Highway Guardrail Manufacturer Found Liable for Dangerous Redesign

A Texas court has found that Trinity Industries, makers of widely used highway guardrails, defrauded the government of $175 million by redesigning its crash barriers to make them less safe. The decision comes after a design change to Trinity Industries’ popular “ET-Plus” highway guardrail reduced its safety. According to The New York Times, the company changed the design of its ET-Plus guardrail end, saving the company a small amount of money but making the system far more dangerous. The so-called rail head or terminal end is supposed to absorb energy from a vehicle crashing into it; in the case of the ET-Plus, the end barrier was supposed to slide along the guardrail to help slow the car. Because Trinity Industries redesigned the channel inside the head of its ET-Plus, the
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Deep Dive: BMW Readies Hotter i8

In 2016, BMW turns 100. There will be plenty to celebrate in that centenary year, including the first fuel-cell-powered BMW (based on the 5 Series GT) as well as the first model co-developed with Toyota, namely the Z4 replacement. With the passing of that milestone, BMW will launch a new green supercar — aptly codenamed M100. Almost certain be badged i8S, the new supercar is not merely an engineering showpiece but a proper production model. The effort is being spearheaded by Project i team leader Ulrich Kranz, under new program director Roberto Fedeli, who recently moved over from Ferrari. Although it is loosely based on the BMW i8, the flagship coupe features so many bespoke parts that it could almost be described as a new car. The life module and
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Daimler Sells 4 Percent Stake in Tesla

Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler will sell its 4 percent stake in Tesla. Daimler chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz Dieter Zetsche confirmed that the company’s partnership with Tesla will continue despite Daimler divesting its shares, as Mercedes-Benz continues to, “pursue our strategy for emission-free driving” Even after selling its stake, Daimler will continue to work with Tesla to obtain the electric drivetrain for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive. The batteries for the first generation electric Smart Fortwo were also sourced from Tesla. Despite Zetsche’s promises of a continued partnership, it’s unclear if the two companies will work on other projects in the future. “We have supported Tesla as a startup company for many years and have learned a lot from Tesla. At the same time, Tesla was able to profit from
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Report: Dodge Viper Production to Restart in November

Chrysler’s Conner Avenue plant that produces the Dodge Viper has been on hiatus since April 2014, but a report from Automotive News claims that production of this supercar will recommence in November. Though other factors are in play, a slight boost in Viper sales is the main reason behind this decision, as the company moved 108 units in September, a 140 percent increase over last September’s 45 units. Apparently Dodge’s recent $15,000 price cut is working, as September’s result makes up a large portion (about one-fifth) of the Dodge Viper SRT’s entire year-to-date total of only 546 units. The outgoing 2014 Viper, previously badged as an SRT, started at $101,880, whereas the new 2015 model now starts at $86,990, both with destination. Dodge also retroactively applied the price cut to
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2014 Mini Cooper EPA Fuel Economy Ratings Lowered

BMW is the latest automaker to come under EPA scrutiny, this time for the 2014 Mini Cooper. All versions of the three-door model now have revised fuel economy estimates that are up to 4 mpg lower than previously announced ratings. The error was found during EPA audit testing, as the numbers originally submitted to the EPA by BMW did not take into account the correct road-load calculations. All models were still in compliance with emissions standards. This fuel economy certification process reportedly delayed arrival of many 2014 Mini Cooper models to dealers, hurting early sales for this redesigned model. 2014 Mini Cooper S models take the biggest hit in these revised ratings, with highway mpg going from 38 mpg with both the manual and automatic transmissions down to 34 mpg
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Scion iM Concept Teased Before L.A. Auto Show Debut

Is a hot hatchback in Scion’s future? A new teaser for the Scion iM Concept suggests that Toyota’s youth brand is planning something sporty for the 2014 Los Angeles auto show. We’ve heard rumors that two new Scion models are coming next year, with one of these cars being based off the European-market Toyota Auris hatchback. The front end of this Scion iM Concept looks like it could definitely be a derivative of the Auris, with both the headlights and the Scion-badge front grille bearing a strong resemblance to those of the Toyota Auris. In these photos, we can also see some aggressive looking tires that wrap around sporty-looking wheels and drilled brake rotors. While they could simply be auto-show flair, we’re excited about the possibility that the Scion iM
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A Look Inside the Track-Only McLaren P1 GTR

We’ve just received our first look at the interior of the upcoming, track-only McLaren P1 GTR hypercar, and it’s a carbon-fiber paradise. McLaren seems to have gone all out in stripping down the P1 GTR to its simplest and most purposeful form, leaving only a race-inspired steering wheel and carbon fiber racing shell seats inside, and a fixed rear wing for maximum downforce outside. McLaren says that the carbon fiber chassis and tub carry over from the production McLaren P1, but the weight reduction efforts needed to be even greater for the track-only GTR. Every single surface from the seats to the door sills, steering wheel, dashboard, door panels, center console, and center tunnel is made of lightweight carbon fiber. The racing-style seats, complete with full six-point harnesses, are mounted
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Tuned 2015 Ford Mustang Models Head to SEMA

Several tuned versions of the 2015 Ford Mustang will be on display at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. Among the many modified Mustangs are versions of the new GT from Petty’s Garage and Galpin Auto Sports. Both companies used a supercharger to increase the performance of the 5.0-liter V-8 engine in the 2015 Ford Mustang GT, which as standard offers 435 hp. Petty’s Garage began by adding a Roush supercharger to the car, and then decking it out in blue paint and “No. 43″ decals to honor NASCAR driver Richard Petty. Petty’s Garage plans to sell the car at a Barrett-Jackson auction, with the proceeds headed to a charity benefiting chronically ill children. Galpin Auto Sports, recognizing that this is the Mustang’s 50th anniversary,
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2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost 4×4 Lariat SuperCab First Test

@dannycars 18-19mpg in mostly city driving?  I’d like to see that.  I have a ’14 Ram Laramie Crew Cab 6’4 bed with Hemi 8speed.  I really like the truck and I’m at 24k trouble free miles. 18-19 mpg is about what I can get on the highway unless I drive the speed limit or less.   That all said, I really don’t have allegiance to any particular make.  I drive everything before buying and will buy what I like best at the time generally regardless of make. I’ve driven a few Ecoboost f150′s and I really like these engines.  They have so much more power at lower rpm than any gas v8 I’ve driven including my Hemi.  When I’m pulling my 7k lb boat, the Hemi needs some RPM for
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