Dutch fuzz get an E92 BMW M3 Coupe

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Click image for gallery

E92 M3 PoliceDutch speeders take note: the police have a new weapon in which to chase you down and write you tickets. And with its 420-horsepower V8, it's more than capable as a pursuit vehicle. The car, of course, is the new 2008 BMW M3, and if the burnout shot at right is any indication, the officers who get to drive the car are probably going to have a little more fun with it than the average patrol car. That's what we call a favorable work environment. And here we think it's cool when our local police departments get Chargers.

UPDATE: From a commenter - "It was a stunt from the local BMW dealer for the national police day, they removed the stickers the next day...same thing happened last year when the KLPD got a Spyker for a day."

Back to Opels (or whatever) for you, coppers!

Thanks for the tip, Lou.

[Source: M3Post]

 

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[via] Autoblog

Chevy budgets more than $150 million for Malibu ads

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Remember a couple of months ago when we were impressed with GM's plan to spend $100 million on the 2008 Chevy Malibu ad campaign? We were wrong. Try more than $150 million, which is pretty close to the $165 million GM now spends on the Silverado campaign.

Advertising Age says the campaign, called "The Car You Can't Ignore," will have three phases, with the goal of busting the myth that Detroit autos aren't up to world standards. The first phase has kicked off, with a massive online blitz of Web portal ads (you may have noticed them, well, here) that GM hopes will send at least 5 million viewers to chevy.com every day. Also expect to see nationwide billboards, print ads, building wraps and TV spots. One ad is said to say, "We're tired of being a foreign car in our own country."

[Source: Advertising Age]

Continue reading Chevy budgets more than $150 million for Malibu ads

 

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Is there anything they won't stretch? VW New Beetle Limo

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In recent years, the stretch limo business has migrated away from the traditional full size Lincoln and Cadillac sedans to trucks like Ford Excursions, Hummers, Escalades and Tahoes. The big body-on-frame SUVs make sense because they are pretty straightforward for manufacturers to stretch and reinforce. Some vehicles, however, just make no sense as a limo. In spite of being a body on frame truck, the Hummer H3 is narrow and cramped on the inside. The latest no sense limo started life as a 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle. At least this one doesn't need an extended driveshaft.

[Source: Carscoop]

 

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Enter the rumormill: Vectrix to debut an electric Superbike?

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Falling into the "maxiscooter" category, the Vectrix electric scooter has a top speed limited to 62 mph, allowing for a range of 68 miles from its 125 Volt NiMH battery. If the long-rumored all-electric Superbike from Vectrix does in fact make its first appearance on November 6th in Milan at the 2007 Eicma show, expect the speed and range to be a bit higher. Assuming that similar technology is used in the Superbike as in the scooter, the machine should feature regenerative braking by simply rolling the throttle backwards. When the bike is stationary, rolling the throttle back should move the bike slowly in reverse.

At this time, no details are available other than the teaser photo above. This machine is likely the work of ROBRADY Design, which worked with Vectrix on the design of the scooter. Vectrix has stated in the past that they plan on using lithium ion technology in the future, which would make sense in the Superbike since it will carry a higher price point than the scooter. Using lithium-based batteries would allow for higher speeds and greater range, potentially making for a very exciting all-electric sportbike indeed.

[Source: Motoblog, Vectrix]

 

[via] Autoblog

Racecar for the Masses: Dacia Logan Cup

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Click on the pic above for more images

Want a cheap racing car? Using one of the cheapest cars on the market would be a good place to start. That's the idea behind the Dacia Logan Cup, a series of racing mods available for the budget automobile.

The Logan Cup clearly draws on the expertise from its parent company's in-house motorsports and tuning shop Renaultsport, applying the same formula used on hot versions of the Clio and Megane, but to a much smaller scale. The Dacia Cup is available in three different versions for track, road rally and off-road rally racing. The running gear remains stock to keep the ease and cost of acquisition and servicing down to a bare minimum. Depending on the version, the Logan Cup is then fitted with all manner of racing-spec equipment from roll cage to Bilstein shocks and from rear wing to racing harness.

The packages will be available from Renault and Dacia dealerships wherever Logans are sold - that counts out the American market, for one - and can be used in a variety of low-level racing series, and the manufacturer is organizing regional one-make racing series around the world. The idea is so simple, it just might work.

Check out logan-cup.com for more info and gallery below for more small pics of the small racing car.

Gallery: Dacia Logan Cup

 

[via] Autoblog

When calling "shotgun" goes bad

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Okay, maybe she didn't technically call 'gun, but let's be honest. Unless the woman on the left is a TV journo who was on assignment doing a "fun" piece for her broadcast, there had to be at least one opportunity to say "No" before she was strapped into the race harness in a rally car's passenger seat. Clearly, it was an opportunity missed, becasuse she does not like her lot in life during this ride, and she is not bashful about vocalizing it. The Stig doppelganger doing the driving seems not to care a whit, which makes it all the more amusing in the end. Follow the jump to see what we mean.

[Source: Break.com]

Continue reading When calling "shotgun" goes bad

 

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AutoblogGreen for 10.15.07

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Sure, it's staged comedy, but we still feel sorry of the Th!nk in the video above. Luckily, there's plenty of serious - and good - news from AutoblogGreen over the weekend. Check out the links below for Al Gore's Nobel Prize, a 235mpg VW and the Monster Smart. Lots more after the jump.

Continue reading AutoblogGreen for 10.15.07

 

[via] Autoblog

Mazda CX-9 is Motor Trend's SUOTY

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In what must have been a tough decision, Motor Trend has chosen Mazda's 2008 CX-9 as their SUV of the Year. The Associated Press quotes the magazine's editor-in-chief, Angus MacKenzie, as saying the CX-9 is "arguably the most enjoyable sport utility to drive, and a great reminder that SUVs can be as exciting as any car."

Motor Trend is expected to make the announcement early Monday, while those still relying on dead trees and the postal service will learn about it in the November 6th issue of the print pub.

The seven-seat, 273 hp SUV won the honor by beating out tough competition like Buick's Enclave, Toyota's Highlander and Land Cruiser and the Land Rover LR2. Others in the running were Hyundai Veracruz, Jeep Liberty and Patriot, the Nissan Rogue, Saturn's Vue and the Subaru Tribeca.

[Source: The Associated Press]

 

[via] Autoblog

BMW to show 1-series based concept in Tokyo

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Over the course of the last few weeks, we've been constantly updating our comprehensive list of debuts slated for the Tokyo Motor Show, but one glaring omission continually jumped out at us: BMW. We know they'll be showing off the M3 Sedan, but it was rumored that something else would grace the Bavarian's show stand. Automotive News finally shed some light on the mystery model, but it doesn't reveal much.

BMW will be showing a concept built atop the 1-series platform, but when AN quizzed a BMW spokesperson, all they would say is that the unnamed concept won't be the X1 mini 'ute. Our first suspicion was the 1-series convertible, but that's far too dull for Tokyo. We'll let the relentless speculation begin below.

As for the rest of the Germans, we know Audi is bringing the A1 concept to the show, which should be close to the production model set to debut in 2009, while Volkswagen will be releasing its first Up! variant in the form of a five-door minivan concept.

We'll be on a plane to Tokyo this time next week, so expect more to follow soon.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

Motorcycle-derived Yamaha engine to power Toyota's IQ

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A version of Toyota's iQ concept, originally shown in Frankfurt, is rumored to begin production sometime next year and according to a couple of sources cited by Automotive News, power will come courtesy of Yamaha. The two Japanese firms are currently collaborating on a new 1.0-liter engine based on one of Yamaha's motorcycle powerplants, although output and fuel economy numbers have yet to be disclosed.

Toyota is expected to produce around 100,000 units, with Europe receiving approximately 80,000 vehicles when sales begin in 2009. Although there's no word on U.S. distribution, the iQ-inspired micro-car may find its way into emerging markets in India and China where low-cost transportation is becoming a booming business.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

BusinessWeek has plans for Chrysler

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BusinessWeek has an article that offers Chrysler some advice on how to take the domestic lead. The article, though, was written by Geoff Vuleta, head of a consultancy firm, and frankly offers a great deal more vision than practical implementation.

Vuleta's advice includes not painting cars any more, both to save money on paint booths which are hideously expensive, and to go green. Less paint equals fewer toxins, and driving and unpainted, clearcoated car will let people show off their green credentials (a la the Prius). Another benefit is that such a move could hasten the move to aluminum cars. He also suggests designing interiors to put smiles on drivers' faces, creating small cars that feel like big cars, and building sports cars that can comfortably fit the growing waistlines of the moneyed Boomer class.

While all of them may be good ideas, they seem a tad impractical, or generic, or terrifically costly. Especially for a car company that is simply trying to get back to balance. Although an aluminum-bodied, clearcoated Viper could be something pretty hot to see...

Thanks for the tip: Sandeep!

[Source: Business Week]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Maserati Quattroporte facelift

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but it'd take something really spectacular to make a car like the Maserati Quattroporte look anything but elegant. The company's new GranTurismo, itself based on the sedan, managed to do a good job of making its four-door stable-mate pale by comparison, so it should come as no big surprise that the Trident marque is preparing a mid-cycle facelift.

According to these spy shots, the bulk of the visual updates will be on the front, where the grille, (all but non-existent) bumper and headlights are tipped to be reshaped. Also expect a few minor changes to the rear bumper, but that should about do it.

Don't mess too much with a beautiful thing, Maser.

[Source: EVO]

 

[via] Autoblog

Entry-level, RWD vehicles coming from VW in 2010

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More news on the microcar front comes in the form of "confidential planning documents" procured by Automobilwoche outlining Volkswagen's plan for its rear-wheel-drive compacts over the next nine years. VW considers the launch of its new "Small Family" lineup of RWD vehicles as the most important launch since the Beetle was fazed out in favor of the Golf in 1974.

Production of the new minicars will being in 2010, likely utilizing the Skoda plant in Vrchlabi, within the Czech Republic, with 100,000 vehicles destined for Europe sporting the Volkswagen badge, and another 100,000 wearing Skoda and Seat logos. Variants of the uber-compact three-door are expected to come in at about 3500mm long, sporting a price tag under €8,000, with a five-door version, stretched by 80mm and priced around €9,450.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

Rumormill: Marcos bankrupt again

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Word out of Holland -- and translated by Babelfish -- is that 40-year-old British car maker Marcos has gone bankrupt again. Most recently rescued in 2002, and headed by Tony Stelliga, a purported statement from the company cited an inability to get Marcos profitable or raise extra capital. There was no word on whether this would affect the racing division as well, which is based in the Netherlands.

If it's true, it's a shame to see the maker of the Manta Ray disappear again. The company just introduced its TSO coupe and convertible, powered by a Corvette engine and tuned by Prodrive, and it's probably the most elegant Marcos ever. Knowing Marcos' ability to repeatedly rise from the dead, it is entirely likely that we haven't seen the last of them just yet.

[Source: Auto Scoops]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler hates phone cams: 2009 Dodge Challenger revealed

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Click image to see all three phonecam shots

Chrysler revealed the production Dodge Challenger to dealers in Vegas last week, and while we're certain it banned all manner of cameras from the event, saying something's banned and enforcing said ban are two entirely different things. Let's just say that they failed on the enforcement part, because OntarioStreetCar.com has phonecam pics of the car, and it is very true to the concept, overall. The main changes are the presence of a b-pillar under the side glass, a small lip spoiler on the trunk of the SRT8, and a slightly extended rear bumper to meet crash test requirements.

OntarioStreetCar reports that the Challenger arrives in March as a 2008 model. That first run of 5500 cars will all be 6.1L SRT8s equipped with automatic transmissions priced at $38,000. Starting in July, the MY09 Challenger will begin production, and the range will expand to include the 3.5L V6, the regular 5.7L HEMI, and of course, the SRT8 with the 6.1 HEMI. And finally, the best news of all: on the '09 Challenger, both HEMI flavors will be available with the T56 6-speed manual transmission. We'll see the car in person at the Chicago Auto Show. Welcome to the 21st century ponycar wars. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Thanks to all who sent tips!

[Source: OntarioStreetCar]

Gallery: 2008 Dodge Challenger Dealer Reveal

 

[via] Autoblog

Enter the rumormill: Maybach 62 Laundaulet headed for Middle East debut

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Even in the post-Chrysler age, Maybach remains a bit of a thorn in Mercedes' side. Its vehicles have been far less than the sales success hoped for, prompting Daimler to buy back 29 Maybach dealers. Subsequently the parent company wouldn't be so eager to invest more into the ultra-premium brand, but reports are circulating the internet of a new version that would require significantly less investment than an all-new model that could breathe a little more life into the dying breed.

Landaulets were a popular bodystyle in the 1920's and 30's, one which Maybach may be resurrecting with a half-convertible version of the extra-long Maybach 62. With a convertible roof fitted from the B-pillar rearwards, the Maybach 62 Landaulet would let the sun shine in on its pampered rear occupants, while leaving the front section covered with a conventional roof for the chauffer.

Reports indicate that the Landaulet version is being prepared for launch at next month's Middle East International Motor Show, held mid-November in Dubai, where some eccentric and moneyed sheiks might still be interested in the unique vehicles.

[Source: World Car Fans]

 

[via] Autoblog

In the Autoblog Garage: 2008 Ford Taurus Limited AWD

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click above image to view complete high-res gallery of the 2008 Ford Taurus

Ford knew what it was doing handing me the keys to a 2008 Ford Taurus Limited AWD. I'm a self-professed Taurus fan, counting the 1991 Ford Taurus SHO Plus as one of my favorite cars of all time. I consider the Taurus one of the most influential cars in the history of the American auto industry. I even read a book about it called "Car: A Drama of the American Workplace" by Mary Walton. That makes me, like, an expert on the subject. Unfortunately, by the time production of the Taurus ended in late October of 2006, it had come to represent Ford's over-reliance on fleet sales rather than its cutting edge innovation.

When a CEO from Kansas named Alan Mulally took over as CEO of Ford last September, one of his first actions in office was to announce that the Taurus name would return in 2008, replacing the forgettable Five-Hundred and Freestyle badges affixed to Ford's large sedan and wagon. So here we are, reviewing the 2008 Ford Taurus, and along with a new name, it's got an updated design and more powerful engine. Does the new Taurus do the old one any justice? More importantly, is it a better car than the Five-Hundred it replaces? All those questions and more will be answered after the jump.



Live Photos Copyright (C)2007 John Neff / Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading In the Autoblog Garage: 2008 Ford Taurus Limited AWD

 

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Spy Shots: 2009 Mazda3

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The current Mazda3 is proving pretty popular popular these days with sales up 28% so far in 2007. With new versions of the Mazda2 and Mazda6 having been unveiled already this year, the 3 looks to be the next in line for new skin. This photo that may or may not be authentic sure looks plausible. It features the prominent front fenders seen on other recent Mazda designs along with the swept back head lights and similar side glass shape to the current generation five-door 3. So far there's no indication of when we might see a new Mazda3, but if it does look like this it should build on the record of the current car.

[Source: The Hollywood Extra]

 

[via] Autoblog

Citroen C2 becomes a Transformer in China

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Proof that the Transformers franchise speaks to everyone wherever they live is this: a group of Chinese -- craftsmen? -- made a 1:1 scale transformer from a Citroen C2. The unnamed Autobot (at least, we couldn't read its name in Chinese) stands nearly 14-feet tall, weighs 1,320 pounds, and supposedly cost $8,000 to build. Talk about your Monster Garage... Follow the jump to watch the video, which based on the screen capture above looks like actual grainy footage of an Autobot on your local evening news.

Thanks for the tip, Gabriel!

[Source: Naver]

Continue reading Citroen C2 becomes a Transformer in China

 

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First drive: Volvo C30 Version 2.0

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click above image to view high-res gallery of the 2008 Volvo C30

Despite a number of great coupe offerings recently, two-door hatchbacks have sold rather badly in this country in the past few years. Volvo, however, thinks the best way it can compete in the coupe niche is by resurrecting the 1971 P1800ES. And if you ask us, they could be right.

The Volvo C30 is an odd car when seen among SUV-filled American traffic. Its relatively tall, stubby nose juts out from the headlight-capped fenders wrapped snugly around 18-inch alloys. The front fender line continues as the car's full length shoulder, and just beyond the doors, widens to become the rear fender and taillights. It's a dramatic look that lets the C30 trick those on the outside into seeing a much smaller vehicle than it actually is.

In back, you might first think the hatch opening would be huge, but only the rear glass opens, reminding us of another favorite two-door hatchback: the BMW Z Coupe. But unlike the Bimmer, the Volvo has some usable space back there, though it's not that easy to access through the small opening. There are also two more seats than in the Z, and more than adequate head and leg room for all passengers. We don't recommend the C30 for cross-country trips with all the kids, but singles, young couples and maybe a small, light-traveling family will find it big enough for daily use and possibly even weekend treks.

Continue reading about the C30 after the jump.

Gallery: First Drive: Volvo C30 Version 2.0



Live Photos Copyright (C)2007 Chris Tutor / Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading First drive: Volvo C30 Version 2.0

 

[via] Autoblog