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Ford Shelby GT350S Mustang Race Car

The arrival of the 2015 Ford Mustang not only brought many changes to America’s iconic muscle car, but also gave rise to several questions as to what high-performance models would be built around it. There’s been a lot of talk about several Shelby nameplates being dropped with the new generation, but although the GT500 has yet to receive a successor, Ford did roll out a GT350 model and a more track-focused GT350R that promises to become the most potent Mustang on the race track.

Speaking of racing, Ford is still using the previous Boss 302S in the Pirelli World Challenge, but that might also change very soon. Though Ford has yet to confirm it, Shelby brand manager Jim Owens let it slip that a race version of the current Mustang is underway and that it will be named the GT350S.

Details are obviously very slim at this point, but, that didn’t stop us from speculating on what the GT350S might be about. As usual, we also commissioned our talented artist to make a rendering of this upcoming race car to go with the my speculative review. Join me below to find our more about the Shelby GT350S.

Continue reading to learn more about the Shelby GT350S.

Ford Shelby GT350S Mustang Race Car originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 13:00 EST.

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Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta Drag Races: Video

The 458 Speciale Aperta has a lot of exceptional traits going for it. Not only is it gorgeous to look at and blazingly quick to drive, it’s also got one helluva engine. Mounted just behind the cabin space is a 4.5-liter flat-crank V-8 that produces 597 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, all without the benefit of forced induction. No snails on the exhaust manifold means it’ll rev all the up to 9,000 rpm, producing one of the loveliest exhaust notes to come from Maranello along the way.

Limited to just 499 units, this drop-top two-door is the most powerful NA V-8-motivated spider variant that Ferrari has ever produced, making it a rather rare find. Thankfully, the owner of this particular 458 Speciale Aperta saw fit to use the sports car properly, pitting it in a series of drag races against other high-end performance vehicles.

Going head-to-head from a dig with the stripey prancing horse, you’ll find a BMW i8, an Audi RS 4 Avant, a Nissan GT-R, and a Mk. IV Toyota Supra. By the look and sound of some of these cars, it’s pretty clear that there’s a bit extra lying under the hood, which comes in handy when challenging the Ferrari’s 0-to-60 time of less than three seconds.

After the races, there’s a brief taste of that sonorous Italian powerplant as it revs at a standstill with the camera parked just a few feet behind the dual exhaust. What do you think – is this proof of the 488’s inherent turbocharged inferiority?

Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta Drag Races: Video originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 12:00 EST.

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Daimler Also Plans To Build Home Batteries

Daimler Automotive Group, the German multinational that owns Mercedes-Benz, will offer stationary energy storage solutions for industrial, commercial, and private residential use. ACCUmotive, a Daimler subsidiary that was initially formed in 2009 to develop vehicle-focused lithium-ion technology, will operate the project. It’s expected the project will expand greatly in the fall, including sales and distribution networks around the world.

The moves echo similar sentiments from Tesla Motors. Elon Musk has previously stated a desire to sell stationary battery packs similar to those found in the Model S for in-home use, storing electricity from renewable and off-peak sources.

Meanwhile, Daimler has been working toward repurposing its road-going battery tech for stationary use since 2012, and has already established its first large-scale industrial energy storage setup on Germany’s electricity grid to help smooth out delivery in the Saxony-Kamenz area. The setup uses 96 lithium-ion batteries with over 500 kWh of energy storage. Daimler is expected to expand that figure to 3,000 kWh in the coming weeks.

“Mercedes-Benz energy storage systems are the best proof that lithium-ion batteries made in Germany are a model for the future, and not just in cars,” said Mercedes-Benz Cars head of electrics/electronic development and E-Drive, Harald Kroger. “With our comprehensive battery knowhow at Deutsche ACCUmotive, we can accelerate the energy revolution both on the road and in the power of businesses and households.”

Continue reading for the full story.

Daimler Also Plans To Build Home Batteries originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 11:00 EST.

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Self-Driving Cars, Timeline

Disruptive innovation. Disruptive. Innovation. You know, I think that might be my favorite two-word phrase of all time. Better than “first car” or “first kiss,” better than “Buick Regal,” “I do” or even “Your place.” There’s just something about those words that sings true to everything right (or at least constructively anarchist) in my being.

Disruptive innovation.

Punk rock.

An innovation is said to be “disruptive” when it forces a rapid enough change to an entire market that those involved will either be forced to adopt an entirely new business model, or shut doors forever. It creates entirely new markets and value systems by designing for a new set of consumers, and eventually drops prices for existing consumers. Some examples might include the Model T for automobiles, Wikipedia for traditional encyclopedias, LEDs for light bulbs, computer printing to movable type, and of course (here’s looking at you, kid), the internet. Disruptive innovation is like the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs; it’s London burning and plague rats rolled into one – particularly if you happen to get caught on the wrong side of it.

Here in this century – nevermind electric cars or clean energy – self-driving cars will almost certainly prove to be the most disruptive innovation since the steam engine. Or at least the Model T. Not just to the automobile industry, either; to every industry with which automobiles are even tangentially connected, including mining, manufacturing and of course, energy. That might sound like hyperbole, but you can bet that the guys with the big wallets take this looming disruption very seriously indeed.

You have to wonder if the dinosaurs did the same – just before it was too late to matter.

In this two-part article, we’re first going to look at the surprisingly long timeline of the self-driving car, from the first radio control systems proposed all the way back at the 1939 World’s Fair, to the ultimate evolution of its visionary concept. We’re going to go way past the “Level 4” self-driving systems most people imagine when they hear the words “autonomous car,” and crank this disruptively technological dial all the way up to 11. You might be surprised at how close we already are to unbelievable things, how much closer we’re getting to the almost unimaginable, and how much we already owe to those who imagined those things first.

The second half of this article will be something like the second half of the “Future of Electric Cars,” published last month. In the second part, we’re going to go into the social (and more importantly) economic aspects of the self-driving systems we’ll have soon. There’s a reason manufacturers and oil barons are terrified of these things; you’ll find out exactly why they fear this particular asteroid so much in the second half.

Then again, it’s not as though they didn’t have plenty of warning. Unlike the dinosaurs, auto manufacturers have seen this fireball coming for almost a century. And that’s where we start – with the first glimpse of one disruptive innovation, and a techno-punk vision that will shape our future.

Continue reading for the full story.

Self-Driving Cars, Timeline originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 10:00 EST.

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Aston Martin Unveils Vantage GTE Art Car Created By Tobias Rehberger

When talking about art cars, the BMW Art Car Project is definetely the most iconic example that comes to mind. From the race cars painted by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol in the 1970s to the most recent M3 GT2 of Jeff Koons, the BMW Art Car Project is proof that cars and art can mix together in a brilliant way. It’s been exactly 40 years since the first art car, Calder’s 3.0 CSL, raced at Le Mans, and the world’s greatest endurance event will see yet another one battle for glory. This time around though, an Aston Martin Vantage GTE is the proud bearer of the art and Tobias Rehberger, the artist that created it.

The car Aston Martin Racing unveiled at the official race instection in the town of Le Mans on June 8th is actually the No. 97 Vantage GTE racing enthusiasts might know for its Gulf livery. However, instead of the usual blue-and-orange suit, the coupe will wear a special livery based on a geometric optical effect pattern during the race. The new paint job was commissioned by the owner of the car, a long-time admirer of German sculptor Tobias Rehberger, who is renowned for his abstract art and optical effects. Much like the rest of Rehberger’s work, the Vantage GTE is about “distorted perception and related phenomena like auto moving patterns, optical effects, camouflage and visual confusion.”

The car will be driven by Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Robert Bell in next weekend’s race at Circuit de la Sarthe in the LM GTE Pro class.

Continue reading for the full story.

Aston Martin Unveils Vantage GTE Art Car Created By Tobias Rehberger originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 09:00 EST.

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Koenigsegg One:1 Laps Spa-Francorchamps With Adrian Sutil: Video

With Koenigsegg having built only 6 units (plus the one show car) of the One:1, just getting a chance to see one is a rare enough occurrence to be a special event. But just looking at a car which has already been around for a while doesn’t make for a particularly great video, so here Shmee got to go on a ride along as F1 driver Adrian Sutil took the monster of a car for a few laps around Spa Francorchamps. There’s very little drama in the ride along, as you expect with an F1 driver behind the wheel, but the car is incredibly fast, and it sounds absolutely amazing. My favorite part of the video is at 0:50. The closeup of the carbon-fiber wheel says more than words could on what the One:1 is all about. Amazing.

The One:1 isn’t really a model unto itself, it is the lightest and most powerful version of the Agera, getting its name from the 1:1 ratio of 1,360 PS (1,341 horsepower) to 1,360kg (2,992 pounds) of curb weight. This kind of power-to-weight ratio is obviously very rare in a road car, and the car takes just 20 seconds to reach 248 mph. It uses the same 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 as the other versions of the Agera, just with the power turned up a bit more. To compare, the original Agera didn’t quite clear 1,000 horsepower and the second-most powerful version (the Agera R) has 1,200 horsepower.
Continue reading for more.

Koenigsegg One:1 Laps Spa-Francorchamps With Adrian Sutil: Video originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 08:00 EST.

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Toyota & Mazda Developing Small Electric SUV

It’s no mystery that Toyota and Mazda have agreed to join forces in a technological sense. Now, a new report claims that some of the details surrounding this deal have leaked out. According to the report, Toyota is helping Mazda create an EV crossover and Mazda is allowing Toyota to use its 1.5-liter, super-thrifty Skyactiv-D engine.

The main focus here is what Mazda is getting out of the deal, as it has revolutionized the art of milking every last mile from each gallon of fuel recently. This movement to electrification could be an indicator that Skyactiv technology is about as advanced as it can get without a little boost.

What’s more, building an electric SUV and other EVs will help Mazda with the ever-tightening emission laws and the Zero Emission Vehicle regulations that are due to hit California in 2018.

This electric SUV will reportedly use Toyota’s plug-in hybrid technology and fuel-cell technology to hit its goal. The latter of the two technologies will help put potential buyers’ minds at ease regarding the battery’s range, as refilling the hydrogen tanks is not much different than filling gas tanks in existing cars.

It is whether the U.S. will get this crossover or not, but chances are we will at some point.

On the Toyota side of the equation, a source claims that Toyota will use the 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D engine in a small hybrid SUV. Thanks to the high fuel economy of the Skyactiv-D engine, this Prius-based SUV could travel up to 800 km (497 miles) on a tank of diesel fuel and a fully charged battery.

In addition to the hybrid SUV, look for Toyota to spread this thrifty diesel engine across its lineup, including the Lexus brand.

Continue reading for the full story.

Toyota & Mazda Developing Small Electric SUV originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 07:00 EST.

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German Mechanics Break Record for Fastest Tire Change: Video

Records come and records go, and one of the latest to fall is the fastest wheel change without the use of power tools. The above video shows you this fairly impressive feat.

The video shows four guys completing a wheel swap on a car with only a tire iron and a pair of jacks in 59.62 seconds. There are a few minor issues here and there, like the fact that you could see some of the guys were not tightening the lug nuts in the recommended crisscross pattern and none of them tightened the lug nuts to their required torque.

Regardless of the semantics of lug nut torque, I have to say that jacking up a car and swapping out the wheels in under a minute is pretty damn cool. What’s more, these four guys beat the standing record by a whopping 24.23 seconds. That’s quite an impressive feat indeed.

According to some of the commenters on the YouTube page, this record is a regular one to fall, and has fallen several times in the past decade. Despite its frequency of defeat, I think the 24-second gap between this record and the last one indicates that these guys will likely own this record for some time.

So kick back and enjoy this video, but take these guys’ process with a grain of salt. As a former mechanic, I can tell you to never remove the wheels of a car while it is in the air without jack stands, never lift both sides of a car at once with two jacks, and always torque your car’s lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications – “that’s tight enough” isn’t a safe policy.

German Mechanics Break Record for Fastest Tire Change: Video originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 06:00 EST.

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2015 Volvo V60 T5 Review: Long-term report one

If there’s one thing we love discussing in the CarAdvice offices, it’s the “pick of the range”. That’s where we sit and chat about which model in a brand’s line-up is the sweetheart of the bunch – the perfect blend of practicality, pricing, equipment and power. We had such a hearty discussion when we chose […]

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Aston Martin Vantage GTE art car will race in 24 Hours of Le Mans

An Aston Martin Vantage GTE art car designed by Tobias Rehberger will race in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The German abstract artist was commissioned by the owner of the number 97 car, who has, reportedly, been an long-time admirer of Rehberger’s work. With carefully placed lines and blocks of colour, Rehberger has […]

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2016 Hyundai iMax facelift spied

CarAdvice’s spy photographers have captured a facelifted version of the Hyundai iMax undergoing testing on public roads in Germany. The silver prototype wears black camouflage material over its front and rear panels, hiding styling tweaks for the updated iMax people-mover and its commercial van sibling, the iLoad, that are expected to reach Australia in the […]

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2015 Toyota Corolla hatch pricing and specifications

A new two-pronged styling line-up, comfort-focused suspension and steering revisions, improved fuel economy and equipment upgrades headline the updates for the 2015 Toyota Corolla hatch that’s now on sale in Australia. The hatchback versions of Australia’s top-selling car now feature two distinct appearances, with the entry-level Corolla Ascent and Ascent Sport variants based on the […]

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