Revealed: 200mph plus Corvette ZR1

The internet and American car fans have been speculating about this thing for months. But it's finally real. It's finally here. This is the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Why the big fuss? Because previous top-dog Corvette, the Z06, proved that American muscle doesn't have mean you can't go round corners. The Z06 has an immense level of attention to detail, built more in common with the racing version than the regular 'road car - down its carbon fibre and balsa wood floor. And it produces 505bhp from a 7.0-litre 'smallblock' V8. This car, finally officially unveiled as the new ZR1 - as opposed to 'Blue Devil', or even 'Stingray', the other names touted in rumours - is like the Z06 after it has spent months pumping iron.

At least 100bhp per litre
You can see the results in the pictures. The ZR1 is wider, lower, harder. It doesn't just look mean, it even has a skull moulded into the under-bonnet air intake. His name is Jake, incidentally, and he's making a guest appearance away from his usual gig as the racing team's logo; General Motors knows how to please its target audience - and it is not messing around. The new 6.2-litre V8 engine is hand assembled at GM's Performance Build Center using techniques more commonly associated with competition vehicles. But most important of all, it has also been fitted with a supercharger.

The sixth-generation Eaton unit, is a Roots-type positive-displacement design, said to help boost torque and power right from tickover to the 6,600rpm redline. The complete engine has been branded the 'Supercharged LS9' - almost literally, as you can see that script through the polycarbonate bonnet window as well. There is no officially confirmed power output yet (GM may even be waiting to see what the competition comes up with in response before finalising the figure). But do the sums and it is clear that the ZR1 will be pushing out at least 620bhp when it goes on sale, and perhaps even 680bhp.

200mph plus
Whatever the final power output, the ZR1 is certain to become the first production Corvette to top 200mph; despite a new close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox. Weighing only 1,519kg also means a better power-to-weight ratio than the mighty Porsche 911 GT2. Torque is expected to be around 595lb/ft, while 0-60mph will be in 'the low threes'. The alloys are 19s at the front, 20s at the back - big enough to accommodate huge 15.5-inch front and 15-inch rear carbon-ceramic brake discs. Together with enlarged brake callipers, these should provide astounding amounts of stopping power. Comforting, given the claimed 1g cornering grip generated by the track-biased magnetic adjustable suspension.

No word on pricing yet, but the ZR1 is likely to be ridiculously cheap for its performance - remember the Z06 costs just £63k which is only a few thousand more than a base 911 so expect the top dog to undercut the GT3 RS. Still, keeping the cost down means us Limeys will be able to keep on complaining about shoddy interior quality. Even while this latest Yank upstart runs circles around much, much more expensive European machinery. We really do expect it to be that good.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu

The Malibu is Chevrolet’s midsize sedan that receives a complete makeover for 2008 with a new bolder design including a dual-port grille and upscale elements such as an available two-tone interior. The new Malibu continues to be a five-seat front-wheel-drive sedan but is designed to give buyers “more bang for the buck.” With upgrades to horsepower, fuel economy and equipment, the 2008 Malibu is also three inches longer with a six inch longer wheelbase than the previous model. The Malibu name was first used for the top-level Chevelle in 1964 and the name returned for the 1997 model year as an all-new front-wheel-drive sedan.

The redesigned 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in three trim levels, LS, LT and LTZ, powered by either a 169-horsepower 2.4-liter Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine or a 252-horsepower 3.6-liter DOHC V6 with variable valve timing. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V6 and will be available later in the model year with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder on the LTZ. Side-curtain airbags and front seat-mounted thorax protection air bags are standard. A gasoline-electric hybrid Malibu will be available in the fourth quarter of 2007, powered by a single-mode hybrid system similar to the current Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid which saves gasoline by shutting off the engine when stopped.

The redesigned Malibu is based on the Saturn Aura and Pontiac G6. The base powertrain is a 164-hp four-cylinder with a four-speed automatic, a noisy combination in our tested base model G6. A refined 252-hp V6 and six-speed automatic is also available.

Ferrari vs. Lamborghini

Audi R8 Modified to Have 888 Horsepower

The garden variety Audi R8 supercar is already fast enough as is, but it still wasn't fast enough for the kooks at MTM. They've decided to build their own version of the R8 for the Dubai Motor Show and this car rocks 888 base horsepower. That's a lot of ponies!MTM is based out of Germany and it is the same firm that was responsible for creating the twin-engine 740hp Audi TT Bimoto. Their take on the Audi R8 isn't a far cry from the regular R8 in terms of outward cosmetics, but when you peep the powerplant, things change. They've added a specialized turbocharger system to the 4.2L V8, bumping the horsepower to 888 and the torque to 641 lbs-ft.With this modification, the R8 is now capable of doing the 0-60mph run in 3.0 seconds flat before topping out at 223mph. MTM has christened this beast as the Audi R888 and it's a one-off creation for an unnamed European customer. He or she paid 280,000 Euros for the car.

BMW X6 is coming

Billed as the world's first Sports Activity Coupé, the BMW X6 was shown as a concept car for the first time at the IAA in Frankfurt earlier this year. Now it's ready for the road and will go on sale in South Africa in the middle of 2008.Combining on-road performance and all terrain ability, with its low side window areas and a roofline dropping smoothly to the rear, the BMW X6 offers the proportions of a fully-fledged coupé. Inside, the new model — again in typical coupé style — provides enough space for the driver and front passengers as well as two further occupants at the rear.Yet, at the same time, enhanced ground clearance, flared wheel arches, four doors, a large rear lid as well as the high waistline all bear out a clear styling resemblance to the other models in the BMW X range.At launch, two models will be available, the BMW X6 xDrive35i and the BMW X6 xDrive35d, with a third model, the BMW X6 xDrive50i becoming available in early 2009. This will be the first BMW model range powered by twin-turbo engines exclusively.Displacing 4.4 litres, the V8 power unit in the xDrive50i allows a maximum output of 300kW throughout a range of engine speed from 5500 to 6400rpm. Engine torque reaches its peak of 600Nm throughout a speed range from 1750 to 4500rpm.The BMW X6 xDrive50i accelerates from 0–100km/h in 5.4 seconds. Top speed is 250km/h limited electronically. Average fuel consumption of the BMW X6 xDrive50i is 12.5 litres/100 km, while the CO2 rating is 299 grams per kilometre.
The second petrol-powered version of the BMW X6 boasts the most powerful straight-six within BMW's engine portfolio and will be available at the launch of the new BMW X6 in South Africa in the middle of next year. Maximum output of the engine featured in the BMW X6 xDrive35i is 225kW from an engine capacity of 3.0 litres.This power is maintained consistently between 5800 and 6250rpm by the 2007 World Engine of the Year, with maximum torque of 400Nm provided from 1300 to 5000rpm.Like the new V8 power unit, the engine in the BMW X6 xDrive35i offers BMW's exclusive combination of Twin Turbo technology and High Precision Injection.The BMW X6 xDrive35i accelerates from 0–100km/h in 6.7 seconds and boasts a top speed of 240km/h. At the same time, fuel consumption is 10.9 litres per 100km on the combined EU cycle.And xDrive35d gets the most powerful BMW diesel engine ever available in South Africa. The 3.0-litre straight-six diesel with Variable Twin Turbo (VTT) technology develops 210kW at 4400 rpm. With its all-aluminium crankcase, VTT turbocharging and third-generation common-rail fuel injection featuring piezo-injectors, the engine was built to combine power, performance and efficiency.Weighing 194 kg, this high-performance diesel is some 50kg lighter than an eight-cylinder with roughly the same output, accelerating the SAC to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 236km/h. Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 8.3 litres/100km.A range of features enhance efficiency on and around the engines. Brake Energy Regeneration, to mention one example, ensures intelligent management of the flow of energy concentrating the generation of electricity for the on-board network on the overrun and brake application phases. This serves to consistently charge the battery, without extracting power from the engine and, as a result, without using any of the energy provided by the fuel. As long as the engine is pulling the car, on the other hand, the alternator generally remains disconnected and not in use.Apart from efficiency in the generation of electric power, this also serves to provide more power for acceleration and thus for enjoying an even more dynamic style of motoring.
The efficiency of the BMW X6 is further optimised by on-demand control and activation of the engine’s ancillary units helping, inter alia, to reduce the power needed for the fuel and steering assistance pumps and thus again saving energy in the process.The drive belt for the a/c compressor, to present another example, comes with an independent clutch automatically disconnecting the compressor as soon as the driver switches off the air conditioning and thus reducing the drag forces generated by the compressor to a minimum.Power is transmitted on the BMW X6 in standard trim by a six-speed automatic transmission directly connected to the engine, incorporating a converter clutch operating largely without slip, and allowing precise choice of gears.The automatic transmission shifts gears either in response to the electronic gear selector lever or the gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. The shift pattern on the gear selector lever is the same as on a conventional automatic transmission, but with the selector level returning to its starting point after each gearshift.Transmission management is not mechanical, but rather goes through electrical signals. To activate the manual gear selection mode, all the driver has to do is press the selector lever to the left. Then you're able to shift gears in sequence by hand — either from the gear selector lever or through the gearshift paddles featured as standard on the steering wheel: Pulling one of the paddles out serves to shift up gears, pressing the paddle serves to shift down.Using this paddle gearshift, the driver is able to shift gears with maximum spontaneity in a manual mode. So whenever he operates one of the paddles, the transmission will shift immediately also from the automatic mode into manual gearshift.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS: Pure power

Looking almost identical to the V8 Vantage coupé on which it is based, this is Aston Martin's latest high-powered concept, the V12 Vantage RS.Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS Vantage points: Aston Martin V12 Vantage RSThe output is impressive: 600bhp and 509lb ft on tap from the 6.0-litre V12 engine, allied with a kerb weight of less than 1.6 tons, giving the car a power-to-weight ratio of 375bhp per ton. Yet the concept is "production feasible", according to Aston.At its unveiling at the new Aston design centre in Gaydon, Ulrich Bez, the company's chief executive, said "We will listen to feedback on this concept and if there is sufficient demand then we will seriously consider a low-volume production run in the near future, with a price that will reflect the exclusivity of the car."Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Daniel Craig will again drive an Aston DBS, the company's flagship model, in the next Bond film.

LA Auto Show: Eye Candy

Cadillac New Zealand-bound

Probably the most famous of all American car brands, it has been synonymous with style, luxury and performance for more than 100 years, and next year you'll be able to buy a Cadillac right here, and it will have the steering wheel on the right-hand side and a chassis that I can report will surprise you with its tenacity and driveability.Making the highly anticipated announcement, GM Holden chairman and managing director Chris Gubbey this week officially confirmed Australia and New Zealand as the next step in Cadillac's global expansion.Cadillacs are sold around the world and sales have increased by 45.3 per cent in Europe, 98.4 per cent in Asia-Pacific and 49.4 per cent in Latin America, Africa and Middle East for the first three quarters of 2007.Cadillac will be managed in Australia and New Zealand by GM Premium Brands, joining Saab and Hummer under the aegis of director Parveen Batish.The first Cadillac to reach New Zealand will be the new CTS sedan. The CTS will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2008, while other models and powertrains will be confirmed for the Australian and New Zealand model line-up.Named 2008 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine, one of the world's premier car magazines, the rear-wheel drive CTS range will be powered by the 3.6-litre VVT direct- injection Global V6 engine, generating 227kW and 370Nm of torque.Direct injection fuel delivery enables efficient combustion, helps reduce emissions and allows higher compression ratio for better fuel economy.The 3.6-litre direct-injection engine requires only regular unleaded fuel, resulting in additional savings for the owner. Buyers will have the choice of two performance-tuned suspension packages with six-speed automatic transmissions.The 2008 CTS will have a comprehensive range of standard features, including "Stabilitrak", an electronic chassis/stability control system, and front, side and curtain airbags.The CTS's interior has hand-cut and sewn interior trim, an innovative ambient interior lighting system, and integrated iPod and MP3-compatible stereo system.The EasyKey system, which enables passive keyless vehicle and boot entry and keyless ignition, will also be available on Australian CTS models. Full details will be available closer to launch.

Mazda to debut exciting Furai concept and new RX-8 at NAIAS

Japan's Zoom-Zoom carmaker is excited to present a new performance concept model to the press and the public at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), alongside the new RX-8.The Furai concept taps into Mazda's extensive following of buyers who track-race their cars. According to Mazda, more of their products are road-raced in the U.S. on weekends than any other brand. Accordingly, the concept model is designed after an ALMS race car- but with an eye for green operation as it runs on ethanol fuel produced by British Petroleum (BP). The Furai rides Mazda's Courage C65 chassis, which was introduced just two seasons ago. Power comes from a triple-rotor rotary engine with 450 horsepower.Mazda Furai, an eco-friendly, super performance concept car.Franz von Holzhausen heads up design work for Mazda's North American operations. Of the concept, he says "Furai purposely blurs boundaries that have traditionally distinguished street cars from track cars. Historically, there has been a gap between single-purpose racecars and street-legal models- commonly called supercars- that emulate the real racers on the road. Furai bridges that gap like no car has ever done before."Mazda's sleek and flowing "Nagare" design-language is at work here, and a teaser shot shows some sensuous curves applied to the body of this could-be eco-friendly super car.Mazda's new RX-8 is also set for a world debut at the show, alongside a technical exhibit of its new-age Renesis rotary engine. The new RX-8 and its powerplant join the rest of Mazda's lineup which will be available for viewing at the show.

Hummer HX Concept Aims To Attack the Open Road

The Hummer HX concept is interested in taking it off-road. The concept vehicle sports the unmistakable Hummer front grille, but it boasts several features that you won't find on another SUV in the company's lineup.For example, all of the roof panels are completely removable. This includes both the front and rear roof panels, providing passengers with a truly open-air feel. What's more, the doors can be torn off as well, though I imagine that there may be some restrictions over this configuration while in the city.Certain profile pictures of the Hummer HX remind me of the Toyota FJ Cruiser in some ways, but we'll have to check back in at the Detroit Auto Show next year for a better look at this vehicle. After all, this is "just" a concept sketch.

Lamborghini Reventon takes on fighter jet

An extraordinary race between a Lamborghini Reventón and an A200-A Tornado aircraft has been held on a 3km-long runway at a military base near Brescia in Italy.The Reventón took the lead in the first leg of the race, but the Tornado caught up in the last few meters, taking off and flying over the Reventón, which traveled at a speed of over 211mph at that point.

Four-door, Notchback Ford Verve Concept Unveiled in Guangzhou

Today, at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition, Ford revealed a four-door, notchback Verve concept and it looks great. It’s back seems to be inspired from the Ford Mondeo, that’s also a lovely car and at least it looks better than the 4-door Mazda 2 also presented today. But Ford isn’t stopping here, as they announced to unveil a new Verve concept at the Detroit Auto Show, in January 2008.

For Europeans and Asiatics, now those Verve concepts represent Ford’s best cars, especially on the design part, following Mondeo’s success. Phil Spender, Chief Operation Officer of Ford Motor stated that the cars will be designed in Europe, engineered in Germany and manufactured world wide. This make me, at least, be confident they will produce good looking cars, very reliable and affordable. But what would you want more than that ?

2008 Audi RS4 Cabriolet

This fabulous 420-hp, 4.2-liter direct-injection V-8 car is smooth and has a broad torque curve. It weighs 4100 pounds (120 pounds more than the sedan) and should sprint to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0.2 second slower and it costs 85,000 dollars.The convertible has aggressive good looks as well as diagonally connected shock absorbers that work extremely well. This shock arrangement produces a forgiving ride along with buttoned-down responses. However, the relaxed ride does come with some quivers and shivers felt through the steering wheel and chassis that are much more pronounced than those in the BMW 3 series.

Through twisty mountain roads, the RS 4 proves to be a worthy dance partner with oodles of grip, goof-proof handling that’s more neutral than expected for a car that carries almost 60 percent of its weight over the front wheels, strong brakes and pedals set up for heel-and-toeing. It’s true it can’t match the tenacious turn-in of Audi’s fabulous R8, which was also on hand for back-road and on-track abuse, but no one expected it to.The Cabriolet also features 35-series tires, 19-inch wheels and larger 14.4-inch front and 12.8-inch brake rotors, a six-speed manual transmission, and Quattro all-wheel drive.Audi claims it has no intention of switching to a folding hardtop convertible, as have many entries in the premium segment.
The steering of any RS4 is a revelation. The RS4s helm is better weighted and makes the car easier to place through fast corners.The slatted front bumper and polished metal windscreen surround help you identify it from other models in the range. Inside, you’ll find the usual high-quality trim, while on the centre console is a starter button for the car’s stand-out feature – its engine. The RS4 convertible is probably pitched towards a slightly more relaxed crowd.

LA Auto Show: Honda FCX Clarity unveiled

Honda has released the FCX fuel-cell hybrid concept in 2004 and it will now finally go on production, named the FCX Clarity. It has been unveiled at the LA Auto Show today and they state that it’s a zero-emissions, but it’s kinda hard to find stations for it and we are not sure yet if it features the GPS system that finds hydrogen fuel stations. Unfortunately, there will only be 100 Honda FCX Clarity models released for the ones that live near one of it’s three hydrogen fuel stations. So only southern California inhabitants will have the occasion to buy it.

BMW released 2008 6 series coupe and convertible

The 2008 model of the beloved BMW 6 series has been released and features some great improvements in look and options, both standard and optional, that makes it even more tempting. Both it’s front and rear visibility has been improved, sporting LED taillights, but also there are improvements on safety, comfort and sportive sides. It’s major improvements include the optional Sport Automatic with rpm matching on the downshift and paddle shifters, electronic shifter. There are a lot of more improvements that you can read about in the 25-pages press release.

It’s design uses both luxurious and sportive curves, making a stylish car, that could fit for almost anyone, of course, that can afford it.

It comes in two models, 650i coupe and 650 convertible, the first one being priced at $76,375 and the coupe costing $83,475.

Subaru Impreza WRX STI 2008 Review

Unveiled at October’s Tokyo motor show, the STI has morphed from a bellicose little four-door into a five-door hatchback. A new variable-valve-timing system and new IHI turbos give the output of the STI’s turbocharged and intercooled flat-four engines.

Subaru sources declined to reveal just how big the bump will be but were willing to admit to “less than 310 horsepower” and a “little less than 300 pound-feet”. The flat-four propels a hatchback that’s slightly bigger than its predecessor.

Expanded dimensions, plus comprehensive body-shell stiffening and extensive work in the area of sound deadening, yield higher curb weights. The new car won’t likely accelerate any quicker than the previous STI (0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds, the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds).

The other part of the ride-and-quality equation is suspension tuning that’s distinctly softer. As before, the front is supported by struts, but there’s a new subframe-mounted multilink arrangement at the rear. The STI’s resistance to turn-in can be mitigated by the car’s sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, with a driver-programmable center differential and limited-slip diffs at both ends. New to the STI is Subaru’s gimmicky SI-Drive, which includes three different throttle-mapping modes.The car has a six-speed manual transmission. Braking, with the same big-disc Brembo package is beyond reproach. For 2008, the WRX STi adds an engine immobilizer, a power-steering cooler and a new underbody cover. The newly installed dash board, center console, panel and an array of other features give an appealing look to the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STi.

In addition to a security system with engine immobilizer and high-friction seat, the Subaru Impreza WRX STi receives the same updates as the regular WRX.If your criterion when choosing a car is impressive performance, safety or comfort, the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STi fits the bill.

Honda Civic Type R 2008

First shown at the Geneva auto show in March, the Civic Type R concept has deep front and rear airdams and a sizable rear spoiler.

The Type R gets a much-stiffened suspension, bigger wheels bursting with monster brakes, a few functional aero mods, and a higher-compression 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 221 horsepower.

Between the front fascia, carved out to allow the 2.0-liter deeper breaths, and the rear diffuser hanging below the rear bumper, this car wears a unique hood, tweaked front fenders, new sill extensions, lightweight wheels, and a taller spoiler.

Revised springs and dampers and fatter anti-roll bars keep it flat, grip is handled by the Bridgestone Potenza RE070s and huge discs clamped by Brembo calipers.

The interior is likewise decorated with Type R cues, with heavily bolstered seats, a leather-wrapped ovoid steering wheel, a short-throw shifter capped with a bare aluminum ball, metal pedals, and a racy starter button.

Beneath the restyled hood beats the modified 2.0-liter, with improved breathing and a higher compression ratio helping to make those 221 horsepower at 8000 rpm plus 159 pound-feet of torque at 6100, just beyond the VTEC switchover.

The redline is 8600 rpm, and a close-ratio six-speed keeps the engine spinning in the rowdiest part of the power band.

Honda S2000 CR

The Honda S2000 CR brings no improvement at it’s 2.2 liter, 237 horsepower engine, but mostly to the suspension and aerodynamics, along with body stiffening and cockpit. It’s stability is ensured by it’s front bumper with it’s thick spoiler, that reduces the lift and lowers the underbody pressure.

The car uses the latest technologies to make it as much aerodynamic as possible, with twin fairings, wind tunnels and brace bridges on the vacant roof. Honda S2000 CR’s steering has been hastened to 13.8:1 from 14.9:1 for increased rigidity and it uses Bridgestone Potenz RE070 tires.

It sports a six-speed manual gearbox, with rear wheel drive and it’s priced at about $38,000, consuming from 18 to 25mpg.

Ford Mondeo Review

The new Ford Mondeo is the ideal family car, that offers comfort at any speeds, especially due to the IVDC ( Interactive Vehicle Dynamics Control ) electronic dampers and it’s excellent suspension, that keeps you safe on the road. It’s weight of 1,615kg won’t feel in the steering, that is both light and very accurate, without causing any problems.

It’s interior is very spacious and comfortable, with a nice futuristic design. Anyway, not everything is perfect, like the hard-to-read speedo increments, the bad organised console or the seat that won’t go low enough.

As any car, it has both good and bad parts, but those bad are not big issues, which makes it a great family car, better than most of it’s class.

2008 Porsche 911 GT2 Photos

2007 Bugatti Veyron Review

The 2007 Bugatti Veyron has arrived and we have all the details. We are going to start off by telling you that this supercar does not come cheap. It costs $1,400,000 making it the world’s most expensive supercar.

The Bugatti Veyron is powered by a four-turbocharged, 8-litre, 16-cylinder engine that creates 1001hp. A complicated 7-speed transmission and AWD system allows the Veyron to control the 1001hp. Depending on the circumstances, the AWD system can distribute 100% of the power to either the front or rear tires. Only 300 Veyrons will be produced and each costs over $1 million. Some unique features are a large rear spoiler that tips forward at elevated speeds to act as an air brake and a large interior cabin designed to accommodate six-foot seven-inch drivers.

Driving in the Veyron gives you the power that you often dream about – but usually never get a chance to experience. The fact the interior is comfortable and not the usual uncomfortable pure racing style that many supercars embody tells you that they believe in the perfect blend of comfort and speed.

This is definitely a car that everyone wants – but that most of us will never get our hands on. What with the steep price of the vehicle and the heavy gas prices that we pay not many of us would be able to afford it. But we can dream!

Audi A3 Cabriolet Unveiled

Audi has unveiled the A3 Cabriolet today at its Györ plant in Hungary, ahead of next week’s Bologna Motor Show in Italy. As you’d expect with all Audi convertibles, the A3 Cabriolet sports a light weight fabric soft top that can be opened hydraulically at speeds of up to 18 mph. The body structure of the A3 Cabriolet has also been strengthened and contains a high proportion of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel for low weight and maximum rigidity. The roof frame and roll-over bar also incorporates hot-formed steels to maximize saftey .

The A3 Cabriolet will be available in two four-cylinder petrol and two four-cylinder TDI engine versions, all of which feature turbochargers and direct injection. These include the newly developed 1.8-liter TFSI petrol engine that produces a maximum power of 160 hp and 185 lb-ft. of torque; the larger capacity 2.0-liter TFSI petrol engine that produces a maximum power of 200 hp and 206 lb-ft. of torque; the 1.9-liter TDI diesel engine that produces a maximum power of only 105 hp but a huge 185 lb-ft. of torque; and the 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine that produces a maximum power of 140 hp and 236 lb-ft. of torque.

All models will be available with six-speed manual transmission, except the .9-liter TDI which will have a five-speed manual transmission, and all, with the exception of the 1.9-liter TDI, will be available with optional S Tronic dual-clutch transmission.

The Audi A3 Cabriolet goes on sales in Germany in the first quarter of 2008, with no work yet on its availability in the U.S.

BMW Confirms Concept CS for Production

BMW fans in Dubai were recently treated to the BMW Concept CS that BMW calls a “concept study of a four-door Gran Turismo for the luxury segment.” The Concept CS, on display at the 9th International Middle East Motor Show at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, was designed by Lebanese born Karim Habib, and presents BMW’s vision of a four-door saloon car that combines the luxury of a Gran Turismo with the performance of a sports car. But the big news is that only last month the BMW board of management confirmed that the Concept CS will go into production in the next few years. This is according to BMW Group Middle East managing director, Phil Horton!

It terms of exterior design, the low-slung concept car with its dynamic front-end design exudes performance. At the front, the BMW signature kidney grille and the highlight are striking. The flared wheel arches, with their 21-inch light-alloy wheels, emphases the wide track of the car and enhances the Gran Turismo stance. The rear end, with its quad exhausts and slender tail lights, is also quite sleek.

The aesthetically designed interior, with its driver-oriented cockpit, top-quality materials and high quality of finish, is all luxury while the low seating position of both the front seat occupants and the rear passengers, leaves no doubt of that this is a performance car. There are quite a few innovations in the cockpit, including the dashboard with a newly developed metal structure that embraces the various surface elements, and the use of high-tech ceramics for the controls and instruments, as well as the BMW iDrive Controller.

No information on the drive train has been released yet, but the concept car featured a 6.0-liter V12 engine, with some reports claiming that it is essentially the 5.0-liter V10 engine from the M5 with two extra cylinders.

The Concept CS reminds me a lot of the BMW 850 Ci from the 1990’s, so could I please have a coupe version with two doors?

Sketches of the Mitsubishi Concept-RA

Mitsubishi has released sketches of the Mitsubishi Concept-RA that the car manufacturer will unveil at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show in January. The Concept-RA is a small, lightweight, eco-friendly, four-wheel drive sports coupe concept that will set Mitsubishi fans’ pulses racing because the sketches show a resemblance to the original Mitsubishi Eclipse, and the Concept-RA is a technological marvel.

Mitsubishi has thrown all sorts of acronyms at it: S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control), ACD (Active Center Differential), AYC (Active Yaw Control), Sport ABS (Antilock Brake System), ASC (Active Stability Control), and of course MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control)! In plain English, that means the concept car features Mitsubishi’s all-wheel-drive system and the twin clutch automated manual transmission from the Lancer Evolution X.

The Concept-RA, however, is powered by a new high-output, high-efficiency clean diesel 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine with MIVEC continuously variable valve timing control. The engine features piezoelectric injector common-rail direct fuel injection, and a Variable Diffuser / Variable Geometry (VD/VG) turbocharger. Maximum power output is rated at 201 hp while maximum torque is 310 lb-ft.

The Concept-RA also features an aluminum space frame made from extruded aluminum sections and die-cast aluminum members, as well as an engine hood, fenders and other body panels made from impact-resistant, recyclable plastic resin. These provide the Concept-RA with crashworthiness while reducing vehicles weight.

2008 Saab Turbo X Review

Saab is set to unveil the limited edition Saab Turbo X for the first time in North America at the 2007 New England International Auto Show in Boston. The Turbo X celebrates the 30th anniversary of the first Saab 900 turbocharged car and will be flanked by the black 1985 Saab 900 SPG!

As an anniversary edition, the 2008 Saab Turbo X is based on the new Saab 9-3 range, with Saab promising that the Saab Turbo X “delivers levels of driver involvement and dynamic chassis control never experienced before from Saab.”
The first turbocharged model offered by Saab was the 1977 Saab 99 hatchback that debuted in the third quarter of 1977. With the new Turbo X, Saab hopes to evoke the iconic appeal of the first black 99 and 900 Turbos. Like the original Saab 99 Turbo, the new Turbo X will only be available in black, in metallic jet black to be more exact, with matte gray trim.

Powering the Turbo X is a 24-valve, 2.8-liter turbocharged 60º V-6 engine that produces 280 hp at 5,500 rpm and 295 lb-ft. of torque from 2,150 to 4,500 rpm. Power is transferred to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission with the option of a six-speed automatic transmission also available. The 280 hp 2.8-liter engine gives the Saab Turbo X a brisk 0 to 62 mph acceleration time of just 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.

The new car will also feature Saab’s innovative XWD all-wheel-drive system combined with the car’s sport-tuned suspension, brakes and electronic control systems. The XWD system is designed to control drive torque, not only between the front and rear axles but also between the rear wheels, to optimize handling and stability. An electronic limited slip differential (eLSD) transfer up to 40 percent of torque between the two real wheels, depending on which wheel has more grips. The suspension and brakes have also been uprated. The suspension has been lowered by 10 mm, with the coil springs and dampers tuned to minimize body roll. Together with 18-inch light alloy wheels with 235/45 R18 tires these modifications ensure excellent grip.

The 2008 Saab Turbo X will be available in four-door Sport Sedan and five-door SportCombi forms with only 600 of them being made available in the U.S. from the second quarter of 2008. Pricing will starts at $42,510 for the Sport Sedan and $43,310 for the SportCombi.

The 2009 Nissan Skyline GT-R

The Nissan GT-R, heir to arguably the most popular of modified cars, the Nissan Skyline GT-R, has made it to North America! Earlier this week, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the GT-R for the first time in North America at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The GT-R made its world debut late last month at the Tokyo Motor Show and has already sparked a plethora of news articles. But let’s begin with the car itself.

The all-wheel drive 2009 Nissan GT-R follows long line of Skyline GT-R’s that date back to the 1964 Skyline GT 2000 that competed in the GT-II class at the 2nd Japanese Grand Prix. But the GT-R and the Skyline have parted ways, with the GT-R becoming a separate model in the Nissan lineup, with true supercar performance! Following in the tradition of the R32, R33 and R34 Skyline GT-R’s, the new GT-R is powered a detuned race bred, the twin-turbo VR38VETT V6 engine. The VR38VETT is based on the 3.5-liter VRH35 V8 engine that powered Nissan race cars such as the R89C, R90C and R390 GT1 and in detuned form, pushes out a healthy 480 hp at 6,800 rpm and 430 ft-lbs of torque! That translates to a blistering 0 to 62 mph time of just 3,5 seconds and a quarter mile of just 11,5 seconds! That means it’s faster to 62 mph that the Porsche 911 GT2!

But the GT-R, with its all-wheel-drive and all-wheel-steering, has really been built to take on the Nürburgring. A feat it has accomplished in just 7 minutes and 38 seconds during testing in September. That’s not as quick as the Porsche 911 GT2 that completed a tour around the Ring in six seconds less, or the 7.3-liter V12 engined Pagani Zonda F Clubsport with its carbonfibre chassis and body that did it in 7 minutes and 27:82 seconds!

Power is fed to all four wheels via an all-new GR6-type dual clutch paddle shift transmission and a rear-mounted independent transaxle that provides better weight distribution. The all-wheel-drive system can split torque distribution from 50-50 percent to 2-98 percent during hard acceleration, braking and cornering.

But this does not mean that the GT-R will be a handful on the road. The car comes with a special “Set-up” selection switch on the instrument panel that allows the driver to select “Normal”, “Comfort” or “R” (for Racing) settings. Each setting changes transaxle shift points, Bilstein damping rates and the vehicle dynamic control!

The GT-R was unveiled alongside the all-new 2009 Nissan Murano and will be available from the second quarter of 2008 but from a select group of Nissan dealers that meet specific and stringent certification standards. With pricing starting at only $69,850, the new GT-R is a true performance bargain! Pre-orders will taken from January 2008 so get in early! If that isn’t enough power for you, you can always wait for the 2010 Nissan GT-R Spec V that is currently under development and is expected to be available from the second quarter of 2009!
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