Drive Away 2Day

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Simon Cowell : Jaguar Eagle Speedster : Stars...
"The secret of my success is that I make other people money. And, never ever, ever, ever be ashamed about trying to earn as much as possible for yourself, if the person you're working with is also making money. That's life!"

Birth Name : Simon Phillip Cowell
Birth Date : 7 October 1959
Birth Location : Lambeth, London, England, UK
Occupation : A&R executive, television producer, entrepreneur, television personality
Years Active : 1979-Present

Simon Phillip Cowell (born 7 October 1959) is an English television music and talent competition judge, A&R executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. He is known in the United Kingdom and United States for his role as a talent judge on TV shows such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and American Idol. He is also the owner of the television production and music publishing house Syco.

As a judge, Cowell is known for his blunt and often controversial criticisms, insults and wisecracks about contestants and their abilities. He is also known for combining activities in both the television and music industries, having promoted singles and records for various artists, including television personalities. He was most recently featured on the seventh series of Britain's Got Talent and the third season of The X Factor USA.

In 2004 and 2010, American magazine Time named Cowell one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2010, British magazine New Statesman listed Cowell at number 41 in a list of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010". TV Guide named him #10 in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time.

Simon Cowell has proven to the world that despite possessing an endless pit of cash and owning some of the planet's most exotic cars, he also has some taste. Don't get me wrong, his Rolls Royce Phantom and Bugatti Veyron (now sold) are classy cars, but anyone with a lot of cash can simply order one.

Although not exactly cheap, the flat-headed music mogal shelled out $650,000 on a very rare Jaguar Eagle Speedster after he saw Jeremy Clarkson driving one on Top Gear.

Cowell may have constantly mocked Clarkson for his looks and fashion sense when he appeared on the show, but it seems when it comes to cars, Clarkson is actually an inspiration.

Jaguar Eagle Speedster
Price : $650,000

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Sources : Simon Cowell Photo | Jaguar Eagle Speedster Photo | Simon Cowell Demographic | Simon Cowell Article
Lamborghini Aventador : Photos
Lamborghini Aventador : Photos

Sources : Lamborghini Countach Photo
1992 Chevrolet Camaro : Classic Cars
1992 Chevrolet Camaro : Classic Cars

1992 was the 25th anniversary of the Camaro and last year for the 3rd Generation Camaro. 1992 also marked the end of Camaros being produced at the Van Nuys plant (the other original F-Body-only producing plant since the Norwood plant closed at the end of the 1987 model year).`Heritage Edition' package available on all 1992 Chevrolet Camaros. There were 8,197 '92 Camaro's made. Package included 1st and early 2nd Generation Camaro Z28 style hood and rear deck stripes, body colored grille, black headlamp pockets, a 25th Anniversary badge on the rear spoiler (RS) or hatchback rear edge (Z28), and a 25th Anniversary badge on the dash. Initially, Heritage package only available as a white car with red stripes; black car with red stripes; or red car with black stripes. Mid-year, additional Heritage Edition colors available: polo green car with gold stripes (this combination also got gold badges and gold accent wheels); and purple haze with silver stripes. Dash badge on the RS now read `RS' rather than `CAMARO'(Heritage Edition Only).`Tuned Port Injection' disappeared from the TPI throttle body cover. Mid-year, valve covers on TPI motors changed from silver to black (like LO3 V8). Also, at some point near the end of the production year, the traditional smooth-appearance Camaro TPI runners were replaced with rough, cast-appearance TPI runners (like on the Corvette L98). These runners were possibly old Corvette stock being used up on the Z28s since the Corvette's L98 was replaced by the LT1 in 1992.Z28 convertible came only with P235/55R-16 tires for 1992.There were 705 1992 1LE Camaros built.

HD calipers and 11.86 front brakes became standard on the B4C special service package. There were 589 1992 B4C Camaros built. A Special 25th Anniversary 'Collector's Edition' 1992 Chevrolet Camaro was planned, but then dropped. There were to be 602 (same as the number of 1967 Z/28's) produced. Only two prototypes were completed however. The prototype Collector's Edition Camaro started as a white Heritage Edition RS with black stripes and body colored grill. Then the B4C police package was added. It was equipped with the Corvette L98 5.7 aluminum head engine, fitted with siamesed intake runners, and then tubular headers. This brought the horsepower rating up to 270. They were also equipped with a ZF 6-speed and GTA black `lace' 16x8 wheels. Only 1 of the 2 cars were kept by GM and can still be seen at shows. On August 27, 1992, the last 1992 Camaro rolled off of the assembly line in Van Nuys, California.

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Sources : 1992 Chevrolet Camaro Photo | 1992 Chevrolet Camaro Article
Bertone Nuccio : Concept Cars
Bertone Nuccio : Concept Cars

The Bertone Nuccio started its life not too long ago and after being teased a couple of times, the model has finally been presented to the public at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, becoming one of the stars of the Swiss automotive event. According to Stile Bertone, the Nuccio Concept has been made as a tribute to the company’s 100th anniversary since the firm was founded back in 1912 by Giovanni Bertone. Nuccio Bertone, the son of Giovani, has taken over the family business from his father after World War II and separated it into two new divisions, Carrozzeria, for manufacturing, and Stile Bertone, for Styling.

The Bertone Nuccio Concept is an extreme sports car, an evolution of the mid-rear engined, rear-wheel drive berlinetta design from the 1970s, which is coming with a completely new look, as the company says. Michael Robinson, the Stile Bertone design director, has made the Bertone Nuccio Concept as part of paying his tribute to the company. This won’t be the last time when we will hear about the Bertone Nuccio Concept and the Italian sports car will be shown in other exhibitions around the world, like the Beijing Motor Show in April, the Laguna Seca in the United States in August and the Florence event, in its home country, in September.

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Sources : Bertone Nuccio Photo | Bertone Nuccio Article
Elio's 3 Wheeler : News
Elio's 3 Wheeler : News

It’s not quite a full-blown automobile – at least not as we know it – and not quite a motorcycle, but it’s cheap and gets unbeatable fuel economy.

A sleekly designed three-wheeled two-passenger vehicle from startup manufacturer Elio Motors in Troy, Mich. is planned for introduction sometime during 2015 that promises up to 84 mpg on the highway and a sticker price starting at just $6,800. Being developed as an economical low-cost commuter car – ideally the second or third model in a family’s fleet – the as-yet unnamed “autocycle” will include amenities like three airbags, power windows and door locks, an audio system with an iPhone/iPod interface, air conditioning and a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

“As a commuter, 93 percent of the time you’re in a car by yourself,” explains Jerome Vassallo, the company’s V.P. of sales. “You’d drive a small car like this to and from the office and leave a larger vehicle parked back home in the driveway for when you need to carry additional passengers or have more cargo room.”

We recently had a chance to drive a prototype of a bright orange Elio and discuss the fledgling automaker’s plans with Vassallo as part of a multi-city tour being conducted to show off the vehicle, gather impressions and take reservations, of which the company has racked up more than 22,000 thus far.

For starters, the Elio looks like no other car on the road. It’s about the length of a Honda Civic, but is nearly half as narrow, with a long hood, tall roof and back end and only a single conventionally hinged side door. The front wheels extend beyond the front-end bodywork, with an exposed suspension and individual aerodynamic fenders reminiscent of the hot-roddish Plymouth Prowler from the 1990’s.

The interior is about as basic as could be imagined (at least in 1968), with simple gauges and controls adorning a color-keyed dashboard. Designed with a suitable solo commute in mind, it can nonetheless accommodate one additional passenger sitting directly behind the driver in what some might find to be a claustrophobic back seat. A solid hatchback covers a small backpack-sized trunk, with the rear seatback able to fold flat when additional cargo space is needed, say to carry a set of golf clubs to the links.

Officially classified as a motorcycle because it has fewer than four wheels, the Elio is nonetheless mechanically more car than it is bike and is every bit as instinctive to operate. It has a conventional steering wheel, foot pedals and shift lever and will come powered by a three-cylinder, 0.9 liter, 55 horsepower, fuel-injected automotive engine that drives the front wheels via either a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. Traction control, stability control and antilock brakes will come standard. A 70:30 front-to-rear weight ratio should benefit foul-weather traction for those living in the Snow Belt (see the embedded video at the bottom of this post).

With a curb weight around 1,200 pounds, the Elio would be the lightest passenger car on the road. For those nervous about driving such a small and lightweight car on the highway, Vassallo says it’s engineered to achieve a five-star crash rating by automotive standards with unibody construction, a hardened steel roll cage, crumple zones at the front and rear and added side impact protection. It would typically require motorcycle registration and plates but whether it would require a motorcycle license in most states to legally operate has yet to be determined.

Founded by automotive engineer Paul Elio in 2008, Elio Motors plans to build the new three-wheeler – ironically perhaps – at the former General Motors’ plant in Shreveport, La that used to crank out Hummers. Production is scheduled to begin next March with an initial hire of 1,500 workers. The company hopes to sell 50,000-60,000 cars during its first full year on the road, and as many as 250,000 units annually after five years. “Admittedly that’s a big number, but they’re so affordable that – at least theoretically – we could put one of these in every household’s garage,” Vassallo suggests. “If someone’s spending more than $150 a month on fuel just going to and from work this vehicle will indeed save them money.”

Plans are to sell the three-wheeler through a network of Elio-owned stores in the top 60 U.S. markets with multiple locations in each area. Since the vehicle is officially classified as a motorcycle and not a car, Vassallo says the company can side-step state laws that govern new-car sales and sell the vehicles themselves without facing the same legal pitfalls as Tesla has encountered for its efforts at bypassing the traditional franchised dealer arrangement. Sales in Canada and Mexico are planned moving forward, with expansion into emerging world markets an eventual possibility.

Options, which will include items like a sunroof, leather seats and audio upgrades, would be installed to order at one of as many as nine regional “marshalling centers,” with a next-day turnaround promised. “This allows us to build all the cars alike at the factory to maximize our efficiency,” Vassallo explains. In another departure from the norm, the cars will not be serviced at the company’s dealerships, but rather via Pep Boys car care centers. “That means we’ll have over 800 service locations nationwide from day one.”

Though its primary market will be commuters, Vassallo says the car will likely also appeal to cash-strapped buyers who might otherwise only be able to afford a well worn used vehicle. “At this price we can draw business from what would otherwise be the ‘clunker’ market and offer them a new car with a full warranty.” The company is actively reaching out to car sharing companies and fleet buyers and has been talking with hotels about the possibility of owning one or more Elios for rental to travelers for a few hours’ use at a time.

So how’s the car drive? We took what turned out to be a very rough prototype out for a spin in suburban Chicagoland and found it to be, shall we say, interesting.

For starters, entry and egress is about on a par with most small cars, and once inside there’s generous headroom with adequate leg and headroom for taller drivers to stretch out, though its narrow fighter jet-like cockpit takes some getting used to. Forward visibility is good, but small side mirrors and a lack of a back window and rearview mirror conspire to make backing up more of a challenge than we’d like. Novice drivers should put up Post-It notes around the cabin to remind themselves that the front wheels are set significantly apart from the body to help avoid scraping the fenders on other cars, curbs or at ATMs, tollbooths and fast food drive-through windows.

Unfortunately we could only approximate the driving experience afforded by the final production version, as the prototype we piloted was fitted with a crude carbureted engine rescued from an old Geo Metro, and lacked an exhaust system of any kind. Still, with an ultra-low curb weight, the 55 horses with which it will roll off the assembly line should suffice, albeit barely. We’re told the car’s brakes, which faded faster than a black shirt in a bucket of bleach when asked to bring the car to halt, were mercifully not to final spec. Ride quality seemed adequate, at least over the well-paved roads to which we had access. While the Elio felt stable at higher speeds, low-speed handling was unpleasantly heavy, given the car’s unfortunate lack of power steering. This would definitely not be our choice for careening around twisty roads, though our biceps could probably stand the workout they’d get by maneuvering the vehicle into tight urban parking spaces.

Still, the Elio is all about providing basic transportation on a budget, and from that standpoint we anticipate the final production version should indeed deliver the goods. Whether sufficient U.S. commuters, otherwise accustomed to larger and more powerful rides, will embrace the tiny three-wheeled Elio in sufficient numbers for the company to turn a profit remains to be seen.

“We’ll never get around the need for a big vehicle – there will still be boats to be towed to the lake and kids to be driven to soccer practice or school,” Vassallo pitches. “But the kids and the boats don’t come to the office with us every day, and it’s wasteful to drive a big sedan or SUV with most of the seats unoccupied to travel maybe 10 or 20 miles at a time.”

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Sources : Elio's 3 Wheeler Photo | Elio's 3 Wheeler Article
Volkswagen Golf R400 : Current Models
Volkswagen Golf R400 : Current Models

Volkswagen has signaled a desire to mix it the today’s crop of mega-hatches with a spectacular new 294kW version of the seventh-generation Golf called the R400.

Unveiled at the Beijing motor show, the new über-Golf has been developed by Volkswagen’s R division in a program aimed at both showcasing its engineering prowess and range of customization.

The rapid new three-door hatchback, the latest in a long line of Golf concepts, is based around the mechanical package of the recently introduced Golf R in a move that sees it take direct aim at the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, BMW M235i and sister company Audi’s upcoming second-generation RS3.

The Golf R400 runs a powered up version of the new Golf R’s turbocharged 2.0-litre direct injection four-cylinder gasoline engine, the EA888 as it is known internally. Its engineering has been overseen by Volkswagen’s head of petrol engine development, Fritz Eichler – the man behind the similarly configured unit used in the most powerful of the existing crop of mega-hatches, the A45 AMG.

With 294kW at 7200rpm and 450Nm of torque between 2000 and 6000rpm, the heavily tuned four pot packs a significant 73kW and 70Nm more than the already potent Golf R. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG offers 265kW at 6000rpm and the same 450Nm of torque on a slightly narrower band of revs between 2250-5000rpm.

Volkswagen’s EA888 engine was also showcased in Audi’s TT Quattro Sport Concept at the Geneva motor show back in March with a slightly higher output of 309kW and exactly the same torque loading as the Golf R400.

To maximize the sledgehammer performance potential of its engine, Volkswagen’s latest concept employs a six-speed manual gearbox and the latest version of Volkswagen’s Haldex multi-plate clutch 4Motion four-wheel drive system, a combination that has also been taken from the new Golf R.

The electro-mechancial 4Motion four-wheel drive system constantly alters the amount of drive sent to the front and rear axles, with up to 100 per cent of the formidable reserves able to be channeled to either end depending on prevailing levels of traction. It operates in combination with Volkswagen’s EDS and XDS+ electronic differential locks as part of the Golf R400’s multi function ESP system, which also boasts a sport function to allow a less aggressive intervention of the electrics when the driving conditions permit.

The Golf R400 is based around the three-door Golf R, with which it shares its hot formed steel floorpan and elements of its bodyshell.

Despite early rumors suggesting it may receive a wider range a weight saving measures than those featured on the concept in Beijing, it is not exceptionally light. But at 1420kg, new Volkswagen undercuts the Golf R with standard six-speed manual gearbox by 36kg and the A45 AMG, which runs a standard seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, by 135kg. This endows it with a weight-to-power ratio of 4.8kg/kW.

Volkswagen says the Golf R400 reaches 100km/h from standstill in a sizzling 3.9sec, 1.0sec faster than the German car maker quotes for the latest Golf R and 0.7sec faster than Mercedes-Benz claims for the A45 AMG. Top speed is limited to 280km/h – 30km/h up on the limited 250km/h maximum of the Golf R and A45 AMG, although officials suggest the gearing would allow it to crack 300km/h without electronic intervention.

The powerful new three-door hatchback’s styling is a lot less restrained than recent concepts based on Volkswagen’s perennial best seller in line with plans to create a car that could be considered for low volume production. Up front there is a deeper bumper sporting integral carbon fibre elements, including a prominent splitter. The cooling ducts have also been heavily modified to ram a greater amount of air into the engine bay and to the front brakes.

In a move that provides it with an even more aggressive stance than the new Golf R, the Golf R400 receives unique fenders that have been widened by 20mm, giving it an added 40mm of added width both front and rear.

Further back, there are carbon fibre exterior mirror housings and subtle sill extensions. The rear is distinguished by a carbon fibre wing spoiler atop the tailgate and a deeper bumper imbued with carbon fibre elements, vertical ducts used to extract hot air from the wheel houses as well as a carbon fibre diffuser housing two large round tail pipes.

Yellow accents are used within the headlamp assemblies, which feature the latest LED graphics, as well as the grille and brake calipers to visually set the new car apart from the Golf R, which uses chrome highlights. The new Volkswagen also sports yellow and chrome R400 badges within the grille, along the flanks and on the tailgate.

As with its driveline, the chassis of the Golf R400 is borrowed largely from the Golf R. The two share the same MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, which is set 20mm lower than regular Golf models and features DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control) that adapts the dampers to one of three modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. A further common feature are the 19-inch wheels and 235/35 R19 tyres.

Inside, the Golf R400 once again builds on the Golf R with revised instruments (including a speedo incremented to 320km/h) and carbon fibre backed shell seats up front in combination of carbon fibre trim elements and yellow stitching.

Wolfsburg officials are tightlipped on the chances of the Golf R400 reaching showrooms. However, sources at its R division, which was responsible for its conception, development and engineering, suggest its close links to the Golf R could be an important factor in ensuring it sees production on a limited basis as a figure head for Volkswagen’s performance car division.

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Sources : Volkswagen Golf R400 Photo | Volkswagen Golf R400 Article
AirPod, That Runs On Air : Videos

AirPod, That Runs On Air : Videos

An amazing affordable auto that runs on air!

AIRPod is the culmination of MDI studies on pollution and urban mobility.
This concept will be the first to leave the production line in spring 2009. MDI will respond to an invitation to tender of the city of Paris, "Autolib'", and is already the subject of applications for various municipalities.

With small size, a tiny price, zero pollution, fun and futuristic design, AIRPod mark a turning point in the range of urban vehicles while renewing the idea of the automobile and transportation. You can drive with a joystick, it only costs one euro per 200 km and leaves no one indifferent in crept in traffic.

It is a real breath of fresh air in our cities and the prelude to travel without pollution. Its small size make it easy to park, keeping still a large internal volume. AIRPod help us to forget the price of petrol.

AIRPod is part of the MDI production licence of "less than 500kg vehicles", and is manufactured in the same factories as OneFlowAir, following the original production concept proposed by MDI.

The standard version is designed for the transport of persons. It has four seats (3 adults and one child) and has space for luggage. It is dedicated to multiple uses as in the private and public sectors. Airports, train stations and municipalities also need a cheap, non-polluting car with high mobility.

This wehicle is changing our urban life in the city center in freeing ourselves of the prohibitive cost of petrol and offering us mobility never gained until today.

AIRPod Cargo
This carriage version with a single place has a load volume greater than one meter cube that makes deliveries easy in town. Designed for runners, messaging, and the artisans and communities, Cargo AIRPod brings Zero Pollution in institutions. The Post, factory handling and delivery are markets of choice for AIRPod Cargo.

AIRPod Baby Two front seats and a chest of more than 500 liters, all for less than 1,80m long, it's the most extreme, a real challenge for car design. This model was created keeping in mind the most congested cities by traffic. It is a versatile which can also be used for deliveries, municipal services, roads and small logistics.

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Sources : AirPod Photo | AirPod Article
Lamorghini Gallardo Spider : Photos
Lamorghini Gallardo Spider : Photos

Sources : CAR NAME Photo
1983 Nissan 280ZX : Classic Cars
1983 Nissan 280ZX : Classic Cars

The Nissan 280ZX (internal model code "S130", also sold as the Datsun 280ZX and Nissan Fairlady Z, depending on the market) was a sports coupé produced from 1978 to 1983. It was the second generation Z-car, replacing the Datsun 260Z/280Z in late 1978. The 280ZX was the first time where the "By Nissan" subscript was badged alongside the Datsun logo, along with the Nissan trucks. The 280ZX was Motor Trends Import Car of the Year for 1979. The 280ZX was replaced by the Nissan 300ZX in 1984.

The 280ZX was a complete redesign, retaining only the L28 inline-6 engine and other driveline components from the 280Z. Both two-seater and four-seater (2+2) designs were offered.

With a focus on the oil crisis of the late 1970s, Nissan improved fuel economy, emissions, and aerodynamics over the first generation Z-Cars. In addition, high-end audio systems were standard.

The 280ZX adopted suspension similar to that of the concurrent Bluebird 910, with MacPherson struts in front and semi-trailing arm independent in the rear. The wheelbase was up from its predecessor (90.7 in (2,304 mm)) to 91.3 in (2,319 mm) for the two-seater.

The 280ZX's body was redesigned with aerodynamics in mind. By closing in the open grille of the first generation Z-Car and through other improvements taken from wind-tunnel testing, the drag coefficient was reduced from 0.467 to 0.385, and the lift coefficient from 0.41 to 0.14. The new design had a lower center-of-gravity and near 50/50 weight distribution in both 2-seater and 2+2 designs. The rear of the car was stretched to accommodate a larger 80 L (21.133 U.S. liquid gallons) fuel tank. Overall, the new body design gave better fuel economy and high-speed stability (one of the known issues from the first generation Z-car).

Improvements were also made to braking, and steering. The 280ZX initially offered either unassisted rack-and-pinion steering, or Datsun 810-derived recirculating-ball with power assistance. A new power-assisted rack-and-pinion replaced the recirculating-ball steering system for the 1981 Turbo, becoming available on the normally aspirated models the following year.

It is a common misconception that the 280ZX's L28 engine is less powerful than the L24 engine of the 1970 240Z: the difference is due to Nissan adopting the SAE net standard of power measurement, which resulted in lower power ratings than the earlier gross figures and added emissions. However, Nissan designers deliberately sacrificed raw acceleration for improved fuel economy in the 280ZX, so the early 1979 models rated at 145 hp (108 kW) actually had slower acceleration than the 240Z, largely due to increases in weight and emissions control strangling. This overall performance deficit was not addressed until the release of the 280ZX Turbo in 1981.

The 280ZX was branded in the American and Australian markets as the Datsun 280ZX; and in the local Japanese market as the Fairlady Z. In the 1979 model year in the American market, it was co-branded Datsun by Nissan through the 1983 model year. These were considered transition years as Nissan began to phase in their new global brand under the Nissan name.

The Japanese market got both 2.0 L and 2.8 L engines. The 2.0 L-engined Fairlady 200Z used the L20 engine common in Nissan family cars of the same era. Export markets all got the L28-powered version. The preference for two litre engines in the Japanese market is a by-product of taxation laws.

Two trim levels were offered in America, with a no-frills two-seater and the Grand Luxury (GL) ZX carrying the full equipment list. Leather seats were optional, and an optional digital instrument cluster was introduced in 1982.

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Sources : 1983 Nissan 280ZX Photo | 1983 Nissan 280ZX Article
Peugeot Moovie : Concept Cars
Peugeot Moovie : Concept Cars

The third Peugeot Design Competition encouraged designers from all over the world to submit their designs for a Peugeot car they would like to drive.

The winning design came from a Portuguese designer, André Costa. Costa's creation is the Peugeot Moovie, an environmentally friendly city car.

For the 2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Peugeot made a 1:1 scale model of the Moovie. Not only that, but the Moovie was placed directly on Peugeot's show stand alongside Peugeot's own designs.

The non-operational Peugeot Moovie concept is made from the usual concept car materials; foam, epoxy, plastics, steel, polycarbonate and Plexiglas amongst others. It took a total of three months work at the Peugeot Style Center to take the Moovie from Costa's drawings and computer models to the finished full scale model.

As a further award the Peugeot Moovie was mass produced as a 1:43 scale model.

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Sources : Peugeot Moovie Photo | Peugeot Moovie Article
Expect More Irregular Ferrari Engines : News
Expect Turbo v8s and Hyrbid v12s From Ferrari : News

Ferrari wants to reduce its fleet carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2021 while simultaneously boosting performance. To do this the supercar maker will use turbochargers on V8 engines and hybrid systems on V12s, Ferrari Powertrain Director Vittorio Dini said.

"Our average CO2 emissions are currently about 270 grams of CO2 per kilometer. We want to use all the available technologies to reduce emissions by 3 percent each year, which means approximately a 20 percent decrease by 2021," Dini told Automotive News Europe.

Ferrari's average CO2 emissions have fallen by almost 40 percent since 2007, at which time they were 435g/km, Dini said.

Although it is part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ferrari is treated as a stand-alone company when it comes to meeting tougher global CO2 emissions targets. This is because of Ferrari's small size and the fact that the Italian brand has a different headquarters than parent Fiat and has its own technical centers.

One benefit of its low-volume production -- roughly 7,000 units a year -- is that Dini said Ferrari has been able to negotiate its own targets with both European Union regulators and officials at the U.S. Environment Protection Agency. "What is important is that Ferrari achieves the same percentage reduction trend as volume automakers," Dini said.

Turbocharged solution

Ferrari already has successfully cut CO2 while boosting performance with help from turbocharging in the recently launched California T coupe-convertible.

The supercar's turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 gasoline engine creates 552 hp and emits 250g/km of CO2 while its predecessor's 4.3-liter naturally aspired V8 offered 483 hp and emitted 299gkm of CO2.

“In the future, all of our V8s will use turbos,” Dini said, adding that Ferrari's next challenge is to decrease the displacement of its V8s while adding even more power.

Hybrid solutions

Dini said Ferrari would count on hybrid solutions to cut fuel use and emissions on V12 engines, which are currently found in its top-of-the-range F12 Berlinetta and FF models.

Ferrari showed what is possible from this strategy last year with the introduction of its first hybrid model, the limited-edition LaFerrari.

The supercar, which costs more than $1.4 million (and is reportedly completely sold out), gets its power from an 800-hp normally aspirated 6.3-liter V12 and a 120 kilowatt (equivalent to 163 hp) electric motor.

The La Ferrari has a combined 963 hp and emits 330g/km of CO2 while the model it replaced, the Enzo, offered 660hp and emitted 545g/km of CO2.

Dini said turbos are not a good solution for Ferrari's V12s because four turbo units would be needed to achieve the required improvements. This would take up too much space and create too much heat in the engine compartment.

Ferrari plans 20% CO2 cut by 2021 originally appeared on Automotive News.

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Sources : Ferrari California T Photo | Ferrari Plans Article
Jaguar F-Type : Current Models
Jaguar F-Type : Current Models

The F-Type Project 7 is the first Jaguar performance vehicle from Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Operations team, and will be produced in an exclusive, limited edition run of up to 250 units globally. Its distinctive roadster body, introduced in concept form last summer, pays tribute to one of the most famous and iconic racing Jaguar cars: the three-time Le Mans winning D-type, which in 2014 is celebrating its 60th anniversary year. The naming of the F-Type Project 7 pays homage to seven outright Jaguar Le Mans wins.

The F-Type Project 7 is powered by the Jaguar 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, now in 575 horsepower form, enabling the all-aluminum-bodied car to achieve acceleration from 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds and onwards towards an electronically-limited top speed of 186mph. Power is sent to the rear wheels through the Jaguar eight-speed Quickshift transmission and second generation Electronic Active Differential (EAD). Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes are standard on the F-Type Project 7, offering powerful, consistent, fade-free braking. Another standard feature is Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVbB) which, working in conjunction with the EAD, enables extremely precise handling.

Key design elements include the D-type-inspired fairing behind the driver, a new front bumper, and downforce-increasing aerodynamic modifications — including a carbon fiber front air splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser and adjustable rear spoiler. While the original concept car was a single seater, the production version has been transformed into a two-seater, with rollover hoops for both driver and passenger now integrated into the design.

The F-Type Project 7 will be offered in five metallic colors: Ultra Blue, Caldera Red, British Racing Green (all with white graphics options), Ultimate Black and Glacier White (both with grey graphics options).

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Sources : Jaguar F-Type Photo | Jaguar F-Type Article
Nissan's ZEOD RC : Videos

Nissan's ZEOD RC : Videos

Nissan's ZEOD RC hybrid electric racer has claimed a new record for electric vehicles at Le Mans, hitting 300 km/h (186 mph) down Mulsanne Straight at Circuit de la Sarthe.

With Satoshi Motoyama at the wheel in his first session during race week, the car reached the 300 km/h during qualifying while running on electric power only.

"I drove ZEOD at Le Mans for the first time and instantly we were able to reach our target to run at more than 300km/h with electric power only," said Motoyama. "I was so surprised with the speed and power of electricity and it felt great.

As well as breaking the electric record for top speed, Nissan is aiming to be the first team to complete a full 8.5 mile lap of Circuit de la Sarthe under pure electric power.

The Nissan ZEOD RC ZEOD, which stands for Zero Emissions on Demand, uses two 110 kW electric motors coupled with a 400 hp, 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine weighing just 40 kilograms. The driver can swap between the petrol and electric motors from the car's cabin.

Because of its unique design and powertrain, the ZEOD is racing out of Le Mans' famous Garage 56, which is reserved for cars that showcase innovative technology.

The firsts for Nissan are not just limited to performance, however, as the ZEOD is the first car at Le Mans to complete a lap without any mirrors. Instead, the car uses a rear facing camera that projects to a screen in the cockpit. The camera is combined with a radar system which uses arrows that change color and size to show approaching nearby cars, and indicate how fast they are going.

Nissan's ZEOD Racer features a rear facing camera instead of traditional mirrors With four different classes of car sharing the same track, being aware of traffic could be the difference between your car seeing out the 24 hours or ending up on a trolley in the garage.

Check out the ZEOD's record breaking run in the video above and stay tuned for more as the battle of the hybrids at Le Mans unfolds.

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Sources : 2015 Mercedes Benz GLA Photo | Nissan's ZEOD RC Article | Nissan's ZEOD RC Video
Dodge Viper GT : Photos
Dodge Viper GT : Photos

Sources : Dodge Viper GT Photo
1974 Mercury Cougar : Classic Cars
1974 Mercury Cougar : Classic Cars

Mercury Division had a problem. The muscle car market which had been so profitable during the 1960s suddenly belly flopped in 1970. From there on, sales dwindled alarmingly. A question of market saturation, sky high insurance premiums and aging buyers flattened the growth curve. Early market leaders such as the Mustang and GTO were still selling enough cars to make it worthwhile but later entries like the Dodge Challenger were having a tough go of it. The Cougar which was mechanically and bodily tied to the Mustang, faced an unusual twist. Buyers liked the car. They enjoyed the luxury trim, silent, smooth operation and large size. It was perceived as more of a luxury GT than a true tire burner. This was plainly evident in the healthy XR-7 sales. When Mustang was heavily redesigned in 1971 along the lines of their intermediate brawler, the Torino, sales went downwards compared to 1970.

The Cougar didn't fare much better but it had one bright spot glowing. The personal luxury car market was rapidly expanding in sales as were intermediates. The Cougar was basically filled both those niches by virtue of size and equipment offering. It had one major fault, however. A true personal luxury car is full frame with separate body on construction. This provides the best insulation and comfort from road noise and roughness. Cougar was a unibody car just like the Mustang. No matter how much money was spent improving the upholstery, carpets, stereo systems and paint, road noise telegraphs along a unibody panel much easier than a separate frame and body design.

It was getting hard to justify the price increases to customers when they were getting a Mustang in disguise. One journalist noticed the discrepancy and summed it up as, "a sporty compact Cadillac." Mercury knew Torino had jumped into the personal luxury car market in 1972 with a redesign using a full frame and much better quality interiors and insulation. They were rewarded with strong sales although part of that was attributed to having an all new car while GM had to carry over their 1968 era A bodies one more year.

Mercury opted to go all out and make the 1974 Cougar a brand new car inside and out. The dashboard had full instrumentation. The bucket seats were tall and plush even in vinyl. The standard V8 was a 351 with optional power all the way up to a 400 cid Modified block. The Q code 351 Cleveland was also offered but it was quite rare. They were aiming it at the Grand Prix and Monte Carlo buyer.To improve the ride quality, the 1973 leaf spring rear suspension was changed to coil springs front and rear.Luxury car motifs were employed throughout including a leather padded instrument panel, hood ornament and the ubiquitous opera window and vinyl roof. To promote this new Cougar a switch in advertising was done as well. Instead of the car buff books, 1974 Cougars were promoted in more upscale reads such as Esquire, Playboy and Time. The plan worked. Sales went from 60,628 in 1973 to 91,670 in 1974, a terrible year for car sales in general thanks to OPEC and the economy.

Cougar's sales in 1975 were muted due to Chrysler's debut of their personal luxury car, the Cordoba. However it rebounded smartly in 1976 with 83,765 cars. Clearly the new model was impressing buyers.A new wrinkle behind the scenes caused problems. Ford intruded on Mercury's territory with a high end Torino called Elite. Mercury dealers complained, citing internal competition was the last thing they needed. Ford executives decided the Torino name would be dropped after 1976 and the platform redesigned and sold as an LTD II. Mercury Cougar would be paired to the new 1977 Thunderbird which was facing a radical downsizing program.

For promotion purposes, Cougar moved their car away from the Mustang. The vinyl covered dashboard seems weird and dated now. Back then it was a departure from its pony car origins with Mustang's fake wood grain dashboard. In 1973, the Cougar XR-7 is depicted with a classy looking lady wearing a white designer blouse, matching slacks and gold necklace. A sizable motorboat is in the background. It was chic but very much a blue collar fantasy. It's a motorboat after all, not a yacht and we have doubts this woman was ever a mainline debutante.

In 1974, we have what looks like the same car but it's different pal, completely different. The setting is indoors with a black satin backdrop. The woman is dressed in white but her hair is seriously styled. She's wearing an evening gown, diamond bracelet thick enough to cut cord wood with and her pet cat isn't allowed to lounge on her car's roof top, thank you. She's obviously a somebody now, probably a Bryn Mawr or Brown alumni. The 1974 Cougar also drives differently. It's like a bank vault inside and speed is no longer the chief aim of its life. The rear seat is actually comfortable to sit in. You wouldn't volunteer to cross USA in there. However you aren't trapped with your legs straddling a bucket seat ahead of you looming like a tomb stone. That's what like inside a 1973 Cougar. One thing both cars shared however was horrible gas mileage. No one bought these for economy.There was an interesting TV ad for this Cougar featuring a starlet, Farrah Fawcett. This was before Charlies Angels and her hit poster. A link to the vintage ad is included here.

There you go.

Today they are seldom seen at car shows or cruise nights. No one makes reproduction parts and your best bet is to buy the nicest most complete one you can find. Although production numbers were high they rusted easily and luxury cars devalued steeply once they were used cars. The downsize trend took hold and they became out of date quickly. A nice compromise between performance and luxury if you must combine these two is the 1974 Q code Cougar. I would choose the 1973 over it however because weight is your enemy when it comes to speed and a good exhaust system will keep the car almost as quiet as a 1974 model. You won't get the super soft ride however.

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Sources : 1974 Mercury Cougar Photo | 1974 Mercury Cougar Article
Maserati Levante : Concept Cars
Maserati Levante : Concept Cars

Hot news in the luxury car market at the moment is the release of new SUVs from major luxury manufacturers. Maserati, like the rest of them have released their challenger in this space, which will be called the Levante.

While speaking about the upcoming Levante with an Australian publication, local importer ATECO revealed that the Maserati SUV won’t rival low-end Porsche Cayenne models, and will instead target the most luxurious and expensive end of this growing market.

“The Levante will remain an exclusive vehicle,” stated Maserati’s local spokesperson. “The bulk of Cayenne sales come from lower models that we won’t be competing with, and have no great desire to compete with.”.

While certain countries like Australia will only receive higher spec Levante models, even the lower end variants are likely to be priced above comparative low-end Porsche Cayennes. In the range topping spec and possibly fitted with the same twin-turbocharged V8 engine delivering over 510bhp from the Quattroporte, the Maserati Levante will rival the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

In the near future Maserati will have a a new sports car to rival the Jaguar F-Type, and inspired by the Alfieri Concept likely to launch in the new few year, the future is looking very bright for Maserati indeed.

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Sources : Maserati Levante Photo | Maserati Levante Article
Ferrari Considering Sub-458 Model : News
Ferrari Considering Sub-458 Model : News

What seemed like an impossible scenario a couple of years ago might become reality within the next twelve months, as Ferrari is reportedly working on an entry-level version of the 458 Italia. That’s the word coming from Automobile, which claims the Italians are set to introduce a twin-turbo, 2.9-liter, V-6 engine, and create a more efficient and less expensive sports car based on the popular 458.

Shocked? You should be. Last time Ferrari used a V-6 engine in a road-going car it was 1974 in the soon-to-retire Dino . Since then, all V-6 units have motivated Formula One cars exclusively. It happened from 1980 through 1988 before FIA reintroduced V-6 power units to the sport for the 2014 season.

Details are rather scarce, but such a move would make a lot of sense given the market’s current shift to smaller, more efficient units. So what’s Ferrari hoping to achieve by rolling out an entry-level 458 ? Skip past the jump to find out.

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Sources : Sub-458 Model Photo | Sub-458 Model Article
2014 Hennessey Venom GT2 : Current Models
2014 Hennessey Venom GT2 : Current Models

2014 Hennessey Venom GT2 is another supercar to choose. The car has gained spotlight last year with its anticipation on the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. Even though the car only served as a cameo, people were attracted much to know its action on the race track. John Hennessey states that the Venom GT2 will be soon arriving in the market. It will come with significant modification on the power, performance, and design. Inside we do not have any information about it. But we believe that it will come in race inspired design for the automaker focuses much on the powertrain than the interior features.

2014 Hennessey Venom GT2 will be created from the carbon fiber material since it can reduce the weight of vehicle. But the automaker will bring enhancement on the body style and material. Some improvements can be seen on the new side-view mirrors, exposed carbon fiber front air-dam, and dihedral hinges on the doors. The new hood features the center arch. The extra head room can be gained for it comes with a double bubble roof. Hennessey Venom GT2 does not use the Lotus Elise headlight design any more. The manufacturer decides to use the original headlight styling which can give the menacing and muscular signature.

2014 Hennessey Venom GT2 is about power, speed and responsiveness. It will be equipped with 7.0 liter twin turbo V8 engine. It can generate the powertrain the whopping 1,500 hp. The transmission used to couple with the engine comes in six speed Ricardo manual or seven speed paddle shift control. The maximum speed can hit the road with 287 miles per hour. We may expect that it can bring a stiff competition in the faster car segments.

2014 Hennessey Venom GT2 has not been priced by Hennessey Company.

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Sources : 2014 Hennessey Venom GT2 Photo | 2014 Hennessey Venom GT2 Article
Honda Gets R-Rated : Videos

Honda Gets R-Rated : Videos

Honda is still about a year away from bringing back the Civic Type R to challenge Europe's hot hatch ranks, but the wait isn't stopping the brand from starting its promotion in the UK with a truly strange ad campaign.

Titled R-Rated, the marketing plays with the idea of Honda's Type R badge not being something for every driver, and its 60-second short film Disruption definitely isn't for everyone. The teaser video is meant to personify the spirit of the hot Civic by combining aggressively weird imagery with a glimpse of the new model. It cycles through things like a pack of wolves, androgynous models, a lady with a samurai sword and a flaming speed camera before getting to what we all want to see – the car. It's a weird, by turns creepy, video that feels like it's trying to be outlandish without always showing there's much thought behind the madness.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about the Civic Type R is that there are still major doubts about whether its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with an estimated 280 horsepower will make it to North Ameircan showrooms. We understand the business case may be tough, especially when the CTR's hatchback bodystyle isn't sold in America at all, but we think Honda's North American showrooms could use a bit more performance edge, and an affordable halo car like the Type R could do just that.

Despite the R-Rated label on this video, there's nothing too unsafe for work here, unless your boss really frowns on the destruction of sculptures and general weirdness. Scroll down to watch the bizarre ad and read Honda's explanation for all the craziness.

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Sources : Civic Type R Photo | Honda Civi Type R Video Article | Honda Civic Type R Video
Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina : Photos
Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina : Photos

Sources : Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina Photo
1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 : Classic Cars
1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 : Classic Cars

The 2012 New York Auto Show, will prove to be quite a memorable one this year, as the event will become the host to the most expensive American car in the world, in the form of a the classic 1962 Shelby CSX2000 Cobra. Originally showcased at the 1962 New York Auto Show, the CSX2000 Cobra is a one of its kind vehicle with an estimated price tag of a mind blowing $26 million. This one off model of the Cobra currently resides at the Shelby Museum in Las Vegas and was designed and developed by the legendary Caroll Shelby and the model is still known to be in the possession of Mr. Shelby. The 1962 Shelby CSX2000 Cobra was the first ever Shelby to have been given a monstrous Ford V8 engine that provided this vintage sports car with the ability of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, while attaining a top speed of 140 mph.

On the inside, the 1962 Shelby CSX2000 Cobra features leather upholstered bucket seats, while the doors of this iconic vehicle were given aluminum skins. The original CSX2000 Cobra tires manufactured by Goodyear Motorway Special and came with a four speed transmission system, along with dashing wire wheels. Furthermore, the CSX2000 Cobra is also the only Cobra sports car to feature inboard rear disc brakes. Throughout the history of Shelby American, the company built some 75 examples of 260 Cobra, 580 models of 289 Cobra which is also known to be the favorite car of Mr. Shelby and then there were 348 models of the 427 Cobra. The CSX2000 Cobra is known to be the only one of its kind still in existence and with such a massive price tag attracted a lot of press attention. To ensure that the vintage car maintains its rich and vibrant impact on the auto world as being one of the most expensive cars, Shelby American Inc. decided to repaint the car every time a journalist took it out for a test drive. This lead to the repainting of the iconic automobile more than six times, thus leasing to the impression that there were multiple variants of the CSX2000, while only one ever existed.

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Sources : 1962 Shelby Cobra Photo | 1962 Shelby Cobra Article
Ducati Hunter : Concept Cars
Ducati Hunter : Concept Cars

I love my Triumph and rarely give second glances to other supersports, but daaayum this bike would get more than a head turn from me! Stylistically, the Arac ZXS looks something like a hybrid of Jap brands and the Italian Ducati, none of which hold a match to the ZXS’s extremely robust body and aggressive stance. This v-twin beast is 100% street fighter. As with any concept, it’s hard to say what the performance is like, but judging by the mean look on its face, it’s probably safe to say that it’s somewhere between breathtaking and heart-stopping.

Sharp lines and curves surround the engine compartment- the result of a body design that naturally continues through the whole frame, giving the impression of a metal skin with two tone-color (in this case black and fire orange). The seating area is also quite large providing better comfort and comes to a point as the currently popular thinner tail with integrated back light. The front light head is also unique in its pure form and the new technology that uses a light emitting glass plates that gives a bright, white, directional light.

An additional smart riding feature called the “safe drive system” can be toggled on and off, and consists of an integrated sensor that tracks and notes speed and distance from surrounding vehicles. It slightly regulates speed when cruising to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, but is easily bypassed by picking up speed or simply flipping a switch.

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Sources : Ducati Hunter Photo | Ducati Hunter Article
Audi Finally Brings Laser Beams : News
Audi Finally Brings Laser Beams : News

Audi has just unveiled the R8 LMX – the world’s first production car with laser high beams. The R8 was the first production car to boast all-LED headlights back in 2008, with the updated supercar now offering advanced options with the newly added laser high beams. Generating twice the range of light as the all-LED headlights, a blue laser beam is converted into roadworthy white light that only becomes active at speeds higher than 60 km/h, while a sensor system detects other cars and adjusts the light accordingly. Boasting 570 horsepower and 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, the R8 LMX will be released this summer and can be ordered now.

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Sources : Audi High Beams Photo | Audi High Beams Article
Koenigsegg Agera One:1 : Current Models
Koenigsegg Agera One:1 : Current Models

Koenigsegg is celebrating its 20th anniversary in a mega way. The Swedish supercar maker has revealed more details about the Koenigsegg Agera One:1. The world’s first “megacar” gets its name from its 1 metric horsepower per 1 kilogram power-to-weight ratio, and creates a new supercar sub-genre as the first production car to make 1 megawatt of power.

The 1340 kilogram (2954 pound) Koenigsegg Agera One:1 produces 1340 metric horsepower or 1321 hp U.S. hp. That’s 187-hp more than the current Agera R, and 137-hp more than the much heavier Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. While Koenigsegg hasn’t revealed all the updates to the megacar’s twin-turbo 5.0-liter V-8, we know the new Agera One:1 features 3D-printed variable turbo housings for improved response and low-end torque, as well as a 3D printed titanium exhaust end piece that saves 14 ounces of weight. Another weight saving measure includes a 20-percent lighter carbon fiber chassis made with new high modulus fibers.

Koenigsegg has also paid close attention to the Agera One:1’s handling dynamics with variable ride height, as well as adjustable shock absorbers and spring ratio stiffness. Active aerodynamics includes independent left and right flaps under the front splitter and a hydraulically actuated dual plane rear wing mounted to the top. Koenigsegg says the Agera One:1 is capable of 2.0 g in lateral acceleration on street-legal cup tires, and that the active aerodynamics provide 1344 pounds of downforce at 160 mph. Although developed as a track-focused car first, the automaker says the Agera One:1 has as an estimated top speed of above 273 mph, which would put it above the 1244-hp Hennessey Venom GT’s unofficial 270.49 mph run, and the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport’s official 268 mph run. Inside, the Agera One:1 sports vented carbon fiber racing seats with memory foam padding, 3G internet connectivity for telemetry, performance, lap times, and software upgrades, as well as its own iPhone app. The 3G connection and GPS are also used for a Predictive Active Chassis and Aero Track Mode. An active noise cancelling seat option is also available. Koenigsegg will reveal more details at the Koenigsegg Agera One:1 debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show next week. Unfortunately for us, all the megacar's specs are good for bench racing -- Koenigsegg says every planned production vehicle has been sold.

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Sources : Agera One:1 Photo | Agera One:1 Article
Benefits Of Franchised Dealerships : Videos

Benefits Of Franchised Dealerships : Videos

Tesla's roadmap to success has been long and winding and full of potholes. One of the biggest obstacles vexing the startup automaker has been America's network of state franchise laws, most of which prevent automakers -- even small ones like Tesla -- from selling directly to consumers.

But CEO Elon Musk and his team of lawyers and lobbyists have slowly been making inroads from coast to coast. And that seems to be making dealer networks nervous -- how else to explain the National Automobile Dealers Association's latest press release, entitled "NADA Launches Major New Initiative to Promote the Benefits of Franchised Auto Dealers"?

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Sources : Dealership Photo | NADA Campaign Video Article
Jaguar E-Type Retro : Photos
Jaguar E-Type Retro : Photos

Sources : Jaguar E-Type Retro Photo
2014 W Motors Lykan HyperSport : Current Models
2014 W Motors Lykan HyperSport : Current Models

The Middle East’s first supposed super-carmaker, W Motors, has launched the Lykan HyperSport at the Qatar Motor Show.

It is as exclusive as it gets, with only 7 units reportedly being built for customers. And the price of exclusivity? Just US$ 3.4 million, or about Dhs 12.5 million, and they throw in a special-edition Cyrus Klepcys watch worth more than $200,000 for free. For that price tag, you also get diamond-coated LED headlights and gold-stitched leather seats.

The mid-engine supercar is powered by a turbocharged flat-6, capable of producing 750 hp and 1000 Nm of torque, enough to propel the car from 0-100 kph in 2.8 seconds. Continue flooring the accelerator pedal and you can go up to 395 kph.

W Motors was founded in Lebanon, but is now based in the UAE. Expect at least one or two Lykans to show up on the streets of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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Sources : 2014 Lykan HyperSport Photo | 2014 Lykan HyperSport Article
Toyota Ns4 : Concept Cars
Toyota Ns4 : Concept Cars

After a surprisingly perfunctory Detroit Auto Show launch of the 2012 Toyota Prius C small hybrid hatchback, Toyota unveiled an all-new plug-in hybrid concept car, known as the NS4.

The company challenged multiple engineering teams to design an all-new mid-size sedan model for the global market in 2015, focusing on connectivity and the car's interaction with its passengers.

The winner was the Toyota NS4 Concept, a dedicated plug-in hybrid vehicle separate from the Priushybrid family of vehicles.

We think the NS4 previews one of two vehicles: either it's a strong hint to the next all-new Toyota Camry mid-size sedan--likely to be launched around 2015, perhaps for a 2016 model year--or it's the first indication of an all-new range of plug-in hybrids under a new Toyota sub-brand.

So just as "Prius" is the designation for all of Toyota's dedicated hybrid vehicles, which have no gasoline counterparts, perhaps the NS4 might be the first of a new family of dedicated plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The powertrain of the NS4 Concept is a future generation of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system, with smaller and lighter components for better efficiency, higher gas mileage, improved acceleration, and greater electric range.

The NS4 Concept design features styling that Toyota intends to create "an emotional connection with consumers," possibly a reaction to the uber-bland styling of parts of its current lineup.

The car is low, with a low beltline and a cabin set forward in the wheelbase. To improve visibility and safety, the windshield pillars exceptionally thin, and Toyota calls the unconventional door opening a "swan-wing" effect.

The triangular corner windows ahead of the front doors are the largest we've seen, and the headlamps are wrapped back into the front fenders above and behind a trapezoidal grille. Rear lamps are similarly wrapped around the car's sides, with their trailing edges creating a "wing" spoiler effect.

While Toyota said nothing specific about the NS4's powertrain, it focused on a suite of next-generation safety and infotainment technologies--some of which it said will appear on production vehicles in the very near future.

Among those features are:

Smart-phone-like multi-touch screen for user interface to control ventilation, audio, and other vehicle functions
Adaptive vehicle-function control system that "learns" user preferences to anticipate commands and offer likely options
Pre-Collision System using millimeter-wave radar and stereo cameras at the front of the vehicle, plus near-infrared beams at night
Lane-departure warning and correction system
Collision alert and prevention to apply brakes and steering
Blind-spot monitoring and alert
Adaptive driving-beam headlights that vary beam shape and strength based on input from camera mounted behind the grille
Pop-up hood structure to cushion pedestrians and prevent head injuries in event of collision
New windscreen and window glass technologies to repel water, reduce fogging, remove harmful solar rays, and reduce heat transmission.
Finally, as is often the case on concept cars, the rear-view mirrors on the doors have been replaced with video cameras. This makes the design look cleaner, but to the best of our knowledge, no production car has used this technology.

What do you think of the Toyota NS4 Concept plug-in hybrid? Would this be a logical next vehicle for today's Toyota Prius hybrid owners? And do you think it's the next Camry?

Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below.

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Sources : Toyota Ns4 Photo | Toyota Ns4 Article
GM Offers Incentive To Assist Recalls : News
GM Offers Incentive To Assist Recalls : News

General Motors is offering bonuses and other incentives to dealers in an effort to speed up repairs on the millions of vehicles recalled for ignition-switch defects.

Ryndee S. Carney, a GM spokeswoman, told Edmunds that the program, called the Ignition Switch Recall Completion Initiative, was announced to U.S. dealers on June 13 and will run through July 7.

Carney said incentives include a $250 credit at an online gift shop for service and parts managers at dealerships that install at least 90 percent of the ignition-switch replacement parts sent to them by July 7; $4,000 in incentive credits to be split between parts and service managers at a random selection of 50 qualifying dealerships; and $10,000 to be shared by parts and service managers at one dealership selected at random.

Said Carney: "We are taking this action because we want to encourage dealers to continue to follow up with customers and do everything possible to get vehicles that are part of the ignition recall repaired as fast as possible."

GM has been criticized by owners, the U.S. Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for delays in handling the recall of millions of vehicles for problems with ignition switches, which can turn off a vehicle's engine while it is being driven, disabling the airbags in the event of a crash. The automaker also released an internal report about the delayed recall that GM CEO Mary Barra described as "deeply troubling."

Some of the delay in fixing the cars resulted from the ignition components having been out of production with suppliers for quite some time, with the result that dealers were repeatedly running out of the parts needed to effect repairs.

"Given that the ignition switch was in very limited production for several years, GM's supplier, Delphi, increased production, pulled machinery out of storage, and found new suppliers for some of the part components," wrote Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Safety, on GM's FastLane in mid-May. "Parts production is running seven days a week in multi-shift operations. We are buying new machinery and equipment to make parts quickly."

In addition to stepping up production of repair kits and offering incentives to dealers to get them installed more quickly, GM is also planning to send e-mails to owners who have not yet begun the process of scheduling repairs for their recalled vehicles.

As previously reported by Edmunds, GM began sending letters to owners of affected vehicles earlier this year and has continued doing so as additional vehicles have been added to the recall list.

As of June 19, GM says 236,437 of the recalled vehicles have been repaired.

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Sources : Ignition Switch Photo | Ignition Switch Article
Audi Robotic Telepresence : Videos

Audi Robotic Telepresence : Videos

Maintenance is part of any vehicle ownership experience, and streamlined service visits are crucial predictors of improved customer satisfaction. That is why Audi is launching a first-of-its-kind communications robot to help Audi dealership technicians quickly diagnose and troubleshoot repair issues that they may encounter.

The innovative Audi Robotic Telepresence (ART) provides a one-on-one virtual link that connects dealers across the country with expert technicians at Audi of America. This telepresence allows those technicians to inspect and help service vehicles as if they were standing alongside the local dealer technicians.

This level of service precision is accomplished through ART's physical design: the system is an advanced, remotely controlled robot that displays the operator's face on a screen while permitting the ability to move around the vehicle. ART enables Audi Technical Service teams to interact and converse with service technicians at local dealerships, even while physically in a different location. An attached borescope and handheld camera allow the operator to further inspect engine components and other difficult-to-reach parts of the vehicle.

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Sources : Audi Robotic Telepresence Photo | Audi Robotic Telepresence Video