Week in Review: Test Drives, Celebrations, and Investments

Going from last week to this week, we're glad to see some positive news coming out. Since GM CEO Mary Barra testified in regards to the massive recall, the fuss has somewhat died down. Our week kicked off with news that Toyota has begun consumer trials on the i-Road personal mobility vehicle, followed by an announcement of how Ford will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its iconic pony car at the New York Auto Show. Chevrolet offered a new driving school for owners of the 2014 Corvette Stingray, and we caught the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and 2016 Range Rover Sport RS out testing. The week finished out with BMW announcing new investments, more jobs, and upcoming projects. Catch up on all you missed with the top stories the week had to offer.

Monday, March 24

This week, Toyota announced that it will begin consumer trials on the "i-Road" in the Greater Tokyo Area to test the effectiveness of the new electric vehicle in everyday urban situations. The new personal mobility vehicle is reminiscent of the Smart car, but smaller and all-electric. Originally debuted at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the Toyota i-Road has since improved, offering better visibility and maneuverability. This three-wheeled personal mobility vehicle delivers the convenience of a motorcycle with the added protection and comfort of a car. While this new model is still under real-world testing, it will no doubt be a big hit in Japan when it eventually goes on sale.

Tuesday, March 25

In celebration of the Ford Mustang's 50th birthday, the automaker will once again grace the observatory deck of the Empire State Building. Ford will be displaying the 2015 Mustang convertible against a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. Back in 1964 during the World's Fair in New York, Ford had to dismantle the Mustang to get it inside the elevators. The automaker will once again be taking apart the iconic pony car, but this time, the car is almost seven inches longer and four inches wider, making the task more daunting. Once all the pieces are gathered on the observatory deck, the Ford crew will have just under six hours to re-assemble the 2015 Mustang convertible for display. This celebration comes in time for the 2014 New York Auto Show, and the vehicle will remain on display for just two days.

Wednesday, March 26

Driving your sports car on a track isn't something many people get the opportunity to do. Chevrolet is changing that for new 2014 Corvette Stingray owners who want to get more out of their cars. The automaker is now offering a two-day program for Stingray owners through the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School for just $1,000. Owners, within a year of purchasing a Stingray, may take advantage of this discounted offer and drive on the 2.2-mile Spring Mountain road course. Those participating in the program will get the opportunity to not only go fast around the track, but learn when to turn and to apply the throttle. Ron Fellows, when speaking about the program, said "Mind speed and decision-making are key elements in the high-performance world, and our car control exercise and on-track training will help drivers improve their ability to process information quickly and accurately, resulting in a better coordination of eyes, hands and feet to improve their driving skill."

Thursday, March 27

Our week wouldn't be complete without a few spy shots. We were able to catch peeks of the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and 2016 Range Rover Sport RS. The new C63 AMG is expected to debut during the second half of this year, featuring large air intakes up front to help cool the 450-horsepower, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine. With an added performance package, that number jumps into the 500 horsepower range. While we expect to see this model debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, it may make its official U.S. debut in Los Angeles. On the other hand, the 2016 Range Rover RS will offer 550 horsepower, with a bigger engine and larger brakes. The auto show season is coming to an end, with the last show happening in New York, and we wouldn't be surprised if the Range Rover Sport RS makes its debut next month.

Friday, March 28

BMW is celebrating 20 years of vehicle production in the United States, and during a press conference in its South Carolina plant, the automaker dropped some pretty big announcements. The German automaker plans to invest $1 billion into the Spartanburg plant between now and 2016 to build the 2015 X4. While that news may not be too noteworthy, what is important is that this will create 800 new jobs and bring plant production up to 450,000 units annually. Added to that, BMW will begin production on the X7 to accommodate customers who need larger SUVs. In its eternal competition with Mercedes-Benz, BMW refuses to give up any market share where it can expand its lineup, and the large luxury crossover market is one where BMW hopes to get in on the action.