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Audi Shakes Down The R18 31
Posted by Kurt Ernst in audi, Audi Motorsport, Audi R18, Automotive, Le Mans, Motorsport on 01 31st, 2011

Audi's sinister R18. Image: Audi Motorsport

When Audi switched from gasoline engined endurance race cars to diesel engined race cars for the 2006 season, racing history was made. The Audi R10s utterly dominated the competition, taking victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans, despite having development issues early in the year (which forced Audi to compete side by side with their previous car, the R8). By 2007, Audi seemed unstoppable, with the R10 being undefeated in North American LMP1 competition and easily winning at Le Mans. In 2008, however, the tide was beginning to turn. Audi still won at Le Mans, but was beaten by a Peugeot turbo diesel at several other venues. The R10 was no longer invincible, and was replaced by the R15 TDI in 2009.

Image: Audi Motorsport

The R15 started strong by claiming a victory in the 2009 12 Hours of Sebring. Audi’s celebration was short lived, as the car proved proved uncompetitive in the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans, losing to diesel powered cars from rival Peugeot. The R15 TDI Plus rallied at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished in 1st, 2nd and 3rd spots, but this was largely due to engine trouble with the Peugeot cars. If Audi was to repeat their domination of endurance racing, clearly a new platform was needed. Enter the R18, first shown to the public in December of 2010.

Image: Audi Motorsport

Like the R15, Audi’s R18 will be powered by a TDI engine, now reduced to a 3.7 liter V6 but still good for some 550 horsepower. Unlike all of Audi’s endurance racers since the 1999 R8C, the R18 will utilize a closed cockpit design to improve airflow (and hence, downforce) on the rear wing. There’s speculation that Audi will run the R18 as a hybrid diesel, using some form of kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), but Audi has neither confirmed nor denied this. The R18 was recently tested with good results at Sebring, but it won’t be used to race there in 2011. Instead, Audi will run R15 Plus Plus cars at Sebring and will debut the R18 in May at the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup event at Spa. Audi takes endurance racing very seriously, and beating rival Peugeot is a matter of immense importance to Audi; I’d be very surprised if Audi wasn’t atop the podium at this years 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Source: Audi

BMW Brings Back The Four Banger 31
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, BMW, BMW Engines, Fuel Economy, News on 01 31st, 2011

The last time a four cylinder engine powered a BMW in the United States was in 1999; back then, it was a somewhat anemic 138 horsepower. You could find it in the entry level Z3 roadster, and in the quirky BMW 318i Compact, but customer perception was that real BMWs had six cylinder engines. By 1999, the 318i had been dropped from BMW’s U.S. lineup, and the base motor in the Z3 was upgraded to a 2.5 liter straight six. BMW would continue the use of four cylinder engines in the EU, where fuel economy and price were primary concerns, and would focus on premium cars with six or more cylinders for the U.S. market.

That was a sound strategy except for one thing: ever tightening CAFE requirements. In order to improve fuel efficiency of their smaller-engined cars and SUVs, BMW has announced a new 2.0 liter, twin scroll turbo engine for the U.S. market. Unlike the old 1.8 liter four, there’s nothing anemic about BMW’s latest four banger. In addition to the twin-scroll turbo setup, the engine uses high pressure direct injection and variable intake valve timing to produce 240 horsepower and 260 ft lb of torque. What’s even more impressive is that peak torque comes at just 1,250 RPM, and peak horsepower comes at 5,000 RPM. Unlike four cylinder turbos of old, you won’t have to bang this one off the rev limiter to make power.

There’s no word yet on which vehicles will get the new turbo four, but it’s probably safe to assume that anything ending in “28” is fair game. BMW hasn’t published claims on increased fuel efficiency, but I’d expect to see at least a 10% bump in fuel economy compared to their current 3.0 liter six, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the final number was even higher than that. Now, can we get a 1 Series car with this motor and the M suspension, priced below $35,000? That would be a true entry level performance BMW, and would be a fitting tribute to the original M3.

Source: BMW USA

Video: Jay Leno Welcomes Lamborghini Reventon Into His Garage 31
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Jay Leno, Jay Leno's Garage, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Reventon, video on 01 31st, 2011

Some of the most intriguing vehicles for automotive enthusiasts comes with a Bull emblem on the hood and 12 cylinders in the rear. One ‘Bull’ that eclipses the rest, first introduced in 2006, is the Lamborghini Reventon with its in-your-face styling inspired by a jet fighter. The Lamborghini Reventon features a 6.5-liter V12 with 641 horsepower and a price tag well over $1 million. One of the latest guys to get his hands on one of these bad boys is Jay Leno.

Jay Leno already has several Lamborghinis in his collection including the infamous Miura and Countach. Jay invites Andrew Ramanowski, President of the Lamborghini Club America, to talk about the Reventon in the ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’ video below. Best of all, Jay gets to take the Reventon for a spin. Enjoy the video below!

[source: Jay Leno’s Garage]

More 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Images Surface 31
Posted by Larry in Automotive, featured, Mercedes Benz, Mercedes Benz C63 AMG, News on 01 31st, 2011

The new upcoming 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is poised to be an out-right beast. We already had a glimpse at previously leaked images of the 2012 C63 AMG from various automotive sources but now even more images have leaked out onto the internet.

The new revised C63 AMG (and C63 AMG wagon) features most notably a new aggressive grill, LED fog lights and reworked headlights. Underneath the refreshed styling lies the joy of the newest model, a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine with 451 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Power will be directed to the rear wheels through a seven-speed ‘SpeedShift’ MCT transmission good for propelling the small form-factor Benz from 0 to 60mph in 4.6 seconds all while getting an average of 19.6 miles to the gallon.

A new AMG performance package (on top of the normal AMG offering) will be offered upping power output to 481 horsepower with other aggressive accents and seats to distinguish it from the ‘normal’ C63 AMG. Full details should be revealed at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show on the 2012 C63 AMG.


[source: CarScoop]

Noble M600 Set for April Launch 29
Posted by Alex Ion in Alcon, Automotive News, BBC Top Gear, M600, Noble, TC on 01 29th, 2011

Noble has finally unveiled the M600, which will begin production soon and is expected to be on the road by this April. The car seems pretty much the same as the one shown in 2009.  The development stages of the vehicle had been really intense, with test runs covering entire the east-to-west stretch of the US. At home in the UK, the car was given full wind tunnel courses to evaluate the aerodynamics.

The M600 is powered by a twin-turbo 4.4 L V8 engine producing 650 hp (485 kW / 659 PS) and 604 lb-ft (818 Nm) of torque. This heavy duty engine is mid-mounted to give the car a low centre of gravity, which means better handling. A 6-speed manual transmission distributes power to the wheels.

The car features the Alcon braking system with 380mm front / 350mm rear discs. It accelerates from 0-60mph in 3.0 seconds matching most supercars around the world. The car has a top speed of 225 mph or 362 Km/h.

Carbon composite materials are widely used for the body parts, held together by a tubular space frame chassis – making the car weigh only1250 kg (2, 755 lb).

Full traction control is provided which can be regulated by the driver.

Noble M600
Noble M600-1
Noble M600-2
Noble M600-3
Noble M600-4
Noble M600-5

There are 3 driving modes to choose from – the comfort mode uses only 450 bhp (336 Kw/456 PS) and the throttle response is also gentle, the track mode frees up another 150 hp (112 kW / 152 PS) and reduces the TC interference and lastly the race mode uses all of the 650 horses that the engine has to offer and quickens throttle response. Pricing and due date are yet to be known.

2012 Kia Picanto to Debut at Geneva Show 29
Posted by Alex Ion in 2012 Picanta, Automotive News, Geneva Motor Show, ISG, Kappa engine, Kia, Picanta, Upcoming Events on 01 29th, 2011

Kia Motors will unveil the all new Picanto at the Geneva Motor Show this March. The 2012 Picanto has been re-designed and re-engineered and is aimed at the A segment in the market.

The new model is longer and has increased wheelbase than its predecessor. The cargo area gets 27% more space. Picanto will have 5-door and 3-door variants for the first time.

The car will have lesser CO2 emissions between 95 and 105 g/Km and increased fuel efficiency of 40-56 mpg (U.S). The engine options include: – three cylinder 1 Liter Kappa engine with gasoline, flex fuel or bi-fuel versions and a four cylinder 1.2 Liter Kappa petrol engine.

Availability of these engines depend on individual markets. Power generated with the above said engine options range from 69 to 85 ps and torque between 94 and 121 Nm. Depending on the region the car will either have a 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmission

The cars to be sold in Europe will feature Kia’s fuel saving ISG (Idle Stop Go) technologies. Other cool stuff like the LED day time running lights, button start with smart key, grip type outside door handles, airbags (6 or 7 based on region) make this car all the more appealing.

Mercedes New Diesel Variants to Come 29
Posted by Alex Ion in 4Matic AWD, Automotive News, C-, E, GL, GLK, GLK250 BlueTec, M-, Merc, mercedes, R, S-, S350 BlueTec on 01 29th, 2011

As part of plans to bring eight diesel engine variants in the U.S by 2014, Mercedes will be adding the GLK250 BlueTec to the existing range of E-, M-, GL- and R- class models. Also on offer in the near future would be a diesel S class. We might also see an upgraded 2012 C class in September, but its diesel version could take at least another year.

Adding the S-, C- and GLK- class to the fray only counts to 7 models and when asked about the eighth model, a Merc spokesperson has been quoted as saying that there was plenty of time till 2014. Guess it will be a new model; small front-wheel-drive perhaps!

The S350 BlueTec will have the popular 3.0 Liter turbo-diesel V6 engine that is in Mercedes’ other flagship diesel models across the U.S. It will have 4Matic AWD and will reach dealers in 2011 fall.

The European GLK crossover gets the 2.1 Liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine developing 204 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with minor changes and possibly tagging a GLK250 BlueTec name it should soon make it to the U.S.

The much awaited crossover could return 30+ mpg on highways, do the 0-60 mph sprint a shade under 8 seconds and reach 213 Km/h (132 mph).

Subaru Prepares For The Sno*Drift Rally 28
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Dave Mirra, David Higgins, Motorsport, rally, Rally America, Subaru, video on 01 28th, 2011

David Higgins, on the throttle.

Subaru may have pulled out of WRC competition, but the brand is still very much active in the Rally America Championship. Travis Pastrana has moved on to NASCAR, but Dave Mirra is back for the 2011 season, joined by fellow driver David Higgins. Both will pilot Vermont Sports Car built Impreza WRX STIs for the 2011 season, which kicks off with this weekend’s Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, Michigan. The Sno*Drift event features some 130 miles of racing, over snow and ice covered roads. Nearly 33% of the event is run at night, and northern Michigan’s ever-changing winter weather usually creates some interesting challenges on the course. Rally America doesn’t allow the use of studded tires, which puts a heavy emphasis on car setup and smooth driving. Check out Mirra and Higgins shaking down their 2011 cars in the video below.

Rally America has lost some big name drivers in the off-season, which won’t help to boost the series popularity. Ken Block appears to be focusing on WRC, since he’s not running this year’s Sno*Drift (but I wouldn’t count him out for next month’s 100 Acre Wood Rally, which Block seems to win every single year). Travis Pastrana is figuring out the whole go fast, turn left thing, which leaves Dave Mirra as the closest thing Rally America has to a rock star driver. Look for Mirra to mature as a driver this year, since he clearly understands the importance of working with a co-driver to develop solid pace notes. In rallying, being fast is less important than being smooth and consistent, since nothing chews up time more than mistakes and crashes. Like the old racing wisdom says, “To finish first, first you’ve got to finish”.

How Far Would You Go For A Free Car? 28
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Bizarre, Funny, Media, MINI, mini cooper on 01 28th, 2011

Mini logo on your leg? Not far enough. Image: J3kidford

If your name was Andreas Muller and you lived in Germany, you’d get yourself tattooed in the most uncomfortable of places to win a free car. Mr. Muller, it seems, really wanted to win a new Mini Cooper being given away by a local radio station, so he agreed to have the word “Mini” tattooed on his junk. That was enough for a win, and the local station broadcast live from the event; as you’d imagine, there was a fair amount of screaming involved. It goes to show that “Jackass” isn’t purely an American phenomenon, and I wish Mr. Muller a speedy recovery. His mom must be so proud.

That said, there are certainly cars that I’d get Mr. Happy branded for. I hate to brag, but “McLaren MP4-12C” would fit nicely, as would “Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera” (although, admittedly, you’d have to use a smaller font for that one). A friend suggested “Hummer”, which would have added benefits beside a free car, but I don’t want to drive a Hummer. I think “Porsche GT2 RS” would fit nicely, and I’d be more than happy to man up (literally and figuratively) if Porsche wanted to lease some, um, advertising space.

Source: Autoblog

Video: 9 Second Cadillac CTS-V Drag Run 28
Posted by Darryl in Automotive, Cadillac, Cadillac CTS-V, Drag Race, Drag Strip, video on 01 28th, 2011

When I first drove the new Cadillac CTS-V I was already in complete disbelief on how ridiculously fast it was. To know you can tune this baby to run 9 seconds in the quarter-mile is absolutely astonishing. Enjoy the video below!

[source: Dragtimes]

Video: Ferrari FF Concept Night Testing at Balocco Circuit 27
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Ferrari, Ferrari FF, video on 01 27th, 2011

The new Ferrari Four FF has sparked quite an interest among automotive enthusiasts and even the potential future buyers of this ‘different’ concept. The latest footage of the new Ferrari FF was captured at night during testing at the Balocco Circuit in Northern Italy.

Ferrari’s first all-wheel-drive model is truly remarkable from what we can see. Under the hood is a 6.3-liter V12 engine that produces 651 horsepower and 504 pound-feet of torque good for propelling the 3,946 lbs prancing horse to 60mph from a standstill in 3.7 seconds. Top seed is estimated at 208 mph.

Look for the new Ferrari FF to be on display for its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Enjoy the (silent) video below!

[source: Ferrari]

Ferraris Invade Palm Beach International Raceway 27
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Ferrari, Palm Beach International Raceway, video on 01 27th, 2011

Bullet Motorsports, who specializes in the marketing of exotic vehicles, was on hand to capture the recent 2011 Ferrari Festival at Palm Beach International Raceway. My only questions are, “why didn’t I know about this” and “why wasn’t I there”? Palm Beach International Raceway, which used to be known as Moroso Motorsport Park, is only a few hours from where I live, and the chance to see cars like the F40 and the 333SP in action doesn’t come around all that often. I’ll be checking the calendar for next year’s event, and I promise to mooch dinner and a place to crash off my brother in law shoot lots of up close and personal pictures. In the mean time, enjoy this superb HD video after the jump.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore Drives into Qatar 27
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore, LP 550-2 Bicolore, Qatar Motor Show, Super car news, Two-toned, Upcoming Events on 01 27th, 2011

The special edition dual-hued Lamborghini has unveiled the new Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore has gone up the podium at the Qatar Motor Show. What makes the car distinct is the  two-tone paint scheme with Noctis Black accents. Further, Lambo has also lined up the machine in Giallo Midas, Arancio Borealis, Grigio Telesto, Bianco Monocerus or Blu Caelum.

Powered by a 5.2-liter V10 engine with 560 PS (412kW / 552 hp) and 540 Nm (398 lb-ft) of torque, akin to the base model, the engine has been linked to the standard e-gear transmission. The Bicolore has capabilities that would help it race from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, and has a top speed of 325 km/h.

Lamborghini has designed the car bringing to the fore extreme aspects. The interior has been spruced up with Nero Noctis trim and Nero Persus leather. Though on show at Qatar, the super carmaker hasn’t yet revealed as to what the special edition model would sell for. Lamborghini will drive the car on to European and Asian-Pacific markets.

Those in the North American region may not get to drive the Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore. However, we hear a LP 550-2 Bicolore that has similar equipment with the exception of all-wheel drive and 10 PS (7 kW / 10 hp) of output will be brought to the US.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore1
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore2
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore3
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore4
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore5

Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for Chicago Auto Show 27
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Camaro, Chevrolet, Chicago Auto Show, Upcoming Events, Z28 on 01 27th, 2011

The upcoming Chicago Auto Show will see the unveiling of the Chevrolet Camaro Z28. Most likely to be revealed with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine with close to 556 hp (415 kW / 564 PS) and 551 lb-ft (747 Nm) of torque, the car is expected to be paired to a six-speed manual transmission. This feature is to enable the vehicle to accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds.

The carmaker hasn’t let out full details of the unveiling. But we get to know that the Camaro Z28 will come with modified bumpers, new grille, a bulging hood, and a four tailpipe exhaust system.

The interiors are to have exciting design aspects too. The car maker is looking at starting production on January 1st, 2012. However, nothing has been revealed as to what will be on the pricing front.

Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Chevrolet Camaro Z28-1
Chevrolet Camaro Z28-2
Chevrolet Camaro Z28-3
Chevrolet Camaro Z28-4
Chevrolet Camaro Z28-5

(Via WCF)

VW Formula XL1 Concept Out Ahead of Qatar Show 26
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, CFRP, Concept car news, E-drive, Formula XL1, Formula-One, Qatar Motor Show, Upcoming Events, VW on 01 26th, 2011

VW has launched their Formula XL1 concept ahead of its debut at Qatar Motor Show. The car is a two-seater plug-in hybrid with rear wheel drive. The XL1 combines aerodynamically efficient design with technology and hybrid engines.

The XL1 is powered by an 800 cc/47 hp twin cylinder engine and a 27 hp electric motor, producing 120 and 100 Nm of torque. It comes equipped with a 7 speed DSG gearbox and a Li-ion battery for the electric motor which can be charged from a household supply. As a unit the car weighs only 795 Kg.

The car can do 0-100 Km/h in 11.9 seconds and can reach an electronically limited top speed of 160 Km/h (99 miles). The XL1 consumes only 0.9L/100Km making it the most fuel efficient hybrid car and has Co2 emissions 24 g/Km. E-drive can be used to run the vehicle for a maximum of 35 Km and the combined range with a 10 L fuel tank is 550 Km approx.


The design of the vehicle was in keeping with less weight aspect; most of the parts are made of carbon fiber, and less aerodynamic drag. Regenerative breaking is adopted to recharge the batteries while slowing down. Wing doors make it easy to get in & out. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer parts (CFRP) like in Formula One has also been used.

Still a concept vehicle, VW has hinted that a one-liter car will be offered in the near future