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2016 Smart ForTwo NYPD Edition

The New York Police Department buys 250 ForTwo city cars for patrol duty

In 2014, Smart decided that the second-generation ForTwo had spent too many years on the market and launched the much-improved, third-generation model. Redesigned from the ground up with help from French automaker Renault, the new ForTwo is a significant departure from its predecessor in terms of design, technology, and drivetrains. Under the hood, the tiny city car continues to use small-displacement, three-cylinder engines, but ditched the previous powerplants in favor of two new units from Renault. It also received a manual transmission for the first time. As far as lineup diversity goes, the ForTwo spawned the usual convertible, Brabus, and all-electric versions.

In 2016, the small German automobile made its debut as a police car for the New York Police Department. The largest municipal police force in the United States ordered no fewer than 250 ForTwos as a replacement for the three-wheel motorbikes it previously used in the city. A welcome decision among policemen, who now benefit from all-weather protection and air conditioning. Currently using around 9,000 vehicles, the New York Police Department quoted the car’s agility and reliability in its decision to turn the 106-inch-long ForTwo into a patrol car.

"The smart is spacious and agile and makes my job much easier. Many people say that the little patrol cars are really cute, too," said Officer Ralph Jefferson, the first policeman to take the ForTwo on patrol duty around Chinatown.

Needless to say, it looks like the days when the NYPD used large vehicles such as the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in the city are long gone. But, this isn’t the first time small cars are preferred in crowded neighborhoods. Back in the 1950s, various police departments around the U.S. acquired Nash Metropolitan economy cars for police duty. At only 149.5 inches long, the Metropolitan was one of the smallest vehicles on American roads and pretty much a Smart ForTwo among the very large cars produced by Detroit.

The ForTwo joins vehicles such as the Ford Taurus, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, and Ford Explorer in the NYPD fleet.

Continue reading to learn more about the Smart ForTwo NYPD Edition.

Leaked Ordering Guide Shows BMW 5-Series is going Semi-Autonomous

It didn’t take long for these features to trickle down from the 7 Series

We already know quite a bit about the next-gen BMW 5 Series. We’ve seen it testing on public roads a couple of times, one of which revealed the basics of the car’s M Sport Package. We also know that is should be somewhat lighter than the current model and should make its official debut at the Paris Auto Show at the send of September. Now, Bimmer Post has come across a leaked ordering guide for the 2017 BMW 5 Series, with three distinctive driver assistance packages.

The entry level package, RPO code ZDA includes a head-up display, park distance control, rearview camera, and a parking assistant. Then there’s RPO code ZBD that BMW is calling the Driver Assistance Plus Package. This includes active driving assistant, parking assistant plus, blind spot detection, daytime pedestrian protection, frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation, speed limit information, and surround view camera.

Then there’s the top-of-the-line package that’s being called Driver Assistance Plus II and brings true semi-autonomous features to the table. It includes automatic cruise control with stop and go, active lane keeping assistant with side collision avoidance, traffic jam assist, and active lane change. The ordering guide you can see here also exposes three different sets of wheels with or without run-flat tires, a large handful of metallic exterior paint options, various leather options, and M Sport Package, and a Luxury Package, among other things. This is a big move for the 5 Series, but don’t expect them to come cheap.

Keep reading for the rest of the story.

Source: Bimmer Post

The Ford Explorer started life for the 1991 model year and soldiered on nearly unchanged though 1994. A major overhaul for the 1995 model year brought a more sculpted body with curves rather than angles. Its cushy new interior took after Ford’s sedan lineup, featuring familiar switchgear and even dual front air bags coming standard. It was the 1996 model year, however, that the Explorer really came into its own.

Optional was Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8. As Motor Week points out, the V-8 block and camshaft are borrowed form the 1996 F-150 pickup, while the intake manifold is borrowed from the Mustang GT. This gave the pushrod engine a then-respectable 210 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. While those numbers are laughable in modern times, the Explorer proved to be two seconds quicker to 60 mph over its V-6 version. What’s more, the Explorer’s competition couldn’t boast engine spec any more admirable.

The old-school engine came mated to an old-school transmission, too. It was Ford’s venerable four-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive came standard, but a full-time 4WD system with low range was available.

The Explorer came in two versions: the standard five-door model, like the one seen here, and a more fun three-door variant. Both offered seating for five passengers, though entry and exit was more difficult in the three-door version. Ford also provided front seat passengers with relatively impressive seats. They featured power adjustments for lumbar support and side bolstering. A manually telescoping thigh support made taller occupants happy.

Pricing for the 1996 Explorer makes us long for the good ole days. It carried a base price of $25,425. Fully loaded with every option, the price jumped 10 grand to $35,000.

In case it’s not clear yet, Porsche’s commitment towards electrification is as real as it gets. The German automaker already touts the Cayenne S E-Hybrid and the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid as its first two production models to come with electric motors. Soon enough, the production version of the Mission E Concept will join in on the fun and if a recent report proves to be accurate, a smaller version of the Mission E is going to be developed to do the same.

All this leads us to this stunning new promotional video released by Porsche, which is touting its current E-Performance family. The E-Hybrid versions of the Cayenne and the Panamera are there, as is the Mission E. Joining them are the two cars really ignited Stuttgart’s drive to be a major player in the growing segment: the 918 Spyder hypercar and the 919 LMP1 racer.

Move past the cinematic cinematography and the chilling narration for a second and it’s clear that the promotional ad isn’t just meant to generate clicks and rack up view totals on Porsche’s YouTube page. The video moves beyond that by reaffirming what a lot of us already know: Porsche is as committed to electrification as any automaker in the business. From understanding what the benefits of “thinking in practical terms” and taking to heart the responsibilities that come with thinking about the future, the promo video is Porsche’s way of telling us that it’s on board the electric evolution of the auto industry, and that it’s in it for the long haul.

Well done, Porsche.

2016 Volkswagen Golf VII GTI Clubsport by Speed-Buster

German hot hatch gets even more ferocious

The Volkswagen Golf VII GTI Clubsport S made headlines in April 2016 for breaking the Nürburgring lap record for a front-wheel drive car when it posted a time of 7:49.21, besting the Honda Civic Type R’s time by 1.4 seconds. It was an impressive achievement that didn’t go unnoticed by aftermarket tuner Speed-Buster, which is now offering a tuning program for the less-powerful Golf VII GTI Clubsport with the promise of bringing its output up to 326 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque, head and shoulders clear of the output of the “S” version.

While I’m off the belief that Speed Buster should have developed a similar program for the Golf VII GTI Clubsport S, I can’t complain about what it was able to do for the standard model. With the resulting power under its hood, the Speed-Buster-tuned Golf VII GTI Clubsport is not only more powerful than the standard S version, it also clears past the Golf R, thus establishing itself as a bonafide hot hatch on wheels.

The only caveat to this program is that it’s strictly made up of an engine tune. That means that it has no exterior and interior upgrades, no suspension modifications, and no new set of wheels. But where it lacks in those sections, those who are interested in the engine tune should take comfort knowing that they’re getting a legitimately more powerful Golf VII GTI Clubsport without having to burn too many holes in their wallets.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

HSV to Give the Commodore a Very Fitting Farewell

Turns out that the final Commodore could be a four-door ZR-1

With Holden slated to end production at the end of 2017, It’s only a matter of time before the Holden name is associated with badge-engineering. This means that awesome models like the Commodore will be gone forever. But, before that happens, HSV just might give the Commodore one last hurrah – one that’s fitting of an iconic car such as this. First, there’s the GTS-R that we learned about after HSV trademarked the name last year. Now, if reports from Motoring are to be believed, the Commodore will also get a more powerful version that uses the supercharged V-8 from the previous Corvette ZR1.

This means that for Holden’s final year as an auto manufacturer, it will bring out two awesome versions of the Commodore. The GTS-R is expected to come standard with GM’s 6.2-liter LSA V-8. The rumors so far have yet to produce working performance numbers, but the current GTS makes 577 horsepower and 538 pound-feet, so it should have at least that on tap, if not more. Then there’s the beefier version that’s being called the GTS-R W1, which is apparently still in development but with the ZR-1 engine should come with up to 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque on tap. That makes it a four-door ZR-1 in about every way.

With that kind of output, the W1 could turn out to be the question Australian-built model with a 62-mph sprint that comes as quickly as 3.5 to 3.7 seconds – now that’s one fast sedan. To put that into perspective for you, the new Porsche Panamera runs the 62-mph sprint in as quick as 3.6 seconds with 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet on tap. The Maserati Quattroporte comes with 523 horsepower, 524 pound-feet, and a 4.6-second sprint to 62 mph. Holden may be living on borrowed time, but it’s going to climb into the ring with the big boys before it goes.

Keep Reading for the Rest of the Story

Source: Motoring

2017 Audi TT S Line Competition

The sportiest TT you can buy without getting the more expensive TT S

Launched in 2014, the third-generation Audi TT uses the Volkswagen Group MQB platform, which it shares with vehicles such as the Volkswagen Golf, Seat Leon, and Volkswagen Tiguan. Alongside the new platform, the TT also received an update styling language, a new interior, and a range of new and revised engines. As with previous generations, the standard TT was followed by a sportier TT S version and a high-performance TT RS model, as well as a handful of special-edition cars and even a race-spec Sport TT Cup variant. In 2016, Audi introduced a new limited-edition model, the TT S Line Competition, in Europe.

Much like previous special-edition TTs, such as the Nuvolari for instance, the S Line Competition comes with a number of unique features, extra standard equipment, and a special sticker that brings savings compared to regular models specced in a similar way. Available in both coupe and roadster versions, the S Line Competition gets a sportier exterior package that also includes a fixed rear wing, a unique upholstery inside the cabin, and a stiffer suspension setup.

The new limited-edition model will arrive in showrooms at the end of 2016, but it will only be offered in Europe. At least for the time being, as Audi has yet to say whether it will cross the pond to the U.S. at a later date.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi TT S Line Competition.

2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

More power, enhanced range, faster recharging

The third-generation Smart ForTwo arrived in 2014 with significant changes over its predecessor. Co-developed with French carmaker Renault, it received a more traditional exterior design with a longer front hood, a revamped interior, and three new engines. Much like its predecessor, it also spawned a convertible and AMG version, and at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Smart unveiled an all-electric variant.

Called the ForTwo Electric Drive (or ED), the emission-free car uses a brand-new electric drivetrain with enhanced output and increased range. For the first time, the electric motor is also offered in the convertible versions, making the ForTwo the only electric cabriolet on the market. What’s more, because the same drivetrain is also available in the larger ForFour model, Smart is the only car manufacturer to offer its entire model range with both combustion engines and battery-electric drive. Not that it would be difficult having just two vehicles, but it’s still a noteworthy achievement.

The new ForTwo Electric Drive will arrive in the United States in 2017. The coupe version will debut in the spring, while the cabriolet model will hit dealerships in the summer. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the smallest EV on the market and how it stacks up compared to its predecessor and main competitors.

Continue reading to learn more about the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

The next-gen Equinox is here and it can be had with a diesel in North America

The second-generation Chevy Equinox hit showrooms for the 2010 model year and went through a refresh for the 2016 model year. Despite the refresh, the second-gen model is due to be replaced for 2018 and GM has finally spilled the beans. The next-gen model sports a revised exterior to go with a new engine line-up that also includes the only diesel engine available in the in compact SUV segment in North America. On top of this, it’s the first member of the Chevy family to get an all-turbocharged, multi-engine lineup. A handful of safety features are available, there’s a new surround camera to talk about, and interior cargo space has increased to 63.5 cubic-feet with the rear seats folded down.

With the Equinox being Chevy’s second best seller, only beat by the Chevy Silverado, it’s not too surprising that Chevy is ushering in a new generation just one year after the face-lifted model made its debut. Of course, because of this, there aren’t as many exterior changes as we’re used to seeing with generational shifts. And, while GM is calling this a 2018 model, it will go on sale in the first few months of 2017. With that said, let’s hurry up and take a good look at this model before Chevy announces a 2019 model.

Updated 09/23/2016: Chevrolet dropped the official detainl on the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Equinox.

Fresh off of celebrating the production of its 100th unit since production started 18 months ago, U.K.-based automaker Zenos is the recipient of even more good news after receiving a £250,000 ($326,000) grant from Niche Vehicle Network’s SME & Supply Chain Development competition to help the company develop a prototype hybrid version of its acclaimed E10 R track car.

The research and development project is part of a nine-month program that calls on Zenos to develop a hybrid powertrain for its track cars in order to meet increasing emissions regulations that are likely to be put in place in the near future. Currently, the automaker’s entire range of E10 models, including the E10 R, uses a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, including the E10 R. The grant isn’t meant to influence Zenos from cutting the production of its E10 family of track cars, or stopping it altogether. Instead, the grant was given to help the company look into the future layout of the industry where hybrids, EVs, and self-driving cars are being touted as the norms rather than the exceptions.

A hybrid version of the E10 R will go a long way in gaining acceptance in that kind of future. and Zenos itself doesn’t have a concrete hybridization strategy as managing director Mark Edwards pointed out to Autocar. The grant it received from the British government can go a long way in helping the company create one for its future, even though there’s no actual commitment from Zenos that it could put a hybrid E10 R into production. But that’s the point of the grant; it’s meant to give the automaker a clearer picture on whether a hybrid version of the E10 R is worth the long and winding road to get there.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Source: Autocar

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