2015 Lincoln MKS Wears Secret Trim Updates for Houston Auto Show

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2015 Lincoln MKSIt took a few minutes to realize what exactly was new about the 2015 MKS versus the previous refresh – introduced in the 2012 model-year.

But are any of these changes outlined below in the press release, per usual? Not exactly. As far as Lincoln Media and Lincoln.com are concerned, the 2015 MKS does not exist yet.

Even so, here is a slightly updated model in Houston last month. The key detail change? New LINCOLN badging across the trunk-lid, right above a new chrome handle hiding the backup camera lens.

2014 MKS

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Is that it? Well, we also do not see this golden dark red in the colors guide for the 2014 model-year.

This huge and affordable American luxury car is priced from $38,000 as a front-drive 3.7-liter V6. An AWD version of this engine is offered, as is an AWD EcoBoost model.

2015 Lincoln MKS

2015 Lincoln MKS

 

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat – Side Exhaust Mystery + 150 New Photos

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The 2015 Challenger Hellcat is currently on track to be one of the most popular SRT upgrades ever.

And little wonder. What other musclecar has ever achieved 707-horsepower!?

Two in-person sightings of the Hellcat since its static debut at Elkhart Lake last summer: first at the Houston Auto Show, where we find an unusual side-exhaust ahead of the passenger wheel….. and next at the Mecum Auction in Kissimmee, Florida last week.

Based on the anoraks at Hellcat.org forums, we believe the side exhaust is just a prototype testing detail, and not on the production cars.2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 20 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 21 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 222015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 23

We have a few zoomed images of the side exhaust outlet, plus the official monroney sticker. This may or may not just be a sample Hellcat dealer sticker. It does not mention anything about the side exhaust.

Despite the forum chatter above, this does appear to be a production model on the Houston show stand. We do not have a passenger-side shot of the dealer car from Florida, unfortunately. So it is a bit mysterious still.

Lastly, we have a variety of official Dodge photos of the new black hood option.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

 

 

 

 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT

 

 

 

2015 Hyundai Equus on Hyperdrive Evolution in Chase for S-Class Clients

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2015 Hyundai EquusAny student of Darwin, or perhaps Pavlov, will know that the secret to exceptionally rapid evolution is simple: short generation gaps.

As the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has evolved since 1910, Hyundai had serious ground to make up with the Equus in 2009 or whenever it launched in the US. This type of goverment limo has always been popular domestically in Asian markets — but bringing the Equus abroad was always going to be big news for Hyundai.

This Equus for 2015 is perhaps the fourth or fifth generation of updates since the basic bones launches on the previous Genesis chassis a half-dozen years ago. Made extra rigid, lengthened and widened, loaded with tech and sealed in rubber for isolation and road noise suppression, the Equus was a vehicle on a mission.

2014 model-year was all about internal tech updates and touchscreens front and big screens in back. 2015 is about updating the exterior for some major valet panache and golf-club gravitas.

You might think the hypothetical Equus buyer does not exist. We certainly did. But at the Houston Auto Show preview gala, we spotted a live one. This gentleman is a true luxury status-quo rejecter right out of a marketing strategy powerpoint. Someone who does not believe the S-Class is better just *because.*2015 Hyundai Equus 52015 Hyundai Equus 12

THE TARGET BUYER

These folks want to make their own decision. They want to find value in even an ultra-lux limousine costing more than $70,000.

SOunds fake, right?

This gent proves it is real. Glass of cabernet in hand, he heard the specs and size of the new Equus with great interest.

Next steps? A test drive loaner for him to sample a few days.

Every conquest in this hyper-drive evolution of Hyundai luxury cars is more than an S-Class conquest. It is someone who will never buy an S-Class again.

Darwin would readily explain that these aberrations are the true mark of an rapidly advancing species.

2015 Hyundai Equus

 

 2015 Hyundai Equus

Houston Auto Show – 2015 BMW X5 M Looks Mean, But Logos Nearly Invisible

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Houston Auto Show - 2015 BMW X5 MPerhaps this is the new BMW M strategy for M trucks – small badges. Whatever the case, it is increasingly difficult to know which car is the X5 M and which is the X5 xDrive50i M Sport.

Even so, the performance is the main selling point of this hot new muscle-truck.

The giant footwear and unique chinstrap bumper design are the clearest signs that this is the X5 M versus an M Sport X5. That and the ridiculous pace, of course.

2015 BMW X5 M

 

Houston Auto Show - 2015 BMW X5 M

 

 

 

Houston Auto Show – 2015 BMW 228i xDrive Convertible in Luxury Trim

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2015 BMW 228i xDrive ConvertibleThe new 228i Convertible joins the 235i in the BMW range as the smallest and most affordable ragtop BMWs since the first-gen Z3 of the 1990s.

We’re excited to report that the style of the new 2 series convertible really looks fantastic. The car’s distinctive nose and new kidney design is ultra subtle, but very new actually versus cars like the current 5 series.

As evidence of BMW’s utter brilliance in product variations: this new ragtop even offers xDrive AWD. No demerits in ride height, either. Clever stuff — and the xDrive 228i has an extra 60 pound-feet of torque versus the rear-drive 228i, so that they are equal in approximately 6.0-second sprint times to 60-mph.

2015 BMW 228i xDrive Convertible

 

2015 BMW 228i xDrive Convertible

 

Houston Auto Show – Camp JEEP – Animated Action Sequences!

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camp jeep gcThe Houston Auto Show brought some really cool drive experiences inside the convention center this year: with Camp Jeep a real highlight and crowd-pleaser.

It might not seem realistic to simulate off-roading with ultra-steep ramps, buck-board surfaces and steeply tilted later angles. But based on the screams and smiles of drivers sampling Jeep hill-descent-controls and off-road prowess, we’d say the internal thrills and G-forces are authentic!

Enjoy these two brief sequences of the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee making their ways down a 45-degree ridge. Smooth and under control, like true off-road pros.

Houston Auto Show – Camp JEEP – Animated Action Sequences!Houston Auto Show - Camp JEEP 30 Houston Auto Show - Camp JEEP 29

2015 Jeep Cherokee

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2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee

 

 

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Houston Auto Show Debuts – 2015 Mazda3 Ti Edition Rocks Gloss-Black Body Styling

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2015 Mazda3 Ti EditionThe new Mazda3 Ti Edition joins a revised Mazda6 and CX-5 on Mazda showroom floors early this year, but had an advanced outing at the Houston Auto Show. This fall, the Mazda range gets really thrilling: the new 2016 MX-5 and hot CX-3 will join in the Zoom-Zoom fun.

Production-ready with a window sticker, this new Mazda3 Ti Edition jazzes up the exceptional Mazda3 with some really cool style additions: titanium metallic wheels are joined by a sweet body kit all around in contrast gloss-black. The lower splitter, side sills and rear diffuser are all a pure and silky dark shade that also appears on a rear venturi strafe between the exhaust pipes. A matte-finish accent graphic joins the rear fenders, just below the tinted glass and de-chromed window-frames.

The effect is subtle but very convincing: this Ti Edition Mazda3 now looks as cool outside as it drives and handles from inside.

The Houston Auto Show runs January 21st through the 25th at the NRG Convention Center – this fast-growing auto show is a great showcase of the latest new cars from all brands, plus a giant drive experience center and aftermarket displays packing more than 200 exotic and classic cars.

Check out all the details and get directions at the link below!

http://www.houstonautoshow.com/

 

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2015 Mazda3 Ti Edition

 

Houston Auto Show – 2015 Jeep Renegade Inside and Out in 45 New Photos

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2015 Jeep RenegadeThe Renegade is the second Jeep we have absolutely hated upon first sight, but really warmed up to as the style sunk in and was seen in the flesh.

Visiting the Jeep stand at the Houston Auto Show this week confirms the cool and chunky stance of the Renegade, as a right-sized compact SUV. The ultra-traditional tall windshield and functional upper bodywork maximize cabin and storage space, with the Jeep heritage styling cues at once both very modern but also classic. If the new Cherokee is almost Cayenne-like in its swoopiness from the rear three-quarter angle, the new Renegade harks back to the first-gen Cherokee in its blockiness.

Huge round lamps and a near-vertical grille are fun aspects of the design, while this Trailhawk trim and its chunky rubber tires, off-road body cladding and cool Jeep badges hidden everywhere are all fun to take in up close. We especially like the interplay of the dark tinted glass with the gloss-black middle roof sections. These design traits help the new Renegade feel even taller and blockier than it is. Subtle fender flares are near invisible from the side profile view, but actually bulge out dramatically when viewed from front of rear angles.

Overall, the new Renegade is a solid entry to the Jeep range. The model is expected in showrooms around April of May of this year, with standard front-drive but optional AWD and a very modern cabin tech suite. The back seat is a bit tight for tall legs, but headroom abounds and the easy-folding mechanism for the second row makes for one practical and efficient Jeep Junior.

The Renegade’s base price-point is expected to be just below $20,000, with the loaded AWD Trailhawk trim like this one a likely $28,000. Solid competition for the new Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Chevy Trax and Mazda CX-3.

You can check out the new Renegade at all the major auto shows this season, with details on how to visit Houston’s very impressive show this week down at the footer of the article, along with links to buy tickets in advance.

2015 Jeep Renegade

Houston Auto Show

Tickets

Admission

Tickets are sold at NRG Center box office. The box office opens 15 minutes prior to show opening and closes 1 hour prior to show closing.

2015 Jeep Renegade