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Jennifer Lopez and Shakira Rock the Super Bowl 2020 Halftime Show
03 February, 2020 shahid rahim
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira Rock the Super Bowl 2020 Halftime Show

The superstar duo made history at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday as the first two Latina women to co-headline the coveted Pepsi halftime show gig, which they successfully brought each of their own unique styles to in just 12 minutes.

In one of the most energetic and purely entertaining halftime shows in recent memory, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira absolutely brought the house down with a nearly 15-minute Super Bowl performance. Seemingly designed specifically for fans of glitter and butts (so, everyone), the halftime show saw the pair perform the biggest hits of their respective careers before they took the stage together for the grand finale.

2020 Porsche Taycan crushes its EPA range in our exclusive test
03 February, 2020 Shane Michael
2020 Porsche Taycan crushes its EPA range in our exclusive test

A nondescript white van rolls up beside my blue 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo as I sit at a red light on the Pacific Coast Highway near Huntington Beach, Calif. The driver rolls down his window, gives a hearty thumbs up, and makes it clear via additional hand signals that he wants to see me stand on it. His grinning passenger leans forward and seconds the motion with an enthusiastic nod.

I roll down my own window. “Sorry, but I’m in the middle of a range test.”

A modder is absolutely transforming Dark Souls 2 with lighting improvements
03 February, 2020 Shane Michael
A modder is absolutely transforming Dark Souls 2 with lighting improvements

Flames of Old is an upcoming graphics mod for Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin that reworks and overhauls the game’s look, profoundly changing the game in the process. Modder Stayd is changing lighting, shaders, and map design, and the result is a striking upgrade to the game’s visuals. Stayd is inspired by the pre-release renders for the game, and wants to bring the graphics “on-par with what was shown pre-release.” They’ve showed off some pretty impressive screenshots on Twitter. Much of the lighting work changes how the game looks fundamentally, lessening the very flat tones of many environments. There are also small tweaks, like removing trees from the upper left, revealing the Shrine of Winter to add more sense of scale to the area

Stayd also intends to create a separate enemy placement mod to work with the new maps and “iron out some of the game’s rough patches.” Work on the mod is streamed on Twitch, which seems to be the best place to keep up with the modding process overall. I’ve stitched together a few more before and after images below, though do keep in mind that these are work in progress previews, by the modder’s own description. 

Mercedes-Benz quickly pulls the plug on its slow-selling X-Class pickup
03 February, 2020 Shane Michael
Mercedes-Benz quickly pulls the plug on its slow-selling X-Class pickup

Mercedes-Benz is getting out of the pickup truck game not long after it got into it. The brand confirmed that it will cease production of the X-Class midsize pickup in late May due to poor sales.

Mercedes unveiled the X-Class, the brand’s first-ever pickup, in South Africa in 2017 as a 2018 model with no immediate plans to sell it in the U.S. It’s based on the Nissan Navara chassis but is given a number of ride and handling upgrades and is built alongside the Navara and the Renault Alaskan at a Renault-Nissan plant in Barcelona. From the onset, it was targeted for Latin America, Europe and South Africa, with plans at one time to build the truck in Argentina to serve the local market.

2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe Drivers' Notes | The high-style 7 Series alternative
03 February, 2020 Shane Michael
2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe Drivers' Notes | The high-style 7 Series alternative

The 2020 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe is dangerously close to the bottom rung of the 8 Series lineup. Take all-wheel drive away, and the base 840i Gran Coupe is actually the cheapest 8 Series money can buy, even more so than the actual two-door Coupe. We were grateful for the all-wheel drive fitted to our 840i xDrive test car in Michigan, though, as mother nature decided it was a good week for a snow storm. There are many superb ways to go motoring in the fluffy stuff, but this luxuriously-appointed inline-six sleigh is one we wholeheartedly endorse.

Under the hood of our 8 Series is a buttery-smooth 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine. It produces 335 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque. BMW claims a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds. Yes, even the big four-door 8 Series can hit 60 mph in well under 5 seconds. This engine is paired to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox. Since it’s the Gran Coupe, this 8 Series is the one to get if you need to carry more people around than yourself and a friend. The trunk is also plenty large for a few pieces of larger luggage on a weekend getaway. It’s no 7 Series from a size perspective, but it does ace the traditional sedan in terms of style and performance.

Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur has 90 customization options for the Taycan
03 February, 2020 Shane Michael
Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur has 90 customization options for the Taycan

The Porsche Taycan changed Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur. The specialty shop's factory space in Zuffenhausen was expanded by about 33%, and the entire operation was optimized to create more efficient workflow. The roughly 21,528-sq-ft space now has four new lifting platform stations, more storage space, and a direct line to the finished vehicle loading station. This, all to align with the launch of the Taycan, and the upgraded level of customization it brings with it.

Porsche has at least 90 customization options available on the battery-electric four-door sports car. Three sports packages are available, each of which gives the Taycan a slightly different look. The packages are differentiated, Porsche says, by the "inlays in the lower front apron, in the sill panels, and in the side fins of the diffuser." In the photos shown here, the Taycan has a larger aero piece beneath the headlights than previously seen models and an overall more sculpted front fascia. Depending on what package the customer chooses, the side fins are painted to the body color or left as carbon. 

Honda trademarks names for possible consumer FCEV education initiative
03 February, 2020 Shane Michael
Honda trademarks names for possible consumer FCEV education initiative

On June 21, 2016 Honda applied with to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the terms "Hydronaut" and "Hydrogenaut." Assuming success, both terms were to be applied to an endeavor "Providing technological and scientific information about fuel cell vehicles; Providing a website featuring technological and scientific information about fuel cell vehicles." After being published for opposition, both applications were left to die, their abandonment dates listed as January 20, 2020. CarBuzz discovered that two days later, January 22, Honda re-applied with the U.S. PTO to trademark the same two terms for the same service. It's possible the Japanese automaker will sit on them again, to no apparent purpose. Nevertheless, someone inside the company has the aim of one day spreading the hydrogen gospel.

The alternative fuel could certainly use converts. Mercedes-Benz and BMW have trotted out the occasional fuel-cell electric vehicle over the past decade or so, but the Japanese and South Korean automakers have been especially vocal about getting FCEVs mainstream. Toyota copied the Prius playbook for the Mirai, sinking noteworthy sums of money into an ungainly first generation to get early-adopter butts in seats, then rolling out a svelte second generation gunning for mainstream appeal. We saw how that turned out with the Prius. The problem with the much more handsome Mirai is that even in California, only fringe greenies are lured by the siren song of hydrogen at the moment. Until the infrastructure expands enough to achieve regular contact with the average driver, and permit travel outside of narrow corridors, that situation won't change quickly.

Chevy strips carbon fiber aero package from 2020 Corvette orders
03 February, 2020 Shane Michael
Chevy strips carbon fiber aero package from 2020 Corvette orders

Chevrolet put three ground effects kits on the options sheet for the 2020 Corvette. Two of them are late availability, meaning they still can't be ordered: RPO Code 5V8 in a black hue called Carbon Flash for $3,850, and RPO 5VJ, in body color, for $695. Customers ordering their new Corvettes last year could order RPO Code 5VM, which added a genuine carbon fiber kit consisting of a front splitter and extended side sills. Seems so many buyers ordered the $4,850 package — second only to the $5,000 Z51 Performance Package in cost — that the supplier can't keep up with demand. Corvette Blogger discovered that Chevrolet is stripping the aero kit from almost all orders, and has been informing customers that requested the option that their cars will not get the package.

Corvette Forum posted the bulletin Chevy sent to dealers that placed orders including the carbon package. The letter stated in part, "Due to an inadequate supply of parts, it was necessary to remove the Visible Carbon Fiber Ground Effects (5VM) option from your order(s). At this point in time, we anticipate this accessory will remain restricted from LPO ordering for the remainder of the 2020MY. Further Dealer and customer communications will be forthcoming once this supply issue has been resolved."

2021 GMC Canyon trims overhauled, SL and SLT disappear
02 February, 2020 Shane Michael
2021 GMC Canyon trims overhauled, SL and SLT disappear

Until this year, the GMC Canyon has offered six trims in two drivetrains: SL, a base model simply called Canyon, SLE, All Terrain, SLT, and Denali, with all but the SL available in either 2WD or 4WD. GM Authority credits "dealer sources" for news that the 2021 Canyon has had its trim steps overhauled. According to the chart in the report, the SL and SLT are no more, the base Canyon gets replaced by a trim called Elevation Standard, and SLE turns into Elevation. We already know that All Terrain has given way to AT4, while Denali remains in the top spot. Trim content doesn't change with the names, but there's no equivalent for the SLT trim in terms of spec.

The GMC site lists the 2020 SLE and SLT on the same page, and a shopper must burrow into the spec comparison page to figure out the differences. The SLT only comes with the 3.6-liter V6 and eight-speed transmission, and makes features like remote start, climate control, heated mirrors, heated seats, hitch guidance, and a spare tire standard equipment. It also chromes the exterior door handles, and offers a Cocoa/Dune leather interior that can't be had on the SLE. It's possible the SLT's $4,700 premium over the SLE led more buyers to start with the SLE and add the engine and options they wanted.