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From AMG To Amex: Mercedes-Benz Introduces Partnership With American Express

On: Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 12:57PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express test 2

NOTE: The author does not hold himself out as providing any legal, financial or other advice, does not make any recommendation or endorsement as to any investment, advisor or other service or product, and does not offer any advice regarding the nature, potential value or suitability of any particular investment, security or investment strategy.

And as the author more than likely has neither the financial fortitude nor the credit score to qualify for a “regular” American Express card, let alone a Benz-branded oneand let’s not even get into affording an ACTUAL Mercedes-Benzconsider all financial choices carefully before investing on his snarky whim.

His lack of financial prowess aside, Mercedes-Benz IS a car company, so their decision to put their good name on Amex cards gives your favorite automotive editor/writer a reason to FINALLY cover a Wall Street Journal-style story. Sweet!

Alignment Basics

On: Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 10:51AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Alignment Basics test 2

With most car owners, a wheel alignment is something they get around to—eventually. Typically, that will be when they finally get around to replacing the tires or when the steering starts acting up to the point where it can no longer be avoided. The problem with wheels going out of alignment is that it is a gradual process. You might notice that your car will pull to one side or another on a smooth, flat highway or it might vibrate abnormally. Sometimes, though, if you hit a humongous pothole, you’ll feel the difference immediately.

Please GM, Not Another Malibu SS!

On: Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 9:22AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Please GM, Not Another Malibu SS! test 2

There is good news and bad news when it comes to the Chevy Malibu and the year 2013. The good news is easy—compared to the outgoing 2012 model, the '13 variant will have much more fit and finish. More shoulder and hip room (up by nearly 3 inches), and adds more than three cubic feet of interior space. And although the 4.5-inches lost in wheelbase may seem like a negative, it is actually addition by subtraction because the new Epsilon II platform is home to a newer, much sportier nigh Bimmer-like look.

If the outgoing Malibu was the average cubicle worker, then the new Malibu is the boss in his own office who has more responsibilities, but shows up wearing jeans and sneakers on a Tuesday morning. The '13 Malibu conveys a sense of casual competency we haven't seen from GM in an extremely long time, and actually looks quite a bit like an Americanized Acura TSX from certain angles. In short, the new Malibu actually looks like it can compete on a global level with cars like the Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, and even the performance oriented Nissan Maxima. 

However, there is a downside to this very hopeful story. Despite the new car's very sporty motif, there are rumors that Chevy is debating on bringing back the SS badge to the Malibu. Now, for those of you who may have blocked out the awful image of the last Malibu to wear the SS badge, it was the very ill-fated Malibu Maxx SS, a very lackluster, automatic, station wagon. A true SuperSport, if there ever was one. And, though the one good thing that came out of that travesty was that GM put forth a decree that only legitimate performance cars will wear the venerable double 'S' badge from that point forward. 

Well, we at Autoshopper are here to hold GM to its word. Please, GM, no more Malibu SS models. Please! Look, the new Malibu is a fine looking car, it really is, and not just in comparing it to its predecessors either. The '13 Malibu really looks like it could help GM take back some of that all-important family sedan market that has been dominated by the Japanese carmakers for so long. But that being said, it is still just that—a family sedan.

Classic Car Cultist: Dymaxion

On: Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 5:12PM | By: Chris Salamone

Dymaxion Car test 2

The year is 1933. An egg-shaped oddity rolls out during the Chicago World’s Fair. It has eleven seats, three wheels—using the rear wheel for steering—and a canvas roof. After stunning the world with the vehicle’s bizarre looks, an accident occurs which remains shrouded in mystery to this day. The Dymaxion car rolls over, executing the driver and seriously injuring the other two passengers.

One can only imagine how a three-wheel, rear-steering, oval-shaped vehicle might roll over.


Ferrari 458 Spider Unveiled

On: Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 3:29PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari 458 Spider Unveiled test 1-1

The Ferrari 458 Spider is official! Thanks to months of leaks and rumors, there really isn't anything new to report, but we have the full scoop complete with the extra authority of a company-issued press release. After a big leak earlier this week, Ferrari decided to unveil the 458 Spider ahead of its Frankfurt public debut.

Junkyards (Automotive Recyclers)

On: Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 2:10PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Junkyards (Automotive Recyclers) test 2

Over the years, I’ve bought parts from a number of automotive recyclers (junkyards) with excellent results. You can too! Considering the price of new parts, especially when you consider the cost of a brand new part, it makes good sense to get a used part. Why? Because you can save a lot of money, you’re helping the environment by recycling, and it can be fun, too. Of course, it depends what you’re looking for.

There are differences in junkyards. Some will let you wander through rows and rows of dead cars. Some won’t. Typically, if you’re looking for a specific part, call ahead and ask if they’ve got it. Some of the better organized ones inventory their parts while others will tell you they think they’ve got it in the “back” somewhere. Again, it depends what you’re looking for.

Of course, there is risk involved, depending on the part. You might spend a lot of time installing a part, only to find it doesn’t work. Even though most places guarantee the part (so you can exchange it), you’ve still invested a lot of time. There’s also the risk of injury if the part doesn’t work so it definitely doesn’t pay to buy certain junkyard parts. Let’s take a look at some of the parts and the risk you may be taking:

Subaru Impreza: Another 2012 Price Hold

On: Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 12:14PM | By: Chris Weiss

Subaru Impreza: Another 2012 Price Hold test 1-1

With a tumultuous, uncertain auto market ahead, it seems many automakers are taking conservative approaches to the 2012 model year. We've already watched Chrysler drop prices on three models and Honda hold prices steady across the entire Accord line. Now, Subaru has joined in transferring 2011 prices over to 2012.

Oil Change Basics - You Can Do It!

On: Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 10:43AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Oil Change Basics - You Can Do It! test 2

The oil change is probably the most basic automotive procedure. You may ask, why bother, since it costs only $20-25 at the local service station. And sometimes, it’s even less at some of the big tire places.

Probably the best reason for doing it yourself is saving time. You don’t have to make an appointment or take the time out to drive to a service station. You also have the choice of installing whatever brand of oil filter you want and, just as important, whatever brand and type of oil you want. And once you get into the habit of changing your own oil, you’re apt to take the little extra time to check the rest of the car out.

2012 Hyundai Veloster Prices In At $17K

On: Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 9:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

2012 Hyundai Veloster Prices In At $17K test 2

In the market for an entry level sports car? Consider the 2012 Hyundai Veloster. Due to hit the market this fall, the Veloster will price in well under competitors like the Honda CR-Z, providing a solid package of sporty performance and affordable price.

Hyundai announced this week that the Veloster will start at $17,300, some $2,000 less than competitors—the 2011 Honda CR-Z and 2011 Scion tC. That price provides a 1.6-liter GDI engine worth 138-hp and a six-speed manual transmission. Those that prefer automatic shifting can opt for Hyundai's all-new EcoShift dual-clutch. Thanks to a curb weight of just 2,584, the Hyundai Veloster will be plenty lively and will offer an estimated 40 mpg. And it still manages to offer some of the most interior volume in its class.

The Veloster's styling isn't necessarily for everyone, but it's definitely distinctive. Defining elements include the near-flat, sloped roofline, front-end air cuts, wraparound-like greenhouse, and unique three-door design.

Subaru RWD, Frankfurt-Bound Sports Car Named 'BRZ'

On: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 5:01PM | By: Chris Weiss

Subaru RWD, Frankfurt-Bound Sports Car Named 'BRZ' test 2

So far, the sports-car partnership between Toyota has given us a whole lot of Toyota—two iterations of the FT-86 and a Scion-branded FR-S—and not a whole lot of Subaru. From Fuji Heavy Industries' car brand we've been left with the awkwardly named, 100-percent concept Boxer Sports Car Architecture Concept a.k.a. Rear-Wheel Drive Sports Car Technology Concept.

Well, the production Subaru is anticipated at this December's Tokyo Motor Show, so Subie doesn't have much time to go from transparent concept to full-fledged, production-ready car. The automaker will release the next concept version of the car at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. And, we're happy to report, the model will finally have a simple name that doesn't give us cramped fingers.

The Chaos Theory As Seen In Today's Traffic Jams

On: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 4:07PM | By: Peter C Sessler

The Chaos Theory As Seen In Today's Traffic Jams test 1-1

You’re driving along at a nice pace and all of a sudden, you see brake lights ahead of you, and traffic begins to slow. Probably an accident, you think. After an indeterminable time, traffic once again, begins to move. You keep your eyes open to see what caused the traffic to slow down, but you don’t see anything at all. It’s a bit frustrating not to have someone to vent your anger against, but as you probably have noticed, this is far from being uncommon. Traffic slows and speeds up with no apparent reason.

Don’t worry, though. There are people who make a study of this. Traffic engineers, who use mathematical and computer models, typically find that traffic jams are caused by accidents, bad curves, hills, merging lanes—all logical reasons. The way to alleviate this problem is to simply build bigger and better roads. Sounds logical, but is it?