Michael Fassbender Joins A Long List Of Hollywood Stars To Jump Into Motor Racing

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Paul Newman. Steve McQueen. James Dean. Patrick Dempsey. Even Caitlyn Jenner when she was still Bruce Jenner. All these Hollywood stars have taken their talents to the track to varying degrees of success. Newman, for instance, competed at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning his class and finishing second overall on board a Porsche 935 that sold last August for a whopping $4.84 million. Well, another actor is joining them in this exclusive club and he’s going to race for an automaker with arguably the most storied history in motor racing.

We may know him more as Magneto from the X-Men movie franchise, but Michael Fassbender is more than just an actor playing a mutant with a penchant for controlling metals. Now we can also call him a full-fledged race car driver after competing at a recent Ferrari Challenge series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. If the thought of seeing Fassbender in a Ferrari racing suit is jarring, we might as well start getting used to it because the 40-year old German actor showed enough potential to finish 11th in his class and 17th overall in his first race over the weekend. His pace them improved in the second race of the series where he finished sixth in his class and 14th overall. Moving forward, Fassbender is expected to compete in the next round of the North American Ferrari Challenge series, which will be held in Montreal from June 9 to June 11.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.



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Aston Martin DB11 Volante

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Based on the DB10 James Bond Movie car, the DB11 has been a very anticipated model. It just went into production back in September of 2016, with first deliveries to U.K. customers happening in October. The DB11 is a big deal for Aston Martin. It’s the first all-new, mass-produced model from Aston in more than 10 years, it’s built upon a new, lighter architecture with some Mercedes-AMG DNA, comes with a powerful and all-new 5.2-liter V-12 engine, and surely is the beginning of a new era for one of our favorite brands. And, it’s a powerful era as well. The DB11 and DB11 Volante come with 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque on tap and can hit as high as 200 mph! And, it does that while looking absolutely beautiful at the same time.

With the Volante name (which is Aston Martin’s way of saying convertible) being widely used over the last 50 years on models like the V8 Vantage Volante, DB9 Volante, and DBS Volante, to name a few, we knew early on the DB11 would most definitely get its own Volante model. We made a rendering depicting what it might look like early on, and have since seen a few teaser photos from Aston of the prototype sporting a decal that says “Opening Spring 2018.” Now, that prototype has been caught during testing in the burly cold of Sweden, which in conjunction with that weird door decal, tells us that the DB11 Volante is right on schedule to make its debut in just a few months. With that said, let’s take a look at these new shots, compare it to our rendering a bit, and talk about what we can expect now that we’ve seen the prototype in action.

Update 5/16/2017: the DB11 Volante was caught testing yet again, this time without any fake panels and just a little bit of camo. Check out our “Spy Shots” section below to see what the hype is all about.



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Filed under Aston Martin DB11, Aston-Martin, convertible, future cars, sports cars

Honda CB650F: How Does It Stack Up With The FZ-07 And SV650?

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Honda is finally bringing the CB650F to the domestic market. European riders have been enjoying it for a few years now, but most Americans are unfamiliar with this ride. The torquey 649 cc engine puts this mid-range sportbike into the fun range, and how can you go wrong with fun and naked in the same description? Naked bikes are sort of the modern, factory-made, sportbike equivalent of the old, home-grown bobbers that saw all non-essential equipment stripped away, and the remaining sheet metal pared down or otherwise lightened as much as possible. The CB650F fits right into this category. How does it stack up to the mid-range nakeds we already have on our shores? The Yamaha FZ-07 and Suzuki SV650 come to mind so let’s put them side-by-side.

Continue reading for my first look at the Honda CB650F.



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New Report Suggests Automakers Less Eager For Trump Deregulation

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While Trump made several big promises during his run for the White House, one of the biggest was a blanket repeal of any and all regulations ushered in by the Obama administration affecting big energy and the environment. Although the rhetoric was initially met with open arms, it now looks as though Trump’s idea of sweeping change is mismatched with corporate interests, including those of the auto industry.

According to a recent report from Axios, the big makes are now backpedalling on their support for thorough deregulation, instead favoring a milder approach: “The auto industry has lobbied the Trump administration to redo a review of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, but they don’t support throwing out the standards altogether. Top industry executives have also urged the administration not to revoke a waiver for California to issue more aggressive standards,” says Axios. The reason? According to our friends over at Jalopnik, who spoke with Therese Langer, Transportation Program Director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Trump’s proposed deregulation could create industry-wide instability. While sweeping changes might offer a short-term boost, it could also create long-term uncertainty if it’s not permanent. And in an industry where product cycles take years to play out, a clear picture of the future is necessary for success.

Continue reading for the full story.



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BMW M5

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The new-generation 5 Series arrived for the 2017 model year, replacing the seven-year-old and rather successful F10 model. Not only redesigned inside and out, the new sedan also lost some weight and gained new engines, including four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and V-8 mills. Now up to 137 pounds lighter, it’s quicker, more dynamic, and returns improved fuel economy. It also feature state-of-the-art tech that brings it in line with the latest Mercedes-AMG E63. A new M5 version is set to follow in 2017 and our paparazzi have already spotted it testing on public roads.

Probably the most intriguing rumor about the new M5 is that it will gain all-wheel-drive. This rumor has been circulating for quite a few years and a couple of BMW officials have already confirmed the possibility. Although not yet official, the M5 xDrive is more than likely now that BMW has already unveiled the M550d using the same all-wheel-drive system. Let’s find out more about it below.

Updated 05/16/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW M5 out for a new testing session.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 BMW M5.



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Filed under BMW, BMW M Series, BMW M5, future cars, sedan, sports cars

Lamborghini’s Urus SUV Will Pack 650 Horsepower

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It’s no secret Lamborghini has high hopes for the SUV market when its official entry into the segment, the Urus, makes its long awaited debut later this year. The hype surrounding the Urus is all too real, and Lambo is adding more fuel to that fire after company CEO Stefano Domenicali confirmed what we’ve been expecting all along: the Urus will have 650 horsepower on tap.

The significant output fits into the high-performance mold of a Lamborghini, but fans of the brand will be disappointed to know that even with the SUV’s 4.0-liter bi-turbo V-8 engine releasing that much power, the Urus won’t be the most powerful SUV on the market. For now, that distinction belongs to the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which has 707 horsepower coming out of its 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V-8 engine. The range-topping S E-Hybrid variant model of the next-generation Porsche Cayenne is also expected to have a higher output, possibly around 670 horsepower. It does seem that even with 650 horsepower on its hands, Lamborghini is less inclined to package the Urus as an all-conquering powerhouse SUV and more of “family-friendly” Lamborghini. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how that strategy pans out, but the good news is that we won’t have to wait too long to get our answer. The Urus is expected to go on sale in the latter half of 2018 with a price of around $200,000.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.



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Filed under future cars, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Urus, luxury cars, suv

Quick Spin: 2017 Dodge Challenger T/A 392

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Chalk this up to another racing homologation special. The 2017 Challenger T/A is a direct descendent of the 1970 Challenger T/A 340 Six Pack, a production car sold to customers that allowed Dodge to compete in that year’s SCCA Trans Am racing series. Only 2,399 were ever built and have become some of the most collectible Mopars of the era. Dodge is now paying tribute to that car with the Challenger T/A, offered both as the 5.7-liter-powered T/A and the 6.4-liter-powered T/A 392. I recently found myself behind the wheel of a Challenger T/A 392, with its matte-black hood pointed at the imposing hill of Turn 1 at the Circuit of the America’s Formula One track outside Austin, Texas. This technical racetrack would prove perfect for the T/A 392’s massive torque output and six-piston Brembo brakes.

Sure, the T/A 392 doesn’t grab headlines or turn heads like the Hellcat or Demon versions, nor is it new in some vast manner. The average passer-by probably wouldn’t even notice the homage stripe package or dual “Air Catcher” turn signals. But let an enthusiast anywhere near the Challenger T/A’s period-correct “Green Go” paint and optional hood pins, and watch as jaws begin to drop. Fire up the 392-cubic inch Hemi V-8 and the T/A-exclusive active performance exhaust will blast eardrums back to 1970.

Continue reading for the driven review.



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Polaris Brings Slingshot And Indian To 2017 AIMExpo

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Polaris Industries Incorporated is sending the 2018 lineup from its motorcycle and Slingshot divisions to the Nationwide Insurance Company-hosted American International Motorcycle Expo for the first time ever this year. Attendees at the Columbus, Ohio AIMExpo to be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on September 23rd and 24th will be able to ogle, caress and test drive units from these lineups, and I gotta expect that to be the kind of exposure that is going to have an immediate impact on sales.

Continue reading for more on Polaris’ appearance at the expo.



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Alfa Romeo Stelvio

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If you were to put together a family tree for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, you would find that its roots can be traced back as far as the Kamal Concept of 2003. More than a decade has passed since Alfa Romeo pulled the sheet off of that concept, and in recent years, the brand has been fighting to make its name relevant in the market yet again. If you want proof of the brand’s unsurpassable drive to relevancy, you really don’t have to look far – just take a glance at models like the Alfa Romeo 4C or the more recent Alfa Romeo Giulia or Giulia Quadrifoglio. The Stelvio was first shown to the public at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in Quadrifoglio form. Six months later, and we’re looking at two lesser versions of the Stelvio: and entry-level model and the Stelvio Ti.

The best part is that the lesser trim levels look just like the Quadrifoglio version we saw last November, but makes use of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 280 ponies on tap. The entry level model gets Alfa’s DNA drive mode selector, 18-inch wheels, LED running lights and taillights, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Ti version, which is a bit more expensive comes with larger 19-inch wheels, wood interior accents, and an 8.8-inch display inside as standard equipment in addition to everything found in the entry-level model.

What’s really nice about the Stelvio, especially compared to some models out there, is the fact that you don’t have to go for the range-topping model just to have the sportiest looks and best design cues. Whether you go with the Quadrifoglio, the Ti, or the entry-level model, it looks like you’ll get the same beautiful looks. Sure, you won’t have quite as much power, and you may be lacking some technology on the inside, but you’ll still look just as good driving down the road. With that said, let’s dive on in and take a closer look at the Stelvio and Stelvio Ti.



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Filed under Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Alfa-Romeo, compact cars, new cars, suv

Stash your Checkbooks: Volkswagen Has No Plans To Sell Bentley Or Bugatti

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The depths of despair that the Dieselgate scandal has inflicted on Volkswagen has forced the German auto giant to make tough decisions just to be able to keep its business upright. Fortunately, Volkswagen hasn’t reached the point of actually being forced to sell some of its companies, including Bentley and Bugatti. While there have been rumors that both brands could be let go in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume doused those rumors as far as both brands are concerned.

Speaking with Reuters, Blume shot down any thought of a possible sale even as speculation rises that either Bentley or Bugatti could be on the chopping block. Apparently, Blume claims that there are “no considerations to sell anything.” More importantly, Porsche and Bentley have had a lot of success in cross-brand collaborations so selling Bentley in order to keep its numbers afloat doesn’t make any sense. Then again, with Bentley and Bugatti appearing safe from the seller’s block, other brands don’t appear to be as lucky. Italian motorcycle brand Ducati has been a name that’s being thrown out as a possible candidate to be sold to help generate enough money to fund Volkswagen’s new business strategies moving forward.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.



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Filed under Bentley, Bugatti, industry news