Subaru unveiling new Impreza in New York, WRX being dropped

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Autocar is reporting that Subaru will volly a strike against Mitsubishi in early April when it debuts the all-new Impreza at the New York Auto Show. The body style will be a five-door hatchback with styling similar to that of the B5 TPH concept that first appeared last year in Tokyo. Power will reportedly come from your choice of a 1.5L or 2.0L flat-four boxer engine. Autocar's shocker is that the popular WRX model that slots between the everyday Imprezas and the high performance STi model will be cancelled, and that we won't see the new STi until 2008. Autocar doesn't cite its source for this information, and it seems highly unlikely to us considering that Mitsubishi is planning to make its Lancer Ralliart more powerful than previous generations in an effort to face the WRX head on. All will be revealed in the Big Apple come April, but for now we sit and wait.

[Source: Autocar]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ukrainian VEPR sprinkles Hummers on its Cheerios

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Are your shortcomings more than a Hummer H1 or a Ford Expedition can overcome? There just might be a cure. Information on the Ukrainian-made VEPR Commander is scarce, but here's what we could find out through Google translations. The massive vehicle is 16.4 feet long, 6.5 feet tall, and weighs over 3 tons. One site claims it can carry 15 passengers, while another says 21 passengers. That probably means 15 adults or 21 pint-sized little league players. Judging by its badging, the beast is probably motivated by a 4.0 liter turbodiesel, but then, you can't judge a car's performance by its cover an y more. Price? Well, again, there's some disparity. One figure we found was as low as $20,000 another said $70,000, though what currency wasn't specified.

It would appear the designers took styling cues mostly from the A-Team van, but with modern updates from the PT Cruiser, the Buick Lucerne, various Japanese full-sized SUVs and Brak.

If you can stand it, there are more photos after the jump. Notice how the VEPR dwarfs the Jeep Cherokee.

[Source: Steer.ru]

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In the Autoblog Garage: 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line

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Click image for full review at AutoblogGreen

Did we say Autoblog Garage? We meant to say AutoblogGreen Garage, because that's where we've posted our thoughts about Saturn's first hybrid vehicle. Yes, it still sports the "classic" plastic-fantastic bodywork. No, it can't run in all-electric mode. But despite its age, silly faux radiator grille, and the fact that its current powertrain isn't of the fancy-schmancy Toyota or Ford variety, there's still quite a bit to like about the lame-duck Vue in Green Line trim. Our full thoughts about the ride are at AutoblogGreen, so please be sure to head ov er and check out the review in its entirety.

 

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2008 Lexus RX 350 pricing announced

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Lexus has announced pricing for the 2008 Lexus RX 350. The perennial best-seller will carry carry over 2007 prices with an entry fee of $37,400 for the front-drive model and $38,800 for the AWD model. New features for the vehicle include an updated grille, black wood trim, new 18' wheels, chrome door handles, and two new exterior colors.

With 108,000 sales in 2006, the RX-series (along with the RX 400h) is the highest selling luxury vehicle in the US. Its price tag is about $4000 more than the similar-looking Lincoln MKX and right in line with the larger and more powerful Acura MDX. With the RX being the biggest reason Lexus is the number one luxury brand in the US, there's little doubt as to why it seems to be getting updated every year. The Lexus press release is posted after the jump.

[Source: Lexus]

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Ferrari takes on Lamborghini in mobile phone battle

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If Lamborghini can have its own mobile phone, we suppose it's only fair that Ferrari get one too. Introducing Motorola's MotoRAZR Maxx V6 Ferrari Challenge. With a V6, wouldn't that make it a Dino? No matter, because it does have 'the iconic prancing horse shield on the front and "Ferrari" in the company's easily recognizable font on the back. The phone turns on with the sound of a Ferrari Formula 1 engine revving.

It's available for pre-order from the Ferrari Store online for a mere $524 -- about the same price as th e upcoming iPhone, but oh so much more, um, Italian. And it's about $1,200 cheaper than that Lamborghini phone which doesn't come with a red Ferrari leather case.

Read the Motorola press release with the phone's full specs and more photos after the jump.

[Source:Motorola]

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Bringing Bling to GM Through Pop Culture

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Click the above image for more shots from the GM Style Event

How many people associate the Chevy Monte Carlo with cool? How about the Buick Rendezvous? GM's doing everything it can to overhaul its lineup with more competitive products like the Saturn Aura and the Chevy Silverado. The battle to change perception that GM's marketers are waging may be a more daunting task then the design and engineering renaissance that the General is in the middle of. Stars like Gwen Stefani and rapper 50 Cent are being used to show that GM has found its "inner Fonzie." Stefani drove a gold Tahoe in one of her latest videos. Jay-Z helped design a special blue paint finish for the new Denali. Want more examples? The GM Style Event on the eve of NAIAS was a celeb-fest, and Tiger Woods, who's been endorsing Buick for years, unveiled the Enclave at the LA auto show last November.

Will America buy GM's push to be cool? We don't know. We are pretty sure, however, that products like the new Camaro, rear-drive Impalas and the forthcoming Pontiac G8 will probably help their case.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

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Hammond's crash available on Top Gear's website

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UPDATE: Watch the video after the jump! Clarkson makes a promise.




The triumphant return of Top Gear took place less than an hour ago on BBC in the UK. Afterwards, Richard Hammond hopped on to the Top Gear website to offer up his perspective on the show's return, his crash and the benefits of viewers seeing his brush with death.

In addition to reliving the experience on tonight's show (torrents are being created as you read this), Top Gear put togeth er a step-by-step recreation and also aired video of the crash.

You can read Hammond's blog here and also view the videos on the BBC's website.

UPDATE: a bittorent of the video has been added to Finalgear.com.

Continue reading Hammond's crash available on Top Gear's website

 

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AutoblogGreen for 01.29.07

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It's funny how a little bit of engine noise in a video of the Tesla Roadster causes so much doubt on the video's authenticity, especially when there are other cars in the video. Or, at least, in the vicinity, by the shadows you can see in the sides of the frame. But are those shadows cars or people? You can see how this discussion feeds on itself. In any case, check out the video, and then read our hands-on review of the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line and see Dick Cheney smirk at the idea of Americans using less oil. Seriously.

 

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Golf Clap: Lexus sponsors USGA

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Unless we see LS 460s and Lucernes out on the greens tearing it up in a combination demolition derby-polo match, we're going back to sleep. In a snore-inducing move, Lexus has signed up with the US Golf Association to be the official vehicle of the US Open, US Women's Open, US Senior Open, and US Amateur. Lexus will also be the USGA's first-ever automotive partner. Tiger, however, will stick with Buick.

Lexus stepped up their involvement with the sport in an effort to further engage their customers, who are apparently passionate about golf. In support of their collaboration with the USGA, Lexus will be rolling out a multifaceted media campaign including advertising, direct marketing, events, and, of course, the auto brand will be on-site at USGA events. We're sure to see more Lexus branding and signage in television coverage, as well. The Lexus golf team has been expanded by the addition of some members from the Toyota team, and there's some big names playing for the brand. Lexus is actually involved in sponsoring many different types of sporting events -- polo, tennis, golf, sailing; a laundry-list of rarefied sports.

We suppose that there probably are a fair amount of Lexi in country-club parking lots, and most of them can haul a foursome's worth of clubs without a hiccup. Golf just seems so... dispassionate and indifferent from a car guy's point of view. Then again, that's the prevailing car guy notion of Lexus, as well; perhaps it really does make for a neat dovetail. Golf is not particularly easy to excel at, nor is it easy to build cars as obsessively tweezed as the Lexus lineup, but neither golf nor luxo-Toyotas get our adrenaline pumping as much as a simple parking lot autocross with something as mundane as a '91 Scoupe.

You can find the press release after the jump.

[Source: Lexus via Automotive News - sub req'd]

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Spy Shots: 2008 Porsche Boxster

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Porsche may be the most disciplined automaker on the planet. For decades, their vehicles have slowly evolved, with subtle styling changes and incremental boosts in power. The 2008 Boxster appears to carry on that tradition quite nicely. Styling modifications have been minimal, with updates to the front fascia and LED headlamps. The front air intakes are now more rounded, making it look less like a squished Cayenne. Out back the bumper is updated and LED lighting fills the tail lamps. No word as of yet with regards to powertrain or interior updates. We can, however, assume that the new Boxter will drive like a gem, make heads tu rn, and keep many from attaining a blemish-free driving record.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

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Ford may bring Mondeo, S-Max to U.S.

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As previously reported, Ford intends to begin sharing both platforms and vehicles, originally developed for Europe, with the U.S. We've already been informed that the Transit Connect, a small commercial vehicle, is headed our way, but during an interview with Automotive News, FoMoCo CEO Alan Mulally hinted at the prospect of bringing over the Mondeo sedan and S-Max people mover.

Both you and most of the Autoblog staff have been smitten by the Mondeo's style, but the question remains: where will it fit in? The sedan would directly compete with the Ford Fusion, so the possibility of moving the Mondeo up market and slapping a Mercury badge on it is one possibility.

As for the S-Max: most will agree that the people mover segment is in desperate need of a makeover. While minivan sales remain stagnant and consumers move on from the SUV-craze, there would seem to be a market for a nicely designed, well-equipped vehicle that can hold the kids and the prerequisite soccer supplies.

If and when all this would come to fruition is up in the air, but if Ford decided to make this kind of move, we wouldn't expect much before 2009.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

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Saleen building Road Rally edition Mustangs

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In 1983 my family got cable. It was a pretty big deal. So big, in fact, that I remember the first thing I ever saw on cable, Cannonball Run. This summer the Great American Run returns, and with a pretty cool trophy for the winner of the race contest. Saleen is selling 24 of 25 limited edition Mustangs to contestants of the event, 11 of which have already been sold. Number 25 will be given away as first prize of the contest.

Since a Mustang isn't exactly a vehicle that's tough to find, this Saleen edition had to be something quite special. The V8 engine turns out a Shelby GT500-topping 600 HP and hauls to 60 in less than 4 seconds. The top speed is a ridiculous 200 MPH, which is amazing, insane, and very cool. Those numbers are pretty impressive for any vehicle, and with the Saleen name we think even Captain Chaos would love it. Oh, if the July 29 through August 4th race is making your mind wander, you can enter for $10,000. The run is limited to 400 entries.

With only 25 copies off the special edition Saleen Mustang, this is one exclusive ride. Not only is it a Saleen with 600 HP and a 200 MPH top speed, you can only buy it by participating in the race. Something tells us we'll see quite a few of these at Barrett Jackson next year, and number 25 will sell for some serious coin.

[Source: GT Spirit via Jalopnik]

 

[via] Autoblog

Tokyo Auto Salon: Suzuki Swift X Concept

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Among the other tunerific surprises that lined the booths of the Nippon Convention Center during the Tokyo Auto Salon, Suzuki displayed their Swift X Sport Concept. Of all the vehicles in Suzuki's lineup, the Swift is the one we'd love to see Stateside post haste, especially benefiting from some of its rally heritage. Although in standard guise, it's little more than a subcompact with all the sporting pretenses that the name implies, this concept brings a little bit of WRC flavor to the party.

Continue reading Tokyo Auto Salon: Suzuki Swift X Concept

 

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RR of the Day: 2001 BMW M Coupé

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Everyone has a list of vehicles that they want to drive before they die, for me, today's RR of the Day is a vehicle that I've vowed to own. The first time I saw an M coupé in person at a strip mall in my hometown, I waited 20 minutes for the owner to come out, interrogated him for a half an hour and then talked him in to giving me a ride. Unlike today's example, his black 2000 model housed a 240 HP, S52 engine that provided ample motivation for the three-door oddity. CT57's, however, is equipped with an S54, the same 330 HP mill found within the E46 M3 that we know and love.

The rest of the details are after the jump, along with instructions on how to get your own ride featured here.

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Spyker coming to Geneva with new flagship

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Spyker, the Dutch maker of exclusive, hand-made luxury vehicles, is looking to unveil a new flagship model at the Geneva motor show in March. The vehicle will be based off of the C12 platform and will carry the Audi-derived 500 HP 6-liter W12 engine. Spyker only makes about 100 cars per year, producing each and every one by hand. The company was profitable for the first time in 2006 and even owns its own two-car F1 team. The hottest model that Spyker has right now, but won't be producing until December 2007, is the D12 SUV, which was unveiled at the 2006 Geneva show. That model has a 100 order wait, with most models headed to the US.

If you are looking to purchase a Spyker, these rare vehicles are in high demand. There is a 327 car backlog, which translates to a three year wait at current production numbers. We look forward to what Spyker has up its sleeve for Geneva and we promise to be quick to get those pictures to you as soon as we can.

[Source: MotorAuthority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Kevin & Karen Alstott's '35 Ford wins America's Most Beautiful Roadster award

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Click on the above image to view a high-res gallery

Last year's winner of the prestigious Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama has added another big trophy to its collection. Kevin and Karen Alstott's 1935 Ford convertible captured top honors at the 58th Grand National Roadster show on Sunday night when it was named America's Most Beautiful Roadster.

This was the 58th edition of the Grand National Roadster Show, which was known as the Oakland Roadster Show before moving to the more spacious Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. The honor has been won by some of the industry's most notable hot rodders, including Blackie Gejeian, George Barris, Tex Smith, Ermie Immerso, Boyd Coddington and Chuck Lombardo.

The Alstott's '35, nicknamed the Iowa Radster, was built by Roger Burman at Lakeside Rods & Rides. Marcel DeLay hand-formed the body and the Recovery Room finished the interior. Power comes from a 408-cubic-inch all-aluminum small-block engine.

Gallery: AMBR-winner

 

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First US-bound Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe sells for $2 MIL

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The annual Naples Winter Wine Festival is, as you may have surmised, a wine-centric event. What we didn't know is that the annual festival auction, which raises money for Collier County children's charities, would produce some final bids that wouldn't seem out of place at a cash tornado like Barrett-Jackson.

Case in point: the first customer Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe. The new convertibles carry a starting price of $407,000, making them ultra-ultra-exclusive to begin with. They won't start arriving until this summer, but real estate developer Raymond Lutgert can rest easy in the knowledge that no person in North America will get one before he does. That's because he paid $2,000,000 for the privilege of getting the fir st one to come across the pond.

Coming in second to the new Roller was a Bentley Continental GTC, which pulled in an equally-staggering winning bid of $1.3 million. With that kind of money flying around, the $260,000 that was put up for a 2008 Lexus LS 600h L seems like a mere pittance until you stop and think about it for a moment. Finally, $790,000 was raised through the sale of $5,000-a-pop raffle tickets. The prize? A one-off Maserati Quattroporte Automatic that was built specifically for the festival. Painted Bordeaux red, the car sports matching carpets and stitching, unique wheels, and custom door moldings that announce its exclusive nature.

If the wine festival was able to conjure up cars this good, we can only imagine the quality of the vino that was crossing that auction block...

We've posted a pair of related press releases after the jump.

[Sources: Naples Daily News via Luxist, Naples Wine Festival, Maserati]

Continue reading First US-bound Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe sells for $2 MIL

 

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In the Autoblog Garage: 2007 Cadillac SRX

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Click above image for photo gallery


The Cadillac SRX sold a little over 22,000 units in 2006. Based on our time spent behind the wheel, we're guessing that a lot of the angular crossover's buyers are satisfied customers. Marketed as an SUV upon release, Cadillac later relented and has (correctly) positioned the SRX as a CUV. After all, the SUV moniker summons mental images of a vehicle that might not offer a forgiving ride for its occupants. The SRX is the opposite of all that.

Follow the jump for the review in full.

Continue reading In the Autoblog Garage: 2007 Cadillac SRX

 

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