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Ferrari Expands Its Empire With Pit Stop

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:26PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ferrari Expands Its Empire With Pit Stop test 1-1

Ferrari is like the new Disney. Pretty soon there will be a Ferrari store in every suburban shopping mall in your state. Until then, you'll have to settle for the new Ferrari Pit Stop, based in Nola, Italy. Officially, Ferrari calls this "a new concept embracing the challenges and triumphs of over 60 years, inflaming the passion and the legend of Ferrari, representing a point of reference for the fans." Without all that marketing talk, though, it's basically just a store. A really big store.


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Off-Season Road Race News

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:59PM | By: John Welch


GRRRRRRrrrugly test 2

The advancement of electronic locomotion knows no bounds apparently, as several sports car teams and companies pledge to include some form of energy recovery system on their 2011 racing machines. This includes all of Formula 1, which will see the return of KERS after a one-year hiatus. Two new GT2 cars coming in 2011, the Ferrari 458 GT2 and the reinvention of the Porsche 911 RSR. Though similar to its 2010 sibling, the RSR is fresh as a daisy under the skin.

Finally, what do you consider ugly? Does pure function override decidedly homely appearance for you? Would you prefer your LEDs with or without pontoon fenders? Audi has released images and important data regarding their new R18; we just aren't sure we wanted them to.


BMW 1Series M Coupe Will Be Launched In North America, Expect Limited Supply

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 1:05PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


 BMW 1Series M Coupe Will Be Launched In North America, Expect Limited Supply  test 1-1

Just when you thought BMW couldn’t get any more performance out of its automobiles, brace yourself for the new BMW 1M Coupe. It’s the most powerful and intense 1-series BMW yet, and it’s not going to be around for long. After its debut at next year's Detroit Auto Show, BMW is going to make a limited supply of the M coupe available in North America. After that, this BMW will join the ranks of the exclusive BMW cars that have become a collector’s dream.


Brabus Tunes The Tesla Roadster

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 11:19AM | By: Chris Weiss


Brabus Tunes The Tesla Roadster test 1-1

Brabus is a German tuning firm known for all kinds of tunes—some hot, some outrageous, and some just downright awful. This is the first time that I've personally ever seen the firm offer an electric tuning kit (though there are others). In fact, it's the first time I've seen a tuned electric vehicle, period. Without the benefit of turbocharging and other tricks often used by tuners on gas engines, Brabus focused its attention on one of the other important aspect of the Tesla Roadster: charging. In conjunction with German electric company RWE, the firm now offers the Green Package to Tesla owners.


 

Toyota, Daimler, and BMW May Use Laptop Batteries In EVs

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 10:57AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Toyota, Daimler, and BMW May Use Laptop Batteries In EVs test 1-1

Today, the question is no longer “who killed the electric car?” but “what is going to power the electric car?” Thanks to rising fuels costs and car owners' desire to reduce their own carbon footprints, electric vehicles have come back in a big way. As the demand for newer and better hybrid vehicles increases, so too does the need for more energy efficiency and lower costs. It all comes down to the issue of battery power. Now, the same battery cells used to power up your laptop are being adapted for electric cars, hopefully resulting in long lasting power and a potentially less expensive sticker price.


Ford and Honda on Top of J.D. Powers Survey

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 10:30AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


2011 Honda CR-Z test 2

The next time you’re at the mall, count all the Fords and Hondas. It’s a safe bet that there might be more of those brands than any other automobile. The reason, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates poll: Ford and Honda top the lists for the highest customer retention rate. Guess who they left in the dust? Mercedes-Benz!

In the automotive industry, the retention rate refers to customer loyalty. There is retention rate for soap, pizza, and just about any other product on the supermarket shelves. The retention rate of car buyers is extremely important to the automakers. It’s how auto manufacturers plan to develop new designs and launch new marketing strategies. For example, one study found that the desire for a fun driving experience is actually more important than resale value. That’s going to have an impact on everything from TV commercials to cup holders.


VW Golf R Coming Stateside

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Chris Weiss


VW Golf R Coming Stateside  test 1-1

The United States misses out on a lot of lively cars and special editions from Europe-based companies like Volkswagen and Audi. But there's one that the U.S. won't be missing out on: the VW Golf R, a souped-up version of the Golf hatch. VW execs have indicated that the German automaker will be exporting the Golf R across the Atlantic.


Ford Will Make New Escape in Kentucky, Adding 1,800 Jobs

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 4:23PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Will Make New Escape in Kentucky, Adding 1,800 Jobs test 1-1

It is certainly going to be a happy holiday for 1,800 auto assembly plant workers in Louisville, Kentucky. The Ford Motor Company delivered an early Christmas present with the announcement of a $600 million investment to renovate its Louisville plant. When the plant reopens in late 2011 it will be modified to incorporate the manufacturing of up to five other Ford models, in addition to the Ford Explorer SUV that is currently being built there.


Returning Investment: The Bentley Continental GT

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 4:11PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Returning Investment: The Bentley Continental GT test 1-1

Just before the fall of the financial world, it seemed as if Bentley was just handing out Continental GTs. Whether it was another dot com millionaire, the newest New York Knick (anyone remember Stephon Marbury?), or just another Lehman Brother who needed a car to match the house he couldn't actually afford, the Continental GT sales grew almost exponentially since its release in 2003, peaking at upwards of 10,000 GTs being produced annually.  

 

Thankfully, not all of Bentley's customers were created as artificially as the mortgage-backed loans that got the country into that whole mess, and some could still afford a car payment and gas in the same month. That being said, even those with money don't like to see a bad return on investment. There's nothing quite as disheartening as seeing the prized automobile you just spent 200k on become instantly outdated with the advent of the new model year.  

 

With their customer's feelings in mind, the 2012 Bentley Continental GT is less of second generation debut, and more of an advancement of the previous generation. There are upgrades, but they are subtle to say the least. Track has been increased 1.6 inches up front and 1.9 inches out back, while the car itself drops 143 pounds from last year bringing the Bentley's heft down to a less-than-svelte 5,115 pounds. Torque split is shifted from 50/50 front/rear to 40/60 front/rear this year to help drivers feel more sport in their drive. Bentley continues the sport-feel by reducing the shift speeds in their Quickshift ZF automatic transmission by 50 percent, and offering double downshifts to help give an extra boost when the go-pedal is mashed to the floor.  


Audi R18 To Be Unveiled This Evening

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 3:14PM | By: John Welch


Audi R 15 Plus test 2

The title for this post is slightly misleading. Currently, it is 6:39 p.m. in Ingolstadt, Germany, so you can apply the word 'evening' to whomever or whatever you would like. The important bit is this: Audi has completed work on its new Le Mans contender, the R18, and it is a radical departure from the last three Audi prototypes. The R10 was a success, but according to Audi driver Frank Beila, "(the R10) handles like a truck."

The R15 was so bad (again, 'bad' is a relative term, it was bad only when compared with the equally stunning Peugeot 908; the R15 squished all other LMP1 machines underneath its toothy fascia) that it 'required' an update after only one season . . . a seaon made up of only three races. The R15 Plus was an improvement, shifting away from the crazy aero-backfires that plagued the original R15, but still was not on par with the 908. This doesn't sit well with AudiSport, a team that is very used to winning everything. They want to crush the French badly, and believe that they have found the most effective solution within the ACO's new set of Le Mans protocols.

UPDATE: Official Audi Press Release inside the post . . .


Tesla Roadster Art Car: Feeling Queasy Yet?

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 11:53AM | By: Chris Weiss


Tesla Roadster Art Car: Feeling Queasy Yet? test 1-1

We've seen plenty of one-off art cars from BMW, but now we have a model that combines artistic expression and clean, emissions-free driving: the Tesla Roadster art car, a one-off that the company released for the recent Art Basel Miami Beach festival, which wrapped up over the weekend.