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More Secret Relics From The Porsche Collection: Video 10
Aug

A Porsche 924, built to challenge the world endurance record

Perhaps more than any other automaker, Porsche’s history is a mix of industrial design, motorsports, production cars and experimental cars. Over the years, Porsche has built everything from farm tractors through formula cars, though not every project was a success.

It’s these “misfit toys” that most Porsche fans don’t even know about, like the aero-enhanced 924 built to challenge the world endurance record (before the project was scrapped), or the “Porsche Junior” Type 984, which borrowed heavily from the Lotus Elan and was completed as a concept some five years before Mazda introduced the Miata. There are competition cars built just to win a single race, indicating the importance of motorsport to Porsche.

The Stuttgart automaker is also wise enough to understand its strengths and weaknesses. It built a bullet-proof Type 996 Porsche 911 as a concept to challenge Mercedes-Benz, before realizing that the market for a three-ton 911 was a small one indeed.

We’re not sure how many “behind-the-scenes-at-the-Porsche-collection” videos they’ll give us, but we’ll watch as many as they produce.



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, porsche, Porsche Museum, video on 08 10th, 2012
First Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S Review – Hype Approved 10
Aug

For many years, enthusiasts have begged for an affordable rear-wheel-drive vehicle that appeases to need of a true drivers vehicle without much compromise. Toyota has stepped up to the plate to give us what we wanted with their all-new 2013 Scion FR-S.

Probably one of the most highly anticipated vehicles that enthusiasts could actually consider for their next ‘realistic’ low-cost purchase is the new Scion FR-S and its Subaru BRZ sibling. Both derived from a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru, the new Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are the quintessential choice for many enthusiasts. Additionally, they satisfy a wide range of consumers seeking a sporty rear-wheel-drive coupe well under $30K.

The new 2013 FR-S, sold under the Scion badge here in America and as the Toyota GT86 in overseas markets, reintroduces the legacy of the original Toyota AE86 (Corolla Levin/Sprinter Trueno). The AE86 made its mark well known and continues to do so, even after its demise in 1987, in the heart of enthusiasts all over the world. The whole conception of the AE86 gave enthusiasts a relatively lightweight rear-wheel-drive sports coupe platform to build off of, and now the FR-S marks the return of that origin, the return of “Hachi-Roku” (eight-six).

The Scion brand has been known for a big enthusiast following but never has it offered a vehicle appreciated so well by true drivers. When I say “true drivers”, it means those who can appreciate a car that communicates to the driver as well as Michael Phelps does to the water in the Olympic swimming pool. It is a vehicle that could be commonly seen on a racetrack and then driven home at the end of the race. Moreover, the Scion FR-S makes its communication skills prevalent in virtually every aspect of is balance, sharp steering, low center of gravity (lowest center of gravity of all current production vehicles) and overall handling dynamics.

Having spent a full week with the new Scion FR-S, I can contest to it being every bit as good as a multitude of other journalists have claimed. The new Scion FR-S proves itself as a contender in the realm of cars that enthusiasts want to drive every day and experience on a track.

The new Scion FR-S is powered by a 4-cylinder 200 horsepower 151 ft. lbs. of torque 2.0-liter boxer (horizontally opposed) engine. The distinctive sound that comes under the lightweight aluminum hood takes a bit getting accustomed to when I start to think I am driving a Toyota product. The Subaru engineering definitely shines through its direct-injection flat-4-cylinder. Revving through the rpm band becomes particularly consistent with power output. No surprises here, other than a somewhat flat power spot between 3,000 rpm and 4,500 rpm. Anything after 5,000 rpm is a sweet spot where the flat-4 starts to really put thing in motion all the way to the 7,400 redline. There is even a red blinking shift-light at the top of the center-positioned tachometer to kindly let you know when you should engage the next gear. I later discovered that the shift-light can be adjusted to different rpm levels.

Numbers wise, the FR-S isn’t a straight-line thrill machine, however, that is not the FR-S’ disposition. The FR-S deserves to be pushed to its limits, on a track. Doing so in stock form will put the FR-S chassis at the mercy of the deplorable low rolling resistance Michelin Primacy HP tires, 215/45/17 in all 4 corners. The superb balance and driving aptitude of the FR-S is sharp and up to the challenge of the most demanding tracks; the stock tires, not so much. The tire dilemma is a relatively easy fix, considering some consumers will take the liberty of letting the FR-S’ near perfect weight distribution of 53/47 percent front/rear really shine with a set of stickier rubber.

My driving experience with the new 2013 Scion FR-S limits my perception to local roads, highways and a closed parking lot area. Although I was able to break the rear-end loose a few times in the closed parking area, I could not really contest to the true tracking ability of the FR-S. I can certainly say it is a proven road-going machine pulling a 0.93g on the skidpad and giving just enough feedback through the nicely weighted electric steering rack.  The standard torsen limited slip differential allows a progressive counter balance of the rear when traction control is turned off. Rowing through the direct-feeling 6-speed shifter is a joy as well. The clutch pedal has minimal travel and has a perfectly weighted pressure plate feel. The steering is surprisingly sharp and quick, too.

A standard stability and traction control system has a full-on default mode, ‘VSC sport’ mode, and a completely ‘off’ setting. Using the VSC (Vehicle Skid Control) sport mode lets the FR-S slip out a bit more than the full-on mode, slightly delaying stability and traction control intervention. Don’t expect sport mode to allow many ‘tricks’, as it seems to only be a slight delay before the subtle safety net starts to brake the wheels in an effort to keep the FR-S ‘in line’. Holding down the traction control off button for a few seconds is the only way to truly experience the FR-S’ track competency.

There is no doubt that the FR-S is on the smallish side, but that is not a complete deal breaker for me considering the fun-factor of this 2,700 pound sports coupe. Up front, two passengers have plenty of room. The steering wheel is height-adjustable and telescopes, while the driver’s seat has height adjustability. This gives my 6 foot 3 inch frame plenty of room with just enough space for a helmet.

Living every-day with the new 2013 Scion FR-S was my only minor grievance, considering I had to take my 4-year-old daughter to school a couple days in the FR-S. This gave me a chance to see how well the FR-S fits into my every-day family life. Getting a car-seat into the back of the FR-S proved to be a task, but it actually fit leaving whoever was to sit in the front seat with very little leg room.  Don’t expect to pile two of your teen to adult sized friends in the back if you are anywhere near as tall as me. Adjusting the front seat all the way back will have the seatbacks touching the deep rear bucket-like seats.

The new 2013 Scion FR-S interior is probably the sportiest you will see for its $25K price range. The front micro-fiber-type cloth seats are generously bolstered and optimally positioned for getting down and dirty with some serious driving. The driver’s seat in proportion to the perfectly spaced pedals begs you to try some heel tow action while performing seamless rev-matched downshifts. It is as if the FR-S design teams were track-seekers themselves, hmm.

Toyota and Subaru engineers thought out the new FR-S (and Subaru BRZ) very well, inside and out. The exterior design even has a part in communicating to the driver, too. With an aggressively styled front fascia and low proportioned body, the FR-S slices through the air with a low 0.27 drag coefficient. Where the hood meets the side fenders, it is raised to convey to the driver where the front wheels are placed. This is especially helpful in knowing exactly where your front wheels are placed on say, a track- hint hint!

Believe it or not, efficiency is at the heart of the FR-S thanks to its sappy yet efficient tires, excellent aerodynamics and a direct-injection 200 hp flat-4 engine. However, the new Scion FR-S could use another 60 horsepower to even be considered for stoplight drag races. Aside from the FR-S’s 6.2 seconds 0-60 mph time, you can expect to get a good 30 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city. During my time with the FR-S, I was able to average about 27 mpg around town and score an amazing 32 mpg on the highway steadily cruising at 70 mph.

My 2013 Scion FR-S has a base price of $24,995 including $785 delivery and handling fee. The new 2013 Scion FR-S can be had with an optional 6-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, starting at $25,300. A Bespoke touch-screen audio/infotainment system including 5.8-inch LCD touch-screen (no navigation) is available as an $845 option featuring PANDORA radio, HD Radio (AM/FM), iPhone app and USB connectivity.

With just over 2,700 pounds to push around, the rear-wheel-drive FR-S isn’t a complete pushover. For a base price starting at $24,955, the new FR-S is probably the ultimate tuner foundation and a proper return of the affordable rear-wheel-drive sports car. Everywhere I went people would stare at the FR-S. Some were in awe of actually seeing a vehicle that has been anticipated for many years now, others were simply curious as they did not know what the FR-S was. In any given situation, I was confident behind the wheel of what seems to be the hottest $25K rear-wheel-drive sports coupe around.

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Copyright: 2012 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base FR-S (manual transmission) $24,955.00
  • Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve Boxer/Flat (horizontally opposed) 4-cylinder 200 horsepower @ 7000 rpm / 151 ft-lbs. @ 6600 rpm
  • Track: f/r-59.8/60.6in.
  • Wheelbase: 101.2in.
  • Height: 50.6in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37/35in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.9/29.9in.
  • Cargo volume: 6.9cu.ft.
  • Fuel tank: 13.2 gallons
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 22 mpg/city, 30 mpg/highway

 



Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2013 Scion FR-S, Automotive, featured, Scion, Scion FR-S, Test Drives on 08 10th, 2012
PSI Offers Up Unique Aftermarket Treatment for BMW 1 Series M Coupe 10
Aug

Florida-based Precision Sport Industries (PSI), our long-time friends and one of our many official sponsors, is one of the latest aftermarket tuners to serve up unique ‘tuner’ cosmetic upgrades for the BMW 1 Series M Coupe.

As you may already know, the BMW 1 Series M Coupe had a limited run of vehicles this year where the production just ended this summer. Through tasteful creativity and a selection of virtuous aftermarket aesthetics, PSI was able to come up with a selection of custom parts to take the 1 Series M Coupe to new heights.

Trying not to lose the original character and demeanor of a vehicle as unique as the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, proves to be a challenge. The guys at PSI are always up to these challenges, which is why they went through a grueling process of selecting the best parts for this 1 Series M Coupe. The aftermarket add-ons consist of a BMW Performance Carbon Fiber trunk spoiler, black kidney gill, Slek Carbon Fiber front splitter, a Revozport 2×2 Carbon Fiber diffuser out back housing an Akrapovic Evolution titanium exhaust, BMW Performance Carbon Fiber side mirror covers, a BMW Performance Alcantara M steering wheel and a full set of KW Variant 3 coilovers to improve handling. Power output remains close to the BMW 1 Series M Coupe’s 335 horsepower but breaths a little better thanks to the Akrapovic exhaust.

PSI is eager to give the same treatment to other BMW applications and welcome you to visit them at precision-sport.com.

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[images: Justin Morrison]



Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, BMW, BMW 1 Series M, BMW 1-Series M Coupe, Precision Sport Industries, PSI, Tuners on 08 10th, 2012
Buick’s 2013 Verano Turbo Priced From $29,990 9
Aug

2013 Buick Verano Turbo – image: GM Corp

Try to wrap your head around this one for a moment: Buick, long the brand of AARP members and those who consider 4:00 p.m. to be too late for dinner, has become the new Pontiac. In terms of sport-themed sedans, Buick already has the Regal Turbo and the Regal GS, and now it’s adding a third forced-induction luxury sedan into the mix with the debut of the 2013 Verano Turbo.

The Verano Turbo gets the same 2.0-liter Ecotec turbo found in the Regal GS and the Regal Turbo. The good news is that the Verano is a smaller and lighter car than the Regal, so the 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque that Buick’s given the Verano Turbo should prove entertaining, If you’re keeping score at home, that’s more horsepower (but the same amount of torque) than the Regal Turbo gets, but it’s nowhere near the Regal GS’ output. Buick may want to attract new buyers, but not by pirating sales from the higher-margin Regal lineup.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo – image: GM Corp

The Verano Turbo is even available with a six-speed manual gearbox, proving again that Buick has the enthusiast driver in mind. If there’s bad news, it’s that the Verano is front-wheel-drive, so don’t expect the handling to be on par with the Cadillac ATS or the BMW 3 Series.

We’re on the fence about the Verano Turbo’s $29,990 sticker price (which includes the required $885 destination charge). On the one hand, that’s less than a stripped Cadillac ATS and it includes plenty of luxury content (such as leather seating, Bose audio, rear park assist, rear view camera, blind spot detection and cross path detection). On the other hand, $30k buys a lot of other front-wheel-drive (or all-wheel-drive) cars with less luxury and more entertainment value.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo – image: GM Corp

If you’re looking for a car to take to the Tail of the Dragon and run track days in, the Verano Turbo probably isn’t it. On the other hand, if you want a comfortable daily driver with some entertainment value, the Verano Turbo looks to be a reasonable alternative to the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry and the Acura TSX.



Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Buick Verano Turbo, Automotive, Buick, Kurt, News, pricing on 08 9th, 2012
World’s Most Exotic Supercars Take to the Track at Once: Video 9
Aug

You have probably seen those epic images of some of the hottest exotic cars around all parked together on a track. The images come from Hong Kong photographer, Chester Ng (SuzukiProduction.com). He not only captures stills of this epic ’2012 Super Show in Shanghai’ track event, but he was so gracious to capture video footage and shared it with us.

Hit up the jump below to see some of these outrageous cars (Bugatti Veyron, Koenigsegg Agera R, Pagani Zonda Cinque, Lamborghini Aventador, Aston Martin One-77, Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari 458 Italia, and so on) take to the track for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

For HD: Click the button to the left of the wrench and then click the circle furthest to the lest on the menu to select HD.



Posted by Darryl in Aston Martin One-77, Automotive, Bugatti Veyron, Chester Ng, ferrari 458 italia, Ferrari Enzo, Hong Kong, Koenigsegg Agera R, Lamborghini Aventador, video on 08 9th, 2012
Watch A Ferrari 458 Italia Drive The Greatest Road In The World: Video 9
Aug

Ferrari’s 458 Italia Spider demonstrates oversteer on the Stelvio Pass

The roads in Northern Italy, just south of the Swiss and Austrian borders, are among the best in the world for drivers. While the entire region offers up an embarrassment of riches, no road is more renown than the one up Stelvio Pass, which was named by Top Gear as “The Greatest Driving Road in the World.”

With some 48 hairpin corners on the eastern side of the pass alone, many linked by relatively long and straight stretches of asphalt, the Stelvio pass will test the handling and braking ability of any car, truck or motorcycle (or bicycle, as the route is often used in Italian cycling events). We’d jump at the chance to drive it a blandmobile rental car, so we can only imagine what its like to drive a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider on it.

Actually, we can do one better: thanks to Car and Driver’s YouTube channel, we can show you video of its European correspondent, Jethro Bovingdon, driving that very car on the Stelvio Pass. It’s eleven and a half minutes of pure Euro-Ferrari-porn, and worth every second of viewing time. Maximize the video, turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy a brief trip to Italy in a Ferrari.



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Ferrari, ferrari 458 italia spider, Kurt, Stelvio Pass, video on 08 9th, 2012
The Porsche Museum Collection Gets A New Home: Video 8
Aug

Porsche’s Museum Collection numbers over 500 cars, which is far more than its current museum (opened in 2009) can display at any given time. In fact, the Porsche Museum only has room for around 80 exhibits; factor in other Porsche Museum cars on display at events worldwide, and you still need a massive facility to house the entire collection not currently exhibited under one roof.

For years, that had been a problem for Porsche, which was forced to keep its holdings in a variety of storage locations. Recently, however, Porsche was able to buy a facility on the outskirts of Stuttgart, Germany, that provides sufficient room to house, maintain and restore every vehicle in its collection. There’s even room for expansion to allow for future Porsche models.

To commemorate the collection’s new home, Porsche will be feeding us a series of videos, giving brief glimpses on its new (apparently secret) location, as well as providing a look at some unusual cars in its inventory. The first video gives an overview of the facility, before showing off the very first 911 Turbo produced.

This is as close as most of us will ever get to Porsche’s priceless collection of historical cars, so we can’t wait to see what else they’ll share with us. Look for other installments in the coming weeks.



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, porsche, Porsche Museum, video on 08 8th, 2012
BMW M Shows Off Its V-12 Powered Z3 Prototype 8
Aug

BMW M’s V-12 Z3 – image: BMW

BMW’s Z3, even in M form, was never what we would have called “overpowered.” The Bavarian automaker must have grown tired of comments that the car needed more grunt, so its M Division apparently built a one-off prototype of a V-12-powered Z3 roadster.

Aside from three images posted to the BMW M Facebook page, there aren’t many details available on the car. Assuming that it was built during the Z3’s production run (from 1996 – 2002), that would seem to indicate that the V-12 under the hood is a 5.4-liter M73 engine, good for 326 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque.

BMW M’s V-12 Z3 – image: BMW

That certainly would have added thrust to the Z3, at the expense of handling balance. Although the M73 uses an aluminum engine block, you’ve still got all the steel internals to think about, which means this particular car would have been nose-heavy and a handful to drive at speed. At turn in, we’d expect gobs of understeer; get on the power too hard or too early, and snap oversteer would rear its ugly head.

BMW M’s V-12 Z3 – image: BMW

Maybe building an utterly unforgiving Z3 was the point; after all, no one has ever praised a Shelby Cobra for its forgiving handling. We’ll likely never know what the thinking behind this BMW skunkworks project was, but that’s OK with us. That the car exists at all is reason enough to not give up on the human race.



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, BMW, BMW M, BMW Z3, Kurt on 08 8th, 2012
First Official Images of 2013 Honda Accord Released 8
Aug

The new 2013 Honda Accord is a long awaited redesign of one of the most popular midsized vehicles on the road today.

For years, the Honda Accord has sported a rather conservative design betting on its long-touted reliability and Honda name-plate legacy. The all-new 2013 Accord gets a full redesign, and the first couple official images have been released revealing the “most sculpted Accord” yet.

By the looks of the new 2013 Honda Accord, enthusiasts may mistake its design aesthetics for other mid-sized sedans. That is not so much of a bad thing considering that there are many good looking sedans from the likings of say – Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota

The new 2013 Honda Accord is bigger on the inside and smaller outside, as Honda puts it in the official press release posted below. We expect additional information and specifications of the new 2013 Honda Accord to be rolled out within the coming days.

Update: Honda has released the first images of the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe – Posted below!

2013 Honda Accord Press Release

All-New 2013 Honda Accord Will Debut with Premium and Sophisticated Exterior Styling

The most sculpted Accord ever is bigger on the inside and smaller on the outside

TORRANCE, Calif., Aug. 8, 2012 – Honda today revealed the first images of the much anticipated all-new 2013 Honda Accord Sedan and Accord Coupe, set to go on sale this fall. The most sculpted Accord ever delivers an even more spacious and luxurious passenger cabin wrapped in an upscale, sophisticated exterior designed to stand the test of time.

The 2013 Accord’s styling is expressive, sophisticated and premium. Starting in the front, a bold new grille imparts a distinctive and dynamic tension that complements the powerful look of the hood’s multiple styling lines. A strong side character line flows through the door handles and flares upward toward the rear of the vehicle to further convey a sense of motion. A deep contour in the rocker panel firmly grounds its visual presence to the road and smartly turns upward to convey a sporty attitude. In the back, the inward slope where the fenders taper into the trunk and C-pillars is designed to convey a powerful, athletic stance from the rear.

True to the spirit of Honda and every Accord before it, the ninth-generation embraces a customer focus from the inside out. Smart interior packaging allows for increased passenger and cargo space in both the sedan and the coupe, while the overall exterior lengths are noticeably shortened, contributing to a sportier driving character and easier parking. An expansive greenhouse and generous rear seating area provide excellent levels of visibility and comfort for the driver and all passengers.

“This car is the most sculpted and the most dynamic Accord yet,” said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda. “Following Honda’s long-held philosophy of ‘man maximum, machine minimum,’ the beautiful exterior evolved from a focus on interior space and the needs of the people inside it.”

On the road, an overall aerodynamic shape combined with low-drag exterior surfaces including nearly flush windshield glass, flush-mounted windshield wipers and careful under-body tailoring promise enhanced fuel efficiency. Premium details like available LED daytime running lights, headlights and taillights hint at the sophisticated technology and luxury available inside.

More information about the all-new 2013 Accord will be revealed later this fall. For photos about the styling direction of the 2013 Accord, visit www.hondanews.com.



Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, honda, Honda Accord, News on 08 8th, 2012
2012 Ford Focus Titanium Review & Test Drive 8
Aug

‘FOCUSING BETTER IN THE COMPACT SEGMENT’

With the introduction of the all-new 2012 Focus compact sedan, Ford is utilizing its European team of designers and engineers to bring a better built compact sedan with higher levels of performance, craftsmanship, comfort, occupant safety and innovative technologies to better compete against the imports in this growing segment.

The all-new Focus sets a new standard in the small car segment by offering more technologies and features than many more expensive European cars, while delivering up to 40mpg on the highway.  This new Ford Focus hits the mark in dynamic design, outstanding driver engagement, unmatched levels of technology and impressive fuel economy.

Following an unprecedented global development program under the company’s One Ford strategy, the all-new 2012 Focus is set to continue this successful tradition.  The new Focus demonstrates how Ford can scale to meet the universal needs of worldwide customers, while fine-tuning to suit regional preferences.

Distinguished by its sleek and sporty design, Focus is packed with more affordable technologies and features than the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and even the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

The Focus four-door sedan has a sporty character marking the next evolution of Ford’s acclaimed kinetic design form language.  With a striking front end, sleek profile, dramatic rising beltline and athletic stance, the new Focus signals the rewarding experience awaiting any driver.  I was truly impressed with the handling, design and interior comfort plus the innovative technologies offered by Ford in this ‘bottom level’ automobile segment.  True, the Titanium model that I tested is the highest trim with all of the goodies being offered by Ford.

The dynamic quality of the Focus is reinforced by the distinctive design inside featuring a modern, cockpit-style interior with a stylish, easy to use center console, comfortable bucket seats, perfectly placed stick shifter and sporty, leather-wrapped, tilt/telescoping steering wheel for the perfect fit.  The space combines functionality with outstanding craftsmanship. Bold and contemporary graphics, the sculptured shape of the soft-touch instrument panel and superior trim materials unite to give the driver and front passenger a premium class experience.  Focus brings C-car interior space to a level that rivals larger vehicles.  It offers more first-row shoulder room than an Audi A4 and more front headroom than a Toyota Camry.  In the spacious second row, Focus provides more hip room than the Audi or Toyota.  Further making a very pleasurable drive is that the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels have been reduced and driving dynamics improved by the increased stiffness of the body structure, with 30% greater rigidity than the previous Focus model by utilizing more high-strength steel and crossmembers and braces underneath. Also of note is the Focus features a windshield with a special acoustic layer, which significantly reduces wind and road noise.  The windshield is complemented by increased side and rear glass thickness for extra quietness.  You getting the picture now about how much more Ford has devoted into building this C-segment vehicle to better compete with the imports.

Besides comfort and a great looking interior, Focus raises the benchmark to target class-leading driving quality, blending

communicative steering with significantly improved ride quality.  Focus chassis design is complemented by a new electric power-assisted steering system that has been carefully tuned to deliver precise response at highway speeds while remaining light and manueveralble at lower speeds for ease of parking.  The fully independent suspension features MacPherson struts, gas-shocks and a 23.5mm stabilizer bar up front.  The independent rear features a control blade multi-link setup with coil springs, gas-charged shocks and 19mm stabilizer bar.  Your control is even better as Ford engineers have enhanced cornering agility and stability with a standard toque vectoring control system that behaves like a limited-slip differential to constantly balance distribution of torque between the driven front wheels.  This results in reduced understeer, improved traction and better turn-in.

Focus features a completely new 2.0 liter DOHC, all-aluminum, four-cylinder engine that combines high-pressure gasoline direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing for enhanced performance and fuel economy.  With 120hp at 6,500 rpm and 146 lb.ft. of toque at 4,450 rpm, this new engine brings fuel economy improvement of more than 10%.

This engine is mated with the latest six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission.  It is a high-efficiency dual dry clutch design it also features SelectShift automatic functionality when you want to hold the revs to almost redline to get your heart pumping faster.  For those consumers who prefer a stick shift and clutch pedal, Focus offers a five-speed manual.

The 2012 Focus four-door has a drag coefficient of just 0.295-lower than Chevy’s Cruze and Volkswagen’s Jetta.  A streamlined shape, a steeply racked windshield and active grille shutter system combine to significantly reduce drag and help reduce Focus wind noise at speed while contributing to improved fuel efficiency.

Focus was designed to exceed global safety standards and pedestrian protection.  Featuring next-generation front and side airbag technologies to tailor deployment to individual occupants.  Focus includes segment-exclusive Safety Canopy curtain airbags.  The driver’s airbag uses a reconfigured curve-shaped tether system that pulls in the lower section to create a ‘pocket’ to help lessen the impact of the airbag on the driver’s chest and ribs in frontal crashes.  Innovative side airbags feature unique shoulder vents that stay open and reduce pressure for small occupants who typically benefit from reduced forces.

High-strength steels comprise 55% of the Focus body shell, with ultra-high-strength and boron steels making up more than 31% of the skeletal structure.  These advanced materials help Focus meet crash regulations across world markets while minimizing the vehicle’s weight and contributing to fuel economy.

Ford offers SYNC with MyFord Touch which replaces many of the standard buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, colorful LCD screens and five-way buttons.  The screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each driver using a simple button click, voice command or touch screen tap.  MyFord Touch is powered by a new generation of the company’s award-winning SYNC system, which includes a sophisticated voice control system for vehicle functions, connected Bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi hotspot, MP3 players and a wide variety of external media.

Focus offers a comprehensive range of smart technologies and features including: Active Park Assist, SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information, HD radio with iTunes Tagging, Ambient lighting, rearview camera, Intelligent Access with push-button start/stop and Wi-Fi access.

Standard equipment in my Titanium model not mentioned above included halogen headlamps, foglamps, front splitter/rear spoiler, cruise control, illuminated entry, ambient lighting, AdvanceTrak with electronic stability control/traction control, 60/40-split rear bench seat with pull-down armrest and dual cupholders, sport-tuned suspension, easy fuel capless filler, universal garage door opener, Sony premium sound system with 6-speakers, dual-zone climate control, power windows/door locks, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, power-remote sideview mirrors, and thick cut-pile carpeting with floor mats.  My Titanium model also came equipped with Ford’s Navigation system and Ford’s Parking System with Automated Parking Assist that self-parks the car.  The Titanium model I tested was painted custom Yellow Blaze Metallic Tri-Coat.

Sales of the all-new 2012 Focus are straight-up the charts with consumers finding out for themselves when test driving the all-new Focus that it fits their every need of great looks, comfort, performance, functionality, innovative technologies and safety.

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Copyright: 2012 Harvey Schwartz

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Focus Sedan $22,270.00 / As-Tested Focus Titanium $26,870.00
  • Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC 4-cylinder 160 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm / 146 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,450 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 104.3in.
  • Total length: 178.5in.
  • Total width: 71.8in.
  • Total height: 57.7in.
  • Track: f/r-61.2/60.4in.
  • Fuel tank: 12.4 gallons
  • Turning circle: 36 ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-38.3/38in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.9/33.2in.
  • Trunk: 13.2cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 2,935lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.3 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 27mpg/city, 37mpg/highway


Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, featured, Ford, Ford Focus, Test Drives on 08 8th, 2012
Matt Farah Drives An Electric Delorean: Video 7
Aug

If you’re a fan of the Drive Channel’s “Tuned,” starring Matt Farah, you know this: the Delorean is the great white whale to Matt’s Captain Ahab. Try though he might, Matt has never been able to drive what he considers a “satisfying” Delorean. That’s all the more frustrating since he blames the original Delorean for sparking his lifelong car jones.

Deloreans were good to look at, but not much to drive. Their Volvo-sourced engines only produced around 130 horsepower in U.S trim, which didn’t provide a lot of thrust for the 2,700 pound car. Had production lasted longer than two years, it’s entirely possible that more performance-oriented cars would have been offered. Sadly, by the end of 1982, the Delorean factory in Dunmurry, Ireland was shuttered.

Enter Stephen Wynn, who purchased the leftover Delorean parts from the bankrupt company and started DMC in 1995. Originally a parts supplier for Delorean owners, DMC began producing updated versions of the Delorean for sale in 2008. Its latest endeavor is an all-electric version of the Delorean, which it hopes to bring to market in 2013.

The production version of the electric Delorean will come with a 260 horsepower AC electric motor and enough lithium-ion phosphate battery power to give it (up to) a 200 mile range. The motor will also be good for 360 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to yield a 0-60 time of under five seconds. Top speed is said to be over 100 mph, but we suppose that’s limited by the car’s lack of gearing.

Matt seemed to like the prototype driven, although it was clear that A/C is a requirement for filming in Houston in the summer. We would have liked a bit more video on how the car handled, but it’s important to keep in mind that one-of-a-kind prototypes aren’t meant to be pushed to the limit.

Look for a starting price in the $95,000 range when the electric Delorean hits the market. Want more info? You’ll find it on the DMC website.



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Delorean, Electric, electric cars, Kurt, Matt Farah, video on 08 7th, 2012
BMW M3 Flips In Horrific Rainy-Highway Crash: Video 7
Aug

Our friends at BMWBlog have shared a wake-up call for all drivers in rainy weather. The video posted below is of a BMW M3 Coupe under control of a driver who obviously cannot handle their vehicle in the rain. The BMW M3 loses control and hits the center guard causing it to flip several times. The good news to come out of this is that the driver and passenger were able to walk away from this horrific crash.

Let this be a cautionary tale for everyone to make proper adjustments to your speed during inclimate weather situations, even if you are behind the wheel of ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. Please be safe out there!



Posted by Darryl in Automotive, BMW, BMW M3, Crashes, Live Crash on 08 7th, 2012
Porsche 918 Spyder In Action: Spy Video 7
Aug

Our friends at TeamSpeed.com posted up some exclusive spy video footage of the new Porsche 918 Spyder roaming German roads while in its full Martini Livery. Even though this supercar is a new hybrid breed, it still seems to produce the noise of a thoroughbred champion. Hit up the exclusive video below.



Posted by Darryl in Automotive, porsche, Porsche 918, Porsche 918 Spyder, video on 08 7th, 2012
Spyker Slaps GM With $3 Billion Lawsuit Over Saab 7
Aug

The Spyker C8 Aileron – image: Spyker

When the dust finally settles, history will find that no single event or decision was responsible for the bankruptcy of Saab. Former parent Spyker sees things a bit differently, however, and blames the Swedish automaker’s demise squarely on GM. Specifically, Spyker believes that GM’s refusal to permit a sale to Chinese suitor Youngman ultimately led to Saab’s bankruptcy.

To prove its point, Spyker has filed a $3 billion lawsuit against GM, alleging that it blocked the sale of Saab to Youngman to protect its own interests in China with partner SAIC. That’s clear enough, but here’s where it gets a bit hazy: Spyker no longer owns Saab, which was sold to electric vehicle consortium NEV in June. In exchange for representing Saab in court (and fielding its legal expenses), Spyker has been promised a “very substantial” piece of the new Saab.

Where NEV fits in the picture is anyone’s guess. In fact, just three days ago Saabs United (via Autoblog) reported that the NEV deal to buy Saab had been delayed. Could this be related to the pending litigation? Possibly, but NEV isn’t saying.

As for Spyker’s lawsuit, filed in Michigan, it’s a long shot, at best. We doubt that any court (especially one in Michigan) will find malice or negligence in GM’s actions, which were intended to protect its interests in China. Spyker’s CEO, Victor Muller, may be expecting Saab to go out with a bang, but we expect it will be more of a whimper.



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, GM, Kurt, Lawsuit, News, Saab, Spyker on 08 7th, 2012
One Step Too Far: Next Lamborghini Aventador To Implement Fuel-Saving Technology 6
Aug

Lamborghini’s Aventador LP700-4 – image: Lamborghini

Let’s be blunt for a second: while we’re happy to see fuel-saving measures like auto start / stop and cylinder deactivation in our commuter cars and family cars, we expect our aspirational supercars to thrill us with performance, not fuel economy. We may never have the money necessary to park a Lamborghini Aventador in our garage, but if we do, there’s one absolute: we won’t care how much fuel it sucks down, nor will we care about how much it costs to fuel the tank.

Even supercars are being forced to up their fuel economy numbers these days, and now Auto Motor und Sport (via Autoblog and GT Spirit) is reporting that the Lamborghini Aventador is no exception. If the German magazine is correct, expect the Aventador to implement both auto stop / start (using a capacitor-based system, which is lighter than a battery) and cylinder deactivation in the near future. The moves are said to improve fuel economy by as much as 20 percent, which would raise the Aventador from 11 mpg city to 13 mpg city, while boosting highway fuel economy from 17 mpg to 20 mpg.

We’ve driven cars with both systems, and for the most part they’re fine (although having a car shut its engine off intentionally still makes us a bit nervous). We can put up with them for the greater good on our daily drivers, but when it comes to supercars, enough is enough. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that such systems would drive us away from a particular supercar, not towards it.



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Aventador, News on 08 6th, 2012
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