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Nissan Ellure Unveiled at L.A. Auto Show

On: Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 11:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Nissan Ellure Unveiled at L.A. Auto Show test 1-1

A world premiere sedan from Nissan at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Nissan Ellure Concept uses a 2.5-liter supercharged 4-cylinder engine with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control (one motor/two clutch design with lithium-ion battery), a 25 kW electric motor, matched with an Xtronic CVT and front-wheel drive. The Nissan Ellure Concept, being described in a recent press release as “engagingly seductive,” and “simple yet provocative,” uses an independent suspension, regenerative braking, and advanced drive-by-wire electric/hydraulic steering. So far, its performance statistics have not been released.

Full Reveal: Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Bows in LA

On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 5:47PM | By: Chris Weiss

Full Reveal: Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Bows in LA  test 1-1

Nissan revealed the Murano CrossCabriolet on the first media day of the 2010 LA Auto Show and released an array of pictures of the exterior and interior. The model opens up an interesting new segment in the auto market: the all-wheel-drive crossover convertible. Decide for yourself if that's a segment that needed opening.

G-Power Turns BMW's M6 Into World's Fastest 2 + 2

On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 5:42PM | By: Chris Weiss

G-Power Turns BMW's M6 Into World's Fastest 2 + 2 test 1-1

A couple of months ago, G-Power unleashed its BMW M5 Hurricane RR, a suped-up version of the M5 that was capable of speeds over 231 mph, making it the fastest production sedan on the streets, according to the tuner. Now G-Power has another virtual trophy to put on its shelf: a tuned BMW M6 that it says is the world's fastest two-door four-seater.

The Great Mini-Van Wars of Aught Ten: Nissan Quest Debuts In LA, Speedometer Back Where It Belongs

On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 4:22PM | By: John Welch

The Great Mini-Van Wars of Aught Ten: Nissan Quest Debuts In LA, Speedometer Back Where It Belongs test 1-1

The "Toilet of Bad Ideas" has been overflowing for some time now, clogged with the foul remains of things like "Pops-a-Dent" and the Flo-Bee. Also swirling 'round in this brain turd stew, you guessed it, the center-mounted gauge cluster. What a stinker of an idea! Sure it works in a MINI, whose massive speedo really couldn't go anywhere else, lest it knock the tach off of its rightful throne, the steering column. Every other car laden with this terrible mistake, this distracting, poorly conceived pretentious waste of good dash space, was left with at least one glaring fault—the stupid center-mounted gauges.

College kids who buy and operate Toyota Echos need to watch the effing road! They're already so helpless and ineffective behind the wheel; I don't think making them look down and to the right while in motion, so they can check the speed of their ugly 4-wheeled snot box, is a very good idea. No, I think its a terrible idea. That's why it flounders away in the aforementioned "Toilet of Bad Ideas". A Saturn Ion Redline could be considered a fairly peppy vehicle. Some might even say "quick". So let's stick the gauge cluster in the middle of the dash and watch the insurance cash roll in! The Prius . . . oh gawd, why waste the effort typing. The Prius is just stupid, for so many reasons; the center-mounted slowometer isn't even in the top ten. The world has a finite supply of nickel, idiots; let's start there . . .

The third generation Nissan Quest was one such dash-zit sporting vehicle. The overall package was decent, different, attractive in some circles. Nissan and Renault were hooking up in a janitor's closet while this van was being designed, and its French influence can be seen both inside and out. The avant garde headlamps, bulging fenders, and strange 3/4 view all screamed "Renault". Look in the cabin and we have seats from the Moon Raker, an instrument panel stolen from the ISS . . . and . . those . . . freaking center-mounted gauges. Ahhhk.


GM Begins Trading Today With Biggest IPO In U.S. History

On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 2:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Begins Trading Today With Biggest IPO In U.S. History test 1-1

General Motors is going through a historical turning point as the Detroit automaker’s stock rises sharply, and the automaker returns to its status as a publicly traded company. GM’s Chief Executive, Dan Akerson, revved the engine of a Camaro at the opening of trading today on the New York Stock Exchange to “mark the occasion,” according to Bloomberg News. The stock jumped from its initial IPO price of $33 to $35.80 shortly after Akerson rang the opening bell, or to be more literal, the opening “growl.”

Today’s trading marks an incredible milestone for GM after filing for bankruptcy 16 months ago, when GM accepted a $50 billion government bailout. The U.S. government will reduce its stake in GM from 61% to 26% as part of today’s public offering.

Google Designs Cars That Drive Themselves

On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 12:07PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Google Designs Cars That Drive Themselves test 1-1

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have recently joined forces with Google to build a fleet of robotic vehicles that can literally drive themselves. The vehicles have already negotiated traffic for 140,000 miles with absoluelty no human intervention.

Google is exploring the possibilities of cars that can make complex decisions using artificial intelligence software to navigate themselves. Seven vehicles have traveled over 1,000 miles each in just a weekend without any intervention from a driver. Of course, there are drivers behind the wheel prepared to take over if necessary. There is also a technician passenger present to ensure that the navigation system is working properly, but so far the vehicles have done all the driving, even on steep hills with sharp switchbacks.

Fiat To Sell Ferrari?

On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 10:40AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fiat To Sell Ferrari?  test 1-1

Fiat is currently considering selling off Ferrari, according to an Automotive News report. As the report goes, Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne indicated such a move in an analysts meeting in Turin, Italy last week. Fiat would sell Ferrari and then use the money to purchase a further stake in Chrysler. One possible candidate for purchase will have quite the stake in the supercar market should it complete the Ferrari buy. Game of Monopoly, anyone?

Lamborghini Unveils Its New Range-Topping Powertrain

On: Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 5:52PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Unveils Its New Range-Topping Powertrain test 1-1

We may not know all there is to know about the upcoming Jota quite yet. In fact, we don't even know if it will be called the Jota any more. But we now have the full details on what will power Lamborghini's next halo. The company has revealed its new V12 powertrain.

19 Launch Markets Announced For 2012 Ford Focus Electric

On: Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 5:41PM | By: Chris Weiss

19 Launch Markets Announced For 2012 Ford Focus Electric test 1-1

Right now, the auto market is quickly preparing for the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. This time next year, it will be preparing for the launch of another competitor: the Ford Focus Electric. Unlike the Volt and Leaf, the Focus EV will launch in more than a handful of markets when it debuts in late 2011. Ford announced 19 specific markets this week.

Toyota Predicts Sales Rise in 2011

On: Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 12:49PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Predicts Sales Rise in 2011 test 1-1

Toyota Motor Corp. is predicting its light vehicle sales to rise as much as 13% in 2011, according to a Toyota U.S. executive. Several factors, including the increase in pickup truck sales, have influenced analysts’ forecast. Sales Chief of Toyota in the U.S., Bob Carter, reports that the company expects its sales to be between 12.5 and 12.9 million units next year; up from this year’s expected number of only 11.4  to 11.5 million.

One M Worth Waiting For

On: Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 12:37PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

One M Worth Waiting For test 1-1

Since its inaugural debut in 2008, the 1-Series BMW has developed a healthy following of its own, and become a bit more than what some critics touted as merely a "poor man's BMW". Whether it is the happy-to-be-in-the-sun 128i convertible, or the exhilarating turbo-charged 135i, or anything variation therein, the 1-Series has done well for itself. But as any true BMW enthusiast will tell you, no model lineup is truly worthy of the being called the Ultimate Driving Machine until it has an M car designation. It seems that the 1-Series has passed the consumer rite of passage, and now will enter the upper echelon of Bimmer-dom.  

Just as the 1-Series is essentially a 4/5ths version of the 3-Series, so the 1-Series M will be to the M3. In short, the M could stand for Mighty Mouse or just simply Marvelous. Sporting flared fenders, a quad tailpipe exhaust, and a bad attitude, this car is made to fly. It looks the part, thanks to being widened by those massive fenders by what appears to be about a foot, but in actuality amounts to only about 3.1 inches. As with most M cars, the 1-Series M will sport a new front fascia to differentiate it from lesser ones, but more importantly to help support the turbo's need for air, and lots of it.    

Although purists will argue that a "true" M car does not employ forced induction, and that naturally aspirated high revs are the defining characteristic of an M car... They are wrong. That may sound harsh, but in a world where fuel cost is perpetually on the rise, and engineers have to get more and more out of less and less, forced induction is the way to go for gas engines. Unless, those purists want to stay pure and get smoked around every track, at every stoplight, and on every road course they come across just to hold dearly to their outmoded idea of what performance needs to be, then sure, go for it.