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Chevy Lifts Production Hold On Camaro ZL1 30
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Camaro ZL1, Automotive, Chevrolet, Kurt, News on 03 30th, 2012

The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Image: © GM Corp.

And then, as suddenly and mysteriously as it was enacted, the production halt on the 2012 Camaro ZL1 has been lifted. Chevrolet has emailed its dealers, advising them that production of the uber-Camaro will resume shortly, and that customer orders can again be taken. No further details were provided as to the cause of the production halt or the resolution, but the timing seems to indicate the problem was software, not hardware, related.

Per Motor Authority, cars that have already been assembled will be delivered to dealerships in the next two or three weeks. Were the issue mechanical, it would likely take longer than that to source new parts, then replace them on assembled cars; on the other hand, new software can be quickly and easily uploaded.

Customers with orders in the system that have not reached production will need to be a bit more patient. Chevrolet says that allocation of remaining 2012 ZL1 models still needs to be worked out, meaning that some with orders in the system may be rolled over into 2013 model years. Customers buying their cars to drive likely won’t have issue with this; however, those buying first-model-year Camaro ZL1s as an investment won’t be too happy to hear they’re getting a second-model-year car instead.

To be honest, we’re just as eager to drive the new Camaro 1LE, which gets much of the ZL1’s suspension tuning but with a normally aspirated V-8 instead of the supercharged V-8 found in the ZL1. It’s less money, and even 426 horsepower should prove to be plenty entertaining for track days.

SRT Teases The New Viper Before Next Week’s Debut 30
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 SRT Viper, Automotive, Dodge, Kurt, News, SRT on 03 30th, 2012

Inside the new Viper, the view back from the dash. Image: SRT

On Wednesday, April 4, SRT will officially reveal the new 2013 Viper. It’s teased a few images along the way, but none that answer this key question: what will the new Viper actually look like? Hot Wheels has an idea, and the buff books (printed magazines, for those outside the industry) have already received images and specifications. Sadly, the rest of us will have to wait until Wednesday at noon to get the full story on the new Viper.

Judging from the latest teaser image, the 2013 Viper will have an interior that matches the car’s capabilities. Unlike the Corvette, which really does have the worst seats in the sports car world, the Viper’s chairs appear to be well suited to high performance driving. Those meaty hip and side bolsters mean you won’t be sliding around the cabin, trying desperately to brace yourself against door and center stack with your knees, no matter how much speed you carry into a corner.

It’s a pretty safe bet that the new Viper will have a larger and more powerful V-10, too. Thanks to government regulations, it will also come with things like electronic stability control, in order to tame the car for the unwashed masses with the price of admission. While the new Viper will likely be a bit kinder and gentler, we certainly don’t expect it to be de-fanged. We’ll know for certain on Wednesday.

Mercedes Dealer Announces New G63 And G65 AMG Models 29
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, G63 AMG, G65 AMG, Kurt, Mercedes Benz, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, News on 03 29th, 2012

The G55 AMG, as fast as you can go off-road today. Image: Mercedes-Benz

When an all-new model is about to drop, generally it’s the manufacturer and not a local dealer that breaks the news. Imagine our confusion, then, when a press release confirming the launch of two new G Class models hit the wire yesterday, originating from a Mercedes dealership in New Orleans.

Mercedes-Benz has been very tight-lipped about the existence of a G63 AMG or a G65 AMG version of its go-anywhere G Class. Spy photos have been showing up for years, and Mercedes allegedly custom built a limited run of G63 models for select (i.e., wealthy and influential) customers a few years back.

According to Motor Authority, the G63 AMG will replace the current G55 AMG (shown here) and will pack some 536 horsepower into a twin-turbo, 5.5-liter V-8 engine. Just in case that’s not fast enough or expensive enough for your tastes, the G65 AMG will get a twin-turbo V-12 good for 621 horsepower and an earth-moving 737 pound-feet of torque. Pricing wasn’t mentioned for either model, but it’s safe to assume the G63 AMG will be “very expensive,” with the G65 AMG coming in at “very, very expensive.”

Mercedes-Benz has yet to confirm or deny the existence of either G-Class model, but this much is clear: if the automaker was planning on launching the SUVs in the United States, a certain dealership will have a lot of explaining to do.

Subaru Confirms Work On A BRZ STI 29
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, Subaru, Subaru BRZ STI on 03 29th, 2012

Subaru's BRZ STI concept. Image: Subaru

Like the idea behind an affordable front engine, rear drive coupe designed for superior handling, but wish it had more than 200 horsepower? You may be in luck, as Subaru is reportedly working on an STI version of its BRZ sport coupe. Expect it to be harder edged than current BRZ models, and better suited for track days than for daily commutes.

The news comes from Auto Express, who spoke with Subaru’s global marketing manager, Atoshi Atake. Atake acknowledged that many customers and fans have expressed interest in a faster, more sporting version of the BRZ, and Atake went on record as saying, “…we will certainly satisfy our customers. We are already working on a faster version.”

Subaru's BRZ STI concept. Image: Subaru

Take what you know about current STI models and throw it out the window. A BRZ STI will remain rear-drive, not all-wheel-drive, and it won’t use a forced induction engine. Instead, expect a BRZ STI to make 250 horsepower from its 2.0-liter boxer four via improvements to intake, exhaust and valve timing systems. The STI version will weigh less, too, thanks to a carbon fiber hood, a carbon fiber roof and lightweight racing seats. To complete the package, expect lighter wheels, bigger brakes, a stiffer suspension and a full aero package similar to that seen on the BRZ STI concept shown here.

Subaru's BRZ STI concept. Image: Subaru

As for when we’re likely to see a BRZ STI, your guess is as good as ours. Subaru is currently struggling to meet Japanese demand for the base BRZ, which is selling at four times the expected volume in its home market. We’d be very surprised to see an STI version on these shores any sooner than later 2013, likely as a 2014 model.

Chevrolet Debuts Refreshed 2013 Traverse Crossover 29
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Traverse, News, SUV on 03 29th, 2012

Enthusiasts, for the most part, agree that crossover utility vehicles are rather boring. In the light of so many auto makers introducing new crossover vehicles with more of a sports appeal, enthusiasts are naturally raising their eyebrows. Chevrolet knows this and their latest move to update the styling of the new 2013 Traverse crossover attempts to add some ‘sport’ to their efficient 8-seater (7 or 8 passenger configurations available) family hauler.

Although no changes have been made to the power output of the 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 engine in the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, the front and rear receive a sporty redesign. Additionally, the interior of the new 2013 Chevy Traverse has received minor tweaks to add GM’s new MyLink infotainment system. The suspension of the new 2013 Traverse has also received some reworking to conclude the list of mid-cycle refreshing.

Some of the major selling points of the Chevrolet Traverse (and its GMC Acadia sibling) are much due to its colossal interior appointments giving passengers class-leading cargo room. Sales figures for the Traverse remain strong giving its utilitarian versatility wrapped in an efficient package.

2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover
2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover

Hit up the full press release below for additional information on the new 2013 Chevrolet Traverse.

2013 Chevy Traverse Gives Families New Gathering Space
• New athletic exterior debuts Chevrolet crossover utility face
• More refined interior with class-leading space for cargo and up to eight passengers
• New and industry-exclusive safety features including front center air bag
• Improved car-like ride and handling

NEW YORK – The new 2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover-utility vehicle offers families a new gathering space with greater style, refinement and safety. It goes into production later this year, building on the space, comfort and efficiency that have made Traverse popular.

“The new Traverse is a family vehicle without compromise,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet Global Marketing and Strategy. “It is more capable than many sport-utility vehicles, with as much room as a minivan and better functionality than both. The Traverse is clever, capable and confident – and there when you need it most.”

The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse has a new, athletic exterior design, complemented by a more expressive front end that introduces a new face for Chevrolet crossover utilities.

The front features a new shape supported by a powerdome hood, a three-bar upper and two-bar lower grille design, new lamps, chrome accents around the grille and fog lamps, and sculpted front corners similar to the Malibu sedan. The new design captures the overall character of Chevy’s new car lineup, for a consistent family resemblance.

“We have injected a stronger presence into the Traverse exterior by focusing on the details,” said Phillip Zak, GM director of exterior design. “The small but important changes give it a more vibrant personality that more closely reflects the lifestyles of the families who rely on the Traverse to get them through their busy lives.”

At the rear, redesigned lamps and the license plate pocket are positioned in the new liftgate for a sportier look.

New family gathering space
Space is the hallmark of the Traverse interior. With its class-leading spaciousness, comfortable and flexible seating for up to eight adults, and more cargo-carrying capacity than any other vehicle in its segment, the 2013 Chevy Traverse builds on these established attributes by offering an interior environment with new features and refined appointments.

Upgraded materials include soft-touch surfaces on the instrument panel and front door uppers, contrasting stitching, chrome and silver accents, and available blue ambient lighting that flows through the cabin.

A new center stack showcases a 6.5-inch color touch radio with the available Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system. MyLink allows customers to seamlessly integrate their smartphones for hands-free calling through the audio system and Bluetooth streaming of popular internet radio favorites Pandora and Stitcher. The center stack also has large and illuminated climate controls that are easier to use and have a more upscale feel.

The front seats now feature articulating head restraints that can be adjusted up or down and fore and aft for greater comfort. The eight-way power passenger seat includes leather trim. New wood trim treatments are standard on LT and LTZ.

Adding to the overall feel of quality, the fit and finish of the interior panels have been improved on all models. The new Traverse will come with three interior color choices, in cloth or leather, including Ebony and Mojave, Light Titanium and Dark Titanium, and Ebony.

Passes the parent test
The Traverse passes the parent test with three rows of seating standard on all models, flexible seating configurations, class-leading people and cargo-carrying capacity, and family-friendly entertainment and other features.

Traverse’s second-row seat comes with a pair of captain’s chairs or a three-passenger bench. Each incorporates Traverse’s child-friendly, second-row SmartSlide feature that enables unobstructed access to the third-row bench seat with one hand – and is easy for children to operate.

The third-row seat can comfortably accommodate three adult passengers. Traverse’s 24.4 cu. ft. (691 liters) of cargo room behind its third row is larger than many full-size utility vehicles. Traverse also has easy-to-operate safety belts, up to 12 cup holders and an available rear-seat entertainment system.

Efficient power and car-like ride
Traverse has a long 118.9-inch (3,019 mm) wheelbase, with a wide 67.8-inch (1,721 mm) front track and 67.4-inch (1,712 mm) rear track – a combination that enables smooth, stable ride and handling characteristics.

Efficiency in the Traverse comes from a technically advanced 3.6L V-6 with fuel-saving direct injection technology and continuously variable valve timing. It is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission with improved shift feel that results in more confident acceleration when the driver needs additional power to enter the highway or pass another motorist.

The engine is SAE-certified at 288 horsepower (215 Nm) and 270 lb.-ft. of torque (366 Nm) with dual exhaust (281 hp/210 kW and 266 lb.-ft./361 Nm with single exhaust). Its direct injection fuel delivery helps produce power similar to many V-8 engines and uses regular unleaded gasoline.

The transmission controls have been revised to provide quicker and more consistent shifts. Along with additional transmission hardware changes, the Traverse is expected to continue to deliver among the best fuel economy ratings of any eight-passenger (FWD) utility vehicle.

Ride and handling improvements have been made through the use of rebound springs in the front struts that increase roll control. New shock valving has been employed for low-velocity control to deliver a smoother ride at lower speeds.

The available intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system provides increased traction on slippery roads by actively managing the torque distribution between the front and rear axles, based on factors such as wheel speed, throttle and surface conditions. There is no driver intervention; the system automatically decides how much torque to apply and delivers it to the wheels that have the best traction.

Traverse maintains capability to deliver improved ride and handling, offering utility-like towing capacity of up to 5,200 pounds (2,358 kg).

Smart and safe family hauler
The Traverse is among the safest vehicles on the road today, previously earning top honors and recognition from leading third-party organizations and in government crash testing.

For 2013 it enhances its safety reputation with the industry’s first front center air bag. It is engineered to provide additional restraint to drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes, where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.

When a severe impact occurs, the air bag deploys in milliseconds from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants.

“While no restraint technology or feature can address all body areas or all potential injuries, the front center air bag is designed to address field-relevant, side-impact crashes that are not addressed by current regulatory or consumer metric test conditions,” said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness. “It works with the vehicle’s other air bags, safety belts and structure to deliver a safer occupant environment.”

Additional safety and security features:
• Available Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems (standard on LTZ) use radar to watch spots the driver may not see – and provide visible and audible warnings to help prevent collisions.
• Standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for outboard occupants in all seating rows. In addition to providing protection in moderate-to-severe side crashes, the roof-mounted head curtain air bags will deploy in a rollover to help provide increased occupant protection and containment.
• StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology is standard on all models and incorporates full-function traction control.
• Standard rearview camera system is designed to provide the driver with added capability to view what is in the rearward path of the vehicle.
• Standard four-wheel-disc brake system with ABS featuring smooth, quiet operation, longer pad life and more resistance to brake pulsation.
• Safety belt pretensioners reduce forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts, along with load-limiting retractors that help limit the belts’ impact on the occupants’ chest. The dynamic locking latch plate locks to hold the occupants’ pelvis in place.
• LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system is included in outboard second-row seating positions.
• Tire pressure monitoring system is standard on all models.
• Strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants.
• Standard hill start assist brakes help reduce the tendency of a vehicle to roll forward or backward on a hill after the brake pedal is released by momentarily retaining pressure on the brake discs.

OnStar Features
OnStar is standard on all Traverse models. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of a crash. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.

• OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada.
• Six months of complimentary OnStar Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for easier route guidance comes on all Traverse models. The feature is easy to use because all directions are sent to the car by an advisor, without the need to stop. Turn-by-Turn can be cost-effective, since map updates and aftermarket navigation systems are not needed.
• Stolen Vehicle Assistance helps police track the vehicle.
• OnStar Mobile App allows owners with Android™ or Apple™ smart phones to remotely start the engine, lock and unlock doors and view vital vehicle information such as tire pressure, fuel tank level, range, remaining oil life, etc.

For 2013, Traverse is offered in LS, LT and LTZ models (with two LT packages: 1LT and 2LT), in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. It is built in Lansing, Mich. Pricing is not announced.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com

Aston Martin opens new W-One Showroom in London 29
Posted by Kelly Levinsohn in Automotive News, Super car news, Videos on 03 29th, 2012

Luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin has recently opened a brand new showroom in London’s swanky Park Lane district.

Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez, welcomed guests to the official opening of the showroom. The brand new experience centre, dubbed the W-One, is described as a ”high profile destination for aficionados of both design and bespoke sports cars” with the new space having been “designed to convey ambience similar to that of a luxury boutique.”

W-One will also host a number of events and functions to boost Aston Martin’s profile among London’s elite and beyond.

In addition to offering prospective buyers the luxury vehicle of their choice, the location will also promote the brand’s Q-customization service as well as offer products from other high end brands.

The website states that “Aston Martin’s Brand Partners will be invited to continue the well established tradition of high-profile collaboration working with names like Jaeger LeCoultre, Bang & Olufsen, Louis Roederer and newly announced luxury shoe makers; John Lobb.”

Watch the showroom opening in the video below:

Source: World Car Fans

Shelby Defines Excess With New 1000 Horsepower Mustang 28
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Ford, Kurt, Shelby, Shelby 1000, Shelby American on 03 28th, 2012

The Shelby 1000. Image: Shelby American

When it comes to horsepower, how much is too much? Some would argue that Ford’s upcoming 2013 Shelby GT500, with its 650 horsepower off the showroom floor, already pushes the boundaries. Most would agree that Shelby American’s 800-horsepower Super Snake comes close to offering too much horsepower, but now comes word that the Nevada-based customizer has topped even that effort.

At the upcoming New York Auto Show, Shelby American will launch the Shelby 1000, a limited-production Mustang that delivers 950 horsepower in street trim (and on pump gas), or as much as 1,100 horsepower in a track-use-only version. Shelby starts by gutting the 5.4-liter V-8 engine, installing stronger internals and a larger blower. Next, the heads are worked to improve flow, then Shelby’s tuners go to work building unique fuel maps for the car, based on the type of gas you’ll be running.

As you’d expect, the car gets a beefier 9-inch rear end and a solid driveshaft, since getting that much power to the pavement through the rear wheels only will be challenging. If it was hard to launch an 800 horsepower Mustang, launching a car with 25-percent more power isn’t going to be any easier.

As is usually the case with anything wearing a Shelby badge, the price is astronomical. Once you’ve procured a 2012 Shelby GT500 donor (which should set you back around $50,000), Shelby American will charge you another $150,000 to build a limited production Shelby 1000 out of it. Options, for which there are plenty, only add to the price.

That’s serious money, even for a car that puts out four-digit horsepower, and we can’t help but wonder if it’s all about bragging rights. Limited by the size of the rear tires’ contact patch, we seriously doubt the Shelby 1000 will be significantly quicker than the Shelby Super Snake (or even the new Shelby GT500). If you can’t get the power to the ground, what difference does it make how much your engine puts out?

2013 Ford Explorer Sport Introduced with 350 Horsepower V6 EcoBoost Engine 28
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2013 Ford Explorer, Automotive, Ford, Ford Explorer, News on 03 28th, 2012

Our speculations yesterday, drawn into a conclusion from the High-Performance Explorer teaser video, have come to fruition in the form of the new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport touting 350 horsepower.

It was only a matter of time before Ford would inject yet another one of their vehicles with the current EcoBoost (twin-turbo) V6 engine found in the current Taurus SHO. Not only does this engine provide the new Explorer with more power, but it remains to be efficient as well. Ford expects the new Explorer Sport V6 EcoBoost to get 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

The new Explorer Sport package will add the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with 350 horsepower, larger brakes, faster electric steering rack, and a reinforced chassis for added stiffness. On the outside the Explorer sport gets a Sterling Gray grill, 20-inch painted and machined wheels, black roof rails, blacked-out headlights/taillights, and black sideview mirror covers. Interior appointments for the new Explorer Sport include Charcoal black leather seats with or without contrasting Sienna inserts, leather wrapped steering wheel and floor mats stitched with Sport badges.

Ford’s new 2013 Explorer Sport will be a nice placement at the top of the Explorer line in place to compete with other ‘performance-sport’ SUVs on the market. Now soccer moms (and dads) can have a little more fun behind the wheel.

2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport

Hit up the full press release and release video below for additional information.

Press Release

 New Ford Explorer Sport: Fuel-Efficient, High-Performance SUV Features Inspired Design Cues, EcoBoost V6 Engine

– Ford Explorer Sport is a new addition for the 2013 model year, featuring EcoBoost® 3.5-liter V6 engine for greater performance feel and projected top fuel economy among gasoline-powered, high-performance sport utility vehicles
– Explorer Sport gives customers an interior inspired by designer accessory fashions, sporty exterior design cues and specially tuned suspension components

DEARBORN, Mich., March 28, 2012 – The first-ever performance version of the Ford Explorer arrives this year with the highest projected fuel economy among gasoline-engine-powered, high- performance SUVs.

With a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost® V6 engine making at least 350 horsepower and four-wheel drive with a Terrain Management SystemTM, Explorer Sport delivers enhanced on-road dynamics with sporty design cues inside and out.

“Adding an EcoBoost drivetrain to Explorer Sport delivers even more fuel efficiency and performance to the lineup,” said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer. “This is our highest- performance, most capable Ford Explorer ever.”

Power, capability, fuel efficiency
Completely new for 2011, the Ford Explorer has been winning over customers with its improved on-road handling, impressive comfort and convenience technologies, and fuel economy never before delivered by an SUV.

For the 2013 model year, Explorer Sport brings high-performance SUV power and projected fuel economy of up to 16 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway – anticipating 3 mpg better in the city and 2 mpg on the highway than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango R/T 5.7-liter Hemi engines. It scores 3 mpg higher in the city and 4 mpg higher on the highway than the Land Rover Range Rover Sport.

“Explorer Sport makes no compromises,” said Carl Widmann, vehicle engineering manager. “By carefully beefing the chassis and suspension, precisely calibrating the Terrain Management System and adding comfort and convenience features, we’ve delivered an SUV that delivers great dynamics and performance – while towing up to 5,000 pounds.”

The Explorer Sport features a paddle-shifted six-speed SelectShift AutomaticTM transmission with a unique 3.16 to 1 final drive ratio to provide the balance of responsive acceleration and economical low-rpm cruising for better fuel efficiency.

The chassis also has been specially reinforced, making Explorer Sport stiffer and improving its handling.

Explorer Sport also brings a solid-mounted electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) rack with a faster ratio, providing more responsiveness to drivers both on-road and off.

Ford’s newest SUV comes standard with larger brakes for shorter stopping distances and better performance while towing.

Explorer Sport also has received special terrain management settings for tackling sandy, snowy, rutted mud and hill descent.

“Upgrading to Sport specification enabled us to maintain the standards of traditional Explorer capability plus delivering the highest highway fuel efficiency among gasoline-engine-powered, high-performance, three-row SUVs,” Widmann said.

Subtle, sporty design elements
Sport builds on Explorer’s muscular, sculpted form with subtle cues to differentiate it from other models in the lineup. Available in four exterior colors – Ruby Red Metallic Clearcoat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, Tuxedo Black Metallic and Ingot Silver Metallic – Explorer Sport has unique 20-inch painted and machined wheels, features blacked-out headlamp and taillamp treatments, black roof rack rails, sideview mirror skull caps and a liftgate appliqué.

The Explorer Sport’s special grille is a low-gloss Sterling Gray mesh, with contrasting ebony high-gloss bars. The black front lower fascia features a functional opening for additional cooling. Explorer logotype in billet-like black adds a bold identity statement. Subtle Sport and EcoBoost badges at the rear finish the liftgate.

Inside, the high-end feel continues. Charcoal Black leather-trimmed seating is available with and without contrasting Sienna inserts.

The interior design contrast was inspired by fashion, mirroring two-tones that are currently seen in leather accessories and apparel from design houses Balenciaga and Prada. Stitching is emphasized to lend a handcrafted appearance while highlighting Explorer Sport’s sculptured seats.

Explorer Sport also has unique steering wheel stitching, a technical look to instrument and door panel appliqués, unique Sport-logo floor mats and illuminated scuff plates.

Comfort, convenience, connectivity
As the top of the Explorer line, Sport offers a robust array of standard and optional customer- focused technologies that make driving more comfortable, convenient and connected. These include:

– 4WD with Terrain Management System
– Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control
– 10-way power driver’s seat with power recline and lumbar
– Six-way power passenger seat with recline and lumbar
– First-row heated seats
– Compass and exterior temperature display
– Rear view camera
– SYNC® with MyFord Touch® driver connect technology
– Sony® Premium Audio System with HD RadioTM and 12 speakers

Explorer Sport can be tailored to individual preferences with the following options as well:
– Active park assist
– Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert
– Inflatable rear seat belts
– 110-volt outlet
– PowerFold mirrors
– Intelligent access with Push-Button Start
– Remote Start
– Adjustable pedals with memory
– Dual-panel moonroof
– Power liftgate
– Class III trailer-towing package

Explorer Sport is manufactured at Ford’s Chicago production facility. It will arrive in dealerships later this year.

2013 Camaro 1LE Is Chevy’s Answer To The Boss 302 Mustang 28
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Camaro 1LE, Automotive, Chevrolet, Kurt on 03 28th, 2012

The 2013 Chevy Camaro 1LE. Image: © GM Corp.

If you’ve never heard of a Camaro 1LE before, we understand. First released in 1988, order code 1LE made the Camaro more competitive in SCCA road racing by including things like a performance rear axle, deleted air conditioning, an aluminum drive shaft, a baffled fuel tank, stiffer shocks and larger brakes. Since the order code was never marketed, you had to be “in the know” to understand what a 1LE was, and only 111 were built during the first year of production.

The 1LE package remained in production through 1999, and now Chevy is putting it back to use for a Boss 302-fighting Camaro designed specifically for track day use. For a price tag starting below $40,000, the 1LE will give you a 6.2-liter V-8 good for 426 horsepower and mated to a beefier six-speed manual transmission, a 3.91 final drive ratio, a transmission cooler, monotube rear dampers, larger front and rear stabilizer bars, stronger rear axle half shafts, a strut tower brace, heavy duty wheel bearings, stronger toe links, reinforced rear shock mounts, a high capacity fuel pump and ZL1-based wheels shod with performance rubber.

In other words, the 1LE is built to go fast, and to stand up to the rigors of regular track day use. From the outside, it’s easy to spot thanks to its matte black hood and front and rear spoilers. Inside, the 1LE gets the same flat-bottomed steering wheel as the ZL1, trimmed in sueded microfiber. A short-throw shifter also gets a sueded microfiber boot.

The 1LE package will be available on Camaro 1SS and 2SS models only. Look for sales to begin this fall, with more specific pricing to come closer to the car’s release date.

2012 Dodge Charger SXT Plus Review – ‘Affordable Performance & Luxury’ 28
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, Dodge, Dodge Charger, featured, Test Drives on 03 28th, 2012

The 2012 Dodge Charger is all new inside, outside and under the hood.  After my test drive I came away with the feeling that Dodge has put it altogether with the all-new Charger that features a new 3.6 liter, Pentatar aluminum, DOHC, V6 engine that pumps out 292hp and is mated to the first ‘state-of-the-art’ 8-speed   automatic/sequential shifting transmission, the first 8-speed automatic fitted into any big Three vehicle, and gives back an excellent 19mpg/city and 31mpg/highway fuel economy specs.  What a start!  Plenty of power on hand and smooth, quick shifting enables the Charger to sprint to 60mph from a standstill in under 6sec.  The ZF 8-speed automatic is only available with the V6 in either RWD or AWD configuration.  My test SXT Plus Charger also came equipped with new Nappa leather 10-way power-adjustable sport bucket seats, fast and easy to use aluminum paddle shifters, and a ‘sport’ shift mode.  With ‘sport shift’ mode gear changes are quicker and revs are held higher for even more performance-oriented acceleration and higher shift dynamics. For even more control, you can also use the all-new die-cast steering-wheel mounted paddle shifter on the sporty and beefy leather wrapped steering wheel and view your gear selection through an all new full-color EVIC centered in the Charger’s new rally-styled instrument cluster.

The new more rigid and torsional SXT Plus frame rides on a new, sport-tuned suspension that keeps the car solidly planted on the road and quickly follows where you point it to go.  Up front is a race-proven independent SLA with high upper ‘A’ arms, coil springs over gas-charged monotube shock absorbers, lateral and diagonal lower links with dual ball joint knuckles and a 27mm solid stabilizer bar.  The rear features an independent five-link setup with coil springs, gas-charged monotube shocks, a 16mm solid stabilizer bar and an isolated suspension cradle that increases rear tracking and lessons NVH.

This sport-tuned suspension features two setting-Comfort and Sport  enabling you to dial in how you want your Charger SXT Plus to ride and handle.  It is a great feature for long trips or when you want to test your ability on the curves that you find in the back roads.

The all-new Charger SXT rides on big 18X7.5in. chrome-clad wheels wrapped with 235/55R18in. performance tires.  My loaded SXT Plus test Charger came equipped with larger 20X8in. aluminum-chrome clad wheels wrapped with 245/45R19in. all-season performance tires that increased grip, traction and gave a smooth ride.

Quickly and safely slowing the new Charger SXT Plus down from are the optional Performance Brake Package that features 13.6in. vented discs clamped with dual piston calipers up front and 12.6in. vented discs clamped with single piston calipers.  Increasing your braking power and control are standard ABS, Ready Alert Braking, electronic stability control, and all-speed traction control.

The all-new 2012 Dodge Charger SXT Plus is all the performance and power that you need to fulfill all your needs.  With RWD you get the perfect balance front to rear when dicing through steep curving roads or when cruising at high speeds.

But under-the-skin performance is not all that you get with the new Charger.  The styling has been refined up front with a couple of inches pushing out of the signature cross-hair grille.  The aluminum hood now features dual scallops on top and the doors also feature new scallops that add to the high-performance look.  Deeper side extensions add to the handling prowess by lowering the center of gravity and the Rally Appearance package features a wing out the back to balance stability during high-speed driving.  The rear now features integrated dual exhaust tips, Dodge’s new ‘Race-Track’ LED light pipe that mimics a race track with long straights and tight curves.  Front, side, or rear the new Charger looks great.

The interior has been completely redesigned with more sporty cues and luxurious features that give more value and enjoyment during your drives-short or long.  All of the ‘touch points’ are soft and designed with perfect detail.  The seats are comfortable and supportive for long or short drives.  My SXT Plus came with the Nappa leather power-adjustable buckets that really held me in place when I was putting the new Charger SXT Plus through winding roads.  All of the buttons, switches, and dials now feature chrome inserts that give the car a more luxurious look.  The steering wheel is smaller and sportier featuring tilt and telescoping for the perfect reach and angle for better and more comfortable control during your drives.  The new instrument cluster is ringed with chrome and very easy to see and understand.  Other standard features on my SXT Plus included dual-zone A/C, rear heater and A/C ducts, heated/cooled dual cupholders/storage box up front with a pull-down rear armrest with dual cupholders.  The power windows feature front express up/down, power door locks can be programmed for a certain speed

My test Charger SXT Plus came with the Technology Group that includes Blind Spot with Rear Cross Path Detection, Rain Sensing wipers, power-heated sideview mirrors, HID headlamps, power-adjustable pedals, two-person memory, power tilt/telescoping steering column, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, heated steering wheel a 506amp custom stereo AM-FM-CD-DVD-XM satellite radio with 12-speakers, an 8in. screen for the navigation system, and a power sunroof.  This model sounds like a true luxury vehicle with a sport attitude, and it is once you take a test drive.

The base price for the all-new 2012 Charger SXT Plus is only $28,495.00 and $35,580 with all of the performance, luxury and safety features.

Standard safety features include advanced multi-stage front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags for front and rear, reactive head restraints, hill start assist, rain brake support, tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters.

The all-new 2012 Dodge Charger SXT Plus is the perfect family/personal sedan with the room to carry up to five adults and the power, performance and luxury to make any enthusiast happy.  I really enjoyed my test drive.

2012 Dodge Charger SXT Plus engine



  • Price: Base 2012 Charger SXT Plus $28,495 / As-Tested $35,580
  • Horsepower: 292 at 6,350rpm
  • Torque: 260lb.ft. of torque at 4,800rpm
  • Wheelbase: 120.2in.
  • Track: f/r-63.4/63.8in.
  • Overall length: 199.9in.
  • Overall width: 75in.
  • Overall height: 58.4in.
  • Coefficient of drag: 0.297
  • Fuel tank: 19.1 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-36.9/36.6 with sunroof
  • Legroom: f/r-41.8/40.1in.
  • Trunk: 16.5cu.in.
  • Turning circle: 37.7ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,996lbs.

Dodge Challenger SRT8 Limo 28
Posted by Kelly Levinsohn in Automotive News, Autostyle, Concept car news, Modified car Talk, Popular, Videos on 03 28th, 2012

LA Custom Coach has created the very first Dodge Challenger SRT8 stretch limousine which made its first public appearance at the 2012 Spring LX Festival dedicated to LX platform Chrysler Group models.

Philip Eiselin, President of LA Custom Coach  says he was so inspired by the Challenger’s wheel design that he immediately went to work on its design – found the vehicle, cut it in half and stretched it out.

The limo was completed four and a half months later. The interior that is completely different from the original, features black leather interior with a red SRT striped theme, 24-inch LED TV, colour changing light show and as is traditional with limousines, a full bar.

Eiselin has confirmed that this one of a kind vehicle will not be the last of its kind as a second Dodge Challenger limo is currently being built with more to follow.

When LA Custom Coach took the vehicle to Las Vegas to gauge the reaction it would get, Eiselin comments that it got more attention than the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Bentley it was parked next to at the MGM Grand Hotel.

Watch the Dodge Challenger SRT8 limo in the video below:

Source: World Car Fans

BMW Recalls 1.3 Million Previous-Generation 5 And 6 Series Cars 27
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, BMW, BMW 5-Series, BMW 6-Series, Kurt, News, Recalls on 03 27th, 2012

The 2010 BMW 5 Series. Image: BMW Group

Announced by BMW as a “quality measure,” the automaker is recalling an estimated 1.3 million 5 Series and 6 Series automobiles, built between 2003 and 2010. At issue is potentially incorrect mounting of the battery cable cover, which can result in electrical system issues, failure of the vehicle to start, or in a worst case scenario sparking and a potential fire risk.

It’s worth noting that no accidents or injuries have been reported due to this defect, and that only a small percentage (less than one-percent, according to Reuters) of recalled vehicles actually exhibit the problem. Worldwide, the recall affects an estimated 1.3 million vehicles, of which roughly 368,000 were sold in the United States, 293,000 in Germany, 109,000 in the U.K. and 102,000 in China.

Owners will be notified in writing by BMW in regards to this voluntary safety recall, and BMW dealers will inspect affected cars and repair at no charge as necessary. Expect the service procedure to take approximately 30 minutes.

Video: Ford Teases A High-Performance… Explorer? 27
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Ford Explorer, Automotive, Ford, Kurt, SUV, video, Videos on 03 27th, 2012

Watching the twenty-six second video supplied by Ford, the only thing that’s certain is that a new model of Explorer is coming, and it will likely be in a trim level not seen before. From the sound of the engine, it’s not powered by the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8, either, which means the most lively drivetrain will be the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 that’s packed into the Taurus SHO.

That would give this new model some 365 horsepower, likely sent through all four wheels. Since the most powerful Explorer you can buy today packs just 290 horsepower, a 75 horsepower gain would yield a substantial improvement in acceleration. It still wouldn’t stack up against the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8’s 465 horsepower, but then again the EcoBoost engine doesn’t suck down gas quite like Chrysler’s 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, either.

We’ve heard through a reliable source that the new Explorer won’t come wearing an SHO badge, as Ford doesn’t want to dilute the brand created around its range-topping Taurus model. While we know what it won’t be called, Ford isn’t giving any clues as to what badging the truck will get.

Ford will reveal the new Explorer model on Wednesday at 1:00 EST. You can see the reveal live on Ford’s Explorer Facebook page.

2012 Infiniti G37 IPL Coupe Review: Infiniti Continues Performance Line Pedigree 27
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, featured, Infiniti, Infiniti G37, Infiniti G37 IPL, Test Drives on 03 27th, 2012

Luxury brand manufacturers have always sought ways to inject their number one selling vehicle with exclusive performance attributes. Doing so will naturally attract more enthusiasts while at the same time give the loyalists something extra to brag about. The luxury brand automaker Infiniti entered into the specialized performance branding with their new G37 IPL (Infiniti Performance Line) for the 2011 model year and now continue to test the waters by keeping things virtually the same for the new 2012 G37 IPL Coupe.

When the 2011 G37 IPL Coupe was first rolled out I had the chance to see what type of tree Infiniti was barking up. At that time, the test vehicle was equipped with Infiniti’s familiar 7-speed automatic transmission. Now I have the chance to wrap my paws around a new 2012 G37 IPL Couple with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The new IPL name, only offered on the G37 Coupe at the current time, has meaningful potential. Seeing how Infiniti choose to faintly add few performance characteristics and visual aesthetics to differentiate the normal G37 Coupe from the G37 IPL, Infiniti remains coy about barking up a potentially dangerous tree. That tree I am referring to is one that has roots deep planted in German and American automakers. The tree has many different branches ranging from the acronyms AMG, BMW M, SRT and even Cadillac’s V series.

The performance branding letters of many well-known automakers have prestige and a dignified meaning that most automotive enthusiasts can closely relate to. When it comes to the new 2012 Infiniti G37 IPL Coupe, now in its second year, the formula is a bit incomplete if it wants to run with the big dogs. However, you would be mistaken to jump to the conclusion that the IPL branding was meant to compete with the big dogs head-on. Infiniti wants you to think of the IPL as an alternative to polished luxury sport coupes instead of their performance touted acronym badge wearing vehicles. That means the new G37 IPL Coupe is an excellent choice if you may be considering a loaded BMW 3 series coupe or even the new Mercedes-Benz C Class Coupe.

Undoubtedly, from my perspective, the new 2012 G37 IPL Coupe 6-speed manual is an excellent choice not only from a purist’s point of view, but also from your economic-stricken wallet. The new 2012 Infiniti G37 IPL Coupe manual has a starting price of $49,800. That is a quite advantageous price for some but when you consider the price of a German competitor with an abundance of a-la-cart options, the G37 IPL couple can be considered somewhat of a bargain. As it comes, the new G37 IPL Coupe has plenty of equipment to keep the white-collar business exec quite happy when he/she wants to put their foot down and have a little fun. You can think of the G37 IPL Coupe as a slightly more powerful G37 Coupe with Sport and Journey equipment packages.

The new G37 IPL Coupe carries over its 3.7-liter V6 engine with an output of 348 horsepower and 276 ft. lbs. of torque. When power is directed through the direct feel 6-speed manual transmission, it gives you a large yet usable power band. I found the 6-speed manual’s gearing dialed in great to give the drive the best bang from the V6 engine’s wide power band. The G37 IPL Coupe benefits from the same engine tuning that the Nissan 370Z Nismo receives. This gives the G37 IPL Coupe a slight edge, about 18 extra horsepower and 6 ft. lbs. of torque, over the normal G37’s V6 engine. Having the extra power under the hood makes the G37 IPL Coupe a thrill to drive. The large 19-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE050A rubber work well with the sport-tuned suspension giving the G37 IPL Coupe excellent handling and a comfy ride on the highway.

Exterior looks may be an acquired taste for some who may be used to the design lines of German rivals. Even if you require time to warm up to the exterior design, you will love the exclusive Malbec Black paint color. I find that the Malbec Black color is best admired in the direct sunlight to really let the paint flakes shine in a faint purple hue. Combined with the dark-finished 19-inch wheels and sporty body effects, the G37 IPL Coupe comes together as one good-looking luxury sports coupe.

The new G37 IPL Coupe’s interior is not much different from a G37S with optional equipment. Giving that last year’s G37 IPL does not have any significant changes for the 2012 model year, it is good to see that Infiniti continues gives you a few interior color combinations slightly varying from the normal G37. Departing from the red leather seats in my 2011 test vehicle last year, the new 2012 G37 IPL Coupe 6-speed manual test vehicle has black leather with red stitching. I find this color combination a bit toned down from the bright read seats. Together with the added power and appealing style, the new 2012 Infiniti G37 IPL Coupe can proudly wear its IPL badge in knowing that it is a step in the right direction for a true performance luxury sports coupe. With that said, I can’t wait for the next IPL-badged vehicle from the Infiniti lineup to see what direction they take.


Copyright: 2012 AutomotiveAddicts.com


  • Price: Base G37 Coupe $37,150 / Base G37 IPL Coupe $49,800 / As-Tested G37 IPL Coupe est. $50,000
  • Engine: 3.7-liter V6 348 horsepower @ 7400 rpm / 276 ft-lbs. torque @ 5200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 112.2in.
  • Total length: 185.1in.
  • Total width: 71.8in.
  • Total height: 54.9in.
  • Track: f/r-60.8/61.4in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.7in./34.5in.
  • Legroom: f/r-43.8in./29.8
  • Turning circle: 36.1ft.
  • Weight distribution: f/r-54/46%
  • Passenger volume: 90.1cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: 7.4cu.ft.
  • Fuel tank: 20.0 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,718lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 17mpg/city, 25mpg/highway (6-speed manual transmission)

Lotus signs deal with Mansory as official tuner for bespoke models 27
Posted by Kelly Levinsohn in Automotive News, Super car news on 03 27th, 2012

Lotus has appointed German luxury vehicle tuner Mansory as the new official tuner for bespoke models and they promise that a new collaboration will be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show in September.

Mansory will be trimming up Elises, Exiges and Evoras in the future and the new Paris car is claimed to be an ‘exciting new model variant’.

Lotus already relies on Germany-based Mansory to produce the Evora GTE which resulted in the chrome red Swizz Beatz example and also the Lotus F1 edition, finished in raw carbon fibre. Because the F1 edition became so sought after, it makes sense for the companies to collaborate further on bespoke vehicles and so according to Lotus Mansory has been anointed Lotus’s ‘Official Customisation Studio’.

Hethel says it has already taken ‘around 250 orders and leads’ for the GTE and will be working closely with designers and engineers “to produce modifications that scream individuality and quality.”

Kourosh Mansory, founder of Mansory Design and Holding GmbH, said that “At Mansory, we have always been passionate about British cars, and the cooperation with Lotus is the perfect partnership as it meets our quality standard of production on the highest technical level combined with masterly craftsmanship and the most precious materials.

“As the Official Lotus Customisation Studio, we amplify the existing options with harmonically designed aerodynamics and ultra-light aluminium rims. High-quality accessories and stylish interior fittings complete the Mansory assortment.”

Source: Auto Guide