2021 Kia Optima revealed in K5 form for South Korea

Less than a week after teaser drawings were released, the 2021 Kia Optima midsize sedan has been revealed in the form of the South Korean-market K5. The overall design matches the renderings closely, giving the car a more aggressive look, but it is still clearly an Optima. The company hasn’t revealed the car’s interior and mechanical specs, though.

The front of the new Optima is more blunt with a grille that leans forward almost like that of a Dodge Charger. The headlights blend into the grille, and it has parts that trail off into the fenders. The grille has a three-dimensional mesh that Kia says was inspired by the rough texture of shark skin.

The sides of the car feature modest curves to give it a muscular look. The greenhouse has a similar shape to that of the current car, with fastback rear pillars and tall rear quarter windows. Chrome bars trace the roof rails to the base of the rear pillars like on the current car, but now they meet in a curve around the top of the trunk lid. At the back is the most significant departure from the current car, a full-width taillight bar.

With the car revealed in South Korea, it probably won’t be long before we see the American-market car revealed. Under the skin will probably be the same powertrains as those in the new Hyundai Sonata. That means a choice of either a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 191 horsepower or a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 180 horsepower. Both will be coupled to an eight-speed automatic. Expect hybrid variants and possibly a more powerful turbo 2.0-liter engine coming down the road.

Source: AutoBlog.com

This transforming drone can take on the sky, the ocean, or the open road

Transcript: A transforming drone. Airblock by Makeblock is a modular drone. Designed to teach kids the fundamentals of programming, design, aerodynamics, and logic and critical thinking. The single core master module comes with 6 magnetically-attachable power modules. It comes as a flying drone out of the box that you control with your smartphone. But you can build several crafts with the components like a car, hovercraft, and much more. Airblock is crash-friendly making it a good starter drone. The programmable drone from Airblock can be purchased right here for $79.99. 

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Maserati ends GranTurismo production with one-off Zèda model


MODENA, Italy — Maserati celebrated the end of the GranTurismo’s 12-year production run by building a one-off example called Zèda, which is the name of the letter Z in the Modenese dialect. The Italian firm unveiled the milestone car in the historic Modena, Italy, factory it’s preparing to re-tool for a new addition to its range due out in early 2020.

The Zèda is not the last GranTurismo off the production line; Autoblog visited the Modena factory minutes before the car’s unveiling and spotted the last dozen or so cars behind it, but a company spokesperson explained all of the unfinished models have already been spoken for. The commemorative coupe is the last GranTurismo that hasn’t been sold yet. It stands out from the roughly 40,000 examples made since the model broke cover during the 2007 Geneva Motor Show with an eye-catching paint job that starts with a deep blue applied to the front part of the car and ends with a light satin finish. The rear almost looks like bare metal in person. Edition-specific emblems on the front fenders add a finishing touch to the look. 

There are no changes under the hood. The Zèda is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine developed with input from former sister company Ferrari and tuned to deliver 460 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 4,740 rpm. The eight-cylinder spins the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that can be left in drive or shifted manually using paddles.

Maserati hasn’t decided what it will do with the GranTurismo Zèda yet. It might keep the car in its private collection, or it could sell it to a collector. Either way, the coupe will remain a one-of-a-kind example, one that marks the start of a new era for the 105-year old Italian automaker. The plant that currently builds the GranTurismo (and the Alfa Romeo 4C, which is also being phased out) will begin manufacturing a sports car that Maserati will unveil during the 2020 Geneva auto show. It’s expected to arrive as a two-seater that will draw inspiration from the Alfieri concept introduced during the 2014 edition of the event. It will be a sharper, more driver-focused model than the GranTurismo, which is a grand tourer by definition. Its rivals will include the Porsche 911 and the Jaguar F-Type.

Maserati also re-affirmed its commitment to releasing a next-generation GranTurismo (which will again spawn a convertible named GranCabrio), and announced production of both models will shift to Turin, Italy. Technical details haven’t been publicly announced yet, but Maserati pointed out the next-gen Gran-badged models will be its first series-produced electric cars. The hardtop will arrive in 2021, so likely in time for the 2022 model year, and the convertible will follow about a year later.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Aston Martin Vantage Volante Spied Looking Dark On A Foggy Day

It’s not a good day to open the roof.

The Aston Martin Vantage Volante is getting ready to open its roof, but the top stays closed in these spy shots that catch the car driving on a foggy day. As the doors and hood proclaim the production version of this roadster arrives in spring 2020.

Gallery: Aston Martin Vantage Volante Spy Photos

There isn’t any camouflage on this Vantage Volante. The styling largely identical to the coupe, except for the fabric roof and revised rear deck. When the top is open, there’s a transparent panel between the seats that acts as a wind deflector when in place. Other than this tiny change, the cabin should be identical to the hardtop model. 

Aston says the Vantage Volante packs the Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 making 503 horsepower (375 kilowatts) and 505 pound-feet (685 Newton-meters) of torque that runs through an eight-speed automatic. The roof mechanism and body stiffening will likely add some weight to the coupe’s 3,373-pound (1,530-kilogram) weight. This will likely mean a few ticks more than hardtop’s 3.5 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour).

It’s not yet clear whether Aston intends to offer an AMR version of the Volante. If it follows the coupe version, the driver-focused model would get a seven-speed manual with a dog-leg first gear. The weight falls by 209 pounds (95 kilograms) on the hardtop thanks in part to carbon-ceramic brakes, and there are adaptive dampers with Sport, Sport +, and Track modes.

Don’t get your hopes up for a V12-powered version of the Vantage Volante. Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman previously said that he thought the bigger mill would be “too much” for the car.

Look for the Vantage Volante to sell for a premium over the $149,995 coupe. However, the figure should be quite a bit less than the $216,495 DB11 Volante to keep space between them in the lineup.



Source: motor1.com

Next-gen Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster EVs could pack 400 hp

Porsche hasn’t yet determined whether the next-gen 718 Cayman and Boxster will go all-electric. In April this year, Porsche boss Dr. Oliver Blume told Autocar, “We have prototypes of the 718 running in electric now, and a hybrid prototype is being built. If you look to the next generation of those cars it is possible, although it is not clear whether it would be plug-in hybrid or hybrid.”

In September, Porsche board member Lutz Meschke told Auto Express that engineers are testing “battery concepts” and “body styles” ahead of a final decision in 12 months. A new report in Car magazine affirms the decision timeline, but claims to have the gossip on what an electric 718 duo might deliver. The prime stats are two motors providing 400 horsepower in combined output and rear- or all-wheel drive.

Compared to today’s versions, that output would place an electric 718 Cayman above the 365-hp Cayman GTS model powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, below the 414-hp Cayman GT4 trim powered by a 4.0-liter atmospheric flat-six.  

While we wait for the decision about going down electric avenue, consensus is that Porsche will launch a hybrid version before 2023, when the electric 718s are meant to be due. Mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains developed for the flat-six in the new 911 are being evaluated for the boxer-four in the 718 twins. If Porsche does launch intermediate versions of the entry level sports cars with electric assistance, that would hew closely to the Macan crossover’s road map. The next generation of the small SUV will roll out a battery-electric powertrain in 2023, but Porsche will sell ICE-powered Macans for a few years alongside in order to ease the transition.

If and when the electric 718 Cayman and Boxster do show, expect them to share their platforms and drivetrain technology with the successor to the Audi TT and a potential rebirth of the Lamborghini Urraco as an electric GT. It’s expected that Porsche will utilize the benefits of its 15.5-percent stake in Rimac for assistance on both the EV Macan and 718.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Why Jamie Chadwick feels F1 is further away the closer she gets


LONDON — W Series champion Jamie Chadwick has taken a step closer to Formula One this year but her dream of one day competing at the pinnacle of motor racing feels further away than ever.

The Briton, who collected $500,000 for winning the inaugural all-female single-seater title, celebrated her 21st birthday in May with a new role as development driver for the Williams F1 team. She is also one of four finalists for the BRDC Young Driver of the Year award, which is co-sponsored by Red Bull’s title partners Aston Martin and whose main prize is a Formula One test.

The experience of being on the inside of the grand prix paddock has made her realize just how much more she has to do, however.

Asked whether she felt closer to becoming the first female Formula One driver since 1976, she replied: “To be completely honest, further away.

“Not in a bad way, in a really refreshing way, I feel I know what I need to now learn in the next few years. I’m not going to rush that. I’m not going to try and cheat it,” Chadwick added.

Those who enquire on social media whether she might replace departing Williams driver Robert Kubica were living in a fantasy world, not only because Chadwick lacks a super license but also because she is nowhere near ready.

Her world is very different to that of Mercedes’ six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, an admired compatriot she has yet to meet.

“I need the time to develop and if I get to Formula One I want to be the best possible driver to make the mark I need to make,” said Chadwick.


While the Williams role has been mostly simulator-based, her work has a direct correlation to what happens at the track.

Williams previously had Susie Wolff, now retired and a team principal in the all-electric Formula E series, in a similar role and gave the Scot track time in some Friday practice sessions.

Chadwick indicated she would be pushing for such an opportunity.

“In terms of getting in the car, that’s an ongoing discussion. We’re sort of pushing as hard as we can but we’ll see,” she said.

“If we can continue the relationship into next year, and if I can continue to do the best possible job in the sim, then that hopefully gives me justifiable reason to potentially test the car at a future date.”

Chadwick will be back to defend her W Series title next year, hoping to then join the men climbing the motorsport ladder.

“At the moment although the first year and the exposure has been absolutely incredible, I haven’t quite managed to secure the (financial) support to go to, say, FIA F3,” she said.

“Hopefully off the back of a strong second year’s campaign… that’s going to give me that opportunity.”

Source: AutoBlog.com

Mitsubishi Mirage hatch and sedan refresh teased

Almost every Mitsubishi model sold in the U.S. wears the automaker’s “Dynamic Shield” design. The corporate face combines a two-piece grille emphasizing the horizontal with slim, angled headlights supported by a thick, C-shaped trim piece that defines the fog lights and lower intakes. The only holdouts are the Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan, but that will soon change. Mitsubishi teased a dim image of two Mirages that had earned their Dynamic Shields, and promised a debut on November 18 in Thailand. The reveal location gives a shout-out to the Laem Chabang plant that, along with another facility in the Philippines, builds the siblings.

It’s easy to forget about Mitsu’s tiny twosome, but it’s hard to deny they’ve served the company well as global offerings. In the U.S., the duo has increased its annual sales every year since the car’s introduction in 2013. Around the world in fiscal 2018 the Japanese automaker sold 140,000 units, and sales through the end of October in the U.S. show the Mirage nearly 10 percent ahead of last year’s sales at the same period.

Assuming the cheap-as-chips price equation doesn’t get a heavy refresh, there’s every reason to think the facelift will aid sales. The hatch and sedan wear two different faces at the moment, both graduates of the most mediocre school of ambiguous econoboxes. The teased image puts a personality on economy, with large, single lenses peeking out from a narrow eyeline above the Dynamic Shield’s sculpted features. It appears designers have done a touch of reshaping in back as well, and there’s a wee spoiler hanging off the back of the decklid.

No word on what might be in store for the two three-cylinder engines sold in international markets, a 1.0-liter that makes 70 horsepower and 65 pound-feet of torque, and the 1.2-liter that’s our only choice here, making 78 hp and 74 lb-ft. The fuel filler cap has moved from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side, though, so there could be action under the skin, and we’d expect a few interior upgrades, too.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Junkyard Gem: 1992 Honda Accord Wagon

While Ford built Taurus station wagons all the way through the 2004 model year, Toyota gave up on the Camry wagon after 1996 while Honda sold the Accord wagon through 1997. We can blame the rise of the minivan and the SUV for the demise of the midsize station wagon, but enough of the long-roofed Accords have stayed on the roads to make them occasional residents of the self-service wrecking yards I frequent in search of interesting discarded vehicles. Here’s a ’92 with nearly 300,000 miles on the clock, spotted in a yard near the Colorado/Wyoming border.

Not quite 300,000 miles, and not as high an odometer reading as I’ve seen on other junkyard Hondas of the era, but still very impressive.

While very few US-market Camry wagons had manual transmissions (though they do exist), most of the Accord wagons I’ve seen have three pedals.

Someone installed an aftermarket tube header on this car, which may have added a few extra horsepower.

The large-diameter tailpipe, however, added exactly zero horsepower.

This car wouldn’t be considered particularly rusty for a 25-year-old Japanese car in Connecticut or Wisconsin, but this level of corrosion in Colorado leads to scrap-value-grade depreciation.

Honda took a good idea… and built on it.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Germans mark the fall of the Berlin Wall with a Trabant parade


BERLIN — Marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and defying the scorn of vehicle snobs around the world, hundreds of Germans on Saturday marked the historic event with a parade of historic Trabant cars at a former border crossing.

The revelers symbolically opened a gate at the former crossing between Thuringia and Bavaria, which used to divide East and West Germany, and allowed some 65 cars known affectionately as Trabis and other vehicles manufactured in the Communist-ruled German Democratic Republic to pass through.

Earlier, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel marked the anniversary by thanking Eastern European neighbors for spurring on the peaceful revolution.

The toppling of the wall, which separated the Communist-ruled East from the capitalist West in Berlin for nearly three decades and became a potent symbol of the Cold War, was followed a year later by the reunification of Germany in 1990.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Aston Martin’s Most Expensive New Model Has Arrived

“It has been our privilege and our pleasure to work with Zagato in the creation of these remarkable sports cars. Now arriving in the hands of a tiny group of owners across the world I’m sure they, like me, will be honored to play their part in the history of this great brand,” said Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer.”Christmas may be just around the corner now, but for 19 astute car collectors it is most definitely coming early!” said Paul Spires, President of Aston Martin Works “The DB4 GT Zagato Continuation program has been our most challenging and rewarding to date, and it is a genuine honor to see the fruits of our not inconsiderable labors making their way to owners around the globe.”Deliveries of the Continuation car will continue in 2019, while the DBS GT Zagato will arrive in Q4 2020.
Source: carbuzz.com