2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop: First Look

2015-jcw-hardtop

Competes with: Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru WRX STI, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Looks like: A polished version of the John Cooper Works Hardtop Concept

Drivetrain: 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, six-speed manual or automatic transmission

Hits dealerships: Spring 2015

At last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Mini showed a “concept” version of the next-generation high-performance John Cooper Works Hardtop that looked all but ready for production with the exception of a strange paint job. It was a tease that left us wanting to know more about the unannounced engine and performance specs.

Related: Mini Previews John Cooper Works Concept

Now we have loads more details on the next JCW Hardtop. The new hopped-up Hardtop stayed true to the concept version with the exception of the textured paint effects and a few miscellaneous details. Based on the redesigned Mini Hardtop, the 2015 John Cooper Works Hardtop packs the most powerful engine Mini has ever slapped between the fenders of a production model, boosting output 39 more horsepower over the base engine.

By Joe Bruzek | December 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Ford Mustang Review

2015FordMustang

"Ford gets it right with the 2015 Mustang, thoroughly upgrading the historic muscle car inside and out while providing a welcome dose of the latest technology," says Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman. Check out Bragman's review for more.

2015 Ford Mustang Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | December 1, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI: Car Seat Check

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Both the Volkswagen Golf and its performance variant, the GTI, entered their seventh generation with 2015 redesigns. The cars haven't exactly set sales records ablaze in the past, though a reduced starting price for the Golf, a win for the GTI in Cars.com's $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge and a Top Safety Pick Plus award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety should at least spark some interest among car shoppers not already carrying a torch for the five-seat hatchbacks. Another selling point — for families with small children — should be the Golf's and GTI's accommodation of child-safety seats. Much like in 2012, when we tested the Golf R, the cars earned high marks in our tests. Check out the Car Seat Check below for more.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | November 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Photo Gallery (24 Photos)

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Get on the clock, Hollywood big-shot wannabes, 'cause it's time to start thinking about leasing a new 911 to hand off to the valet in front of The Ivy. The latest version of the Porsche 911 — the Carrera GTS — is now getting face time at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show after its global premiere in the city where its cache is perhaps most appreciated.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

According to Porsche, the four variants of the Carrera GTS bridge the gap between the Carrera S and 911 GT3. Available as a coupe or convertible and rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, it puts out 430 horsepower. The red Carrera GTS coupe with big black wheels on display in L.A. sported quintessential 911 looks sure to be sufficiently impressive to everyone sitting on the patio outside The Coffee Bean.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept Photo Gallery (21 Photos)

VolkswagenGolfR400Concept

The Volkswagen Golf R 400 concept debuting this week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show is part track toy, part tribute to the German automaker's racing history. As such, the hot hatch's exterior design drives the point home quickly. The body is widened, and bumper and rear fenders flared for maximum aggressiveness. Further flourishes include 19-inch wheels, a wraparound carbon-fiber splitter on the lower side, a rear roof spoiler and abounding glossy black carbon and faux-carbon-fiber trim along with LED accents.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

The track theme extends to the interior, with sport bucket seats embroidered with "R" badging, glossy carbon and yellow contrast stitching, and white ambient lighting around the door accents and stainless-steel doorsill plates. Oh, and lest you think it's all for show, under the hood is a 394-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that rockets the R 400 from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS Photo Gallery (28 Photos)

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In addition to its new, more powerful twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6, the revised-for-2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS, now making its debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, has had some cosmetic work done. The luxury five-seat SUV gets a revised front end inspired by the sporty Turbo model, along with red brake calipers, 20-inch Spyder wheels and GTS badging.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Other new additions, not just to the GTS but across the Cayenne lineup, include standard bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and a multifunction sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. The GTS model is set to go on sale in February starting at $96,495 (including destination), a markup of more than $12,000.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 22, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 BMW X5 M and X6 M Photo Gallery (49 Photos)

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Dial M for motorsports. BMW is introducing the race-ready variants of its X5 sport activity vehicle and X6 sport activity coupe this week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, on track for a spring 2015 release. Consistent with their performance purposes, the X5 M and X6 M rock aggressive-looking racing cues such as enlarged scoops, 21-inch wheels, unique tiers, rear diffusers, quad tailpipes and monochrome blue or gray metallic paint.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Both the M and M boast sweet interior flourishes, too. Sporty cues in the cabin include a unique steering wheel, paddle shifters and gauges, Merino leather seats with contrast stitching and M badging, a simulated Alcantara headliner, a Nappa-covered dash and plenty of aluminum trim. The X5 M starts at $99,650 and the X6 M at $103,050, including destination.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Photo Gallery (31 Photos)

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The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG certainly isn't ashamed that it's the high-performance variant of the C-Class. Racing cues abound on the luxury sedan, now making its debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, from widened aluminum fenders and rear wheels to "power domes" on the hood to a trio of rear diffuser fins.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Building on the regular C-Class' standard aluminum cabin trim, the C63 AMG adds performance seats covered in faux leather and microfiber. In Edition 1 models, the seats have black Nappa leather highlighted with a diamond pattern; plus there’s red contrast stitching on the badged performance steering wheel.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo Concept: First Look

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Looks like: The progeny of Batman's Batmobile and Speed Racer's Mach Five

Defining characteristics: Cartoonishly futuristic body, "prone driver configuration," laser propulsion system

Ridiculous features: Let's be frank, the whole damn thing is one big ridiculous feature. (Did we mention that laser propulsion system?)

Chance of being mass-produced: In this millennium, or … ?

If Dr. Evil were to take up car racing, he would definitely drive the Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept car created for fans of the massively popular PlayStation 3 video-game series "Gran Turismo" and debuting this week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. After all, it's got frickin' laser beams attached to its powertrain!

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Yes, this video-game vehicle incarnate uses a fantasy laser-based propulsion system, which Chevrolet says was inspired by "technology derived from advanced work targeted at space travel and future aircraft design." The automaker says it "features a mid-mounted laser, beamed-energy propulsion system, which pulses beams of light that focus in a shroud, creating shock waves that generate tremendous thrust." The 671-kilowatt laser uses a lithium-ion battery pack and an air-powered generator to create 900 boiler horsepower, rocketing the car from zero to 60 mph in 1.5 seconds on its way to a 240 mph top speed.

By Matt Schmitz | November 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang Photo Gallery (34 Photos)

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The muscle car so tough it refuses to date itself with a model year — hopefully dairies don't follow suit with cottage cheese use-by dates — debuted today at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. A year after the redesigned-for-2015 Ford Mustang made its presence known to the world, the Shelby GT350 Mustang is ready to throw its weight around.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

The standard pony car's high-performance variant generally doesn’t stray far from the family tree, but distinguishes itself by ditching the 'Stang logo from the front grille and adding subtle carbon-fiber details to the lower bumper in addition to a double body stripe, Shelby cobra badging and 19-inch wheels. Inside the cabin are GT350-specific Recaro cloth racing seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel and a toned-down gauge treatment aimed at minimizing driver distraction.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

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