Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Updated Veyron Hits Top Gear Track

The even faster Bugatti Veyron SS is quicker also. The Stig takes the black/orange Veyron around the Top Gear track and not surprisingly goes quicker than the regular Veyron. How quick? Watch to find out how the 1,200 horsepower Veyron stacks up against other hypercars. And if you can, watch the entire episode as it's one of best in some time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ford Explorer Reborn As A Crossover

The exremely-well-selling-back-in-its-day Ford Explorer returns as a crossover fit for modern times, according to Ford. It will feature a 3.5 liter 290 horsepower V6 engine and a two liter turbocharged Ecoboost four cylinder with 237 horsepower but only 5 lb-ft less torque than the V6. Ford promises fuel economy to be on par with a V6 powered Camry for the "premium" priced Ecoboost option. Time will tell how many buyers will pay some additional money for extra fuel economy while giving up performance to the standard engine. Read the Ford press release here.

Audi A7 Unveiled

Here are some first high quality photos of the new Audi A7. The A7 is a five door hatch that is bigger than the current A6 but smaller than the A8, just like the name implies. At launch it is available with three V6 engines. The US will get the 300 horsepower 3.0T paired with an 8 speed auto. Read the press release for all the facts here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Car and Driver: Audi RS5 vs. BMW M3 vs. Cadillac CTS-V

Car and Driver ventured out to the German Autobahn and the 'Ring to test the three hottest sport coupes out today. The Car and Driver test team burned up 2,000 dollars of fuel testing the coupe's 178 mph top speed. Car and Driver loved the RS5's gearbox, the Cadillac's power and M3's steering and the general performance level of all three was outstanding with 0 to 60 arriving in around 4 second flat and the "slowest" ran a 12.5 second 1/4 mile. Here are the ratings:

Third. Audi RS5. Car and Driver appreciated the RS5's 7 speed S-Tronic gearbox and 450 horsepower V8 but its 4,000 pound curb weight along with steering modes that never achieve satisfaction put it in third.

Second. Cadillac CTS-V. Car and Driver found the CTS-V the most stable on the Autobahn and the supercharged V8 most powerful, yet a little too quiet. C/D also liked the Cadillac's steering and brakes but was disappointed by its interior and Recaro seats.

First. BMW M3. The lightest in test (3,600 pounds) M3 with the competition package had the best handling in the test. C/D also liked the M3's V8 soundtrack. The M3 was the shiftiest at high speed on the Autobahn.

Friday, July 23, 2010

2011 Audi A8 V8 Offers Better Fuel Economy Than BMW and Mercedes Hybrids

The 2011 Audi A8 with the 372 horsepower V8 engine will offer exceptional fuel economy of 17 city and 27 highway. These ratings place the A8 far ahead of its BMW and Mercedes V8 powered competition. Surprisingly, the A8 with its conventional V8 engine and 8 speed gearbox also tops its German rivals' hybrid efforts fuel economy wise. The BMW 7 series ActiveHybrid trails the A8 by 1 mpg on the highway and the Mercedes S400 hybrid comes up 2 mpg short.

Audi A8: 17/21/27

BMW ActiveHybrid: 17/20/26
MB S400 Hybrid: 19/21/25
Lexus LS 600hL: 20/21/22
Mercedes S550: 15/18/23
BMW 750i: 15/17/22
BMW 740i: 17/20/25

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Delivers 28 MPG

Set to go on sale later this year the Volkswagen V6 TDI diesel engine equipped with the 8 speed automatic gearbox will not only produce 406 lb-ft of torque but also 28 mpg on the highway. The EPA rates the V6 TDI Touareg at 19 city and 28 highway, figures more easily associated with midsize sedans rather than SUVs with 7,700 pounds of towing capacity. Volkswagen credits the 460 pounds weight decrease for the improvement in fuel economy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Definition of a Supercar

Supercars are meant to be fast, expensive and good looking, but there is no official definition that exists that automatically qualifies or disqualifies a vehicle from supercar status. Based on the fact that supercars are first and foremost performance machines the definition has to be performance based. Therefore, a modern day performance vehicle looking to join the supercar club should at least be able to pass the 1/4 mile with a trap speed of greater than 120 mph. This high level of performance sets the bar high even for modern performance vehicles and eliminates the base Corvettes, 911s and even the Ferrari California.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Battle of the Supercar Commercials

Strictly speaking supercars don't need commercials to sell. So what is the point of having a supercar commercial? Brand awareness is the answer. A supercar commercial allows a brand to create a connection between the badass supercar in the commercial and the rest of the company's product. Case in point the two latest commercials from Chevrolet and Lexus. Both feature the company's quickest, fastest and most expensive product. The Corvette ZR1 and LF-A.



So which commercial is better? I prefer the ZR1 commercial because it shows how the ZR1 is like a rocketship, while the Lexus strives for perfection in an aspect that has little to do with performance. Still, both commercials feature real supercars and are miles ahead of the typical 0% financing or reliability rating boasting commercials that fill the airways much too often.

New Volkswagen New Beetle Coming in 2011

The original Volkswagen Beetle set all records for longetivity with its 65 year production run. Its spiritual sucessor, the New Beetle, while unable to top the Beetle's long production cycle has itself been on sale for a dozen years, an incredibly long production cycle in current times. Aside from a mild refresh in 2006 the New Beetle is one of the oldest cars on sale today. However, this will all change as Volkswagen has confirmed that the next generation of the New Beetle will go on sale in 2011 ready to battle with other retro inspired cars such as the Mini and the Fiat 500. The question is, will the new New Beetle capture the public's attention like the original didin 1998?

"Under Strategy 2018, it is planned to invest up to US$1 billion in Mexico over the next three years. Some of these funds will be spent on constructing new production plant for the Beetle successor. The new version of the style icon will be launched in 2011 and will safeguard a total of 2,000 jobs in Puebla."

Little is known about the second generation New Beetle and no spy cars have been spotted yet. However, it appears that contrary to earlier reports of the New Beetle retruning to its rear engine and rear drive roots, the next New Beetle will remain a front engined front wheel drive as the current one. Of course, the styling will be the critical point in its sucess. Expect an edgier version of the current New Beetle.
The new New Beetle might look a little like this.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lamborghini Gallardo LP-550 Balboni vs. Ferrari 458 Italia Drag Race

Two of the finest sports cars of the world face off in a drag race.

Jetta Coupe Inching Towards Production

Volkswagen has only recently unveiled the next generation of its best selling Jetta sedan but it's already looking ahead and has filed patents for a coupe version. As reported earlier, this generation of the Jetta would likely be available in a coupe alongside the sedan and wagon versions previously on sale. In fact, Volkswagen chose to foreshadow the sedan with the NCC concept at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. The patent drawings which can be found on Carscoop reveal a coupe that is faithful to the original concept car. Expect to see the Jetta coupe go on sale as a 2012 model at the earliest.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June 2010 Sales

Overall the month of June proved to be kind for the auto industry with all but a handful of brands improving upon last year's sales. Porsche led everyone by more than doubling their sales on the strength of the new Panamera and Cayenne. Dodge and Buick brands also posted impressive improvements of over 50%. Cadillac led the luxury brands with a 39% increase. Many brands had sales improvements of over 10%, but Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Lexus bucked the trend and all had lesser improvements.