Detroit Auto Show: Bill Goldberg will host new auto reality show

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With the exception of "Pinks" on Speed Channel, automotive prime-time reality shows have been quite disappointing. The plot for "American Hot Rod" is a boring redundancy: whiny, bitchy, overworked crew is behind schedule but everyone is happy when the cover comes off in a grand ceremony. The sophomoric car-napping plots on "Overhauling" get in the way of any meaningful mechanical work that car enthusiasts would like to see, and no experienced car builder believes that those projects are completely finished in a week.

Maybe wrestling superstar Bill Goldberg can bring intelligence, maturity and hopefully entertainment to car-based reality shows with his series called "Bullrun," which debuts on Spike TV on March 13. The show is based on the international automotive rally of the same name. Twelve teams of two drivers eac h drive their own cars and compete for $200,000 in prize money.

Follow the jump to learn more about the show's structure, what vehicles are competing, and when it will be on the air.

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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Detroit Auto Show: Ford officially debuts TwinForce TT-V6

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Touted as a means to give V8-like horsepower with V6 fuel economy, the TwinForce V6 at this year's Detroit Auto Show stands as one of Ford's biggest announcements so far. Started with the Duratec 35 as a foundation, the engine's combination of turbocharging and direct injection yields a claimed 415 HP and 400 ft-lb of torque - more than enough to smoke any naturally-aspirated V8 currently offered by the Blue Oval here in the United States.

The engine also offers flex-fuel capabilities, with operation possible on either premium gasoline or E85. Ford also claims 15% better fuel economy than a 6.0L V8 of similar performance, so the tire-smoking can commence with reduced guilt. There's no word yet as to whether the new motor can take advantage of the superior knock resistance of ethanol to provide a horsepower bump, but this seems like an ideal platform on which to roll out such a feature. The horsepower junkies among us might also want to consider that an injector sized to flow enough E85 for 400+ HP will probably support at least 600 HP on gasoline, so the aftermarket should have a field day with turning up the wick on the TwinForce.

What do you say - should Ford put this thing into a Mustang, stuff a bulletproof drivetrain behind it, and continue in the V8-terrorizing tradition of the Buick GN and Toyota Supra? Just the thought of such a monster sends chills up our spine.

Click past the jump for the full press release and a general overview of the plumbing; meanwhile, we'll try to snap some live shots of the motor on the show floor.

Check out all the debuts and galleries from the Detroit Auto Show here.

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Car magazine's M3 pics exposed

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When Car magazine dropped images and specs of the new M3 in their recent issue, there was an air of skepticism around this latest foray into Bimmer hypothesizing.

Thankfully, Car thought it was a good idea to post some background on their website about how the images were created and how certain information was attained. Unfortunately, if you want all the details you have to trek on over to your local newsstand, but a few things are worth noting from both the article and a thread on M3post.com.

To begin with, the car in the picture is a 335i that was pho tochopped with insider information that gave up the rear styling, gills, side skirts, spoiler and wheels. However, beyond the exterior styling, technical information is scarce. At least online.

Additionally, one forum member at M3post got word that a concept will likely bow in Geneva, similar to the M5 concept before it.

We're going to head on over to our local bookseller to get all the techy details, including power output, transmission specs and the surely-drool inducing redline.

[Sources: Car, M3post via Jalopnik]

 

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GM unveiling surprise concept on Sunday

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With all the broken embargoes lately, we were expecting NAIAS to be no more a surprise than what we bought ourselves for Christmas (socks, btw). But look there! What's that behind the sparkling Auto Show tree? A gift from none other than Mark LaNeve, GM Vice President of Sales and Marketing, with a note that says do not open until Sunday.

Hmmm. I wonder what it could be. LaNeve gives us a few hints on the FastLane Blog:

On Sunday, Jan. 7, we've got something up our sleeve that we can't talk about - yet. Suffice it to say that it's a game-changing approach to automotive transportation that will eventually make trips to the gas station a lot less frequent and substantially less painful. This concept will make its world debut this Sunday, and we think you'll find it as exciting and promising as we do.


Ok, so it's a bicycle? No, wait. He says less painful. A Pontiac-branded Segway? No, he says fewer trips to the gas station, not more embarassing trips. Hmmm. So then, what is it? We've already heard about the plug-in Saturn. Fellow Autoblogger Damon Lavrinc is guessing it's a flying car powered by kitten farts. Though we like that idea, um, we're not sure which GM brand would sell it. Saab?

Anyway, we're glad there will be some surprise to the show this year. Check back with us Sunday and we'll have all the details. Hey, Damon, how would you go about collecting enough kitten gas to run a car, anyway? Just curious, of course.

Oh, btw, the photo, it's a Buick Enclave under there. We know as much as you do (possibly less) about what's coming Sunday.

 

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Gettin' crazy with the bandsaw in Detroit

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We expect to see a number of compelling displays around Cobo Hall beginning Sunday, but the allure of new metal and flashing lights is only part of the fun. You see, the stalwart of any good display is one of the oldest, yet most efficient ways to convey the geeky-delights normally obscured from our view. We're speaking, of course, about the cutaway.

The New York Times has an interesting piece on some of the more revealing displays that will make an appearance in Motor City, allowing those of us devoid of X-ray vision to peer into the inner-workings of everything from chassis structures to engine design to seat construction.

It's a worthwhile read for tho se of you interested in the art of precision deconstruction and will probably give you a better appreciation for the band saw.

[Source: New York Times]

 

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Redline plays Fast and Furious with exotics

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click image for high res gallery of movie cars on display

Fear Nothing. Risk Everything. So goes the tagline for Redline, the movie that has been described as The Fast and The Furious for adults exotics. Producer Daniel Sadek is a former real estate investor with a pretty nice personal collection of supercars and exotics. We saw some of them on display at the recent L.A. Auto Show.

Sadek not only put up $26 million of his own money to finance the film, but also used his personal car collection in action sequences, including a crash sequence that claimed the life of one of his very nice Porsche Carrera GTs. While this type of senseless destruction makes us want to take all of his keys away, we understand Mr. Sadek will probably explain it was necessary for the film's authenticity.

Shot in Las Vegas and L.A., the movie revolves around high-stakes underground street racing. We recognized the Ferrari dealership at The Wynn and the old El Toro airbase from the video. Although the acting looks typically passable, the cars alone make this a must see. We've spotted a Ferrari Enzo, Saleen S7 Twin Turbo, Koenigsegg CCR, Ford GT, Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster and Mercedes SLR McLaren, among others.

Redline is set for a February 23rd release and stars Eddie Griffin, Nathan Phillips, and the oh-so-hot Nadia Bjorlin. As is the norm nowadays, the movie has its own MySpace page where you can find out its likes and dislikes as well as seeing a few additional images and clips.

There's a small gallery of some of the film cars available by clicking on the image above and one of the film trailers is after the jump.

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Detroit Auto Show: Watch the GM Style Event LIVE right here

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Though the 2007 North American International Auto Show doesn't officially open its doors until tomorrow morning, some automakers are starting the party tonight. General Motors is hosting the GM Style Event tonight at 7PM, which combines stars and cars and will be the chosen venue for the official debut of the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Concept. The General has held these Style Events in the past, but this will be the first one ever held in Detroit. Apparently there's a runway involved on which 17 GM vehicles will walk the catwalk along with celebrities of varying degree of fame.

We managed to snag a ticket to this well-atte nded event and will be bringing back photos and hopefully stories of famous people doing things they shouldn't, but GM has also kicked open the doors to the public by offering us a live video stream of the festivities. Beginning at 7PM, you'll see Jimmy Kimmel hosting the red carpet entrances above. After the jump you'll find a live feed of the GM Style Event itself. In case you're curious, there's also a list of the celebrities in attendance after the jump, though we've heard there'll be two A-list celebs present that haven't been announced yet.

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Detroit Auto Show: Watt a surprise. GM mystery car leaked

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Well, that didn't last long. Turns out that while we may not have known much about Chevy's Sunday afternoon plans, the New York Times did. And again shorted out the wiring in the old embargo system. Disappointingly, according to the NYT, GM's mystery mobile doesn't run on kitten farts as some had speculated.

We are abiding by the embargo and not revealing any non-kitten related details including the name of this electrifying new vehicle or photos. But don't blow a fuse, you're likely resourceful enough to find them on your own (hint: look down). Come back here at midnight when we'll blow the lid off the GM's "secret" concept and show you everything we've got.

[Sou rce: Winding Road, GM Inside News]

 

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Detroit Auto Show: Ford releases more Interceptor Concept images

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click image above to see entire high-resolution gallery with new images

Our original gallery of Interceptor images was a big hit with the clicks last week, despite containing only six images of Ford's brash rear-wheel drive, Mustang-based sedan concept. If you liked those images, you'll be especially interested in the additional eight images of the concept that Ford released today, including plenty of interior shots and a view of the 4.6-liter Cammer V8 all dressed up in concept trim.

This is our first view of the Interceptor Concept's interior, and it sports a decidedly retro feel with its simple and straightforward shapes and materials. The most frequently occuring shape inside is called a squircle, basically a square with rounded corners. The steering wheel, speedometer, tach, shifter gate, vents... all squircles.

The dominant surface material inside the Interceptor is black leather, so much so that driving it must feel like going for a ride in Fonzy's jacket pocket. The vast expanse of leather is broken up here and there by silver metal trim and the slightest hint of a caramel-colored stitching. The four bucket seats are all thin, flat curves with no side bolsters of which to speak. Thank goodness each one is equipped with a four-point belt, because driver and passengers will need them if any directional changes are called for. The front headres ts retract into the ceiling when the car is parked and fall back down into place when it's time to roll, while a nice, thick center console bisects the interior and houses the short and stubby shifter.

The interior reflects the same theme exhibited by the Interceptor's sheetmetal, which is simplicity. Some have harshed on the car for being derivitive and not overly complicated in its surface features, but that's what we happen to like about it.

 

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Detroit Auto Show: Live pics of the Camaro Convertible

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click on above image to view high-resolution gallery

Earlier this evening at the GM Style event held in a big tent next to their Renaissance Center headquarters, the automaker publicly unveiled the new Camaro Convertible concept. It's basically a metallic orange open top version of the coupe they showed last year. We posted a mega-gallery of official shots a few days ago, and more details will be coming tomorrow from the show. Until then you can enjoy the new gallery of live shots.

 

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Detroit Auto Show: GMC and Jay-Z announce limited edition Yukon Denali

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click on above image to view high-resolution gallery

At the GM Style event tonight held next door to General Motors' world headquarters, hip-hop entrepreneur Jay-Z walked the runway with a special blue GMC Yukon Denali. Apparently Jay-Z came up with the special shade of blue and it includes platinum dust. At a press conference after the show, Jay-Z and GM VP of marketing Michael A. Jackson announced that a limited run of the Denalis would be made available for sale.

The f ull press release is available after the jump and a gallery of high-res images is available by clicking on the image above.

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Detroit Auto Show: Ford Airstream Concept

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click above image to view high-resolution gallery of 22 pics!

WHOA, This thing conjures up images of caffeine and nicotine fueled road trips, the KTel 8-track banging away with the requesite matchbook jammed in there to keep it operating smoothly. The nose says Econoline quite clearly, while the rest of Ford's latest CUV concept is inspired by both space capsules and Airstream trailers. While the styling of the exterior and interior may pay some homage to what has passed, the mechanized bits of the Airstream are definitely space-age and forward looking. Once you digest the styling and the hig h-tech underpinnings, the old camper and Hal 9000 influences converge neatly. We can definitely picture an A-Team edition with matte black paint, a wing on the back and a red stripe down the sides.

More after the jump including a press release, and check out our gallery of high-resolution images.



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Detroit Auto Show: 2008 Ford-Five Hundred

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click above image to view high-resolution gallery

For 2008, Ford has addressed many of the major issues that were preventing the Ford Five Hundred from being the sales leader that they had hoped for. Horsepower and styling were the two major complaints, and both have been improved dramatically on the latest iteration of the full-size sedan.

In the horsepower department, the 2008 Five Hundred will gets a 30% increase in power over the Taurus-carryover, 200 HP 3.0 Duratec V6 with which it was previously laden. Motivation is now provided by the corporate 3.5-liter Duratec in its first PZEV application for Ford with a V6, sending a full 260 horsepower and 245 ft/lbs. of torque through a new six-speed automatic transmission to either the front wheels or all four with the optional all-wheel drive system. The six-speed automatic also improves acceleration with shorter gearing and closer gear spacing, and provides increases fuel economy by up to 7% according to Ford.

With the power issue put to bed, Ford turned to the styling. The previous model redefined the word boring, with very few styling elements that were even remotely interesting inside or out. The new model has several exterior and interior design elements that align the Five Hundred with the new Ford design direction that started with the Fusion and will carry through the entire line of vehicles.

Press release is after the jump.

Check out all the debuts and galleries from the Detroit Auto Show here.

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Detroit Auto Show: 2008 Ford Focus

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click on above image to view high-resolution gallery with 35 pics!

If you've been following our pre-Detroit show coverage, you'll have noticed that Ford likes to use its home turf to introduce new production cars and unveil concepts. Unfortunately, the facelifted 2008 Focus is the least impressive of the new offerings from Dearborn, particularly in contrast to exciting concepts like the Interceptor.

When the Focus was introduced in 1999, it was at the cutting edge, at least stylistically, debuting as one of the most striking small cars on the market. It got a minor facelift a few years later, more evolutionary than revolutionary. While the 2008 update looks substantially different, it's still not a complete overhaul, just another facelift.

For 2008 the Focus ditches the wagon and gains a two-door coupe in addition to the standard four-door sedan. The exterior is completely restyled, shedding over 60 pounds in weight, reducing the drag coefficient and noise inside the cabin. While it gets a new brake package, the rear brakes are still drums. Leather trim in the interior with contrasting stitching is a unique feature particularly in this segment, as is the new "ambient lighting" option that gives you the choice of seven colors to highlight the interior.

Unfortunately, Ford's missed the mark in the styling department. Part of the new design includes the corporate bar-grille (that's a styling element, not a restaurant), a higher beltline, flared wheel arches and a "character line" cutting from an air vent behind the front wheel to the rear and across the trunk lid. While there are certainly some striking design elements to the new Focus, we believe strongly in the notion that a car design is more than the sum of its parts, and that's where the 2008 Focus falls short.

Click through for the full press release after the jump, and here for our gallery of 35 high-resolution images.


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Detroit Auto Show: Chevrolet Volt Concept

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click on the image above to view AutoblogGreen's high-resolution gallery

GM's much-rumored electric vehicle introduction for the North American International Auto Show has indeed been revealed to be the Chevrolet Volt. Built on a new platform referred to as E-flex, the cute coupe spins the front wheels via a 161 HP electric motor and a lithium-ion storage pack with 16 kWh of capacity (a piece of te chnology that, by GM's own admission, is not yet ready for prime time). An Ecotec-branded turbocharged 71 HP three-banger sits under the hood to spin a 53 kW generator, which provides one method by which to charge the pack; the other consists of a pair of plugs (one on either side) that facilitate charging via a standard 110V connection. Six hours or so of charge time at home is good for 40 miles of range, after which the IE kicks in at a steady 1800 RPM to feed the packs. GM calls it an EV with "range extending capability", but to our eyes, it sure looks like a series hybrid. It also has us asking why a small diesel wasn't employed, as such an engine can provide wonderful efficiency when used at a steady speed and load (as former GM division Electromotive has proven with its locomotives over the past several decades).

AutoblogGreen has additional te chnical detail and analysis. Click here for a full gallery of pictures!

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Detroit Auto Show: 2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid

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2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid
Click the image above for a high-resolution photo gallery

Mazda's chosen Detroit to pull the cover off its all-new 2008 Tribute Hybrid SUV. The greenified version of the Japanese automaker's Ford Escape clone receives a unique front fascia, but once you get past that, if you've seen the new Escape, you've seen the Tribute. That's not a bad thing, because the butchier look adopted by the Escape is pretty easy on the eye, and in this case, it belies the eco-friendly powertrain the Tribute Hybrid sports under its skin.

The Tribute's 2.3-liter four cylinder u ses Atkinson-cycle combustion and is good for 133 horsepower on its own. It's joined by a 70-kilowatt electric motor (equivalent to around 94 horsepower), which will power the car unassisted at speeds up to 25 mph. Above that, the ICE engages and teams with the electric motor to provide sprightly performance while garnering a super-clean AT-PZEV emissions rating. An electronic CVT ensures the optimal gear ratio is always in use, and hybrid features you'd expect to find, such as regenerative braking and a stop-start system, are put to use here.

Finally, the new Tribute Hybrid is available in two trim levels and with both two- and four-wheel-drive. AutoblogGreen has comprehensive analysis and info. Click the image above for a high-resolution photo gallery< /a>.

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here.

 

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Detroit Auto Show: Debuts and Galleries

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Bookmark this page now. Hell, make it your homepage, because this post will serve as the definitive guide to the Detroit Auto Show. The contents will cover every aspect of the NAIAS: debuts, concepts, interviews, impressions and more. All in one easy to reference post.

After the jump, you'll find each manufacturer's offerings in the Motor City, with links to all the pertinent information about their debut. The post will be constantly updated with information from the floor, press releases, as well as live and press pics accessible through our gallery.

We want to make this the most up-to-the-millisecond, comprehensive coverage around, so stay tuned and keep hitting "refresh."

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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