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Alpine Vision Gran Turismo revealed01/29/2015
French manufacturer Alpine revealed its Vision Gran Turismo concept on Wednesday. It will appear in Polyphony Digital’s “Gran Turismo 6” driving simulator in March. Company execs liked the concept so much, they actually produced a real one for the Festival Automobile International in
To arrive at the final look, Alpine held an in-house competition featuring 15 designers. Victor Sfiazof submitted the winning piece. His goal, according to Alpine, was to pen a lightweight, agile, barquette-type (boat-shaped) car inspired by the company’s A450 Le Mans program.
"It's a genuine sports car that combines the passion for cars with enjoyment behind the wheel," explains Sfiazof. "There are numerous references to the past, present and future. The idea of a barquette stemmed from the Alpine A450's involvement in the Le Mans 24 Hours, but the front end takes its inspiration from the A110, while the vertical fins at the rear recall the A210 and A220 and make a real contribution to the car's styling. As an aeronautic fan, I also wanted to incorporate cues from the world of aviation, too. The airbrakes add a nice high-tech touch to the rear end."
Spyker ducks out of bankruptcy01/29/2015
Spyker, on Thursday, won its bankruptcy appeal filed on Dec. 29 with the Appeals Court of Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. This means, according to the company, “that by law Spyker was never bankrupt, and that the company has returned to the moratorium of payment status.”
In early December, Spyker was granted the moratorium on payments with hopes that a bridge loan would come in. When it didn’t, the court-appointed administrator filed a request to convert the moratorium to a bankruptcy. Shortly after, the bridge loan did come through, and Spyker filed the appeal.
“On Dec. 18, perhaps the blackest day in our 15-year history, I announced that as far as I was concerned, this was not the end and we would live up to our commitment to relentlessly endeavor to resurrect Spyker as soon as practically possible,” said Victor Muller, Spyker founder and CEO.
“But even I could not foresee at the time how quickly and unscathed Spyker would emerge from a situation which usually heralds the end of an era. The Appeals Court’s ruling has eradicated the bankruptcy and put Spyker back in ‘Chapter 11.’ Since we spent the time between lodging the appeal and today’s ruling to reach an agreement with the majority of our creditors, we should see Spyker exit moratorium of payment in a matter of weeks.”
2015 Volkswagen Golf R -- US-spec first drive01/29/2015
We can think of a few ways to improve on the competent seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf: Drop the well-loved 2.0-liter EA888 turbocharged inline-four under the hood. Offer the option of a smooth six-speed manual transmission. Add the understeer-fighting XDS-plus electronic differential lock system to keep this front-driver’s handling neutral. Give it quicker (2.1 turns-to-lock), variable ratio steering. Lower the whole thing a few fractions of an inch.
We’d call it the Golf GTI. People would probably have nice things to say about it.
Why not push things a little (or a lot) further? Take all the good stuff from the GTI but add more power: 292 hp and 280 lb-ft courtesy of a modified cylinder head, pistons and direct-injection system and a bigger turbo. Lower it even further -- down 0.2 inch over the GTI, and 0.8 inch over the standard Golf. Send power to all four wheels through a Haldex all-wheel-drive system while you’re at it. Let drivers turn all the electronic nannies off -- yes, off off, according to VW.
2015 Ford Expedition Limited review notes01/29/2015
DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: This latest 2015 Expedition feels like a half-hearted effort on the part of Ford -- it’s like they decided not to abandon the full-size SUV market, but they also didn’t want to divert a lot of resources into a refresh. The result has some nice features but it’s a distant second compared to its most obvious competitor, the Chevrolet Tahoe.
Ford updated the exterior styling, but just barely. There are some chrome styling bits, and the badges are moved around. Likewise the front end gets a handful of angles added in, but park it beside a 2008 Expedition and you’ll find a lot more similarities than you will differences.
More disappointing was the interior in our so-called Limited trim level. Not unlike the McMansions in whose garages most Expeditions live, everything inside looks nice at first glance, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find bargain-basement materials. Our Expedition wrests the title for worst interior plastics from the Toyota Sienna thanks to its hollow, thin-sounding and almost abrasive dash and fascia. Door panels and door tops front and rear get the same treatment, one that's completely unsuited to a $50K+ SUV. Ford is capable of far better, amply demonstrated by the Fusion, Escape and even Transit Connect -- why they chose to cheap out on the Expedition is a mystery.