Official: Snapshots from Acura NSX prototype run at Mid-Ohio

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Hybrid, Marketing/Advertising, Acura, Racing

Acura NSX Prototype lapping Mid-Ohio ahead of the Honda Indy 200.

Acura’s achingly slow showing of the new, hybrid NSX saw yet another step yesterday, as we reported late last week. A powder-blue prototype ran ahead of the open-wheelers at the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Why show the NSX Prototype at Mid-Ohio? Honda’s Ohio research and development center, which has taken the lead on NSX development, is just 60 miles from the track. And as race sponsor, Honda must have figured it would give the spectators a glimpse of the new supercar it’s been teasing for the better part of a decade.

With a planned launch in 2015 (special emphasis on the “planned” part, considering the NSX’s history), the NSX Prototype shown here sports graphics that “speak to Acura’s intention to go racing with the new NSX.” That’s great news for fans of endurance racing, although it remains to be seen when a motorsports program for the new NSX will get off the ground.

Take a look at the fresh gallery of images, and be sure to head over to our original Mid-Ohio post for the video footage of the NSX Prototype on track.

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Snapshots from Acura NSX prototype run at Mid-Ohio originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 Aug 2013 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Hybrid, Performance, Videos, Acura

Acura NSX prototype at Mid-Ohio

As promised, Acura trotted its NSX prototype out to the mass of waiting fans ahead of today’s Honda Indy 200 IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio. The hybrid supercar took to the track for a fast lap, and Acura was kind enough to attach a score of cameras to the car in order to share the event with the rest of the world.

The blue-wrapped NSX looks pretty darn good on a race track, if we do say so ourselves, and its V6 engine, coupled with its three electric motors and lithium-ion battery pack, sounds awfully sweet at full song. The automaker is promising to release its new NSX in 2015, which is still quite a ways away, so we don’t expect this exhibition lap to be the last time we see a prototype in action ahead of a production debut.

Want to see the video? Of course you do. Scroll down to see the NSX take to the track like a fish takes to water.

Continue reading Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio

Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 Aug 2013 11:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Mercedes-Benz SLC to arrive mid-2015

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Mercedes-Benz

Although we’re still not entirely sure what Mercedes is planning to call its new sub-SLS coupe, more potential information about the car is starting to come to light. After Mercedes released official “spy shots” (shown above) back in June, Auto Express is saying that we might have to wait until 2015 to see this production version on the road.

Potential names for the car include SLC and the return of the SLR name, but regardless of what it will be called, this car is aimed squarely at the Porsche 911. Previously, we heard the new Mercedes could start under $100,000, but this report says that the new coupe will carry a base price of around $122,000, while a Black Series model could go for around $180,000 (both prices converted from British pounds). In any case, seems it’ll be a few more years before we actually know for sure.

Mercedes-Benz SLC to arrive mid-2015 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Acura to roll out NSX Prototype for Mid-Ohio IndyCar race

Filed under: Concept Cars, Motorsports, Performance, Acura

Acura NSX prototype lapping Mid Ohio

Acura will tease us yet again with its next-gen NSX when it makes an appearance at Mid-Ohio Raceway before the circuit’s IndyCar race early next month. To be fair, the car’s in-motion debut won’t take the form of a production model – that’s still a ways off – the vehicle will be a prototype. It’ll be sporting custom graphics and an eye-catching paint (wrap?) job to draw the attention of the spectators, but really, we just want to hear this thing rounding the legendary road course at full chat.

The NSX prototype doesn’t look to be much different from the various showcars we’ve seen over the last couple of years, with the same mid-engined, hybrid V6 power and all-wheel drive all present and accounted for.

The display will take place before the Honda Indy 200 IndyCar Series on August 4. The race itself starts at 3:00 pm and will be shown on NBC Sports Network.

Continue reading Acura to roll out NSX Prototype for Mid-Ohio IndyCar race

Acura to roll out NSX Prototype for Mid-Ohio IndyCar race originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 17:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Study: Ford tops mid-year ranking of brands in the US

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Ford

2013 Ford Fusion  - front three-quarter view

YouGov’s mid-year Brand Index rankings of America’s best perceived brands has been released, and Ford has found its way to the top. The Dearborn, Michigan based manufacturer beat out online shopping giant Amazon, The History Channel, and home improvement superstore Lowe’s, to take the top spot.

Ford jumped from sixth overall in 2012 to first for 2013, but those that have been watching these rankings shouldn’t be hugely surprised. Ford was rated the best perceived automotive manufacturer by the same organization last year. The Blue Oval’s success on the overall brand rankings is made all the more impressive by the complete lack of other automakers on the list.

YouGov (that is, survey respondents) cited Ford’s first quarter of 2013 business, which saw an increase in market share and the best earnings recorded in over 10 years. Successfully launching the Focus and Fusion (pictured) and keeping them fresh in the minds of consumers has also contributed to Ford’s best overall score.

YouGov’s Brand Index asks survey respondents whether they’ve heard anything positive or negative about a brand in the last two weeks. That includes anything in advertising, news or word of mouth. Following the old saying “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” the responses, both positive and negative, are correlated into the Buzz score, which rates the brand’s perception among the public. Check out all the results in the official press release below.

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Ford tops mid-year ranking of brands in the US originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Danish firm HRH planning mid-engined Aston Martin supercar

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Aston Martin, Design/Style

HRH Aston Martin V12

HRH Aston Martin V12 – Click above for high-res image

Zagato, it turns out, isn’t the only coachbuilder working on a supercar based on an Aston Martin: a Danish outfit called HBH is reportedly planning to build model based on the V12 Vantage as well, but theirs will be a unique mid-engine design.

The company takes its name from its founders: Jesper Hermann, Christian Brandt and Torben Hartvig. Between them, they’ve worked on such small-run supercar projects as the Kleeman GTK, Zenvo ST1 and the Sondergard prototype.

Drawing inspiration from the 1979 Aston Martin Bulldog concept and from Lola’s Aston-powered LMP1 racer and the in-house AMR-One that followed, HBH is reportedly working Aston’s 6.0-liter V12 into a bespoke chassis.

So far HRH has only released the teaser image above, which we’ve lightened for a better view. The project is slated to be built as a solitary example for a single customer, who will retain the rights to the design as well as any prospect of its future production. In other words, if they find the right customer, they’ll build him one, but a further production run could be in the cards as well.

Danish firm HRH planning mid-engined Aston Martin supercar originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 May 2011 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Paul Newman’s mid-engine V8 Beetle on sale for $250K

Filed under: Car Buying, Classics, Convertible, Volkswagen, Celebrities

paul newman's v8 volkswagen beetle

This Volkswagen Beetle is priced to sell at $250,000. No, there’s no typo in that figure. This 1963 VW Bug has celebrity ownership, as it once belonged to Mr. Paul Newman. Still not doing it for you at that price? Perhaps a peak under the hood will change your mind.

Paul Newman loved him some fast cars, and this ’63 Beetle is no exception. Rather than stick with the old four-cylinder lump in the rear, Newman had IndyCar builder Jerry Eisert set out to turn the droptop bug into a super sleeper.

Eisert dropped a Ford 351 V8 into the middle of the Volkswagen. He added the five-speed ZF transmission (thought to have come from a Ford GT40), and the now-transformed Beetle was pushing out 300-horsepower. That’s a whole lot of juice for this bantam-weight brawler. So much, in fact, that Newman’s handlers advised him to sell the car before he got into serious trouble with it.

Paul Newman’s Volkswagen Beetle Convertible sleeper is now up for sale, after receiving a full restoration. The seller wants $250,000 but is open to “serious offers.” While we think 250 large is rather optimistic, there’s no doubt this car has the potential to plaster permanent smiles on anyone who drives it. Check out OldBug.com for a look at the car’s history.

Paul Newman’s mid-engine V8 Beetle on sale for $250K originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 May 2011 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mid-engine Corvette C7 reports surface yet again

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Chevrolet, GM, Rumormill, Design/Style

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept

Chevrolet 50th Anniversary Corvette Stingray Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Rumors of a mid-engine C7 Corvette simply refuse to die, despite a long string of denials that such a project is in the works from a number of General Motors executives. The latest such story comes all the way from the UK, as Autocar reports that statements from GM North America president Mark Reuss hint that the next ‘Vette may abandon its front engine for 2013.

As we’ve heard before, General Motors is also thought to be downsizing the engines used in the Corvette – possibly even switching from a V8 to a V6 – though tricks like turbocharging and direct injection would likely keep horsepower at supercar levels.

As far as styling goes, we have no idea what shape the 2013 Corvette may take. Autocar indicates the classic split-window design from the 1963 Corvette may make a comeback, and the interior, the design of which is being led by global design chief Ed Welburn himself, will be fully modern and “absolutely world class.”

In any case, we’re expecting big things for the Corvette C7, and we’re sure the ‘Vette’s German and Italian rivals are just as eager to find out the details as we are.

Mid-engine Corvette C7 reports surface yet again originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 May 2011 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Awesome mid-engine, RWD Abarth 500 Motore Centrale revealed at Top Marques [w/video]

Filed under: Aftermarket, Performance, Europe, Videos, Hatchback, Misc. Auto Shows, Racing, Fiat

Lucarelli Monza 500 Motore Centrale R230

Lucarelli Monza 500 Motore Centrale R230 – Click above for image gallery

There’s a grand tradition to mid-engined hatchbacks that blend exotic layout with utilitarian bodystyle, and as promised, that tradition has now embodied itself in the Fiat 500.

Developed by Lucarelli Monza – a new tuning house eager to make its mark – the Abarth 500 Motore Centrale is a substantial re-engineering of the Italian retro hatch. The engine has been moved – apparently to a glass display case – in the rear, and extensively modified in the process. With a new turbocharger and intercooler, new catalytic converter and pistons, the 1.4-liter turbo four now drives 230 metric horsepower to the rear wheels, aided by an electronic limited-slip differential.

While the front MacPherson struts have been left intact, a new wishbone suspension has been crafted for the rear, joined by upgraded brakes with four-pot calipers all around and some revised bodywork with ducting fitted to help keep the engine cool in its new orientation. Aznom, meanwhile, has been brought on board strictly to outfit the interior with Poltrona Frau leather and Alcantara.

The road-going R230 is quoted for a 4.7-second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) and a 240 km/h (150 mph) top end. An R280 Pista version is also available with an extra 50 horses and 220 fewer pounds, plus a mechanical diff, full roll cage, adjustable suspension and data recorder, dropping its sprint down to 3.9 seconds and raising its top end up to 260 km/h (160 mph). No word on pricing, but you can bet that getting a budget hatchback to reach those kinds of numbers isn’t a cheap proposition.

Have a closer look in the gallery below, and follow the jump to see and hear the pocket rocket zipping around the streets of Monte Carlo thanks to Marco at Marchettino. Thanks to all for the tips!

Gallery: Lucarelli Monza 500 Motore Centrale R230

[Source: MotoreCentrale.com via Italiaspeed]

Continue reading Awesome mid-engine, RWD Abarth 500 Motore Centrale revealed at Top Marques [w/video]

Awesome mid-engine, RWD Abarth 500 Motore Centrale revealed at Top Marques [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Apr 2011 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Confirmed: BMW i3 to be RWD, mid-“engine”

Filed under: Technology, Hatchback, BMW, Electric

2013 BMW i3 prototype spy shot

2013 BMW i3 prototype – Click above for high-res image gallery

As if the spy video we featured previously wasn’t enough proof, today we’ve confirmed that the smallest BMW i family offering, the i3, will be coming to market in 2013 with a rear-wheel-drive powertrain, and the electric motor powering those wheels will be mounted amidships.

The platform, which is all-new and primarily comprised of carbon fiber, was developed to house the motor ahead of the rear wheels, with the battery pack mounted below the trunk. According to a BMW spokesperson, the drivetrain can be completely separated from the body, making service and replacement a cinch.

The first version of this all-electric drivetrain will be fitted to the ActiveE 1-Series, BMW’s second EV after the Mini E, which will make its North American debut at the New York Auto Show later this month. However, the primary difference between the i3’s system and the unit fitted to the ActiveE is the battery pack. On the i3, the cells will be grouped together, whereas the electrified 1 Series will have battery packs spanning the space between the passenger compartment and the trunk. Additionally, BMW will be using the NY show to announce the lease plan and pricing for the Active E, so for those looking to get in on the EV sports coupe action, start saving your pennies now.

Gallery: Spy Shots: BMW i3

[Images: CarPix]

Confirmed: BMW i3 to be RWD, mid-“engine” originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Apr 2011 15:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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