining moving visuals - slow-motion camera shots, impossible angles, beautiful scenery and, of course, ridiculously fast rally cars - with compelling storylines is a sure-fire way to win some friends in the Autoblog offices. And that's exactly what the video you'll see below has to offer.
As a teaser for a full-length documentary called Easier Said Than Done that's slated to be released on September 28th (internet release coming on October 1st), this video succeeds in whetting our appetites for the rest of the show - promising footage shot in eight countries over a period of 18 months - while leaving enough to the imagination that our ridiculously short attention spans aren't left too far behind.
Check out the video below, then set a reminder in your calendar for the end of September to watch the rest.
Easier Said Than Done rally documentary trailer shivers our timbers originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Toys/Games
Lego has announced that the Mars Rover Curiosity will become the Danish company's next user-designed Cuusoo set to reach store shelves. The company's Cuusoo program allows anyone to submit an idea for a Lego set that could make it to production. After having been among a small group of sets to receive at least 10,000 votes - the minimum required - in the 2012 Fall Review on the Lego Cuusoo site, the Mars Rover Curiosity then survived an exhaustive review process, which not all sets do (sorry, UCS Sandcrawler), before receiving final approval from the company. While it got the nod, pricing and availability is yet to be determined as the set continues being developed for mass production. Scroll down to watch Lego make the announcement on video.
The Mars Rover Curiosity Lego set actually has an interesting back story. Its designer, listed as Perijove on the set's official Cuusoo page, is a mechanical engineer who worked on the real Mars Rover Curiosity at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which means his recreation of the rover is highly accurate, not only in how it looks, but also in the details and all of its moving parts. Perijove states that the purpose of his model is "to continue the educational outreach for this incredible mission." The timing couldn't have been better, as the set became popular on the Lego Cuusoo site in late Summer 2012 when the real Curiosity rover touched down and began rolling around on the surface of Mars.
The last set to make it all of the way through Lego's Cuusoo program was the Lego Back to the Future DeLorean, which received approval for production last December. Other autos-related Cuusoo sets that received 10,000+ votes and are scheduled for production review include an incredibly detailed Land Rover Defender 110 and minifig-scale Batman Tumblr.
Lego approves fan-made Mars Rover Curiosity set for production [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 19:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: PodcastsNHTSA fires back at Chrysler, Dodge shutdown rumors, possible return of the Toyota Supra, SRT taking Viper to LeMans
Episode #337 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Zach Bowman and Jeff Ross talk about the possibility of the Dodge brand being shut down, rumors of a new Toyota Supra, NHTSA's response to Chrysler's recall reluctance, and SRT taking the Viper back to LeMans. Of course we start with the garage and end with your questions and comments. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #337:
- NHTSA chief on requested Jeep recall
- Dodge on the way out?
- New Toyota Supra possibly on the horizon
- SRT heading back to LeMans
Runtime: 01:40:38 Get the podcast:
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Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com
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Detroit's Big Three could become the Big Two. According to an AP report in The Detroit News, state officials have been lobbying for Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne to select Tennessee as the location for Fiat's joint headquarters with Chrysler Group LLC.
This weekend, Marchionne met with Tennessee governor Bill Haslam at a ceremony celebrating the expansion of a Fiat subsidiary plant in the city of Pulaski. The AP report does not mention any serious talks about headquarters relocation, only that Tennessee officials have been "working me over pretty well," according to Marchionne.
Fiat hopes to complete its merger with the Auburn Hills-based automaker sometime next year, and earlier reports have stated that the company is seeking $10 billion in financing to buy the remaining bits of Chrysler. If the company were to relocate, it would join Nissan and Volkswagen in having major American automotive operations in Tennessee. Of course, that whole "Imported From Detroit" thing would need to go out the window...Permalink | Email this | Comments
Volkswagen has officially built 30 million Golf units since the first hatch rolled off the assembly line in early 1974. The company says the accomplishment has cemented the compact's place as the most successful European car ever built, though we imagine the original Beetle might have something to say about that. Even so, Volkswagen says that statistically speaking, the company has sold 2,000 Golf units for every day of production. Chew on that notion for a moment. The Golf has remained relevant over the past four decades thanks to a steady stream of generational updates, and last year, the Volkswagen Golf took the honor of being named the World Car of the Year.
A Golf TDI was the 30 millionth unit produced, and Volkswagen says the machine will be on display at the automaker's Wolfsburg facility. You can read the full press release below for more information, including a generational breakdown of each Golf model.Permalink | Email this | Comments
While mobile navigation for cars has evolved into a staple, in-cabin feature, motorcyclists have been stuck with paper maps and aftermarket solutions for years. A new Russian company is out to change that with a helmet that boasts integrated nav. LiveMap uses a microphone, light sensor, ear phone and micro display to convey pertinent travel information in full color that the rider can control using voice commands. The system works just like the heads up display found in modern fighter jets.
The system projects directions in the center of the rider's visor rather than in the upper right hand corner as with Google Glass. The team behind the development says this actually safer since the light sensor keeps the directions transparent no matter what the time of day. It also allows the rider to stay focused on what's ahead of the bike. An integrated gyroscope and digital compass keeps the projection oriented correctly even as the user tilts his head or leans the bike. Very cool.
The LiveMap helmet is supposed to offer up to a day's worth of use thanks to a pair of lithium-ion batteries, though a USB charge plug can provide extra juice when necessary. Right now, LiveMap is sourcing funding through Indiegogo. The company is looking to raise $150,000 to create a working prototype. After that, production models could cost around $2,000. That's steep, but hopefully the cost could come down over additional generations. Check out the introductory video below for more information.
LiveMap develops augmented reality motorcycle helmet originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Chrysler made big news earlier in the month by refusing a recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty. Last week, NHTSA boss David Strickland countered by defending his agency's request for the recall of 2.7 million Jeep SUVs. Today marked the deadline for Chrysler to formally respond to NHTSA, and it seems that both parties have met in the middle with Chrysler inspecting and upgrading some of the affected vehicles without using the word "recall," which would constitute the admission of a defect; instead, Chrysler said that it is conducting a "voluntary campaign."
At issue on these vehicles is the positioning of the fuel tank behind the rear axle that could get damaged during a rear-end collision. NHTSA has stated that at least 51 people have been killed in rear-end collisions involving these Jeeps after the vehicles caught fire, to which Chrysler countered by pointing out that both models "met and exceeded" the requirements for fuel-system integrity.
As a compromise on the situation, Chrysler says that it will inspect all pre-2004 Grand Cherokees and pre-2007 Liberty models and, "if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle." According to Automotive News, this upgrade will consist of adding a trailer hitch that will presumably better protect the rear-mounted gas tank. Vehicles already equipped with a factory or Mopar hitch will not be modified. Chrysler's official statement on the matter is posted below, but no additional information has been released, such as when the campaign will begin and how many vehicles could be affected.
Chrysler resolves recall issue with NHTSA, will inspect, upgrade affected Jeeps originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 16:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
As Fiat prepares to expand the lineup of the 500 with the roomier 500L, the Italian automaker has just announced a further addition to its enlarged hatchback offering. While the standard 500L has a five-passenger seating configuration, the new 500L Living brings a third row of seats, upping capacity to seven passengers.
Based on the specs Fiat released, the 500L Living has had its overall length stretched by about eight inches to accommodate the extra seats, while width and height stay about the same. We still have no word on the wheelbase of this new model versus the 500L. Fiat also says that the 500L Living will have a luggage capacity of 22.5 cubic feet (we assume that number is with the rear seats folded, which is smaller than that of the five-passenger 500L (12.1 cu-ft with rear seats up and 46.2 cu-ft with rear seats down).
European sales of the 500L Living will commence this summer, but there is no mention as to if or when this seven-passenger Fiat could be offered in the US, to compete against the likes of the Mazda5, Ford Transit Connect Wagon and Nissan NV200. Scroll down for the more information on this new Fiat model.Permalink | Email this | Comments
So then we asked, "Well, what does that mean?"We met Andreas Sigl, the global director of Infiniti's Formula One involvement (that's him above on the right), at the US Grand Prix in Austin last year, and our questions to him were aimed at understanding what Infiniti was doing and where it intended to go. In spite of regard for its products and increased sales, few outside - and even inside - Infiniti seemed to have a clear idea of what the brand stood for.
Its F1 partnership with Red Bull Racing was a key example of that. A brand with no motorsports pedigree - save for a listless dalliance with Indycar and the Infiniti Pro Series - was suddenly married to the world's marquee racing series, but one being continually declined by other brands and even its own entrants for a lack of relevance to road cars. The introduction of the Infiniti FX Vettel Edition didn't clarify matters; we still didn't understand how Infiniti logos on Adrian Newey's chassis' made the G, M, FX, et al any better - or who was even supposed to make the connection - and if we were exceedingly cynical we could have said the terrifically expensive Sebastian Vettel-fettled FX mutant was a marketing mission that needed a hand grenade but instead got a high-impulse thermobaric weapon.
Seven months after that Austin Q&A with Sigl, during which time Infiniti has become title sponsor of Red Bull Racing and publicly anointed Sebastian Vettel its Director of Performance, we met Sigl again in Montreal during the Canadian F1 Grand Prix. It was there we got an answer to what Infiniti stands for: "We've boiled the brand down to the four 'p's," he said. "Performance, passion, precision and provocation."
So then we asked, "Well, what does that mean?", and Sigl gave us some background on what's been happening behind the scenes of the partnership.
Infiniti gets boiled down to four P's: Performance, passion, precision, provocation originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 15:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Buick first showed the facelifted 2014 LaCrosse at this year's New York Auto Show, and General Motors' luxury-ish arm has now confirmed that pricing for the updated sedan will start at $34,060 (*including $925 for destination), a increase of $1,505 over the 2013 model.
Buyers will be treated to an updated appearance, both inside and out. On the outside, tweaks were made to the LaCrosse's front and rear fascias, and new wheels are on offer (though the ones seen on the car pictured above seem to have been simply pulled from the 2011 Regal Turbo). Inside, there's a much cleaner center stack layout, complete with a standard eight-inch reconfigurable touchscreen IntelliLink interface. Buick is also offering a new Ultra Luxury interior package ($2,495), featuring Tamo Ash wood throughout the cabin, black synthetic suede on the headliner and leather seats in a new sangria color. Standalone options include different wheels, Bose audio, rear seat entertainment, navigation and a sunroof.
The 2014 LaCrosse's base powertrain is the trusty 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with eAssist, which is capable of achieving up to 36 miles per gallon on the highway. But for folks wanting more power, a 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 is available as a no-cost option, available with either front- or all-wheel drive.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mitsubishi has already announced that it will be returning as a competitor to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a pair of all-electric MiEV Evolution II racecars. In addition to these entrants, the automaker will also be the presenting sponsor of the race as well as providing the official safety vehicles to the event using specially prepped versions of the 2014 Outlander and Lancer Evolution.
While it isn't clear what exactly will be demanded of the safety vehicles, this isn't going to your run-of-the-mill pace car duty. To get the Outlander and Evo ready for the 156-turn, 12.42-mile course, Mitsubishi teamed up with companies such as BBS, Cobb Tuning, AEM and Muellerized Suspension Systems as well as DC Sports and Kenwood to create these one-off safety cars. These vehicles, and all the racecars, will be at Pikes Peak later this month for the 91st running of America's second-oldest racing event. Scroll down for the official press release.
Mitsubishi Outlander, Evo to keep things safe at Pikes Peak originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 13:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
While Jerry Seinfeld was gallivanting around LA with Sarah Silverman in a Jaguar XKE, our favorite car-loving comedian, Jay Leno, was checking out the all-new 2014 Cadillac ELR. Set to go on sale later this year, Cadillac brought its ELR to Jay Leno's Garage to show off some of its styling and technology as well as give Leno some seat time in the range-extended EV. Leno owns both a Volt and a CTS-V, and the ELR is a kind combination of the two (sort of).
In this episode, Leno spends some time talking to Frank Saucedo, GM director of advanced design, and ELR chief engineer Chris Thomason before logging a few miles on the sleek coupe. Interestingly, it seems that GM has definitely changed its tune a little since the introduction of the Volt a couple years ago; Saucedo and Leno both refer to the ELR as a hybrid, and Thomason says that it gets the "bulk of its propulsion" from the electric motors. Whatever you want to call it, scroll down to watch the latest episode of JLG with some great information and driving shots of the plug-in Cadillac.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mercedes-Benz has AMG on an impressive growth curve these days, the official name of the effort being Performance 50. By the 50th anniversary of AMG in 2017, the Mercedes performance division will produce 30,000-plus units per year, up from today's 20,000 or so. In addition, AMG will boast a catalog of 30-plus models, and a greater dedication to making AMG cars truly nimble performers in every sense will be a priority. Within that very full agenda, this new CLA45 AMG is certain to be an important contributor on all accounts.
The thrill monitors at AMG have a long-established reputation for creating large, open-road rockets that err on the side of brute force and everyday comfort over zippy, tight-feeling sports car finesse and balance. The strategy has worked wonders for the company's sales ledger and created handsome levels of profit per unit, but entire developing sectors of the premium hot-car market have been knowingly left out of the AMG equation. While there are exceptions, AMG has never been considered a maker of truly agile machinery that's easily tossed around.
The very first thing that we notice while driving the CLA45 AMG - on schedule for North American deliveries beginning in November with a reported starting price of $47,450 - is exactly how lively its new 4Matic chassis can be. It's an entirely new feeling for an AMG, and it's entirely welcome by us. Some will complain about the price being asked for this super CLA-Class, but this little sedan is a true AMG of the new genre, and as such, it might just be something of a bargain.Permalink | Email this | Comments