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13 May 2014

2015 BMW M4 Coupe

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2015 BMW M4 Coupe

Launched out of the seat by a huge, unexpected dip in the road, yet still held largely in place by the smooth webbing of my safety belt, I clench my teeth waiting to come back to earth. A tenth of a second later, the M4 Coupe touches down and my body is slammed into the leather seat cushion. All of the air is forced out of my lungs upon landing, but the BMW’s chassis, suspension and steering appear unfazed. Pleasantly surprised, I mash the accelerator to the floor in giddy pursuit of the car in front of me – an absolutely identical 2015 BMW M4 coupe.

A cavorting game of cat-and-mouse on a desolate twisty canyon in southern Portugal is an excellent way to explore the real-world driving dynamics and performance of BMW’s all-new M4 Coupe. But to truly push it to the limit – without having to worry about oversize depressions in the asphalt – requires a dedicated racetrack. Graciously, my hosts have rented the famed Autódromo Internacional do Algarve racetrack, or Portimão circuit, for an afternoon of automotive debauchery.

It’s hard to believe this passes for work.

Continue reading 2015 BMW M4 Coupe

2015 BMW M4 Coupe originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 12 May 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 May 2014

eBay Find of the Day: 1993 Chevy Highlander is a Body Glove-era concept

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Chevrolet Highlander Concept

Oh, the early ’90s. Gas was cheap; Seinfeld was at its peak, and apparently neon green and purple paint were appropriate for a concept car. The retina-burning Chevrolet Highlander concept is currently for sale on eBay, and it personifies the look of its era perfectly.

With a combination of bright green, gray plastic and purple trim, the Highlander certainly draws the eye. According to the Chicago Auto Show’s history page, the concept was on display there in 1993 as a preview for the 1994 S-10 extended cab pickup. It was meant to show off an off-road ready truck and featured a tool compartment and adjustable roll bar. According to the current seller, the Chevy also has a fabric top that rolls down when the bar is up and a power rear window that can fold flat to access the bed. Power comes from a 4.3-liter V6 with an automatic shuffling those ponies to all four wheels. It carries a Buy It Now price of $17,000.

If you need this in your garage, keep in mind driving it could be tough. The seller does say that it runs and drives, but like most automotive concepts, there is no VIN or title, just a bill of sale. That makes getting it registered very difficult. The next owner is basically buying the Highlander based on its ’90s looks, which means they had better feel awfully nostalgic for that particular era.

eBay Find of the Day: 1993 Chevy Highlander is a Body Glove-era concept originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 12 May 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 May 2014

Watch this video, then buy this 1993 Volvo wagon

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Volvo 240 wagon for sale

Do you want to be perceived as rich and cuddly? Of course you do. Then you need to buy this car.

We know it makes no sense, but that pretty much sums up our take on the video you’ll see below, in which a man by the name of Christoffer Castor, from Scania County in Southern Sweden, attempts to convince any and all who watch to buy his car. The car in question is a 1993 Volvo 240 wagon, in red with a black fabric interior.

We have quite a bit of respect for the old boxy Volvo wagons here at Autoblog, and, despite the presence of some unsightly rust on the tailgate, would gladly bum about in this particular 240. We especially appreciate the five-speed manual gearbox and that it’s from the car’s final year in production.

But none of that has anything to do with the real reason we’ve decided to post this video. As much as we’d like to tell you all about it, you really just have to watch and see for yourself. Go ahead, scroll down below. Watch it all the way to the end. Please.

Continue reading Watch this video, then buy this 1993 Volvo wagon

Watch this video, then buy this 1993 Volvo wagon originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 12 May 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 May 2014

Morocco offering 'cash for clunkers' program for Mercedes W123 taxis

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Taxi in Morocco.

As the models continue to grow older, the Ford Crown Victoria is slowly but surely disappearing from US cities as the prevailing taxicab. The same thing is happening in Morocco with its huge fleet of Mercedes-Benz W123-chassis taxis thanks to a little help from the government. The authorities cite safety and environmental reasons for the decades-old sedans to be removed from the road in a cash-for-clunkers-style program slated to start by the end of the year.

According to Ran When Parked, there are about 55,000 W123 taxis operating in Morocco. The body style was built throughout the ’70s and ’80s with a variety of gasoline and diesel engines, and they earned a reputation for doing high miles with great reliability. The cab drivers like them because they can cram several people in and still fit on the crowded streets. To stop the stream of old Mercedes cabs, the country’s government made it quite expensive to import vehicles more than five years old.

In addition to improving air quality, the cash-for-clunkers program might stimulate local business. Renault and Dacia operate a factory in Tangier, Morocco, that builds some vans, including the Dacia Dokker. Ran When Parked claims the authorities would give drivers about 50,000 Dirhams ($6,100) to trade in their cars, and Renault would provide an additional 10,000 Dirhams ($1,200) to switch to one of its vehicles. Maybe it’s finally time for the W123 to pass the torch…

Morocco offering ‘cash for clunkers’ program for Mercedes W123 taxis originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 12 May 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 May 2014

Nissan Canada kills Cube, is US next?

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2009 Nissan Cube

Canadians, say goodbye to the quirky Nissan Cube. In fact, it’s too late; it’s already gone. The question now becomes whether the boxy model gets the axe in the US as well.

Nissan didn’t exactly publicize the Cube’s Canadian retirement. An Autos.ca reader noticed that the vehicle was no longer listed on the automaker’s official site in the Great White North. He tweeted the company about it and was told, “Yes, the Nissan Cube has been discontinued in Canada.”

The news certainly makes you wonder what the future for the model is in the US. The Cube isn’t exactly a hot seller here, either. According to Nissan’s last sales results, it sold just 356 units in April, down 23.9 percent from a year ago, and 1,604 vehicles from January to April, down 33.7 percent. Annual sales were as high as 23,000 units in 2010, but they started dipping as early as 2011.

Nissan North America Director of Communications, Dan Bedore, tells Autoblog: “Nissan is committed to providing Canadians with exactly the right car to fit their lifestyle. At this time, customers are finding their needs are met with the other great small cars in our lineup like Micra, Versa Note, Sentra and Juke and we are putting our focus behind these vehicle nameplates.”

And what of US sales? Says Bedore, “In the US, the 2014 model is in showrooms, now. We have no comment on Cube sales in the US beyond the current model year.” Suffice it to say that despite the official “No Comment” from Nissan, we don’t expect to see any Cube models in US showrooms for 2015 – this, despite the fact that the model is expected to get a facelift soon for other markets.

Nissan Canada kills Cube, is US next? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 12 May 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 May 2014

Chinese Tesla Model S buyers to get free license plate… a $15k value

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Tesla Model S

Tesla buyers in in Shanghai, China, are getting even more of an incentive to choose its electric sedans. Each purchase of a Model S in the city will come with a free license plate.

That might not sound very important, but Shanghai operates under a government-organized auction system to distribute plates. Last year, they were selling for as much as $15,000, according to Car News China. The measure is a way to control the number of cars on the road, which contribute to the city’s bad traffic and poor air quality.

Electric cars are exempt from the auctions and get a free license plate. However, that rule only covers Chinese-made electric cars. Obviously, Tesla doesn’t build cars there (at least for now). But the Shanghai government will exempt 3,000 foreign electric cars per automaker to receive free plates, according to CNC. After they are gone, the company would have to go back and ask for more.

Tesla confirmed the plan to Autoblog and pointed out there was a small blurb about it in the automaker’s Q1 2014 financial release: “Model S drivers in the city will be entitled to free license plates, thereby avoiding the usual public auction price of $10,000 to $15,000 per plate.” It certainly seems like a great enticement to grab early buyers for the Model S there.

Chinese Tesla Model S buyers to get free license plate… a $15k value originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 12 May 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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10 May 2014

Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4 to be auctioned in Monterey

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1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4

We know from many, many years of watching classic car auctions, that there are certain qualities that ensure big money. For example, putting tiny silver horses and/or yellow badges on a red car will probably bring in a lot of cash. This is doubly true if said car hails from the 1950s or 1960s, and it’s triply true if some dude drove it around in circles or if a celebrity owned it. That, friends, is how you make the serious dosh at auction.

Considering that, we should expect big, big things when this 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 crosses the block at the big RM Auctions event during the festivities surrounding the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Terrence Steven McQueen, better known as Steve McQueen and even better known as the coolest actor of the 1960s and 1970s, originally purchased this car while filming Bullitt in San Francisco, which should provide a big boost to its sale price.

As previously reported, this car has undergone a full restoration and has received its certification from the team at Ferrari Classiche. Beyond that, though, we’re kind of in the dark about this beauty. We don’t even have a rough guess of how much it’ll go for.

That’s where you come in. Considering that the price of classic Ferraris is increasing with all the regularity of Old Faithful, how much do you think McQueen’s 275 will call for when it hits the stage in August? Head into Comments and let us know.

Steve McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB/4 to be auctioned in Monterey originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 10 May 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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10 May 2014

Pennzoil and Penske bringing 'Yellow Submarine' livery back for Indy 500

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1988 Indianapolis 500

The 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 will feature at least one rather blinding blast from the past. Team Penske and Pennzoil have teamed up to bring back their iconic “Yellow Submarine” livery for the 2014 race with a bright yellow body, red pinstripes and black graphics. Even at high speeds around the Indy oval, the car will surely stand out.

While Team Penske may not have been the first to use the canary yellow paint job for its cars, it likely did the most to popularize it. Four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears drove the Pennzoil-sponsored car and won the race in 1984 and 1988 (pictured above) with it.

For 2014, the No. 3 Chevrolet of three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves gets the historic guise, and he has a lot riding on it. If Castroneves triumphs this year, he ties Mears with four victories in the race. The two drivers have brought Roger Penske’s teams 7 of their 15 Indy 500 wins. Scroll down to read the full announcement from the team.

Continue reading Pennzoil and Penske bringing ‘Yellow Submarine’ livery back for Indy 500

Pennzoil and Penske bringing ‘Yellow Submarine’ livery back for Indy 500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 10 May 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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10 May 2014

Fiat recalling 500e for faulty power inverter

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2013 Fiat 500e

Chrysler is recalling 4,141 Fiat 500e models from the 2013 and 2014 model years because they could lose power. According to the automaker, the power inverter module could allow coolant to seep onto electrical components. This could cause a short circuit and power loss. The part in question is responsible for altering the electric current.

The company discovered the problem while reviewing warranty claims, and it found five cases where the fault actually occurred. It’s not aware of any injuries or accidents tied to this issue. The recall affects cars built between September 24, 2012, and April 4, 2014, and all of them are in the US. Chrysler will contact owners directly to schedule the repair.

This is the second recall for the electric hatchback. Chrysler previously had to repair more than 270 of them last year to replace bolts that secure the vehicles’ half shafts.

Scroll down to read the entire, brief announcement about the recall.

Continue reading Fiat recalling 500e for faulty power inverter

Fiat recalling 500e for faulty power inverter originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 10 May 2014 13:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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09 May 2014

Cars and coffee combine to make invigorating art [w/video]

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Coffee water color

Let’s be honest; without coffee, nothing would ever get done. The cup of joe has done more to boost productivity than just about anything else on the planet. However, Romanian artist Adrian Mitu has found a new use for java – making fascinating automotive art.

Mitu’s style is really cool just because of its simplicity. Essentially, he is using coffee in the same way other artists might use watercolors. His images start as pencil drawings, and then he adds details and depth with his brew. Occasionally, he even incorporates traditional inks with the coffee to add an extra dash of color.

According to a profile about Mitu on Romanian auto site Promotor, he studied architecture and interior design. However, his real love is cars. He started using coffee to paint one day because he was too lazy to get up and grab his standard colors. He dipped his paintbrush in the beverage next to him and hasn’t quit since. Mitu goes by the name Aquarelief on Facebook and has a large portion of his portfolio for you to view. They are mostly automotive paintings but a few motorcycles and planes as well.

Check out our gallery above for some of his work or his Facebook page for a whole lot more. Scroll down for a video showing off how he uses coffee to create a watercolor. Unfortunately, it’s not in English and there aren’t subtitles. But he begins adding coffee to the drawing about four minutes into the short film.

Continue reading Cars and coffee combine to make invigorating art [w/video]

Cars and coffee combine to make invigorating art [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 May 2014 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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