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Pushing the V12 power to the limit -- in a four-door sedan.

By AutoWeek Jan 23, 2013 1:23PM




If you remember nothing else about the updated 2014 Aston Martin Rapide–now with an S added to the name–keep this in mind: Power surges 80 hp to a whopping 550 hp from the naturally aspirated 5.9-liter V12 engine.

 

Aston Martin dipped into its expertise gleaned from the World Endurance Championship GT competition to fortify output and efficiency. Torque increases to 457 lb-ft (from 443 lb-ft), and top speed is pushed 7 mph to 190.


It's powerful and quick, cutting 0.4 second from the sprint to 60 mph, now accomplished in 4.7 seconds. The V12 engine displaces 5.9 liters (5,935 cc) and is enhanced with machined combustion chambers and lighter cam shafts. It also uses dual camshaft timing and a stainless steel exhaust system.

 

Mustang convertible parked on the 86th floor, just as Blue Oval did in 1965.

By Mike Meredith 4 hours ago

As Ford celebrates the Mustang's 50th anniversary since its debut at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the iconic pony car has reenacted one of its most dramatic performances: Parking on top of the Empire State Building.

 

Nearly 50 years ago when the original Mustang was the hottest new car on the market, Ford displayed a 1966 Mustang convertible on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building — the only car ever to reach that location — until today.

 

In addition to amazing views of Manhattan, visitors to the Empire State Building observation deck on April 16 and 17 will also see a bright yellow 2015 Mustang convertible.

 

Car seat inflates and deflates in less than 40 seconds; can be easily folded and carried.

By Douglas Newcomb 5 hours ago

Volvo Inflatable Child Seat Concept. Photo by Volvo.Every parent knows the importance of securing children in car seats. And every parent also knows what a pain these big, bulky seats can be to transport, especially when traveling away from home in an airplane or taxi.


Volvo, the automaker synonymous with safety that designed the first rear-facing child car seat 50 years ago, has come up with a solution. The Volvo Inflatable Child Seat Concept is “safe, easy to pack and carry," allowing parents and caregivers to more conveniently use it in situations in which traditional car seats can be a hassle.


The Inflatable Child Seat Concept was created by Lawrence Abele, design manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles. Of course, Abele is also a father, and after spending time traveling with his two kids and their car seats, he thought there had to be a better way.

 

Climate control system monitors carbon-dioxide levels to keep the driver from becoming drowsy.

By Douglas Newcomb Mon 7:43 AM

2015 Genesis, Hyundai Smart Vent featureWhen Hyundai entered the luxury market in 2008 with the Genesis, it had a lot to prove. Feature for feature, the car showed it could hold its own among more established luxury brands and become a modest success, which led Hyundai to reach even higher with the Equus.


With the all-new, second-generation 2015 Genesis, Hyundai still has to try harder to prove that it can compete. For example, the 2015 Genesis has many of the advanced features found on cars in this class: heated and ventilated 12-way power front seats, a panoramic sunroof and driver assists such as automatic emergency braking to prevent a collision. And it also has a few firsts, such as a 9.2-inch high-definition in-dash display with 720 pixel resolution, direct Google search via voice activation and a hands-free trunk opener.


Another feature that’s new to the segment is what Hyundai calls the world's first carbon-dioxide sensor control system that can help the driver from becoming drowsy.

 

Luxury land yacht a standout among more modest cars on Ward's 10 Best Interiors list.

By Douglas Newcomb Fri 1:07 PM

2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith. Photo by Rolls-Royce.If you have an affinity for luxury cars, yachts and tony seaside towns — and more than $350,000 to spend on a car with a nautical interior — then your ship has come in. Adding to the bragging rights that come with owning an ultra-luxury car like the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith, its interior has been named one of the best among all 2014 model-year vehicles in Ward's 10 Best Interiors list.

 

According to Ward’s, the Wraith's yacht-inspired cabin design reflects the seaside retreat at La Canadel in the south of France, where Sir Henry Royce spent his winter months. The car's “sitting room” make generous use of what Rolls calls Canadel Panelling, while other interior surfaces are swathed in the “softest ‘Phantom-grade’ leathers.”

 

For the award, Ward's seeks out and tests the very best car interiors in the U.S. market. The only requisite is that the vehicle has a "new or significantly redesigned interior" and is available for sale in 2014. Ward's editors spent two months commuting in 41 new cars, and rate each interior on "ergonomics, driver information, fit-and-finish, materials, value, safety, comfort and design harmony." And while about half the vehicles they awarded are from luxury brands, mainstream models make up more than half of this year's top 10 list.

 

Shake-up at the top sees Detroit's Big Three continuing to dominate top 10 'most American' cars, with overall scores declining.

By James_Tate Fri 12:12 PM

We took our first look at the Kogod Made in America Auto Index last year; this week sees the unveiling of the 2014 edition.


Developed by associate professor Frank DuBois of the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, D.C., the index tries to clarify where parts are sourced and better explain the country-of-origin disclosures that can be easily obfuscated by manufacturers.


The Made in America Index rankings are determined by weighing several key factors in a car’s makeup (click here for a breakdown of how these factors are applied to come up with a final score for a vehicle):

 

Next plug-in hybrid may cost as little as $30,000 with a reduced electric battery range.

By Clifford Atiyeh Thu 11:57 AM
The next Chevrolet Volt will offer two cheaper model variants that General Motors hopes will boost demand for its plug-in hybrid sedan.

Reuters reports that when the next Volt debuts in 2016, Chevy will offer a lower-cost version with less features and possibly reduced battery range that will put the price closer to $30,000. The current Volt costs $34,995 after debuting at $39,995 in 2010, during which its only real competitor was the all-electric Nissan LEAF. GM cut the Volt's price last year after many automakers did the same on their electric cars.

That's no longer the case, as Ford, Honda and Toyota have brought new plug-in hybrids to the fold and Chevrolet itself has offered a full-electric Spark EV for the West Coast at just under $28,000. Even the electric Tesla Model S — with a base price starting at more than $70,000 — is one of the top-selling plug-in cars on the market. 

Previewed on the Mulsanne, headed to production in a new SUV.

By AutoWeek Thu 10:09 AM




Bentley is using the Beijing motor show to reveal its new Hybrid Concept. It will preview the company's first plug-in model, with the powertrain expected in a Bentley SUV debuting in 2017. The technology will be demonstrated in Beijing on the flagship Mulsanne.


Right now you should be thinking, “It's Bentley: Does the company really need a hybrid model?” CEO Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber explained why the answer is “yes.”


“There is no doubt that plug-in hybrid technology is true to Bentley's values of outstanding luxury and effortless performance,” said Schreiber. “Combining our renowned engines with electric power reinforces and enhances both principles, and so we will gradually introduce this powertrain across our model range. By the end of the decade, at least 90 percent of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid. We are proud to be pioneering these developments in the luxury sector.”

 

Smartphone-based infotainment platform brings navigation, messaging and social media to the dash.

By Douglas Newcomb Thu 7:04 AM

Windows in the Car. Image by Microsoft.Now that rivals Apple and Google have made a move into the car dashboard, the question has been what will Microsoft do next? For years, the company (which owns MSN) has provided a majority of the software for automakers’ infotainment systems, and it became a major part of the branding for the Ford Sync system.


But as automotive infotainment has evolved toward integrating smartphones to bring cloud-based content and services into a vehicle, Microsoft wants to move beyond supplying embedded software. Its Windows Phone-based solution, yet unnamed, was previewed as a concept at last week’s Microsoft Build Developer Conference.


Like Apple’s recently announced CarPlay, which extends features such as navigation and music from a connected iPhone into the dashboard using the device’s familiar interface, the new Windows system replicates the experience found on a Microsoft-based PC, tablet or phone on a vehicle’s screen. Also like Apple CarPlay, Windows does this using a “projection mode,” so that it’s much faster and easier to update compared with a car’s onboard connected infotainment system. Since the car's stock system remains in place, think of the Windows version as a separate desktop.

 

Contributors

  • Cliff Atiyeh

    Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
    In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)

  • Doug Newcomb

    Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
    In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V

  • James Tate

    James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
    In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5

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Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.

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