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Geneva: Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is Affalterbach's first big leap into the little pond

03/05/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Geneva Motor Show, Hatchbacks, Mercedes Benz, Autoline on Autoblog, Luxury

The recent history of AMG is turning out amped-up versions of Mercedes-Benz offerings that would hardly ever be mistaken for their sedate counterparts. Sure, you'd need to pay attention to pick a G-Class from the G63 AMG, but dual side-pipes are a quick giveaway. The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is not only a new era in Affalterbach's attention on smaller cars, it is probably also the most subtle transformation we can think of in the line-up.

Low and chunky enough in standard guise to make a sporting impression, the aesthetic makeover is confined to black trim around the lower rim of the hatch, black wheels with red brake calipers and a single, rectangular exhaust tip on either side of the diffuser. It's easier to make a positive ID inside, where the flat-bottomed steering wheel, red seatbelts and red-rimmed details say, "You know what I am..."

If the car is running, though, it won't take but a second. The 2.0-liter turbo spitting 360 horsepower and 332 pound-feet will grumble through a sport exhaust at idle, and bellow through the same on it's way to a 0-60 time of less than 4.5 seconds. And if you need something that looks a little harder - and you want those quad pipes - then the A45 AMG Edition 1 is the treasure you seek. There's a press release below for all the info you'll need until the hot hatch goes on sale in Germany later this year, and photos for the rest of us while we wait to find out if we'll get a chance to buy it.

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Official: Honda unveils new diesel for overseas Civic... will it come here?

11/19/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Tech, Honda, Autoline on Autoblog, Diesel

Honda has indeed been promoting its new Earth Dreams family of fuel efficient engines, and with good reason. The next generation of the Japanese automaker's powerplants are said to deliver more power with less consumption. You can't go wrong there.

So it has greatly piqued our interest that Honda has taken the wraps off the first diesel member of the Earth Dreams family. This 1.6-liter i-DTEC inline-four will be launched in the European version of the Honda Civic starting in the beginning of next year. The engine makes 118 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. It is made up of aluminum block and cylinder heads, and according to Honda, is the lightest diesel engine in its class.

Part of this new engine design is a fourth-generation Garret turbocharger, which features a variable-nozzle design. The speed of the turbo is also electronically controlled to optimize fuel efficiency and minimize turbo lag. The engine is designed specifically with the European market in mind, and will be produced in Honda's Swindon, UK manufacturing facility. Honda is capable of making 500 of these new diesel engines per day, which equates to one new engine every 138 seconds. Not bad for productivity.

So will this diesel mill come to the US market? Right now, it seems unlikely, but with diesel variants of other vehicles popping up in North America (there's that new C-segment Cruze Diesel on its way), it's not unthinkable that Honda would bring this engine over. Until then, we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed. To pass the time, you can also check out the press release below and gallery above, featuring detailed engine photos.

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Days of Thunder director, Tony Scott, found dead after jumping off bridge

08/21/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Autoline on Autoblog, Celebrities

The cinema world has lost one of its greats, as director Tony Scott was found dead yesterday in an apparent suicide. The 68-year-old director left notes in his car and office before jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which is located in San Pedro, CA. The bridge, which connects San Pedro to Terminal Island, spans Los Angeles Harbor and is 365 feet at its highest point, while State Route 47 is roughly 185 feet above water. Authorities have said evidence points to no other explanation than suicide, and ABC News is reporting that Scott had inoperable brain cancer.

Scott was born in 1944 in North Shields, England, and began a career of acting then directing, ascending to fame with the 1986 film Top Gun. Scott had great significance in the automotive enthusiast world with the 1990 film Days of Thunder and the BMW film Beat the Devil, featuring Clive Owen, James Brown and Gary Oldman as the devil. Scott also directed a 1980's Saab ad, that featured a Saab 900 Turbo racing a Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet.

Scott also directed many blockbuster films, including Crimson Tide, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Fan, Enemy of the State, and most recently Unstoppable. The latter starred Denzel Washington, with whom Scott apparently enjoyed working with based on the number of movies the two did together.

Scott is survived by his wife Donna Wilson Scott, and their twin sons, Frank and Max. Scott is also survived by his brother Ridley Scott, who directed such classics as Alien, Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down and, most recently, Prometheus.

As early as 2011, the brothers had announced that they would combine forces on a series called The Drivers based on the book Shelby: The Man, the Cars, the Legend.

Scroll below to watch Scott's BMW Film and the Saab ad.

Continue reading Days of Thunder director, Tony Scott, found dead after jumping off bridge

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Followup: Days of Thunder director, Tony Scott, found dead after jumping off bridge

08/20/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Autoline on Autoblog, Celebrities

The cinema world has lost one of its greats, as director Tony Scott was found dead yesterday in an apparent suicide. The 68-year-old director left notes in his car and office before jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which is located in San Pedro, CA. The bridge, which connects San Pedro to Terminal Island, spans Los Angeles Harbor and is 365 feet at its highest point, while State Route 47 is roughly 185 feet above water. Authorities have said evidence points to no other explanation than suicide, and ABC News is reporting that Scott had inoperable brain cancer.

Scott was born in 1944 in North Shields, England, and began a career of acting then directing, ascending to fame with the 1986 film Top Gun. Scott had great significance in the automotive enthusiast world with the 1990 film Days of Thunder and the BMW film Beat the Devil, featuring Clive Owen, James Brown and Gary Oldman as the devil. Scott also directed a 1980's Saab ad, that featured a Saab 900 Turbo racing a Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet.

Scott also directed many blockbuster films, including Crimson Tide, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Fan, Enemy of the State, and most recently Unstoppable. The latter starred Denzel Washington, with whom Scott apparently enjoyed working with based on the number of movies the two did together.

Scott is survived by his wife Donna Wilson Scott, and their twin sons, Frank and Max. Scott is also survived by his brother Ridley Scott, who directed such classics as Alien, Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down and, most recently, Prometheus.

As early as 2011, the brothers had announced that they would combine forces on a series called The Drivers based on the book Shelby: The Man, the Cars, the Legend.

Scroll below to watch Scott's BMW Film and the Saab ad.

Continue reading Days of Thunder director, Tony Scott, found dead after jumping off bridge

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Autoline After Hours coming to you live from Woodward Ave

08/19/2011   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Etc., Videos, Autoline on Autoblog

autoline live from woodward

If you weren't aware already, the Woodward Dream Cruise is set to rumble through Detroit this Saturday. Our friends from Autoline have already made their way over to the famed stretch of road, and are bringing their Autoline After Hours show to you live from the street.

John McElroy and Peter De Lorenzo will be there to talk classic iron, and the pair have invited a few guests to join in the enthusiast banter. You can watch it all unfold live after the jump. The start time is scheduled for 7PM EST.

Also, be sure to tune in to our own coverage of the Dream Cruise this Saturday. We've got our team assembled, and like years past, we'll be live streaming the entire cruise live so those not in attendance can see the thousands of cars that will be there. We've obsessively covered the Dream Cruise in the past, but this year we are even more obsessed... so stay tuned for a surprise.

Continue reading Autoline After Hours coming to you live from Woodward Ave

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Opinion: What if it turns out there's plenty of oil? [w/video]

07/20/2011   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Plants/Manufacturing, Videos, Autoline on Autoblog

Oil in Saudi Arabia

As the relative price of gasoline drops, people are not motivated to buy small, fuel efficient cars.
All the top executives in the auto industry tell me that oil supplies will only get tighter this decade. They predict that fuel prices will do nothing but go up. And they say customers will be clamoring for small, fuel-efficient cars. Or electric ones. But what if it turns out they're wrong?

After all, over the last century the price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States, on an inflation-adjusted basis, has always come down. Always. Data from the Energy Information Administration shows that since 1919 the price of gasoline has spiked during war time or global turmoil, but it has always come down after that. This is a key reason why Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations have not worked. As the relative price of gasoline drops over time, people are not motivated to buy small, fuel efficient cars.

A decade ago, the Peak Oil theory attracted a lot of adherents. It postulated that global oil production would peak in 2006, and that the following shortage would send oil prices skyrocketing. Sure enough, in 2008 a barrel of oil shot to $150. It looked like the Peak Oil theory was coming true. But less than 12 months later it dropped to under $40 a barrel. And though the price is now closer to $100 you don't hear as much talk about Peak Oil anymore. Here's why.


John McElroyJohn McElroy is host of the TV program "Autoline Detroit" and daily web video "Autoline Daily". Every week he brings his unique insights as a Detroit insider to Autoblog readers.

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Opinion: Time to raise the speed limit, how does 150 MPH sound?

04/12/2011   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Safety, Autoline on Autoblog

Ever since automobiles first appeared over 100 years ago, every automaker has tried to make them go faster. And they succeeded. Nearly every year, cars became more powerful with higher top-end speeds. But then, in the mid-1950s, we hit a plateau. The national speed limit was set at 70 miles per hour, and we've been stuck at that rate ever since. As a result, the automobile has made absolutely no progress as a transportation device in over half a century.

Speed itself is not a safety hazard. It's the difference in speeds between cars that lead to accidents.
Actually, in 1974, it got worse. The national speed limit was lowered to 55 mph, ostensibly to save fuel and lives (it did neither). Such an agonizingly slow rate of travel proved too much to take for most Americans. We demanded that the limit be raised, and we got it back to 70 mph. Now it's time to demand another raise.

I'm not talking about some sort of modest increase to, say, 85 mph. We need to put a comprehensive plan in place to gradually move the limit up, over the next couple of decades, to 150 miles an hour. And we need to do that with no sacrifice in fuel economy or safety.

Continue reading Opinion: Time to raise the speed limit, how does 150 MPH sound?...

[Image: Getty]

Continue reading Opinion: Time to raise the speed limit, how does 150 MPH sound?

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Rumormill: Volkswagen greenlights Bulli for production

03/11/2011   [Original: Autocar via Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Volkswagen, Autoline on Autoblog, Rumormill

Volkswagen bulli

Volkswagen Bulli Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

What did you think of Volkswagen's Bulli concept, which was just shown for the first time at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show? VW is apparently hoping you liked it, because rumor (via Autocar in the UK) has it that it's going into production.

The concept version is powered by a 113-horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, which can reportedly be charged in less than an hour. We don't know if the electric powertrain will make it into the production vehicle (our guess would be no, but who knows?), and there is no word on pricing. Still, how cool would it be to once again see a modern Volkswagen Microbus prowling the streets of America? The mind reels at the possibility.

Gallery: Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011

Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011

Photos copyright (C)2011 Steven J. Ewing / Damon Lavrinc / AOL

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Rumormill: Volkswagen green lights Bulli for production

03/11/2011   [Original: Autocar via Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Volkswagen, Autoline on Autoblog, Rumormill

Volkswagen bulli

Volkswagen Bulli Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

What did you think of Volkswagen's Bulli concept, which was just shown for the first time at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show? VW is apparently hoping you liked it, because rumor (via Autocar in the UK) has it that it's going into production.

The concept version is powered by a 113-horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, which can reportedly be charged in less than an hour. We don't know if the electric powertrain will make it into the production vehicle (our guess would be no, but who knows?), and there is no word on pricing. Still, how cool would it be to once again see a modern Volkswagen Microbus prowling the streets of America? The mind reels at the possibility.

Gallery: Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011

Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011Volkswagen Bulli Concept: Geneva 2011

Photos copyright (C)2011 Steven J. Ewing / Damon Lavrinc / AOL

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Opinion: Five Questions For Ray LaHood

02/22/2011   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Safety, Autoline on Autoblog

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood

It took ten months. It involved the best brains in the nation. They conducted exhaustive tests. And Lord knows what it all cost. But when it was over, the results were totally predictable. The U.S. Department of Transportation could find nothing wrong with Toyota vehicles that would cause them to suddenly accelerate out of control.

The results were predictable because the country went through the same thing nearly a quarter of a century ago. Only then, it involved Audi. And in both of these cases, each car company was accused of having some sort of mysterious gremlin that would cause its cars to suddenly accelerate out of control.

But there is a significant difference between both investigations. Back then the Department of Transportation blamed it on driver error. Officially, they called it "pedal misapplication." But this time around, the Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, wouldn't do that. He said it was caused by mechanical problems, i.e., sticky pedals and piled up floormats.

Too bad the Secretary didn't have the courage to call it like it is. By failing to identify the root cause of the problem, more people are going to lose their lives.

Continue reading...

[Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty]

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