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Video: Richard Petty Signature Series Dodge Challenger In Jay Leno’s Garage 30
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Dodge, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Challenger SRT8, featured, Jay Leno, Jay Leno's Garage, Mopar, Richard Petty, video on 11 30th, 2010

The Mopar guys are going to love this! The Richard Petty guys have taken the Dodge Challenger SRT8 and supercharged it to the tune of 610 horsepower. They didn’t stop there with the upgrades in this ‘Signature Series’ package. It gets upgraded adjustable suspension, new wheels, Brembo brakes and other visual customization addons including a Nascar spoiler. This package will be offered to some lucky buyers in limited quantities.

Jay Leno invites Richard Petty to his garage to look over ‘his’ Challenger and then take it for a spin. I guess The King knows how to tune a car… Find out by watching the video below!

[source: Jay Leno’s Garage]

Audi Quattro Concept Video: A Look Back To Its Origins 30
Posted by Larry in audi, Audi Quattro, Automotive, featured, video on 11 30th, 2010

Audi is good at characterizing its classic roots into the new Audi vehicles that we see on the road today. The new Audi Quattro Concept is a new continuation of that typical Audi tradition having many characteristics of its past, the 1984 Audi Sport Quattro. The video below highlights the design aspects of the Quattro up against its ancestry. What was old is new again. Enjoy!

[source: Ridelust via Carscoop]

2011 BMW 335i M Sport Review & Test Drive 29
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, BMW, BMW 3-series, BMW 335i, featured, Test Drives on 11 29th, 2010


It is always great to test drive the BMW 3 Series sedan because it is still technically at the top rung of all small luxury performance sedans, and for that reason it is also the best-selling premium vehicle in the world. For 2011 the 335i is fundamentally unchanged except for the new turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine, enabling even faster throttle response and an even small emissions signature.

The new 2011 335i that I tested came equipped with the optional M Sport Package which includes front and rear parking sensor control, 18in. alloy Star-spoke wheels, aluminum trim, sport seats, sport-tuned suspension, M steering wheel, M Shifter knob, aerodynamic bodykit, and anthracite headliner.  The M Sport Package gives a more aggressive look, and adds to the  excitement and driving pleasure when you are behind the wheel.

This new inline-6 engine, dubbed N55, displaces 3.0 liters and develops 300hp at 5,800rpm, with peak torque of 300lb.ft. available all the way from 1,200-5,000rpm.  Redline is 7,000rpm.  this is the same level of performance as the 3.0 liter twin-turbo inline-6 but with the innovation of twin-scroll technology and the integration of Valvetronic Double-VANOS steplessly variable valve timing, this new engine is even more fuel efficient.  This new all-aluminum, DOHC engine is the first BMW inline-6 to combine turbocharging, High-Precision direct fuel injection and Valvetronic variable intake technology.  It features a single, mid-sized turbocharger with a ‘twin-scroll’ housing to boost performance and minimize the response lag.  Thanks to its housing design which maintains proper separation between streams of exhaust gases, the turbocharger builds up pressure much faster than previous-generation turbochargers, this eliminating even the slightest tendency for lag.

Using Valvetronic Double-VANOS steplessly variable valve timing for the first time on a turbocharged inline-6 allows the engine to ‘inhale’ air for combustion with virtually no delay and with reduced pumping losses.  As a result, the engine makes power more quickly than ever before, and this is proven by the engine’s ability to reach peak torque at 1,200rpm, 200rpm earlier than its predecessor.

Turbocharging typically includes intercooling of the engine’s induction air, that is, cooling the compressed air that emerges, very much heated up by the compression process, from the turbocharger.  Sometimes it’s done with coolant, in the case of the new N55 engine, it’s accomplished with outside air.  Intercooling is necessary to reduce the temperature of the incoming air to preclude detonation or ‘knocking’ that can reduce power or, in the extreme, damage the engine.  The N55 like all other current BMW engines, is equipped with knock control as part of the Digital Motor Electronics (DME) engine management system.  On the N55 engine, the DME is now mounted directly to the top of the engine for better packaging and weight savings.

The 335i Sedan dual exhaust system runs at both sides of the vehicle.  At low loads, a flag channels most gas through one side to reduce low-frequency exhaust ‘rumble’. The 335i sedan features an air-to-oil external oil cooler mounted in one wheel well as opposed to the previous engine’s coolant-to-oil unit. This new engine is so sweet, so precise and so high-revving.  Just a slight tap of your foot on the throttle gets the rpm needle high-up in the tachometer.  On the road the 1,200rpm peak 300lb.ft. of torque blasts the new 335i sedan out to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.4sec. and a top speed of 150mph when equipped with the M Sport Package.

Mated to this race-bred engine is a smooth shifting, fully synchronized, short throw, 6-speed manual transmission.  Shifting is almost effortless and you ease up or down the gears and quickly push the new 335i to higher speeds.  There is nothing more fun and exciting in a sport sedan than shifting the gears manually, it brings you closer to being an integral part of the Ultimate Driving Machine.  This butter-smooth shifter is what came standard in my 335i or you can opt for the available 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.

Compared to the 5-speed unit it replaces, it’s lighter, has a more effective torque converter, operates with fewer internal clutches and can reduce fuel consumption, particularly at cruising speeds.  In the 335i, and to appear in other models later, the automatic is the familiar ZF 6 HP 19, but in the TU, or Technically updated, form.

As in all other current BMW automatics, the Steptronic feature offers you a choice of Normal, Sport and Manual modes.  Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive ranges are in the right gate of the shift lever.  The Sport mode, in which shifts occur at higher engine speeds, is engaged by moving the lever leftward from D; the Manual mode is engaged when you manually choose a gear by tipping the lever or push the shift paddles located on the steering wheel spoke forward for downshifts, or rearward for upshifts.

Part and parcel of BMW’s tradition as the Ultimate Driving Machine is its sophisticated chassis technology.  All 3 Series models come with BMW’s patented double-pivot strut-type front suspension with aluminum components for reduced unsprung weight, and a rear suspension using a 5-link setup that is engineered for a unique combination of agility and reassuring stability.  The 335i M Sport-Tuned suspension tightens the setups, front and rear, for even more response to your inputs.  The 335i M Sport just glides along whether you are cruising at high speeds or when you are challenging curving roads.  The excitement builds when you enter a corner and turn the wheel.  The response is so neutral and well balanced it feels like you are driving on rails as you enter and exit the turn.  An imaginary curving wall appears on your left or right as you enter a corner at higher than posted speeds, not letting you stray from your chosen path.  Much of this control is augmented by the standard Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction Control systems that vary the amount of throttle and brake force to keep the wheels with the most traction glued to the road.

Further enhancing that ‘glued to the road’ and ‘riding on rails’ feeling are the magnificent Bridgestone Pontenza REO50A low profile, high-performance tires that the 335i M Sport comes equipped with.  The staggered setup includes 225/40R18in. front, and 255/35R18in. rear, tires that wrap around 18X8in. lightweight aluminum alloy, Star-spoke wheels that further reduces unsprung weight.

BMW’s steering is just as essential to the driving experience.  All 3 Series models come standard with a hydraulic power-steering system whose road feel and precision are legendary; the 335i M Sport that I tested came with the Active Steering system which varies both the steering ratio and power assist to further enhance agility, particularly at low to medium driving speeds.  Active Steering is another of those BMW innovations that truly has to be experienced to be believed.  Just a slight turn of the wheel quickly and precisely changes you direction, just like on a racecar.  The speed of the reaction to my inputs was phenomenal.

Even further enhancing the response and extreme handling capability of the new 335i is the 3-piece strut tower brace over the engine that adds rigidity to the front end.  It only brings you closer to being another integral part of the car.

Quickly slowing the 335i M Sport sedan down from speed are large, 4-wheel, power- assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 13.7in vented rotors clamped down on by four-piston calipers while the rear features 13.2in. vented rotors clamped down on by single-piston calipers.  Increasing your braking power is standard ABS, brake fade compensation, brake drying and dynamic brake control.  The brake pedal always felt linear as I applied the binders when I had to slow down as I drove in stop and go city traffic, or when carving up the curving mountain roads.

With all of these great dynamic driving features under the skin of the new 335i M Sport, once again the critics and pundits in America, and around the world proclaim the 335i as the best all-around driving small luxury sport sedan.  I concur with their judgments. But this is only half of the virtues that make the new 2011 BMW 335i so great to drive.

Inside and outside sees new subtle details like a wider rear track enhancing the car’s planted-on-the-road stance, and new headlights, taillights and side sills.  Even better ergonomics and esthetics lie inside.

Up front is a bolder front spoiler/bumper ensemble imparting a sportier, stronger character.  Its center air intake is larger than before, enhancing the air supply for mechanical components; upswept lines in the lower air intakes channel air to the intercooler, the bumper itself and the newly shaped headlight clusters emphasize the wide stance.  Double longitudinal hood lines, more 3-dimensional than ever, rise toward the steeply raked A-pillars and frame the hood’s power dome.  New lighting features include the layered turn-signal lenses, and on models with the Xenon Adaptive headlights, BMW’s distinctive luminous rings now serve as Daytime Running lamps.  Halogen free-form front foglamps light up the road during inclement weather.  The optional Park Distance Control now includes front and rear monitoring.

Front the side the lower character line that runs from just behind the front wheel well to just ahead of the rear wheel well, is more prominently contoured and strongly expresses the low stance.  On the Sport Package that I had a new high-gloss Shadowline (black) trim more elegantly frames the side windows.

At the rear and restating BMW’s traditional L-form are the taillight clusters with their two main segments for the taillights and turn signals composed of LED rows for an even higher-tech look than before.  The trunk lid is newly shaped with a lip at the rear to increase downforce, and the 0.6in. wider track does its part to strengthen an already road-gripping stance.  Down below are two polished stainless steel exhaust tips nicely spread apart at each end.

Open the front doors and check out the sporty, comfortable and luxurious interior.  A giant slab of real aluminum is laid onto the dashboard from end to end and on the door trim.  Newly refined materials, surfaces and colors add appeal; certain functional elements including the optional iDrive controller, dual climate and audio controls offer refined appearance and tactile qualities.  The aluminum bezel instrument cluster is easy to see and understand.  All switches, dials and levers are within easy reach.  The stick shifter is perfectly located for easy and precise usage.  The beefy M Sport leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel feels great in your hand and features buttons for the audio system, Drive Information System and Bluetooth hands-free communications.

The M Sport package leather-trimmed bucket seats are very comfortable and feature fully-adjustable bottom and seatback.  Also include is power lumbar support control and power side-bolster control to firmly keep you in place when the spirit moves you to increase the level of the 335i’s driving dynamics on the open road, and when slicing and dicing along steep curving roads.

The doorsill trims with their distinctive BMW M script are new.  The somewhat smaller iDrive controller has a fine galvanic surface, and is newly surrounded by the direct-select keys that enhance iDrive’s user-friendliness.  There’s a larger storage tray in the center console including the auxiliary audio input and providing an appropriate place to lay an audio source.  Door panel design has been refine too; on the driver’s door the power-window and mirror controls have been moved 2cm rearward for an easier, more natural reach.

Standard equipment not mentioned above includes keyless entry, start/stop ignition button; two-person memory for seats and outside mirrors, air-vents behind the center console, pull-down rear armrest with pop-out dual cupholders, power moonroof, heated dual power mirrors, door storage slots up front, and heated windshield washer jets for the rain-sensing variable intermittent wipers, cruise-control, self-dimming rearview mirror,

AM-FM stereo CD/MP3 player audio system with HD radio, auxiliary audio input for portable music players, adaptive brake lights, dual map lamps, grab handles above each door, an aluminum clad footrest, and thick floor mats front and rear.

Options in my 335i M Sport not mentioned above include Xenon Adaptive Headlights with dynamic auto-leveling and Corona headlight rings, heated front seats, iPod and USB adapter, Navigation system, Satellite radio with 1-year subscription, universal garage door opener, digital compass mirror and Titanium Silver Metallic paint.

Standard safety features include 3-point safety belts for all five seating positions with load limiters/pretensioners up front, front and rear head protection system, driver’s and front passenger airbags, seat-mounted front side-impact airbags, steel beams in each door, front and rear crumple zones.

The base price for the new 2011 BMW 335i is $40,600.00 and my loaded M Sport model was stickered at $52,275.00 including destination.

Just one test drive at your local BMW dealer will convince you that the new 335i luxury sport sedan is still at the ‘top rung’ of small sport luxury sedans.



Price: Base 335i Sedan $41,100 As-Tested 335i M Sport Sedan $52,275
Type: Compact Sedan
Where Built: Germany
EPA Class: Compact Cars


Length: 178.2 in.
Width: 71.5 in.
Height: 55.9 in.
Wheel Base: 108.7 in.
Curb Weight: 3593 lbs.
Gross Weight: 4652 lbs.

Front Head Room: 38.5 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 55.4 in.
Rear Head Room: 37.5 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 55.1 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.5 in.
Rear Leg Room: 34.6 in.
Luggage Capacity: 12 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 12 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Number of Cylinders: 6
Engine Size: 3 liters
Engine Type: Inline 6
Horsepower: 300 hp
Max Horsepower: 5800 rpm
Torque: 300 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 1200 rpm
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 36.1 ft.
0-60mph: 5.4 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 16.1 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Manual: 19 mpg / 28 mpg / 22 mpg
Range in Miles:
Manual: 305.9 mi. / 450.8 mi. / 354.2 mi.

EPA Rates Nissan Leaf & Chevy Volt With MPG Equivalent Estimates 29
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, hybrid, News, nissan, Nissan Leaf, Nissan Leaf EV on 11 29th, 2010

Many critics have been awaiting the EPA fuel-economy estimates for the Chevrolet Volt. Many enthusiasts believed it would be some type of chart fuel-economy sticker that the Volt would receive due to its complex nature of allowing fully-electric driving under 35 miles but over that it would start utilizing the gas engine as generator for the battery. They were partly correct, the new EPA fuel-economy sticker for the Chevy Volt is nothing short of a spreadsheet of data explaining the ‘equivalent’ consumption to expect under electric range and then under a miles-per-gallon equivalent. The key figure under the expected 35 miles of electric range is a 93 miles per-gallon equivalent and a 60 miles per-gallon under gas-electric power.

If you are still confused, don’t worry, I am still trying to piece this puzzle together myself. The EPA previously released estimates for the Nissan Leaf. With the Nissan Leaf being an actual EV vehicle that does not require a drop of gasoline, the EPA manages to give the consumer yet another type of equivalent mpg figure being that of 99mpg. Basically this figure tells the consumer they will be consuming the amount of energy/money it takes for a gas powered vehicle that gets 99 miles to the gallon. Hypothetically speaking, if you had a car that got 99 miles to the gallon, you would spend roughly the same amount on gas for that vehicle as you do with the Leaf with consumed electricity when it is plugged in. This is the way it also works with the Chevy Volt only it is a two-fold scenario due to the Chevy Volt actually being able to consume gas in addition to traveling up to 35 miles solely on electric power. You will ‘consume’ energy and rack up a larger power bill when the Volt is plugged in to charge just like the Leaf.

Check out the charts and press releases below to see if you understand this situation any better than me.

Chevy Volt EPA Sticker

Chevy Volt EPA Sticker

Chevy Volt EPA Estimates Press Release

DETROIT – When the 2011 Volt begins arriving in Chevrolet showrooms over the next few weeks it will have an all-new fuel economy label to go with its unique propulsion system.

With its ability to operate completely gasoline- and emissions-free for 25 to 50 miles and then continue indefinitely with its range- extending engine, the Volt’s energy efficiency depends on how you use it.

Because the Volt works like no other car before it, General Motors and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency collaborated to design a new label to help consumers understand what to expect when they drive the Volt. Before plug-in cars like the Volt, calculating fuel economy was simply a matter of filling the tank with fuel, driving the vehicle and dividing the distance by the amount of fuel consumed.

Even though they have no tailpipe emissions, electric cars still use energy so the MPG equivalent (MPGe) is determined by measuring electricity use and converting it based on the energy content in a gallon of gasoline. This MPGe rating allows consumers to compare the Volt’s efficiency to other cars in its segment.

The Volt uses two energy sources, electricity from the grid, and gasoline from the pump, with the mix depending on how far you drive and how often you charge the battery. The Volt is a complex vehicle that is incredibly easy to use. And while the new fuel economy label also looks complex, it has more information than any EPA label before it.

Nissan Leaf EPA Sticker

Nissan Leaf EPA Estimates Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Nov. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its fuel-economy label for the 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF, rating the vehicle to be “best” in the midsize vehicle class for fuel efficiency and “best” for the environment. The new label shows a best-in-class 99 miles-per-gallon (MPG) equivalent (combined city/highway). The MPG equivalency rating was developed by the EPA as a way to provide a standard so consumers can compare vehicles across the spectrum and make an educated purchase.

The 2011 Nissan LEAF, which uses no gas, was also rated best-in-class for the environment based on emitting zero greenhouse gases or other traditional tailpipe emissions. The label, which will be part of the Nissan LEAF’s Monroney label, is now ready for placement on the vehicles in anticipation of the December launch.

After completion of five-cycle testing, the EPA has rated the Nissan LEAF with an MPG equivalent of 106 city, 92 highway for a combined 99 MPGe. This calculation is based on the EPA’s formula of 33.7kW-hrs being equivalent to one gallon gasoline energy. In addition, the label displays a charging time of seven hours on a 240V charge and a driving range of 73 miles, based on the five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. Driving range on the Nissan LEAF, as with all vehicles, varies with real-world driving conditions.

“We’re pleased the label clearly demonstrates the Nissan LEAF to be a best-in-class option, reflecting that it’s a pure electric vehicle, uses no gas, has no tailpipe and has zero emissions,” said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, Nissan Americas. “The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision.”

Sales of the Nissan LEAF will begin in December in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee. In January 2011, sales begin in Texas and Hawaii, with additional market roll-out continuing later in 2011.

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing.  Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.

[Sources: Nissan, General Motors]

‘Win HDD’ Proves To Be a Fake Disk Defragmenter Application (How To Remove Win HDD) 27
Posted by Steven in Computer Help, Win HDD on 11 27th, 2010

Numerous computer users have encountered an application called ‘Win HDD‘ which has been discovered to be a program that touts the ability to defragment your PC hard drive(s). Some computer users have intentionally downloaded and installed Win HDD only to find out that it does not defragment their hard drive and proves to be a worthless application. Aside from being worthless, Win HDD has been known to run scan reports and return exaggerated results about a PC’s system registry and hard drive.

Win HDD, or what some refer to as WinHDD, is actually a program created by hackers and cyberthieves with the intent to extort money from computer users. After Win HDD is installed, it starts to play tricks on the computer user and block other applications from running. Win HDD makes a computer user believe that they must purchase a full version of Win HDD to alleviate these issues but it is only a misleading ploy that leads to a quick pay day for these cybercrooks. Win HDD is a misleading product and should never be utilized as a system tool for your Windows based computer for any reason.

How do you know if you have installed Win HDD?

Win HDD usually will display a variation the following popup alert messages and initiate system scans without your permission.

Critical Error
RAM memory usage is critically high. RAM memory failure.

Critical Error
Windows can’t find hard disk space. Hard drive error

Windows detected a hard drive problem.
A hard drive error occurred while starting the application.

How Can You Remove Win HDD?

Win HDD can be very difficult to manually remove if you are an inexperienced computer user. Not to mention, Win HDD has been known to populate the Windows Registry with many different entries and removing the wrong entries could render a PC damaged or useless. The use of a reputable antispyware or antivirus tool is recommended to safely remove Win HDD from your Windows computer.

To easily remove Win HDD, find the following process and end them in the task manager. After that is done, delete each related Win HDD file from your hard drive. In additional to locating the following processes, it is recommended that you delete the System Tool 2011 registry entries listed below as well. It is also a good idea to uninstall the Win HDD application via your add/remove programs function found in the Windows Control Panel if your system recognizes Win HDD has an installed program.

Win HDD files (and folders) to remove:

  • %UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Win HDD\Uninstall Win HDD.lnk
  • %UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Win HDD\Win HDD.lnk
  • %UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Win HDD\
  • %UserProfile%\Desktop\HDD Control.lnk

Win HDD registry entries to remove:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run “[RANDOM CHARACTERS].exe”
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run “[RANDOM CHARACTERS]“

Sir-Mix-A-Lot ‘Carz’ Music Video 24
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Music Video, Sir-Mix-A-Lot Carz, video on 11 24th, 2010

Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s video ‘Carz’ is potentially the best modern-day music video featuring exotic cars. In the past many of us have criticized music artists for having flashy exotic vehicles in a music video just to draw attention with the 26-inch+ wheels and enough chrome to sell and repay the U.S. federal deficit. Sir-Mix-A-Lot takes it to a new level basing the whole song on the vehicles in his ‘Carz’ music video. The time and effort put into the lyrics and car terminology that only true enthusiasts would understand is just unbelievable. I can’t even go on to list the number of exotic and luxury vehicles featured in the video. You have to watch it for yourself. ‘We love these cars!’ Some NSFW language in the video. Enjoy!!!

2011 Lexus GX460 AWD Review & Test Drive 23
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, featured, LEXUS, Lexus GX 460, SUV, Test Drives on 11 23rd, 2010


I originally wanted to test drive the all-new 2011 Lexus GX460 when it became available shortly after it premiered and had it scheduled with Lexus but when Consumer Reports magazine came out with their review of the dangers of rollover when they took it through their obstacle course, all of the 2010 GX460 fleet vehicles were canceled and brought back to the Lexus Test Center to resolve the problem, which they did successfully.

My view is that because all real sport utility vehicles have a high center of gravity, they are not intended for high-speed slicing and dicing through curving roads, even though Consumer Reports used a course with orange cones.

These vehicles, in my opinion, are for taking care of your daily personal needs, for long cruises to your intended destination, and when, or if, you want to take the vehicle off-road.  The new 2011 Lexus GX460 takes care of what a sport utility is intended for in style, versatility, luxury and safety.

After the introduction of the rugged, second-generation GX460 in model year 2010, this capable and efficient luxury utility vehicle moves into the 2011 model year with standard new ‘Smart Stop Technology’ as an additional measure of consumer confidence.  The braking system enhancement automatically reduces engine power when the brake pedal and the accelerator pedals are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions.

The seven-passenger, body-on-frame, GX460 combines ‘right sized’ mid-size packaging with family-friendly comfort, luxury and premium craftsmanship.  The GX460 provides a versatile interior with its three-row seating arrangement.  The second row seat slides 4.1in. fore/aft to maximize passenger and cargo carrying capacity.  The foldable and reclining second row seats also feature a 60/40 walk-in function to access the standard power fold-flat third row seats.  The swing-out rear door window has a ‘flip-up’ glass panel that adds convenience and you lock the swing-out door to any position by turning the lower pneumatic shock absorber that helps with opening the door.

I love the roomy interior and it is enhanced in the GX460 with sound deadening material all around as well as a wealth of standard features and options.  The GX460 features standard heated/ventilated front, leather-trimmed bucket seats with 10-way power adjustments for both you and your front passenger.  Among the luxury features and options are semi-aniline leather, a heated steering wheel, and heated outer second-row seats.  Multimedia features-both standard and optional-expand onboard family entertainment choices that is only the beginning of how your want to outfit the interior, AWD and suspension systems available for your personal lifestyle and tastes.

The inside of the new GX460 provides the luxury appointments, excellent workmanship and attention to detail that you find in the Lexus sedans.  As I mentioned above, Lexus uses sound insulation, dampening and sound absorbing materials throughout the cabin, body and frame to reduce drivetrain noise, especially in the 3,000-4,000rpm range, to give it a quiet Lexus like ride.  GX460 uses one-touch power windows with motors that reduced speed near the closure point to minimize the sound of the window closing.

The instrument panel is designed to appear as if formed from a single metal bar and is arranged to place all vital controls within easy reach.  Optitron instrument gauges are a traditional and functional Lexus design element.  Soft, supportive and comfortable leather trimmed seats, headrest, armrests, door trim shift knob and power tilt/telescoping, leather/wood wrapped also adds to the Lexus touch.  Real Bubinga wood trim, instrument panel stitching and soft-touch surfaces enhance the luxury feel even further.

Lexus designed the GX460 to combine function and elegance, with unmistakable brand identity rooted in the L-finesse design language.  The overall effect conveys the vehicle’s full-range capability and luxury credentials.  A key goal of the designers was to have the vehicle create the impression of being sculpted from a single block of metal, and they succeeded.  The distinctive grille features three horizontal bars and, upon closer inspection, intricate detail and texture that conveys renowned Lexus attention to detail.  Distinctive character lines on the hood and chrome surround frame the grille.  The uniquely formed headlamp cluster features adaptive HID lamps and the front bumper features standard fog lamps. In the rear are large, wrap-around LED lamps clusters and a step-up rear bumper.  The flip-up rear glass has a wiper and washer system that is hidden inside the rear LED stop lamp.  Other functional design elements include low-profile roof rails, an acoustic insulation windshield that help to reduce wind noise and a rear spoiler to further reduce wind noise and provided additional downforce at the rear.

Tasteful luxury touches abound, including green-tint UV protection front glass, large, power remote-controlled/heated/self-dimming/power-folding side mirrors, privacy glass on the rear windows, big, pull out chrome door handles, and running board courtesy lamps give the new GX460 a total rugged yet luxury style.

The weather has been poor in Southern California for the past two months with rain storms five out of seven days per week, but it gave me the opportunity to photograph the portraits of the GX460 in the sun, and then test drive its capability in the rain instead of taking it off-road in the mud.

The new GX460 takes its model designation from its 4.6 liter, DOHC, VVTi, all-aluminum V8 engine that produces 301hp at 5,500rpm and 329lb.ft. of torque at 3,500rpm.  the GX460’s fuel economy is better than other V8 luxury utility vehicles and competitive with some six-cylinder models with its EPA estimated 17mpg combined, and 15mpg/city and 20mpg/highway ratings.

The 4.6 liter V8 is teamed with a smooth shifting six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with sequential shift.  The very responsive powertrain is quiet and gives the GX460 a towing rating up to 6,500lbs.  The gear ratio is set so that you get very fast launches to 60mph from a standstill to easily and safely merge onto fast moving highway traffic.

The standard full-time four-wheel drive uses an electronically controlled transfer case and a TORSEN torque-sensing limited-slip center differential which can be electronically locked for inclement weather.  It also offers a low range for off-road driving needs.  The TORSEN differential distributes power 40:60 under most driving conditions and changes the ratio as needed based on steering input and wheel slip.

The ability to change to a 30:70 ratio during steering maneuvers helps enhance vehicle tracking through curves.  If the rear wheels spin, the center differential can change the ratio to 50:50 to help control the slippage.  The TORSEN differential also helps make the GX460 less prone to slippage caused by sudden changes in road-surface conditions, such as driving through a puddle or over an ice patch.

The GX460 is one of the few premium brand luxury utility vehicles that can deliver genuine trail driving capability.  Combining that capability with Lexus luxury an on-road performance makes it even more exceptional.  Lexus studied vehicle usage of current owners and found that many use their GX for family hauling during the week and vacations and camping trips on weekends.  They often tow a boat or watercraft, and sometimes drive to areas with unpaved and rugged roads.

The GX460 has a robust body-on-frame construction and does not compromise on-or-off-road performance; the high-strength chassis and dynamic suspension control technology support both.

The available Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with three modes: Normal, Sport and Comfort, and its independent front suspension deliver a smooth on-road ride without compromising rugged off-road capabilities.  The GX460 rides on big, 18X8in. alloy wheels wrapped with Bridgestone 265/60R18in. Hauler tires.

The power rack & pinion steering system helps make it easier to maneuver the GX460 in tight spaces.  It feels light in parking maneuvers but gives a great feel for the road at higher speeds. Rear Adjustable Height Control (AHC) enhances the vehicle’s flexibility in a wide range of driving conditions.

By adjusting sway resistance provided by the front and rear stabilizer bars, standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension Control (KDSS) can reduce maximum body-roll by as much as 50% to help enhance both on-road handling response and off-road capability.

Using hydraulic cylinders acting on each stabilizer bar and linked by a pressure-sensing valve, KSSS reduces the degree of roll stiffness provided by the stabilizer bars in response to changing road conditions and driver inputs.  Because KDSS changes the effectiveness of the stabilizer bars in certain situations like off-road driving, the nominal stiffness of the bars can be notably increased to help reduce body-tilt and improve on-road handling.

During on-road cornering, when both front and rear hydraulic cylinders are in a neutral position no fluid flows in the system and the stabilizer bars work conventionally to help reduce body lean.  In off-road driving situations, KDSS allows the wheels on each axle to move with a larger degree of side-to-side independence, helping to minimize any tendency for wheel lift.  When the GX460 encounters an uneven surface, one compressed cylinder causes fluid to flow to the other cylinder, helping the vehicle to keep all four wheels solidly planted n the ground.  That action increases wheel travel and articulation and helps to equalize wheel loading.

The new GX460, like all Lexus vehicles, is equipped with an array of dynamic safety systems.  Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) helps keep the GX460 going on its intended course by detecting front-and-rear wheel slide during cornering and attempting to control either with a combination of torque intervention and individual wheel braking. Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) utilizes the ABS and distributes proper brake force between the front and rear wheels according to driving conditions and wheel-load.  Brake Assist (BA) is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking, and if the driver has not stepped firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage ABS, the system supplements the applied braking power.  The new GX460 comes standard with 13.3in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 12.3in. solid rear discs clamped with single-piston calipers that assure you of quick, controlled stopping power.

Besides the KDSS, what really sets the new GX460 apart from the rest of the luxury sport utility crowd is the optional Crawl Control system, a technology that helps make driving off-road easier.  The Crawl Control feature automatically modulates the throttle and brake, allowing you to concentrate on steering.  Crawl Control is also useful to help navigate the vehicle through sand, mud or snow.

When the transmission is shifted into low range, Crawl Control regulates engine speed and output, along with braking force, to propel the GX460 forward or in reverse at one of five low-speed settings.   This allows you to maintain focus while steering over very rough level ground or steep grades, without having to also modulate the throttle and brake pedals.  Crawl Control also actuates the front and rear ‘virtual’ locking differentials to help reduce tire slippage and optimize behavior.

Without canceling Crawl Control, you can reduce vehicle speed by braking or adjust the crawling speed with a selector switch.  Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to keep the GX460 from rolling back while starting on a steep incline or slippery surface.

Downhill Assist Control (DAC) is designed to augment the low-speed descending ability of the transmission’s low range by helping to hold the GX460 to a target speed with no intervention from the driver.  Active traction control (A-TRAC) provides the traction benefits of having locking front and rear differentials, but with lower weight.  The system can apply the brake to a slipping wheel, while transferring torque to the wheels with better traction.  A steering angle indicator in the gauge panel shows you at a glance which direction the front wheels are pointing-useful for situations where this can be difficult to discern, such as driving off-road or when parking.

These systems enhance the new GX460’s ability and capabilities when you are challenging the toughest off-road terrain as you search for that special off-road area when it is just you and your passengers enjoying the joys of nature close up.

Keeping you and your passengers safe and secure is a hallmark of Lexus and the GX460 is no exception.  The standard supplemental Restraint System (SRS) includes 10-airbags, dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, driver/front passenger knee airbags, second-row seat-mounted side airbags, and roll-sensing side curtain airbags covering all three rows.  The front airbags are designed to inflate according to collision severity.  The roll-sensing side curtain airbags are designed to deploy when a severe tilt angle, roll or lateral G-force is detected.  The new GX460 features a roll-sensing side curtain airbags off switch to deactivate these airbags during certain off-road driving situations.

The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) can help reduce collision damage.  The package includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead.  The multi-information display with the combination meter will show a car icon with the selected following distance.  If, based on a variety of inputs, PCS determines that a collision is unavoidable, the system preemptively retracts the front seatbelts and pre-initializes BA so that increased braking will be applied the instant you depress the brake pedal.  In addition, an optional Pre-Collision System with Driver Attention Monitor and Lane Departure Alert (LDA) is available for the GX460.

You get all of these standard and optional features in the new GX460 that makes driving on the pavement or off-road in a luxurious environment with the fit and finishes expected in a Lexus.  Standard features include: 10-way power-adjustable/heated/ventilated front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, leather trimmed seats and surfaces, steering wheel audio controls, rain-sensing wipers/washers, power moonroof, memory system for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirror positions, and an overhead console with integrated HomeLink transmitter.  Equipped for family multimedia entertainment, the new GX460 comes standard with a Lexus Premium 9-speaker audio system with iPod/USB connectivity, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, and music streaming, with an integrated XM radio receiver.  When connected to the USB port, the iPod can be controlled through the audio system or steering wheel controls, while information such as names for the artist, track and album is displayed on the headunit or optional navigation screen.  A rear back-up camera is standard and provides you with a view of what its lens can detect behind the vehicle when engaged in reverse gear, projecting the image on the standard 4.2in. multi-information display or the optional navigation system’s LCD display.  Also standard inside is a self-dimming rearview mirror, grab handles at all doors plus on each A-pillar, dual map lamps, lighted vanity mirrors, aluminum door sill plates, carpeted floor mats, full-perimeter lighting, one-touch power windows and door locks.

The hard disc drive (HDD) navigation system is a stand-alone option and features Voice Command casual language-based voice recognition system and Bluetooth phonebook download to enhance your convenience.  The available 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio System is the platinum standard for OEM mobile audio.  The optional Rear Seat Entertainment system includes two LCD screens, one in each front seat backrests.  Three-zone automatic climate control for enhanced third-row passenger comfort is also optional.

Lexus GX460 also offers a telematics system, Lexus Enform with Safety Connect, available by subscription, with complimentary one-year trail subscriptions included in all new Lexus vehicles equipped with these features.  Safety Connect is standard on all vehicles while Lexus Enform with Safety Connect is on all vehicles equipped with the optional Navigation system.  The Lexus Enform and Safety Connect response centers operate 24-hours a day, 7-days a week-every day of the year.

The new 2011 Lexus GX460 gives you all of the luxury and comfort that you expect from a Lexus vehicle plus all of the versatility and functionality found in a sport utility vehicle including the ability to go off-road to your favorite destinations, or never leaving the pavement while enjoying the quiet smooth ride of a Lexus vehicle.



Price: Base $52,235 As-Tested Premium $57,119
Type: Midsize SUV
Where Built: Japan
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles


Length: 189.2 in. Width: 74.2 in.
Height: 73.8 in. Wheel Base: 109.8 in.
Ground Clearance: 8.1 in. Curb Weight: 5340 lbs.
Gross Weight: 6600 lbs.
Front Head Room: 38 in. Front Hip Room: 56.5 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 55.4 in. Rear Head Room: 40.4 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 57.3 in. Rear Hip Room: 55.2 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.7 in. Rear Leg Room: 34.1 in.
Luggage Capacity: 11.6 cu. ft. Maximum Cargo Capacity: 92 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 7

Performance Data

Number of Cylinders: 8
Engine Size: 4.6 liters
Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 301 hp
Max Horsepower: 5500 rpm
Torque: 329 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 3500 rpm
Maximum Payload: 1260 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity: 6500 lbs.
Drive Type: 4WD
Turning Circle: 38.1 ft.
0-60mph: 7.8 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 23 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 15 mpg / 20 mpg / 17 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 345 mi. / 460 mi. / 391 mi.

In Jay Leno’s Garage: 2011 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 V10 FSI Quattro 23
Posted by Larry in audi, Audi R8, Audi R8 Spyder, Automotive, Jay Leno, Jay Leno's Garage, video on 11 23rd, 2010

We are always anxious to see what new vehicle our pal Jay Leno has in his garage. This week it is the 2011 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 V10 FSI Quattro. Jay had one of the first R8’s in the country. At that time it was the V8 and now Jay gets to play with the manual transmission V10 Spyder version of the R8. Justin Bell takes us for a ride in the V10 R8 Spyder in the Jay Leno Garage video below.

I won’t bore you with more stats and such on the R8 which you probably already know if you are an automotive enthusiast, so here is the video below featuring Jay and Justin Bell. Enjoy!

[source: Jay Leno’s Garage]

2010 Festivals of Speed Ritz-Carlton Orlando, FL Jet Port Reception & Motorsport Display 23
Posted by Darryl in auto show, Automotive, Events, featured, Festivals of Speed on 11 23rd, 2010

This year AutomotiveAddicts.com photographer Brandon Connelly was on the scene at Festivals of Speed Jet Port Reception and Motorsport Display in Orlando, FL. The Jet Port Reception started off with many high-class dignitaries from automotive manufacturers as well as the infamous Lamborghini chief test driver, Valentino Balboni. To bring things to a conclusion at Festivals of Speed, our photographer was able to capture many stunning images of the Motorsports Display at the Ritz-Carlton. Be sure to check out the images below and view Brandon’s flickr page for additional coverage of recent automotive events.

[images: Brandon Connelly]

Video: Real-Life Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Action 23
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Pagani, Pagani Zonda Cinque, video, video games on 11 23rd, 2010

99.9% of all car enthusiasts have a ‘need for speed’ which is why the ‘Need For Speed’ gaming franchise has been so successful over the years amongst us car guys and has continued that success with the latest release of ‘Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit’. Featured in the video below is some real-life jaw-dropping Italian sports car action with a mean Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 Police car and Pagani Zonda Cinque on the run driven by stunt drivers Marc Basseng and Marc Hennerici. Think of it as another ad push for the Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit game. Have you picked up your copy of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit yet?

[source: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit]

Oprah Introduces and Gives Away 2012 VW Beetle On 2nd ‘Favorite Things’ Episode 22
Posted by Chris in Automotive, News, Oprah, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Beetle on 11 22nd, 2010

Oprah’s favorite things was highlighted last week when she gave away a week-long cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas (sister ship to Oasis of the Seas – two largest cruise ships in the world), a diamond watch, 3D TV and 5-years of Netflix. Today Oprah has introduced the brand-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, which no one has seen in person yet (except spy photos), to all of her guests in the audience. This is reminiscent of when she gave away Pontiac G6’s to everyone back in 2004 and last year giving away a pair of VW Routans.

This year being Oprah’s last hurrah and final season for her show, she partners with Volkswagen to give away new 2012 VW Beetles, which will not be delivered to her guests until after they are built at the Puebla, Mexico plant next Fall.

[Source: ABC News]

Press Release

Oprah chooses All-New Beetle as one of her “Favorite Things”

HERNDON, Va. Today on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Volkswagen revealed the design silhouette of its all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, and then shocked her audience ” by giving each of them a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.

The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is an automotive icon, reinvented. The all-new, completely redesigned vehicle has been dramatically revolutionized by the same engineers and designers that brought the GTI and CC to life. After 12 years, the heart and soul of Volkswagen has evolved, exemplifying Volkswagen’s engineering excellence, power, styling and sophistication.

Oprah owns and drives a New Beetle and asked Volkswagen to help her recognize the time, talents and contributions of select viewers by giving them one of her favorite things, a Volkswagen Beetle. As one of the most iconic vehicles in America, everybody, including Oprah has a Volkswagen Beetle story and this reveal kicks off the next chapter of a great saga. Volkswagen is donating two hundred seventy-five 2012 Beetles plus applicable taxes and fees, to each member of today’s studio audience.

“Oprah Winfrey and the Volkswagen Beetle are two American icons, so when the “Oprah” show approached us with this incredible opportunity  to share her Beetle experience with deserving viewers, we instantly wanted to be a part of it,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “Our all-new 2012 Beetle exemplifies power, styling and sophistication, and is an automotive icon reinvented to create the new shape of performance.”

As revealed today, the new Beetle will feature a sportier, more aggressive stance, and features sleeker styling and a wealth of new technologies that provide a heightened driving experience. It is also customizable, with options that will offer the performance, styling, accessories and features that will appeal to everyone from the driving enthusiast to the driver motivated by value, excellent fuel economy and nostalgia.

The 2012 Beetle will be revealed in the spring of next year and will be available in showrooms next fall. U.S. pricing is not yet set, but with trim packages and unprecedented personalization and customization options, the Beetle will offer the performance, styling, accessories and features that will ensure there will be a Beetle everyone.

The new design lines draw upon the vehicle’s legacy, but the 2012 Beetle will be a true, performance driving machine perfected by German engineering, offering a wealth of technologies that will provide a heightened driving experience over the previous generation. The 2012 vehicle is sporty, aggressive and comes with Volkswagen’s carefree maintenance and known safety standards. The vehicle will offer dual exhaust, 19-inch wheels, sport seats and new, sleeker styling. New technologies, like Bluetooth, touch screen radio, branded audio speaker systems, navigation and unique ambient lighting provide a heightened driving experience.

See photos and video from today’s reveal on The Oprah Winfrey Show at media.vw.com.

The ‘Faster’ Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton and a 1971 Chevy Malibu SS 22
Posted by Darryl in Automotive, Billy Bob Thornton, Chevrolet Malibu SS, Dwayne Johnson, Faster, featured, Movie on 11 22nd, 2010

Chances are you have seen the preview for the upcoming movie ‘Faster’ starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton and a pristine 1971 Chevrolet Malibu SS. If you are a true car enthusiast, then the Malibu SS immediately drew your attention to this movie and you will more-than-likely go to see it at the theater after its release on Wednesday November 24, 2010.

The ‘real’ star of the movie is sure to be the Malibu SS for us car guys. But for everyone else we guess Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton will do. Our buddy Tim at Fireballtim.com provided us with exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ images of the 71’ Malibu SS during the build and destruction of set vehicles. We have also included the trailer, featuring other ‘fast’ cars, for those of you who have not seen the action-packed preview to the movie ‘Faster’.

[source: Fireballtim.com]

Video: BMW Z4 GT3 Time Lapse Build 22
Posted by Larry in Automotive, BMW, BMW Z4, BMW Z4 GT3, video on 11 22nd, 2010

Our good friend Kurt Ernst at RideLust.com posted an interesting porn video… I mean time lapse build video… showing the complete build of a BMW Z4 GT3 racecar. Team West Coast Racing spent about 600 hours to completely build out this project. It is said that this build costs $470,000 plus the time that it takes YOU to complete assembly, which is required.

Dear Playstation: “Gran Turismo 5 Is Gonna Be Awesome” 22
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Commercial, Gran Turismo, Gran Turismo 5, PlayStation 3, video, video games on 11 22nd, 2010

With the NEW set release date of November 24, 2010, Gran Turismo 5 begs to be the best racing simulation game ever. All of the hype and speculation around its release date over the past couple years has had everyone up in arms where some were resorting to playing Forza 3 on the Xbox 360 while hope of an actual release of GT5 faded into the background. Now with a confirmed release date, GT5 looks to be ‘awesome’ as the kid in the commercial below puts it. The GT5 commercial below is rather hilarious featuring Kevin Butler as Sony’s VP of ‘Add More Awesome’ says he is not going to give back the press fleet of cars they used for the making of the game. I don’t blame him, GT5 does look like it has plenty of awesome but we won’t know for sure until two days from now. Now if I could only afford that new 3D TV I saw in the store over the weekend so I can enjoy GT5 in full 3D HDTV bliss. Enjoy the commercial below!

Video: Disney Pixar’s ‘Cars 2′ Trailer Enters the Hearts of Enthusiasts 22
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Disney Pixar Cars 2, Movie, Trailer, video on 11 22nd, 2010

Car enthusiasts all over have probably seen the Disney Pixar movie “Cars”. Let’s face it, Cars is truly an instant classic among car lovers. Now with ‘Cars 2’ on its way to the big screen set for a release date of July 24, 2011, it will undoubtedly steal our hearts once again. From the looks of the newly release trailer below, Cars 2 seems to take a new direction from that of the original movie which probably makes for great entertainment once again due to the solid reputation of Disney Pixar. Enjoy!