April 24, 2014

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

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2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

"The Ultimate Driving Machine" has been BMW's tagline for nearly 40 years. Launched in the 1970s, the marketing campaign was a stroke of genius by ad firm Ammirati & Puris, as the phrase helped differentiate the imported Bavarian cars from their fellow European rivals by subtly pointing out that Mercedes-Benz and Audi were offering luxury models, while BMW was selling sporty and youthful driving dynamics. The campaign worked - some would argue that stands among the most effective ad campaigns ever - and countless Baby Boomers embraced the brand's fun-to-drive image by taking delivery of the company's new models.

BMW still boasts that its vehicles are "The Ultimate Driving Machine" four decades later, but the brand is very different today. It offered just a few model lines in the mid-1970s, and only a handful of vehicles within. In 2014, the automaker offers an exhaustive range comprised of nearly a dozen lines with almost 50 different models. To survive and thrive, BMW has decided it must massively broaden its appeal.

One of the latest arrivals to BMW's ever-growing stable is the 2014 3 Series Gran Turismo. The five-door hatchback is best thought of as a smaller version of the company's 5 Series Gran Turismo built on stretched 3 Series platform that, in the case of this test car, shares the running gear of the 328i xDrive sedan. On paper, the five-passenger vehicle checks all the proper boxes with regards to performance, utility and economy. But does this family-focused 3 Series still deliver driving dynamics that qualify it for the title of Ultimate Driving Machine?

Continue reading 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Top Gear producer expresses regret over 'light-hearted' racist joke

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The Military Awards London

Generally, when you're globally known like the team at Top Gear and are getting sued for $1.66 million over claims of racism, it's in your best interest to apologize early, often and profusely. You should not, however, apologize a month after the fact, when the furor had already died down. Someone, apparently, didn't teach this lesson to TG Executive Producer Andy Wilman, who has ruffled feathers with an oddly worded apology for the incident, nearly a month after it happened.

"We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word 'slope' is considered by some to be offensive," Wilman said. Claiming ignorance strikes us as a reasonable defense - most of the Autoblog team and many of the readers that commented on our original story had never heard that particular slur. He then eviscerates his defense by saying this:

"When we used the word 'slope' in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it."


Claiming ignorance that a term is racist and then admitting that you were using said term to refer to someone of a different race kind of indicates that you knew what you were up to.

Wilman then bewilderingly goes on to claim that the phrase isn't well known in the United Kingdom, and that the furor seems to be coming from the United States and Australia. This ignores the fact that a Indian-born British actress and a British law firm are the ones suing Top Gear.

All told, this seems like a pretty bad play on the part of Wilman and the TG team.

Top Gear producer expresses regret over 'light-hearted' racist joke originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Richmond, Virginia, 1961

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We were about to lament the suburbanization of the area around Lukhard’s Market and the Westbury Shopping Center in Richmond, Virginia, because it seems to have erased any hope of finding out where this May 1961 photo we came across on the Library of Virginia’s Flickr stream was taken. But then we realized, after staring at the photo for a while, that the suburbanization of the area was already well under way at the time. What do you see here?

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1969 Chevrolet Corvette convertible

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For 1969, the Corvette Sting Ray returned as the Stingray, with a host of improvements and refinements over the 1968. Among the most notable: The gutsy 300-hp 350 became the base small-block, the standard wheels were now a full eight inches wide, and the car’s trademark side exhaust was back on the option sheet after a one-year hiatus. Other details included an ignition switch mounted on the steering column, with conventional door locks in the doors, a 15-inch diameter steering wheel (down from 16 in previous ‘Vettes) backup lamps incorporated into the taillamps, standard headlight washers and a standard interior center console. If you happen to be a fan of the 1968-1972 chrome-bumper Corvettes, you know that they seem like a bargain compared to their midyear predecessors and, if you’re really short on cash, the prices only go down from there, plummeting into the $5,000 range for a flogged fourth-gen. This 1969 Chevrolet Corvette convertible on Hemmings.com is a prime example of the deals that can be had when shopping for a post midyear Corvette: A tri-carbureted 435-hp 427, claimed to be original, with a four-speed, wrapped in subdued Cortez Silver and black interior for far less than you’d expect to pay for a comparably equipped 1967 Corvette. The seller is even going to throw in a new four post hydraulic lift. From the seller’s description:

1969 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible, 427/435, Cortez Silver, Black vinyl , Original Motor, and Transmission, REAL numbers matching car, tank sticker still on tank, vinyl hard top,original glass, chrome and stainless trim. Original spare,original rally wheels,power steering, power brakes, M21 4 speed, 3.55 posi rear, all new mechanicals, brakes,calipers, brake lines, master cylinder, radiator, water pump, 2-1/2” exhaust, clutch, shocks, rebuilt carbs, new leather seat covers, rugs and soft top (still in boxes). Four-post hydraulic lift included in sale.

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Price: $51,000
Location: Southampton, New York
Status: Available

See more Chevrolet Corvettes for sale on Hemmings.com.

One-Wheeled Motorcycles: As Cool as They Are Wildly Dangerous

The basic principle of the monowheel is easy enough: build a big enough wheel, and you can fit a rider in it along with a motor to move the whole works forward.






April 23, 2014

Audi’s Slick Off-Road Concept Gets 124 MPG, Charges Wirelessly

Off-road vehicles are not something you'd expect to get triple-digit fuel economy, even with a hybrid drivetrain. And yet that's exactly what Audi claims you'd experience in the TT Offroad.






April 22, 2014

Henrik Fisker Designed This Motorcycle for the Lego Heir

We already knew Henrik Fisker can designgorgeous cars. Now he's shown he's as good with two wheels as four.






Pentagon’s Superpowered Autopilot Will Do the Work of 5 Crew Members

The Pentagon's research arm is developing a sophisticated, drop-in autopilot that can replace as many as five crew members in the cockpit of a military aircraft, and turn the pilot into a high-level  "mission supervisor" issuing commands through a touch screen.






395-Horsepower VW Golf Is Pure, Wonderful Excess

VW prepped a 400-horsepower all-wheel-drive Golf for the Shanghai Auto Show. Yes, yes, yes, 1,000 times yes. Alas, it is but a concept.






April 21, 2014

A Ravishing New $120K Roadster Straight Out of the 1940s

Plenty of automakers make retro-modern vehicles that combine an old-school ethos with modern technology. But none of them do it quite like Morgan Motor Co., which was retro before retro was a thing.






April 18, 2014

The Craziest, Coolest Mustangs That Never Were

Ford released a trove of drawings and photos from its archives, and we dug through them all to offer the craziest and coolest Mustangs that never were.