June 21, 2005

Best of the Best

The Ferrari F430 was chosen as the top sports car for the 2005 Robb Report 17th annual Best of the Best special edition.

Ferrari's new F430, a mid-engine sports car powered by a 490-horsepower 4.3-liter V8 engine, was top choice in the Sports Car category. Paul Dean, Robb Report editor-at-large, described the F430 as "the finest Ferrari ever built, and maybe the world's best sports car ever."

The Aston Martin DB9 was named the Robb Report's 2005 Car of the Year, and was chosen as "Best of the Best" in the GTs and Coupes category. According to Dean the DB9 is "the finest of the new Aston Martins built to whisper of past glories without displaying an obsession with them."

"Best of the Best" in the sedan category was the Merecedes-Benz CLS55 AMG, the high-performance AMG version of the new sedan with a coupe-like profile, powered by a 469-horsepower supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine. Brett Anderson, Robb Report senior vice president of editorial, summarized the CLS55 as the "perfect amalgamation of style, strength, subtlety and pure mind-numbing fun."

In the Sport-Utility Vehicles category, the new Land Rover Range Rover Sport was the top choice—the first Land Rover with an emphasis on handling and on-road performance. Range Rover Sport's off-road capability "remains an industry standard," according to Dean, "and the on-road performance is designed to match and maybe even surpass that of BMW's X5, Porsche's Cayenne Turbo and any member of Mercedes' M-Class."

06:08 AM in BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, News, Porsche | Permalink

May 17, 2005

Don't Be Fueled: Gas vs. Diesel vs. Hybrid Power

The six-cylinder-powered Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI sips diesel fuel so judiciously this luxury sedan can travel more than 625 miles on a single tank.

Car shopping? Thinking hybrid, or diesel perhaps? See how today's vehicle choices can affect your desire to be less fuelish.

Maybe gasoline prices are crimping your household budget. Maybe you'd like to reduce the U.S. dollars that flow to the Middle East for oil. Perhaps you're motivated by concern for the environment, or the nagging reality that oil is a depleting resource that shouldn't be wasted.

Whatever the reason, many Americans—including you, perhaps—are looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles.

So what should a consumer know when deciding among low-mileage gasoline cars, diesel-powered vehicles and gasoline-electric hybrids?


Get more info.

06:48 AM in News | Permalink

April 21, 2005

Tokyo Auto Salon 2005

Ducks Garden Fairlady Not a pretty ornothologist, sadly, but a rehash of a 1967 Nissan drop-top. And Ducks Garden are the tuners who could find nothing better to do with an ageing MX-5.
Honda Fit HB Honda's 'Incremental Mould' technology gives customers the chance to design their own bodywork. And this is Italian styling legend Zagato's crack at the Jazz. Fit? Try beer goggles.
Elexceed RS Eco-commuting was once about Sinclair C5s. But this is Tokyo, and they're in a hurry. The £10k RS is a plug-in single-seater that'll do 44 miles between charges and hit 45mph.
Esprit 350z Z33-R This is Nandrolone abuse, muscle-car style. Esprit has stuffed a 2.6-litre twin-turbo straight-six from the Skyline GTR into Nissan's 350Z. And tweaked out a full 702bhp.
Mugen Legend Max Think Honda Legend, think slippers and pension books? Not Mugen. It's jammed in a detuned 600bhp four-litre V8 Le Mans engine, and it still revs to 10,000rpm.
Proto Star Part Rolls-Royce, part coffee cake, all ill-disguised Honda Jazz. It's a design study from Shizuoka College of Technology. Thanks guys.
Toy Box Alligator II Somewhere under this Thunderbirds freak show is a Micra. And chop shop Value Progress says just 10 orders will put the £22k six-wheeled eyesore into production. No.
Mazda MX-5 Coupe Bit late in the day, but we like the Italian sports car inspiration behind the MX-5 Coupe. Have Mazda's design bods been taking notes?
RX-7 If twin turbos don't quite fit the brief, sod it, try twin engines. Scoot has mated two of Mazda's manic rotary units to create its 470bhp RX-7 street racer.
Puchiche It's hard to be taken seriously when your name is Yamashita. Harder still when you spend £16,000 of your hard-earned turning a Suzuki Cappuccino into a carbon-bodied 911-a-like.

06:04 AM in Honda, Mazda, News, Nissan | Permalink

April 20, 2005

Future Audi product pipeline revealed

Just got out of a meeting with my Audi mole and he told me that the S6 and the S8 are officially committed to and will be in the USA sometime next year.

Look for a 5.2 litre engine lifted from the Lambo running at 550HP.

Also, the A5 (or Q5 depending on the final name)is a go for 2007-08.

And finally my favorite, The Lemans has been officially approved and will see the light of day as a real production car in 2007-08!

Get more info.

06:07 AM in Audi, News | 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 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.


Get more info.
- 2006 Dodge Charger
- 2005 Chevrolet Corvette
- 2005 Audi TT Coupe
- Chrysler
- Cadillac

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

March 07, 2005

Importing Your Car into the U.S.

This page provides information for importing a vehicle into the U.S., including requirements of the U.S. Customs Service and those of other agencies. Since requirements are subject to frequent changes, contact information has been provided for the agencies mentioned. Be sure to contact these agencies (particularly EPA and DOT) before importing your vehicle.

Imported motor vehicles are subject to U.S. safety standards, bumper standards, and air pollution control (emission) standards. Most vehicles manufactured abroad that conform with U.S. safety, bumper, and emission standards are exported expressly for sale in the United States; therefore, it is unlikely that a vehicle obtained abroad meets all relevant standards. Be skeptical of claims by a foreign dealer or other seller that a vehicle meets these standards or can readily be brought into compliance. Nonconforming vehicles entering the United States must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed.


Get more info.

06:03 AM in News | Permalink

February 21, 2005

The High-Efficiency Jetcar

The Jetcar isn’t jet-powered, but it is a freaky-looking, high efficiency concept with a mandate to achieve 100km per liter of fuel (around 285mpg). The latest prototype, Jetcar 2.5, sports a light steel frame, a body fashioned from epoxy glass resin and a three-cylinder common-rail diesel engine, chosen after electric-battery and hydrogen powered versions had proven uneconomical. It also employs an aerodynamically efficient design only an engineer could love. More pics ahead.

Jetcar 2.5

06:20 AM in Flying cars, News | Permalink

February 17, 2005

How Much Should You Spend?

It's easy to overspend your budget on a new car or truck. Here's how to avoid getting in over your head.

It's always a good idea to start the car-buying process with a preliminary budget planning session to help you determine how much car or truck your money can buy—and how much money you feel comfortable about spending—on what is typically the largest consumer purchase after a house.

Experts told MSN Autos it's all too easy to buy or lease a car you really can't afford—even if you're normally a levelheaded consumer. By overextending yourself for the sake of a new car you face more than just giving up vacations and nights out. You could be putting your financial security at risk.

Control Your Emotions
"Don't overbuy," advises Bob Litwin, Director of Creditor Community Relations for the Houston branch of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS), part of the nonprofit National Foundation for Consumer Credit, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. "All too often, emotions overrule logic and people get into trouble. If you can't afford it, don't buy the car."

One way many consumers get into trouble is by not understanding the difference between qualifying for a loan and being able to afford one.


06:11 AM in News | Permalink

February 16, 2005

Insurance Tips

Buying insurance can be confusing. Here are some ways to reduce your premiums while still getting the coverage you need.
* Shop around, and do it regularly. Insurance is a competitive industry, and insurers change their rates over time. Make sure you have the best deal you can get each and every year.
* Put multiple vehicles on the same policy. Many insurers offer family discounts for insuring multiple vehicles on the same policy.
* Check out defensive driving courses. Some insurers provide discounts if drivers brush up their skills.
* Buy vehicles with safety devices. Some insurers provide discounts for airbags and anti-lock brakes because statistics show they help mitigate the occurrence of crashes and/or the severity of injuries.
* Check on security savings. Alarms or anti-theft devices may qualify for insurance discounts.
* Stay on the good side of the law. Insurers look to see if you have a blemish-free driving record and reward you with lower premiums if you do.
* Assess your deductible. Raising it to $500 can result in a lower insurance premium. Just be sure you can afford that $500 deductible if you're in a crash.
* Take public transportation when possible. Taking the bus or train, or even carpooling, lowers the annual mileage on your vehicle and can result in a lower insurance premium.

Common Mistakes
The excitement of buying a new car can often lead to mistakes when insuring it. It pays to be just as prudent when buying insurance as you are when buying the car. Don't make these common insurance shopping mistakes:

* Not shopping for the best price. Don't simply choose the first carrier you contact. This may be convenient and save you time, but it may also cost you money.
* Buying a car before checking to see what it costs to insure. Many people discover the car of their dreams is simply too expensive to insure. They consequently end up selling it shortly after purchase.
* Not reading your policy until you've already purchased it. It pays to understand your policy and what it covers. Know your limits before you actually need them.
* Choosing limits that are too low. Don't leave yourself exposed to a lawsuit that could potentially cost you everything you have—car, house, possessions, savings, etc.
* Ending up with a policy that doesn't cover all the drivers in the household. It can be a costly mistake to leave a family member off your policy. If someone has an accident and isn't covered, you're still responsible.
* Not getting a multi-policy discount. Having your homeowner's policy with the same carrier saves money. If possible, use a single carrier.

06:09 AM in News | Permalink