It's VW's turn: here comes another 4-door coupe

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Vw 4 dr coupeThe CLS has begun a trend that simply will not quit, with Volkswagen being the latest to join the express train to a 4-door-coupe. The 4DC trend is not a bad thing, especially since it has lead to the creation of BMW's CS. And frankly, if the rendering is accurate, this car could be a looker as well, and most likely a much better seller than a new Phaeton.

Internally, the car is called the CC or I/O 511, and might use Audi's A6 platform. If not, it will take its chassis, as well as transversely installed engines, and transmissions, from the Passat. Engines will range from a 150 hp 2.0-liter to a 280 hp 3.6-liter V6. The design was sorted out last year, and although only slightly wider than the Passat, it features the wide, aggressive look of VW's recent concept vehicles. The look that, sadly, hasn't made it to their production cars yet (come on, Scirocco!). Word has it that the car will take a bow at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, and go on sale in summer of '08.

[Source: eGM Car Tech via Auto Zeitung]

 

[via] Autoblog

Canadian man will trade snakes for car, any takers?

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You want to be a photographer and herpetologist but haven't found the right camera and nest of vipers at the right price. You also happen to have a car worth about $3,500 Canadian that you want to get rid of. Well there's a man in London, Ontario who's got a deal for you. In return for that car he will give you a Canon Digital Rebel XT camera with accessories . . . and snakes -- with accessories. You can get a full list of hardware, serpentware (including "1.2 Jungle Corns"), and add-ons by following the 'Read' link below. This just bolsters our theories that Canadians actually are just as strange as Americans, and you can find absolutely anything on the Internet. When you see offers like this, it is always best to remember Lord Tennyson: Ours is not to question why. . . .

[Source: Jalopnik]

 

[via] Autoblog

Sad day: ASC files for Chapter 11

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Anyone who knows even a little bit (like I do) about American Specialty Cars is usually fascinated. After all, this is the company behind the Buick GNX, but it's also the company behind the Chevy SSR. Unfortunately, the latter vehicle was the one that did ASC in. According to Automotive News, ASC invested $250 million in its operation to produce the SSR truck for General Motors in 2001 along with three other unspecifed vehicles. The three unnamed vehicles were cancelled and, as we all know, the SSR didn't fare so well in the marketplace. Its production was continually decreased and was eventually cancelled early, leaving ASC out in the lurch. Couple that fiasco with Dodge putting the Viper, another car that uses parts from ASC, on hiatus for a year around the same time, and the writing on the wall became clear. All of this led to last Wednesday, when ASC officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Detroit.

ASC began looking for a buyer, however, in 2005 when it was just struggling to keep its doors open after closing four plants and reducing its workforce from 1,250 people to just 252. It's found one, fortunately, in Hancock Park Associates, a private equity firm in L.A. Hancock will reportedly take over ASC's sunroof and design businesses, which means that with any luck, this historically significant supplier will still be around in one form or another.

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

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: 'Ring Battle! Porsche Carrera GT vs. twin-turbo E30 M3

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We've seen plenty of great video shot at the world-renown Nurburgring, and this one ranks right up there. It all starts innocently enough, as a twin-turbo E30 M3 minds its own business through the turns, when a canary-yellow Porsche Cerrera GT just flies by the Bimmer's left flank. From there, the battle-royale insues.

The M3 held its own in the twisties against Porsche's fastest, but even with plenty of twice-turbo'd horsepower, in the straights the GT just blew the doors off the older BMW. It's interesting to note how many bugs met their demise at the hands of the Bimmer's windshield during the six-minute video. Maybe the bugs were attracted to that funky squeeze toy sound that popped up every time the BMW changed gears.

You can see the whole chase for yourself after the jump.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading VIDEO: 'Ring Battle! Porsche Carrera GT vs. twin-turbo E30 M3

 

[via] Autoblog

BBS releases LM-R for BMW, Porsche, Lexus

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BBS have been a staple in the world of motorsport for decades and the wheel of choice for many looking to add an aesthetic and performance upgrade to their high-end whips. The design is iconic and easily identifiable, and with the release of their newest LM-R wheel, not much has changed - until you look closer.

The new LM-R still sports the brand's patented spoke design, but now features a new (also patented) process called "back milling" that grinds away the side of the spoke to reduce weight, while at the same time strengthening the structure by creating an I-beam-like contour.

The LM-R will be available in 8.5x19 to 11x19 for certain BMW and Porsche models, and in 8.5x20 and 9.5x20 for the Lexus LS460. Pricing has yet to be announced.

BBS' full press release, along with a detailed shot of the "back milled" spoke, is posted after the jump.

Continue reading BBS releases LM-R for BMW, Porsche, Lexus

 

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[via] Autoblog

Ultima intros Euro emissions compliant 800-hp package

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Ultima Sports has created an 800 HP engine for its GTR and Can-Am rides that is emissions-friendly around the world. It will even pass the rather stringent Euro IV standards that have put paid to many a supercar's attempts to cross the pond.

Ultima's efforts start with Chevy's LS7 lump from the Z06, which rocks 505 HP standard. Ultima then adds their own exhaust, for a boost up to 565 HP. The camshafts are swapped out, raising the horse count to 650. Finally, a supercharger provides the 150 HP coup de grace, for a finally tally of 800. The entire package meets global emissions standards, as does every step in between.

Prices will be announced this weekend. If you'll remember, last year the Ultima GTR officially became the fastest supercar in the world, and that was with a 720 hp engine. Now you can go faster, and be cleaner about it. That sounds ultima indeed.

Thanks for the tip, Derek!

[Source: PistonHeads]

 

[via] Autoblog

Porsche getting a new name next month

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In an effort to redefine itself as the next great German monolith, "Dr. Ing. H.c F. Porsche AG" will be rebirthed as "Porsche Automobil Holding SE" during a meeting on June 26th.

The reasoning behind the renaming is to better reflect Porsche's investment in other automobile manufacturers, namely Volkswagen, in which Porsche currently has a 30.9-percent stake. Thus, Porsche will be reborn as a holding company with two operations, Porsche and Volkswagen.

German law has forced Porsche to make a takeover offer for VW since its stake has grown above 30%. The bid is on the table until May 29th, but shareholders aren't expected to jump at the opportunity, considering that the current bid offered by Porsche is well below the company's market value.

We'll see how things flesh out, but considering Porsche's newfound dominance in the market, we're expecting some Germanic fireworks come the end of the month and Volkswagen to be answering to Stuttgart at some point in the near future.

[Source: Just-Auto - sub. req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

Autodelta unveiling Alfa GT 3.7 Super with 405bhp

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click above image for more pics of the Autodelta Afla GT 3.7 Super

Alfas are considered the attainable sexy Italian autos. Unlike a Lamborghini or Ferrari, you won't put future generations of your family at risk by purchasing one. Of course, the extreme power of those notable Italian exotics is sacrificed at the altar of affordability. Enter London-based tuner Autodelta, which will be unveiling this 405bhp version of the Alfa GT Coupe at the Spring Italian Car Day in the UK this weekend.

The Autodelta GT 3.7 Super is obviously based on the Alfa GT Coupe. The original 3.2L engine is enlarged to 3.7L and blessed with a small Rotrex centrifugal supercharger that boosts power up to 405bhp and torque to 375 ft-lbs. Motor Authority also reports the car is fitted with a new radiator and oil-cooler, as well as a custom exhaust with quad chrome-tipped tailpipes. Styling remains largely unaffected save for a new front bumper that allows more live-giving air to reach the motor and a set of 19-inch OZ Racing wheels.

Autodelta is bringing a range of cars to the Italian car celebration this weekend that also includes its GT 3.2 Super, the 348bhp supercharged Brera J5 3.2 C, the 147 GTA AM 3.2 Super, 147 GTA AM 3.7 Super and finally, the 146 2.0.

[Source: Autodelta, Motor Authority]

Continue reading Autodelta unveiling Alfa GT 3.7 Super with 405bhp

 

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[via] Autoblog

Bob Lutz will address better Buicks in China on Autoline Detroit this weekend

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click above image to view more high-res pics of the Buick Park Avenue for China

We think it's safe to say that most were impressed with the Zeta-based Buick Park Avenue that was debuted in China at the Shanghai Auto Show last month and a little bit more than disappointed there are no plans to produce such a vehicle for the U.S. market. While the fate of Zeta-based sedans in GM's North American lineup seem to change by the day, Buick has until this point been left out, forced to saddle on with the LaCrosse and Lucerne as its mainstay sedans.

Ming, a staff member at GMInsideNews, wanted to know what GM's Bob Lutz thought of how well the Chinese-bound Buick Park Avenue was received in Shanghai and the tepid reception of the Buick "Super" twins at the New York Auto Show. Ming sent his question to John McElroy, the host of Autoline Detroit, a great show that's shown on cable access for free in the Detroit area and distributed on the SPEED Channel nationwide. The next episode of Autoline Detroit features Lutz as the main attraction, and Ming received a confirmation from McElroy that Lutz was asked the question and takes it on.

You won't hear Lutz's answer on the broadcast, however. The producer's saved it for the "Extra" section on their website that shows, uh, extra stuff not in the broadcast version of the show. It will be available for viewing after the show airs on Sunday, 5/6/2007. We'll post a link to it then, as I'm sure we're all eager to hear what big Bob has to say.

[Source: GMInsideNews]

 

[via] Autoblog

Hyundai considering RWD, car-based pickup

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Could it be true? Mike Levine at Pickuptruck.com thinks so and has quotes from Hyundai to back it up. The speculation is that the South Korean automaker may levereage the BH platform on which its upcoming Genesis luxury sedan is based to produce a new rear-wheel-drive pickup. Up until this point, we were aware that in addition to the BH-based Genesis, Hyundai was also planning a long-wheelbase version of the luxury sedan, a version badged as a Kia, and a rear-wheel-drive coupe. Adding a rear-wheel-drive pickup to the mix would help Hyundai get even more mileage out of the platform, so to speak.

Of course, being based on a unibody platform, the Hyundai pickup would be more like Honda's midsize Ridgeline than Toyota's new Tundra, the latter of which was designed to compete against Ford, Chevy, Dodge and Nissan in the full-size truck segment. Hyundai's pickup would likely share the same advantages that the Ridgeline now enjoys: under bed storage, a decent ride, sharper handling, and potentially higher fuel economy than a traditional pickup. Unlike the Ridgeline, however, it would be rear-wheel drive rather than all-wheel drive and feature Hyundai's new "Tau" 4.6L V8 rather than a V6. Thus, the Hyundai pickup would likely be a more capable hauler than the Ridgeline, which is saddled with a low 5,000-lb. towing capacity, less than half of some traditional pickups. Plus, Hyundai has confirmed that the Tau can go larger than 4.6L if it's used in a truck, which means it would produce considerably more than the 300 horsepower that's being planned for the Genesis.

[Source: Pickuptruck.com, illustration by Mark Stehrenberger used with permission]

Continue reading Hyundai considering RWD, car-based pickup

 

[via] Autoblog

2008 BMW 5-series now available

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Click on the photo for a high-res gallery of the face lifted 2008 BMW 5-series

BMW has just release the 2008 versions of their mid-sized 5-series lineup in both sedan and sport wagon body styles. The most noticeable difference is the face-lifted front fascia, remodeled headlights and reconfigured rear lighting. The lower rear fascia has also been reshaped, while the interior has also been updated with new door panels that include armrest mounted window switches and larger storage pockets.

Perhaps the most important changes, given BMW's middle name, lies under the hood. The six cylinder models now wearing 528 and 535 nomenclature carry the same engines as the latest 3-series. The 528 gets the 230 HP 3.0L N52 powerplant, while the 535 is moved by the highly respected twin turbo six putting out 300 HP. A carryover 360 HP 4.8-liter V-8 sits under the hood of the 550i sedan. All models now have a six speed transmission transferring power to the wheels, with the rear wheel drive six cylinder models getting a manual as standard with an automatic optional. The thoroughly unloved SMG gearbox has been retired at least in the US market. The full list of changes is after the jump.

[Source: BMW]

Continue reading 2008 BMW 5-series now available

 

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[via] Autoblog

Sharan/Touran - could it mark the end of the current VW grille?

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Please, let it be so. The current chromed snout on VWs offerings is not only beastly to look at, it doesn't help Audi's cars stand apart, either. We suppose that cuts both ways -- VW probably benefits by a familial resemblance to their cousins. However, the front end on the upcoming Sharan/Touran twins looks to hint at the future face of Volkswagen, we hope.

There's a bumper crop of spiffy van-lets over on the Continent right now, and the Touran/Sharan are latecomers to the party. The vans won't drop until 2010, due to styling tweaks that Martin Winterkorn has reportedly requested.

The Sharan will likely be available with sliding doors, while the Touran will make do with conventional front-hinged points of entry. A healthy selection of powertrain options is expected to be available, from the turbocharged FSI 2.0 liter four cylinder to a 3.2 liter FSI VR6, along with the requesite TDI powerplants. 4Motion will be available, which we'd love to sample hooked up to the gruntiest of the diesels (which will surpass the VR6 in torque output). Being based on the Passat's underpinnings yields a van that's easy to wield while offering great space-efficiency. We like the look of these boxy family haulers, with their crisp edges and large glass areas, but alas, we'll have to take up intercontinental jet-setting if we wish to drive them.

[Source: Autobild via German Car Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

GM expects non-U.S. sales to increase to 60-percent

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General Motors' analysts predict that the automaker will sell approximately 9.2 million vehicles worldwide this year. According to Rick Wagoner, over 60-percent of those vehicles will be sold outside the U.S. market.

That percentage has already been reached in the first quarter of 2007, primarily stoked by the increase in sales to China, a market that has no where to go but up.

GM hopes that their current sales trajectory will soldier forward, but not at the expense of market share at home. Considering that the General sold 9.55 million vehicles in 1978 - its best year ever - the automaker is hoping to relive past glories in 2007. Whether its turnaround is fueled by Stateside sales or those garnered in foreign markets is irrelevant, but GM hopes that things won't get worse on its home turf.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Forbes pairs the world's best roads to the world's best rides

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Forbes and a few special guests play matchmaker, putting some magnificent stretches of blacktop together with some magnificent wheels. California is, of course, well represented among the entrants -- Danica Patrick likes Highway 1 around Monterey in a Bentley GTC, and Bob Bondurant likes Mulholland Drive in a 1965 'Stang. The rest of the country gets some love as well, though. A DB9 is best suited for the Las Vegas to Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes run (be sure to check out Dante's View in Death Valley). For the Easterners among you, the Tail of the Dragon in the Great Smoky Mountains, from Tennessee to North Carolina, is perfect for an '07 vintage Porsche Turbo. Being Forbes, all but one of the best rides are big money, but don't let that stop you -- the roads don't discriminate. Land Rover gets our vote for the best choice of best road: essentially, they chose Africa.

[Source: Forbes]

 

[via] Autoblog

Paris sentenced to the pen for violating probation

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We generally try to avoid any coverage of celebrity foul ups, leaving it to the gossip sites to do their worst. This, however, is a story we couldn't pass up.

After one drunken driving arrest, two traffic violations and failing to enroll in a mandatory alcohol education program, Paris Hilton has been sentenced to 45 days in a woman's prison in Lynwood, CA.

After arriving fashionably late to her court date, Paris the heiress was accompanied by her mother, Kathy, who laughed out loud when the prosecutor was making his closing statement (apple, tree, you know the rest). Afterwards, Paris made a statement laden with apologies, yet seeming to lack any real substance.

As flawed as our system can be, it's nice to know that justice can been served, even to the wealthy elite that generally live above the law. Her sentence begins on June 5th and we're looking forward to 45 Paris-free days during her time in custody.

[Source: Yahoo! News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Winding Road arrives at One Lap of America

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The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and our own little slice of the seventh layer is being forced to sit on the sidelines as this year's One Lap of America begins... without us. Thankfully, Chris Paukert, our colleague from Winding Road, will be reporting back on the happenings of the 2007 event, so at least we can live vicariously through WR's site, here.

For the uninitiated, the One Lap of America began as a legitimate way of paying homage to the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash that took place back in the 70s. Instead of making like Dom DeLuise and Burt Reynolds (or Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, for that matter), One Lap participants are lead around the country to a variety of racetracks, where the two-person team (sometimes three) then tries to set the best lap in their class. Modifications are allowed, but the competitors have to run on the same set of tires during the entire event. That not only includes the track time, but the rally stages in between that can sometimes last up to 24 hours.

Winding Road has the full breakdown of what's allowed, vehicle classes, rules, regs and the rest here and be sure to follow One Lap's progress here and here. Brock Yates insists.

[Source: Winding Road, One Lap]

 

[via] Autoblog

The 911 Turbo of footwear

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At roughly $130, they're not the most expensive footwear out there, but they're certainly no ordinary sneaker, either. Likewise, the Porsche 911 isn't the most expensive car out there, but it's darn good at what it does, and you do pay a premium for that.

Adidas and Porsche Design have gotten together to create sporting shoes with a nod to racing success. While they still bear a resemblance to the classic Gazelle, the soles, materials and color schemes are in another realm. Available in Standard (lace-up) or Automatic (slip-on), the color schemes are based on racing livery, and the footwear carries the Porsche Design logo, as well. There are lesser models to the line, as well as a women's version. The racing model is the standout, though, with sliver metallic or striking white and green stripes. The "Classic" model is the one we'd pick. You'll spend a ton of time maintaining the racing model, just like a race car. The Classic's classy earth tones will still look great after breaking in, and will require far less maintenance. They'd also feel just right on the pedals of that vintage 912 we lust for. Hmm, it seems that Adidas has created the shoe equivalent of the entire Porsche range; always exclusive, with a choice of performance levels, all above the norm.

[Source: Adidas via Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

BlueTuning: Bluetooth removes the clutter for engine tuners

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Our minds are cluttered enough, so we try to keep the inside of our cars debris free. Unfortunately, that hasn't been possible during the tuning process of our new project car. Between the handheld control module, our cheap, serial-equipped laptop, the yet-to-be-mounted standalone ECU and the wire connected to our wide-band 02 sensor, the interior of our project is beginning to look like the rats nest behind our desk.

Innovate Motorsports seems to have the answer, with a new line of Bluetooth adapters, co-developed by BradaTech, that allows the entire Innovate line of wares to be connected wirelessly.

The suite of products can transfer information to laptops or Pocket PCs and have a range of up to 100 feet, expanding the possibilities of what we can do both inside and outside our ride. Now if we can just get that damn idle issue fixed, our world would be complete. Well, that and when our coilover setup arrives...

[Source: Innovate Motorsports via Jalopnik]

 

[via] Autoblog

Tuners Gone Wild: the ASMA Eagle II Sport Edition S-Class

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Germany has the fifth largest GDP in the world. It also has a thriving rap industry. And a huge pool of absurdly wealthy sports figures. What does that mean? Money, bling, and athletes. The perfect environment for a tuner like ASMA to grow in. It is somehow comforting to know that the country that gives us the understated Audi can also go where no Unique Whip has gone before. It is not exactly comforting, however, to lay eyes on the ASMA Eagle II Sport Edition. It was once an S-Class. It could be a Funny Car. If Morris Day and the Time were still in action, and on crack, and headed to a sonic battle with Prince in order to steal Apollonia away, this is what they would drive there. While wearing matching Stacy Adams'.

It cannot be argued, however, that the Eagle II has presence. And a nice set of 21" wheels. It means business. Exactly what business is up for a guess or two. And it will sell like mad. And for those of you who will be purchasing the new C Class, ASMA's kit for that comes out later this year. You can say it like the German rappers do: "Ja ja!"

[Source: eMercedes Benz]

 

[via] Autoblog

GM shuffles global design team

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GM's made some fairly significant changes to its domestic and international design teams, with former Chrysler designer Bryan Nesbitt coming out pretty good. Nesbitt moves from executive director of design for GM Europe to vice president of design for North America, reporting directly to Ed Welburn, vice president of GM global design. The VP of design NA is a new position according to GM's press release (on the jump). You probably remember Nesbitt's role in the PT Cruiser, HHR and Solstice designs.

Mark Adams will take Nesbitt's place in Europe and also report directly to Welburn. Adams is currently director of exterior design for GM Europe.

Another interesting note is the transfer of Dave Lyon, executive director of design for Asia Pacific, to executive director of interior design for North America. We wonder if it has anything to do with the success of Buick in China. Perhaps GM is hoping some of that success will rub off in the States.

Other design personnel changes are detailed in GM's official press release after the jump.

[Source: Car Body Design]

Continue reading GM shuffles global design team

 

[via] Autoblog

First glimpse of Pininfarina's Ferrari 600 GTO NART

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Hot on the heels of last year's unique Ferrari P4/5, built for James Glickenhaus, comes this year's Specially Built Ferrari for a North American Customer. The above is a rendering of what will eventually be dubbed the Ferrari 600 GTO. There has never been a car for which the letters 'GTO' signified anything other than automotive happiness. When those letters follow anything with a Ferrari badge, they are all the sweeter. The 600 GTO will keep its mod-cons inside, but wear nothing other than carbon fiber outside. In addition to the 285 kg in lost weight, it also gets a lowered suspension, aero modifications, and almost 25% more downforce front and rear at 200 kph. Hope Rumor has it that the person behind the commission wants to revive the Ferrari North American Race Team (NART). Founded by Ferrari dealer Luigi Chinetti in 1958, the team raced until 1982 with some of the finest Ferraris and drivers the world has known.

Three 600 GTO's were commissioned nine months ago. Its coming out party will be at the Frankfurt Auto Show on September 12. Fingers. Crossed. Now.

Thanks for the tip, Serge!

[Source: StreetFire]

 

[via] Autoblog