Honda Racing F1 unveils '07 rides

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High-res gallery of pics available by clicking image above

We just told you about Marco Andretti getting a test with Honda's F1 team, making him the third Andretti to take the wheel in a Formula 1 car. That was in a test last month in Jerez. Now the team has had its first full test of the new 2007 RA 107 at Catalunya and has issued a statement saying they are ready for the new season. OK, what did you expect them to say? The team is playing up its collaboration between the Japanese parent company's engineers and the Formula One engineering stronghold in England. They also are looking forward to a great year from drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

The car itself was still sporting its black and white test colors, as they're waiting to reveal the new sponsor livery until next month. Improved aerodynamic efficiency, meeting new crash safety regulations, and cutting the overall weight of the car have been the most significant challenges. Honda has also put a lot of work into optimizing the suspension to work better with the Bridgestones. Testing on the RA107 will continue right up to the first race of the season in Melbourne on 18 March.

[Source: Honda Racing]

 

[via] Autoblog

2007 Russo & Steele, Scottsdale: 1954 EMW 327/3

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Click on the image for a high-res gallery of photos of this car


1954 EMW 327/3 - #6721 No Sale

No, it's not a typo. It's an E-M-W. Like all of the MW cars built at the Eisenach factory before the war, the 327 was labeled an EMW. Production was halted during the war but restarted in 1945, and by 1950 the company started another run of the prewar 327 convertibles and coupes. This coupe happens to be number 144 of just 152 closed cars built out of a total run of 500 coupes and convertibles combined. With a 57-horsepower 1,971cc 6-cylinder, it might be hard to think of this as an ultimate driving machine, but for 1954, that was more than ade quate to give this gorgeous coupe splendid performance. This particular 327 is an all numbers matching car, that underwent a full restoration by Bart in Holland in 2006.

[Source: Russo and Steele]

 

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Green and gaudy: Pontiac Top Tuner Solstice

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Pontiac's foray into the tuner world has been partially stunted by the limited amount of available Solsti on the road. Fortunately for Pontiac, a Canadian customizing contingent that represents the best of what's up north, took it upon itself to create the stereotypical tuner machine (with 500 horsepower, though) out of its coveted drop top.

The Pontiac Top Tuner Solstice was led by Elite Tuners of Canada and involved over 30 different companies to bring the green terror to fruition. The high end showmobile reportedly cost over $500,000 to produce and judging by the amount of modifications, that sounds about right.

Follow the jump for the rest of the story.

[Source: World Car Fans]

Continue reading Green and gaudy: Pontiac Top Tuner Solstice

 

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2007 Russo & Steele, Scottsdale: Pair of '69 427 Camaros

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Barrett-Jackson didn't have all the cool Camaros this week. We found these two Hugger Orange 427s at Russo and Steele. While not a themed set like over at Westworld, we couldn't help but combine them for a post. The first one is pictured above and detailed immediately below, while the second is after the jump.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro - #6752 Sold at $66,000

An absolutely perfect ,gold class restored COPO Camaro. These 427 Camaros are some of the most rare and sought-after Camaros in existence. This one has numerous awards, winning top honors at every event it has competed in. It 's even been featured in Super Chevy magazine. It has the radio delete, console delete, cowl induction hood, heater delete, power disc brakes and Hurst shifter. Ultimate stripper lightweight factory race car.

[Source: Russo and Steele]

Continue reading 2007 Russo & Steele, Scottsdale: Pair of '69 427 Camaros

 

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That's Special: Renaultsport hatches Clio Renault F1 Team R27

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Ferrari wins world championships and it applies the knowledge to building a beast like the 599 GTB Fiorano. Renault wins the championship and they make... a supermini. But that's cool, we remind ourselves, because everyone does what they do best, and nobody makes hot hatches like Renaultsport, the performance division that builds the F1 cars and the hottest of pocket rockets.

So to coincide with the launch of the new R27 Formula One race car, Renaultsport has taken the wraps off their latest offering: the Clio Renault F1 Team R27, complete with checkered-flag decals, special "Sirius" yellow paint, red brake calipers and a numbered plate. With all that frivolous fluff, what more could you ask for? Inside, this special Clio is outfitted with Recaro racing seats, but the only real "meat" of this special edition is the Cup-based suspension, lowered with new shocks and springs, plus 17" Anthracite wheels at all four corners.

The Renault Sport Clio Renault F1 Team R27 will be officially launched at the Geneva show in March, but somehow we're just not all that excited. After producing special edition after special edition, we're left wondering when Renault will actually build something really special, worthy of its on-track achievements.

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[Source: Renault]

Continue reading That's Special: Renaultsport hatches Clio Renault F1 Team R27

 

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AutoblogGreen for 01.25.07

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Yesterday, AutoblogGreen started our in-depth interview with Michael Brylawski of the Rocky Mountain Institute, the organization behind the futuristic Hypercar concept. We gave some background info on the Hypercar a few weeks ago, and now we're going deep. Speaking of going deep, that's a football fan there on the right (for the Colts, in case you can't tell), and we managed to fit in posts about George Clooney and The Simpsons yesterday, too. Smell ya later.

 

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Loeb pilots new Citroen C4 WRC to victory in Monte Carlo

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There's smug satisfaction and then there's smug satisfaction. And the folks over at Citroen Sport are enjoying some serious smug satisfaction after taking a brilliant 1-2 finish in the Monte Carlo Rally. Taking first AND second is enough to make any team happy, but to compound that, this was the first race for Citroen's factory rally team since returning to the World Rally Championship, and the first race for their shiny new baby, the Citroen C4 WRC.

First place was taken by three-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb and his co-pilot Daniel Elena. To make the victory even sweeter, Loeb was fresh back at the wheel after recovering from a broken arm. Claiming the checkered flag at Monte Carlo set a new record for Loeb as his 29th career rally win. This was also the fourth time Loeb won in Monte Carlo, tying the record shared by rally legends Sandro Munari, Walter Rohrl and Tommi Makinen.

The second Citroen factory team driven by Dani Sordo took second place behind Loeb and ahead of Marcos Gronholm's Ford Focus. Not a bad day for Citroen and for Loeb, who are off to a great start to claim another championship.

[Source: Citroen]

 

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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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Update: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix announcement may come Feb1

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Looks like the oil-rich sheiks of Abu Dhabi are getting more serious about the prospect of hosting a Formula One grand prix than we thought. Last week we reported that they're adding an FIA-regulation race track to the Yas Island project that will also host the Ferrari World theme park, and with big question marks rounding off the one main restriction, they could be planning on hosting a grand prix very soon.

Word is there will be an event on February 1st where an official announcement may be made. If it happens, expect some teams and cars to be in attendance, along with the sport's most irresistible force, McLaren's newest driver, the inimitable Fernando Alonso.

[Source: Grandprix.com]

Continue reading Update: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix announcement may come Feb1

 

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Japan gets gussied-up Audi A4 DTM Limited in March

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Audi A4 DTM Limited (Japan model)

In Japan, limited editions are a big deal. Buyers cherish the exclusivity, and the lower the number of copies, the more attractive the cars are to their target audience. We've seen them from the likes of Mercedes, Ford, and Ferrrari, and today we get news of Audi getting into the act. The German automaker will be offering a limited edition of its A4 2.0T sedan dubbed the A4 DTM Limited, named for the German race se ries, of course. 150 DTM Limiteds will be put on sale -- 50 in Avus Silver Pearl, 50 in Phantom Black Pearl and 50 in Sprint Blue Pearl. From the looks of it, all the cars will be LHD, too, which only adds to the level of exclusivity.

Appearance-wise, the cars will get DTM badges, a lower front fascia that's not-quite-RS4 but cool nonetheless, a carbon fiber lip spoiler, black rearview mirrors, quattro (naturally), and 16-spoke 18" wheels. The cars go on sale March 1 and will cost ¥5,890,000 (¥5,240,000 base price plus ¥650,000 for the DTM Limited package). In case you're wondering, that works out to $48,457 USD if you do a straight currency conversion. Expect all 150 to sell out.

[Source: Carview]

 

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Rapom V8 bike produces 1,200 horsepower and loose bowels

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What to do with that spare Mopar big block you've got left over from your monster truck project? Why, let's build a motorcycle! We're not using our arms that much, anyway, so we might as well just tear 'em right out of the sockets; it's not like we perform manual labor, we're keyboard jockeys. Voice-recognition software will ensure our job security once the old extremities are history, anyway.

Bike owner and builder Nick Argyle got out of the monster-truck business but still wanted a nice toy. He'd downsized his shop, so the available space dictated a motorcycle. Nick's wife was down with it as long as he used the engine he had sitting around -- an 8.2-liter supercharged Mopar V8. Whooee! That's a lotta iron to climb over just to get to t he drag strip. It's road legal, and some ingenuity led to the engine being used as a stressed member of the frame. Note also the routing of the supercharger drive belt through the front forks.

Basically, the bike looks like a couple of wheels bolted onto an engine. Sure, that describes essentially every motorcycle on the road. In this instance, however, it's supremely cool (and strange) to see an engine sitting there looking just as it would under the hood of a car, but with a set of handlebars and a drive chain connected to it. There's no performance data, but some rough math assuming a 1500lb total weight (blown Mopar big blocks aren't light -- the engine alone probably weighs 1000 pounds) and using the provided horsepower figure of 1200 gives an estimated quarter-mile ET of 6.27 seconds with a trap speed of 217 MPH.

Damn.

We'd be curious to see actual ETs, as we just scratched a few things out on paper without knowing gearing or the act ual weight using the handy formulas in our Auto Math Handbook. Even if it didn't go fast, it looks mean, and we bet it sounds even meaner with those wide open headers. WHAT!?

More photos after the jump

[Source: Carscoop]

Continue reading Rapom V8 bike produces 1,200 horsepower and loose bowels

 

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Ford burns $12.7 BILLION in 2006!

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Ford just announced its full year financial results for 2006, and the picture is really ugly. From October through the end of the year alone, it consumed $5.8 billion. For the full year it expended $12.7 billion more than it took in. Last year was one of the worst years in Ford's history, with two major stabs at a restructuring plan, CEO Bill Ford stepping down, borrowing more than $25 billion to fund operations and announcements about closing 16 factories and eliminating more than 44,000 jobs.

Although the numbers look terrible for Ford, $9.9 billion of it was for one-time charges associated with buyouts, plant closures and other restructuring costs. Losses from operations were a "mere" $2.8 billion. Another nasty figure is the revenue, down to $160.1 billion from $176.9 billion the year before. The team in Dearborn is feeling some major pain from the crash in sales of their cash cow SUVs like the Explorer and Expedition. The full Ford press release is after the jump.

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Ford burns $12.7 BILLION in 2006!

 

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Vauxhall offers hyper-limited iPod dock cover created by graffitti artist

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Click to enlarge

Vauxhall makes cars, so this is fair game. I may need to ask John to add an "Insane" category to the list we're able to pull from, though. Here's the skinny: GM's Vauxhall division has a side operation going on called the VX Collective. In short, it's a group of Trendy British People "from the worlds of film, design, cooking, clubbing and sport" (clubbing...good grief) who design random swag that's somehow car-related, which Vauxhall then sells on the VX Collective website. Past items have included leather dice to hang from your rearview mirror and a screen-printed purse designed to precisely fit the Vauxhall Tigra's glovebox.

Soon enough, however, you'll be able to pick up t he Vaux Dock, a creation from graffitti artist (seriously) and jewelery designer Daisuke Sakaguchi. Put plainly, it's a metal, Vauxhall-branded key/coin holder that fits over your iPod dock. Only six were made, each one weighs over a half a pound, and if you want to show the world what an über-hipster you are, prepare to shell out £399, or as we like to say here in the States, SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY EFFIN' DOLLARS!

For an iPod charger cover. With a Vauxhall logo on it. The mind reels.

You can't make this stuff up, and as proof, you can read the official press release after the jump.

[Source: Vauxhall]

Continue reading Vauxhall offers hyper-limited iPod dock cover created by graffitti artist

 

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Mercedes releases performance pack for the E 63 AMG

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Mercedes' in-house witch doctors at the AMG Performance Studio have put the finishing touches on a new performance pack for the monstrous E 63 AMG sedan. Since the car's pretty much got the engine performance piece handled, what with its 514-horsepower V8, the labcoats at AMG decided to create a package that ensures the car's handling chops match the incredible juice pulsating underhood.

The new kit includes a silver-painted unequal-width 18" wheel/tire package, a stiffer, sportier AIRMATIC suspension, a new rear differential set up to provide more traction when powering out of corners, and for the driver, a new sport steering wheel with silver shift paddles. The p erformance package will lighten buyers' wallets by €7,140 ($9,274), but if it turns the AMG E-Class into a more serious corner-carver, owners will probably think the cost of entry is worth every penny. And here we were thinking the "Plain Jane" AMG E was sufficient. Silly us.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

Continue reading Mercedes releases performance pack for the E 63 AMG

 

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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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Fiat puts the Auto in Autonomy

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Changes are coming to the family as the Fiat automotive empire alters its structure to give several of its divisions more autonomy. While the Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Fiat auto and Fiat light commercial vehicles have all been divisions within the same corporate hierarchy (not unlike the structure at its one-time potential partners at General Motors), each of those brands is now being spun off and individually incorporated.

The result is the creation of four new companies: Lancia Automobiles SpA, Alfa Romeo Automobiles SpA, Fiat Automobiles SpA and Fiat Light Commercial Vehicles SpA. This also means that the executives who were simply brand managers before are getting promoted to chief executive officer of their new corporations. All four will still be fully owned by the parent company, which is changing its name from Fiat Auto to Fiat Group Automobiles SpA. For those Tifosi left wondering, Fiat's precious baby Ferrari remains unaffected by the restructuring since it was already separately incorporated and is partially owned by Fiat with some shares owned by other interests.

What practical implication does this have? None to the American market where, until Alfa Romeo returns to the US, none of these brands are sold. Meanwhile, Fiat insists the restructuring will actually enable each unit to cooperate with the others more effectively. We'd bet this gives each of the brands the freedom to make independent strategic decisions, including the Fiat brand itself. The move comes shortly after Fiat Group head Sergio Marchionne stepped down as chief of the Fiat brand to concentrate on managing the group. With sales up and its financial health looking better than ever, the Fiat empire -- or whatever you want to call it -- looks poised to continue its climb upward.

[Source: Fiat via Italiaspeed]

 

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Spy Shots: 2008 Equus shows Hyundai is serious about luxury

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Hyundai's looking to bust into the highly-competitive entry-level luxury field with the 2008 Equus. The South Korean automaker already has the safety and luxury appointments thing down with the Azera, but the Equus appears to promise much more. With a spec sheet that includes rear-wheel-drive, V8 power, and a $30,000+ sticker price, Hyundai is clearly trying to follow the criteria that helped brands such as Lexus and Infiniti become established players in this tough segment.

Toyota was able to make Lexus a legitimate luxury brand in the states within 10 years with low prices, tons of standard equipment, and rock-solid reliability. What remains to be seen is whether a vehicle at this price point can survive a battle of the luxury sedans while sporting a Hyundai badge on the front grille.

[Source: The Car Connection]

 

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eBay Find of the Day: 1988 Citroën CX

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We wonder if this thing tells you "Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!" whenever you shut it off. Hilarity aside, this long-wheelbase CX Prestige looks like it's made out of the same material that fashioned Darth Vader's mask. Maybe the hydro-pneumatic suspension even makes the same kinds of breathy noises. Probably not, as the seller claims the spheres are in good shape. Citroëns are pretty rare in the US, and the CX's are funk-tastic executive expresses.

This series-II car is a fine example of the last Citroën design before Peugeot purchased the brand. The long, tapered body dressed in black gives this thing an evil presence we think absolutely rocks. Thi s is the car that replaced the space-capsule DS, and there's definitely a familial resemblance (though the CX looks more like Gumby's SAAB 900 than anything alse, if you ask us).

Underhood, there's a 2.5L four-cylinder that smokes Gauloises and is powered by croque monsieur. The price is up to $2650, which is actually pretty reasonable for a CX Prestige in good shape. 1988 was the second-to-last year for this smooth-riding teardrop that was first introduced in 1974, so any teething pains were long gone by then. Of course, the joys of maintaining a luxed-up European car with a very small support base are part of the thrill of ownership. We'd wear a Vader suit wherever we went. And limo-tint the windows. That'd make pulling up to the curb, any curb, the Best. Arrival. Evar.

more photos after the jump

Continue reading eBay Find of the Day: 1988 Citroën CX

 

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Jack Roush declares war on Toyota in NASCAR

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It's not a secret that Jack Roush thinks you should be buying American cars. Likewise, he's not a fan of NASCAR's decision to allow Toyota to race in the Nextel Cup series this season. The motorsports legend and tuner of all things Ford has recently gone on record with some fiery wartime rhetoric saying, "I expect to hand Toyota their head over the short term." He went on to say, "Toyota will not find that the established teams and manufacturers will wither in their path, as has been the case where they have tried to engage elsewhere." Them sounds like fightin' words!

The general concern is that Toyota will shore up its three teams with a bankroll that can't be matched by other manufacturers and teams participating in the series. However, as has been pointed out in the past, Toyota is believed to have the biggest budget in F1, yet you don't hear its name on the podium very often with Renault and Ferrari. For Roush's part, he's gone to great lengths to secure additional funding for his NASCAR team, even from Ford which is obviously strapped for cash.

Roush makes a good point, however, that NASCAR's strict limitations on technology means that Toyota's money won't allow it to buy better cars or technology. The real investment in NASCAR is with people and having the bucks to hire the best. But Toyota also knows success in NASCAR is not all about winning, it's about how many billboards, commercials and sponsorships you can slap your logo on. There's little doubt in our minds that Toyota will be successful in that arena.

[Source: Associated Press via Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

Bob Lutz hearts Autoblog

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Ok, maybe that's a stretch, but we were awfully proud of our Sam Abuelsamid who attended a group interview of Bob Lutz at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. GM just posted video of the Q&A on its FastLane blog, and were tickled to see Sam's probing question on whether or not GM was going into enter into a horsepower war with Chrysler as the closing query. Sam, of course, comes from AutoblogGreen but occasionally posts a thought or two on Autoblog, so we were particularly surprised after watching every blogger ask Lutz about the Volt concept that Sam went right for what Autoblog readers want to know, i.e. will the Blue Devil beat the Viper? And he got an indirect yes to his question, as well as props from Lutz for asking it.

UPDATE: Here' s a link to the transcript of the interview originally posted on AutoblogGreen.

[Source: GM Fastlane Blog]

 

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Sky's the Limit: GM intros the Opel GT for Europe

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Click photo for gallery with 54 additional hi-res images

Badge-engineering is a two-way street when it comes to the relationship between Saturn and Opel. While we're eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Saturn Astra, our friends across the pond are welcoming the new Opel GT (née Saturn Sky Redline) to the party.

We had a Sky Redline in the Autoblog Garage a few weeks ago (review in the works), and as such can tell our European friends that they're in for one seriously fun (though astonishingly impractical) ride. The only major changes involve badging, the taillamps and the grille trim, and honestly, that's fine. The Sky's looks are A-OK in our book, and since it's based on a Vauxhall concept in the first place, we're confident the folks on the Continent will be happy with its appearance as well. We do feel terribly for the Brits, who, in a cruel twist, won't get a Vauxhall version.

In any case, we're BIG fans of this whole international "sharing the wealth" thing when it comes to product. Ford, please hurry. Less of this, more of this and this, OK?

(Press release after the jump.)

Gallery: 2007 Opel GT



[Source: Opel]

Continue reading Sky's the Limit: GM intros the Opel GT for Europe

 

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

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BMW introduces 1-Series 3-door Limited Sports Edition

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The 1-Series is getting some major attention from BMW these days. Not only has the new 3-door just been unveiled for 2007, but it's also finally been announced that the 1-Series will cross the pond and be sold in the U.S. soon (as a coupe and convertible with the hot 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six initially, but no hatches). Today BMW heaped some more 1-Series love on the pile and revealed the 1-Series 3-door Limited Sports Edition. Our German sucks worse than our English, so it's tough to glean the details, but Carscoop claims it's basically like an M Sports package that upgrades the rims to 18-inchers, adds an M body kit, tighter suspension, and some more M accoutrement on the inside like seats and whatnot. It definitely adds some gloss to the polarizing design of the 1. Though only 2,000 units will be produced, the Limited Sports Edition package will be available across the 1-Series lineup adding €4,660 to the cost of the 118i and 118 D, €4,560 to the 120i and 120d, and €3,360 to the 130i.

[Source: BMW, Carscoop]


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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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