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New Split-Cycle Engine Design Too Good; Too Late?

On: Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 3:09PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


New Split-Cycle Engine Design Too Good; Too Late? test 1-1

Most folks know at least one person who is a motor tinkerer. You know the type: they like to take apart a car engine and put it back together again just for the fun. Sometimes, they might actually stumble upon a way of improving the performance of the car. Obviously, it’s handy to have a mechanic on standby who can swap out a carburetor or replace an air filter. On the other hand, these homebound tinkerers often have a leftover part or two that they have no idea where it came from.


Gumpert To Unveil a Fast Tourer In Geneva

On: Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 11:17AM | By: Chris Weiss


Gumpert Tornante test 2

It's really been a great year for supercars. We've already had a new Ferrari. The Pagani Huayra has leaked. The Lamborghini Aventador is coming. And now news of yet another exciting Geneva unveil: a Gumpert 'Fast Tourer'.

One of the rarer, less-known names even in a field of rare, low-profile supercars, Gumpert is the German force behind the track-focused (but road-legal), V8-powered Apollo. The new, two-seat Tourer was designed in conjunction with Italian firm Touring Superleggera, which was integral in Bentley's Continental Flying Star that debuted at last year's Geneva show. The new Gumpert is expected to become Gumpert's second production vehicle and will likely join the Apollo in Gumpert's line.


Porsche 918 To Debut As A Spyder

On: Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 11:11AM | By: Chris Weiss


Porsche 918 To Debut As A Spyder test 1-1

Truth be told, I was a little disappointed by the 918 RSR at the Detroit Auto Show. Now, don't get me wrong: the RSR was an exciting car in its own right. And I was all about its 756 horses. The silver-and-orange paint job was a distinctive (and hot) bonus as well. But I was hoping we'd get a look at a road-ready preview of the eventual production model as opposed to a track-focused car. And the RSR just wasn't it.

Well, according to a new report out of Europe, the 918 will debut in Spyder form, the way it was originally shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The RSR is designed for racing as opposed to production and the market model will come with a removable hard-top similar to that of the Carrera GT.


China To Produce Half of the World's Vehicles

On: Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 10:35AM | By: Chris Weiss


China To Produce Half of the World's Vehicles test 1-1

The "Made in China" tag has never been the essence of fine build. In fact, it's more of a running joke. But if a recent projection by Beijing Auto is to be believed, that tag will be etched upon half of the world's new automobiles in under 10 years. Dazong Wang, president of the Beijing Automotive Industry Corp., predicts that China will be responsible for annual sales of 40 million vehicles by 2020. If that comes to fruition, nearly half of the world's vehicle production will be located in the country.


 

Roads of the Future--Idaho Inventor Envisions Solar-Powered Roads With No Ice

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 6:10PM | By: Chris Weiss


Roads of the Future--Idaho Inventor Envisions Solar-Powered Roads With No Ice test 1-1

Having lived in the Rocky Mountains for about five years, I've often daydreamed about a smarter type of road. The road crews here are generally quite adept at clearing things quickly, but there is always the chance for snow build-up and icy patches. There's only so much you can do to keep the roads clear, dry, and safe and, as is the case throughout the rest of life, Mother Nature really has the last say.

But what if we could make a road that snow and ice don't stick to? It doesn't seem that hard to imagine some type of heated road surface that simply doesn't allow for freezing or snow build-up. An Idaho start-up called Solar Roadways has just such a plan.


Fiesta Debut At Arctic Rally Cancelled

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 5:43PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Fiesta Debut  At Arctic Rally Cancelled test 1-1

Many people are not aware that Ford has an Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, and that Ford intended to race the all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car in the upcoming Arctic Lapland Rally. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter because Ford has recently changed its plans.

Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were all hopped up and ready to roll in the upcoming two-day snow and ice rally based in Rovaniemi, Finland. They were each going to get a shot at driving the Fiesta for a leg or two around the course. All of this is in anticipation of the big FIA World Rally Championship in Sweden next month. Unfortunately, a bit of a smash up on the second day of testing drove the team straight into the garage and forced them to bail out of the Arctic Rally. The good news is that despite the 150kph (93 mph) smack up, Latvala and Anttila weren’t hurt. The bad news is the Fiesta is a goner. They can fix it before Sweden, but not before the Arctic.


2012 Nissan GT-R Cuts 0-to-60 Under 3 Seconds

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 4:44PM | By: Chris Weiss


2012 Nissan GT-R Cuts 0-to-60 Under 3 Seconds test 1-1

The new Nissan GT-R may have inched ever closer to the $100,000 threshold, but it looks like the price increase will be worth it. According to a leaked GT-R owner's manual, the 2012 model brings back a sorely missed feature: launch control. And with launch control comes acceleration times that will put the car in the conversation with some of the world's most elite supercars. In getting their hands on the GT-R manual, car sleuths at the North American GT-R Owner's Club identified what Nissan calls "R Mode Start Function," or what's essentially an updated version of launch control.


Signs For A Recovering Automotive Market Look Good

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 4:37PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Signs For A Recovering Automotive Market Look Good test 1-1

Great news for the automotive industry was reported over this past holiday season. It wasn’t just a typical year of spending time with friends and family. Actually, the good news was about all of those presents that were purchased. Now, before you bemoan the commercialization of the season, keep in mind that what happens over the holidays, in terms of consumer's purchases, has quite an impact on the rest of the year. When shelves are emptied manufacturers have to make more stuff which means more factory workers, truckers, and sales folks are going to be kept busy.


Detroit Auto Show Thumbs Up Or Down For New Vehicle Popularity

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 4:27PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Detroit Auto Show Thumbs Up Or Down For New Vehicle Popularity test 1-1

The old saying "everybody is a critic" rings true for movies, music, television, but particularly for auto shows. We all have our favorites. One person’s love of the Corvette can’t compare with another person’s love of the Mini Cooper. This year’s Detroit Auto Show proved to be no exception when it came to a variety of opinions about all the new designs, the fresh concepts, and whether or not the Detroit's Big 3 really are back from the brink of ruin.


Henrik Fisker Makes Rosy Prediction "Plug-Ins Will Take Off Like Smartphones"

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 3:55PM | By: Chris Weiss


Henrik Fisker Makes Rosy Prediction "Plug-Ins Will Take Off Like Smartphones" test 1-1

Well, here's a media sound bite that I'm dismissing as complete, investor-befriending positioning. Henrik Fisker was quoted last week as stating that plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles will take off the way that smartphones and flat-panel TVs did. It's a fair comparison in terms of new, cutting-edge technology, but there's one major difference: flat-panel TVs and smartphones were flat-out better than existing devices in every discernible way. Plug-in vehicles, while certainly more efficient and cheaper to own in the long run, are not quite at the same respective level.


Aston Martin Cygnet To Launch With Two Salt-and-Pepper Special Editions

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 3:33PM | By: Chris Weiss


Aston Martin Cygnet test 2

Ahhhh...my least favorite Aston Martin to write about. Ever. It's the portly nugget known as the Cygnet—or as a tarted up, overpriced Toyota iQ if you prefer. And I do prefer.

Well, despite my utter disdain for the Cygnet, I suppose this is about the best that it can get. Aston Martin announced last week that it will kick-off Cygnet production with two limited edition models, one Black and one White. The understated look of the neutral Cygnets is definitely better than some of the zany customization options that Aston will make available to customers.