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2017 VW Beetle DUNE Cabriolet – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the Beetle Dune ragtop just what the doctor ordered? Back in September, we tested a VW Beetle Dune, and decided it could be the answer to VW’s Diesel-inspired tummy troubles. While the folks at VW may (still) be reaching for a Super Gulp-size Pepto, we found a much better choice for quick relief. The 2017 VW Beetle DUNE Cabrio. The recipe for the convertible is pretty similar to the Dune hardtop. Based as an homage to the Baja Bugs of yore, all Dune models get a notable bump in the macho department, with a slightly taller ride height (half …

Read more 2017 VW Beetle DUNE Cabriolet – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2016 VW Golf TSI SE – HD Road Test Review + Video

Where does the Golf fit in VW’s great comeback? The Golf has long been the most intellectual, well-travelled and worldly compact hatch.  Despite pricing from the low 20s, the Golf is clearly a classy machine.  A car for those who recoil at the idea of driving just another Corolla or Focus. VW as a ‘cognoscenti special’ in the Golf was badly bruised by the dieselgate scandal.  That much is clear. But there is no TDI badge on the back of this car.  The TSI emblem in back confirms this is a high-tech gasoline turbo engine. Revisions for 2016 now bring …

Read more 2016 VW Golf TSI SE – HD Road Test Review + Video

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2017 Fiat 124 SPIDER – Road Test Review + HD Drive Video

It is 124 Spider week here on CRD! Carl Malek got the joy of hooning the Abarth 124 around Monticello, New York while we were flinging the 124 Lusso around Charleston, SC. Both cars are absolute heroes.  Is any 124 Spider one of those rare cars that you’d love to drive 1000 miles at the drop of a hat? Yes, yes it is. His Abarth slid in with pricing in the mid-30s, while our midspec model with automatic transmission kissed 32k out the door with a few options. For these prices, there is nothing else on the road that will bring …

Read more 2017 Fiat 124 SPIDER – Road Test Review + HD Drive Video

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2016 VW Golf GTI Autobahn Performance Pack – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  It’s easy to love sports cars. They’re usually a ball to drive, fun to look at, and exist solely to make you happy. Who wouldn’t like that? Well, except that a sports car is a selfish thing. They usually seat only two. Or the rear seats are torture devices. They can ride harsh. They can be loud. Trunk space? Ha! As an only car, a sports car is best for the young and unencumbered. Otherwise you’ll need a second car. On roads clogged full of Sports Cars, Sedans, SUVs, CUVs and Trucks… …is a GTI the only vehicle you’ll ever need?The …

Read more 2016 VW Golf GTI Autobahn Performance Pack – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2016 Ford Focus RS – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When Ford first unleashed the Focus RS back in 2002, it was a very tempting piece of forbidden fruit that was exclusive to European roads. 212 horsepower out of a highly-modified turbo Cosworth four ensured a firecracker of a car. The strong demand for this variant prompted Ford to launch a sequel in 2009 that made use of a Volvo designed 2.5 liter turbocharged five cylinder engine to produce just over 300 horsepower in a wrapper that was bolder and more aggressive looking than ever before. Unfortunately it remained out of reach for U.S. buyers who had to make do …

Read more 2016 Ford Focus RS – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

2017 Honda HR-V 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

A Honda HR-V with 2WD and manual transmission. ! Rare barely begins to describe the 6MT on Honda lots nationwide. Perhaps this is an auto-reviewer special!? It’s certainly possible. In the craze for small crossovers, it seems like an automatic is de rigueur, and most buyers are finding the added grip and confidence of All-Wheel Drive (AWD to you and me) a temptation too hard to resist. A while ago, we tested an AWD, CVT, HR-V (OK, it’s alphabet soup) and really liked it. A bit slow perhaps, but with all the brilliant simplicity of design that we think would …

Read more 2017 Honda HR-V 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 FIAT 124 Spider – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

From 1966 through 1978 the Fiat 124 Spider roamed the streets of America, and Europe, and became an icon of a classic, affordable, Pininfarina designed Italian two-seat roadster.  Light and agile, with decent performance, the car appealed to iconoclastic drivers who wanted something different than the heavy muscle cars of the era, and when most Japanese cars looked like the boxes that their parts came in. On the downside, they were much like their British counterparts of the time, like MG’s and Triumphs, in that they weren’t very reliable.  In those days, it was joked that Fiat stood for “Fix …

Read more 2017 FIAT 124 Spider – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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Update1 – Audi Pulls No Punches With 400HP RS3 Sedan

It’s no secret that we love the Audi A3 here at this site, in fact we even had the chance to review the A3 for ourselves recently and loved it. But while the S3 is a tempting treat in its own right, it’s always made us wonder what would happen if Audi took it to the next level? The company has answered this all important question by unveiling the next evolution of the A3, the all new RS3. The headline snatching feature of this tiny track terror is what lies under the hood, with the RS3 packing the same 400 …

Read more Update1 – Audi Pulls No Punches With 400HP RS3 Sedan

2016 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When gas prices jumped a few years ago, a new breed of luxury car immediately came to the forefront of automotive buyers. Dubbed the “compact luxury car” these vehicles promised to offer their owners a long list of equipment, performance, and luxury in a decidedly smaller package. The 2016 Audi A3 aims to stand out against rivals such as the BMW 2-Series and the Mercedes CLA in this hotly contested segment, but has its push for sales diluted the very traits that have defined recent Audi models?   The exterior styling of our Monsoon Gray Metallic tester is a compelling …

Read more 2016 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Ultimate – Road Test Review + Drive Video

The 2017 Elantra Limited is a knockout. It blew us away with its supremely European handling and best-ever-tested autonomous drive. How do we do this phenomenal car justice in a text-only written review?  Impossible! As such, we have the usual 50 photos of the car plus a very cool HD drive video to come along for the ride. Just try not to be wowed by what this Acura ILX rival can do!   HD DRIVE VIDEO – 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Ultimate     EXTERIOR First things first, though.  How does it look?  Remarkably mature and sophisticated.  The Elantra Limited is the top …

Read more 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Ultimate – Road Test Review + Drive Video

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Mountain Drive! 2017 FIAT 124 Spider – By Anthony Fongaro

Colorado is an amazing place to drive! While visiting this great state, I was lucky enough to attend RMDE, or the Rocky Mountain Driving Event. This event had different vehicles from various manufacturers. Part of this event included driving 90 minutes, or 3,000 feet up a mountain. If you couldn’t guess, the car that I drove was a little black Fiat convertible. The car in question was a 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso. Before the drive, I put down the manual convertible top and let the beautiful scenery of Colorado surround me. Then I put the car into gear. And …

Read more Mountain Drive! 2017 FIAT 124 Spider – By Anthony Fongaro

3-Second VW? OCT Tuning Liberates 450HP from GOLF 7 R

The new Golf R is so fast and hilarious in Race mode that we noted many times how strong its engine felt in the first-drive video below. If it “felt like 400HP” with just its stock 300 ponies, imagine how it must feel with a full 150 extra??!     450HP and 405-pound-feet of torque are confirmed from the dyno-honed outputs secured by German tuning boss OCT. 2016 OCT Tuning GOLF R   A MUSCLED BEAST powered by O.CT TUNING – THE GOLF VII R Photos: O.CT Oberscheider Tuning GmbH Since 1994 O.CT Tuning operates as its own department within …

Read more 3-Second VW? OCT Tuning Liberates 450HP from GOLF 7 R

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2016 Audi TT Coupe 2.0T Quattro S-Tronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Audi TT has always been a bit of a head scratcher for us enthusiasts. When it first launched in the mid 1990’s, it was a visual stunner. And in many ways, it was the birth of the Audi cool that we have today. But there was a problem. As stylish and trendsetting as the TT was, it was not a sports car. And in the world of Porsche Boxsters and BMW Z4s, the TT was odd man out. When the second-gen TT bowed in 2006, it lost some of the groundbreaking style, but was well on the way to …

Read more 2016 Audi TT Coupe 2.0T Quattro S-Tronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2016 VW Beetle DUNE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

You might not be a big fan of VW right now. Diesel has once again become a dirty word, and while the automaker struggles to make things right with the government and the buying public, the brand has been getting the stink eye in a lot of ways. We’re going to look past the diesel models, because there’s also a lot of goodness in the VW lineup, and we think there are an awful lot of folks who design, make, and sell the brand that had nothing to do with the problems going on. Right now, VW needs a new …

Read more 2016 VW Beetle DUNE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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HD First Drive – 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA ECO

    Just the HD drive video and 40 pics of this plucky little sedan. One pic for every highway MPG this advanced-tech compact can achieve?  Yes indeed.  32-mpg city and 40-mpg highway are the audited, confirmed EPA numbers on this most-efficient Elantra ever. No full review today. Our time in the car was too brief to really make many lasting impressions.  Do recall loving that seven-speed DCT and 128-pony, 1.4-liter turbo engine.  Less the stinky brakes/clutches after a fast drive and those embarrassingly tiny alloy wheels.  At least they painted up the mini alloys a discrete anthracite grey to …

Read more HD First Drive – 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA ECO

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Road Test Review – 2016 Honda CIVIC 1.5T Sedan – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

It seems like Honda has been making Civics forever.  It could be because that from the very first one, the Civic has been an outstanding small compact car with a reputation for value, reliability, and excellent gas mileage among other virtues.  It was loved by journalists and buyers, alike. However, the last generation Civic (2011 through 2015) was received with tepid enthusiasm from the press, and from customers.  That led to a very unusual second-year update, but even that didn’t do much to help keep the Civic near the top of the competition that got fiercer every year. For 2016, …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Honda CIVIC 1.5T Sedan – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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2017 Mazda3 Refresh – First Look By Anthony Fongaro

    Mazda has had an extremely successful compact car in their lineup with the Mazda3. It has won awards ranging from Car and Driver’s prestigious 10Best list to winning comparison tests for its ride quality, comfort, and interior. Since the current-generation Mazda3 has been out for three years, it is time for it to once again raise the standards in the compact class. Looking at the exterior, the 2017 Mazda3 receives minor changes to the vehicle’s KODO – Soul of Motion design. These include a bolder grille, available LED headlights and tail lights, and a redesigned bumper for the …

Read more 2017 Mazda3 Refresh – First Look By Anthony Fongaro

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2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition (6MT) – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek   

EVO = “the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.” That definition best describes the Lancer Evolution, a car that originally started out life as the mediocre Lancer compact sedan, but would gradually transform into a performance car bargain thanks to the efforts of Mitsubishi engineers. Its rivalry with its Asian arch nemesis the Subaru WRX rewrote the performance car genre, and inspired other automakers to follow suit with entries such as the Dodge Neon SRT-4 (and its horrible follow up the Caliber SRT-4) the Ford Focus ST, and the Volkswagen Golf R. Sometimes …

Read more 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition (6MT) – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek   

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2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – HD Drive Video + 64 Lakeside Photos

A really fun steer — and one whose urge and handling delighted the sports-car fan in all of us!  We do even make a “Corvette hybrid” reference-slash-joke while flying around the corners of Lake Lanier Island, Georgia.     2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – Exterior Gallery 2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – Interior Gallery    

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Drive Review – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata – by Ben Lewis

There are people out there not enamored by the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. And you can include me. Well, sort of. Let me explain. First of all, a disclosure. A well-worn 1990 Miata lives in the Ben Lewis garage. I’ve had it over 15 years. And yes, it’s red. So I’m a fan. And when the Second Gen (NB to you and me) bowed in 1999, I liked it. But I was amazed that even though it only lost an inch of legroom, I didn’t fit comfortably. And really, I’m not that tall. I was personally happier when the …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata – by Ben Lewis

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Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring Sedan (6MT) – By Carl Malek

With the recent surge in CUV sales, it is easy to forget that the compact car segment is still one of the hottest segments in the automotive market. From the Ford Focus to the venerable Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra, the segment has a wide range of talent to choose from. Bucking the trend is the 2016 Mazda3 which has always offered buyers a spirited driving experience in a sensibly priced package. But has its stellar road manners blunted the 3’s ability to rise above established compact car benchmarks? Looking at its exterior styling, it appears that the 3 is …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring Sedan (6MT) – By Carl Malek

Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring – By Carl Malek

The CUV sales boom is in full force. Many automakers are revamping their product plans to take advantage of this renewed level of demand. Mazda is one of these companies and has invested large amounts of money and effort into revitalizing its CUV lineup. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is the first fruit of this renewed effort, and promises to bring Mazda’s trademark levels of sportiness and vigor to the compact CUV segment. But has this focus on driving perfection blunted its capabilities in the process? The exterior styling of the CX-3 incorporates many of the cues that made their debut …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring – By Carl Malek

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Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Club 6MT – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

  In the spring of 1971, I was almost finished with my freshman year at the University of Iowa, and it was time for me to get my first new car.  My father and I were to split the cost.  His idea of the perfect car for me was a low mileage, 1969 Chevrolet Impala, 4-door.  And my idea was a 1971 MGB rag top.  While my friends were into muscle cars of the time like Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers and Barracudas, I was more interested in small British cars that, while not fast, were known for handling prowess, rather than …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Club 6MT – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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Road Test Review – 2016 Toyota Corolla S 6MT – By Carl Malek

When Toyota unleashed the current generation Corolla back in 2013, it had lofty shoes to fill. While its predecessor was about as bland as a pair of 80’s era tennis shoes, it was also a key cog in Toyota’s formidable sales machine, and helped the brand lure in budget focused buyers. With that formidable sales reputation, and the inevitable pressure that it brings, does the current generation Corolla have what it takes to keep up this momentum? Or has it lost a step or two? Looking at the exterior styling of my 2016 Corolla S Plus tester, it is obvious …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Toyota Corolla S 6MT – By Carl Malek

Drive Review – 2016 Honda CIVIC COUPE – By Ben Lewis

    Is the new Civic a great little coupe, or the end of the automobile as we know it? A bit over-dramatic? Maybe not. We’ll get there. But first…   Honda recently introduced and all-new Civic Sedan that marked the 10th generation of feel-good affordable Honda sedans. And over the years, the Civic has had its ups and downs, but it’s always been pretty good and sometimes brilliant. The new one gets a very, very, very good rating from us. And like before, there’s a Coupe version on offer as well. In this case, we prefer the Coupe. To …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Honda CIVIC COUPE – By Ben Lewis

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Drive Review – 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

    The Mitsubishi Lancer is 10 years old, and unfortunately, it’s showing its age.  It is by far the oldest compact sedan in its class, which includes the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, and Chevy Cruze, among others. And except for the all-wheel drive feature, and a modest price, the other models have passed this Lancer by in terms of interior quality, refinement, gas mileage, and styling. The base engine in the front-wheel-drive ES model is a 148-horsepower 2.0 inline 4, with either a 5-speed manual or optional CVT automatic transmission.  The gas mileage …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Concept Slides Into Villa d’Este + VIDEO!

Not really sure what to say about this M2 reskin that is the BMW brand’s big debut at this year’s Villa d’Este concours in Lake Como, Italy. It certainly has some expressive lines, deep shaping and a deconstructed aesthetic.  It is fabulous to see versus the absolutely repulsive BMW Vision Next 100 from a few weeks ago.  Both in style and substance. But while deconstructed, in a way, the design of this upgraded 2-series is a wide miss.  It feels like a fiberglass redo OVER and above the existing design, versus a holistic exercise in itself.  A frozen glasshouse, doorlines …

Read more 2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Concept Slides Into Villa d’Este + VIDEO!

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VIDEO: 2017 Ford Focus RS RX – Project RX Episode 1 – Design and Development

            FORD PERFORMANCE RELEASES “PROJECT RX”: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE FORD FOCUS RS RX DEVELOPMENT SUMMARY The Ford Focus RS RX was designed to be the ultimate rallycross vehicle in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Collaborating with UK-based M-Sport and Hoonigan Racing Division, Ford Performance engineers implemented the same high-tech instruments and procedures used on production vehicles to develop the Focus RS RX for competition. The first of a four-part documentary, episode one of “Project RX” highlights the design and development of the vehicle between Ford Performance headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, and the M-Sport …

Read more VIDEO: 2017 Ford Focus RS RX – Project RX Episode 1 – Design and Development

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BMW Unveils Updated 2017 i3 with Giant New 33kWh Battery – By Carl Malek

  When BMW first unveiled the i3, it brought several innovations to the electric vehicle segment, while also allowing the company to launch its green minded i brand. However, with the current trend towards bigger batteries, the tiny i3 found itself slowly falling behind rivals when it came to driving range. BMW has rectified this flaw with the unveiling of the updated 2017 i3. Known formally as the 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) the second chapter of the i3 doesn’t focus so much on its long moniker, but rather on giving buyers more driving range than before. This is made …

Read more BMW Unveils Updated 2017 i3 with Giant New 33kWh Battery – By Carl Malek

Road Test Review – 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn 6-Speed – By Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2016 VW Golf GTI Improves on Technology While Keeping Superb Drive While VW may be mired in a diesel scandal, this doesn’t mean the rest of their gas vehicles should be overlooked. A great example is the critically acclaimed 2016 VW Golf equipped with a turbocharged gasoline engine and featuring updated technology features. The big news for the 2016 VW Golf is all-new technology features found in a new 6.5” touchscreen infotainment screen and part of VW Car-Net. This was a big need in prior Golf vehicles and VW stepped up to fill this gap. The new touchscreen is …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn 6-Speed – By Tim Esterdahl

Beijing Debuts – 2017 Audi TT RS Coupe and Roadster – 3.7s via 400HP!

A fantastic range-topper for the new TT twins: the RS! Power is up by 60Hp over the previous TT RS via a new turbo five-cylinder engine. Ultra-short new ratios for the launch gears of  the DSG twin-clutch auto rocket the new TT RS Coupe to 62-mph in just 3.7-seconds. The ragtop is not far behind. Various trim options for the deep lower splitter, all-new bumpers and grilles front and rear make unique statements.  The black is dark and menacing, while the silver effect (as shown on the red Coupe below) is just as modern and mean… but a bit brighter. …

Read more Beijing Debuts – 2017 Audi TT RS Coupe and Roadster – 3.7s via 400HP!

4.2s, 350HP 2017 Porsche 718 CAYMANS Revealed! Boosted Boxer Fours Are Faster, Cheaper

  The new Cayman has arrived!  Just in time to make anyone who ordered the Boxster Spyder or Cayman GT4 feel like a fool? Not really.  This new generation has new styling, all-new cabin tech and a vastly changed powertrain duo. Swapping to standard twin-turbo four power for the Cayman means this will be a very changed Porsche versus its flat-six predecessors.  Pace is way up across the board, and pricing is sharply down.  The entry price in Euros is now below the 718 Boxster for the first time, unlike the previous hardtop premium that made no sense. But justifying a …

Read more 4.2s, 350HP 2017 Porsche 718 CAYMANS Revealed! Boosted Boxer Fours Are Faster, Cheaper

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2017 Smart BRABUS Twins Revealed – 20% Power Bump, Quicker Steering and Sport Exhaust

The new Smart twins are actually quite promising in their first major redesign since the brand was started in the late 1990s. The microcars have been as popular as polio in the US market in their ten years on the market, so the US arrival of the on-sale-now generations to America was never a top priority.  That still stands: there is no official timeframe for them to jump the pond.  A November arrival in 2016 seems plausible. We hope the ForFour will join the unloved ForTwo in the back corner of Mercedes-Benz service loaner folder. Only for clients they hate …

Read more 2017 Smart BRABUS Twins Revealed – 20% Power Bump, Quicker Steering and Sport Exhaust

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Kiawah 2016 Highlights – 1959 Berkeley SE492 – Micromini FWD English Roadster?!

It is difficult to describe how small this car is. The 1959 Berkeley Sports Twosome SE492 is about the size of a normal carnival bumper-car.  And perhaps only slightly larger than most PowerWheels children’s toys. Its 70-inch wheelbase meets extremely low and narrow overall dimensions — and is literally dwarfed by some of the bigger classic cars parked nearby. The concept of a lightweight and cheap English roadster was taken to new millimeter-small dimensions during the 1956-1960 production run of the Berkeley automotive venture. The engine of this SE492 is an air-cooled triple making just 30 horsepower. A four-speed automatic send …

Read more Kiawah 2016 Highlights – 1959 Berkeley SE492 – Micromini FWD English Roadster?!

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Road Test Review – 2016 Ford FOCUS Titanium – By Tim Esterdahl

While all the attention these days is on its faster brother, the 2016 Ford Focus Hatchback Titanium isn’t so quickly overlooked. With its fun to drive size, quick acceleration and plentiful cargo room, the Focus is a great commuter or around town vehicle and probably not the best choice for long road trips. Hatchbacks hold a special place in the automotive landscape with plenty of fans and critics of its size and styling. Fans love the size, fun to drive sporty aspect of it and its versatility of holding 5 with cargo room. Yet, critics see SUVs as better options …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Ford FOCUS Titanium – By Tim Esterdahl

Which Car Wins? 2016 Fiat 500 Abarth vs. 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally – By Ben Lewis

    One thing we hear all the time is, “What can I get that’s fun, affordable and most especially, I won’t see coming the other way all day long.” That’s not an easy task – there’s always a lot that’s new and exciting prowling the concrete jungle. But fear not, we have a couple really interesting choices for you. Welcome to the Compact Car Wild Kingdom. Let’s start with the Mad Mouse. Well, we think it sort of looks like a mouse, with its round shape, big eyes, and front grill that sort of looks like a moustache, The …

Read more Which Car Wins? 2016 Fiat 500 Abarth vs. 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally – By Ben Lewis

Road Test Review: 2016 MINI Cooper S CLUBMAN

REVIEW: 2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Is Unique, Sporty Drive … Once Inside Cabin In a world of mega – huge trucks, large SUVs and big sedans – there is the 2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman. It is a drastic departure from other cars on the market with its unique styling, sporty powertrain and zippy turning radius. Now with more cargo room, the Mini Cooper Clubman is simply a great drive, albeit if you are OK sacrificing some entry/exit ease and long-drive comfort. Without a doubt, Mini Coopers are uniquely different – even refreshing – compared to an automotive market …

Read more Road Test Review: 2016 MINI Cooper S CLUBMAN

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2016 Renault CLIO by WALDOW Performance – Smurfberry Blue Track Special

Any time the words “Smurf” and “Blue” make it into an official press release, it is usually good for a belly laugh.  We were seriously loving the color and black alloys, contrast-red rollbars and the slammed KW stance of this Clio already.  But then they go and mention the Smurfs. And we’re back to feeling silly! That laughing, delightful character is a big part of any Clio’s appeal.  This one just happens to be a battle-Smurf!  Deadly serious, regardless of its skin tone! 2016 Renault Clio by WALDOW Performance   WALDOW Performance reveals the Renault Clio 4 – The Real …

Read more 2016 Renault CLIO by WALDOW Performance – Smurfberry Blue Track Special

GTI for an Eye! 2016 Volkswagen GTI Avenges MkV GTI Sins

GTI Battle: 2008 VW GTI DSG vs. 2016 VW GTI Autobahn with Performance Package & DSG Just how much of a difference can two generations make? I love hot hatchbacks. Being able to have a practical performance-oriented vehicle is immensely appealing. For nine years, I drove a Mk5 2008 Volkswagen GTI whose sole option was the DSG automated-manual gearbox (Yes, it wasn’t a manual and no I don’t care). It was a fantastic car, but the time finally came when I wanted to upgrade. What to get? Something sporty like a Nissan 370Z? Some American muscle in the form of a Ford Mustang …

Read more GTI for an Eye! 2016 Volkswagen GTI Avenges MkV GTI Sins

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2016 Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Edition 40 – Locking Diff, Slicks and Aerokit for R-powered Front-Driver

‘Dead On Arrival’ is a better cliche than VW’s botched choice words to introduce this car: VW Says:  “””  ‘ Iconic’ is, perhaps, a word bandied around all too freely but, when applied to the mould-breaking Golf GTI, it can be used with genuine justification. “””   Forgive the slight lack of enthusiasm here.  But the GTI Clubsport Edition 40 is really not doing it for me.  A bump in power to 265 ponies, and 290 on a brief turbo overboost, is great from the Golf R-derived turbo 2.0-liter four.  The car delivers a seriously underwhelming 6.3-second sprint to 62-mph …

Read more 2016 Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Edition 40 – Locking Diff, Slicks and Aerokit for R-powered Front-Driver

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Road Test Review – 2016 Scion iM by Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Road Test Review – 2016 Scion iM By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman In 2003, Toyota created the Scion brand to appeal to younger buyers with small fuel efficient vehicles that were entry level, but without making the buyer feel like they were entry level. Also, Toyota was never known to push the styling envelope, so Scion was supposed to be the new brand that would put more hip styling on display without upsetting Toyota’s core customers. As it turns out, young buyers prefer the Toyota brand over the Scion brand.  Over the years, Scion had built some interesting vehicles, but they …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Scion iM by Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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#NYIAS Live – Showfloor Mega Gallery – Part One in 222 Photos!

Action-packed New York auto show this year! Much new and very hot metal to see and touch, with highlights including the new GT-R, the 911R, Civic Hatchback and Prius Prime.  MX-5 RF (retractable fastback) is cool too, as is the new 718 Boxster and Buick Encore with its sharp and premium new LEDs. Also included below is the first look at the new Subaru Impreza, Jaguar F-Type SVR and 2018 VW Tiguan. #NYIAS Live – Showfloor Mega Gallery

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2017 Subaru IMPREZA SPORT and 5-Door – Live NY Debut

Some serious WRX coolness in the new Impreza Sport sedan and 5-Door! Here is the official release plus 20 live photos from New York. 2017 Subaru Impreza SPORT   SUBARU INTRODUCES ALL-NEW, U.S.-BUILT 2017 IMPREZA 23/03/16   Sedan and 5-Door Styles New Subaru Global Platform Significantly Enhances Safety, Ride Comfort and Agility Award-Winning EyeSight®, Plus New Driver Assist Technologies SUBARU STARLINK™ Safety and Security Features and AppsNew Subaru Design Language Debuts 2.0-liter Boxer Engine with Direct Injection and Higher PerformanceFirst Impreza to be Built in U.S. New Sport Version with 18-inch Wheels, Sport Suspension and Active Torque Vectoring NEW YORK –  …

Read more 2017 Subaru IMPREZA SPORT and 5-Door – Live NY Debut

#NYIAS: 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF – Retractable Fastback Is New GT86 Rival

RF does not stand for Really Fast.  But it could stand for Really Fun! In reality, it is the new badge for the MX-5 hardtop. This power retractable targa panel slides behind the new B-pillar uprights in back and atop the trunk. Scratch that: the entire roof actually folds under the rising uprights behind each seat.  These buttresses lift up and let the hardtop fold away.  This keeps a wind deflector in back with the top down, but does not appear to let the rear glass or roof move individually: only as a unit. It is not exactly as clean …

Read more #NYIAS: 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF – Retractable Fastback Is New GT86 Rival

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2017 Toyota 86 – First Look At Revamped FR-S + Corolla iM and Yaris iA

The Scion FR-S will live on, of course, in the Toyota range with a new name and style for 2017. Dubbed just the 86 — versus GT86 in Euorpe and elsewhere — the car has aggressive new LEDs for the nose and tail.  All-new lighting is complemented by a fresh nose appearance, without the lower amber blinker bulbs. Looks like these we’re relocated up into the main light units.  Slick new taillamps are sexy too, but the tail does lacks the fresh bumper treatment of the nose.  But integrated LED rear turn signals are a nice upgrade along with the …

Read more 2017 Toyota 86 – First Look At Revamped FR-S + Corolla iM and Yaris iA

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2016 VUHL 05 Updated for London Motor Show

A refreshed VUHL 05 is now available for global trackday aces with pricing from around $100k for this cross between a Lotus and Radical. The UK sportscar industry is not only an inspiration for this trackday special, but also a target for its dual-use configuration. VUHL hopes to have certification for English roads in the near future. But even though road and track are both viable in a VUHL… one is far more heavily emphasized. A completely smooth underbody is race-ready, as is the doorless racing frame below the skin. You can guess how fast the 3.7-second VUHL is on …

Read more 2016 VUHL 05 Updated for London Motor Show

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2016 KTM X-Bow GT Black Carbon

The world’s favorite KTM car pro’s have a new special for us! The X-BOW GT Black Edition is an all-black, all-carbon flagship of the street-going KTM ‘Crossbow’ lineup. Wimmer RST has this gorgeous new special on display in Geneva this week along with the championship-winning X-BOW GT4 racecar. The new X-BOW Black Carbon is even upgraded versus that racecar, however. In addition to the CF tub, the new Wimmer special integrates carbon fiber for dozens of other components.  The entire undertray is a new carbon-fiber execution delivering race levels of grip on the road.  Exposed-weave carbon fiber now takes the …

Read more 2016 KTM X-Bow GT Black Carbon

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2017 Abarth 124 Spider – Boosted Turbo, Shouty Exhaust and Butch Body Mods

Stunning new Fiat from Abarth at Geneva this year — proving the in-house tuner is still a big asset in the brand’s expansion worldwide.  The Mirafiori speed demons have wasted no time upgrading the design, performance and panache of the adorable baby Fiat: the new 124 Spider. From its cute looks emerges yet another harsh, focused look at what Abarth does best.  The scorpion logo makes sense the first time you fire up one of their specials: pops and brummy exhaust and engine notes that recall Maserati much more than Mazda. Then you turn to see… and are shocked that …

Read more 2017 Abarth 124 Spider – Boosted Turbo, Shouty Exhaust and Butch Body Mods

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Best of Geneva – 2016 Abarth 124 Rally Prototype – 300HP Kicks Off 2017 Abarth Racing Revival

  In case the hot new Abarth Fiat 124 Spider were not enough to get your heart revving, Abarth Racing has brought along an even hotter version! A rear-drive rally racecar that started life as a ragtop!?  Sounds like a winner to us.  And it definitely looks like a winner too. A slightly raised ride height, boosted engine putting down 300Hp, plus a locking rear differential promise exciting, tail-out action to rally fans next year. Custom fender extensions, sill extensions and brake air vents behind the back axle speak to this car’s gravel-slinging dreams.  As does its gigantic, fire-spitting single …

Read more Best of Geneva – 2016 Abarth 124 Rally Prototype – 300HP Kicks Off 2017 Abarth Racing Revival

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1985 Volvo 480ES – ‘Project Galaxy’ Showcar Turns 30 + Lessons In Retrospect

Trust and affection go hand in hand. When you love a brand, you are willing to follow it to the ends of the Earth if need be. The BMW X5 proved this conclusively — with initial haters eventually loving the SUV’s Bimmer-ness, and its sales success worldwide still quite striking. Volvo proved its brand flexibility in a similar way with the XC90 — a game-changer of an SUV that saved the marque from a possible SAAB-like fate during the industry shakeout of ~2009. In fact, Volvo has long been remarkably flexible in moving beyond its core family sedan and wagon …

Read more 1985 Volvo 480ES – ‘Project Galaxy’ Showcar Turns 30 + Lessons In Retrospect

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2017 MINI Cooper Convertible – 80 New Photos of Ragtop

Updated 2.24.16 with 77 new photosThe new MINI ragtop is here and vastly improved!  An all-new and wider platform houses two new engines, an all-new cabin and some sweet new tech and style options. The Cooper and Cooper S both run turbo engines for the next-gen model, with standard six-speed manuals or six-speed automatics available. But there is a big difference for the S in this generation: a whole extra cylinder!  That;s right, the base MINI runs a 1.5-liter triple!  This new modular engine series powers all future BMW’s; the 340i just revealed its 3.0-liter version of the same engine, …

Read more 2017 MINI Cooper Convertible – 80 New Photos of Ragtop

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MAUS Panzer! ACL2 by AC Schnitzer is 570HP, 3.8s BMW M235i Evo

Updated 2.25.16 with official details from AC Schnitzer — who is emphatic about the lightness of the vehicle!  Our silly Maus Panzer headline speaks more to this ‘mouse’ of a 2-series that packs a punch like GTR battle tank… Will ACL2 become as fearsome a badge as GT-R?  Panzer Maus?  M2? PERHAPS! AC Schnitzer has been working its magic brilliantly on the smallest BMWs for years now. 1 series became 2 series, and the team was on it instantly!  What they have created is nothing short of the Panzer VIII ‘Maus’ supertank….  at least in its fearsome spirit, if not scale. …

Read more MAUS Panzer! ACL2 by AC Schnitzer is 570HP, 3.8s BMW M235i Evo

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2018 Lexus LC500 Cabrio Rendering

Full details on the new LC500h from Lexus! Very interesting advancements… conforming to few of the hypotheticals we initially posed below. For example, would it be a PHEV?  Would it run a V8? No and no on those fronts. But fear not: a new Li-ion battery system and four-speed EV transaxle in back complements the3.5-liter V6 up front to deliver a ballparked 4.7-second 4.2s sprint to 60-mph.  That is deeply impressive for a machine that also offers a new Hybrid manual gear-shift mode and far less CVT drone than possible before.  Lexus’s explicit promise of “well under 5 seconds to 100-kph” …

Read more 2018 Lexus LC500 Cabrio Rendering

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2017 Lexus LC500h – Next-Gen Hybrid Is V6 Li-ion with 4-Speed eTransaxle

Full details on the new LC500h from Lexus! Very interesting advancements… conforming to few of the hypotheticals we initially posed below. For example, would it be a PHEV?  Would it run a V8? No and no on those fronts. But fear not: a new Li-ion battery system and four-speed EV transaxle in back complements the3.5-liter V6 up front to deliver a ballparked 4.7-second sprint to 60-mph.  That is deeply impressive for a machine that also offers a new Hybrid manual gear-shift mode and far less CVT drone than possible before.  Lexus’s explicit promise of “well under 5 seconds to 100-kph” is …

Read more 2017 Lexus LC500h – Next-Gen Hybrid Is V6 Li-ion with 4-Speed eTransaxle

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2016 BMW M2 – Laguna Seca Photoset – Jaw like Popeye, Shoulders like BRUTO!

18 photos have never packed such a punch! Look. At. This. Beast! Around Laguna Seca for the international press launch, this ridiculously fast and fun supercoupe dramatically ups the ante to Audi and AMG.  The closest you can get to this speed from outside Europe?  Definitely a pony-car killer, this M2! 2016 BMW M 2 – Laguna Seca     When BMW goes for performance glory, everyone else best stand back or be blown clear in jetwash. The new ~$130k M4 GTS reveal is being followed closely by a shadow that maintains nearly 99-percent of the big brothers’ track pace, …

Read more 2016 BMW M2 – Laguna Seca Photoset – Jaw like Popeye, Shoulders like BRUTO!

2016 ALPINE Vision Concept – 99% Production-Ready with Stunning Beauty, Race Dynamics

We’re getting very, very close to the first mass-market, mid-engine French sports car in decades!  Excluding the Bugatti Veyron and a few race specials, the Clio V6 has been the closest thing to a locally-made track car in ages. Why is this?  And how will Renault’s relaunch of the ALPINE brand enhance the firm’s strategic goals, profitability and sales of the Kadjar in China? All that remains a bit fuzzy. But the actual car is now in stark focus — and looks spectacular!   Beautiful rebirth of the original Alpine proportions, flowing rear end, and quad-lit nose right off the …

Read more 2016 ALPINE Vision Concept – 99% Production-Ready with Stunning Beauty, Race Dynamics

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2016 MINI JCW Hardtop – USA First Look – Sweet New LEDs, Wider Stance Mark Out New $31k Bulldog

Updated 2.15.16 with first USA photos from Daytona Cool to see and hear the new MINI sports flagship at Daytona the other week.  It might have lagged the BMW M-livery M5 and M3s off the line for the IMSA Hot Lap Experience shown in the below video…. but it definitely looked like it was enjoying every second on that high-speed racetrack! The new look is most recognizable thanks to the new full-moon LED DRLs, LED fogs and smart bi-xenon projector beam main lamps in front. We even hate the tail less than before: in JCW guise, the too-large rear lamps shrink into …

Read more 2016 MINI JCW Hardtop – USA First Look – Sweet New LEDs, Wider Stance Mark Out New $31k Bulldog

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Road Test Review – 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus – Hawkeye Drives!

  2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman Acura describes the ILX as a “Gateway” product that allows a customer to enter the world of Acura at a lower price point, in the hopes that more expensive move-up models will be in their future.  Perhaps that will prove true, but there is a lot of competition in the “Near Luxury” segment, loosely defined by sticker prices in the low to mid $30,000 range, and cars like the Buick Verano, or Audi A3 might be better choices, among others. The 2016 ILX is a mid-cycle updated vehicle, with …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus – Hawkeye Drives!

HD Design Analysis – 2020 Volkswagen GT Ge by Eli Shala – Biplane Aero Theory, Negative Space Define EV Supercar

Imagine your senior year in college.  Did any of your final projects merit global attention, countless strategy meetings and even full-scale models? Your ideas, and how you expressed them, drawing attention from one of the largest and most-influential carmakers in the world? We’d bet not. But then, you are not the design whiz that is Eljesah “Eli” Shala, and you did not create the 2020 VW GT Ge “Ground Effect” design study. The start of a exceptionally promising career for Eli began long ago, but is picking up momentum rapidly in 2016.  All thanks to the extreme sportiness + eco principles …

Read more HD Design Analysis – 2020 Volkswagen GT Ge by Eli Shala – Biplane Aero Theory, Negative Space Define EV Supercar

2016 Porsche CAYMAN GT4 – Latest 30 Action Shots from Algarve Impress, But Car Is Poor Value

Reviewing the latest photos and video of the Cayman GT4 is quite perplexing. Who is this $84k machine aimed at?> Perhaps 911 GT3 aspirers, but for half the cash? The 4.2-second sprint to 60, intensely upgraded aero all around, sport exhaust and slammed ride height all point firmly toward the racetrack. But even Porsche knows it has a problem: there is no Cayman badge on the back of the car.  Just Porsche and GT4 letters to mark out the model. And that is the crux of it: this is a halo Cayman that hopes to ramp up excitement around the …

Read more 2016 Porsche CAYMAN GT4 – Latest 30 Action Shots from Algarve Impress, But Car Is Poor Value

2016 nanoFlowcell QUANTiNO – AWD EV Aims Squarely at BMW i3 via Revolutionary Battery Tech

NanoFlowcell is the stunning startup trying to make energy from ordinary salt water. A revolutionary new battery chemistry is at the heart of the firm’s products to date.  Cars like the super-exotic Quant F — a four-seater with gorgeous gullwing doors opening the entire bodyside. Looking like a stretched Porsche 918 Spyder, the main quant prototype is still a stunner. But what about production feasibility?  FOr that, the plan has evolved into this slick electric hatchback.  A premium model aimed right at the BMW i3, the QUANTiNO majors on realistic goals.  Four electric motors — one at each corner — …

Read more 2016 nanoFlowcell QUANTiNO – AWD EV Aims Squarely at BMW i3 via Revolutionary Battery Tech

HD Road Test Review – 2016 Hyundai Veloster RALLY Turbo 6-Speed Manual

Welcome to the hottest Hyundai Veloster ever! Huge news for the 2016 model brings an all-new handling tune and available twin-clutch automatic option for the R-Spec, Turbo and Veloster Rally like our test car. And the changes are SERIOUSLY good!  After a week of grins and hooning at full throttle, the Veloster Rally Edition even moves up an entire competitive class in our eyes.  From before battling the Ford Fiesta ST or Nissan Juke NISMO, and up to being a credible threat to the VW GTI, Ford Focus ST and even Subaru WRX. Seriously?  How!? The 2016 Veloster is not perfect …

Read more HD Road Test Review – 2016 Hyundai Veloster RALLY Turbo 6-Speed Manual

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2017 Chevrolet CRUZE HATCH Reveals Unique 5-Door Design, Massive Trunk Ahead of Fall Arrival

Here is a nice surprise reveal from Chevy: the upcoming Cruze Hatch. This new bodystyle builds on the massive improvements of the 2016 Cruze sedan with unique styling for the nose and tail, a giant cargo area of 18.5-cubic-feet with the seats up, and wagon-like utility with them folded down.  How big with the seats down? Nearly 50 cubes!  That is SUV-big. It is great to see Chevy offering this variant in the home US market.  Favorite details?  The bumper designs front and rear — with their swirl of painted surface forming claw-like accents to the black lower bumpers. The …

Read more 2017 Chevrolet CRUZE HATCH Reveals Unique 5-Door Design, Massive Trunk Ahead of Fall Arrival

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2016 MINI 4-Door CARBON EDITION Features New JCW Pro Tuning, Dual-Mode Exhaust!

Excellent new special MINI for the USA in 2016: the very fresh and flash Carbon Edition of the hardtop 4-door. The upgrades and special tweaks versus the Cooper S basis are visible and very audible!  A new JCW Pro Tuning Kit package bundles in special programming for the intake and a remote-operated sport exhaust. This valve-operated setup will make the Carbon a real screamer! Along with its GTI-large cabin and pace, the MINI 4-Door Carbon is definitely a viable WRX competitor — from 1000-yards!   2016 MINI 4-Door CARBON EDITION   Introducing the MINI Carbon Edition: The fastest, loudest, and …

Read more 2016 MINI 4-Door CARBON EDITION Features New JCW Pro Tuning, Dual-Mode Exhaust!

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Concept Flashback – 2001 RINSPEED Rone – Single-Seater Debuted Dynamic Cockpit Control

This is a pretty cool one from the RINSPEED back catalog: the Rone, or R-one. Racing One is the name, and also the ethos of the single-seater with origins in the Audi TT. Ultra-low and lean is the name of the game for this sporty vision: the Rone is is just 38-inches off the ground at its highest point. This is a cool 15-inches below the roof of the Audi TT — and it gets even better. The single-seat layout in the center of the Rone is part of a very innovative Dynamic Cockpit Control Concept — a flying center …

Read more Concept Flashback – 2001 RINSPEED Rone – Single-Seater Debuted Dynamic Cockpit Control

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2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC Reveals Yummy Revamp, New SLC43 AMG

  We certainly appreciate your confusion if we praise the new SLC’s style, while hating the new SL proper for 2017. But that is how it goes!  The SLC wears familiar proportions but truly light and sporty detailing for the name-change update. The grilles and styles up front are classy and masculine, aggressive but also deeply premium.  We’re seeing the SLC300 Sport here as well as the 367HP SLC43, which tops the line for now. The new SLC is set for a March arrival to first clients, who will love its newly-available AirScarf and Magic Sky roof, much-loved tech from …

Read more 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC Reveals Yummy Revamp, New SLC43 AMG

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Concept Flashback – 1995 BMW Z21 Just 4/2

Here is a very fun roadster concept from BMW Technik in 1995: the Just 4/2.  Also known as the Z21 internally, the rear-engine design was intended as a lightweight sports roadster in the mold of the Lotus/Caterham Seven — but designed to be safe and road-legal worldwide. The UK’s very forgiving road safety rules are all that allow their thriving mini track car industry — so BMW hoped to take the sheer joy of an open-cockpit, open-wheeled plaything to a global audience. Interesting details abound: the removable door panels keep their upper frame element in place for side crash protection …

Read more Concept Flashback – 1995 BMW Z21 Just 4/2

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4.2s 2016 Lotus ELISE 220 Is Quickest Ever! USA Arrivals in March; No Fatties T-Shirt Optional

  Shocking speed from this new Elise 220 from Lotus!  Just 4.2-seconds to 60-mph for its estimated $60k US price makes it one of the most rapid machines for the money. And that is just in a straight line! Put some curves in the road course, and the Elise will walk away from most American metal — regardless of price or power ratings. The new Elise Sport is the base model below the 220, but is down about 80 ponies from the 217 of the top road-legal Elise in 2016.  Even so, the Elise Sport’s 6-second blast to 60-mph will …

Read more 4.2s 2016 Lotus ELISE 220 Is Quickest Ever! USA Arrivals in March; No Fatties T-Shirt Optional

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3.7s, 170MPH 2016 Lotus EXIGE SPORT 350 is New Road-Legal Cup Racer

A two-pack of exciting news from Lotus today: the new Exige Sport 350 drops nearly 100 pounds from the Exige S via an extensive lightweighting program.  Along with its 345-horsepower supercharged 3.5-liter V6, the new Exige Sport 350 is an absolute rocketship! Consider that the total weight of the Exige is barely 2500-pounds, and you can instantly know how fast the car is.  That weight is up just 200 versus the front-engine MX5 for 2016… a car with only 160-ponies in its most potent guise. Interestingly, the new Exige Sport 350 is now even more rapid as a paddle-shifted automatic: …

Read more 3.7s, 170MPH 2016 Lotus EXIGE SPORT 350 is New Road-Legal Cup Racer

Concept Debrief – 1972 Maserati Boomerang by GIUGIARO – Leading Wedge Hypercar

  The wedge. This design mantra took over the minds of the world’s top stylists collectively around 1970 – as the Ferrari 512 S Module and the Lancia Stratos HF Zero concepts swept everyone to accept the shape. The design was the ultimate expression of mid-engine hypercar engineering of the time. In wind tunnels of the day, the goal was to have as little front surface area as possible. Something like a rocket for the road. Ferrari 512 S Modulo at Atlanta Dream Cars exhibit http://www.car-revs-daily.com/2014/06/10/dream-cars-1970-ferrari-512s-modulo-pininfarina/       Lancia Stratos HF Zero at Atlanta Dream Cars exhibit http://www.car-revs-daily.com/2014/06/10/dream-cars-1970-lancia-stratos-hf-zero-by-bertone/ Wind …

Read more Concept Debrief – 1972 Maserati Boomerang by GIUGIARO – Leading Wedge Hypercar

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2016 Toyota S-FR Racing Concept is Trackday Dream – Turbo Triple with 300HP?

Holy cow, how incredibly fun and intense does this new S-FR Racing Concept look! With a cleanly integrated widybody, Supra-sexy sills and air dams, plus a huge wing in back atop a giant GT3 diffuser?! LOVE! Imagine this car with 300-horsepower. Suddenly its insane grip package and centerlock alloys start to make sense. This is all mainly concept-car bluster ahead of the Tokyo Auto Salon event in January of 2016, when this upgraded S-FR will meet the public. The latest rumor is that the S-FR may run a turbo triple versus the 1.5-liter MX-5 four-cylinder we speculated previously. We still …

Read more 2016 Toyota S-FR Racing Concept is Trackday Dream – Turbo Triple with 300HP?

The Evolution of BMW xDrive – 325iX to 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e – PHEV M Sport from $70k

THe BMW eDrive X5 is officially in the USA! This huge advance in AWD tech for BMW is being celebrating with a look back at the first 30 years of BMW four-paw models. We still remember the special body-color aero kit and special wheels from the US-market 325iX. Was just a tiny bit cooler than even the very-chic 325i sedan and coupe of the era. The honor that original look, we spec’ed out a 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e in M Sport guise.  The truck looks very, very nice on its available 20-inch alloys. Particularly so with the $1,100 adaptive LED …

Read more The Evolution of BMW xDrive – 325iX to 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e – PHEV M Sport from $70k

BAC MONO Sweeping Hong Kong! New Showroom Sells 8 Cars on First Day

Alternative headline? MONO-nucleolus outbreak in Far East! =] Yea. Too alarmist. Moving on… BAC just opened their second Asian showroom in as many months — with Hong Kong a natural follow-up to the new Japanese dealer recently established. Demand is clearly strong globally for this one-seat supercar, but showrooms nearby is the best way to really ramp up volume. Sure, there might be one or two MONO’s in Hong Kong already, but the eight just sold would likely never have happened without buyer’s knowing where to service and maintain the cars.  The MONO is the perfect stepping-stone between sportscars in …

Read more BAC MONO Sweeping Hong Kong! New Showroom Sells 8 Cars on First Day

Audi TTRS Clubsport by HPerformance.de

  PART TWO: The Clubsport. HPerformance took its major engine-upgrade skills to make this TTRS Clubsport a 510-horsepower track missle. Upgrades outside are awesome – especially the spats up front! Audi TTRS Clubsport by HPerformance.de PREVIOUS Wow!  750 horsepower from a 2.5-liter five-cylinder!? Not easy to achieve — and something that took almost a total redesign of the TTRS engine from all sides.  New turbo, fuel system race tech, MTR tune, custom downpipe and exhaust system…. the list literally goes on and on. The results shout for themselves, however, rocketing this TT to 60-mph in an estimated ~3.3-seconds and on …

Read more Audi TTRS Clubsport by HPerformance.de

Audi TTRS Black Hawk by HPerformance

3.3s, 750HP Audi TTRS Black Hawk by HPerformance.de

Wow!  750 horsepower from a 2.5-liter five-cylinder!? Not easy to achieve — and something that took almost a total redesign of the TTRS engine from all sides.  New turbo, fuel system race tech, MTR tune, custom downpipe and exhaust system…. the list literally goes on and on. The results shout for themselves, however, rocketing this TT to 60-mph in an estimated ~3.3-seconds and on to a gear-limited ~178-mph? INtense! You have been warned.  If you see an HPerformance charge cooler graphic in your rearview mirror on the autobahn, get right.   Clear the way, slowpokes! The whole 750HP shebang is priced …

Read more 3.3s, 750HP Audi TTRS Black Hawk by HPerformance.de

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2016 OKUYAMA Kode9 Coupe – Production Debut, Tech Specs and Detailed New Photos

We love these gorgeous exotics from ex-Pininfarina man Ken Okuyama. They were the darlings of the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show — even nabbing headlines from the big OEM displays thanks to their alien design, exotic measurements and production intent. Nearly finished the below article before we discovered the Lotus link under the skin of the Kode9 Spyder and Coupe. At the time it seemed like a writeoff of a few hours effort… only to have major bait/switch feelings. Since that distant original article went out (40 hours ago), however, we have a bit more perspective.  And more info to share …

Read more 2016 OKUYAMA Kode9 Coupe – Production Debut, Tech Specs and Detailed New Photos

2016 Ken Okuyama Design KODE9 Spyder – Bespoke Japanese Exotic, or Triple-Price Knockoff?

For all of Japan’s hard-earned prestige in the car-making business, there are few to no supercar startups emerging from this island nation full of automotive talent. Perhaps this speaks to the export-centric nature of the industry, or to the plethora or superb global hypercars among which to choose for your fast drives around Fuji speedway and others. And again still, perhaps the native driver mentality is simply conservative and hyper-urban. Being stuck in traffic in a $200k exotic is just as boring as being stuck in traffic in a Honda S660 ragtop, or perhaps an MX-5. Few would doubt Japan’s …

Read more 2016 Ken Okuyama Design KODE9 Spyder – Bespoke Japanese Exotic, or Triple-Price Knockoff?

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2015 BMW Concept Compact Sedan Teases Upcoming 135i: $25k Base Price, Standard Turbo, RWD?

  Here is a bit of a mystery concept from BMW: the 2015 Concept Compact Sedan. Debuting at the Guangzhou auto show in China this week, the Concept CS is not mysterious about its production intent. One look inside the cabin of even the renders shows that this car is nearly finalized already, and likely to be in some global Bimmer showrooms by the end of calendar 2016. From there, things line up with logical powertrains in 120i, 128i and 135i, mirroring the two-door 235i, etc. Pricing for the eventual 1 series is likely to start at about $25k, at …

Read more 2015 BMW Concept Compact Sedan Teases Upcoming 135i: $25k Base Price, Standard Turbo, RWD?

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2017 FIAT 124 Spider – Gorgeous Miata Makeover Is Biggest LA Debut Yet

    More to follow.  Wanted this gorgeous new FIAT online ASAP!   2017 FIAT 124 Spider ALL-NEW 2017 FIAT 124 SPIDER REVIVES LEGENDARY NAMEPLATE WITH ICONIC ITALIAN STYLING AND DYNAMIC DRIVING EXPERIENCE 18/11/15 2017 Fiat 124 Spider returns nearly 50 years after original introduction Revival of roadster continues expansion of FIAT brand in North America Delivers iconic Italian style with modern adaptation of original Spider legend Powered by turbocharged MultiAir 1.4-liter engine for 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, available with manual or automatic transmission Available with an array of safety and security features, plus technologies for added …

Read more 2017 FIAT 124 Spider – Gorgeous Miata Makeover Is Biggest LA Debut Yet

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2016 Honda CIVIC Coupe Reveal – Big Style, Power from First-Ever Turbo Engine Option

First look today at the 2016 Honda Civic Coupe! Very impressive and sexy new form language, design elements and a gorgeous, coupe-exclusive tail make this the hottest 10th-gen Civic shown so far. Power is up across both LX and EX trims, with a fairly potent new 1.5-liter turbo four making 174 horsepower, an improvement of 31 ponies versus the equivalent engine last year. Joining the Civic sedan, the Coupe is the second reveal in a broad Civic assault over the next year. The first-ever US-market Civic 5-door is coming along soon, followed by Si versions of at least the Coupe …

Read more 2016 Honda CIVIC Coupe Reveal – Big Style, Power from First-Ever Turbo Engine Option

2016 Ford Focus RS

2016 Ford Focus RS Priced from $36k – Color Visualizer + 40 New Launch Photos

Fresh batch of 40 gorgeous photos from the 2016 Focus RS media launch this week — with the flagship Focus model stunning all comers in its Nitrous Blue over standard charcoal 19-inch alloys. Pricing is from $35,700, with options like $2k alternate wheel styles, plus the RS2 package for about $3k even. Most will leave the showroom with a price within $100 of of $40k. And for good reason! This playful hyper-hatch packs stunning track speed and grip beyond most Mustangs. Just four colors for the exterior are offered on the RS, but they are all exclusive and never-before-seen on …

Read more 2016 Ford Focus RS Priced from $36k – Color Visualizer + 40 New Launch Photos

2016 Volkswagen Beetle DUNE Editions 9

2016 Volkswagen Beetle DUNE Editions – Hitting Sand in Hard or Soft Tops Next Year!

This DUNE is not a concept. Finally! VW has been making DUNE-themed concepts every few years since the New Beetle burst on the scene in the mid-1990s. Each time, the natural jaded view that a two-wheel-drive beach car is a non-starter for actual practicality in its namesake terrain. Yes, the original baja Bugs were two-wheel-drive, also, but with the engine in back providing incredible grip in deep sand, but a light and floaty nose to glide over ridges and jumps smoothly. The 2016 DUNE will not be as graceful in soft sand, but quick and fun on hard-packed sand and …

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2017 Porsche 911 Carrera – Tenerife First Drives Roundup + Carrera S Sport Exhaust MP3

  Initial highlights to report from the Tenerife International media drive of the new 911?  The sound is still evocative, throaty and metallic, with some boxer baritone part of the new twin-turbo orchestra.  Check out the Carrera S with sport exhaust MP3 below. Twin pipes in back for the C2S and C4S are a highlight, as is the new LED brake light in the top of the contrast-black air intake on the legendary rump. The carbon-backed sport seats are a divine new selection versus the standard thrones, with cut-outs for a five-point harness but also all-day comfort and electric adjustments …

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Ford SEMA 2015 Cars Recap – Ice Nine Mustang GT350-EcoBoost Wins Hearts/Minds

What’s your favorite among this dozen-plus group of Ford SEMA customs? After seeing the finished products, we’d say our favorite is the Ice Nine Mustang widebody. Running a 475-horsepower EcoBoost turbo and GT350 nose pieces, the race-ready fender extensions with exposed rivets are particularly sexy and on-trend for 2016. The Cobra Jet is looking faster and louder than ever in its new-body form, but its skinny front tires make it less of a road-legal dream car than others. PREVIOUS Ford is going even more bananas for SEMA this year than usual!  We have at least two dozen custom Fords headed …

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Recaro Edition is New UK Special: Aerokit, Diamond-Cut Alloys + Sport Seats

Some handy shortcuts in the spec of the 2016 MX-5 in the UK: the Sport Recaro Limited Edition picks the best options from the standard kit, plus adds a gloss-black bodykit and unique diamond-cut alloy wheels. Although just 17-inchers, these really fill out the fenders quite well. The premium paints like this Ceramic Metallic or Soul Red are no-charge for the 25k MX-5 Recaro edition, which is available for order now across Britain.   2016 Mazda MX-5 Recaro Edition   MAZDA REVEALS ALL-NEW MAZDA MX-5 SPORT RECARO LIMITED EDITION 11/11/15 Limited Edition range-topping model joins the all-new Mazda MX-5 line …

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RM NYC 2015 - 1986 Ford RS200 - Final Road-Legal Group B Rally Star 21

Group B Debrief – 1986 Ford RS200 – Road-Legal Rally Legend Up For Sale

Imagine if suddenly all the power-cap rules for a major racing series were abolished overnight. A mad rush of skunkworks projects would be fast-tracked, with racecars zinging out their red-hot turbochargers through the World Rally Championship stages just 18-months later. Porsche, Ferrari, Lancia, Ford, and Audi all dove into the Group B program with both feet. The results on track were mixed for many of these cars: the lack of power cap rules meant that intagibles like chassis control, visibility and reliability were paramount for winning rallies in the short Group B time on the global stage. The excitement of …

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Spyder Versus MX-5 Speedster Concepts! Vote Your Pick

2016 Mazda MX-5 Spyder Mazda Reveals Extreme Lightweight Design Concepts at 2015 SEMA MX-5 Concepts Display Two Different Takes on Staying True to Pure, Lightweight Sports Car Philosophy LAS VEGAS (November 3, 2015) – Mazda revealed two design concepts today at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, based on its all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata—MX-5 Spyder and MX-5 Speedster—demonstrating two vastly different takes on lightweight, open-air performance. Lightweight. Fun-to-drive. Roadster. Those three tenets have served as the foundation for the Mazda MX-5 Miata since its 1989 introduction and continue to serve the new fourth-generation model. Focused, lightweight engineering is a guiding …

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Ford SEMA 2015 Custom CARS Preview – Rally Focii, Street Fiestas and 900HP EcoBoost Mustang!?

  Ford is going even more bananas for SEMA this year than usual!  We have at least two dozen custom Fords headed to the Vegas aftermarket equipment show — and that is just what we know so far. Last year included more than a few surprises closer to the event. Among the eight custom Mustangs headed to the Ford SEMA stand, the BISIMOTO turbo might be the most tempting and body performance upgrade. The EcoBoost in question, by the way, is not the V6TT — but the Mustang EcoBoost’s stock 2.3-liter twin-scroll turbo! A full carbon-fiber exterior looks sweet and …

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2015 DATSUN Go-Cross Concept Previews High-Ride, Low-Price Future Crossover

The Datsun brand’s revival is still at full speed, with a variety of models for sale in launch markets around India and Asia. Now we have a look at the brand’s next stage, a high-riding crossover. This preview shows us two things, both pretty impressive for a design concept: — the Datsun face and overall design style translate well onto an SUV shape — while this Go-Cross is dripping with swanky LEDs and gloss-black detailing, the parts underneath appear production-ready in most places. Datsun will certainly be producing this car, by the way. No coyness about that from the Nissan …

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2015 YAMAHA Sports Ride Concept – Deep Dive of Gordon Murray Links, Production Intent

More info and a huge batch of photos to share of the very-exciting Yamaha Sports Ride concept from Tokyo!  But, frustratingly, no actual engine specs or performance to share. What we know know is definitely enough to wet the lips: a 1500-pound, mid-engine sports coupe embracing motorbike fun as well as mass-production pricing. Sounds promising, yes?  Of course! Likely to be powered by a high-strung four-cylinder engine to back wheels via a paddle-shift automatic transmission, the Sports Ride concept is not just a flight of fancy from Yamaha. Yamaha’s precision engineering skills are well-known globally, with a built-in distribution network …

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2015 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Concept, WRX S207 NBR Challenge Join Packed Tokyo Showstand

Subaru is really growing in leaps and bounds! No better evidence than a frankly packed Tokyo stand from the once-humble maker of AWD mountain cars. Joining the all-new VIZIV Future Concept on the stands is the also-new Impreza 5-Door Concept. While the new WRX still feels very fresh, it is always good to take a sneak peek at the next-gen design vision for the product. Since the WRX and Impreza lineups were formally divorced in this generation in the US, the XV Crosstrek has taken on a bit of an entry-level role in the Subaru range. But this is traditionally …

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Nissan IDS Concept-4 copy

2015 Nissan IDS Concept is Autopilot EV with Sharply Stylish Aero

Here is a pretty interesting concept car from Nissan for the Tokyo auto show: the IDS. This rolling showcase shows the latest Nissan vision for a sporty, ultra-efficient battery-electric vehicle of the future. One might think of this as a superLeaf, as well as a look at the tech expected to underpin the redesigned ~2017 Leaf. The major upgrades are everywhere: exterior design is all-new and aggressively sleek in the wind tunnel. The cabin is a future-tech fantasy of touchscreens and AI controls, including a fully autonomous drive mode. Under the actually-pretty-stylish nose and its extreme lower splitter, next-gen LEDs …

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2017 MINI RAGTOP Bares All Ahead of March 2016 USA Arrival

The new MINI ragtop is here and vastly improved!  An all-new and wider platform houses two new engines, an all-new cabin and some sweet new tech and style options. The Cooper and Cooper S both run turbo engines for the next-gen model, with standard six-speed manuals or six-speed automatics available. But there is a big difference for the S in this generation: a whole extra cylinder!  That;s right, the base MINI runs a 1.5-liter triple!  This new modular engine series powers all future BMW’s; the 340i just revealed its 3.0-liter version of the same engine, but as a six-cylinder. A …

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2016 Ford Focus ST Kona Blue ST1 Flyaround in 120 Pics + HD Video

    Really had a ball flogging the Focus ST on track the other week. GoPro video came back as a photo-set by accident, so left with *just* these gorgeous 120 photos of the new slugger. Kona Blue is the color, with minimal options and an as-tested price very close to the $25k base. Versus the $36k of the RS, the ST really earned its keep out there in the twisties. Strong brakes, awesome front diff grip that felt totally understeer-proof, plus a snorty throttle intake and shouty new exhaust. The stick is as feelsome and snicky as ever — …

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1962 APAL-Porsche 1600 GT Coupe 5

1962 APAL-Porsche 1600 GT Coupe – RM Arizona 2016 Preview

Smooth. Seductive. Tuscan? Look at this stunning 1962 Porsche heading for auction at the RM Arizona 2016 event. Rally-perfect bumper with sunken 901/911 proportions, this machine is a stunning bespoke prototype from APAL studio in 1962. No estimate or description is yet available for the1600 GT Coupe, but it will go without reserve. We’d bring at least $350,000, and perhaps significantly more. 1962 APAL-Porsche 1600 GT Coupe   Photo Credit: David Gooley ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sothebys

FUTURE-SPEC – Mazda MX-5 and CX-3 Platforms Reborn as Scion S-FR and Scion iD

A few months ago, Toyota and Mazda announced a major partnership in vehicle development and production. The Mazda2’s conversion into the US-exclusive four-door Scion iA is a huge hit, and the two Japanese rivals seemed eager to deepen the bond. There may have been an equity swap to even seal their newly-strong link. But details on the ground were — and are — very secret. What are they working on together? PART ONE:  The S-FR As the months pass, we have a much clearer idea: specific Toyota variants of Mazda platforms. The S-FR sports coupe for the Tokyo auto show …

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Track Drive Review – 2016 Buick Regal GS – Flypaper Handling Is Now $3k Cheaper!

Autobahn Country Club might be my “Happy Place.” Recalling this track’s frisky bends, howling tires and full-throttle straightaways brings a smile instantly. Buick invited us to flog their performance flagship, the 2016 Regal GS, around the Illinois track and autocross to show off the machine’s latest updates: new colors and a price that is much more approachable. How approachable!?  A cool $3,300 off the base price for the GS takes the entry level to $35k versus near $38k before.  Three drivetrains continue for 2016: FWD auto, FWD manual and AWD automatic. The GS AWD we tested out still comes in …

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2016 BMW M2 Is Official! Speed and Stance Make M4 GTS Look Silly

Vaya vaya!  [Get Out!!] When BMW goes for performance glory, everyone else best stand back or be blown clear in jetwash. The new ~$130k M4 GTS reveal is being followed closely by a shadow that maintains nearly 99-percent of the big brothers’ track pace, but with a far more agile turn-in and — critically — a more affordable price. Will the estimated $55k total be too much for such a pocket rocket? We’d say NO!!! Take a look at those all-new fenders front and rear. Wide enough to slip into a DTM race, and hiding wheels with giant contact patches …

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