Ford Mondeo deemed allergy free

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For anybody that suffers with environmental allergies, spring and summer can be brutal. Dust mites and pollen can wreak havoc on sinus cavities, ears, and eyes whether inside or outside your car. Many automakers have taken precautions to help minimize the pain of allergy sufferers, and Ford seems to have gotten the formula down... at least in Europe.

The soon to be available for purchase Ford Mondeo has received the coveted "Allergy-tested seal of approval" from the German TÜV Rhineland group. The vehicle earned this honor as the result of eliminating materials like chrome and nickel from the cockpit, using low-emission adhesives, and allergen-tested textiles and leathers. The Mondeo also has a high-tech pollen filter that eliminates pollen from the air. Ford's newest example of Kinetic design joins the Focus, Ka, S-MAX and Galaxy as the only vehicles on earth to earn TÜV allergy certification.

For whatever reason, Ford's Euro-lineup always seems to be better-looking and more richly-appointed than what we can get here in the States, and we're often left wanting. Now even those with allergies are left with something to sneeze at. We know, that was bad. The press release is available after the jump.

[Source: Ford media site]


Award confirms Ford's high quality standards and maintains Ford's leading market position of allergy friendly interiors

COLOGNE, 21 May 2007 - Customers considering buying an all-new Ford Mondeo, the most technologically advanced car ever launched by Ford in Europe, now have one more reason to make it their vehicle of choice. The new Ford Mondeo has been awarded the German TÜV Rhineland group's "Allergy Tested Interior" seal of approval.

Together with the Ford Ka, Focus, S-MAX and Galaxy, Ford of Europe now offers five vehicles t o the increasing number of consumers looking for allergy-friendly products. Ford vehicles are the first in the world that have passed the stringent TÜV standards. The new Mondeo goes on sale in Europe later this month.

"We are very proud to receive this TÜV approval and consider it confirmation from a highly-respected organization of the high quality standards of our vehicles," said Dr Wolfgang Schneider, vice president, governmental and environmental affairs, Ford of Europe.

"W e regard it as our responsibility to offer our customers products that address the growing concerns about allergies. That's why we aim to get as many as possible of our existing - and future - models certified to TÜV standards," he added.

The TÜV certification assures that the car's interior materials were selected in order to minimise the allergy risk to the lowest possible level. The TÜV is an independent, authoritative German testing and assessment organisation that controls and certifies quality standards for industrial and consumer products.

An extensive series of scientifically verifiable tests was carried out on the new Mondeo, as on the other Ford models tested earlier, in accordance with strict TÜV examination procedures. More than 100 materials and components were tested for harmful substances and allergy causing potential.

In addition, all components likely to have direct and prolonged skin contact such as the steering wheel and seat covers, floor mats and seat belts were dermatologically tested.

To achieve certification standards, Ford development engineers working on the interior specification of the new Mondeo decided to avoid using materials such as latex, chrome and nickel that can provoke allergic reactions in some people.

Additionally, the vehicles are equipped with a high-performance pollen filter, which was also tested by the TÜV. The filter effectively prevents pollen - a particular concern for allergy sufferers - from entering the vehicle's interior.

The measurement and assessment criteria are published on the Internet (; ID number: 0000021252).


[via] Autoblog

Jeep JT Concept is no show car

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click above image to view 16 high-res pics of the Jeep JT Concept

The Jeep JT Concept is set to "officially" debut at the 2007 SEMA Show, but unlike a lot of the hardware that will be on display in Las Vegas later this year, Jeep's compact pickup is a capable rock crawling machine. Check out the pics in our gallery of the JT Concept descending into and out of a bathtub at the Hell's Revenge trail in Moab, Utah. We thought it would need an airlift to get out, but the JT climbed right up the opposite wall.

We've learned that the JT Concept is built right off of the Wrangler Unlimited's platform and shares its 116-inch wheelbase, though adding a 5-foot-long bed and removable hard top over the cab. Its rock-crawling cred is bolstered by a 3-inch suspension lift from Superlift, 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires, a Ramsey 9500 UT winch and a Mopar rear bumper and rock rails.

We've said it before that the compact pickup market is ripe to grow if only an automaker would offer a decent competitor to the aged Ford Ranger. Perhaps a Jeep JT could fit that bill and sell like Twinkies, though the brand isn't saying whether or not the concept was built for fun or to test the public's reaction (again) to a Jeep pickup.

Check out the gallery below for high-res pics of the Jeep JT Concept.

[Source: Jeep]%Gallery-3364%


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Jeep's second SEMA Concept: the Wrangler Ultimate

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click above image to view 16 high-res pics of the Jeep Wrangler Ultimate

Jeep is not only going to display its JT Concept at the 2007 SEMA Show, but also this vehicle, the Wrangler Ultimate. Not that the new four-door Wrangler Limited needs any more exposure (demand is currently outsripping supply for the popular configuration), but the Wrangler Limited takes that vehicle and adds some urban flair to make it more eye-catching to the valet crowd.

The Wrangler Ultimate gets the same rock-crawling hardware showcased on the JT Concept, which includes a 3-inch lift kit and 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires, but also gets a set of handsome forged 18-inch aluminum wheels from Alcoa. The Jeep design team decided to dump the entire Mopar catalogue of accessories on the Wrangler Ultimate's exterior, which gets some fancy sparkle and shine from ts chrome fuel filler door, taillamp guards, tubular side steps, exterior mirrors, tow hooks, door handles, hood hinges, and overlays for the front fascia. The Liquid Charcoal Pearl Coat exterior paint color is not available from the factory, either.

The Wrangler Ultimate's interior also gets the show car treatment with seats upholstered in a mesh fabric and trimmed in dark slate gary Nappa/Province leather bound with a heavy black leather baseball stitch. There are additional orange trim pieces on the steering wheel, shift knob and passenger handlebar, while the floor shifter appears to have a wooden trim piece, as well. Again, don't expect the Wrangler Ultimate to be an option package anytime soon, but at least Jeep has proven that you can dress up its weekend warrior.

Check out the high-res gallery full of 16 high-res pics of the Jeep Wrangler Ultimate.

[Source: Jeep]%Gallery-3365%


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Spy Shots: 2008 Honda Accord Coupe pics complete the circle

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Click on the photo for a gallery of the Accord Coupe Concept

The 2008 Honda Accord sedan has been out and about fairly regularly in the past few weeks with several lightly covered examples having been photographed. Until now, none of these were accompanied by the coupe version, but that too has changed. Comparing the production coupe to the concept that Honda unveiled in January at the Detroit Auto Show shows how much of the concept was production ready. In fact, the bulk of the details, including the side character line, headlights and green house are straight off the concept. The only noticeable difference is the lower front grille opening which loses the horizontal slats in favor of a wide-open mouth.

[Source: AutoWeek]


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Googlebots to hit the road with Stanford sensing technology

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Google began the latest online mapping craze a couple of years ago when it kicked old school stalwart Mapquest to the curb. Since then Microsoft and Yahoo have jumped into the fray and the gang from Redmond has made a lot of progress with 3-D visualizations of its maps. Google has added features to its maps, but it has largely relied on users to submit 3-D models of buildings using a program called Sketch-Up to supplement its aerial maps.

Now Google has done a deal with Stanford University to use some of the sensing technology from DARPA Grand Challenge winner Stanley and the Urban Challenge competitor Junior to enhance its visualizations. It sounds like Google will be assembling a fleet of vehicles to drive around cities with some of the sensing equipment and feed the information back into Google Maps and Earth. No word yet on whether drivers will be included in the vehicles.

[Source: San Jose Mercury News via Engadget]


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VIDEO: Having fun with halved cars

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If you've ever wondered if it were possible to saw a front-drive vehicle in half and still drive it, we have video proof that it's possible. Some young thrill-seekers managed to pump petrol through the powertrain half of an old Chevy Celebrity (at least we think it's a Celebrity), and even the dog was having fun. This video would make a great "Like A Rock" commercial.

There's more half-car fun where this one came from, too. Our friends over at Gadling found a bunch of videos, including one showing the procedure potential hoons have to endure to cut a vehicle in two. If you want to see the perfect mixture of funny and stupid, this video is for you. Take the jump to see this half-car doing figure-eights in a junkyard.



[via] Autoblog

Mitsubishi Delica D:5 shows who's the ROADEST

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Mitsubishi Delica D:5 ROADEST
Click photo for a gallery of the Mitsubishi Delica D:5 ROADEST

Friends, Mitsubishi Japan has given us a new adjective, and we love it. More on that in a minute. The automaker expanded its JDM Delica D:5 range by adding a 2WD variant of the 7-passenger minivan, which until now was only available with power driving all four wheels. (The 4WD Delica D:5 was one of the support vehicles for Mitsubishi's Dakar effort.)

The regular 2WD D:5 has been dubbed the C2, and it's easily differentiated from its 4WD sibling by its monochrome paint scheme and lower ride height. Not content to just have the C2, Mitsu added a fully tricked version called the ROADEST. And really, it's definitely the roadest minivan we've ever laid eyes on, with its fly 17" wheels, exclusive grille, full ground effects, and perfectly and bizarrely Japanese "ROAR Complete" badging. There's a market in Japan for models like this -- Nissan does it too, with Autech Rider versions of just about everything it sells.

We can't help it. We love this. ROADEST, indeed!

[Source: Mitsubishi]

Related Items:
Mitsubishi Delica D:5 minivan announced for Japan
Mitsubishi Delica D:5 will serve as Dakar support vehicle
Mitsubishi's Dakar team ready to go


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They do it different in Texas: Speed cameras banned statewide

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Finally, someone's fighting back against the fleecing of the general populace. Famous for liking things big, Texas lawmakers have laid the smackdown on red light and speed cameras in a large manner. HB.922 states "A municipality may not implement or operate an automated traffic control system with respect to a highway under its jurisdiction," which means that cameras, automated radar or laser, or anything else designed to snag an image of a car, driver, or license plate and record its speed is now forbidden. The even larger racket of red-light cameras have had the brakes applied by HB.1052, which requires giving motorists notice of the devices at least 100 feet out.

These bills have passed through the legislature and are awaiting Governor Rick Perry's inscription. If the measures do make it into law, we hope that other states follow suit. Ticketing egregious speeders and actual red-light scofflaws is one thing, but the systems have been calibrated in a cynical manner to generate loads of revenue (and kickbacks) for the companies that sell and administrate the systems for municipalities. Rather than keeping people safe, random ticketing amounts to a tax, and that really sticks in our craw. We're pleased beyond words that Texas has taken up the motorists' cause, and we hope that the new legislation can stand as a precedent.

Thanks for the tip, Dylan!

[Source: caradvice]


[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 05.23.07

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From the new all-hybrid taxi fleet coming to New York City by 2012 to the islands of Hawaii and the potential for using sugar cane to make ethanol, AutoblogGreen covered the whole of American yesterday to find the coolest, greenest car news. Oh, and we looked internationally, too. As well as for a galaxy far, far away...


[via] Autoblog

Welcome to the new Autoblog!

Surprise! Though I wasn't around three years ago when Autoblog first went live, I imagine requests to update the site's design began almost immediately. Admittedly our little blog has never been the flashiest automotive news site on the internet, but the design was simple and unobtrusive, which put all the attention on the 19,542 posts we've written since our initial launch.

We're certainly not ones to change our site on a whim. We've been working on Autoblog's new look for over six months, tweaking this design and changing that function to improve the reader's experience as much as possible. There are many new functions and features, most having to do with our already excellent high-resolution gallery system. After introducing the galleries last December, we listened to every suggestion for improving them you've offered and tried to incorporate as many possible. We also have new modules near the top of the page highlighting both Feature Posts and Breaking News that deserve more face time with our readers than the normal blog format allows. Those are just a few of the many new features available now and that we'll be activating as the week goes on. We'll be sure to bring each to your attention as they're made available.

Rest assured we'll still be doing the same thing we do every day: obsessively covering the auto industry. That's just what we do, except now we'll look better doing it.

We know this is quite a shock, but we're just getting started and have another huge surprise to announce later in the day. Until then, take the new Autoblog for a test drive and let us know what you think in the comments.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Autoblog Team

PS: We have a list of minor bugs we're aware of and are working quickly to correct, so if something seems wrong or out of place, it will soon be set right!


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Spy Shots: Acura NSX mule out in the open

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When spy pics of the new NSX surfaced a couple of days ago, it was just a matter of time before we got a better look at Honda's forthcoming supercar running the 'Ring. The previous shots of the S2000-cloked mule gave us a rough idea of the length and rear suspension setup, but these new shots tell more of the tale.

The stock wheelbase of an S2000 comes in at 94.5-inches and this test car has obviously been stretched a good 10-inches or more. As such, the driver seems to be placed dead center within the vehicle. The rolling stock is also much larger than anything previously seen on Honda's four-wheeled superbike, likely sporting 18- to 19-inch wheels. As for the width of the mule, it seems to have remained the same, but the naked eye can only tell so much.

Although the Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept foretells the future styling direction of the new NSX, the lack of any new sheet metal would indicate that the chilly reception it received has forced Honda's designers back to the drawing board. We're certainly okay with that, as long as the 500 HP V10 remains unchanged. We're still coming to grips with the idea that the next iteration of the NSX will have a front-mounted engine instead of the midship V6 of the previous model, but time will tell when the NSX debuts, likely sometime in 2009.

[Source: Straightline]


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Spy Shots: 2009 Mercedes-Benz GLK mini-ute

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Entry-level luxury vehicles are hotter than ever, and the small crossover segment is set to continue that growth with the X3 and RDX soon to be joined by the Infinity EX, Audi Q5, and Mercedes GLK. The folks over at KGP Photography captured Mercedes' upcoming crossover testing at Germany's Nurburgring, and if there is any doubt which vehicle resides within the cross-hairs of GLK, one of the pics has an X3 in the background.

Expect the GLK to come equipped with Mercedes' corporate 3.5L V6, seven-speed automatic, and 4Matic AWD. We'd be really excited if the boys and girls from Benz-land threw an optional BluTec diesel in the mix, and a AMG 6.3L V8 wouldn't suck either. The GLK is scheduled to hit the streets as an 09' model, and it'll have plenty of competition in this soon to be crowded segment.

[Source: Edmunds Straightline]


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Seat Altea Freetrack: all-road... and all kinds of ugly

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Click image for a gallery of the SEAT Altea Freetrack

VW subsidiary SEAT has just unveiled its first soft-roader, the Altea Freetrack. First shown in concept trim in March at the Geneva Motor Show, the Freetrack concept was a neat-looking 4WD family capsule, and we figured that it would make the transition to production relatively unscathed.

And mechanically, at least, that's pretty much the case. The power from the 2.0 TFSI drops from the concept's 240 HP to 200 HP on the real car, and the diesel edition's TDI pushes out 170 ponies. A Haldex four-wheel-drive system supplies power exclusively to the front wheels under normal conditions, but can shift up to 50-percent to the rear when necessary.

Inside, it has all the usual minivan amenities, like rear seat entertainment for the kids, dual-zone climate control, CD/MP3 stereo, and the like. By all accounts, it seems like a nice little hauler, and its elevated ride height and 4WD should give it some extra appeal in Europe, where the look has caught on in the form of VW's "Cross" models and Škoda's "Scout" lineup. It's just that unlike those two sister marques, the SEAT design doesn't particularly lend itself to the flat gray quasi-tough look. The front bumper is big and ornate, but sans paint, it just looks looks massive and grotesque. It's not much better on the sides or back, either. Chalk this one up as a "miss" in the looks department. In Freetrack guise, the Altea's face is one only a mother could love.

Additional details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: SEAT]

  • First all-road car from SEAT
  • Four-wheel drive, increased ride height, tough-looking styling
  • 200 PS petrol and 170 PS diesel engines
  • Rear seat multimedia system fitted as standard

SEAT has released the first pictures and details of the rugged new Altea freetrack, which will make its world debut at the Barcelona Motor Show on 7th June.

The Altea freetrack is the first SEAT designed to be driven off-road, and as such features Haldex-type four-wheel drive, 40 mm of extra ground clearance and 4x4-inspired body addendum over and above the Altea XL, on which the new model is based.

Typically of SEAT and its sporty ethos, the newcomer will only feature powerful 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines - a 200 PS T FSI and 170 PS TDI - and promises to deliver a dynamic on-road driving experience.

Performance is brisk for a car of this type: the 2.0 T FSI has a maximum speed of 133 mph, with 0 to 62 mph taking 7.5 seconds, while the 2.0 TDI boasts figures of 127 mph and 8.7 seconds respectively. Despite their turn of speed, the two models' fuel economy is impressive, with respective provisional figures of 30 mpg and 41.5 mpg.

Visually, the Altea freetrack is very distinctive. The most noticeable features are the impenetrable-looking protective front and rear bumpers, which are linked to each other by a similar moulding that runs below the waistline. New and exclusive 17" alloy wheels and larger diameter tyres complete the exterior appearance.

The Altea freetrack's Haldex-type transmission features a hydro-mechanical connection and electronic control. This flexible arrangement means that in normal use, power is fully transferred to the front wheels - but as traction deteriorates, up to 50% can be automatically distributed to the rear as required.

Not only is the new Altea freetrack sporty and capable when the going gets tough, it is also more than suited to an even harder challenge - the rigours of family life. With a capacious 593 litre boot, picnic tables and a split rear-seat that can slide back and forth by as much as 16 cm, the newcomer is perfect for the whole clan. And with a multimedia system fitted as standard, SEAT has even included the elusive 'mute-the-kids' button!

The Altea freetrack will be sold with just one trim level when it arrives in UK showrooms this September, featuring a very comprehensive list of equipment.

The multimedia system is the highlight, comprising a roof-mounted 7" screen with RCA connection that allows a link to a DVD player, video games, a laptop computer and even an MP3 player. This way the sound is transmitted through the car's stereo system.

Further standard-fit elements on the Altea freetrack include dual zone climate control, rain sensor wipers, parking sensors, cruise control, trip computer, light sensor headlights, and CD MP3 stereo with steering-wheel mounted controls. Rear door window blinds are also fitted as standard, which are stored neatly within the door when not required. Safety equipment includes ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), six airbags and a tyre pressure warning system.

The new Altea freetrack was wholly designed and developed at the SEAT Technical Centre in Martorell, and will be exclusively made at the Martorell factory, which is one of Europe's most modern and flexible automotive facilities.


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They want more: CA petitions to raise automaker fleet standard to 40 mpg

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Depending on your viewpoint, California is trying to make the world better for people everywhere, or trying to kill all the joy of automobiles and perhaps the entire domestic auto industry. In 2004, California adopted a requirement declaring that automakers reduce their fleets' CO2 emissions from September 2008, which would begin the 2009 model year. The first year's cut would be 1-2%, culminating in 2016 with a 24-36% reduction from the amount of 2002 CO2 levels. Eleven states have followed California's lead, but in order for the requirement to go into effect, California has to be granted a waiver for federal permission from the EPA.

The state of Vermont, which adopted California's stance, was sued last month by GM and a collection of auto industry partners. A verdict is still awaited. In that trial, it was said that in order to achieve that CO2 reduction, average mpg would need to be 43.1 in 2016. The cost to automakers would be billions upon billions. Chrysler has said it could only sell Smarts in states with the measure. GM said it could stop selling cars entirely in those states. There's howling on all sides, and it appears every side will not rest until it gains complete victory. Senators, meanwhile, are busy trying to protect their constituents and assuage voters with their own alternatives.

In 40 years, the EPA has never declined a waiver. If it approves California's request, six or so additional states are expected to adopt the same measures.

[Source: Detroit News]


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Merc SL600 gets evil(er): Kicherer SL K60 EVO Black

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Click the image above for a high-res gallery.

The German tuners over at Kicherer have turned their attention towards the SL600, as the firm's previous iterations of the V12-powered coupe have been a popular product. One good turn deserves another, and this time, it gets the Darth Vader treatment.

To begin with, the bi-turbo V12 gets a power upgrade to the tune of 605 HP, allowing a run to 62 to be dispatched in 4.3 seconds, continuing on to 200 km/h in 14.2 seconds. Power is fed through the stock transmission and sent to the rear rollers consisting of 20-inch deep-dish wheels with 305mm Continental tires. The revised suspension drops the SL down another 25mm, while the active body control system has been tweaked to keep roll at bay.

The exterior benefits from a carbon fiber bootlid and hood, along with a revised aero kit, that includes a front spoiler and a rear diffuser. On the inside, the stock steering wheel has been replaced with a smaller, F1-style unit, complete with carbon fiber paddles.

Kicherer's press release, outlining all the mods, is posted after the jump and a gallery of images is included below.


Kicherer SL K 60 Evo Black

605hp Mercedes SL Class
The Mercedes SL Class continues its success story in a revised edition. As a matter of course, the engineers and designers at KICHERER have pulled out all the stops in order to enhance the Roadster's exclusiveness and sportiness.

Thanks to the KICHERER K60 Biturbo 12-cylinder engine fitted with 605hp/445kW, the SL 600 becomes one of the most powerful Roadsters around the globe. 0 to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds and 200 km/h after 14.2 seconds are values speaking for themselves, just like the electronically limited peak speed of 300 km/h.

Form and functionality of the greatest perfection: Apart from their elegant appearance, the KICHERER aerodynamics components, available for all current SL models, are a tangible improvement to the vehicle's aerodynamics. At high speeds, the driving stability is further enhanced since the aerodynamic lift affecting the front axle is significantly reduced.

And what is more, the components are either made of high-quality carbon or of PUR-RIM. For the upgraded SL generation, a specifically shaped front apron was developed which reduces the front axle's aerodynamic lift by means of its sophisticated design. At the same time, the engine as well as the front brakes benefit from additional cooling provided by the large central air intake.

Replacing the new apron against the standard bumper is nothing more than a child's play. The KICHERER designer suit for the new SL obtains its special je ne sais quoi by the aerodynamically relevant rear diffuser.

Further stylistic devices highlighting the sporty appearance are the shaded rear lights and the rear lid, the inside and the outside mirror shells made of carbon. The sporty interior overwhelms with its F1 steering wheel with carbon gearshift paddles, the supplementary instruments inside the outlet nozzles as well as with further decorative elements made of genuine carbon.

Another important detail stressing the individual look consists in the multi-part KICHERER RS-1 alloys. The two-seater can be equipped with 20" rims - the front ones with 255/30 ZR 20 Pneus and the rear with 305/25 ZR 20 tyres by Continental.

In order to further increase the current SL roadster's extraordinary driving dynamics, KICHERER has developed an electronic programming for the ABC chassis which lowers the car body by approximately 25 millimetres.

The KICHERER high-performance brake system with xxl-sized ventilated and drilled brake discs can easily cope with most excessive strains. And last but not least, the sports exhaust not only boosts the performance but pleases the ear - with a fine and unobtrusive sound symphony.


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First review of Nissan Altima Coupe calls it "best" of FWD two-doors

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At first blush, the Altima coupe sounds like a Japanese Monte Carlo -- firmly midsized, front drive, fast roofline -- but that's where the similarities end. Inside Line put an Altima coupe with the lusty 270 HP V6 under the microscope and proclaimed it the best of the field. While the performance figures and spec sheet may reflect solid numbers that don't necessarily best the competition, there are some cars that have a je ne sais quoi that defies measurement. The Inside Line folks laid down the clipboard on the passenger seat and discovered that the Altima Coupe experience is more about how the whole of the machine works. It sounds to us like the Altima is channelling the G37, and thusly, it outclasses its peers.

Thanks for the tip, Mehdi!

[Source: Inside Line]


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Spy Shots: 2009 Ford F-150

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Development of the next generation F150 is running flat out in anticipation of the pickup's 2009 debut. The program has progressed to the point of wheeling prototypes of different cab and bed configurations around Detroit Rock City. The spy shot ninjas at KGP snagged some really clear pictures of the new trucks dressed in Tempur-Pedic livery. It's not a shock that Ford's keeping the future of their biggest seller under tight wraps, with acres of foam and custom dash covers hiding much of the new interior.

From what we can glean by examining the pictures, there's a new three-bar grille, and the headlights look reminiscent of what's on the Expedition, but larger. The bed looks really tall, but that's likely a ruse created with foam. The interior looks comfortable and accomodating, just like the current F150s furnishings, and we'll have to wait until we can try one before we pass judgement on materials and fit and finish. The truck wars are currently at a fever pitch, and we're anticipating it to only heat up within the next year and a half. Rumor has it that the new F150 might roll out in about six months at the North American International Auto Show. If it does, the Tundra/GMT900/FSeries Battle Royale will make for some very good trucks from all sides, and it will be entertaining to watch the brands beat eachothers brains out in advertising.


[via] Autoblog

Chrysler to workers: "Cerberus is 100% committed"

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Let the enlightenment begin. At a town hall-style meeting on Monday, Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda fielded questions from 400 Chysler employees about the fate of the company -- and their jobs -- under new 80% owners Cerberus Capital Management LLP. The message was that Cerberus is completely committed to the company and its workers, but that workers' first concern should be the Recovery and Transformation Plan (RTP).

The RTP was launched in mid-February, and requires job losses, factory closures, global expansion, and quality improvements in order to inject the proper measure of discipline into the company. Eric Ridenour, Chrysler COO, called recent developments "a win-win," and employees described things so far as "pretty much business as usual." Nevertheless, a Chrysler spokesman said "We are still in the first phase of learning about Cerberus and who they are and what it means." If Chrysler itself is still learning what it means, then it reasons that any answers Chrylser gives its employees right now are conditional at best. LaSorda will be holding more Q&A events over the next weeks. In the mean time, everyone anxiously awaits illuminating answers from Cerberus.

[Source: Detroit News]


[via] Autoblog

NASCAR bumps exclusive use of Car of Tomorrow up a year

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When NASCAR initially announced the implementation of the Car of Tomorrow early in 2006, it said it would be phased in over a three-year period beginning in 2007. Apparently, the first few races with the CoT have gone so well, that they decided to accelerate the schedule by a year and make it the exclusive car for all tracks in 2008.

The CoT, or more accurately Car of Yesterday (after all, who still uses carburetors?), completes the transition from stock cars to template cars for NASCAR. If you strip off the paint and stickers, these things are completely indistinguishable aside from the engines. With the CoT, it really just comes down to preparation and drivers, having little if anything to do with the brand of each car.

Click the gallery below to view high-res images of the Car of Tomorrow racing in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in March.

[Source: NASCAR]%Gallery-3382%


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