Valtteri Bottas Wins Final Race In 2017 F1 Championship

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 07:21 PM PST

Valtteri Bottas has finished the 2017 F1 World Championship on a high after taking victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver started the race from pole position ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton. After making a fantastic start, the Finn opened a crucial 2-second gap to Hamilton and throughout most of the race, this gap remained fairly consistent. Despite Hamilton's best efforts, he was unable to overtake Bottas.

Further down the field, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, and Kimi Raikkonen held third, fourth and fifth positions for most of the race. However, Ricciardo was forced to retire with a hydraulic issue, allowing Max Verstappen to inherent fifth place.

As the drivers' championship and the top four positions in the constructors' championship were already secured before the race weekend, the results weren't unexpected. However, what was unexpected was seeing Renault leapfrog Toro Rosso in the constructors' championship thanks to Nico Hulkenberg's sixth position. By claiming sixth in the title race, Renault will receive about $13.5 million more in prize money than they would have if they'd finished seventh behind the junior Red Bull team.

Speaking about the win, Bottas said it was hugely encouraging to finish the season in such dominant fashion.

"It's a really important win for me. After having a pretty difficult start to the second half of the year, working hard on all of the issues and getting better and better with everything and this weekend just went all ... I couldn't be happier than to end the season like this. I was third (in the championship) this year, hopefully better next year."


Fire-Damaged Ferrari 512 BB Could Somehow Sell For Over $40,000

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 06:02 PM PST

Purchasing a Ferrari 512 BB for around $40,000 may seem like the bargain of the century but such a price tag for an utterly destroyed example seems absurd.

This 512 BB, currently being auctioned off by Copart, has attracted a highest bid of $39,750, despite being destroyed by fire and completely unrepairable.

No details about what caused the fire have been made public, but based on the images, it appears as if the fire started in either the engine bay or in the cabin. In either case, the engine and transmission have been wrecked by the flames and the interior left as nothing more than a charcoaled mess of plastic, metal and rubber.

Quite often, flood-damaged cars fetch a decent amount of money at auction as their parts can be sold off to private buyers. However, we're not entirely sure why someone would be willing to spend roughly $40,000 on a 512 BB like this.


Jay Leno Experiences The Hilarious Ariel Nomad

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 05:04 PM PST

The Ariel Nomad may look unconventional but it is a serious performance machine on all road surfaces, as Jay Leno recently discovered.

This isn't Leno's first rodeo with an Ariel. In fact, he is the owner of one of the first Atom models ever built. Considering that the Nomad shares the same lightweight philosophy as the Atom, it's not surprising that the former late-night host is a fan of Ariel's second production model.

The Ariel Nomad which Leno jumped behind the wheel of was the Tactical variant. It is powered by a supercharged 2.4-liter Honda engine delivering 300 hp. That powertrain is mated to a six-speed manual transmission sending power through the rear wheels.

In a change for the Jay Leno's Garage series, we actually have the chance to see Leno take a vehicle off-road, fully exploring the Nomad's capabilities and showing just how capable it is.


Truck Drivers Apparently Don't Care About The Tesla Semi's Performance

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 04:03 PM PST

In announcing the Tesla Semi, Elon Musk made no secret of the fact that it will be much quicker than any diesel alternatives.

However, do long-haul truck drivers even care about performance? According to the UK's Road Haulage Association (RHA), they don't.

Speaking to Autocar earlier this week, RHA policy advisor Rod McKenzie said performance figures aren't relevant to truck drivers and the lack of charging points and minimal range of the Tesla are huge concerns.

"Hauliers don't care about these claimed figures. They're not relevant to us. We're not looking for performance, not least because lorries' speed is limited to 56mph.

"The Tesla Semi has a reported range of 500 miles. That's quite a lot less than a diesel lorry. It means charging. First of all, where are the charging points? There aren't many around. And lorries can be filled up with diesel very quickly.

"Musk said there would be quick-charging in 30 minutes but I think we need to see charging times in real terms. Any loss of time greatly reduces our operational efficiency," McKenzie said.

According to Musk, the Tesla Semi will accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 20 seconds with an 80,000 lbs payload. Without a trailer, it'll complete the sprint in five seconds. While truck drivers may not care about this straight-line performance, many car drivers will, particularly if it means they won't get stuck behind a slow-moving truck when pulling away from traffic lights.

Interestingly, McKenzie went on to suggest that most hauliers are conservative and not willing to take risks, and that includes ditching a reliable diesel vehicle for an unproven semi from a company that can't make any money.


There's Something Delightfully Incongruous About A Base-Spec Exotic

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 03:05 PM PST

Automakers are doing their best these days to make even their most basic, budget-friendly vehicles look polished. But there are some you can expect to see in base spec – mostly for professional use and deployment as part of large fleets.

We're talking about work-a-day vehicles like the Ram Tradesman, for example, or the Opel Corsavan. But an exotic supercar? Perish the thought!

That's precisely the delightful incongruity we've been seeing these lately, albeit only in the digital realm: six-figure supercars and even seven-figure hypercars stripped of their painted bumpers and flashy wheels, fitted instead with matte black noses and tails and plain old steel rims.

Of course, even if you could, ordering one that way wouldn't put much of a dent in the purchase price of something as expensive as a Bugatti Chiron, Koenigsegg Agera, Pagani Huayra, or even something as relatively "affordable" as a Lamborghini Huracan, Aston Martin DB11, or Mercedes-AMG GT.

It'd ruin the handling too, and make your big-buck exotic look like it were in the middle of being repaired. So we're thankful that none of these exist in reality, but it's still funny to look at these curious renderings from Nikita Aksyonov and chuckle at the "what if" of it all.

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2017 LA Auto Show: A-Z Production And Concept Car Debut Guide

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 01:52 PM PST

Our product guide to the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show has everything you need to know about the new cars, world debuts and launches taking place at the downtown LA Convention Center from December 1 to 10.

That's when the show will open to the public, but before that, we'll have the AutoMobility LA, a four-day press and trade event from November 27 to 30, covering both the vehicle and technology presentations, as well as the conferences.

On this page, we're rounding up all the world and North American premieres with daily coverage and updates as they're confirmed.

The product highlights of this year's event have a little something for every taste bud, whether you're looking for seven seats in a crossover like the new Subaru Ascent and Lexus RX L, an open air view for two such as BMW's i8 Roadster (or Spyder) or to gaze at the future with concepts like the Toyota FT-AC and Mazda's stunning Vision sports sedan. Tesla will also have a booth in LA.

Take a look at the links below to read our full stories on all the new models and studies and be sure to keep checking back, as we'll be continuously updating these pages!

Note: F/L = Facelift, NC = Not Confirmed



Nissan's Getting Serious About Its Autech Sub-Brand In Japan

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 01:02 PM PST

Want to sportify your Nissan in Japan? There are two names to know: Nismo, of course, but also Autech.

Described as a line of "sporty, high-performance models with enhanced quality and comfort," the Autech range is out to upgrade existing Nissan models in the Japanese domestic market.

The relaunched sub-brand brings together models labeled until now as Axis, Rider, Bolero, and Mode Premier – all of which will now be integrated under the Autech name.

That starts with the Nissan Serena Autech, which launches today in Japan, giving the angular minivan more of a custom look and feel.

"Nissan will offer different core values through our two sub-brands, NISMO and AUTECH," said Takao Katagiri, head of Nissan's performance operations. "We'll continue offering a variety of programs to help our customers enjoy their Nissan vehicles even more."

While Nismo models will continue to focus purely on performance, the Autech line will take a more tangible quality-driven approach, emphasizing "premium craftsmanship, with top-quality materials and immaculate attention to detail."

The unification of the Autech range follows the recent expansion of the Nismo lineup, which has already grown to include performance versions of the GT-R, 370Z, Juke, Note, March, and Serena.

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The Maserati MC12 Makes The Enzo Look Common By Comparison

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 11:57 AM PST

Ferrari, by design, never makes enough of its flagship hypercars to satisfy demand. But one of the most coveted didn't wear a Prancing Horse logo at all. It wore the Trident badge of its sister brand Maserati.

That, of course, was the MC12 – essentially a modified version of the Enzo, homologated for racing. Ferrari essentially made the MC12 for Maserati, but only made 50 of them for public consumption.

This compared to the relative ubiquity of the Enzo, of which Ferrari made 400... that's eight times as many. If the automaker had applied that same ratio again to the Enzo, it would have been as common as the 550 Maranello (of which over 3,000 were made).

The relative scarcity of the MC12 hasn't proven enough, however, to overcome the magnetic draw of the Prancing Horse badge, with prices for both the MC12 and the Enzo hovering around the same level. RM Sotheby's, for example, has sold three Enzos this year, for €2.3 million, $2.7 million, and £1.8 million, respectively – or a converted average of $2.6m.

Of the three MC12s the same auction house has sold, one went for €3m, another for $1.4m, and a third for $2.1m – or an average of $2.4m. The example you see here, captured by Peter Singhof for RM Sotheby's, is set to cross the same auctioneer's block in Paris during Retromobile week this coming February. There it's expected to sell for €2-2.5 million, or about $2.4-3 million at current exchange rates. That'd put it towards the higher end of the spectrum, but hardly out of the ordinary.

What we can't help but wonder is how the relative values of either will play out in the long run. Will the MC12's rarity make it worth more, or will the lure of the Ferrari legend see it gallop past? Only time (and an elite cadre of very wealthy collectors) will tell.

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Mazda's Developing A New Crossover Just For The US

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 11:09 AM PST

Mazda has an all-new crossover in the pipeline, and it's being developed specifically for the North American market.

This according to the latest report from Automotive News, which interviewed Mazda's CEO Masamichi Kogai on the company's future plans.

Though details on the new model have not been revealed, we're expecting to see a new three-row/seven-seat model to slot in between the CX-5 and CX-9. Roughly half of the company's US lineup is currently composed of crossovers, accounting for 57 percent of its sales – a number which Kogai-san wants to increase to 60 percent.

"We have big expectations," said Kogai. "This is our declaration that we are going to grow our business in the U.S."

"We are actually going to introduce a totally new and different type of SUV," he said. "R&D is coordinating with our North American operations on that right now." It's a similar strategy which Mazda followed to create the CX-4 for the Chinese market, or the CX-8 for the Japanese domestic market.

Set to arrive in 2021, the new model could potentially revive the CX-7 nameplate that was discontinued in 2012. Whatever it's called, the new model is projected to take up Mazda's entire 150,000-unit annual capacity at the plant it's building with Toyota somewhere in the United States. Last year, Mazda sold 112,235 examples of the CX-5 crossover that currently stands as its best-selling nameplate.

The new crossover is just one step Mazda is reportedly taking to increase its current market share of 1.7 percent, trailing behind its Japanese and ahead only of Mitsubishi. It has a new lightweight platform in the works, a new design language, and several new powertrain technologies – including an EV, mild hybrid, and Skyactiv-X gasoline engine with diesel-style compression ignition.

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NSFW - VW Arteon's Practicality Tested Using A Young Woman In Ukraine

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 10:00 AM PST

Amateur car reviews never get old, even if they are in a foreign language that we might not understand, such as Russian.

Take this video, for example, which was shot by an enthusiastic Volkswagen Arteon driver, who went the extra mile trying to point out some of the strong things of his new temporary ride and found a way to attract viewers.

What he did was use his Ukrainian girlfriend, making her lie down in the trunk with the rear seats folded, proving that the cargo capacity of the CC's successor is more than generous to haul a young brunette.

Throughout the 20-minute long clip, the man films his girlfriend in various ways next to the Arteon, some of which are quite spicy, so you may want to avoid hitting the play button at work.

The new Volkswagen Arteon doesn't get shipped with a mail order bride, but it does carry a rather steep price of almost €50,000 in Germany, which equals to $58,850 at current exchange rates. That's for the entry-level gasoline version, which is very close to premium territory, as a new Mercedes-Benz CLS starts at €54,800 ($64,499) in its homeland.



Aston Martin Vantage And Fisker EMotion Share An Uncanny Resemblance

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 09:14 AM PST

The new Aston Martin Vantage is certainly a departure from the brand's usual design, though the front end seems to be at odds with the rest of the car. However, it is the rear of the Vantage that has us most interested.

A radical departure from the outgoing model, the new car features a single LED strip stretching the width of the rear and curving upwards as part of the car's decklid lip spoiler. Interestingly, this isn't the first time we've seen a car with this design.

Earlier this year, Fisker unveiled photos of its upcoming Model S-rivalling electric sedan, the EMotion, and, surprisingly, the upper part of its rear end looks almost identical to that of the Vantage.

Aston Martin claims that the new Vantage was designed in 2014 and it's almost certain that the EMotion's exterior styling hasn't been around for that long. Interestingly, Henrik Fisker was the man responsible for penning the original Vantage back in 2005.

What do you think's going on here? Did Fisker somehow get his hands on the Vantage's design before anyone else or is it just pure coincidence?

We've reached out to Fisker for an answer, so we'll let you know when it comes in.


Top Gear's Chris Harris Picks The Best Performance Cars Of 2017

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 10:25 AM PST

As part of Top Gear's ongoing Performance Car of the Year 2017, Chris Harris has selected his seven best performance cars of the past 12 months.

In a field of 13 seriously impressive vehicles, there is a selection of cars that seemed to stand out to the Top Gear host, particularly the brand new 2017 Ford GT, a car that shares more with a Le Mans racer than any of its road-legal rivals.

Elsewhere, the British journalist is a big fan of the way the Lamborghini Huracan Performante drives, even though he hates how it looks. For those familiar with Harris, you'll know that he has never been a fan of the Huracan, suggesting that it is an understeering mess. With the Performante, Lamborghini seems to have perfected the mid-engine formula.

Other cars selected by Harris include the McLaren 720S and the Porsche 911 GT3. Can you guess which are the rest that made it into his list?


Jaguar Space-Type Concept Comes From The Future, Artificial Intelligence Included

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 07:00 AM PST

Even though this Jaguar concept doesn't come directly from the British automaker, the tech it would supposedly feature is something we'd definitely like to see on most cars in the future.

Starting off with the way it looks, its designer, Spencer Kim, who shared his work on Behance, went for a very futuristic look, which looks good but is highly unlikely to be seen in a production car - but, hey, that's supposed to be a concept after all, so it makes perfect sense.

At its core, the Space-Type is an electric/autonomous vehicle inspired by astronomy and aviation. Meanwhile, its sleek contours and violet "smart glass" enhance its bold looks.

Sitting inside this concept is supposed to feel like being in some type of aircraft. Since the smart-glass extends all the way from the front to the rear, passengers can view the sky perfectly while the car does all the driving.

One feature we really like is the easy-entry seating mechanism, where the seats rise out to aid passengers getting in or out of the car.

According to its designer, the Space-Type is also controlled by an Artificial Intelligence-based system and comes with shared mobility features. It's everything automakers are currently talking about when discussing their future plans, though we'll have to wait a little bit before we see most of them on production cars.


BMW Makes Some Bold Claims About The X2 In Their Latest Promo

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 05:59 AM PST

It's a bit far-fetched to claim you can "be unique" by buying a mass produced vehicle such as the new X2, but that's BMW's message in the ad that follows.

Their TV commercial, which is shown here in the long version, makes several bold statements, and it even shows the brand's premium sub-compact crossover destroying a few scale model cubicles in the attempt to make itself more noticeable.

Unveiled nearly a month ago, the BMW X2 is a sportier take on the X1. Its exterior resembles that of a hatchback with a slightly increased ride height, and it follows on the footsteps of the coupe SUV niche of the larger X4 and X6.

Based on the X2 Concept that debuted last year, the production version will become available in several versions, with various equipment, from cloth upholstery to Dakota leather, and from gloss black accents to a panoramic glass roof. It also gets, depending on the specified trim, an 8.8-inch infotainment system, color head-up display, and LED interior lighting, in addition to various wheel sizes that range from 17- to 20-inch.

European customers will have to choose, at launch, from the 192 PS (189 HP) petrol and 190 PS (187 HP) and 231 PS (228 HP) diesels, whereas in the United States, it will be available as the xDrive28i that's powered by a 2.0-liter petrol engine that's good enough for 228 HP (231 PS).


Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series Gets New Set Of Rims Courtesy Of HRE

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 04:57 AM PST

Long before AMG became Mercedes' official performance division, it had named a name for itself by tuning some of the German automaker's models.

One of them was the SL65 AMG Black Series, the hottest version of the previous-gen range-topping model that came with a staggering 670 HP and 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) of torque courtesy of the tuned 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12.

That's about 100 HP more than the menacing AMG GT R, and probably very close to the next Black Series model that was scooped on the Nurburgring recently. Naught to 62 mph (100 km/h) took just 3.9 seconds, and top speed was limited to 'just' 199mph (320km/h), which makes it just 0.3 seconds slower off the line than the Beast of the Green Hell.

Now, it appears that there's nothing that you could do to a Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series to make it hotter, but HRE might be on to something with their new multi-spoke rims finished in polished copper.

Described as capable of offering the ultimate street-performance by combining the purposeful lightweight design of race wheels with "an unmatched level of sophisticated design", the wheels are part of the P103 series. They cost at least $9,600 per set, come in different sizes from 19- to 21-inches, and can be finished in a variety of colors.

This particular set doesn't look half bad on this black example, so we guess if any owner wants to change something on his/her Black Series, they might want to try them out for size.


Good Samaritan Takes Down Purse-Snatching Thieves On Moped

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 03:59 AM PST

Snatching somebody off a speeding moped can be dangerous, but at the same time, totally worth attempting if you're willing and able to stop a crime.

This bystander apparently did not hesitate at all in tackling the thieves as they tried to get away on a moped.

The action starts off with the thieves hopping the curb and stealing a handbag from an unsuspecting woman. Luckily, the trailing car had a dashcam mounted on and caught not only the act itself, but also the bystander's intervention.

According to the video's description, the man couldn't keep the thief down "due to to fear of being attacked," which makes sense since trying to restrain the guy in any way would have probably been met with strong retaliation.

Still, here's to hoping this whole thing wasn't staged as a clickbait, so it can be our feel-good moment of the day.


New Seat Leon Reportedly On Track For A 2019 Launch

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 02:58 AM PST

Seat is readying the fourth-generation of the Leon, which is expected to arrive within the next 18 months, or approximately 7 years after the current iteration was introduced.

Talking to AutoExpress, Matthias Rabe, the brand's board member for R&D, explained that the new compact car is part of Seat's most extensive push in their history, which includes several new or heavily updated vehicles.

"It's our biggest push ever. We've had the Ateca, now Arona, the renewal of Ibiza, the facelifted Leon. But it's only now that we really accelerate; over the next three years, we'll see six or seven new models, and most of them will be totally new", Rabe said, referring to the new-gen Leon and upcoming 3-row SUV, among others.

The 2020 Seat Leon will go down the evolutionary route in terms of styling, according to Rabe, who added that it will be instantly recognizable as a Leon,while sharing a few design elements with some of the latest vehicles currently made by the Spanish car manufacturer.

While it will sport a redesigned bodywork, beneath the skin, the next-gen Leon is expected to maintain the MQB architecture, albeit with a slight improvement in the wheelbase, which is expected to gain a few mm for improved legroom on the rear seat.

The engine lineup will probably include the 1.0 and 1.5-liter turbocharged petrol units along with a 1.6-liter diesel, while the 48V mild hybrid technology that will debut on the next-gen VW Golf could be part of the offerings as well along with a rumored PHEV.

In other related news, Seat's electrification push will eventually give birth to their first EV, likely based on the Mii. The eMii is believed to debut in 2019, followed by their second electric car, which will share its MEB architecture with the Volkswagen I.D. hatch and other zero-emission cars that are planned by the Group.

Next spring, however, Seat are believed to expand their Cupra lineup, which, in Rabe's own words, "is not just limited to the Leon", so we could finally see a hot Ateca on the road.

Note: Third-gen Seat Leon pictured


Crash Tests Reveal South Africa's Most Popular Cars Are Worryingly Unsafe

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 01:59 AM PST

Combining for 65% of all new cars sold in South Africa last year were the VW Polo Vivo, Datsun Go+, Toyota Etios, Renault Sandero and the Chery QQ3, a group of five extremely popular models.

Thanks to Global NCAP grabbing the entry-level version of each of these cars and testing their safety, we now know just how well they could protect occupants in the event of a crash.

While talking about the first ever crash-worthiness test for cars sold in Africa, Global NCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh says that such programs have led to safer cars being delivered in markets such as South America, India and the ASEAN region over the past five years.

"Working closely with our partners at the Automobile Association of South Africa and with the welcome support of the FIA Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, our new campaign is an important first milestone on the road to Safer Cars for Africa."

David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP, added that "It is good to see a four star result in these first ever African crash test ratings. However, it's extremely disappointing that there's a zero star car. Such a poor result shows why it is so important for countries like South Africa to fully apply the UN's crash test standards."

Let's run through these results and start with the only car here which achieved a four star rating for adult occupant protection.

Toyota Etios

The Etios' structure was rated at stable during its frontal crash test, which was conducted at 64 km/h (39 mph). This model also came with seat belts with pretensioners for both front passengers, and achieved a three star rating for child occupant protection when Toyota-recommended child seats where used.

It's worth noting that only the Etios and the Renault Sandero offer standard ISOFIX anchorages for the outboard rear positions and three-point seat belt for all passengers.

Renault Sandero

Like the Etios, the Sandero's structure was also rated as "stable" during its frontal collision test, offering acceptable adult occupation protection. It wasn't quite as good as the Toyota, but it did do better in the child occupant protection test where it achieved four stars - the best in the group.

Volkswagen Polo Vivo

The Polo Vivo delivered similar results to the Sandero as far as adult occupant protection is concerned. Also like the Sandero, it did not come with seat belt pretensioners. However, using child seats recommended by VW, the Polo Vivo only managed a three star rating for child protection.

Datsun GO+

Here's where this list shifts from acceptable to downright scary. The Datsun GO+ achieved a one star rating for its poor driver occupant protection, and a two star rating for child occupant protection using child seats.

The dummy inside the car suffered chest damage (impact with the steering wheel, despite the airbag) during the frontal collision test, and the vehicle's structure was rated unstable overall. There was also no airbag for the passenger.

Chery QQ3

Like Mr Ward said, the Chery QQ3's performance was extremely disappointing. It achieved a zero star rating and its structure was deemed unstable as it collapsed during impact - resulting in injuries to the dummy's head and chest.

Aside from not featuring any airbags, this car also didn't have a manufacturer-recommended child seat, which explains why it received a zero star rating for child occupant protection as well.