Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M tuned by Novitec Rosso

After tuning the Ferrari's extreme 430 Scuderia, NOVITEC ROSSO has now taken on a F430 Scuderia Spider 16M.

Novitec Russo has bolted on a couple of superchargers to the car’s 4.3L V8 engine. The final power output was rated at 696hp (519kW), up from the standard car's 510hp (380kW).

While the standard 16M will demolish the sprint to 62mph in just 3.7 seconds and go on to a top speed of 196mph, there's little doubt that all the additional horsepower will help push the Novitec Rosso Scuderia Spider 16M well beyond the 200mph mark, and possibly even come close to the tuned 430 Scuderia which tops out at 215mph.

Sportier springs have been fitted to lower the centre of gravity and improve handling while a hydraulic lift system is installed at the front end to lift the car by up to 40mm to help it negotiate obstacles like speed bumps and curbs. And the lift is activated simply by pushing a button from the cabin.

For the exterior, high-performance Pirelli tyres come in size 235/30 ZR 20 at the front and 325/25 ZR 20 at the rear. At the rear, Novitec's trademark black tail lights replace the traditional Ferrari-red, while a custom LED strip has also been added as an additional brake light.

NOVITEC ROSSO has put a price tag of €47,000 (USD66,000) on the tuning package.

Aston Martin working on Cygnet Concept Car based on Toyota iQ

To comply with tough new fuel economy and emissions regulations coming into effect in Europe by 2012, Aston Martin has joined forces with Toyota to develop a new minicar model called the Cygnet, which is based on Toyota’s iQ minicar. The Aston Martin Cygnet is a mix of luxury, compactness and environmental friendliness.

Though it’s still in the concept stage, the production of the car is expected to be given before the end of the year. Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez said: "Much work is still required, but I am confident that this project could become reality in the not-too-distant future."

As revealed by the teaser image, the Cygnet will adopt some very distinct Aston Martin trademarks to differentiate it from its Toyota sibling. The vehicle is being designed for Europe but other details such as the launch date, price and production volumes have not been decided.

The car on which it is based, the iQ, measures just three meters in length, is powered by a three-cylinder engine and has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. The Cygnet is expected to keep most of these attributes, but its interior is expected to be as luxurious as that found in any other Aston Martin model.

However, if you want to buy a Cygnet, you have to be already own an Aston Martin. The luxury automaker has identified that around 30% of existing customers have small cars such as a Mini or Smart ForTwo in their garages for city traffic.

Spy shots: Mercedes Benz E-Class Cabrio with top down

After unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has drawn fans’ attention to news of the upcoming E-Class Cabriolet and Estate models.

The former spy shots of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe Cabrio showed the car with a soft top, now spy photographers have caught the car testing in Germany with its top down.

About 100mm longer than the CLK Cabrio preceding it, the E-Class Cabrio also bears the same raked A pillar and steep belt-line of the ConceptFASCINATION study revealed back in September last year.

With the top down, we can see the test car's unique air deflector. Taking the shape of a mini-spoiler over the windscreen, the item is sure to cause a stir amongst Mercedes fans. Should the piece stay on the final version of the car, it will likely polarize those interested in the E-class into two groups: one that likes the function, and one that hates the look.

Power is expected to come from the same engine line-up as that featured in the E-Class Coupe, which means four, six and eight-cylinder units with outputs from 150kW/200hp to 285kW/382hp - the top end model being the E500/550.

Monday, June 29, 2009

KW Automotive Dodge Challenger SRT8

With the brawny shapes, the edged radiator grill and an engine with an enormous cubic capacity, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 is a real American. But the biggest weakness of the vehicle may be its road holding ability. German running gear specialist KW Automotive helps to improve the weaknesses with some modifications.

The standard Challenger SRT8 comes with a 6.1L HEMI V8 engine churning out 425 hp (313 kW) – More than enough power for most. Therefore, KW has not focus on the engine performance, but did fit the car with K&N sport air filter and a completely new Magnaflow 3.5in diameter exhaust system.

Engineers have fitted VW’s Variant 1 stainless steel suspension upgrade, which lowers the car at either axle by up to 50mm. The stainless steel casing guarantees that the components inside remain continuously flexible even when they are strained more in winter.

The KW Dodge Challenger features a new running gear which is approved by the Technical Control Board. One of the most striking features of the KW Dodge Challenger is a pair of vertically lifting ‘Lamborghini-style’ doors provided by LSD. Other modifications include HRE 22in forged aluminum wrapped in Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires.

For more information, read the press released below:

Only a few are left. The changed spirit of time and the crisis of the American car manufacturers diminish the number of classical muscle cars. The Dodge Challenger belongs to this minority. With its brawny shapes, the edged radiator grill and an engine with an enormous cubic capacity, the car is a real American. But this also applies for its road holding. The running gear specialist KW helps to improve the weaknesses in taking bends. With high-quality components, KW makes the Challenger unique and at the same time preserves the character of the American.

425 hp (313 kW) – that is the power behind the 6.1-litre SRT HEMI V8-engine. Thus, the road cruiser has enough propulsion. Therefore, KW has not concentrated on the engine performance apart from fitting a K&N sport air filter and a completely new exhaust system. But when it comes to its road holding characteristics in bends, KW has performed many changes. The running gear specialist from Fichtenberg in Germany fits its running gear Variant 1 in the stainless steel version inox line. The factory-made damping is optimally adjusted to the Challenger SRT8 and renders the perfect balance between sporty and tense adjustment and enough remaining comfort. The running gear is approved by the Technical Control Board and is equipped with an operating license and offers a lowering area from 10 to 50 millimeters on both axles. The stainless steel casing guarantees that the components inside remain continuously flexible even when they are strained more in winter.

In order to make the ideal use out of the new running gear and its perfected road holding, KW co-operated with the high-class manufactory HRE Wheels. The manufacturer equips the Challenger with forged light-alloy wheels HRE 995R in brushed aluminum which shine in a satin black rim well. With their three-part construction, the wheels not only impress with their striking appearance, but also with their premium manufacture. They are available in the dimensions 10x22 inches at the front- and 11x22 inches at the back axle. The applied high-performance wheels Dunlop SP Sport Maxx in 265/35 ZR 22 at the front and 295/30 ZR 22 at the back render the best possible grip.

The exhaust system by Magnaflow renders the right sound for the sporty appearance. The 18-inch prime pipe branches into a two-pipe system and powerfully roars at the back with four polished 3.5-inch end pipes.

But running gear, wheels and sound were not enough for kW. Therefore, the doors of the refined Dodge Challenger can be opened upwards thanks to LSD-hinges. The adjustable Guided Roller System (GRS) renders safety and precision when opening and closing the doors. Moreover, the LSD-hinges have proved in side crash tests that they offer the same safety as the original doors. The gull-wing doors add the finishing touches to the American car and complete the unique refinement.

It was not an easy task for KW to remodel the Dodge Challenger. The aim was to perfect a classic car of the American Way of Life without reducing the myth of the muscle car. This balance has been perfectly accomplished by the running gear manufacturer.

For more information about the wide variety of products by KW automotive GmbH including running gear springs, dampers, sport running gears, coilovers as well as application lists, please visit the web site www.KWsuspensions.com.

Spy shots: Saab’s next-gen 9-5

The next – gen Saab 9-5 is confirmed to make its world debut at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Spy shots of the upcoming vehicle have surfaced. And now we got these computer generated renderings which may look slightly different to the final design. From the pics, it appears that the new 9-5 will have a much more dramatic look than previous versions.

Underneath the new sheet metal will be a heavily revised version of GM’s FWD Epsilon II platform, which is also shared by Opel for its new Insignia range. To differentiate Saab as a premium product engineers will provide a stiffer suspension set-up, a new steering rack and a different range of electronics. The car’s wheelbase will stretch 2.84m, which is up 14cm on the current model, and the overall length will stretch just over 5m. This increased wheelbase will free up more interior space as well make the 9-5 a real rival to cars like the Cadillac STS and Volvo S80.

Engine options will include a range of four-cylinder petrol and turbodiesel units including a biofuel model. There will also likely by an AWD flagship model with a turbocharged petrol V6 displacing 3.6L and developing upwards of 350hp (261kW). Other engines will include a 210hp (157kW) 2.0L unit and mid-level 2.8L V6. A petrol-electric hybrid model is also expected. Different markets will configure different choices depending on their own needs, so the US for example would get the Buick Lacrosse's 3.6-litre V6 while Europe a 2.8-litre V6 turbo.

The new 9-5 will be built at Opel’s Ruesselsheim plant in Germany with production tipped to start in the middle of the year.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Shelby reveals the new Super Snake package for 2010 Ford Mustang GT500

Shelby Automobiles, the Mustang’s favorite tuning firm, has decided to take the 2010 GT500 to the next level. Therefore, Shelby revealed its new Super Snake package for the 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 this week at the Mid America Ford and Team Shelby Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

With the package, Shelby takes an existing customer car and performs power and handling upgrades. Depending on which supercharger the customer selects, the Super Snake will churn out 630 hp for the base configuration or 725 hp with the optional setup. Further changes under the hood include an upgraded intercooler, cold-air intake system and radiator. A Borla cat-back exhaust hangs out back for 630 hp models, while 725 hp cars use a JBA unit.

Handling improvements come courtesy of a Ford Racing suspension with adjustable dampers, stiffer springs, thicker antiroll bars, a front strut tower brace and custom 20in Super Snake wheels shod with Pirelli P-Zero tires. Helping to tame the additional power are Baer six-piston front calipers with cross-drilled rotors at all four corners.

To ensure the car stands out from the crowd when off the track, Shelby’s engineers have also fitted a new hood with an oversized scoop and vents, racing stripes, rear quarter window scoops, and carbon-fiber splitter and side sills. Inside, the headrests feature embroidered Shelby logos and carbon-fiber faced gauge faces.

Pricing for the Super Snake package begins at $29,495 for the 630-hp model and $33,495 for the 725-hp kit, which includes installation at Shelby Automobiles’ Las Vegas plant or at a Shelby authorized mod shop. Additional options include a six-piston rear brake system, Eibach adjustable coil-over suspension and a two-tone leather interior upgrade. Each car will receive a Shelby consecutively number dash plaque, engine plate and listed in the official Shelby registry.

The first customer cars will be modified this August.

JE Design tunes the VW Scirocco 2.0 TDI

The tuners from JE DESIGN have tuned the diesel Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI and the 2.0 TDI GT trim, which are now developing high-performance.

The JE DESIGN Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI now boosts output from 140hp (103kW) to 180hp (133kW) and 295lb-ft (400Nm), enough to push top speed on from the stock 128mph (207km/h) to 132mph (213km/h). Not a huge improvement, but the gain in torque and power makes performance more accessible at every-day speeds. Zero-62mph (100km/h) times are cut by almost a full second to 8.4 seconds.

The JE DESIGN Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI GT trim, which in standard form outputs 170 hp and 350 Nm of torque, develops 205 hp (171 kW) and 410 Nm of torque. With a top speed of 229 km/h, the JE DESIGN Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI CR can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds.

Tuning the slightly more potent 2.0 TDI GT trim offers an even bigger power jump: up to a maximum of 205hp (171kW) and 302lb-ft (410Nm) of torque. With a top speed of 229 km/h, the JE DESIGN Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI GT trim can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds - matching the Audi A3 2.0T S-line, a legitimately hot little hatch in its own right, and a petrol burner.

In addition to the performance aids, JE Design also throws in a complete body kit made of ABS plastic and CNC milled to ensure a good fit. Gullwing doors can also be had if the rest of the kit just isn't enough, starting from €1,549.

For those Europeans in the market for a diesel sportser, the price may be a bit of a sticking point once it's all added up, but it's availble piecemeal too, starting off at €1,249 for the 180hp kit, €1,449 for th 205hp kit, and another €919 for the body kit.

Throw in the €899 exhaust and €299 lowering springs, however, and the grand total coems up to about €6,300 ($8,800). That's a steep premium, and the €2,810 ($4,000) 19x8in wheels aren't even added in yet, much less the 235/35 19in tires that wrap them.

For more details, read the JE DESIGN Press Release:

The times of shaky oil burners are over. But the diesel engine still has a rather stale image. Now JE DESIGN is taking on this prejudice.

The refiner located in Leingarten, Germany enhances the performance of the already agile turbo diesel in the VW Scirocco with an additional control unit by more than twenty-five percent from 140 hp (103 kW) to 180 hp (133 kW). Also the maximum torque increases from 320 to 400 Newton meters at 1,750 to 2,500 rpm respectively. The maximum speed thereby rises from 207 km/h to 213 km/h, and the acceleration from zero to hundred is reduced by 0.9 seconds to 8.4 seconds.

Also for the new 2.0 TDI CR, JE DESIGN offers a performance enhancement of 170 hp (125 kW) to 205 hp (171 kW). With that, the Scirocco then renders a top speed of 229 km/h (serial model: 222 km/h) and accelerates from zero to hundred in 7.1 seconds (serial model: 7.8 seconds). The torque rises to 410 Newton meters (serial model: 350 Nm).

JE DESIGN offers the entire performance pack with assembly for 1,249 Euros (180 hp) and 1,449 Euros (205 hp) including VAT and adds a 12-month warranty.

In order to adjust the appearance to the newly gained power, JE DESIGN has created an entire body kit. The refiner produces these parts in the usual OEM-quality made of high-quality ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). The CNC-milled material ensures a low weight, perfect fitting accuracy and at the same time, the highest material stability.

The kit for 919 Euros including VAT includes a front spoiler with a center sword in carbon look which already renders a racy glance when the car is still parked. The side skirts with air inlets and a rear skirt attachment which is perfectly adjusted to the other component parts and which is also available in carbon-look renders a powerful profile. A refining kit for gull-wing doors (1,549 Euros) completes the body modification.

The muffler made of stainless steel with two central oval end pipes (899 Euros) renders an earthy sound and an impressive appearance. The muffler comes with an EU-operating license. The lowering springs (299 Euros) which were especially designed for the VW Scirocco, lower the car by 30 millimeters and are combined with serial shock absorbers. In order to fill the wheelhouses adequately, JE DESIGN offers the elegant wheel design Multispoke as a complete wheel set. The wheels are available in the size 8x19 inches in shadow silver (2,810 Euros), or graphite matt / with polished edges (2,930 Euros), both with 235/35 R 19 tires.

The sport program for the VW Scirocco can be immediately obtained directly from JE DESIGN, from car component dealers or from Volkswagen partners.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Arden MINI Cooper Equipe

To celebrate the victory of the Equipe Arden 1969 at the British Touring Car Championship, Arden has created a heavily modified special edition Mini Equipe - the 40th Anniversary MINI Equipe 2009. The Arden MINI Cooper Equipe features 40 parts manufactured in a traditional manner, all of which will be signed by Jochen Arden. So each Arden MINI Equipe is unique, each piece a collector’s item.

In terms of styling, the Equipe gets a custom two-tone leather upholstery scheme throughout the cabin, including the doors and dash. Hand-stitched casings and handmade stainless steel and chrome elements adorn the car front to rear, including the redesigned grille. Extremely light 6.9 kilograms Arden Gram-light aluminum wheels in 8Jx18Zoll provide the necessary grip and reduce the vehicle weight by a few kilograms.

The engine also received a manual work-over. The revised engine electronics, a new intercooler and a complete stainless steel exhaust system with racing catalytic converters give the Arden MINI Cooper Equipe outputs around 40 PS and 50 Nm of torque more than the standard car.

To keep the performance on track, handling is improved as well. there is a special Arden sport suspension which lowers the vehicle’s height and focus for about 30mm. High-performance 6-piston brakes at the front axle, guarantee for the necessary delay and remain stable and dosable even after a long, hard and resistant strain.

The Arden Mini Equipe is available by special order now. It marks Arden's second attempt at a custom Mini Cooper.

Alfa Romeo MiTo tuned by Lester

The Italian tuners from Lester have unveiled a new package for the Alfa MiTo GTA, which focus on both performance and handling upgrades, as well as some aerodynamic mods.

Lester is offering engine tuning for the GTA’s 1.75L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, which boosts output by 31hp (23kW). Additionally, a new height-adjustable coil-over suspension with adjustable dampers is also available, along with sport springs that can lower the car significantly. This results in improved handling and greater acceleration for the performance hatch.

Accompanying the handling upgrades is a new look for the MiTo GTA brought about by an aerodynamic enhancement kit. The front of the car gets a facelift thanks to the spoiler corners on the left and right, as well as a bonnet mounted scoop. At the rear is a subtle wing spoiler and a pair of oversized exhaust tailpipes. The final touch is a set of 18in multi-spoke alloy wheels.

One of the key features of the Lester Alfa MiTo GTA's interior is a subwoofer housing that can accommodate a woofer of up to 320mm in the rear of the car.

Here is the list:
* FS3410XX - FRONT SPOILER VT - €138,00
* H1032GXX - REAR ROOF SPOLER PR - €96,00
* H81543GXX - ADJUSTABLE REAR SPOILER without primer PR - €95,00
* H86243GXX - ADJUSTABLE REAR SPOILER without primer PR - €94,00
* M215XX - SIDE SKIRTS VT - €148,00
* PA315AXX - BONNET VENT VT - €98,00
* PA316MXX - AIR INTAKES 2pcs.- for front wings VT - €98,00
* RE77512XX - REAR AIR EXTRACTING DEVICE for double exhaust (left +right) VT - €152,00

2010 Lincoln MKZ gets more luxurious Executive Appearance Package

Ford recently announced a new trim-level to the 2010 Ford Lincoln MKZ, dubbed as Executive Appearance Package. The package adds more traditional luxury appointments and expands the range of Lincoln MKZ option packages.

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ Executive Appearance Package is available with Dark Charcoal or Cashmere color, leather-trimmed seats, a unique door trim with stitching, genuine swirl walnut wood instrument panel accents and console and premium front and rear floor mats with the Lincoln star.

Executive Appearance Package is also available with new exterior colors, including Tuxedo Black, White Platinum, Brilliant Silver, Sterling Gray and Sangria Red. Customers also 17in machined aluminum or chrome wheels as standard, with larger 18in polished aluminum wheels available as an option.

Power still comes from the award-winning 3.5L V6 Duratec engine that produces 263-hp and a maximum torque of 249 lb-ft. EPA-estimated fuel-economy comes in at 18/27 mpg (city/highway) for the front-wheel drive MKZ. The engine uses a compact, lightweight dual-overhead cam valvetrain for peak power and smooth operation at high RPMs. It also incorporates intake variable cam timing to optimize valve timing for a smooth idle and a broader torque curve.

Pricing should be revealed closer to the launch of the Executive Appearance Package in the late summer.

Range Rover LRX hybrid confirmed for production

First revealed at last year’s Detroit Auto Show, the LRX Concept got much praise for its dynamically design and a stunning looking. The standard version of the LRX was just confirmed for retail in March. Now, according to UK magazine Auto Express and thanks to a £27 million ($44 million) loan from the UK government for the development of an all-new model, the hybrid version of the LRX will enter production.

The LRX's hybrid powertrain is expected to run in three modes: electric-only, petrol only and hybrid drive mode. It will take another two years to bring the advanced hybrid system to market, however. In the mean time, stop-start and brake-energy regeneration will be launched across the Land Rover lineup. The complete cost of the project is estimated at around the £400 million ($650 million) mark.

The LRX was conceived with new technologies in mind, including a lightweight design and a 2.0 litre turbo-diesel hybrid powertrain achieving 4.7 l/100km on bio-diesel - a phenomenal figure for a vehicle of its size.

It features full-time four-wheel drive, Hill Descent Control and Land Rover’s Terrain Response to optimise traction on difficult surfaces ranging from icy roads to wet grass, gravel and snow. The interior of the LRX is designed to be roomy, practical and versatile, trimmed in soft leathers in rich tan and dark chocolate complemented by polished aluminium details.

Production will be handled at Land Rover’s Halewood facility in the UK, which employs about 2,000 people and is currently responsible for the LR2 (Freelander 2) and the Jaguar X-Type.

2010 BMW 1 Series gets two new engines and additional trim levels

Like its 7-series, BMW is also expanding the 1-Series lineup for 2010 with new engines and several special edition models. Choices include the 120i and 118d 1-series Coupes, as well as the Lifestyle and Sport Editions of the three and five-door Hatchback models.

Still the only rear-wheel-drive model in the compact segment, the BMW 1-series offers a unique blend of sporty driving and compact car efficiency. Nowhere is this more evident than in the 1-series Coupe, which for 2010 will be available with a direct-injected 2.0L four-cylinder engine developing 170hp (125kW) and 155lb-ft (210Nm) of torque.

With the new engine, the 120i Coupe will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 224km/h. Fuel economy comes in at 35.6mpg (6.6L/100km).

Also available is a 143hp (105kW) 2.0L turbodiesel with 221lb-ft (300Nm) of torque on tap. This power unit offers a respectable combination of performance and fuel economy, with the 118d Coupe accelerating from a standstill to 100km/h in 9.0 seconds and reaching a top speed of 210km/h. Average fuel economy comes in at 52mpg (4.5L/100km).

Both new variants of the 1-series Coup also come as standard with a wide range of BMW EfficientDynamics technologies such as brake energy regeneration, an engine stop-start function, a gearshift point indicator and ancillary units with on-demand management and control.

We have to noted that both the engines are available exclusively for the European market, so we won’t be seeing them in the U.S..

In terms of style, the three and five-door Hatchbacks can be ordered in either Lifestyle or Sport Edition Models, both of which offer RWD performance beginning this September. The Lifestyle model offers special edition Marrakesh Brown Metallic paint, unique brown body color interior components, chrome-tipped exhaust and 17-inch light aluminum rims. The Sport model includes the M Sports Package, with a sports tuned suspension, unique dual spoke aluminum rims, stainless steel pedals, and an M steering wheel and gearshift lever.

2010 BMW 7-series receives M Sport Package, xDrive and new 740d

The BMW 7-series is a great success since its introduction last year. Now good news is BMW will be offering a bevy of new features for the 2010 BMW 7-Series, including the new M Sport Package, xDrive AWD as well as a new 740d.
The M Sport Package includes the typical exterior upgrades to give a sharper, sportier appearance, along with interior upgrades to enhance the driver-car interface. New pieces include a BMW M shifter, M steering wheel and M footrest. Carbon-fiber trim is also available. The new pack offers the exclusive paintwork in Carbon Black Metallic, apart from the already-offered six body colors all available as an option. Completing the look is a set of 19in M light-alloy wheels in a double-spoke design, or optional 20in units. BMW Dynamic Drive, leather sports seats, and anthracite roof liner are also included. Incidentally, the 1, 3, and 5-Series, as well as the X5 are also available with the M Sport Package.

BMW’s intelligent xDrive AWD will also be introduced in the 7 Series for the first time in the 2010 model year. Already available on the 3er, 5er, and X models, xDrive will be mounted to the V8 powered 750i and 750Li. xDrive is an electronically controlled system that will spread out 407 horsepower across each wheel at appropriate points. Front-to-rear power will be split at 40:60, but in turns the xDrive sends as much as 80% of available power to the rear axle. The xDrive AWD will initially be available for the 750i and 750Li models but is expected to filter across to other models over the course of the year.

The automaker plans to introduce the BMW 740d in the fall, which will feature a brand new straight-six diesel engine. The all-aluminum engine features BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology, and produces a maximum 306 horsepower and 600 Nm of torque. BMW reports a 0-100 km/h time of 6.3 seconds, with a limited top speed of 250 km/h. Despite the respectable performance, average fuel economy comes in at 34mpg (6.9L/100km) with CO2 emissions down around the 181g/km mark.

In a press release, BMW claims these figures to be best in class. This latest engine means the 7-Series may be purchased with one of either three petrol units or two diesel engines. The other diesel engine is a 245 hp six cylinder, available on the 730d. BMW says they will retune this engine to provide better fuel economy by 2010.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

BMW M5 Review

The BMW M5 - speedier response to a series of five. It all started with the idea to build a sports and extraordinary car much more. 2007 BMW M5 SedanBMW M5In the late 1970s, a legendary BMW M1 machine 277- strong row with the S4 engine of 3.5 litres and 4 valves per cylinder. In the 1980s, BMW has translated the concept into production-both born the BMW M5.BMW M5By this time, BMW Motorsport GmbH

BMW 3 Series Convertible

In theory, the BMW 3 Series Convertible resulted in the high technology practice.2007 BMW 3 Series ConvertibleBMW 3 Series ConvertibleMore than thirty years ago, the company established the first BMW sedan. Today, the BMW 3 Series Convertible continues this tradition in the very best style.BMW 3 Series ConvertibleWith its impressive dynamic characteristics and excellent maneuverability, the BMW 3

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Details of 2010 Mercedes S63&S65 AMG Facelift

Since its market launch some three years ago, the Mercedes S-Class AMG has been bought by more than 8,000 customers around the world, making it to the undisputed market leader in the small yet highly exclusive high-performance luxury saloon segment.

Now new details have been released for both the 2010 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and S65 AMG sedans facelifts, both of which are now even more appealing thanks to a series of subtle fine-tuning measures. Both the 2010 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and the 2010 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG go on sale at the end of the month.

The 2010 Mercedes S63 AMG price for the short wheelbase version starts at €115,700 in Europe without tax, bringing a 525 horsepower, 6.3-liter V8 engine producing up to 630 Nm of torque. The long wheelbase models starts at €121,700.

Meanwhile, the 2010 S65 AMG is hardly cheap, starts at €185,900. But the 612 horsepower delivered by the 6.0-liter biturbo V12 may be enough to convince new customers. The V12 delivers a massive 1000 Nm of torque, guaranteeing a 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the S63.

Both cars are electronically limited to 250 km/h. On the S63 the driver controls the AMGSPEEDSHIFT 7G-Tronic transmission, while the S65 utilizes a five-speed automatic.

Impressively, Mercedes did not have to degrade the performance of these two vehicles to improve fuel economy. Both "consumption and CO2 emissions" were reduced "by up to 3 percent."

From the looks of these two cars, it seems many of the 8,000 current S-Class AMG customers may get a little jealous. A new arrow-shaped radiator grille - with twin chrome louvres on the S65 - is an effective status symbol on a car that commands respect. LED accents abound, with the high-tech illumination powering daytime running lights, fog lights and tail lights. Inside it's the usual array of fine wood, leather, high-grade plastics and reserved color combinations.

Spy shots: Cruze-based Buick compact sedan

General Motors is still more than a year away from launching the Chevrolet Cruze sedan in North America. But now Buick is preparing to unveil a new entry-level model which is based on the GM’s FWD Delta II platform that underpins the Chevrolet Cruze. The upcoming Buick compact sedan will likely be offered as a global model like the Cruze.

In terms of styling, the baby Buick will feature traditional Buick design cues, such as a waterfall grille, and with these latest spy shots we get a first opportunity to see the interior for the first time. The Buick compact sedan also shares much in common with the 2010 Opel Astra, a model that also shares the same platform, which means there’s a chance it could be produced at Russelsheim plant in Germany.

U.S. versions are likely to be built at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio alongside the Cruze. The new model will almost certainly be offered in China as well, considering that is Buick’s biggest market.

Engine options should mirror that of the Cruze, which means a range of compact four-cylinder units in both naturally-aspirated and turbocharged forms, with both petrol and diesel options.

The other benefit of the Delta II platform is the possibility of a plug-in hybrid version using Volt technology, although GM is more likely to use other brands such as Cadillac to expand its plug-in hybrid range.

The new sedan will be launched until sometime in 2012, possibly as a 2013 model.

BMW to introduce upgraded 306hp twin-turbo diesel

BMW has just announced an updated more powerful version of its 3.0L twin-turbo six-cylinder diesel engine. The new engine offers a cool 306hp (228kW), and in typical diesel fashion, impresses with 443lb-ft (600Nm) of torque. At the same time, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced by four percent compared to the previous version.

Larger cars are likely to be the first beneficiaries of the new engine. The European 735d is expected to get the engine first, followed by the 535d and 335d. Other 35d models, such as the X5 xDrive 35d could also get the powerplant.

However, it's not yet clear when BMW plans to roll the new engine out.
And since BMW only just introduced a version of the previous engine with U.S. legal after-treatment systems in late 2008, it seems unlikely that the U.S. will receive the upgrades in the near future.

2010 Buick LaCrosse adds new Ecotec 2.4L direct-injection four-cylinder engine

The powertrain lineup of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse already includes the 3.0L and 3.6L V6s as previously revealed, now Buick has announced they will be adding the fuel efficient 2.4-liter four-cylinder Ecotec engine to the upcoming 2010 LaCrosse.

To get a balanced mix of fuel efficiency and performance, the direct-injected 2.4-liter Ecotec boasts 182 horsepower (136 kW) and 172 lb-ft (233 Nm) of torque. More importantly, the engine is expected to return 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. For comparison, the LaCrosse's 255 hp 3.0-liter V6 and 280 hp 3.6-liter V6 average an estimated 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.

All the three engines available in the LaCrosse lineup will feature direct injection technology. “Direct injection is a key component of GM’s ongoing strategy to use advanced propulsion technology to help us deliver more fuel-efficient cars today and in the future,” said Tom Stephens, vice chairman, Global Product Development. “GM is using multiple technology pathways to achieve increased efficiency and to diversify energy sources – and we’re applying them where they make the most sense for customers when it comes to efficiency, performance and cost.”

The LaCrosse main competitors, the Lincoln MKZ and Acura TL are not available with four cylinder engines. So Buick expects it has an advantage even before the street-level comparisons begin.

The 2.4-liter Buick LaCrosse will be offered "later this year" with a base price slightly below the 3.0-liter LaCrosse of $27,085.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fiat 500C convertible coming to U.S.?

The Fiat 500 has win awards from numerous publications and organizations. It’s confirmed that the 500 will hit the U.S. market in July of 2011. Now a convertible variant called the 500C could be close behind. According to several new reports, Fiat has greenlighted the 500C for the U.S. market.

The carmaker has released a new series of 500C convertible images, revealing the car in much better detail.

The new convertible is distinguished by an automated sliding soft-top with an integrated glass backlight and built-in center high mounted stop light. The lining for the roof is a new weather resistant canvas that is available in three different colors, ivory, red and black, and has been designed to match the car’s exterior color palette, which also expands with two new entries - Pearl Red and Warm Grey.

Inside, there's still enough space for four adults but legroom in the rear is ideally suited to small children.

The 500C will receive the same engine options as the 500, which means three powerplants ranging in size from 1.2 to 1.4L. The entry-level 1.2L petrol model develops just 69hp (52kW), while the range topping 1.4L version develops 100hp (75kW). In the middle is the 1.3L Multijet turbodiesel with 75hp (56kW) on tap. Available transmissions include a five-speed manual and robotized Dualogic automatic.

The 500C will also feature Fiat’s fuel-saving start-stop engine technology. Whenever the vehicle comes to a stop and the driver releases the clutch, the engine is switched off and then restarted simply by selecting a gear.

The 500C will come with two trim options: Pop and Lounge. Standard features of the car included electrically operated hood, air conditioning, remote central locking, radio/CD/MP3 player, seven airbags and electrically operated door mirrors. The Lounge models will get the following chief features: climate control, ESP stability control, foglights and rear parking sensors.

The 500C will be first built in Fiat’s Tychy plant in Poland, but could move to Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico plant in 2010. Sales is scheduled for the third quarter of the year.

Toyota iQ3 revealed

Toyota has unveiled a new, more powerful version of their tiny iQ minicar to extend its iQ Range.
Dubbed the iQ3 (iQ cubed), the new variant is powered by a 1.33 Dual VVT-i engine with Toyota Optimal Drive that develops 98 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 125 Nm of torque at 4,400rpm. Despite the added power, the iQ is still a slow poke as 0-62 mph takes 11.8 seconds (11.6 seconds with the CVT). If you have all day, you might even be able to reach the iQ's top speed of 106 mph. Though it's not fast, it's frugal. Thanks to the iQ's stop & start system, the Toyota iQ3 comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, offering 58.9mpg and 113g/km CO2 emissions, or a Multidrive CVT transmission with 55.4mpg and 120g/km.

Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome-finished exterior mirror housings, climate control, and a six-speaker sound system. If that sounds a little basic for your tastes, options include additional chrome trim, rear parking sensors, a sporty body kit, leather seat upholstery, and a navigation system with Bluetooth connectivity.

The new Toyota iQ3 is on sale now. Price from £11,495 for the six-speed manual version and £12,495 for Multidrive.

Saab 9-4X coming by 2010

Saab’s split from General Motors and pending sale to supercar company Koenigsegg will apparently have no major affect on the Swedish automaker’s future model launches, such as that of the upcoming 9-4X crossover.

According to GM's executive director of product and marketing for Cadillac, Hummer and Saab, Steve Shannon, the 2011 Saab 9-4X crossover will launch next yea. Speaking with Automotive News, Shannon explained that the 9-4X will be positioned as the replacement for the poor selling 9-7X. The 9-4X will be similar in size to BMW’s X5 but pricing should be closer to that of the X3 and Volvo XC60 – two of the Saab crossover’s prime targets.

The new crossover will share much in common with the recently-revealed Cadillac SRX and is to be manufactured by GM at the same Ramos Arizpe facility in Mexico as the Cadillac later this year.

These spy photos of the 9-4X testing in Europe show an almost completely undisguised look of the new crossover. No specific details have been offered. But it’s reported that the 9-4X will run a 284hp (209kW) petrol V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. It will also get 18in alloys shod with 255mm tires and a Haldex-sourced AWD system with an electronic differential. A diesel version is expected to be offered in Europe, developing 185kW and 550Nm of torque.

While development work on the 9-4X appears to be almost complete, Saab will be introducing two models before the arrival of the new crossover - the smaller 9-3X crossover and the all-important 2010 9-5.

Citroen DS4 and DS5 coming in 2011

The French automaker Citroen has unveiled a new concept car named after its legendary DS, called the compact DS Inside, which was first displayed back in March at the Geneva Motor Show. The DS3 supermini, along with the DS4 and DS5 form the basis for the new line of upmarket cars.

The first coming will be DS3, we reported formally that it will be unveiled at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. As for the DS4 and DS5 models, Citroen has confirmed that these will be available in 2011 and will be offered with a diesel-electric hybrid option.

As their names suggest, the cars will share some basic architecture with their C3, C4 and C5 siblings respectively. However, the three-door DS3 is based of the DS Inside concept and some of the latter's features like a vinyl roof option may be offered. The 2+2-seater DS4 will borrow elements from 2005’s C-Sportlounge concept. It is being described by Citroen designer Mark Lloyd as "a GT for the modern age". The C-Sportlounge was a sort of MPV coupe with some crossover appeal.

As for the DS5, that model could go after people looking for something like a BMW X6 but at a lesser price tag. Based on the Hypnos Concept of Paris 2008, the DS5 will use a diesel-hybrid engine as part of its powertrain offering. Although it will ditch the Hypnos' rear suicide doors it will still be radical in its own right.

All in all, the smaller DS4 will be aimed at the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008 in Europe, while the DS5 will take on bigger and more premium crossovers like BMW’s X6.

Meanwhile Citroen says that production of the current C3 will end in November. At the same time the Pluriel will cease production as well but will not get a replacement model. Neither will the C2 for that matter, although a car inspired by the C-Cactus Concept could possibly replace it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

VW Scirocco “Remis” by HS Motorsport

The Volkswagen Scirocco coupe is one of the eye-catching with tuners, which has already been tuned by ABT Sportsline, MTM and Oettinger. Apparently, German performance shop HS Motorsport also doesn’t want to left behind. The company is releasing the tuned Volkswagen Scirocco couple they call Remis.

The most powerful Scirocco model, the 2.0L turbo unit, only produces 200hp (147kW), so HS Motorsport has boosted power up to 320hp (235kW) in its top-of-the-line Remis package. The end result sees the modified coupe accelerate from 0-100km/km in 6.6 seconds – about 0.6 seconds faster than the production version. Top speed is a claimed 242km/h.

The large power gains are achieved through a number of methods, including sports exhaust systems, ECU tweaking and uprated turbocharger system. Additionally, HS Motorsport also offers 20in wheels, lowered springs, and a stainless steel muffler. Braking power comes from Brembo via special narrow one-piece discs and calipers.

To set the tuned version apart from the standard Scirocco, HS Motorsport has also developed a complete bodykit, which includes a front spoiler, side skirts, and a rear spoiler extension – all made from carbon-fiber. Inside, the firm has added Recaro Sportster CS seats with black Remis-special leather upholstery and white Remis embroidery. The car runs on 245/30 ZR20 matt black rims with 9x20 with Vredestein tyres.

2010 Opel Astra interior details reveal

We have reported the 2010 Opel Astra before, which will make its official world debut at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Now the company revealed the car’s stylish new interior for the first time.

2010 Opel Astra will begin selling at UK dealers later in the year. This is the sixth generation of the Astra, which comes almost 30 years after the launch of the original, and its styling was led by Mark Adams, the British designer responsible for Opel’s award-winning Insignia.

Echoing the flowing forms of its bodywork, the new Astra’s interior marks a major shift towards premium design and quality in the compact sector. The Astra’s interior employs the recurring wing and blade motifs that were first introduced in the Insignia, and also includes a wraparound instrument panel, which embraces both front seat occupants.

Ambient lighting enhances the quality feel of the cabin, with lighting points framing the gearbox surround, and providing illumination from above the center console and within the door handle recesses, depending on trim level.

Beneath the car’s pretty sheet metal is a 4.4 metre-length body and an updated GM Delta platform with a 71 millimetre-longer wheelbase. Wider tracks front and rear feature, as does a new rear axle design, which not only improves stability and agility but improves ride and comfort as well.

For the driver's comfort, an addition of Opel’s FlexRide adjustable damper settings is offered, which allows drivers to select between standard, sport and tour suspension modes. The Astra's speedometer and tachometer pods angled towards the driver. The seats can be raised by up to 65mm in height, while their fore and aft range goes up to 280mm. Another special feature is adaptive bi-xenon headlights.

The highlight of the new Astra’s powertrain line-up is the introduction of an all-new, 138hp (103kW) turbocharged 1.4L petrol unit, which builds on Opel’s commitment to engine downsizing and reduced emissions and fuel consumption. This engine joins three further petrol engines, which range from 98hp (74kW) to 178hp (132kW), and four diesel engines ranging from 94hp (70kW) to 158hp (118kW). All engines are Euro 5 compliant.

Opel did a survey among customers to find out how they utilise their interior spaces. The result showed that people generally store twenty common items (not all at once) in their cars, items like cellular phones, CDs, magazines, paper tissues, cups, bottles and even gloves. So they came up with what they call simple, but effective storage solutions. They include the centre console which can take up to nine CD cases while swallowing up two cups at the same time.

2010 Corvette Z06 specs and price details

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the range-topping performance model in the Corvette lineup and is widely regarded as one of the best performance bargains on the market. Pricing for the 2010 Corvette Z06 starts at $75,235 which is an increase of $360 over 2009's MSRP of $74,875, but it remains incredible value and offers the kind of performance normally reserved for cars costing twice as much.

Power comes from the now familiar LS7 7.0L V8. Born out of Chevrolet's racing program, each V8 engine is hand-built at the GM Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan and features a dry-sump lubrication system, titanium valves and connecting rods, forged-steel crankshaft with six-bolt main bearings and a high-profile cam.

The result is a peak output of 505hp (377kW) at 6,300rpm and 470lb-ft (640Nm) at 4,800rpm, the potent engine in the Z06’s 1,440kg body sees the car sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.7 seconds, pass the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds at 125mph and reach a top speed of 198mph. Drive is sent to the rear wheels via six-speed manual. Massive six-piston front and four-piston rear disc brakes provide more than enough stopping power to haul the Corvette Z06 down from speed. Despite its massive amount of power, the Corvette Z06 does not incur a federal government gas-guzzler penalty.

The Z06 package also includes several other performance features. To keep weight down, the Z06's front fenders, wheelhousings and floorboards are made of carbon fiber. To further cut weight, Chevrolet gave the Z06 an aluminum body structure -- shaving off 136 pounds from a Corvette Coupe -- and a magnesium roof structure and engine cradle. The weight-savings measures give the Corvette Z06 a power-to-weight ratio of, besting the Ferrari F430 and Porsche GT3 RS.

Like the rest of the 2010 Corvette range, the latest Z06 comes with a new launch control system and side airbags as standard. Buyers opting for the top-end 3LZ package now get powered sports seats for both driver and passenger, while a new Cashmere interior with Corvette logo embroidery is also available.

The 2010 Z06 retains the 2,686mm wheelbase of other Corvette models, as well as the short-long arm suspension and transverse spring design, but it rides on all-new wheels, tires and brakes, as well as its own rear spring and roll stabilizer.

The cast-spun aluminum wheels measure 18in up front and house 14in disc brakes and red six-piston calipers, while in the rear the wheels are 19in in diameter and house 13.4in discs with four-piston calipers. A four-channel ABS system is standard, as is an active handling system complete with a ‘Competitive Driving’ mode.

The 2010 Z06 is the availability of the full Corvette color palette, with eight colors including Arctic White, Crystal Red Metallic and the new Torch Red now offered.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spy shots: Volkswagen Phaeton receives second facelift

Volkswagen Phaeton was first launched in 2002, which was widely considered as a really great car. However, VW had no business making such a big expensive vehicle. With the first facelifted model in 2007, sales of the Phaeton actually rose. Now the company is probably counting on the second facelifted one to do the same.

The facelifted Phaeton will be getting several minor styling changes as evidenced by these latest spy shots. The changes to the car will be mainly cosmetic, with a redesigned front grille and new bumpers, plus a more pedestrian-friendly reshaped bonnet. The styling will be influenced by VW’s new edgier corporate look that was first seen on the Mark VI Golf.

The powertrain lineup will also likely be revitalized, with a range of more fuel-efficient engines introduced in line with more stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations. There is talk of the new Audi V12 TDI and a hybrid making the lineup too to make the car attractive for a possible American debut.

The second facelifted Volkswagen Phaeton may be appear in late next year as a 2011 model.

Citroen Unveils New 240HP 3.0 HDi V6 Diesel for C5 and C6 Range

High-efficiency diesel engines are the solution to near-term CO2 taxation and fuel efficiency rules for Europe, and the French carmaker Citroen doesn't want to be left behind. Accordingly, it has just updated its diesel engine to a new 240hp (179kW), 3.0HDi for its C5 and C6 models.

The updated engine features a new, third-generation direct injection / common rail system. That power rating, humble as it may seem alongside today's V8, V6 and even turbo four-cylinder offerings, is the highest power output ever for a production Citroen engine, according to the company. With the new powertrain and a six-speed automatic gearbox, the C5 and C6 can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h (62mph) in 7.9 and 8.5 seconds respectively. But despite the jump in power - 32hp (24kW) better than the 208hp (155kW) 2.7L unit it replaces - the engine is also about 15% more efficient.

Depending on the application, the engine is actually up to 17% more fuel efficient. Both C5 and C6 average 31mpg US in the combined cycle, a 13% improvement for the C5 and a 17% improvement for the C6. Emissions were cut at similar rates, down to 195g/km for both cars. Particulate matter is trapped by a new Diesel Particulate Filter System (DPFS).

The engine will make its retail debut later this summer, more than a year ahead of the 2011 Euro V emissions mandates with which it complies.

Porsche Cayenne Hybrid on the streets by late 2010

As everyone knows, Porsche's planning a range of production Cayenne hybrids. Now it was confirmed by Porsche board member Wolfgang Dürheimer, who told the German daily Rheinische Post that the vehicle would be in dealerships and on the street by the second half of 2010 with a starting price around €90,000 ($124,500).

Specifics on the Hybrid models haven't been abundant, but Porsche did release several key details about the Cayenne S Hybrid earlier this year. The vehicle is targeting V8 performance with four-cylinder emissions and efficiency - exactly what you'd expect of a hybrid.

But it's not just about the fuel-saving aspects. Teaming an Audi 3.0L V6 DFI engine rated at 333hp and 324lb-ft of torque with a 52hp, 221lb-ft electric motor and a 38kW NiMH battery pack, the Cayenne Hybrid S is a perkier than the regular hybrid, or 6-cylinder SUV. Zero to 62mph (100km/h) ticks by in 6.8 seconds, despite the ULEV II emissions rating, cutting CO2 by 20% compared to the standard version.

Porsche also revealed the function of the hand-off between electric and combustion drive. Good for up to 1.2mi (1.9km) on electricity alone, once that reserve is exhausted, the computer fires up the engine, engages the clutch and transfers power all in just 380ms. And it does it "without the driver or passengers noticing what is happening" according to Porsche.

An eight-speed transmission ties the whole system together, offering long gears at the high end for more efficient cruising. The top-speed gear is actually sixth, so seventh and eighth are effectively overdrives. In top gear, the vehicle can maintain constant speeds up to 86mph (138km/h) on electricity alone.

The Cayenne Hybrid S drive system will also make its way to a Panamera hybrid, which could hit the streets as early as the third quarter of this year.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

ASI Ferrari F430

Japanese luxury tuner ASI is renowned for its work with Bentley Continentals, but now the company has undertaken its first project outside of the Bentley Continental series: the ASI Ferrari F430 body kit and engine upgrade.
The new bodykit from ASI gives the Ferrari some bold new looks and marries the two worlds of Japanese tuner cars and Italian exotica. According to ASI, the aerodynamic performance of the new bodykit matches that of F430’s original design, but more importantly the new kit is a full 27kg lighter than the stock version. Consisting of a new front bumper, side skirts and rear bumper, the full kit will set you back approximately $15,000, or alternatively the different parts can be bought separately.

ASI is also offering to tweak the Ferrari F430's ECU for a fee of $7,500, which should free up some extra performance from the car with its focus on improving mid-range torque. The Japanese tuner will also be selling a Sachs suspension system designed specifically for the F430, which will set you back $13,000, resulting in a total cost of $35,500 for all the available parts.

Additionally, the ASI Ferrari F430 program will be extended in the future dry carbon rear wing, front brake system, diffuser fins, a center exhaust 19-Inch forged wheels. The dry carbon rear wing set to arrive later this month along with a front brake system. Next month, diffuser fins and an ASI center-tip exhaust system that is compatible with the bodykit will be available and August will see the launch of custom 19in forged alloy wheels.

Glass Roof Option added to 2010 Ford Mustang and GT Convertible

Just in time for summer, Ford has added its panoramic glass roof option to its restyled 2010 Mustang Coupe alongside the convertible version of the V8-powered Mustang GT, both of which are now on sale in showrooms across the country.
The glass roof is made of tinted privacy glass and features a built-in manual roller blind. This tint makes the glass roof option ideal for those who love the sun but want to cut back on sunscreen use. Ford also points out that "scientific studies show that increased exposure to sunshine or bright light is therapeutic because it regulates the body's synthesis of melatonin, a mood-regulating hormone that modulates the circadian cycle of sleep and wakefulness."

The glass roof has been specially engineered to filter out 90 percent of the sun's heat-generating infrared (IR) rays and 96 percent of burn-causing ultraviolet (UV) rays. This effectively means the Glass Roof Mustang is the only coupe to be equipped with a sun protection factor (SPF) of approximately 50.

The glass roof's ability to filter the rays also reduces heat load in the cabin so that occupants remain comfortable. Furthermore, the reflective glass also reduces energy used by the vehicle's air conditioner system while protecting the interior fabric from fading and deteriorating. Finally, to help improve acoustics and Mustang’s interior quietness the glass also features a layer of vinyl that reduces noise, vibration and harshness.

Since its introduction in 2008, the glass roof option – which is available as a $1,995 option on both the V6 model and the GT – has accounted for 10% of all Mustang sales. The convertible, on the other hand, accounts for 25% of Mustang sales, and sell most strongly in California, Florida, Texas and Georgia.

Other Blue Oval vehicles that feature the glass roof option include the 2010 Lincoln MKS and 2009 Ford Flex, Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX.

To get that amazing different feeling, head to your local Ford dealer and shell out an extra $1,995.

Mercedes launch a New Special Edition trim for C-Class range

A new Special Edition Mercedes-Benz C-Class range has been announced in Germany. This is a new range-topping model with exclusive styling and a host of standard equipment, successfully drawing admiring glances.

Available in both the Sedan and Estate bodystyles, as well as the complete C-Class engine range, the new Special Edition is only being offered in Europe for now.

Standard equipment includes Mercedes’ Agility Control active suspension dampening, adaptive brakes, auto adjusting bi-xenon headlights, Parktronic parking sensors, BlueEFFICIENCY and the Intelligent Light System, ensuring that even the most discerning requirements are met for those looking for refinement, motoring pleasure and a car with a distinctive character.

Some subtle exterior changes have been implemented to improve the looks. These include darkened headlamps with a dark cover frame, new paintwork and five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. Tyres that go with these wheels are 235/60 R 17 at the front and 255/55 R 17 at the rear.

Other alterations are shoulder line trim strips, front fog lights and a new front grille in silver matt and chrome. Adaptive headlights with bi-xenon lamps and PARKTRONIC with acoustic warning are also standard. More chrome is pasted on the rear bumper and boot lid and the B-pillar has been painted glossy black.

Like the exterior, the interior is based on the sporty Avantgarde line of time. Its styling has been altered with the addition of new sports seats trimmed in Artico man-made leather and Liverpool fabric in como beige. The same como beige trim is used for the stitching in seats, centre armrest, door centre panel and floor mats. The floor mats have "Special Edition" lettering attached to them. Other details include brushed aluminum elements, a multifunction leather steering wheel, and a 4.5in display in the instrument cluster.

The new Special Edition range is positioned above the Avantgarde trim and depending on which engine option is chosen, prices increase by about €2,689 to a maximum €3,879. No word yet whether Mercedes will offer the range in North America.

Audi releases first details and new teaser for A5 Sportback

We first reported that Audi A5 Sportback would be debuted at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show in May 1. Now Audi has revealed more details of the all-new A5 Sportback.

Audi has announced A5 Sportback is set to go on sale in Europe following the debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Pricing in Europe will start at €36,050 (approximately $49,855) for the base 2.0L TDI model, however, Audi has confirmed that an even cheaper model will arrive in the middle of next year.

Designed to be as "emotional and elegant as a coupe, as comfortable as a sedan, and as practical as an Avant", the new A5 Sportback features a five door body with an elongated profile. Although the teaser video only shows an artist stretching the A5 Sportback's design, Audi states that the new model features a large rear hatch, a graceful tapering roofline which is 36 mm (1.4") lower than the A4 Sedan's, and four frameless doors with "dynamic window styling". Inside, there’s 980L of storage available with the rear seats are folded and generous space for four adults.

At launch, the A5 Sportback will be offered with three diesels and two petrol engines. Diesel versions include the 2.0 TDI with 125 kW (170 hp) and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque, a 2.7 TDI with 140 kW (190 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft), and a 3.0-liter V6 TDI with 176 kW (240 hp) and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) torque. The two petrol versions, the 2.0 TFSI quattro with an output of 211hp (155kW) and 258lb-ft (350Nm) of torque and the 3.2L V6 quattro generating 265hp (195kW) are both equipped with the Audi valvelift system. This feature can produce more power and higher torque as well as lower fuel consumption.

To ensure optimal handling performance the A5 Sportback comes with a newly developed electronic stability program (ESP) with an electronic differential lock on the front axle. The car also comes with the Audi drive select dynamic driving system, which allows the driver to choose between three different modes which influence the throttle response characteristics, the shift points for the seven-speed S tronic or multitronic transmissions, and supports the servotronic steering. If the vehicle is equipped with the MMI operating system, a fourth, freely programmable level is also available.

Expect more details to be released closer to the car’s unveiling in September.

Porsche wins 'Best New Engine of the Year' award

The eleventh International Engine of the Year Awards winners have just been announced. Porsche has taken ‘Best New Engine of the Year’ title for its 3.8L flat-six engine from the 911 Carrera S, beating out BMW and Jaguar for the top spot.

The engine powering the 911 Carrera S, a 3.8L boxer, features Porsche's new Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) system, which dramatically increases power and engine flexibility while also increasing efficiency and lowering the environmental impact of the iconic sports car, according to Porsche.

Output of the 3.8L power unit in the S-models is up by 30hp (22kW) to 380hp (283kW) for 2009, pushing the Carrera S beyond the speed barrier of 186mph (300km/h) for the first time.

Despite this supreme power and performance, the new models in the 911 range once again boast a significant reduction of fuel consumption. The pick of the bunch was the 911 Carrera S with the PDK gearbox offering the best mix of performance and fuel economy, delivering an average fuel consumption of just 23mpg (10.2L/100km). All in all, the new engine represents an 8.5% increase in power and a 13% reduction in fuel consumption when compared with the outgoing version.

The ‘Best Performance Engine’ title went to luxury marque Mercedes Benz for its 6.2L V8 engine, although the hand-built unit actually comes from the AMG performance arm. Other important titles include the ‘Green Engine of the Year’, which went to Volkswagen’s 1.4L TSI TwinCharger, as well as the ‘Above 4.0L Class’, which also went to Mercedes’ 6.2L V8.

For the past 11 years, the award has been handed out by British specialist magazine Engine Technology International. Last year, the award went to BMW for its 3.0L twin turbo, which powers the 135, 335 and the X6. BMW has won the prestigious award for the past four years straight.

Porsche Cayenne Russianized by Status Design

Status Design, a Russian tuning company, has taken on the Porsche Cayenne. They call it the body-whale, the images shown are just computer generated renderings and the real-life debut should take place by October.

The term body-whale is obviously meant to invoke some kind of marine-animal sense of sleekness and power but the design doesn't really seem to match that.

The kit is reportedly be made from plastic or optional carbon-fiber. While there are no engine modifications to the Status Design Cayenne, the new aerodynamics kit is easily enough to help differentiate the customized SUV from the standard model. Putting subtlety and elegance aside, Status Design has obviously decided to take the more-is-better approach to design with this iteration of the Cayenne.

Up front, the new bumper takes some angular elements from air-intakes seen on supercars and then combines them with what appears to be an Audi R8-inspired air-conditioning unit just below. There is also a new hood, with a pointed nose that goes down towards the front grille rather strikingly, and this is accompanied by some new front fenders.

Along with new side sills and some familiar looking two-tone panels that appear to have come in vogue ever since the Bugatti Veyron and Audi R8 adopted this style, the Status Design Cayenne also adopts one of the strangest looking rear spoilers we've ever seen.

Till now, it's still only a rendering that is due to be published this fall. What will be the result, we will wait to see.

Friday, June 19, 2009

GM bumps price of 2010 Corvette ZR1 up $2,910 to $107,830

The Corvette ZR1 is priced at just $104,920 for 2009. But just like fine wine, supercars have a tendency to cost more with age. In that spirit, Chevrolet has announced the 2010 Corvette ZR1 will cost $107,830, a rise of $2,910 over the 2009 model, reports CorvetteBlogger. Once you add in the $1,700 gas guzzler tax, the total climbs to $109,530 for the 3,333lb (1,512kg) 2010 Corvette ZR1.

That's still about half the price of its nearest performance rivals, and only about $20,000 over the 480hp (358kW), 3,800lb (1,727kg) Nissan GT-R.
Thankfully, the ZR1's supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine carries over untouched. With 638 horsepower (476 kW) and 604 lb-ft (819 Nm) of torque, the ZR1 rockets to a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).

Aside from the modest 2.8% price bump, the 2010 ZR1 will also get launch control and the new Performance Traction Management (PTM) system, both worth the expense in their own right. According to GM, the PTM system "optimizes traction for greater and more consistent on-track performance" by modulating engine torque 100 times per second and automatically managing acceleration dynamics when exiting corners at full throttle.

Other updates include standard side air bags, a cashmere interior, several new exterior color choices, and optional competition gray wheels.

The standard Corvette also saw a slight price rise this year, up $365, though it also gets the upgraded launch control and traction management systems.

Nissan prices Nismo 370Z from $39,130

Nissan’s upcoming Nismo 370Z - the sportiest Z on offer - has officially gone on sale, priced from $39,130 and available with just three accessories – Nismo branded carpeted floor mats ($115), illuminated kick plates ($200) and a carpeted trunk mat ($95).

The NISMO 370Z was developed by Nissan’s Specialty Vehicles Group in conjunction with tuning partner Autech Japan. The car is offered in one completely equipped model (no options) with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission and the SynchroRev Match function.

The SynchroRev Match - the world’s first synchronized downshift rev matching manual transmission system- automatically controls and adjusts engine speed when shifting to the speed of the next gear position, essentially "blipping" the throttle to smooth out any up/down shifts. This not only allows the driver to focus more on braking and steering, it improves vehicle balance and smoothness by reducing the typical "shock" when the clutch is engaged. The system can be deactivated with a button next to the shifter for drivers who prefer less vehicle intervention.

Power comes from a tuned version of the company’s 3.7-liter motor, offering 350 horsepower at 7,400 rpm — an increase of 18 hp over the standard model. Peak torque is 276 pound-feet at 5,200 rpm — 6 lb-ft. more than the regular 370Z. The extra oomph is courtesy of an exclusive H-configured exhaust system design and muffler tuning, along with an optimized ECU.

“The NISMO name is known throughout the world as the leading supplier of race-bred, factory-tuned, extreme performance Nissan parts, accessories and vehicles,” said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America. “The new, second-generation NISMO Z proudly – and deservedly – wears the NISMO badge, carrying on the tradition of bringing racing- inspired performance and engineering to the street.”

To improve chassis, engineers added a stiffer strut tower bar brace and a pair of performance dampers. The standard double-wishbone and four-link suspension has also been specially tuned for improved stability and handling. Compared to the standard 370Z Coupe, front spring rates have been dialed up 15%, rear spring rates 10%, front stabilizer bar rate upped 15% and the rear stabilizer bar is 50% stiffer. The roll stiffness rate has been increased by 15% and front and rear damping factors have been increased by 40% and 140% respectively.

Other features include large diameter 14.0in brakes with uprated four-piston aluminum calipers at the front and two-piston calipers in the rear. To set it apart from the standard model, the Nismo version has also been fitted with a full bodykit and bi-xenon headlights. Available color options include Pearl White, Brilliant Silver, Magnetic Black, Solid Red and Platinum Graphite.

Inside, there are Nismo logos on the seats and tachometer, as well as a sports steering wheel with leather and red stitching, and aluminum trimmed pedals. The final addition is a serialized plaque located on the center console.

“One look at the dramatic NISMO 370Z body and you know that this isn’t your everyday sports car,” said Castignetti. “The styling is highly emotional yet totally functional – expressing dynamic movement while enhancing airflow and downforce for enhanced aerodynamic performance.”

Spy shots: 2010 Noble M600 supercar

Noble's sports cars are not exactly known for their attractiveness but rather their driving ability, but this reputation may be set to change with the latest details on the 2010 M600 supercar. From the spy shots, we see that Noble is finally paying some attention to aesthetics.

Last year, Noble CEO Peter Boutwood revealed that the car would be getting a Yamaha-designed twin-turbo V8 engine sourced from Volvo, along with a carbon fiber shell, around 600hp (448kW) and a six-speed manual gearbox. Now, Auto Motor und Sport is reporting that power will be closer to 650hp (485kW). The new M600 should be capable of speeds up to and beyond 320km/h mark when it is finally released in 2010. Noble promises that despite its more traditional supercar styling, the M600 will remain a true driver’s car, with minimal gadgetry and modern driving aids.

On the styling front, the new M600 would seem to borrow some inspiration from Ferrari F430 at the back end. The shape of the boot lid, and the positioning of the taillights, tailpipes, and rear diffuser all show a bit more than an homage to Pininfarina. From the front, others have likened this car to everything from a Saleen S7 to the 2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve concept car.

Only 50 units of the M600 will be built each year, but there’s no word yet on pricing. And there is still no word on whether a left-hand-drive model will be built for the American market - although previous Noble models have been imported in rolling chassis form.

Spy shots:2012 Porsche Cayman test-mule

Porsche’s facelifted Cayman and Boxster range has just been on sale for several months, but now the company is now quite far into preparing the next-generation of the platform, which is due to spawn a brand new Cayman and Boxster by late 2011 or early 2012.

The spy photos reveal a mule that appears to be wider and has beefier wheel arches than the current model, with bolt-on guard extensions pointing to a wider track than the 2010 car. That wider track means the next-gen Cayman and Boxster models may be larger and carrying more performance.

The current Cayman comes with the optional new PDK dual-clutch transmission which provides very smooth shifting in traffic conditions and sporty changes when pushed to respond quicker. Fuel consumption is said to be improved despite power and torque increases. The next-gen Cayman will presumably use the PDK system as well.

It’s still too early to determine what changes Porsche has in store for the engine lineup, but expect to see the familiar flat-six engine range carry over with only minimal updates – possibly for emissions and economy standards.

However, a rumor alleging that Porsche insiders are talking about a lightweight, turbocharged four-cylinder platform for the next-gen Boxster recently began making the rounds. Such a design premise might offer more room to launch a detuned entry-level Carrera also aimed at improving emissions ratings. Emissions of the current six-cylinder Boxster and Cayman, the most efficient in Porsche's line, emit about 222g/km of CO2 - about 100g/km more than the projected 2015 limits.

Production will begin in only a few years' time at Magna Steyr's factory in Austria. Dealers will receive their first batches of Boxster and Cayman stock in 2012.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2010 Ford Mustang receives Track Pack and FR3 Handling Pack

The 2010 Ford Mustang, already in dealer lots, builds on a proud, unbroken 45-year heritage of fast, fun and affordable with an all-new exterior design, available cutting-edge technology and performance enhancements pioneered on Ford’s extensive racing and special programs.

Started from this summer, fans can get new optional package upgrades for 2010 Mustang GT. Ford will be offering the car with optional Track Pack and Ford Racing developed FR3 Handling Package. Track Pack upgrade from the factory promises to boost grip, while those that have already ordered or bought their Mustangs can have an even hotter FR3 Handling Pack from Ford Racing fitted.

The dealership will handle installation of the FR3 Handling Pack, which includes a new set of springs with 75lb heavier rates, stiffer front and rear anti-roll bars, a strut tower brace, retuned dampers to match the new springs and ride height lowered by more than an inch.

There is a hard core FR3 Handling Pack from Ford Racing that uses a lot of the components from the KONI Challenge car. "The FR3 Handling Pack is derived from our extensive experience with the Ford Mustang FR500C competing in the Grand-Am KONI Challenge and FIA GT4," said Andy Slankard, Engineering Supervisor, Ford Racing.

Thankfully, unlike most aftermarket parts, the official stuff from Ford Racing comes with a full warranty, and upgrades are also available for both V6 and GT models. The FR3 pack costs $1,335 and can be ordered on your own or through a dealer.

The Track Pack, which can be ordered straight from the factory, offers a slightly less aggressive improvement in grip, while also boosting the 'bling' with 19in wheels. Also included in the package are stiffer dampers plus stiffer front and rear anti-roll bars designed with influence from the Shelby GT500 program.

"By reducing the roll gradient, the car stays flatter in turns," said Tom Barnes, Vehicle Engineering Manager, 2010 Mustang. "And when the car is flatter, the driver is more in command and more confident in what the car's doing.

"Great handling comes from great control. A driver's control of the vehicle is facilitated by information. This Track Pack communicates to the driver through the tires and suspension so well that is it easy to drive very quickly. It rewards smooth driving, while offering great capacity to cover driver error."

Those 19s are shod in Pirelli summer tires, however, so while the Track Pack will only cost you $1,495, expect to pay that much every time you need new tires as well.

On the other hand, the 3.73 axle and carbon-fiber-plate limited-slip differential that's also included as part of the Track Pack could well make up for the costly tires. Performance Friction brake pads, retuned traction control and ABS plus the standard 2010 GT three-mode switch for the AdvanceTrac control (on, off or sport) all combine to make the Track Pack a significant upgrade over the base GT.