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Review: 2013 Ford Focus ST

On: Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 12:24PM | By: Jon Summers


2013 Ford Focus ST front view  test 2

The 2013 Focus ST is a new model for US customers, and a replacement for a well-loved – and quite big selling – European Focus ST. The comparison is important, since Ford says that European and US spec Focus ST are to be the same; indeed, in the spirit of the original Taurus SHO, only a 6 speed stick shift is on offer.

The outgoing European Focus ST was based on the second generation Focus which did not come to the US. These STs were lovable cars, their low-grade plastic interiors offset by rorty, spirited driving characteristics, and using a derivation of Volvo’s 2.5-liter turbocharged inline 5, not the 2.0 litre turbocharged inline 4 found in the 2013 model. Indeed, this tester often thought a Focus ST would be an ideal daily driver in Europe, so the arrival of a new, Euro-spec Focus ST on US shores was cause for some excitement.


Innovative Fastback System Creates Transformer Sports Car

On: Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:13PM | By: Chris Weiss


Sports Car test 2

It would seem that the market is ripe for a car that shifts shapes between popular models. Over the past year, we've seen concepts that allude to the possibilities, including the Magna Steyr MILA Coupic and Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top, both of which used innovative two-part roof systems to transform from hatchback to pickup truck to convertible. Industrial design firm Xelestine presents a system that provides an even more radical transformation - sports coupe to station wagon to pickup truck.


Inside Koenigsegg (Video)

On: Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 9:20AM | By: Chris Weiss


Inside Koenigsegg test 2

Ever wonder what goes into the most expensive of hypercars to warrant seven-figure price tags? Koenigsegg is getting ready to show us in a new video series called Inside Koenigsegg. The nine-part series premieres on the DRIVE YouTube channel tomorrow, January 8.

The purpose of the new series is to step inside Koenigsegg's Angelholm, Sweden headquarters and look at what makes a supercar super. The series sets out to explore the "outer limits of innovation in the automotive industry" and how that innovation "within the highest echelon of sports car manufacturers" affects the rest of the automotive industry. Company founder Christian Von Koenigsegg will serve as host.


Review: 2013 Kia Optima

On: Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 3:58PM | By: Jon Summers


2013 Kia Optima test 2

Not so long ago, “top of the range Kia” was almost an oxymoron. However, as parent Hyundai grows and moves upmarket, Kia is being sucked along too. Not only is this size of car relatively new ground for Kia, so too is the distinctive styling language which goes along with it. Faux air intakes sit on the fenders – hey, if it is good enough for BMW M-cars, why not a Kia - and there is a large, distinctively-shaped corporate grille. It looks a shade too aggressive for most Kia drivers, a teenager trying just a little bit too hard, but at least it beats the fade into the scenery beige styling which used to afflict Kias, and the guests at a wedding we attended had plenty of favorable comments.


 

Hyundai Veloster: 3 Doors, 2 Recalls

On: Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 10:04AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Hyundai Veloster: 3 Doors, 2 Recalls test 2

Hyundai has issued two recalls this month that may make owners a little less confident driving around their rage-against-the-norm three door Velosters. The first applies to 13,500 Veloster models built between November 1, 2011 and April 17, 2012 that have the optional panoramic sunroof. It seems that the sunroof may have been weakened during its production and thus may actually break while the car is in use which would not make for a good day for any driver. 

The second recall affects 4,490 models built between July 2, 2011 and February 12, 2012. It seems that on these models, the parking brake components are susceptible to road debris and moisture which could interfere with its effectiveness and inadvertently cause the brake not to function. Obviously a non-functioning parking brake could cause a host of issues for drivers and pedestrians alike.

Owners can contact Hyundai at 1-888-327-4236 to schedule a free fix beginning in January of the new year.

Read on for the full reports.


Infiniti Confirms 550-HP Flagship

On: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 4:11PM | By: Chris Weiss


Infiniti Confirms 550-HP Flagship test 2

After much ado and "will it or won't it" was made about the possibility of an Infiniti flagship, Nissan's luxury brand has confirmed that it's working on a 550-hp "performance machine." The new car is part of a "massive product offensive."

The confirmation was made in a message sent to Infiniti owners and fans. The greater subject was a change in the company's model-naming structure.


Visions Of Supercars Dance In Santa's Head

On: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 9:50AM | By: Chris Weiss


Visions Of Supercars Dance In Santa's Head test 2

For centuries, Santa has instilled joy and wonder into the hearts of the world's youth by way of a reindeer-driven sleigh. A few luxury-car and supercar manufacturers have decided that Santa needs an upgrade. The world's population is growing, after all, so a little extra speed will help Santa cover his entire list with check marks.

We've seen Santa-mobiles before, but it seems like there's some growing competition this year. Within a few days, Lamborghini, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz each released visions about what Santa should be driving in the future.


Bentley Continental GT3 Racer Prepares For Track

On: Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 10:05AM | By: Chris Weiss


Bentley Continental GT3 Racer Prepares For Track test 2

The Bentley Continental GT already has a bit of racing pedigree, including a world speed record. It's about to get much more. In September, Bentley announced that it would return to racing for the first time since 2003. The Crewe crew is preparing the Continental GT3 racer for a debut late next year.

Bentley unveiled the Continental GT3 Concept Racer at the Paris Motor Show and showed it again at the L.A. Show earlier this month. Its next stop will be the 2013 Autosport International exhibition next month, marking the race car's U.K. debut.


Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 3:16PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


BMW Z8 test 2

In 1997, BMW debuted a concept car called the Z07. It was an instant success on the show circuit, and not being a company to rest on its laurels, BMW quickly got the Z07 onto the production line only two short years later and dubbed it the Z8 -- and the world was instantly better for it. The Z8 was built from 1999 through 2002 and was given the model code E52. It seemed that Bimmer had an idea that its newest flagship was going to be a success, as it guaranteed potential owners that it would continue to build replacement parts for it for the next 50 years.  Presumptuous? Perhaps, but not as much as some may think.


The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Venet In Action (Video)

On: Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 10:26AM | By: Chris Weiss


The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Venet In Action test 2

Hypercar manufacturers like Bugatti and Pagani sure do love special edition models. The latest to show its skin is the Grand Sport Venet, an artsy supercar that was designed specifically for Art Basel Miami Beach.

More so than nearly any other car line, the Veyron is defined by numbers. It packs a knee-quaking combination of 1,001 horses (or 1,200 in Super Sport tune) and 16 cylinders. It can hit 62 mph in an eye-blinkingly quick 2.5 seconds. The Super Sport version holds the world record at 267.8 mph. And on and on.


Honda To Debut Urban SUV Concept

On: Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 2:08PM | By: Chris Weiss


Honda To Debut Urban SUV Concept test 1-1

Honda teased a new concept this week. The Urban SUV Concept will make its debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (Detroit) next month. It is the latest example of what appears to be a growing trend.

If you think about it, the average SUV will likely see more center-city street than it will ever see dirt road or rock. That's even more accurate for smaller crossovers, which are more road- than off-road-friendly to begin with.