Abt tricks out Audi's TT Roadster

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Click image for high-res gallery

Abt Sportsline strongest ties to the Audi TT date back to when they ran a race version in the 2002 DTM series. Outside of racing however, Abt is known for its work modifying and tuning cars that sport the interlocking rings, and with the arrival of the TT Roadster from Audi, they're back on the case with a suite of appearance and performance upgrades.

For starters, Abt's new aero kit tastefully muscles up the open-top 2-seater with new skirts and spoilers -- de rigeur for a tuner like this. The obligatory wheel/tire upgrade is also available in 19" and 20" diameters. A sport exhaust with quad outlets gives the TT's rear a more serious visual and aural presence, while underhood, go-fast measures can be taken regardless of what engine the car's equipped with. Abt's regimen for the 3.2L six-cylinder involves the addition of a supercharger that helps boost output to 355 horsepower -- enough to propel the TT ragtop from 0-62 mph in five seconds flat. The standard 2.0 TFSI powerplant is not ignored either, with tuning packages that offer everything from a modest bump to 240 horses to an even more serious kit that offers a robust 300 hp.

Full details from Abt are in the press release after the jump, and a gallery of the hot little roadster can be found below.

[Source: Abt Sportsline]

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Autoblog Week in Photos: Week of June 25, 2007

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The Autoblog crew is being pulled in a million different directions right now, with plenty of OEM-sponsored events and car show to attend. We also got ourselves into a couple of competing crossovers, the Ford Edge and the Subaru Tribeca, and a couple new BMWs were unveiled as well. We fit in some first drives from the folks over at Ford Motor Company, and we attended the world premiere of the Transformers movie.

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. In honor of our vacationing editor in chief, this week we found the only royalty-free music in the world that specifically mentions Cleveland. The one and only George Thorogood and the Destroyers cranked out "Any Town USA" for your enjoyment.

 

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Video: Live from Dearborn - '07 vs '08 Mercury Mariner

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Click on the photo for a gallery of the 2008 Mariner in action

Ford provided the journalists assembled in Dearborn the chance to drive many of their 2008 models back-to-back with their 2007 equivalents so that the new models' improvements could be experienced firsthand. Among the vehicles available to us were Ford's compact crossovers, the Escape and Mariner. AutoblogGreen recently did a full review of the 2008 Escape Hybrid that you can check to find out what it's like to live with. We'll focus here on the improvements made to the '08s in general.

Out front, the new Mariner has a much more distinct and upscale face compared to the Escape. While the Escape is styled with more of a family resemblance to the big F-Series trucks, with a bumper that stands in front of the grille, the Mariner sports the Mercury family's vertical bar grille, sharing itd DNA with the Milan and new Sable. It flows all the way down to the bottom of the bumper and definitely looks more carlike than Escape. Once you climb inside, everything else applies equally to both the Mariner and Escape the driving experience is identical, save for some color/trim differences.

Check out our impressions of the Mariners old and new along with a video after the jump.


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Toyota Noah / Voxy: Valvematic for the people (movers)

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One of Toyota's first applications of its new Valvematic engine is in the newly-redesigned 7-passenger Noah MPV and its slightly differently-visaged (and equally blocky) stablemate, the Voxy. Neither one will win a beauty contest anytime soon, but tastes are demonstrably different in Japan, so we'll reserve further commentary on the aesthetics and leave the rest to you readers. This isn't so much about the car itself as what's under its hood, anyway.

The story here is the 2.0L 3ZR-FAE inline four with Valvematic that can be fitted behind the Noah/Voxy's stern-looking face. The specifics are as follows:
  • 1,986cc DOHC I4
  • 158 PS (155 HP) at 6,200 rpm
  • 144 lb-ft of torque 4,400 rpm
  • 33 mpg
  • 164 g/km of CO² emissions
Compared to Toyota's previous topline 2-liter 4-cylinder, the 3ZR-FAE with Valvematic is more powerful by eleven horses. As previously reported, the Valvematic tech should be applied to Toyota's full range of engines by 2010.

[Source: Paul Tan]

 

[via] Autoblog

Video: Live from Dearborn - Autoblog drives the 2008 Ford Taurus

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Click on the Taurus for a high-res gallery

At Ford's 2008 model preview at the Dearborn Proving Ground, we had the opportunity drive the newly-reborn Taurus back-to-back with its immediate predecessor, the Five Hundred, and the differences were immediately apparent. Side-byside, the Taurus is clearly an update of the Five Hundred, retaining the same profile and stance, but the Taurus now has the face it should have had all along.

The three-bar grille gives the Taurus a look that fits in with its stablemates and sets it apart from the competition.A lot of detail work was done on the Taurus and Sable for 2008 to ramp up the refinement levels and bring them to the head of the class. One example is visible on the side mirror housings. The top of the housing has a row of notches that manage the airflow around the mirror. The notches reduce the aerodynamic drag of the mirror and also reduce wind noise dramatically.

Continue reading our driving impressions and see the video after the jump

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Retro flavor for Renault at British Grand Prix

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1977 Renault RS01 and lookalike 2006 R26
Click image for high-res

What's this? A rejected Bumblebee design from the Transformers movie? No, of course not. The top car is the 1977 Renault RS01, the first turbocharged F1 racer. It made its debut 30 years ago at the British Grand Prix. With Bernie Ecclestone's traveling circus heading to Silverstone next week, Renault has created a modern doppelgänger to the RS01 by decorating an R26 in the RS01's vintage livery to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its debut. We're assuming both cars will be on display at the British GP for all to see next week.

As for additional eye candy, we found a short video of the RS01 taking a parade lap at the 2005 Race of Champions here. If anyone has anything better than that to share, shoot us a link in the comments.

[Source: Renault]

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Water-hating coating could mean easier car washes, more

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Engineers looked at a lotus leaf easily shedding water and said, "Hey, we could do that." And so they did, with a revolutionary coating named superhydrophobic, which simply means it really dislikes water.

The technology works by creating a surface with lots of peaks and valleys. These create microscopic air bubbles that shed liquid. In a video (download from the site to watch) on a GE engineer's blog, you can see honey running right off a treated surface.

What does this mean for you, the loyal Autoblog reader? Lots, actually. Think about a car coated with this stuff. Water runs right off, taking with it any dirt that has accumulated. A quick spray of the hose and she's sparkling like new. Other automotive uses include coating low-friction parts, self-cleaning windshields, etc.

GE says its coating would be expected to last about 10 years, at which time it would need to be replaced or repaired. One airline official looking to use it as an ice-deterrent on planes said the durability wouldn't be a problem for the aviation industry. Even if the coating were chipped or damaged in places, it would make ice removal much easier. But in an automotive application, easily-chipped paint is rarely tolerated these days. GE realizes this and is said to be working on the problem.

[Source: AP via San Jose Mercury News]

 

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VIDEO: James May breaks land speed at 1/32 scale

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It probably takes considerable effort to get funding and engineering for a vehicle that can break the land-speed record or 458 mph. To achieve such a speed at 1/32 scale, you only need James May and 45 English Scalextric slot car fans. Just past the jump, you can see a terrific video that May put together on the history of the scale car, which goes all the way back to the 1930s with the British Dinky brand. After getting you up to speed on all gravity-based scale models, May settled on electrified slot cars. To make the story interesting, May rented out an airplane hanger and laid out 150 feet of track and then proceed to time car after car to see if it could beat the land speed record at 1/32 scale. As it turns out, the record was easily beaten, and speeds of almost 700 scale mph were achieved. Check it out.

[Source: Jalopnik]

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Daimler Super Eight refresh unveiled

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As goes the Jaguar XJ, so does its Daimler-badged luxo-cousin. The last Daimler Super Eight bowed in 2005, and was essentially a very loaded-up and luxury-oriented XJ sedan sporting a six-figure price tag. Now that the XJ has undergone an update, it makes sense that the Daimler Super Eight does as well. Power comes from the same 400 hp 4.2L supercharged V8 as before. The bodywork, like the XJ's, is made of aluminum, and the rest of the changes are in the details, like standard 19" wheels instead of 18-inchers (dubs are now an option, too), a freshened grille, and new front and rear bumpers. Backseat passengers still enjoy plenty of legroom and copious amounts of leather and wood. Rear-seat entertainment (DVD, MP3 compatibility, etc.) is also part of the deal, and occupants' shoes will have the privilege of soiling lambswool carpets embroidered with the Daimler "D" logo.

[Source: MotorAuthority]

 

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VIDEO: Scale-model R/C off-roading

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We like offroading vids as much as anyone, because they show just how much many of the SUVs we roll in are actually capable of. We're also suckers for cool toys, and the video that follows the jump combines both of these interests to great effect. Pretty cool stuff...enjoy.

UPDATE: Second vid added that shows this year's event. Thanks to Matt (the guy behind it all) for the link in the comments.

[Source: YouTube]

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Live from the Ford Dearborn Development Center: 2008 model preview

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It's that time of year when all the carmakers want to show off their latest wares for the upcoming model year and Ford invited the media out to their Dearborn Development Center to try out some of what's new for 2008. Before we got a chance to actually hop in the vehicles and find out what's what, we had to sit through a couple of speeches.

First up was Group Vice President, North America Marketing, Sales and Service Cisco Codina with a rundown on Ford's marketing efforts. In spite of all Ford's struggles of late there are a few bright spots. The company's crossovers are flourishing as well as proliferating with the sales of the redesigned Escape up thirteen percent in June and the Edge recently moving into the top spot in it's category ahead of the Toyota Highlander. According to Cisco, the new Taurus has over 501 improvements compared to the Five Hundred. Five hundred of them came from the engineers with one coming from marketing in the form of a new name. So far response to the new Taurus seems positive with Automotive Leasing Group estimating that the Taurus will retain 49% of it's value after three years, up from a figure in the mid thirties for the old model.

Read on after the jump for the rest of what happened in Dearborn.


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Spy Shots: Hyundai Sonata

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It's more of a freshening than a full-out restyle, but that's okay, since the Hyundai Sonata is an enjoyable little number. The meat in the middle of the sandwich remains the same, but the nose and tail have been nipped and tucked. Up front, there's new headlights, a reshaped bumper and more chrome on a new grille. On the poop deck, it appears as if the taillights got some attention, but the rest is pretty heavily disguised. We expect to not be floored once the wraps come off, but Hyundai's gotten its styling together in the last few years and a familial resemblance to the Santa Fe and the Veracruz is not a bad thing.

[Source: Inside Line]

 

[via] Autoblog

Behind the wheel of the Caparo T1

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Although we've covered the entire gestation of the Caparo T1, we've yet to drive it. No surprise, as we'll be the first to admit that it outclasses us in every conceivable way. On the other hand, Nick Hall, the supercar scribe from across the pond, is one of the few motoring journos that actually has had seat time in the clichéd "Formula One car for the road." And although he hates that description, if the shoe fits...

His review over at World Car Fans provides you the prerequisite stats for you to rattle off when you're bench-racing your buddies, and the description of his time behind the wheel gives the best insight yet on what the 1,045 BHP per ton track toy is capable of - and why even though it's road legal, your kidneys will thank you if you avoid trips to the corner store.
[via] Autoblog

Europe: Ford Focus RS lives after all

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Although Ford has continued to deny the existence of the next Focus RS, Car magazine's spy photographers were able to capture a mule undergoing testing. The current-gen. body panels will be ditched in favor of the new "kinetic" design language that's blessed the new Mondeo, but we're less concerned with styling than we are with the mechanicals.

According to Car, the new RS will get the same turbocharged 2.5-liter in-line five that's in the current Focus ST, except power will be routed through a close-ratio six-speed transmission and sent to all four wheels via a Volvo-derived AWD system.

Through the use of new variable intake and exhaust manifolds, reinforced connecting rods, a revised turbo, a larger intercooler and some significant tweaks to the ECU, the motor should be capable of 300 HP and 280 lb.-ft. of twist. 60 is expected to come up in around five seconds flat and the estimated 165 MPH top speed isn't out of the question.

The new RS will likely bow in Geneva next year, with sales beginning that spring. Although it won't have all the fancy electronics of the Evo and STI, for £28,000, it stands to be the biggest bang for the buck abroad.

[Source: Car]

 

[via] Autoblog