Archive for the ‘First Look’ Category

Aston Martin AM-RB 003 is a High-Tech, Hybrid Hypercar

British marque turns to Red Bull for F1 powertrain technology.

by on Mar.05, 2019

The Aston Martin AM-RB 003's F1-derived drivetrain is expected to top 1,000 hp in final trim.

After weeks of teasing its new hypercar, Aston Martin has finally pulled the wraps off the AM-RB 003 at the Geneva Motor Show, and it’s a high-tech hybrid that also happens to be insanely fast, its 1,000 horsepower drivetrain able to launch from 0 to 60 in less than 3 seconds.

The AM-RB 003 picks up where the earlier Valkyrie left off, “incorporate(ing) concepts and technologies taken directly from F1,” the automaker explained as it prepared to reveal the two-seater at Geneva’s PALExpo convention center.

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The limited-edition model is the third mid-engine offering developed as part of a “long-term collaboration” and “extraordinary journey” pairing Aston with its Formula One partner, Red Bull Advanced Technologies, noted the British automaker’s CEO Andy Palmer.

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Mercedes-Benz Concept EQV is a Near Production-Ready Electric Minivan

Production version to follow during autumn's Frankfurt Motor Show.

by on Mar.05, 2019

The Mercedes Concept EQV combines elements of the V-Class van and the new EQ series.

The Chrysler Pacifica has shown there’s a market for electrified people-movers. Now, Mercedes-Benz is taking things a step further with its Concept EQV.

The all-electric version of its V-Class  is making its debut at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, but a production version of what’s also known as the Mercedes Viano is set to follow next autumn at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the automaker confirmed on Tuesday.

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“Mercedes-Benz Vans is consistently advancing the electrification of its product portfolio,” said Wilfried Porth, a board member with Mercedes’ parent Daimler AG. “With the Concept EQV, we are now taking the next step. From a daily driver for the family, a leisure-time adventurer or a shuttle vehicle with lounge ambience, the combination of these characteristics with a battery-electric drive mean the Concept EQV is a concept car with a future.”

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First Look: 2020 Jaguar XE

Sport sedan gets a makeover inside and out for model year.

by on Mar.01, 2019

Jaguar's given its XE sport sedan a complete makeover for 2020, including an all-new interior.

Jaguar has announced a series of updates to the 2020 XE sports sedan, including what is described as an enhanced exterior design; all-new interior with new materials and layout and advanced infotainment and drivers’ assistance technologies.

“The new Jaguar XE is all about building on the undeniable sporting proportions of the original car,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design.

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“We’ve given the car much bolder graphics and more visual width; planting it in a way which really illustrates its dynamic intent. The new XE is a wonderfully complete package with a very purposeful exterior matched to a beautifully crafted, sporty interior,” Callum said. (more…)

First Drive: 2020 Kia Soul

Those pesky hamsters would approve – but where are they?

by on Feb.28, 2019

The Kia Soul in GT trim, one of the many variants -- including an EV -- coming for 2020.

Ever since the third-generation Kia Soul made its debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show last November we’ve been waiting to hear from those hip-hop hamsters that have been an integral part of the marketing effort for the quirky crossover since it was first introduced back in 2013.

So far, they’ve been a no-show but, after getting a chance to drive the latest version of Kia’s five-door, we really aren’t surprised. While they may yet show up when the next campaign rolls out, the Soul now has a clearly established identity and the latest version is so solid that marketing gimmicks really aren’t necessary.

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The gen-3 Kia Soul will now be offered in a dizzying array of different configurations, including a new, battery-electric version set to appear later in the year. To get a sense of what Kia has come up with, we headed out to San Diego for a long day’s drive of two of the most interesting versions, the Soul X-Line and Soul GT.

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More Than a Mid-Cycle Refresh: A First Look at the Mercedes-Benz GLC

Crossover coming to Geneva gets new engine, more tech, and some exterior updates.

by on Feb.28, 2019

The updated 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC will joint an assortment of other new models in Geneva.

Automakers love to promote every change they make to a vehicle, but most mid-cycle updates are limited to some subtle exterior and interior updates and a handful of new paint colors.

Not so the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC. The compact crossover is battling for space in an increasingly crowded segment and the German maker has wisely recognized that it will take more than just a new fascia to draw in buyers.

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The 2020 GLC update isn’t a complete makeover, but there are still plenty of things to make note of, starting with the addition of an all-new four-cylinder engine, as well as the addition of Mercedes’ new MBUX personal voice assistant, and other new technologies.

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Mid-engine Corvette C8 Caught Testing in (Unexpected) Snow Storm

by on Feb.21, 2019

A pair of camouflaged C8 Corvettes are caught driving through heavy snow outside San Diego.

It never rains in Southern California, but singer Albert Hammond never mentioned snow in his 1973 hit. So, you can imagine the surprise for the folks from Chevrolet when they headed out for a long test drive of mid-engine C8 Corvette prototypes through the mountains outside San Diego only to be greeted with lots of the white stuff drifting down from leaden skies.

That clearly didn’t stop them from continuing their test drive, which was good news for us – thanks to the quick thinking of TDB friend and videographer Tom Voelk. He also was caught in the snowy weather on a long drive route testing another manufacturer’s vehicle when the convoy of Corvettes shot by. He grabbed one of his cameras and started shooting.

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Mssr. Voelk was kind enough to provide us with some still shots from the serendipitous shoot, and if you’d actually like to see the mid-engine Corvette C8 in action, you can check out his Youtube post by .

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Aston Teases Project 003 Hypercar Ahead of Geneva

Only 500 will be built.

by on Feb.20, 2019

The latest Aston Martin hypercar will use an F1-influenced gas-electric drivetrain.

From a company struggling to avert yet another bankruptcy only a few years ago, Aston Martin has bounced back with a vengeance, as it plans to demonstrate with the debut of a new hypercar at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Codenamed “Project 003,” it’s set to become the British marque’s third hypercar, following up on the earlier Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro models.

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“It was always the intention for the Aston Martin Valkyrie to be a once-in-a lifetime project,” said Aston CEO Andy Palmer. “It was also vital to us that Valkyrie would create a legacy: a direct descendent that would also set new standards within its own area of the hypercar market, creating a bloodline of highly specialised, limited production machines that can exist in parallel with Aston Martin’s series production models.”

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GMC Unveils 2020 Acadia

Mid-cycle refresh sharpens styling, updates tech, adds new engine – and new AT4 model.

by on Feb.18, 2019

The new 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 edition puts the emphasis on off-roadability.

GMC has lifted the covers on an update of its popular Acadia SUV, and it offers more changes than you’d typically expect from a mid-cycle refresh.

The 2020 GMC Acadia opts for a more classic, ute-like face, with a more boxy, upright grille framed by now-standard LED headlamps and C-shaped LED running lights. The front and rear fascia also get new treatments.

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The 2020 refresh sees some all new features added to the midsize ute, including a new turbo engine. But one of the more significant moves comes with the addition of the new Acadia AT4. Something of a counterpoint to the upscale Acadia Denali, the AT4 model puts the emphasis on serious off-road capabilities.

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Nissan Updates Rogue Sport for 2020

More technology and a more technical design.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport gets a mid-cycle refresh on the exterior and interior.

Nissan is giving its Rogue Sport a more technical feel with the 2020 mid-cycle update, with updates to the crossover’s exterior and interior, along with the addition of new Safety Shield technologies.

Now in its second generation, the Rogue is “a critical vehicle” in the expanding Nissan crossover/SUV line-up, says Scott Shirley, vice president of marketing operations for Nissan North America, so what might seem like a modest mid-cycle update takes on significance for the Japanese automaker.

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“We’re committed to keeping our crossover/SUV portfolio fresh,” Shirley said, during the lead-up to the unveiling of the 2020 Rogue Sport at this week’s Chicago Auto Show media preview.

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Volkswagen Ups the Ante with 2019 GLI Sedan

“The heart and soul of the GTI.”

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2019 VW GLI blends the sportiest features of the Jetta and GTI models.

There are some things that Europeans and Americans just never can agree on, starting with hatchbacks and sedans. True, utility vehicles have come to dominate the U.S. marketplace, but sedans still make up a strong share of sales. Hatchbacks just can’t seem to climb out of the niche category.

So, for those who’d like the power and road-holding dynamics of a Volkswagen GTI, the GLI offers a viable, four-door alternative. And the German maker “ups the performance ante,” it promises, with the launch of the sixth-generation sedan that made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

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“Volkswagen has long been synonymous with small, sporty cars,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “The redesigned 2019 Jetta proved once more that its combination of design, technology and value continues to resonate with buyers. The 2019 GLI takes the Jetta foundation and adds performance features from the Golf GTI to give buyers a true sport sedan.”

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