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The Festivals Of Speed Returns To St. Petersburg

On: Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 1:41PM | By: David Walter

The Festivals Of Speed Returns To St. Petersburg test 2

The Festivals of Speed will return to St. Petersburg, Florida for their 9th year with a weekend of luxury and indulgence. Attendees can expect to see the most exotic automobiles, aircraft, motorcycles and watercraft the world has to offer while enjoying gourmet foods, fine wine and spirits, cigars and world class entertainment.

The weekend kicks off Friday, March 30 with the Luxury Lifestyle Jet Port Reception in an actual hangar at the Tampa International Airport. Exotic vehicles will be on display and a jazz orchestra and both a live & silent charity auction should keep provide a night of entertainment. Premium foods and beverages will be available as well.

Saturday, March 31, joining the Festivals of Speed is the Florida Powerboat Club and their annual Tampa Bay Poker Run. Other events Saturday include VIP Ride & Drives and an exclusive Wine Connoisseur’s reception.

Finishing it off with a ‘bang’ is the weekend’s main event. Held in downtown St. Petersburg’s waterfront and the Renaissance Vinoy Marina, a large collection of exotics autos as well as fine jewelry and timepieces will be on display. And of course, more premium foods, drinks, cigars and entertainment will be available.

Check out the Festivals’ press release below for more information.

2012 NAIAS: Cadillac Unveils ATS; Aims To Dominate Compact Luxury Segment

On: Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 11:58AM | By: Chuck Arehart

2012 NAIAS: Cadillac Unveils ATS test 2

Cadillac continues its resurgence with the all-new 2013 ATS and has every intention of becoming the new benchmark of driving dynamics and technology in the compact luxury class. Instead of building the ATS on the existing small car platform of the Chevy Cruze and Buick Regal (both well-executed designs in their own right), Cadillac went its own way in creating an all-new platform. The ATS is rear-drive with all-wheel-drive availability and is right-hand drive ready for global production.

Weight reduction was a major priority in development not only for fuel economy but for driving dynamics. Less mass equates to reduced weight transfer, increased handling response and improved braking performance. Highlights of the Cadillac diet program include an aluminum hood, magnesium engine mounts and natural fiber door trim panels to help keep overall weight down to 3,400 lbs.

2012 NAIAS: Ford Introduces The All-New 2013 Fusion

On: Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 10:28AM | By: Chuck Arehart

2012 NAIAS: Ford Introduces The All-New 2013 Fusion test 2

Continuing its plan of global product utilization, Ford introduced its 2013 Ford Fusion that is essentially the European Ford Mondeo. Enthusiasts have thought for years that Ford should have brought over this slick-looking and highly regarded sedan. The new Fusion boasts new styling, powertrains and technologies in an effort to become a leader in the highly competitive mid-size sedan segment.

Buick's Encore, Sonic-Based Crossover

On: Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 3:08PM | By: Chris Salamone

2013 Buick Encore test 2

Over the past few years Buick sales have steadily increased – making the company a silent, but deadly, contender brand in the luxury market. But those years of unrecognizable nameplates and wish-washy styling are over. With the Encore, an all-new luxury small crossover, Buick’s former marketing strategy of covert operations just went nuclear, simply because it will be impossible to keep the Encore below the radar.

The 2013 Encore uses the same underpinnings found in today’s Chevy Sonic. Even the Sonic’s 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder can be found in both vehicles. So what makes the Encore worthy of a second glance?

How about class-leading luxury, fuel economy, and a maximum storage capacity of 48.4 cubic feet? What we have here is a miniature luxury crossover which doesn’t pretend to be functional like the Smart, won’t cost a fortune like the Aston Martin Cygnet, and actually manages to look somewhat sporty…unlike the Fiat 500.


Nissan Confirms Juke R Performance Specs

On: Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 1:30PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Confirms Juke R Performance Specs test 2

A Juke R body with the soul of a GT-R sports coupe--that's the recipe for the much publicized Juke R crossover that executives at Nissan weren't too fond of until it became the darling of the auto media. Despite its bulky body, we knew that a 485-bhp powertrain wouldn't be for naught. Nissan has released the specs for its "supercar crossover concept," and they look every bit as good as we expected.

According to Nissan's UK test numbers, the Juke R can hit 62 mph in 3.7 seconds. That's a little slower than the Hennessey Jeep Grand Cherokee HPE800, but given that the Juke has some 315 less horses, it's pretty close. The Juke R tops out at 160 mph.

Toyota NS4 Plug-In Concept Teaser Video

On: Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 10:27AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota NS4 Plug-In Concept Teaser Video test 2

Toyota announced last month that it will be bringing a new plug-in hybrid concept to the Detroit Motor Show. While the automaker has left most of the details for the show, it has released a new minute-long teaser video of what it calls the NS4 concept.

The NS4 will showcase the latest green conceptual goings on at Toyota while simultaneously displaying the latest sporty design language. Toyota has called the car an "advanced plug-in hybrid concept" but has not gotten into any details of its powertrain.

The Fit Is Go(od): Consumer Reports Ranks It Best Value Along With Many Other Japanese Cars

On: Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:25PM | By: Chris Weiss

The Fit Is Go(od): Consumer Reports Ranks It Best Value Along With Many Oth test 2

Consumer Reports has released its latest Best New-Car Value List, a list that combines metrics from its performance, reliability, and cost of ownership data pools to determine value scores for some 200 vehicles. Japanese vehicles perform particularly well this year, with the Honda Fit topping the pack again.

Out of 48 "best value" picks, 34 come from Japanese manufacturers, while other countries only rank in the single digits (six European models, five American and three South Korean).

Pathfinder Emerges On Detroit Floor

On: Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 12:13PM | By: Chris Salamone

Nissan Pathfinder Concept test 2

Although Nissan is still calling this particular Pathfinder a ‘concept’ model, the company – optimistically – still intends to produce and sell a fourth generation remake later this year. But perhaps the company’s use of a concept moniker is actually an encouraging sign. Perhaps all is not lost.

Because no one wants a Nissan Murano XL, mislabeled in some kind of cruel homage to Nissan’s trail-blazing heritage.

To be fair, the all-new Pathfinder will undoubtedly have a long list of intriguing and revolutionary features – including an anticipated 25 percent increase in combined city and highway fuel efficiency. Almost prophetically, Nissan has predicted a mixed media response and dropped a mouthful of excitement in a recent company press release.

GM Issues Solutions For Volt Fire Hazards

On: Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 10:34AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Issues Solutions For Volt Fire Hazards test 2

On November 25, the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration opened up an investigation on the Chevy Volt's battery. The investigation was in response to a Volt that had crashed during NHTSA testing in May and subsequently caught fire, an occurrence that was attributed to leaking coolant from the lithium-ion battery. Subsequent NHTSA testing also led to fire, causing the agency to open an official investigation on the issue.

The NHTSA's investigation remains ongoing, but Chevy has offered a solution to the issue.

Chevy Volt: Worst Product Of 2011?

On: Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 2:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt: Worst Product Of 2011? test 2

Just before the new year rolled around, media outlets 'round the world whiled away the slow holiday hours by putting together all forms of "best of" and "worst of" lists. Sometimes lists were spot on and others were completely insufferable. A report called the "Worst Product Flops of 2011" is a little of both. The report was published by 24/7 Wall Street and republished by Yahoo Finance, making it visible for millions. While the report pinpointed some seriously failed products, it treated the Chevy Volt rather unfairly.

The Volt was number three on the list and made it for failing to meet sales expectations. The article said of the Volt: "Indeed, sales for the vehicle have been consistently low. Only 125 models were sold in July 2011. This was after GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker was quoted as saying that the Volt was “virtually sold out” due to its popularity — a statement later shown to be misguided."

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee To Share Fiat Diesel

On: Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 11:20AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee test 2

You can forget about Cummings, in 2013 the Jeep Grand Cherokee will share diesel tech from Chrysler’s Italian counterpart. As usual, this particular diesel engine is already in use in the European variant of the Grand Cherokee and will be coming to America a few years late. On the up side, however, 1100 jobs will be added to the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit and Fiat’s 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel is already widely regarded as a solid performer – with efficiency to boot.

In Europe, the CRD engine produces 237 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque while sipping a mere 22.8 mpg in the city and 32.7 mpg on the highway. Combined economy is currently 28.3 mpg.

But don’t expect every Euro-spec Grand Cherokee Diesel model to return home. A new 3.0-liter CRD is currently offered in Europe as a low power version – sacrificing performance for efficiency – which survives on 187 horsepower. Considering North America’s lukewarm acceptance of diesel engines, we feel comfortable predicting that a wide Grand Cherokee diesel lineup is unlikely, especially featuring ‘low power’ options. Whatever those are.