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Feast Your Eyes on Our 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition Mega Gallery

Feast Your Eyes on Our 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition Mega GalleryFeast Your Eyes on Our 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition Mega Gallery

It was more than a year ago that Alfa Romeo declared its impending return to the U.S. market and detailed the 500 Launch Edition 4C sports cars that would land first. It has taken a little longer than expected, but since Alfa is actually for real coming here later this summer, we figured we’d revisit the Launch Edition. We recently spent some time with one in U.S. spec—the handful of photos that accompanied the announcement were of Euro-market cars—so we snapped some fresh pics.

To recap, the Launch Edition goes on sale before the regular 4C hits dealerships and at a cost of $69,695. That’s quite a bit more than the $55,195 base model, but the car does pack a bunch of otherwise optional equipment as standard.

The Launch Editions have a unique front fascia; the Track package with a stiffened suspension and special exhaust; bixenon headlights with LED running lights; a carbon-fiber spoiler and mirror caps; red brake calipers; matte-black forged-aluminum 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels; sport seats; a leather-wrapped dash and door panels; red or white accent stitching; carbon-fiber interior trim; and a fancy Launch Edition plaque. A plaque! Check it all out in the gallery below:
Feast Your Eyes on Our 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition Mega GalleryFeast Your Eyes on Our 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition Mega Gallery

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What’ll It Do? Here’s How Quick We Think the 2015 Ford Mustang Will Be!

2015 Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost2015 Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost

Let’s get this disclaimer out of the way: Without knowing the 2015 Ford Mustang’s full technical specs, pegging the car’s acceleration is nothing more than an educated guess. There are many variables yet unaccounted for, including its all-new architecture, additional standard features, and the new turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine option. But Ford has finally released the outputs for each of the Mustang’s three available engines—and the curb weights of the cars so equipped—and we just couldn’t help ourselves. So let the educated guessing begin.

Despite initial rumors to the contrary, the Mustang hasn’t gained much weight. The V-6 coupe, for example, is about as heavy as it was before, and the V-8–powered, stick-shifted GT model is up by just 87 pounds, according to Ford. The EcoBoost model doesn’t have a direct predecessor, but compared to the last-gen V-6 model, it carries just 36 additional pounds. Only the GT’s 5.0-liter V-8 sees an increase in power, while the V-6 sheds five ponies and the 2.3-liter debuts with slightly more power and a lot more torque than the V-6. Data in hand, we crunched all the numbers, and this is how we think the 2015 Mustang’s performance will stack up:

To put a finer point on things, we believe that the EcoBoost Mustang will make good use of its low-end turbocharged power to better get out of the gate than the V-6–powered base model, and it should maintain that gap through the quarter-mile. The new GT is a little different story. Ford used the epic Boss 302 as the GT’s performance bogey, and that car hooked up basically as ideally as possible. Even though the Boss was lighter and boasted 444 ponies to the new GT’s 435, we’re expecting the GT to hurtle itself through space with similar alacrity. Now all that’s left for us to do is to strap our test gear to the new Mustangs and gather real numbers—stay tuned, because those testing sessions are fast approaching.

2015 Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost2015 Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost

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Confirmed: 2015 Chevrolet SS Sedan Gets No-Cost Manual Gearbox, Magnetic …

2014 Chevrolet SS

2014 Chevrolet SS 2014 Chevrolet SS model shown

Aha! Just as we suspected, the 2015 Chevrolet SS sedan is getting a manual-transmission option, as GM’s own recently released order guide for the car gives away. Pleasantly, that’s not the only good news for SS fans: The car also gets GM’s excellent Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension as standard. There also are a ton of new color choices, and the sedan gains Chevrolet’s 4G-linked OnStar telematics system as standard.

Being the Save the Manuals people, we’ll first detail the stick: It’s a six-speed job, and it comes paired with a shorter 3.70:1 rear-axle ratio. (The automatic-equipped SS soldiers on with its taller 3.27:1 ratio.) The shorter ratio should make for feistier launches, but we’ll need to actually test one to ascertain how it lines up with the automatic and its quick 4.5-second 0–60 time.

As for the new paint options, the SS’s palette is twice the size for 2015. The carry-over Silver Ice, Red Hot 2, Phantom Black, Heron White, and Mystic Green are joined by Some Like It Hot Red, Perfect Blue, Alchemy Purple, and two more greens: Regal Peacock and Jungle. That’s a lot of green, an amount that we wholeheartedly endorse. Speaking of green, Chevrolet has yet to release pricing for the new car—the current model starts at $45,770—but we know the manual will be a no-cost option. The 2015 SS arrives at dealers in early 2015.
2014 Chevrolet SS model shown2014 Chevrolet SS model shown

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Avoiding Unaffordable Cars with Problem Credit

Recent data compiled by Requisite Press indicate that a median income family can afford less than fifty three percent of an average priced new car

Knowing Your Financial Limitations

Avoiding Unaffordable Cars with Problem Credit

Here at Auto Credit Express we understand the importance of correctly budgeting for an auto loan. Just as the fictional Inspector Harry Callihan noted in the movie Magnum Force that “A man’s got to know his limitations”, borrowers, especially those with problem credit, also need to be aware of their financial limitations.

“Car buyers are often encouraged to focus solely on monthly payments,” said Phil Kelton, president of Requisite Press. “But long-term loans, with seemingly affordable payments, inflate the amount that buyers spend and can erode household financial security. Buyers that aren’t fully informed can easily become financially struggling owners and poor long-term customers.”

20-4-10 Auto Financing Rule

We’ve always supported the idea that car buyers with bad credit should have a down payment of at least ten percent, while keeping the finance term to a maximum of 48 to 60 months. Most subprime lenders also limit payments to a maximum 20 percent of monthly gross household income.

The folks at the Requisite Press, however, tighten these parameters even further with their 20-4-10 rule that “consists of a minimum 20 percent down payment, a maximum 4-year loan term, and monthly payments of no more than 10 percent of gross household income.”

June Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index

In their most recent June Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index (ABAI) Requisite Press found that:

A prudent, median-income family can only afford 52.7 percent of an average-priced new car. In fact, only one-third of American households can afford the $30,342 average price while preserving financial security*. This shrinks to fewer than one in four when insurance for a second car is included. However, consumers can take steps to save 20 percent or more—results that could preserve the financial security of a million additional families.

*Analysis based on the U.S. Census Income Report (September 2013)

Problem Credit Car Loans

The biggest issue for consumers with low credit scores is that the higher-than-normal interest rates of the majority of high-risk car loans often means exceeding both a 48-month loan term ceiling as well as the 10 percent gross income cap.

To help consumers, Requisite Press has even created AffordCheck(SM), a free, online financial assessment tool, based on the 20-4-10 rule that can be accessed here.

The Bottom Line

The fact is that borrowers, especially those who are credit-challenged, should always maximize the down payment amount while keeping both the loan term and payment-to-income ratio to a minimum. By following these guidelines, buyers can avoid financing an unaffordable car.

One more tip: Auto Credit Express helps applicants that have experienced car credit problems find those dealers that can give them their best chances for bad or poor credit auto loan approval.

So if you’re ready to take that first step in reestablishing your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.

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GM Unveils Educator Discount Program

The latest program from General Motors could also help educators and qualified family members who have less than perfect credit

New Car Discounts

GM Unveils Educator Discount Program

At Auto Credit Express we realize that considering the higher cost of new cars, consumers with bad credit typically pick a low-mileage used car. But there are a select group of buyers who might discover that, following a recent announcement from General Motors, financing a new car might be nearly as affordable.

According to a press release issued last week, “Now through Jan. 2, 2015, current employees of a public or private school, university or college are eligible to participate in the new GM Educator Discount program and receive a significant discount on the purchase or lease of a new 2015 or 2014 Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle.”

“GM values the work our educators and support staff are doing across the county to create a strong, responsible workforce for the future,” said Linda Stouffer, manager, Vehicle Purchase Programs. “The GM Educator Discount is our way of showing our support and appreciation for everyone in the education community.”

In addition, GM is also notes that “Eligible Participants are able to sponsor their spouse or same-sex domestic partner (SSDP), where applicable, and dependent children and stepchildren, provided the children are either under 21 years of age or full-time students under 25 years of age on the date of purchase. (Note: Eligible SSDPs are treated the same as spouses and, therefore, their dependent children and stepchildren are also included.)”

The GM Educator Discount

The discount, which is about the same as GM offers to employees of its supplier companies, equates to, roughly, dealer invoice pricing and can be used on any 2015 or 2014 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC model except the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and Spark EV.

In most cases, buyers who quality for the program – even those with credit issues – can also deduct any current GM new car incentives offered on a particular model from the educator discounted price for even greater savings.

But just because an educator with credit issues qualifies for the discount program doesn’t mean it can automatically be used for a high-risk car loan.

Qualifications for Problem Credit Buyers

Even if they quality, borrowers with iffy credit need to remember that they must follow certain guidelines set by the lender.

In this instance it means that once the lender has determined their vehicle budget and interest rate, it’s up to the dealership to show them the cars that fit within those requirements.

In particular, the finance manager has to determine whether a new car eligible for the discount falls within the lender’s guidelines. The fact is, in some cases it will and in some cases it won’t.

Another issue that has to be addressed is that while we only work dealers that finance people with bad credit, not all General Motors new car dealers work with individuals that have experienced past credit issues.

We Can Help

The fact is, if you’re an educator or a qualifying family member and you have poor credit, we can’t promise that we can place you with a participating Chevrolet, Buick or GMC dealer. Even if we can, we also can’t promise that you’ll qualify for a vehicle that will allow you to take advantage of the GM Educator Discount. But then again, no one can.

What we can tell you is that Auto Credit Express helps buyers with damaged credit find those dealers that can offer them their best chances for an auto loan approval. So if you’re ready, you can begin the process at this time by filling out our online car loan application.

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IIHS Recommends Safe Cars for Teen Drivers

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released a list of recommended used cars that are affordable even for those consumers with less than perfect credit

Used cars and problem credit

Creating a Successful Budget

Here at Auto Credit Express we realize that, once their application is approved, most car buyers with bad credit will end up financing a used car. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because, taken as a whole, today’s vehicles are built better and will last longer than ever before.

Because high-risk car loans come with higher than average interest rates, we also recommend that buyers with low credit scores consider an affordable compact or midsize sedan. We also believe anyone considering a used car should first order a vehicle history (with a report from a company such as Carfax) then, if it’s clean, have the vehicle inspected by both an ASE certified master mechanic as well as a body and frame specialist.

But the “to-do” list shouldn’t end there, and we were reminded of this earlier today in a press release from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

IIHS Used Vehicles for Teens

The IIHS, which rates new vehicles for crashworthiness, noted that “Many teenagers are driving vehicles that don’t offer good crash protection and lack important safety technology.”

In a national phone survey of parents that it conducted, the IIHS found that 83 percent of vehicles purchased for teen drivers were used, also pointing out that “for many families, a 2014 Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ isn’t in the budget.”

With that reality in mind, the Institute has compiled a list of affordable used vehicles that meet important safety criteria for teen drivers (see below). There are two tiers of recommended vehicles with options at various price points, ranging from less than $5,000 to nearly $20,000, so parents can buy the most safety for their money, whatever their budget.

List of Safe Used Cars

Since most people with bad credit buying cars are looking in the same price range, here at Auto Credit Express we thought this would be an ideal list for these buyers as well as the teenage drivers in their households.

We had to slice and dice things a bit (some of the vehicles turned out to be too pricey for their age), but the list follows the rules the IIHS set up including:

  • Young drivers should stay away from high horsepower. Vehicles with more powerful engines can tempt them to test the limits.
  • Bigger, heavier vehicles protect better in a crash. There are no minicars or small cars on the recommended list. Small SUVs are included because their weight is similar to that of a midsize car.
  • ESC is a must. This feature, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads, reduces risk on a level comparable to safety belts.
  • Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible. At a minimum, that means good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, acceptable ratings in the IIHS side crash test and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Best Choices

Recommended used vehicles for teens starting under $20,000 (good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. If rated by NHTSA, they earn 4 or 5 stars overall or 4 or 5 stars in the front and side tests under the old rating scheme. All come with standard ESC.)

Prices, rounded to the nearest $100, were taken from Kelley Blue Book on July 1, 2014, for the lowest trim level and earliest applicable model year based on the following criteria: vehicle in good condition, typical mileage and private party purchase in Arlington, Va.

Midsize Cars, Model Years, Price

Honda Accord sedan, 2012 and later; coupe, 2013-14, $14,400
Toyota Camry, 2012 and later, $14,300
Buick Verano, 2012 and later, $14,100
Kia Optima, 2011 and later, $13,300
Hyundai Sonata, 2011 and later, $12,100
Subaru Legacy, 2010 and later, $11,900
Dodge Avenger, 2011 and later, $11,600
Chevrolet Malibu, 2010 and later; built after November 2009, $10,900
Chrysler 200 sedan, 2011 and later, $10,700
Mercury Milan, 2010-11; built after April 2010, $10,700
Ford Fusion, 2010 and later; built after April 2010, $10,200
Volkswagen Passat, 2009 and later, $10,000
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, 2009 and later, $9,400
Volkswagen Jetta, 2009 and later, $8,200

Small SUVs, Model Years, Price

Kia Sportage, 2011 and later, $13,800
Hyundai Tucson, 2010 and later, $13,100
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, 2011 and later, $12,000
Volkswagen Tiguan, 2009 and later, $10,200

For a complete listing of all vehicles including a separate list for “Good Choices”, follow this link.

The Bottom Line

Even if you don’t have a teenager, it pays to buy the safest car you can afford – whether your credit is great or less than perfect. Tin this instance, the new report from the IIHS can go a long way to steering you towards the right vehicle.

One more tip: Auto Credit Express helps applicants with car credit challenges find those dealers for their best opportunities for auto loan approvals.

So if you’re ready to take the next step, you can begin by filling out our online car loan application.

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2015 BMW M4 vs. 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera

2015 BMW M4 vs. 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera

Comparison Tests


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Front to Back: Two wildly divergent approaches to building all the sports car you’d ever need.

<!– From the August 2014 Issue of Car and Driver

If there were a perfect way to construct a car, we would have figured it out by now. In 129 years of automotive development, though, the only consensus in the industry seems to be that four wheels are better than three. The perpetual evolution of the automobile, along with a few steadfast traditions, suggests that a great car is more a matter of practical application than scientific theory.

Few vehicle pairings make this notion more obvious than the Porsche 911 Carrera and the BMW M4, two icons that couldn’t be more different, mechanically speaking. What’s the right way to build a car? Engine ahead of or behind the driver? Naturally aspirated or turbocharged? Interactive three-pedal transmission or a heroically quick automatic? These two cars propose an alternate answer: D) All of the above.


Each car is a reflection of its maker’s Weltanschauung, its worldview. BMW’s hot-rod coupe is the product of a full-line manufacturer adept at turning mainstream cars into performance specials. The 911 has been honed over the past 50 years by sports-car experts who only recently discovered sedans and SUVs. BMW and Porsche have more common ground with the X5 and Cayenne than with the M4 and the 911. Yet matchups like this 28-year rivalry are at the core of our Weltanschauung. What passes for one, anyway.

Price brings them closer together than ever. This particular 911 is refreshingly free of frippery. At $92,140, this manual-transmission, base Carrera sports just $6890 in options, every one of them worthy of a piece of your paycheck. The only excess is the sport exhaust, which pleads a convincing case every time you lean on the gas pedal. The long list of equipment that wasn’t on our test car is a mixed bag of fluff and desirable performance equipment—stuff like a limited-slip differential and adaptive dampers, but also a paint-matched key and leather-covered air vents.


BMW’s new (and, technically, first) M4 starts $20,125 lower than the base 911. We closed that gap with a handful of expensive options such as the $8150 carbon-ceramic brakes, $1200 19-inch wheels, and $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission. Our test car’s final price of $80,325 is nearly double that of the most basic 4-series, for what is almost certainly more than double the car.

So we have a purpose-built sports car versus a factory speed-shop conversion. Who makes the best all-around, all-day-every-day performance car?


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Millennium Rookies: Part II

2004 – Kasey Kenneth Kahne started in open wheel sprint cars in the USAC Series when he was 17 years old. In 2001 he was employed by the legendary sprint car owner, Steve Lewis who had employed Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jason Leffler and Kenny Irwin Jr. Kasey won the USAC Rookie of the Year Award and the Midget championship. Kasey loved the open wheel race cars that he went on to race in the World of Outlaws Series and the Toyota Atlantic Series. Robert Yates gave Kasey a shot in the Nationwide Series but it wasn’t until 2003 that he won his first Nationwide Series race driving for Akins Motorsports.

Kahne went on to the Craftsman Truck Series For two races in 2004 driving a Dodge truck and won both races he entered.  Dodge liked what Kahne did when he drove their trucks to two wins that Ray Evernham gave Kasey a shot in Sprint Cup.

Kahne burst on to the national scene taking over for semi-retired driver and hall of famer Bill Elliott, the most popular driver in his era. His season was most notable for the fact he nearly won several races; he finished second a staggering five times, and usually in dramatic fashion. Witness his second race at Rockingham where he almost beat Matt Kenseth in a dramatic photo finish. When Kasey took the pole the following week at Las Vegas and nearly beat Matt Kenseth again is when the nation noticed there was something special in this kid. Kasey almost became the first rookie to make the Chase, but Dale Earnhardt Jr spun out Kahne late in the race at Rockingham and ended his fatuity.

Kasey did get his first win the following year but you can’t deny his outstanding rookie season, and if Gillett-Evernham didn’t fold, I can bet he would have had better credentials.



  • 2004 Rookie of the Year Award – NASCAR
  • five second place finishes as a rookie
  • 2000 National USAC National Midget Champion
  • 2006, 2008, 2012 Coca Cola 600 winner
  • Career stats, 16 wins, 142 top tens, 26 poles


2005 – Kyle Thomas Busch is the younger of the Busch brothers. He started racing in the Legends Series in the 1990s at the age of 13 where he won 65 Legend car races. He moved on to Late Models in 2001 at the bull rings at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Jack Roush gave the 16 year old a ride in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2001 for six races, and when they got to California Speedway, he was kicked out because the weekend sponsor for the Cart race was Marlboro cigarettes. The reason being  because Federal law prohibited anyone under the age of 18 from participating in a tobacco-sponsored event.

Roughly a month later, NASCAR changed the age requirement for national competition to 18. Kyle joined Hendrick Motor Sports for a limited schedule in the Nationwide Series, finishing second in his second race at Charlotte in 2003. In 2004, Kyle ran a full schedule in the Nationwide Series, winning five races and coming up just short and finishing second to Martin Truex Jr. for the championship.

He got the nod to race Sprint Cup by Mr. Hendrick at the tender young age of 19, winning two races, including his first win at California Speedway where he was thrown out earlier in his career. Kyle is a genuine wheel man; if there is a race with full fendered cars in it, Kyle would be their and his record on NASCAR three biggest series is a testament to his driving abilities.



  • 2005 Rookie of the Year Award – NASCAR
  • Won two races in his rookie year
  • 2005 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year Award
  • 2009 Nationwide Series Champion
  • 2009 Southern 500(Darlington) winner
  • Career stats, 29 wins, 170 top tens, 15 poles


2006 – James Dennis Alan “Denny” Hamlin Jr. began racing at the age of seven in go-karts and by the age of 15, he won the World Karting Association Championship. He went on to Mini-Stocks and in his first race, he won the pole and the race. He took his talents to Late Models in 2002 and in 2003, he dominated, winning 25 races and 30 poles in 36 races. He did a small stint on the ARCA/REMAX Series and finished third at Talladega.

Joe Gibbs signed Denny to a contract in 2005 after what he saw in the Craftsman Truck Series. Denny took over for Mike Bliss, who was let go, in the Nationwide Series. He finished fifth in the points. Denny ran a limited schedule in the Sprint Cup Series in 2005 but proved he was worthy by finishing in the top ten three out of seven races.

He ran the 2006 season as a rookie and became the first rookie to win the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. He became the second rookie to sweep both races at a track, doing it at Pocono.  Jimmie Johnson was the first rookie to sweep at a track, doing so at Dover.

Denny became the first rookie to make the Chase in his rookie year by finishing third in the points. When I think of Denny, I think of him as a stealth driver; he came to Sprint Cup under the radar and quickly showed results.



  • 2006 Rookie of the Year Award – NASCAR
  • Won two races in his rookie year
  • First rookie to make the Chase
  • Career stats, 24 wins, 143 top tens, 18 poles


2009 – Joseph Thomas “Joey” Logano started racing in quarter midgets at the age of six in 1996. The following year he won the Eastern Grand National Championship in the Junior stock car division. He was lights out in 1998 and 1999, winning championships in the Junior Honda Division and Late Modified Division. He just kept on winning championships wherever he went from Bandolero’s to Legend cars, where he set the record of 14 straight wins at Atlanta.

This kid had so many championships at such a young age that Joe Gibbs had to have him. He won at Pocono during his rookie season and showed he could compete by putting himself in position for good finishes. It’s still early in Joey’s career, but what we have seen this year of Joey winning races is only a sliver of sliced bread.



  • 2009 Rookie of the Year Award – NASCAR
  • 1 win his rookie season
  • 2007 Busch East Series Champion
  • Youngest driver to win in Nationwide Series
  • Youngest driver to win in Sprint Cup Series winner
  • Career stats, 5 wins, 69 top tens, 8 poles

Repeating is integral to dynasty status, because it undeniably manifests preeminence at a given time. Sports are about competition because it alone produces rivalry races, moments, and teams. Indeed, the epic moments say as much. They neatly capture the quality of competition on display at a race. Factor in the quality of opposition faced by these rookies and that statistic becomes mind-blowing. Then we have to factor in the quality of the races and performances within those races, like when Kenseth beat out Kayne for a photo finish. It’s euphoric when these rookies win, leading to lucrative careers, and this is why this crop of rookie drivers are the Dynasty of the Millennium.

Part I still posted, Thanks for stopping in.

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2015 Smart Fortwo

2015 Smart Fortwo

Official Photos and Info


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Smart lives on, quirkily.

It was about time. A full 16 years after the launch of the original Smart, and seven years after the second-generation minicar rolled out, the diminutive two-seater is here in its third iteration. The new Fortwo doesn’t come a day too soon to bring a much-needed dynamic back into Smart showrooms; dealers in America will get the car in late 2015 as a ’16 model.

Co-developed with Renault, the new Fortwo shares its platform with the third-generation Twingo. The Smart keeps its rear-engine architecture and continues to be powered by a range of three-cylinder engines. In Europe, it will launch with a naturally aspirated, 70-hp, 1.0-liter engine and a turbocharged, 900-cc powerplant that produces 89 horsepower. A few months later, a 60-horse engine will be added—but not for U.S. consumption. Power is channeled to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. We doubt the three-pedal version will make it to the U.S. What we will get a bit later is a fully electric Smart, a cabriolet, and possibly even a hotted-up Brabus.


There is a new strut-type front suspension, and the deDion rear axle has been modified; a sport suspension will be available. But don’t expect superior driving dynamics from this ultra-short-wheelbase rear-engined vehicle. Smart says the Fortwo is tuned for greater comfort than was offered in previous iterations. The company also claims that the car has been tuned for “gently understeering handling characteristics,” and that the stability-control system is “ready to intervene.”

As with the previous Fortwo, the new car’s beat will be an urban one. At 105.9 inches bumper to bumper, the ultrastubby two-seater is no longer than the outgoing model. It is rather narrow at 65.4 inches; its ultra-tight turning circle, at less than 23 feet, bests its predecessor’s by a considerable margin. The interior, again as before, impresses with great space utilization: The driver and passenger sit in comfort, with generous space in every direction. The trunk holds a full 9.2 cubic feet, or 12.4 when loaded up to the roof. Smart has redesigned the instrument panel, replacing the previous generation’s angular look with a far more rounded piece. We’ve seen indications of this soft look in other vehicles, such as the current Fiat Panda and Kia Soul, but the Smart exaggerates this style and takes it to yet another level. Buyers can specify to have the dash covered in fabric.

Also available are a number of assistance and telematics systems: Daimler will offer an infotainment center in “modern consumer electronics style,” navigation, and an eight-speaker JBL sound system. A crosswind assist system will be standard, with a collision-warning system and a lane-keeping assistant available as options.


Love it or leave it, the new Fortwo’s exterior shape evolves from the previous one-box design to, says Smart, a “one-and-a-half-box” look. With its short, stubby hood, the Fortwo aims for cuteness and succeeds to some extent. Recognizable Smart styling elements include the contrast-color “Tridion cell” (a styling feature that was first seen on a different prototype, the 1991 Esoro E301), triangular door handles, and the horizontally separated liftgate.

We look forward to driving the new Smart Fortwo to ascertain whether the dynamic performance of this highly styled, space-efficient city car improves to an acceptable level.

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2015 BMW M3 Throws Down Huge Dyno Numbers! [Video]

2015 BMW M3 Throws Down Huge Dyno Numbers! [Video]2015 BMW M3 Throws Down Huge Dyno Numbers! [Video]
If there’s one thing you need to know about automotive dynamometers, it’s that no two are likely to ever return the same number. No matter how closely calibrated, if you run the same car on two separate dynos, you’re going to get different output figures. Still, the variations aren’t typically huge—which is why European Auto Source’s dyno pull with a 2015 BMW M3 is so impressive.

EAS strapped an M3 to its dyno and recorded an absurd 424 horsepower and 426 lb-ft of torque—at the wheels. BMW claims that the M3 produces 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft at the crank. Accounting for the typical 15 percent driveline losses from friction, etc., this means the 2015 M3 is really putting down something in the neighborhood of 480 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque at the crank. Assuming the M3 used for this dyno pull is real, that’s awesome news for future owners of the M3 and its two-door sibling, the M4.

2015 BMW M3 Throws Down Huge Dyno Numbers! [Video]2015 BMW M3 Throws Down Huge Dyno Numbers! [Video]

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