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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Car News

More Volt News: Chevy Hoping To Score With World Series Commercials

On: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 10:22AM | By: Chris Weiss


More Volt News: Chevy Hoping To Score With World Series Commercials test 1-1

What's more American than the Chevy name and the elbow grease and ingenuity behind a product like the Chevy Volt? Baseball, of course! And GM will capitalize on this all-American connection when it officially begins Volt advertising with a series of spots during the World Series.

The World Series begins October 27 and will run as long as November 4, depending upon how the on-field drama unfolds. And with the Volt set to launch in the United States in mid-November, the big-draw sporting event is the perfect venue for Chevy to start pushing its Volt.

This weekend marks the end of the MLB's regular season and will decide who goes to the playoffs and how they're seeded. It would appear that someone has a little love for the eco-friendly Volt and its parents because the teams should work out to the company's advantage.


Audi e-Tron Blows Its Lid

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:55PM | By: Chris Weiss


Audi e-Tron Blows Its Lid test 1-1

We heard plenty of rumors of it coming. We even saw some sketches. And now that Paris is underway, it's officially here; the Audi e-tron Spyder made its debut on the first media day of the Paris Motor Show, giving us one more look at Audi's electric/hybrid family. And it's arguably the sexiest look yet.

The new Spyder looks just like the sketches indicate it would: stylish, exposed, wraparound glass in front and sides providing a cockpit look; sharp, angular side window lines that disappear seamlessly just beyond the doors and an R8-influenced rear-end. The front-end and sides are similar to the R4 e-tron hard-top that Audi showed at the Detroit Auto Show, with a few departures. The slats in the grille extend all the way to the edges and the car loses the vertical slats from the Detroit version. Similarly, the front air intakes have switched from vertical slats to matching horizontal slats. Certain lines also have a little more definition, like the lippy front fenders.


Lotus Esprit Concept Debuts in Paris

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:51PM | By: Chris Weiss


Lotus Esprit Concept Debuts in Paris test 1-1

It's been an exciting couple of days in the auto world thanks to pre-Paris and Paris auto show debuts all over the place. The most exciting part of the show's first day has got to be the all-new Lotus Esprit. We've been waiting for it for months and it's finally a reality--or at least a conceptual reality. While the current iteration is just a concept, Lotus has production plans for this one, with a spring 2013 production debut being quoted.

Rumors of a V10 engine are officially dead, as the new Esprit goes for the more historically accurate V8 engine--a mid-mounted Lexus IS F 5.0-liter V8 engine, to be exact. However, the new engine is more powerful than any Esprits in the past, storing 620 ponies in those 8 cylinders. Lotus also says the car is pressure charged but hasn't specified if that means turbo or superchargers. We'll just assume they'll go with turbochargers, which were used in the last Lotus before its wind-down in 2004. That engine works in tandem with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.


198,000 BMW's To Be Recalled For Brake Leakage

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:17PM | By: John Welch


BMW 7 Series test 2

A collective "D'oh!" could be heard emanating for BMW North America's headquarters this morning, as company execs read the startling news that 198,000 of their babies would have to recalled over a braking issue. Thankfully, this is BMW and not Toyota, so instead of the requisite "cover it up for six years" mentality employed by their Japanese counterparts, BMW is taking the initiative and ordering a recall before the customary NHTSA report is released. Good on ya, Bimmer, way to jump the shark or whatever . . .

The recall encompasses all BMW products built between 2002 and 2010, that feature 8- or 12-cylinder engines. Yes, overpaid hedge-fund yuppies, that means Rolls Royce as well. In the affected vehicles, it is possible for the power braking system to leak. This can result in a loss of vacuum pressure and a reduction in the amount of braking assistance the system gives the driver. When this occurs, the mechanical brakes still function and can slow and stop the car, but requires more driver effort to press the pedal. See? It isn't even that bad! There have been no reports of any injuries or deaths as a result of this issue.

BMW is setting up an inspection and repair procedure, and will distribute this info along with spare parts to its entire North American dealer network. Though affected customers will be alerted by first-class mail, anyone experiencing braking issues with their Bimmer should report the issue to an authorized BMW service center immediately.

Venture inside the post for a list of affected vehicles . . .


 

GM September Sales Improve 11% Over Sept. 2009

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 12:09PM | By: John Welch


GM September Sales Improve 11% Over Sept. 2009 test 1-1

Is the much hyped economic recovery really starting to bear fruit? Heh, not for me, personally, but somebody seems to be doing better than they were in September of 2009. Otherwise how could we have bought so many GM vehicles in the last month? I don't witness it in my day to day life, but somebody, somewhere is generating more cash lately, and taking that cash to GM dealerships to the tune of an 11 % sales increase over September 2009.

GMC leads the charge with a whopping 41.6 % gain over last year. Golly, we still need those big ass, lane clogging trucks I s'pose. GMC's success could be contributed to the mind boggling popularity of its Equinox sibling, the GMC Terrain. A slightly smaller, less lane clogging SUV, the Terrain features, uhm, "abstract" styling and excellent fuel economy. 

The other three remaining GM brands are all up as well, rounding out a decidedly bullish month for GM.


GM Specifies Volt Electric Range of 20 to 50 Miles Depending On Conditions

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 11:21AM | By: Chris Weiss


GM Specifies Volt Electric Range of 20 to 50 Miles Depending On Conditions test 1-1

For as long as we can remember, the Chevy Volt has been defined by a 40-mile electric range. Chevy quotes that range in official materials and it's been the most practical number that we've seen to denote how far the car will drive under battery power. Much more practical than the 230 mpg number the company once touted.

Of course, any such figure, even those prized mpg numbers from the EPA, are subject to a certain amount of variation based on how, when and where you drive. And the Volt is no different. GM recently clarified that Volt drivers can expect to get anywhere from 25 to 50 miles of all-electric driving depending upon a range of factors.

Spokesman Rob Peterson said last week that after further testing Chevy had come to the new conclusion. Certain predictable factors like use of air conditioning, heating, extreme weather, aggressive driving and hilly drives can limit the range of the Volt. The extra 300 miles provided by the range-extending gas engine was unaffected by the new announcement.

Despite these newly detailed caveats, GM is sticking with its 40-mile range for "most drivers under normal conditions." This is an important distinction, since Chevy has said that that figure gives the car enough electric range for 75 percent of U.S. drivers to get to work under pure battery power.


Paris Motor Show Debuts: BMW 6 Series

On: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:10AM | By: John Welch


Paris Motor Show Debuts: BMW 6 Series test 1-1

Before its unveiling in 2004, the spec sheet of the BMW 6 Series was enough to make a grown man weep. Solid chassis, imposing size, true coupe body, strong V8 options with a chance of V10. It was a rad car, on paper. Then we got a look at it. Sad Bloodhound or Drowning Guppy, that’s what came to mind after laying eyes on the 6 Series. Who wants to tool around in a Sad Bloodhound? The dynamics didn't work out quite as advertised either.

Though physically smaller than the 5 Series sedan, on the outside, the 6 Series was just as heavy as its 4-door counterpart. This issue led to lack-luster acceleration, porky handling and a tendency towards tire howling hysterics when pushed past seven-tenths. Not to say that the 6 Series was slow, it just wasn't as fast as it should have been. Couple its ample waistline with Chris Bangles odd "flame surfacing" and you had a recipe for an expensive, unattractive, slightly sluggish convertible. It looks absolutely menacing when duded up for racing (see Turner BMW M6) but the road car left something to be desired.

BMW has redesigned the 6 Series, and it plans to reverse the 6's backsliding reputation. Pulling the headlights back, smoothing out the strange cut lines on the side of the car, changing the cheap-looking rear end treatment, all of these elements serve to pacify the 6's detractors. Also, the new interior is particularly inviting. It could be said that these styling changes soften the 6's image a little too much, possibly even make the car more boring. I say thee, nay! Just like the 3 Series, 5 Series and Z4, these updates make for a more focused looking, classier 6 Series.

Making its debut at the Mondial de l'Automobile Paris 2010, the 6 Series features new sheet metal, new engines and a host of interior upgrades that should improve its appeal to North American buyers.


Infiniti Details Its First Electric Vehicle

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 4:10PM | By: Chris Weiss


Infiniti Details Its First Electric Vehicle  test 1-1

The Nissan Leaf is due to arrive in showrooms beginning later this year. With this launch on the horizon, Infiniti, Nissan's premium brand, provided some details of its first electric vehicle, which will be introduced in 2013. If you like the 100-mile, no-emissions specs of the Leaf, but want a sportier exterior or more plush interior, it will be only a few years. 

As would be expected, the Infiniti EV will be based on the Nissan Leaf platform, bringing a premium trim to Nissan's growing EV family. With launch over two years away, details are scant, but Infiniti described the car as "a stylish, high performance five-seat luxury vehicle with zero emissions technology." Of course, we probably could have written that description without any input from Infiniti whatsoever, so we'll have to wait until development is further underway for any meaty details.

As to what the car will look like, Infiniti released the blurred-out sketch above on its Facebook page last Friday, giving the world a very vague idea. The car clearly departs from the frumpy front-end of the Leaf, boosting visuals with a more styled nose and slit headlights. The cabin is significantly more slung-back than the Leaf, and the Infiniti is markedly more sporty and stylish than its Nissan predecessor. Of course, that's just a sketch, so we'll have to wait a while to see how dramatic the departure is in the final iteration.

Ford Focus ST Looks Like An Angry Bass, Goes Like A Fast Angry Bass

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 3:48PM | By: John Welch


Ford Focus ST Looks Like An Angry Bass, Goes Like A Fast Angry Bass test 1-1

Perhaps Ford would prefer I use the Piranha as my Focus design comparison fish of choice. Eh, sure, I see it, but I still like Bass better. Think "fast moving, bait swallowing small mouth Guy Harvey shirt" Bass. The aquatic resemblance aside, Ford is finally bestowing one of its turbo-fed hatches on us 'Murrikens, and it is hawt. With 247 bhp surging through the front wheels courtesy of a 2.0 liter EcoBoost mill, the Focus ST should be an enjoyable hatch, and hopefully a harbinger of things to come. RS-badged things. Evil, torque steering to the horizon, dirty noises from the exhaust Cosworthish things.

What we have to go on so far ain't much, but the media shots of the Focus ST and its interior remind us that this car has gone up-market. Way up-market when compared to the US-only, Mexican-built Focus we have been saddled with since 2002. Yes, it's undergone updates, but it is essentially the same Focus originally released eight years ago. That is nearly two normal product cycles for a mass-volume small-car such as this. Almost shameful. Ford knows it, they're using the Focus as a starting point for their global Performance Vehicles strategy. This strategy could result in Ford selling versions of all of their tasty, low-volume, turbo hatches in the States. The wheezy 170 bhp SVT Focus is currently wondering why no one remembers it ever existed . . .

Take a good long look at that interior, it is a thing of beauty. Expensive materials, less hard plastic than a $40,000 Taurus, engaging gauges, a stout shifter, seats that would feel at home in any Akira-style future-cartoon . . . huff huff . . . Lincolns haven't had interiors this nice since 1969. This isn't a new Town Car either, it’s a workaday Focus!

Ford has elevated the small car game with the new Focus ST, set to debut at the Paris Motor Show tomorrow, September 30th.


U.S. Proposes New Energy Plan for Future Auto Regulations

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 12:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


U.S. Proposes New Energy Plan for Future Auto Regulations test 1-1

In breaking automotive news today, the Obama administration is planning a new proposal that will regulate fuel efficiency and emissions guidelines for cars and light trucks starting in 2017.

The White House budget office is currently reviewing the plan that is a focal point of Obama’s energy agenda aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil supplies. While the results will not be released until Thursday, experts in the environmental field are projecting that government regulations will be set at a range of an average increase in fuel economy by 3%-6% per year starting in 2017. The Obama administration has made it clear that regulations will be more aggressive than the automotive industry has experienced in the past.

The astonishing facts are that the United States, home to only 5% of the world's population, is currently consuming 44% of the oil supplies and producing 25% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. The average car puts out 6 tons of pollution in the air every year in the form of carbon emissions.


Lamborghini Teams With Swiss Watchmaker for Gallardo LP570-4 Special Edition

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 11:53AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Teams With Swiss Watchmaker for Gallardo LP570-4 Special Edition test 1-1

Since premium automakers like Lamborghini and high-end Swiss watchmakers, like Blancpain, can offer only so many products to corral money from the world's wealthiest consumers, sometimes they need to team up to offer something ever-so-slightly different that is "special" and "limited" enough to take another bite out of that collective cash cow. Hence, we see cars like the Gallardo LP570-4 Blancpain Edition, a car that gets some performance, exterior, and interior enhancements to make it more exclusive than those other Gallardos.

Blancpain is a sponsor of Lamborghini's Super Trofeo racing series, so the partnership on the new car is a natural extension of that relationship. The car was unveiled at the final Super Trofeo race in Vallelunga, Italy over this past weekend. The new Gallardo combines the street-legal status of other Gallardo models with a variety of performance tweaks from the Super Trofeo cars. Its 570-horsepower 5.2-liter V10 engine is the same used in the racing cars, as is the prominent rear wing and vented engine cover. Other upgrades include carbon ceramic disc brakes, Skorpius wheels, and a carbon fiber injection that includes pieces like the rear diffuser and mirror casings. The carbon fiber upgrades help to keep weight down to 2,950 lbs., nearly 500 lbs. lighter than the Gallardo LP560-4.