Spy Shots: Porsche Boxster facelift in full view

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In keeping with Porsche tradition, the next iteration of the Boxster will benefit from styling tweaks that only the most hardened auto-fanatic would recognize. These latest shots from AutoGespot show Porsche's mid-ship masterpiece undergoing testing at the Nurburgring and give those of us who care, a brief glimpse of what's to come.

The last time the Boxster went under the knife the changes were subtle, but enough to distinguish itself from its predecessor. This time, it's less obvious. To begin with, the '08 model seems to get more elongated headlamps that draw further down the fascia, while the air intakes get a similar rounded shape. LED daytime running lights are part of the package up front, while out back the taillights get more of the light-emitting diode treatment.

As for the engine, we don't expect any massive gains in performance, but it wouldn't surprise us to learn that the Boxter and its S-adorned sibling would get a slight bump in output. As for the transmission, we'll keep our fingers crossed that Porsche's new DSG will become an option, but we doubt that will take place until later next year.

[Source: AutoGespot via Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Audi RS4 Cabriolet pricing announced

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Click image for photo gallery

The Audi RS4 is one of the meaner machines you can plunk your hard-earned money down on. 420 horses out of Audi's high-revving 4.2L FSI V8 will do that (especially when combined with the car's particularly muscular aural signature). As we already reported, US residents finally get their shot at the droptop version of the RS4, and Audi of America has come clean with the pricing. If you want the RS4 Cabriolet, you'll need to part with $81,900 plus a $775 destination charge and a to-be-determined gas-guzzler tax. Oh, and that V8 doing the guzzling is only available mated to a 6-speed manual and the quattro AWD system.

In return for that not-insignificant sum, you get an RS4 minus two doors and a roof (all the better to appreciate the raucous goings-on at the car's exhaust tips), plus loads of standard convenience/luxury equipment like the (excellent) Audi Music Interface, which provides full iPod integration via the car's nav screen and MMI controller. 81 grand represents a hefty premium over the RS4 sedan's $66K price, but it comes with exclusivity -- Audi's only planning to import 300 or so to the US -- and for some of the car's buyers, the open-air experience alone might justify the cost. No worries for Audi, regardless. They'll sell 'em all.

[Source: Audi of America]

Continue reading Audi RS4 Cabriolet pricing announced

 

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2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Bugatti Royales

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The Bugatti Royale was an interesting car. It was quite a novel idea for an automaker to build vehicles exclusively for royalty and heads of state, and though It's been 80 years since Bugatti introduced the Type 41 Royale, the cars look as stunning as ever. Altogether, six Royales were built. Five of them were at Goodwood this weekend. At first, they thought it was only going to be four (only four?), but the Henry Ford Museum came through and brought over the fifth one at the last minute. All of the cars are unique, but one stands out in particular. It's a stunning cream-colored two-door cab with coachwork by Weinberger. Very beautiful.

Two of the other four Royales had to have special leave granted by the French authorities. They are normally on permanent display at the Musée National de l'Auto (Collection Schlumpf) in Mulhouse, France. The fourth Royale came directly from Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., and the last, the Kellner Coupé, was on loan from its owner. That's $60 million worth of cars gathered under one tent. Big and powerful (they have huge 300 hp, 12,763 cc engines), $60 million is a heck of a lot of money for five cars, but they seem so worth it in person. Not to sound greedy or anything, but it's a shame the American owner of the last Royale couldn't be persuaded to put his on display as well. Seeing one is rare, two is almost impossible, but five is simply unimaginable. Only the full roster of six could have topped it.



All photos (C) 2007 Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.

 

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VIDEO: Ford's Silver Creek truck torture test track

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Every major automaker that builds trucks has specialized test areas at their proving grounds that are specifically designed to test the durability and suspension performance of their trucks and the competition. These special test roads can tear up a truck very quickly and test drivers typically do very few runs per day on these routes, and at relatively low speeds.

Chrysler has a particularly severe example at their Chelsea Proving Ground that explains why Jeeps have traditionally done so well off road. Our truck specialist colleague Mike Levine at PickupTruck.com has a couple of great videos showing the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and Toyota Tundra being put through their paces on the Silver Creek track at Ford's Arizona Proving Ground. The trucks start the test at 28 MPH and one particularly startling difference is the vibration of the bed on the Tundra relative to the Ford and Chevy, which can be attributed to the partially boxed frame. Check out one of the videos after the jump.

[Source: PickupTruck.com]

Continue reading VIDEO: Ford's Silver Creek truck torture test track

 

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You want how much for that Rambler and Corvair and Galaxie and ... ?

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Yesterday, while driving around Lansing, Michigan, I came across a parking lot full of cars. This certainly isn't unusual, but these were not a collection of vehicles you'd see in front of your local post office or grocery store. No, these were (mostly) cars from the past: a 1960 AMC Rambler, a 1976 Datsun '62 Ferrari Replica, a 1963 Chevrolet Corvair MNZ 900, and more, all gathered together in one spot. The scene reminded me just how cool cars can look (remember, I mostly focus on the greener side of driving at AutoblogGreen, where the really cool looking vehicles are mostly concepts).

The classic and historical vehicles were brought together for an auction by Sheridan Realty and Auction Co. The auctioneer made it a point to say that some of these cars were built right here in Lansing, which I can only assume brought nostalgia and sadness to a lot of the shoppers. Don't make a lot of Oldsmobiles 'round these parts any more. I only hung around long enough to snap these pictures, but the prices for what sold while I was there were around $3,000 to $4,000, even if the brakes didn't always work. You can check out the details on the cars here.

My favorite pictures: the red hood with the "Oldsmobile" visible in the faded paint, the original-issue Oldsmobile 8 tracks, and this one. Enjoy the gallery.

 

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Electric car builders can still love speed

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Just because Tesla Motors is going to build plug-in electric cars exclusively, it doesn't mean the people involved in the company see cars as a necessary evil like some environmentalists do. In an AutoblogGreen interview CEO Martin Eberhard explained that the reason he got the whole project going in the first place was because he wanted a fun to drive car that was clean. That's why they built the Roadster around a modified version of the Lotus Elise chassis and suspension.

Martin isn't alone in his need for speed. Tesla VP of Marketing, Darryl Siry's garage currently includes a '73 Datsun 240Z, a '73 Corvette Stingray convertible and most recently his '02 M3 was replaced by a '06 Mitsubishi EVO IX. Unlike most people with fast cars, Darryl actually gets his equipment to the track fairly regularly and the cars are generally modified for that environment. Darryl's most recent post on his car blog includes photos of his Ducati Monster 1000 S2R and some of the mods he's performed on that machine.

[Source: Horseless Age]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Hangin' with the Glick and his P4/5

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It's what we all aspire to as car guys; to be wealthy enough to indulge any flights of fancy and see our dreams rendered in metal and composite. James Glickenhaus' ultimate custom, the one of a kind Ferrari P 4/5 has earned the right to wear official Ferrari badging, and we don't know of anyone else who's used Pininfarina to carry out the design of their personal ride. In this clip, he expounds a bit on why he actually drives his singular Ferrari, and his reasoning resonates with us -- watch on after the jump to see some great shots of this road-borne flying machine in action.

Continue reading VIDEO: Hangin' with the Glick and his P4/5

 

[via] Autoblog

2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Land Speed Record cars

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The theme of the 2007 Festival of Speed was Spark of Genius - Breaking Records, Pushing Boundaries, and so it's fitting that Land Speed Record (LSR) vehicles were given a special display at this year's event. A group of the vehicles was arranged on the cricket pitch, including several from Bonneville Speed Weeks past. There was the 1960 Challenger 1 (4 engines, 400+ mph), The Blue Flame, which managed better than 630 mph in 1970, a Ford Coupe, some MGs, the 1949 SoCal belly-tank car (198 mph), and even the newest -- the JCB DieselMax that we have written about fairly extensively in the past year or so. There were many others as well, but none could top Babs.

With its huge 27-liter Liberty engine, it set a record of 170 mph in 1926 before crashing the next year. The driver didn't survive and the car itself was buried in a hole in the beach for a number of years. It was finally dug up in 1969 and restored. And Babs was here this weekend, all 20-something feet of her. The best part of that story is that Babs was fired up, to the appreciation of the crowd, and run up the hill all weekend. Oversteering in the rain and everything. It was an absolutely amazing vehicle amidst so many other great stories here at Goodwood.



All photos (C) 2007 Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.

 

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Liability in Hammond crash falls on dragster maker, BBC

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Britain's Health and Safety Executive faulted both the BBC and the makers of the Vampire dragster, Primetime Landspeed Engineering, for Richard Hammond's dastardly crash. The HSE said that the risk assessment that Primetime gave to the BBC didn't take into account that Hammond didn't have the necessary skills to pilot the car in an emergency. So the BBC, according to the HSE, should have given Hammond enough time to learn how to drive the car and also should have challenged the risk assessment it was given, but it did not.

Hammond crashed the dragster at 288 mph and spent five weeks in the hospital with brain injuries. He has since fully recovered. Neither the BBC nor Primetime, though, will be prosecuted.

[Source: Drive.com.au]

 

[via] Autoblog

2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Motorbikes

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Although we are primarily a blog about cars, we frequently stray a bit from the all-car formula to cover vehicles that might be interesting to ourselves and hopefully the rest of you. Sometimes we are at events that focus on cars, but other vehicles are invited to play as well, and we tend to like those other vehicles as much as we love our cars. At Goodwood, you can find some of the most amazing cars from throughout history on display and racing up the hill. You can also find helicopters, boats, Quads, jets, and a bunch of other non-car vehicles.

Those, however, are not running up the hill alongside the Goodwood House. But Motorcycles are. Quite a few as a matter of fact, from ancient to sci-fi. From leather belt driven Singers to swing-arm, no-fork Vyrus like the one Tom Cruise allegedly bought recently. The damp track kept most of the cycles from posting any serious times, but that didn't stop the riders from putting on a great show. Burnouts, donuts, whole-straight wheelies, and one rider even used his time on the hill to perform a personal stunt show. Chris Pfeiffer amazed everyone with his bike and body control all weekend. Particularly impressive were his dismounts. Whether off to the side or over the bars, he'd flip off the bike and just manage to get the stand out so the bike stayed standing. And he even landed upright most of the time.

All photos (C) 2007 Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.

 

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Toyota set to rectify the poor dealer experience

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Toyota has one of the highest loyalty rates of any car brand, something it's earned over decades of building reliable cars and treating customers fairly. So when one of its managers hears stories similar to that of a customer of twenty years switching brands because of the poor treatment received at a dealer, you can rest assured that the carmaker's service experience will be changing, and changing fast.

The plan now is to improve the whole 'Toyota experience' of buying, owning, and maintaining one of its cars. "It's a movement, not a program," explained Jack Hollis, the corporate manager with Toyota's U.S. sales subsidiary who heads the EM2 initiative - Toyota's Everything Matters Exponentially plan.

The carmaker is rapidly expanding all over the globe, but at the same time it's facing new challenges that have the potential to tarnish its reputable image. The major issues are the growing number of vehicle recalls and a jump in the level of unscrupulous dealers that are overcharging customers for routine maintenance and simple repairs. Finally, Toyota has been slipping in the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, and is now behind arch rival Honda.

Can EM2 turn Toyota back into the carmaker that allowed it to reach the number one spot? Only time will tell.

[Source: The Car Connection]

 

[via] Autoblog

The Jaguar X-Type is voted ... ahem ... "Best aspirational luxury car"

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The results are in from the latest automotive consulting firm you've never heard of. According to AutoPacific's Vehicle Survey Award, the Jaguar X-Type took top honors in the 2007 Aspirational Luxury Car segment. The survey asks 24,000 US new car buyers how they rank their car 60-90 days after buying it. Perhaps such a result can be explained by George Peterson, the president of AutoPacific, who explained "Often times, the most satisfying vehicle is the one with the most personality, not the one that is screwed together the best." So normal issues -- like too many trips to the repair shop -- might be trumped by a car's feel-good sensations, which is fine.

Still, we don't know anyone who would say the X-Type is overflowing with personality. But those are the results. Click the "Read" link to see the rest of the winners. (In a more understandable victory for Jaguar, the XJ just won Luxury Car of the Year from Business Car magazine. Now that's a car with personality.)

[Source: Auto Spies]

 

[via] Autoblog

VW invites Touareg owners on an adventure

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As if pronouncing the name of its SUV wasn't enough of an adventure, VW wants Touareg owners to experience what their cars can do off road. So they're hosting three day sessions of trail rides for Touareg drivers to see what it feels like to head off the paved path and get their tires dirty.

The adventures are being held in Moab, Utah, and the itinerary reads like an upper-class off-road getaway should. Cocktails and gourmet meals at Sorrel River Ranch follow three to eight hours of traversing trails "packed with exciting obstacles that test driver and machine," according to the Touareg Adventures Web site. The site also says participants can expect an off-road guide for every two drivers and a "trail toilet" available whenever needed. Is "trail toilet" a fancy way of say "bushes"?

If you're interested, it'll cost you $2,000 per person for the three days of fun, but that includes all meals and drinks. A family member can join all the action for $1,500, or just stay at the ranch with food for $500. The first three sessions are sold out, but there are nine more opportunities through the end of October.

[Source: German Car Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

Thousands of Aussies set to lose license, speed cameras to blame

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If you thought speed camera and roadside police radar proliferation in your country was bad, spare a thought for the Aussies. More than 45,000 drivers in the Australian state of Victoria are on the verge of losing their licenses, with blame being centered on the number of speed cameras that dot the highways.

Australian licenses use a points system where drivers lose a certain number of points for each speeding offense, up to a maximum of 12 before having their license suspended. The Victorian road agency VicRoads has revealed that there are 9,000 more drivers close to losing their licenses then at the same time in 2005, with 150 speed cameras and 83 traffic light cameras on hand to monitor the state's 3.6 million registered drivers.

Opponents of the system regard the installation of speed cameras as just the latest form of revenue-raising for the government. For the 2007-08 financial year, state government revenue collected from regulatory fees, including speed camera revenue, increased by 6.2%. Of course, the regulators will always cough up the defense that the system is saving lives. We'll let you decide for yourselves.

[Source: Drive.com.au]

 

[via] Autoblog

Autoblog Week in Photos: Week of June 18, 2007

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The Autoblog team has hit the summer season with a fury, with more news than you can shake a stick at. We saw plenty of car shows last week, and we got behind the wheel of some of the Chrysler group's hottest new products and concepts, too. We also got to drop the top of the hot new Solstice GXP and get some drive time with the Saturn Outlook.

The last week was packed with information, and four minutes will give you an update on anything you might have missed by clicking on the video above. We've also added links below to some of the more significant galleries from the last seven days. This week we have some incredible music from Brian Buckit with "Rocket Science". Enjoy!

 

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[via] Autoblog