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March 31, 2005

Shelby Cobra GT500 Returns

Ford Motor Company and legendary car builder Carroll Shelby team up once again to create this striking high-performance Mustang.

With more than 450 horsepower, the new Shelby Cobra GT500 is the most powerful production Mustang—ever.

Ford debuted another modern interpretation of an automotive classic, the all-new Shelby Cobra GT500, at the New York International Auto Show.

The new GT500 possesses classic Shelby design cues including dual stripes, aerodynamic body parts, and 19-inch wheels. In the performance department, the Shelby Cobra GT500 is the most powerful production Mustang ever built, with a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that produces more than 450 horsepower, a 6-speed manual transmission and suspension tuned by Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT).


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06:04 AM in Ford | Permalink

March 30, 2005

What's in a Name?

Meet the next generation Miata. But don't call it a Miata. With a decidedly more masculine name, the new Mazda MX-5 handles and drives better than its predecessor.

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06:09 AM in Mazda | Permalink

March 29, 2005

2006 Lexus GS300

Chief engineer Shigetoshi Miyoshi invoked the "p" word—"passion"—frequently in his preview presentation for the third-generation Lexus GS series, but after a short day of mountain-road driving around Palm Springs, we're not convinced it's the word that really captures the essence of these new sedans.

How about "sophisticated"? Hard to dispute that as a descriptor. The inventory of electromechanical enhancements—VVT-i, AVS, EPS, VGRS, EBD, TPM, AFS, VDIM—rivals the alphabetical agencies of the Roosevelt administration. These babies—the GS300 and the GS430—are nothing if not trick. Particularly the GS430.


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06:20 AM in Lexus | Permalink

March 28, 2005

Renault chief sees 4m car sales by 2010

BOMBAY (Reuters) - Renault aims to sell 4 million cars globally by 2010, up from 2.5 million now, its chief executive Louis Schweitzer has said, as the French car maker expands its operations to newer countries such as India.

Sales will be boosted by its no-frills Logan cars, Schweitzer said on Monday in Bombay, where the company signed a joint venture with Indian utility vehicle and tractor maker Mahindra & Mahindra to make the sedan.

"India is a major growth country and could become the most populated country in the world in this century, which means a huge opportunity for us," Schweitzer told a news conference.

Renault is also in discussions with China's Dongfeng Automobile, which already collaborates with its Japanese partner Nissan in China.

"We are still discussing with them. It's moving ahead but there is no specific deadline," Schweitzer said.

China and India are the world's fastest expanding major economies, and offer huge potential for growth.

Renault said earlier this month the company could "decisively" beat its target of selling 1 million Logan cars by 2010 through expansion outside western European market.

The French car maker has already raised its sales target for Logan from an original 700,000 to 1 million by 2010 after a strong debut and deals to manufacture the car in a number of other countries, including Iran and Russia.

Renault will build a new 50,000 unit per year manufacturing plant in partnership with Mahindra in India, which is expected to go on stream by the middle of 2007.

The French firm will hold 49 percent in Mahindra Renault, with Mahindra holding 51 percent.

The Logan will be launched in a number of new markets in 2005, including Syria, Slovenia, Poland and western Europe, with production slated to start in Russia, Morocco and Colombia.

The new markets are becoming increasingly important to Renault, as demand in its traditional western European base shows no sign of recovery with cut-throat pricing putting pressure on margins.

Renault will also look at India to make some of the components for its joint venture with Nissan and set up a technical centre for its global operations.

06:17 AM in News | Permalink

March 25, 2005

BMW Z4 3.0I

The word “strange” comes instantly to mind when you look at the BMW Z4. What else could anyone think of the odd collection of lines, bumps, and creases woven throughout the body of this roadster? It’s not pretty, nor is it ugly.

BMW did a complete redo of its simple Z3 roadster in 2003. Along with the sheetmetal changes came a new multilink rear suspension from the 3-series that made the sports car a much nimbler handler in the corners than the skittish Z3 it replaced. We decided a long-term test would be a good way to see if the Z4, unlike the retro Z3, was a true premium sports car, and if we might grow fonder of its unconventionally designed exterior.


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06:06 AM in BMW | Permalink

March 24, 2005

Bricklin’s spin dizzying

Chery Sedan
He’s armed with pictures, stats, lofty claims and six potential dealers. The Chinese cars Malcolm Bricklin showed photos of are aimed at Lexus and BMW with a 40 percent price cut. Six dealers viewed his $15 million dealership plan and according to him, all want to sell the cars. One-third of 3,000 people surveyed said that they would consider a Chinese car for their next purchase even if  quality was below average. With quality ratings front-page news, we can hardly believe that one. Bricklin did have the best quote about the Chery QQ, a direct copy of the Daewoo Matiz. He said that the two cars were “similar” or “they copied the damn thing 100 percent.” At least he’s shooting from the hip on that one. Oh, and Nissan might have something to say about this sedan design.

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06:02 AM in Malcolm Bricklin | Permalink

March 23, 2005

2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

GM took the wraps off of the highly-anticipated Corvette Z06 at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Corvette Z06 is powered by the largest displacement small-block V8 engine ever from GM, a 7.0-liter V8 that produces 500 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque, with a redline of 7000 rpm.

It’s no coincidence that the 7.0-liter designation translates to a 427 cubic inch displacement—the same engine size as one of the most famous engines from Corvette history. The new engine is sure to make its own history as the powerplant for the fastest, most powerful production Corvette ever produced which is also the fastest production car ever from GM.


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06:09 AM in Chevrolet | Permalink

March 22, 2005

How Motorsports Affect Our Cars

You don't have to be a rabid race fan to appreciate the features, designs and components that are making their way from racetracks to today's new cars.

It doesn't matter if you love car racing or hate it. Chances are, many parts of your new car have been influenced or even engineered with the help of racing.

From the aerodynamic details in the 2006 Dodge Charger to an intake valve in the V8 of the 2005 Chevrolet Corvette and the Tiptronic transmission in the 2005 Audi TT Coupe, automotive design, development and components are pushed along, in part, by the competitive spirit of racing.


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- 2006 Dodge Charger
- 2005 Chevrolet Corvette
- 2005 Audi TT Coupe
- Chrysler
- Cadillac

06:06 AM in Audi, Cadillac, Chevrolet, News | Permalink

March 21, 2005

2006 Honda Ridgeline

For its next swipe at market share, Honda reinvents the pickup truck.
March 2005

In the past four years, Honda has become well equipped on the SUV front, redesigning the small CR-V and introducing the full-size Pilot, boxy Element, and upscale Acura MDX. But strangely enough, until now the company has never tried its hand at a pickup truck. For 2006, Honda is introducing the first H-badged alternative, the Ridgeline, which represents a new generation of truck with a unibody chassis, a four-wheel independent suspension, and even a trunk.

Honda’s truck is targeted at a narrow portion of the small-pickup market. There is no two-wheel drive, two-door model; and neither a manual transmission nor a low-range transfer case is available. This makes Ridgeline options typical Honda-simple. All trucks have the same spacious four-full-doors cabin, 3.5-liter V-6, five-speed automatic, four-wheel drive (Honda’s on-demand VTM-4 system), and five-foot-long bed.


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06:05 AM in Honda | Permalink

March 18, 2005

Ford GT


Although clearly inspired by the original 1960s Ford GT40, the latter-day GT is, underneath its retro styling, a thoroughly modern supercar. The original concept appeared at the 2002 Detroit motor show and was not intended for production. Widespread popular acclaim, and the neat coincidence of the company's approaching centenary celebrations, saw a production car commissioned shortly afterwards. It features a mid-mounted supercharged V8 engine that gives 500 bhp and 500 lb-ft of torque, ensuring massive performance is available at almost any speed. The entire project was developed from show concept to production car in just 16 months, the first examples going to customers late in 2004.


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06:02 AM in Ford | Permalink