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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.

Ferrari Leaning Toward V-12 For New Enzo

On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 5:29PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Leaning Toward V-12 For New Enzo test 2

Last fall, Fiat unraveled a Ferrari road map detailing what cars were coming over the next few years and when we could expect them. From that, we know that Ferrari has saved its juiciest releases for next year. The company will unveil a successor for the Enzo as well as a replacement for its current flagship 599 GTB. A new Auto News report this week lends a closer look at these two cars.

According to the latest, Ferrari is leaning toward a V-12 engine for the next Enzo, which is being called the F70 internally. That contradicts an Autocar report from this past spring that Ferrari was thinking twin-turbo V-8 for the flagship. The V-12 is likely to carry somewhere in the range of 700 to 800 horses.

Ferrari FF Buyers To Get Winter Driving Course In Aspen

On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 5:03PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari FF Buyers To Get Winter Driving Course In Aspen test 1-1

Ferrari. Aspen. For decades the two terms have been linked by a simple concept: the glamorous and the wealthy. Those with money and fame have long loved their Ferraris and have long loved winter retreats in the U.S. capital of snow and riches.

With the introduction of the Ferrari FF Grand Tourer, there's now a new link between the Prancing Horse and Aspen: all-wheel drive. Yes, all-wheel drive is more than just a performance-enhancing nicety in the Roaring Fork Valley; it's a near-necessity in the winter months. So, it's no surprise that Ferrari will use Aspen as the background for a winter driving course being offered to FF customers.

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…”

Tons Of Epic Hollywood Hooning In Ken Block's Gymkhana Four (Video)

On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 12:59PM | By: David Walter

Gymkhana Four: The Hollywood Megamercial test 2

"Gymkhana Four: The Hollywood Megamercial" featuring professional racer and hooning master Ken Block and his turbocharged 2.0-liter Ford Fiesta (capable of up to 600 horsepower and 655 lb-ft of torque!) was released yesterday.

Now, I considered attempting to answer some potential questions (i.e. what is hooning? who is Ken Block? what is Gymkhana?), but you'd probably get a better understanding by just watching the video.

And trust me, you'll definitely want to watch this!

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.

Chevrolet Recalls Ten Thousand New Impalas!

On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 9:30AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Chevrolet Recalls Ten Thousand New Impalas! test 2

It seems they really don't make 'em like they used to anymore. Either that or they just did a lot less recalling back in the good 'ole days. In what seems to be the summer of recalls, now it is General Motors' turn to bring some horses back to the stable. More than ten thousand 2012 Chevy Impalas are being recalled this month due to "misrouted" power steering hoses which have been placed dangerously close to the catalytic converter, thus melting the hose and igniting the power steering fluid, setting that brand new engine compartment ablaze.

Read more for the full report from the National Highway Ttraffic Safety Administraton and Safercar.gov...

Lotus Evora S Police Cars

On: Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 3:00PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Evora S Police Cars test 2

Public service has never been a glamorous life. You either work hard for relatively low pay or you take bribes and defraud the public, get caught and go to jail. Police officers, for instance, are likely to be seen driving around in a nondescript Ford or Chevy both on-duty and off. Not exactly the "high life.” But every once in a while, police forces get a taste of the good life by getting high-tech, sporty cars to use for patrol. The Italian military police known as Arma dei Carabinieri is the latest force to have a couple sweet rides in its ranks.

Lotus donated two specially outfitted Evora S models to the police force for its Rome and Milan units. Like any good police cars, these two Lotus cruisers have all the mandatory equipment: lights, communications equipment, and a voice-recognition system called Enhanced Vehicle Automation. Because these are more than your average patrol car, each car also comes with a refrigerated compartment in the rear, designed to keep organs on ice during transport. Presumably, it could also keep the officers' soda or iced cappuccino cold when they have to unexpectedly run out on a bust—assuming that drinking something out of the organ cooler is kosher with the officer(s) in question.

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.