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And Car Reviews

Porsche Recalls 20,000 Cayennes

On: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 11:14AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Porsche Recalls 20,000 Cayennes test 2

The last thing anyone who just purchased a 60, 70, 80, or even $100,000 on a brand new SUV wants to hear is, "Oh, by the way, something may just fall off your car at any point while you're driving." Unfortunately for 20,278 Porsche Cayenne owners, that's exactly what they are about to find out.

Porsche announced a recall of Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne S Hybrid, and Cayenne Turbo models made in 2011-2012 due to a flaw in the manufacturing of the car that could lead to the headlights literally falling out of the car. Obviously a headlamp that comes free on a major highway (or even a side street) can cause some serious problems for other drivers on the road. Porsche will begin to notify owners this week, but they may also call Porsche at 1-800-767-7243.

Read on for the full report ...

In Nevada, Red License Plates = Empty Driver's Seat

On: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 10:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

In Nevada, Red License Plates = Empty Driver's Seat test 2

Nevada is set to become the testing bed for self-driven vehicles. Last summer, the state's legislature officially legalized certain self-driven vehicles after some heavy lobbying by Google. The legislation called upon Nevada's Department of Motor Vehicles to develop rules and regulations governing the real-world use of such vehicles. Among the first rules is one that requires self-driven vehicles to be tagged with red license plates, a designation that will easily convey their autonomous status to other drivers.

If you look at the state of Nevada, it's the perfect test bed for unproven vehicle technology. You've got Vegas; you've got Tahoe; you've got some smaller gambling towns lined up around the state's borders; and you've got a whole lot of empty desert, mountains and open space in between. It's not one of the top 5 least-populated states, but considering its large size and population concentration around the borders, it has plenty of open space and uncrowded roads. Those uncrowded roadways connecting spotty towns are located next door to California, where tech companies like Google are headquarted.

J.D. Power Says Vehicle Dependability Is Much Improved

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 4:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

J.D. Power Says Vehicle Dependability Is Much Improved test 2

Despite all of the focus on battery fires, sudden acceleration, supercar self-combustion and other vehicular meltdowns over the past few years, it turns out that vehicles are more reliable than ever. The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is out, and it says that vehicles built in 2009 were rock solid.

The 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study looks at problems experienced by three-year-old cars during the past 12 months. That's model year 2009 in this case. It's based on responses from more than 31,000 original owners of 2009 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership, and was fielded between October and December 2011. It compounds the numbers into a simple metric: problems per 100 vehicles - the lower the score, the better the car performed.

The industry average this year is 132 per 100 vehicles, a 13 percent improvement over last year's 151 PP100 and the best score since the study began in 1990. The findings are similar to what JD Power found when it conducted its Initial Quality Study of 2009 models. The 2009 model year reached record highs in that study, too.

Volvo V40 Unveiled Via Interweb Leak

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 3:07PM | By: Chris Salamone

2013 Volvo V40 test 2

Well, when you’re good, you’re good. The Polish car magazine Motodziennik recently posted pics of the upcoming, all-new Volvo V40 which was originally set to debut at the Geneva Auto Show. Despite months of careful cover ups and snowy sojourns, Volvo has been unable to avoid the inevitable, the ineffable internet community. And so, for the first time we have images which actually depict what a production V40 might look like.

Hot dang, it looks good.

Over the past decade Volvo has slowly chipped away at the company’s wagon offerings, first with the previous V40 in 2004 and finally an aging V50 in 2011. What we’re left with is a Swedish, pseudo-Chinese lineup which fails to pay tribute to the company’s hallmark wagon heritage and instead relies on a mash up of sedans and SUVs – with the exception of the XC70. Luckily, all that’s about to change.


Porsche 911 Engineer: Manual Transmissions Are Walking Dead

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 1:56PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche 911 Engineer: Manual Transmissions Are Walking Dead test 2

Despite the fact that about half of all 911s sold in the United States are equipped with a manual transmission, a prominent Porsche engineer feels Stuttgart will phase out manuals by the end of the decade. Automated manual transmissions like Porsche's seven-speed dual-clutch PDK have just come too far in combining the driving advantages of traditional manuals with the ease of use of automatics.

Porsche 911 project manager Michael Schätzle - whose name most certainly rhymes with my favorite German side dish - told Automobile magazine that he foresees the manual hitting extinction within the next generation or two of the 911. Schätzle said that about 78 percent of 911 buyers globally are already opting for the seven-speed PDK, and he sees the increased speed and efficiency as too attractive to let the manual survive much longer.

Bugatti's 1,200 HP Convertible

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 11:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

Bugatti's 1,200 HP Convertible test 2

Bugatti has finally revealed the 1,200-hp Veyron Grand Sport that we've been hearing about for months. Instead of going the obvious direction - Veyron Grand Super Sport - Bugatti named its super-potent convertible the Grand Sport Vitesse. In case you think that the name has any relation to the horrifying tune known as the Mansory Bentley Vitesse Rose, Vitesse actually means "speed" in French, so it's a fitting name for a 1,200-hp convertible.

The Vitesse is essentially a Veyron Super Sport with an open top. The model features the build of the standard Grand Sport, albeit with a little extra bulk to handle the increased power and speed. It gets the Super Sport's upgraded 1,200-horsepower W-16 engine.

New Ferrari Enzo Will Pack More Than 900 Horses

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 10:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Ferrari Enzo Will Pack More Than 900 Horses test 2

The upcoming Ferrari F620 may be the "most powerful Ferrari ever," but it won't stay that way for long. The other Ferrari due for debut this year - the heir to the F40/F50/Enzo throne - will most certainly surpass the F620's power figures. The question is by how much. The latest answer is that it will be by around 200 hp.

When it retired in 2004, the Ferrari Enzo used a 660-hp V-12 engine. The Enzo's output was about 150 horses greater than the other V-12 car in Ferrari's line at the time (575M Maranello). Bearing that in mind while hearing official confirmation of the upcoming F620's ~ 700 horses, we were starting to wonder: Will the Enzo successor really only have the rumored 800-hp engine, a mere 90 or so more than the F620?

Italdesign Giugiaro Teases Geneva Concept

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 9:34AM | By: Chris Weiss

Italdesign Giugiaro Teases Geneva Concept test 2

It looks like there will be no stone left unturned when it comes to Italian design houses and Geneva concepts. Italdesign Giugiaro joined pretty much every other major Italian design house in teasing its latest concept earlier in the week. The concept will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and via Italdesign's Twitter feed.

Italdesign Giugiaro took to social media in releasing the first two teasers of its yet unnamed concept car via Twitter. About as revealing as the latest SRT Viper teaser, Italdesign's first photo shows nothing more than a carbon fiber-trimmed air intake. Based on what we can see (bright red paint and carbon fibered aerodynamics), the concept appears to be a sports car, but it really could be anything.

The Suicide Gullwing: Mercedes SLS AMG Sedan?

On: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 4:03PM | By: Chris Weiss

The Suicide Gullwing: Mercedes SLS AMG Sedan? test 2

Prior to this week, if we were asked to envision a four-seat Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, it would most certainly have been a 2 + 2 with only the gullwing doors providing entry. After all, the gullwings seem to offer plenty of entry room - just flip that front seat forward and duck into the rear. If some newly leaked German patent filings point to an actual creation, Mercedes has something different in mind.

Mercedes is thinking an actual four-door SLS AMG. Instead of just dropping the gullwings - the way it did on the SLS AMG Roadster - in favor of four traditional doors, Mercedes patent filings show the gullwing doors intact. Since there is no B pillar to attach regular rear doors to, Mercedes goes with suicide doors in the design.

Mysterious Spy Shots Emerge, Covert Ford Ranger?

On: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 2:44PM | By: Chris Salamone

Mystery Truck test 2

Just today, one of the super savvy bloggers at Inside Line posted spy shots of an unknown truck seen in the greater Los Angeles area. Thus far only a few small clues exist which help identify this modern day mystery machine. Needless to say, the vehicle’s heavy camouflage and metal bed make the labeling process a more difficult task, but never fear.

Michigan manufacturer plates create a strong case for this being a product of the Big Three.

Mike Magrath, from Inside Line, speculates that the vehicle could be about the size of a Toyota Tundra, but the front might be considered to follow a Dodge aesthetic. But, if you ask me – a risky decision generally – these images show a commercial variant of the future Ford Ranger.

Fiat Details 500L

On: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 11:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fiat Details 500L test 2

Like its company Ferrari, Fiat seems to have an affinity for slowly and steadily tipping its hand prior to a major auto show. It revealed the first photos and information about the 500 Large earlier this month, and now it's updated with a few more details behind the elongated 500. While the 500L isn't quite as an exciting story as the Ferrari F620, it's always good to get the scoop a little early.

Mini detailed its big, bad Geneva debut - the Clubvan - earlier in the week, so Fiat took the opportunity to hop up and down to redirect the spotlight back toward it. Small car, small engines: The stretched out 500 will come with several small, efficient engine options. Those include a .9-liter Twin Air engine; a 1.4-liter four-cylinder petrol engine; and a 1.3-liter MultiJet diesel engine. As if that suite of engines isn't enough to save a 500L owner on gas, the model will include an eco:Drive function that provides advice on ways of boosting efficiency.