Drive Away 2Day

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The 111KMPL Volkswagen XL1 : Photos
The 111KMPL Volkswagen XL1 : Photos

Sources : The 111KMPL Volkswagen XL1 Photo
1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic : Classic Cars
1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic : Classic Cars

One of the most bizarre, elusive and expensive of cars is the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. With its low stance, powerful engine, lightweight construction, 123 mph (200 kph) top speed and influential teardrop body, many believe this is the ultimate Bugatti and the first supercar ever made.

Ettore's son, Jean Bugatti, who played a large role in the development of the Type 57 series, personally styled the Atlantic. Jean's lines draw an interesting mix of aircraft style together with the avant-garde tear-drop shape. Design highlights include a heavily raked windscreen, riveted fins and kidney-shaped doors with matching side windows.

Momentum behind the style was structured by a design concept of incorporating Electron, an alloy of magnesium and aluminum from IG Farben of Germany, in the design. Though it is strong, and up to one third the weight of aluminum, it is also highly flammable thus welding was not possible. This meant that each panel had to be riveted into place which posed a particular problem for traditional design. Therefore, Jean incorporated the rivet's aesthetic into the wings of the car and created a telling combination of function and form.

As the first car to bear fins, the silver Electron Aerolithe Prototype debuted as a possible sport model of the Type 57 series at the 1935 Paris Motor Show. As much of a sensation as the car must have been, it only drew three orders. By the time production commenced in 1936, standard aluminum was chosen over the flammable electron and the specially lowered Type 57S chassis, with its smaller, V-shaped radiator was used.

The engineering on these Atlantics was similar to the other Type 57s which formed a basis for Bugatti competition and grand touring. Chassis arrangements included Rudge Witworth wire wheels, complex De Rams shocks absorbers, fifteen inch drum brakes and a strong, uncluttered chassis. The Type 57SC chassis was the combination of the supercharged 57C engine with the low and short 57S chassis used for racing.


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Sources : 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Photo | 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Article
Analysts Predict US Auto Sales Are Up 6% In May
Analysts Predict US Auto Sales in May Up More Than 6% : News

Analysts predict that US auto industry has increased more than 6% in May, offsetting the disappointing result from April.

Auto demand in May has increased as the housing market began to recover, consumer spending rose and customers were forced to buy new vehicles to replacing their aging ones. Analysts expect auto sales in the US to have reached 15.1 million vehicles, an increase from the disappointing 14.9 million vehicles from April. Sales last month were affected by the lower-than-expected results of some automakers and weaker sales to commercial customers.

“I’m less concerned about April being indicative of any sort of downturn,” Gabelli & Co auto analyst Brian Sponheimer said. “There’s still a great deal of pent-up demand that needs to work its way through the system. On the whole, we’re still looking at another two years of outperformance for the auto industry as it relates to the broader economy.”

As the US auto industry is still recovering from the economic downturn which pushed GM and Chrysler to bankruptcy in 2009, the monthly auto sales are an early indicator of the health of the economy.


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Sources : Analysts Predict US Auto Sales in May Up More Than 6% Photo | Analysts Predict US Auto Sales in May Up More Than 6% Article
Astrum Meera Concept Car : Concept Car
Astrum Meera Concept Car : Concept Car

Concept cars have an unique way to make us dream of the future. That's exactly what the Astrum Meera does: puts you in a world where technology and design walked a long path and found perfect balance.

The Astrum Meera is a proposed concept car possessing several distinctive features that play a unique role in safety, sustainability, and practical design. The exhaust of the car has built-in sensors that track the level of CO2 emmisions and alert the driver when it exceeds the normal range. The wheel rims work through magnetic levitation, like train wheels, making the car lighter and faster. The side mirrors are hidden when parked and roll out of the body once the engine starts. The mirrors have a built-in camera system that allows the driver to clearly see outside from inside the vehicle without opening windows in the rain or turning your head around.


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Sources : Astrum Meera Concept Car Photo | Astrum Meera Concept Car Article
2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid : Current Models
2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid : Current Models

The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid lives halfway between a full electric car and a traditional hybrid. Relative to the regular Prius, the Plug-in can travel farther on full electric propulsion, thus improving fuel economy. And since it still has a gas-burning engine, it doesn't come burdened with the abbreviated range that can make piloting something like a full-electric Nissan Leaf such a nail-biting experience over longer journeys.

In a nutshell, the Prius Plug-in is a standard Prius with recharge-at-home capability and a lithium-ion battery pack that offers higher capacity and improved efficiency over the nickel-metal hydride array in the standard Prius. You'll only get about 10-15 miles before the electrons run out, but the Plug-in charges quickly -- about three hours on a standard 120-volt home outlet, or half that time on a larger 240-volt outlet.

This plug-in Toyota (http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/) also comes with benefits immediately familiar to anyone who has spent time in the standard Prius hybrid. The cabin is unfailingly spacious, graciously accommodating passengers and cargo of most heights and sizes. On the road, the Prius Plug-in offers a comfortable, virtually noise-free driving experience and a robust list of standard features. But like the regular Prius, the Plug-in also suffers from disappointing interior materials and an awkward driving position.

The alternatives within the plug-in hybrid segment continue to expand, and every choice is a strong one. The 2013 Chevrolet Volt travels much farther on pure electric power (up to 50 miles) than the Prius, but it's more expensive. Ford offers the C-Max Energi (similar in price to the Toyota) and the handsome Fusion Energi (a few grand more expensive), both worth a measured look. Honda's Accord Plug-in, meanwhile, should lead the pack in overall fuel efficiency. Considering all of these models is wise, but given the success of the regular Prius, it's a safe bet that the Prius Plug-in will work out well for you.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in is available in Base and Advanced body styles.

Standard equipment on the base model includes 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED taillights, keyless entry/ignition, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, automatic climate control, heated front seats and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat. Electronic features include Bluetooth (phone and audio streaming), a back-up camera, a navigation system, voice recognition and a six-speaker sound system featuring a touchscreen display, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB interface and satellite and HD radio. Toyota's Entune smartphone and Web integration system is also standard.

The Prius Plug-in Advanced adds automatic LED headlights, foglamps, unique exterior styling treatment, adaptive cruise control, upgraded seat upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a head-up display, more Entune capabilities and a premium eight-speaker JBL sound system with a larger touchscreen display.

Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a pair of electric motors/generators. Together they send 134 horsepower to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT). The battery pack features advanced lithium-ion technology and has more capacity (4.4 kWh) than that in the regular Prius, though total capacity is still much less than that of the Volt and Nissan Leaf.

In Edmunds testing, a prototype Prius Plug-in accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 10.1 seconds, the same time as the regular Prius. According to EPA estimates, the Prius Plug-in's gas engine is good for 51 mpg city/49 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined. With the electric engine factored into the equation, the EPA gives this Toyota an energy efficiency rating (MPGe) of 95 combined, placing it behind rivals like the Volt (98 MPGe combined), the C-Max Energi (100 MPGe combined) and the Honda Accord Plug-in (115 MPGe combined, according to Honda). This Prius can drive up to 15 miles on battery power alone.

Safety
The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid's standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags and hill start assist. A pre-collision warning system is standard on Advanced models.

In Edmunds brake testing, a prototype Prius Plug-in stopped from 60 mph in 130 feet, an average result for the class, but 12 feet longer than the conventional (and lighter) Prius hybrid.

The Prius Plug-in hybrid received an overall rating of four out of five stars in government crash testing, with four stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in features controls that are easy to read and use. Climate and audio controls arc out toward the driver in a "floating console" configuration that offers a storage space underneath. This vaguely futuristic design supports the theme suggested by the car's cutting-edge hybrid technology and also maximizes cabin space. The digital instrument panel also features a floating layer that displays audio, temperature and trip computer information when the driver touches those controls on the steering wheel, minimizing eye movement. Some drivers might find the overall design a bit too busy-looking, however.

Included is Toyota's Entune suite of smartphone-connected services, which features amenities like the Bing search engine; Pandora streaming radio; real-time traffic, sports and stock information; and the ability to reserve movie tickets or a table at a restaurant on the go.

Inferior interior quality is the Prius Plug-in's most glaring weakness, however. The dash and panel plastics are harder and cheaper than those in similarly priced cars, although green-minded consumers will appreciate that the plant-derived materials require less petroleum in the production process. For many buyers, though, this concession to eco-consciousness won't mean much, especially considering that competitors offer much nicer interiors.

Like the standard Prius, the plug-in is a segment leader in versatility. The hatchback body style provides 21.6 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats up, and rear seat passengers enjoy plenty of legroom. Taller drivers still have to contend with a steering wheel that's placed too far away, despite a telescoping column that doesn't extend nearly far enough.

Driving Impressions
Though we haven't yet driven a final Prius Plug-in production model, we expect that the plug-in drives similarly to the regular Prius. What the Prius does best, aside from delivering exceptional fuel economy, is provide a hyper-quiet cabin and comfortable ride. Acceleration is on par for a hybrid: far from quick, but plenty for most drivers.


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Sources : 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Photo | 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Article | 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Rear Photo | 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Engine Photo | 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Plug-In Photo | 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Interior Photo
The 24 Hours Of The Nürburgring...

The 24 Hours Of The Nürburgring: A One Of A Kind Race! : Videos

Host : TouriClips

A complete overview of the race, the fans, the teams in the pitlane and the award ceremony all in one video. Unique footage brought to you by TouriClips.


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Sources : The 24 Hours Of The Nürburgring: A One Of A Kind Race! Photo | The 24 Hours Of The Nürburgring: A One Of A Kind Race! Video
Aston Martin CC100 Speedster BRUTAL Sound...

Aston Martin CC100 Speedster BRUTAL Sound and Revs! : Videos

Host : Marchettino

I have filmed the one-off Aston Martin CC100 Speedster, it does a series of insane starting ups and revs to the redline filmed from many points!


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Sources : Aston Martin CC 100 Speedster Brutal Sound And Revs! Photo | Aston Martin CC 100 Speedster Brutal Sound And Revs! Video
1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe : Classic Cars
1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe : Classic Cars

When the XK140 took over as Jaguar’s flagship sports car in 1954, it had a serious challenge, following in the tracks of the spectacular XK120. True, it looked a lot like the car it followed, but there were quite a few differences, too. The large bumpers and heavier cast grille may have taken away a little of the model’s inherent grace, but this new trim provided far better protection from the large Detroit behemoths that populated the sports car’s largest market in America.

And while the weight went up slightly, so did the power of the 3.4-liter, twin cam six, which was up to 190 horsepower in standard trim. As a result, performance remained on a par with its predecessor. The uprated engine was mated to the same four-speed manual unit used in the XK120, although overdrive was now available.

From introduction three bodies were offered: the open two seater, a drophead, and a fixed head with 2+2 seating. In 1955, a three-speed automatic became optional on the drophead and fixed head coupe. There was further model proliferation in that each of the three body styles were offered in three versions: the standard car, the M version with dual exhaust, wire wheels and fog lamps, and the MC, which received all the M equipment as well as the cylinder head from the competition C-Type. The top of the line MC (known in the UK as SE) was rated at 210 bhp.

Although the basic chassis remained the unchanged, the biggest difference was that the XK140 was fitted with rack and pinion steering, which improved the handling substantially.

When production ceased in 1957, a total of 8,884 XK140 had been built, and the model had been successful at retaining Jaguar’s sports car sales in its most important market—North America.


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Sources : 1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe Photo | 1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe Article
Nissan Recalls 841,000 Cars Worldwide : News
Nissan Recalls 841,000 Cars Worldwide : News

Nissan Motor Co. will recall about 841,000 vehicles worldwide including the Micra compact car, also known as the March, as a result of a steering wheel glitch, Japan's No.2 automaker said on Thursday.

Nissan is recalling certain models of the Micra compact car produced in Britain and Japan between 2002 and 2006, as well as the Cube, produced in Japan around the same period.

It is pulling back vehicles in Japan, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

The bolt used in the steering wheel of these cars may not have been properly tightened and at worst the steering wheel may not function, Nissan said in a statement filed to the Japanese transport ministry.

No accidents, injuries or deaths have been reported, Nissan spokeswoman Noriko Yoneyama said.

Nissan will fix the glitch by either tightening the bolts or replacing the steering wheel with a new one.

The repair will take about 40 minutes, Yoneyama said. She declined to say how much the recall will cost Nissan.


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Sources : Nissan Recalls 841,000 Cars Worldwide Photo | Nissan Recalls 841,000 Cars Worldwide Article
Swarovski Crystal Silver SL600 : Photos
Swarovski Crystal Silver SL600 : Photos

Sources : Swarovski Crystal Silver SL600 Photo
2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali : Current Models
2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali : Current Models

‘Professional Grade’ continues as the mantra for GMC Trucks—like the 2014 GMC Sierra. But over the past several years, the meaning of that has changed quite a bit. Those truck-using professionals—whether construction foremen, architects, or farmers—want more in-vehicle technology and refinement than they did a few years ago. And they expect better gas mileage.

That’s part of the reason GM has substantially refreshed its full-size trucks for 2014, adding new powertrains, upgraded cabins, chunkier styling, and a host of new infotainment and active-safety features.

The Sierra 1500 was also sorely in need of a visual refresh, as it hadn’t been significantly touched since the 2007 model year. Top-of-the-line GMC Sierra models carry the refined, chiseled new look for GMC, much as it’s evolved in recently refreshed models like the Terrain Denali. Details are a little crisper in the GMC compared to the otherwise very closely related Chevy Silverado, and the very bold, black-and-metallic grille, flanked by LED-lined projector headlamps (the segment’s only projector-beam units, GMC says), make a strong first impression—as do the chunky, flared fenders and more sculpted sheetmetal in between. Although we anticipate that not everyone will like that the Sierra 1500 now looks as big and buff as the Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD models. Inside, the dash is very upright, with a simple but bold design, and the doorsills are several inches lower than the dash top. Controls are arranged in several key areas, just to the left of the steering wheel or in a large center-stack area (with a wide center console just aft), and all the controls and displays are large and straightforward, with cool blue primary lighting and red backlighting.

GM has updated its entire lineup of engines in the Sierra, with a new V-6 and two new V-8 engines, all with an aluminum block and heads and receiving direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management—allowing them to run on just four cylinders when coasting or cruising in light-load conditions. The 6.2-liter V-8 also gets active noise cancellation, to help quell some of the noise and vibration when operating in cylinder-deactivation mode. All three engines can be teamed with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and a six-speed automatic transmission (with a ‘cruise grade braking’ feature to reduce brake wear) is offered across the line. Although power and torque figures haven’t yet been released for these engines, they should not only be stronger but also far more fuel-efficient than their predecessors, with the V-6 model posting much stronger tow ratings than before. Additionally, all models get electric power steering, and four-wheel disc brakes with special long-life brake rotors are standard across the model line.

A Sierra All-Terrain model gets a Z71 off-road suspension, monotube Rancho shocks, recovery hooks, a transfer-case shield, hill descent control, an auto-locking rear differential, and special wheels and tires.

New for 2014, Sierra Crew Cab models are offered with two different bed lengths—5’8” or 6’6”—while regular-cab models are offered in 6’6” or 8’ lengths and the extended-cab versions all include the middle size. Crew Cab models get longer doors as well, with the B-pillars moved forward, resulting in easier entry and exit, and extended-cab versions get front-hinged rear doors for the first time—nearly rivaling the outgoing Crew Cab models in convenience. All Sierras with leather upholstery now include heated seats, and models with cloth seats are available with seat heating. The interior is appointed in new soft-touch materials, and there’s a new aluminum-trim line. All knobs and buttons in the Sierra’s interior are large enough to be operated with work gloves on. A thinner seatback design aids rear legroom, too.

The 2014 Sierra trucks are also offered with a few innovative new features that should make cargo hauling easier. new rear-bumper cargo steps are new, as are four movable cargo tie-downs capable of securing 500 pounds altogether; LED lighting has been incorporated into the rim of the bed, and an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate has a new damping system for easier (and more refined) opening and closing.

Safety features get upgraded as well, with a suite of new active-safety aids that are optional. Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning—both camera-based—can help you stay aware of hazards, and the optional Driver Alert Seat can vibrate with pulses on either side to alert the driver quickly to issues. Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist are included as part of the standard StabiliTrak stability control system.

GMC’s IntelliLink connectivity system is optional on the Sierra; it combines full voice-command Bluetooth connectivity with Bluetooth audio streaming, a Pandora app, and available navigation, with an eight-inch reconfigurable touch screen. Some models include a 4.2-inch Driver Information Center, and all Sierras get a new six-gauge cluster. A 110-volt AC outlet is also on offer, and some models include up to four 12-volt outlets and five USB ports, as well as an SD card slot.


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Sources : 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Photo | 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Article | 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Interior Photo | 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Rear Photo
Michal Bonikowski Snowmobile Concept...
Michal Bonikowski Snowmobile Concept : Concept Cars

Its peak summer in some countries so hopefully Michal Bonikowski’s Snowmobile concept will bring you some respite! In any case it’s awesome to see some diverse talents in Michal, who is famous for his Facebook Phones on YD. The mission with this snowmobile is pure personal pleasure; something that is a perfect marriage of excellent handling, all-terrain-vehicle and a closed cabin for the driver.

Sporting an efficient electric drive it will easily take us up the slope (even the ones hardly accessible) or to work by a snowy road forgotten by civilization.


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Sources : Michal Bonikowski Snowmobile Concept Photo | Michal Bonikowski Snowmobile Concept Article
1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder...
1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder : Classic Cars

Complying to the convertible market, Ferrari had Pininfarina design the Daytona Spider and limited production to just 122 cars. At the time, the Daytona was known as the top dog, holding a speed record of 180mph, and being described as the 'the best sports car in the world' by Road & Track.

Scaglietti was careful in transforming the 365 into a Spider. It required several modifications that replaced the Coupes fiberglass inner fenders and rear bulkhead with steel counterparts. Additionally there was a supports that connected the firewall to the front fenders and foot wells to the side sills. This added rigidity to improve structural rigidity that was normally provided by the roof.

It is the above mentioned changes that are important, especially considering the large amount of converted Coupes that were chopped into Spiders. During the peak of the collector car market in the eighties, Daytona Spider prices skyrocketed, to the point where many companies offered services to hack off the roof. These services varied in comprehensiveness, some were little more than trim hacks while others were built properly and offered a cheap alternative to high-speed, open-top motoring. Some cars have claimed to be Scaglietti conversions, but this is impossible since Scaglietti was wholly owned by Ferrari. However they did supply outer panels to meet any requests, presumably for accident damage.

The Spider was no doubt a continuation of the iconic 250 GT California Spyder and 275 GTB/4 Spyder which were made at the request of Luigi Chinetti. Unfortunately, The 365 would end this trend as the next round of Ferraris were mid-engined, leaving little room for a soft top and a V12 in the same space. Not until the nineties was the idea revived with the 348.


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Sources : 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder Photo | 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder Article
Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept...
Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept : Concept Cars

Just when we thought it couldn't get any hipper, the Hyundai Veloster ditches its top and goes uber-urban with the new Veloster C3 Roll Top concept. Not just any ragtop, the Veloster C3, which uses the same 3-door coupe design as the production car, sports a rear tailgate instead of a hatch. Its canvas roof – made from repurposed truck tarps – can roll back from the windshield like a traditional convertible, or roll forward from the back window to make room for a barrage of weekend warrior equipment like bikes, surfboards, or all that junk from Ikea you knew you didn't need.

Hyundai says the C3 Roll Top concept was inspired by "fixies," those fixed gear bikes with bright colors and no brakes you've probably seen darting through traffic, mounted by guys in mind-bendingly tight skinny jeans. That pared-down, notice-me philosophy was translated to the Veloster by Hyundai's North American design team, under direction of chief designer Chris Chapman. They gave the C3 a glossy white body with matte black front grille, rear spoiler and 18-inch front wheels. Splashes of color appear in red sideview mirror housings, a red canvas graphic top, and 18-inch matte rear wheels in a shade of teal that would put your mom's 80s-blue eyeshadow to shame.

To add to the "showiness" of the C3, designers lined the cargo floor and rear seatbacks with colorful mosaics made from repurposed skateboards. The theme continues with skateboard grip tape on the inside of the tailgate and on the soft top. Interior colors are red and black to match the retractable roof and have red contrast stitching, red bolsters and a red C3 logo in the front seats.

After all of that, Hyundai didn't pare down the C3 Concept's powertrain. It uses the Veloster Turbo’s 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine, good for 201 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from a mere 1,750 rpm.
While we don't expect to see the Hyundai Veloster C3 arrive on showroom floors as-is, we wouldn't be surprised if Hyundai announced a production version of this drop-top down the road. And some of those brash colors just might make it to the order guide. After all, the Veloster Turbo debuted in a matte paint option earlier this year, complete with a special car care kit and a water-tight disclaimer. We can already picture those future Veloster convertible owners, skinny jeans and all.


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Sources : Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept Photo | Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept Article | Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept Photo 2 | Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept Rear Photo | Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept Interior Photo
Can Battery Rental Reduce Consumer Jitters...
Can Battery Rental Reduce Consumer Jitters With EVs? : News

Consumers have a lot of gripes about the battery life in high-tech products.

Batteries seem to conk out way before the products do. And with age, the ability of batteries to hold a charge deteriorates. Another concern is the cost of replacing those batteries, which often seems higher than the value of the laptop or cell phone the batteries power.

Small wonder there's even more anxiety about electric vehicle batteries. Smart USA chief Mark Webster says the microcar brand is well aware of the concerns.

And it's why Smart is allowing buyers and lessees to rent the battery -- and lower the purchase price or monthly leases -- in the ForTwo Electric Drive coupe that went on sale this week.

"We know that there are many potential customers out there for whom an electric drive vehicle would be ideal but who have concerns about battery maintenance costs, battery life, repair cost, range anxiety and so on," Webster said.

Buyers will pay $20,650 for the vehicle without the battery -- a savings of $5,100 from the $25,750 price for the EV with battery. The monthly battery rental is $80, plus taxes, and covers annual maintenance and replacement, if necessary. The battery is guaranteed for up to 10 years.

Lease customers pay $199 a month, with a down payment of $2,000 for capital cost reduction, with the battery rental included. The lease rate is low because the car's residual value is expected to be higher when the battery is replaced at lease end.

The rental contract for the battery can be transferred to a new owner for up to 10 years with no mileage restrictions.

While Mercedes expects most customers will choose the battery rental option, given its popularity in Europe, a traditional lease of $430 a month is also available.

The cost of owning a Smart Electric Drive goes down more for owners eligible for the $7,500 tax credit on EVs.

So what are the advantages if the battery is already covered under Smart's four-year/50,000 mile warranty? If battery efficiency goes below 80 percent, Smart will replace rather than repair it.

And Smart says there's another plus: "Should battery technology evolve to a new and better level from Daimler's joint venture Deutsche ACCUmotive, then owners can, with advance notice, switch their contract to the new battery pack without any change in the terms or rates of the contract."

The joint venture's battery will power the new Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive car that goes on sale next year and will be the only plug-in electric wearing the three-point star. Smart is owned by Mercedes.

The battery in the 2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive is supplied by Deutsche ACCUmotive.

No surprise that Smart expects most buyers to opt for the battery rental.


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Sources : Can Battery Rental Reduce Consumer Jitters With EVs? Photo | Can Battery Rental Reduce Consumer Jitters With EVs? Article
2013 Subaru Forester : Current Models
2013 Subaru Forester : Current Models

Small SUVs are primarily suburban runabouts. They need to have room for the kids, a Bluetooth connection for the phone and an elevated ride height for that commanding view of the road. Some are even designed for style or sporty handling. But tackling the great outdoors? That's pretty much unheard of these days. Yet the 2013 Subaru Forester remains a notable exception.

A rock crawler it is not, but its standard all-wheel-drive system that constantly shunts power to each wheel (rather than reacting when the front wheels slip) is well-suited for muddy fields or light sand. Should you actually encounter a few rocks, the Forester provides about 2 more inches of ground clearance than the average small crossover. It's well suited for the things you bring along as well, with a huge cargo area and especially useful roof rails that make it easier to carry bikes, kayaks or whatever other outdoorsy leisure equipment you might possess.

What's more, the Forester is an appealing choice even if the closest you'll ever get to the great outdoors is watching the movie starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. It has the aforementioned suburban-friendly attributes, plus handling that's in fact quite sporty. And that huge cargo area is just as good at bringing home a TV from Best Buy as it is hauling camping gear from Yosemite.

Now, the 2013 Subaru Forester does have its drawbacks. The cabin is down-market compared to competitors like the Ford Escape, GMC Terrain and Honda CR-V, with cheaper plastics and some questionable fit and finish. Its four-speed automatic transmission also sets it back in terms of fuel economy and acceleration. True, the turbocharged 2.5XT model is one of the quickest in the class, but the base four-cylinder is one of the slowest.

If you find this problematic but still like the Forester's outdoorsy resume, we suggest checking out the similarly priced Subaru Outback, which features a more refined interior and a more advanced transmission. It doesn't provide that same high-up commanding view, but it's got the same ground clearance, the same all-wheel-drive system and even more cargo capacity. So whether you're looking for something that can take you fly fishing or simply want a pick that will comfortably take the kids to school, Subaru at least gives you two solid choices.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Subaru Forester is a compact crossover SUV available in six trim levels: 2.5X, 2.5X Premium, 2.5X Limited, 2.5X Touring, 2.5XT Premium and 2.5XT Touring. The X and XT indicate different engines.

Standard equipment on the 2.5X includes 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The Alloy Wheel package adds 16-inch alloy wheels and roof rails.

The 2.5X Premium adds on 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, upgraded exterior trim, roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, an eight-way power driver seat (plus two-way lumbar), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a reclining rear seat. The 2.5XT Premium is virtually identical, but has a more powerful engine and isn't eligible for the following options. The All-Weather package (standard with the manual transmission, optional with the automatic) adds heated front seats, heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. The Plus package adds foglamps and a touchscreen audio system interface. A TomTom-sourced navigation system can be integrated into this interface.

The 2.5X Limited comes standard with the automatic transmission and the above packages. It also adds automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a cargo area tray, a rearview camera and a six-speaker sound system that adds iTunes tagging capability.

The 2.5X Touring adds xenon headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a one-touch folding rear seatback, upgraded gauges and a subwoofer for the six-speaker sound system. Besides its engine, the 2.5XT Touring is virtually identical.

The 2.5X Limited and both Touring trims can be equipped with a different navigation system that includes a larger touchscreen display and satellite radio.

Powertrains and Performance
Every 2013 Subaru Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive. The 2.5X trims feature a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (or "boxer") four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission with a hill holder function is standard on the 2.5X and 2.5 Premium trims. A four-speed automatic is optional on those trims and standard on the others. In Edmunds performance testing, a 2.5X with the automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 10.1 seconds, which makes it one of the slowest small crossovers. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined regardless of transmission.

The 2.5XT trims get a turbocharged version of that same engine. It produces 224 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. The four-speed automatic is standard. In Edmunds testing, it hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which actually makes it one of the quickest small crossovers. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19/24/21.

Safety
Every 2013 Subaru Forester includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional. In Edmunds brake testing, the Forester came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, an average distance.

In government crash testing, the Forester received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal protection and four stars for side protection. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Forester received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Subaru Forester features a pleasantly styled and highly functional cabin design, though materials quality is mediocre and fit and finish is a little hit-or-miss. Controls are at least straightforward for the most part, and easy to access. What the Forester lacks in interior ambience, however, it makes up for by being one of the most spacious vehicles in the segment. Like the Honda CR-V and Kia Sorento, it straddles the line between compact and midsize SUVs.

The Forester's split-folding rear seat with optional reclining seatbacks deserves special mention here. The term "throne" appropriately describes this seat, as the cushion is so high that rear passengers will feel as though they're looking down on those in front. All but the longest of leg will actually be able to rest their hamstrings flush against the cushion -- a rarity in motorized conveyances without wings or bathrooms. The middle rear seat, however, is compromised by its dual purpose as an armrest and cupholder, making it more of a hard, segmented bench.

The cargo area is generous, boasting 33.5 cubic feet of space with the 60/40-split rear seatback raised and 68.3 cubes with it folded. The Forester's boxy shape also makes it well suited for hauling large bulky objects.

Driving Impressions
The 2013 Subaru Forester has much better outward visibility than you'll find in its sleeker rivals. Wind noise is detectable, but not any more intrusive than is typical for this type of vehicle. The Forester's crisp steering and tight turning circle make it surprisingly maneuverable in close quarters, while its all-wheel-drive system and generous ground clearance lend it a fair amount of off-road capability. One of the most comfortable rides in the segment is another boon.

The Forester's spongy brake feel and powertrain options are less praiseworthy. While the 2.5XT's turbocharged four-cylinder makes the Forester one of the swiftest SUVs in its class, the base four-cylinder is one of the slowest. Fuel economy is also unremarkable. Much of the blame can be placed on the four-speed automatic transmission, which is practically an antique given that even five-speed automatics are now behind the times.


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Sources : 2013 Subaru Forester Photo | 2013 Subaru Forester Article
Honda Skydeck : Concept Cars
Honda Skydeck : Concept Cars

This is the Tokyo Motor Show-bound Honda Skydeck concept, a minivan that is, essentially, a perfect storm of non-standard-hinged door technology. Those doors lead to a passenger cabin featuring center-mounted floating seats that are stackable for easier access to the third row. From there, passengers can take in the breathtaking vistas offered by the all-glass roof, or simply enjoy the Skydeck's minimalist interior, which looks as if it could be the handiwork of IKEA designers being held against their will by armed ASIMO centurions. For added Earth-loving wonderfulness, the Skydeck is, of course, a hybrid.


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Sources : Honda Skydeck Photo | Honda Skydeck Article 
2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé...
2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé Concept : Concept Cars

The striking concept combines the prestige German manufacturer’s styling pillars of luxury and elegance with the Italian design house’s trademark attention to detail and finesse.

The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe is defined by taut contours and liberal surface areas that embrace the concept’s long wheelbase, stretched bonnet and generous greenhouse.

The Bavarian brand’s kidney grille and shark nose team with horizontal headlights and a broad intake fascia to add width and significance to the unique front end.

A high shoulder line runs the length of the sculptured profile, which is distinguished by a flowing roof line and a striking countersweep that stems from the ‘air breather’ outlet behind the front wheel arch.

The slender L-shaped tail-lights are set in matt aluminium and embrace the rear end in a single stroke.

The four-seat cabin is BMW at heart with a Pininfarina twist, boasting kauri wood aged more than 48,000 years, high-quality Tobacco Brown and black Foglizzo leather, Italian virgin wool headlining and metal highlights in stylish black chrome.

BMW Group Design senior vice president Adrian van Hooydonk says the brand’s values of technology, precision and dynamics are complemented harmoniously by Pininfarina’s skilled craftsmanship to create a vehicle with “sheer presence in a highly elegant form”.

“[Pininfarina’s] expectations for the end result have been just as high as ours, and their understanding of the design perfectly complements the BMW design DNA for a vehicle of this kind,” van Hooydonk said.

Pininfarina head of design Fabio Filippini says the product of the cooperative venture is “far greater than the sum of its parts”.

“When two such tradition-rich and experienced brands join forces to turn a vision into reality, something utterly new and exciting emerges,” Filippini said

“From start to finish, this project was defined by a mutual respect for the identity of the other company.”

Set to influence the design of the next-generation BMW 7 Series due mid decade, the luxury coupe concept has also sparked rumours of a return of the 8 Series nameplate to complement the brand’s flagship limousine.


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Sources : 2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé Concept Photo | 2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé Concept Article | 2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé Concept Photo 2 | 2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé Concept Rear Photo | 2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé Concept Interior Photo | 2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé Concept Rear Photo
2013 MINI Paceman By Roberto Cavalli...
2013 MINI Paceman By Roberto Cavalli : Current Models

This year's award for Life Ball Mini designer goes to Roberto Cavalli. The Life Ball is a charity event held in Vienna, Austria every year that raises money to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS. Since 2001, the year of its reintroduction, Mini has been involved with the ball, auctioning a car that has been made over by a world-famous designer. This year Cavalli gets the nod and a Paceman for a canvas.

The iridescent brown/black paint is the eye-catcher in the sketch above (click to enlarge), but don't forget to note Cavalli's logo on the roof. We're not sure what other flourishes he has in mind for the car, but those in attendance will find out on May 24 when it's unveiled at the Cavalli store opening in Vienna. The press release below has more details.


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Sources : 2013 MINI Paceman By Roberto Cavalli Photo | 2013 MINI Paceman By Roberto Cavalli Article
2013 GRID2: Mono Edition : Photos
2013 GRID2: Mono Edition : Photos

Sources : 2013 GRID2: Mono Edition Photo
2013 Cadillac XTS : Current Models
2013 Cadillac XTS : Current Models

The car's exterior design is strong, despite certain "hard point" limitations the XTS inherited from Buick. For example, the large, nearly swaggering Cadillac 16-Concept like front end is cheated by a dash-to-axle ratio that just screams front-wheel drive. Look at the puny amount of metal between the front wheel cut and the door. It's nearly identical to an Accord or a Passat. While all-wheel drive is available on three of the four XTS trim levels, the car is clearly, visibly based on FWD architecture. And while Audi somehow gets away with marketing front-wheel drivers as luxury cars, I just don't think it will work for Caddy.

Neither do they, as the coming-very-soon ATS, new CTS and eventual "flagship" will all be rear drive. Back to the XTS. There are some nice exterior touches, like the future-look side mirrors and the fin-like taillights, a nice homage to Caddies like the 1958 Fleetwood Series 62. But while the design is good, it doesn't scream "Standard of the World." That's problematic because according to Caddy, that's where the brand must be headed. In other words, while pretty good looking, the XTS's bulbous bod just isn't as sexy and desirable as it needs to be.

Perhaps more importantly, will former STS and DTS owners like the way the XTS rides? One answer is, "Who cares?" while the other is, "Hopefully not." What's important is that CTS-V owners and BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi (and Lexus GS) owners will. In fact, going back to that six-figure AMG I drove to the event, the XTS Platinum had a noticeably finer, more sporting ride. Put simply, if you make a car without magnetic dampers, the ride and handling compromise is not where it should be.

This is doubly true for both Cadillac and GM. Our testing director Frank Markus has referred to me in print as a "Notorious Camaro Critic," but the second Chevy fit the magnetic dampers to the ZL1 I became an advocate. The stuff just works...magic. Where does all the above leave the XTS? To recap, the car is mostly good looking and has a posh interior, suspect cabin controls, a carryover drivetrain, and a magic carpet ride (especially in the Haldex AWD versions) thanks to GM's groundbreaking Magnetic Ride Control and torque-steer cancelling HiPer front struts. They even tossed air springs in the rear for load-leveling reasons.

However, the XTS has but one body style, one engine, and one transmission. Even if Cadillac wanted it to compete against what the Germans had to offer, it would struggle based solely on the lack of variety and big, mechanical options. Remember, Porsche has seven different engines for just the Panamera. To be a serious player in the global luxury market, Cadillac needs to wean itself from the bean counters. Let them molest the non-lux brands like Chevy, GMC, and Buick. Until that happens in a big way, the 2013 XTS is a very good stopgap measure of a car.


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Sources : 2013 Cadillac XTS Photo | 2013 Cadillac XTS Article 

1959 Austin Healey 3000 : Classic Cars
1959 Austin Healey 3000 : Classic Cars

The Austin Healey 100 was introduced in October of 1952 at the Earls Court Motor Show. The first Austin Healey 100's were known as 100-4 or BN1. The name 100 came-about by being able to break the 100 mph barrier. The BN also had meaning. The B represented the engine class which meant it had between 2000 and 3000 cc. The N represented the body-style configuration, two-seat and open-top. The 100 was powered by a A90, 2660 cc, four-cylinder engine capable of producing 94 horsepower. The manual three-speed transmission was also borrowed from the A90. However, the first gear was blocked off and was fitted with overdrive on the second and third gears to provide extra power.

The name 'Austin Healey' was formed by a partnership comprising of the designer, Donald Mitchell Healey, and the manufacturer, Austin.

During its total production cycle, 10,688 examples of the BN1 were produced.

In October of 1955, the BN2 was introduced. The BN2 was similar to the BN1 in design but now featured larger drum brakes and a new four-speed transmission with overdrive.

During its production run, 3,924 examples of the BN2 were produced.

The Austin Healey 100S was produced in limited numbers, only 55. Their primary purpose was for competing in racing and rally events as well as for development and marketing purposes. They were entered into races such as Sebring, Mille Miglia, and Le Mans. They were copies of special factory test car that Stirling Moss raced in the 1954 12-hour Sebring race where he placed third. The 100S's were produced at the Healey Warwick factory and most were decorated with the American racing colors, white and blue. Of the 55 that were built, only 10 remain unaccounted for. The 100S, when compared with the 100, featured Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels, different cylinder head and internal engine modifications, four-speed gearbox without overdrive, and a light-alloy body shell.

The 100S was followed by the 100M. The 100M was a Le Mans variation of the BN2 with an increased horsepower rating of 100-110. It featured bigger carburetors and modified distributor. Valve springs and anti-roll bars were added to the suspension. During its production run, 1100 of the Le Mans BN2's were produced.

Over time, about 100 BN2 were later modified but in order to qualify for the Le Mans configuration the vehicles needed to meet specific standards. These standards included a 1.75 inch H6, SU carburetors, cold air box and air tube, Le Mans regulation strap and a factory style louvered hood.

The four cylinder engine was used from 1952 through 1956, after which a BMC six-cylinder engine was used. The car was dubbed the '100 Six'. Three years and a few engine modifications later, the car was named the '3000' and today is known as the 'Big Healey'. Over the production lifespan of the 3000, it could be assembled with multiple options such as a two-seater or 2+2, hard-tops, single or duo-tone paint schemes, overdrive, and more.

In 1962 the body was redesigned with a curved screen and wind up windows. The interior of the vehicle was revamped in 1964 and also received more ground clearance.

The 3000 was produced from 1959 through 1968. The original engine produced 124 horsepower and was capable of about 114 mph. Modifications to the engine throughout the years increased the horsepower to around 148 and the top speed to 121 mph. The size of the car, the power of the engine, and weighing in at around 2400 lbs made this car responsive, competitive and fun to drive.

In all, there were around 73,000 100's and 3000's produced with 58,000 featuring the six-cylinder engine.


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Sources : 1959 Austin Healey 3000 Photo | 1959 Austin Healey 3000 Article | 1959 Austin Healey 3000 Interior Photo
2004 Chevrolet Nomad Concept : Concept Cars
2004 Chevrolet Nomad Concept : Concept Cars

Corvette owners know all about the wave. It’s the acknowledgement to fellow Corvette drivers that you’re both members of the fraternity, sharing and participating in the dream.

There are other vehicles like that: cars, SUVs and even motorcycles with a charisma that speaks to the young and young at heart - an instantly recognizable character that rolls with you like an extension of your personality.

The Chevy Nomad is like that.

The Nomad is a concept car built by GM and introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. It’s not a sedan, wagon, SUV or any other categorizable vehicle, but it simultaneously conveys presence and practicality.



“The Nomad is the type of vehicle that creates an instant bond with certain personalities,” said Simon Cox, design director, GM Advanced Design, United Kingdom. “It’s a personal vehicle that carries the expressions and emotions of the driver, causing them to seek out enthusiasts of the same mindset.”

Based on GM’s new Kappa architecture, which also serves as the foundation for the Pontiac Solstice production model and Saturn Curve concept, the Nomad represents another line of thought when it comes to leveraging a new sports car platform. Its off-the-hook styling is readily identifiable as a Chevrolet, but with a contemporary flair.

And since it’s Kappa-based, the Nomad is rear-wheel drive, boasting independent front and rear suspensions attached to a rigid chassis that uses a pair of full-length hydroformed frame rails as its foundation. To make room for rear-seat riders in its 2+2 configuration, the Nomad rides on a 107-inch wheelbase - 2 inches longer than other Kappa architecture-based concepts.

A turbocharged Ecotec 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Nomad, which also features a new Hydra-Matic 5L40-E electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission with finger-operated tap shifting. Through the use of variable engine valve timing, valve lift and duration can be adjusted throughout the rpm range to improve fuel economy, emissions and performance. The turbocharged Ecotec is good for 250 horses - 87 horses more, for example, than a certain “miniscule” chap from across the pond.

All about character
Speaking of Great Britain, that’s where the internationally flavored Nomad was designed.

GM tapped its global network of designers to pen the Nomad - a group that brought to the design table a diverse cultural background and linked with North American counterparts to produce a series of stunning, contemporary concept vehicles.

Renowned Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina helped assemble the driveable vehicle.

The Nomad team created a forward thinking and forward looking design while evoking the spirit of the 1954 Chevy Nomad concept vehicle, including round headlamps mounted on gently curving fenders, a trademark Corvette grille and a forward-sloping B-pillar.

Like the ‘04 concept, the ‘54 Nomad shared a new sports car platform - the Corvette - and challenged the thinking of car-based utility. The new Nomad goes even further, incorporating clever details to accommodate large, bulky items, such as a removable rear roof panel and a unique folding tailgate. A sliding cargo floor extends over the folded tailgate so items placed on the load floor are easily pushed into the cargo area.

Chrome strips on the outside of the tailgate complement styling ribs on the Nomad’s rear roof - another nod to the character of the 1954 concept vehicle.

LED technology for the headlamps and taillamps not only adds a modern, high-tech touch to the Nomad, but allows for the lamps’ slim profiles. They look pretty cool when illuminated, too.

“There is a simple, yet very expressive design to the Nomad,” said Dale Brewer, lead exterior designer. “The face of the vehicle, along with the lights, the shape of the grille and the tailgate have Chevrolet heritage, but conveyed in a thoroughly modern way.”

That goes for the interior, too, which has a large, fan-shaped central gauge cluster mounted in the dashboard. The cluster takes on a 3-D look, with an aluminum background and special instrument lighting. It’s a luminous appearance that adds visual depth and a sophisticated feel to the interior.

In front of the gauges is a large, classic-looking steering wheel that is covered in leather. Chevrolet “bowtie” insignias accent a metal band that runs the length of the dashboard - a styling cue on Chevrolet models of the 1950s that contributes to the interior’s geometric theme.

The black leather-trimmed interior features Cove Blue performance Nubuck inserts, anodized blue aluminum gauges and energizing blue lighting. A color used increasingly by trendsetting designers for its ability to evoke relaxed emotions and convey sophistication, the blue lighting and accents add a uniquely urban ambiance to the Nomad’s passenger environment - like the atmosphere of a hip martini bar.

Besides looking cool the interior also offers clever functionality, including three folding options for the rear seat: the center armrest folds to store long items, such as skis, while each rear seatback folds to dramatically increase the Nomad’s overall cargo space.

The cool theme continues the Ice Blue Metallic exterior color, complemented with an ultra-fine tinted silver-blue accent. In addition to being one of fashion’s most popular palette choices, the blue hue bolsters the Nomad’s sophisticated, urban character.

“Wherever you look or whatever you touch in the Nomad, it creates a satisfying emotional reaction,” said Jose Gonzalez, lead interior designer. “There are cars that offer more room and amenities, but the Nomad’s environment has soul. It’s a car you want to get in and drive.”

A powerful, yet unobtrusive Panasonic sound system in Nomad has speakers in the dashboard and doors, as well as subwoofers in the rear of the armrests. Quite simply, it bumps - a prerequisite of younger buyers for any new vehicle.

Right for the time
“The idea for a compact vehicle like this is more relevant now than ever,” said Gonzalez. “As much as people crave a sporty, great looking vehicle, modern lifestyle interests demand functionality. The Nomad has both - an unmistakable character, like the SSR, and the utility of the upcoming HHR. Whether or not they can convey it in words, it’s what everybody is looking for in a new vehicle.”


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Sources : 2004 Chevrolet Nomad Concept Photo | 2004 Chevrolet Nomad Concept Article | Chevrolet Nomad Concept cars 1954- 2004 Video | 2004 Chevrolet Nomad Concept Interior Photo | 2004 Chevrolet Nomad Concept Photo Photo 2 | 2004 Chevrolet Nomad Concept Lights Photo
Hollywood Stars Shocked By Singapore Car...

Hollywood Stars Shocked By Singapore Car Prices (Fast & Furious 6) : Videos

Host : Bapulas


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Sources : Hollywood Stars Shocked By Singapore Car Prices (Fast & Furious 6) Photo | Hollywood Stars Shocked By Singapore Car Prices (Fast & Furious 6) Video
2014 Porsche Cayman SP81-CR By SpeedART...
2014 Porsche Cayman SP81-CR By SpeedART : Photos

Sources : 2014 Porsche Cayman SP81-CR By SpeedART Photo
2014 BMW X5 : Current Models
2014 BMW X5 : Current Models

The third generation of BMW's big SUV is nearing its production launch. This prototype, caught in Munich by our spy photographers, looks almost production-ready despite the camouflage designed to obfuscate the vehicle's lines.

A New Take on the Old Look
That we see here is an X5 that is about as big as its predecessor but sports altered proportions. The lower edge of the side windows drops down toward the front of the car, and there is a pronounced kink to connect it with the base of the A-pillar. Character lines on the flanks emphasize the wedge look; from the side it resembles an over-sized X1 more than it does the current model. The roofline also drops down in a slightly coupe-like fashion.

The front end is dominated by a sizable, upright twin-kidney grille; once production units are installed, the headlights will show an updated interpretation of the "four-eye" face as seen on BMW's most recent passenger cars. The rear will be dominated by illuminated guide strips and large exhaust tips that indicate the type of powertrain under the skin. We hope BMW plans on reducing weight versus the current model, although that’s far from a sure thing; the latest 5-series, for example, is heavier than its predecessor.

Gas, Diesel, Hybrid, M
The efficiency of BMW's diesel engines will ensure the X5 is one of the most efficient vehicles in its class anyway, even if it gains some weight. The phenomenal 3.0-liter straight-six turbo-diesel will be offered in at least two states of tune; at least one of them will again be offered in the U.S. The gasoline engines are expected to mirror the current offerings as well: a 3.0-liter, turbocharged straight-six and a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8. While BMW’s new turbocharged inline-four is technically a possibility for an entry-level engine, we doubt it will be offered, with BMW instead leaving that engine to the X3.

The next X5 likely will be offered as a hybrid, despite the embarrassing sales performance of the overpriced X6 ActiveHybrid. The 3.0-liter N55 inline-six and electric motor used on the 3-series and 5-series ActiveHybrids could be applied to the X5 as well; the new model could also become available with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel paired with a motor and battery pack, a powertrain previewed on the 2008 X5 ActiveHybrid concept car. That’d be our choice, but so far diesel-electric powertrains are only being offered by a handful of manufacturers in Europe. On the other side of the spectrum, we are confident that there is another X5 M down the road. It likely will keep the current model's twin-turbo V-8, which would be fine with us.

Figure on eight-speed automatics and engine stop-start systems across the lineup to help temper fuel consumption. All X5 models will be all-wheel drive. A new electronics architecture will enable the Bavarians to offer virtually every telematics and connectivity option available on the 5-, 6- and 7-series. Electronics geeks will love it; we’re not so sure about true drivers.

The X5 should continue to be one of the sportiest SUVs in its class—at least until the next generation of its provocatively styled derivative, the X6, arrives. Both will continue to be built in Spartanburg, South Carolina, alongside the X3 and the recently confirmed X4. Expect the next X5 to appear at dealers sometime in 2013.


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Sources : 2014 BMW X5 Photo | 2014 BMW X5 Article
2013 Ford Fiesta ST : Current Models
2013 Ford Fiesta ST : Current Models

Ford has confirmed the hot Fiesta ST—previewed last November in concept form—for production and sale in Europe starting next year. The company says only that it is “open to the idea” of selling it in North America, but we think that statement is intended merely to build suspense. It’s only a matter of time before some form of Fiesta ST is announced for our market, where the competition would be limited to basically two cars: The Fiat 500 Abarth and the Mini Cooper S.

Back to the specifics on the Euro car, which makes its debut at the 2012 Geneva auto show. In production trim, the ST will pack a turbocharged 1.6-liter four good for 178 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, 58 hp and 65 lb-ft more than the regular U.S.-spec Fiesta. Ford is estimating a 0-to-60-mph time of less than seven seconds, as well as a top speed of 137 mph. (In a comparison test, a five-speed-manual-equipped Fiesta SES trundled to 60 in 10.1 seconds and topped out at 116 mph.) There’s no official word on the ST’s transmission, but it’s most likely a six-speed manual.

The Fiesta ST is lower than a normal Fiesta by 0.6 inch, features a brake-based electronic limited-slip function, and has a three-mode stability-control system. (While Ford doesn’t detail the stability-control settings, we’re assuming one of them is “fully off.”) Other ST-specific perks include heavily bolstered Recaro seats and substantially modified front and rear fascias, with the gaping apertures and fillips expected of a special-edition sporty car; we think the entire package looks pretty sweet. They aren’t detailed, but the ST likely has unique wheels, tires, and brakes.

If—or more accurately, when—a Fiesta ST comes to the States, we expect that it will be the five-door body style shown as a concept at the 2011 L.A. auto show. For the better part of a decade, American enthusiasts have asked for Ford to sell its European small-car offerings here. With the global Focus and Fiesta already on sale, and the 247-horse Focus ST on its way soon, we’ve almost collected ’em all—and it shouldn’t be long before this one joins the lineup.


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Sources : 2013 Ford Fiesta ST Photo | 2013 Ford Fiesta ST Article | 2013 Ford Fiesta ST Interior Photo