Looking back, and forward – Automotive Review
We’ve covered a lot of topics this year, and what a year it has been. From revamped classics to dangerous recalls, it has been quite the interesting year for gear-heads. The AutoShack.com Automotive Review takes a look back on some of the biggest stories of the year and looks forward to next year.
Reviving the beasts
In an era of hybrid electric cars with solar-powered charging stations, a brand new muscle car is something of a myth. This year saw the release of classic muscle cars from each of the big 3 automakers. These weren’t just cars with a classic name badge on them, these were true powerhouses that lived up to their reputations:
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
While the modern Mustang has been around for a while now, it’s taken until this year to officially return to its roots. The GT350 features a 5.2 litre V8 producing over 500 horsepower controlled through a six-speed manual transmission. The pony car also features a flat-crank, known to improve power a create an even more distinctive muscle car roar. The GT350 is rumored to cost roughly $55,000USD.
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The Corvette never really disappeared, but the newly revamped Z06 package has been the most exciting performance package since the Stingray. The Z06 features a 6.2L turbocharged V8 producing over 650 horsepower controlled through either a 7 speed manual or 8 speed automatic transmission. It’s no surprise that the Z06 topped many reviewers best of lists. The Z06 starts at $78,000USD.
2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat
Perhaps the other two muscle cars were simply too tame. If you found yourself yawning at the thought of a measly 500 horsepower GT350, then this is the car for you. The Challenger Hellcat features a 6.2L supercharged V8 producing a completely bonkers 707 horsepower controlled through either a 6 speed manual or 8 speed automatic transmission. The Challenger Hellcat is far and away the best bang for your buck, starting at $59,995USD (Fun fact, the average cost of buying a horse is roughly $2000. With the Hellcat, each horsepower costs roughly $85. So in these tough economic times, save money and buy a Hellcat!)
Recalling the year
2013 saw around 22 million vehicles recalled. While certainly a staggering number, it paled in comparison to the more than 60 million recalled in 2014. Sadly, this section of our 2014 Automotive Review has some large numbers. There were two major recalls, with both domestic and import vehicles being affected:
GM recall – Ignition switch
Faulty ignition switches lead to numerous problems. The issue centered around the ignition system recognizing if it was in the run position or not. Outside of the run position, airbags would not deploy in accidents. Despite the efforts of GM, there have currently been nearly 50 wrongful deaths and over 100 claims of injury from faulty ignition systems.
Takata recall – Airbags
The biggest recall, and perhaps the biggest automotive news story of the year is the still ongoing saga of the Takata airbag recalls. while the initial fault was first discovered in April of 2013, it wasn’t until Toyota issued a recall in June of 2014 that the scope of the recall began to unfold. Citing production errors, Takata has produced dangerous and often lethal airbags. To this date, nearly 25 million vehicles worldwide have been affected by the recalls. You can see a list of vehicles listed under the recall here. We strongly urge you to check to see if your vehicle is included, as this recall affects both import and domestic vehicles.
Looking To The Future
One of the most talked about cars of the year wasn’t a wild supercharged beast, it was a hybrid. The term “hybrid” often stirs up images of Prius’s with a 0-60 time coincident with Halley’s comet. Our 2014 Automotive Review was just excited as the rest of the auto industry for the BMW i8.
The 2015 BMW i8
This isn’t a spaceship from 2099, this is a BMW. The i8 has a 1.5L turbocharged engine for the rear wheels, and an electric motor for the front, totaling 357 HP. This allows the i8, which boasts a 0-60 of just 4.2 seconds, to get nearly 80 MPG. The i8 also features new carbon fibre materials in the body. While only offering roughly 40km on an electric charge, the two motors working in harmony create a unique performance unlike any other vehicle on the road. The BMW i8 has an MSRP of $135,700 USD
This brings up the fact that Tesla introduced us to, electric vehicles are undoubtedly the future of automotive performance. If you’re unsure of electricity and the future of racing, look no further than the McLaren P1 (a sub 7-minute lap at the Nurburgring, tested from -40°C to 50°C) or the Tesla Model S P85D (0-60 in 3.2 seconds).
A New Year – A new ride
With the amount of performance vehicles available, it’s never been a better time to be a car enthusiast. We stand now on the brink of some major paradigm shifts in the auto industry, with electricity emerging as soon-to-be dominant force in driving. Not ready to throw in the towel, the big 3 showed us that the combustion engine still has a few tricks up it’s sleeve.
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