All-New Chevrolet Volt Sales Restricted to 11 States for First Model Year

2016 Chevrolet Volt

This fall, it’ll be tougher to buy a 2016 Chevrolet Volt than a 2016 Tesla Model S. That’s because General Motors is limiting sales to only 11 states for the first couple of months after launch.

GM said California dealers would receive the first Volts, followed by 10 other states that follow the California Air Resources Board laws (Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont). Pennsylvania and Washington, two other states that have adopted CARB legislation, which requires manufacturers to meet stricter emissions standards than the EPA, are not part of the initial rollout.

By next spring, the 2016 Volt will be hurried offstage for an early-arriving 2017 model with more features, according to Automotive News. By then, it will be sold nationwide. Five years ago, General Motors restricted the first-gen Volt to six states and took a full year to bring the car to all 50. GM wouldn’t explain its decision to replay this scenario given the car’s well-established customer base, but at least this time the wait will be much shorter for residents of the other 39 states.


2017 Bentley Bentayga Finally Revealed: Opulence, Plus Prominent Headlamp Washers

2016 Bentley Bentayga

-It’s all over but the driving at this point. With this whole Bentayga thing, Bentley has teased us with the unceasing tenacity of Elisabeth Báthory under a bad moon. It started with the EXP 9 F concept unveiled at the Geneva auto show back in 2012. The conventional wisdom was that there was certainly a hole in the market large enough for Bentley to park an SUV in, but the reaction to what Crewe came up with was mixed, to put it rather charitably. And instead of the EXP 9 F’s vaguely Mulsanne-ish demeanor, we now have the Conti-fied new Bentayga. READ MORE ››

2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn Debuts: The Wraith Loses Its Head


-We can already tell that 2016 is going to be a good year for high-rolling sun-seekers, as they’ll have a number of new droptops from which to choose. And unless Maybach drops another Landaulet or Bentley finally chops the roof off the Mulsanne by next year, no car will allow the one percent to roll higher than this one, the 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn, which its maker contends is “the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built.” READ MORE ››

Honda’s 2&4 Concept Mashes 1960s Indy Car, F1 into Modern MotoGP


A couple of weeks back, we dissected Honda’s teaser image and text of its Frankfurt concept, the 2&4. Now, on the eve of Europe’s biggest auto show of the year, Honda has released full images and a bit more information. Claiming influence from the pivotal RA272 Formula 1 car from 1965—the machine that gave Honda its first Grand Prix win—the 2&4 is a little more sedate than the V-12–powered monster of 50 years ago.


After all, the 2&4 only features one-third the cylinder count yet revs to the same 14 grand. The 2&4 is, however, incredibly light, tipping the scales at just 892 pounds. Which, we might note, is less than a modern GL1800 Gold Wing. Like the Wing, however, the 2&4 features a motorcycle engine, in this case, plucked from the all-the-tech RC213V-S. Based on Marc Márquez’s MotoGP bike, the hyperlimited, $185,000 motorcycle makes close to 160 horsepower in stock trim for non-U.S. markets. A power kit raises that to “over 212” horsepower. Given that Honda makes the same claim for the 2&4, we’re assuming that it’s fundamentally the same engine. Peak horsepower comes at a lofty 13,000 rpm, while the full 87 lb-ft of torque arrives at 10,500.


It’s just 119.7 inches long—which is six inches shorter than a standard-length Mercedes S-class’s wheelbase—39.2 inches high, and 71.6 inches wide, making the 2&4 smaller in every dimension than an Ariel Atom. More bonkers than that, though, is the seating position, which seems to have been cribbed from Smokey Yunick’s madcap “sidecar” Indy racer from 1964. But at least Yunick’s machine had something between the driver’s outside hip and the wall. Honda claims that the arrangement evokes “the freedom of a bike.”

We’re not entirely sure what the 2&4 evokes in us, other than a rather staggering desire to get behind the wheel of the thing. Sub–Gold Wing weight, near-MotoGP power, and a revival of one of Indy’s glorious follies? Sign us up yesterday, posthaste.

2015 Frankfurt auto show full coverage

The Best Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Driving Adventure [Sponsored]


The most captivating adventures are the ones inspired by curious appreciation of the unknown. But where do you go for inspiration? Sure, there are city guide books and tourist-friendly manuals to seeing as much of a new destination in the shortest amount of time, but if it were up to us, every trip would be a driving adventure. It doesn’t matter if your conveyance is—your next adventure should be one between you and the road.

For inspiration, pick up any one of these books. We can guarantee that the travel bug will leave a lasting mark.

Generations of drivers have been steered westward, perhaps in pursuit of a modern manifest destiny, by the likes of legendary authors like Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck. Thanks to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, Hunter S. Thompson offers us yet another set of reasons to give Sin City a whirl. Amid the distractions that Las Vegas provides, Thompson manages to weave a bright red convertible into the mix. Skip the movie and buy copy, and then create your own adventure on the road.

The Southern Route

SPONSORED: The Best Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Driving Adventure [Sponsored]

The notion of the Great American Road Trip owes much to the relative, temperate calm of driving through the southeast in all four seasons. We know the region best as the perfect setting for uncrowded two-lane roads and the gateway to some of America’s most complex regional cuisine. For a completely new perspective on the states that touch the Gulf of Mexico, pick up a copy of Paul Theroux’s Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads. Theroux takes a page from our playbook and mostly avoids highways, in order to get a better sense of the post-Katrina people and culture of the deep South. Buy a motorcycle or rent a convertible and get ready to put on the miles.

  • Instrumented Test: 2013 Ram 1500 SLT V-6 8-Speed Aut
  • Instrumented Test: Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4×4 EcoBoost V-6
  • Photos and Info: 2013 Ram 1500

The Weekender


No matter how triumphantly we champion the cause of dropping everything in the name of taking a long car trip, it’s not exactly simple to carve out time for an epic journey at the drop of a hat. Weekend road trippers shouldn’t have to suffer, which is why we love The New York Times: 36 Hours USA & Canada, 2nd Edition, a collection of The Times’ greatest hits of updated guides to two-day trips around North America. Use it as a broad-strokes guide to making the first critical travel decision—determining where to go—and then pull out a map to find the backroads that make each destination special. There’s something to be said about having a go-to travel book, and this one contains enough surprises to delight weekend warriors throughout the year.

The Sun-Drenched Vacation


How much do you know about traveling to Cuba? Thanks to years of restrictions and trade sanctions, probably not that much—aside from the presence of classic American iron on the city streets, and the requisite myths about cigars and mixed drinks. Prepare to change your perspective by reading The Havana Habit, by Gustavo Pérez Firmat. Pivoting from Havana to tell the greater story of Cuba, unique to Firmat’s take on Cuba is seeing it through the lens of how the island American influence and vice versa. We can bet that you’ll be inspired to take a road trip through the small but drivable island before you’re halfway through.

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Audi Debuts New A8L Security, We Detail Its Vulnerabilities Real and Imagined

2016 Audi A8L Security

When Audi declares that its updated A8L Security armored car meets “class VR 9 ballistic protection standards,” which are “currently the most stringent requirements for civilian high-security sedans,” we imagine the car can take a hit. Exactly what type of hit? Well, since the old A8L Security met ERV 2010 classifications (that’s “Explosive Resistant Vehicle”), as well as the weaker VR 7 ballistic standard, it can brush off various explosive charges like IEDS, tank shells, AK-47 fire, and, now with VR 9 protection, even more. But what’s the fun in listing the stuff this Audi can survive? It’ll of course stand up to a coordinated ground attack far better than, say, a used Geo Metro. So here are a few vulnerabilities we uncovered from the car’s press release alone:

2016 Audi A8L Security

More Speed: With its optional 500-hp W-12 engine, the A8L Security can hop-scotch to an electronically limited 130-mph top speed. What, only 130? The lowish figure marks the upper limit of the special run-flat tires. Grab a faster vehicle, like, say, a Lexus ES350 or a Dodge Charger R/T, two rentable cars which reached terminal velocities of 131 mph and 149 mph in our testing. Sure, baddies can park it next to you at a buck-thirty and lob ordinance, but when they can go 131 or higher, they can conceivably get in front of your armored car and block you.

Exceed the Payload: Audi says the A8L can handle a payload of up to 1322 pounds. You know what that means: Stack a nice round 1400 pounds on the Security’s roof, and . . . well, we’re not sure what would happen besides the A8 gaining an interesting-looking hat. But maybe it wouldn’t move, or worse. Ominous-looking warning stickers don’t exist for no reason, right?

Top-Secret Ballistic Standards: Sure, the A8L Security improves on its predecessor’s VR 7 ballistic rating with a VR 9 certification. But what about VR 10? The higher rating doesn’t officially exist, and of course it goes unmentioned in Audi’s press materials, but who’s to say a top-secret VR 10 or VR 11 isn’t out there, possibly unlocked with a briefcase full of Benjamins? For buyers of the VR 9–rated A8 L Security, imagining what sort of intercontinental missile fire protection they are missing out on is nearly as bad as not knowing whether or not they’re missing out on it in the first place.

The Paranormal: All the ultra-thick glass, aramide fabric, high-tech aluminum alloys, and hot-formed steel armor in the world can’t stop apparitions, persistent demonic possessions, or spiritual intrusion. To give Audi some credit, basing the Security model on the long-wheelbase A8 (and offering a “relaxation” rear seat) affords occupants room to perform séances and perhaps even a quickie exorcism.

Elaborate Ruses: When a violent attack seems fruitless, especially in the face of this Audi’s impressive protections, there’s always the art of the con. The A8L is only as fallible as the humans inside it, humans who have an intercom system to communicate with the outside world as well as control over a selective door unlocking feature. With pitch-perfect trickery, you can get inside the occupants’ heads via the intercom—should they decide to talk to you at all—and manipulate them into unlocking the doors. Being a Jedi helps in such scenarios.

Those are only a few potential weak points on a car that, otherwise, will get its occupants through hell and, well, not too high of water (another vulnerability!). Audi will offer an emergency exit system and an emergency fresh-air system and an emergency fire extinguisher system. After making its debut—ideally not in an explosive manner—at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show, the harder-core A8L Security will go on sale in April 2016. In the meantime, stay in your bunker or in your outgoing A8L Security.

2015 Frankfurt auto show full coverage

Five Highlights from August 2015 U.S. Auto Sales


Automakers sold 1.57 million cars in August bringing the total to 11.6 million so far this year. While August sales were flat versus last year, the industry is up four percent year to date and is on track to reach a hefty 17.7 million by the year’s end. This month, using data from WardsAuto, we’ve taken a look at five vehicle segments, some of which are growing rapidly while others that remain stuck in neutral.

Small Crossovers Are Exploding in Popularity

2015 Jeep Renegade Latitude 4x4

Compact crossovers are this segment’s shale rock, minus the whole drilling and injecting chemicals underground thing. It’s a highly lucrative and mostly untapped market, since automakers had long assumed Americans wouldn’t buy downsized versions of this popular body style. In August, 84,793 baby ‘utes left showrooms—a 64-percent increase over last year. That’s compared to 13 percent growth for crossovers overall. The Subaru XV Crosstrek, a jacked-up version of the Impreza hatchback, led with 8799 sold last month. But, taken together, three Jeep models own this space. After just months on sale, the new Renegade did 8156, or eight times what its Fiat 500X platform-mate achieved. Renegade fever is even spilling over to the older small Jeeps: The Compass shot up 58 percent and the Patriot rose 21 percent. Another newcomer, the Honda HR-V, cleared 4000 sales per month, but still trails the Chevy Trax (at almost 6000), the Buick Encore (6286), Hyundai Tucson (6609), and Kia Sportage (5749). Even at a higher price point, demand is still strong; witness the BMW X1 (2317) and the Mercedes-Benz GLA (2169). Where this segment settles out, nobody knows.

Meanwhile, Among the Real Wagons…

2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC wagon

Honest-to-God, sedan-based station wagons are still breathing—barely. There are only seven wagons on offer, all of which combined only sold roughly 15,000 cars last month. The Subaru Outback comprised the vast majority of that total, at 11,113. VW was next up, with its new Golf Sportwagen at 2478 (plus 110 leftover Jetta Sportwagens). Mercedes-Benz and BMW don’t break out wagon sales, but if we use a conservative three-percent take rate based on past data, roughly 120 people chose an E350 wagon and 400 picked up a 3-series Sports Wagon. The Audi Allroad, with 202 sold, was down 66 percent while the Volvo XC70 faired better at 445 (although down 19 percent). The new V60 Cross Country has helped that model’s sales increase by 31 percent to 562. But with the Cadillac CTS and Acura TSX out of the picture, can this segment truly last in America? We’ve certainly done our part to promote the wagon lifestyle.

Midsize Pickups Are Picking Up

2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road 4x4

In August, the four midsize pickups (plus a handful of discontinued Honda Ridgelines) totaled 29,416 sales—that’s strong growth, up 31 percent in August and 49 percent year-to-date. (Which suggests that Ford should pull the trigger on the new Ranger.) More than half of those sales went to the Toyota Tacoma, which still dominates the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon (9537 combined) despite its gray hairs. The redesigned Tacoma, an upcoming new Nissan Frontier, a new Ridgeline, and—should it appear—a new Ranger could easily double or even triple this segment’s performance in the next year or two.

Minivans Hold a Dim Candle

2015 Kia Sedona SXL

Minivans were down 14 percent last month, with 44,487 sales split among six models. Despite Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s insistence on axing the Dodge Grand Caravan, 9209 families took one home compared to 7403 for the Chrysler Town & Country (although both sunk several thousand units). The new Kia Sedona, to no surprise, took the biggest leap, up more than 200 percent at 2545 sales. We almost forgot Nissan made the funny-looking Quest—just of those 658 slipped out. Perhaps most telling is what Honda, which topped the segment with 13,423 sales and a moderate seven-percent growth, thinks about why more people choose a Pilot over an Odyssey. “They probably should have bought an Odyssey,” product planner James Jenkins said at a recent launch. “But we know they don’t want a minivan.”

Large Commercial Vans Continue Growth Spurt


In May, Ford posted its highest commercial van sales in 37 years. That momentum has carried into August with the Blue Oval accounting for more than half of this segment’s 27,176 sales (including 3823 Econoline chassis and cutaway models that aren’t technically sold as vans). The Euro-trendy Ford Transits are handily outselling the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana by 63 percent. As a whole, all the big vans achieved a 10-percent increase for August. Mirroring the Nissan Quest’s bottom-of-the-barrel results among minivans, the Nissan NV was the least popular full-size commercial van both in August and year to date.