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Auto Blog

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG S 4Matic stands out in the LA crowd

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:01:00 EST

Way back in June, Mercedes-Benz issued a light refresh of its svelte CLS-Class, adding one very notable new feature - MultiBeam LED headlamps. This new technology allows a camera to constantly adjust the output of the lamps, essentially letting driver to enjoy the power of full-beam headlights without blinding oncoming traffic. We aren't getting it here in the US, because reasons, but that hasn't stopped Mercedes-Benz from releasing an update to the CLS sans the cool headlights.
That's what we have here, with the 2016 CLS63 AMG, which is making its North American debut at the 2014 LA Auto Show. While it might be missing the MultiBeam system, it has what counts under the hood, with a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. That thumper of an engine produces 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, allowing the CLS63 to hit 60 in just 3.6 seconds.
Check out our full batch of the updated CLS63 AMG at the top of the page, and then head below for Mercedes' press release.

2015 Fiat 500X offers Italian Renegade spirit

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:01:00 EST



The 500X will be built alongside the Jeep Renegade at Fiat's Melfi, Italy factory, with sales to begin during the first half of 2015.
Fiat is following up on the March unveiling of the Jeep Renegade with its own compact crossover, the oft-rumored and teased 500X, which is making its big debut later today at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Ford 1.0L EcoBoost 3-Cylinder: Autoblog Technology of the Year award finalist

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST

As the old saying goes, "There's no replacement for displacement." But these days, many automakers are launching powerful, downsized engines that offer similar or better power output than their predecessors, all while offering improvements in fuel economy and emissions. These days, we're seeing automakers replacing eight-cylinder engines with turbocharged sixes, and the naturally aspirated six-cylinder motors are being phased out in favor of potent turbo fours. But Ford has gone even smaller, offering a three-cylinder, turbocharged engine with one single liter of displacement.
Sure, three-cylinder engines aren't anything new - they've been offered around the globe for ages. But Ford's EcoBoost 1.0L powerplant is perhaps the best application the Autoblog team has tested. Gone are the triple-cylinder complaints of yore - this engine doesn't sound anemic or buzzy, and there's healthy power output on tap. In fact, compared to the 1.6-liter inline-four that Ford also offers in the Fiesta, the 1.0-liter is more powerful, while boasting an impressive 45 miles per gallon on the highway.
This engine has already received numerous accolades, including winning the International Engine of the Year award in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The 1.0L EcoBoost will be available in the refreshed 2015 Ford Focus here in the US.

Chrysler 3.0L EcoDiesel V6: Autoblog Technology of the Year finalist

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST

Offering a diesel engine in an American pickup is anything but new - Ford, General Motors and Chrysler all offer excellent and almost impossibly powerful oil-burning engines in their various fullsize trucks. What is new and novel about the 3.0L EcoDiesel, though, is its size, and the variety of vehicles that use it. It's the smallest engine, as far as displacement is concerned, currently offered in a large truck in the US, and, for 2014 and 2015, it is available in the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Though it may be small, it's got muscle. While 240 horsepower isn't particularly impressive these days, the engine's 420 pound-feet of torque more than makes up for that. The torque rating is even greater force than even the big 5.7-liter Hemi can muster. Chrysler's well-regarded eight-speed automatic transmission makes the most of all that bull-headed pulling power in both the Ram and Grand Cherokee. Chrysler claims the Ram EcoDiesel 1500 can tow as much as 9,200 pounds when properly equipped, which makes it "90-percent of the Hemi with a night and day difference in fuel economy."
Make no mistake; it's that promise of a sizable fuel economy improvement that many long-haul truckers will be most interested in. In the Ram 1500 that we tested for our Tech of the Year competition, the diesel engine costs $2,850 more than the gas-fed V8, and Ram estimates that EcoDiesel buyers will pay off their investment when compared to the Hemi engine in less than three years, which is considerably less time than the 4.5 or so years the average buyer will keep his or her fullsize pickup. The more you drive, the more you'll save, and the math proves equally as effective in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Performance Data Recorder: Technology of the Year finalist

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST

The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray's Performance Data Recorder does exactly what it's name says it does: It allows drivers to record and analyze their performance behind the wheel.
The Corvette PDR uses a 720p high-definition camera mounted in the windshield header, a microphone in the cabin and a GPS receiver that record and track the sports car's movements and sounds. They work together to produce a video with telemetry overlay, so you can see acceleration rates, lap times and g-forces. The system can be customized to show extensive performance data, or simply video of your drive like a traditional dash cam. You can review the footage in the car (while in park), but there's also an SD card slot to take the data with you for more advanced analysis. The system debuted on 2015 Corvettes.
We tested the PDR with aggressive acceleration on some of Michigan's highways and twisting country roads, marveling at our prowess - or lack thereof - behind the wheel. We noticed everything from our steering angles and braking points to construction workers on the side of the road. The PDR captured our performance, warts and all. The system's extensive feedback will make you a better Corvette driver, whether you're at Road America or cruising on one of America's open roads.

Dodge SRT Performance Pages: Autoblog Technology of the Year finalist

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST

Dodge dropped a 707-horsepower bomb on us this year, by way of the supercharged, 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 engine found under the hood of the 2015 Challenger coupe and Charger sedan. That's an absolute ton of power, and no matter how well-heeled a driver you may be, these Hellcat models demand respect in order to be tamed. But don't worry, Dodge has your back. Enter, the SRT Performance Pages.
Built into the cars' Uconnect infotainment system - itself a recipient of the Technology of the Year award in 2012 - Performance Pages are standard equipment on SRT-badged products. Here, drivers can see performance data like 0-60 and quarter-mile times and can keep an eye on engine vitals, as well as monitor the G-forces they're throwing down. They can even review lap times at a track.
Hellcat models take things a step further, with the ability to control the output of the engine, and manage things like suspension setup, traction control, and even the use of the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles on vehicles equipped with the automatic transmission. What's more, Hellcats are sold with two key fobs - one red, one black. The red key automatically unlocks all 707 hp from the big V8, while the black key hushes that fury to a still-impressive 500 hp. Beyond that, the Hellcat's Performance Pages feature a Valet Mode that locks out several of the Uconnect system's functions and further limits the engine's output to 300 hp.

Subaru EyeSight: Autoblog Technology of the Year finalist

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST

Peering out of the top of the windshield of a growing number of Subaru models, looking like a pair of cyborg eyes on either side of the car's rearview mirror, are twin cameras that make up the visible portion of Subaru's high-tech EyeSight system. For 2015, the stereoscopic camera-based system is available on the Forester, Legacy, Impreza and Outback.
These cameras allow Subaru to equip its vehicles with such safety and convenience features as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking that can slow the car automatically if an imminent accident is detected, even bringing the vehicle to a complete stop.
Subaru has offered EyeSight technology on its vehicles in the United States since the 2013 model year. Newly upgraded for 2015, EyeSight's smaller cameras now see in color and are capable of scanning further ahead and over a wider swath, which means an EyeSight-equipped car will now be able to respond more quickly. That means a higher chance of accident avoidance for 2015, something everyone on the road will surely appreciate.

2015 BMW i8: Autoblog Technology of the Year finalist

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST


Traditionally, nominations for the Autoblog Technology of the Year award are earned for specific developments - a new-think powertrain, a uniquely developed material, a groundbreaking smartphone app, or what have you. In the case of BMW's marvelous i8, it so bristles with novel applied sciences and fresh features that we broke with tradition and nominated the entire car.
We just couldn't help ourselves. Oh, we could've focused on the i8's carbon-fiber monocoque, or its well-resolved plug-in-hybrid powertrain that incorporates a tiny 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor, or its seamless through-the-road all-wheel drive. This is a car that will even have frickin' laser beams for headlights - at least it will for our friends in Europe (and it will in the US, should our legislators ever catch up).

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata a knight in white satin

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:30:00 EST

We're not going to lie to you. The reason you're seeing the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata on these pages again is solely because this is the first time we're seeing the roadster displayed in a color other than the ruby shade it was first shown in. Okay, okay, so this is the first time the Miata is being displayed at a North American auto show other than SEMA, and we'd say that this is the first time Mazda is showing a US-spec model, but clearly this is a right-hand-drive car. Either way, there's still not much to it yet, especially since Mazda is still withholding power and performance figures.
As expected, the ND Miata, as it is already known among the cognoscenti, will receive a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder and the buyer's choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic here in the US. The 1.5-liter model engine that had been linked to the car back in the rumormill stage will not make it to our showrooms.
Preliminary specifications still show the Miata measuring just 154.1 inches in length overall, with an increased track width to 68.1 inches and a low, low overall height of 49.0 inches. Despite the larger-displacement engine and its presumably heavier weight, Mazda is still claiming ideal 50:50 weight distribution and a weight loss of over 220 pounds versus today's NC generation. All of which sounds like the Miata has the right ingredients to make good on its promised Jinba Ittai ("rider and horse as one") driving experience.

Mini forgets to bring car to LA, shows Citysurfer concept scooter

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:05:00 EST

See that red thing? It's the Mini Citysurfer Concept. It is not, in case you were wondering, an automobile. Yet despite this apparent shortcoming, Mini has placed it on a plinth at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The electric scooter weighs in at 40 pounds, can hit 15 miles per hour, cover 10 to 15 miles and can be folded up and charged in the trunk of a Mini Cooper (or any other vehicle with a 12-volt outlet and a roomy enough cargo area). According to the British marque, these qualities will give the scooter's owner the "spontaneous and convenient mobility even in those sections of an urban area not accessible to motorized vehicles."
It's not terribly difficult to see the appeal, as Mini explains it. With urban congestion becoming an increasingly serious problem - and some cities beginning to ban cars outright - the idea of an easy to charge and easy to stow runabout is extremely attractive. That's doubly true in the case of the Citysurfer, which is rather well equipped, as far as scooters go.