Saturday, July 19, 2008

2010 Chevrolet Camaro revealed!

CarTribe has procured a few shots and the initial details of the production Chevrolet Camaro ahead of its official unveiling this Monday. According to their report, the Camaro will come in LS, LT and SS trim, equipped with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic. Of course, that doesn't account for the very-obviously-marked RS car that is shown in the official photos, so who knows what the whole story is.

Engine choices include either a 296 hp, 3.6-liter V6 or a 416 hp 6.2-liter V8 which will feature cylinder deactivation to boost fuel economy. Underneath the retro sheetmetal is a full independent suspension and StabiliTrak traction control system. Four-pot Brembo brakes are mounted up front on the SS variant, and the 3,700-pound coupe will reportedly have a weight balance of 52/48, front/rear. The neuvo-retro theme is carried inside with a gauge cluster inspired by the 1969 model, along with leather seats and blue LED lighting.

We'll have more specs and images as information becomes available.

Volkswagen considering offering Polo in U.S. market

The Rabbit is currently the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicle in Volkswagen's U.S. fleet, getting around 26 mpg on the EPA's combined city/highway cycle. But V-Dub wants something better for the U.S. market. Speaking with Bloomberg, VW CEO, Stefan Jacoby revealed that the automaker is considering bringing a subcompact vehicle, similar to the Polo, to the U.S.

With the Toyota Yaris rated at 32 mpg and the Honda Fit coming in at 31 mpg (combined city/highway), Volkswagen is hoping to meet or exceed the competition. While it's unlikely we'll see the current Polo on U.S. shores anytime soon, it's expected that the next generation will be available in the States in 2010 when the new Jetta is released, followed by a new midsize sedan that will replace the Passat.

The additions and revisions to VW's product line is an effort by the automaker to boost U.S. sales to 800,000 units by 2018, nearly tripling the 230,571 vehicles it sold in 2007. VW is also looking to build a new engine plant in Mexico, along with its recently announced Tennessee plant.

Volkswagen Scirocco

Good news: the Volkswagen Scirocco, VW’s new hatchback-like coupe, will arrive in Europe in August. In Europe, the VW Scirocco will be offered initially with two petrol engines, the 1.4-liter TSI that combines a supercharger and turbocharger developing 160Hp and the Golf GTI’s turbocharged 200Hp 2.0-liter TFSI. Shortly after the Scirocco’s engine range will be enhanced with the addition of a supercharged 122Hp 1.4-liter TSI petrol unit and a 140Hp 1.4-liter turbo diesel. Depending on the powertrain, the Scirocco???s average fuel consumption ranges from 5.4 to 7.7 litres per 100km (30.6 to 43.6 MPG).

2009 Porsche Carrera 4

The Porsche released details on the all-wheel-drive versions Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S, which are available as Coupe and Cabriolet.

Leaving the aesthetic and engine/gearbox changes aside as they’re the same with the RWD Carrera, the new generation Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S get an electronically controlled PTM Porsche Traction Management which replaces the former all-wheel drive with its viscous multiple-plate clutch. This system was initially developed for the 911 Turbo and modified for the Carrera 4 models.

Porsche promise that depending on the model, the new all-wheel-drive Carrera offers up to 8.5% more power, up to 12.9% more fuel economy, and 15.4% lower CO2 emissions.

The improvements on the 911 Carrera 4S with its 3.8-litre power unit are equally important, with maximum output up by 30 to 385Hp on overall fuel consumption down in the case of Carrera 4S Cabriolet with the PDK gearbox to 10.7 litres/100 km or 26.4 mpg imp. All all-wheel-drive Porsche Carrera models will be available at Porsche dealerships from October 25.

Moscow Show Preview: Mazda unveils new Kazamai concept

As oil wealth has suddenly taken root in Russia in the last couple of years, the Moscow International Auto Show has suddenly become an event that automakers are paying attention to. With that in mind, Mazda will stage the world premiere of its latest concept in the Russian capitol next month. The Kazamai is the latest in a series of concepts that feature the "Nagare" (or "flow") design theme, and is intended to demonstrate what Mazda calls "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom." Mazda hasn't released many details yet, but the Kazamai does seem to point in the right direction for a small crossover. Power will reportedly come from a new-generation direct-injection engine. The body structure will follow the pattern set by recent production modes such as the Mazda2 and Mazda6, with reduced weight and aerodynamic lines. More next month as we get closer to the show.

eBay find of the day: BTTF SriLorean

The seller states he's not really sure what this car is worth. Here's our estimate: it's worth even less than a regular '89 Scirocco with 123,000 miles. Why? Because it's been molested into a Delorean imposter. Not just any Delorean, either, but the Back To The Future Delorean, which so many people feel compelled to recreate as a rolling manifestation of their overdeveloped love for a movie prop. Don't get us wrong, the BTTF DMC's masterful design has had astounding resonance with the public, becoming a real icon of its time. It's just that while the original design by Andrew Probert and Ron Cobb was something new, rehashing it endlessly for twenty-five years has gotten tiresome.

With that out of our system, let's go on to say that the seller has a sense of humor about this car. It was used to promote a primary school play, +1 for kickin' it with the kiddies, and there's obviously a lot of effort here. It's also heartwarming that the mods were perpetrated on a somewhat more common Scirocco, versus a rarer Delorean. The Flux capacitor and time circuits have not been tested, according to the seller, so caveat emptor. If it actually works, we'd love to go back and whisper in VW's ear to build more Sciroccos, and do likewise with Johnny Z, too. Bids currently stand at £156 with the reserve not met, so you're not yet OUTATIME. Thanks for the tip, Tim!

2010 Mazda3

The first images of upcoming new Mazda3 were leaked on the net. The forthcoming Mazda3 is one of the most highly anticipated future models.

The designer of 2010 Mazda3 prototype took a different approach, applying elements from the Nagare, Ryuga, Hakaze, Taiki and Furai concept cars to a an enlarged version of the Mazda2. Not bad but we would have definetely preferred a different styling for the front-end.

Shelby Supercars promises breakthrough EV, delivers a lot of hyperbole

Shelby Supercars has just issued its second release this week about its miraculous new project, the Ultimate Aero EV. As we read the announcement, it was obvious that it was exactly the same release from just a few days ago and the hyperbole was in no way toned down. They are promising to deliver a working prototype by February of next year, followed by full production examples by the fourth quarter of 2009. That, in and of itself, is highly improbable, but it just gets better from there. The performance the company is promising is insanely impressive and about as likely to come to fruition as airborne swine or your fairy godmother.

SSC promises two, 500hp electric motors equipped with a triple disc clutch and a six-speed gearbox. As Tesla found out the hard way, making a gearbox last with an electric motor is tough, even with half as much power. But it gets better. SSC promises a power source with extended times between charges, perhaps as long as several years. We're still confused, but we don't think it's a coincidence that the company is making this announcement in the same week it announced its hopes of securing new venture funding.

Building a car powered by an internal combustion engine to go 250 mph is less of a big deal in this day and age. You just need an engine with enough power and a slippery shape. Building the kind of electric car that SSC is promising involves invalidating the most fundamental laws of physics. So for the time being, we remain comfortable skeptical.

Entrepreneurs, Dreams, and Promises: Spark EV

Let's say that you are the enterprising sort. Let's also say that you are passionate about electric vehicle technology. You recently learned about a Chinese company that is producing what appear to be some very cool electric vehicles. Given that major OEMs in the US are not producing electric cars, and given that there appears to be a fair amount of consumer demand, you decide to take a chance. You see an opportunity and you take it. You build a company around this product and you start taking orders. There's one small problem, however. The company is not ready to ship the cars. Or there's a technological glitch. Or they're waiting for a new version of the battery. Whatever it is, your dealers are getting impatient and calling you a fraud.

I'm not sure if this was the exact situation for Michael Papp, owner of the now defunct Spark EV. Papp was recently charged and arrested for failing to deliver 14 electric cars to Electric Transportation of Arkansas and Electric Cars of Houston. Today, Papp was ordered by a Pennsylvania Court to pay $100,000 to these companies to avoid criminal charges. His lawyer says that he will pay the amount.

While I am not absolving Papp, I wish to bring attention to the day-to-day reality that characterizes many e.v. start-ups. As several electric vehicle entrepreneurs have realized, starting a car company in a field dominated by multi-billion dollar corporations is not easy. What compounds the problem further is that electric vehicle entrepreneurs are in the business of "disruptive technology." Producing and selling cars based on a new technological platform requires a lot more time, money, skill, and luck than most entrepreneurs realize when they begin their dream. Perhaps it is this lack of foresight, coupled with an overwhelming desire to get this technology on the road, that causes many companies to over-promise and under-deliver.

This is not how cars are built - Fiesta Love Factory

If Willy Wonka made cars, this is what it would look like. The cold, hard reality is that automobiles are ground out like sausages in huge factories that ingest raw materials at one end and spit out shiny metal boxes filled with ticky-tacky at the other end. Marketing's a funny thing, though; building an emotional connection to your product can often lead to sales gold, so Ford's slathering its Fiesta marketing effort in pheromones to make it irresistible to buyers. It's all very trippy and fun, full of primary colors and smiling faces, but the thing is, we already love the Fiesta. They could put Orson Welles out there at his most cantankerous, and that'd be fine. We do dig the creativity, and since it's an entry level car, maybe the target market will be entirely comfortable with the campaign, having just recently graduated from Sesame Street, anyway.

Chevy Silverado hybrid gets official with the EPA 21mpg city/22mpg hwy

The EPA has posted the official mileage numbers for the new Two-Mode hybrid variants of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks. The open bed crew-cab hybrid trucks scored the same numbers as their full bodye SUV siblings. The rear wheel drive models came in at 21/22 mpg city/hwy while the four drive models achieved 20/20 mpg. The conventional model with the same 6.0L V8 only manages 14 mpg in town and 19 on the highway in rear wheel drive form. The hardware on the pickups is the same as the existing 2008 hybrid SUVs although the powertrain engineers kept plugging away at the control software after releasing the SUVs. The updated software will also be incorporated into the upcoming Saturn Vue Two-mode and the 2009 Tahoe/Yukon.

2009 BMW 7-Series

Look at the first official high resolution images of the new BMW 7-Series sedan. The new 7-Series hides its size well enough and if anything else, the styling is no where near as controversial as the previous 7-Series.
The new BMW’s flagship boasts an array of features and systems, including Active Blind Spot Detection, Night Vision with new Pedestrian Detection, Side View and Back-up Cameras, Active Cruise Control with new stop-and-go capability and a new Integral Active Steering, which adds speed-sensitive rear-wheel steering to BMW’s front Active Steering system.

Golden Porsche 911 Cabriolet in Russia

Golden Porsche 911

In Russia they drive in solid gold covered Porsche cars. Well, you could go and buy a more expensive car like a Porsche Carrera GT. Just like the owner of this Porsche 911 Cabriolet in Russia who meticulously covered his entire car with gold plates - more 40 pounds of the pure gold was used while decorating this excellent car.

Golden Porsche 911

Nissan introduces new diesel engine for the Note

Few of our North American readers might know the Note. It's Nissan's interpretation of the subcompact minivan, which can seat five comfortably and adds versatility with the outer dimensions of a subcompact car. The range of available engines was a little poor at launch (Europeans usually get a wide array of engines to choose from) and, thanks to the Renault-Nissan alliance, the 1.5 dCi good for 105hp is being now installed in the Note. This engine is mated to 6-speed manual transmission. This adds to the existing 1.5 dCi that produced 86hp and to the 1.4 liter 88hp and 1.6 liter 100 hp gasoline engines. The new dCi engine has also a Diesel Particulate Filter installed as standard. The Note is manufactured in Sunderland, UK and prices for the new version start at €18.850 (in Spain).

Eaton tapped to produce superchargers for Audi

Audi is using American supercharging muscle to give its new 3.0 liter TFSI V6 the desired wallop. Eaton Corporation has been enlisted by Ingolstadt to supply positive-displacement, Roots-type blowers that will work with direct injection to deliver 290 horsepower and fat, responsive torque down low on the tach. Roots blowers aren't anything new, but Eaton has refined the design with its latest Twin Vortices Series units. The TVS units add a fourth lobe to the rotors, and crank up the twist to 160 degrees for maximizing the amount of atmosphere the blower can pump out. Jettisonning turbochargers may help packaging when the V6 is crammed into the S4's engine bay, as well as reducing complexity by simplifying intake plumbing. 310 lb/ft of torque at 2,500 rpm will put a grin on anyone's face, and we'd expect to see this engine proliferate into many Audi engine bays. Press Release after the jump.

Peugeot 308 CC

Look at the first official images of the new Peugeot 308 CC. The 308 CC that will make its debut at the Paris Auto Show in October. Due to hit European dealerships by the end of the year or early 2009, the 2+2 seater 308 CC is equipped with a retractable hardtop.

Expected the open-top Peugeot 308 CC to be offered with three gasoline engines, a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter with 120Hp and 1.6-liter Turbo with 150 and 175Hp, and at least two diesel units, a 110HP 1.6-liter and 136 HP 2.0-liter.

No word about price.

Quebec Allows NEVs

Yesterday, government officials in Quebec passed an ordinance to allow neighborhood electric vehicles on the streets. Well, ok, not on just any street.

The NEVs are only allowed on roads with a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour or less. They must have a triangular sign attached to the rear showing that it is a slow-moving vehicle. And they must not be driven on roads with a slope of 15 per cent (8.5 degrees) or higher.

For anyone familiar with NEVs, however, these regulations are pretty standard. They are commensurate with the performance capabilities of the vehicle.

This is great news for ZENN Motors Co., one of the major manufacturers of NEVs, considering that they are based in Canada. Finally, more Canadians can enjoy the pleasant bliss of a leisurely-paced electric vehicle for all their in-town needs.

Lucky owner takes delivery of his new Foose Coupe

With the complete and utter collapse of Unique Performance, we were wondering who would be taking over the sales and marketing for the Foose Coupe. Not to worry, because Superformance Distribution of Irvine, CA has picked up the reigns and recently delivered its first car through its Hillbank Motor Corporation dealership. This is just the fourth Foose Coupe produced, after the green and black prototypes at the 2006 SEMA show and the first publicly available car that was auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson's Palm Beach auction last year. The owner opted for the 392ci Hemi V8 pumping out around 500 horsepower, and a custom paint scheme featuring carbon fiber spears surrounded by flames hand painted by Chip Foose himself. Check out all the amazing details of this incredible coupe in our huge photo gallery below.

BMW 3-Series facelift

Bavarian carmaker share first official photos its facelifted 3-Series.

As you see, changes to the front end include new lights with LED indicators, revised bumpers, less chrome on the grille and a more distinctive creased bonnet. Fresh, larger mirrors grace the doors, while the restyled rear lamp clusters also include LEDs.

Inside, the 3 gains the latest, simplified iDrive cabin control system with a larger LCD monitor, and has sockets for connecting MP3 players to an 80GB hard drive. All engines get BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology, and a new 245bhp six-cylinder diesel debuts. Coupe and cabrio buyers can select as option the seven-speed dual-clutch box, too. The revised 3-Series arrives in dealerships in September.

Toyota adds diesel engine to the Auris lineup

The Toyota Auris, the compact 5-door hatchback set to compete in the most difficult European segment is now available with a new diesel powertrain. The unit is a 1.4-liter D-4D 90 engine, with 89bhp (90 DIN hp) at 3,800rpm and maximum torque of 190 Nm (140 lb-ft), which can be ordered with a 5-speed manual or MultiMode transmission (with fully automatic or manual sequential modes).

Official combined cycle fuel consumption is 56.5mpg UK (46 mpg U. S. or 5.0 l/100 km) and average CO2 emissions of 132g/km. Top speed is 109mph and the 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) acceleration figure in 12.0 seconds (14.7 with MultiMode transmission).

In The Autoblog Garage: 2008 Mercedes SLK55 AM

It sits there, all tension and sinew, ready to pounce on lesser cars. Start it up and it barks with a clear V8 voice that thumps off the neighbor's house, setting them discreetly peeking from behind their lace curtains. This is an SLK? Oh yeah. No longer a blocky Benz with dwarfism, the SLK55 AMG ripples with muscle and delivers speed like a spin kick to the temple. A bad-ass Mercedes, indeed.