Advance auto zone blog about fast cars and auto trader

Advance auto zone blog about cool fast cars, and auto trader

Porsche Carrera GT Production to End

Porsche is ending production of its high-performance Carrera GT in April, after a brief but well-received run of less than three years.

The company said it delivered its 1,111th Carrera GT in late December to a lucky customer in the United Arab Emirates, making it "the most successful high-performance sports car of all time" — whatever that means.

We can tell you this much: The Carrera GT was first unveiled in September 2000 at the Louvre in Paris and went into production three years later, in September 2003. Since then, more than half of the cars produced have been delivered to customers in North America, where the car retailed officially for $440,000.

Performance is prodigious. A 5.7-liter DOHC V10 delivers 605 horsepower (in U.S. trim) to the rear wheels through a six-speed gearbox. Zero-to-60-mph acceleration is achieved in less than 3.9 seconds, with a top speed of 205 miles per hour.

At the start of the car's short life span, Porsche said it intended to produce only 1,500 copies.

Add To Favorites

2007 Toyota Yaris Preview

The Yaris is built on a new platform that is longer and wider than its predecessor, and will be offered in both three-door ``liftback'' (sounds like ``hatchback'' is still considered a bad word by U.S. marketers) and four-door sedan body styles. Both are conventional contemporary subcompacts in layout, with a transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive chassis, independent front suspension by MacPherson struts, and a torsion beam rear axle. Brakes are disc in front, drum at the rear, with antilock available. As in larger, more-expensive cars, standard dual front airbags use the Occupant Classification System to determine deployment of the front passenger airbag, and front side and side curtain airbags are available.

Although the Yaris is considered a subcompact, and takes a small space on the road or in the parking lot, space efficiency is the name of the game inside. Both versions were designed to have "class-above'' ambiance, with clean, contemporary styling and first-rate materials. The Liftback's rear seat can be folded flat for a large amount of cargo space; the sedan's has a 60/40 split for the same purpose. Both, like the Echo and the Scions, have center-mounted instrument clusters. The standard equipment level is high, including amenities such as bright Optitron gauges - just like in a Lexus - a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, tinted glass, intermittent wipers with mist control, and useful interior lighting.

Power is from the 1NZ-FE 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine familiar from the Scions and the Prius. Here is makes 106 horsepower at 6000 rpm, with 103 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm, and drives the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Like most current Toyota engines, it is an aluminum alloy unit with dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, VVT-i variable valve timing, coil-on-plug direct ignition, and electronic throttle control. There is a timing chain, not a belt, for lower maintenance.

Fuel economy with the manual is 34 city, 40 highway, with a 37 average. The automatic rates 34/39/36. The engine has a ULEV-II emissions rating.

With no quirks in handling in daily driving situations, the new Yaris looks to be a good choice for anyone looking for inexpensive and economical transportation. The price wasn't announced at the introduction, except to say "under $13,000 base.'' Expect the 2007 Toyota Yaris in showrooms this coming Spring.

Add To Favorites

Volvo's new S80 spied in advance of Geneva debut

Images of the all-new Volvo S80 luxury liner were captured on location in South Africa as it was prepped for a commercial.

This elegantly styled S80, which carries the flowing rear lines of its S60 sister, has front- and all-wheel-drive versions. It will debut at the Geneva show in March.

Add To Favorites

Corvette production interrupted due to wheel supply issue

General Motors has sent a memo to dealers informing them that Corvette wheel supply has “experienced significant disruption” and production of certain models could be delayed as a result.

GM says the wheel supply situation has caused it to make “several adjustments affecting wheel options, production volumes and production schedules.”

Dealers will have to change Corvette orders based on wheel availability. Wheel company Amcast, which went into bankruptcy on Dec. 2, supplied the wheels.

GM says wheel supply is still uncertain, and thus GM’s order fulfillment and distribution department is unable to follow the normal process of returning orders to dealers for necessary changes.

Polished wheels will not be available from GM’s new supplier. GM is changing all orders scheduled to be built after Jan. 3 from polished wheels to silver painted wheels. Further, the much-anticipated chrome wheel option will be postponed until “late spring production.”

GM says any substitution of a lower cost wheel will be reflected in a reduced MSRP and invoice. Additionally, overall wheel availability may delay production dates of orders already in the system.

GM says the impact on Z06 production is still undetermined.

Stop by and browse our large selection of Chevy Corvette Parts.

Add To Favorites

B9 Tribeca draws attention at auto show

Maria Farrell smiled and nodded at her husband, Brett, Tuesday when she saw ski racks attached to the roof of a Subaru B9 Tribeca on display at the Indiana Convention Center.

"He's retiring in a couple of years," she said of her husband. "We're skiers, and I can visualize myself driving one of these."

The entire Subaru lineup, including the B9 Tribeca, Legacy, Outback and Baja models that are built at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette, are among 450 vehicles being exhibited by 39 automobile manufacturers at the 2006 Indianapolis Auto Show.

The Farrells live in Indianapolis and frequently drive past the SIA facility when visiting their daughter, who attends Purdue University.

"I've always liked Subarus. I like the all-wheel drive and that we have a facility here," said Brett Farrell. "All-wheel drive is something nice. The Subaru solution is a little better than some of the others."

The B9 Tribeca is a sport utility vehicle that offers five- and seven-passenger seating. It arrived at dealer showrooms in late May.

Jonathan Kershaw, a product specialist who represents Subaru, said the company's newest vehicle is attracting plenty of attention from people attending the auto show, which runs through Sunday.

"There's a lot of interest in the B9 Tribeca. We've gotten very positive feedback," Kershaw said. "People have been waiting a long time for a new, larger Subaru. People are happy you can have more than two kids and own a Subaru."

Ray Rosher of York, Pa., visited the 92nd annual auto show while staying with relatives in Indianapolis. He owns a 2005 Subaru Forester and would consider buying a B9 Tribeca when it comes time to make a change.

"It's a nice design with a lot of nice features on it. They keep improving," Rosher said. "They listen to their customers and really try to please the customer."

Subaru's Japanese-made WRX, Forester and Impreza models also are included in the display, which is near the center of the 375,000-square-foot exhibit area.

Indianapolis resident Ryan Bartlett spent some time sitting behind the steering wheel of a Subaru Legacy.

"I'm just kind of checking it out and seeing what's going on. I definitely like the stylish look of it," he said. "It's a sporty-type economy car. It's probably a little bit out of my price range, but I'm taking a look at it."

Add To Favorites

Mercedes coming to Detroit with S65 AMG

Mercedes-Benz will flex its considerable muscle at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit when it unveils a rapid new S65 AMG. Due to reach North American showrooms in July, the luxury performance sedan carries over the hand-built twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 engine and five-speed automatic transmission from the previous S65 AMG, all wrapped up in the body of the all-new S-Class.

Mercedes says the reworked Maybach mill, with 612 hp at 4750 rpm and an enormous 738 lb-ft of torque beginning at 2000 rpm, should be slightly faster than an S600 and should match the older S65’s 0-to-62-mph time of 4.4 seconds, despite a small increase in weight. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, though buyers of all high-end AMG models these days can pay extra to have the electronic limiter recalibrated to 186 mph.

With the new S-Class chassis, S65 buyers get a wholesale lift in performance with a tauter suspension, reworked active body control and stronger brakes.

The S65 AMG is distinguished from lesser S-Class models by a heavily styled front bumper with a gaping central air duct, chunkier sills, a deeper rear bumper with a quartet of chrome oval tailpipes, and five-spoke 19-inch wheels. Inside, there’s unique instrument graphics, new gear shift paddles behind the steering wheel, sport seats, and a Racetimer device that allows the driver to record lap times or acceleration splits via a menu in the instrument binnacle.

Together with the S65 AMG, Mercedes-Benz is also developing a new S63 AMG model running the new 510-hp naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V8 engine unveiled in the ML63 AMG and Vision R63 concepts at the Frankfurt motor show last September. Don’t look for those models to go into production until later in 2006, however.

Add To Favorites

Nissan releases photos of three-seat Detroit Show Concept

Riding a wave of strong vehicle introductions, Nissan unveils at Detroit a semi-frivolous three-seater dubbed Urge. This bare-bones car has a “motorcycle-inspired” design and scissors-style doors with cutaway panels. It remains to be seen whether an urge will strike sufficiently to justify its creation. A see-through glass hood reveals a small-displacement engine tied to a six-speed sequential gearbox. The front-engine, rear-drive car carries 19-inch wheels up front with 20-inchers out back, all stopped by Brembo brakes.

The interior boasts mesh-and-leather bucket seats, a billet-aluminum center console, and docking stations for an MP3 player and cell phone; the phone acts as an Intelligent Key to start the car. Targeted at those who can’t afford a car on their own, Urge has an integrated Xbox 360 gaming system to further distract its owner.

Urge, by the numbers:
Engine: Quick, high-revving, small-displacement engine

Transmission: Six-speed sequential manual gearbox

Drive configuration: Front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Wheels/tires/brakes: 19-inch front, 20-inch rear nine-spoke spun-aluminum-alloy/ 195/45R front, 225/35R rear Michelins/350Z-style Brembo four-wheel discs

Wheelbase: 104.3 inches
Length: 156.6 inches
Width: 71.8 inches
Height: 49.6 inches
Target weight: 2400 pounds
Seating capacity: Three passengers

Select exterior features: Motorcycle-inspired styling, see-through glass hood, cutaway door panels, aluminum center structure, aluminum and carbon fiber construction, four-bar-hinge scissors-style doors, spun- aluminum roof cage structure, collapsible quick-close, manual (storable) canvas top, “Mirror Crystal” exterior color

Select interior features: Driver-oriented interior with compact, responsive F1-style steering wheel, racing-style lightweight mesh-and-leather bucket seats, billet- aluminum center console, cellphone and MP3 player docking stations (cellphone acts as Intelligent Key to start vehicle), customizable driver info screens (including HVAC, navigation, audio and suspension/performance tuning), integrated gaming system powered by Xbox 360

Add To Favorites

Hamann Ferrari F430 Kicks It Up a Notch

Hamann, the BMW tuning specialist, is offering an aero upgrade kit and other performance-enhancing modifications on the Ferrari F430.

Hamann's Sport Kit 620, available beginning in March, includes twin superchargers with separate intercoolers, an oil cooler, and modified Motronic engine controls. Output jumps to 620 horsepower and torque to 465 pound-feet.

Hamann also offers suspension, brake, and exhaust upgrade kits for the F430. Custom alloy wheels include sizes up to 20 inches.

Exterior add-ons include a new front spoiler, wide side sills, rear diffuser and spoiler, in a choice of carbon-Kevlar or fiberglass. Full interior packages are also available.

Hamann provides extensive upgrades for Porsche, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, Mini, and Range Rover vehicles.

Add To Favorites

Beautiful Brute Redux: 2006 Chrysler 300C Heritage Edition to Debut in L.A.

Chrysler will introduce a 2006 Chrysler 300C Heritage Edition that pays homage to the "Beautiful Brute," the 1957 Chrysler 300C, at the upcoming Los Angeles auto show.

The automaker said the Heritage Edition would be priced at around $36,000 and go into production this spring at its Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant.

The Heritage Edition features the 5.7-liter multi-displacement Hemi engine, a five-speed AutoStick transmission, all-season tires, and 18-inch chrome-clad wheels. The exterior is outfitted with chromed body-side molding with tricolor 300C badges modeled after the ones on the 1957 model.

Inside, the Heritage Edition takes its cues from the automaker's high-performance SRT division, with an SRT trunk lid spoiler and SRT front seats. The new 300C model also has a two-tone cabin, an upgraded Boston Acoustics sound system, and a new smoke translucent finish on the steering wheel and door handles.

This is also the first Chrysler model to feature SmartBeam headlamps that automatically adjust high-beam brightness and intensity.

Add To Favorites

Porsche's silver bullet spied on shakedown test

Spies have undermined Porsche's plan to keep its seventh-generation 911 Turbo secret until its world premiere at the Geneva motor show next February.

Building on the wide-bodied appearance of the recently introduced 4S, the 997-series Turbo declares itself with a unique front bumper carrying high-intensity LED indicators and parking lights integrated into a horizontal bar running across the outer air ducts. The fog lamps are set low on the corners within special housings designed to protect them from stone damage.

Along the flanks, sills under the doors are more pronounced and sizeable air ducts ahead of the rear wheel arches provide efficient cooling. Changes to the rear include the adoption of a reshaped biplane wing assembly that Porsche says will provide added levels of downforce, and a bumper with small ducts to pull hot air out of the engine bay. Completing the makeover, lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels wear ultra-low-profile tires, accentuating a significantly lower ride height than standard 911 models.

Behind the Turbo's distinctive look is a more powerful version of Porsche's twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine. High-level Zuffenhausen sources say the powerplant is derived from the outgoing model's engine, which itself evolved from Porsche's Le Mans-winning 911 GT1 sports car program.

We've heard reports of power outputs of up to 500 hp-a massive 80-hp or 19 percent increase above the outgoing model's 420 hp. The company's habit of incremental improvement suggests the figure could be significantly lower, though with others advertising 500 hp, Porsche must be tempted to respond. Nothing is official just yet, but we're told to expect a subtle 30-hp gain, taking the new model up to 450 hp (the same power obtainable by adding a Porsche X50 power kit to today's 911 Turbo S-perhaps a similar option will be offer­ed on the new model).

The Turbo's torque figure also rises by about 30 lb-ft to 457 lb-ft. Drive goes to all four wheels via a standard six-speed manual unit or a new double-clutch automatic gearbox, and Porsche's familiar full-time awd system.

Key to the increased output is Variable Turbine Geometry technology for the two turbo­chargers. Common on high-performance diesel engines, VTG continuously adjusts the angle of the turbocharger's vanes to provide a more linear delivery of power and wider spread of torque. To make this work on gasoline engines, with much higher exhaust temperatures than diesel units, the BorgWarner-developed turbos employ heat-resistant ceramics. The engine also benefits from improved variable intake and exhaust valve timing.

The 997 Turbo's weight is up to about 3520 pounds. Even with the added weight, the 997 Turbo gains in power-to-weight ratio and should be able to hit 60 mph in well under 4.0 seconds with a top speed of 190 mph.

Add To Favorites

Gumpert Apollo

German magazine "Focus" has a cool update story about the Gumpert Apollo including some great pictures! Enjoy It:

Here are some figures:
Engine: 4,2-Liter-V8 from Audi, Bi-Turbo
Power: 650 bhp
Torque: 850 Nm
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 3,0 seconds (Porsche Carrera GT: 3,9)
Top speed: 360 km/h (Porsche Carrera GT: 330)

Add To Favorites

VW EcoRacer: Successfully finishes first on-road test

The VW EcoRacer successfully finished its first on-road test!

Volkswagen's EcoRacer sports car has successfully completed its racetrack debut: 34 journalists from nine countries gave the concept car from Wolfsburg a thorough test on the racetrack in Pau in the South of France.
In three days, the motor sport journalists covered over 1200 kilometres, mainly at high speed, in the yellow two-seater. The EcoRacer proved that it is versatile and dynamic in the guise of a coupé, a roadster and a speedster.

The EcoRacer weighs just 850 kilograms thanks to its carbon fibre body. It accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds. The newly developed 1.5-litre turbo diesel with 100 kW /136 PS has a top speed of 230 km/h and an average fuel consumption of just 3.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

However, not only the technology fulfilled the expectations of the Volkswagen engineers. The design of the vehicle was also presented well at the racetrack. Volkswagen designer Cesar Muntada: "It is a wonderful experience to see your new vehicle on the road for the first time and to see the reactions to it. I am particularly pleased about the emotions the EcoRacer stirred up on the racetrack."

Add To Favorites

Nissan planning to import Infiniti brand vehicles to China

Nissan Motor Co. will begin importing its Infiniti luxury sedans into China by the end of 2007, the Japanese automaker said.

"We aim to have 10 percent of the premium (import) market by 2011," said Sharon Shen, spokesperson for Nissan (China) Investment Co.

The company is still working out which models will be imported, she added.
Nissan hopes to have 10 dealerships in place for the launch, Shen said.

The market for such high-end imported cars is around 35,000 units a year, said Yale Zhang, head of emerging markets forecasting for CSM Asia in Shanghai.

Infiniti is a relative late comer to China's premium import market. Mercedes, BMW, and Toyota's Lexus brand are already here.

Said Shen: "We don't really feel that this is late. The customer tastes are still developing. In 2007, customers will develop their own tastes instead of just following trends."

Nissan will have a unique marketing and sales strategy for the Infiniti brand, she said.

Marketing will be key because Chinese aren't familiar with the Infiniti brand, though Nissan-badged cars are assembled and sold in China, said Zhang.

Said Mei Songlin, deputy general manager of J.D. Power and Associates China operations: "Generally, Chinese people believe in European luxury brands. The only exception is Lexus. Before Toyota launched Lexus here, the brand's Chinese name was well known."

Add To Favorites

China says it has become a net exporter of cars and trucks for the first time.

China says it has become a net exporter of cars and trucks for the first time, with new Chinese competitors such as Geely and Chery starting to make their mark in the markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Exports jumped by 133.5 percent in the first 10 months of this year, giving China an export surplus of 7,000 vehicles, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Beijing has been promoting the growth of its automakers in recent years as foreign suppliers expand in China, which is expected to become the world's biggest car market.

The report Wednesday by Xinhua didn't give detailed figures for China's auto exports.

But Michael Dunne, president of Beijing-based consulting firm Automotive Resources Asia, said China's exports in 2005 would probably reach about 125,000 units.

"Chinese automobile manufacturers are facing an increasingly competitive market at home," he said. "They are high volume producers. To compete and survive, they need to export worldwide."

Add To Favorites

MINI Traveller Concept Coming to Detroit

An American-themed version of the MINI Traveller concept seen at this year's Frankfurt auto show will be on display at the Detroit auto show in January. The Americanized version of the concept loses its B-pillar for openness, and adds flexibility in loading with specially hinged doors that swivel to the side and front for maximum accessibility.

A new storage box off the rear side window has side flaps for loading and unloading cargo. Silver metallic paint and a white leather interior round out the concept for the Detroit show, which opens to the media on Jan. 8.

Add To Favorites

Ultratrick: Subaru Impreza S204 Debuts in Japan

Calling all Impreza fans! Subaru Tecnica International (STI) in Japan will build just 600 examples of this latest Impreza S204, starting in January 2006.

Since April 2000, Subaru's tuning arm, STI, has been quietly putting together its own limited run of hand-built cars, starting with the S201, which pushed out 300 horsepower.

After the S202 (2002) and S203 (2004), based on the second-generation Impreza, both with 320 hp, it's time to welcome the S204, which gets the latest shape Impreza front end and is the new Japanese domestic state of the art.

Using the latest six-speed WRX STi as a base, the STI team has hand-built, blueprinted, balanced, and tuned the already formidable 1,994cc flat-four Twin Scroll turbo, to deliver the same 320 hp at 6,400 rpm, plus a resounding 318 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm, the highest factory torque output to date.

The lowered, stiffened S204 chassis gets original spec coil springs, dampers, bushing and roll bars. With BBS alloys, 18-inch Pirelli PZero Corsa system tires, and original 17-inch vented brakes, STI claims the whole dynamic threshold improves on last year's S203.

Body tweaks include a unique grille, a carbon front skirt, and a trunk spoiler. Inside, there's a set of very smart, thin, reclining Recaro bucket seats and moody black/gray cabin coding.

The price of entry is $41,000, about $8,500 more than the standard WRX STi in Japan. Expensive, yes, but also very exclusive and a likely future collector's item.

Add To Favorites

Cool wallpapers For your desktop pleasure !

It's christmas time and you are in decoration mood. Why not change your desktop wallpaper also?"TopGear" has some very cool wallpapers of the Audi RS4:

the Bugatti Veyron:

the Lamborghini Gallardo:
Think about it!

Add To Favorites

VW Phaeton: Luxury, extra long !

Volkswagen Individual made an extra-long version of the VW Phaeton with some extra luxury!

It's called the VW Phaeton Lounge and was presented at the Dubai Motor Show.

The VW Phaeton Lounge is 1.8 meter longer than the regular Phaeton!The Phaeton Lounge is powered by a 420 bhp W12, top speed is blocked at 180 km/h. And it's the first time that a stretch limo got a 4-wheel drive!

Add To Favorites

Duesenberg Torpedo Resurrects a Classic Nameplate

A new Duesenberg automobile called the Torpedo Coupe, a four-seater with radical engine technology, is set for a January 2007 market introduction, according to the Duesenberg Custom Coach Web site.

Designed by Jeff Teague, the car will be driven by what the company is describing as a "revolutionary new power plant," a CEM, or cylindrical energy module engine. The supercharged 12-cylinder engine gets an estimated 70 miles per gallon and 300 horsepower from a tiny 100-pound package measuring 18 inches in diameter and 24 inches in length. The company says it has "an unparalleled power-to-weight ratio."

Duesenberg, a U.S. company which operated from 1910-'37, created one of the fastest cars of its time, the 265-horsepower 1935 Model J. Back then, the Duesenberg was the ride of royalty and celebrities, including Clark Gable and the Duke of Windsor. Today, the classic Duesenbergs are owned by collectors such as Jay Leno.

Add To Favorites

VW Passat Coupe: Coming 2008 !

"Auto Motor und Sport" is reporting that the VW Passat Coupé is really coming 2008. You can read more about it in their latest issue.

The VW Passat Coupé will come with 4- and 6-cylinder-engines. Base engine is the 1.4 TFSI with 170 bhp. Top engine will be a 3.6 VR6 with 280 bhp.

Add To Favorites

Dubai Showstopper: $2.28 Million Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster

— A renovated and rare 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, said to be worth $2.28 million, tempted wealthy buyers at the recently concluded motor show here.

The vehicle is owned by Hamburg-based E. Thiesen Automobile Raritaten, which says that between 1936 and 1939, only 419 540Ks were built by Mercedes-Benz in 10 different body styles. Of the Special Roadster version, only 25 examples were built and only 10 models remain in the world.

E. Thiesen says it took a team of engineers and mechanics eight years to rebuild this Benz. The company has the vehicle for sale and says its appearance in Dubai has resulted in "several potentially serious buyers."

Another Mercedes 540K Special Roadster, owned by Warner Brothers' Jack Warner, sold for $3.63 million, according to the Web site eMercedesBenz.

Add To Favorites

Brabus Injects Some Humor into Mercedes-Benz U-Class

Mercedes-Benz tuner Brabus has taken the U-Class — the one with the no-nonsense motto of "Any task, any time, any terrain" — and transformed it into an everyday driver.

The German tuner tweaked a standard short-wheelbase Unimog by skipping any engine modifications but adding such amenities as a navigation system, carbon-fiber trim, and new silver-and-gray leather Brabus seats. The all-wheel-drive Unimog is a multipurpose vehicle with 18 inches of ground clearance and a 280-horsepower engine.

Add To Favorites

Ford struggling to sell 900,000 F-Series pickups in 2005

Ford Motor Co. still wants to sell 900,000 F-series pickups in 2005. But the year is slipping away with plenty of trucks yet to sell.

On Wednesday, Dec. 14, Ford was still shy of the goal by 65,400 trucks. That's more than it sold in all of November.
It's a tall order for dealers to sell that many in the final two weeks of December, especially with holidays.
Ford acknowledges that the 900,000 F-series target will be tough to achieve. But it isn't giving up. A dealer bonus program offers as much as $1,000 a truck sold in December. Ford is counting on dealers to crank up sales.

"This is not an easy task, but we have everybody focused on it," said Al Giombetti, Ford vice president of sales.

Add To Favorites

Los Angeles Auto Show Preview

Audi’s new entry into the SUV market, the Q7, is making its North American debut in Los Angeles.

Audi introduces its all-new aggressively-styled Q7 in LA. Performance will come from its 345-hp V-8 engine that is paired to a six-speed tiptronic automotive transmission. Inside, it’s all luxury and convenience for up to seven passengers in three-row seating. The Q7 has 28 different seating and storage configurations to optimize interior space.

Toyota is bringing their Yaris subcompact to the States for the growing segment of car buyers concerned about fuel economy.

The new Yaris replaces the Echo in Toyota’s compact lineup. With crisp styling and a neat little 1.5-liter engine with variable valve timing (to boost power and fuel mileage while lowering emissions), the Yaris could be a great remedy for high gas prices. Set for its World debut in LA, the Yaris is projected to return up to 40 mpg on the highway.


Add To Favorites

Audi TT Sportback

German car magazine "Auto Motor und Sport" had some pics (Photoshop) of the upcoming Audi TT Sportback in one of their latest issues:


Add To Favorites

Exclusive: 2008 Hummer H2 Slated for Updated Interior, Engine

The 2008 Hummer H2, which will hit showrooms in 2007, will get a midcycle enhancement that includes an updated interior and an engine upgrade, Inside Line has learned.

Hummer general manager Susan Docherty would not give specifics on the H2's makeover. The 2006 full-size SUV is powered by a 6.0-liter V8 that makes 325 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque.

Docherty said Hummer recently surveyed its buyers and discovered that 36 percent of them say they intend to take their vehicles off-road. She said that nugget of information was "noteworthy" because the conventional industry wisdom, as well as previous Hummer research, has been that fewer than 10 percent of SUV buyers take their vehicle off-road.

Docherty also reported that the Hummer brand outpaces every other General Motors brand when it comes to aftermarket accessories. Buyers of the under-$30,000 Hummer H3 load up their vehicles with $1,200 in GM aftermarket accessories. The average transaction price for the SUV is $36,000, she said.

"That means the H3 is definitely in premium territory," Docherty said.

Add To Favorites

Messin’ in Essen: We take a peek at ‘Euro-SEMA’

To really see every booth at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in family-friendly Las Vegas, you would need three days and 24 hours in each day. But this is Essen, Germany, and one dense eight-hour shift will do. Even so, the Essen motor show grows a little every year and is bound to soon overreach its humble home in the Messe Essen—a similar story to what has happened with SEMA.

This year Volkswagen once again increased its serious involvement, loaning several Golf GTIs for customization and tuning. And, just as with the increased manufacturer presence at SEMA, VW also introduced three new production models—the Audi Q7 S-line, S4 convertible and VW Polo Cross.

Other manufacturers getting more involved included Mazda with a specially trimmed RX-8 Contest, Suzuki with a Grand Vitara Baja edition, and Toyota with a revved- up 214-hp Corolla TS Compressor with a force-fed 1.8-liter VVT-Li— the same engine used in the latest Lotus Elise and Exige, only better.

Along with the GTI, cars of choice for upgrades were: Mazda 3 five-door, BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 Sportback, Porsche Cayman S, Nissan 350Z and Volvo S40.

For sheer fun there are the Pirelli PZero tires in red designed by Ferrari tuner Novitec. It’s hard to imagine anyone buying these and messing them up on the street, but kids have been doing it for years on BMX bikes. So who’s to say?

Perennial favorite Germany’s Tuner Shop came through again with a 1969 Mercedes 220 D hearse, tricked out with a chain-link lowrider steering wheel and a coffin in back that opened to reveal one of the finest sound systems at the show.

One last thing that could recommend Essen even over SEMA is the lack of uptightness in Europe regarding gratuitous showing of the female midriff and sternum area. There’s more every year to attract the boys, while SEMA is inevitably cracking down on the naughty bits.

It’s the little things that make a show a show.


Add To Favorites

Kia "Soul" Concept for Detroit

Caught somewhere between Motown and Seoul-town is the latest Kia concept, the "Soul," due out at the Detroit auto show in January. The Soul is a crossover vehicle, Kia says, with cues that resemble its Mesa truck concept from last year's show.

Details are thin, but Kia says the concept is geared toward active-lifestylers and is a compact-sized ute with reconfigurable cargo space, including a "drawer" for wet or muddy items.

Add To Favorites

Special-Edition Toyota FJ Cruiser in the Works

Toyota is planning a mid-summer launch of a special-edition 2007 FJ Cruiser sport-utility vehicle that is beefed up with off-road performance features.

"Look for things like shocks, tires, wheels, and off-road performance features," said Mark Amstock, Toyota's national truck and SUV market planning manager here at the launch of the FJ Cruiser on Tuesday.
Amstock said Toyota is working with tire manufacturer BFGoodrich on the yet unnamed special-edition FJ Cruiser. He added that Toyota designers are "pushing for traditional FJ colors, including tans and reds."

The Japanese automaker is also considering an FJ model without the signature white roof — a feature which will be standard at the SUV's launch — as well as a convertible version. "We're giving that a lot of thought," Amstock said in regard to a topless FJ Cruiser. "But nothing specific yet."

The FJ Cruiser, priced in the mid-$20Ks, is set to make its debut in late March. It competes against the Hummer H3, the Jeep Wrangler and the Nissan Xterra.

Amstock said Toyota will export a few of the FJ Cruisers to Canada and 183 to the Middle East. He said there are no plans for a right-hand-drive version of the vehicle or a diesel version.

Add To Favorites

Nissan Has Urge for Detroit

Funny, we thought they really liked Nashville? In any case, Nissan this morning released this view of its upcoming concept coupe for Detroit, the Urge. Set to make its world debut in early January 2006 at the Detroit show, the URGE Concept is a "pure, powerful sports car with motorcycle-inspired styling."
Conceived around a rear-drive platform, the Urge has a small-displacement engine, a six-speed manual gearbox and an integrated Xbox 360 inside. Nissan Design America, Inc., La Jolla, Calif., penned the Detroit concept.

Add To Favorites

Skoda Auto India launches Skoda Laura

The India based subsidiary of the German Volkswagen group, Skoda Auto India has launched their new car Skoda Laura in the Indian market. The car is positioned in the upper premium luxury class segment and is based on the bigger A5 platform from the Volkswagen Company. The car is priced at Rs 16,81,081 (ex-showroom Delhi) and should give a competition to Mercedes C Class and other upper segment models from Toyota and Ford.

The car is essentially an updated model of the current generation Skoda Octavia but considering the difference in prices of the two models, the company decided to sell them as separate models in the Indian market. This strategy has been pretty successful for Maruti Suzuki, which continues to sell Maruti Zen, Maruti Alto, and Maruti 800 together in the Indian market.

The company plans to launch two versions of its Octavia range sometime in the first quarter of the next year. They are aiming at sales of around 4,000 units of the Laura in the next 12 months. And the Skoda fans are waiting for the company to launch the fantastic Skoda Fabia in the Indian market.

Add To Favorites