Alfa Sprint Speciale racer looks fantastic, sounds even better

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Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale

Nothing quite sounds like a vintage Alfa Romeo four-cylinder engine at full gallop, especially in motorsport trim. With a combination of low-frequency burbling played over a high-pitch scream, they really know how to sing. This week Petrolicious takes a look at a truly unique Alfa Sprint Speciale that’s just as adept at competing in the wide-open La Carrera Panamericana vintage race in Mexico as it is snaking through some undulating, tree-lined back roads.

Ostensibly, this is a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale, although it’s really much more the creation of Alfa-restorer Conrad Stevenson. The roof section, including the holes for the windshield and rear glass, is original to one of these fantastic-looking coupes. But everything below that is Stevenson’s handiwork. To shape the styling, he combined the original Bertone design with his own ideas to purpose build the car for the challenges of the Mexican race.

As usual, Petrolicious nails every aspect of the production, especially the handheld camera work inside the cabin as the car negotiates the curves. It really communicates the connection between this swoopy Alfa and its builder. Plus, the sound mix lets the engine play its glorious tune.

Continue reading Alfa Sprint Speciale racer looks fantastic, sounds even better

Alfa Sprint Speciale racer looks fantastic, sounds even better originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What you missed on 10.1.14

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Lamborghini Shows Asterion hypercar concept

The media days of the 2014 Paris Motor Show might technically start tomorrow, but the party has clearly begun already. The early star in Paris is this Lamborghini Asterion concept, which melds V10 muscle with an electric drivetrain 910 total-system-horsepower. The understated, über-powerful Lambo shared the stage at VW’s Group Night with an impressive Volkswagen XL Sport concept, too. Let the show commence!

First Drive: 2015 Renault Twingo

Just in time for the Paris show, we get a drive in the all new, rear-engined-runabout from Renault. Sharing the same platform that will underpin the upcoming generation of Smart cars here in the US, the first-impressions of the nippy, Europe-only Twingo present and interesting preview. Read on to find out if the thrid-gen Twingo has what it takes to regain sales prominence in the Old World.

Corvette Z06 will do 0-60 in 2.95 seconds

We all expected that the 650-horsepower 2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 would be very quick, but until this morning we didn’t understand just how bonkers the spec sheet would be. Nailing the 60-mph figure in less than 3 seconds is wild, but so is achieving a radical 1.2 gs on the company skidpad. If you’re like us, you’re probably drooling to know what this new monster ‘Vette is actually like to drive; satiate a bit of that curiosity with some more Z06 facts and figures, here.

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What you missed on 10.1.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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General Motors names new cyber security chief

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General Motors made a splash earlier this month when it announced it would add wireless hotspots to many vehicles in its 2015 lineup and introduce more advanced technology going forward.

It’s probably no coincidence, then, that the company recently named its first-ever director of cyber security. GM announced that Jeff Massimilla, a former engineering group manager in charge of infotainment systems, would assume the new role.

Massimilla, sitting in the driver’s seat in the above picture, is a University of Michigan engineering graduate who has focused on center-stack technology throughout his career at GM and also recently served as a program manager for Cadillac CUE. He’ll head a team that’s tackling one of the most vexing challenges in the auto industry right now – keeping vehicles secure.

Cars have becoming mobile computers in recent years. Dozens of small computers on each vehicle run every conceivable system, from seat-belt tensioners to telematics units to brakes. As vehicle software becomes more advanced and cars use real-time data for safety information, the security of these systems has gained importance.

GM’s WiFi hotspots, which offer users a 4G connection available through its OnStar infotainment system, push the technology and needs for security one step further. In its advertising, the company says the availability of an integrated WiFi hotspot provides a more powerful connection than a smart phone or mobile hotspot for consumers.

Researchers fear these external-facing infotainment units are precisely the point hackers will target. “We consider it to be the holy grail because of its range,” says Chris Valasek, director of vehicle research at IOActive, a software security company.

There are no reports yet of an actual cyber attack co-opting a vehicle on American roads, but researchers have demonstrated it is possible to both remotely and physically compromise a car and manipulate key functions, like steering and braking. Earlier this month, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told automakers he wanted them to collaborate on ways to standardize security procedures and develop protocols by the end of next year.

Massimilla has served in a variety of roles during his tenure with GM, previously serving in the company’s next-generation infotainment department and as a director of global validation. In his new role, he’ll report to Ken Morris, GM’s vice president of global product integrity.

General Motors names new cyber security chief originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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British Honda CR-V looks tough, gets diesel and 9-speed auto

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Honda CR-V European Model

Honda just took the wraps off of its thoroughly updated 2015 CR-V for the US, with a touch more style and improved powertrain to provide more torque and better fuel economy. In our First Drive, we found that all of the changes really focused the CUV even more towards the desires of its audience of mostly families. European crossover shoppers don’t have to wait too long to see these tweaks for themselves and get a few exclusive upgrades of their own.

While US models get a torquier gasoline engine, Europe loves its diesels. Therefore, the CR-V over there benefits from a more powerful 1.6-liter i-DTEC oil-burner that produces 158 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This new addition is only available on the four-wheel drive version, and it replaces the previous 2.2-liter diesel in the lineup. Also as opposed to the CVT here, there’s now an optional nine-speed automatic gearbox across the pond.

According to Honda, the new diesel with a six-speed manual drops emissions by 11 percent compared to its predecessor. Opting for the nine-speed auto makes things 20 percent cleaner in contrast to the previous 2.2-liter CR-V with an auto.

Aesthetically, the latest European CR-V is essentially identical to our refreshed model. It wears the same updated front end with a new grille and LED running lights. It also has the tweaked rear with a chrome bar running across the hatch and slightly altered taillight design. The dark wheels of this show car do add an air of brutishness that we haven’t seen before, however.

The updated European CR-V will get its debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, and it’ll be built at Honda’s plant in Swindon, England. Scroll down for the company’s full announcement.

Continue reading British Honda CR-V looks tough, gets diesel and 9-speed auto

British Honda CR-V looks tough, gets diesel and 9-speed auto originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Skoda introduces new Paris-bound Fabia Combi wagon

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Skoda Fabia Combi

Škoda may not get the bulk of our attention, but it’s hard to argue with the nearly 1 million vehicles it moved last year. In terms of sales volume, that makes Škoda the third biggest division under the Volkswagen Group umbrella (after VW and Audi). The Octavia accounted for over a third of that, but despite having been introduced back in 2007, the Fabia remains its second most popular model worldwide. Good thing it’s got an all-new model on the cusp, then.

The Czech automaker revealed the new Fabia a little over a month ago, but it’s not just the hatchback which Škoda plans to unveil this week at the Paris Motor Show. Joining it will be the Fabia Combi you see here, the stretched-roof wagon version that’s the most popular in its segment with over a million sold since its initial introduction in 2000.

Launching across Europe in January, the new Škoda Fabia Combi aims to build on that success with greater cargo capacity, improved efficiency and emissions numbers, and a long list of new features ranging from an adjustable cargo floor to an ice-scraper integrated into the fuel filler cap.

Longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, the new Fabia Combi will be available with a choice of three gasoline and three diesel engines ranging from 75 horsepower to 110, mated to manual or dual-clutch automatic transmissions, with stop-start ignition and brake-force recovery as standard.

Continue reading Skoda introduces new Paris-bound Fabia Combi wagon

Skoda introduces new Paris-bound Fabia Combi wagon originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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