Leaked! Audi RS6 Avant

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Click the image above for more high-res pics.

The folks over at Auto Motor und Sport (and Dubspeed) let loose several images and specs on Audi's forthcoming RS6 Avant, and although the pics are pretty, the real story is the power. Sporting a 5.2-liter V10, complete with TSI and two turbos swinging from the exhaust manifolds, the RS6 will be producing upwards of 580 HP and 480 lb.-ft. of torque. This allows the Avant to jaunt to 60 in under 4.6 seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 155 MPH.

The official unveiling is days away in Frankfurt, so expect more to follow.

[Source: Auto Motor und Sport via German Car Blog, Dubspeed]


[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: BMW X6 teaser with Chris Bangle

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The build-up to the debut of the BMW X6 is nigh, and in addition to the de-camo'd mule that was spied earlier today, the boys from Bavaria have decided to let Chris Bangle explain the design ethos of the new SAV in front of a cloaked concept.

Mr. Bangle goes into detail over the six-minute flick about what BMW's aim for the X6 is, who it's targeting and what kind of capabilities we should expect from this 'ute in coupe's clothing. He even says that it might have some off-road prowess. We shall see.

In the meantime, check out the BMW-produced video after the jump and keep tabs on all the unveilings from the IAA in Frankfurt here.

[Source: BMW]

Continue reading VIDEO: BMW X6 teaser with Chris Bangle


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Frankfurt Preview: Alfa Romeo allows individual pimpage

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Click the image above for a gallery of high-res pics.

While mass customization has slowly become a mainstay strategy for automakers courting buyers from all walks of life, Alfa Romeo's particular program has some added cachet. Originally instituted with the introduction of the 8C Competizione, where buyers of Alfa's flagship have a hand in tailoring their ultra-exclusive GT to suit, the new "Ultra-Alfa" customization program will filter its way down to the Italian automaker's mass-market offerings. Three different "programs" will be available, ranging from "Vintage" to "TI", that find influence with every aspect of Alfa's heritage.

The "Vintage" program has a more classic feel, while the "Collezione" packages come complete with "perfumed" leather seats, contrasting stitching, metal inserts and plenty of other spizzarkle.

The "Turismo Internazionale," or "TI" packages, draw more on Alfa's racing tradition and centers on performance items that include revised suspensions setups and brakes, along with exclusive wheel designs and high-performance tires.

You can read through Alfa's press release after the jump, and see its new-fangled wares below in the gallery before they debut next week in Frankfurt.

[Source: Alfa Romeo]

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Spyker F1's wealthy new owner injecting India into F1

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Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker has staved off bankruptcy by offloading its F1 team for a cool 80 million Euros ($110 million USD). That's the kind of pocket change that new owner Vijay Mallya loses in his car seats every year. Mallya, currently ranked the world's 664th richest man by Forbes, owns Kingfisher Airlines and the popular Indian beer of the same name, but is most famous in F1 circles for hosting lavish parties aboard his 311' yacht "Indian Empress" over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

This marks the first time an Indian individual or company has taken such a prominent role in international motorsport, though rumored Jaguar and Land Rover buyer Tata has sponsored Spyker's predecessor Jordan in the past, and currently backs Williams F1. Both the Tata and Mallya families will now be lobbying Bernie Ecclestone hard to get a race around the streets of New Delhi on the F1 calendar within the next few years.

[SOURCE: The Guardian]


[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: New Vectra OPC spotted at the 'Ring

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While GM will be showing a high performance OPC version of the current Opel Vectra at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, it looks like we'll have to wait until the Geneva Motor Show next March for the new Epsilon II Vectra. Nonetheless, an OPC version of new Vectra has been spotted lapping the Nurburgring. The car is still covered by vinyl tape meant to obscure the contours and confuse autofocus systems, but all of the heavy camo is now gone. The OPC coming next week, meanwhile, has a 280-hp turbocharged V-6, and this powertrain is likely to carry over to the new car.

[Source: WorldCarFans]


[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Lincoln MKS in the buff on the set of Batman

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A friend who's friends with our friends over at Jalopnik sent in spy shots of the new Lincoln MKS while it was on set apparently making a cameo appearance in the new Batman movie. These shots don't get any clearer, with the front fascia, back end and everything in between fully exposed for the gawking.

The front end is significantly toned-down from the concept version that made its debut in Detroit, but it still holds onto many of the elements that made the MKR a success. Out back, it is a bit bland, but it's clean and elegant - exactly what we'd expect from Lincoln.

The MKS is set to be unveiled sometime next year, with sales likely to begin in the latter half of '08.

[Source: Jalopnik]


[via] Autoblog

Ford, Chrysler irked at feds' potentially biased email

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Charges of anti-Americanism have followed the transmittal of an e-mail from the US Department of Health and Human Services to 67,000 federal workers. The e-mail, written by an unnamed member of the department, gives advice on buying a personal car and suggests making fuel efficiency the first consideration, citing the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid and Nissan Altima Hybrid by name. Then, based on a list from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, it suggests 12 cars to look at, all of them imports. It also specifically recommends staying away from SUVs.

[Source: Detroit News]

Continue reading Ford, Chrysler irked at feds' potentially biased email


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Acura shows off 2008 lineup with Super Handling-AWD

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Click the Acura family photo for a high res gallery

After revamping its crossover lineup for the 2007 model year, Acura will have a very incremental 2008 model year. There are no new or redesigned models, but more equipment is being added across its entire lineup. The main emphasis this year is what the automaker calls its Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. The all-wheel-drive system is available on the RDX, MDX and RL this year, and will be added to other models in the coming years including Acura's upcoming "exotic" car, a.k.a. the NSX replacement.

The key feature of SH-AWD is its integration with the stability control inertial and driver input sensors. Most stability control systems rely on modulating the engine torque and selectively applying and releasing the individual wheel brakes to apply forces to the car and try and force it to follow the drivers intent. SH-AWD instead uses the clutch packs on either side of the rear differential to transfer drive torque to the appropriate wheel to stabilize the vehicle with much less brake intervention.

Continue reading after the jump and check out a video of some track laps in the RL.

Continue reading Acura shows off 2008 lineup with Super Handling-AWD


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Car drives start-stop equipped MINI

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Car magazine has test driven the new MINI Cooper 1.6 with BMW's start/stop technology and likes it a lot. The system on the manual transmission car requires you to put the car in neutral when you come to a stop in order for it to work, which does seem a bit funky to us -- we don't know anyone who puts their car in neutral every time they stop at a light. However, once you learn to do that, you'll get all the benefits of having left your engine running, and you'll increase your fuel economy by about 9%.

The system also only kicks in once the car is up to full operating temperature. If you wish to turn it off (and keep the engine running at all times) there's a button near the gear lever. The MINI also benefits from having an alternator that only charges the battery when necessary, and a light indicator telling the driver when to shift up.

Performance-wise, driven with ultimate economy, the MINI matched Prius CO2 emissions and got -- count 'em -- 74 mpg. Assuming Car uses the Imperial MPG metric, that converts to a still impressive 61 mpg in our U.S. cycle. The zippier Cooper S turned in 46 mpg, or 38 mpg in using the U.S. metric. Even accounting for a drop in real-world mileage, those are still impressive numbers. This is the system that BMW is going to introduce across its entire range, and so far, it's an auspicious beginning.

[Source: Car]


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Saleen gets fined $700k for selling uncertified cars in Cali

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The California Air Resources Board has sent Saleen a $700,000 bill for making non-compliant changes to three of its aftermarket products. Saleen's Focus N20, Focus S121, and Mustang S281 were altered in ways that weren't legal under ARB guidelines. Based on the release, it appears that Saleen's offenses were altering emissions control systems on the N20, and not getting the other two models certified.

The size of the fine and the fact that the ARB expressly states it is using the fine as a deterrent for other aftermarket tuners makes it sound like Saleen knew it wasn't in compliance. However, the ARB release says that only the Focus N20 must be recalled and reconfigured. The other two models "were ultimately certified for use in California," but the ARB gives no indication that they had to be recalled in order to do so. Regardless, if you've got an N20 in SoCal that hasn't been fixed, get it off the road and back to Saleen.

[Source: Mustang Evolution]


[via] Autoblog

Frankfurt Preview: BMW X6 spied before debut

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Now that it's been confirmed the BMW X6 will make it's world debut in Frankfurt next week, those tasked with keeping the prototypes under cover have been given the green light to show a little more skin... err, metal. These newest shots don't leave much to the imagination, giving us a very clear view of both the front and rear of BMW's SAV.

The front clip has a decidedly sportier appearance than its big brother the X5, with larger air dams, kidney grilles and fog lamp recesses. The sloping roofline out back is as extreme as we expected, and the small spoiler integrates smoothly into the hatch.

Frankfurt is less than a week away, so, as always, watch this space.

[Source: World Car Fans]


[via] Autoblog

Frankfurt Preview: Citroën C-Cactus Concept

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Click image for photo gallery

Citroën can always be counted upon to show off interesting concept cars at the major European automobile shows, and when the IAA in Frankfurt kicks off in the coming days, the French marque will live up to those expectations. We've already seen the attractive, open-topped C5 Airscape, and the second Frankfurt show car is the green-minded C-Cactus concept.

Named after the desert-dwelling plants that survive while consuming very little, the C-Cactus is a green concept that minimizes both the amount of materials that go into its construction and the amount of fuel it needs to operate. The latter half of that equation comes from its hybrid HDi diesel-electric powertrain equipped with a ZEV mode. Like sister company's Peugeot 308 Hybride HDi, the C-Cactus also delivers 70 mpg in the combined cycle, and it actually beats the Peugeot show car's C02 output, emitting a paltry 78 g/km. But the car's ecological approach doesn't end there.

[Source: Citroën]

Continue reading Frankfurt Preview: Citroën C-Cactus Concept


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VIDEO: 2007 Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance

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The final word on Pebble for 2007 comes via these last video clips of the Tour d'Elegance. As we profiled in the gallery post about The Tour, this is a chance for locals and visitors to get a glimpse of the Pebble Concours field for free, a few days before the big show. The vast majority of entrants take the drive along 17-Mile Drive and down the coast a bit before heading back into Carmel for lunch and then back down to the Polo Fields near Pebble Beach to get ready for Sunday's main event. Entrants who successfully complete the drive get a bonus ribbon that will tip a tie vote in their favor during judging at the Concours.

We shared a ton of still shots from the lineup, 17-Mile Drive and the Bixby Bridge already, but here is some video from those same locales. You'll really get a feel for why the bridge can be a magical location for photos on a clear day, but this year's fog made things a bit trickier. Thanks again to our buddy Duane for processing and hosting these videos. Be sure to check out his site to see some great higher def clips from this year's Pebble Beach festivities and from a bunch of other So Cal auto shows and museum visits as well. Two YouTube compilations follow the jump.

Continue reading VIDEO: 2007 Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance


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Lotus planning 2+2 for London '08, Esprit replacement in '09

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In an interview with EVO, Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley let it fly that two new projects are on their way, and the financial woes that have troubled the niche automaker are finally beginning to dissolve.

We were already aware that a new Esprit had been under development for the past few years, and that the launch would come before the end of the decade. Kimberley confirmed that we could expect to see the next-gen Esprit in late 2009, with power provided by "a very well respected prestige car maker." The initial speculation was that BMW might be tapped to supply an engine, but several signs now peg Aston Martin as being the power provider. The £70,000 supercar has already been sent back to the drawing board once, and Kimberley is confident that the new Esprit will be the dynamic masterpiece expected from Lotus.

More intriguing was the revelation that Lotus is in the process of developing a 2+2 coupe, codenamed Project Eagle, which is designed to slot in between the Elise/Exige/Europa and the forthcoming Esprit. EVO was privy to a brief glance of the concept and described it as a, "Bertone-bodied Dino 308GT4 with a modern Lotus twist." The chassis won't be derived from the Elise platform, but instead will incorporate an aluminum tub accompanied by fiberglass-composite panels. Power is likely to come via a Toyota-sourced V6, mounted amidships, and sending 300+ horsepower to the rear wheels. Lotus will take the wraps off the concept at the London Motor Show next year, with sales expected to begin early 2009.

[Source: EVO]


[via] Autoblog

Drink & drive? Not in a Volvo. Introducing the Alcoguard

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As fuel cell technology gains ground, carmakers will find new ways to incorporate it into vehicles beyond mere motive power. In a noteworthy development for social sippers everywhere, Volvo has used it to create a gadget called the Alcoguard, which is a fuel cell breathalyzer.

The use of fuel cells is occasioned by their accuracy. Apparently, European police already use fuel cell breathalyzers, which render more accurate readings because the membranes react only to ethanol and nothing else. The more molecules of ethanol in a potential driver's breath, the higher the electrical current created when they pass through the membrane. In Sweden, the unit is tuned to let the car start at readings of less than 0.2 g/l. Above 0.1 g/l, the car will start, but it lets the driver know that he shouldn't drive.

The Alcoguard can, of course, be calibrated to each country's particular limits. It will be available on the S80, V70, and XC70 models from next year, and will cost 900 euros.

Thanks for the tip, Dave!

[Source: Autoblog Green]


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VW says Adios! to Auburn Hills - move to D.C. confirmed

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The workforce exodus in Southeast Michigan is slated to continue, as Volkswagen's North American headquarters is officially heading over to Washington D.C. VW currently employs 1,500 workers in Auburn Hills, just a stone's throw away from Chrysler's epicenter. The move to D.C. comes as VW has lost about $2 billion in North America in 2005 and 2006. Past headquarter moves, like Nissan's shift from California to Tennessee, have helped pare-down a company's white collar workforce, and VW feels its workforce is bloated and in need of fresh blood.

While it's unfortunate for Michigan to lose yet another large employer, the move promises to be a big win for the D.C. area. It'll be tough for VW to improve its bottom line, however, with the Euro worth so much more than the Dollar at the moment. Perhaps a view of the White House and Lincoln Memorial will motivate the new VW North America workforce to keep making great products, but with price tags that are a bit closer to the competition.

[Source: The Car Connection]


[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 09.04.07

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"Blow 5 seconds." That's got to be the best dashboard information item ever. It'll appear in some Volvo cars early next year thanks to the fuel-cell powered Alcoguard breathalyzer. The Alcoguard was the most unusual bit of new AutoblogGreen had yesterday, the rest of our coverage seemed to focus on car size. Pick your favorite titles from the list below:


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ROUSH Silverado sketch leaked!

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Click image to enlarge

We have no information on this other than the image you see here, but pictures say a lot, and this one says that ROUSH is about to spread some of its performance pickup love over to General Motors in the form of the ROUSH Silverado. A poster at the CamaroZ28.com forum snuck a cameraphone shot of an official sketch and published it on the website. As you can see when you enlarge the photo, there's a pretty concise legal disclaimer at the bottom, and if we had to guess, someone is definitely going to get fired for this rather significant security breach. Either that, or ROUSH has deftly embraced viral marketing. Here's hoping for a blown 6.2L under that domed hood.

We have spoken to ROUSH, and they can only confirm that the Silverado depicted above is "a project that we are evaluating."

Thanks for the heads-up, Josh.

[Source: CamaroZ28.com via TheGMSource]


[via] Autoblog

REPORT: Audi TT RS nearing final approval

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According to Britain's Autocar, the Audi TT RS is waiting for a nod from Audi brass. Here's hoping the suits start making like bobbleheads and greenlight the über TT soon. The skinny, according to Autocar, goes like this. The TT RS will be powered by a turbocharged version of the 2.5L 5-cylinder currently found under the hood of the VW Jetta. The high-po 5-banger will dish out a stiff 350 horsepower, a full 100 more than the current TT 3.2 quattro range-topper.

The mag speculates that the RS will be a coupe-only offering whose styling borrows elements from the extreme-looking TT Clubsport show car the automaker trotted out at the Wörthersee meet earlier this summer (gallery below). Autocar also spoke to an insider who claims to have heard the 2.5 turbo, and word is that the sound recalls that of the fabled capital-Q Quattro. If that's accurate and it sounds anything like this, it'll be a four-wheeled piece of Heaven on Earth. Expect a 5-second 0-60 sprint and a governed top end of 155 mph. Autocar also tells us to expect a TT S powered by a hopped-up version of the 2.0 TFSI motor making 261 horsepower. Please hurry, Audi.

[Source: Autocar]


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