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Trans-Canada Highway

Reporting on the automotive industry, including recalls and other news, motorsports and blog posts

Speeding Lamborghini spins out on B.C. highway

JORDAN CHITTLEY

The driver and passenger of a fast-moving Lamborghini Murcielago both walked away after spinning out on Highway 99 south of Vancouver, smashing into a chain link fence and catching fire.

The spin-out was captured Sunday on a dash camera by a motorist in the left lane. It shows the Lamborghini fly past the motorist, who was reportedly travelling at about 110 km/h, dart in and out of traffic and then wipe out in a cloud of dust while trying to change lanes.

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So long, Detroit Three. Hello, Detroit Two

JEREMY CATO

In what is shaping up to be the automotive equivalent of the 2011 Melbourne Cup photo finish – Dunaden won not by a nose, but a nose hair over Red Cadeaux – Chrysler Canada is just 2,576 units behind Ford of Canada in sales through the first 11 months of 2014 (Ford, 269,198 and Chrysler, 266,622).

If Ford wins, the victory will go to a Dearborn/Detroit-based car company. If Chrysler wins, it will go to an auto maker whose Dutch parent is based in The Netherlands with headquarters in London, and whose North American affiliate no longer has the name of Chrysler founder Walter P. Chrysler as its corporate moniker – for the first and only time since Walter P. founded the company in 1925.

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All we want for Christmas: Not a minivan

JEREMY CATO

Those who have been nice rather than naughty say they’d most like Santa to leave them a sport-utility vehicle under the tree.

A minivan? Not so much.

A DesRosiers Automotive Consultants survey of 1,547 Canadians found that more than 22 per cent of Canadians would most like to awake Christmas morning to find an SUV wrapped up and topped by a shiny bow. On the other hand, just 6.6 per cent want a minivan – which appears to be the automotive equivalent of a lump of coal.

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Calgary police charge ‘worst driver’ after video goes viral

JORDAN CHITTLEY

A woman dubbed “Calgary’s worst driver” has been located, charged with unsafe backing and fined $115, according to Calgary Police.

A five-minute video went viral over the weekend – it showed the driver of a BMW X3 hitting a parked vehicle, making a cringe-worthy 43-point turn and then fleeing the scene. The driver spends about four minutes trying to do something that would take an average driver no more than 10 seconds.

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Ford trucks dominate list of most stolen vehicles in Canada

Jordan Chittley

Ford pickup trucks make up seven of the top 10 spots for most frequently stolen vehicles in Canada in 2013, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Out of the 72,804 vehicles that were stolen in 2013, the vehicle topping the list isn’t one we often see on the roads – the 2007 Ford F-350. The F-350 is a big, rugged pickup truck used for heavy duty jobs.

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BMW to offer plug-in hybrid version on all core-brand models

Jeremy Cato

BMW is determined to turn the ultimate driving machines in its lineup into the ultimate electrified driving machines.

The Munich-based luxury car maker says it will eventually offer plug-in hybrid versions of all its core-brand models. The latest to join the auto makers electrified lineup is the 3-Series plug-in. Based on the concept, details of which are now available, BWM’s most popular model will be available with the technology already in the i-brand models, says the company.

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Vancouver police defend mocking Lamborghini driver after impounding car

Jordan Chittley

The Vancouver Police Department is defending the decision to tweet a photo of a Lamborghini being towed after it was clocked allegedly going more than twice the speed limit.

Since the story was posted Thursday, many commenters on The Globe and Mail website and on Facebook have suggested that the actions of the police were “inappropriate” and unprofessional because of the lack of due process.

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Don't want to pay for a Land Rover? There's a knock-off

Jordan Chittley

If you don’t want to pay full price for a Louis Vuitton purse, a Rolex watch or a Burberry scarf there are no shortage of knockoffs for sale around the world.

In a few months from now car buyers in China will be able to purchase a vehicle that looks strikingly similar to the Range Rover Evoque.

The new Landwind X7 debuted recently at the Guangzhou Auto Show and is an almost-perfect clone right down to the lettering above the grill. Even though it is said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Jaguar Land Rover isn’t pleased. The X7 is going to sell for about a quarter the price of the Evoque – $24,000 as compared to $107,000 – and, according to Bloomberg, JLR is investigating whether Jiangling Motors, which jointly owns Landwind, has copied design elements.

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Top Gear star makes man sell BMW for charity

Staff

 

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All we still want for Christmas and Channukah are Power Wheels

Jordan Chittley and Katherine Scarrow

Remember those Christmas mornings when, as a child, you'd would rush outside to show off your new toys only to realize that your neighbours' were so much better?

For us that feeling was never more pronounced than in the 80s, when Power Wheels hit the scene.

Those other kids on the street could just cruise around like adults in their cool-looking Jeeps while we were stuck begging for a turn to drive. Luckily those plastic machines only travelled about 5 km/h so we could easily keep up on foot. But walking took considerable amount more effort.

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700 HP and nowhere to go because of Toronto traffic

DARREN McGEE

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is a 707-horsepower fire-breathing heavy metal muscle-machine monster.

Or so I’ve been told.

I only know that it looks sharp in soul-crushing traffic.

You see, there I was, itching to put my newly acquired $70,385 scarlet-red supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI V-8 tester through its paces with an 86-kilometre drive from downtown Toronto to home base in Clarington, Ont. Instead, I was snookered by heavier-than-usual rush-hour traffic.

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Wakeboarder hits 135 km/h while being towed by a Ferrari

Staff

Wakeboarding the traditional way behind a boat just seems boring compared to how one man recently cruised down a canal.

In a video posted online Monday, professional wakeboarder Jorge Gill jumps into the murky water and grabs the tow rope, which just happens to be attached to the spoiler on a Ferrari F50. The driver of the Ferrari guns it and Gill is suddenly standing up and flying down the calm waterway.

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Canadians talk more about gas prices than weather as prices near four-year lows: poll

Staff

Gas prices have neared a four-year low in Canada, sinking four cents a litre in various cities during the past week.

The national average retail price reached $1.15 a litre as of Tuesday, according to the Canadian Automobile Association.

The two-day price trend for regular grade gasoline showed Alberta stations charging the national-low of $1.05 a litre on average, followed by:

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Bicycle dominates Ferrari on a drag strip

JORDAN CHITTLEY

Swiss daredevil Francois Gissy reached a speed of 333 km/h while riding a rocket-propelled bicycle on the Paul Ricard Circuit in France earlier this month – absolutely destroying his competition, which just happened to be a Ferrari 430 Scuderia.

Gissy hit that speed in just 4.8 seconds, at the 300-metre mark, and recorded 3.1 Gs of accelerative force. In doing so, he set a world record for the fastest speed on a rocket-powered bicycle. Gissy held the previous record on a similar bike that hit 263 km/h. The bike and the Ferrari start at the same time and after about a second you can barely still see the Ferrari in the frame.

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F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen scares reporters while taking them for a spin

Staff

Finnish Ferrari F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen had some fun driving journalists around the Fiorano Circuit near Maranello, Italy, recently.

In the video posted Thursday, all of the members of the media look excited while having their pictures taken right before hopping in the car, but that all changed in a matter of seconds. Raikkonen skids the rear wheels through the corners before slamming on the accelerator into a straight-away.

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Quick spin: The 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, for those bored with the regular 911

JEREMY CATO

Sixty-one years. That’s how long Willow Springs International Motorsports Park has been around. It’s a tough, hilly circuit about an hour from Los Angeles. And it is as good a place as any to test the new 2015 Porsche911 Carrera GTS.

I’ve spent a big chunk of the day doing hot laps and enjoying the sunshine. The 911 GTS, as all Porschphiles will know, sits right between the 400-horsepower 911 Carrera S and the ferocious 911 GT3 (475 hp, $148,800). Right. The GTS is rated at 430 hp.

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German auto makers cannot be beaten, says Lexus boss

JEREMY CATO

The head of Toyota Motor’s Lexus brand in Europe has conceded the global luxury crown to Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, while also confessing that Lexus “didn’t always have a consistent identity, but now we do.”

Alain Uyttenhoven told just-auto.com that it is “impossible to catch the German three, worldwide.” Lexus, however, is determined to be “number four.” Number four? True confessions are almost never this titillating.

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Canadian Car of the Year category finalists announced

STAFF

Finalists in each of the 15 categories competing for the 2014 Canadian Car of the Year awards were announced on Tuesday.

Each of the finalists emerged from judging at the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) TestFest, and has to be a vehicle that is a “brand-new or significantly changed vehicle model.”

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Infotainment is a lightning rod for driver complaints

JEREMY CATO

I tried three times, but could not pair my smartphone with the infotainment system in a sparkling new BMW M3. The system stalled without any indication of why. Finally, I quit in disgust. Ugh.

I am not alone in my frustration. Last month, Consumer Reports noted that the biggest headache reported by new-vehicle buyers is in-car electronics. The number of complaints has increased, dragging down quality scores, said the widely-followed publication.

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The Benz, the brush and the dumb driver

DARREN McGEE

It was an unfortunate start to a fabulous weekend getaway in Niagara Falls.

As a light drizzle fell, I hauled out two overnight bags and placed them into the tiny trunk of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 roadster. They fit. Just.

I closed the trunk and got into the driver’s side, my wife Martha already waiting patiently in the luxurious black-leather passenger seat. And, as I was about to engage the push-button start on the aggressively sculpted $75,675 sleek, sexy white machine with a long snout and compact cabin, she asked, “What’s that noise?”

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