Who says sex doesn’t sell?

Well, some things never change as we see Subaru has decided to use the old story of the bad boy stealing the Sheriff’s daughter to sell its new 2015 WRX STI model. The new ad is a mini film about a Subaru driving outlaw (Bucky Lasek) who comes to town and steals the Sheriff’s daughter.  Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

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Cruising Compton in a 1955 Jaguar XK140

Here’s another great classic car video from Petrolicious about Mr. Winston Dabbs, who has combined a passion for the world of British cars along with a career in automotive restoration.  Set in Compton, California, the video provides a glimpse into Winston’s 25 year romance with his regal looking 1955 Jaguar XK140.

2014 Cadillac XTS Platinum Vsport AWD

Having recently reviewed several Cadillac models including the SRX, ATS and now the XTS we can honestly say they are all a treat to drive.  Over the last few years, GM’s top brand has truly undergone a renaissance as a result of GM’s heightened attention to detail, design and performance.  Seriously, as car enthusiasts what’s not to love when the car looks good, luxurious and fast?

Cadillac XTS Vsport

2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

Designed to replace both the Cadillac STS and DTS, the XTS is slightly smaller than the DTS but larger than the STS. Production began in May 2012 at the Oshawa, Canada assembly plant and the model was officially launched in June 2012. The XTS is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations.   Here in Canada, it’s very exciting that this beauty is made in our own backyard for the North American market.  In February 2013, GM began manufacturing the XTS in Shanghai, China for their domestic market.

Our XTS tester came in the top of the line AWD Platinum Vsport trim which includes GM’s new twin-turbo version of the 3.6L V6.  The new engine develops a whopping 410 horsepower and 369 lb ft. of torque.  All this power translates into a “pin you into the seats performance” but with the panache and demure of a 2014 luxury model. The six-speed automatic uses the same gear ratios as in the naturally aspirated XTS but with a shorter final-drive ratio resulting in a lively acceleration band. It’s so powerful I’m confident the XTS could go head-to-head with many of today’s twin-turbo V8’s offered by its German competitors.

And the truth is in the numbers, as the Vsport goes from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds and has a quarter-mile time of 13.6 seconds based on most tests. That’s super fast for a large four-door sedan.

In spite of its immense powerplant, the Cadillac is not a fuel hog by today’s standards with GM’s provided fuel economy ratings of (L/100 km): 13.2 city, 8.3 hwy. Now of course, the Vsport requires premium fuel but it’s totally worth it when you get behind the wheel.

Quite the booty

Quite the booty

As for pricing here’s the story.

Base price: $73,745 (XTS Vsport AWD Platinum)
Options:  Rear DVD ($1,995), Crystal Red Tintcoat ($1,295)
Freight: $1,700
AC Fee: $100
Price as Tested: $78,835 CDN

However, if all the Vsport’s power and features are not required you can purchase a base XTS model at a more reasonable price just above $50,000.

Plush leather interior

Plush leather interior

There is no mistake as the XTS interior is ultra luxurious with leather, wood and chrome trim blended together to create an elegant cabin environment. After driving it around town you start to feel you are commanding a rolling stateroom, only interrupted by the growl of its performance underpinnings. Some of these features include Brembo performance brakes, paddle shifters, electronic limited-slip-differential, magnetic ride suspension and an HUD (heads-up display) making the Vsport a bona fide luxury rocket-ship.

Cadillac interior

Cadillac interior

At the center of it all is the eight-inch touch screen seamlessly located in the dashboard and powered by Cadillac’s User Experience (CUE). Its features include capacitive sensing touch control with proximity sensing, haptic feedback, gesture recognition and enhanced voice recognition. This high-tech feature is very intuitive and designed for the younger tech savvy demographic Cadillac is targeting.

Cadillac XTS Vsport

Cadillac XTS Vsport

The XTS competes well with its big sedan brothers as its spaciousness is impressive with rear seat room large enough to do double duty as a chauffeur driven vehicle.  Also, it brings with it a massive trunk capacity of 509 litres/18 cubic ft. which is more than many of its competitors including the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8.

For those consumers who want performance in a full size sedan without reaching the over the top price tag of a Mercedes AMG or BMW M series, the Cadillac XTS Vsport is the car for you. As a Canadian made luxury cruiser with more ponies than you will ever need under the hood, the Vsport AWD Platinum model is an out-right bargain at $75,000 when compared to its European rivals.  Honestly, if I had the bucks I would love to wake up to the XTS Vsport in my garage.

Competitors

  • Acura RLX
  • Audi A8
  • BMW 7-Series
  • Infiniti M
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • Lexus LS
  • Mercedes S-Class
  • Volvo S80

We will be reviewing the XTS’ little sister the CTS Vsport later this summer so keep your eyes out for that review.

Toyota Motor Corp’s epic $1.2 billion settlement

Most of the time we stay out of the politics of the auto industry but as a legit auto blog we need to talk about today’s big story. Yes, I’m talking about Toyota Motor Corp’s epic $1.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding its four-year criminal investigation focused on whether Toyota was up front in reporting problems related to unintended acceleration troubles.

Toyota

Logo credit: Toyota UK

Under today’s agreement, the company will admit that it misled U.S. consumers by making deceptive statements about two safety issues affecting its vehicles. As a result, Toyota will pay a $1.2-billion financial penalty under a “deferred prosecution agreement.”

Many insiders are saying this deal could serve as a template for how U.S. authorities approach a similar investigation into General Motors Co.

Sources: Reuters and CBC

Tesla Model S with aftermarket modifications costs $205,000

Who knew it could get any better? Seriously, the Tesla Model S is one of the most amazing cars sold today and bar none it is the best electric car available in the world. Yes, the Model S is sold at premium prices but what you are paying for is the most state of the art disruptive electric automotive technology ever invented.  Jalopnik auto blog recently shed some light on a US based aftermarket company called TSportline who has the honour of being the world’s first electric car accessory tuner specifically focusing on the Tesla Motors brand.  Check out their promotional video which reveals what a $82,000 upgrade on an already existing $123,000 Model S price tag looks like.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

The Ford Fiesta is the vehicle of choice by rally car racer, and RedlineNorth favourite, Ken Block.  You can see him in his Fiesta ripping around various urban race tracks in his immensely popular Gymkhana racing series. While you can’t go out and buy Ken’s version of the Fiesta, you can get a street legal ST version that gives you almost as much fun.

2014 Ford Focus ST

2014 Ford Focus ST

Thanks in part to Ford’s movement towards a global platform, North American buyers are now able to purchase the ST version of the Fiesta.  While not a three-door as in Europe, on this side of the pond we get a five-door hatch-back version sporting a 1.6 litre turbo charged engine.  The Fiesta ST has a trifecta of performance, ability and style making it a fantastic choice for those looking for a city vehicle, with perhaps a day or two at the track thrown in.

The ST version of the Fiesta comes well equipped as the top of the line trim level with a base price of $24,999. Our RedlineNorth test vehicle also included a power moon-roof, 17 inch premium painted wheels as well as a navigation package. All told the additional options brought the final price to $29,577.  While thirty grand might raise some eyebrows for a sub-compact vehicle, the ST is packed with performance enhancing features and well worth the sticker price.

Those looking for a pure luxury vehicle should look elsewhere, as this car is built for performance. However, attention to detail has not been lost on Ford engineer’s and the Fiesta does provide a number of nice touches.  Heated front seats and mirrors along with a push button start, rear seat heat ducts and 12-volt auxiliary power outlets for both front and rear round out some of the nice to have features. 

The leather wrapped shifter adds to the interior look and feel

The leather wrapped shifter adds to the interior look and feel

Legroom in the Fiesta ST, as to be expected in a sub-compact, is somewhat limited with 42 inches up front and 31 inches in the back.  Cargo space is adequate for trips to the grocery store and the seats split 60/40 when additional storage is required.  While the Fiesta ST may not be the first choice of vehicle for long road trips, that’s not what it’s designed for either.  The first hint are the Recaro seats that suck you in and keep you in your place while cornering.  These seats are big and perhaps look just slightly out of place in the ST, however, that’s the price you pay for race track type performance. Seat adjustments, even for the driver’s seat are manual reinforcing the enthusiast nature of the ST model.

The Recaro seats quite literally put you in your place and keep you there

The Recaro seats quite literally put you in your place and keep you there

The 1.6L turbocharged EcoBoost Engine delivers 197 horsepower and 202 lb.-ft of torque when using 93 octane fuel.  The 6 speed manual transmission is silky smooth and an absolute pleasure to shift throughout the whole gear range.  The shift ratio is short in the low end utilizing the 202 ft.-lbs of torque bringing you up to about 75 kilometers per hour by the end of second gear.  The ratio smooths out in the upper gears providing some fuel economy savings.

At highway speeds the Fiesta provides a firm, but comfortable ride.  With its twist-beam rear suspension, that reduces under steer and increases rear roll stiffness, a low centre of gravity and its sport suspension the Fiesta ST grips the road well.  It provides the driver with full control of all the power from under the hood.  In short, the Fiesta ST is an absolute blast to drive.

Unlike its larger cousin, the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST does not require premium fuel, however, there are additional performance gains when using 93 octane which is important to note.  The US EPA rates the Fiesta ST at 26 mpg city (9.0L/100 km) and 35 mpg (6.7L/100 km) highway.  We experienced slightly higher numbers than this during our test period, however, we weren’t necessarily driving with a conscious effort towards fuel efficiency.

The ST version of the Fiesta enjoys a more aggressive look compared to its base model

The ST version of the Fiesta enjoys a more aggressive look compared to its base model the Fiesta

ST offers some nice exterior and interior styling to match the performance under the hood. On the outside, wide wheel arches, dual chrome exhaust tips, an airfoil and 17 inch alloy wheels all contribute to a more aggressive style than the stock Fiesta.   While on the inside, buyers can choose from a variety of colours for the interior ambient lighting found in the foot wells and cup holders, which is a nice touch.  The leather accented Recaro seats and the race-inspired aluminum pedals also contribute to a very pleasing interior.

The Fiesta ST offers some nice exterior and interior styling to match the performance under the hood. On the outside, wide wheel arches, dual chrome exhaust tips, an airfoil and 17 inch alloy wheels all contribute to a more aggressive style than the stock Fiesta.   While on the inside, buyers can choose from a variety of colours for the interior ambient lighting found in the foot wells and cup holders, which is a nice touch.  The leather accented Recaro seats and the race-inspired aluminum pedals also contribute to a very pleasing interior.

The Sony branded audio system provides a good sound experience. We especially liked the ability to adjust the audio balance for the driver only, or for the whole car at the touch of a button. The center media stack uses SYNC currently running Microsoft Windows.  While Ford recently announced they will be switching over to a Blackberry QNX based operating system for the next generation SYNC, the current Windows powered SYNC performed well in the Fiesta ST.  We found the summary start up screen displaying information in four quadrants both helpful and convenient. The 6.5 inch LCD screen, 2 USB ports, SD card reader and voice-activated communications all provided an intuitive in car interface which we felt was better than average.  As an added bonus a six month subscription to SirusXM satellite radio comes with the purchase of a new ST in Canada.

FiestaST_55

At around $30,000 CAD the fully loaded Fiesta ST does command a somewhat premium price, however, its value is significant based on its stellar performance, and range of features.  Its smooth 6 speed manual transmission and great handling characteristics are complimented by some slick interior features. The Fiesta ST, is a great car to consider for around the city that will make your drive to work or to the grocery store a lot more fun.

Key competitors to the Fiesta ST are the Fiat 500 Abarth, Ford’s own Focus ST, along with the Honda Civic Si and the Chevy Sonic RS.

Lifted Trucks on Instagram

Even if trucks are not your thing, as an auto enthusiast you need to check this site out. It’s called Liftedtrucksaddict and it’s on Instagram…It has something for everyone as the trucks range from mildly “over the top” to absolutely totally “downright absurd”. Although these trucks are true decadence in today’s era of conservation there is still something about them that makes you want one as a new summer toy.

Unfortunately, as a big city dweller these trucks are not an option for me so I will just have to dream. So here’s to those fossil fuel burning good old boys…..and gals.

lifted-truck-wallpaper-bnqzayza

Vice Chronicles Okinawa’s Illegal Street Racing Scene

Here in Canada we have very strict street racing laws and they are a good thing don’t get us wrong. However, that does not mean the allure of racing on public roads among enthusiasts is fully extinguished. Autoblog Canada has posted a very cool video from Vice Japan that profiles illegal racer Eikichi Nagayoshi of Japan’s southern island Okinawa. Having spent a year in the “Land of the Rising Sun” and travelling to Okinawa I can honestly say it is one of the most unique places in the world so it’s no surprise its car culture is 100% authentic.

The video focuses around Nagayoshi’s admiration of his customized 1,000 horsepower Toyota Aristo (better known to us as a first-generation Lexus GS) that he claims can hit 330 km/h (205 miles per hour).  In typical Vice style the video is shot in a documentary view providing a close-up encounter with Japan’s enigmatic underground racing scene. Scroll down to check out the video, but make sure you have the “CC” button clicked, because several portions are subtitled.

First glance at 2015 Jeep Renegade

At this week’s Geneva Motor Show, Chrysler announced the launch of the new 2015 Jeep Renegade, the brand’s first entry into the small CUV segment. This is a big deal for Chrysler for a bunch of reasons and its success is critical.  Although Chrysler’s overall sales are going very well in 2014 this is largely a result of record-breaking Ram and Jeep model sales. The 2014 Ram truck, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Cherokee have all broken sales records this winter.  However, all is not totally rosy since sales of the Dodge Dart are not nearly as stellar adding significance to the small-sized Jeep Renegade launch. However, even with the stakes this high, our bets are on Chrysler since its most recent joint Fiat design is the award-winning 2014 Jeep Cherokee which makes us believe things from a product perspective have never been better.

2015 Jeep Renegade

Source: Jeep.com

Designed in America, crafted in Italy, the 2015 Jeep Renegade highlights the Jeep brand’s global resources and focus on providing unique products to customers in more than 100 countries. It will be built at Fiat’s Malfi, Italy factory while its power trains will be sourced from the US, Italy and Brazil. North American availability will be announced at a later date.

Source: Autoblog.com

Source: Autoblog.com

The boys at Autoblog.com have already published an exhaustive review of this new innovative entry so kudos to them for examining all the angles as the news is still hot of the press.  We can’t wait to get behind the wheel soon to do our own RedlineNorth review.

Pepsi MAX and Jeff Gordon do it again

Many of you likely saw the video Pepsi Max created last year that went on to become a huge viral hit. We are talking about this one that showed a disguised Jeff Gordon (champion NASCAR driver) taking a local dealership salesman on the wildest ride of his life. That video was supposedly captured on a hidden camera but actually ended up being debunked as a fraudulent video by Travis Okulski, a writer for Gawker Media’s Jalopnik blog.

A year has now passed since the first video and Pepsi MAX and Jeff Gordon apparently had something to prove so they have created a follow-up Jeff Gordon 2.0 video.   By all accounts this new video is for real and destined to become another massive viral hit as it’s already at over 13 million views.

Although Travis is getting some serious online coverage within the mainstream media it must be slightly humbling since the world can now watch him scream like a little girl in the video.