Enter the rumormill: VW planning rear-engined answer to the MINI?

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Is the world really desperately crying out for another ass-engined ride? An even better question might be: if Volkswagen really wanted to compete with MINI on the diminutive nostalgia front by making a rear-engine compact, why wouldn't they just scale down the new Beetle and put its engine where it was originally intended? Granted, that's a loaded question, since the amount of engineering resources necessary to fit any mill able to get out of its own way into the cramped confines of a new Beetle would be beyond even the most geeky of Deutschland's engineers. But we digress.

Our boys at the German Car Blog are helping to spread AutoBild's rumor that VW is planning a rear-engine vehicle to fight it out with the MINI. As GCB pointed ou t, "...it would certainly fit [sic] Dr. Winterkorn's statement to go into lucrative niches." Sure it would. And if this comes to fruition, we'll eat AutoBild's first road test of the RR V-Dub.

[Source: AutoBild via the German Car Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: The Magnificent 5 from Wide-Trac Country

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It's been a while since I threw an old TV spot up for your enjoyment (though Dan has done a fine job serving up tasty nostalgia nuggets of late), and John's post on Winding Road's pie-in-the-sky Firebird Trans-Am future-fantasymobile had me flipping through my YouTube faves for something related to our fine flaming-feathered friend from Pontiac.

While that hypothetical TA clearly looks to the 70s for inspiration, I'm going back to the previous decade for today's bit of retro-marketing fun. It's got everything you'd expect: great old cars, enter taining period voice-over work, clever needling of the competition from Mercury, Ford, and Plymouth, plus a soundtrack that somehow lends the whole affair a sense of urgency. In fact, after viewing this I felt a strong desire to fly home in a magnificent new Pontiac Firebird...tonight.

Enjoy! The video's after the jump.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading VIDEO: The Magnificent 5 from Wide-Trac Country

 

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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

Now Playing: Revised GM ad, sans suicide, humor

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This story is more played out than Monica Lewinsky jokes, so we'll say that officially, this is the last time we'll mention the inanity of pulling GM's dreaming, suicidal robot ad. The lawyers have won and the new ending is playing over at GM's page on dependability. We're not going to spoil the revised conclusion for you, we'll just say that it really, truly, undeniably sucks and it probably isn't worth the amount of effort it would take to click here to view it.

However, if someone could find the Daily Show's revised ending and post a link to it in the comments, it would make us feel a little better about this whole ordeal.

[Source: Brandweek]

 

[via] Autoblog

Is this Honda Racing F1's new livery?

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Honda RA107
Click image for hi-res version

Thanks to tipster Joseff, we think the answer is a resounding "YES!" Once again, it appears that the discovery was made by playing with URL strings, in this case, the tinkering took place in the Honda Racing F1 gallery. The photos immediately preceding this one are of the unpainted RA107 undergoing testing (and are featured on the gallery homepage). The Earth-liveried car happens to be the next photo in line, which leads us to believe that the official reveal is coming very soon (this weekend, perhaps?). In any case, we reported that the final look was to be revealed in February, and the month's just about over.

The domain name shown on the car's rear wing is not yet active, but it is registered to 19 Entertainment, which counts American Idol among its numerous endeavours. We're sure what it means will all be made clear when the official unveiling takes place.

As we said when BlueOvalNews dug up teaser shots and press releases of the renamed Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable, if your photo is online and is not behind some kind of security, it will be found. A web-savvy person doesn't need to be a detective to see when photos are numbered in sequence. Trying the next ones in line is a logical step. Once again, an intrepid reader proves this to be true.

Joseff, thanks for the tip!

[Source: Honda Racing F1]

 

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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

Audi releases official info on A5 / S5 with NEW PICS!

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click above image to view our high-res gallery of the Audi S5 and below for the A5

This evening Audi released its official press release heralding the arrival of its new A5 and S5 coupes. The cars will be available to order presumably in Europe only at first on March 6 with deliveries scheduled to begin in June. The boys and girls from Ingolstadt point to the Nuvolari Concept as the source of inspriation for the A5 / S5. Clearly the resemblance is there, as well as all of the other cues from Audi's current design language.

The A5 will be offered with two gas engines, the new 1.8T FSI that produces 170bhp and a 3.2L FSI V6 that makes 265bhp and 243 f t-lbs. of torque. The TDI motors include a 3.0L oil burner making 240bhp and 369 ft-lbs. of torque and a smaller 2.7L mill making 190bhp. It appears that only the 2.7L TDI is front-wheel drive only, while the other three models are available with quattro all-wheel drive. All models of the A5 will come with a standard six-speed manual transmission, while the 3.2L FSI and 2.7L TDI models are available with Audi's CVT transmission called multitronic. One can also choose an S-line sports package for the A5 that makes it look the part of a performance coupe. Unfortunately, Audi made it clear in its press release that no TDI models will be made available in the U.S.

The S5, meanwhile, features a V8, presumably the venerable 4.2L unit, though Audi doesn't mention its displacement. It does, however, reveal the S5 will produce 354bhp and peak torque of 325 ft-lbs. at 3,500 rpm. A six-speed manual and quattro all-wheel drive come standard of course, and help the S5 reach 6 2 mph in 5.1 seconds, so we're guessing it will hit 60 in 5.0 seconds or a bit under. In addition to the more powerful engine, the S5 benefits from a sharper suspension and larger brakes.

There's more info contained in the official press release after the jump, and Audi released a brand new batch of high-res images to ogle, as well.

[Source: Audi]

Gallery: Audi A5


Gallery: Audi S5

Continue reading Audi releases official info on A5 / S5 with NEW PICS!

 

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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: RR of the Week

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How could we best describe this week's selection of Reader's Rides? Diverse? Too vague. Erratic? Too negative. How about a motley hodgepodge of four-wheeled absurdity? Sure. We'll run with that.

Absurd doesn't even begin to describe the idea of piling several of your soon-to-be closest friends into a short bus, destined to travel from one end of the earth to the other, all in the name of charity. But that's exactly what the Penitent Yanks did and that's why they made it onto our page Tuesday. The school bus was the high water mark of insane conveyances, but Oli's autocrossing S4 wasn't far behind, followed by a much more sedate Passat Syncro, '69 Bug and the oh-so-delectable classic Mini.

We can't pick our favorite, so we'll leave it up to you. Vote below and be sure to submit your own ride to our Flickr pool by following the directions after the jump.

RR of the Week
Austin-Mini
GMC Short Bus
VW Beetle
VW Passat Syncro
Audi S4

Continue reading POLL: RR of the Week

 

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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

Spy Shots: BMW Z4 (not Z9)

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Way back in January, we saw pictures of what many thought was the new Z9, but we Autobloggers weren't so sure. The folks over at KGP Photography captured a series of spy shots that shows that it's extremely likely that this future BMW is likely the Z4 or even a still smaller Z2.


The size of the vehicle, which led many to believe that it was an ultra-exclusive Z9, is turning out to be little more than clever camo. Obvious gaps at the base of the windshield show four to six inches between the padding and the actual vehicle. Also visible were cloth seats, which could be evidence of a less pricey convertible. The mythic Z9 has been a dream to BMW enthusiasts all over the world, but we're sure they won't mind a more affordable Bimmer roadster either.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

Winding Road gets seat time in the JAS CTR

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As 2006 drew to a close, a few details and pictures about JAS Motorsport's race-prepped Civic Type-R hit the web. Little was known at the time about what modifications had been made to the Euro hatch to ready it for its assault on the Group-A rally circuit, but our fortunate friends over at Winding Road were able to get some seat time while the CTR underwent testing on the Autodromo do Estoril race track in Portugal.

Unfortunately, we'll have to wait for a full rundown of Matt Davis' time in the hot seat, but until then, we'll direct you to th e video, posted after the jump, to see what well a sorted FWD racer is capable of.

[Source: Winding Road]

Continue reading Winding Road gets seat time in the JAS CTR

 

[via] Autoblog