Friday, July 31, 2009

Acura expands 2010 lineup with 2010 Acura TSX 3.5L V6 model

Unveiled at February’s Chicago Auto Show, the V-6 powered TSX is added to the automaker’s updated 2010 lineup. Positioned at luxury sports sedan, the 2010 Acura TSX V6 offers more comforts, convenience and safety. It does so with expanded luxury and electronic features, a wider stance for more agile performance and advanced safety systems.

Powered by Acura’s familiar 3.5L V6 from its TL and RL siblings, the new TSX delivers 280hp (209kW). Mated to a specially-geared Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission, the TSX V-6 generates substantially improved performance for drivers who prefer the more interesting route over the quickest route. In addition, the V-6 TSX also receives exclusive suspension tuning (the front suspension receives firmer springs and revised calibration for the dual-mode suspension dampers), brake system upgrades, and unique five-spoke 18in aluminum wheels shod with Michelin Pilot all-season tires.

"With strong V-6 power, the 2010 TSX can go toe-to-toe with the top sports sedans in its class," said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. "Matched with new 18-inch wheels and revised suspension, the TSX V-6 is proof positive that a smart vehicle choice doesn't have to be a boring vehicle choice."

At the same time, the V6 TSX meets California's CARB LEV II ULEV emissions certification and delivers an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 18/27mpg.

Like all Acura models, the new TSX features as standard a power moonroof, automatic climate control, a premium seven-speaker sound system with XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free and USB and auxiliary ports. Optional goodies include Acura’s Technology Package, which adds satellite navigation, a reversing camera, and a premium sound system.

Incidentally, the 2.4L four-cylinder version remains on sale. Producing 201hp and 172lb-ft of torque, the four-cylinder engine comes standard with a 6-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2010 Acura RDX Facelift Fully Revealed

Acura has released details of the redesigned 2010 RDX. The new RDX is more luxurious with performance and styling upgrades.

As for the appearance, the new RDX gets a new face with reshaped fog lamps and air intakes along with its bottle-opener grille, which has also been applied to the TSX, TL and RL sedans. Headlights and taillights are revised. New alloy wheels are fitted and the rear bumper sports new trim too. Standard wheels are 18" x 7.5" aluminium-alloys running on P235/55 R18 tyres. The vehicle measures 4.635m in length, 1.870m and stands 1.655m tall. It also has a minimum ground clearance of 15.87cm.

Acura offers two-wheel drive option of 2010 Acura RDX facelift, front-wheel drive model and Super-Handling AWD version. The FWD model becomes the baseline model and sells at a base price of $32,520 --$2,000 less than the AWD version. At the same time, the FWD version could boost fuel economy over the AWD model, which has been the only version available since the compact SUV was launched for 2008. The EPA city/highway fuel economy rating for the two-wheel drive model comes in 19/24mpg, while the AWD model comes in at 17/22mpg.

Powers comes from 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates some 177kW (240hp) and torque of 260 lb-ft at 4500 rpm. Mated to the engine is a 5-speed automatic transmission with paddles for semi-automatic changes. Safety systems fitted include ABS brakes with EBD and Brake Assist.

More updates inside include automatic dual-zone, humidity control and air filtration, USB connectivity and stereo Bluetooth audio; ambient lighting; and a navigation system update with rearview camera updates and real-time traffic.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ford Mustang AV-X10 to be auctioned at 2009 EAA Gathering of Eagles

Last year, Ford sold off the one-off Ford Mustang AV8R for $500,000 at the annual Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Gathering of Eagles festival. The money went to EAA's Young Eagles charity, a program that gives those under 17 the chance to fly in a general aviation craft.

This year, Ford builds another one-off custom Mustang call ‘AV-X10 Dearborn Doll’ for the event. People who want to bid on the Ford Mustang AV-X10 can do so between July 27 and August 2 at the 2009 EAA Air Venture Oshkosh fly-in convention.

The AV-X10 "Dearborn Doll" Mustang utilizes the 2010 Mustang GT with Glassroof option as the platform base with performance modifications coming from Ford Racing, including a 550hp (410kW) supercharger kit, a high-flow FR500S exhaust system, a short throw shifter, a new handling package featuring dampers, lowering springs and an anti-roll bar. The car rides one inch lower than a stock Mustang GT, and uses a 550 hp 4.6-liter 24-valve aluminum engine, which is the 10-millionth powerplant built at Ford’s Romeo facility.

As for the exterior, it’s influenced by the World War II-era P-51 Mustang aircraft. The car is painted in Satin Silver, added a yellow nose and rear wing, and changed the wheels to Shelby's 19-inch model meant for the GT500. The wheels were painted in liquid silver with yellow propeller tips. One of the coolest features is that the Glass roof is even treated to an abstract translucent star and bars scheme for added effect.

Continuing with an Air Force look, the engineers added a Bader leather interior with a worn look, diamond-tucked seat and door inserts, and a unique instrument cluster.

"Ford Motor Company has been a committed partner of EAA throughout the years and especially during AirVenture, where Ford's support has brought value to those who make ‘Oshkosh' the pinnacle of their aviation year," said EAA chair Tom Poberezny in a press release. "The generous creation of such specialty vehicles allows EAA to provide support to its valuable programs and dedicated members inspiring young people and building the future of flight."

Saleen Performance Vehicles releases Saleen 435S Mustang

Mere days ago, we have introduced the highly anticipated 2010 SMS 460 Ford Mustang from Steve Saleen and its new company SMS Supercars. Now, another Mustang bearing the Saleen name - the Saleen Performance Vehicles 435S Mustang is here. However, just as we said previously, the 2010 SMS 460 Ford Mustang is the only Mustang officially authorized to bear Steve Saleen's name. Steve Saleen had nothing to do with the Saleen 435S.

In fact, the Saleen Performance Vehicles, owned by Michigan-based MJ Acquisitions, is in a lawsuit filed by Steve Saleen over the use of the Saleen name.

Power comes from the 4.6-liter, 3-valve SOHC V8 engine fitted with a Saleen Series VI supercharger, paired up with a 5-speed manual transmission. The car will be capable to produce a vigorous 435hp (324kW) and 425lb-ft (575Nm) of torque.

Thanks to the Saleen Racecraft suspension kit, the car rides 1.5 inches lower than a Mustang GT. The suspension package includes springs, a stiffer front stabilizer bar, and nitrogen-pressurized shock absorbers tuned exclusively for the 435S.

The exterior of the car has also been fitted with Saleen badging and chevrons, as well as a set of custom 18in, 5-spoke alloy wheels(19- and 20-inch wheels are available).

“All in all, we believe the 435S is the right car at the right time,” said Mike Shields, CEO of Saleen Performance Vehicles. “It’s a terrific performance value that we’re proud to offer. And this is just the first of many great Saleen vehicles we’ll be launching in the future.”

Mercedes-Benz plans 58 BlueEfficiency models by end of 2009

We have reported Mercedes-Benz was expanding the 2010 E-Class range with two economical four-cylinder models: the E200 CDI turbodiesel and E200 CGI petrol model. However, this is just part of plan. Mercedes-Benz has now announced that there will be 58 BlueEfficiency models on the market by the end of the year (there are 49 vehicles in the image above), including the already reported two models.

What’s BlueEfficiency car? In general, it depicts cars that combine a range of efficiency-enhancing design features and materials that cause a car to be 23% more efficient than a regular vehicle. Just like the new E-Class, combines the latest in engine technology and the world’s best cd value in its class with targeted vehicle optimization measures, including lightweight design and intelligent energy management.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2010 SMS 460 Ford Mustang revealed

Steve Saleen and its new company SMS Supercars have revealed the 2010 SMS 460 Ford Mustang at the “Mustangs Northwest Roundup” in Seattle.

Based on the 2010 460 Ford Mustang, the 2010 SMS 460 Ford Mustang is the only Mustang officially authorized to bear Steve Saleen's name, to use the benefit of the dedication, history, and success he has cultured for over 30 years. Steve Saleen, President and CEO of SMS Supercars: "The SMS 460 Mustang embodies everything I stand for. It reflects my unrivalled tenure in the Mustang business, my passion and love for the Mustang brand."

The lineup has two models: the SMS 460 and SMS 460X. Both are fitted with custom supercharged V8s. The SMS 460 Mustang gets a 4.6 liter V8 engine producing 470 hp and 427 ft-lb of torque, while the SMS 460X Mustang with an enlarged 5.0 liter V8 engine reaches 655 hp and 600 ft-lb.

Transmission options are a 5-speed automatic or 5-speed manual on the 460 or a 6-speed SMST manual on the top of the line 460X. Performance for both cars is striking. The 460 Mustang is claimed to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in the low 4-second range, while the 460X manages the same in closer to 4.

However, power is useless without control. So the handling, road holding and braking improvements on the 2010 SMS 460 Mustangs will not be missed. Both the cars will feature Steve's signature Watt's linkage suspension with all-new geometry. New SMS 15" six piston front and 13" four piston rear brakes deliver impressive stopping power to match the jaw-dropping acceleration.

The SMS 460 Mustangs also feature a host of external visual and technical modifications, including: the re-worked front and rear fascia treatment, SMS Red Butterfly Air Induction Hood TM, front and side splitters, rear fascia and diffuser with high down-force rear wing. The performance theme continues inside with Alcantara and leather trim on the seats, dash and center console.

Up till now, the SMS 460 Mustang is in final testing stages and the market launch is planned for later this year. According to an
ordering guide on the SMS Supercars website, the MSRP for the SMS 460 starts at $64,990, with the SMS 460X starting at $85,961. Convertible versions of both cars are planned, with pricing set at $5000 more.

Audi announces U.S. pricing for 2010 Audi R8, including R8 V10 5.2 FSI

The R8 is a proven worldwide success story for Audi. Lately, Audi has announced U.S. pricing for the highly anticipated 2010 Audi R8 V10 sports car will start at $146,000 for the manual-equipped version, while the R tronic models bumps the price to $155,100.

The 2010 Audi R8 V10 gets a 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine which produces 525 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. This will be enough to accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 196 mph.

The R8 V10 receives unique exterior features as standard equipment, including: innovative full-LED headlights, 19-inch Y-design forged aluminum alloy wheels with summer performance tires, modified sideblades with larger air intakes, and a revised grille with additional chrome accents. Other unique updates include new rocker panels, dual oval exhaust tips, a larger rear diffuser, and plenty of V10 badging.

Inside, the car comes nicely equipped with a navigation system, a 465-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, SIRIUS satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and heated sport seats.

The first two R8 V10 models have already been delivered, the first one was sold at $500,000, and the second also sold for $350,000. The combined $850,000 went to charity.

In addition, the standard R8 4.2 FSI quattro starts from $114,200 with a manual transmission, while the R tronic version is a bit more expensive - $123,000.

2010 Chevrolet Camaro Transformers Special Edition announced

Lately, Chevy launched an exclusive appearance package - the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro TRANSFORMERS Special Edition at the Comic-Con festival in San Diego.

The TRANSFORMERS kit features black stripes on yellow layout - like the Bumblebee Camaro from the movies - and also includes an AUTOBOT logo on both door panels, wheel caps and center console. Transformers logos on the side sill plates and embedded into the black rally stripes complete the look. Other design touches include a Rally Yellow exterior, branded sill plates.

According to Samantha Lomow, Global Brand Leader for Transformers at Hasbro, "Hasbro is thrilled to team up with Chevrolet and excited to see the Camaro Transformers Special Edition come to market for our fans to enjoy. The yellow Camaro with the black stripes has become so iconic and closely associated with the Bumblebee character that this edition was a natural fit for both companies."

The Transformers package is available on all Chevrolet Camaros. Price is from $995, customers can take an order now.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Subaru launches new Impreza WRX STI Spec C in Japan

The Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C, based on the Impreza WRX STI, has got several improvements and was launched in Japan lately, with sales begin this week. Only 900 models will be built and it's not clear that whether the Spec C will be available in other markets.

One of the important performance enhancements on the Spec C is a newly tuned Engine Control Unit, which includes enhanced engine and chassis performance as well as a lighter body derived from the automaker’s motorsports program. The turbocharger also gets new ball bearings for the turbine axle bearing, and the ECU program was exclusively tuned. These changes result in a torque to 422 Nm, while the power still maintains 305HP.

Subaru also optimized the suspension, springs, and fuel pump. As a result, the chassis offers stable and linear driving control even when traction reaches its limits. Meanwhile the rear Limited Slip Differential can be switched to a mechanical unit to improve traction in the corners. Furthermore, the adoption of an aluminum engine hood, laminar window panels and a downsized battery resulted in a lighter body, which further improves the model’s driving performance.

When talking of the weight, the Subaru Spec C features an unspecified weight reduction, previously rumored to be in the range of 70kg.

Besides, 18-inch lightweight alloys wheels come standard with the addition of a flat tire repair kit instead of a full-sized spare, and the 17-inch alloys are available as an option. The wheels have seven double spokes, and are wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tires which improve cornering, and increase grip.

The car comes in two new exclusive colors: Sunrise Yellow and Pure White. Other standard equipments include gold Brembo brake calipers. Alcantara and leather mixed Recaro seats are available as an option.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost official details in depth

We have reported about the 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost formerly. Now Rolls-Royce has announced official performance specifications for the highly anticipated 2010 Ghost, which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Under the hood, the 2010 Ghost gets a 6.6L turbocharged V12 engine, paired up with a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic gearbox. The V12 engine produces 563 hp (420 kW) and 780 Nm (575lb-ft) of torque at a low 1500 rpm, which makes the car more powerful than the Phantom despite being positioned below it. Top speed will be limited to 155 mph, with a 0-60-mph time of 4.7 seconds (4.8 in North America, the company notes).

The Ghost features a Phantom-inspired styling in a smaller version. While the Phantom's dimensions stretch to around 5,834 mm, the Ghost will measure in at 5,399mm in length, 1,948mm across, stand 1,550mm in height, and 3295mm in wheelbase. Inside there will be generous seating for five adults.

Rolls-Royce has also confirmed that the car will make use of the very latest developments in chassis engineering, including a new four corner air suspension system matched to multi-link aluminum front and rear axle geometry. A new chassis management system will also be fitted and is designed to control the car’s anti-roll stabilization and the suspension stiffness to ensure the best possible comfort for occupants. In a result, the fully integrated system allows each of the Rolls Royce Ghost’s dynamic handling systems to work together in harmony, providing the optimum levels of refinement and comfort at all times.

“First and foremost Ghost is a Rolls-Royce. This means that despite its extraordinary performance figures it has been engineered for effortless composure and refined power delivery. This is illustrated by the significant levels of low down torque available which makes pulling away very smooth and for an exceptionally relaxed driving experience." According to Rolls-Royce's Director of Engineering, Helmut Riedl.

“Rolls-Royce power is entirely different to anything else in the automotive world. It is delivered free from stress and exertion but at the same time must engage the driver. Rolls Royce Ghost is about fingertip control while still enjoying a dynamic connection with the road. Equally passengers need to be cosseted from the physical sensations of acceleration, braking and cornering. Our chassis set up keeps Rolls Royce Ghost stable and flat, preventing it from wallowing or pitching in the corners or imposing undesirable forces on those inside.”

As we have previously reported, the Rolls-Royce Ghost will almost double production at the company’s factory in Goodwood in the UK. Till now, more than 10,000 people have already expressed interest in the new model. As for the price, Rolls-Royce also confirmed UK and European sales will begin in late 2009 with pricing from £165,000 and €213,000 respectively (excluding taxes and delivery charges). U.S. and Asia Pacific region sales will begin sometime during the second quarter of 2010, with pricing in North America at US$245,000 and Rest of World US$250,000.

Nissan introduces new navigation system with advanced technology

Nissan is introducing an enhanced automotive navigation system emphasizing Safer, Greener driving, which will be first available on the Nissan Fuga(also calls Infiniti M, will go on sale in Japan later this year and in the U.S. early next year.).

The new navigation system is designed to keep the driver aware of potentially dangerous driving conditions, by warning drivers of low-visibility intersections, school zones, and speed traps. Additionally, the system also calculates routes faster than previous sat-navs that Nissan has made available.

The navigation system will be the first production system to use intelligent transportation system (ITS) infrastructure and other advanced technologies to promote safer and greener driving. Besides the standard navigation functions, the system includes four new features: a low-visibility intersection warning system, a school zone alert, a navigation-linked speed control and more efficient route search and calculation functionality.

The navigation-linked speed control takes control of the engine and transmission when the driver approaches a tollbooth or sharp curve at a high rate of speed. The feature is already available on the Nissan Eco series.

Of most interest is the low-visibility intersection warning system. The latest system uses a beacon that works in sync with a number of other sensors located around the general road infrastructure. Using information transmitted from this network, drivers can receive audible and display warnings when approaching some low-visibility intersections. The driver can decide whether the information is necessary to act on or not, depending on driving conditions.

Nissan is hopeful the advanced warning system will cut down on the number of traffic accidents and roadside fatalities.

Mercedes Benz E-Class range adds new CDI and CGI BlueEFFICIENCY engines

Mercedes Benz is expanding its new 2010 E-Class engine lineup with two economical four-cylinder models: the E200 CDI turbodiesel and E200 CGI petrol model. One diesel and one petrol. Both cars are labeled as BlueEFFICIENCY models. However, buyers have to wait until September since both models will go on sale in Europe this September. And they are unlikely to be sold in U.S. showrooms.

The E200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY gets a 2.1L engine with an output of 136hp (100kW), and achieves as much as 45mpg (5.2L/100km) in fuel economy. The model reaches 100 km/h in 10.2 seconds. A respectable top speed of 210 km/h is achievable, but the automaker does not mention how long it takes to get to that speed.

The petrol powered E200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY, meanwhile, generated 184hp (135kW) from its 1.8L engine and achieves a fuel economy of 32.6mpg (7.2L/100km). To further aid fuel economy, the cars also come with engine stop start technology as standard for models equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The model uses 7.2 liters of fuel per 100 km, while also increasing CO2 emissions to 169 grams per km. Top speed reaches 232 km/h.

Both the two models feature direct injection, and adjustable intake & exhaust camshafts. One of the main features of the new diesel engine is latest-generation common-rail direct injection.

Pricing for the E200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY begins at €38,734.50, while the E200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY begins at €39,508.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alfa Romeo 8C Spider: the most expensive Alfa Romeo ever

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione is highly beloved and almost universally admired. Now Alfa Romeo 8C Spider, the open-air version of the 8C Competizione, is coming. Set to begin deliveries by January in U.S. next year, the 8C Spider will be offered at a limited production, just 500 examples and only 35 are scheduled to arrive on American shores.

Undoubtedly, with that exclusive, only a handful of eligible parties will get one. It’s priced at $299,000 (including shipping), which means that the 8C Spider is the most expensive Alfa Romeo in history.

The 8C Spider shares the same 4.7 litre V8 engine as the coupe, which produces 450hp (335kW) at 7,000rpm. This engine has been matched to an automated 6-speed gearbox with computerized selection of the gears via levers behind the steering-wheel, and a self-blocking differential unit.

Controlling all that power is some of the best brakes in the business. Sitting inside the pretty 20in wheels are a set of carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes measuring 380mm up front and 360mm in the back. The 8C Spider also gets Alfa Romeo’s VDC traction and stability system to maximize safety. Both the coupe and the convertible are built in Modena, Italy and share mechanicals with the Maserati Granturismo.

With Alfa Romeo's centenary coming up next year, it’s said that an even more high-performance and exclusive ‘GTA’ version of the 8C Competizione will be launched. Only 100 units are expected to be built. An 8C Spider GTA may come as well.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lexus prices the 2010 HS 250h dedicated luxury hybrid

Lexus has announced U.S. pricing for the 2010 HS 250h, which is regarded as the world's first dedicated hybrid-only luxury vehicle. The standard version starts at $34,200(plus $875 for delivery), while the Premium model at $36,970.

Considering the price, it’s clearly that the 2010 Lexus HS 250h is positioned at the entry-level sector of the luxury sedan market. Comparing to Toyota's own Prius and its biggest competitor, the Honda Insight, the price of the 2010 HS 250h seems higher. However, things become different when considering of the fuel efficiency. Prius is rated at 51mpg city/48mpg highway while HS 250h gets 35mpg city/34mpg highway rating.

Under the hood, the HS 250h gets a 2.4L four-cylinder, rated at 147 horsepower. Combined with the electric motor, total output is 187 horsepower. Although most high-tech engines require high-test gasoline, the HS 250h is fully capable of running on 87 octane.

One great feature of the HS 250h we would like to mention is that, 30 percent of the HS’ materials are derived from plant-based materials, with 85 percent of the car being fully recyclable – including the batteries. Green enough! Meanwhile, the HS’ .27 drag coefficient and heavy use of spoilers and diffusers help overall efficiency.

With a nameplate of luxury vehicle, the HS 250h is available with a range of options, including the new Remote Touch controller also found in the 2010 Lexus RX, which simply aren't avalable on the Prius. The HS 250h is also the first vehcle to offer Lexus' Enform with Safety Connect telematics system. LED taillights, a heads up display, power seats and Lexus’ new Enform telematics are also available. Optional equipment includes satellite navigation with traffic, stocks, sports and weather updates and LED headlights.

2010 Acura ZDX to start selling this winter

There are currently five models in Acura’s lineup, including the TSX, RL and TL sedans, and the RDX and MDX SUV/crossovers. But now a new vehicle is added, with the announcement that Acura will start selling 2010 Acura ZDX this winter. And it will be priced and positioned between the MDX luxury SUV and the RL luxury sedan.

Based on the prototype ZDX which was shown at this year's New York Auto Show, the 2010 Acura ZDX is a four-door coupe which has an elevated position and can sit up to five adults.

Power comes from the 3.7-litre naturally aspirated SOHC V6 engine that generates 221kW (300hp) and maximum torque of 366Nm (270 lb-ft). A six-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission and Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system are standard with all ZDX models.

Standard wheels are 19-inch 7-spoke alloys, the largest standard wheel in the Acura range. Inside, the ZDX gets a number of premium treatments, including hand-stitched leather dash elements, and the ability to accommodate a wide range of cargo, including the segment-defining golf bags.

There are three levels of trim: the standard ZDX, the mid-range ZDX with Technology Package and the 'ultra-premium' ZDX with Advance Package. They all offer Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, power tailgate, panoramic glass roof, a USB audio interface and XM satellite radio with iPod integration.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Audi S4 tuned by ABT, 435hp

We formally reported the MTM Audi S4 few days ago, now the ABT Sportsline followed the step to offer the ABT Audi S4 performance upgrade.

The standard Audi S4 is power by 3.0 liter TFSI V6 engine, producing 333 hp (245 kW) and 440 Nm of torque. This is already powerful! But it’s excited that with the ABT Audi S4 power pack, the custom vehicle reach up to 435 hp (320 kW) and 520 Nm of torque. The top speed of the ABT Audi S4 is 282 km/h (175mph), and that is 32 km/h more than the standard version, the 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time is 0.5 seconds faster than the standard car which means the custom S4 can reach the mark in 4.6 seconds.

The extra performance brings additional driving enjoyment and gets to work powerfully in any situation. ABT promises the tuned S4 is perfectly in tune with the Ingolstadt-based brand's 7-speed DSG gearbox in keeping the Abt S4 properly humming along.

Despite the extra power, the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions levels of the ABT Audi S4 are not higher than the ones of the standard car.

The ABT Audi S4 also comes with a quad sports exhaust unit and a choice between 18, 19 and 20 Abt or BR wheels.

ABT website prices the upgrade at €3800 plus €60 for installation and €130 for TÜV certification.

One millionth Opel Meriva rolls off assembly line

The one millionth Opel Meriva has rolled off the production line in Zaragoza, Spain!!

Since production began in 2003, the Opel Meriva has become a best-seller in western and central Europe, having been sold in more than 25 countries in Europe with Germany, UK, Italy and Spain as its main markets. In addition, the innovative van is offered around the world in places like Hong Kong, South Africa and Singapore. Opel credits the Meriva's success to the innovative FlexSpace seating system.

The FlexSpace system allows optimum freedom for reconfiguring the interior easily and quickly without requiring removal of the seats. With this concept, the five-seat Meriva can be quickly and effortlessly transformed into a spacious four, three, two or one-seater with generous luggage compartment volume.

"(The) Meriva has been beloved by customers - from singles to families to seniors - not only for its practicality, versatility and great looks, but also its reliability. German independent consultants TÜV recognized the Meriva with a ‘Best Quality’.", according to Opel's Vice President, Alain Visser,

Due to the great success of the Opel Meriva, Opel plans to expand Meriva`s innovative and versatile technology on the next generation Meriva next year. The 2010 Meriva will feature a unique rear-hinged FlexDoor system which will allow for improved access to the cabin. This innovation makes access to the car interior much easier and also offers a range of safety benefits over conventional car doors.

BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo

The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is a five-door car and 4 or 5 places that will be available in late 2009.2010 BMW 5 Series Gran TurismoBMW 5 Series Gran TurismoThe BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is one of three body that will be marketed under the name of Series 5, but is longer than them and also higher: measuring 4.99 m long, 1.55 m high and 1.90m wide (like the prototype of which is derived).BMW 5

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saleen preparing two new high-performance Mustangs over the next year

Saleen, Inc. will be releasing two new high-performance Mustangs over the next year, with the first to be unveiled at Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina later this month. And a second version also is possible for next spring.

Though Saleen, Inc. has had a tricky past with business changing hands rapidly, the upcoming two cars will be consistent with past products. “They are going to be a next generation.” Saleen Performance Vehicles CEO Michael Shields told AutoWeek. More details are expected to be revealed at the event next week.

Both cars will be using Saleen’s custom parts lines plus superchargers that were developed by the MJ Acquisitions automotive and engineering group, which purchased part of the parts business from Saleen last February.

We expect more details to be reveiled.

J.D. Power APEAL: Porsche win the most appealing nameplate for 5th year straight

J.D. Power and Associates has released the results of the 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study. It’s not surprising that Porsche ranks as the most appealing brand for the fifth straight consecutive year. Volkswagen had the most segment-leading models in APEAL, including the CC, GTI, Passat, and Tiguan. That's more than any other brand in 2009.

The APEAL study measures how satisfied new owners are with their vehicles after the first 90 days of ownership, with questions regarding more than 90 vehicle attributes. It gathered responses from more than 80,900 purchasers and lessees of 2009 model-year vehicles between February and May of this year.

Yet Porsche only had one top-placing model in Power's study, the Cayenne. Across all models, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class receives the highest APEAL score for 2009, for a third consecutive year. Other repeat segment winners in Power's APEAL include the Chevrolet Avalanche, Dodge Challenger, Hyundai Genesis, and MINI Cooper (all for the second year), while both the 2009 Honda Odyssey (also an IVA winner) and 2009 Honda Ridgeline receive segment awards for the fifth consecutive year.

From the result, there are some points we can notice. The overall level of APEAL scores has risen quite significantly this year. The average score across all models in 2009 is up 9 points from 2008 to 779. A large part of that increase is attributed to a boost in owner satisfaction with fuel economy, according to J.D. Power vice president David Sargent.

In the same way, American carmakers have a huge improvement in design and build quality of American vehicles. In 2007, domestics fell 27 points short of imports, while in 2008 that shrunk to 15 points. This year there's just 5 points between domestics and imports.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Audi prices 2010 A4, A5 and Q5

Audi has released pricing for the 2010 model-year Audi A4 sedan, Audi A5 coupe and Audi Q5 crossover vehicle.

The A5 replaces the 3.2L six-cylinder with the 2.0T TFSI four-cylinder. For $36,000, one’ll be able to have the A5 2.0T Quattro Coupe with a manual transmission in Premium trim, with the Premium Plus model commanding $39,500 and the Prestige variant priced at $44,300. Tack on an additional $1,200 onto each model's MSRP if you opt for the Tiptronic automatic gearbox.

Core updates for the 2010 Audi A5 include the above powertrain changes plus the new third-gen MMI system, new LED tail lights on Premium Plus and Prestige models, a new wheel design for the entry-level Premium trim, and a new set of optional wheels for the S5.

"Despite the economic headwinds that have affected all premium automotive brands this year, we see no signs of interest lagging in these three models," said Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America. "We need to release these new models early because of our proactive management of unsold inventories and because Audi continues to bring new models to the freshest lineup in the luxury sector. Both trends will continue in the months ahead."

For the 2010 Audi Q5, starts at $37,350 for the base Premium model, while the Premium Plus and Prestige rises to $41,400 and $48,850, respectively. The 2010 mdoel year updates include a new Fine Grain Ash and Natural Brown interior inlay option, new 20in five-spoke S-line wheels, standard side assist on Prestige models, a new luxury package for the Prestige model that includes leather door armrests and IP, along with ventilated front seats swathed in Milano leather, the Bang & Olufsen sound system is now available as a standalone option, and a variety of minor interior and exterior appearance tweaks.

Finally, the 2010 Audi A4 gets the biggest price rise at $450 over the outgoing model, now starting at $31,450 for the Multitronic-equipped 2.0T FWD sedan. Adding quattro AWD with a manual transmission raises the price of entry to $32,350, and stepping up to the tiptronic transmission bumps that another $1,200 to $33,550. Like its siblings, the A4 is available in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims.

A new set of LED tail lights on Premium Plus and Prestige models and the third-gen MMI system are available on all new models, while the S4 gets a new 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission and a new 3.0L TFSI supercharged V6 engine rated at 333hp and 325lb-ft of torque.

Pricing for the2010 Audi S4 hasn't been released yet, however, it has released an on-sale date for its 333-hp sedan: August. Expect pricing to follow in the coming weeks.

Ferrari F430 Spider by Inden Design

Tuning a Ferrari may be a challenge for tuning companies. However, German tuner INDEN-Design does reach their hand to the Ferrari F430.

INDEN-Design starts from a modified front spoiler, and not just for looks, as its there to help the INDEN-Design F430 achieve a top speed greater than 300 km/h (186mph). The aerodynamic kit also includes "muscular" side flaps, a rear carbon diffuser and spoiler.

Performance enhancement include a new stainless steel exhaust with a special damper control that automatically opens until full throttle, but can also be controlled remotely to modulate the engine's sound, and some engine electronics trickery which deliver a modest rise to 525hp from the stock 490hp rating.

The wide track of the F430 is covered by new, lightweight 20-inch wheels with 235/30 R20 tires at the front and 325/25 R20 at the rear.

INDEN-Design also provides some extra luxury and comfort for the cabin. A conjunction of carbon paneling and leather finish, with a variety of color combinations to choose from, help redefine the interior and cockpit. The original leather stitching is extensive, also covering the dashboard, steering wheel and center console.

1957 Aston Martin DBR2 recreated by Rizk Automobile

"Yesterday engineered for tomorrow", Rizk Automobile certainly like to take their inspirations from both the past and the future. Using modern technology in recreating the classic race car, the tuned 1957 Aston Martin DBR2 LeMans racer from the company is a nice proof.

The model features a material called Carbon-Nomex for the body panels (carbon panels with Nomex honeycomb). As a result, the car is all CNC machined stainless steel and aerospace grade carbon fiber, as is the monocoque chassis. Carbon-Nomex body panels wrap carbon fiber around a Nomex aramid material that is both tough and fire retardant. It also adds a high degree of stiffness without adding much weight.

The decidedly retro-future-race cockpit is actually a highly advanced piece of modern engineering, with a range of adjustability for the steering wheel and pedal assembly that were never contemplated for the original. The seats are equally advanced, faturing a unique adjustment mechanism that allows for height and tilt ranges suitable for drivers from 5'0" to 6'5".

The fully independent, height adjustable double wishbone front suspension pairs with a fully independent rear and adjustable coilover shocks to deliver modern handling, while inboard Wilwood discs minimize unsprung weight and provide all the stopping power the DBR2 modern recreation needs.

Rizk Auto offers a choice from three engines: a Jaguar straight six, a Jaguar V12 or a fuel-injected Corvette V8. Both Jaguar engines are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the Corvette V8 unit comes with a choice of a six-speed manual or auto.

Price for the model is 180,000 US dollars, or 128,000 euros.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ferrari 599 GTB HGTE package now available as dealer option

The Handling GT Evoluzione (HGTE) package for the 599 GTB Fiorano was first revealed at this March’s Geneva Motor Show. After months of waiting, the package finally is now available and can be fitted at authorized dealers.

There are two options available. The Ferrari 599 GTB HGTE package for the pre 2008 models costs £17,213 (US$28,000) and includes handling, exhaust and aesthetic kits. For the post 2008 models the Ferrari 599 GTB HGTE package price is £19,703 (US$33,000) and includes handling, performance, exhaust and aesthetic kits.

The HGTE package is designed to deliver even sportier, more dynamic driving, giving a focal point of improving handling. The standard 599 GTB is criticized for leaning too heavily into corners when pushed to the limits, which in turn reduces turn in and leads to slower lap times. The HGTE package is expected to solve the problem well.

But you need to pay attention that the more expensive pack comes with handling improvements, better exhaust, more performance, and aesthetic touches, while the less expensive one misses out on the performance benefits.

The full specification of each kit is detailed below:

1) Handling, includes:
* Lower suspension (10mm)
* New magnetorheologically controlled suspension calibration for the Manettino SPORT and RACE configurations
* More rigid suspension springs (front + 17%, rear + 15%)
* More rigid rear anti-roll bars (diameter increased to 25mm)
* HGTE specific tyres with improved compound (8% more grip)
* 3-piece modular rims with reduced weight (forged spokes) and special new design

2) Performance (only available for post-2008 cars, from engine no. 122779), includes:
* New exhausts silencers with two-tone finish tailpipes
* Enhanced F1 gearshift actuation, with response times reduced to 85ms
* New accelerator logic with modified mapping for improved throttle response
N.B. The Performance kit cannot be installed on cars with manual gearboxes.

3) Exhaust, includes:
* New exhausts silencers with two-tone finish tailpipes
The Exhaust kit is designed for:
* vehicles that cannot receive the software updates listed in the Performance kit since the engine was produced before assembly number 122779 (pre-2008)
* all cars with manual gearboxes
* clients who are only interested in modifying the styling and sound of their own cars
N.B. The Exhaust kit is included in the Performance kit, for cars post-2008.

4) Aesthetic, includes:
* New design front grille with a special chromatic treatment
* Burnished finish to Prancing Horse symbols on the front grill and rear boot lid

2010 Acura RDX Leaks Out

A series of images of the 2010 Acura RDX has leaked around the web, which will possibly debut later this year at the LA Auto Show.

Some information we can gather from the photos include a TL-derived front grille, a reshaped fog lamps and air intakes along with a restyled lower fascia. Furthermore, the 2010 RDX is said to feature hexagonally shaped exhaust tips along with a redesigned bumper that will give the car a much more aggresive look.

It’s rumored that the updated RDX will get a new front-wheel drive version, which has been the only front-wheel drive version available since the compact SUV was launched for 2008. This could boost fuel economy over the all-wheel drive model and save about 200 pounds.

It’s still not known if the RDX’s turbocharged 2.3L inline four will receive any performance or fuel economy changes for the 2010 model year.

More updates inside include USB connectivity and stereo Bluetooth audio; ambient lighting; and a navigation system update with rearview camera updates and real-time traffic.

2010 A5 Sportback officially revealed in depth

We have mentioned Audi A5 Sportback many times, now finally here comes the true face. The 2010 Audi A5 Sportback, set to go on sale in Europe following a debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, has officially revealed in July 16 during a ceremony that celebrates 100 years of Audi.

Described as offering the practicality of an Avant wagon with the elegant styling of a coupe, the new A5 Sportback features a five door body with an elongated profile, sitting 36mm lower than the A4 sedan. Frameless doors definitely add to the car's clean look. The nicely-angled side windows, ringed in chrome, show off a sporty look with a flowing roofline.

Inside, there’s generous space for four adults. At 480 liters, Audi also provided nearly the same amount of cargo space as the A4 Avant.

Under the hood, three petrol engines are available, including 180 and 211 horsepower variants of the 2.0-liter TFSI unit, and a 3.2-liter V6 model providing 265 horsepower. If it is diesel you prefer, you can choose the incredibly efficient 2.0-liter TDI. The 170 hp unit uses just 5.2 liters of fuel per 100 km, or rougly 45+ mpg. A start/stop system helps increase fuel efficiency. The other TDI engines are a 190 hp 2.7-liter unit and a 3.0-liter, 240 horsepower model. The 2.0 TFSI quattro, the 3.2 FSI quattro and the 3.0 TDI quattro models are available with the seven-speed S-tronic gearbox.

Audi will release three more engines for the A5 Sportback within the next year. Each petrol model, and the highest-powered TDI, is fitted with Audi's "quattro" all-wheel drive system, while customers purchasing one of the two most powerful engines may also add on a newly offered sport differential which distributes the drive power in continuously variable proportions between the rear wheels. Those not receiving quattro instead get a stability unit that helps prevent understeer with an electronic front differential. The 180 hp 2.0-liter TFSI engine also gets the stability program.

Pricing in Europe will start at €33,650 (approximately $45,000) for the base 2.0L TDI model, however, Audi has confirmed that an even cheaper model will arrive in the middle of next year. Orders are already being taken.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nissan unveils New Dual Injector System

Nissan has announced the development of a new Dual Injector system, which will help improve the fuel efficiency of its small-displacement, gasoline/petrol engines.

While most current petrol engines utilize one injector per cylinder (sending fuel to two intake ports), the new Nissan Dual Injector system doubles the number of injectors per cylinder. This improvs vaporization and reduces the diameter of the fuel droplets by about 60 percent, making combustion more efficient.

Nissan claims it will adopt this system for small-displacement engines instead of a direct-injection system. While similar in theory to direct-injection systems, which also inject fuel directly into cylinders, such direct injection systems are difficult to use on small-displacement engines because they require a high-pressure pump that complicates system design, making component layout less cost-efficient. In contrast, the Nissan Dual Injector system is lighter and structurally simpler and takes up less space because it sends fuel at normal pressures. The system also requires half the amount of rare metals in the catalytic converter compared with a standard engine, helping to further reduce costs.

The Duel Injector system also features continuous valve timing control on the exhaust to reduce pump losses, improve heat efficiency, and raise fuel efficiency by up to 4 percent in sync with the dual injectors.

Nissan will be introducing the new system on some of its models early in 2010, but so far no actual models have been confirmed.

MTM Tunes Audi S4 3.0 TFSI to 430HP, A6 3.0 TFSI to 360HP

Audi S4, already one of the most potent of the Audi S cars, produces a respectable 333hp (248kW) with the 3.0L V6 TFSI engine. Now, specialist Audi tuner MTM, has enhanced the power to 430hp (320kW) and 380lb-ft (515Nm) of torque for the Audi S4 sedan and Avant models, thanks to its M-Cantronic system. This makes the cars able to challenge the previous generation RS4 that came with 420 horsepower and 430Nm of torque.

With the quattro AWD and the 6-speed manual gearbox, the modified S4 will accelerate from 0 - 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds – 0.4 seconds faster than the stock version.

Beside improved performance, buyers have a choice between 19-inch and 21-inch Bimoto alloy wheels in addition to a height-adjustable suspension system. An exclusive four-pipe oval exhaust system with different optics is also fitted along with MTM brakes.

As for the Audi A6 3.0-litre TFSI, MTM has a special M-Cantronic programme which not only increases their V6's efficiency but boosts the supercharged V6's output from 290 horsepower to 360 horsepower.

Incidentally, MTM said that assembly and disassembly are done quickly. For vehicles used commercially, making it ideal for people who are using leased cars as well as outright owners.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nissan prices 2010 370Z Roadster from $36,970

Nissan has announced pricing for the all-new 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster, starting at $36,970, just $100 more than the outgoing 350Z roadster. The car will go on sale in September at Nissan retailers nationwide.

The 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster is offered in four models, full pricing details as below:
370Z roadster w/six-speed manual: $36,970
370Z roadster w/seven-speed automatic: $38,270
370Z roadster Touring w/six-speed manual: $40,520
370Z roadster Touring w/seven-speed automatic: $40,520

One thing to be noticed is that the two Touring models add a 6CD Bose audio system, XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, aluminum-trimmed pedals and power leather-appointed heated and cooled ventilated net seats.

Also, two option packages are offered to the two Touring model only: the Sport Package, with 19-inch RAYS forged wheels and Bridgestone Potenza tires, Nissan Sport Brakes, SynchroRev Match (6-speed manual transmission only) and Viscous Limited Slip Differential; and the Navigation Package, with Hard Drive-based Nissan Navigation System, 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive and USB connectivity.

"The new 370Z Roadster offers more refinement, quality, performance and sheer driving pleasure than any Z convertible that has come before - while retaining its great value positioning in the sports car segment," said Christian Meunier, vice president, Nissan Marketing, NNA.

"Compared to the 2009 350Z Roadster, the new 370Z Roadster features 26 more horsepower and cleaner emissions from an all-new standard 3.7L with VVEL technology. The Z Roadster also offers an all-new exterior design, refined interior, all-new auto-latching convertible top design, and technology not previously available on the 350Z Roadster, including Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio and Nissan Navigation System with XM NavTraffic Real-Time Traffic Information."

Peugeot 308-based RC Z sports coupe teaser released

The midsize Peugeot 308 is one of the most flexible vehicles in the French automaker’s lineup, spawning numerous variants such as the regular three and five-door hatchbacks, SW wagon, as well as the stylish CC convertible. However, there is at least one more 308 variant in the works and it’s destined to be the most exciting of them all.

That’s the Peugeot 308 RC Z sports coupe, which is the production version of 2007’s 308 RC Z concept. The RC Z is unique in a number of ways. It is the first Peugeot not to use the zero or double zero numbering system in its name. The car would be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

Peugeot has said that the car will be sold as an exclusive model that will give discerning enthusiasts great driving enjoyment. The nearly undisguised photos show the car will bear a fair resemblance in proportion to the Audi TT, though no observer is likely to confuse the two. Heavily flared fenders, a longer rear deck line and Peugeot's chunky front-end design - still slightly obscured here - will make the 308 RC Z stand out from the crowd.

As for the power, not much is yet known. However, it’s rumored that the RC Z will share the standard range of engines available in the 308 and also comes with a new 250hp (184kW) motor. With figures like that, the car will definitely have to focus on nimble handling to meet its performance targets.

Porsche GT3 first gets new magnetic engine mounts from Delphi

A ground-breaking new powertrain mount - MR engine Mount, has been developed by Delphi Corporation. And the first car to get the new engine mounts is the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3.

The MR engine mount uses magneto rheological (MR) fluid that can change its dynamic rate in real time, the new MR Mount prevents the build-up of resonance in a system by maintaining control of the mounted mass across all appropriate frequencies.

The use of the Magneto engine mount in vehicles help to controll the noise and vibration of the powertrain, and more importantly, improve stability and traction, especially during 'transient torque events'. For instance, these Magneto engine mounts can automatically adjust their stiffness when the engine is initially started or when the transmission is shifted into Drive or Park.

In the case of the 911 GT3, Porsche expects these engine mounts to improve traction and stability during hard acceleration and cornering.

The new tech supersedes Delphi's previous solution of glycol-filled mounts. Those mounts could only be tuned to control a single main frequency, however, and didn't offer the dynamic capabilities of the MR mounts.

"This is the first technology that allows precise real-time management of the relevant frequencies created by an automotive powertrain, including the challenging low frequencies and higher amplitudes caused by transient torque events," says Delphi's MR Mount manager Timothy Schlangen.

"Vehicle manufacturers working closely with Delphi have been excited by the wide range of benefits that MR Mounts can bring and by the increasing list of ways they can improve performance, safety and refinement through vehicle-specific tuning."

The new mounts are good news for the industry, we expect to see future applications used in the industry as production and availability makes them more affordable, though high-torque applications like sportscars and luxury sedans are likely to be among the first adopters.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spy shots: Next-gen Volkswagen Touareg prototype caught in U.S.

Lately, the next-gen Volkswagen Touareg has been caught undergoing testing in the United States. Unlike previous mules, this is the first time the 2011 Touareg has been caught wearing a production body. Set to be launched in late 2010 as a 2011 model, the new Touareg will be slightly smaller than the current one but will feature a range of more fuel efficient engines and be able to seat up to seven passengers.

As with the current model, the new platform will be shared with the next-generation Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 and will feature increased use of aluminum to keep weight down. It will also be slightly sportier and adopt styling influences from the more recent Tiguan SUV.

The new engine lineup for the 2011 Touareg is expected to start with a 280hp (208kW) 3.2L V6 petrol engine and top out with a 345hp (257kW) 4.2L petrol V8. A pair of diesel engines will also be on offer including 2.7L and 3.0L turbodiesels. All the engines will be matted with a six-speed automatic gearbox, though VW’s new seven-speed DSG may also be made available.

Up front, the next generation Touareg appears to adopt VW's new grille design which has appeared on the Golf VI, Golf Plus and Polo. Other changes appear to include more pronounced character lines, a wider rear bumper and misaligned fuel filler cap. The front of the car also featured a different intake system, positioned lower than on the current model. Shots of the interior also revealed several major changes, including an all-new instrument cluster and a similar steering wheel to the unit found in the Mk VI Golf.

Expect the new Touareg to be unveiled in late 2010, with sales beginning in early 2011.

Honda CR-Z and Fit hybrids on sale in 2010

The Honda CEO, Takanobu Ito, has announced the plans to begin sales in Japan of the CR-Z hybrid sports car in February 2010 and a Fit hybrid before the end of 2010.

By combining these two models with the currently available Insight and Civic Hybrid, Honda will further enhance its lineup of compact hybrid models and swell Honda's hybrid portfolio to four models. More importantly, this helps it become one of the ‘greenest’ automakers in the world and makes Honda’s plan to increase hybrid production to 500,000 units per year by 2012 achievable.

Both cars will be powered by Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA), also found in the Insight and Civic hybrids. In the case of the Insight, the IMA incorporates a 13hp (10kW) electric motor and a compact Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) – recapturing and storing kinetic energy from vehicle braking and deceleration and supplying additional power for acceleration when needed.

The CR-Z will be heavily influenced by its concept car which was debuted at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. The CR-Z, promising eco-conscious buyers a car that is both stylish and fun to drive, is expected to make its world debut in production trim at this October’s Tokyo Motor Show.

The CR-Z is currently being designed and engineered in Europe, its expected largest market, but will likely be sold as a global vehicle. And it is rumored to feature either a 140 horsepower, 1.8-liter engine, or a larger, more powerful 2.5-liter unit from its hybrid drivetrain.

Not much is known about the Fit hybrid but previous reports have suggested that it could cost about ¥1.5 million (approximately $15,800) when it goes on sale late next year.

As for other market, American Honda Motor spokesman Chuck Schifsky said, "We can confirm that the CR-Z will go on sale in the U.S. in 2010," but added, "We are not ready to announce any plans for the sale of the Fit Hybrid in regions outside of Japan."

Honda also confirmed they are working on a new hybrid powertrain for larger-sized vehicles, but no release dates have been mentioned yet.

Nissan 370Z by Cobra N+

After the release of the new Nissan 370Z, Nissan factory tuner Cobra N+ has designed a wide range of exclusive options for refining the two-seater sports car. No major modifications were made to the engine, but Cobra N+ says its aerodynamic and handling enhancements made a lot of difference.
To reduce unsprung weight to a minimum level, Cobra has developed lightweight wheels with six double spokes, measuring 9Jx19 in the front and 10Jx19 in the back and shod with Pirelli rubber. The wheels are linked to stiffer-than-stock springs which lower the ride of the 370Z by 30 mm. An additional coil over suspension kit varies the ride height between 20 and 40mm on front and rear axle.

For aerodynamic enhancements, Cobra has introduced a diffuser insert for the production apron, custom developed and featuring a central reflector as well as custom cutouts for the two 120-mm tailpipes of the Cobra N+ sport exhaust system. The stainless-steel sport rear mufflers of the exhaust system feature new 120-mm tailpipe on either side. The electronically controlled flap allows selecting an exhaust note for the V6 engine ranging from discrete to racing, depending on what sound you’d like for your 370Z.

At the front, the tuner fitted the 370Z with a carbon fiber front spoiler, squeezed in the opening of the air inlet of the production front apron. Additionally, the body kit includes carbon-fiber-look covers for the outside rearview mirrors.

The new upgraded components will be offered through Nissan dealers in Japan only for now, and pricing is yet to be revealed.

Volkswagen Golf VI GTI by ABT Sportsline, starting at 1500 euros

It’s no secret that the Volkswagen Golf GTI is not so powerful. Then ABT Sports line got their hands on a new Golf VI GTI, providing performance and styling upgrades.

The standard GTI is known for producing 155kW (211hp) out of its 2.0-litre four-pot turbo engine. With a reworked ECU and exhaust system from ABT, the power has been upped to 191kW (260hp) which is the same as the Mazda3 Speed/MPS.

A second package with a new turbocharger takes the power up to 221kW (300hp), which is just 4kW (5hp) short of a BMW 135i. Performance is 0 - 100km/h in 6 seconds.

ABT is also offering an aerodynamic kit that makes the GTI an even more aggressive. ABT suspension springs and brakes are fitted and the suspension system itself is lowered by 30mm. A four-pipe exhaust emits a sporty sound to compliment the kit.

The body kit underlines the car's pure dynamics, consists of LED lights, a new Abt front grille, spoiler, side bar and a rear spoiler. There is also a front lip, which provides a power-performance in combination with the front apron and the new ABT Daytime Running Lamp. The equally elegant as expressive colouring matches this: the paintwork in carbon steel grey metallic harmonises perfectly with side mouldings and front lip in the contrast colour red. Customers will have a choice of between 18-inch and 19-inch wheels.

The design also continues consistently in the interior, for all screens, the ornamental rings of the combination instrument and the steering wheel panels are painted in the signal tone.

Pricing for the aerodynamic kit is €3,276 in Germany. To install and paint will cost €1,080 and €1,170 respectively. The 260hp package comes to €1,490, plus €60 installation and €130 TÜV-registration. The 300hp package is priced at €5,300 and that includes installation and TÜV-registration.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cargraphic tunes Porsche Cayenne Diesel to 290hp

It seems that Porsche Cayenne Diesel is big fan for tuning companies. Few days ago, we just introduced the modified Cayenne Diesel from Techart. Now Cargraphic has also unveiled a new range of styling and performance package for the Porsche Cayenne Diesel.

Under the hood, Cargraphic adds a revised ECU module which boosts the 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel's output from 240hp (176kW) and 550Nm of torque to 290hp (213kW) and 630Nm of torque – the exact same figures as Techart’s performance kit. Although Cargraphic did not provide any performance data, they did state the Cayenne's top speed is increased to 221 km/h (137 mph). Priced for this mod is at a reasonable $1,650.

Other modifications include a new suspension upgrade for the Cayenne’s air-suspension system that can adjust the vehicle’s ride height and is priced from roughly $1,987.

An extensive body kit is also available, including a new front bumper with integrated fog lights for $2,984, a rear diffuser for $656, pumped fenders for $1,721, sporty side skirts for $1,405, and optional alloy wheels ranging from 20 to 22in in diameter.

Gemballa Mirage GT Matt Edition

One of the foremost tuners of Porsche, Gemballa, has revealed its latest creation, the Gemballa Mirage GT Matt Edition.

Unlike the Gemballa tuned Carrera GT, which have put out as much as 750hp (560kW), this time Gemballa hasn’t focus too much on the power output. Powered by a potent V10 engine, the Matt Edition reaches 670 HP and 630 Nm of torque. However, that's still about 50hp (40kW) more than the stock Carrera GT. Performance stats of the Matt Edition include 0-100 km/h time of 3.7 seconds, a 0-200 km/h (124 mph) time of 9.7 seconds, and a top speed of 335 km/h (208 mph).

Beyond the power mods, the Mirage GT Carbon Edition features an original paint job and seductive matt black. The Matt Edition adds lots of exposed carbon fiber accents, a black-on-black color scheme and custom alloy wheels. A hydraulic height-adjustable coilover kit is also supplied to improve handling, as well as protect the car when any steep bumps need to be conquered.

Inside, there’s a mix of blue Alcantara trimmings as well as carbon-fiber and aluminum accents.

It’s expected that the vehicle will be produced in very limited edition. And the point is that the price will be priceless with a pricetag of €300,000 ($419,000 USD).

G-Power boosts the E46 BMW M3 to 450 horsepower, faster than new M3

The German tuner G-Power has created a new performance package for the BMW M3 E46, one of the best Ms built by BMW.

To achieve more power, G-Power used a high-tech supercharger from ASA Engineering, more specifically, the ASA TM I 20. This enables BMW's 3.2-liter straight -six to produce 450 hp and 450 Nm of torque (up from 343 hp/365 Nm). The extra 107 hp help the E46 M3 run from 0 to 124 mph(220 km/h) in only 14.7 seconds, which beats the 15.8 second posted by BMW's 420 hp V8-powered M3 E92.

To handle all that new power, the E46 M3 runs on 20-inch alloy wheels fitted to Michelin Pilot Sport tires, 245/30 ZR 20 at the front and 285/25 ZR 20 at the back. Then the M3 E46's top speed increases to more than 300 km/h (186 mph).

Other optional equipment includes a high performance stainless steel muffler and a continuously height-adjustable G-POWER coil-over suspension with nine selectable settings for bound and outbound.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Audi adds two new engines into Euro Q5 and A4 Allroad

Customers in Europe have a new choice for efficiency and savings now, with the announcement of a new pair of entry level engines available in the Audi Q5 and A4 Allroad.

The Audi's 143hp 2.0 TDI diesel four-cylinder and the 180hp 2.0 TFSI gasoline four, both in conjunction with the 6-speed manual transmission, are available in Audi Q5. And the 2.0 TDI is now also available in the A4 allroad.

However, Americans have less options. The A4 allroad is not yet available in North America , and the Q5 is currently only available with a 3.2-liter gas V6 in North America .

Selling prices for the Audi Q5 start at EUR 36,800 for the 2.0 TFSI and EUR 36,500 for the 2.0 TDI. The base price for the Audi A4 allroad 2.0 TDI is EUR 37,100.

Spy shots: BMW's next 5-series

The BMW’s next-gen 5-series will arrive late this year as a 2010 model. The lately spy shots haven’t tell us much information, with the camouflage still pretty distracting.

It’s not yet clear which engines will be used for the new 5-series. However, a wide range of engines currently in the BMW stable is expected. Those include both the 3.0 liter inline 6 cylinder and the 4.4 liter V8 twin-turbo engines. On the lower end of the scale, there will also be 2.0 liter petrol and diesel engines packing enough punch to properly power this mid-range premium model.

Performance will also be improved thanks to the extensive use of lightweight materials including carbon-fiber and aluminum. The car’s construction will be a hybrid of an aluminum spaceframe for the front section, and a traditional steel monocoque for the passenger compartment and rear. This will ensure a favorable front-to-rear weight distribution and improved handling. Up front will be an independent suspension with MacPherson struts, with a multi-link layout for the rear. High-performance models will include carbon-fiber body panels to shed even more weight.

GM resurrects from bankruptcy

A new GM is here!! New GM emerges from bankruptcy today as a smaller company with fewer brands and owned by the US government. Lighter, smaller, quicker and more responsive to customer needs - that's the feature of the new GM.

The new GM will be majority owned by the US government with a 60.8 percent stake. The Canadian government will also own an 11.7 percent share of the new company. The US Treasury will have committed some 50 billion dollars to GM by year's end. The remaining share of the now private company will be held by the UAW (17.5 percent) and bondholders who previously held GM debt will get 10 percent of the new GM.

Central to the new GM manifesto is an openness to customer input, a new buying structure that allows eBay-like purchasing, including 'but it now' pricing, and a focus on continuing to turn out new products that are their own best argument for buying GM.

"Customers will be able to bid on actual vehicles just like they do in an eBay auction, including the option of choosing a predetermined 'buy it now' price," Henderson said of the as-yet-unannounced plan to partner with eBay for sales.

GM's transformation into its newer, lighter self isn't yet complete, however. Downsizing will continue through 2011 at least, with a reduction of 13 plants to just 34 in operation by the end of 2010, and a cut in U.S. jobs from the 91,000 GM had at the end of 2008 to around 64,000 by the end of 2009.

Since the US government now owns GM, Congress can act to exert control, and a majority of House members have voted for a bill that blocks the closing of GM and Chrysler dealerships in order to help save jobs. But GM needs to close the 1,300 dealerships it had planned to in order to trim its operations and become a viable company once again.

Opening more communications channels, including direct employee interaction with customers, is also a core element of GM's plan to help bridge the 'perception gap' between its products and what people think when they hear the GM name. Fritz Henderson will lead the charge, launching his own blog and ramping up use of social media tools like Twitter.

"In August, we'll begin regular visits with customers, dealers, suppliers, employees and others - in the U.S. and abroad - who impact our relationships with customers. We'll be listening to their ideas, and acting on the ones that will improve our ability to serve our customers better," said Henderson. "And of course, other executives and I will continue to reach out to customers through our ongoing web and Twitter chats."

The President of GM North America, Troy Clarke, said, "This is a new General Motors, which is going to be focused on fewer brands, fewer entries...We'll ask for people to please give us that one look. Give us that one consideration and we won't disappoint you."

It's still long way to go for the new GM to really recover from bankruptcy and rebuilt reputation. What's your point?

Friday, July 10, 2009

2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante

The Aston Martin DBS was touted by Aston Martin as being the "ultimate luxury sports car," combining sex-on-wheels styling with lightweight construction and monstrous V12 power. Few cars can reach this top and get the Glory. Now Aston Martin has seen fit to add a drop-top version of the DBS, called the Volante.

The DBS Volante is powered by the same 6.0L V12 engine rated at 510hp (380kW) and 420lb-ft (570Nm) of torque as the hard-top DBS. The Volante sprints from 0-62mph(100km/h) in 4.3 seconds, and hits 191mph(307km/h) – also exactly the same as the hard-top DBS.

“The DBS Volante delivers the utmost relaxed driving experience with the roof up or down. It combines engineering excellence with design perfection," said Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez. “The DBS Volante offers a subtle mix of power and performance. Adding to this, the fine craftsmanship – it is an unparalleled ownership and driving experience.”

The DBS Volante rides at the forefront of the company's available technology. Beyond the simply awesome sounding V12, the car gets a six-speed manual as standard, while a six-speed “Touchtronic” automatic is optional. Structural rigidity is preserved well, with the Volante exhibiting 75% of the stiffness of the coupe, thanks in part to a rigidly mounted rear sub-frame and optimized front and rear shear panels.

Other standard equipment includes Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound DBS audio system, which has been retuned for the open-top Volante.

Carbon ceramic brakes are standard, and the most cutting edge materials are used throughout the car, including a carbon fiber hood, front wing and trunk lid. Despite the weight-shaving measures, the DBS Volante is still a big GT, with a curb weight of 3,990lb (1,810kg), – 70kg more than the hardtop DBS. An Active Damping System (ADS) keeps the big car's roll under control, however, and can be tuned for comfort or speed.

The DBS Volante will be built at Aston Martin’s global headquarters at Gaydon, Warwickshire. And deliveries may start in the autumn.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lorinser tuned the 1975 Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9 W116 for sale

The Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9, which was launch in 1975, was based on the W116 model series and embodied fame, luxury, as well as power. The car borrowed the 6.9-litre V8 engine from the powerful State limousine 600, which was equal to a Rolls-Royce in fame and luxury. The result was a maximum torque rated at 550Nm, which was an absolute record for a car at its time and also quite massive even by today's standards, and its peak power was 286hp (210kW).

Now thanks to the package from Lorinser, the 1975 Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9 jumps to the modern era. The styling is changed quite significantly. Wide square plastic aprons up front are installed in the place of the original slim chrome bumpers. It’s the same for the rear which then featured more a copious shape with Lorinser double exhaust pipes.

The tuner says that although the car rides on a hydro-pneumatic suspension system and keeps the ride soothing, it still handles well for its age. Cornering is apparently quite safe and road grip is firm. The steering wheel is nimble as it gives the driver incentive to keep pushing.

Performance figures suggest this golden oldie can still hang out with some of the best from today. It goes from 0 - 100km/h in 7.4 seconds using its 205/55 VR 16 wheels and the 3-speed automatic gearbox. BBS furnished the multi-spoke wheels because at that point Lorinser did not produce its own. The engineers reckon wider tyres would probably help bring the sprint time down. Top speed is 225km/h.

There is no price provided but anyone who has now acquired a taste can contact Lorinser directly to purchase it.

Spy shots: First test-mules for next-gen Audi A3

The next-gen Audi A3 will hit the market in late 2010 in the basic three and five-door hatchback models. Audi is expected the new Audi A3 range to compete with BMW’s 1-series range as well as a family of sporty models based on the next-generation Mercedes A and B-Class. Here spy photographers have caught the first images of the 2011 Audi A3.

The new A3 test mule is wearing the current Mark VI VW Golf Volkswagen body to divert attention. Furthermore, the new A3’s underpinnings will once again be shared with VW’s Golf, which means Audi’s latest modular platform design has been ruled out. The spy shots show that next A3 will be bigger than the current model, growing a few inches in width.

Engine options will likely include a series of four-cylinder powerplants ranging from 1.2 to 2.0L in displacement. The base engine will be a 1.2L TFSI with 105hp and 175Nm of torque and this will be followed by a 1.4L TFSI with 125hp and 200Nm of torque as well as a 1.8L TFSI with 160hp and 250Nm of torque. Rounding out the four-cylinder family will be a 2.0L TFSI with 211hp and 350Nm of torque. For the performance S3 model, expect to see a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A variety of diesel engines, with a rumored 207hp (152kW) 2.0-liter TDI taking the top spot are also expected.

In an attempt to establish a greater foothold in the North America, Audi is also considering an A3 sedan which is designed to appeal to hatch-hating Americans.

Techart tuned Porsche Cayenne Diesel

German Porsche tuner Techart, has produced their first ever package for the Porsche Cayenne Diesel, adding more performance and improving its style. They are Techart's TA 055/D1 power kit and the Aerokit 1 styling kit.

The Techart's TA 055/D1 power kit, boosts the output of Cayenne's 3.0l turbodiesel engine from 240hp (176kW) to 290hp (213kW) and takes torque from 550Nm to 630Nm at a still low 2,200rpm. More importantly, up to 500Nm of torque is available from just 1,100rpm and lasts right up until 4,000rpm.

"The 0-60 time drops from 8.3 seconds to 7.7 seconds, an impressive improvement, but the real benefit is that the huge torque and very flat delivery provides impressive acceleration from any speed. It feels more like a big V8 than a highly efficient diesel V6,” Phil Hindley, Tech9 (Techart UK importer) director said about their work.

Fuel consumption stands at 30.4 mpg (7.7l/100 km) while CO2 emission top at 244 g/km.

As for the Aerokit 1 styling kit, which features some special upgrades for the Cayenne Diesel to make it stand out from the rest of the Techart range, including a redesigned front panel with a deeper front spoiler, integrated driving and fog lamps and additional cooling vents to help keep temperatures under control during consistently hard driving. Deeper sills help manage under body airflow and at the rear a new apron with integrated diffuser completes the underbody aerodynamics. Airflow behind the vehicle is managed by a low drag roof spoiler.

For models fitted with Porsche's air suspension, the Aerokit 1 package also includes a unique suspension control module that lowers the vehicle, reducing roll and further improving aerodynamics. When the vehicle is stationary, the control system lowers the vehicle a little more to improve access and to further improve the low, aerodynamic look.

Also added to the package are headlight and rearlight surround trims, quad exhaust pipes, a three-spoke Techart sports steering wheel, aluminum pedals and custom leather trim.

No tuned Cayenne would be complete without new alloy wheels. Techart Formula I and II alloys are available in sizes 22inch and 21inch and both are wrapped in Continental Tires.

Excited? However, don't expect the Techart package to come cheap. A diesel Diesel Cayenne with Aerokit 1 (including the exterior and interior upgrades) comes from £53,000, or from £55,500 with Aerokit 1 and Powerkit TA 055/D1. If you already have a Porsche and wish to bulk it up a bit, you can purchase the Aerokit 1 from £15,000 and the Powerkit TA 055/D1 from £2,500.

Volvo offers 2009 S60 SE for the U.S.

The popular Volvo S60, is one of the company's top-selling models. Since its launch, more than 580,000 cars were built and sold worldwide. Last month, the production of the Volvo S60 finally halted, marking the end of an eight year product cycle. Before the all-new model arrives next year, Volvo is set to release a very limited number of well-equipped S60 ‘SE’ models, exclusively designed for the United State.

Only 880 Volvo S60 SEs will be offered when the car goes on sale this month. And It’s priced from $30,950 for the FWD model and $32,750 for the AWD version. Both will come with a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine rated at 208hp (155kW) and 236lb-ft (320Nm) of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard and features a sporty Geartronic mode that allows the driver to manually shift.

The FWD model will be EPA rated at 19mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway, while the AWD model will return at 18mpg city and 26mpg highway.

Other standard features including leather seating, electronic climate control, moonroof, sporty 17in aluminum wheels, heated seats, rain sensing windshield wipers and headlamp washers. Aluminum mesh inlays adorn the interior and reinforce the car’s sporty theme.

Incidentally, the S60 will be replaced by a new model which will be released in early 2010. "The Volvo S60 was an important model for Volvo Cars Gent. Now we will focus on a flawless launch of the new S60," Derek Jessiman, Volvo Cars Ghent managing director said in a release.

"The sporty design gives visual promise of an enthusiastic drive and I can assure you here and now that the all-new S60 will live up to that promise. The driving properties are better than in any previous Volvo. The car's technology will help you to be a better and safer driver," said Volvo CEO Stephen Odell when the wraps came off the concept last December.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

BMW 5 E39

The BMW 5 E 39 is already fourth generation series BMW 5. Aggressive, unflagging style of the BMW 5 E 39 earned much praise feedback on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.2001 BMW 5 E 39BMW 5 E39The front headlights, hidden under the fairing narrow, elegant back with a strong resistant and, of course, corporate "savage" radiator slats speak on the nature of the BMW 5 E 39.BMW 5 E39The body has

Hennessey working on ZR700 Corvette ZR1with 705hp

The Corvette ZR1 with a power of 638hp (476kW), is the world's fastest and most powerful production Corvette. But it may not be enough for track day enthusiasts as well as professional race drivers. Now it’s reported that Hennessey Performance Engineering is working on a new 705hp (526kW) Z700 package for the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Designed to be the ultimate Corvette, Hennessey's Z700 performance package is equipped with an upgraded supercharger, exhaust, and air induction system. The result is 705 hp and 717 lb-ft of torque, instead of the standard car's 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. This healthy performance boost is backed up by lightweight carbon fiber wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, a carbon fiber front splitter, canards, and a rear spoiler. All these changes helping to put the added power to the road and track, and make the car reach an impressive 0-60 mph time of 2.9 seconds and a 1/4 mile time of 10.6 seconds, and finally a top speed in excess of 212mph.

Rounding out the Z700 upgrade package is a revised interior with lightweight carbon-fiber seats, Alcantara steering wheel and shift knob.

Only 24 examples will be built for 2010, and customers who order a Z700 also get a one-day performance driving instruction course at Hennessey's Lonestar Motorsports Park. Total cost for a base Z700 will start at $207,150, which includes the cost of a donor ZR1 but is essentially double the price.

The exciting thing is that, besides Z700, there are another two extreme performance packages: the Z750 package boasts 755 bhp while the Z1000 package features 1,000 bhp thanks to the addition of twin turbochargers.

Spy shots: First Ferrari F450 prototypes

In previous report, we got the upcoming Ferrari F450 test mules using an F430 body. But now here are the very first spy shots of the Ferrari F450 prototype. The F450 will replace the current F430. According to Auto Motor und Sport, a concept version will be unveiled at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show ahead of a sales launch in early 2010.

The F450 will have a 4.5L V8 engine. Expect between 550hp (410kW) and 585hp (436kW), a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and possibly a brake energy recovery system. Spy photographers reported that during in town driving the engine sounded very quiet but when the throttle was tickled it blurted out the familiar Ferrari roar.

Some of the first details to catch the eye include bigger air intakes at the sides of the car, a new centrally mounted exhaust system and a slightly longer wheelbase. The new shots also confirm a wider track both at the front and rear axles as well as an additional pair of intakes located behind the rear window. Revealed for the first time on this test-mule is a completely new diffuser design, which shows a more fluid look than previous versions.

While the styling of the new F450 is expected to remain similar to the current F430, the car’s mechanicals could be very different. Ferrari has confirmed that it’s looking at a range of powertrain advancements including hybrid and turbocharging technologies, as well as the introduction of lighter construction methods and active aerodynamics.

Expect more details to be released.

Volvo announces 2010 XC60 R-Design

VOLVO has introduced its sporty R-Design variant of the ever-popular XC60 crossover, --- 2010 Volvo XC60 R-Design SUV. Set to go on sale shortly after its debut at this September's Frankfurt Motor Show, the XC60 R-Design gets an enhancement of the looks further and also a better driving experience.

The R-Design chassis is stiffer and the dampers have been revalved to firm up the ride. Furthermore, the steering ratio has been tightened up to improve steering response and help drivers feel more connected to the road.

The XC60 R-Design is targeting the young and the restless. "The R-Design model boosts the XC60's already sporty aura and gives the car an even more refined character in terms of both driving experience and design." says Lennart Stegland, president of Volvo Special Vehicles. "These are properties that we know appeal to the discerning buyers of this type of cars."

From the outside, it's easy to recognize the typical R-Design attributes: door mirror housings, trim mouldings and trim in matte silk metal finish, skid-plates and twin chrome tailpipes. The five-spoke 'Cratus' aluminum wheels are also unique for the R-Design models. In standard form they measure 18in but there's also the option of a 20in set. Another new feature is that the lower section of the car is now colour-matched to the rest of the body instead of the matte black design of the standard model.

For the interior Volvo has continued to make it stylish while sporty, adding aluminum inserts in the steering wheel, door mouldings and the stylized center stack. The standard pedals have also been replaced with aluminum units, while the seats have been covered with a new dual-tone leather design. Finally, the sports steering wheel has been trimmed with perforated leather and features an engraved R-Design emblem sitting center.

The price is not revealed yet.