Subaru teases us with concept car “Levorg” as lead up to Tokyo Motor Show

Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries has announced it will introduce a new sports tourer “LEVORG” (prototype) at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. The LEVORG features a very stylish design with a sports car feel.  According to the official press release, the name is a combination of the words “Legacy,” “Revolution” and “Touring”.

Subaru Levorg

Subaru LEVORG

Designed to combine the feel of a sports car with the practicality of a touring car, the Levorg will be the first concept previewed from Subaru of its performance focused wagons. The specs are as follows – 1.6-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder and next-generation EyeSight technologies in what looks to be a sexy and strong package.

For official press release click here.

Source: Subaru Canada

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Sebastian Vettel becomes four-time F1 world champion

If you have a son and want him to become a successful race driver you may seriously want to think about naming him Sebastian. Yes, the spelling is slightly different but the facts remain between the F1‘s Sebastian Vettel and the WRC‘s Sebastien Loeb they have combined for 15 major championships.  Although we have covered several stories in the past on Loeb it’s now time to take a look at Vettel who this past weekend was crowned with his 4th consecutive F1 championship.

Sebastian Vettel Image source: telegraph.co.uk

Sebastian Vettel
Image source: telegraph.co.uk

At only age 26, Vettel is said to be one of the most ambitious drivers in the world and his ambition is certainly paying off.  Driving for Team Infiniti-Red Bull which by all accounts is the wealthiest and best staffed F1 team as it includes the top technicians who have the uncanny ability to anticipate Vettel’s every need before trouble arises around the racetrack.

Sebastian Vettel  2013 Red Bull RB9 race car

Sebastian Vettel
2013 Red Bull RB9 race car

With his 4th championship, Vettel has now surpassed the three championships of the late Aryton Senna on the all time list and tied Senna’s arch rival Alain Proust for four. This along with his annual salary of €12m safely plants him in the history books as the real deal. His winning record over the past four years proves he is now the best driver in F1 but the real question now is, “will he be able to break the all time F1 record of his countryman, Michael Schumacher who won seven F1 championships?”

Michael Schumacher Seven championships

Michael Schumacher’s seven F1 championships

New Details of “The Beast”

Autoweek has recently uncovered new details about the presidential limousine, otherwise known as “The Beast.”  Or should we say limousines as there isn’t just one, but rather twelve in the President’s motor pool, each cost more than $1 million.

Presidential limo otherwise known as The Beast

Presidential limo otherwise known as The Beast

Although it may resemble a Cadillac, there is very little in the car that is a Cadillac.  Rather the vehicle is a custom job built from the ground up in order to handle the extra load imposed by the operational features.

Some of those features include special locking mechanisms, communications and fire-suppression systems as well as Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear run-flats.  Other extras not found in your average limousine are a separate oxygen supply under the President’s seat, emergency medical equipment, including bottles of the President’s blood type and an encrypted satellite phone.  Finally, don’t forget its military-grade armor on the doors, fenders and fuel tank.

Autoweek has also provided a run down on some of the more interesting numbers on the vehicle:

BY THE NUMBERS

3.7: Average miles to the gallon

12: Number of actual Beasts in service

$1.5 million: How much each Beast costs

18: How long the Beast is, in feet

8: Thickness, in inches, of the doors’ armor plating

5: Thickness, in inches, of the windows–bulletproof, of course

15,000: Best guess on how much The Beast weighs, in pounds

Surprisingly, despite all the extra weight the vehicle apparently accelerates and handles quite well according to those in the know.  All in all, the vehicle is an impressive engineering feat, with much more than meets the eye.

Source: Autoweek

Elon Musk buys James Bond Lotus Submarine

Our regular readers know we have a serious “bromance” for Tesla Founder Elon Musk so it should be no surprise we had to give this story some attention.  Recently, the Lotus Esprit submarine car used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me was sold at auction in London for $966,560.

Lotus Espirit Submarine car

Lotus Espirit Submarine car

At the time of the sale the buyer’s identity remained a mystery, but Jalopnik has now reported that billionaire genius Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla Motors and SpaceX was the man who purchased it. But it gets better, according to a statement provided to CNN Money Musk was disappointed to learn that it can’t actually transform from car to submarine so he doesn’t plan to leave it as just a prop. “What I’m going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real”.  And seriously, if there is one man in the world that can make this happen it’s Elon Musk.

The history of the infamous Lotus submersible from movie star to collector piece of Elon Musk is equally interesting. As told by the folks at Autoblog, after filming ended in the 70s, the car was shipped to Long Island, NY and placed in a storage container that was paid in advance by the studio for 10 years. However, after the money ran out, the contents of the container were sold off Storage Wars-style in 1989 and won by an local couple. It was shown in public on occasion throughout the years, but its value remained a mystery until being sold last month. While the selling price tag is far from the most valuable James Bond car ever to be sold the Lotus Espirit submarine remains one of the most unique cars ever built.

Sources: CNN Money, Jalopnik, Autoblog.

Drifting videos

You may have already seen some of the coverage of rally superstar Ken Block‘s Toronto tour stop. Well, if you are wanting more on the event, the guys from Autoblog Canada have published their full interview with Ken.  Of course, the real cool part would be to see the video of their drive along which I guess we have to wait to see since they have not published it yet.  In the past, we have published many Ken Block Gymkhana videos which are always worth checking out.

On a related note, we recently came across a cool new drifting video created by Sylvania Canada. Shot in an undisclosed location SYLVANIA Canada and Canadian Tire teamed up to capture the beauty of drift racing at night. In making the video, drift drivers modified their cars with SYLVANIA Silverstar® zXe Twin Halogen Headlight Bulbs and absolutely rip it around a challenging outdoor course.

RIP Land Rover Defender

News this week that Land Rover will be discontinuing their Defender model in 2015.

The Land Rover Defender is being discontinued

The Land Rover Defender is being discontinued

The Defender was first introduced into the consumer market in 1983 as the Land Rover Ninety and the Land Rover One Ten, with the numbers representing the wheelbase in inches.

It was also sold in North America between 1993 and 1997 until in 1998 US regulations were introduced requiring airbags for both front seat passengers as well as side door impact requirements. The Defender could not be fitted with these without major modifications and based on sales numbers it was not economically viable to continue their sale in the US and Canada. Despite not being sold in North America from 1998 onwards, the Defender was popular enough that enthusiasts found ways to bring them over from Europe.

More stringent regulations, this time in European relating to fuel efficiency, also appear to be one of the reasons why the Defender will be discontinued.  In addition, recent sales of the Defender have been lagging with only 561 sold in the first eight months of the year. A replacement to the Defender is reportedly in the works, but won’t be available for some time.

RIP Defender….

Source: Wikipedia, Autonews.com, BBC News

Audi RS 6 Avant – Man vs. Machine

To celebrate the latest incarnation of the formidable 2013 RS 6 Avant, Audi UK has commissioned a very cool new video titled ‘The Duel ~ Man vs. Machine’ which has officially launched on their YouTube channel.

This epic video pits man against machine in an egg throwing battle the likes of which has never been seen before. Starring “Parkour” superstar Damien Walters and 007 stunt-driver /Top Gear’s ex-Stig Ben Collins the rules of ‘The Duel’ are simple – To cover your opponent in as much paint as possible, within the allotted time.

The 2013 Audi RS 6 Avant has a four liter, V8 twin turbo engine that produces a monstrous 560 HP and almost certainly can lay claim to being the world’s fastest production family car.  This is certainly different from the station wagon we all grew up with that’s for sure…..

IMG_4279

Audi RS 6 Avant

Audi RS 6 Avant

Audi RS 6 Avant

Audi RS 6 Avant

The only bad thing about this story is the painful fact that Audi is not bringing the RS 6 Avant to North America.  We have one word to say to Audi and that is – Why?

For the full specs and details of the Audi 2013 RS 6 Avant please refer to the following here. In addition, to get a glimpse of the “behind the scenes” making of this video check out the ‘How To Make An Omelette’ video here.

A quick look at the new BMW i3

The i3 is BMW’s newest foray into the electric vehicle market and is set to be released in 2014. Its bold styling both inside and out make the i3 a stand out addition to the BMW lineup.  RedlineNorth recently had an opportunity to view a production ready model of the i3 and were impressed with what we saw.

The all new BMW i3

The all new BMW i3

The i3 is a full battery electric vehicle (BEV), however, BMW has announced it will also be available with an optional ‘range extender’ gasoline back up engine, making it available as both a BEV and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). We think it’s a smart idea to offer both a BEV and PHEV providing choice to the customer as to which technology best fits their driving needs.  As a BEV the i3 will get approximately 130 to 160 km in range, more than enough for average daily driving, while the range extender will up that distance to between 240 to 320 km.  This is thanks to the on-board 18.8 kWh lithium-ion battery.  By comparison the 2013 Nissan Leaf has a 24 kWh battery with similar range.  The ability to get similar range as the Leaf, with less battery capacity, is in part due to the use of carbon fiber in the body manufacturing process, reducing the overall weight of the vehicle.

i3-1

A first look at the i3

Unlike BMW’s Mini-e which used a AC Propulsion powertrain, the i3 powertrain has been developed in house by BMW engineers. It provides 125 kW/170 hp with 184 lbs of torque. As an electric vehicle the full torque is available at standstill and doesn’t need to be built up with speed. This translates into 0 to 60 km/h performance in under 4 seconds and to 100 km/h in only 7.2 seconds.

i3-3

The i3 has a unique dashboard

The styling of the i3 is a departure from traditional BMW models.  The aggressive lines, front fascia and the 19 inch wheels, give the i3 a more modern and some what European look.  In addition, the styling also maximizes the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle to squeeze out extra travel range and efficiency. Inside the i3 dashboard looks almost as if someone has left their iPad on the dash for you to drive with.  The steering wheel prominently projects into the driver’s area and there is an absence of the center tunnel providing a more open interior space.

i3-2

i3 interior

All in all it looks like BMW has a promising model with the i3 with a combination of modern styling and solid performance. RedlineNorth is looking forward to its North America release currently slated for the first half of 2014 with a base price in the low $40,000s. We think it will be a great addition to both the BMW line up and the electric vehicle market in general.

Source: BMW.com