29th April 2016

2016 Chevrolet Cruze Manual First Drive: Can a Stick Shift Make the Cruze Sporty?

2016-Chevrolet-Cruze-1.4T-Manual-PLACEMENT

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Those seeking a compact car with a stick shift usually fall into one of three categories: Budget buyers on the prowl for the best deal (perhaps subscribing to the theory that manual transmissions yield better fuel economy), game-show winners, and those looking for a more involving, fun driving experience. We fall into the last camp, and the excellent driving dynamics and transmissions in the Mazda 3, the Ford Focus, and the new Honda Civic make them natural targets for our affection. Chevrolet not only has the price shopper covered with the manual-only, base model of the Cruze (the path chosen by Subaru, among others), it deserves credit for also offering the stick on nicer models at upper trim levels. Either way, for the purposes of this review we’re more interested in the transmission’s fun potential. READ MORE ››

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29th April 2016

2016 Chevrolet Cruze Manual – First Drive Review

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29th April 2016

ATLast: Porsche Announces New Car Delivery Experience in Atlanta

Porsche Experience Center Atlanta

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There’s no such thing as a free lunch—unless you’re picking up your new Porsche at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta.

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As part of its New Car Delivery Experience, Porsche is providing customers the chance to pick up their new 911, Boxster, Cayman, Macan, or Cayenne at the brand’s $100 million facility that houses a 1.6-mile track, a classic-car gallery, a restaurant, and more.

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Along with a tour of the Porsche Experience Center, Porsche also provides New Car Delivery Experience participants with an in-depth orientation to their new Porsche car or SUV, a 90-minute session on the driver-development track, and lunch at Restaurant 356.

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Of course, “free” is a relative term. Although the New Car Delivery Experience is a no-cost option, it does require the purchase of a new Porsche, the least expensive of which—the Macan—will clear your bank account of $48,550. Customers who choose to participate in the New Car Delivery Experience also are responsible for getting themselves to Atlanta, as well as covering any overnight accommodations that may or may not be required. Despite these associated costs, Porsche is projecting that 400 customers will take advantage of the program this year.

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In addition to the recently introduced New Car Delivery Experience at the Porsche Experience Center, the carmaker continues to offer a European delivery option at both its Leipzig and Zuffenhausen factories. The brand says it took approximately 400 European delivery orders in 2015, and it expects to take another 400 in 2016.

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29th April 2016

Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe priced at $66,445

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The new Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport hits a sweet spot on the performance spectrum. The Convertible is $70,445.

Continue reading Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe priced at $66,445

Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe priced at $66,445 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 29 Apr 2016 16:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29th April 2016

Smart Fortwo Automatic Tested: A Better Execution of a Still-Dubious Premise

2016-Smart-Fortwo-PLACEMENT
-Driving a Smart Fortwo is an eye-opening excursion into the “might makes right” psyche of the average motorist. If any car inspires bullying, it’s the Smart Fortwo. No one lets the tiny Smart merge or even change lanes. Every stoplight becomes an impromptu drag race, even though you’re just minding your own business. It quickly becomes apparent that no one wants to get stuck behind a Smart. Bicycles get more respect. READ MORE ››

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29th April 2016

Porsche Could Revive the 928 as a Panamera-based Coupe

gallery-1453841174-porsche-panamera
-The Panamera certainly isn’t the best-looking car that Porsche makes today, but it definitely sells well. Last year, it actually sold in greater numbers than did the Boxster and the Cayman. We already know that a second-generation Panamera is under development and could break cover within the next year, but what if that project also generated a two-door version? And a convertible?

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If Porsche listens to its U.S. customers, that’s exactly what we’ll get. Speaking to Motor1, Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said not only that Americans have been asking for a Panamera coupe and convertible, but also that the demand for these variants is higher than it is for any new Porsche SUV.

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A front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe based on the Panamera—and the convertible that would probably follow—sounds a lot like a Porsche 928 revival if you ask us. And while it probably wouldn’t end up being called the 928 (or ever exist at all), we have to say we like the idea of Porsche filling out its lineup with a grand tourer to take on the BMW 6 Series.

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At this stage, Porsche building a coupe based on the next-generation Panamera is barely even worthy of being called a rumor. And, remember, there were similar rumors of a coupe variant prior to the introduction of the first-generation Panamera in 2010 and those amounted to nothing more than speculation. But now we have Zellmer pointing out that there’s demand among the big-spending customers in the U.S., a crucially important market for the company.
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If there’s already enough demand there, we say why not give it a shot? It’s certainly a better idea than a drop-top Macan would be, though it’s worth mentioning that there’s also potential for a smaller, less expensive four-door that we’ve called the “baby Panamera” to join the Porsche range. You could speculate that a derivative 944- or 968-analog would be just as likely as a 928 revival. You could. We’re not. At least not yet.

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A version of this story originally appeared on Road & Track.

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29th April 2016

2016 Smart Fortwo Automatic – Instrumented Test

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29th April 2016

This Is BMW’s Carbon-Fiber Racing Wheelchair for Team USA

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-Before the 2014 Olympics, German automaker BMW reimagined the bobsled, building for Team USA a sleeker, lighter ride. In 2016, it’s Paralympic athletes’ turn, as the Bavarians are making a faster, better wheelchair.

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“The idea is the wheelchair disappears and it is just about the athletes,” says BMW Designworks project lead Brad Cracchiola. “These athletes are truly incredible and work very hard, they just don’t have a lot of publicity.”

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Previous chairs were made of welded aluminum, which doesn’t scream high-tech. So ahead of the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer, the BMW Designworks studio in California set out to upgrade the performance-limiting aluminum racing chair used by Paralympic athletes in nearly every distance event, including the 100 meters all the way up to the marathon. BMW had plenty of room to get creative, as the rules require only a completely hand-cranked chain (no gears means no mechanical advantage) and mechanically engaged braking (no electric or other devices allowed). Otherwise, the chair just has to fit within the lanes.

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BMW started the process with a 3D scan of athletes in the current chair and then ran aerodynamic simulations of how the old setup performed. For the new chair, BMW quickly switched to carbon fiber to provide a greater strength-to-weight ratio than aluminum and to open up new shaping possibilities for aerodynamic needs, with the idea to keep the flow of air as smooth as possible and avoid drag-inducing turbulence.

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“From a head-on view, we want to keep it all as compact as possible and lined up,” Cracchiola says. With the frontal profile minimized and as many components of the chair in line, BMW also created smooth surfaces, akin to the bullet-like shape and smoothness of a shark. “You want the air to hug the surface and move very smoothly.”

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“The idea is the wheelchair disappears and it is just about the athletes.”
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And it’s about more than the chair. Because of the Paralympic style of racing, with the athletes kneeling into the keel and essentially punching the wheel’s rims with specialized gloves, BMW also revamped the gloves and now custom 3D-prints them to fit each individual athlete. Because they race this way, the chairs take incredible abuse and also flex during the race. “Anytime the chassis is flexing you are losing energy,” Cracchiola says. What’s a wheelchair designer to do? “Ideally all of the energy translates to wheel speed and making them faster,” he says. “If the chassis is allowing the wheels to snowplow, you are scrubbing your own speed. A stiffer chassis keeps the wheels aligned. It is more about how you use materials. It is about finding the right balance between weight reduction, aerodynamic opportunity, chassis stiffness, and durability. You can buy a carbon-fiber bike that is extremely light, but one rock kicks the frame and you’re done.”

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From there, designers could move into customizable fit. The old aluminum gave athletes a generic box structure, and they would add foam pads and straps to block themselves in, which translated to a lot of room for shifting out of position. BMW took measurements and a custom mold of the legs of each of their four BMW Performance Team athletes to size the chair to fit them using straps and moving parts. “All that is moving is their arms hitting the wheels,” Cracchiola says. By making the seat height, knee angle, width, and steering device adjustable, BMW can cater to its four athletes and potentially more from Team USA. All we have to say is that we’re excited to see these creations roll into Rio.

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This story originally appeared on Popular Mechanics.

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29th April 2016

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Priced, Is a Grand Deal

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

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Maybe you dig Chevrolet’s Corvette Z06, but can’t swing its $80,395 base price? Can you live without its supercharger and extra 195 horsepower over a stock Corvette Stingray? Then the $66,445  2017 Corvette Grand Sport coupe is for you, at a $13,950 savings, at least relative to the 2016 Z06 coupe.

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The Grand Sport, for those not in the know, is a Corvette with essentially all of the Z06 model’s suspension, braking, body, and tire upgrades, but with the regular Stingray’s naturally aspirated, 460-hp 6.2-liter V-8. Chevrolet claims that on its standard Michelin tires, the Grand Sport can pull over 1.0 g on a skidpad, while the optional Z07 package’s stickier rubber could strain your soft bits with 1.2 g. Oh, and if you’d like to probe the Grand Sport’s epic handling envelope while getting a tan, the middle-child Vette also comes in convertible form. For that, you’ll need to pony up $70,445, but we’d stick with the coupe. After all, the Grand Sport is bound to be a formidable track-day car, and the coupe offers maximum body stiffness.

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Beyond picking between the coupe and the convertible, Chevrolet is offering customers a litany of choices when it comes to colors and graphics packages, as well as a seven-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. There are 10 paint colors, and an optional “Heritage package” brings classic Grand Sport fender hash marks (take your pick from six colors). Or perhaps full-length body stripes are more your thing? Chevy is offering those in five different colors. There are also five wheel designs, a carbon-fiber body kit, and the extra-high-performance Z07 package that adds Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, carbon-ceramic brakes, and functional carbon-fiber aero pieces.

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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

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29th April 2016

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Priced, Is a Grand Deal

-2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport-2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport-2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport-2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport-2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport-2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport-2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport-2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport--

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