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Drop-Top Perfection: The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster 31
Posted by Kurt Ernst in AMG, Automotive, Kurt, Mercedes Benz, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, video on 05 31st, 2011

Image: Mercedes-Benz

If you were setting out to build the best ragtop in the world, a good place to start would be with Mercedes’ SLS AMG coupe. The uber-fast luxury GT car boasts a 563 horsepower, 6.3-liter V-8, surrounded by some of the sexiest sheetmetal on the planet. Intended as an homage to the Mercedes 300SL “Gullwing” coupes of the 1950 and 1960s, the car spares no expense in design or construction, and now Mercedes-Benz has announced a roadster version of the SLS AMG.

Image: Mercedes-Benz

Image: Mercedes-Benz

Starting with an aluminum spaceframe body, the SLS AMG Roadster adds the same 6.3-liter V-8 and dual-clutch, transaxle transmission found in the coupe. A sport suspension with aluminum double wishbones comes next, followed by the power-folding cloth top, built of magnesium, steel and aluminum. It retracts or raises in just 11 seconds, and can be deployed at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. An optional driver-oriented telematics system, dubbed “AMG Performance Media” gives real-time readouts of lateral and linear acceleration, horsepower, lap times and engine vital statistics, while the aircraft inspired cockpit is designed to surround the owner in luxury. Black leather seating is standard, but owners can opt for two-tone leather seating if that’s their preference. A navigation system is standard, as is Mercedes’ unique “Airscarf” system, which uses warm air at the driver’s neck to extend the temperature range for top-down motoring. Available options include a Bang & Olufsen audio system, the AMG Performance Media system, an Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension and carbon ceramic brakes.

Despite a reinforced body to reduce flex, the roadster weighs just 88 pounds more than the Coupe, and retains the same 3.7 second zero-to-sixty time. Top speed is electronically limited to 197 miles per hour, just as on the SLS AMG Coupe. Pricing has yet to be established, but look for the SLS AMG Roadster to hit select Mercedes-Benz dealers by year end.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

Reminder: June Is ‘Lane Courtesy Month’ 31
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Driving, Kurt, Lane Courtesy, National Motorists Association, News on 05 31st, 2011

Saturday afternoon traffic near Berkeley, CA. Image: Minesweeper

If you’re a regular reader of Automotive Addicts, I’ll go out on a limb and say, “you’re not the problem.” You already know that the left lane of a multi-lane highway is for passing and not traffic flow, and you know enough to keep an eye on your rearview mirror for oncoming traffic. Sadly, you’re the exception and not the general rule when it comes to drivers in the U.S., which is why the National Motorists Association has proclaimed June to be “Lane Courtesy Month”.

“Lane Courtesy Month” has a much more pleasant ring about it than “Get the Hell Out of the Left Lane, You Mouth-Breathing-Troglodyte Month,” but the intent is really the same. The NMA hopes to make drivers aware that the left lane of multi-lane highways should be used for passing, and that slower left lane traffic should make way for faster left lane traffic, regardless of speed limits or current speed. This should be obvious, but it bears repeating: when all motorists adhere to the basic principle of keep right, pass left, traffic flows more freely and in a safer manner.

The NMW lists three other benefits for lane courtesy, including:

– Lower chance of accidents: Unobstructed drivers aren’t forced to accelerate, brake or make illegal and risky passes on slower traffic.

– Reduced travel time: Less traffic congestion translates into a faster time from Point A to Point B.

– Less aggravation behind the wheel: Unobstructed driving is less stressful than being stuck behind the cell-phone-addled left lane clot for the duration of your trip.

I’d like to add a fourth benefit, which is reduced likelihood of road rage, often caused by oblivious or inattentive driving. The NMA certainly has their work cut out for them, and I wish the organization the best of luck with getting the word out about “Lane Courtesy Month”. I suspect the drivers most guilty of clogging the left lane have never heard of the NMA, and I’m fairly certain they’re not Automotive Addicts readers, either.

Source: National Motorists Association

2011 Audi Q7 TDI Quattro SUV Review & Test Drive 31
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in audi, Audi Q7, Automotive, Clean Diesel TDI, diesel, featured, SUV, TDI, Test Drives on 05 31st, 2011


Audi has revamped its lineup of full-size Q7 sport utility vehicles this year by downsizing the engine displacements, adding an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission enabling all Q7 models to increase their fuel efficiency and lower their emissions.

I tested the new Q7 TDI (turbo diesel injection) Quattro Premium Plus model and it is the best of the three models available with more torque and higher mpg specs.

The Audi Q7 quattro provides premium SUV buyers with a new level of environmental conscientiousness with its efficient 3.0 liter TDI clean diesel V6 engine.  Using a combination of direct-injection and turbocharging, the 3.0 liter diesel engine delivers 225hp at 3,750rpm and a remarkable 406lb.ft. of torque at just 1,750rpm.  Yet, as impressive as the power figures are, the truly amazing aspect of the Q7 3.0 TDI quattro clean diesel is its fuel economy-delivering 17mpg/city and 25mpg/highway and is the only clean diesel in its segment with an eight-speed automatic transmission.  This remarkable clean diesel engine has also achieved the Bin5/ULEV (ultra-low emissions vehicle) II 50-state status certificate which is measured on the same emissions basis as gasoline-based engines.

A closer look at the engine reveals that it is a variable vane, common rail injected, 24-valve, 90-degree, turbo/intercooled diesel with continuous camshaft adjustment, DOHC, with a vermicular graphic cast iron block and aluminum alloy cross-flow heads.  Also found are Piezo fuel injectors with eight-hole nozzles and a Bosch EDC17 engine management computer system.  The engine is also very quiet when standing close by outside, and virtually silent when seated inside the cabin.

Matched up with the potent 3.0 liter TDI engine is an all-new state-of-the-art eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.  It offers the perfect compromise between a legitimate manual and an automatic gearbox, with eight carefully chosen ratios that can be credited for 5% of increased fuel efficiency of the new Audi Q7 quattro.  You may choose gears via the console-mounted shifter or optional paddle shifters located behind the sculpted steering wheel.  Shifts are quick and precise without sacrificing the smooth action of the Tiptronic automatic.  A wide final drive ratio of 7.25:1 allows the lower gars to be optimized for instant, powerful acceleration, while the gears in the upper range have an emphasis on fuel economy-particularly at highway speeds.  Have it your way to get the most out of the 406lb.ft. of torque available at just 1,750rpm from the TDI engine.

Underpinning the new Q7 TDI and insuring a smooth and controlled ride is the unique fully independent suspension geometry.  Up front are double-wishbones, steel coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar.  The rear independent setup features four-links, steel coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar.  Matched up with the Servotronic vehicle speed sensitive power-assisted rack & pinion steering system you quickly and precisely guide the Q7 where you want it to go.  On-center feel is perfect and feel for the road is exceptional.

Working with the standard Electronic Stability Control (ESP) system and Traction Control, the Quattro all-wheel drive system regulates the torque to the wheel with the most traction to keep you on track and assures you of control when riding over slick or wet road surfaces.

Quickly and safely slowing the big Q7 TDI down from speed are giant, power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes.  Up front are 13.8 inch vented discs clamped with six-piston calipers while 13.0 inch vented discs in the rear are clamped with four-piston calipers. Enhancing your braking control and power are standard ABS, EBD, BA and ESP.

The new Audi Q7 TDI Premium Plus model rides on 19X8.5 inch cast aluminum wheels wrapped with 265/50R19 inch all-season radial tires for a smooth ride.

The unitized steel body structure features integrated aluminum and magnesium components to enhance the strength and rigidity of the body and frame for no hints of noise, vibration or harshness (NVH).

From first glance, the face of the 2011 Audi Q7 TDI is recognizable instantly as a symbol of power.  A single-frame grille with chrome surround and xenon plus headlights with adaptive lights and high-power LED driving lights give the SUV a bold prow.  Large inlets at the bottom of the front fascia channel air toward the intercoolers and hint at the performance potential of the SUV’s TDI engine.  Just below is a splitter to enhance front downforce at highway speeds and foglamps set at each side.

A striking shoulder line defines the Audi Q7 Quattro profile, with subtle bright work in key locations to draw the eye.  Pronounced fender flares and lower side extensions send a clear message of athleticism, while a long and elegant roofline with a low-profile aluminum roof rack, gently slopes to the rear and top-mounted spoiler, creating a spacious interior.  A full-perimeter chrome strip clearly defines the luxurious greenhouse with privacy glass at all rear seating areas.

LED taillights dominate the rear of the Q7 TDI Quattro.  As stylish as they are functional, the lights command attention from drives behind you, and their near-instant illumination extends the margin of safety further.  The sizeable power tailgate is designed to allow for easy loading and unloading of cargo, while to large, polished stainless steel exhaust ports in the fascia bolster the performance appearance of the new Q7 TDI.  Like all Audi’s, the Q7 TDI Quattro looks like it was carved out of a solid piece of metal.

The interior of the new Audi Q7 TDI has been upgraded substantially for 2011, with a number of once-optional luxury features now standard.  Crafted to deliver the utmost in comfort and functionality, the interior offers spacious seating and ample storage space.  Every Audi Q7 Quattro comes with hand-picked wood inlays, aluminum trim and heated, 12-way power front bucket seats.  The Audi Q7 Quattro accommodates up to seven passengers, with a third row in the aft of the SUV.  The second and third rows can be folded flat without removing the headrests to create a cavernous cargo area-a full 72.5 cu.ft.  The Q7 Quattro offers impressive flexibility, with up to 28 possible seating and cargo configurations, and the second-row seatbacks recline to provide passengers with a new level of seating comfort.

Standard features in the Q7 Quattro TDI include dual-zone climate control, leather wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel, garage door opener-Homelink, Bluetooth, rear acoustic parking sensors, rain sensing wipers/washers, privacy glass, AM-FM-CD stereo radio with 9-speakers and SIRIUS satellite radio, cruise-control, grab handles above each door, dual map lights, second-row reading lamps, cargo area lights, all windows power express up/down, power door locks, center console with dual cupholders/leather padded storage bin/rear heating ducts, rear pull-down armrest with dual cupholders/storage, storage slots in each door, map pockets behind front seatbacks, twin-12-volt power outlets up front/twin-12-volt power outlets behind the center console, leather/aluminum wrapped stick shifter in an aluminum gate, power-remote/heated side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, thick cut-pile carpeting throughout with front/rear floor mats.

My Premium Plus model came equipped with Audi’s MMI navigation system, xenon plus LED daylight running lights and turn signals, self-dimming/power-folding sideview mirrors, Bose Surround Sound audio system, Audi parking system plus with reaview camera, memory function for driver’s seat, 3-part panorama electric sunroof, heated rear seats, and a heated four-spoke steering wheel.

Audi knows that protection starts during the earliest part of the design process.  The Audi Q7 Quattro is built with a rigid body structure, designed to channel crash energy away from the cabin.  The advanced independent suspension provides a planted platform, capable of quick-reaction emergency maneuvers that belie the size of the Q7.  In the event of an accident the Q7 Quattro protects occupants with front and side airbags up front, with side airbags optional for the second row, standard Sideguard side-curtain airbags protects all rows, 3-point safety belts are in place for all seven seats with pretensioners/load limiters up front, LATCH system for child seats, tire pressure monitoring system, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, power child locks, and an anti-theft vehicle alarm system.  Optional adaptive cruise control maintains the distance from vehicles ahead automatically with the aid of a radar sensor and by braking or accelerating.

The new 2011 Audi Q7 TDI Quattro is one of the best looking, comfortable, luxurious, fuel efficient and safe full-size sport utility vehicles in the segment.  The base price is just $50,900.00 and my nicely loaded test model stickered for only $58,275.00 including destination.




  • Price: Q7 TDI Quattro MSRP $51,450 As-Tested $58,275
  • Engine: 3.0-liter V6 Diesel 225 horsepower @ 3,750 rpm / 406 ft-lbs. @ 1,750 rpm
  • Drive: AWD Quattro
  • Wheelbase: 118.2in.
  • Total length: 200.3in.
  • Total width: 78.1in.
  • Total height: 68.4in.
  • Track: f/r-65.0/66.0in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.5/39.0in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.3/37.1in.
  • MPG est.: 17mpg city/25mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 26.4gallons
  • 0-60mph: 8.6 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.9 cu.ft.  – Max Cargo: 72.5 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 5,567 lbs.

On OverdriveLive Tonight: Polo GTi Review, Monaco Grand Prix Report and Indy 500 Action 31
Posted by overdrivetv in Event Coverage on 05 31st, 2011

Every Tuesday between 6 and 8pm, Ciro De Siena and Gavin Williams from OverdriveTV host OverdriveLive on 2OceansVibe Radio. It’s a blokey mix of cars, football, music, more cars, and other nonsense which Capetonians are coming to love.

This week they’ll be reviewing the new Polo GTi and the Honda Jazz Hybrid, as well as presenting a full report on the brilliant Monaco Grand Prix. In true petrol-head form, they sat through the entire Indy 500 on Sunday as well, only for the most exciting moment to happen seconds before the end of the race.

All this will be fitted in between the best hand-picked tunes. Head over to www.2OceansVibeRadio.com to listen live.

GM Cadillac-based PHEV Plan Axed 31
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Cadillac, GM, PHEV on 05 31st, 2011

General Motors has put aside their plans to introduce a premium plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) based on their Cadillac luxury brand. It was earlier believed that GM was in the works with a  PHEV, based on the Cadillac SRX platform and making use of the Chevy Volt Technology..


This car from Cadillac would have been first ‘luxury PHEV’ car in the US. It also would have been the second PHEV from GM, after the Chevy Volt. The project has however been axed as the company thinks that the crossover plug-in would be financially feasible.

There are also many who feel that the project could well be revived on another platform in the future. The SRX platform on which this PHEV was intended to be built would have marked an end in sales when the new car got ready for production. Let’s wait to know what’s on GM bosses’ minds next.

(Via Reuters)

Volkswagen Tiguan Facelifted Variant to be Built in Mexico & N America 31
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Tiguan, VW on 05 31st, 2011

Volkswagen, which is already expanding production to beyond the Passat, Jetta and Beetle models, will build their upcoming Tiguan model in Mexico. To be built either at the Chattanooga plant or the Pueblo plant in the Latin American nation, VW will be looking at increasing production units and sales of the Tiguan model. The Pueblo plant is where the Jetta and Beetle are assembled.


In the meantime, the German car maker will also be looking at cutting down on production costs too. This apart, by around 2013, the company will also be lining up the North American production for the Tiguan. The new production plans will help us have a look at the new facelifted compact SUV Tiguan.

If you would remember, the 2007 Tiguan had sold 700,000 units world wide. The facelift was provided this February and next generation is expected by 2013.

(via WCF)

2012 Porsche Boxster Offers Sneak Peek 31
Posted by Alex Ion in 981, Automotive News, Boxster, porsche on 05 31st, 2011

Here we have for an early peek on the upcoming 2012 Porsche Boxster model. The much anticipated Boxster, or the Boxster 981, comes with a completely innovative design and engine technologies. The 981 will sport a unique cab-forward design to have better recognition of the model from the former 911.

Porche Boxster_6
Porche Boxster_1
Porche Boxster_2
Porche Boxster_3
Porche Boxster_4
Porche Boxster_5

The new Boxster will sport vital statistics that ad 60 mm (2.36 inches) at the wheelbase and 37 mm (1.46 inches) in total length, while the height loses 10 mm (0.39 inches) and the front overhang is reduced by 25 mm (0.98 inches). The two seater’s compartment will provide more legroom, 18 mm (0.70 inches).

The Boxster 981 will appear different with more panache on front and rear fascias, with its own freshly designed headlamps and taillights, a new side air intake design and a steeper windscreen. The most distinguishing feature of this Porsche model will be its flat-four powertrain that will integrate engines of the next Boxster and Cayman models.

The four-cylinder unit will displace 2.5 liters and feature a larger bore than on the current 2.7 liter engine. The 2.5 liter will be twin-turbocharged up to around the 360 bhp (268 kW / 365 PS) and 347 lb-ft (470 Nm) of torque mark.

The 981 Boxster is said to be set for officially debut in time for the Detroit Auto Show scheduled for January 2012.

(Via WCF)


C-Sick. We Drive The Brand New Citroen C4 30
Posted by overdrivetv in C4, Citroen, gearbox, New car review, review, south-africa on 05 30th, 2011

I’m one of those people who’s always liked the French.  Their lack of sentimentality, and hence lack of diplomacy has always rubbed me up the right way.  I was on the Paris Metro once and being a bit lost, was waiting in line at an info kiosk to ask for some assistance.  In front of me was an American Family. The American Family.  The American Family with fanny packs and fat where other people from other nations don’t have fat.

AMERICAN FATHER (I won’t say American Dad, because that’s a great show):  ”Where’s the Arch of Triumph?  Excuse me.  Do you know where the Arch of TRY-UMPH is?”

The Frenchman behind the glass just gave a wonderful Gallic shrug.  I loved his reaction even more because I had just come from outside and the Arc D’Triomph was literally meters to the left up on the pavement.  But he wouldn’t budge, he just shrugged and I loved it.

What irritated me the most was that the American made absolutely no attempt at “hello” in ANY language, never mind French, and just launched a terrible attempt at pronouncing their most important landmark.

I approached the glass after the Americans wandered off muttering, and after a very bad Bon jour asked if I may proceed in English.  “Of course,” said the same guy who minutes earlier had been Jean-Pierre Le’Shrug.  He gave me directions in perfect English merely because I had made an effort – in his country – to converse with him. Like any nation, the French want you to understand them. To acknowledge them on their own terms.

So I was prepared to love the new Citroen C4 on its own terms. I was ready to be enveloped in its Frenchness.  I was ready to be smitten by the utterly daft, peculiar beings they can be.  I was ready to love it.  And at first I did.  Sitting in it, everything worked, but was a bit…off.

The gear lever looks like the top of a wine opener. Fittingly, because the man who made the gearbox was drunk and on leave apparently when he designed it via fax from a vineyard.  But more on that in a minute.  The level of luxury in here is truly exemplary.  There’s a French suaveness about it all.  The seats massage you, the display is brilliant and everything seems to work like it should.  It’s like learning the Parisien Underground. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

So far so good. I was feeling fully fluent in French.  Then I began to drive it, and this car doesn’t speak “DRIVE”. As in the part of the gearbox that makes the car go forwards consistently.

I nudged the wine opener backwards into A for Automatique I assume (you nudge it forward for reverse obviously) and the car really got moving with a hint of wheelspin.  Not bad… and then it felt like someone had half pulled the handbrake up as it wheezed its way into second.  Satellites don’t have this much delay.  It seriously felt like the car had tried to stop. It’s unnerving.

Remembering my French lessons, I automatiquelly assumed it was me making a hash of things.  I was quite obviously squeezing mayonnaise out of a tube onto a delicate croissant layered with roast beef from a tin in front of  Sarkozy’s wife while explaining why Zidane was shit and always had been.

This sort of thing had happened with my driving style before.  How can I put this.  I sometimes drive cars wrong. I drive Cadillacs like they’re speedboats at first and then realise how cool they are when you drive them like you’ve had three strokes, for instance.  Right, time for a new driving approach.  I’ll feather the accelerator, nice and smooth, none of this robot racing right foot and…second gear…clang!  I felt like the airbags should’ve deployed. It’s like you’ve driven into a shed.  Not one sturdy enough to stop you, but enough to let you know it was there.

It’s appalling this gearbox, truly appaling. I tried and tried and then eventually felt something I’ve never experienced before: Motion Sickness.  I’ve eaten left over cold pizza with a hangover on a yacht while people threw up around me from sea sickness and I scoffed at their weakness, but I actually felt ill after driving around in the C4 for a while.

Citroen claim it’s not an automatic and it’s not a manual; it’s something else.  Right. All they’ve achieved is making both types of gearbox worse.  Infinitely worse.  It seems in typical Citroen fashion they’ve blown the R&D budget on things like multi coloured LCD displays (you can choose from 8 hues of blue) and varying sounds made by your indicator instead of on things like the bloody gearbox.

Citroen’s eccentricity used to be reserved for design and that used to make them charming and cultish.  The C4 with it’s ESG auto/manual or whatever is not just annoying, it is quite literally the first auto I’ve felt was constantly about to stall, and that’s a real pity because the rest of it is everything a Citroen should be. Thank goodness you can still have a good old manual.

By Gavin Williams – OverdriveTV

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Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster Shown 30
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Coupe, mercedes, SLS AMG Roadster on 05 30th, 2011

Well ahead of its debut at Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes has given us an official glimpse of its SLS AMG Roadster. The Roadster has a three-ply soft top that could be folded or unfolded automatically in 11 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h).


The car’s roof doesn’t take much of trunk space despite the car offering a cargo capacity of 6.1 cubic feet (173 liters) regardless of the top’s positioning.

The vehicle is powered by 6.3-liter (6,208cc) V8 engine that produces 563 hp (420 kW / 571 PS) and 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque. This will be linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that can work up the car’s acceleration from 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The vehicle can hit a limited top speed of 197 mph (317 km/h) – akin to the earlier gullwing model.

The engineers at Mercedes have done some remarkable work to strengthen the chassis of this open top car. The SLS AMG Roadster will weigh 3,661 pounds (1,661 kg) which is just 88 lbs (40 kg) heavier than the coupe.

The earlier gullwing model had created much interest among the fans and the convertible version is predicted to be even more popular. Pricing details are yet under wraps, though we expect the car to be released this Fall.

Tesla Roadster Production to End This Year 30
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Model X, Roadster, Tesla on 05 30th, 2011

Tesla has announced plans to stop the production of their Roadster model by the end of 2011. The details were secured from a filing of motor maker with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tesla Roadster _6
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Tesla Roadster _5

This strategy has taken the motor world by surprise as Tesla’s Model S won’t be hitting market until mid-2012 s was earlier revealed. Tesla seems confident about surviving the tough competition with their remaining stock of Roadsters through out  their year-and-a-half long manufacturing process.

The other details availed from the filing reveal the company’s idea to introduce a Model X concept later this year. Though not many details are known about the concept, we guess this crossover will incorporate the functionality of a minivan with the consumer appeal of a sports-utility vehicle.

The Model X concept is expected to launch the production model in 2014.

(Via WCF)


Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Soft Top Water Test Video Out 30
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Camaro Convertible, Chevrolet, Water test on 05 30th, 2011

The new soft top that has been incorporated into the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible has been tested in tough moist conditions. Apart from the standard test, engineers made the car undergo many extensive tests during development to assure its long-term durability.


The convertible top was opened and closed more than 22,500 times more than it will normally  be done in a span of 10 years .This unusual testing took place in extreme conditions of temperatures ranging from minus -22° F to 170° F and humidity of up to 95 percent.

Here we have a video that elaborates the thorough water check to ensure that roof doesn’t leak whatsoever. The Camaro Convertible had earlier reported better interior quietness acoustical rating than the Ford. According to officials at Chevy, the Camaro Convertible can be a collector’s car, something that can be kept for generations together. The tops ensure retention of quality for a long, long time.

So How Does Chevy Test The Camaro Convertible Top? 27
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible, Automotive, Camaro, Chevrolet, Kurt, Testing, video, Videos on 05 27th, 2011

OK, kids, don't try this at home.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past where American cars didn’t get a whole lot of validation post assembly. I’ve driven nearly new convertibles that leaked like a sieve in the rain, and I’ve had low mileage cars with more creaks and rattles than a haunted house. Fortunately, those days are in the past, and most of todays cars are tested to the point of failure before they even see production. Chevy wants you to know that they go well beyond “reasonable” in testing the top of the new Camaro convertible, running it through over ten years of simulated hard use in testing. Even production cars don’t get loaded for shipment until they’ve been tested under water spray of 900 gallons per minute. Like the video says, don’t try climbing into the trunk of your car at home. From personal experience, I can tell you that it’s not a particularly comfortable ride.

VW’s New Passat Starts Under $21,000 27
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 VW Passat, Automotive, Kurt, News, Volkswagen on 05 27th, 2011

The 2012 VW Passat. Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s newest Passat, now built in their Chattanooga, Tennessee factory, costs over $7,000 less than the 2010 model it replaces. It’s bigger, too, with an emphasis on increasing leg room for rear seat passengers. Best of all, it’s going to be available in a turbodiesel variant, which gives buyers a legitimate alternative to hybrid vehicles. Like the Jetta, the lower price comes at a cost: expect to see more hard plastic on the inside, but Volkswagen insists that the bulk of the cost savings comes from domestic manufacturing. This much is certain: with three powertrains and a variety of trim levels, there will likely be a Passat to suit almost any budget.

Image: Volkswagen

On the low end of the price scale is the Passat S, with the 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter I-5 engine that Volkswagen is using throughout their product range these days. Starting at $20,675 (which includes a destination charge of $770) with a six speed manual transmission, even the base model gives you automatic dual-zone climate control, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and 3 years or 36,000 miles of no-charge scheduled service.

Image: Volkswagen

Step up to the $24,495 SE version (which uses the same 2.5-liter engine as the S) and you get a powered driver’s seal, 17” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette upholstery, leather wrapped steering wheel, premium audio and aluminum interior trim. A six speed automatic is available, and raises the price of the SE trim level to $25,595.

Image: Volkswagen

Opt for the TDI version (as I would), and the price of admission starts at $26,765. That buys you an SE trim level car complete with VW’s 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine, good for 140 horsepower but 236 foot pounds of torque. It’ll get an estimated 43 mpg on the highway, which gives it a range of almost 800 miles between fill-ups. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual, but VW will sell you a DSG dul-clutch gearbox Passat TDI for $28,665.

Image: Volkswagen

Topping the range is the Passat with the 3.6-liter V-6, which starts at $29,765 in SE trim level. Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter V-6 is good for 280 horsepower, and all V-6 equipped cars come with the DSG gearbox. They also come with 18” alloy wheels, a Fender premium audio system, fog lights, comfort sport seats and dual chrome exhausts.

There’s plenty more models to choose from, since the Passat range includes some 15 variants. Expect to see the new Passats in dealer showrooms by late summer.

Source: Volkswagen

Aston Martin V12 Zagato Previewed 27
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News on 05 27th, 2011

For all you Aston Martin fans out there, we have the latest images of its V12 Zagato endurance racer. Have a look.

As you can see in the pictures alongside, the V12 Zagato comes up in an orange tint featuring large, black rear wing.

Expected to make its racing debut at the Nurburgring this weekend, Aston Martin V12 Zagato is likely to be a limited edition, as hinted by CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez.

Possibly, two editions of the racer will compete at the 24-hr endurance race at the Nurburgring scheduled from June 25 to 26.

Dr.Ulrich has been quoted as saying that the 24-hour race is the ultimate road test and a fitting introduction for the V12 Zagato.

A road-going variant is also anticipated. However, a lot depends on the customer reaction to the current racer!

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Aston Martin V12 Zagato_5

(Via CarMag)

Aston Martin, V12, Zagato


Aston Martin Rapide Facelift Spied 27
Posted by Alex Ion in ASTON MARTIN, Automotive News, Facelift, Rapide on 05 27th, 2011

This time we have for our readers, the latest spied shots of Rapide Facelift. Just have a look.  It is likely that the front bumper will feature an updated design and new air intakes.

With a new rear bumper and a rear spoiler a little bigger than on the current model, the face lifted Rapide is changed at its rear end.

The rear parking sensors are located higher up. Expected to be launched sometime between late 2012 or early 2013, next Aston Martin Rapide may also get a new engine variant too.

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As you know, Aston Martin presented Rapide as a concept car at the North American International Auto Show way back in 2006 and later introduced it in 2010. So, all set for a test drive in Facelifted Rapide?

(Via WCF)