Tuner Tuesday: Lumma Design's 560HP CLR M5

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click on above image to view high-resolution gallery

The BMW M5 is a hairy beast in stock trim, so when a tuner gets a hold of one we can expect the wow factor to go through the roof. This is the CLR 500 R-S, a heavily modified M5 done by the German tuning house Lumma Design. They've taken a base M5 and fitted it with giant 21-inch wheels, a wide-body kit and menacing diffusers in the back that have actually been wind-tunnel tested. The car has also been lowered a full 40mm on an H&R sport suspension. In order to back up the show with some go, Lumma has added a racing exhaust and high-flow catalytic converters, along with an ECU upgrade to coordinate the increased airflow. Power from BMW's V10 has in turn been increased to 560 hp, good enough to reportedly break the 200 mph barrier. The interior has also been gussied up with matching orange leather trim, orange dials in the gauge pod and a new Lumma-designed steering wheel made from anodized aluminum. We're actually crushing on the CLR's two-tone paint job, as it highlights the very interesting lines of the 5-Series. There's no word on how much it will cost you to turn your M5 into a CLR 500 R-S, but as we've said in the past, if you have to ask...

[Source: Allcarnews]

 

[via] Autoblog

Make it stop! The Bobbleheads are dead, but Jeep advertising still sucks

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Jeep's hip-hop Bobblehead spots for the Compass have been taken out back and shot. Like the Compass they were shilling, the Bobblehead spots were only effective at being crappy. Of course, the replacement may not be any better. Surfing in from foreign markets is ad agency BBDO's "City Man." City Man is a jumble of street signs, gas pump nozzles and general urban detritus created by the swirl of wind from a passing Compass.

Read the rest after the jump.

[Source: Detroit News]

Continue reading Make it stop! The Bobbleheads are dead, but Jeep advertising still sucks

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[via] Autoblog

Audi prices 2008 TT

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Audi took the time today to inform us Yanks what we'd be paying this year for the privelege to own a new TT. The 2008 Audi TT will start at $34,800 for a base 2.0T Coupe. The TT 3.2 Quattro model begins higher at $41,500. If you like your TT sans its top, a TT Roadster 2.0T will begin at $36,800, while the 3.2 quattro Roadster begins at $44,500. Destination charges are $720 for each model, and if you'd prefer the S tronic gearbox, also known as the DSG transmission in Volkswagen models, over the standard six-speed, add another $1,400 to your total. The highest base price for a TT then will be a 3.2 quattro Roadster with an S tronic transmission that costs $45,900. There will be lots of optional equipment ot push that price higher, however, like a DVD-based navigation system, the "magnetic ride" suspension, 18-inch weels, etc. The b ase prices seem fair to us considering that Audi appears to have successfully updated the original TT's beloved design while at the same time infusing the car with a bit more sporting prowess. All that optional equipment, however, will easily push the TT's price over $50,000.

Check out Audi's official press release after the jump.

[Source: Audi]

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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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Charlie Gibson hosting World News Tonight from Detroit this week

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Charlie Gibson and the crew from ABC's World News Tonight will be rolling into Motown next this week to tape the show from Detroit tonight and Tuesday. Clearly the state of the auto industry in the U.S. is national news, and where better to report on it than the epicenter of Detroit? Both Ford CEO Alan Mulally and GM CEO Rick Wagoner will be on the show Monday, hopefully together, which will make for some very interesting dinner conversation when the show airs at 6:30PM. Gibson will be broadcasting the show from Ford's Rouge assembly plant, which is a historic landmark in the history of the auto industry. For those who live i n Detroit, Gibson will also moderate a "town hall meeting on the state of the automotive industry" live on WXYZ, an ABC affiliate station in Detroit. It'd be cool if someone tech savvy in Detroit could TiVo that bad boy and throw it up on YouTube or Netscape, as we'd be interested to hear what unscripted people have to say.

[Source: Mediabistro via Jalopnik]

 

[via] Autoblog

'Deuce' celebrates 75th anniversary in spectacular display at Grand National Roadster Show

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

The iconic symbol of hot rodding is unquestionably the 1932 Ford. Designed with aerodynamic poise by Edsel Ford, the '32 also showcased Henry Ford's engineering genius with the introduction of an affordable V8 engine. Luckily, Ford didn't make the flathead motor as powerful as possible. Thousands of speed-loving, mechanically inclined owners handled the rest. History has been very kind to the '32. Almost anything is cool, from primered rat rods to billet masterpieces.

Last year, a panel of hot rod experts selected the 75 most significant 32 Ford hot rods out of 474 nominees. At this year's 58th annual Grand National Roadster Show held over the weekend at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, about 60 of those 75 were gathered for a historic display in a 44,000-square-foot building. Eight of the 75 did not survive. Each of the vehicles on display had placards with essays and rare photos to document their selection.

Other '32 events are planned for the year, including "Deuce Week" at the Petersen Automotive Museum in February, and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance will honor the class of '32.

There's a great story written by Ken Gross, who has one of the featured 75 deuces in the display, on Inside Line. It also has a link to a gallery with writeups on all 75 cars. Then check out our gallery to see the vehicles as they were displayed.

Gallery: 32Display

 

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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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Ford's Premier Auto Group expected to turn a profit in 2007

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In the surprise of surprises, Ford CFO Don LeClair has come out to say that Ford's PAG luxury group will be PROFITABLE in 2007. PAG, which lost $327 Million in 2006 and $1.15 Billion over the past three years, has been consistantly weighed down by Jaguar (though many other brands in the group have also operated in the red, as well), which has averaged somewhere between $500 Million and $1 Billion in losses per year since 2001. Another bummer for PAG has been the high value of the Euro and Pound against the Dollar. It hasn't affected BMW or Mercedes as much, in part because their product lineups and brand strengths are better, but also because they build some of their vehicles, including the 3 Series, in the USA.

In the past, Volvo has been Ford's savior, earning between $800 Million and $1.2 Billion per year. A stale product lineup has slowed sales here in the US for 2006, which contributed to the $327 Million overall loss for '06. The all-new S80 and C30 should help the Swedish semi-luxury brand to recapture those lost buyers. Also helping matters will be the eventual sale of Aston Martin for over $1 Billion (though it won't be counted as profit for PAG) and the slim profitability of Land Rover.

We'll see if this news comes to fruition, as 2007 just began and there's a long way to go to the finish line in December.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

Car and Driver redesign hated by readers, and we agree

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I first started subscribing to Car and Driver magazine sometime in 1981. I've maintained those subscriptions ever since. I've always appreciated the snappy writing, and even when I disagreed with the likes of Pat Bedard and Brock Yates in their columns, the quality of the content has almost always been top notch. Even when they featured Quicksilver Zimmer on the cover, I still enjoyed the magazine. I was particularly amused by the fact that Callaway Corvettes seemed to spontaneously turn their engines inside out whenever someone from CandD walked up to one in the mid to late '80s.

The layout of the magazine never caused me any gri ef and never before did I have any problems finding information. But the recent total revamp of the magazine's layout left me sorely disappointed, and apparently many others agree. In the latest issue, the ever-present Ed. acknowledges in the Backfire section that of the readers who bothered to make their feelings known, they are opposed to the new look by a 164 to 13 margin. Sure, 177 responses isn't a huge sample, but that's still almost 93% of those who responded that don't like it. Despite that fact, Ed. says "...we paid big bucks for this redesign, and we ain't going back."

That's a pretty harsh comeback for a paying audience that's just being honest, especially considering that it seems like Motor Trend's been continually tweaking its layout for over a year now in order to arrive at a look that resonates with readers.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

Mercedes-Benz releases glut of info on SLR McLaren 722 Edition

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click on above image to view 47 more high-resolution pics

Ace F1 driver Fernando Alonso already counts one as his company car, but we mere mortals will most likely never own one of the new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Editions that are earmarked for production. Though we've known about the special edition model for some time, Mercedes decided to release a ton of info and pics of the car over the weekend. It chose the prosperous Middle Eastern mecca of Dubai to "premier" the car, which is fitting since many of them will likely end up in a shiek's garage on a man-made island. Hopefully that shiek will take his 722 out on the smooth asphalt of Duba i's public roadways and open her up, as Mercedes and McLaren have improved the car over the "base" SLR in over 300 ways. The most significant upgrade is in horsepower, which jumps from 617 to 650 in the SLR 722. That 5.5L supercharged V8 can now propel the SLR 722 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, down from 3.8. Top speed? Was 207.5 mph. Now it's 209.4. Hey, every little bit helps when Alonso's trying to get to the track on time.

Follow the jump for MB's full press release on the McLaren SLR 722 Edition that details every modification made to the brand's halo car. We've also assembled a high-resolution gallery for the 48 new pics MB released.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

Top Gear premier with Hammond crash breaks record

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As many of you know, the first episode of Top Gear's ninth season debuted last Sunday. At the end of the show, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond debut for the first time ever video of the jet car crash that almost killed Hammond. You can check out that clip of the show after the jump, as well as view an incredibly detail rich analysis of the crash in computer animation here.

We all knew anticipation of the show's premier was high, but not many expected an average audience of 7.9 million viewers with a spike peaking at 8.6 million viewers near the finale of the show. Those figures easily beat Top Gear's previous record o f 5.3 million viewers set last season, and it was enough to make the episode the most watched show in Britain last Sunday, beating the finale of Celebrity Big Brother. For comparison's sake, the reigning most-watched show in U.S. history is the final episode of M*A*S*H, which was watched by about 106 million Americans. Last year's Super Bowl in which the Steelers beat the Sea Hawks was watched by 90.7 million people. The most watched episode in the U.K. of all time is an episode of the EastEnders in which Den divorces Angie. While the premier episode of Top Gear doesn't break into the U.K.'s top ten most watched episodes, it was nevertheless a remarkable and interesting night of tele vision.

[Source: Top Gear]

Continue reading Top Gear premier with Hammond crash breaks record

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: 2008 Scion xB

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We get tipped off to a lot of spy shots, some taken by professionals and others snapped with the nearest Treo handy. We've never received spy shots like these, but hey, they get the job done. These spy shots, which have been converted to a negative of their original files, were posted on the ScionSmoke.com forum last night. We inverted them to have a black background and white outlines for easier viewing. Whether or not these pics truly do show details of the next xB isn't certain. That can only be verified by 328 Scion owners who were flown to Miami Beach in December for the private unveiling of the next-gen xB and all-new xD. If any readers were part of that select group, please verify what we're looking at here in the comments. Eit her way, we'll be introduced to the 2008 xB and its new partner at the Chicago Auto Show in early February.

[Source: ScionSmoke.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Another tale of Cavalier love gone too far

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A good chunk of people who frequent the Internets on a regular basis have no doubt seen this pic, which shows a giant tattoo of a lightly modified Chevy Cavalier on the arm of a J-body fanboy. We've all expressed our opinion of the young man's choice, though we're prepared to let it drop since he's expressed many times on the J-body forum that's he happy with the result. Fair enough, but we're beginning to suspect that the new car smell in late-model J-bodies is actually a highly addictive airborne chemical that makes owners do crazy things for their Cavaliers.

A gentleman was referred to a few times in the tattoo thread that commissioned a custom pair of Cavalier Z24 sneakers, and he got in touch with us to show off his kicks on Autoblog. He tells us these one-of-a-kind Reeboks aren't daily drivers, just for car shows and meet ups where displaying pride in your ride is socially acceptable. And at the end of the day, at least he can take his shoes off and put them back in the closet.

[Source: CarDomain.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

MIT publication pries open a Prius

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The Toyota Prius is a fairly high-tech piece of automotive equipment compared to the simple-engined vehicles of the not-too-distant past. Even so, like us, most of you gearheads can give at least an elementary explanation of how the fuel-efficient Prius works. Toyota takes specially grown unicorns and grinds them into a paste that is then packed into magic elfen-made batteries. Those batteries power tiny but powerful electric motors brought back from far in the future using Toyota's time machine technology. Or something like that.

For a much more technical answer (that's filled with elusive little things called "facts"), take a look at MIT's Technology Review. The interactive graphic could help you explain to less car-centric family and friends how hybrid technology works. Or it could help clear up some of the more fantastic myths (time machines?) about Toyota's popular hybrid.

[Source: Technology Review]

 

[via] Autoblog

Sneak Peek! Wagoner lifts cover on Pontiac G8

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As we reported earlier today, Charles Gibson is in Detroit this week doing World News Tonight from Motown. Avid Autoblog reader Arthur just tipped us off to this sneak peak of the show in which Rick Wagoner escorts Gibson into the Pontiac design studio and lifts the cover off the front end of the Pontiac G8 that will debut early next month at the Chicago Auto Show. Our inside sources tell us the G8 is officially listed as a co ncept, but we're obviously pretty certain that Pontiac's going to get a rear-wheel drive sedan based on Holden's Zeta platform and that what you see here isn't far from production at all. Click here to watch the video clip.

Thanks for the tip, Arthur!

[Source: ABC News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Jaguar XF

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The last actual spy shots of Jaguar's replacement for the S-Type sedan we brought you way back in October. At the time, mules of the car were wearing the body of the current S-Type with a modified front clip that was obscured from view by a thick cover. These are the first spy shots we've seen of the XF, which the new sedan will be called, that show the actual production body style of the car. Note the high beltline and coupe-like profile of the roof. The front end is clearly inspired if not lifted directly from the C-XF concept that Jaguar debuted at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. The rear of the car also clearly shows those thin taillamps from the concept that span the width of the back. This mule is also wearing particularly large wheels, maybe 18- or 19-inchers sporting five wide spokes. Though the XF will largely carry over the underpinnings and engines of the current S-Type, the design is shaping up to be an eye-catching number that could, we stress could, turn around the fortunes of PAG's most beleagured brand.

[Source: BilNorge.no via CoolBrits.net]

 

[via] Autoblog

Happy 60th: Ferrari building 60 individually unique 612 Scagliettis

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click above image for larger photos of the 60th Anniversary Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

Ferrari is a truly amazing car company. With an illustrious history that spans the last 60 years and then some, the company currently sits at or near the top of both motorsports and the commerical arena in which it sells its Italian exotics. This year is Ferrari's 60th anniversary, and it's celebrating the milestone in a very Ferrari way, which is to say unlike anyone else. The festivities begain at the Italian embassy in Abu Dhabi today where Ferrari owners set out on a relay that will ultimately involve o ver 10,000 cars on a trip across China, Japan, Australia, South Africa, American and all of Europe. The trip is actually a relay, in which a special baton will be carried that bears 60 enamel symbols representing the 60 most important events in Ferrari's history. It's topped by a platinum and diamond prancing horse - very fitting.

At the start of the relay this morning, Piero Ferrari, son of company founder Enzo, gave a speech in which he also announced that the company will build and sell 60 very unique 612 Scagliettis. The cars will be offered in a two-tone livery with available colors that have graced the marque's most memorable models from year's past. Each will have a trick electrochromic glass roof, of which the degree of opacity can be infinitely adjusted by the driver. What will make each 612 the rarest of collectibles, however, is a small enameled symbol, presumably matching one of the the ones on the relay baton, set in the center tunnel of each car. We' re guessing you won't be able to arrive at your Ferrari dealer and plunk down a deposit for one of these. Chances are you'll be invited by the company itself to purchaes one. I wouldn't hold your breath for the opportunity, however.

Check out Ferrari's full press release after the jump.

[Source: Ferrari]

Continue reading Happy 60th: Ferrari building 60 individually unique 612 Scagliettis

 

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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

[via] Autoblog

POLL: Tell us what you think of Car and Driver's redesign

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Ok! Ok! You wanted a poll, you got one. Earlier today we posted about the new design of Car and Driver magazine and how its readers are responding to it. You all wasted no time telling us your opinions. We were actually surprised how split down the middle it seemed. So here we're going to make it official and for the record, hopefully creating a larger sample than the 177 people who wrote Car and Driver themselves.

PS: In a strange coincidence, a subscription to Car and Driver is Best Deal Magazines' Deal of the Day today. You can get a one-year sub for just $3.99 for another couple hours. Does that mean C &D is on clearance? Sorry, you can probably guess what we voted on the new design.

PSS: This poll is completely unscientific and subject to an error of margin +/-100%.

What do you think of the new Car and Driver design?
Love it!
Hate it!
New design? What new design?
What's Car and Driver?
Free polls from Pollhost.com

 

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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

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 01.30.07

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Yesterday it was the Tesla Roadster on ice. Today, a Prius on the ski slopes. Who needs soap operas or Desperate Housewives when you've got AutoblogGreen?

 

[via] Autoblog

AAA Shows How Not to Drive Your Car

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We've all done dumb things in the car before. Eating, talking on the phone, looking at a map, or even reaching for a dropped CD while driving a car will increase your chances of getting into an accident. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute teamed up with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to study driver behaviors and determine what we're doing behind the wheel. To capture driver behavior, 240 drivers in and around the Washington DC area drove 100 specially equipped vehicles that contained five cameras that captured the driver's every move. You'd think with big brother you would be a little more aware of what was going on around you. Amazingly, the cameras captured 82 accidents and 761 near-crashes.

At the conclusion of the test, AAA narrowed down the biggest risks as driving while drowsy, speeding, aggressive driving, and taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds. Speeding and driving d rowsy TRIPLED the chances of a resulting accident, and distracted driving and aggressive driving doubled the chance of a crash. AAA's message is clear: if you're late for a meeting, tired, and your tie needs adjusting, catch a cab. You're an accident waiting to happen.

[Source: Business Week]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford's Mulally Fighting the Good Fight against Corporate Culture

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When Bill Ford Jr. stepped down in September, a lot of people were surprised. When he went outside the automotive industry all-together to find his replacement, a lot of insiders were stunned. Now, however, things are starting to make more sense. Word has been leaking out about the depths of corporate cancer that had spread throughout the Blue Oval. In-fighting, cronyism, and back-stabbing stifled programs and new ideas while breeding an atmosphere of failure. Promoting any individual within Ford would have kept the culture intact. An executive from another automaker could bring his or her own baggage to the table.


Alan Mulally, who shined brightly at Boeing during tough times, was brought in to destroy the culture at Ford. Weekly meetings where executives must be accountable for their team's performance have been taking place since the very beginnings of the Mulally regime. Talks with the UAW about contract negations started in JANUARY - months before they ever have before. The company's downsizing is also moving at a torrid pace, with 27,000 employees leaving by the end of 2008. While ground-breaking products take time, for the near-term Mulally is doing everything he can to put a positive spin on everything Ford Motor Company does. In the end, product will always tell the tale of a CEO's success and failure. We need to see more outstanding Ford product and we're sure you do too.

[Source: The Car Connection]

 

[via] Autoblog

Time To Shine: Audi Looking to Grow Sales in US

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In Europe, Audi is a brand to be reckoned with. Globally, Audi is only behind such juggernauts as Mercedes and BMW for luxury supremacy, with sales of 903,000 vehicles worldwide. Here in the USA, however, Audi is playing catch-up. With only 90,000 sales, Audi is currently behind Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Acura, Lincoln, Infiniti, and Volvo. As a matter of fact, both the Lexus RX 350 and the BMW 3 Series best the Audi brand on its own. Only the A4 puts up respectable numbers, totaling about 50,000 sales in '06. Well, nothing increases sales numbers more than new product and right now Audi is in the middle of launching 19 new products between 2005 and 2007. The A3 and Q7 have been in the market for some time, the TT, R8 and recently spied A5 are coming just around the bend.

With all the new products coming on board, the next step for Audi will be to improve its image and get its vehicles to the forefront of customers minds. To do that, Audi executives are looking to improve marketing, dive head-first into internet-based ads, and add more exclusive Audi dealers. With Americans looking more and more at luxury vehicles as a source of expression, Audi is executing its strategy at the right time. Audi's long-term goal is to produce 1.4 million vehicles by 2015. That would give the German automaker about 80,000 more sales than the BMW group had in 2006. Good luck, Audi. Good luck.

[Source: Auto Week]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Charles Gibson broadcasts World News Tonight from Detroit

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We told you yesterday that Charles Gibson would be broadcasting World News Tonight from Detroit later that day on today. We managed to nab this clip of the first show in which both Ford CEO Alan Mulally and GM CEO Rick Wagoner are interviewed. Was anything enlightening said that you haven't heard before? Not if you've been reading Autoblog regularly. Also, there was no sign of the clip ABC released yesterday showing Rick Wagoner pulling the cover back on the Pontiac G8. If today's episode also includes a piece on the auto industry, we'll have that for you, too.

[Source: ABC News, World News Tonight]

 

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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

[via] Autoblog