2014 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Luxury Edition Test Drive

Ryan ZumMallen on

Like most luxury cars, the 2014 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Luxury Edition is at its best when driven at night. There are fewer distractions; the air is still, the traffic is flowing, the ambient LED cabin wraps you in a blanket of cool blue hued illumination. Whether you’re returning from dinner or simply out for a windows-down cruise, the 300C Varvatos is at home when you’re on your way home.

I found that out first-hand, after each of my three days covering the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Each time I returned from the track – grimy with dust and sweat and 2.2L shrieks still rattling around in my brain – and climbed into the 300C Varvatos just as the sun disappeared against an orange sky. By the time I hit the freeway, darkness fell, and I settled deep into the leather-trimmed, perforated bucket seats. Radio up. Arm out the window. Let the air leak in through the panoramic sunroof. Ahh. more

2015 Hennessey Escalade HPE550 Announced

Stanley Yee on

Notorious Texan tuner John Hennessey has revealed his take on the ultimate luxury SUV, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade. The HPE550 package has been designed to reliably increase the power of the Escalade, and Hennessey is so sure of the package that they’re including a warranty comparable to the one from the factory.

“The new 2015 Cadillac Escalade is the perfect platform for a Hennessey infusion of horsepower,” said company president John Hennessey. “It’s luxurious, spacious and cries out for personalization and more performance. I plan on making this our next family hauler for our five teenagers and four Labrador Retrievers.” more

2015 BMW 228i Track Package Shown at NYIAS

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The 2015 BMW 228i has been given race track credibility, as BMW has announced the Track Handling Package for the base 2 Series. The Track Handling Package will feature many of the same sporting features as the much more expensive M235i, minus the more powerful engine.

The Track Handling Package will include the best of BMW’s chassis improvements, with no changes being made to the small, turbocharged engine. Though power will not increase at all, the rest of the vehicle will be much more honed for spirited drives through the canyons or at the track. The Track Handling Package will consist of new suspension, wheels and tires, steering, and brakes. more

GM Begins Shipping Replacement Parts To Fix Ignition Recall

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One of the key issues surrounding the faulty General Motors ignitions that resulted in at least one dozen deaths was the fact that GM wasn't even equipped to fix cars affected by the recall. That changed today, as thousands of kits with new ignition switches and ignition cylinders are being shipped to dealer service stations.

GM mailed letters to about 1.4 million owners of 2003-07 vehicles last week, encouraging them to contact a local dealer to make an appointment for the 90-minute repair. Owners of affected 2008-11 models will have to wait until about mid-May. Still, the shipment is the first step toward GM making good on their promise to fix the issue in every car. more

Is There A Fisker Comeback On The Horizon?
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Now more than a year since the plug-in hybrid automaker has been dead and gone, Fisker may be near a resurgence according to executives. A new report in the Chicago Tribune today indicates that plans to resurrect the flagship Karma, a station wagon called the Surf and a more affordable Atlantic sedan may be well underway.

Will it work? Who knows. Fisker will need to overcome a wealth of challenges, from re-staffing and re-funding to convincing the public that the company can be better that it was before. Whether or not they can do all of those things will be answered in time, but Fisker and new parent company Wanxiang of China have started the ball in motion. more

2015 Acura TLX Delays Launch Until Summer
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Just one week after making its official debut, plans to launch the 2015 Acura TLX sedan have been delayed until late in the summer. The automaker has decided to push back its arrival in dealerships in order to perfect the new model.

Since the 2015 TLX will replace both the outgoing Acura TL and TSX models, Acura wants to ensure that the car is launched under the right circumstances. A report in Autoblog today says that the sports sedan has had its entire production schedule changed in anticipation of high demand, though executives do not view the delay as a major issue. Interested in a 2015 TLX? Here’s what the new sedan is promising once it does go one sale. more

BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept Shines In Beijing
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Some concept cars exist to show us what a future vehicle will look like, but the BMW Vision Future Luxury that recently debuted in Beijing belongs to the more fun kind. This is the kind that – for lack of a better term – exists just to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

That’s how cutting-edge features like Laserlight headlamps, air channeling within the C-pillar and a base layer of carbon fabric in the very structure all found their way into one single car. BMW is using the Vision Future Luxury not to preview a far-off 7-Series, but as a playground for their wildest fantasies. Beijing seems the perfect place to do it. more

Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept Previews 2016 Discovery Sport
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It isn't quite ready to hit your local dealership yet, but the new Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept unveiled in New York last week provides a clear glimpse into the future design of the Land Rover brand.

In fact, Land Rover announced that their next model will be called the Discovery Sport and will be heavily influenced by the new concept. The Discovery Vision Concept will also influence an entire family of new SUVs from Land Rover, so you’d better get used to the design. It’s a look that resembles current, modern Land Rover models while also harkening back to their storied past. more

2015 Aston Martin Vantage GT Unveiled at NYIAS
Stanley Yee on

Aston Martin has announced their latest sports car, the Vantage GT. Building on the V8 Vantage as a base, the GT is a road going tribute to the company's racing history.

Based on their entry level model, the V8 Vantage, the Vantage GT was designed to be relatively budget friendly, starting at just under $100,000. Though the price may seem high, compared to the quarter million dollar V12 vehicles in Aston's lineup, the Vantage GT could turn out to be a relative bargain. more

2014 Volkswagen Tiguan Test Drive
Ben Lewis on

The 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan proves you can stand out in the crowd by not trying to stand out at all. Let us explain. If you’ve been shopping small crossover/SUVs lately, you’ve probably noticed something: they all look alike. They all have a modern, crisp, wedgy thing going on, and that’s fine, as long as you don’t mind looking like the next guy/gal in their wedgy.

Well, with the Tiguan, you won’t be getting the proverbial (or literal) wedgy, and instead get something that looks a bit more conservative. But don’t be fooled, the Tiguan has a few great surprises in store. more

This Weekend In Car Videos: Nissan IDx Concept
Stanley Yee on

The Nissan IDx Concept, WEC racing starts at Silverstone, and Outlaw 10.5 drag racing hits the 1/8 mile. What were the best car videos from this past weekend? Find out here. [more[

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The World Endurance Championship held its first race of the 2014 season for the 6 Hours of Silverstone. The highly anticipated season was the first race in which the new LMP1 hybrids ran against each other, and it looks as though the long time champions at Audi have something to fear. Toyota and Porsche both fielded their top prototypes, and as always the GT classes saw their fair share of rivalries. With the evolution of technology, it is now easier than ever to capture high speed shots of the cars as they bump and slide their way through corners.

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Nissan's IDx concept shocked enthusiasts around the world, presenting them with an object which not even they knew they wanted. The design of the IDx should be familiar to many, as it harkens back to the early years of Japanese motoring. Adam Carolla, then, is the perfect person on which to show the new concept, as he often spends his free time racing vintage Datsuns. Designer Gio Arroba gives Carolla the basics of the IDx, keen to mention the tributes to Nissan's past, including the unmistakable BRE side stripes and fender flares. It is a modern take on many classic designs, and with any luck, will hopefully reach production lines in the next several years.

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Drag racing is a constant battle of power versus grip, and Outlaw 10.5 takes those principles to their limits. The Outlaw 10.5 class dictates the use of a 10.5 inch wide rear tire and a production based body, but as far as power is concerned, keeps a relaxed set of rules. Twin turbocharged V8s routinely see output reach over 2,000 horsepower, at which point power is sufficient for the 1/8 mile. The real key to Outlaw 10.5, and realistically the key to drag racing as a whole, is getting grip when grip is needed. The 10.5 inch tires are quite slim by drag racing standards, forcing teams to focus on putting power to the ground effectively. When it goes wrong, cars can easily roast the tires all the way down the track, or even get out of the groove and hit a wall. However, when a car is dialed in and all the power is used to its fullest, they can hold the front wheels off the ground for the whole run, with trap speeds edging close to 200 mph – all in just 1/8 of a mile.

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Through the years, muscle cars have gone through trends and styles, much like the rest of the automotive industry. One of the more popular trends which seems to be here to stay is Pro Touring. Pro Touring combines the best of all worlds, defined by having hefty power, a retro-modern appearance, and most importantly, the ability to turn. In a world full of Pro Touring Mustangs and Camaros, a Plymouth Valiant may seem an unlikely candidate. The Valiant, though, was built on the same platform as many other Mopar muscle cars, and this one is no less impressive than the best Pro Touring vehicles.

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Visit the autoMedia.com Toyota Research Center for quick access to reviews, pricing, photos, mpg and more. Make sure to follow autoMedia.com on Twitter and Facebook. more

2015 Acura TLX Debuts at NYIAS
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The 2015 Acura TLX made its debut at the New York International Auto Show, bringing another sports sedan to the Acura lineup. The blend of premium features and sporting credibility was the basis of the Red Carpet Athlete theme of the TLX.

“Harnessing the exhilarating power of the new engines, new highly-efficient transmissions and next-generation dynamics technology - blended perfectly with impeccable style and luxury - the TLX will deliver a thrill like no other,” said Mike Accavitti, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Acura. “Both the considerable performance capabilities of the TLX and the serious energy and resources brought the brand from the newly dedicated Acura team herald the start of a new era for Acura.” more

2015 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0 Debuts at NYIAS
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Scion and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have worked together to create the FR-S Release Series 1.0, announced at the New York International Auto Show. The limited edition FR-S will feature improvements to the styling and handling, and production will be halted after 1,500 units.

“It’s fitting that the first Scion FR-S Release Series draws on the rich motorsports history that inspired the FR-S design while standing out in ways that excite our drivers,” said Scion Vice President Doug Murtha. “FR-S enthusiasts will appreciate the side spoilers and lowered stance that deliver a look and feel meant for the track, at a price meant for them.” more

2015 Dodge Charger Shows New Face at NYIAS
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The 2015 Dodge Charger has shown its new face at the New York International Auto Show, further refining its vintage inspired design. Along with the new styling comes a plethora of Dodge’s newest technology, including an 8-speed transmission and no shortage of automated driver assistance.

“Our Dodge designers have resculpted nearly every single body panel of the Dodge Charger for 2015, giving it a sleek, nimple appearance,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO of Dodge. “The Charger’s all-new exterior design combined with its standard TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission and the latest in-car technology builds on the brand’s promise to deliver American performance machines with world-class efficiency, technology, authentic materials and standout styling for our customers.” more