Subaru unveils Impreza WRC2007 ahead of Rally Mexico

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IMpreza WRC2007
Click to view additional photos

Subaru World Rally Team has just unveiled the Impreza WRX2007, likely the final WRC competition car based on the current-generation Impreza. In April, the next chapter in the Impreza story will be written at the Jacob Javits center in NYC, as Subaru pulls the wraps off an all-new car, which will reportedly include a hatchback version for the first time.

The Impreza WRC2007 shown above will make its racing debut next weekend when Petter Solberg straps himself into the carbon-fiber Sparco racing seat alongside Phil Mills, while Chris Atkinson and Glenn Macneal do likewise in the team's second car. While the car looks similar to last year's racer, the '07 boasts a number of improvements designed to improve its handling dynamics, as well as a new radiator and intercooler setup that has reduced weight up front, improved airflow, and made it easier to service the car.

You can read SWRT's complete details on the WRC2007 here.

[Source: SWRT.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

BBC and YouTube strike deal, Top Gear comes to the masses

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YouTube, our favorite website for sticking it to the man, is getting more legit by the day since it was purchased by Google. Word comes today that BBC has struck a deal with the popular video sharing service that will see clips of BBC shows, including Top Gear, legally featured on the site and available for consumption by YouTube's 70 million monthly users.

The clips will be flanked by advertising, possibly including pre-roll adverts that are inserted before the meaty morsel of the clip begins to play. The deal is part of a larger strategy by BBC to provide content on YouTube in three distinct channels: the BBC channel that shows clips, trailers and shorst; BBC worldwide that's supported by ads and shows clips from Top Gear and other popular shows; and BBC N ews that will show about 30 news clips per day. The deal was struck in the hopes that by showing video on YouTube, the BBC will be able to drive traffic back to its own website where people can watch full length programs on the corporation's own video player called iPlayer.

We're jazzed that clips of Top Gear will now be readily available on YouTube since we frequently embed segments on Autoblog for your enjoyment, but for Top Gear aficianados the main distribution channel will likely remain Final Gear.

Thanks for the tip, Clinton!

[Source: BBC]

 

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Next Volvo S40 may grow to be 3-Series fighter

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We're fans of the Volvo S40, as it's one of two ways to experience Ford's C1 chassis in the U.S. (the other being the Mazda3). Currently the S40 slots neatly at the bottom of Volvo's lineup, but word is that the next generation will grow substantially and replace both the current S40 and the S60 in Volvo's lineup. German site Autozeitung has whipped up this batch of renderings that preview what the next S40 may look like based on Volvo's current design language and cues previewed on the XC60 SUV concep t. The rendering shows the S40 as about the size of an Audi A4 or BMW 3-Series, which means that Volvo may jettison the C1 chassis in favor of Ford's European C/D class platform, also known as the EUCD. Currently the EUCD underpins the Volvo S80, as well as a few European Ford people movers and the Land Rover LR2. It is also the underpinning for Bond's favorite rental car, the new Ford Mondeo. Regardless of whether the next-gen S40 replaces the aging S60, the prospect of Volvo producing a true 3-Series competitor is good news.

[Source: Autozeitung, Carscoop]

 

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Giugiaro Vadho studio shots emerge

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The Motor Trend blog gave us a heads-up that thay've scored studio photos of the Geneva-bound Giugiaro Vadho concept car that popped onto everyone's radar last week. Looking like something you'd find in a Hot Wheels blister-pack, the Vadho's powered by the same V12 used in BMW's Hydrogen 7. Shifts come courtesy of the automaker's seven-speed SMG.

The driver and one passenger sit underneath the fighter jet-style canopy, and use joysticks (appropriate, given the aircraft-like seating arrangement) to control the car's drive-by-wire system. The engine is located to their right at the center of the car. Damon, Noah and special guest star Alberto Ballestin from Autoblog Spanish will bring you full coverage of this car and the rest of the goodies on display in Switzerland next week.

Head over to the MT blog to see a larger rear view of the Vadho concept.

[Source: Motor Trend blog]

 

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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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Porsche to offer Cayenne Turbo Hybrid?

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The idea of hybrid version of the Porsche Cayenne first surfaced well over a year ago, but now things seem to be firming up. At the Melbourne Auto show this week, Porsche's Australian managing director Michael Winkler revealed that a hybrid Cayenne would be hitting the streets in 2009 and it would be available in Australia. Winkler also said that the system is designed to work with any of the engines in the Cayenne lineup, rather than being limited to only one. That means a hybrid Cayenne Turbo is coming along with the V-6 and NA V-8 models. The hybrid will only be mated to the all wheel drive system and won't be offered in any other models, although if it were, the Panamera would seem a likely candidate, especially given the DCX/BMW hybrid announcement yesterday.

[Source Drive.Com.Au via WindingRoad]

 

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Toyota unveils Corolla Super 2000 rally car

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Click for high-res photo gallery

New Corolla (Australia model)Toyota has a lot going on at the Melbourne Motor Show this week. In addition to the unveilings of the TRD Aurion, TRD HiLux and the Aussie debut of the new Corolla (right), a new Super 2000-spec rally car is also on hand, resplend ent in red-and-white TRD livery. 2006 Australian Rally Champion Simon Evans and rally team leader Neal Bates were on hand for the presentation of the new racer, which is powered by a 2.0 liter, 255 horsepower normally-aspirated four-cylinder that runs up to the class-mandated 8,500 rpm maximum. It weighs in at around 2500 pounds.

As is the case with other Super 2000 rally cars, electronic aids are prohibited and not present on this new Corolla, which will see its first racing action in June.

[Sources: Toyota, Rally.com.au]

Continue reading Toyota unveils Corolla Super 2000 rally car

 

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Spy Shots: 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser

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The oldest member of Toyota's seemingly ever-expanding SUV lineup, the Land Cruiser, is due for another update for model year 2009. It's expected to make an initial appearance in production trim at the Tokyo Auto Salon in December, but a Czech site has some spy photos of a camo-covered prototype. The new Land "Bruiser" is expected to have a new 4.5L turbo-diesel W-8 with common rail injection, putting out 206hp and 317lb-ft of torque.

[Source: News.Auto.cz via CarScoop]

 

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Melbourne: Toyota shows off TRD versions of Aurion sedan and HiLux pickup

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Click image for TRD Aurion gallery. TRD HiLux gallery below.

TRD didn't just show off its new Corolla-based rally car at the Melbourne Motor Show. The Aussie wing of Toyota's factory motorsports arm also pulled the sheets off a new production car, the TRD Aurion, and a near-production-looking concept in the TRD HiLux pickup. The emergence of the special Aurion represents the world debut of TRD as a vehicle brand, opening the door for TRD versions of just about anything the automaker sets its mind to.

The TRD Aurion doesn't play around, either. This better-looking (much better looking in fact) Aussie version of the Camry gets a blown 3.5L V6 good for at least 320 horsepower. Some of you will notice that the TRD production car is essentially a dead ringer for the Aurion Sports Concept (gallery) that made its debut at the Sydney Motor Show back in October. We think the production car looks better, with less grey in the nose and much nicer-looking wheels. Sadly, Toyota thinks that the Camry has to look boring in our market. Come on guys, this look and the supercharged engine would go a long way towards making people think of the car as something other than an inoffensive, boring appliance.

Joining the TRD Aurion at the Toyota Stand is a TRD HiLux concept pickup. The four-door short-bed truck sports TRD graphics, a black roll bar, and a supercharged 4.0L V6. No power numbers were given. TRD only says that HiLux concept's engine is g ood for "substantially more" than the 234 horses the standard HiLux produces. If we had to guess, we'd say that our friends in Oz can look for the "concept" part of the HiLux's name to be dropped in the future.

[Source: Toyota]

Gallery: TRD Aurion


Continue reading Melbourne: Toyota shows off TRD versions of Aurion sedan and HiLux pickup

 

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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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Further idolatry: Looking to TV and movie stars to learn respectful driving

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Because they're such stellar role models with cutting, well-educated insight on all matters, we should follow the lead of our favorite television and movie characters when on the road. We've been so impressed by the well-informed and thoroughly considered stances that many movie and television stars have taken that we hang on their every word, awaiting the eventual revelation of the meaning of life. They're on TV, so they must know, you know? That Ed Begley, what an automotive authority he is. Who hasn't wanted to emulate the drunk starlet as she cruises through life thouroughly self-absorbed? Sarcasm aside, UK-based Motorists' Forum is suggesting the use of television and movie stars, as well as atheletes, to deliver positive messages about road safety.
The premise is that sports figures and popular characters are so well known in people's homes that they're almost like surrogate family members. Because of the familiarity, the feeling is people will pay attention to an embedded message about driving respectfully and raise awareness of poor and antisocial driving practices. They go on to link criminality to seriously bad driving and suggest rewarding responsible behavior behind the wheel. We don't know why, but suggesting we look to people who are yessed to death and insulated from the real world for cues on how to behave in the real world doesn't impress us. We Autobloggers have always been self-thinkers, though. For those that don't see the problem in looking to unqualified, well-known stars for life tips, we can't help you. Babies outgrow spoonfeeding quickly, there's no need for adults to return to the practice.

[Source: Motorists Forum via AutoExpress]

 

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Manliest keychain ever made from testosterone

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Fractalspin, the cyber outlet for all things geek, is currently offering one of the manliest keychains ever. What might appear to the casual observer to be just some geometric sculpture, is in fact the male testosterone molecule. Sure the ladies have testosterone as well, but it is principally known as the male sex hormone. For those of us a little rusty on our high school biology, the Fractalspin description tells us that testosterone "plays key roles in health and well-being, including enhanced libido, energy levels, proper immune function, and protection against osteoporosis." But it's that libido bit that gets all the headlines. Cars and sex have often been linked, so perhaps this was inevitable. How many times have we heard expensive sports cars describ ed a way for men to compensate for their...shortcomings?

[Source: Fractalspin]

Continue reading Manliest keychain ever made from testosterone

 

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Mitsubishi prices 2008 Lancer from $14,615*

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The rapidly rebounding Mitsubishi has just announced pricing for its new 2008 Lancer that could help solidify the automakers return to solvency in the U.S. market. The next Lancer will carry a base price of $14,615 for the base DE model with a 5-speed manual and the only engine being offered at the moment, a 2.0L MIVEC four-cylinder producing 152 horsepower. Stepping up to the optional CVT tranny will cost an additional $900 on DE and midlevel ES, but on the uplevel GTS it will cost a cool thousand extra thanks to a set of 6-Step Sportronic paddle-shifters.

Three packages will be offered including the A/C and Power Package ($1,100), Sun & Sound Package ($1,500) and the Navigation & Technology Package ($2,000), the last of which includes a 30GB hard drive and nav system with a 7-inch screen.

It should be noted that the new Lancer's base price is a full $589 less than a 2006 Lancer ES, the current base model with a manual transmission. Pricing for each new model appears lower than their 2006 counterparts across the board.

Check out the complete list of prices* below.
  • Lancer DE (2.0L/5M) $14,615
  • Lancer DE (2.0L/CVT) $15,515
  • Lancer ES (2.0L/5M) $16,615
  • Lancer ES (2.0L/CVT) $17,515
  • Lancer GTS (2.0L/5M) $18,115
  • Lancer GTS (2.0L/CVT) $19,115
*All prices include an extra $625 for shipping.

Check out the pricing for every option and feature after the jump.

Continue reading Mitsubishi prices 2008 Lancer from $14,615*

 

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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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PETA goes after Chrysler Group for Iditarod connection

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Another action group has set its sights on the auto industry, this time its People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA has the Chrysler Group in its crosshairs for a loose connection it maintains with the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race held in Alask, which officially starts this Sunday. Clearly PETA has a problem with using sled dogs as an engine for ground-based transportation over snow. We get that. What we don't get is why the organization is attacking the Chrysler Group.

Automotive News reports that Dodge actually sponsored the Iditarod for three years in the early '90s. Dodge backed off, however, in 1993 when Alaska's Dodge dealers group took ov er primary sponsorship of the event. The dealers dropped the sponsorship in 2003, and ever since Ron Udd, owner of Anchorage Chrysler-Dodge (a single dealership) has paid $300,000 a year to be the official sponsor.

PETA claims on its website that DaimlerChrysler is a sponsor of the 2007 Iditarod, which obviously is not the case, and invites its members to contact who it refers to as "DaimlerChrysler Corporation CEO" Tom LaSorda (Uh, that would be Dieter Zetsche, did you mean to say Chrysler Group CEO?). The organization conveniently has a page set up with a letter all written, all you have to do is type in your name and hit send. When did protestors get so lazy?

Regardless of your feelings towards the plight of sled dogs, PETA could at least put in the leg work to get its facts straig ht before it aims its gun of righteousness at the wrong target.

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

 

[via] Autoblog

Warehouse Wonders: Chmara/Simon open house reveals auto/aero treasures

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We got the email invite and it piqued our curiosity. Open house, good food, classic cars, live music...free...how could we say no to that? Like so many nondescript buildings around Southern California, the beige warehouse could have housed anything from a furniture restor shop to a surfboard shaper. There are literally thousands of these metal structures lining the streets in the industrial centers of virtually every city in the Southland. Heck, anywhere in America for that matter. This particular night we were about to see what can happen when the doors are suddenly thrown open and the welcome mat unfurled.

Follow the jump for the rest of the story and make sure to check out the high-res gallery, too.

Continue reading Warehouse Wonders: Chmara/Simon open house reveals auto/aero treasures

 

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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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Brit cars being damaged by mysterious contaminent in fuel supply

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Could a bad load of petrol be responsible for a string of engine problems in England? That's what investigators want to know. Engine damage has been reported by hundreds of motorists across Britain, so fuel stations have started testing their product. So far no abnormalities have been found, however, causing some consternation among those effected. Only motorists in Southeast England seem to be having the problems, so the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) feels like bad gas is the likely culprit.

They said the fuel might have damaged some sensors on the cars in question, causing them to lose power or quit altogether. The weird part is that most of the cars affected are 2-5 years old. The newest cars don't seem to be having any adverse reaction to the same gas. The fuel in question had been purchased mainly at supermarket stations like Tesco and Morrisons, but both of those companies said they can't find evidence of any contaminants in their supply. Greenergy, the company that supplies fuel to Morrisons and Tesco, says it will look into its own supplies, as well. Reminds us of the station here in the States that accidentally filled one of its storage tanks for gasoline with diesel fuel back in October, subsequently killing many vehicles over the period of a few days before the mixup was discovered.

Thanks for the tip, Vinny!

[Source: CNN]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford's cost of recovery: Over $11 Billion for accelerated restructuring

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In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that surfaced yesterday, Ford estimated that it the accelerated restructuring plan announced last September will cost $11.2 billion when the books are finally balanced. In other words, it will cost Ford$11.2 billion to let go of 38,000 hourly and 10,000 salaried workers. The estimate includes ongoing costs for health care for any workers that didn't take the lump-sum buyout. Who knew it was that expensive to reduce your workforce?

If there is any good news here, it's that Ford has already accounted for $10 billion of that cost in 2006. The rest of the associated costs of the restructuring plan will be billed to the first quarter of 2007. Nothing like pulling the Band-Aid off quickly.

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

 

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Koenigsegg drops a duo: CCGT and 1018 HP biofuel CCXR

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Koenigsegg decided to release images and specs of the two supercars that will occupy their booth at next week's Geneva Motor Show. First, the CCXR, which is a standard CCX that's been converted to use ethanol and produces 1018 HP and 780 ft.-lbs. of torque. Those fortunate enough to already own a CCX can have their current vehicle retrofitted with the biofuel mill if desired.

The second vehicle to grace the stand will be the CCGT, which was produced in order to meet FIA GT1 series regulations. As such, the 806 HP supercharged 4.7L V8 has been nixed in order to bring power output down below the 600 HP mark. To do so, they removed the huffers and bored the V8 out to 5.0L. In addition to the HP reduction, the weight had to be increased and the aerodynamics had to be altered in order to meet regulations. Surprisingly, the aero changes produce less downforce than the standard CCGT. Devolving to meet racing standards is nothing new, but it still brings a little tear to our eye.

The press release is after the jump and expect a gallery of both vehicles up before night's end.

Continue reading Koenigsegg drops a duo: CCGT and 1018 HP biofuel CCXR

 

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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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Geneva Leak: Opel Gran Turismo Coupe Concept

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Click image for hi-res photo gallery


We can only hope this Opel coupe comes to the US as the Saturn Whoop-Ass, SAAB Sonnet, heck, we'd even let them call it the Allante II. For now, it's known as the Opel Gran Turismo Coupe concept. Whatever it gets called is fine with us. It's sure handsome, and if scuttlebutt is true, it can back up the fast profile with real performance. The coupe is rumored to have a 300 hp turbocharged V6 lurking under the cleanly-drawn sheetmetal. That motive force is distributed to all four wheels, and the underpinnings are donated from the next-generation Vectra. Of course the concept is equipped like the full-boat, optioned up model would be (and then some); so it has all the goodies like a hard-disk based infotainment system, par king assistance, and undoubtedly more. We'll get to see this car up close and personal at the Geneva show, which is so close now that we're like 8 year olds on Christmas Eve. For now, we'll have to be satisfied to gaze longingly at these leaked photos that turned up on Spanish website km77.

[Source: km77 via Motor Authority]

 

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