Review update: The 2020 Lexus ES 300h shelters drivers in the right place

The Car Connection News Feed - Sat, 04/04/2020 - 12:00
Long-distance journeys may have settled into your mind, in this time of sheltering in place. One day we'll be able to drive far, far away—and for that day your shopping list could start and begin with the 2020 Lexus ES 300h Ultra Luxury. If you can avoid the lure of a crossover SUV, the 2020 Lexus ES stands out among four-door sedans. We...
Categories: Property

AM General Loses Humvee Lawsuit Against ‘Call of Duty’ Video Game Developer

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 04/04/2020 - 01:01

The Humvee is an iconic military vehicle that has been at the center of many conflicts the world over the past 30 years or so. It’s also been at the center of a legal conflict between its manufacturer, AM General, and the video game developer Activision Blizzard—the company behind the Call of Duty first-person shooter series. Those games feature HMMWVs—Humvees—and, AM General alleges, have been helping Activision reap billions in revenue using their famous vehicle.

The trademark infringement case might seem pretty cut-and-dried to a casual observer. Humvee is a trademark of AM General, and Activision didn’t use the vehicle in its games with the company’s permission. But, the thing is, the First Amendment gives those who produce creative works—books, movies, and video games—broad leeway to use trademarks in their works. Basically, the judge in the case ruled, Activision’s use isn’t misleading. It’s integral to the company’s attempt to produce an accurate, realistic portrayal of warfare in its games, reports Law360.

A game about modern battlefields wouldn’t be accurate without the Humvee, so the First Amendment protection applies to the Call of Duty games. And the company isn’t being misleading about it. The vehicles are part of the set dressing, the background, the entire attempt to portray warfare in a historically accurate way. And so, based on this, Activision got the lawsuit dismissed.

That’s a good thing for gamers looking for an immersive experience, as generic military vehicles would spoil the mood. There’s no mistaking the Humvee for anything else, and it’s been a key visual in all conflicts since the Invasion of Panama—particularly the Gulf War and the Invasion of Iraq.

While it is an icon, the Humvee was arguably designed for conditions it didn’t end up facing in the real world. It wasn’t designed or armored for the urban combat it ended up seeing, particularly in recent conflicts. So at some point, as video games portray contemporary combat, we’ll likely see the Humvee phased out as its replaced by the Oshkosh JLTV—a vehicle that’s just entering service now, and pictured above.

Want to see how the JLTV compares to the classic Humvee? We took an in-depth look last year, so you’ll have a better sense of the vehicles that will see combat in the near future—and perhaps digitally on your game platform of choice soon.

The post AM General Loses Humvee Lawsuit Against ‘Call of Duty’ Video Game Developer appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Tesla’s Next Autopilot Feature? Traffic Light Recognition and Response (Sort Of)

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 23:25

If you go to Tesla’s website to order a car today, you’ll find that a new upcoming feature for the brand’s Full Self-Driving Capability (a $7000 add-on promising autonomous capability in the future, but not now). Is it full self-driving? No. But the new addition, dubbed “Recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs” is a step toward FSD’s promised autonomous capabilities, even if it’s not yet been officially rolled out.

What does the still-beta-phase feature do? Just what you’d expect, given its name: It allows Teslas to “see” traffic signals and and stop signs—essentially, detect intersections—and respond accordingly. This was put on display on Out of Spec Motoring’s YouTube channel, which shared a video of a Tesla Model 3 automatically stopping for a red light with Autopilot engaged and also claiming it halted at stop sign. Arresting, for sure, but Tesla hadn’t—and still hasn’t—announced anything about this new FSD component rolling out to the fleet, which indicates it must only be available to a small group of Tesla users under a pilot program.

Tesla hacker, @greentheonly on Twitter, had also found a user’s manual for the feature buried in Firmware 2020.12.1 for Model 3’s and Y’s (and of course it’s a BETA feature). The wording is carefully crafted, but here’s basically how the feature works:

Manual has comprehensive explanation of all the stopping stuff. And yes. It's all GPS based with just some vision assist.

— green (@greentheonly) March 28, 2020

The system uses forward-facing cameras, GPS, and map data to detect traffic lights and stop signs. As the car approaches an intersection with Autopilot engaged, you’re notified of an upcoming traffic light, and regardless of whether the light is green, yellow, or red, the car will slow down to a complete stop. A red line, displayed on the touchscreen, shows where the car has determined has to stop (it only stops if it’s showing a red line). If the approaching light is green and you deem it safe to keep going, you can override the deceleration by pressing down on the accelerator pedal or gear lever. If the light turns green after a complete stop, you do the same thing to give the car permission to proceed.

For now, the feature can only determine where and when to stop, but still depends on the driver for all other decisions. Also, we should point out, it is overly cautious—meaning the only way a Tesla might run a red light is by driver error, with Autopilot disengaged, or if the car doesn’t know it’s entering an intersection in the first place. As is Tesla’s common refrain, the use of Autopilot and other driver aids are fully the driver’s responsibility.

While in its current form, the intersection detection may seem a little wonky, it is designed for something more useful in the near term: Machine learning. In order to train the neural net, Tesla needs a massive number of real-world examples, and feedback about how humans responded to them. This explains why Tesla is having drivers make decision at green lights: They’ll harvest this real-world feedback to train the FSD neural net. (Have you ever been asked to pick images with traffic lights or buses from a bunch of photos before logging into a website? It’s the same principle; you’re providing data to train an image recognition system, and you might not even know it.) It isn’t the first time Tesla has used its owners as guinea pigs—witting or otherwise. When Navigation on Autopilot first appeared, the system would suggest a lane change but required the driver’s confirmation. Months later, the system was updated to allow automatic lane changing without the confirmation.

Dealing with intersections is a tougher problem than highway lane-changing, and given that “Recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs” has just appeared in the small fleet of the Early Access program, it could be awhile before there’s a mass rollout. Also, we’ve yet to see what foreseeable (or unforeseeable) consequences the programming could have. Teslas stopping or slowing at green lights could result in rear-end accidents, thanks to inattentive drivers coming up behind not expecting such an action. The feature also encourages Autopilot use on surface streets—a potential issue when it comes to pedestrian detection. Yeah, we know, the driver is responsible for the intelligent use of Autopilot. But, and there’s a big “but” here, we’ve seen plenty of Autopilot misuse in its intended setting—freeways and highways—and there’s little reason to expect this new intersection detection won’t suffer similar tomfoolery. Just remember, it’s a stepping stone, however imperfect, and that Full Self Driving is a future capability, not a right-now capability.

The post Tesla’s Next Autopilot Feature? Traffic Light Recognition and Response (Sort Of) appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Century Club! Mazda Launches Special 100th Anniversary Models

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 22:15

It’s hard to believe Mazda’s been building cars for 100 years. Wait, it hasn’t. Then what’s all this talk about Mazda’s 100th anniversary? Despite only building its first four-wheeled passenger car a mere 60 years ago, Mazda’s been in the business of building various things (be it corks or three-wheeled motorcycles) for a grand total of 100 years. No surprise, then, that the Japanese automaker wants to celebrate such a feat. 

One way it’s doing so is via a 100th Anniversary Special Edition trim for its various cars and crossover SUVs. Mazda thus far hasn’t committed to offering the special models in the United States, but we imagine they’ll be confirmed for American consumption at some point.

Those in other parts of the world, though, will soon have the opportunity to drive off in a Mazda that shares styling cues with the company’s original four-wheeled passenger car: the R360 Coupe. High-end trims of the little rear-engine people mover sported a special two-tone paint scheme that paired a white body with a contrasting color roof, which just so happened to match the interior’s hue. 

For the sake of its 100th Anniversary Special Edition trim cars, Mazda is opting to use a white body and red roof/interior as inspiration. As such, all Mazda 100th Anniversary Special Edition models wear a coat of Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint and red styling details where possible, including the seats and carpets, and in the case of the MX-5 Miata, its folding soft top. 

Other model-specific details include special badging on the front fenders, wheel center caps, and floormats, as well as a key fob and headrests embossed with the special anniversary-edition trim’s logo. The finished products benefit from looks that are both handsome and subdued. 

Notably missing from the models are any mechanical upgrades, though. As much as we’d like to see Mazda bring these handsome-looking special models to our shores, we’ll ultimately make peace with whatever the company decides. We can’t say we’d feel the same way if Mazda decided to withhold its 100th Anniversary Special Edition cars and SUVs from the U.S. if they also boasted noteworthy powertrain or chassis revisions. The models were initially intended to be unveiled at the canceled 2020 Geneva auto show.

The post Century Club! Mazda Launches Special 100th Anniversary Models appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

14 Vehicles With the Longest Running Nameplates

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 21:15

The automotive landscape is constantly changing, with makes and models coming and going at all times. But there are a few nameplates that continue to be renewed generation after generation. Here are 14 of the longest-running nameplates in the U.S.

Honda Accord

In 1976, Honda introduced a compact car that was larger than the Civic. The company chose the name “Accord” because its goal with the model was to achieve harmony between society, people, and the automobiles amid the 1970s oil crisis. The first-gen Accord was offered as a hatchback, with a sedan model added in 1979. Many different body styles have been offered since then, including coupes, wagons, and the crossover-like Crosstour, but the Accord is at its best as a midsize sedan.

BMW 3-Series

It’s hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t a BMW 3-Series, but before 1975, the acclaimed luxury sport sedan didn’t exist. The E21-generation 3-Series was the successor to the popular 2002. It was larger but—initially—not any more powerful because of stringent emissions regulations. A six-cylinder engine was eventually offered in Europe, but the U.S. had to wait until 1982 to get the inline-six that the 3 Series is known for today. The model comes in many flavors, including the performance-oriented M3.

Volkswagen Golf

Sold in the U.S. as the Volkswagen Rabbit until 1985, the Mark 1 Golf arrived in 1974 as a replacement for the venerable Beetle. The Golf was fundamentally very different from the model it was intended to replace, given its status as a front-wheel-drive hatchback with a water-cooled inline-four engine. But the car proved to be a hit, selling 1.5 million first-gen units in the U.S. The formula hasn’t changed much today, either.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class model has many iterations since it arrived in the early 1970s. The big, comfortable cruiser has been a signal of refinement and luxury ever since. Every time Mercedes releases a new one, it seems the bar for luxury is moved up a big step. The current S-Class is still the benchmark in its class and is offered in a number of guises, including high-end Maybach and sporty AMG trims.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic arrived in 1973, just in time for the oil crisis. Like its big brother, the Accord, the Civic offered economical transportation at a time when high gas prices and choking emissions restrictions made other options less attractive. Since then, the Civic has become a compact segment staple, offering a good blend of fuel economy, handling, and value.

Nissan Z

The Z car helped put Nissan (then Datsun) on the map when it arrived for the 1970 model year. It also helped elevate Japanese cars as a whole—they were widely considered second-rate at the time. The Z had a six-year gap in production between the 300ZX and 350Z models, though production of the Z32-generation 300ZX continued in Japan until 2000. The Z car’s mission changed over the years, but the basic formula of a rear-drive, six-cylinder two-door carries on today.

Toyota Corolla

The Corolla was introduced in 1968. Following the naming convention started by the Toyota Crown, the Corolla is named after an ancient headdress. The model began life as a tiny rear-wheel-drive coupe but is best known today in the U.S. as a front-drive, compact sedan and hatchback. Not only is the Corolla an old nameplate, but Toyota claims it’s also the best-selling nameplate ever.

Ford Mustang

With more than 50 years under its belt, the Ford Mustang can safely claim to be one of the oldest continuous nameplates in America. First introduced at the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair, the Mustang was available as a coupe or convertible. A fastback model was added later, along with higher-performance variants like the GT, Mach 1, and Boss 302.

Porsche 911

The Porsche 911 arrived in 1963 as a replacement to the 356. The original car made the mold for all models that followed, with its streamlined coupe body, rear-engine layout, and flat-six-cylinder engine. Today, 911s are no longer air-cooled, and they come in turbocharged and all-wheel-drive flavors. That said, the lineage is still very easy to see.

Mercedes-Benz SL

The SL nameplate dates all the way back to 1954 with the famous gullwing-doored 300SL coupe. The letter designation stood for “Sport Leicht,” or sport lightweight, referring to the car’s aluminum body and tubular space frame. A roadster version came in 1957, and from that point on, just about every SL has been a convertible.

Chevrolet Corvette

The Corvette, which debuted in 1953, has the SL beat by only a year. The first-generation model, or C1, was offered only as a convertible with an inline-six or V-8 engine. A coupe model didn’t come until a decade later, with the C2-generation in 1963. Eight generations later, and the Corvette is still going strong. Even better, the C8 finally made the switch to a mid-engine layout, making it a true American supercar.

Toyota Land Cruiser


The Land Cruiser‘s been on sale for more than a half-century. Much like the modern Jeep Wrangler, the Land Cruiser evolved from a military vehicle, which is where it gets its extremely rugged reputation. Over the years, the Land Cruiser has grown significantly, becoming more luxurious but still boasting impressive off-road capability. The now-departed FJ Cruiser was a tribute to the Land Cruisers of old.

Ford F-Series

Ford’s F-Series pickup family dates back to 1948, with the F-1, F-2, and F-3 models. By the second generation, the F-Series adopted the naming convention we’re familiar with today. Today, the F-Series is by far Ford’s best-selling product line, with 896,526 units sold in 2019—not far off the cumulative number of cars Ford sold last year.

Chevrolet Suburban

The Suburban is undisputed as the oldest surviving nameplate in the U.S., dating back to 1935. The first Suburbans were essentially station wagons built on truck frames. In 1955, the Suburban name was also used on a GMC truck called the two-door Suburban Carrier. Today, the Suburban is among the largest passenger vehicles on the road.

This story was originally published on February 23, 2015.

The post 14 Vehicles With the Longest Running Nameplates appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

The RS 3 Nardo Edition Is a Faster and Rarer Version of Audi’s Pocket Rocket

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 20:30

The pocket-rocket Audi RS 3 is about to get even sharper performance. The Audi RS 3 Nardo edition reaches a greater top speed than the standard model, and it has the styling details to match. A mere 200 units are earmarked for sale in the United States.

Audi increased the top speed to an electronically limited 174 mph. That’s a 19-mph bump over the regular RS 3. Engine output hasn’t changed, though. The Nardo’s 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine makes the same 394 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque.

The limited model comes standard with a delectable-sounding sports exhaust, which is normally an option on the RS 3. This is not a feature you want to skip, as it gives the RS 3 a commanding roar befitting of its 3.6-second 0-60 time. As we’ve written in previous reviews, the standard RS fixed sport suspension provides a composed ride and isn’t too firm.

Fittingly, the 2020 Audi RS 3 Nardo edition receives a Nardo Gray exterior paint color with Black Optic trim. The black accents can be found everywhere from the 19-inch wheels to the rear lip spoiler, exterior mirror housings, exhaust tips, and the exterior Audi rings and badges. Red brake calipers finish off the look.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find RS embroidered floor mats and Alcantara knee pads with special red stitching. Other red accents can be found on the air vents and seat belts. Carbon-fiber inlays give the cabin some extra pizzazz. Audi’s best technologies come standard on the Nardo edition, including the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit, and an infotainment system with navigation and handwriting recognition technology. The setup is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Get ready to pounce, because the Audi RS 3 Nardo edition is arriving at dealerships in the U.S. now. Priced at $60,895, the special edition model is $3,700 more expensive than the base RS 3. Considering all the standard features you get, and the additional speed, we’re tempted to think it’s worth the extra coin.

The post The RS 3 Nardo Edition Is a Faster and Rarer Version of Audi’s Pocket Rocket appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

It Feels Like a Billion Years Ago, But Remember NASCAR and the Crazy 2020 Daytona 500?

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 19:55

What we thought was wild, way back in those innocent days before the coronavirus pandemic, seems a bit strange today. Take NASCAR, for example—remember the 2020 Daytona 500? We thought that was a wild ride, and it seems like it happened five years ago. In fact, it was just 45 days ago. And it started off with a bang. Or rather, a wall of water, like a rain tsunami, that halted the race after 20 laps, to resume the next day.

And things stayed wild the next day. A push by Joey Logano with just 17 laps to go led to a crash that gathered up a lot of the field, including some contenders. With the race almost over, Logano himself got slammed by Ross Chastain after he clipped the apron and lost control violently, knocking out some other cars in the process in a shower of sparks and smoke. That pushed the race into overtime, with cars hitting the grass right at restart. After another restart, the race became a nail-biting duel between Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin on the final lap.

You might remember what happened next: a heart-stopping crash after a late push by Ryan Blaney that sent Newman into Corey LaJoie’s No. 32 car and then up into the air, his car landing on its roof.  Blaney wasn’t caught up, but Hamlin got him by a hair—0.014 second, nearly the closest finish in Daytona 500 history. But all eyes were on Newman, who was rushed to the hospital in serious but ultimately not life-threatening condition. It was the kind of wreck that in another era would have been the end for its driver. 

Thankfully, Newman recovered. He was knocked out by the impact, and suffered a brain bruise. LaJoie’s car actually impacted his seat. But he was out of the hospital 42 hours after being admitted, talking about getting back into the driver’s seat. This was late February. A few days later, the coronavirus thing started getting serious in the U.S., and we all know how that turned out. By mid-March, NASCAR had postponed all events. And at the time of this writing, it doesn’t seem like Newman (or anyone else) will be racing anytime soon, except online. 

That’s perhaps a bright spot to our current reality. NASCAR got a huge reaction to its eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, pulling in 1.3 million viewers to become the most-watched televised esports event, ever. And of course, there’s other NASCAR entertainment out there to take you back to those carefree days when drivers actually sat in real cars and raced. You can watch NASCAR All In: Battle for Daytona on MotorTrend On Demand, which follows Cup Series drivers Austin Dillon, Corey LaJoie, and Tyler Reddick as they get ready for the 2020 Daytona 500. 

In fact, we’re hosting a watch party for the season finale live with Corey LaJoie, and that starts today at 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET. Find us on the MotorTrend YouTube channel and relive our more normal existence just a few weeks ago with a star of the show. And if you want even more distraction from the news, check out our other MotorTrend On Demand shows like Roadkill, Hot Wheels Life Size, and Engine Masters. Right now a subscription is just $1/per month, a special offer to help keep you steeped in automotive goodness.

We hope to see you Friday on YouTube. #stayhome and hang out with us! 


The post It Feels Like a Billion Years Ago, But Remember NASCAR and the Crazy 2020 Daytona 500? appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Jeep VIASA Vans and Trucks Are Awesome Spanish Obscurities

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 19:30

When is a classic Jeep not a classic Jeep? When it’s an Ebro! Or a VIASA! Or, well, any one of these unusual sorta-Jeeps built under license in Spain during the 1960s. The story of these cross-Atlantic oddballs dates back to the 1950s, when a company called Vehículos Industriales y Agrícolas, S.A (VIASA for short) was formed to take advantage of an agreement with Willys Overland to build a version of the CJ, or civilian Jeep, after the second World War.

The venture was successful enough that in-house Jeep efforts became a VIASA staple alongside the agricultural machinery that had made up the bulk of its catalog. To this end, in the early 1960s it started producing a unique series of near-Jeeps based on the Forward Control series of trucks. These vehicles combined the versatility of the FC cabover design with a decidedly rural flavor in terms of utility.

At first glance, it’s clear that something is a little weird with these particular FCs. Immediately apparent is the bodywork—rather than the Brooks Stevens–penned curved visage that Forward Control trucks offered stateside, the VIASA models feature straight-and-sharp angles all around, presumably cheaper and easier to manufacture for a small automaker on a limited budget. Keep in mind, too, that these ‘Jeeps’ were aimed at farmers and country dwellers of modest means living in postwar Spain, where practicality was valued over style.

There were several different models of VIASA Jeeps on offer from 1963 on. There were two pickups, the Campeador and the Duplex (which featured a crew cab), as well as a pair of vans, the Furgón for cargo and the Toledo for hauling as many as nine passengers.

Ads at the time highlighted the entire family of Jeeps, boasting that the Campeador could handle a 2,645-pound load in its bed (reduced to 1,650 pounds for the four-door truck), while the van offered as much as 2,200 pounds of capacity. The trucks offered the 105-hp, 3.7-liter Super Hurricane straight-six, as well as a 3.0-liter Perkins four-cylinder diesel that metered out 62 horsepower and 143 lb-ft of torque. The latter was notable for offering nearly 30 mpg in the CJ, with similar results for the Forward Control models.

The VIASA arrangement would last until 1974, when a company called Motor Ibérica would buy them out (alongside three other truck and van builders). The resulting rebrand saw the licensed Jeeps hawked under the Ebro brand, as well as a series of other confusing cross-pollinations within the incestuous Spanish market. Ebro was a familiar nameplate for Spaniards, as it had been used on British truck imports since 1954.

It’s doubtful any VIASA or Ebro models ever made the long boat ride across the Atlantic to America, and it’s unknown if there are any examples calling the U.S. home today. (Heck, even finding images that aren’t rusted-out hulks is difficult.) In Europe, however, they remain common beasts of burden, doing what Jeeps and their license-built knockoffs have been doing since the day they were born: working for a living.

The post Jeep VIASA Vans and Trucks Are Awesome Spanish Obscurities appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Cadillac’s 500-HP-Plus Blackwing V-8 Engine May Live to See Another Engine Bay

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 18:25

The Cadillac CT6 won’t live to see the 2021 model year in the United States, but the limited-production CT6-V model’s twin-turbo 4.2-liter V-8 engine–known as the Blackwing–will likely find a home in another vehicle’s engine bay. Well, that’s if Cadillac’s executive chief engineer, Brandon Vivian, has a say in the matter. 

“Would I relish the opportunity to put [the Blackwing] in something else? Yes,” Vivian told MotorTrend in a phone interview. Which Cadillac product, then, might be the next recipient of this 500-plus-hp V-8? Vivian wouldn’t say. However, he noted that “[Cadillac] continue[s] to look for opportunities to use the engine,” adding that its future depends on the “right combination of the product [the engine] is going into [and] the segment it’s going to compete in.”

Hopes that the engine will make its way under the hood of the higher-performance CT4-V and CT5-V variants have largely been squashed by reports that indicate both models, as well as future variants of the Escalade, will forgo the engine for powerplants previously designed to fit their respective underpinnings. The Blackwing engine, meanwhile, was originally designed for use in the CT6’s larger Omega platform.

With the CT6’s demise, the Omega platform is currently out of use, and does not sit beneath any current Cadillac product. Nevertheless, it’s liable to return as the base of a vehicle that helps fill the gap between the BMW 3-series-fighting CT5 and the forthcoming, production variant of the Celestiq flagship electric vehicle concept

“There’s a desire for us to compete globally in every segment possible,” Vivian acknowledged. Although the brand may ultimately decide to ignore certain segments, it is noticeably missing a formal competitor to the likes of the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class in the U.S. market. No doubt, a mid-size luxury sedan based on the Blackwing-compatible Omega platform is certainly possible–albeit it’s a possibility that even we’d be wary to gamble on.

Regardless, it seems the team at Cadillac is by no means ready to shut the door on the Blackwing. It just might take a few years for the luxury brand to find a product that’s right for the sweet engine’s potential return to the marketplace.

The post Cadillac’s 500-HP-Plus Blackwing V-8 Engine May Live to See Another Engine Bay appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Property Stocks Daily Performance: Friday 3rd April

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 17:42
Hammerson loses 25% of its share price in one day.
Categories: Property

1999 Acura NSX Zanardi Edition Is the Lightweight, Fixed-Roof NSX to Lust After

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 17:19

Prices have skyrocketed for ’90s Japanese supercars in recent years, making what were once attainable dream cars significantly less so. MkIV Toyota Supras and first-generation Honda/Acura NSXs can now command as much as six figures at auction, so just imagine what this incredibly rare 1999 Acura NSX Zanardi Edition might go for when it crosses Bring a Trailer’s virtual block.

Driving Honda-powered cars, race car driver Alex Zanardi won back-to-back championships in the CART open-wheel series. To commemorate those victories, Honda released a special version of the Acura NSX in the U.S. called the Zanardi Edition. Sold only for the 1999 model year, just 51 examples were made. The car is especially desirable for its slicktop roof, as opposed to the removable targa top that nearly every other NSX came with after 1994. Having a fixed roof contributed to the Zanardi Edition’s reduced weight, which was down 149 pounds from an NSX-T thanks also to unassisted rack-and-pinion steering, a single-pane rear window, lightweight rear spoiler, lighter battery, and a set of lightweight BBS wheels.

Those wheels, measuring 16 inches in diameter up front and 17 inches in back, help the Zanardi Edition stand out with their multi-spoke design and dark gray finish. Another thing that sets the special NSX apart is its exclusive New Formula Red exterior paint, which all Zanardi Editions wore to match the championship-winning race car’s color. Inside, the Zanardi Edition received black microsuede and leather seats with red contrast stitching, along with a red-stitched steering wheel and door panels. A brushed aluminum ID plaque was placed between the seats on the rear firewall, displaying Alex Zanardi’s signature and the vehicle’s sequence number.

Power from the twin-cam 3.2-liter V-6 remained the same as the standard model at 290 hp and 224 lb-ft of torque, but it was sent to the rear wheels exclusively through a six-speed manual transmission. So for NSX purists, this is pretty much as good as it gets (at least in the U.S.). If you want this particular specimen, you’ll need a good chunk of change. As of this writing, bidding is up to $70,000. The last Zanardi Edition sold on BaT hammered for $126,000.

The post 1999 Acura NSX Zanardi Edition Is the Lightweight, Fixed-Roof NSX to Lust After appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

​Debenhams set to appoint administrators

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 16:46
Department store chain Debenhams is preparing to appoint administrators in order to protect the business against claims from creditors while it attempts to restructure the business.
Categories: Property

Meals on Wheels delivers connections, Mazda turns 100, GM to build Hondas: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 16:32
Wheel Connections: Meals on Wheels deliver more than food during coronavirus shutdown Kathy Kreidler and her Subaru Forester have delivered thousands of meals to home-bound seniors so far, and the need is only getting greater. When does a three-row small crossover make sense? Grandparents, nannies, an involved aunt, uncle, sibling, or family...
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How To Maintain a Battery-Electric Vehicle

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 16:21

More than 50 years before Carl Benz applied for his 1886 patent for a “vehicle powered by a gas engine,” Scottish inventor Robert Anderson strapped a motor and a battery to a carriage, creating the first electric vehicle (EV). His creation was far from ready for mass consumption, mostly thanks to its intense maintenance. With the innovation of rechargeable lead-acid battery decades away, the Scotsman’s EV required the replacement of its electric cells every time it ran out of charge. Fortunately, maintaining a modern electric car is a far less involved affair than that of Anderson’s primitive first example. Here’s what to look out for:

Do EVs require special servicing procedures?

Due to its powertrain’s simplicity, an EV requires very little maintenance relative to a vehicle with a fuel-drinking engine. Very little isn’t the same as nothing, however. Replacing battery packs and electric motors are expensive jobs that require specialized knowledge on the off chance either feature fails. Luckily, these powertrain pieces last for years and tens of thousands of miles. Plus, EV manufacturers typically offer long warranties on these items—a testament to the inherent reliability and performance of EV powertrains (not to mention, an additional piece of mind to consumers). 

What about the routine maintenance procedures of a typical EV? 

Brakes: Thanks to EVs’ regenerative braking function (where they rely on the electric motor’s resistance to slow the vehicle down, like engine-braking in a gas-powered vehicle might), brake wear is comparatively lower than on a vehicle that strictly relies on friction brakes. EVs still have friction brakes, though, and the brake fluid and individual components, such as the pads and rotors, will eventually require replacement, be it due to age or wear. 

Powertrain: The direct-drive or multi-speed transmission of an EV may require a fluid change during the course of vehicle ownership. Consult your owner’s manual to determine the recommended interval for completing this service for your specific EV.

Cooling: In order to keep key electrical components from overheating, most EVs use coolant or refrigerant to cool the likes of the charger, inverter, and battery pack. Maintaining the cooling system’s efficiency, however, may require infrequent coolant flushes or (for the A/C) refrigerant recharges. Consult your owner’s manual to determine the recommended interval for completing this service for your specific EV.

Tires: As on cars with fuel-fed engines, EVs require a tire rotation every 5,000–10,000 miles. Here again, follow the manufacturer-recommendation—especially for vehicles using directional rubber or staggered front/rear tire sizes. And, to be clear, electric cars’ tires also wear out, just like those on your regular gas-fed ride. 

What’s the best way to prolong the life of an EV’s battery pack?

Like the mechanical bits that motivate a car or truck with an internal combustion engine, the electric motor and battery pack of an EV degrade over time. That said, there are a number of actions owners can take to prolong the service life of their EV’s precious battery pack. We’ve outlined a handful below:

Avoid extreme temperatures: Both extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures negatively affect battery performance. Nevertheless, manufacturers generally factor in such temperature extremes during vehicle development and most EVs offer adequate auxiliary cooling and heating options to ensure battery pack temperatures remain at tolerable levels. 

Avoid regularly fully charging and depleting the battery: Charging an EV to full capacity and running it out of charge risk degrading its battery pack. Fortunately, many EV manufacturers prevent full capacity charging in order to limit battery degradation. 

Avoid regularly using fast chargers: Quick-charging “Fast Chargers” degrade battery packs more quickly than typical, slower charging methods such as a Level 2 charger.

The post How To Maintain a Battery-Electric Vehicle appeared first on MotorTrend.

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