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Audiobooks.com has just announced that its audio books are now available with Android Auto, the infotainment operating system that hit the Google Play store in March 2015. This means that drivers can listen to any of Audiobooks.com’s titles in their cars and it also makes Audiobooks.com the first audio book provider to support Android Auto.

“The experience of using an application while you are on the road is entirely different than using it on a phone or a computer. We made integration with Android Auto a high priority because we wanted to give drivers the best audiobook experience that this new technology allows," said Ian Small, Audiobooks.com General Manager.

The Audiobooks.com application is available with all vehicles using Android Auto, from automakers that signed up as partners with Google for this new smartphone app. Brands include Acura, Maserati, Volkswagen, Audi, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Volvo, and more.

Audiobooks.com has over 60,000 titles in its library, some of which are free. Subscriptions are priced from $14.95 and get you one paid book per month and the ability to purchase more at any time. There’s also a free trial with one included premium title if you want to give it a try without getting a subscription.

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If technological progress can be measured in the number of turbochargers attached to an engine, BMW is doing an amazing job. Already one of the only manufacturers to offer an engine with three turbos, BMW has now announced that it will evolve this concept into a new quad-turbo diesel, which will first see service in the upcoming 2016 750d. Quad-turbo engines certainly aren’t new, Bugatti had a quad turbo production car all the way back in 1991, but BMW is going to be putting four turbos on a six-cylinder engine, and that kind of turbo-to-cylinder ratio is pretty unusual.

BMW hasn’t released any numbers for the engine, which will be designated the B57 TOP, but it isn’t too likely that it will offer a huge horsepower advantage over the current tri-turbo configuration. Expect somewhere around 408 horsepower and about 590 pound feet of torque, not a huge amount for a car the size of a 7 Series, but certainly adequate, and it should deliver a reasonable return as far as fuel economy goes. The turbos are likely there to make the engine more responsive, and to widen the torque curve.

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Source: bimmertoday

Spyker’s entire business model was always a bit of an iffy prospect. The Dutch automaker built expensive and desperately weird sports cars in a way that assured permanent niche status. But it was big on charm, and it would take a cold-hearted person not to wish it success. Still, it didn’t come as a huge surprise when the company declared bankruptcy. Plans were announced for a merger with an American electric plane manufacturer, but as always, this is the sort of thing you believe only once you’ve seen it. Well, the wait seems to be over, and Spyker has now officially come out of moratorium and will be building cars again soon.

Spyker actually fought against bankruptcy in court and won, back in January, but getting out of moratorium (essentially the Dutch version of Chapter 11) wasn’t so easy. Agreements with creditors have now been reached, and Spyker will be going ahead with the merger with Volta Volare, the electric plane maker from Portland, Oregon that had previously been unnamed. All of which is very good news for anyone that wants to buy a car that’s more than a little bit different from those his neighbors have.

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"The very rich are different from you and me," Fitzgerald once wrote. Let’s hope so. Let’s really hope so.

If you could capture and amplify the thoughts of most people upon seeing this Fiat, the collective "What the Hell??" would be heard around the world. This year, Fiat arrives at what is probably the world’s greatest and richest charity event. They do so with a one-off car destined for the auction block; the attendees will hopefully assist with checkbooks at the ready.

In the meantime, let’s take a moment to step back and truly appreciate one work of art(?) that could truly stand to make a difference in the world — especially to the lives of people who are very different from you and me.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition.

The recent news that buyers of the new 2016 Aston Martin Vulcan track car were also clamoring for a street-legal version of the car came as no surprise to anybody. And the fact that, when questioned about the prospects of such a machine being built, Aston executives gave noncommittal answers about it being difficult should also have come as no surprise. Well, it seems that we now have an official answer from Aston brass about the car, and it isn’t happening. The exact wording from Aston was “While there has been some understandable interest in a road-legal version of the Vulcan, we have no plans for one and all our efforts now are making it the ultimate Aston track supercar.”

This is in stark contrast to the Vulcan’s direct competitors, like the 2015 Ferrari FXX K, which comes in both road and track versions. But Aston wanted the Vulcan to be an engineering showcase, something that pushed the limits of what a car could do, and laws governing what could and couldn’t be taken on the road would only get in the way. A road version would mean compromises, and sometimes you just have to avoid those.

Continue reading for the full version.

Source: RoadAndTrack

For the first time in a very long time, the Mustang is a big deal in Europe. The pony car is finally a global product, and the British automotive press have collectively been marveling at the fact that it will even be available with right-hand drive. Those who follow Chris Harris closely will know that he is especially excited about this, and here we have a video of him driving one of these new right-hand-drive 2016 Ford Mustangs on actual British roads. He also takes it to the track a bit, because every sports car test requires some of that.

Chris Harris has expressed a love for a well-made muscle car in the past, and it shouldn’t come as too big a shock that he really loves the new Mustang. He admits that it isn’t going to take too many sales away from BMW, but as it costs half as much as a 2016 BMW M3, he also points out that it isn’t meant to. He spends a lot of time talking about the independent rear axle, but the rear axle has always been a big issue for Europeans when it comes to the Mustang, so it’s to be expected.

The 2016 model year is here, and with it Volkswagen is offering a variety of driver assistance features for many of its most popular compact sedans and compact hatchbacks . The features include both new additions and carryovers from other models, with the people’s car company saying it wants to “democratize driver assistance.”

The new features include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Parking Steering Assistant, Park Distance Control and Automatic Post-Collision Braking.

Models slated to receive these features include the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle, 2014-2015 Volkswagen CC, 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf, 2015 Volkswagen Golf, 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, 2015 Volkswagen Jetta and 2015 Volkswagen Touareg, with availability dependent on the model and trim line.

VW is already battling against quality concerns in the minds of U.S. consumers, so these features could do well to bolster VW’s premium image. However, for that to happen, the feature rollout will need to go smoothly, which isn’t always the case with the latest automated features (just ask Acura).

Read on for a full breakdown of each system and which models will get them as either a standard or optional feature.

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Lamborghini launched the SuperVeloce specification all the way back in the 1960s, first appearing on the Miura, the nameplate that basically introduced the world to the mid-engine supercar. Dropped when the Miura was discontinued, the SV name returned nearly 30 years later when Lambo showcased the Diablo SV at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. Since then, every range-topping Lambo has gotten an SV version. There was a Murcielago SV, and the Aventador SuperVeloce was presented at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

But while the SV badge has graced four different supercars as of 2015, not all of then have been offered as roadsters. The Miura was built as a coupe only (except for a one-off roadster), while the only drop-top version of the Diablo was based on the less powerful VT. The Murcielago was the first SV to lose its roof and it seems the Aventador is ready to follow suit, as a supercar sporting the body kit of the recently unveiled SV was spotted stretching its wheels with a removable top.

Updated 07/30/2015: British magazine AutoCar reports that the Aventador SV Roadster will be unveiled next month at the Pebble Beach Concours. The drop-top version will be limited to only 500 units and it is expected to be identical in performance figures to its coupe brother.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lamborghini Aventador SV Roadster.

When it comes to car guys, Steve McQueen was definitely a guy worth looking up to. Working his way out of a poverty-stricken and abusive childhood, McQueen became a top Hollywood star and an auto racing legend. By combining these vocations, he created some of the most iconic car-guy movies ever made. Most car enthusiasts know “Bullitt” and “Le Mans,” (and if you don’t, you should acquaint yourself immediately) but not as many are familiar with McQueen’s life, which was just as epic as his movies.

As a larger-than-life celebrity, it seems natural for Steve McQueen to share shelf space with superheroes. Motorbooks has released Steve McQueen: Full Throttle Cool, which renders McQueen’s life story in graphic novel format. Written by Dwight John Zimmerman and illustrated by Greg Scott, this graphic novel illustrates the actor and racer’s film and real-life exploits in unforgettable fashion. McQueen’s story unfolds like a hero’s origin story. Zimmerman and Scott start with his early life in Indiana and spin the whole chronicle up until McQueen’s death at age 50.

I am an avid reader, but I’m not usually one to pick up a biography. This one drew me in, however. The graphic novel format of Full Throttle Cool was a more inviting style that’s designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences, and I consumed all 96 pages in a single sitting. McQueen’s exploits have a, “Wait, this guy was for real?” quality that keeps the pages turning. The story is told through dialogue and background text, and rises above the occasionally stilted prose that’s often found in comics. Scott’s art is realistic, telling McQueen’s fantastic story while making sure that the cars and celebrities who feature in it are rendered instantly recognizable.

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What’s a Mercer? Why, that’s simple. During the automobile’s brass era, the Mercer was nothing less than an American supercar. Mercers were setting speed records and winning races before Ferrari and Porsche were even thought of.

Formed in 1909, when the Walter motor car company was bought out by industrial magnates Ferdinand and Washington Roebling and financier John L. Kuser, Mercer was focused from the start on using racing to promote its high-quality vehicles. Engineers, designers and race drivers worked hand in hand to develop a real performance vehicle, and the Raceabout was the result. The two-seat speedster was designed to run 70 mph all day in an era where paved roads were few and far between, and would top out a 90 mph if conditions permitted. The Mercer Raceabout entered many road races from 1910-1914, and won consistently. Victory at the Indianapolis 500 eluded Mercer’s grasp, but the performance-bred Raceabout became an icon nevertheless.

Squaring off against literal giants from FIAT, Itala and Benz, the Mercer depended on light weight and nimble handling, where its competitors threw everything into large-bore, large-displacement engines. It won five of the six races it entered in its inaugural year, and racked up dozens of racing victories over the next three years. In 1914, a Mercer won the American Grand Prize, at the time the most prestigious long-distance road race in America, and averaged 77 mph over the 403-mile course. Mercer was the first American manufacturer to win this race.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1911 Mercer Raceabout.

Source: RM Auctions

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