Video: Afterburner mini movie with Hot Wheels is a mad, mad world

Filed under: Videos, Toys/Games, Humor

Nitro Warriors 2: Afterburner

Vanguard Pictures has released its latest stop-motion film, starring some of Hot Wheels’ miniatures. Called Nitro Warriors 2: Afterburner, it’s a continuation of the last Hot Wheels adventure, Nitro Warriors. Picking up right where the last episode left off, there’s plenty of action, excitement and flying. The cinematography is great, as well, making these videos far more than just little cars zooming across the screen.

Naturally, things get a little bit crazy for the Hot Wheels cars, with quite a surprise ending. The new flick isn’t out on YouTube yet. Thankfully, you can check out the original on the video sharing site right here; once you’re caught up on the story, scroll down to see the latest installment.

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Afterburner mini movie with Hot Wheels is a mad, mad world originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Afterburner mini movie with Hot Wheels is a mad, mad world

Filed under: Videos, Toys/Games, Humor

Nitro Warriors 2: Afterburner

Vanguard Pictures has released its latest stop-motion film, starring some of Hot Wheels’ miniatures. Called Nitro Warriors 2: Afterburner, it’s a continuation of the last Hot Wheels adventure, Nitro Warriors. Picking up right where the last episode left off, there’s plenty of action, excitement and flying. The cinematography is great, as well, making these videos far more than just little cars zooming across the screen.

Naturally, things get a little bit crazy for the Hot Wheels cars, with quite a surprise ending. The new flick isn’t out on YouTube yet. Thankfully, you can check out the original on the video sharing site right here; once you’re caught up on the story, scroll down to see the latest installment.

Continue reading Afterburner mini movie with Hot Wheels is a mad, mad world

Afterburner mini movie with Hot Wheels is a mad, mad world originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mercedes bringing hot new CLA variants to Frankfurt

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Sedan, Performance, Mercedes-Benz, Racing

Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Racing Series

On any given weekend, you can expect to see the Three-Pointed Star racing somewhere. It could be in Formula One, DTM, V8 Supercars or any of the myriad sportscar racing series where customer teams compete in the SLS AMG GT3. But now it looks like Mercedes-Benz is gearing up to add one more.

This time, it’s based on one of its newest and smallest models: the CLA-Class. The concept racecar you see here, revealed on AMG’s Facebook page, is based on the CLA45 AMG but features such motorsports-minded upgrades as a competition-spec aero kit, rolling stock, carbon-fiber body panels and stripped-out interior. You can bet its oily bits have been tinkered with as well, but Mercedes is staying mum on the details, as the drivetrain will have to be adapted to whatever regulations with which it would need to comply.

Mercedes calls it the CLA45 AMG Racing Series, suggesting the car could be used as the basis for a spec series all its own. We hope to find out more next week when the car is unveiled in the flesh at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but in the meantime, you can scope out the images in the gallery above.

At the same time, Mercedes also revealed on Facebook its CLA250 Sport, a pseudo-performance version for the road that will likely slot in below the CLA45 AMG and may or may not be coming to the US.

Mercedes bringing hot new CLA variants to Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mercedes bringing hot new CLA variants to Frankfurt

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Sedan, Performance, Mercedes-Benz, Racing

Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Racing Series

On any given weekend, you can expect to see the Three-Pointed Star racing somewhere. It could be in Formula One, DTM, V8 Supercars or any of the myriad sportscar racing series where customer teams compete in the SLS AMG GT3. But now it looks like Mercedes-Benz is gearing up to add one more.

This time, it’s based on one of its newest and smallest models: the CLA-Class. The concept racecar you see here, revealed on AMG’s Facebook page, is based on the CLA45 AMG but features such motorsports-minded upgrades as a competition-spec aero kit, rolling stock, carbon-fiber body panels and stripped-out interior. You can bet its oily bits have been tinkered with as well, but Mercedes is staying mum on the details, as the drivetrain will have to be adapted to whatever regulations with which it would need to comply.

Mercedes calls it the CLA45 AMG Racing Series, suggesting the car could be used as the basis for a spec series all its own. We hope to find out more next week when the car is unveiled in the flesh at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but in the meantime, you can scope out the images in the gallery above.

At the same time, Mercedes also revealed on Facebook its CLA250 Sport, a pseudo-performance version for the road that will likely slot in below the CLA45 AMG and may or may not be coming to the US.

Mercedes bringing hot new CLA variants to Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Hot Wheels builds world’s highest wall track

Filed under: Etc., Videos, Toys/Games

world's highest hot wheels wall track

Any self-proclaimed Hot Wheels fanatic has surely built some sort of wall track in their house, but, like the ones from our childhoods, we’re guessing it never involved repelling down the side of a seven-story building. Back in May, Hot Wheels built an epic wall track on the side of an apartment building, and now the toy maker has released a video of the track, which it claims is the world’s highest.

Constructed for the BCN Fan Fest during the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, the repeating sections of track were assembled on the ground and then raised into place where they were connected to each other. Oddly, no official height was given for the track, but you can scroll down to watch a video of it being built and, of course, used. The video is in Spanish, but the thrill of rolling tiny cars down a huge track is universal.

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Hot Wheels builds world’s highest wall track originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 12:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Learn how Hot Wheels built a life-sized Double Loop

Filed under: Motorsports, Technology, Videos, Racing

Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare documentary screencap

At the 2012 X-Games, Hot Wheels attempted a death-defying, double loop. Unlike when you were a kid and actively trying to destroy your toy cars, though, this was a life-size attempt, with real drivers behind the wheel. The massive stunt, with two 66-foot-tall loops, was completed by Tanner Foust and Greg Tracy, and now there’s a short YouTube documentary on the process involved in setting up the stunt.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but there were crashes in practice. Hot Wheels rigged up a poor Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback with a remote-control system as a practice vehicle, which eventually pancaked itself into the track midway through its run. The full-size RC car showed the lengths that the team went to get this stunt right, while making it as safe as possible for the two drivers.

You can check out the complete documentary below, along with the live lap from the 2012 X-Games in Los Angeles.

Continue reading Learn how Hot Wheels built a life-sized Double Loop

Learn how Hot Wheels built a life-sized Double Loop originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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July 2013: It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here Edition

Filed under: By the Numbers

Toyota Edges Out Ford, Honda Leads All

By the Numbers graphic

Sales figures for the US auto industry during July 2013 are in, and the big automakers should be pleased with the numbers they’re seeing. American Honda led the pack with a 20.95-percent rise in sales last month, followed by Toyota Motor Company with a 17.28-percent gain and General Motors, which rose 16.32 percent. Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Group and Nissan North America were all up about 11 percent, as well.

The eye-catcher in last month’s numbers is that Toyota and its brands (Lexus and Scion) outsold the Blue Oval fold for the first time since March 2010, but barely. Team Toyota posted sales of 193,394, just 321 units more than the 193,715 sales reported by Ford and Lincoln.

Even more conspicuous is the poor sales performance by Infiniti last month. Nissan’s luxury arm in the US saw sales fall 33.2 percent in July, far and away the biggest drop of any brand. In fact, no other brand even experienced a double-digit sales dip. Fortunately, Infiniti’s fall was more than offset by a strong 16.79-percent rise in Nissan sales.

Check out the full sales figures in the chart below.

*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 25 selling days in July 2013 and 24 selling days in July 2012, so there is a difference between the change in monthly sales volume and the change in average daily sales rate (DSR) for each brand/company. Also, brands are combined and reported as companies only if their sales figures are released jointly.

July 2013: It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here Edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 15:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Quick Spin: 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS Hot Wheels Edition

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Chevrolet, Toys/Games, Quick Spins

2013 Chevy Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition - parked in front of Toys R Us store

Pairing your car, truck or SUV with another brand is a tried-and-true method to create the sort of positive association that sells vehicles, or at least gives them an attractive new look and higher margins. Ford knows this, having paired the Explorer and rugged apparel brand Eddie Bauer in the ’90s with great success, and the F-150 with iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson since 2000 (that partnership, however, has ended with the 2012 model year).

Not every partnership is geared towards making a vehicle appear more macho, though. The Fiat 500 by Gucci, for instance, matches the cute Cinquecento with a high fashion icon (something Cadillac tried back in 1979), and Lexus has a history of Coach Edition models that came with higher grade leather and matching luggage. Indeed, this 2013 Chevy Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition isn’t even the only pairing of toy and car, another example being the recent Call of Duty MW3 and Black Ops editions of the Jeep Wrangler. It isn’t even the only Camaro co-branded with a toy – the 2012 Transformers Edition with Bumblebee paint job preceded it.

Pairing your automobile with something sold inside a Toys R Us, however, can be tricky. Fashion and apparel brands have more universal appeal among adult buyers than, for instance, the latest first-person-shooter video game. Partnering with a brand that markets primarily to children can also communicate the wrong thing about the person who buys such a vehicle – that he or she has a Peter Pan syndrome, not wanting to grow up, buy that sensible sedan and get on with life like the rest of us. Then again, buying a Hot Wheels Special Edition Camaro could just mean you remember the fun side of life and have the extra disposable income to show it.

Driving Notes

  • The Hot Wheels Special Edition options package is a $6,995 question that needs answering when ordering your Camaro 2LT (V6) or 2SS (V8) coupe or convertible. The package includes Kinetic Blue metallic paint; 21-inch black aluminum wheels with red striping; the Camaro’s RS appearance package; Hot Wheels badging, decals and embroidery; premium floor mats and a painted engine cover. Nothing here makes the car go quicker, turn better or stop shorter, which is fine, as the Camaro’s got plenty of other packages and models that do that. This test car was also equipped with the optional dual-mode performance exhaust for $895 and navigation system for $795, bringing its out-the-door price minus tax to $45,720.
  • In creating this Hot Wheels Special Edition model, Chevy designers have done a good job walking the fine line between attention-grabbing aesthetics and gratuitously over-the-top looks. The Kinetic Blue paint pops, but not nearly as much as some other Camaro colors (remember Synergy Green?). The design of the wheels is a matter of taste, and they appear neatly inspired by their 1:64 scale counterparts, but no one will guess this is a Hot Wheels car by wheels alone. What will tip them off is the badging, which includes Hot Wheels logos on the grill, front fenders and the rear. I wouldn’t mind if that badge count were halved, but wouldn’t dare touch the wide single matte black stripe or subtle blue flames on the rear fenders. The red striping on the wheels that’s mirrored around the grille and headlights is another subtle and appealing design touch.
  • I was less fond of this Camaro’s interior, which sports huge Hot Wheels logos embroidered in the seat backs, large logos on the side sill plates and an eency-weency logo embedded in the bottom of the steering wheel. The branding message while entering the vehicle is a bit obnoxious that way. Speaking of the wheel, General Motors needs to move on to a new tiller design. We’ve seen seen this one for years in everything down to the lowly Sonic, which makes grasping it in a $45k special edition Camaro feel less than special. Also, this was my first experience with a navigation system in the Camaro, and while the MyLink system Chevy uses is fine enough, its application in this pony car’s interior is a miss. More physical buttons to navigate the system, or more clearly marked ones, would help.
  • What you’re ultimately buying with a Camaro like this is a burnout machine. While other models, particularly ones with the 1LE package and the top-shelf ZL1, are engineered specifically to expand the Camaro’s handling envelope, this Hot Wheels model is basically an SS with wheels an inch larger in diameter than you could otherwise order. It feels neither particularly spry nor nimble when turning, which isn’t helped by the Camaro’s now-trademark tank-slit outward visibility. Not knowing the exact location of the car’s front corners while carrying that much inertia made me feel less-than-confident while cornering, so I gravitated more towards having fun in a straight line. My colleagues in the industry appeared to agree judging by the amount of tread left on the car’s rear tires upon arrival.
  • And what a performance the Camaro gives when getting on the gas. The 6.2-liter V8 producing 426 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque is everything an American muscle car’s engine should be. The optional dual-mode exhaust was a gloriously guttural flute through which to play the motor’s music, and I often found myself throttle-goosing for encores of the performance. Power is available everywhere in every gear, and the six-speed manual transmission was not at all a bear to operate around town. It feels stout enough to handle the engine’s fury at full bore, but the engagements are smooth and the pedal isn’t too firm.
  • Would I buy one? The Hot Wheels Special Edition model is a limited edition, and Chevy has said when they’re gone, they’re gone. We don’t know if all have been sold yet, but you can still build one using the configurator on Chevy’s website, which suggests they are still available. Regardless, my answer would be no, this isn’t the Camaro I would buy myself. As special editions go, I like its aesthetics a lot and a few less badges and logos would get me even more on board, though on some level, taht defeats the point of co-branding. But if you’re a parent with a kid who collects Hot Wheels and feel a mid-life crisis is coming on, could there be a more perfect purchase than this?

2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS Hot Wheels Edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Hot lap the Hungaroring with Codemasters’ F1 2013 and Anthony Davidson

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Toys/Games

Au courant with the Hungarian Grand Prix running this weekend, Codemasters has released in-game footage from F1 2013 of a hot lap video of the Hungaroring driven by Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo and narrated by ex-Formula One driver and current Sky F1 commentator and sportscar racer Anthony Davidson. The graphics have improved over F1 2012, Davidson’s commentary is just as good as it was last year, and the rear-view mirrors are still huge.

There are also hot lap vids of the Nürburgring driven by Kimi Räikkönen in his Lotus and Silverstone piloted by Jenson Button in his McLaren. The game hits shelves October 8, but you can watch the hot lap videos below right now.

Continue reading Hot lap the Hungaroring with Codemasters’ F1 2013 and Anthony Davidson

Hot lap the Hungaroring with Codemasters’ F1 2013 and Anthony Davidson originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Jul 2013 13:13:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: McLaren P1 XP2R caught doing hot laps

Filed under: Spy Photos, Performance, Racing, McLaren

McLaren P1 XPR2 prototype on 'Ring - spy shot - front three-quarter view

McLaren P1 XP2R DetailColor us befuddled. This is a McLaren P1, circling the Nürburgring. Not too out of the ordinary, right? Well, direct your attention to the very last photo in our gallery of spy shots (also conveniently located to the right), and notice the graphic: XP2R Prototype Vehicle.

Is this a new McLaren that’s powered by an ion engine? Perhaps it burns refined goat milk rather than gas? The reality is likely far less spectacular. The XP2R is almost certainly the testbed for a more potent version of the already freakishly quick McLaren P1, or perhaps even a prototype of an upcoming endurance car to take the place of the 12C racer.

We’re leaning towards the former rather than the latter, simply due to the seeming lack of racing-specific bits. The windows look like glass, rather than Lexan, and the aerodynamics package looks too close to stock to be for racing. There’s also no evidence of racing-spec safety features in the cabin, although it’s difficult to tell for certain from these images.

Or maybe McLaren just trotted out an old prototype of the P1 so we’d jump all over it and some engineers in the UK could have a laugh. Whatever the XP2R is, we’re keeping our ears to the ground for any additional info and we’ll be sure to update you as soon as possible.

McLaren P1 XP2R caught doing hot laps originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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