It’s no secret that Scion’s been in a rut lately and now they’re working to bolster sales by adding a new edgy model into the mix with their iM concept. The car’s going to be the main attraction that Scion brings along with them to the LA Auto Show and it promises edgy looks and sporty performance that should liven up the brand a bit. .If you don’t want to wait until November to see the top secret concept there a couple pictures have been leaked around the web. They’re easily accessible via Instagram if you have an account to look on.
Scion Instagram Photos
Scion took a few test shots of the new concept car and they’re releasing them around the web. The easiest way to find them is to go on Instagram and type of #iMDriven. You’ll see photos of the sporty front end as well as a few other pictures added by users conversing on the page.
Appealing to Younger Customers
The new Scion concept is designed to appeal to younger customers who are interested in trendy or edgy vehicles. The main leaked photo shows a very sporty front end with modern LED lights and very defined edges.
The vehicle will be unveiled on November 19th at 3:40 PM in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Auto Show. You can find out the latest information about the vehicle on Instagram under #imDriven, or just wait for the big release day to come.
If you fancy the Porsche 918 Spyder and actually planning on buying one of these supercars you’d better move quick because Porsche says they’re almost spoken for. That’s right, the car with a starting price of $850,000 is nearly sold out. If that isn’t a testament to the quality of the vehicle I don’t know what is.
Limited Units Produced
When you create such a high performance vehicle like the 918 Spyder you can only make so many of them because the market for a car closing in on a million isn’t very large. Porsche decided on the magic number of 918 cars, and by the end of March or the beginning of April they will have reached that special figure.
They’re Spoken For
According to Porsche only 30 cars have been delivered so far, but nearly the entire production line has been spoken for already with just a few stragglers remaining. The production process started last fall and customers have begun receiving cars this year. Just locking down one of these cars demands a $200,000 deposit, but it’s good enough to garner substantial interest.
A Look at the 918 Spyder
Just in case you don’t remember the specifics about the 918 Spyder that we posted earlier, here’s a quick overview again. This hybrid supercar packs in a powerful V8 naturally aspirated engine, along with two electric motors for a total power output of 887 HP and 944 lb.-ft. of torque. This car speeds up exceptionally fast (try 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds fast), and since electric power is being added through both axles it drives like it’s all-wheel drive. The electric motors allow it to accelerate faster than a standard gasoline engine ever could, and they help make the whole system more efficient as well.
A Supercar Bargain
It’s hard to imagine ever calling the $850,000+ price tag put on the 918 Spyder a bargain, but compared to vehicles like the LeFerrari or the McLaren P1 that both go for over a million dollars it’s quite an affordable option. Both of those vehicles are just as difficult to grab, if not more so than the 918, but they were each produced at a volume of less than half of the supercar’s.
It’s vital that you act now if you still want one of these cars at the original selling price. It’s likely that a few collectors will pick up the car and decide to resell it, but there’s no guarantee you will be paying the original price at first, and you could find yourself going up over the million dollar mark to obtain one of these rare supercars.
Subaru is all set to add their EyeSight safety technology to the 2015 Impreza, as one of their biggest selling vehicles this could be a very smart move. This technology provides a much safer driving experience and dramatically reduces the risk of a collision between you and the driver in front of you.Subaru currently only has an option for their technology in three of their vehicles, the Legacy, the Outback and the Forester. With the inclusion of the Impreza, their lineup becomes safer and more desirable than ever before.
Tapping into the Family Market
Currently people buy Subaru’s because they are known for being able to handle the great outdoors better than most other brands. Most of their models are equipped with powerful all-wheel drive, and they are setup to handle rough driving conditions. Subaru doesn’t want to only be known for their all-wheel drive and great handling, they want to tap into the family market more.
By adding in their powerful EyeSight safety package as an option on one of their most popular family sedans they are hoping to grab a larger chunk of the family market. This tech will make it safer to drive for Impreza drivers than ever before, and for those who want the technology it could be just the reason to decide to go with a Subaru.
Subaru’s EyeSight technology offers a powerful adaptive cruise control system that helps you avoid colliding with drivers in front of you. The car is fitted with a powerful stereo camera that is capable of seeing colors and identifying important cues such as rear lights and brake lights of vehicles ahead. As long as you aren’t driving more than 31 miles per hour faster than the driver in front of you, the car can stop you completely before you run into them, even if you aren’t watching the road.
The system also offers corner-responsive fog lights for all US versions of the car. When the driver is going around a corner the corresponding fog light turns on and illuminates the outside edge of the road, making for safer night driving conditions.
Fuel Efficiency Improvements
On top of the improved safety features available for the Impreza, it also gets better fuel efficiency than previous versions. The upcoming version of the Impreza gets a bump up to 37 MPG on the highway, slightly better than the 36 now offered.
Adding EyeSight technology to the Impreza is likely the first change of many to come, and Subaru is hoping to increase the number of vehicles that they sell with this technology in years to come. Only 10 percent of Subaru buyers in the US pick up this impressive technology, while 76 percent of buyers in Japan opt for it. By making improvements and trying to get the word out about how impressive the tech is they hope to change that in the future.
Over the weekend Audi showed the world that they have a good handle on self-driving technology, when one of their RS7 cars zipped around the track at the finals for the German DTM series. During a break in the final race, Audi put two RS7’s on the track. One manned by a professional driver and the other operating all on its own using computer automation technology, the results were impressive to say the least.
Audi’s Self Driving Car
During the demonstration, the self-driving car managed to beat the one being operated by a professional driver by a resounding five seconds. The car made all its turning decisions by itself and demonstrated that a driver isn’t necessary to zip around at top level speeds.
How the Car Functions
While going through the race the car was responsible for making all the decisions on its own. It relied on a GPS system accurate down to the centimeter, but that only supplied the right and left borders of the track, the car was in charge of deciding which path to take while moving through the course. In order to verify its current position Audi equipped the RS7 with a 3D camera that compared its video stream with prerecorded images of the location. Together with this information as well as the GPS borders the car was able to decide which path would be the most effective.
Throughout the lap that the RS7 zoomed around the track, it managed to achieve a top speed of 190 MPH and it moved around the course with precision. The demonstration made it very clear that self-driving vehicles are a possibility and that they can be better than cars manned by humans.
Releasing Self-Driving Cars to the Masses
With each demonstration such as the one put on by Audi people are going to gain more confidence with self-driving technology. It’s pretty hard to argue about the possibility of a car driving itself when you see it happening right before your eyes. It’s also difficult to argue that it’s a danger when the vehicle performs better than one operated by a highly skilled driver.
As long as governments get on board with the technology, and they allow it to be used, it’s likely to begin showing up in the next couple years. The car industry is going to be worth up to 87 billion dollars a year by 2030 according to Lux Research located in Boston, and Audi, BMW, Toyota and a host of other automakers all want in on that action.
Automated cars are no longer a dream, they are slowly becoming a reality. Audi impressed everyone with such an effective performance over the weekend, and more demonstrations like this are likely to occur in the future. Automated cars are being tested in several states in the US currently, and it’s only a matter of time before they go up for sale. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for them.
Toyota held the top spot for most valuable auto brand in the world accord to Interbrand’s new ranking of 100 best global brands. This is the 11th year in a row that Toyota has bested the rest of the World’s automakers and it even moved up from 10th to 8th position on the list of worldwide brands. This goes to show that Toyota isn’t just providing solid stability that it’s known for, but also shaking up the market and adding in excitement with its latest offerings and increasing in power.
How Interbrand Compiles Their List
Interbrand compiles a list based on the overall quality of brands that they assess, using three different metrics. They take a close look at the financial performance of the brand, its competitive strength, and how much of a role the brand plays in purchasing decisions around the industry. These three factors come together to determine the best and worst brands, and together they are what put Toyota at the top of the Automotive Heap.
Toyota’s Improved Position
Toyota has been leading the auto industry according to Interbrand for 11 years now, but between 2013 and 2014 their ranking improved. Toyota was ranked at position 10 last year, and now is holding strong at number 8. Toyota’s well-known reputation for quality products is what holds it up at such a good position, but their growth in China and Europe over the last year are the two factors that helped propel the brand up to its new and improved position.
Advancing Alternative Technology
Not only does Toyota have a strong foothold in traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, but it also has one of the strongest market shares in hybrid vehicles currently with the Prius lineup, and the brand is trying to expand to uncharted waters with the new hydrogen fuel cell car. By branching out into these new technologies, and dominating the market, Toyota is improving its brand overall and becoming even more of an industry giant.
There are only three other car manufacturers that managed to crack the top 20 on Interbrand’s list and they are Mercedes at 10, BMW at 11 and Honda at 20. Each of these brands has a long list of followers and their badges are all able to command purchases effectively. Toyota manages to stay ahead of the rest of these brands by offering a broader lineup, and holding a larger market share That being said, brands like Audi and Volkswagen are gaining ground on Toyota with brand value gains of 27% and 23% respectively. Both were able to outgain Toyota even though the top brand managed to improve by 20%.
Toyota is clearly a market leader, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that has owned one of their vehicles. They build good cars that are highly reliable, and they are always working hard to innovate and expand their lineup further.
The first thing you’ll notice when gazing at the new Lexus NX 300H is its pure look of aggression. It features a mean looking spindle grille and a heavily creased front-end that accentuates the grille further. It comes in a variety of bold colors that scream “look at me!” but it doesn’t look tacky. For such an aggressive looking SUV the NX 300H is surprisingly refined and mellow within.
Smooth and Refined Interior
The carefully composed interior looks classy and throws a multitude of gadgets your way, but it isn’t overwhelming. Two LCD displays give you access to media controls and vehicle information, and all the important buttons and gadgets are situated neatly in the angular center console.
Chrome accents blend seamlessly with stitched leather upholstery giving a bold yet refined look to the interior. When you finally decide to step on the gas pedal you’ll glide smoothly from the curb into motion, noiselessly. Weaving through traffic in this gentle SUV makes commuting almost peaceful. Noise isolation is superb, and the suspension provides a silky smooth driving experience. Gently slide over bumps and bruises in the road without even noticing their there.
The SUV isn’t the fastest in the segment with 195 HP available, but it packs enough punch to keep up with cars without feeling underpowered.
The interior isn’t as spacious as some of its competitors, but Lexus put some thought into the design to free up as much space as they could. They split the battery pack into two pieces, helping to keep the boot available for storage.
This refined SUV isn’t just great looking and enjoyable to drive, it’s also pretty darn efficient. With 54.3 MPG in combined fuel efficiency you won’t be heading to the pump very often to refuel. While driving only 121g/km of CO2 will be released, and that figure dips down even further to 116 g/km if you opt for the front-wheel drive rather than the four-wheel configuration.
The tech-savvy vehicle comes with plenty of standard features, but it has a wide range of upgrades available to it as well. When you opt for the top of the line Premier model you’ll spend over $54,000, but you’ll gain access to advanced features like satellite navigation system, full LED headlights, a 360-degree monitoring system, lane and blind spot assistance, a heads up display and rear cross traffic alerts. This long list of features manages to outshine most luxury vehicles in its class and gives a futuristic appeal.
The Lexus NX 300H is aggressive looking, performs like a refined sedan and offers some of the best features in the industry making it a devastating competitor. When you compare it to vehicles like the Audi Q5 or the Evoque it’s easy to see that Lexus offers the best value for your money, and it’s a vehicle you can be proud of too.
On October 19th Audi plans to show the whole world just how well it’s self-driving car can perform in a real-world racing situation. Their custom RS7 is going to whip around a German Touring course during a break in the Championship and expects to top out at nearly 150 MPH. Just a few quick laps around the course will show off how advance self-driving vehicles have become and should leave people talking about the event for quite awhile.
A Driver-Less Race Car
The Audi RS7 is going to rely on a set of sensors in order to pilot itself around the course. The company expects the vehicle to achieve a lap time of around two minutes and they think that it will hit around 149 MPH while moving through the course. These figures are about what a professional driver could achieve on their own. The RS7 isn’t going to have a driver behind the wheel, or anywhere in the car at all for that matter.
Confidence in Their Technology
While travelling around an empty race course certainly isn’t as challenging as moving through traffic on a crowded road, Audi is still displaying a high level of confidence in their abilities by showing off an automated vehicle in the middle of a very crowded event. The race is set to occur during a break during the racing final of the German DTM Touring Car Championship. The advanced road course is full of difficult twists and turns and will really demonstrate to people that self-driving cars are not only possible, but can become more advanced than people themselves.
If you want a first-hand look at this technology tune into the big race finals on October 19th or simply wait until the videos are released from the event. It’s sure to show off an impressive bit of technology that many drivers haven’t witnessed, and might get some more car owners believing in driver-less technology.
Saturday Sept 20th was a big day for Heal the Bay and the team at LAcarGUY. It was the 25th annual Heal the Bay Coastal Clean Up Day spurring countless teams to action around the country picking up their local beaches in one of the largest cleanup events of the year. It was a big day for the LAcarGUY cleanup team as well and they had more than 160 volunteers in all working hard to clean Will Rogers State Beach. That’s the biggest volunteer group of any corporate organization, and that’s the second year that they’ve broken that record, they managed to smash it in 2013 as well.
Success During the 2014 Coastal Cleanup Day
Each year Heal the Bay puts on a Coastal Clean up Day around the country. Participating groups go out to their local coast and clean the waterway, improving the environment for everyone. During the 2014 single day event more than 44,880 lbs. of debris were cleared away from coasts around the country. A total of 11,275 volunteers came together and worked to not only better the environment and enhance beaches at 50 different locations, but set a great example for other people to follow as well.
Strange Items Found During Cleanup
Each year it’s fun to see what strange items are found during the massive cleanup, and this year’s results don’t disappoint. A handgun was found at Malibu Surfrider Beach, so good thing that was cleaned away. During the cleanup at Tujunga Wash a Beauty Queen DVD was picked up, and at Redonda Beach, 4 octopi and 100 crabs were found living in trash and helped to a better environment.
It’s amazing what things are left around at our beaches, and some of the oddest finds, like the handgun, only reinforces how important it is to take time to pick up once and awhile.
The Dealership Contest
LAcarGUY put on a friendly dealership contest this year between its several locations to see who could put together the largest group of volunteers. Toyota of Hollywood managed to land first place by a landslide with an impressive 51 volunteers. Lexus of Santa Monica managed to get together a team of 35 volunteers for second place and Toyota of Santa Monica took third with 22 volunteers.
Coastal Cleanup day’s an important event that shows how much can be accomplished through careful organization and hard work. The volunteers who participated in the single day event managed to remove over 22 tons of debris from more than 50 beaches and clean up these natural environments for everyone to enjoy. It was a massive undertaking but most of the volunteers would agree that the results are worth the effort.
It’s been a few years since Audi and Lamborghini began working closely with one another, and that has resulted in a variety of technology crossover between the two brands. It looks like there will be quite a bit of crossover between the hybrid technology of the next Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Asterion as well.
Plug-in Hybrid Performance
The Lamborghini Asterion proved that a plug-in hybrid is a viable setup for a performance vehicle, and it looks like Audi is planning on adopting that technology in the next Audi R8. This should not only increase the level of power available to the vehicle, but also make it more efficient than before. Since the R8 and the Asterion are built on the same platform this configuration should work nicely. The only thing left to figure out is how much power this new version of the R8 will be packing, and for that information we’ll probably have to wait until it’s released in 2015.
Adopting the Asterion’s Powertrain
Lamborghini spent a lot of time and effort developing the 910 HP hybrid drivetrain for their Asterion only to announce that they wouldn’t even be using it. It’s possible that this technology will cross over to one of the version of the Audi R8 giving consumers a mega-performance car that would compete with the likes of the Porsche 918 Spyder and the LeFerrari.
In order to generate that level of power the Asterion utilizes three different electric motors as well as a standard 5.2 liter V10 engine.
Spreading Plug-in Hybrids throughout the Lineup
Audi has expressed interest in having a full plug-in hybrid lineup and with likely addition of the R8 plug-in next year it looks like a likely scenario. They already have the A3 e-tron and it sounds like that will be the first of many to enter Audi’s lineup in the future.
All Electric R8
On top of the hybrid supercar, Audi is going to be releasing another all-electric version of the R8. Improved technology gives this new car higher performance figures and a longer range making it far more impressive than the old version. The 2015 R8 E-tron is expected to have an impressive range of over 250 miles, making it a viable form of transportation even for long-distance trips.
No Manual Transmission
With the relese of the electric-powered lineup Audi R8 owners are going to lose the ability to choose a manual option. All of these hybrids and all-electric vehicles don’t favor manual setups and Audi is finally going to drop the option entirely, meaning that for the first time R8 owners will have to satisfy themselves with a dual-clutch automatic setup instead.