VIDEO: Chevy vs. Dodge back when vans were cool

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It's hard to believe, but there was a time when full-size vans were cool. Custom paint jobs, mag wheels, those groovy circular windows, and plenty of decals ruled the day, and there was even a movie that featured an all-van drag scene. The movie, appropriately titled The Van, featured a yellow Dodge and a black Chevy. This classic van suspense thriller reminds us that aftermarket parts have been around for a long time, as evidenced by the Chevy's flame decals and sweet chain-link steering wheel.

Follow the jump to see the video, as it's pretty sweet. Unfortunately, someone slapped down some music over the movie's soundtrack, but the drag race more than makes up for it. While you're watching, check out the "No Way" t-shirt on the movie's hero. We want one, just not that tight.

[Source: Jalopnik]

Continue reading VIDEO: Chevy vs. Dodge back when vans were cool

 

[via] Autoblog

Bernie Ecclestone loves Turkey! Buys Turkish GP track

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Formula One Czar boss, Bernie Ecclestone is apparently a "big, big" fan of bikes, and partnered with his place in the F1 hierarchy, decided to purchase a controlling stake in Turkey's Istanbul Park.

Supposedly paying close to $180 million for an interest in the circuit, this recent acquisition brings the total number of tracks owned by the Andy Warhol look-alike to two - the other being the Paul Ricard circuit in France.

The move solidifies Turkey's position as a host of Formula One races in the future, but questions regarding the $2.5 million fine that was levied on the organizers after last year's trophy debacle remain. Rumors about Eccelstone's possible involvement in helping to pay the fine have surfaced, but regardless, it's a sweet circuit and we're glad it's sticking around.

[Source: TSN]

 

[via] Autoblog

Mayor Mike readies $8 congestion fee for NYC drivers

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NYC Mayor Michael BloombergNew York's mayor, Mike Bloomberg, is ready to steal a page from his London counterpart's handbook and announce plans to hit drivers who bring their cars into Manhattan below 86th street with an $8 congestion charge in a bid to ease gridlock in the city's crowded midtown business district. The fee would include the existing bridge and tunnel tolls drivers currently have to pay. Some people are understandably upset, and opposition groups are said to be forming in the outer boroughs.

Naturally, there will be exceptions. Taxis are unlikely to pay the fee, and there's word that drivers who avoid the business district while heading to other parts of the city could be exempt as well. The report also mentions possible discounts for individuals who live and/or work in the impacted zone. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to detail the specifics of his proposal in a speech he's giving tomorrow, and we'll follow up after we've heard all the particulars.

If the mayor does set the plan into motion, it'll need to be improved by the state legislature, meaning those of us (ahem) in the NYC media market are going to have the opportunity to watch the political fireworks unfold during the local evening newscasts. This is gonna get interesting.

[Source: WCBS TV, New York]

 

[via] Autoblog

Flameout! Audi Roadjet ist kaput.

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Details are few, but Audi has decided to pass on building its Malibu Maxx Roadjet concept. All of the flowery prose about how the Roadjet is "a vehicle that blends the latest evolutionary stage of Audi's formal idiom with an entirely new space concept" with an "unprecedented synthesis of performance, liveliness, and efficiency" are now considered overstatements by Ingolstadt. Even though it's packing a 300 horsepower V6 and a 7-speed DSG cog-swapper, Audi didn't feel that the Roadjet would live up to the image that the brand wishes to cultivate. The hardware is likely not the reason - other Audis will share those pieces. It seems Audi took a hard look at America's hate affair with hatchbacks, and got cold feet. It's a shame, really, because a brand like Audi could do a bit to re-legitimize hatchbacks here.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub Req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Latest Nissan GT-R footage surfaces

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Happy Saturday, kids. In lieu of your usual cartoons, we've got more GT-R video. This time, it's some extensive Nürburgring lapping and street footage. The car's coming along nicely, sounding strong and looking stable and agile at speed. Our appetites are sufficiently whetted. Fortunately, Nissan's bringing it out relatively soon. Still, the Tokyo Motor Show seems so far away. Tell ya what, just drop one at the AB HQ in the OC, ASAP.

Full Streetfire video after the jump.

[Sources: Brenda Priddy, Global Motor Spies, Streetfire]

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Continue reading VIDEO: Latest Nissan GT-R footage surfaces

 

[via] Autoblog

Bandit Run offers T/A lovers a chance to be Burt for a day

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Besides the obvious Smokey avoidance capabilities and river-jumping fun, you might be wondering what else you can do with your newly acquired YearOne Bandit T/A. Well, the good folks at YearOne, along with Restore A Muscle Car, Motortopia, and 78TA.com, have organized the first Bandit Run to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Smokey and the Bandit film. It'll be a recreation of the route Burt Reynolds took in that American cinema classic, taking participants from Texarkana, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia, passing through Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama along the way. East bound and down, indeed.

The cruise is open to all makes and models, but Trans Ams are especially coveted, particularly black '76-'81 T/As and SE models. The Bandit Run starts on May 15 and ends in Atlanta on May 17, just in time for participants to partake in the YearOne Experience which runs May 18-20. The registration is just $45/person, for which you'll get :

*Official black Bandit Run 2007 Tote Bag
*Commemorative High Resolution Map w/Hotel, Roadside service and other info available
*Bandit Run 2007 T-Shirt Black in color w/Design Front & Back available in all sizes ($20 Value)
*Bandit Run 2007 Lanyard, Holder and Badge (Allows pass to *BBQ, Bandit Run Parking Area at the YOE, Ceremonial *Bandit Run Parade lap and other special events)
*1 Year One Spectator Pass ($20 Value)
*1 Year One Bandit Parade Lap Pass ($25 Value)
*Official Bandit Run 07 Window Decal/Cling
*Honorary Bandit Run BBQ Lunch in Tupelo: ($8 Value)
*VIP status for parking at our infield space at Year One *Experience for your car (Priceless)
*Chance to WIN a Phoenix Graphix Decal Kit Certificate of Your Choice

For more details or to register, visit the Bandit Run website.

Thanks for the tip, Eric!

[Source: The Bandit Run]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Nissan GT-R interior

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Either the Nissan GT-R is a bit of a press hog, or it's just so cool that we talk about it every chance we can. We've seen plenty of the car on the outside, but now the folks over at KGP Photography have snapped some pretty good interior pictures of Nissan's upcoming flamethrower. Unfortunately, there's a glare-filled window in the way, but we can still get a very good look at what we'll soon be seeing in Nissan showrooms.

The GT-R's dash appears to have nothing to do with the previous Skyline GT-R, which we feel is a good thing. The GT-R's steeply pitched center stack does, however remind us of another Japanese supercar, the Acura NSX. We can see the large navigation screen quite clearly, but when we look a little closer, it looks like there are four Ford GT-style switches at the base of the stack. The steering wheel has more buttons than an Eagle Scout has merit badges, and either the driver in the pictures is well over six feet tall, or the cockpit is a bit on the snug side. We're pretty sure Nissan isn't going to sell the GT-R as a luxury vehicle, so roominess isn't all that high on the priority list.

With well over 400 hp and looks that kill, you probably aren't surprised that the GT-R is getting plenty of press. We'll have to fight for every scrap we can until it's officially announced at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

[Source: Edmunds]

 

[via] Autoblog

Shanghai Motor Show: GM unveils fuel cell E-Flex

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E-Flex vehicle line executive Tony Posawatz with the fuel cell E-Flex

Following up on the plan they laid out when they revealed the Chevy Volt at the Detroit Auto Show, General Motors has unveiled the second major iteration of the E-Flex platform at the Shanghai Motor Show. The whole premise of E-Flex was to have a plug-in electrically driven vehicle that could accommodate different auxiliary power units for extending the range. E-Flex version two replaces the flex-fuel gas/E85 engine with the latest generation of GM's internally developed fuel cell technology. All the details on the new concept are over at AutoblogGreen.

[Source: General Motors]

 

[via] Autoblog

Maserati GS Zagato in the sheetmetal

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Inspired by the 1954 Maserati A6 G Zagato, the world-renowned designer, Paolo Boffi, has created a fitting successor to the iconic automobile in the form of the GS Zagato Coupe.

Based off Maserati's GranSport Spyder, the GS Zagato is swathed in all-new aluminum body panels and adorned with a "Z" on the fenders and the automaker's trident in the grille. The hatchback design may be off-putting at first glance (all we had before were these shots), but once viewed as a whole, the smooth lines and gentle contours make the GS a subdued, yet powerful coupe.

Speaking of power, the 400 HP V8 has remained, along with the six-speed semi-automatic gearbox. According to Zagato, torsional rigidity has been increased, while the wheelbase has been shortened by 180mm to make it as competent in the corners as it is on the concourse.

Head on over to UltimateCarPage for their exclusive images.

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 04.20.07

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In Shanghai yesterday, GM unveiled the newest version of the E-Flex, a fuel cell-powered skateboard. It's the next step in the Volt concept, and it reveals a lot about what the company's engineers are thinking about the future. Read all about it at AutoblogGreen, and then check the rest of the day's green car news.

 

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[via] Autoblog

Audi gives backseat passengers more entertainment in Shanghai

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Although the supersized Audi A6L has offered buyers more backseat legroom and luxury compared to the standard A6, there seemed to be something missing. Extra room is nice, but what's a young executive to do back there? These lengthened sedans are becoming very popular in China, and with the new features Audi just showed at the Shanghai Auto Show, we understand why the demand will most likely continue to grow. Audi is showing off a few extra gizmos designed to help pass the time on those 20-hour, cross-province drives.

Audi just announced "an innovative entertainment system" for rear-seat passengers that includes a pair of front seatback-mounted 10.2" LCD monitors. Passengers can play DVDs on the center armrest DVD player, but that's not all the center armrest is good for. Besides the DVD player, customers will also find a wide array of multimedia connectors for everything from game consoles, to iPods, to digital cameras! And if you tire of watching Cars for the umpteenth time, you can always change the channel. That's right, folks. There's even a built-in TV tuner. Now that's what we call first class service. Still no bar or footrests, however.

Full press release after the jump.

[Source: Audi via Jalopnik]

Continue reading Audi gives backseat passengers more entertainment in Shanghai

 

[via] Autoblog

Cerberus walks away from Delphi to focus on Chrylser

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One of the major players in the acquisition of bankrupt mega-parts supplier, Delphi, is Cerberus Capital Management. That name should ring familiar to anyone following the ongoing saga of the (potential) sale of Chrysler, as Cerberus is one of the three firms making a play for the ailing side of the German-American hybrid.

Over the past year, Cerberus has been actively pursuing a stake in Delphi, but as of yesterday, has pulled out of the running. The reason? It's not entirely clear, but the firm's quest to purchase Chrysler is at the forefront of many analysts' minds.

The move doesn't signify a reduction of interest by Cerberus towards the automotive sector altogether - they've got too many fingers in a lot of pies - but, instead, is seen as a way of concentrating the firm's focus on a possible Chrysler buyout.

This doesn't make Chrysler's cross-town competitor, General Motors, particularly happy, as the sale of Delphi is vital to the General's recovery plans. Additionally, the decision by Cerberus to walk away from talks may have been influenced by a breakdown in talks with the UAW, something that will be a necessity if Cerberus plans to make nice during their acquisition of Chrysler.

There's more to follow in the coming months, so as always, watch this space.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Buick Lucerne comes equipped with new safety tech

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You don't need no stinkin' Volvo to experience BLIS(s) -- for 2008, the Buick Lucerne is fitted with lane departure and blind-spot warning systems. The Lucerne offers classic GM big-sedan ethos, with lots of content, wide, cushy seats and restrained, handsome styling. Now, when you're motorvating down the interstate, listening to your Buick 8, an amber lamp will illuminate in the gauge cluster, and a chime will toll three times to indicate you're about to encroach on someone else's road space. If one of the ever present morons on the road decides to hang out in your blind spot, the Lucerne uses proximity sensors behind the rear fascia to detect the car and warn you with an indicator in the side mirror. Buick's safety gear will also be offered on Cadillac's STS and DTS, making GM Luxury that much safer. Now if they could just develop a "blinker on for the last 60 miles" warning system, or a "stay the hell out of the fast lane if you're doing 53 1/2 MPH" light in the cluster, we'd be good. Okay, okay, we'll admit, the stereotyping is stale. Maybe we're just mellowing with time, but we appreciate the merits of a Lucerne.

[Source: Edmunds]

 

[via] Autoblog

When eight ain't enough: Rotora 12-piston caliper

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The folks at Rotora, purveyors of all manner of high-quality stopping components, have just released their newest brake setup that employs twelve pistons, clamping either 15- or 16-inch rotors. The use of that many pistons ensures that pedal modulation, clamping force and an even distribution of pressure is achieved. The caliper itself is manufactured from billet aluminum, while the two-piece rotor comes in either slotted or drilled and slotted.

Since the system makes use of the stock master cylinder and is compatible with all ABS systems, Rotora's setup should become a popular swap for high-performance applications in both cars and trucks. We're just trying to figure out what kind of offset and wheel combo we'll need to fit them onto John's Alero.

Full press release after the jump.

[Source: Rotora]

Continue reading When eight ain't enough: Rotora 12-piston caliper

 

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[via] Autoblog

Setup: America's next top racer gets $100k, Solstice ride

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"Racing is perhaps the only sport where talent guarantees you nothing." That's how four-time Trans-Am champion Tommy Kendall introduces the new Speed TV series, Setup. He could just as well have been talking about any of the other racing "reality" shows that have preceded it. Setup is what Forza or Bullrun could have been: a straightforward examination of ten teams facing the pressure of winning a spot on the show and then working to tweak, fund and race their own Pontiac Solstice GXP, avoiding elimination through the end of the season. Think of it as a sort of America's Next Top Model for racers. The first episode aired Wednesday night and introduced us to the contestants and a few others who missed the cut. Pretty compelling stories throughout the group, and the producers wisely let the action unfold through watching and listening to the contestants..

Kendall hosts the reality series along with model/actress/racer/track rat Ashley Van Dyke. Tommy brings some star power and straight-shooting narrative, while Ashley adds much more than her pretty face, teaching the racers that winning isn't just about the driving. In the first show she brought potential sponsors into the garage to meet with drivers. And she helped us see which of the drivers could see the bigger picture and who was a spoiled little punk. Favorites and villains are already pretty obvious (we swear we wanted someone to slap some sense into that Ryan). While the premier focused mainly on driver introductions and the initial car setup, the series will also take us to the track as the racers try to earn their keep racing around Willow Springs. Over the course of the show, the ten drivers and their teams will be fighting for more than just bragging rights. The last racer standing gets $100,000, as well as a shot at a Pontiac factory ride in next year's 24 Hours of Daytona. The show airs Wednesday nights at 8 PM Eastern on Speed.

[Source: Speed TV]

 

[via] Autoblog

Even more pics of the BMW Concept CS

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UPDATE: Check out live shots of the BMW Concept CS here.

click above image to view our BMW Concept CS gallery and click here for live shots

Love it or hate it (and based on your comments, lovers seem to have a slight edge), the new BMW CS Concept has drawn a lot of attention. So when additional photos of the big "coupe" popped up overnight, we decided to pass them along. A couple dozen more media shots show concept sketches and a few more angles of this potential new 8-Series flagship. You can read our original post here, and the gallery is accessible below. Finally, if you're interested in some LIVE shots, our colleagues from Autoblog Chinese have just set up a gallery full of many shots from the show floor.

 

[via] Autoblog

Mazda takes to Targa Tasmania

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Click the image above for our high-res gallery.

Mazda has got full-team coverage of this year's Targa Tasmania, running from April 17 through April 22. The five daylong rally includes a prologue that has already made its way around the Tasmanian village of Georgetown and establishes the order in which the competitors will compete in the coming stages.

The automaker is campaigning both a MazdaSpeed6 and an MS3 in the event, and is publishing updates on its website, including driver diaries, as well as providing videos on YouTube. The two vehicles have been prepped for the Modern Competition Showroom category, which aside from some safety equipment and new livery, means that the two entrants are identical to the vehicles that you can purchase at your local dealer.

Forty-two stages make up the 276-mile rally, winding its way though dozens of towns, beginning in Launceston and completing in Hobart. Three different classes make up the Targa Tasmania: the aforementioned Modern class, as well as the Classic group and a Rookie Rally category that only runs the first three days.

More information can be found at Mazda's Australian site and we've put together a gallery of both of Mazda's entrants.

Thanks to John for the tip!

[Source: Mazda.com.au]

 

[via] Autoblog

Listening to the A5's heartbeat and horn

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Audi has done a great job of staying in the news lately, and the one product that's gotten the most face time is the brand-new A5. From the minute pictures of Audi's newest coupe were released to the media dogs, the A5 has been everywhere. We've posted several times on the A5 and S5, and about possible convertible and RS models. You've all seen the pics, but most of us hasn't heard the roar of the engine, or the sound of the... turn signal?

The good folks over at the German Car Blog have five different audio clips of the A5 in action, with audio of the engine starting, taking off, honking the horn, the warning chime, and even the turn signal. If you're looking forward to seeing the A5 on the roads, take a listen. It just may be enough to hold you over until the A5's release.

 

[via] Autoblog

Altima coupe on sale in May

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We recently told you about the pricing of the new Altima Coupe. What we didn't know at the time was when we would see the sharp fwd coupe on showroom floors. Well, now we do. The release date has been announced as May 25. Just in time for summertime buyers to get out and enjoy stretching the legs of this G35-for-the-common-man-or-woman. As we reported, the new coupe will start at $20,490, plus a $625 destination charge, making G35-coupe-like looks easily attainable.

For the $20,490 base price get you an Altima Coupe 2.5 S with a six-speed manual transmission. An extra $500 ($20,990), gets you the CVT transmission in place of the stick. Both cars feature the 2.5L four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower. As nice as that sounds, how could one pass up on the available 270-horsepower, 3.5L VQ-Series V6 engine? Available in uplevel SE models with a six-speed manual tranny starting at $24,890. Again, add another $500 to make it $25,390 for a 3.5 SE with Nissan's CVT transmission. Twenty-five grand for a 270-hp, stylish coupe sounds pretty good to us.

[Source: Clarion Ledger]

 

[via] Autoblog

Shanghai Auto Show: Geely Mybo II concept

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click above image to view more pics of the Geely Meirenbao II in our gallery

We showed you spy shots of this car earlier in the week, but our man on the floor in Shanghai met up with the Geely Meirenbao II on the show floor today. Apparently the Meirenbao on display today is the second generation of an earlier concept produced by Geely. The new model's front clip has been compared by some to an R34 Nissan Skyline. We've got plenty of live shots showing the car from every angle, so we'll let you be the judge of whether or not the Skyline has influenced Geely's designers. This the first time we've seen the rear of the Meirenbao, and it appears as disconnected from the vehicle's overall design as we guessed. We also noticed it would take a good arm to swing a suitcase or grocery bag up over that extremely high trunk lid.

Like most Chinese automakers, Geely exclaims its intent on entering the North American every chance it gets. We're wondering what kind of reception a design like this would receive cruising down Woodward Ave. Either way, Geely gets an E for effort.

[Source: Autoblog Chinese]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler workers making long shot bid to buy automaker

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The Detroit News is reporting that a group of 25 Chrysler employees in Toledo have formed a group called the "Employee Buyout Committee" and are actively exploring the necessary steps required to see the fate of Chrysler end up in the hands of its employees. Their proposal would give Chrysler employees a 70% stake in the automaker, with DaimlerChrysler retaining the remaining 30%. The group appears to be making all the right moves so far, having submitted its proposal first to the UAW, whose legal department is now evaluating the proposition. The employee buyout plan was also mentioned at DaimlerChrysler's annual shareholder meeting in Berlin on April, 4. The committee's apparent spokesperson, Michele Mauder, has also sent the proposal to Chrysler Gropu CEO and DaimlerChrysler CEO Deiter Zetsch, humbly requesting the employee's bid at least be given equal consideration with bids from private equity firms like Cerberus Capital Management and Blackstone Group, as well as Canadian parts supplier Magna. A Chrysler spokesperson has also commented that the proposal is expected to be reviewed by the automaker's legal department.

If allowing Chrysler's own 50,000 UAW employees to own the automaker doesn't happen, the UAW has expressed that it would much rather thow its hat in the ring with Canadian parts supplier Magna than any of the private equity firms that have offers on the table. While the employee buyout plan is a long shot, and if successful, an incredible risk for the employees, it's also inspiring that a group of workers would be the masters of their own fate. Unfortunately, it's not yet known how much the employees could offer for a 70% stake in their employer, which, in the end, is likely DaimlerChrysler's number one consideration in this sale.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 

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[via] Autoblog

Shanghai Auto Show: Buick Riviera Concept officially unveiled

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Click photo for a gallery of 93 high-res images from the press kit

GM publicly pulled the wraps off its Riviera concept car in Shanghai, releasing an avalanche of photos, sketches, and renderings, as well. The Riv was designed at the General's China-based Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), and according to design honcho Ed Welburn, it is a rolling showcase of design themes that we should be seeing on the next generation of midsized Buick sedans.

Of course, since it's a concept, the designers just have to have some fun with the car, particularly with the lighting, as many of the accents can be backlit, among them the grille shield, hood crease, and mirrors. Inside, the plush, modern interior is dominated by light-colored leather and blue Alcantara (which is used on the headliner and floor). The instruments and controls are fanciful, pie-in-the-sky stuff, but do look great.

More after the jump.

[Source: GM]

Continue reading Shanghai Auto Show: Buick Riviera Concept officially unveiled

 

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[via] Autoblog

Even more details on the BMW Concept CS, including VIDEO and official PR

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BMW just dropped the full press kit on its stunning CS Concept unveiled yesterday in Shanghai. In case we didn't see it before, these diagrams clearly show similarities to class competitors, including the Quattroporte, Rapide and Panamera, with an overall BMW 7-Series flavor. They're even using the Gran Turismo tag in the press release. Read all the details about this emerging segment entry after the jump, and don't forget to visit both the official gallery and gallery of live shots, in case you haven't already. There's also a VIDEO walkaround available before the press release after the jump.

[Source: BMW]

Continue reading Even more details on the BMW Concept CS, including VIDEO and official PR

 

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[via] Autoblog