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Auto Industry News
And Car Reviews

Rolling Kias Return to Sender

On: Sat, Mar 12, 2011 at 9:59AM | By: Chris Salamone

2007 Kia Optima test 2

If you own a Kia Optima, use the parking brake and check the mailbox regularly this month. Drivers will be notified via post of a recall relating to the vehicle’s transmission shifter cable which, if left unrepaired, could cause the disobedient cars to roll away while in park. Kia Motors is recalling more than 70,000 automatic transmission Optimas from model years 2006 to 2008 which were actually built from September 29th, 2005 to June 13th, 2007.

In Kia’s documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on March 3rd, the automaker said that in some of the cars a transmission shifter cable was installed incorrectly and could potentially become detached from the shifter. If that happens, and the cable comes off, the car would remain in the last gear it was used in. Thus, drivers who just returned from a jaunt to the Hamptons might park their Kia only to lose control of their vehicle in a HAL - 2001: A Space Odyssey-type of way…watch out for the prerecorded message from Mission Control which reveals the true reasons for Kia’s faulty transmission cable installation.

Novitec Tunes The Ferrari 458 and 599 GTO for Geneva

On: Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 5:13PM | By: Chris Weiss

Novitec Rosso 599 GTO test 2

The Geneva Motor Show is so stacked to the rafters with big car manufacturer debuts that we almost forgot about the tuners. Up until Italian shop Novitec Rosso reminded us, that is. The tuning firm known for its Ferrari tunes debuted two new ones in Geneva, one based on the 458 Italia and one based on the 599 GTO.

Let's face it, you want to know about the 599 GTO the most. So here it is. Ferrari's fastest road-going car ever gets oh so much more powerful at the hands of Novitec; power is upgraded from the stock 671 horses to a knee-shaking 888-hp. Torque is also given a major boost to 636-hp, up from 457-hp.

A Ferrari FF in a Helicopter: One Great Piece of Video.

On: Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 4:16PM | By: Chris Weiss

A Ferrari FF in a Helicopter: One Great Piece of Video. test 1-1

Ferrari has been anything but shy when it comes to pictures and videos of its FF concept. We really thought we wouldn't see an FF video that came close to the last one, which featured the FF scorching nearly every type of terrain on Earth. But Ferrari's managed to come close, releasing a video clip of the FF being whisked into the Italian Dolomites, where it'll be made available to auto journalists for testing. As has been Ferrari's M.O. all along, it isn't doing any run-of-the-mill, dry-track testing; journalists will get to put the all-wheel-drive system to use on a specially-designed snow and ice course at Italy's Plan De Corones ski resort.

VW Microbus Rides Again, On Electrons

On: Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 10:02AM | By: Chris Weiss

VW Bulli Microbus Concept  test 2

What exciting news for the auto world. As part of its Geneva presence, Volkswagen presented an all-new Microbus concept. Taking off on the Microbus Concept VW presented in 2001, the reinvented icon does its hippie, tree-hugging roots proud: it tosses the gas engine in favor of an electric motor.

The concept is called the Bulli, a name that represents Germany's nickname for the original Transporter buses, which were popularly called Microbuses in the U.S.


Gumpert Tornante Unveiled

On: Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 6:05PM | By: Chris Weiss

Gumpert Tornante Unveiled  test 2

Well, it looks like that mysterious teaser picture we saw earlier this month was indeed the Gumpert Tornante. Because Gumpert has pulled the cloth off its second car, and it's definitely one in the same. Gumpert's latest supercar brings a new level of refinement and comfort to its line, while not giving up much in terms of power and performance. 

The full name of the car identifies its origins: Tornante by Touring. The Touring refers to Italian coachbuilder Touring Superleggera. Realizing that while it had mechanical engineering pretty well covered, it didn't exactly make the sexiest cars, Gumpert outsourced the styling to the Italian firm.

Bentley Nixing Entry Level Model, Leaning Toward Other Options

On: Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 5:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bentley Nixing Entry Level Model, Leaning Toward Other Options test 1-1

Rumors of new Bentley models have been surfacing for months now and the latest indicates that Crewe has no plans of watering its ultra-premium line down with a sub-Continental, entry-level model. Instead, Bentley will work within its current price range to offer something new but equally high-performing and luxurious. What exactly that will be remains a mystery, but there are several possibilities.

BMW Teases Next-Gen M5

On: Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 4:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW M5 test 2

The world's attention may be on Geneva, but one automaker is moving a few months ahead and a few hundred miles north. BMW released a new teaser video for its M5 sedan last week. The new car will launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and is supposed to get more powerful and more efficient. 

The M5: "a bold business car with the push of a button you have a sports car". That's how BMW M chief Kay Segler sums up the sporty new M5. And the footage of the camouflaged four-door straightlining and accelerating through curves in the snowy mountains of northern Europe definitely supports that description.

Toyota FT-86 Take II

On: Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 3:58PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota FT-86 Take II  test 1-1

Well, we only have a year or so left before the Toyota sports car developed in conjunction with Subaru goes into production (slow ride, yes?). And earlier this month in Geneva, Toyota provided what it calls the "clearest indication yet as to the final design of Toyota's next sports car," a car that receives some marked modifications over the Tokyo '09 original. 

After a long, exhaustive rundown of Toyota sports car history, the automaker had surprisingly little hard information to offer about its newest sports car. Here's a piece of what we're working with in the official press release: "With the proportions of its long, low bonnet, high wings, and rear-set cabin paying homage to Toyota's illustrious sports car history, the dynamic power of the FT-86 II concept gives the clearest indication yet as to the final design of Toyota's next sports car."

Brand New Jeep, Same Old Jeep.

On: Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 2:57PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Jeep Wrangler test 2

If there is another car or truck out there that is as instantly recognizable as the Jeep Wrangler, we don’t know it. Since it was relieved from active duty for the Army and began its life as a fun-loving, do anything, and go anywhere truck, the Wrangler has had very, very few changes in the course of its 70-year nameplate run. In recent years, the Jeep went through perhaps its most dramatic changes to date, adding a sixth gear to the manual transmission and then adding an optional extra two doors to let the whole family join in the forest-romping, mud-stomping fun.

For 2011, Jeep has kept true to that mantra. The big changes aren’t so big, although Jeep owners are probably going to be pleased. With the Sahara model, you can now order your roof in the same color as the rest of the body of your Jeep instead of the ever-old, ever-new, black-colored top that has been around about as long as television. Don’t worry; it is still removable, as are the doors. How Jeep can manage that feat with such increasing safety regulations is quite the engineering accomplishment.

Ram Outdoorsman, Hit or Miss?

On: Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 12:24PM | By: Chris Salamone

Ram Outdoorsman test 2

Regardless of how you feel about the new 2011 Ram Outdoorsman, the model’s exclusive two-tone paint job is just plain handsome. Yet, the truck offers few improvements over traditional RAM trucks other than added aesthetic details. Although the changes create a ruggedly unique-looking Ram, the question remains: are these improvements worth a few thousand dollars over the traditional ST and SLT models? Surprisingly, the Outdoorsman is actually not even close to the most expensive Ram model type; it rests two steps up from the lowest echelon—the Ram ST. So if you’re worried about having the nicest truck on the block, fear not, the Outdoorsman is strictly middle-class with a little panache allowing drivers to “celebrate the bond between man, truck, and nature.”

No Pain, No Gain?

On: Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 10:37AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Cayman R Porsche test 2

Here’s a fun sounding deal for all of you Porscheophiles:  How would you like the chance to buy  a brand new Porsche for just over $66,000? Not too bad right? Well, here’s the thing:  It won’t have a radio or air conditioning; oh, and it will be noticeably noisier than what you might expect out of a high-end sports car. Still interested? Well, if not, then you are not the target market for the new Cayman R Porsche is rolling out this month.  

Although no official word has indicated what the R stands for, we have made a short guess list: R could be for race, or race-ready, or ridiculously fun, or really, it’s pretty hardcore, or road-course hero, which the Cayman R is certainly destined to be. Essentially the R is a Cayman that has gone on the perfect diet/exercise program that allowed it to walk that very fine line of being able to build muscle in all the right places and lose body fat at the same time to further emphasize its already extremely athletic nature. There are not a lot of differences between the two, but the few that there are make the R a much more feral animal compared to its domesticated sibling.