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Bentley Introduces Its Mulliner More-So For The 2012 Continental GT

On: Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 9:44AM | By: Andrew W Davis


2012 Bentley Continental GT with Mulliner Classic Pack test 2

If you were thinking of plopping down your $200k on a new 2012 Bentley Continental GT coupe but felt it was too short on carbon-fiber (or “fibre” as those crazy Brits put it) exterior widgets, Bentley has just the thing for you: its new “Mulliner Styling Specification” gear.

Either in full body-kit form as the “Classic Pack” and/or individually-orderable “design features,” the folks at Crewe have gone carbon-crazy. And as if that wasn’t enough, they’re bypassing the usual ride-pimpers to offer a direct-to-consumer 21-inch “Elegant” alloy wheel option, too.

Now you should be forced to do the right thing and opt for it all at once for “just” $29,459, but seeing as how the Conti is Bentley’s “budget” model, they’re giving you skinflints the option to buy some bits by themselves.

Well, of COURSE I know YOU don’t have to ask, as we can both clearly afford it (all). But for all the plebeians out there, details follow…


Auto Demand Rising In June

On: Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 10:32AM | By: Tim Healey


Auto Demand Rising In June test 1-1

After slumping in May, sales of new cars and trucks appear to be rebounding this month.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) is now expected to be around 12 million units when results are released on July 1.

This comes after a month of May in which the industry was battered by high fuel prices, lowered incentives, and shortages on available vehicles that were caused by March's natural disaster in Japan.


Another Gallardo? Another Gallardo!

On: Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 9:41AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


new Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante test 2

Okay, so in case you haven't been keeping up Lamborghini has a few Gallardo models on display. Technically, the newest drop-top was introduced back in November, but honestly with blustery winds and sub-zero temperatures right around the corner, we didn't think that it was the best timing. However, now with summer officially kicked off, there is quite a bit more interest in a nearly 600-horsepower open-air beast. The following is Lamborghini's official press release for the new Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante, albeit with much better timing.

Sant'Agata Bolognese. With the new Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante, Lamborghini is setting a new benchmark in the most fascinating automobile segment of all—the open-top super sports car. As "Performante", the Gallardo Spyder is even lighter thanks to CFRP technology, even more agile and even more dynamic. The new Spyder Performante is an automotive high-performance athlete that combines sheer sporting excellence and extreme performance with that unique open-air feeling that only a soft-top spanning the ten-cylinder power unit can offer. Ultimately, every spin in the Spyder Performante is like a journey into the eye of the storm.


This Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach Auctions Offering Is A Real Duesy

On: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 5:15PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by author test 2

There was a time (not all that long ago, really) when persons of means could purchase a chassis of choice from a manufacturer and then deliver it to their custom coachbuilder to create the car of their dreams.

Nothing like that exists today, no matter how hard firms like Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, and Maybach work to make you THINK that’s what they’re doing. Sure, you can choose the exterior color scheme and have your choice of interior colors, upholstery, and accent materials.

But at the end of the day, all that “personalization” still leaves you with the same body riding on the same platform and stuffed with all the same mechanical and electronic doo-dads as the one bought by the person before you and the person buying after you.

Think not? Put them through my patented “Coachbuilt-or-Not?” test.


 

Ford Customer Satisfaction Sinks Due To Sync

On: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 4:50PM | By: Tim Healey


Ford Customer Satisfaction Sinks test 2

Ford has slipped in customer satisfaction in a major J.D. Power survey, due mainly to consumer complaints about its technology features, such as Sync, MyFordTouch, and MyLincolnTouch.

Meanwhile, Toyota has recovered from past problems to climb back into the top ten, while Dodge finished last.

The infotainment systems, which use voice recognition and MP3 player-like interfaces, have received mixed reviews from the automotive press since launching, and their relative complexity has confused customers who are unfamiliar with the technology. Combined with new automatic-transmission programming that has caused consumers to think the transmissions are hesitating, this has caused Ford to slip from fifth to 23rd in J.D. Power's Initial Quality Survey, which tracks complaints in the first 90 days of ownership.


Latest Mitsubishi i Buzz Looks To Early 2012

On: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 3:13PM | By: Chris Salamone


 Mitsubishi i EV test 2

Whether or not you love the new Mitsubishi i, or electric vehicles in general, it’s impossible to ignore the palpable hue of anticipation surrounding the latest and greatest in fuel saving technology. Not surprisingly though, the upcoming 2012 Mitsubishi i is fast becoming the poster child for EV practicality vs. greener tomorrow debates. That’s because this new Mitsubishi can travel only 85 miles on a single tank… err, charge. On the flip side, Mitsubishi’s MiEV technology ensures that all systems are operating as efficiently and economically as possibly. Mitsubishi estimates that the 100% electric i will cost the average driver $2.40 per 85 miles driven, while a hybrid vehicle rated at 50mpg costs about $6.80 to travel the same distance. Like it or hate it, those savings are hard to ignore.


Transportation Secretary LaHood Says "It's Not Necessary!"

On: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 2:38PM | By: Chris Weiss


Transportation Secretary LaHood Says test 2

You don't have to be the #1 transportation authority in the United States to know that in-vehicle Facebook and Twitter are big, unnecessary advances with "potential devestating danger" written all over them. But it's nice to have him on your side.

Ever since I saw the first mention of Facebook in a car, I've been pretty fearful of the future of our roadways. What we need is fewer distractions in cars, not more distractions with possibly safer, definitely more complicated and technological form factors. We need people focusing on road signs and surrounding traffic, not on the latest viral video or "breaking" friend news. Unfortunately, the auto industry seems determined to ride the popularity of social media in selling cars. At least Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is on our team.

LaHood told the Wall Street Journal in a succinct, definitive statement: "There's absolutely no reason for any person to download their Facebook into the car. It's not necessary."


Saab Listed As One Of Ten Brands That Will Disappear In 2012

On: Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 11:10AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Saab Listed As One Of Ten Brands That Will Disappear In 2012 test 1-1

Now I love me some A&W All-American Food Restaurants and Soap Opera Digest, but when 24/7 Wall Street includes a car company (especially one I like) on its list of “Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2012”, well, it got my attention.

That they couldn’t back it up with a successful pick-rate in their 2011 list of dead brands walking, however, kept me from panicking.

[The car company they predicted that would fold this year—Kia Motors— is doing just fine, thank you.]


They're At It Again: Forbes Misses Mark In Naming

On: Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 5:40PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by author test 2

Forbes—a publication you’d think would have better things to do—has come out with another automotive character-assassination list, this time directed at “Used Cars to Avoid.”

Their list—based on information they say they’ve gathered from a variety of sources, including “TrueCar.com” and “J.D. Power & Associates”—basically names 2008-model-year vehicles they say you should stay away from, including: Chevrolet Aveo & Colorado [and sister pickup GMC Canyon]; Dodge Avenger, Charger & Magnum; Jeep Liberty & Wrangler; Land Rover Range Rover Sport; Mitsubishi Eclipse & Lancer; and Suzuki XL7.

Now I’m going to tell you why they got it wrong.


Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 10:05AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


GMC Syclone Pickup test 2

Some cars and trucks are just ahead of their time. Sometimes, the world is just not ready yet for an idea; it's either too soon, too much, or just too unusual for the world to deal with and, as such, that idea usually either dies or goes into hibernation until the world catches up. Such was the life of one of the quickest and fastest trucks ever produced. The GMC Syclone was not a high-selling success, but this tricked-out pickup truck brought new meaning to the word "Hauling."

This pint-sized pickup started off life as a garden variety GMC Sonoma, but went on to be the first hot rod truck ever produced by a dealer. Starting with a very spartan 3500-pound truck, GMC sent their mild-mannered pickup to Production Automotive Services, Inc. (the same company that produced the 1989 Turbo Trans Am that went on to become one of the quickest Firebirds Pontiac ever released) and got back a 4.3-liter turbo-charged, liquid-cooled V6 nightmare.


The New Lamborghini! (No, Not That One)

On: Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 9:45AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Lamborghini LP550-2 Bicolore test 2

So while the world is celebrating the beginning of the reign of the Aventador as king of Sant' Agata and singing its praises, it just so happens that there is at least one more new kid on the block worth getting excited over.

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but the all-time best-selling Lamborghini is not the Murcielago, nor is it the fire-breathing Diablo, and no, it isn't even the legendary Countach (although the Countach may hold the record for most car posters ever sold). Nope, it's the occasionally underappreciated Gallardo. Yes, really. Since its debut in 2003 at the Geneva Motor Show, the Gallardo has given no less than 10,000 drivers ultimate bragging rights. Surprised? Don't be; Lamborghini has successfully done what other car companies have tried to do for years:  Make an old car into a new car without changing too much, but changing enough to warrant some new excitement.