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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Driving impressions from the MAMA Spring Rally
Track testing a car is one of the true joys of the job, but winding out 10 cars in one morning makes for a special day indeed.
And that’s just what we had the chance to do this week at one of America’s premiere regional events for auto journalists. Each year the Midwest Automotive Media Association holds its Spring Rally at one of the most impressive tracks in the country: Road America.
With over 90 different cars available to test, at least two dozen were available to be evaluated on the impressive and intimidating 4.048 mile track. Here are a few initial impressions from 10 different cars we were able to test, ranging from a Mazda3 to a Mercedes E63 AMG.
Sedans were all the rage this week with AutoGuide.com‘s most watched videos.
From our review of the 2015 Subaru WRX STI to our first look video of the 2015 Dodge Charger, car shoppers worldwide took a closer look at all the four-door models available in today’s market. Of course, no sedan shopper can ignore the 2015 Toyota Camry as well.
Watch the videos below and subscribe to the AutoGuide YouTube channel here.
Top 10 Track Specials Under $60,000
Driving is a mundane task for some people, but for others it’s a sport, and there’s no better proving ground than a track.
Automakers see that opportunity as well, and love to offer up cars that are designed specifically with track use in mind. Take a look at the latest offering from Subaru and Scion, the BRZ/FR-S twins. Both cars were designed with a priority on light-weight, and achieves an impressive weight balance. In true sporting fashion, it’s rear-wheel drive and can be had with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, or quick automatic with race-inspired paddle-shifters.
The FR-S isn’t the only car out there with racing in its veins. Here’s a list of factory-customized machines designed for time at the track.
10. Subaru WRX STI: 305-hp $34,095
One of the most wonderful sensations come when you command a whole handful of power just with the flexing of your right foot. Horsepower is an intoxicating element when it comes to driving, but that doesn’t mean that it’s saved for the most expensive vehicles out there.
The Subaru rallycross team is gearing up for a new season of racing, and is drumming up excitement by releasing this video of the three WRX STI entry cars having some some fun out on the track.
The video features two-wheel corners, high intensity racing, helicopter action shots and slow-motion shoes. The shoes come courtesy of Puma sports apparel, who is the chief sponsor of the team for 2012.
Tire burning action and tough looking race cars always make for an exciting video, and the Subaru rallycross team knows how to entertain.
Watch the video below.
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When the 1973 Volkswagen Beetle first came out, it was powered by a 1.3L air-cooled engine with a mere 44-hp. Considering there are over 70 cars that make 500-hp or more, the stock Beetle powerplant just doesn’t cut it these days.
So imagine what this Beetle feels like packing at least 282-hp with a 2.0L turbocharged, boxer Subaru WRX STi engine in the rear. This swapped Volkswagen Beetle is up for sale on a Romanian website for a ridiculous $79,500 (€59,990). With it though, are Porsche-sourced brakes, wheels, and other accessories.
We imagine it’s probably a ton of fun trying to control this Beetle on the road and is definitely an interesting choice of engine swap donor and donee.
GALLERY: Subaru WRX STi Powered VW Beetle
Subaru has announced that Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude will return as factory team drivers for their entry in the Grand Sport (GS) class of the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The first round of the series will take place at Daytona International Speedway on January 27th, 2012.
Subaru will be fielding a race-prepped 2012 four-door WRX STI, developed specifically to compete with all the other 400-hp vehicles in the class. Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) has been working on a technical progression for the number-35 STI during the off-season and appears to be optimistic heading into round one of the championship.
SRRT Principal Joe Aquilante noted, “We’ve enjoyed a very productive off-season, and our team is looking forward to getting back to the business of racing our Subaru WRX STI. Our drivers have been focusing on honing their physical fitness while our technical staff has been diligently progressing our car development plan. To say that we’re excited for Daytona is an understatement.”
Round one of the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge starts January 27th at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.
Some cars handle better than others in snow and as high-performance beasts go, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII is certainly among the best.
The Evo, as it is commonly called by enthusiasts, is a lot like the Subaru WRX STi. They’re both beefed up rally versions of their manufacturer’s humdrum sedans. Stiff suspension, power-a-plenty and a rigorous all-wheel drive systems make these the go-to for off road racers.
That really doesn’t mean anything, though, if you’re caught in a snowy pile up on the highway like the driver in the video below was. Thankfully for him and his car, he understood that driving on an embankment and dinging up his ride was better than stomping on the brakes and sliding out of control. According to the West Virginia Metro News, about 30 vehicles were involved in the crash.
Unfortunately for so many others around him, winter defensive driving is an easily forgotten skill that can save you money and your life. Just remember that front- rear- or all-wheel drive cars cant do diddly without a driver’s due diligence. Stay calm, dress warm and keep a kit in your car in case you get stuck.
That said, there’s a reason our review of the 2011 Evo MR features us hooning around in the snow: it’s damn fun. You don’t buy this car for comfort, you buy it because road gripping, lane churning performance and precision are an enthusiast’s bread and butter.
You can watch the video below, and as always— drive safe. Warning: there is a lot of swearing in the video.
Subaru of America will be showing off several of their record setting race cars alongside custom Subaru Performance Tuning models at this year’s SEMA Show. Also at the Subaru booth this year will be the Isle of Man record setting WRX STI making its US debut alongside David Higgins’ 2011 Rally America Champion WRX STI.
Subaru also plans on debuting several custom performance cars including their Subaru Performance Tuning 2012 WRX STI 4-door, Kicker Audio 2012 WRX STI 5-door, Subaru 2012 Impreza Sport 5-door accessory vehicle, Subaru 2012 Impreza 4-door accessory vehicle and Subaru 1986 XT Drive Magazine restoration project car.
Both SRT USA drivers David Higgins and Dave Mirra will also be at the Subaru booth to sign autographs on November 1st from 11 AM-1 PM and November 2nd from 11 AM-1 PM.