• Toyota teases Back to the Future Tacoma

    October 18, 2015

    Toyota is teasing what could be a special edition Tacoma or a one-off custom commemorating the Back to the Future films.

    Marty McFly, the trilogy’s hero played by Michael J. Fox, may have done his time traveling in a DeLorean, but his dream car was a 1985 Toyota SR5 4WD. It’s waiting for him in the garage when he returns from changing the past to the “good” timeline.

    In Back to the Future II, Marty travels 30 years into the future to October 21, 2015, a date that will soon be upon us in real time. To commemorate the occasion and the part it played in the hit movie, Toyota is promising a reveal on that magical date.

    Toyota has released a commercial for the fictional Statler Toyota, the dealership advertising Marty’s truck in the original film. At the end, there are two vehicles under covers. We already know that Toyota is tying in the movies to launch the futuristic Mirai, and we can safely assume that’s what’s under the cover on the left.

    On the right, however, is what appears to be a black Tacoma with a brush guard and auxiliary lamps. A roll bar mounted with a row of KC Daylighters can also be seen from the shape of the covers.

    While the Mirai is expected to be the big reveal, we suspect most enthusiasts and movie buffs will be more excited about the Tacoma instead. Toyota has also created a minisite whose URL references the license plate of Doc’s DeLorean, OUTATIME. All will be revealed there on October 21.

  • Tokyo Preview: Yamaha motorcycle-inspired sports car

    October 18, 2015

    Yamaha has announced that it will debut a new concept at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. While the company is most well known for making motorcycles and ATVs, this creation appears to be a sports car.

    Yamaha has yet to reveal any information about the vehicle, other than to say that the “design concept is inspired by motorcycles and expresses the Unique Style of Yamaha.” The silhouette suggests a mid-engine layout, due to a very low cowl and hood and a canopy-style cabin that sits far forward enough to leave room for a transverse-mounted engine driving the rear wheels. Taking the proportion of the cabin into account, it is likely that the engine is a motorcycle-derived 4-cylinder.

    Most buyers are familiar with seeing the Yamaha brand on motorcycles, outboard motors, and musical instruments, but the firm has a long history of building automotive engines, as well as entire cars. In the late 1960s, Yamaha had a carrozzeria operation, building low-production high-end cars like the 1967 Toyota 2000GT.

    Over the years, Yamaha has also helped develop various manufacturers with engine development, including Toyota for a number of twin-cams, Lexus for the LFA’s V10 and Ford for the SHO V6. Yamaha has also built Formula One engines, and in the early 90s briefly marketed a 450-horsepower V12 supercar, the OX99-11.

    Yamaha’s rival Honda unveiled a motorcycle-inspired sports car earlier this year.

  • GM-owned Opel reveals track-bound Astra TCR with 330 hp

    October 18, 2015
    General Motors’ Germany-based Opel division has introduced the Astra TCR, its latest race car.

    Based on the new Astra hatchback that debuted in Frankfurt, the track-only model was designed to compete in the recently-inaugurated TCR series, a three-pillar event that includes national, international and continental championships. All three series have the exact same set of regulations, so the Astra is eligible to race anywhere in the world.

    The Astra TCR gains a full body kit that includes a deep front bumper with massive air dams, vents integrated into the hood, alloy wheels tucked under flared fenders all around and a wide air diffuser built into the rear bumper. An oversized roof-mounted wing provides the downforce required to keep the Astra on four wheels at high speeds.

    Opel has fitted the Astra with a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 330 horsepower and 309 lb-ft. of torque, the maximum permitted by TCR regulations. The turbo four spins the front wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox controlled by shift paddles. Performance figures haven’t been published yet.

    Opel will begin testing the TCR-bound Astra later this month, and the first deliveries are scheduled for next year. In Germany, it carries a base price of €95,000, a sum that converts to approximately $108.000. When it lines up on the starting grid, the Astra will have to fend off competition from Honda Civics, SEAT Leons and Volkswagen Golfs, the same cars that it is up against off the track.

  • Audi introduces limited-edition A5 DTM selection edition

    October 18, 2015

    Audi has introduced a limited-edition version of the A5 whose design is inspired by the heavily-modified RS 5 that competes in the German Touring Car Master’s (DTM) racing series.

    The A5 DTM selection edition stands out thanks to a misano red paint job, gigantic Audi Sport emblems on the doors and on the hood as well as gloss black trim on both ends. It rides on 20-inch alloy wheels.

    The cockpit boasts sport seats plucked from the RS 5 parts bin, misano red trim on the center console and a flat-bottomed steering wheel that’s partially upholstered in Alcantara. The rest of the cabin is largely standard A5 fare, though the limited-edition model boasts puddle lights that project the DTM logo.

    Similarly, Volkswagen-owned Audi hasn’t made any mechanical modifications to the A5. The DTM Selection edition is powered by a stock 3.0-liter TDI V6 engine that delivers 245 horsepower and 427 lb-ft. of torque, enough to send the coupe from zero to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds. The oil-burner’s power is transferred to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    Limited to just 50 examples, the Audi A5 DTM selection edition is priced at €74,540, a sum that converts to over $85,000. In comparison, the regular-production TDI-powered A5 that it’s based on starts at €51,550 (almost $59,000) in Germany.

    DTM woes

    Audi’s DTM-inspired A5 is a little bit of an enigma. The RS 5 has had a rough season this year, and Audi is currently placed third behind long-time rivals Mercedes-AMG and BMW in the manufacturer’s championship. The 2015 season’s finale will take place tomorrow on the Hockenheimring in Germany.