We're continually trying to improve the reader experience on Autoblog, and today we've taken another step forward with the addition of commenter profiles and avatars for the vocal ones among us.
To access your profile, simply click on your name that appears at the top of any comment you've ever left on Autoblog. You'll be taken to your profile page on Blogsmith, which is the publishing platform we use, where you can log in with your password. Your password is the same one you use to leave a comment. If you don't know what your password is, leave a comment on this post under the "New User" column using your name and email address. A confirmation email for your comment will be sent to you, at the bottom of which will be your randomly generated password.
Once logged into your profile, you can now change your password, a much requested feature for heavy commenters, as well as upload a new avatar image.
This new system has been in effect on Joystiq, the resident video game blog in our Weblogs, Inc. Network, for some time now, and as you can see here, Joystiq readers have had a lot of fun messing with their default Mario avatars. We built our default avatar from a pic taken by Dan Roth for his In the Autoblog Garage review of the 2007 Infiniti G35. Where will you get your avatar? Try foraging for one in our galleries (yes, we're working on a better way to organize those, too). They're best at 64x64 pixels.
Let us know what you think of our new toys in the comments.
We're continually trying to improve the reader experience on Autoblog, and today we've taken another step forward with the addition of commenter profiles and avatars for the vocal ones among us.
Watching this commercial from Audi, we at first thought the automaker was giving props to its German, Italian and Swedish rivals. Then we got it.
Thanks for the tip, Jacob!
Posted by Tech Nectar at 5:24 pm
Filed under: Chrysler
It's still weird to think of Jim Press being at Chrysler LLC instead of Toyota North America. The man had been a staple at Toyota for the past 37 years or so, and we got used to seeing his face next to their logo. But now he's at Chrysler as the automaker's new co-Vice Chairman and President along with Tom LaSorda. We've all been wondering why he made the switch from the Japanese juggernaut to the smallest of the Big Three, and he answers us in this interview with Paul W. Smith on Detroit radio station 760 WJR-AM. Not surprisingly, he says the challenge at Chrysler was his motivation for leaving Toyota, which makes sense because this automaker has nowhere to go but up. Perhaps the triumvirate of Bob Nardelli, Tom LaSorda and Jim Press can make that happen. No doubt Jim Press will be rewarded handsomely for his contribution, though.
Click the Read link to hear the interview or download it.
Posted by Tech Nectar at 4:32 pm
The arrival of the X6 is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to BMW's impending onslaught of CUVs. We mustn't forget one of the CUVs that started it all for the Munich-based automaker - the smallish X3. Though just refreshed, the current X3 is awkward looking, something BMW hopes to fix when the 2010 X3 arrives in late 2009. Shown here in resplendent rendered speculation (click the Read link to see the full version), the next X3 will adopt a front end inspired by the BMW CS Concept that debuted at last year's Shanghai Motor Show. It would appear the concept's flaired nostrels have made their way to the X3's nose, while those split air intakes on the lower bumper are shared with the new X6 and will also likely become a future design cue for BMW activity vehicles. Of course, all new BMWs are getting the ubiquitous but excellent twin-turbo 3.0L inline six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower, and we expect the X3 will be no different. That's a good thing, as Dan Roth discovered the current 260 HP 3.0L six in the current X3 gets winded pulling around the vehicle's 4,100+ lb. curb weight.
Posted by Tech Nectar at 4:00 pm
Filed under: Etc.
There's nothing more eye-catching to a thief than a new car or bike. Your brand new pride and joy is just asking to be stolen, especially if you leave it parked on the street. That's why designer Dominic Wilcox made stickers to fool stupid thieves into thinking your wheels aren't worth stealing.
Despite the fact they look quite convincing in the photos. Wilcox doesn't offer any guarantees his stickers will actually work. He does say, however, that he placed them on his bike and it hasn't been stolen yet. What more evidence do you need?
Part of the appeal of owning a new car is showing it off, which you clearly can't do with these stickers applied. However, if that means you get to keep the aforementioned item from being stolen while parked in unseemly parts of town, it's all good.[Source: Dominic Wilcox via MoCo Loco]
Posted by Tech Nectar at 3:41 pm
It's been widely reported that execs at GM, including Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, are keen to expand Cadillac's lineup with several new exciting models. Gone are the days of the emphasis on luxo barges, replaced instead with a focus on smaller and more dynamic cars like the new CTS and, to a lesser extent, the Europe-only BLS. Most are predicting Cadillac will eventually launch new coupe and convertible versions of the CTS, but what if there was a new cabrio version of the entry-level BLS?
This new rendering gives us a pretty good idea of what that car would look like, and, to be honest, it doesn't look all that bad. Cadillac is said to be developing a new RWD small sedan to replace the BLS, and, if a coupe and convertible version were offered, we're sure it would have some success in the U.S.
[Source: CWW Car Design]
Posted by Tech Nectar at 3:08 pm
It's hard out there for a pimped out ride. As of this month, Rockford, Illinois will start seizing vehicles that play music too loudly. The kicker is that your car can be seized if someone merely accuses you of playing loud music, because "hearsay evidence shall be admissible."
The ordinance is worded in a way that actually disallows many OEM stereos: ""No person shall operate... any device used to... reproduce any recorded sound if the device is located... in any motor vehicle on the public way and the sound can be heard from 75 feet or more from the device." And you don't have to be playing music at the time -- someone could have heard you blasting tunes on your way down the street and reported it to the police. By the time the police show up your stereo's been silent for hours. But if the police determine there's probable cause that it was you, your car goes away.
The fine is $150 to $750, plus $75 for towing and $20 per day for storage. If the officer has to wait more than an hour for the tow truck, it's another $60 per hour for his or her time. And if you want to fight it, the city keeps your car while you go through the appeals process, charging you for storage fees, of course. Silent running might be the phrase to keep in mind while rolling through Rockford.
Thanks for the tip, F451!
[Source: The Newspaper]
Posted by Tech Nectar at 2:31 pm
Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Auto Show, Podcasts, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Crossovers/CUVs, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Dodge, Ford, GM, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, MINI, PSA, Volkswagen, Volvo, Renault, BrabusWe're back with Autoblog Podcast #77, and it's a Frankfurt-recap extravaganza. We discuss our favorite picks, as well as touching on some of the numerous highlights from the monster-sized show. We got a glimpse of the Jaguar XF in person, and it's better in person, but can it save Jaguar? BMW unveiled the X6, it's own AMC Spirit ripoff, not to be left behind by the Audi Cross Coupe Quattro from Shanghai. We continue on about exotic sheetmetal from Brabus, Schnitzer, Bentley, and Aston Martin, to name a few. On the more mundane tip, the Mazda 6 rocked, the Aveo was ugly, the Journey landed on its face, and could we please, please knock it off with the front quarter panel vents? After Alex's speed-round wrapup, we discuss a solitary piece of non-Frankfurt news, the Jeep J8. Yes, it's awesome, no, you can't buy one. Damn, that's stupid, Chrysler. Onward!
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Posted by Tech Nectar at 2:00 pm
We've seen static spy shots of the upcoming Corvette ZR-1 supercar before, but this is the first video we've seen of the car in action. While most of the video shows the 650 HP Corvette puttering along, we do get to hear the supercharged 6.2L LS9 V8 while cruising. The rumble emanating from the tail pipe is deep with lots of bass, so we can't to see and hear one blast off to 60 MPH in 3.4 seconds. Near the end of the video we do get one clip of the ZR-1 accelerating onto a highway, which is the closest we get to a full on aural assault from the engine. Only a couple of months remain until we expect the production car to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January, at which time we'll learn exactly how much of the ZR-1's body will be made of carbon fiber and whether reports of a plexiglass window in the hood are true.
Check out the video after the jump.
[Source: Fast Lane Daily]
Posted by Tech Nectar at 1:28 pm
We just told you about the upcoming Enzo replacement based on the Millechili concept a few days ago, but now we have a few more juicy rumors to share. Informed sources tell us that the upcoming replacement for Ferrari's Enzo supercar will take a different tack. As was reported earlier, it is believed that Ferrari wants to go with a smaller dimension vehicle featuring a smaller displacement engine. We're not sure of the dimensions or weight, but at least in the engine bay we should see a reduction over the current supercar. It is believed to be powered by a V8, unlike the Enzo's 6.0L V12. Not to be outdone by the likes of Bugatti and Koenigsegg, however, rumor has it this new Ferrari (F60?) will feature a pair of turbos feeding that V8, resulting in somewhere around 900 HP. Even with a vehicle weighing about the same as the Enzo, 900 HP would produce staggering performance. Early word was a 500 HP target figure, but the 900 number seems to be pretty firm according to our source. We'll keep our ears open for any other details we might hear about the possible Enzo successor.
Posted by Tech Nectar at 1:09 pm
click above image to view all the new 2008 Saturn VUE Red Line pics
General Motors released a new batch of 2008 Saturn VUE Red Line official images today, which we've gallerized for you while taking a peek for ourselves. The last VUE Red Line was loved by owners, though there weren't that many. For 2008, Saturn at least has a better canvas with which to work thanks to the European market Opel Anatara that's the basis for this new VUE. GM's 3.6L VVT V6 producing 257 HP and 248 ft-lbs. of torque at a low 2,100 RPM doesn't hurt, either. While the design is still very boy racer, at least it doesn't look comical like the last VUE Red Line. The best way to tell you're looking at a Red Line rather than a normal VUE is that front bumper, which on a Red Line version incorporates a very large lower grille flanked by two more smaller intakes with integrated driving lights. This bumper ups the aggressive factor of the little CUV, but also lowers its ground clearance to that of a sedan. A six-speed automatic does dividing duty in the VUE Red Line, while your choice of front- or all-wheel drive is available. Pricing starts at $27,395, though if sales don't immediately eclipse the old model, we bet an incentive or two might be placed on the hood.
We've got a 2008 Saturn VUE Red Line in the Autoblog Garage as we speak, so look for a review and more live shots of the vehicle soon.
[Source: General Motors]
Gallery: 2008 Saturn VUE Red Line
Posted by Tech Nectar at 12:33 pm
With the new Audi A4 sedan gracing stands at last week's Frankfurt Show, Audi is attempting to inject some life into the older-shape A4 Cabrio with the addition of the S line sports specification for the 2.0L TFSI model. Available only in the UK from December onwards, the special edition packaging adds Pearl Nappa leather, a Bose stereo system, parking sensors, and xenon headlamps.
Handling is improved with 18-inch double spoke alloys and a lowered sports suspension, while the exterior dons an optional blacked out grille and unique front and rear bumpers with an integrated rear diffuser. The car's mechanicals haven't come in for an upgrade, but the 197 HP and 206 lb-ft. of torque available from the 2.0L engine should suffice until the new model arrives. Opt for the multitronic CVT and the 0-62 MPH will take you 8.1 seconds while fuel consumption stands at 28 MPG.
Posted by Tech Nectar at 12:01 pm
We rarely have an opportunity to step outside anymore and see the light of day, that is unless an auto show beckons from half way around the world or we get a call from a man like John McElroy. McElroy is the host of Autoline Detroit, a panel-type TV show that features the who's who of the industry. It airs nationally every Sunday at 7AM on SPEED and locally in Motown at 10:30AM on Detroit Public Television, and this Sunday yours truly will be in the hot seat. I'll be appearing on the show with Ed Garsten from Chrysler LLC and Scott Burgess from The Detroit News to talk about "The New Journalism", i.e. blogging, and how it's affected automotive news and the industry in general.
Aside from ignoring the professional dress code on set with my blogger casual attire (I was advised not wear my only sport coat, which is corduroy and has leather patches on the sleeves), I think I held my own and will hopefully come across as the web's premiere auto blogging ninja, which is my only goal in life at the moment.
After you set your TiVo to record, come back and check Autoblog at 2PM today for another surprise collaboration between your favorite blog for auto news (that's us) and Autoline Detroit.
Posted by Tech Nectar at 11:53 am
Filed under: Autoline on AutoblogJohn McElroy is host of the TV program "Autoline Detroit". Every week he'll bring his unique insights as an auto industry insider to Autoblog readers.
CHEAP CARS COULD BE BIG BONANZA
By John McElroy
At the Frankfurt Auto Show last week, I found myself going through the Dacia Logan with a fine-tooth comb. I slammed the doors, sat in the seats, ran my hand over the fabrics, checked the fit and finish, and lay on my back peering under the car. Then I stood back and looked at it from a variety of angles. I just had to find out for myself if this cheap car truly represents the next Big Thing in the automotive market.
In case you haven't heard of it before, here's the quick low-down on the Logan. Dacia is a Romanian automaker now owned by Renault. Together they came out with the Logan to provide a low-cost, yet modern automobile for the masses. Today, the Logan is about the cheapest car you can buy in Europe. There's a van version that starts at 5,600 euros ($7,800) and a sedan that starts at 6,400 euros ($8,900).
At first, most other automakers sort of scoffed at the effort. But then sales of the Logan took off. Right now they're running at about 200,000 units a year and it's exported to 50 countries. That made everyone in the industry sit up and take notice.
Posted by Tech Nectar at 11:53 am
Car has listed what it considers ten of the "best, funniest, and cheesiest" UK car adverts. Those of us Stateside aren't likely to have seen many of them, like that for the Austin Allegro -- called "The new driving force from Austin" -- but there's enough old and new for everyone. Even Steve McQueen and the Rocky theme make an appearance (but not together). Even with some of the newer ones, however, you occasionally wonder: is that really what the greatest minds of our generation have come up with to sell a car? And there's the inevitable follow-up: did that commercial actually get me to buy that car?
For Wrangler owners who believe that it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that... chrome, Mopar has a delivery for you. The new chrome grille, only for the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, lets you front more of the shiny stuff in case you haven't been getting the kind of attention you deserve at chi-chi establishments. It's got all the Jeep fixin's, it installs in 20 minutes, and it'll only set you back $299. Even better, according to Chrysler, it will "turn heads on the trail or at a red-carpet event." You really don't have a choice not to buy this. Follow the jump to read the full press release.
As our October 20th deadline for destruction grows near, we've been making some significant progress on Project LeMons. After the interior was stripped and the hatch removed, Casey and Brad got to fabricating the roll cage out of pilfered pieces lying around the shop. We've got a full hoop mated to a couple of 50ish-degree pipes that tie into the custom rear strut tower brace. Last night, the harness bar was welded in place, along with the plate to mount the door bar to the floor, and although there is a seat sitting in the appropriate place, it's not mounted to anything yet.
Next up: we've got to weld the door bar in (and possibly add another one above it), get the seat positioned and secured, replace the brakes and water pump, and try to find a driveshaft. The good news: while yours truly was running ragged around Frank-town last week, the Modacar crew hooked up a battery and turned the beast over, and according to Brad, "it runs like a champ!" Can we get a "hooraa!"
Oh, and we cut a few holes into the hood to allow some airflow and plan on ditching the front and rear bumpers, and fitting some custom tubing in their place.
Our friend from Shutterflick snapped off some photos for your perusal; you can check them out below.
Gallery: Wrenching LeMons, Part Two
Dave Guilford of Automotive News sat down with Carlos Tavares, Nissan MoCo's global product chief, and the fruits of his investigative labors revealed that Infiniti has big plans over the next three years. A product push that involves a number of new models and expansion of the Infiniti brand into 90-percent of the luxury markets globally are the cornerstone of the marque, with sales likely to begin in South Korea and Russia, along with Europe in the latter half of next year.
Product-wise, Infiniti intends to bring approximately 10 new vehicles to market by the end of the decade, and although Tavares was mum on specifics, he did state that more crossovers, a "sports-oriented" car and a flagship are all part of the future lineup.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]
It's a banner day for car safety advocates around the world -- or at least, wherever Chinese cars are sold. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and China last week signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) that formalizes a relationship intended to make Chinese cars safer. The deal has probably been in the works well before the Chery and Brilliance
implosion crash test videos, but those videos couldn't have hurt China's commitment to sitting down.
The MOC outlines goals for creating safety standards and enforcing them, informing consumers, sharing research, improving fuel economy, and handling safety investigations and recalls. The two sides will sit down at least once a year, and they will also conduct joint research into automobile issues that will make Chinese cars -- and the roads they'll be on -- safer for everyone. We see this as a very positive thing for China's relatively nascent auto industry and its aspirations for global export. It the day ever comes where Chines-built cars are on the shelves in the U.S., it will be comforting to know they were designed using the same safety standards as the NHTSA.
Thanks for the tip, David!
With California being the world's single largest market for cars and also the most populace place for supercars, it's no surprise that every now and then you'll spot a rare exotic supercar rolling along one of its many highways. However, to see more than fifty exotics roll past, including several Ferrari Enzos and a Bugatti Veyron, is simply bizarre. Get ready to be hypnotized by your monitors to this piece of automotive fr0n (that's "porn" in geek speak) captured in glorious HD.
Start counting them as they past, one Lamborghini Diablo, one Bugatti Veyron, a Ferrari Enzo, a Murcielago, another Murcielago and, you guessed it, another Murcielago. The list goes on and on. Click the Read link below to visit this video in HD.
Thanks for the tip, Fred!
[Source: Socal Speed Zone]
210 km/h in a biodiesel motorcycle? For real. Iraq war due to our oil need? Greenspan says yes. And just how difficult is it to get an electric car in New Zealand? Pretty tough.
- 210 km/h: BMW biodiesel-fuelled motorbike sets new land speed record
- EnerDel plans to sell affordable, lithium-ion battery in 2 years
- Greenspan says (basically) that with higher MPG cars, Iraq war could have been avoided
- Got a guess for the 2008 Green Car of the Year yet?
- Electric car banned in New Zealand because of ... the steering wheel
- Anybody up for some Segway polo?
- Piaggio will bring Gilera Fuoco 500 to America as the MP3-500 and MP3-400
- Treadsetters: Yokohama tires launches green advice social network
- GM's Larry Burns gets ASM International research award
- Zap! teams with Chilectra for electric vehicle deal
- Used car buyers in England getting more aware of CO2 emissions
- Some potential rotary news for you rotorheads
- Michigan house members unanimous against HHS newsletter
- Teutel family's special E85 chopper raffled away for $113,357
- Meet the iSlide, a Segway-like skateboard concept
- Chevrolet to sponsor 5th annual Boston AltWheels festival
- Traffic, what a horrible time and gas waster!
- Getrag developing hybridized dual clutch transmission
Those who know cars, know that the term "hybrid" does not necessarily mean fuel-efficient. But did you know the Chevrolet Silverado Classic Hybrid, the most fuel-thirsty hybrid currently being built, gets 16 mpg? That's only 1 mpg better than a non-hybrid 5.3 liter Silverado. So why is it we're supposed to pay extra for the hybrid badge? Must be for extra weight and replacement cost of those batteries. (In fairness, the Silverado Hybrid's selling point was never fuel economy, but rather its ability to be used as a work-site generator with four electrical outlets.)
Forbes goes through several hybrids that aren't exactly Greenpeace members, but the magazine sometimes is a bit off base. On the list is also the ever-popular Toyota Highlander Hybrid as an example of a vehicle with a lighter shade of green. That said, the 4WD version has an average of 26 mpg, 7 mpg better than the non-hybrid version. No, not a spectacular difference as seen in something like the Honda Civic's 29 mpg and its hybrid sister's 42 mpg.
But then the Highlander keeps its 3.3 liter V6 in both versions, has 4wd and carries bunches of stuff. The Civic hybrid, on the other hand, gets those sky-high numbers with a smaller engine than the conventional Civic and has a CVT transmission.
The lesson to be learned here is that if you just want to look green, the options are numerous. But if you're serious about burning less gas, you'll need to make some sacrifices.
What appear to be official press shots of the all-new 2009 Honda Fit have surfaced online for the first time. The new Fit should be making its official debut in a few weeks at the Tokyo Motor Show, with home market sales beginning this winter. The Fit should subsequently head over to American showrooms next summer. The new model has a pronounced one-box shape with a sleeker look than the current model. The car in the photos also gets a panoromic glass roof.
[Source: The Hollywood Extra]
Gallery: 2009 Honda Fit leakage
Click image for photo gallery
Well, '08 Porsche Cayenne owners hankering for that TechArt Magnum look can now achieve their goal, thanks to the newly-released TechArt SUV package, which gives non-turbo Cayennes a suite of body mods providing a Magnum-ish look, but none of the 620-horsepower punch. If you have a Cayenne Turbo, TechArt can make the power thing happen for you as well (with or without the aero kit, presumably). They're also more than happy to trick out your interior and modify your Cayenne's active suspension (on trucks so equipped) to drop the lowest ride height an additional 30 mm. It's all business as usual at TechArt, where the only real constraint is the size of your child's college fund.
Click to enlarge
Kia has released a teaser image of the new seven-seater SUV it'll debut in January at the Detroit Auto Show. The vehicle currently codenamed HM will be based on the Mesa concept first shown back in 2005. Aside from being larger than the Sorento, Kia isn't spilling any other details right now. From what can be seen in the teaser shot, it looks pretty conventional and doesn't appear to break any new ground, stylewise, in an increasingly crowded segment.
It's nice to know that people read your blog, and it seems that this information can be learned at the oddest of times. Edmunds blogger and editor in chief, Karl Brauer, discovered that the police read his blog, and that the information written within Karl's sacred place of rambling was used against him in a court of law. Brauer was pulled over for speeding in Ventura County, and like any good scribe, he mentioned as much in his blog. Unfortunately, the officer is also a reader, and the policeman highlighted the damning evidence and presented it to the judge. It didn't really matter if the officer had the blog as his smoking gun, as any "good" judge will side with the police far more often than not.
In the end, Brauer lost his case and paid the fine. So how did he win? Well, Brauer was told by the officer that any time someone fights the ticket in court, the officer gets paid for overtime (a common practice in most cities) and any money from the ticket is used for court fees. In Brauer's mind, and in ours, that means when anyone fights a ticket in court, the government doesn't profit from turning police officers into revenue. We guess that's a win, except that when you go to court you still have to pay for the ticket, while at the same time you're likely losing more money by taking time off of work. At least you're sticking it to the man while also sticking it to yourself.[Source: Edmunds]
Farbio. Not sold on the name, but we're sure there's a good reason behind it. Someone from the English sports car maker will email us and tell us that it's the maiden name of owner Chris Marsh's beloved grandmother or something, so we won't mock it, just state that it doesn't roll off the tongue. Besides, why would we want to upset the maker of such a nicely turned out car as the Farbio GTS?
There are two versions of the mid-engined sportster: fast and faster. Fast is the 262HP GTS, which can run to 60MPH in 4.8 seconds thanks to its 3-liter V6. Faster sees the V6 fitted with a supercharger, boosting the horsepower by over 100 to 384, and shaving 9 tenths off the 0-60 time, which drops to 3.9 seconds. No new ground is broken when it comes to styling, but that's not to say it's ugly, either. The GTS is reminiscent of several of our favorite cars, and the lines are trim and simple. Inside the carbon fiber shell is plenty of comfort with leather and alcantara, a nav system, and enough room for a 6' 6" driver in the Sparco seats. There's even decent storage space in the rump, so you could go grand touring for a weekend with actual luggage. Orders are backed up for the next 8 months, so you'll have time to save.
[Source: World Car Fans]
Gallery: Farbio GTS