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Showing posts from June, 2007


Hyundai i30

The Kia cee'd proved that although the Koreans might not know much about naming a car, they're certainly learning how to build one.

Slipstreaming the cee'd into the European market comes another Korean hatch, the Hyundai i30.

Yes, it sounds like the answer to the question, 'How old are you, Tarzan?', but you'd better get used to it: Hyundai is planning to follow the i30 with an i10, i20, i40 and, yes, you guessed it, i60.

Aimed firmly at the Ford Focus, Renault Megane et al, the i30 promises a leap in quality over previous-generation Hyundais, as well as more Euro-friendly styling.

It looks pleasantly inoffensive, and there's plenty of kit on board, too. Standard spec includes aircon, alloy wheels, ESP and Hyundai's five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. Which is good, but not quite in the same league as the cee'd's seven-year bullet-proof guarantee.

There are three trims to pick from - Comfort, Style and Premium - and 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engin…

2007 Alpine Imprint RLS Demo Car based on Mercedes-Benz R500

Making Its Mark: The IMPRINT RLS

The birth of the IMPRINT RLS marks the beginning of a new sonic era. While the exterior flaunts a sleek, elegant, one-of-a-kind style, the interior also houses the core Alpine IMPRINT sound technology – making its mark as the absolute show-stopping vehicle for 2007.

The IMPRINT RLS by birthright started off as a Mercedes Benz R500, and was slowly morphed into a car that transcends all laws of space and time. This futuristic concept-like car was brought to life by Alpine’s Advanced Application R&D team, Steve Brown, Gary Bell, Brent Davison with the help of Alpine Canada’s Glen Swackhamer and Rino Odorico.

Breathing life into the RLS required a complete dismantling, relocating, building, and reinforcing experiment. Extreme modifications include gas and brake pedal relocation to allow the car to be driven from either front seat. To continue Alpine tradition of unconventional door and seat combinations, the IMPRINT RLS features a unique rotating assembly…

Nanjing Auto Preaches to Choir by Showcasing New MG TF at Silverstone MG Confab

Fittingly for a car that has long been the embodiment of the British car-enthusiast lifestyle, the new MG TF built in Longbridge, England, under Nanjing Auto Corporation (NAC) ownership greeted the public for the first time at the Silverstone racetrack this weekend.

The event was the 57th MG international race meeting at the legendary track, which calls itself "the home of British motor racing." The weekend also featured what organizers called the world's largest gathering of MG cars from the past eight decades.

NAC MG Sales and Marketing Director Gary Hagen was on-site to talk to MG lovers about the new model, which went into production at the end of May in Longbridge and goes on sale later this year.

Audi Announces Pricing on 2008 RS 4 Cabriolet

Audi said that its highly anticipated 2008 RS 4 Cabriolet will start at $82,675, including a $775 destination charge, when it goes on sale in the United States this fall.

But the actual price is still up in the air, since Audi said the gas-guzzler tax "will be determined prior to arrival in U.S. showrooms." The Fuel Economy Web Site said the gas-guzzler tax can range from $1,000 to $7,700, based on the combined mpg rating of a car in question. The federal tax is designed to "discourage the production and purchase of fuel-inefficient vehicles," according to the site.

The tax applies only to cars, not trucks.

The high-performance drop top is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 FSI engine that churns out 420 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 317 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm. It will only be available with a six-speed manual transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive.

Nissan Announces Pricing on 2008 Versa

The Nissan Versa enters its sophomore year with a $100 price bump on the hatchback model and a bit more sporty flair for the sedan version. The base 2008 Versa hatchback 1.8 S with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $13,275, including a $625 destination charge.

The top-of-the-line Versa hatchback 1.8 SL with a continuously variable transmission starts at $16,275, including shipping.

Nissan said the sport package, which was previously available on the Versa hatchback 1.8 SL, is now a $700 option on the Versa sedan 1.8 SL model. The sport package bundles a rear spoiler, lower body side sill extensions, a chin spoiler and foglights to the sedan model for 2008.

The 2008 Nissan Versa sedan ranges in price from $13,175 for the base 1.8 S model to $16,175 for the top-of-the-line 1.8 SL.

Nissan reports that the Versa had "strong sales momentum" in its freshman year, with combined sedan and hatchback sales topping more than 52,000 units in less than one year of production.

2009 Hyundai Genesis spy photos

Hyundai has begun testing redesigned prototypes of its future luxury car that are similar in appearance to the Genesis concept car that debuted earlier this year at the 2007 New York Auto Show.

The latest prototype's grille is trapezoidal, instead of the former prototype's round-cornered rectangle, and the grille slats are no longer vertical, but horizontal like the original concept.

The new car's headlights are more pointed, and they stretch back along the fenders, again mimicking the shape of the Genesis showcar's lights. The prototype's front bumper has been toned down, with more conventional foglamps integrated with a rounded lower air intake.

Although the sedan's profile hasn't been altered since the first prototype, the latest version shows a shark-fin antenna mounted on the roof. Nine-spoke wheels are nearly identical to those used on the showcar.

BMW 6-Series

BMW dieselfication of its coupe range goes all the way to the top. Well, all the way to the 6-Series, at least.

The ocularly challenging Six is set to go on sale with BMW's 3.0-litre twin turbo six-cylinder diesel engine and it will be called the 635d.

With 282bhp, the 635d does not disgrace the big coupe, managing 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and hitting an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

There's a six-speed auto as standard with flappy paddles for a sportier feel, but the 635d will still return 40.9mpg on the combined cycle.

At the same time the diesel engine is introduced, BMW is sneaking in a minor restyle of the Six.

You'll have to pay close attention to spot the larger front air intake, reshaped headlights with LED indicators, and boot lid that now incorporates a high level brake light.

Under the skin, BMW says the petrol 630i's engine is more frugal, while inside there's a simplified iDrive system for all models. Which means that people other than computer p…

2008 BMW X5 M Sport Package

The new BMW X5 4.8i M Sport comes equipped with 19-inch V-spoke M light alloy wheels, Sports suspension, M Aerodynamic body styling, Sports seats, matt aluminium surround to the side window frames, high-gloss Shadowline roof rails, Anthracite headlining and M leather steering wheel. Customers wishing to further differentiate their cars can also choose to upgrade to 20-inch M V-spoke light alloy wheels.

The introduction of M Sport to the BMW X5 range has been eagerly awaited by buyers as 90 per cent of the previous models sold were specified as a Sport.

The new BMW X5 4.8i M Sport will be available in six colours: Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Carbon Black, Monaco Blue, Space Grey, Titanium Silver. Inside and Nevada leather upholstery is standard and is available in Black, Grey, Beige and Saddle Brown hues. Dark Walnut interior trim is standard on the X5 4.8i M Sport but customers can specify Brushed Aluminium, Dark Bamboo or Light Poplar at no additional cost.

Power for the car comes fro…

2008 Honda Accord

As the all-new 2008 Honda Accord nears its official launch, spy photographers stumble upon a group of 2008 Honda Accords in the middle of a brochure photo shoot.

As we've seen before, the Accord coupe gets a honeycomb grille, while the sedan's face is trimmed with horizontal bars. Based on the alloy wheels and dual exhaust pipes, both the coupe and sedan pictured are V6 models.

Honda has publicly talked about increased horsepower, improved fuel economy, cylinder deactivation and lower emissions for the V6-powered Accord. Although official specifications have not yet been released, a 3.5-liter V6 with approximately 270 horsepower is expected, as well as the base 180-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

STRUT Munich Marquise Collection for Mercedes-Benz

STRUT the company who introduced the concept of jewelry for luxury automobiles has recently announced new collections for the Mercedes-Benz S Class—the S550, AMG Sport, and the S65.

The newSTRUT Munich Marquise Collection features a primary front grille with classic woven marquise design and matching lower air dam intake grilles, hood vent, and rear STRUT shield.

Now shipping to authorized custom automotive boutiques and dealerships worldwide, the new Munich Collections are priced from USD $8,500 to $9,500.

STRUT Windsor Emerald Collection for Range Rover

STRUT® the highly respected company known worldwide for their distinctive handcrafted, triple-chromed jewelry collections for luxury automobiles, has announced the introduction of the new Windsor Emerald Collection, designed for the 2006–2008 Range Rover.

The Windsor Emerald Collection is comprised of a front grille featuring a new finely detailed, bracelet-link design crowned with the STRUT shield, a hood vent, matching side vents, and a STRUT shield for the rear of the vehicle. The collection is handcrafted from the finest materials then triple-chromed for superior durability and lusterSTRUT is now shipping the Windsor Emerald Collection to authorized custom automotive boutiques and dealerships worldwide. The standard collection is priced at USD $10,500. Custom finishes are available at additional cost.The STRUT Windsor Marquise Collection, featuring the classic woven marquise design originally introduced by STRUT for the Range Rover, is also available, presenting owners with two op…

STRUT Knightsbridge Collection for Rolls-Royce

STRUT Collections continue to garner accolades and praise from discerning car collectors worldwide as the only brand of jewelry for their luxury automobiles. Recently, STRUT unveiled their finest collection to date for the vehicle that has for decades defined class, style, and the enjoyment of life without compromise—the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

The STRUT Knightsbridge Collection features a distinctive new architectural design that combines the classic lines of the original Rolls-Royce grille with finely detailed, handcrafted, and highly polished jewelry style bracelet links.
Completing the design ensemble are matching side vents and exhaust tips developed from aerospace alloy for superior durability along with a chromed STRUT shield for the rear of the vehicle. All STRUT collections are handcrafted from the finest materials then triple-chromed for superior durability and luster that will withstand even the harshest outdoor elements.

Bentley Brooklands

Recently staged a coup on the government of a sizeable nation? Need a car to reflect your benevolent-yet-frighteningly-powerful status?

Well, El Presidente, may we recommend the Bentley Brooklands Coupe?

Based on the Arnage chassis, the Brooklands coupe is a luxury four-seater powered by Bentley's most powerful V8 ever.

A modified version of Bentley's 6.75-litre twin-turbo, the hand-built Brooklands engine develops 530bhp at just 4,000rpm and a terrifying 774lb ft of torque at 3,250rpm. That's the highest torque output of any V8. In the world.

All that power is put to the road through a semi-automatic six-speed box, with the Brooklands hitting 60mph in five seconds flat before topping out at 184mph.

As an option, you can also spec the biggest set of brakes of any production car on the road: the 420mm cross-drilled discs off the Conti GT Diamond series.

But make no mistake, the Brooklands is no lithe-and-low supercar. It's massive. See those delicate little five-spoke wheels?…

Volkswagen Crafter Race Home

Now there's a double entendre that should stir the hearts of enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, we're speaking only of British enthusiasts, who now are able to buy an exclusive edition of the Volkswagen Crafter van called the Race Home. Developed at the company's Van Centre here, the Race Home — based on the long-wheelbase, high-roof Crafter panel van — is aimed primarily at motorcycle racers, but should have even broader appeal to cyclists and motorsports enthusiasts of all stripes.

The Crafter Race Home can transport two motorcycles or a quad bike, and can serve as a base for race weekends. It's outfitted with hand-built furniture, leather upholstery, two pull-out double beds, double-glazed windows with blinds and a heating system. A full kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, microwave and three-burner gas grill, and the bathroom has a toilet and shower.

When the Race Home is set up, it includes a garage area with walls, ceiling and heavy-duty checker-plate flooring, plus s…

Volkswagen Passat

Even with that chrome grill and incongruous V6 in the model line-up, we always knew that the Volkswagen Passat was a bit boring at heart.

And now the big VW has proved its true colours. It's not just boring, it's a caravanner.

The Passat Estate has beaten off stiff competition to be voted Towcar of the Year 2007.

Apparently the Passat was subjected to a rigorous testing programme before being awarded the title.

Although the details of this test are unclear, we must assume that the 'idling down the outside lane of the A30 at 30mph with a two-mile queue of traffic behind' challenge, the 'how many miles can you cover before realising that you forgot to hitch your caravan onto the towbar back at the trailer park' exam and, of course, the 'most ridiculous wing mirror extensions' shootout all formed part of the curriculum.

On a serious note, we hope - as will anyone who saw the 'Top Gear Goes Camping' episode a couple of series back - that the examiners sa…

2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid

Dodge offered short test-drives of the 2009 Durango Hybrid earlier this week, and provided a few specifications as well. The Durango and Chrysler Aspen will use the same two-mode hybrid system that we experienced earlier this year in the hybrid Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon
The system was developed in cooperation with General Motors and BMW. This means it can run on electric motor only (as it does in reverse and for low-speed forward trundling) or it can use the electric motor to augment the big gas motor.

Think of it more like a Prius than a Honda Accord Hybrid, which is a so-called mild hybrid. Chrysler estimates that the Durango Hybrid will get about 40 percent better fuel economy in the city. The average Hemi Durango can't even manage 15 miles on one gallon of fuel around town.

One similarity to Honda's soon-to-be-discontinued Accord Hybrid is that both use cylinder deactivation to improve highway fuel economy. Dodge says that the addition of the electric motors mean that the V8 …

new Mitsubishi Lancer

Not long now until we get to see the 'proper' production version of the new Mitsubishi Lancer. And, more importantly, the Evo.

Up until now, Mitsubishi has called its saloon a concept, even though we all knew the car we saw at the Geneva show a few months ago was the finished article.

But the Frankfurt show in September is the official D-Day for the new Lancer.

Mitsubishi has confirmed that the Lancer will get 1.5- and 1.8-litre petrol engines and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel, plus another as-yet-unspecified powerplant.

But what we're interested in is the 2.0 turbo motor for the Evo, although Mitsubishi is not letting on just how powerful it will be.

You'll also have the choice of just about every gearbox in existence, with Mitsubishi offering a five- or six-speed manual, two autos or a CVT 'box depending on engine.

After the Frankfurt show, the Lancer goes on sale in the UK in March 2008, followed by a Sportback estate six months later.

Swiss Tuner Rinspeed Rolls Out Cocoon-Like "Sensosphere"

When Rinspeed introduced the Senso concept car at the 2005 Geneva Auto Show, it showed off a Zen-like vehicle that exerted a "positive effect" on passengers through the use of patterns, colors, music and aromatherapy. Now the Swiss tuner has taken some of the lessons learned with the Senso and applied them to postmodern aircraft cabins.

Rinspeed on Monday introduced its "Sensosphere" for airplanes, a concept developed in partnership with Strahle & Hess, Lumitec and the University of Zurich. The goal was to move away from "clinical and plastic" aircraft interiors into an elaborate sensory cocoon that puts a premium on mood lighting, fragrances and sound. The Sensosphere uses high-tech, computer-controlled surfaces that shine green, blue or orange. Rinspeed showed off images of the Sensosphere mimicking a sunset or a starry night inside an airplane cabin. Rinspeed said "the material can be made into any shape and does not need electric bulbs or LEDs…

2009 Nissan Skyline GT-R

Nissan's 2009 Skyline GT-R made an unexpected appearance at this past weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed, completing the hill climb in the rain twice on Saturday and twice more on Sunday.

Despite its numerous runs, Nissan made no effort to publicize the effort. In fact, the GT-R was conspicuously absent from the event announcer's script. Every other car was formally introduced prior to its ascent, including the Audi R8 that went before the GT-R and the Ford GT that went after. When the GT-R appeared at the starting line, however, the speakers went silent and it took off in silence.

And we mean silence, as the GT-R was virtually inaudible compared to the rest of the field. It was enough to compel spectators to ask each other, "What was that thing?"

When the car returned to the staging area on Sunday, our on-site reporter said that it appeared as though Toshio Suzuki was at the wheel. He was the test driver we spotted running hot laps at Laguna Seca Raceway and Sear…

Lamborghini Edo Murcielago LP640

Edo Competition has tuned supercars from the Ford GT to the Maserati MC12. Naturally, it couldn't resist the opportunity to apply a little nip-and-tuck to the Lamborghini MurciƩlago LP640.

Speaking of plastic surgery, there's a new rear wing with an adjustable lip, plus a rearview camera and lots of carbon-fiber trim in the cockpit.

Edo elected to forego implants, focusing instead on squeezing a tad more juice from the Lambo's already potent 6.5-liter V12.

With such tweaks as a recalibrated ECU, high-flow air filters and redesigned stainless-steel exhaust system with high-flow mufflers, the Edo LP640 is bumped to 663 horsepower and 498 pound-feet of torque.

Edo estimates 0-60 acceleration in less than 3.8 seconds, with top speed climbing to 216 mph.

2007 Porsche Boxster

The 2007 Boxster and Boxster S, aided by more power and torque via new engines fitted with Porsche's VarioCam Plus variable valve timing and lift system, cement the Boxster as the sportscar kingdom's most practical and entertaining value.

The engine in the Boxster S has been enlarged from 3.2 to 3.4 liters, and now develops 295 horsepower at 6250 rpm - 15 horsepower more than its predecessor. Torque has also swelled 15 lb.-ft., to 251 lb.-ft. The Boxster S sprints from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds (0-100 km/h, 5.4 sec.) - a tenth of a second quicker than the previous model. This open sports car's top test-track speed has risen 2 mph to 169 mph (272 km/h). This heady performance comes at little cost to efficiency, as the Boxster S manages a city/hwy fuel-economy rating of 20/28 MPG with the standard six-speed transmission.

The 2.7-liter Boxster engine now develops an additional 5 horsepower, bringing peak output to 245 horsepower. Torque has also increased, from 199 to 201…