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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

American Supercar In China: SSC Tuatuara Makes Public Debut

On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 10:38AM | By: Chris Weiss

American Supercar in China: SSC Tuatuara Makes Public Debut test 2

Despite the fact that the SSC Tuatara has been around for nearly a year, there wasn't an official public debut until just last week. The car was revealed to the public via editorial, shown off to a small group of potential buyers and was officially named, but no major auto-show debut of any sorts.

Well, SSC doesn't exactly do things the way other automakers do. Like setting world records on public highways rather than fancy tracks. And like doing a public reveal of one of the world's fastest supercars as almost a footnote.

The first official appearance of the curvy, ultra-fast Tuatara came at an event last week in Shanghai. It wasn't an auto show, and it wasn't designed entirely to reveal the Tuatara to the anxious public. It was an event about SSC establishing its presence in China, demonstrating, once again, that China is a primary market for expensive, exotic cars. The company announced its Chinese distribution partner—SSC Asia—and then pulled cloth off the Jason Castriota-designed Tuatara for the bright eyes and flashing cameras. Castriota and CEO Jerod Shelby were on hand at the event.

Land Rover Launches 2012 RR Evoque "Test Drive Experience" tour at Pebble Beach

On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 4:22PM | By: Andrew W Davis

2012 Range Rover Evoque test 2

Land Rover—and its premium brand Range Rover—fought long and hard to develop its reputation for building the ultimate in terrain-conquering vehicles, ranging from its anvil-simple (and tough) post-WWII Series I to today’s luxury-laden Range Rover Supercharged .

What they’ve all had in common was a quest to build the best off-roader possible, both in terms of capability and creature comforts. Sure, “real” Land Rover people saw the original Range Rover as an abomination, too big to go off-road and too loaded with “unnecessary” luxury touches to ever be successful.

But as this year marks the Range Rover’s 40th birthday, I think even the most hard-core Landie fan would have to admit that building the RR turned out fine. Well, come 2011 and the grumble’s started again thanks to LR’s latest creation, the itty-bitty 2012 Range Rover Evoque. So, will this be another long-lived success, or will it ruin the firm’s reputation? Hmmm…

Rolls-Royce's "Bespoke" Personalization Arm Expands To Meet Increasing Demand

On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 3:47PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Rolls-Royce's  test 2

Rolls-Royce had a problem. Turns out that so many of the people that bought new Rollers wanted to spend untold riches right away on “personalising”—as the Brits say (or at least spell)—those cars that the firm couldn’t keep up.

And as Rolls-Royce isn’t about to turn away (over)paying customers, what else could they do other than expand the operation that handles such matters. Known in Rolls-speak as “Bespoke,” it is the department that converts your cubic Dollars, Pounds, Euros, etc. into the customized—I mean personalised—Rolls-Royce of your dreams.

As the saying goes, “All it takes is money, honey…”

Next-Gen Lotus Exige Gets Bigger With V-6

On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 12:00PM | By: Chris Weiss

Next-Gen Lotus Exige Gets Bigger With V-6 test 2

Lotus is teetering on the brink of a head-to-toe revamp. The company has five new models in store for the next few years, and will make a strong move upmarket. While its new models will be the most visible part of this revamp, older models will also be taking a step in a new direction. According to recent reports, the Exige will be getting a little more aggressive, both inside and out.

The 1.8-liter Toyota inline four that powers the current Exige and Elise went out of production last year. The next-generation Exige will therefore have to look elsewhere for motivation. It will reportedly find its engine in the 3.5-liter Toyota V-6 from the Evora. As such, the model will get wider and longer, as can be seen in the zebra-camoed prototype snapped in Hethel.


NHTSA Nixes Huayra's Entry Into US Market (For Now)

On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 11:32AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

Yes, your friends at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have denied Italian supercar maker Pagani Automobili's latest creation—the Huayra (pronounced “why-rah”)—the exemption the firm’s latest million-dollar creation needed to go on sale in the US in 2012 as planned.

The stumbling point is the federal automotive safety rule that requires all cars—whether or not they can exceed 200 mph—to have “child-safe advanced airbags” installed as standard equipment.

The Huayra doesn’t. So the nits at NHTSA say no Huayras for us.

The Luxury Volt: Cadillac To Send Converj Concept To Production

On: Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 12:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

The Luxury Volt: Cadlillac To Send Converj Concept To  test 2

The striking Cadillac Converj concept debuted at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, with word a year or so thereafter that it was on its way to production. Then, production plans were officially canceled, and the Converj became what so many other concept cars have become: a rare, pretty hunk of fiberglass and metal never to be driven by paying customers. According to a new report, the Converj is back on the table and will be sharing the range-extending plug-in powertrain with the Chevy Volt.

GreenCarReports says that a GM insider confirmed that the Converj has been given the official green light by GM execs. It is likely to hit the market in 2013 as a 2014 model.

Fornasari RR99: An Odd Frankenstein If Ever We've Seen One

On: Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 5:30PM | By: Chris Weiss

Fornasari RR99: An Odd Frankenstein If Ever We've Seen One test 2

A luxury grand tourer with off-road ability. Nothing too revolutionary there, but it's likely to be a bit of a mish-mosh as a company tries to inject luxury and refinement into a hard-nosed, off-road-ready package. The stage is set for a Frankenstein-like vehicle, and Italian coachbuilder Fornasari acts out the play in superb fashion.

Fornasari's RR99 is essentially a luxury crossover, designed to deliver comfort and appeal within a capable package. The thing about this car is that the package is a collage of parts and styling from around the world. The car shares taillights with Lamborghini, a hood and headlamps with Aston Martin, and stacked exhaust tips with Lexus.

It's a true Frankenstein if ever we've seen one, and it doesn't necessarily pull it off. That gaping mouth, for instance, just isn't really the place that you want to see the curvy hood end. And the rear quarter is not necessarily something you want to see on any car, ever.

Alfa Romeo To Kick-Off U.S. Launch With 4C

On: Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 9:15AM | By: Chris Weiss

Alfa Romeo To Kick-Off U.S. Launch With 4C  test 2

When we first laid eyes on that curvy, rouge two-seater known as the Alfa Romeo 4C, it was impossible not to think 'Damn, I hope that's one of the models that Alfa/Fiat will bring to the United States when they return to the market.' Alfa didn't leave that question lingering long, indicating that it would indeed bring the 4C over to U.S. shores. According to a new Automotive News report, that model will be the very first Alfa to hit the States, possibly ensuring a 2012 return.

What a fitting way to return. Sergio Marchionne is quoted as referring to the 4C as "the first Alfa Romeo car to re-enter the U.S. market." Fiat will use the model to help it meet a self-imposed late-2012 deadline for Alfa's return. The company will start selling a small number of 4Cs by the end of 2011, but a full return won't happen until mid-2013.

The Porsche 911: World's Sportiest Tractor

On: Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 9:03AM | By: Chris Weiss

The Porsche 911: World's Sportiest Tractor test 2

The insurance industry is a chicken-and-egg-type conundrum. Those that believe human beings are inherently evil could argue that fraud and dishonesty amongst their customers force insurance companies to find ruthless, penny-pinching ways of making profits. Those that believe corporations are naturally more evil and self-serving than any disorganized group of humans could ever be could just as easily argue that customers have to use fraud and corner-cutting in order to squeeze their money out of ruthless, more experienced insurance companies.

Whichever side or combination of sides you choose, the insurance market is a contentious system that can often play like a battle of legal (and not so legal) and technical wits. Insurance companies find any small-print excuse to dismiss your claim and raise your rates, and consumers dismiss law and truth in order to get what they believe is rightfully theirs. It's not uncommon to hear even the most honest and law-abiding folks discussing—without inhibition or remorse—ways of sticking it to the insurance man.

Mazda Predicts Return Of The Rotary

On: Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 9:07AM | By: Chris Salamone

Mazda Rotary test 2

When Mazda announced the RX-8 would soon disappear from their vehicle lineup, rotary fans took a collective gasp of concern. The rotary engine, currently found in the RX-8, has become something of a defining characteristic of Mazda sports cars and an engine many people will be reluctant to lose permanently. In the face of public outcry, a senior company engineer told TheDetroitBureau.com that Mazda intends to reinstate an updated rotary engine later in this decade.

Patented in 1929 by German inventor Felix Wankel, the rotary still bears his moniker and is perhaps better known as the ‘Wankel’. Rotary engines operate differently from typical gas and diesel powertrains because they rely on a spinning triangular rotor instead of traditional pistons. The downside to rotary engines is also what makes them potent racetrack competitors—low gas mileage caused by high RPM.

Cadillac ATS Image Tease And Prophecies Of Production

On: Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 12:12PM | By: Chris Salamone

2013 Cadillac ATS test 2

On the heels of GM’s official announcement of the upcoming Chevy Spark, Cadillac has announced that another GM compact will enter the ring—this one primed to compete in a segment long controlled by foreign automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Code-named the Cadillac ‘ATS’, this compact sports sedan may debut this August at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance or possibly at the Detroit car show in January. The ATS is expected to go on sale in the summer of 2012, just in time for gas prices to rise along with summer heat.