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Audi A9 Concept teased in video, new design chief tells us what to expect in LA

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 14:59:00 EST

Audi has just dropped another teaser for the A9 Concept it'll be displaying at this month's LA Auto Show. This time around, instead of one static image, we get a tantalizing video of the showcar narrated by new Audi design chief Marc Lichte.
In terms of the A9, we get a better look at the body form than we've yet seen, and we also sneak a peek at its massive, blocky, turbine-style wheels that the conceptual flagship will wear in Los Angeles.
Lichte also takes this video opportunity as a chance to say how-do-you-do to the enthusiast community, commenting not only on his vision for the A9, but also offering up his bona fides in terms of family racing and art heritage. Get to know the man behind the car behind the sheet, here.

Chrysler Q3 profits surge to $611M but per-unit profits trouble

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 14:17:00 EST

Chrysler Group has announced its third-quarter financial results a little later than its crosstown rivals at General Motors and Ford, but the company has reason to celebrate thanks to strong numbers across the board.
The biggest attention-grabber from the automaker is that its net income was up 32 percent in the third quarter to $611 million, compared to $464 million over the same period last year. Modified operating profit was also strong at $946 million - a 10 percent gain. Furthermore, net revenue grew as well to $20.7 billion - 18 percent higher Q3 2013.
Growing sales pushed the strong financials. Chrysler Group sold about 711,000 vehicles worldwide for the quarter, up 18 percent from a year ago. Things looked especially good in the US, where its market share grew to 12.3 percent, versus 11.2 percent in Q3 2013.

Audi RS Q3 gets snarlier, hits 62 mph in 4.8 seconds [w/video]

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:30:00 EST

Well, that was quick. A mere 20 months after its debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Audi has issued a fairly significant update to its RS Q3 crossover. A light exterior refresh - the most noticeable change is that the grille surround and headlights are now joined - belies more significant changes under the compact crossover's hood.
Power from the 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder has been boosted nicely from 310 horsepower to 340, while torque has jumped from 309 pound-feet to 332 lb-ft. The result of this extra thrust is that the tiny CUV can now scamper to 62 miles per hour in a seriously quick 4.8 seconds, rather than the original RS Q3's 5.5-second sprint. A new fifth-generation multi-plate clutch is fitted to the seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission, which Audi claims will now deliver even quicker shifts.
Lighter brake rotors with ridiculous eight-piston calipers in the front provide what we imagine is a lot of stopping power, while Audi continues to offer an optional adaptive damper system. 19-inch wheels are standard while 20s are optional.

2016 Audi A6

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:58:00 EST

After dodging light traffic for more than 10 miles at speeds never exceeding 85 miles per hour, the left lane of the derestricted autobahn ahead of us finally opens wide. This is the opportunity we've been waiting for, and we bury the accelerator against its stop and hold it there. The transmission attached to the turbocharged four-cylinder of our 2016 Audi A6 drops a couple gears and begins an arduous battle against aerodynamic drag.
The sleek sedan cuts through the wind effortlessly up until about 125 mph, after which the speedometer needle slows noticeably as the outside world continues to blur. By 145 mph, there's no longer a discernible feeling of acceleration, yet the bright-orange speedometer needle continues its climb. Finally, the speedometer nearly reaches 160 before we are forced to firmly brake and return to saner speeds because of traffic looming ahead.
Automakers routinely host us in Europe and elsewhere to sample their wares in a much less restrictive driving environment. Which explains why we find ourselves standing in Dresden, Germany, a stunningly beautiful 800-year-old city along the Elbe River, overlooking Audi's latest executive express.

Chrysler almost smothered the Hellcat before it lived

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:30:00 EST

Chrysler's 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 was an absolute sensation from the very moment it was announced, and honestly, how could it not have been? Packing 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, its numbers immediately put every other production muscle car (and many supercars) to shame. Plus, we soon learned that would be wrapped in a package retailing for around $60,000 - a pittance compared to other vehicles offering similar grunt. However, the Hellcat almost never got the chance to rumble under the hood of the Challenger and Charger.
The Hellcat was initially proposed back in 2011, back when Fiat was deciding its future strategy for Chrysler Group, according to Automotive News. At the time, the company was just emerging from its bankruptcy doldrums, and an ultra-high-performance V8 wasn't exactly a must-have item. The program didn't move forward. However, SRT engineers kept fighting, according to AN, and four months later, they received the green light to pull the project off the shelf and continue developing the Hellcat. The muscle car world is certainly better for that decision.
The work of those engineers focused on taking Chrysler's standard 6.2-liter V8 and making it reliably handle all of the extra power from the supercharger. "It came down to micron levels of changes in the crank to be able to withstand the pressures of the engine," said Chris Cowland, director of advanced and SRT powertrain, to Automotive News. The changes amounted to switching out about 91 percent of the parts to make the Hellcat, including some quite minuscule alterations. For example, the washer holding the supercharger pulley is embedded with industrial diamonds to keep it from slipping.

BMW joins the early holiday advertising fray with three new ads

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 10:59:00 EST

October 31 is no longer known as Halloween, or All Saints' Eve or even as that day when all children simultaneously develop huge cavities. It's now known as the day before Christmas/holiday advertising begins. Seriously, as of November 1, it seems like companies across the country and from every industry have declared open season on holiday ad campaigns. It's all premature enough that we're already feeling our inner Grinch showing, but at least some of the ads are better done than others.
Among them are new spots from BMW, which has arrived with this mini-campaign of three 30-second, Christmas-themed spots. There's a cameo from Santa Claus, who's at the helm of a sleek M6 Gran Coupe in one spot, while a 3 Series Gran Coupe slices through a slalom of Christmas trees in another. The final spot, called "Road Home", doesn't focus so much on the brand's "Ultimate Driving Machines," as it does the trip home for the holidays.
We've embedded all three videos below, so take a look and then let us know what you think of this seemingly perpetual holiday marketing calendar creep - and the BMW ads in particular - in Comments.

GM nixes fleet-only Chevy Captiva Sport

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 10:13:00 EST

Well, guys, it looks like Saturn is finally dead in the United States once and for all. According to Automotive News, Chevrolet has discontinued production of its fleet-only Captiva Sport - a rebadged Saturn Vue - after three years on the market. The very last US-spec Captiva Sport was built in Mexico in August. GM will still produce the vehicle for sale in the Mexican market, as well as for export.
GM initially offered the Captiva Sport for rental fleets as a way to free up capacity for the sightly larger Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers, which, according to AN, had been in short supply. The Captiva Sport also did a nice job protecting the resale values of its other similar-sized CUVs because they didn't have to play in the fleet market. But with Chevrolet preparing to launch its subcompact Trax CUV in the US, the automaker will soon have a clear, three-tier crossover lineup without the Captiva Sport. The Trax fills out the bottom end, followed by the Equinox and the seven-passenger Traverse.
For now, renters seeking a taste of 'Classic GM' will have to whet their appetites with the fullsize Impala Limited.

Jaguar bringing all-wheel-drive F-Type to LA Auto Show [w/video]

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 09:30:00 EST

Jaguar's big splash at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show was showing off the slinky F-Type Coupe; perhaps one of the loveliest car shapes on the road today. This year the company won't have a show-stopping new design to offer, but the news that all-wheel drive is coming to the F-Type range is, nevertheless, pretty spectacular.
Mixed in with news about a technical partnership between Jaguar and the Bloodhound SSC World Land Speed Record program, the British brand announced this morning that it will show the first AWD F-Type Coupe at the 2014 LA show later this month.
Jaguar tells us that the sure-footed cat, in AWD F-Type R Coupe form, will run from 0-60 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds, with a limited top speed of 186 mph.

Rolls-Royce luxes up Paddington Bear

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:01:00 EST

There are few things quite as quintessentially British as Rolls-Royce and Paddington Bear. And now the two have come together in one glorious creation.
As part of a promotion for a new Paddington movie and to raise funds for the UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), London is decorating itself with a series of 50 sculptures reinterpreting the classic British children's character dotting the Paddington Trail across the city.
One of those installations has been created by Rolls-Royce, whose take on Paddington wears a brown leather duffel coat with a purple cravat and hat, a zebrawood suitcase and a pair of MK8 driving goggles that pay homage to the company's gentleman-racer history. He stands atop a chrome base modeled after Rolls' iconic Pantheon grille.

SLP revives Yenko name with supercharged 2015 427 Camaro

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 21:20:00 EST

The storied Yenko name is back on the scene, and it comes courtesy of well-known Chevrolet tuner SLP. This 2015 Yenko 427 Camaro builds on the standard Bowtie muscle car by adding in a hand-built, all-aluminum V8 displacing - you guessed it - 427 cubic inches. The latter sings to the tune of 700 horsepower thanks to the inclusion of a TVS 2300 supercharger.
Limited to just 50 units, manual-trans-equipped Yenkos benefit from the six-speed unit used on the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. Five-spoke Torq-Thrust-style wheels are shod in meaty Goodyear rubber, which themselves feature retro-cool raised white letters.
Of course, a muscle car's potency isn't just measured on the dyno or on the track, it's also assessed on how it catches the eye of passersby. In that regard, the Yenko's aesthetics are a match for its thundering engine. An RTM hood and a new grille, courtesy of General Motors, are the main body changes, while 427 and Yenko badges let everyone know what you're driving, just in case the three Yenko-inspired stripes aren't quite clear enough.

RTR Spec 5 Concept shows off 2015 Ford Mustang's drifty potential

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST

Meet the Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5 Concept, a fully functional drift car that, according to our team in Sin City, has been doling out demo drifts in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Destined to be the flagship of RTR's Tactical Performance Line, the Spec 5 Concept is, in addition to its 5.0-liter Aluminator V8 engine, chock full of performance parts that you can buy for your very own 2015 Mustang. In addition to the Ford Racing engine, the OEM parts supplier has lent the Spec 5 an aluminum radiator and a close-ratio six-speed transmission.
ASD Motorsports provided the front lower control arms, while the car itself rides on a fully customized coilover suspension. Magnaflow and American Racing have provided the exhaust system and headers, respectively. 20-inch HRE wheels, designed for RTR, are wrapped in sticky Nitto rubber.

Vorsteiner BMW M4 GTRS4 shows how to do a widebody at SEMA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:41:00 EST

Part of the joy of the SEMA Show is that all of the best tuners in the world are competing to show off their wares, and the challenge often pushes the companies into some absolutely insane directions. Case in point: Vorsteiner and its ludicrous GTRS4 wide body kit with the BMW M4.
According to Auto Evolution, the kit reportedly adds 4 inches in the front to fit 10.5-inch-wide wheels and a massive 7-inches more in the rear to snug in 13.5-inch-wide wheels, but spinning around the BMW in these images makes the changes look even more extreme. Beyond just the extra room in the fenders, the lower air intakes are ready to suck in huge volumes of cool air, and there's a front splitter to keep things planted. The front and rear extensions are joined by side sills that grow the farther back they go. Finally, at the rear, the M4 gets a reworked diffuser with mesh inserts.
This is just the type of automotive craziness that makes SEMA interesting. Take a lot at it for yourself in the gallery.

Ken Block's 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR and CR Supercars Villain are retro done right

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:20:00 EST

Gymkhana king Ken Block has had a pretty simple car history in his trademark videos, starting out with Subaru Impreza rally cars before moving into Ford Focus racers for the past four installments. His next video, though, Gymkhana Seven, kind of goes back in time.
Rather than the cutting-edge rally racers of past videos, Block will pilot a heavily modified 1965 Ford Mustang, called the Hoonicorn. How heavily modified is it? Well, Block's Hooligan Racing Division, ASD Motorsports and Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR, spent two years working on it, ditching the standard engine and rear-wheel-drive layout and replacing it with a 410-cubic-inch Roush Yates V8. Yes, that's a NASCAR engine, and it produces 845 horsepower.
A NASCAR-powered Mustang would be news in itself, but it's the other powertrain changes made by Block and Co. that really makes headlines. Power is channeled through a one-off Sadev transmission and all-wheel-drive system, meaning that Block has basically married a NASCAR stock car with a WRC racer. ASD also developed the customized suspension, tubular chassis and roll cage. The wide Mustang body is the work of RTR and Block's own Hoonigan Racing Division, while the 18-inch fifteen52 wheels are shod in Pirelli Trofeo R tires that use a specialized compound exclusive to Block.

Mopar maneuvers into SEMA with a multitude of modified models

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:00:00 EST

As the aftermarket and performance arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Mopar has a duty to extract everything from the company's models that it can, and there's no better place to show all of its work off than the annual SEMA Show.
Dodge really gets in on the act this year with several customs to show off different parts of the brand's performance heritage. Perhaps the most interesting among them is the track-prepped Viper ACR Concept (pictured above). It wears a custom body kit to produce even more downforce, thanks in no small part to a monstrous wing at the back. To shed weight, most of the interior is stripped out, as well. Next up, the Challenger T/A Concept takes inspiration from '70s Trans-Am racing in a livery of Sublime Green and matte black paint. The center scoop in the hood keeps the 6.4-liter V8 fed with cool air, and the special's 20-by-9.5-inch matte black wheels keep it planted in the corners.
Also getting the once-over from Mopar is the Charger R/T. It wears the division's body kit, and under the hood, a cold-air intake keeps the 5.7-liter V8 breathing. The suspension is retooled to hold the road better with a coil-over kit, upgraded sway bars and strut tower braces for the front and rear. The company is also showing off a snazzy blue Charger with a mean look. The final Dodge getting work from Mopar is the Dart R/T Concept with bright, O-So-Orange paint and a matte black hood with a scoop hooked directly to the air intake. The performance-oriented design is finished off with a coil-over suspension and big brake kit, as well.

Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car is ready to burn rubber at SEMA [w/video]

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 19:39:00 EST

The Dodge Charger R/T is all set to rocket down the drag strip in NHRA Funny Car competition with a completely redesigned body debuting at this year's SEMA Show. While only the front decal, side scallops and rear logo really signal this racer as a Charger, that doesn't take away from its promise of hitting absolutely ludicrous speeds.
The engineers' biggest tweak to the body was moving the cockpit further back. This created more clearance under the hood, and the change came with added advantage of giving the driver better visibility out of the car. Composites like Kevlar also helped make the one-piece shell even lighter, while not sacrificing strength.
The new design has already undergone extensive time in the wind tunnel and real-world runs to make sure that none of the changes negatively impacted the aerodynamics. With those tests out of the way, the Charger R/T Funny Car will have the first chance to truly prove itself in NHRA competition at the 2015 Winternationals from February 5-9 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA.

Toyota TRD Pro Chase Trucks are ready to hit the desert at SEMA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 19:20:00 EST

Toyota marks the 35th anniversary of its Toyota Racing Development performance arm this year, and the division is celebrating at this year's SEMA Show with a quartet of tuned off-roaders based on on the 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra that look more than ready to go just about anywhere.
All four of them will take part in this year's Baja 1000 race, but only the Tundra (far left in the above photo) is actually competing. The other three will be there to act as support vehicles.
Inspired by the production TRD Pro Series trucks, the 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra are prepared by off-road fabricator N-Fab with a mix of TRD and the company's own parts to be able to take whatever the grueling, 1,000-mile can throw at them. The trio is fettled with extra communications equipment, GPS, additional lights and all sorts of body and suspension modifications to help them survive the ordeal.

Mercedes previews midsize Metris van with SEMA customs

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 18:41:00 EST

The custom vehicles at the SEMA Show tend to all be about speed and style, plus a few off-roaders thrown in for good measure, but Mercedes-Benz is taking advantage of the event this year to give its future midsize commercial van for the US a sneak preview.
The Mercedes Metris goes on sale in the US and Canada sometime next fall, and much of the rest of the world already knows the van as the Vito. Sitting below the Sprinter in the brand's commercial lineup here, North American customers will get the vehicle in its long-wheelbase, rear-wheel-drive guise with passenger and cargo configurations both available.
Mercedes isn't talking about pricing or powertrains yet, but the company has several custom versions on display at SEMA to give folks an idea about what's possible from the new van. HQ Custom Design (pictured above) gives a good impression of what a stock version looks like with its luxury executive shuttle version.

Chevrolet truck and SUV customs emphasize light weight and heavy style [w/video]

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 18:19:00 EST



Chevy's SEMA truck and SUV fleet includes three Silverados, three Colorados, a Suburban and a Tahoe.
Alongside its crosstown rival, Ford, Chevrolet has stocked the 2014 SEMA show with a huge swath of pickups and SUVs, as evidenced by the Bowtie's sprawling Las Vegas display, which includes three Silverado pickups, three new Colorado mid-size trucks and an upgraded pair of SUVs, in the form of the Suburban and Tahoe.

Hyundai brings 1,000-hp Genesis Coupe to SEMA, and plenty more [w/video]

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 18:00:00 EST

Hyundai has a thirst for horsepower. How else could we explain the scene you see above, in which there exists a 708-horsepower front-wheel-drive Sonata tuned by Bisimoto (black and white, above left) powered by Hyundai's 2.4-liter Theta II engine? Or the little red number you see hiding in the background, which, at an even 1,000 horsepower, is "the most-powerful 2.0-liter Genesis Coupe ever built," says Hyundai?
In addition to those two powerhouses, the white Sonata (above right) was styled by John Pangilinan to "[connect] Los Angeles street art culture with automotive enthusiasts," whatever that means, and it joins an ARK Performance-tuned Genesis Sedan meant to go head-to-head with Mercedes AMG and BMW M and another Genesis Sedan tuned by Toca Marketing Group with a twin-turbo'd 5.0-liter Tau V8.
All in, that's five heavily modified vehicles being shown at the 2014 SEMA Show by Hyundai (not to mention any more customs not actually sponsored by the automaker itself), and each of them is pretty successful as far as we're concerned. Check them all out for yourself in the image gallery above, and read all the details in the press release below, where you'll also find a video of the builders discussing each of their creations.

Jeep gives a trio of customs an encore showing at SEMA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:40:00 EST

While Jeep certainly had some new customs on display at this year's SEMA show, it wasn't afraid to recycle a few that people might have missed from earlier this year. The maker of many beloved off-roaders already displayed the Jeep Cherokee Dakar, Maximum Performance Wrangler and Wrangler Mojo at the 2014 Easter Safari, but they all made it to SEMA for an encore.
Based around the Trailhawk, the Cherokee Dakar (pictured above) imagines an even more off-road-capable version of the crossover. The concept wears a mix of Silver Steel Stain paint with Flame Red graphics and rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires. To back up the rugged look, the Dakar is fitted with rock rails and skid plates protecting the oil pan, front suspension, fuel tank and other underbody parts. It also sports prototype parts from Jeep Performance Parts, including a lift kit and fender flares.
The Wrangler is one of the paragons of off-roading, and as the name suggests, the Maximum Performance Wrangler concept is meant to be the ultimate example of what it can do. The custom features locking Dana 60 axles front and rear, a 4:1 Rock-Trac transfer case, prototype 4-inch lift kit and 37-inch Mud Terrain tires over beadlock wheels. To stay on the trails well into the night, a bar of LEDs is mounted above the windshield. And finally, the Mopar Blue exterior kind of makes the vehicle look like the world's toughest blueberry.

Kia K900 with 650 hp debuts at SEMA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:21:00 EST

Kia revealed a monster-powered K900 - with output approaching 650 horsepower - this week at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Fittingly called the "High-Performance" K900, the sedan gets a Garrett 2871R twin-turbo application, which boosts the 5.0-liter V8 engine from its stock rating of 420 hp.
The heady power is underscored by a sinister appearance package, which includes a custom body kit with carbon-fiber inserts, blacked-out chrome trim and 21-inch gloss black wheels. The K900 also has a lowered Eibach suspension and eight-piston brakes with 15-inch cross-drilled rotors.
Inside are tan leather seats with black suede accents. Eleven-inch monitors are mounted in the seatbacks, and the trunk features a specially designed compartment for a racing suit.

Toyota Camry Dragster takes the phrase 'sleeper' to its logical extreme [w/video]

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:58:00 EST

Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. This is certainly one of those times, as Toyota successfully trolled the entirety of the media corps at the 2014 SEMA Show by rolling an innocent-looking Camry onto the floor... only to lift literally the entirety of its body to reveal an 850-horsepower, tube-framed dragster. Well, we have been asking for a more driver-oriented Toyota.
While it's designed to go fast in a straight line, the origin of the Camry Dragster's parts might be surprising. The 5.7-liter V8 engine, transmission, rear axle and electronics were plucked from the Toyota Tundra pickup. Toyota Racing Development donated a supercharger, while a wet-nitrous-injection system was also tacked on for that little extra something. Those goodies will help propel this anonymous looking monster through the quarter mile in just 9.8 seconds.
"This is the most extreme build we've ever unveiled at SEMA," said Toyota's motorsports chief Steve Appelbaum said in a statement. "The transformation from seemingly stock Camry to full-blown racecar just shocks the senses. Chuck Wade and the team at Motorsports Technical Center did a truly spectacular job executing the vision of this project."

Chip Foose tastefully enhances his personal Ford GT

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:40:00 EST

Typically, we'd expect a vehicle from 2006 to fall well short of a more modern vehicle, both in terms of performance and style. Of course, the Ford GT is not your average offering from the Bush era. That's doubly true when the 2006 GT in question belongs to one Chip Foose.
Purchased by his wife as a 50th birthday present, Foose is showing his custom, personalized GT at the 2014 SEMA Show. The 5.4-liter supercharged V8 breathes a bit easier thanks to a full Magnaflow Performance exhaust, but Foose's GT isn't all about the performance.
Instead, the car customizer extraordinaire has focused on tasteful aesthetic enhancement, tweaking the rear end by removing the bumper and trimming the frame extensions. The wheels, meanwhile, are one-off aluminum alloys, designed by Foose himself. Like the stripes, the wheels feature orange accenting.

Chevrolet Camaro Special and Commemorative Editions wave goodbye to Gen 5

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:21:00 EST

Soon, Chevrolet will debut the sixth-generation version of its Camaro muscle car. That means the fifth generation - which revived the Camaro name and proceeded to regularly outsell its cross-town rival, the Ford Mustang - is on its way out. To commemorate the Gen 5's successes, Chevrolet brought two limited editions to the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Shown above, we have the Camaro Special Edition, which isn't actually its name, as we explain here. Although it can be had in either coupe or convertible body styles, buyers are limited to the SS model and its 6.2-liter V8. Aside from that, a "ground effects" body kit has been fitted along with a ZL1 rear spoiler and 21-inch chromed Dusk wheels. Cyber Gray rally stripes and the standard RS package round out the exterior work.
Next up is the Camaro Commemorative Edition, available as either a coupe or convertible and with either a standard 3.6-liter V6 or an optional 6.2-liter V8. Unique 20-inch wheels, a body color front splitter and the rear spoiler from the ZL1 are the main aesthetic changes, although Chevrolet has fitted the typical range of graphics and badges, as well as an Adrenaline Red leather interior. Basically, all of these Camaro models, like the Convertible Spring Special Edition from the 2013 SEMA show, are created using parts of the GM aftermarket catalog along with unique color schemes.

Kia plies SEMA attendees with beer and ice cream food trucks

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:40:00 EST

Kia's 2014 SEMA Show theme is "A Day At The Races," and in addition to a very powerful K900 luxury sedan, the company has revealed several vehicles that would make any day at the track more comfortable - and tasty.
The Ballast Point Sedona is a complete about-face for Kia's minivan, turning the family hauler into a beer truck for infield parties. As the name implies, the Sedona features beer on tap from the Ballast Point, a San Diego-based craft brewery. The vehicle also has restaurant-grade stainless steel counters, extra space for kegs and audio speakers integrated into the roof.
After seeing this Sedona, we actually now kinda like the idea of a minivan-based truck model. Are we nuts?

Jeep Renegade gets Riptide and Frostbite customs at SEMA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:20:00 EST

The cute little Jeep Renegade isn't even on sale yet, but here at SEMA, the Mopar folks are giving us a taste of what's possible for the little CUV in the big wide world of customization. Part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' massive SEMA spread, the Renegade shows up in fresh Riptide and and Frostbite guises.
First up, the Riptide arrives in Vibrance Grandeur Blue with black wheels and a big ol' Jeep Performance Parts logo on the rear pillar. There are a few black accents elsewhere on the exterior, and a surfboard carrier rides up on the roof. The blue color scheme also finds its way inside the Renegade, on the instrument cluster and side panels, with contrasting white accents.
By contrast, the Frostbite Renegade reverses the Riptide's color scheme, with white being the main paint of choice, with blue accents abound. And inside, Katzkin seats wear blue upholstery. The Frostbite is a pretty functional creation, as well, with a Mopar ski/snowboard roof rack and a Jeep Performance Parts rock rail guard.

A crew of Chevrolet customs focus on style at SEMA [w/video]

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:59:00 EST

Not all of the customs at SEMA are about showing off huge power or wild body kits. Automakers also bring along a smattering of concepts that just display some of the styling options possible for their models. Chevrolet is no different, and it has a bunch of modestly modded bow ties on display at this year's show.
Perhaps the oddest of the brand's styling concepts is the 2015 Corvette Stingray as personalized by Kiss member Paul Stanley. The band is probably among the last you would associate with the 'Vette, but Stanley gives his take a candy red paint over much of the body with a contrasting Midnight Glaze Silver roof, hatch, spoiler and grille. The look is completed with forged aluminum wheels from Chevrolet Accessories that are 19-inches up front and 20-inches in the rear.
The Chevy Cruze RS Plus doesn't wear styling by a rock star but it does have custom Wildfire Metallic paint and matte black stripes that really grab the eye. Under the hood, the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine has a cold-air intake and "performance-enhancing stage kit" from Chevrolet Performance.

Acura teams with Galpin to sport-up the 2015 TLX

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:30:00 EST

Acura used the SEMA Show this week to remind enthusiasts that it still considers itself a performance brand, teaming with Galpin Auto Sports to build a TLX that highlights Acura's sporting and racing heritage.
The TLX is painted a deep shade of blue, called Andaro, and the color will be used on the NSX supercar when it returns to the United States in 2015. It rolls on custom gray wheels with gunmetal and "liquid smoke" pieces, and they're wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber. The exterior design is punched up with a body kit that adds side skirts, a rear spoiler and new bumpers to create a more sinister look.
The TLX has a sport suspension kit with coilovers with 36-way adjustable damping. There's also brake upgrades and custom exhaust outlets.

Porsche Cayenne GTS, base models revealed ahead of LA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:31:00 EST

Porsche unveiled a slew of refreshed Cayennes just a few months ago, but the base model (right) and high-performance GTS trim (above) were conspicuously absent from that list. There's no more reason to wonder about them, though, because the German brand plans to unveil both at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19.
Sitting below the Turbo in the lineup, the latest GTS still offers plenty of performance. It drops the previous version's naturally aspirated V8 in favor of a tuned version of the twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 from the Cayenne S for some added oomph. The tweaks bring power up to 440 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to rocket the model to 62 miles per hour in an estimated 5.2 seconds. The bump also equates to 20 hp and 39 lb-ft more than the current S and more importantly 20 hp and 62 lb-ft more than the previous GTS, according to Porsche.
In addition to the extra muscle, Porsche also decks the GTS out with some added features. It comes with a standard sport exhaust and Porsche Active Suspension Management system with an air suspension lets the chassis sit about three-quarters of an inch lower (20 millimeters). To bring things to a halt, the high-performance models also takes its brakes from the Turbo model.

Ring Brothers stun SEMA with blown, 980-horsepower Chevy Chevelle 'Recoil'

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:00:00 EST

The Ring Brothers are back at it for the 2014 SEMA Show, unveiling a suitably wild 980-horsepower Chevrolet Chevelle that goes by the name of Recoil. Yes, you read that properly.
We aren't sure what's more impressive, the immense power of the supercharged, fuel-injected Wegner Motorsports LS7 V8 or the fact that it can be developed gulping nothing more than 91-octane pump gas. Alongside the big blower, Dynotech driveshaft, Flowmaster mufflers and nine-inch Ford rear end, Mike and Jim Ring have fitted a Tremec T56 transmission that's been reinforced by Bowler. Distinctive three-piece HRE wheels have been fitted, with 20-inch hoops in back and 19-inchers in front.
Aesthetically, the track-oriented Recoil is finished in BASF Sand Storm paint, while the exposed carbon-fiber strips on the hood provide a unique take on racing stripes. That's not the only CF on this muscle machine, either, as the Ring Brothers have fitted a hand-laid, carbon-fiber front bumper and mirrors. The Recoil's cabin is the definition of functional, with simple padding on exposed seat frames and a Racepak gauge system readily conveying that this car is all business.