Day 2: Enter the Autoblog Relaunch Celebration Sweepstakes featuring the All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro (again)

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click above image to enter to win a 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T!

Yesterday was a long day. Very little sleep was had between making sure the site design went live without a hitch and announcing the Sweepstakes. Did you hear? We're giving away a 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T. Yeah, pretty cool. Never been done before by a blog as far as we know.

And you can enter the Sweepstakes once a day, which is why I'm back to tell you about it again. Regardless of whether you're learning about it for the first time or entered yesterday, click here to enter the (get ready for the long-winded official title) Autoblog Relaunch Celebration Sweepstakes featuring the All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro.

Finally, for those of you who tried to enter the Sweepstakes yesterday and were inexplicably ineligible, the bug that was causing this snafu has been squashed, so enter away. Good luck!

 

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Spy Shots: Fiat 500 Abarth scooting around the 'Ring

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Camera wielding spies around the Nurburgring have spotted what appears to be an Abarth variant of the new Fiat 500 super-mini. Abarth is Fiat's long-time in-house tuner and it looks like the Italians are taking direct aim at the latest Mini Cooper S with the new Abarth 500. The larger lower-profile tires put down what is anticipated to be 150 hp from a 1.4L turbo four cylinder. CAR is projecting a 0-60 time of 8.0 seconds, which given the 500's diminutive size seems conservative, but this could still be a fun competitor to the little Brit from BMW.

[Source: CAR]

 

[via] Autoblog

The Autoblog Relaunch Celebration Sweepstakes featuring the All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro!

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click image above to enter to win an All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T!

Welcome readers to the new, redesigned Autoblog site. It's been almost three years since Autoblog first went online in June 2004, and we thought it was definitely time for an update.

Dodge has joined us in celebrating our relaunch, and together, we're making blogging history. We bring you: The Autoblog Relaunch Celebration Sweepstakes, featuring the All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro!

That's right, Dodge, as our partner, has made Autoblog's celebration a defining moment by offering an All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro for one lucky reader. As the ultimate sweepstakes prize, you could win a Nitro R/T featuring standard 20-inch chrome-clad wheels and a 4.0L V6 engine with 260 horsepower, and it includes the optional MyGIG[TM] Multimedia Infotainment System, plus, a factory-installed power sunroof-prize valued at over $29,000!

Simply click this link to enter the sweepstakes. You can enter once a day until the sweepstakes concludes on 6/15/07! Please see the full sweepstakes rules for all of the details.

Like all of our Autoblog sweepstakes, it's that simple, but this time you can be part of blogging history by being chosen as the winner of an All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro!

 

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Hide under the covers: ROUSH Nitemare unveiled

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Click image to enlarge

Looks like the F-150 Harley-Davidson isn't the only blown Ford truck making its debut today. Fresh from Livonia comes word that Roush is releasing a 100-truck limited run of the Nitemare, a ROUSHcharged F-150 4x2 Styleside that deals 450 horsepower from the modified 5.4L V8 tucked behind its billet grille. Looking like something All Nitemares are finished in the menacing black you see above and trimmed out with matte black accents, the aforementioned grille, and a chin spoiler. An optional rear wing and/or hood scoop can be added as well. Its lowered stance comes courtesy of a Roush sport suspension that provides a two-inch drop. Inside, a number of details like new seats, special badging and a Roush gauge package tell occupants that they're not in any sort of garden-variety F-150.

Pricing for the Nitemare starts at $41,750, and those interested will be able to find the trucks at Roush-authorized Ford dealers starting in June. You can read the full details in the Roush press release pasted after the jump.

[Source: ROUSH]

PRESS RELEASE:
NEW ROUSH NITEMARE WILL GIVE OTHER TRUCKERS JUST THAT

LIVONIA, Mich. (May 23, 2007) - With the introduction of the 2007 ROUSH Nitemare F-150 there are destined to be plenty of other pickup drivers having nightmares about this limited-to-100 edition hauler after watching it blow by them on roads across America.

The 2007 ROUSH Nitemare is a menacing tone-on-tone, 445-horsepower beast. Based on the standard cab version of the F-150, the power-to-weight ratio will ensure that this monster has plenty of haul.

Under the hood is the famous ROUSHcharger* which boosts the 5.4L, 3 valve engine to 445-horsepower and 500 lb-ft. of torque. Additional "go fast" components include intake manifolds, intercooler, radiator, and air induction system. This unit, like all the ROUSH components from a company so highly recognized for producing power, quality and performance, is covered by ROUSH's industry exclusive 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.

The ROUSH Nitemare will be offered exclusively in black for the 2007 model which is limited to just 100 units, each striped with a matte black design to further accent the ominous look. A ROUSH front chin spoiler and black aluminum billet grille complete the exterior styling, but the addition of the ROUSH dual rear exit exhaust system gives this truck the growl expected from such a beast.

To further the performance of the ROUSH Nitemare, the Livonia, Mich.-based technicians install a Ford limited slip 3.73 rear axle and have increased the electronically-controlled speed limiter to 105 mph.

Sliding into the cockpit, the ROUSH Nitemare logo is embroidered into the ROUSH custom leather seats, and is on the black ROUSH instrument cluster, where it will appropriately be lit up in red in the dark. ROUSH Nitemare embroidered floor mats, a black dash trim kit, and ROUSH billet aluminum pedals help to complete the styling.

Only a handful of options are available on the limited edition ROUSH Nitemare, including a rear wing, hood scoop, locking lug nuts and GPS system. The ROUSH sport suspension system which lowers the truck two inches in the front and three in the rear is sure to be a popular addition to this performance vehicle. This complete kit includes ROUSH-engineered front coil springs, rear leaf springs, front sway bar and specially-valved shocks. For more information

Available exclusively in a regular cab 4x2 Styleside model, the 2007 ROUSH Nitemare has a suggested retail of $41,750 and is expected to be available at ROUSH-authorized Ford dealers starting in June. Each will carry a blacked-out ROUSH Nitemare fender and tailgate badges, and a unique serial number badge stating which number of the 100 that truck is.

Based in Livonia, Mich., "The Art of Performance Engineering" takes place at ROUSH Performance. In addition to the array of Ford Mustang and F-150 styling, handling and performance upgrades, a complete line of performance parts and crate engines are offered. For more information see your local ROUSH dealer, visit www.ROUSHperformance.com or telephone toll-free (800) 59-ROUSH.

 

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Jeep JT Concept: more pics

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The responses to our post on the Jeep JT Concept that's headed to SEMA this year were overwhelmingly positive. The number of people who commented they'd buy one if Jeep didn't wussify it on the way to production was incredible. One constant theme was the demand for a diesel engine, and most commonly cited was the 3.0L CRD motor used in other Jeep products like the Grand Cherokee CRD. With purposeful, bare-bones styling and a motor generating 376 ft-lbs. of torque, the Jeep JT would be a workhorse budget truck for those not interested in spending thousands more on a half-ton.

Our man Jonathan Ramsey got to play with the Jeep JT in person and echoes everyone's sentiments about the little pickup. He brought back some more pics of the concept, including inside shots that show a basic Jeep Wrangler interior with no frills. We also get a view of the hardtop roof with removeable panels and the JT Concept's current motor, a 3.8L V6.

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Have a nice trip? Man falls 120 feet and lives by landing on Smart car

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Picture it: one minute you're standing on your 12th story patio enjoying the fresh air, and the next you're falling from said balcony. Your first thought is that you're probably a goner. Then, as the ground approaches, you realize that the car below you may break your fall. Your next (and presumably last) thought would probably go something like "Oh great, it's a Smart C...(splat)."

For Slovenian Darko Mirinovic, the above hypothetical has more truth to it than he'd ever hoped. Young Darko, 25, did fall from a 12 story balcony, but he miraculously survived. The Smart car that rested 120 feet below his window broke his fall, and in return Darko broke a bunch of bones. Not surprisingly, doctors were more than a little shocked that Darko survived the fall, even with news of his make-shift safety net. The owner of the Smart car didn't know whether "to be happy or sad" since his car was destroyed, but Darko lived. We hope he had insurance.

[Source: eGMCarTech]

 

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Spyker Cars mortgages name for a loan

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Spyker is bankrupt.

Old news, actually, it happened in 1926. Spyker Cars, founded in 2000, however, got a little extension on life back in September when it mortgaged the Spyker name for a €12.5 million loan from Friesland Bank. Spyker says the deal is nothing out of the ordinary but a Reuters story quotes some folks who think otherwise.

"Why do you have to sell your name to get a loan? Because the bank thinks the results are not good enough and want security, I think," trader Rik Zwaneveld AFS Brokers told Reuters.

Spyker investors seem to agree, with the stock trading down today.

Motor Authority
says the company has its hopes pinned on the new Super Sports Utility Vehicle coming soon. Spyker says it already has 182 orders for the SSUV. We too hope it's the must-have vehicle that keeps the quirky company afloat.

[Sources: Motor Authority, Reuters, Forbes]

 

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Matech Ford GT wins its first race in FIA GT3

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click above image for 45 more desktop wallpaper-size pics

No doubt followers of FIA GT3 racing were surprised at how well the Ford GTs from Matech ran in the first two races at Silverstone earlier this month. No one, however, was prepared for the can of whoop ass they opened up in Bucarest last weekend. Despite heavy rain at times, the two Matech Ford GTs were dominant, though not both at the same time.

The first GT3 race of the weekend was won by the #34 JMB Racing Ferrari F430, but the #43 Matech Ford GT driven by Thomas Mutsch and Martin Bartek finished second, the best result in the first three races of the season for a Ford GT. The second race of the weekend, however, concluded with the #44 Matech Ford GT driven by Stefan van Campenhoudt and Romain Bera crossing the finish line first, ahead of no less than three Porsche GT3s that were chasing it down. Romain Bera was driving the Ford GT at the race's conclusion and didn't realize until after the race that one of his rear tires had gone flat near the end. Despite that and the heavy rain, Matech left Bucharest with its first win and a solid second-place finish - an amazing result considering their program is about four months old.

We've got a gallery full of gorgeous shots from the Bucharest street race, and we threw in a lot of extra pics taken of the headlining FIA GT race, as well. We wish it were easier to follow the FIA GT series from the U.S., as watching such varied marques battling on the same track would be a dream come true, or at least better than watching NASCAR's CoT turning left all day long.

[Source: FIA GT3]

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ABG Exclusive: Ford and OSU team up for fuel cell land speed record

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Ford and Ohio State University are teaming up to attempt a double land speed record for fuel cell-powered vehicles. Ohio State already holds the land speed record for electrically driven vehicles at 315 mph with the battery-powered Buckeye Bullet. Now they are providing the motor and fuel cell that will power the Ford Fusion XV1 and the Buckeye Bullet 2 when they head out to Bonneville to try and set dual records for fuel cell powered vehicles in the unlimited and production classes. AutoblogGreen has the information and will be providing more coverage over the coming weeks and months.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]

 

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Chrysler and Chery resume discussions; Hornet confirmed

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Chery officials say the pause in their discussion with Chrysler was so the Chinese company could get a better idea of the American's future. Now that Cerberus has taken over, Chery sees the coming years filled with puppy dogs and lollipops.

And in their giddiness, someone at Chery leaked a few details of the project to Automotive News. Chery will build two cars for Chrysler, to be sold under the Chrysler brand. Chery is already building one of the two in China (possibly the A1?), but for Chrysler it will be shipped in kit form to South America where it will be assembled for that market.

The other Chery-built car will, in fact, be the Hornet, according to AN's anonymous sources. The car will be based on Dodge's show car, but engineering will be handled by Chery in China. Hornet production could begin as soon as 2010.

It's good to see these two playing nice again, even better to hear the Hornet may actually reach production.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

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Spy Shots: BMW 1-Series Coupe

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Young fans of the Bavarian Motor Werks have been pining for something more affordable than a 3-series, and the 1-series has been teasing from afar for too long. The folks over at 1Addicts assembled a bunch of picks of a thinly-disguised 1-Series coupe in testing, and we think the newest developments look quite encouraging. The 1-Series in these photos looks to be nearly ready for production, as the only heavy-duty camo resides on the bumpers. Large-rimmed tires fit into the wheel well quite snugly, and BMW's Mighty Mouse is sitting very low to the ground, leading us to believe that this could very well be the 135i, which would seriously scream with BMW's 300 HP, twin-turbo International Engine of the Year.

With a full slate of models, including a coupe, hatch, convertible, and high-powered sport model, the 1-series arrives in the US with the potential to make BMW the number one selling luxury maker in the world's most important market. We're looking forward to taking this little spark plug for a spin when it hits North America in 2008. Seriously, if we even dare imagine how much fun this Mini-sized RWD coupe is to drive, we'd lose sleep.

Thanks for the tip, Alfredo!

[Source: 1Addicts.com]

 

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(Another) Report: Nissan bringing over Cube in 2008

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NISSAN CUBE
Click image for a photo gallery of the Nissan Cube

The Nissan Cube is one of the poster children for the term "econobox." Square and thrifty, the teensy MPV can be outfitted to carry five or seven passengers (the latter is known as the Cube³ in Japan) in quirky style and relative comfort. Over the last couple of years, there has been no shortage of reports claiming that the Cube will head stateside in 2008 following its scheduled redesign. The latest outlet to report this is the Nikkei, which said the Cube is all but certain to arrive (along with two other unnamed subcompacts). Unfortunately, that's all the detail given. We just hope the next Cube is as quirky-cool as the current one, with its asymmetrical styling and the variety of front end treatments applied to the different versions on the Japanese market. Enough already with the detail-free media reports. Get on with the redesign, show it to us, and tell us when we can finally buy it. Oh, and while you're at it -- keep it on the inexpensive side, okay?

In the interim, enjoy the gallery we've put together of the current Cube family.

Thanks for the tip, Josh!

[Source: AFX News via Forbes.com]
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Rockin' the Q5 - Audi CUV lends DNA to Porsche's Roxster

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The Porsche with the coolest name, Roxster, is being scooped by German website Autobild. While we'd like a Roxster to come with a Matchless and a Tele, the actual vehicle will be a Cayenne Mini-Me, sadly having nothing to do with rock or roll. Well, maybe rocks, depending on its offroad chops.

The basis for the small CUV with the big name (and price) will be the upcoming Audi Q5. There's no word on what the powertrain will be, but there's a wide corporate pool of bits - the Q5 is based on elements of the A4 and A6. Conveniently enough, since the Q5 is reported to borrow liberally from the VW Touareg, the Roxster could complete the circle and share some engine and transmission choices with the bigger utes. We'll keep our fingers crossed for the Cayenne Turbo's insane nuclear-powered motor to wind up under the bonnet, but we think reality will have a V6 of some flavor working away under there.

Thanks for the tip, Christian!

[Source: German Car Blog]

 

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Enter the (drivetrain) rumormill: V6, AWD Corolla on the horizon?

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Our friends over at the Authority of all things Motored came across an interesting interview with Soichiro Okudaira, a Toyota technician, who maintains that the next Corolla may have a large enough engine bay to fit a 3.5-liter V6. The idea is being batted around ToMoCo's executive washroom, along with the possibility of offering an all-wheel-drive variant of Toyota's compact sedan.

AWD-equipped Corollas (named the Auris in other parts of the world) are nothing new, as they've been offered in Japan before, but aside from the Corolla 4Trac of yesteryear, we haven't had an AWD option for some time (Matrix excluded). Okudaira says that more R-and-D is necessary, as the rear wheel setup still has to be augmented to accept the new drivetrain components.

European buyers will surely get a diesel version when the new Corolla is released, while those of us in the U.S. are destined to get a petrol-powerplant. If the V6 gets the green light, Motor Authority expects the new Corolla to be launched in the States later this year.

[Source: AutoTelegraaf.nl via Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Sublime Smash 'n Grab

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Smash-and-grab robberies usually involve thugs breaking a car window, grabbing some desirable object left in plain sight (such as a purse or an iPod), and making tracks. A team of thieves in Shippensburg, PA, however, has clearly outgrown that JV stuff and moved up to the Varsity level by applying the tried-and-true smash-and-grab techniques to Naugle Motors, a local Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealer.

That's where they apparently broke into an '08 Jeep Patriot, got it started, and then drove it through the showroom door to get what they really wanted: the Sublime Green Charger Daytona sitting on the floor. (They couldn't have smashed a Compass instead? What gives?) Once in the Dodge, the perpetrators got the hell outta Dodge, so to speak. (BaDumBum -Ed.) Authorities have not recovered the car, but if it isn't in pieces or on some container ship headed overseas, we have a hunch that it'll get found.

After all, a Daytona with the Sublime finish is basically visible from outer space. If it's local, someone's gonna see it.

[Source: The Sentinel]

 

[via] Autoblog

Keep 'em separated: Cellphones could erase Nissan I-Keys

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Nissan I-KeyIf you have a 2007 Nissan Altima or a 2007 Infiniti G35 Sedan, you might want to keep your mobile phone in a different pocket than your car's fancy I-Key fob. The fobs, as you're probably well aware by now, enable and disable the cars' keyless ignition systems. According to Nissan, the problem is that if the fob is touched by a cellphone while a call is in progress, the software that controls the I-Key's automagic goodness could be altered or erased, rendering it useless. Furthermore, the damage is not reversible, and the I-Key simply becomes landfill fodder.

Nissan's modifying the key to correct the issue, and will provide new ones to owners once it's straightened it all out. According to the AP, this'll happen sometime in the fall. In the meantime, some dealers are stocking up on spares just in case, and you'd be advised to follow Nissan's advice and keep a little distance between the key and your phone. After all, you don't want the simple act of pressing the Start button to turn into an exercise in futility -- especially over something as mundane as checking your voice mail.

[Source: AP]

 

[via] Autoblog

George Foreman looks to grill IndyCar competition, buys into Panther Racing

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foreman and meira

Boxing legend, minister, author, pitchman extraordinaire, and now race team owner? George Foreman has pretty much done it all, and has taken advantage of an opportunity to do even more, joining the ownership group behind two-time IRL champion (2001 and 2002), Panther Racing.

Foreman, who has built a successful marketing company with his sons in George Foreman Enterprises, says he's proud to be part of the team, which will field three cars driven by John Andretti, Kosuke Matsuura, and Vitor Meira at this weekend's Indy 500. So thrilled was the nattily-dressed former heavyweight champ that in a moment of exuberance, he grabbed Meira's arm and ripped it out of its socket just moments after the photo above was taken.

We kid, we kid, of course. But George, Vitor needs both arms to run Indy, so take it easy on the guy, OK?

[Source: Panther Racing]

 

[via] Autoblog

If it worked for Lexus, why not Geely!

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Back in 1990, when Lexus first burst forth upon the world, people praised the execution and refinement of the new luxury cars from Toyota. Lexus took Toyota's reputation for quality to a whole new level and has remained near the top of the heap in quality surveys ever since. The one complaint most people had at the time related to the styling. The smaller ES250 wasn't distinct enough from the Camry upon which it was based and the big LS looked like a Mercedes S-Class knock-off.

Last year, little known carmaker Geely became the first Chinese company to show one of their cars at the Detroit Auto Show. Let's just say no one was particularly impressed. So Geely has apparently gone back to the Lexus drawing board and created a knock-off of the most highly thought of luxury brands of the day. In this case, the concept images of a new high-end Geely appear to be nothing more than photos of a Lexus IS350 with a really ugly nose photoshopped on. They didn't even bother to change the wheels.

[Source: China Car Times]

 

[via] Autoblog

Truman Show? Product placement in real life

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Hybrids, especially the Prius, have become the automotive equivalent of a teacup chihuahua to Hollyweird stars. No doubt the public viewings and statements by thespians have raised public awareness of Toyota's green-tinged offerings. The campaign of bringing Toyota Hybrids to the stars has been a clever bit of stealth marketing by the Environmental Media Association. What better way to quickly make a hybrid a desireable item than to equip media figures with the vehicles, adding an air of "sexy" to vehicles that wouldn't be considered conventionally attractive. It's definitely been an effective way to boost the cachet of the hybrid, and we gather that celebrities love to be stroked and told how good they are. The cynical side of us says "follow the money." We're waiting for the big Tinseltown push for keeping old cars going, thus avoiding the raw material, energy, and toxic materials hit that a new car creates. We won't be holding our breath.

[Source: CNN]

 

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It's a mad world: Meet the Supra-LeMans

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The engine swap remains to this day to be one of the most involved, yet rewarding, performance upgrades available to the motivated pistonhead. And while most heart replacements involve swapping a bigger motor into a smaller vehicle, the exceptions to that rule are usually much more interesting.

Case-in-point: the Supra-LeMans.

Ralf Becker procured a 1972 Pontiac LeMans in his home country of Germany, and instead of taking a more traditional path to power, he decided that the Mark IV Supra's twin-turbo'd 3-liter inline-six would be a better candidate.

It's still in a work in progress, which Becker plans on unveiling during the "Power Big Meet" in Sweden this July. You can read an email he sent to our friends over at Hemmings here and check out the gallery of his project at Chromjuwelen.com.

[Source: Hemmings Auto Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Video: Porsche GT2 beats the 'Ring into submission

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We've been inundated with a ton of spy shots in the last 24 hours - some more compelling than others. But it's a real treat when the static shots are replaced with actual movement, especially when it's something as marvelous as the new Porsche GT2.

We've seen our fair share of the Turbo-derived racer, but the video after the jump shows the new GT2 making its way around the Nurburgring at a breakneck pace.

As previously mentioned, the GT2 will dispatch the Turbo's AWD system in favor of a traditional rear-drive setup, and along with a minimalist interior, the GT2 will tip the scales around 3,275 pounds. Partnered with the 530 HP twin-turbo 3.6-liter six, and one of the most delectable suspensions this side of the Le Ponte De Normandi, it's easy to see why the lucky test driver can roll flat out through the bends.

We'll be on hand to see the GT2 unveiled in Frankfurt later this year, with sales likely to begin in November. In the meantime, jump.

[Source: AutoExpress via Streetfire.net]

 

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