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Land Rover Launches Electric Defender

On: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 10:50AM | By: Chris Weiss


Land Rover Launches Electric Defender  test 2

Think you have range anxiety when it comes to well-serviced stretches of local highway? Imagine being stranded by a drained battery deep within the African savanna, leaving you among lions, hippos, and other fierce animals. Not to put a damper on Land Rover's new launch, but that's something that has to be in the back of your mind when it comes to the new Defender EV.

Designed specifically for use in South African game reserves, the Electric Defender Game Viewer Concept Vehicle was developed in conjunction with lithium-ion manufacturer Axeon and Barker Performance, a Land Rover specialist. The model trades out the usual 2.4-liter diesel engine for a 193-hp electric motor wired to a 28.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The combo promises about 55 miles of range.


B.C. Woman Survives 7 Weeks Via Chevy Astro

On: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 10:42AM | By: Chris Salamone


B.C. Woman Survives 7 Weeks Via Chevy Astro test 1-1

What’s worse than surviving in a Chevy Astro? Surviving in a Chevy Astro stuck in the Nevada wilderness with below freezing temperatures and almost no snacks to munch on. Unfortunately, when Rita and Albert Chretien left British Columbia to embark on a 1,200 mile road trip to Las Vegas they somehow managed to land in the exact above-mentioned scenario. Although details remain unclear, the Chretien’s Astro Van ended up stuck in the mud in the middle of the harsh Nevada wilderness.

After several days, pondering their situation, Albert decided that waiting was too risky and went out alone on foot to find some help. Rita sat by herself and without resources for seven weeks before a group of hunters spotted a small white flag wrapped around the van’s radio antenna. Rita's few sources of sustenance over forty-eight days formed a stringent college-reminiscent diet including a small bag of trail mix, hard candy bars, fish-oil tablets, and melted snow. Through the ordeal Rita lost nearly 30 pounds, but doctors claim she’s making a full recovery and can expect to be released from the hospital soon.


BMW Teases 2012 1-Series Hatchback

On: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 10:00AM | By: Chris Weiss


BMW Teases 2012 1-Series Hatchback  test 2

Not quite as exciting as the pictures of the unclothed SLS AMG roadster that Mercedes released last week, but a teaser of an upcoming German luxury car just the same, some new pictures of what looks to be the upcoming BMW 1-Series hatchback have hit the Web. In fact, an entire website called 2originals.com is dedicated to teasing the model.

The website shows what appear to be three- and five-door versions of the hatchback covered up in bright cloth. The phrase "One Origin, Two Originals" points to the idea that these are indeed two versions of the 1-Series.


Automakers Look To Shed Pounds

On: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 9:51AM | By: Chris Weiss


Automakers Look To Shed Pounds  test 2

It's no revelation that automakers around the world are looking to make more efficient vehicles. Fuel prices are rising something awful; government bodies in Europe and the United States are placing stricter regulations on automaker fleet emissions; and the market is quite warm and welcoming to more efficient cars.

Much of the automaker focus and media attention have been on smaller engines and greener powertrains. Electrics, hybrids, and other alternative powertrains have made for intriguing headlines, and smaller, more efficient gas engines have played their own less-lauded, utilitarian role.


 

Pebble to "Celebrate the Greatest Ferrari of All Time" (x20+!)

On: Tue, May 10, 2011 at 3:02PM | By: Andrew W Davis


1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta test 2

“My Ferrari.” Racing driver and journalist Denise McCluggage pegged those two as the two best words in the English language, and if you’ve ever been able to say them and mean it, you know why.

But, for those of us—myself included—who can’t, why does this little Italian marque of red cars with a black-horse-in-a-yellow-rectangle badge mean so much to so many?

I’m convinced that it’s because they all wear the glow generated by the Ferrari’s greatest road-going(!) race car, the 250 GTO. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. This year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance—on Sunday, August 21—is hosting a record-setting event to celebrate the “50th anniversary of the birth of this model” which is “considered by many to be the greatest Ferrari ever manufactured.”


Nissan Leaf Beats Chevy Volt in April Sales

On: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 7:23PM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan Leaf Beats Chevy Volt in April Sales  test 2

April Leaf sales actually surpassed Nissan's expectations. It had anticipated selling about 900 models by the end of April, but exceeded that by more than 15 percent.

As to why the Leaf was able to gain so markedly on the Volt that remains unclear. Both vehicles' sales are quite modest when compared to higher volume gas vehicles (Nissan models like the Rogue and Sentra sold more than 8,000 and 9,000 units respectively), so the differences could be negligible. Green Car Reports says that part of the discrepancy could be related to the fact that Chevy decided to redirect certain Volt models to dealerships to be used as demo vehicles. These cars would have otherwise been sold to the public, and could have increased April's totals, though it's unclear how many sales were affected. Still, it seems significant that the Leaf nearly doubled its sales in just a month while the Volt slipped backwards.


Mercedes To Electrify S-Class

On: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 5:19PM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes To Electrify S-Class  test 2

Last year, Mercedes-Benz made it clear that the SLS AMG E-Cell that it had been working on was bound for production. The E-Cell will be among the growing field of alternatively-powered supercars (think Porsche 918 Spyder).

Last week, Mercedes indicated that electric power may move down line from the E-Cell to the S-Class sedan. While the German luxury automaker fell short of confirming a full-electric S-Class, it has confirmed plans for other green vehicles.


RM To Auction Creme De La Creme In Como

On: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 3:32PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Look deep into her eyes... '37 M-B 540K test 2

If you’ve been sitting on your billions just waiting for the right opportunity to convert them into something sexier than numbers on a spreadsheet, now’s your chance. [Well, your chance will actually come May 21 when RM Auctions will have their sale at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. So almost now.]

Right about here I could say something snide like “If you have to ask what or where that is you can’t afford anything there,” but we already know that’s true. But since I know, and you have more money than I do, I’ll gladly report it’s in Como, Italy.

[Look, just follow George Clooney or one of the dudes he’s supporting with “Oceans 47” or whatever the latest one is. I hear he’s got a pretty sweet pad nearby.]

Right. Now that you’ve got the where, I’m going to give you the why: RM Auctions is offering the most star-studded slate of consignments I’ve seen this decade, including, per their site, “32 blue-chip consignments with no fewer than ten anticipated to break the million-euro mark.”

That’s $1.5 million in real money, folks. And these lots' selling prices start there…


50 Years Of Astronauts And Corvettes

On: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 1:24PM | By: Chris Salamone


Apollo 12 Astronauts test 2

If you’ve read Tom Wolfe’s bestselling book The Right Stuff, sat through the 1995 Tom Hanks movie Apollo 13, or the recent Star Trek XI flick, or perhaps even claim to be privileged enough to remember the Space Race, then you no doubt have a firm grasp on the relationship between astronauts and Corvettes. Since May 5, 1961, when Alan B. Shepard became the first American to return from space flight and immediately got behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Corvette, America’s most iconic sports car and spacemen have been engaged in the throes of full on automotive passion.

In honor of Alan Shepard’s heroic mission, 30 of America’s surviving astronauts gathered in Cocoa Beach, FL on May 7th to commemorate the 50thAnniversary of Shepard’s sub-orbital flight. Recognizing a great publicity opportunity, GM made sure that all 30 would be driven in Corvettes representing all six design generations built since the model’s 1953 debut.


Jaguar Announces It's Back In The Supercar Business With Its C-X75

On: Sat, May 7, 2011 at 11:34AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Jaguar C-X75 plug-in hybrid supercar test 2

Remember the XJ 220? Jaguar would probably prefer that you didn't. It's not that is was a bad car per se, it's just that so many compromises were made during its for-production development that the original car-show darling, which attracted more blank-check buyers than could be accommodated in 1989, was turned into a road car; people actually sued Jaguar to get out of buying once they saw the production version in late 1991.

Chief culprit was the switch from the concept's big V12 engine and all-wheel drive to a turbo V6 and rear-drive. Granted, what buyers that went through with their purchases got in 1992 was still a high-performance machine—it still set closed-course speed records in excess of the 220 mph its name implied—but the fact that many still lingered unsold in 1997 shows that when you promise a supercar full of superlatives, you better deliver (without spiking the MSRP after delivering half the promised cylinders).

[Boy, if all those who were adamant that a flagship Jaguar had to have a V12 were freaked-out by a V6, reading the specs of the 2013 C-X75 will probably make their heads explode….]


Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Coming This Fall

On: Sat, May 7, 2011 at 11:01AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Sesto Elemento test 2

Lamborghini Aventador owners have a real short window for enjoying ultimate Lambo bragging rights. When Aventador deliveries get started this summer, those lucky owners will officially own the latest, sexiest, most impressive Lamborghini hardware that there is. But rumor holds that a few short months later, Lamborghini will begin selling a production version of the Sesto Elemento, an ultra-rare, ultra-light car based upon last year's Paris concept. The car will retail for over $2 million (possibly $3 million) and no more than 20 will be made. Poor Aventador owners.

We already know that Sesto Elemento production is likely. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said so himself.