Europeans won't get Dodge Challenger

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Although DaimlerChrysler had originally planned to bring the upcoming retro-rod Dodge Challenger to Europe, it seems Cerberus has had a change of heart. They apparently see the Challenger as a limited production model that will only be available in the States, and as such they have made the decision not to sell the car in Europe, according to reports on AutoTelegraaf.

We'll finally see the production version of the Challenger in Chicago next February, and production should start at Chrysler's Brampton plant later in 2008. It seems like an eternity since we first glimpsed this Mustang challenger (Har dee har), but fortunately for us in America, at least we'll eventually get a chance to purchase one. Well, Europeans might be able to through brokers, but nothing officially from Dodge. But hey, at least they have the Avenger and upcoming Journey to look forward to!

[Source: AutoTelegraaf via MotorAuthority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Continental talks concept car tires

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With Frankfurt just around the corner, a lot of attention will be focused on some flashy new concept cars being shown to the world for the first time. Hardly noticed, but vitally important to the overall impact of these show cars are the tires. Slapping a set of off-the-rack tires on a futuristic dream car is like wearing a pair of old shoes with a new suit. One tire company, Continental, has given us a glimpse at how it determines the right tire for the right car in these cases.

Continental says its design team actually starts with a standard tire and works with the manufacturer to create a unique look. Certain tread patterns evoke certain emotional responses which must be properly paired with the overall intent of the vehicle. Sports cars need "aggressive tread patterns which give the feeling of speed," for instance. Color can even be used to highlight the tread or sidewalls. SUVs, on the other hand, need off-road tread blocks, even if 90+ percent of them will never go through anything more challenging than a grassy parking lot at the ball field. Filling the wheel wells is also a big consideration.

You can read more in the Continental release that follows the jump.

[Source: Continental]

Continue reading Continental talks concept car tires

 

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[via] Autoblog

Infiniti G37 coupe to get AWD

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Official word has yet to come down from on high, but it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Infiniti G37 will eventually get AWD hardware. Potential buyers are asking dealers, who are in turn asking Infiniti about channeling the VQ's urge through all four wheels. The M45 and G35S will both be gaining AWD in the near future, so it does bode well for the possibility of a G37x. Official statements are vague about any actual developments, other than to say "it's reasonable to expect it may happen." It's also reasonable to assume that Infiniti's watching the competition like BMW and Audi proliferating AWD euro-luxers, and they'd be remiss to neglect offering the same capabilities.

[Source: Inside Line]

 

[via] Autoblog

Mercedes-Benz lets loose the new C-Class Estate

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Click the C-Class Wagon for a high-res gallery

After unveiling the latest C-Class sedans last March at the Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz is taking the wraps off the new C-Class Estate in Frankfurt next month. Aside from stretching the roofline back, there isn't a lot different from the sedan. Cargo volume in the back ranges from 17 cu.ft with the back seats up to 53 cu.ft with the seats folded.

That rear cargo space features plenty of tie-down hooks and a collapsable storage crate for storing those groceries you don't want sliding around. European models get a full range of four- and six-cylinder gas and diesel engines, with the range-topper being the 3.5L V-6. here in the US, we'll probably only see the bigger sixes initially with a diesel probably following later. All the details from Mercedes are pasted after the jump.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

Continue reading Mercedes-Benz lets loose the new C-Class Estate

 

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[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Upgraded Aston Martin V8 Vantage

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Less than a month after the launch of the new DBS, images of a similarly-prepped V8 Vantage have surfaced ahead of a likely unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Changes to the car include new clear-lens taillights, beefier brake discs with uprated calipers and some aero upgrades including a rear diffuser. The car hasn't been officially announced by Aston Martin but early reports suggest it'll be called the Vantage V8 RS.

The car will basically be a tamer version of the road-legal but stripped-out N24 club-racer, so expect some power mods under the hood such as breathing and ECU upgrades to deliver improved response from the gas pedal. Though it's hard to tell from these spy shots, the interior should have plenty of carbon-fiber and aluminum elements adding to the race car feel.

Earlier reports suggested that Aston Martin is planning to present two new race-inspired cars at the Frankfurt show in addition to the new DBS, so with this new Vantage V8 model revealed we wonder what else it has up its sleeves.

[Source: Straightline]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: BMW 3-Series sedan facelift

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E90Post has several spy shots up that show the facelifted 3-Series sedan due around a year from now as an '09 model. While the car is still wearing camo, some things immediately jump out, like the more rounded grilles and sportier-looking lower front fascia. If you click through to the thread, you'll see that the taillamps are partially covered as well, suggesting a reshaping of the parts that reside on the trunklid. Changes to the hood and front bumper are also in store, but they're sporting disguises that still mask their updated shapes. To summarize, it looks like a more athletic look for the 3-Series sedan is in the works, which isn't a bad thing at all. For several more shots showing additional angles of the car, head on over to E90Post by clicking the image above or the "Read" link below.

Thanks for the tip, Lars!

[Source: E90Post]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ferraris, McLarens, Bugattis: Tell us again how it's hard being a gangsta

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50 Cent may have a thing for off-the-rack Pontiacs, but most self-respecting rappers got images to maintain, know what I mean? So it's high-horsepower, top-dollar, ultra rare exotics for most of 'em. Take, for example Busta Rhymes and the aforementioned 50 Cent. At least at one time, both of them owned Lamborghini Murcielagos. Pharrell Williams has one of the remaining uncrashed Enzos. Jay-Z is a well-known Mercedes man, and his fleet boasts not only a G55, but also a Maybach among other things.

Then there's Wyclef Jean, who doesn't mess around with all those high-production Ferraris. No, Jean snagged himself a McLaren F1, which means I may have to become a fan.

But some rappers like their horses vintage, like Funkmaster Flex, who is known to have a 1966 Impala SS 396 and The Game, who is a '70 Chevelle owner.

But when all the rappers get together on Friday nights in the local high school parking lot, it's Scott Storch whose wheels get the attention these days. Parked between his Enzo and McLaren is a Bugatti Veyron.

I knew I shoulda stuck with those piano lessons in fifth grade. Dang.

[Source: Forbes]

 

[via] Autoblog

Jaguar design chief says XF is Apple flavored

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"We have been working with Apple on control interfaces."

That's a direct quote from, not Martin Winterkorn at Volkswagen, but Ian Callum, the design director for Jaguar, as quoted by CAR magazine. Callum says Jaguar's new XF's start button "starts to pulsate" when the driver gets into the car. Once running, the car's hidden air vents "rise up" and the JaguarDrive Selector pops up from the console. Actual buttons are kept to a min.

Sounds all very high-tech and somewhat Apple-like. The pulsating start button is very reminiscent of Apple computers' power indicator lights.

So now we have Apple confirmed to be working with Jaguar and rumored to be working with Volkswagen and Mercedes. Another item of interest we came across in researching this post is a Macrumors story which says it heard about the CAR interview with Callum from Macrumors reader -- get this -- Chris Bangle. Could it be? Nah.

Thanks for the tip, Chris!

[Source: CAR Magazine via Macrumors]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Subaru Impreza STI interior snapped

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STI MuleVia NASIOC, epicenter of all things Subaru, come some very interesting spy photos showing an apparent Impreza STI mule. Ignore the regular Impreza body and instead focus on the exterior tipoffs.The dual twin-tipped exhaust outlets and rolled fenders that accommodate a meatier wheel/tire package show that this is no garden-variety WRX. The most important photo in the set, however, is of the car's interior. There, the STI badging is plainly visible, along with unique steering wheel trim plus an SI-Drive selector just below the shifter. This at least reveals a good part of the STI equation. Now we just want to see how much more menacing the real bodywork's going to look.

Thanks for the heads-up, Gabe!

[Source: NASIOC]

 

[via] Autoblog

Frankfurt Preview: Hyundai diving right in with i-Blue Concept

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UPDATE: Larger image and press release added.

click above for larger image

Though not officially announced yet, the Hyundai i-Blue Concept will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, according to Automotive News. The i-Blue Concept is a hydrogen-powered exercise in being green and practical at the same time. It uses Hyundai's third-generation hydrogen fuel cell. While past Hyundai hydrogen concepts were SUVs, the i-Blue mirrors the trend of the day by sitting atop a new car-based crossover platform. No more news is available on the i-Blue Concept since Hyundai hasn't officially announced it yet. We don't know where Automotive News got the above image, and we're interested since the i-Blue may contain future Hyundai styling cues. Look for those on the vehicle's front end, as that giant C- and D-pillar combination at the vehicle's rear would make for one hellish blind spot on a production vehicle.

[Source: Automotive News]

Continue reading Frankfurt Preview: Hyundai diving right in with i-Blue Concept

 

[via] Autoblog

More for less (kinda) - 2008 Highlander Hybrid pricing announced

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Toyota's revamped Highlander has been trickling onto dealer lots for about a month now, and Toyota's released details of the new hybrid version of the thoroughly improved midsize CUV. There are two trim levels available: base and Limited. Both will have the 3.3 liter V6 along with the 4WD-i system kicking out 270 horsepower. There are a couple different modes now, like ECON and EV, which should boost fuel economy in some cases.

There are now three rows of seats available, with a trick center position for the second row seats that can hide away. The Highlander has grown a lot, adding four inches in length, and three in width and height, too. Limiteds add nearly full-boat details to an already well-equipped base model. Things such as leather seats, six-disc changer, a power hatch, third-row bench, and more become part of the deal. Even with a newly designed vehicle carrying more standard equipment, the base model has seen a $190 price drop, to $33,700. If you must have all the goodies, the Limited increases in price by $3400, ringing up a bill of at least $39,950. The last Highlander Hybrid we had in the Autoblog Garage was $37,000, and failed to feel like such an expensive vehicle. The new Highlander Hybrid's appearance and equipment should help it pull off the crushing weight of its sticker price.

press release after the jump

[Source: Toyota via The Car Blog]

Continue reading More for less (kinda) - 2008 Highlander Hybrid pricing announced

 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler confirms Challenger SRT-8

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We feel a "Thank you, Captain Obvious" is in order for this piece of news that was published all the way back on July 12th within the walled garden of Ward's Auto. The news is simply that Chrysler has confirmed it will build an SRT-8 version of the upcoming Challenger pony car. Chrysler, sorry, the NEW Chrysler, has never issued a release to our knowledge confirming it will sell the Challenger SRT-8, but again, we don't need one because they'd be crazy not to.

All current SRT-8 products use Chrysler's 6.1L HEMI V8, so we would expect the same powerplant for the Challenger SRT-8 producing 425 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs. of torque. However, considering how many high-powered variants of the Mustang are offered, and that Chevy will certainly offer a comparably high-powered version of the Camaro, we expect the SRT-8 to break rank with its siblings and have considerably more power than we're used to seeing in an SRT-8 product. In fact, we may reasonably expect all SRT-8 models to get an commensurate bump in power after the Challenger SRT-8 debuts in late 2009, especially with some like the Dodge Charger, Magnum and Chrysler 300 switching from the current LX platform to a new one code named LY.

BTW - Less than 159 days remain until the production Chrysler Challenger debuts at the Chicago Auto Show next February (check the countdown clock).

[Source: SEMA.org]

 

[via] Autoblog

Bring Back the SHO: How about a coupe?

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click above image to view high-res gallery

There is a small contingent of enthusiasts, myself included, who would love to see the SHO badge return for a lucky Ford product. Being that it was originally used on a high-performance variant of the Taurus, it would make sense that the newly renamed 2008 Ford Taurus be first in line. Unfortunately, what was once the best-selling mid-size family sedan in the U.S. is now a certified Large Car by the EPA. Not exactly the most ideal canvas for a sports sedan.

We've shown you renderings in the past of what a resurrected Taurus SHO might look like, and while it could look good, damn good actually, anyone who's driven the new Taurus (it's currently in the Autoblog Garage, we'll have a review up soon) will tell you that it's entirely ill suited to be a SHO. BringBackTheSHO.com, a website that holds vigil for the return of my favorite car, has produced most of the late-model Taurus SHO renderings we've shown you, and they've produced their most interesting batch yet.

What about a Taurus SHO Coupe? Built on a shortened wheelbase, it would weigh less than the sedan, while still incorporating a serious motor (TwinForce anyone?) and all-wheel drive. We've got plenty of pics in the gallery below for you to consider. Some will still hate the idea, but I'm behind any plan that brings back the SHO.

[Source: BringBackTheSHO.com]


 

[via] Autoblog

Frankfurt Preview: 2008 Lexus GS tweaked to perfection

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click above image to enlarge

Lexus' itinerary for the Frankfurt Motor Show next month includes the European debut of the IS-F and the worldwide debut of this model, the 2008 Lexus GS 450h. The new GS 450h also clearly shows how the standard GS models will be tweaked for the 2008 model year. A new front bumper and tweaked headlight design, as well as new side mirrors with integrated turn signals, are the most obvious changes. The interior gets updated too, but Lexus only issued an image of the exterior, so we'll have to wait a couple of weeks to see what's going on inside the car. Also of note is a new "active stabilizer system" available on the GS 450h to improve the car's handling, perhaps attempting to compensate for the extra weight of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

Check out a high-res version of the new 2008 Lexus GS-450h by clicking the image above, and since the styling tweaks are subtle, we've also included comparison shots with a 2007 model after the jump.

[Source: Carscoop]

Continue reading Frankfurt Preview: 2008 Lexus GS tweaked to perfection

 

[via] Autoblog

Glitch idles four Chrysler plants until next week

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For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost. It looks like a slight glitch in the delivery of powertrain components has led Chrysler to idle one of its plants for the rest of next week. Actually, four separate plants will be stopped as a result of this problem - Jefferson North in Detroit, Warren Truck (Michigan), Newark Assembly (New Jersey) and St. Louis North (Missouri).

The problem involves powertrain components for certain Dodge and Chrysler trucks and SUVs, as well as the Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee. Chrysler was quick to point out that Labor Day and previously scheduled shutdowns were partially responsible for the idlings and that no vehicles had left the factory without the necessary parts. No, really, they felt they needed to point that out.

[Source: just-autos, sub. req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

Lexus announces Chinese pricing for LF-A already

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In early 2008, the Lexus LF-A will go on sale on China. The price: $264,700. That's a lot of yuan, even with the expected markup for the Chinese market. Zeng Lintang, vice president of Toyota Motor (China) Investment Co, said that the car will sell "for more than 2 million yuan." By comparison, in China, a Porsche 911 GT3 RS sells for about 1.9 million yuan, and a Ferrari F430 sells for about 2.6 million yuan. ThePassionatePursuit actually compared the price ratio of a Lexus LS600hL sold in China and the U.S. and guesses the car could cost $129,703 USD when it goes on sale here. Lexus has talked about creating a car that can compete with Ferrari performance-wise. We'll soon see if it can also compete price-wise.

[Source: Gasgoo via The Passionate Pursuit]

 

[via] Autoblog

Rendered Speculation: 2008 Ford Falcon Orion XR6

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click above image for high-res version

Development mules for the upcoming redesign of the Ford Falcon in Australia are not that hard to come by in the land of Oz. CarAdvice has hosted plenty, and decided to let loose an artist on them to create an accurate rendering of what the 2008 Ford Falcon will look like. Shown here is a rendering of the 2008 Ford Falcon XR6 model, one of the many high-performance versions of Ford Australia's rear-wheel drive sedan. After examining all the spy shots that we've seen, it's clear to us that this is the most accurate guesstimate of the Falcon's new look that you're likely to find.

[Source: CarAdvice.com.au]

 

[via] Autoblog

John Edwards hears it from Jason Vines

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Jason Vines, Chrysler's VP of Communications, read about John Edward's comments about SUV buying and just couldn't hold his tongue. Democratic presidential hopeful Edwards let slip during a speech to a labor group that Americans should sacrifice their SUVs in favor of more fuel efficient vehicles. While there are undoubtedly many people out there who have SUVs for their trendiness and perceived indestructibility, many SUVs are owned by people who truly need them. And those are the people Vines is defending. He blasts Edward's hypocrisy for asking civilians to give up their freedom of choice, when the presidential hopeful must realize that Secret Service motorcades are full of large SUVs.

And what does the presidential hopeful and his family use for personal transport? Jalopnik reports that Edwards drives a Cadillac SRX, and while his spokespeople claim the senator drives a hybrid SUV (they're all the rage on Capital Hill) around his home state of North Carolina, the family also reportedly has another SUV and a small truck.

[Source: Chrysler]

Continue reading John Edwards hears it from Jason Vines

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: BMW M X5 spotted

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BMW X5 BMW has consistently argued that a vehicle like the X5 is not fitting with the whole 'M' philosophy of increased performance through reduced weight but despite this spy-photographers have recently come across a new X5 prototype rolling around the streets of Munich with some very distinct M styling cues. The test-mule was seen sporting a new front bumper with much larger intakes than usual, while the back of the car was adorned with a quad-tailpipe arrangement sitting lower than the usual V8 models.

A further clue to this mule being a high-performance version was the sound of the engine. The photographer claimed it sounded very different to any of the X5's current powerplants, suggesting that it could be a new V10 version or possibly a twin-turbo V8 set-up. The final giveaway is the prototype's performance tires, signalling that we may have a new M car on the way.

We can picture the purists around the world shedding a tear at the thought of BMW adding an M badge to an SUV but if Porsche can get away with selling a sports off-roader, and AMG can pump up the Mercedes M-Class than we suppose BMW could too.

[Source: World Car Fans]

 

[via] Autoblog

Pebble Beach Week 2007: Meta-gallery from the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

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For some of you, seeing massive galleries of collector vehicles is a diversion from the daily automotive news you expect from Autoblog, and you lament the space devoted to them. To others, seeing massive galleries of collector vehicles is a a diversion from the daily automotive news you expect from Autoblog, and you love the space devoted to them. Personally we love seeing them and sharing them with those interested in glimpsing some of the greatest models from some of the most storied marques throughout automotive history.

Between the auctions, races, parties, tours and concours, there are literally thousands of fascinating vehicles in Pebble Beach and the surrounding area during that week in August, and it is considered a must-attend event for anyone with a love for the classics. As always, some of the comments tend to conflict with the massive traffic on these posts and so we try to strike a delicate balance between adequate coverage and overdoing it. We think we found that balance this year, and although there were approximately 20,000 photos available to us between the photographers we had on hand and those who offered to contribute to the cause, we managed to keep it under a thousand amongst a dozen or so posts.

Continue reading Pebble Beach Week 2007: Meta-gallery from the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

 

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[via] Autoblog

"Indestructible" speed camera coming to the UK

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As Americans are well aware, angry drivers are a dedicated, relentless, and unpredictable bunch. Angry drivers in Britain, fed up with the scourge of Gatso speed cameras, have destroyed them in all manner of ways. How are the authorities (or rather, capitalism) fighting back? A Dutch company has created a camera it wants to sell in Britain that could actually survive a day on the corner of a Baghdad street, let alone whatever purturbed British motorists can throw at it.

The camera is 13-feet tall, sits on a steel base placed in the ground, has cameras hidden behind strengthened glass, and has a fire-resistant body. It can monitor four lanes of traffic moving in both directions and doesn't use flashes so you don't know when you've been caught. And due to new regulations, it can be painted to blend in with its surroundings. Not only is it practically indestructible, but if it senses a threat via onboard smoke and vibration detectors, it will alert the nearest police station and upload all of its data to a central database so that no scofflaw gets away. Pending Home Office approval in England, it will be one giant leap for law enforcement, and one step closer to Robocop. We can think of only one achilles heel for this indestructible speed camera... a setp ladder and some spray paint.

Thanks for the tip, Spluch!

[Source: This London]

 

[via] Autoblog