2014 Ford F-150 Tremor: Around the Block

This is the latest in our new series of short-take reviews on cars and trucks, in which we concentrate on a powertrain or trim level not previously covered. –Ed. Let’s start off by establishing what the 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor is not. It’s not a replacement for the Ford F-150 Lightning performance truck, it’s not the street-oriented version of the insane Ford F-150 SVT Raptor off-roader, and it’s not a creation of Ford’s in-house SVT tuning division. What it is is a regular-cab Ford F-150 with Ford’s EcoBoost V-6 engine, shorter gearing, and a few visual tweaks inside and out. So is this slightly sporty version of America’s favorite pickup truck actually sporty to drive? As it turns out, the Tremor’s aggressive-looking exterior graphics may be overselling its dynamic upgrades—or,
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Recall Central: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Passat, and Beetle 1.8T

The Problem: Due to a supplier material change during the production process, O-ring seals between the transmission oil cooler and the automatic transmission may not seal properly, meaning that a leak might develop. The Fix: Volkswagen will begin notifying owners of affected cars instructing them to make an appointment at a Volkswagen dealer. The dealers will then replace the defective O-ring with a new O-ring that will seal properly, at no cost to owners. No accidents, injuries, or vehicle fires have been reported due to this defect. Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 26,452 model year 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Passat, Beetle, and Beetle Convertible models equipped with the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a torque-converter automatic transmission. Of these cars produced between February 1 and April 6 of this year, Volkswagen
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Possible Jaguar F-Type R-S Convertible Spied

We’ve already heard rumors that plans were in motion for an R-S or R-S GT variant of the Jaguar F-Type. Now there’s even more evidence to support the notion, after spy photographers yet again caught the F-Type testing with R-S performance parts. We previously reported that the Jaguar F-Type will spawn a new derivative every year, with possibilities including a 600-hp coupe, and both R-S and GT models. Spy shooters spotted a Jaguar F-Type coupe prototype with R-S-looking equipment last summer, and many of the same elements can be observed on this drop-top prototype. Up front there is a wider and more pronounced front spoiler than on the current F-Type R. The aerodynamic upgrades continue in profile where we can see more aggressive rocker sills, leading toward the large rear
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Report: GM Files for Increased Protection from Liability Lawsuits

General Motors is seeking increased protection against liability lawsuits related to its ignition switch recall. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press are reporting that GM has filed a motion in U.S. bankruptcy court asking a federal judge to dismiss court claims against the company because these lawsuits are related to actions that took place before GM came out of bankruptcy in 2009. More than 50 lawsuits have recently been filed against GM seeking damage compensation tied to the ignition switch defect. However, GM asserts that it is not responsible for these claims because it was granted immunity from these liabilities when it was reformed after bankruptcy in 2009. It is important to note that GM’s motion only seeks protection from lawsuits that do not involve accidents that caused personal
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Morgan Plus 8 Speedster Honors 100 Years of Production

Given that neither Morgan’s styling nor manufacturing complexity has changed much throughout its history, the British automaker is an anomaly in the automotive world. In order to honor a century of production at its Pickersleigh Road factory in Malvern, England, Morgan will build a limited-edition Plus 8 Speedster. While the original Morgan Plus 8 came equipped with a Rover V-8 engine when it debuted as a 1968 model, the Plus 8 Speedster will continue to use a BMW V-8. The 4.8-liter unit makes 367 hp, routed to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or a ZF six-speed automatic. A modern aluminum chassis underpins the Plus 8 Speedster, while also helping keep weight to a minimum. Acceleration from 0-62 mph can be achieved in a brisk 4.2 seconds on
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Feature Flick: 2015 Subaru WRX STI Tested On Track

Following up on the standard WRX, the 2015 Subaru WRX STI is one of the most anticipated new performance cars of the year. To give it a thorough shake-down, our colleagues at Motor Trend took the new STI to the track, to their testing grounds, and to winding mountain roads to see how it stacks up against its predecessor. Although the 2015 Subaru WRX STI rides on a new, stiffer platform, and has many mechanical changes, there are no updates under the hood. The car continues to use a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four engine rated for 305 hp, along with a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. Nonetheless, MT manages to rocket the new STI to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, and runs through the quarter-mile in 13.1 seconds at
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General Motors Restructures its Engineering Organization

General Motors has split its Global Vehicle Engineering department into two new departments, Global Product Integrity and Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems. Supplier quality issues will come under the purview of Global Product Integrity in order to ensure that problems like the Chevrolet Cobalt/Saturn Ion ignition switch defect doesn’t escape notice, says Mark Reuss, executive vice president for Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. Asked whether the reorganization is the result of the ignition switch recall, Reuss replied, “Yes, it is.” However, Reuss said that the retirement of John Calabrese, 55, vice president of Global Vehicle Engineering, is not related to the recall. With the reorganization of Calabrese’s department, Ken Kelzer will be vice president of Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems, and Ken Morris will be vice president of
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"Need for Speed" Ford Mustang Auctioned for $300,000

Following its numerous appearances leading up to and in the Need For Speed feature film, the custom “Need for Speed” 2013 Ford Mustang GT sold for $300,000 at Barrett-Jackson’s auction this past weekend. The winning bidder was Dave Flynn of Columbiana, Ohio. The custom “Need For Speed” Ford Mustang GT plainly looks the part of a Hollywood-worthy muscle car, wearing a custom wide body kit, 22-inch wheels, and silver paint with Kona blue racing stripes. The body kit includes a gaping lower splitter, special air intakes, a dual-scoop hood, low-profile mirrors, enlarged rocker panels with unique side scoops, rear diffuser, and a new rear spoiler. A Ford Racing supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 drives the rear wheels. Although in the movie the car is claimed to make 900 hp, reports suggest the
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2014 SAE Show Future Tech Roundup

Achates Power Opposed Piston Engine These are the OTHER opposed-piston folks, not the OPOC folks. Achates is proposing a two-stroke three-cylinder six-piston design, which stands on end to fit easily in the package space of a typical I-4 or V-6 engine. The Achates gang reckons the opposed piston idea is ideal for a two-stroke because the cylinder’s surface-area-to-volume area during combustion is less, reducing heat losses. By slightly offsetting the crank, the exhaust ports can be exposed slightly ahead of the intake one and with direct injection, there’s no worry about the Lawn-Boy blue-smoke situation of fuel, oil, and poorly combusted exhaust blowing out, and oil consumption is no different than with a conventional engine. Friction is a bit better, because with no cylinder-head bolts to distort the bore, it
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