BMW mulls selling engines to other automakers

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Don't go getting too excited, it probably won't mean a crate version of the S65 or N54 for Roundel fans. Running an automaker is expensive, especially a manufacturer that leans more toward niche status than casting a wide net. BMW is looking at all options for future revenue, and one of the thoughts that's occured to the well-respected manufacturer of cars with chutzpah is to bank on its engineering chops and sell engines to other carmakers. Lotus has pimped themselves out for years to other automakers, and the Porsche name has ended up on things like hard drives, so BMW selling their award-winning engines to gain an extra stream of return on their investment is a far less radical move. Hey, if selling their more mundane powerplants to emerging markets like India and China keeps the coffers full and awesome performers rolling our way, we're all for it.

[Source: Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

UK: VW Golf GT Sport drives in under GTI

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Click image to enlarge

The Golf lineup in the UK gets a slight reshuffling as Volkswagen consolidates two models -- the Golf GT and the Golf Sport -- into one, the new Golf GT Sport. The car gets a sporty outward look, with black headlight surrounds, a front end treatment that recalls the R32 and GTI, and a few other niceties like foglights and tinted glass. 17-inch alloys fill the wells and GT Sport badging identifies the car for what it is. Power comes either from the 1.4L TSI , or from a 2.0 TDI. Each engine is available in 140 hp and 170 hp configurations, and buyers can choose between six-speed manual or DSG transmissions. Both three-door and five-door bodies are available, and cars equipped with the stronger 170-horse mills get a pair of chrome exhaust tips out back.

There are more details after the jump in the VW UK press release. This GT Sport sounds like it stakes out the middle ground between the base Golf and the hopped-up GTI in fine fashion. We'd love to get our hands on one of the twin-charged TSI machines to get a driving impression. 170 horses from 1.4 liters sounds like fun to us.

[Source: VW]

PRESS RELEASE:
VOLKWAGEN INTRODUCES NEW GOLF GT SPORT TRIM

Volkswagen is set to replace the existing Golf Sport and GT trim levels with a single all-new model - the Golf GT Sport.

The Golf GT Sport debuts a purposeful new look as well as additional equipment over the models it replaces to deliver greater value. An all-new darkened grille section is intersected by a set of horizontal fins to forge a visual link with the other sporting models in the range - the potent GTI and R32 variants. Inset into the grille is a new 'GT Sport' badge. Framing the new nose are a pair of darkened headlights which visually separate the lenses into four, individual units. They sit above a set of fog lights mounted in the front air dams.

In profile the new GT Sport is distinguished by subtle tints to the rear windows and a set of 17-inch multi-spoke 'ClassiXs' alloy wheels fitted with 225/45 R17 tyres.

At the rear twin chrome exhausts on the 170 PS models are joined by discreet 'GT Sport' badges.

The subtle, sporting look continues inside. A leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake are fitted along with front sports seats, automatic light sensing headlights and rain sensing windscreen wipers. This is in addition to Climatic air conditioning, a CD stereo system with eight speakers and electric windows. Six airbags, ABS and Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) round off the high levels of standard equipment.

The purposeful exterior is backed up by dynamic underpinnings. The innovative 1.4-litre TSI engine which utilises both a supercharger and a turbocharger to generate high power outputs from a modest engine capacity while retaining high levels of economy is available in 140 PS and 170 PS guises. A single 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is also available in 140 PS and 170 PS outputs. Both petrol and diesel engines are available mated to a choice of six-speed manual or DSG transmissions.

The new Golf GT Sport will be available in both three- and five-door bodystyles when deliveries start later in the summer. It joins the existing S and Match trim levels in the Golf model range. Prices are set to start at £17,422 for the entry-level three-door variant specified with a 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS engine, rising to £21,352 for the five-door model fitted with the 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS engine with DSG transmission.

 

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[via] Autoblog

No more running out of film, English speed cameras go digital

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The Gatso speed camera has been the bane of British drivers for the past couple of decades, but they at least had the hope that when they saw the flash the camera might be out of film. For those of you in the crowd who might not be old enough to drink legally," film" is this silver coated plastic strip that they used to put in cameras. It had to be processed in various chemicals to make images appear. Amazingly enough, the British speed cameras still use this antique technology, but not for much longer.

The Dutch company that builds the cameras for the British government has developed a digital imaging module to upgrade the cameras so that they will never run out of film again. The new units have 11-megapixel sensors and can monitor four lanes of traffic at once. They can also store thousands of images compared to the 200 for the film units. So now the traffic enforcers can ticket more people with less effort. We send our condolences to British drivers.

[Source: AutoExpress]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Skoda's Fabia is so yummy we could just eat it

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Click image for a gallery of the new Skoda Fabia

Skoda Fabia cake engineThis is the ultimate car guy birthday cake. This advert for the Skoda Fabia is designed to hit you in the warm, gooey center. Right away, you're drawn in by dulcet tones from The Sound Of Music that trigger flashbacks to a Generation Y childhood and endless preschool sing-a-longs. Furthering the irresistible pull of the commercial is the fact that they're making cake. Anyone who can turn away from watching bakers at work is just dead inside. It's so much like what we gearheads do - look in the book, follow the instructions using your skills to ensure a proper result. Maybe it's just us wrench-turners who know our way around a kitchen, and are also suckers for confections. Whatever it is, even if it turns out to be subliminal flash frames (doesn't work, btw), the Skoda is so sweet, we want to take one home. Which is the point. Except, we still want it for dessert.

Thanks for the tip, Mr. Pink!

[Source: Skoda]
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[via] Autoblog

F1's secret safety car showdown

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On Thursdays before a Formula 1 GP weekend really kicks off, Bernd Maylander, the F1 safety car driver, and Dr. Jacques Tropenat, the F1 medical car driver, check out the trackside cameras and timing equipment. Steering identical Mercedes CLK 63's, they also check out their driving skills by seeing which one of them can set the best lap.

Bernd is a former race car driver who has been doing safety car duty since 2000. When the FIA decided to hire a professional safety car driver instead of using former F1 pilots, Bernd was plucked from the DTM series and given two years of training. Now, the hardest driving he does is when he's called out to parade the racers around during a caution. He knows how slow it looks on TV, but he says "I have to drive 99% up to my limit. I can't drive over my limit - that extra 1% is to make sure I'm safe. The drivers know I have to drive really hard in a much slower car, but if they push me then I know I can drive a little bit quicker. We have to play together." He also wins the award for The Most Obvious Quote of Memorial Weekend when he says "The difference between a safety car and a F1 car is like a jumbo jet and a star fighter. To put it simply, I could never win a Grand Prix in the safety car." That said, his only real competition is the Thursday bout with his medical colleague. Call it Fire Marshall Bill vs. McDreamy.

Thanks for the tip, Patrick!

[Source: BBC]

 

[via] Autoblog

Porsche 914/G: Now that's a hot car

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Doug Burris Porsche 914/GDoug Burris of St. Louis has built what simply has to be the hottest Porsche 914 around. Literally. The blue 1975 model won't ever run on its own power again, but its remaining days will ensure that every time it's fired up (again, literally), it'll provide sustenance to all who gather around it.

That's because Doug's ride is now one of the baddest BBQ rigs you'll find anywhere. We've decided to call it the 914/G (as in "grill"). Pop the front lid and you'll find a firebox used to feed the smoker residing in the former passenger compartment. Open the engine cover, and a full grilling station awaits. Delicious. This is one trailer queen that we'd be happy to see rolling into our driveways on holiday weekends like this. A word of warning, however: excessive operation could result in heightened blood cholesterol numbers and an expanded waistline. Now pass us another burger. And some ribs, too.

Click the photo to see the full image and four more in the slideshow at Yahoo!

Thanks for the tip, Jaymez!

[Source: Yahoo! News Photos]

 

[via] Autoblog

These kids today: college students think Volvo is German and Land Rover is American...

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Do you know where babies cars come from? Anderson Analytics took a survey of 1,000 college students from more than 375 universities and discovered that many of them don't. A third of the respondents thought Lexus was American. More than half of them thought Hyundai was Japanese, and at the same time, two-thirds of them think Korean products are no good. Almost half thought Volvo and Saab were German, and more than half thought Land Rover is American. Which, technically, it is, but probably not in the way they meant it.

The survey, carried out last summer, was actually a study of country-of-origin on brand perception. Carmakers weren't the only ones to suffer from "They don't make that here?" syndrome. Almost no one knew that Nokia is Finnish, and almost everyone thought that Motorola's Japanese. But country origin doesn't have the same effect on brand perception for cell phones that it does on cars. However, how important can it be to make sure people know your car is Swedish if those people can't point Sweden out on a map? Just make sure they don't think it's Korean.

[Source: Carscoop]

 

[via] Autoblog

Enter the rumormill: Lexus IS coupe cometh

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Although we've heard the rumors before, and it still seems like a no-brainer, Lexus has remained mum on the introduction of an IS coupe. With its assault on everything held dear to the Bimmer and Merc people, it's simply a matter of time before Lexus takes aim at the 3-series and C-classes that have remained largely unchallenged in the sports coupe market.

The most recent news rumor comes via Nihon Car, who procured the above scan from the Japanese mag Car-Top. Granted, the photochopped image above is simply wishful thinking (that rear window looks a bit awkward), but a hardtop convertible version of the IS would be right at home in Lexus dealerships and in the garages of BMW and Mercedes refugees. But until we start seeing spy shots, we'll be taking that grain of salt, thank you very much.

[Source: Nihon Car and Bike]

 

[via] Autoblog