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FPV's Blacked-Out, Supercharged 5.0-liter Mustang GT

On: Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 9:18AM | By: Chris Weiss

FPV—Supercharged 5.0-liter Mustang GT  test 2

The Australian International Motor Show is typically just a tad too far 'down under' to play out like a Geneva or Paris in terms of scores of awesome concepts, supercars and new production models. But don't think there's no hot, new hardware coming out of Melbourne. The show is going on now, and to prove that there are some exciting dream cars on our favorite island continent, Ford Australia's tuning arm, Ford Performance Vehicles, debuted a fully black Mustang that it calls its "first-ever concept car."

Aston To Build V12 Zagato

On: Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 4:34PM | By: Chris Weiss

Aston To Build V12 Zagato test 1-1

It appears the cat is out of the bag in terms of Aston Martin V12 Zagato production. According toAutocar, the Zagato was listed on the company's website last week, along with a little disclaimer: "Only a strictly limited run of road going cars will be built." So it looks like Aston is following through on its sexy concept.

Another Movie-Star Car: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics

On: Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 3:41PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW Vision EfficientDynamics  test 2

Batman may be sticking with its Lambo roots, but another action movie franchise has decided to go a little greener in its auto buying. The new Mission Impossible installment will give Tom Cruise a new, green vehicular sidekick—the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics. Certainly chosen for its distinctive look and not entirely its hybrid powertrain, the car will definitely look good on the big screen.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Comes Into Its Own.

On: Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 12:29PM | By: Mary McRae

2011 Hyundai Sonata  test 2

Could there be any denying that the previous Hyundai Sonata was heavily influenced by the Camry and Accord? No, I think we can all agree on that. While the old Sonata borrowed lots of influences from the aforementioned reigning champions, the latest Sonata was completely redesigned for the 2011 model year. Now with sharply styled interior and exterior, safety features, plus the added benefit of extreme fuel efficiency; the 2011 Hyundai Sonata comes into its own.


Aston Martin AMV12 Design Study

On: Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 11:41AM | By: Chris Weiss

Aston Martin AMV12 Design Study test 1-1

A couple weeks ago, we got a teaser look at an upcoming mid-engined Aston Martin one-off from Danish HBH (the company behind the Zenvo ST1). The car will basically be a Vantage V-12 with the engine pushed behind the seats. HBH hopes to have its car ready by next year, and in the meantime, we have what appears to be a mid-engined Aston Martin design study to give us a feel for what a little restructuring might look like.

Coolest (Most Sadistic?) Dad Ever Teaches Son to Drive In A Ferrari 458

On: Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 10:26AM | By: Chris Weiss

Coolest (Most Sadistic?) Dad Ever Teaches Son to Drive In A Ferrari 458 test 1-1

I don't know whether I'd be excited or terrified if my father had handed me the keys to a Ferrari when taking me for my first on-road driving lesson. I can just imagine wrapping my sweaty, 16-year-old hands around that intimidating, controls-lined steering wheel, taking a big gulp and trying to get the courage to start up the rumbling V-8 engine. I suppose if it was at a point where I'd developed a little confidence, I would have loved it. Otherwise, it would have been a horrifying moment.

Europe's First EV Battery Switch Station

On: Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 4:17PM | By: Chris Salamone

Better Place Switchable Battery Station test 2

I recently stumbled upon an article from a San Antonio-based newspaper which claimed that electric vehicles could never be commercially viable until range length could be improved. More specifically, the author had trouble making his daily commute to work in a Nissan Leaf. Although not every state has the same breath of roadways, EVs in general really need to reach beyond 100 or 200 miles before the average US consumer is willing to make the switch from gasoline to electric and give the boot to range anxiety. It’s already scary enough not hearing the rumbling and roaring of a V8 beneath the hood. Losing precious miles, in addition to throaty exhaust, makes an unlikely success out of the emerging EV market. However, range concerns are being dealt a swift kick to the vitals with Europe’s newest EV innovation—the switchable battery station.

RM Auctions To Offer Four Ways To Enter The Automotive Century Club At Its St. John's Sale

On: Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 3:06PM | By: Andrew W Davis

1907 Locomobile; photoillustration by author test 2

RM Auctions—the firm that brought you the megamillion-dollar Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este sale in Como, Italy I covered in an earlier feature—is bringing its show stateside as part of the festivities surrounding the newly-renamed "Concours d’Elegance of America" being held at The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, MI, at the end of July.

The Concours—formerly known only as the “Concours d'Elegance” and held for years at the historic Meadowbrook Hall in Rochester, MI—expanded in both physical size and overall aspirations, leading to the switch in name and venue, though not necessarily in that order.

Now there’s not only a spacious former Catholic seminary within which the auction and certain show events can be held, but a neighboring 27-hole golf course upon which the “33rd Annual Concours d’Elegance of America” can sprawl on Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. [Admission is $25, including parking, shuttle and program book, in case you were wondering.]

But back to the auction.

Polestar Performance Prototype Presages Volvo On PCP?

On: Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 2:35PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

If you thought "Nova"—which Spanish-speakers could read as "no va" or "doesn't go"—was an interesting unintended translation, wait until Volvo finds out what the acronym for its proposed “performance division” means here in the U.S.A.

Yes, if what many (other) sources are saying is true, Polestar wants future performance Volvos to “get wet” on the “sherm”, as the proposed “Performance Concept Prototype” badges will naturally be abbreviated to read “PCP.”

Yes, the fastest Volvos will wear logos that recall what 60 Minutes and People magazine called the “number one” drug problem in the United States in 1978. I’m not sure why the beloved—by me at least—Swedish automaker is apparently dropping its perfectly-good “R” appellation, but as “crack cocaine” and “methamphetamine” were taken, I can see why they landed on the name they did.

Video: Merc-McLaren Hits 93 MPH In Parking Garage

On: Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 11:07AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mercedes-McLaren SLR' test 2

You know what you see way too much of in parking garages? Boring, white, small and mid-sized cars parked neatly, row by row. You know what you don't see nearly enough of in parking garages? Empty spaces during key times, for one, but also Mercedes-McLaren SLR's hitting nearly 100 on the speedometer. And if you don't see enough standard SLRs doing that, you certainly don't see enough one-of-four Brabus-tuned SLR Roadsters doing it.

Here's your chance to turn the tides.

Think You Can Afford It? One-Off Porcelain Veyron

On: Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 10:24AM | By: Chris Weiss

The Bugatti Veyron LOr Blanc Grand Sport  test 2

The last Bugatti Veyron 16.4 may have been sold, but that doesn't mean we won't be seeing some special edition Veyrons in the future, Or today. The Bugatti Veyron L'Or Blanc Grand Sport was designed in conjunction with Königliche Porzellan-Manufatur Berlin (KPM) and unveiled last week. It's a one-of-a-kind special edition that features an unlikely material all over.

Ordinarily, delicate porcelain is the last thing that you'd want to see on the outside of a vehicle, particularly a big, heavy hypercar with capabilities up to 250 mph. But in the high-end automotive market where it's increasingly difficult to get any kind of meaningful bragging rights, being the first motor vehicle in the world to use porcelain for interior and exterior design elements provides one such bragging right. The press release doesn't detail all the parts that use porcelain, outside of confirming that it's on both the inside and out, but we'll have to venture that it's those white, squiggly lines all over the exterior and door panels.