• During this vile, never-ending winter, motorists had three options to keep their cars clean: Shell out on regular car washes; slave away in the cold, wind and snow washing it yourself, or screw it and just drive a dirty car. I, like many, chose the last option. But if only I'd been able to test Nissan's self-cleaning car, all my troubles would have washed away.

    Nissan revealed today that it's testing a super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint, impervious to water and oils. The technology, sold by UltraTech under the name of Ultra-Ever Dry, is in prototype form as applied by the carmaker's European engineers on a Nissan Note. In many ways, it works like Rain X (where the solution's polymers react with pores in the windshield glass to create a barrier that repels precipitation). Ultra-Ever dry creates a layer of air between the paint and environment; when mud, dirt or oils touch the surface, it rolls off leaving a clean, streak-free appearance.

    Water-resistant coatings aren't new, and

    Read More »from Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete
  • If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa, sent to us by Quentin D. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one. If you have a shot to share, please add it to the Motoramic group on Flickr, or send us a message via Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

    Read More »from Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day
  • Ford Octane Academy

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy  might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

    The ST Octane Academy is up and revving at Miller Motorsports Park near Park City, Utah, the $85 million, 511-acre playground created by the late Larry Miller, the owner of the Utah Jazz, auto dealership mogul and vintage car collector.

    Opened in 2006, Miller Motorsports has been ground zero for Ford driver training, including extreme off-roading  in Ford’s near-insane Raptor pickup. Miller’s Boss Track Attack program also highlights the famous loyalty of Mustang fans: 22 percent of people who bought a Boss 302 Mustang, or more than 1,500 students, have made the pilgrimage to Utah to put the Boss through its

    Read More »from Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners
  • Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one variation that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today? 

    It's not easy knowing what's green in the auto industry. Last year's "Green Car of the Year" as chosen by the Green Car Journal — the Honda Accord hybrid and plug-in — doesn't even appear on the "Greenest Cars of 2014" list as chosen by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy; only three of ACEEE's picks carry over to Kelly Blue Book's own eco-friendly list. Much of that's due to automakers trying to optimize their vehicles to solve different pollution problems;  high-efficiency diesels may score badly on smog ratings, while flex-fuel vehicles that reduce oil dependence by burning ethanol or natural gas get lower MPGs.

    For most environmentally

    Read More »from Why you can't buy America's greenest car
  • The TT – Audi's diminutive sports car. Since production began in 1998, the two-door coupe has aged with the pugnacity of a grizzled New Yorker, but kept its small proportions. And why would it change, as the arrival of the '09 TT RS proved, adding some grit makes for a rather captivating dish. And so you'll excuse me for being puzzled by the Audi TT Offroad concept. The "off-road" part, specifically.

    The TT, a singular model in the truest sense of the word (if you can count both coupe and roadster as one), verges on plurality. The TT will, it seems, spawn offspring – ones that are bigger, fatter and run off electricity.

    The TT Offroad combines two electric power units with a 292-hp turbocharged four-cylinder combustion engine. A separating clutch links the lump to a 40kW electric motor, with a dual clutch transmission routing power to the front wheels. The second electric motor, sat on the rear axle independent of the other two, adds a further 199 lb.-ft. of torque to the tally. All

    Read More »from Audi TT Offroad concept debuts as a 124-mpg hybrid with wireless charging
  • The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day

    The Lotus Europa was one of the stranger sports cars of the '70s, but still managed to corner like a sheepdog thanks to its low weight and fiberglass body. This example caught by Dave Lindsay is fairly typical of the nicer early '70s Type 62 Europas Lotus exported to the United States; by today's standards they're odd, underpowered and unreliable — which means they have a fervent fan base. If you have a shot to share, please add it to the Motoramic group on Flickr, or send us a message via Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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  • Marc Marquez of Honda at the MotoGP in Austin, Texas.

     In MotoGP, a most strange sport, compact, highly fit men, most of them Spanish, Italian, Japanese, or Australian, maneuver 350-lb., multimillion-dollar motorcycles around Formula 1 tracks at 210 mph while wearing computerized suits that inflate when they fall off at speed. It feels as though you’re watching Tron live, and the crashes are just as spectacular. Driving these things requires a lot of nerve, as well as generous levels of Euro-style machismo. The riders of MotoGP can’t walk down the street in Barcelona or Milan without being followed by screaming fans. They’re like some sort of unholy marriage between Daft Punk and Apollo astronauts. In the United States, they’re just guys walking down the street.

    Though the riders are extremely skilled, the sport, like F1, also involves a rarified level of technology. Eight of the MotoGP riders, the ones who drive for Honda, Ducati, and Yamaha, the teams that actually have money, wear high-tech suits made by AlpineStars. The suits have

    Read More »from Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph
  • We've seen Ken Block slide his 650-hp Ford Fiesta rally car through the streets of San Fransisco and, more recently, around Miley Cirus' wrecking ball. But how he is he at playing soccer while doing these things?

    It turns out, quite good.

    Welcome to the world of Footkhana, where Ken Block faces his toughest challenge yet — defeat Neymar, Jr., a Brazilian soccer football star, in a head-to-head battle of fancy footwork.

    Let's get one thing straight, in this video shot by Castrol motor oil, it's football — because naming a video "Sockhana" doesn't have the same ring. And because soccer is actually a game you play with your foot, unlike our version of football.

    Next, it makes me cringe watching Neymar, Jr., who currently plays for Barcelona, kick a ball against Block's stunning rally car; however I suppose all is fair when Block nearly mows down Neymar's on-hand goalkeeper, Lassi Hurskainen — who, like Block, knows a thing or two about viral videos.

    Watch the video below to see the

    Read More »from Ken Block plays soccer in his 650-hp rally car, because "Footkhana"
  • When you think of Britain, many things spring to mind — Monty Python, James Bond, rain, bad teeth and more rain. From an automotive perspective, the most quintessentially British brand (even though it's now technically Indian) would likely be Jaguar, or maybe even Rolls Royce (now German). But there is one little automaker that embodies everything Britain does best, only usually, it's a bit of an afterthought: The Morgan Motor Company.

    The small carmaker from Malvern, England, founded by Mr. Morgan back in 1910, has a new car in its model lineup. And in true Morgan fashion, it looks like it's from the 1940s — only quite a lot faster and costs nearly $120,000.

    To celebrate the company's 100th year at its Pickersleigh Road factory, Morgan has released the Plus 8 Speedster. Fans of the brand will know that the Plus 8 has been a featured model for around 50 years, but a speedster version, well, that just makes it better.

    Power derives from a 4.8-liter V-8 sourced from BMW, good for 367 hp.

    Read More »from Morgan's $120,000 Plus 8 Speedster brings the 1940s to today
  • Every car brand likes to market themselves as the best. From "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection" that launched Lexus to the top of most quality surveys, to "The Ultimate Driving Machine" solidifying the performance pedigree of BMW, automakers like to tell us that they alone are going to offer the absolute best long-term ownership experience. 

    But are they telling the truth?

    I have been a car dealer, an auctioneer, and part-owner of an auto auction over the past 15 years. During that time, I have seen a lot of easily detectable patterns between those brands that have truly stood by their promise, and those that were merely giving lip service.

    However, one man's experience can only go so far. That's why over the past year and a half, I have co-developed a long-term reliability study that now has nearly 350,000 sample trade-ins from all over the country.

    These vehicles were all independently inspected and appraised by professional car buyers who are trained to detect mechanical and

    Read More »from A car dealer's data-driven guide to the 10 most reliable brands

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