Ford GT Carbon Series is the lightest version of Ford’s supercar

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Following up on the announcement that it will build 350 more GTs, Ford revealed another version of its supercar that will be available to customers. It’s the 2019 Ford GT Carbon Series, and it’s the lightest version of this GT model.

Visually, it’s recognizable by its gray paint and the standard exposed carbon fiber stripe down the middle, which showcases the perfectly reflected carbon weave on either side of the car. This stripe can be accentuated with a contrasting color stripe down the middle, along with mirror caps the same color. The accent color choices are restricted to silver, orange, red and blue. Inside, upholstered parts get unique silver stitching, and matte carbon fiber is used for the air vent pods, side sills and center console.

While the visual upgrades are nice, the real appeal of the Carbon Series is that it’s the lightest current GT. Total weight loss is 39 pounds. This is because it includes as standard the optional carbon fiber wheels, titanium exhaust and titanium lug nuts. It also gets a unique rear hatch with lighter glass and additional ventilation. We suspect that Ford could have shaved off a few more pounds if it removed the climate control and radio, but Ford said that GT buyers didn’t want to sacrifice those features.

[Source: Autoblog]

Jeep Wrangler rides into SEMA on new Mopar performance axles

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Mopar is unveiling Jeep Performance Parts axles as the latest off-road accessory to the Jeep Wrangler, which itself won the “4×4/SUV of the Year” honors at SEMA for the ninth consecutive year. The show opens Tuesday and continues through Friday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Mopar teamed with longtime partner and auto supplier Dana to develop the axles, which are co-branded under the name JPP Ultimate Dana 44 AdvanTEK. They’re installed on a Nacho Wrangler concept at Mopar’s 15,345-square-foot display.

The high-strength axles are built in the U.S. and feature gear technology that reduces gear set packaging, with added strength and overall rigidity for the trail. The high-clearance carrier design adds an extra half-inch of ground clearance, with an expanded range of gear ratios (4.56, 4.88, 5.13 and 5.38) to accommodate for more tire sizes. Chromoly axle shafts, thicker quarter-inch steel bracket mounts, 9.5-millimeter tubes and upgraded U-joints also add durability, while a nodular iron differential cover adds rugged looks, and its ribbing adds strength and rigidity.

The direct bolt-in assembly allows for use of OEM components and includes electronic differential lockers already installed.

The axles will be available for purchase starting next month.

Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept is a Ridgeline-based Baja runner

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Honda doesn’t have an off-road truck to compete with the likes of the Ford Raptor or the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, but this concept vehicle is a step in the right direction. Just revealed at SEMA, Honda’s brawny “Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept” is a cross between the Honda Ridgeline and the Honda Pioneer 1000 side-by-side. Honda calls it the “ultimate open-air off-road Honda adventure vehicle,” and we agree that it looks the part.

Some of the specifics are a bit vague from Honda, but the truck uses a heavily modified Ridgeline body and suspension. The interior is Ridgeline-based — there are a lot of hard points similar to our long-term Ridgeline. The shape of the dash and the footwell area seem nearly identical, and the instrument cluster hasn’t changed one iota. Honda doesn’t mention the engine it uses, but the safe guess would be the 3.5-liter V6 out of the donor truck. If that’s the case, then this truck is probably mighty fast given all of the parts removed.

There are plenty of components donated from the Pioneer 1000, too. Production Pioneer doors fit right up, and Honda modified the bed and tailgate from it for duty here. A Pioneer steering wheel was mounted on the Ridgeline steering column as well. The interior has a few other cool features too like full weatherproofing for the outdoor elements. Our favorite part is the reskinned Civic Type R seats. Those svelte buckets look perfect for some serious sand dune destruction. A couple RAM smartphone holder mounts round out the interior modifications.

Skid plates and cladding are everywhere, with much of the design being borrowed from Pioneer 1000 styling, just blown up to truck size. It feels a bit like a Baja family truck. Chuck the kids in the rear seats, tenting gear in the bed, and point it into the desert. Sadly, it’s a concept vehicle, but that doesn’t make us want to go bombing around off-road in it any less.

[Source: Autoblog]

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo gets new performance parts at SEMA

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Hyundai is planning a line of aftermarket performance parts being developed for the 2019 Veloster Turbo sport coupe and, it says, other sporty models.

New accessory parts include a high-performance K&N high-flow air filter, Borla axle-back exhaust systems, a B&M sport shift kit, Eibach springs and anti-roll bars, and lightweight, performance alloy wheels. Hyundai is putting its stamp of approval on the parts, saying it validated them all and adding that the components do not invalidate the automaker’s various warranties, including its 10-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. The parts will be sold through Hyundai dealers.

The 2019 Veloster Turbo gets a new multi-link suspension, replacing a torsion-beam configuration, plus aluminum suspension parts to save on weight and sharpen handling dynamics. The base Veloster, which starts at $19,385 including destination charge, is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. Higher trim levels get a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that puts out 201 hp and 195 lb-ft.

Hyundai says it will continue to expand aftermarket performance offerings for models like the Veloster Turbo, Elantra Sportand Elantra GT Sport.

2019 Ford Series 1 Mustang RTR arrives with Vaughn Gittin Jr. drift car looks

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Ford is offering a limited-edition Mustang for 2019 called the Series 1 Mustang RTR. Built as a collaboration with Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his RTR team, the car consists mostly of aesthetic modifications to a Performance Pack 1-equipped Mustang GT or EcoBoost.

The one big performance enhancement it does get, though, is a Ford Performance suspension with adjustable sway bars. When you see Gittin Jr., it’s normally in a Mustang sliding sideways, so that’s why this Mustang gets the adjustable suspension. You can set it up to best suit track time, drifting, drag strip runs or normal road driving. It’s compatible with both the standard shocks and MagneRide suspension option. A 19-inch wheel package finishes the running gear changes.

To set it apart from your run-of-the-mill Mustangs, the Series 1 changes up the front end design with an RTR grille, lighting and graphics package. An aero package is highlighted by a spoiler with an RTR gurney flap. Of course, there are plenty of RTR badges throughout, and you get a serialized dash plaque for authenticity. There will only be 500 Series 1 Mustang RTRs made for the 2019 model year.

This whole package will be treated as a dealer installed option, and comes with the normal Ford warranty for the Mustang. It’s slated to be available at dealerships in early 2019 for the time being. Chances are that buying this won’t turn you into a drifter like Gittin Jr., but you can get a Mustang with some of the looks now.

[Source: Autoblog]

Ford rolls out 7 wild off-road and performance F-Series trucks for SEMA

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Ford is bringing an F-Series truck for everyone to the SEMA show this year. Whether you fancy off-road madness or fast street trucks, there appears to be one of everything. Here’s the rundown:

Gen-2 Full-Race Motorsports ‘Freak-O-Boost’ F-150

This truck (pictured above in the gallery) is for the off-road enthusiasts. A three-inch lift kit and Icon Vehicle Dynamics suspension along with some Raptor bits give it extra capability off the pavement. Bead-lock wheels and all-terrain tires are there to help as well. There’s apparently plenty of power to be had, as Full-Race Motorsports applied a twin-turbo upgrade, cat-back exhaust, HeadGames Motorworks cylinder heads and a high-flow fuel pump. This particular F-150started out life with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, but all these changes transform it into quite the off-road beast.
Ford F-Series 2018 SEMA

Transfer Flow F-150

If you were looking for the ultimate adventure truck, Transfer Flow seems to have it covered. Starting with the 3.0-liter diesel V6, this truck gets an off-road air suspension by Hellwig Products. Big off-road tires give it the rugged appearance to go with the extra capability. There’s a 50-gallon fuel tank on board, along with a 40-gallon in-bed auxiliary toolbox combo with a refueling kit too. Yeah, you’ll probably have enough fuel for some adventuring here.

Ford F-Series 2018 SEMA

Kurt Busch and ZB Customs F-150

But maybe you wanted 1,000 horsepower, as any reasonable person might desire. Enter the 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 F-150with exactly that much power. This truck has JE forged pistons, Ford Performance forged rotating assembly, oil pan and pump and side-exit exhaust. The suspension is dropped two-inches and it rides on JRi Shocks’ hydraulic ride height system. PAC Racing coilovers and sway bars should help keep the 1,000 horsepower in line a little bit better too. Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar tires are brought to a halt by eight-piston Brembos up front and four-piston calipers in the rear.

Ford F-Series 2018 SEMA

Speedkore F-150

This one doesn’t have 1,000 horsepower, but it does have the 5.0-liter V8 with the Ford Performance supercharger tacked on. Lowered by three inches, it has some MaxTrac suspension components and the same eight-piston Brembos from the previous truck. Tons of exterior enhancements make the sport truck look the part, and a side-exit exhaust should grab people’s attention who didn’t see the stealthy truck at first.

Ford F-Series 2018 SEMA

Wilderness Collective F-250 Super Duty

Here’s another lifted adventure truck, this one designed and put together by a tour company, Wilderness Collective. It gets a two-inch air lift kit along with off-road wheels and tires. This truck is one of the few that doesn’t get a big power bump, but the focus here is on being able to take it anywhere. It has a full radio communications kit and lights everywhere to illuminate your way ahead. Plenty of camping and wilderness friendly add-ons are found tied to or mounted all over the truck too.

Extang F-350 Super Duty

Extang F-350 Super Duty

This truck is designed to be the ultimate tailgating accessory. It has a slide out game table, BBQ grill and cooler plus a 65-inch 4K TV to watch all the games on. Mechanically, it features a specially designed air suspension along with 24-inch wheels. It literally comes with everything you might need when hanging out before a big game.

Ford F-Series 2018 SEMA

Deberti Design F-250 Super Duty Work Truck

Most of the trucks here weren’t made for the average work truck needs, but this one strives to be the best work truck it can be. There’s a twin-turbo kit from Midwest Diesel & Auto that pumps the power all the way up to 900 horsepower. Adjustable Fox shocks and Hellwig airbags make up the important suspension modifications, while bead-lock wheels and off-road tires give it some extra ability when the worksite is extra gnarly.

[Source: Autoblog]

Hyundai and Kia will offer AI assistants in 2019 cars

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Hyundai and Kia both have reputations as early adopters of in-car tech, and that’s truer than ever now that voice assistants are becoming a practical reality on the road. The Korean automakers have revealed that they plan to include AI assistants in their new cars starting from 2019, with every vehicle being “connected” by 2025. As Hyundai explained, they’ve been working with SoundHound to create an Intelligent Personal Agent (based on Houndify) that both makes proactive suggestions (such as reminding you of a meeting) and offers remote control of both your car and your home.

This sounds a whole lot like what other voice assistants do, but the car brands are counting on support for “multiple-command recognition” as the ace up their sleeve. If you tell your car to check the weather and turn on the lights at the same time, it’ll do both instead of scratching its head like so many other AI helpers.

You won’t have to wait until 2019 to see the technology in action. Hyundai will unveil Intelligent Personal Agent at CES 2018, and it’ll test a “simplified” take on the Agent in hydrogen fuel cell cars slated to drive on South Korean roads throughout the year. It’s hard to say if IPA will have an advantage over companies borrowing “off-the-shelf” AI like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, but it’s more the ubiquity that will be important — you won’t have to buy a premium-priced model to treat your car like a smart home hub.

[Source: Autoblog]