27th February 2015

The Story of RS: A Visual History of Every Ford RS Model

For more than four decades, Ford's European arm has been taking otherwise mild-mannered models and turning them into performance monsters. Operating free of the constraints that bound pure production cars, RS has variously employed a variety of means including multi-valve heads, turbocharging, and all-wheel drive, to name just a few, in the name of squeezing out more power. Unfortunately,  we in the U.S. have largely been left out of the RS fun—until now, as the 2017 Ford Focus RS is a true world car. In celebration, we present a look back at all the RS models that paved the way. Although the RS tag wouldn't carry real clout until the arrival of the British-built Escort RS, Escort Mexico, and Capri RS, the RS story actually begins in Germany with a trio of RS (Rally Sport) models. Powered by a V-4 engine, Ford of Germany's front-wheel-drive 15M served as the basis for the first RS model in 1968. The slightly larger Ford 17M also got the RS treatment. Sitting between the 15M and 22M, it packed a Cologne-built 2.0-liter V-6 and rear-wheel drive. The Ford 20M, a more luxe version of the 17M, also was RS'd. Power came from a 2.3-liter V-6. Most RS fans consider the 1970 Ford Escort RS as the true genesis of the breed. Equipped with a 1.6-liter four engineered by Cosworth, it was one of the first roadgoing  cars to employ a four-valve-per-cylinder head. (1971 model pictured) Having debuted at the 1970 Swiss Motor Show, production of the lightweight Capri RS2600 was limited to 50 units to meet homologation requirements. Production of the streetable RS2600 started later in the year, and it was the first Ford vehicle in Europe to employ fuel injection. In 1971, Ford would sell regular Capris in the U.S as the  Mercury Capri. Inspired by Hannu Mikkola's Escort-based rally car that won the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally, the Escort Mexico relied on the tried and true 1598-cc Kent overhead-valve engine in place of the 16-valve Cosworth unit that powered its RS1600 brother. Production of the Mexico was handled at Ford's A.V.O. (Advanced Vehicle Operations) factory in South Ockendon, Essex. In 1973, Ford created the Capri RS3100. Powered by the maker's Essex V-6, production was limited to 250 copies. The Escort RS2000 also made the scene in 1973. Powered by Ford's durable and long-lived "Pinto" 2.0-liter four-cylinder, it offered an alternative to the reportedly temperamental 1600 four-valve in the RS1600. Production of the MkI Escort ended in December of 1974, and the first MKII Escort to receive the RS treatment was the 115-hp RS1800. (Competition version pictured) The Ford Escort RS Mexico also joined the pack in 1975. Powered by an OHV 1.6-liter four, it  offered a slightly tamer alternative to the higher-strung RS2000 that came a bit later. Shortly after the 1975 RS1800 hit the streets,  Ford launched the Escort RS2000 with a 2.0-liter SOHC four-cylinder with 110 horsepower. (1978 model pictured) In late 1980, Ford produced the Escort RS1700T prototype. As you might of guessed, the "T" stands for turbo, Ford applying forced induction to the 1.7-liter four for evaluation purposes. The project was reportedly killed after production of just 17 examples, due in part to the arrival of four-wheel drive on the rally scene as well as development difficulties. In the fall of 1981, Ford RS unleashes the Capri Turbo. Created by force-feeding air to the Blue-Oval's ubiquitous 2.8-liter V-6 by means of a turbocharger, production of the 187-hp car is said to have been limited to 200 units. Previewed in the fall of 1981, left-hand-drive versions of the the 115-hp Escort RS1600i went on sale shortly thereafter. Right-hand-drive examples went on sale in the U.K. in the spring of 1982. Power windows and locks were among the features bundled into an option package. When the 1.6-liter, turbocharged Escort RS Turbo arrived in late 1984, it featured a viscous-coupling limited-slip differential to help eliminate torque steer.   According to Ford, it was the first use of the technology in a FWD production car. This is when things got batshit crazy at the RS skunkworks. A homologation special,  the RS200 was built as a mid-engined, all-wheel-drive assault on the extreme Group B class of rally racing. Only 200 were built between 1983 and 1985—the minimum required for series certification—before the wild Group B was canceled after 1986 due to competitor deaths. Although race-tuned versions of the composite-bodied RS200 were reported to make in excess of 450 horsepower, detuned versions fitted with a 1.8-liter engine continued to compete for several years after the demise of Group B competition. Powered by a turbocharged and fuel-injected 2.0-liter four good for more than 200 horsepower, the Sierra RS Cosworth focused on pioneering aerodynamics for high-speed stability. The RS Turbo continued for 1986, incorporating aesthetic changes made to the Escort line that year. It also received mechanical and chassis tweaks that made it more suitable for piloting on the street. The Sierra RS500 Cosworth (Yanks may recognize it as a relative of the tragically misunderstood Merkur XR4Ti) took over in 1987 for the previous year's Sierra RS Cosworth. Power came from a 2.0-liter turbo four making approximately 220 horsepower. In 1988, Ford introduced a Sierra RS Cosworth sedan, referred to as the "Sapphire" in some markets. (1991 model pictured) In 1990, a four-wheel-drive version of the Sierra Cosworth/Sapphire sedan became available. The Fiesta got in on the RS fun for 1990, packing a turbocharged 1.6-liter four making just over 130 horsepower under its tiny hood. The Escort RS2000 goes on sale in late in the year with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four. Outfitted with Ford's latest all-wheel-drive technology, the 1992 Escort RS Cosworth combined a 227-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four with a ridiculously large (and righteously weird) rear wing. On sale in 1992, the Fiesta RS1800 replaced the previous car's turbo motor with a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter four making roughly the same power. The Escort RS2000 adds four-wheel drive and standard four-wheel disc brakes to its bag of tricks for 1993 and is built through 1995. When the Escort Cosworth disappears one year later, the RS brand doesn't produce another car for half a decade. Previewed by a concept at the 1998 Geneva motor show, the first-generation Focus RS makes its official production debut in 2001 at the same event. Cars start rolling off assembly lines in 2002, completing the return of the RS car. Although Ford displays a Fiesta RS concept in 2004, the RS badge goes into hibernation until the 2009 Focus RS. Packing a 300-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five, the Focus RS's return for 2009 is glorious. It's also equipped with the innovative RevoKnuckle front-suspension design, which tames the tendency for high-powered front-wheel-drive cars to head for the nearest roadside ditch under hard acceleration. In 2010, Ford busts out the mega-bad-ass, limited-edition RS500 as a swan song for the second-gen Focus RS. All 500 examples of the 345-hp model sell out rather quickly. Behold: The 315-plus-hp, AWD third-generation Focus RS, which will be sold in America. It sports a trick AWD system, Ken Block–approved dynamics, and a version of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four that's also installed in the current Mustang. Pardon our drool, won't you?

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27th February 2015

Chevrolet only automaker to win EPA’s 2015 Climate Leadership Awards

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Chevrolet is the only automaker to be awarded by EPA for emissions-reduction efforts in 2015.

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Chevrolet only automaker to win EPA's 2015 Climate Leadership Awards originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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27th February 2015

Chrysler Recalls 338,000 Dodge Durangos for Stalling

2011 Dodge Durango Crew V6 AWD

Chrysler is recalling 338,216 Dodge Durango SUVs to expand upon an earlier recall of fuel-pump failures, the company said today.

In total, 467,480 vehicles worldwide—the 2012–2013 Durango and exported diesel versions of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee—are included in this latest recall, which adds to the 230,760 SUVs recalled in September for the same problem. At that time, Chrysler only specified 2011 models, including gasoline versions of the U.S.-spec Grand Cherokee, for faulty power-module relays that could cause the car to stall, not start, or choke the engine of fuel. The contact switches can deform over time due to excess heat in or around the power module. Now, Chrysler says this problem has cropped up on newer vehicles. A copy of the recall filing was not available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Chrysler said it was not aware of any related injuries or accidents. In the event of a stall, the airbags and other safety features will continue to work, the company said. Dealers will replace the power module, which manages several functions besides the fuel pump, at a later date.



The current-generation Durango and Grand Cherokee have seen a hefty share of electrical problems. In October, the 2011–2014 Durango and 2012–2014 Grand Cherokee were recalled with other Chrysler models for alternators that could suddenly fail. Later that month, more than 126,000 of these same 2014 models were recalled twice for problematic circuit boards that could disable the stability control system, the airbags, and the seatbelt pretensioners. The 2011–2014 model-year SUVs were again recalled in July (895,000 for vanity-mirror lights that could catch fire) and in April (867,000 for bad brake boosters). In March, about 25,000 of the 2012–2013 models were recalled for anti-lock-brake software that was restricting the flow of brake fluid.

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27th February 2015

Orange Is the New Fast: MTM Builds a 750-hp Audi RS6 Avant

MTM Audi RS6 R Avant
There are three things German tuner MTM likes more than anything else in this world: horsepower, Audis, and the color orange. The outfit tends to mix all three together to form wild, Audi-based rides, and its latest creation, the RS6 Clubsport, takes MTM’s triple threat to new heights. Debuting at the 2015 Geneva auto show, the Clubsport starts life as an already fast and capable RS6 Avant—but let’s just say MTM got a little carried away after that.



For starters, the Clubsport wears an impressively, um, un-subtle orange-over-gray paint job with white checkerboard squares splashed across the rear quarter-panels. If the RS6 Avant is the discerning gentleman’s sleeper, the RS6 Clubsport is rocking damn-near-pace-car levels of attention seeking. We think it looks the business, especially on its lowered suspension and those gorgeous MTM wheels.

About 176 pounds have been stripped from the RS6 Avant’s curb weight, but MTM wasn’t satisfied with mere lightweighting. Thanks to unspecified tuning, the Audi’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 now makes 750 horsepower and 697 lb-ft of torque (up from 553 and 516), power that MTM says makes the Clubsport “ready to claim more records in its class.” We know what you’re thinking: the 700-plus-hp luxury-sports wagons are a class? Perhaps you’ve forgotten about Brabus and the magic it sprinkles over Mercedes-Benz’s long-roof E63 AMG. So, yeah, there are multiple station wagons cavorting around Europe with Hellcat-challenging horsepower—and yeah, we’re still jealous. Heck, we’d be happy with the stock RS6 Avant.

MTM Audi RS6 R Avant
2015 Geneva auto show full coverage

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27th February 2015

Civic Me Timbers: Mega-Hot Honda Civic Type R Spied Uncovered Just Ahead of Official Reveal

Honda Civic Type R

Thanks to a camera-wielding reader over at Worldcarfans, we’ve been given our first unencumbered look at Honda’s all-new Civic Type R just days before the car debuts at the 2015 Geneva auto show. Pictured here receiving what appears to be a pre-auto-show primping at a detail shop, the Type R looks more or less how we expected: absolutely insane.



Honda put out a few key Type R details recently, confirming that the hottest Civic in Europe—no, it won’t come here in this form—will have a 168-mph top speed, gigantic front brakes, and sweet-looking 19-inch wheels. Power comes from a hyper-modded version of Honda’s new turbocharged, VTEC-equipped four-cylinder engine, and output is routed through a six-speed manual transmission to the front wheels. Head over to Worldcarfans for more photos, or exercise some patience and see the car in all of its glory when we cover the car live from Geneva next week.

2015 Geneva auto show full coverage

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27th February 2015

Orange Is the New Fast: MTM Builds a 750-hp Audi RS6 Avant

MTM Audi RS6 Avant MTM Audi RS6 Avant MTM Audi RS6 Avant MTM Audi RS6 Avant MTM Audi RS6 Avant MTM Audi RS6 Avant MTM Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant 2014 Audi RS6 Avant

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27th February 2015

Travis Kvapil tells Twitter his Sprint Cup car was stolen

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Car theft is, unfortunately, common. Sprint Cup cars, though, are far from common. So imagine how rare it is when a NASCAR team wakes up and its car is gone.

Continue reading Travis Kvapil tells Twitter his Sprint Cup car was stolen

Travis Kvapil tells Twitter his Sprint Cup car was stolen originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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27th February 2015

Coupe Beverly Hills: Our Man Ezra Dyer Drives the Stunning Audi Prologue Concept

Coupe Beverly Hills: Our Man Ezra Dyer Drives the Stunning Audi Prologue Concep

In the realm of concept cars, we have two general categories. First, there are the total flights of fancy, the machines that have an odd number of wheels or nuclear power or the steering wheel that is also a fish tank. Sometimes journalists dare the car companies to actually build these things, and that’s how we ended up with the Plymouth Prowler. On the other hand, there are concept cars that are barely disguised production cars, just a year or two ahead of their showroom debuts. The Audi Prologue, unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show, would appear to fall into the latter category. It doesn’t fly, go invisible, or run on narwhal burps. It just looks like a really bodacious big coupe, of the sort that Audi might build—wink, wink—if, you know, people think it should. In fact, the ­Prologue is a fully drivable machine, which I can vouch for because I drove it around L.A. READ MORE ››

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27th February 2015

How We’d Spec It: The Stripper 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with Extra Awesome

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck

There’s something alluring about a base-model pickup—maybe it’s all the old Chevy C-10s, Ford F-100s, and assorted Dodge trucks we troll the internet for, or maybe it’s that modern trucks are pricier and more tech-laden than German luxury sedans. A 2015 Ford F-150 we ran through our How We’d Spec It online configurator test was a moderately equipped four-door that cost nearly $50,000. Having already rebelled against ever-climbing truck prices with our stripper F-150 build (under $30K!) and built a near-fifty-grand Silverado 1500, it’s time again for some cheap subversive action. Enter our latest base-model truck fantasy build, a 2015 Chevy Silverado Work Truck.

MODEL:

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab Short Box 2WD (base price: $27,300)

For just under $30,000, Chevy’s base Silverado comes in regular-cab “Work Truck” form that, like Ford’s base F-150, rocks black-colored plastic trim, steel wheels, and a standard vinyl bench seat. GM’s all-new 4.3-liter V-6 is included, and it makes a healthy 255 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque and even features cylinder deactivation and direct fuel injection. The cabin is austere but not a complete penalty box, with a four-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary ports; a center fold-down armrest; a 3.5-inch driver-information display; power door locks; cruise control; and air conditioning. Sure, the floor is vinyl and the windows are manual windup types, but looking at it from a glass-half-full perspective, the thing’s easy to clean and you burn calories at every tollbooth and drive-thru.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck

OPTIONS:

Summit White ($0)

Dark Ash cloth seat upholstery with Jet Black accents ($0)

5.3-liter V-8 engine ($1095)

3.42:1 rear axle ratio ($0)

Trailering package ($770)

Rear window defogger ($175)

Borla cat-back exhaust ($1249)

If you’re a little confused looking at our choice of options, let us explain: Base trucks are awesome, and the base-er they are, the better. Also, being the lightest and most compact members of their respective families, short-box regular-cab pickups hold the greatest dollar-per-speed potential. Of course that ratio doesn’t make any sense at all, but what we’re trying to say is that there is a lot of performance to be had for not a lot of money when dredging the depths of the trim-level hierarchy.

As such, we immediately checked the box for the Silverado’s optional $1095 5.3-liter small-block V-8. The engine packs 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque—a hearty bump over the V-6’s 255 ponies and 305 lb-ft—and it sounds great. Next we grabbed the no-charge 3.42:1 rear axle ratio (stock is a taller, fuel-economy-oriented 3.08:1) for better off-the-line acceleration, as well as the $770 Trailering package for its trailer wiring harness, hitch, and automatic locking rear differential.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck

For some beautiful reason we won’t question here, Chevy offers an array of Borla cat-back exhaust systems on the option sheet. We selected the $1249 dual-side-outlet setup, which clusters a pair of tailpipes near the stock exhaust location. As enticing as dual exhausts poking out from below the rear bumper would be, we decided to keep our low-spec speed machine as sleepy-looking as possible. As such, we stuck with the oh-so-commercial Summit White paint; as cool as it is that the Silverado comes with a vinyl bench, we prefer not to stick to things in hot weather, so we swapped it for a cloth unit for no charge. Oh, and because we like to see out of our windows, we opted for the $175 rear window defogger.



The Ford-versus-Chevy guys out there may have noticed that our unicorn base Silverado’s price tallies up to $30,778—a little over $1K more than the stripper F-150 we built to similar spec. The two are literally the same truck—V-8, rear-drive, manual crank windows, towing package—meaning the Chevy’s Borla exhaust is the difference-maker. Leave off the exhaust, and the Silverado Work Truck’s price dips below $30K. That said, the exhaust probably sounds sweet, and given how even a crew-cab, four-wheel-drive Silverado with the same V-8 we tested hit 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, the lightweight, cheater-axle-equipped Silverado pictured here should be even quicker. We just wish the manufacturers’ press fleets had trucks equipped this way, because we’re thinking a cheap-truck comparison test is in order . . .

2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71

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27th February 2015

How We’d Spec It: The Stripper 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with Extra Awesome

2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71

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