Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Royce Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe on Asanti 26" Wheels and Pirelli Tires

Royce Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe on 26" Asanti 3pc Wheels and Wrapped with Pirelli Tires.
 Wheels have an amazing 7" Chrome Lip all around. 

Information below provided by
The Phantom Drophead Coupé is a less formal interpretation of classic Rolls-Royce design that captures the essence of adventure of the 1930s. Its unique raked grille combined with the flowing lines of the car, gives a sense of spirit and momentum even at rest.
Developed from the 100EX experimental model it offers both driver and passengers a dual experience - intimate and cocooning or embracing the elements depending on whether the roof is raised or lowered. Inspired by the J-class racing yachts of 30s (known for their performance and use of natural materials) the result is a car that epitomises romantic, performance motoring.

Outside in

"We wanted to create a car that is a shared experience," explains Charles Coldham, Chief Stylist Interior Design. "The occupants are surrounded by the finest natural materials, evoking the experience of being on board a yacht." The coach doors allow elegant entry and exit to and from the rear lounge seat that turns the passengers gently towards each other, creating a more intimate atmosphere. The signature hood is made from five layers of material including cashmere, making it both quiet and luxurious when the top is raised.

Engineering Perfection

Like the Phantom saloon, the Phantom Drophead Coupé is built on a hand-welded aluminium spaceframe that has been adapted to the needs of open-top motoring. The A-pillar and windscreen surround have been designed for optimum strength and roll-over protection. From the elevated driving position you can enjoy the power of the muscular aluminium V12 engine that offers effortless power and 75% of torque available from 1,000 rpm. With a low centre of gravity and weight distribution slightly to the rear of the car, the Drophead Coupé's drive is as spirited as its looks suggest.

2012 BMW 328i Sedan-The ultimate sports sedan reaches out to the More Generation

2012 BMW 328i Sedan

The ultimate sports sedan reaches out to the More Generation.

Wider wheel tracks—up 1.5 inches in front and 2.0 in back—give the new 3-series firmly planted feet from visual and dynamic perspectives. Pile on sufficient speed and steering lock to find the adhesion limit, and it’s the front tires that slide first with a gradually increasing chatter as grip is lost. Our test car’s 19-inch Bridgestone Potenza run-flat radials—included with the Sport Line trim level’s optional adaptive M suspension package—demonstrated impressive wet and dry adhesion.
As usual, dipping into the throttle will nudge the tail around so all four tires slide like well-orchestrated figure skaters. Unfortunately, control of the normally open rear differential is handled by the ABS via single-wheel brake applications. To activate limited-slip operation, the master driving dynamics control located on the center console must be toggled to the most aggressive sport-plus selection, and the adjoining DSC button must be held down to disable stability control. It’s not difficult to control the amount of sliding with timely countersteering, but the added chassis rubber does inflict a slight snap-back effect when adhesion is regained. That means it’s best to investigate these handling nuances on a track day before indulging any drift fantasies on the street.
Oh, My Goodness—Look at All the Goodies

Beyond the classic driving-dynamic attributes, the 2012 3-series offers a whole Christmas catalog of comfort, convenience, safety, entertainment, and connectivity functions. The rear-door openings are slightly longer to ease entry, and there are modest gains in front and rear passenger space. BMW’s iDrive console-mounted mouse and a dash-top display screen are standard equipment. A USB port, an aux-in connector, and smartphone docking are provided under a sliding center-armrest lid. Front-door pockets can accept one-liter beverage containers. The rear-seat backrest now splits in 40/20/40 sections for utmost freight-versus-passenger flexibility. The 13-cubic-foot trunk not only provides one more cubic foot of volume than before, but there’s also a handy bin under a hinged floor panel for stashing items out of sight. An option the More Generation will surely love is a hands-free, noncontact means of unlatching and opening the trunk with a simple fore-and-aft kick under the rear bumper.
Although the optional head-up display focuses on navigation and speed-related information, the center-dash monitor will track power and torque on dual dials when asked to do so by the iDrive controller. A host of cameras and sensors provides blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, collision warnings, rear-obstacle detection, and 360-degree views outside the car. (Don’t be surprised when Sky-Is-Falling!-Tronic is added next year.) A parking assistant will not only alert the driver to a suitable parallel-parking slot, but it can also assume control of the steering as the car is backed into place.
An unprecedented four trim levels are available. The Sport Line adds shift paddles with the automatic and a mix of gloss black and red accents inside and out to a base 328i or 335i. Contrasting stitching, anodized trim pieces, and red gauge markings do an excellent job of burying BMW’s past reputation for black-and-white austerity. The Luxury Line and the Modern Line use bright chrome or satin finishes, smooth or textured wood, colorful leathers, and color-keyed cabin trim to make their statements. Late next year, a fifth trim—the M Sport package—containing a sport suspension; shift paddles; firmer sport seats; a smaller-diameter, fatter-rimmed steering wheel; 18- or 19-inch wheels; and an assortment of aerodynamic add-ons will be available.

The F30 3-series game plan includes xDrive all-wheel drive and an ActiveHybrid 3 that combines the turbo six with an electric motor and the eight-speed automatic to deliver improved fuel efficiency with 335i performance. Coupe and convertible models—they might be badged 4-series—will come later; the E90-based models will continue through the 2012 model year. There will be a 3-series Gran Turismo. And you can of course expect an M3, but it remains a couple of years out.
BMW 3-series, the Greening
Two standard features declare the hybrid 3-series redundant. The first is an automatic stop/start function that shuts down the engine to eliminate consumption while idling in traffic. (Those who can’t stomach this feature can disable it after every startup by pressing a switch located above the starter button.) The second reason not to buy a hybrid is the eco pro mode offered by the driving dynamics control switch. Toggling down past the sport and comfort modes, you enter the low-consumption domain with powertrain settings adjusted to maximize gas mileage. Throttle response is softened, and the automatic transmission upshifts sooner and downshifts later. Electrical consumption by the climate-control system and heated seats and mirrors is reduced. Various displays in the instrument cluster flash to help the driver become adept at hypermiling—the technique of squeezing extra distance out of every drop of gas. Eco pro’s reward for exemplary behavior is displaying how many bonus miles of driving range were achieved on any given trip.
Clearly, the new 3-series is the compact sports sedan for a changed world. This is where 24/7 connectivity and socially responsible consumption join hands with skidpad grip and slalom-course agility. Without totally abandoning its driving-enthusiast constituents, the 2012 3-series tenders a rich menu of gimmicks and gadgets that probably will appeal to those who always want more. If BMW doesn’t appeal to them, Audi, Cadillac, Lexus, and Mercedes surely will.

Original Article:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Test: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG


2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG

All hail the tiny thunder.

Bless Mercedes-Benz. Bless that company a thousand times. The house that Gottlieb, Karl, and Wilhelm built might not be good at everything, but at the end of the day, it gets one important thing right: If you are going to build a high-performance car for public sale, then said car must sound bitchin’.
Meet the 2012 SLK55 AMG. It sounds excessively bitchin’. Actually, that descriptor might be too modest—this machine is loud and raucous enough to wake the undersea dead. The naturally aspirated 415-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 under the SLK’s hood is the kind of powerplant that gives Detroit nightmares: torquey, smooth, and blessed with an exhaust note that makes the average V-8–powered American sled sound like a soprano eunuch. AMG calls this engine the M152, a fact worth mentioning only because it helps distinguish this V-8 from another Mercedes V-8. The M152 is a variant of the M157, the twin-turbo, 5.5-liter eight recently rolled out as a replacement for AMG’s aging naturally aspirated 6.2-liter M156 V-8.

So Many Numbers, So Little Sense
Let’s get this down for posterity: The M156 used to live in AMG 63 cars such as the E63 and CL63. Most of those cars still wear “63” badging, a nod to the 1968–72 Mercedes 300SEL 6.3, despite the fact that they now are powered by the 5.5-liter M157. The M156 is still found in the C63 sedan, coupe, and new Black Series coupe; it also lives, albeit in slightly modified M159 form, in the SLS AMG. For the moment, the naturally aspirated 5.5-liter M152 is found only in the SLK55.
Confused yet? All you really need to know is that Mercedes-Benz badging can’t be trusted to accurately portray engine displacement—except in the case of the SLK55, one of the few cars whose number makes sense. Let’s move on.
Like all AMG engines, the SLK55’s powerplant specializes in torque. In addition to the aforementioned 415 hp, the 7200-rpm M152 cranks out a whopping 398 lb-ft of grunt, enough, we figure, to hurl the diminutive roadster to 60 mph in barely more than four seconds. The V-8 is oriented toward efficiency, at least as much as a 5.5-liter eight-pot can be; cylinder deactivation is standard, as are direct injection, variable valve timing, and a stop/start system. The cylinder-deactivation system, a first for AMG, can disable cylinders two, three, five, and eight by cutting spark and fuel and parking those cylinders’ valves. The transition is noticeable only in the form of a slight change in exhaust note—it shifts from a rumbling burble to a boomier, less-complex tune—and an indicator light on the dash. The cylinders go to sleep under light load and only from 800 to 3600 rpm. Mercedes says they need as little as 30 milliseconds to relight, and the active cylinders still produce up to 170 lb-ft of torque. The system only functions when the transmission is set to efficiency mode or when the folding hardtop is up, leaving the top-down experience unsullied by practical concerns.

Mighty (Hefty) Mite
The SLK should weigh a whopping 3550 pounds—hundreds more than a Porsche Boxster or BMW Z4, both of which offer slightly nimbler handling and, in the case of the Boxster, gobs more steering feedback. This is as it should be. Mercedes isn’t known for building pared-down, die-hard sports cars, and the brand’s droptops have always seemed more suited to grand touring than corner carving. The 55 gets the usual pantheon of handling goodies—stiffer springs and dampers, a variable-assist hydraulic steering gear, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and a pseudo torque-vectoring function for the brakes that uses rear-caliper pressure to help the car turn in—and it’s happy sucking up winding pavement, but it’s happier still carrying big speed over long distances. The standard seven-speed automatic shifts smoothly and quickly, blipping the throttle on downshifts, but the engine is so flexible that you tend to forget the gearbox is there. Gripes are limited to a noticeable amount of nose weight—for better or worse, V-8–engined SLKs have always felt bigger than they are when pushed—and a rear-suspension tune that produces a lot of head toss and the occasional sideways hop over rough pavement.
The SLK55’s sports-car clothing and soundtrack can be misleading, but ultimately, this is a remarkably balanced, fast touring car. Pricing hasn’t been released, but figure on a sticker close to $69,000 when the model goes on sale in 2012. That’s anything but cheap, but the noise—that beautiful, lavish noise—is worth every penny.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New F30 BMW 3-series to Offer Diesel Engine in U.S.—Eventually

BMW is in the midst of launching the volume versions of its all-new F30 3-series sedan—you can read our hot-off-the-press first drive here—but a company insider has confirmed that a diesel version will join the U.S. lineup once the dust has settled.
The outgoing 3-series was available with a torque-tastic 425-lb-ft, 3.0-liter diesel inline-six; that model, badged 335d, was available only with an automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive—and hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds in our testing. Its burly nature and exorbitant sticker price ($45,025) were a recipe for slow sales, but it was nevertheless a more cost-effective way for the company to offer a diesel 3, with the same engine having been brought up to U.S. regulations for use in the X5 xDrive35d.
This time around, we believe things will be different. It’s more likely that we’ll see a diesel four-cylinder in the 3-series. Our bet is on BMW offering a 2.0-liter dizzler, which makes 181 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque in the newly introduced European-spec 320d. If this engine does come here, BMW probably will deploy it in more models, too—the 5-series and X3 are both prime candidates.
The exact timing, however, remains unclear. We were slightly surprised that a U.S.-bound diesel wasn’t announced with the rest of the American 3-series lineup, but its arrival may have been pushed off to avoid stealing the alternative-powertrain spotlight from the new ActiveHybrid 3. Figure on a wait of at least a year—or possibly until the mid-cycle refresh rolls around in three years or so—for the new-gen diesel 3 to hit the States.
Original Article:—eventually/

What Do You Think?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ford boosts Mustang Shelby GT500 to 650 hp for 2013 model

AutoWeek -- November 15, 2011 - 12:01 am ET

The all-new Escape SUV might be more important to Ford Motor Co.'s bottom line, but the 2013 Mustang line being unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show is more exciting -- starting with the 650-hp GT500.
Yes -- 650 hp for the 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500. It's the most powerful Mustang ever, and it will almost certainly be the least expensive 650-hp new car money can buy.
You can credit Ford for not allowing the Mustang to get stale or soft -- especially as it squares off with the new Camaro from Chevrolet and Dodge Challenger.
The Camaro has pulled ahead in the muscle car sweepstakes, with U.S. sales of 76,368 through October this year. The Mustang is second with sales of 61,516 and the Challenger is a distant third with sales of 33,254.
The 2013 Ford Mustang GT

Photo credit: FORD

A year after the debut of the Boss 302, the Mustang lineup remains the same, with a V6, GT 5.0, Boss and GT500.
Yet all get a mild facelift for 2013, with improvements across the board. There's a more aggressive shark snout in front, standard HID projector-beam headlights trimmed with LED strips, and three-bar LED taillight/turn signals that flash sequentially.
Puddle lights in the outside mirrors cast light in the pattern of the Mustang pony logo.
The 2013 Mustang Boss

Photo credit: FORD

The 2013 Mustang GT gets LED fog lights and a bump from 412 hp to 420 hp, thanks to internal friction reductions in the engine. The six-speed Select Shift automatic will allow full manual control, with no default upshift at the redline. Recaro seats will be available all the way down to the V6, in cloth or leather.
There will be new performance packages, upgraded audio systems and a new option called Track Apps, with an on-board accelerometer. Track Apps can save and display lap times, quarter-mile times and g-loads on the new 4.2-inch LCD in the center stack, not to mention a range of engine telemetry options, right down to cylinder-head temperatures.
The Shelby GT500 receives new downforce-generating front grilles, aggressive splitter, new quad exhaust system and two new forged-aluminum wheels.

Photo credit: FORD

Then there's the 2013 GT500. Ford promises that 650 hp, up 100 from the current GT500, and top speed above 200 mph. That kind of speed required a thorough overhaul of the suspension, cooling system and aero package, according to engineers, though Ford was keeping details close to the vest before the L.A. show.
Nonetheless, we've confirmed the source of that 650 hp, and it's not a blown version of the new 5.0 Coyote block used in the GT and Boss 302.
Rather, it's the supercharged Ford GT engine used in the current GT500, with all its high-tech metallurgy, bumped from 5.4 liters to 5.8 liters displacement. Redline is 7,000 rpm, which will mean incredible piston speeds for a long-stroke engine. We'd also predict some sort of self-adjusting, variable-rate suspension.
And a substantial price increase. Yet even with a bump of 25 percent from the 2012 GT500 base price of $49,605, we still haven't hit $65,000. You can't touch 650 hp or 200 mph from any other automaker for that kind of cash.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lamborghini to debut Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder for one last hurrah?

By Noah Joseph
Posted Nov 8th 2011 9:59AM

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Honda reveals Civics, supercharged Accord coupe at SEMA

AutoWeek --
November 2, 2011 - 10:50 am ET
LAS VEGAS -- Following the launch of the new 2012 Civic, Honda Motor Co. used the SEMA show to announce news surrounding the ninth-generation model and to debut a prototype Accord sporting a supercharger.
For the regular road-going enthusiast is the Civic Si Coupe HFP (for Honda Factory Performance). The dealer-installed kit includes a HFP sport suspension which lowers ride height by 15 millimeters and adds stiffer springs, shocks and 18-inch HFP wheels with Yokohama AVID W4S tires.
The Civic Si Coupe HFP is also the first product on which HFP has collaborated with Honda's in-house racing arm, Honda Performance Development (HPD) to test and verify the package's performance improvements on the track compared with those of the stock Si. According to Honda, the relationship between the two will further strengthen on future products.
To dress up the outside, the HFP kit includes a front lip spoiler, side sills and a rear bumper underbody spoiler, while the interior gains LED ambient lighting. The entire package retails for $4,244 and carries a three-year/36,000-mile warranty when installed at the time of the new-car purchase.
For the track warriors, Honda had a race-prepped 2012 Civic Si coupe prepared by Compass360 Racing, which had its first shakedown run at the World Challenge season finale at Road Atlanta in September. In hopes of expanding its racing presence, HPD will offer the Civic coupe body-in-white for $3,500, which will save potential Civic Si racers from having to purchase a fully equipped stock vehicle and tear it apart.
To date, Honda has sold close to 10 bodies, which can be fully built up through HPD's parts catalog that includes engines built by longtime Honda/Acura racers RealTime Racing out of Wisconsin.
Finally, Honda showed off an Accord coupe V6 concept outfitted with the HFP package with upgraded suspension, body kit and rims. The concept part of the equation comes from a HPD-tuned supercharger, intake and exhaust system. Estimated output figures according to Honda come in at 333 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque, which is up from the stock V6's output of 271 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque.
You can reach Jonathan Wong at

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chevrolet aims to turn heads with Sonic All Activity concept

The All Activity Sonic has a matte black finish, satin chrome pieces, a Z-Spec 2 high-wing spoiler and a built-on roof rack for mountain bikes, wakeboards and other equipment.

Automotive News --
November 1, 2011 - 11:56 am ET
DETROIT -- Chevrolet hopes its tricked-out Ricky Carmichael All Activity Sonic concept makes waves at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show beginning today at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Carmichael, a motocross racer who began four-wheel racing in 2007 and competes in the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado pickup, gave Chevrolet some ideas for creating a vehicle he could use in his active lifestyle.
“He came to us with the design himself and looked at where we were headed with the car and made suggestions,” said Cristi Vazquez, Chevrolet communications manager for the Sonic and Equinox nameplates.
The result: the Ricky Carmichael All Activity Sonic concept.
“The car looks so cool, colorful and fun to drive,” Carmichael said in a statement. “I live my life on the go and this Sonic really represents that active lifestyle and my desire to have fun when I’m off the racetrack.”
The All Activity Sonic has a matte black finish, satin chrome pieces, a Z-Spec 2 high-wing spoiler and a built-on roof rack for mountain bikes, wakeboards and other equipment.
“This vehicle really has captivated a lot of people,” said Cristi Landy, director of small cars for Chevrolet. “It’s really sporty and has a cool blend of elements. The interior is really cool.”
The interior seats of the Ricky Carmichael All Activity Sonic were designed by Fox Racing, one of Carmichael’s sponsors, and are made of a material intended to replicate board shorts.
“The elements and components used to create it are largely based on accessories available for the Sonic, as well as other aftermarket parts,” Dave Ross, GM design director, said in a statement. “While this is a car created with and for Ricky Carmichael, new Sonic customers could easily create their own special all-activities vehicle.”
Though the vehicle is a concept, Chevrolet officials are aiming for the Z-Spec package, which includes upgrades to the vehicle’s grille, paneling, ground effects, spoiler and wheels, to be available on 2013 models.
The Chevrolet Cruze compact also will be on display at SEMA, but Chevrolet plans to stress the possibilities for accessorizing the Sonic subcompact more than the Cruze.
“We’re playing up one of its strengths. When you look at the Sonic and the Cruze, they’re both well-styled vehicles and attractive,” Vazquez said. “The Sonic is more performance-oriented and the Cruze more luxury-based.”
SEMA will take place all week in Las Vegas.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Official Photos: The 500’s Angry Sibling Announced for L.A. Show

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

The amped-up 500 we've been waiting for.

Just one year ago at the Los Angeles auto show, Fiat announced its official reentry into our country with the debut of the U.S.-spec 500. Since then, the brand has added the pseudo convertible 500C, but sales of all Cinquecentos have failed to impress. You might say they could use a little boost, so what better time to introduce a hotter turbocharged variant to our shores? The 2012 500 Abarth has been officially confirmed to arrive at the Los Angeles auto show.
For those not familiar with the current-gen 500 Abarth, you must know that it’s not new. First introduced to Europe in 2008, the 500 Abarth is an absolute hoot to drive. The regular 500’s wheezy 101-hp, 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder gets boosted with a turbocharger, and tuned to make 133 hp in basic tune or 170 in the Esseesse version—say “SS,”and it stands for “supersport.” Which tune will we get? Well, Fiat isn’t talking yet, but we think it’s pretty safe to figure on 170 hp. This is America, after all: Go big or go back to Italy. (Abarth also makes the 180-plus-hp 695 Competizione, but it’s a limited-edition special.)
But the 500 Abarth is not just about motor. Born from a philosophy of “small but wicked” coined by company founder Karl Abarth, its mechanical modifications also bring a lot to the table, at least in Europe. We don’t yet know exactly how our car’s chassis will be spec’d—Fiat only says that the car is aimed at driving purists and track-day enthusiasts with an Abarth-tuned suspension and brakes, and “technology features not traditionally included on a small car.” The Fiat folks do add, however, that our version will “stay true” to the Euro model. That should mean our Abarth will include stiffer springs and shocks and a brake-based torque-control system to help mitigate understeer.
Aesthetically, the cutie-pie face of the base 500 is dialed up with more aggression. The Abarth’s front fascia has a larger intake opening, accented by a subtle chin spoiler. There are new rocker extensions and the rear bumper hosts a diffuser with dual exhaust pipes. Other unique exterior items include a roof-mounted spoiler, red brake calipers and mirror caps, Abarth’s signature scorpion logos and decals, and a set of larger, more-sinister wheels.
We haven’t received a peek at the U.S. car’s interior yet, but it’ll likely carry over the sporty seats, aluminum pedals, fat steering wheel, and boost gauge found in Continental Abarths. Our answer will come soon enough, and the car will go on sale in the first half of 2012.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cadre of Ford Focuses Invade 2011 SEMA Show

The Blue Oval's excellent new small car gets the SEMA treatment, times seven.

The 2012 Focus is the Blue Oval’s most recently launched product, so it makes sense that Ford is bringing more of them to SEMA than any other model. There are in fact seven: six hatchbacks and one sedan, worked over by familiar names that include 3dCarbon, Roush, and Steeda. Details on each follow below; other SEMA show cars from Ford include three Fiestas, four F-series trucks, and three Explorers.
Ford Focus by Roush Performance
Talk about our kind of Focus. Roush mostly left playing dress-up to other shops and went straight to amping up the powertrain. This Roush Stage 3 Focus ought to be a riot, with its TVS supercharger, modified induction system, and dual-exit exhaust. As to the aesthetic changes, they’re limited to Roush grille inserts, a chin splitter, door graphics, and matte paint. Here’s hoping Roush offers this package to consumers—we have a feeling it will, given its past offerings for Focuses—and sends one our way.
Ford Focus by 3dCarbon
Speaking of dress-up, that’s what this 3dCarbon Focus hatch is all about, with its body kit and satin-finish exterior wrap. The windows have been tinted, an upper roof spoiler added, and red accents—including a set of BBS wheels—sprinkled around the exterior. The functional elements include Pirelli rubber and a set of Eibach springs.
Ford Focus by The ID Agency
We’re still trying to figure out exactly what The ID Agency means when it says its Focus was “inspired by European and Japanese tuning styles.” Whatever. It has a Wraptivo roof sticker, a Top Stitch interior with Recaro Sportster seats, a Brembo brake package, and a Magnaflow cat-back exhaust. The slammed stance with big wheels and a body kit definitely brings to mind some Japanese influence, but then there’s a Thule bike rack with a Custom Leader bike. Must be for European traffic jams?
Ford Focus by Capaldi Racing
The lone four-door in this group, Capaldi Racing’s Focus concentrates on rousing the powertrain with a Borla cat-back exhaust and a custom intake. The chassis gets a Ford Racing Torsen differential, an AST Sport-Line suspension, and Ford Racing anti-roll bars. The sedan’s exterior gets upgraded HID headlights, custom paint, a Capaldi Racing front splitter, and some SEMA-appropriate orange rollers.
Ford Focus by Steeda
Known primarily for its work on the Focus’s sportiest and horsiest sibling, the Mustang, Steeda has enhanced this compact hatch with a self-supplied rear anti-roll bar, front-end brace, and cold-air intake, plus a quartet of lowering springs. The body kit is from 3dCarbon and the 19-inch wheels come from HRE. The four-banger in the engine room is officially SEMA-fied with fancy aluminum bits.
Ford Focus by Bojix Design
Twenties on a Focus? It wouldn’t be SEMA with anything less. This Focus Stage 2 by Bojix Design goes big with a body kit, a roof spoiler, an H&R lowering kit, and the huge 20-inch wheels. The chassis is said to offer “civil street manners,” but with those wagon wheels and lowered suspension, there’s no way even the leather-and-Alcantara-swathed interior could make this a comfortable ride. But, hey, at least the brakes were upgraded with a kit from AP Racing to deal with all that unsprung weight.
Ford Focus by Cobb Tuning
Dubbing this Focus a “Motorsports Challenger,” Cobb seriously overhauled its four-cylinder with its own components, including forged pistons, custom intake and exhaust manifolds, and a turbo kit with a front-mounted intercooler. The chassis was prepped for track duty with Eibach coil-overs, Cobb suspension bushings, and a StopTech Trophy big-brake kit. With aero addenda like the front winglets, chin splitter, and enormous rear wing, this Focus looks the part, too.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Range Rover sheds pounds, aims to gain share

Few vehicles can match the off-road capabilities of the typical Land Rover sport-utility vehicle. But when it came time to introduce the new Range Rover Evoque the British maker dug even deeper to reinforce its claims – more than 100 feet beneath the streets of Liverpool.
The media preview – staged in a long-abandoned network of railroad tunnels – was intended to show that the distinctive new Evoque could handle anything the typical buyer would likely run into. But the reality is that few will ever experience anything rougher than a gravel road or un-shoveled driveway. So why design a vehicle carrying all the extra hardware – and weight – of the typical Land Rover? 
While the iconic British brand isn’t likely to abandon the classic SUV that has been its foundation for the last 60 years, Land Rover is planning some major changes, and the Evoque is the first sign of what’s in store.
Apparently, the new crossover-ute has struck the right chord.  It has been named Motor Trend magazine's SUV of the Year and is a semi-finalist for North American Truck of the Year, an award that will be presented at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
The Range Rover Evoque is the first car-based crossover produced by the luxury brand, now owned by India’s Tata Motors, rather than the classic body-on-frame SUV.  With its funky, coupe-like styling, the new model is both the smallest and, at just north of 3,500 pounds in base configuration, the lightest model ever to wear a Rover badge. 
That reflects the reality of today’s automotive market. Motorists are generally downsizing as they struggle to deal with crowded city streets and rising fuel prices. That doesn’t mean they want to give up style, performance, space or functionality, however. 
So while Evoque abandons the low-range gearbox found on the classic Range Rover and other, less expensive Land Rover models, it carries over the Terrain Response Control system that, with the touch of a button, takes the guesswork out of driving on different surfaces, such as mud-and-ruts, gravel, snow-and-ice or standard pavement. 
It does that by revising the settings of all manner of vehicle operations. In one of the off-road modes, Evoque’s ride height increases by several inches. Throttle response changes appropriately. In snow, you’ll start out in second gear. Transmission and brake-intervention systems like ABS and electronic stability control also are reprogrammed for optimum traction and handling.
That dependence on electronic, rather than mechanical, technology will become increasingly apparent in future products, as will the wedge shape of the Evoque, explained Gerry McGovern, the brand’s design director, acknowledging, “Land Rover needs redefining.”
The process began with the unveiling of the LRX concept vehicle in January 2008 at the North American International Auto Show.  Company officials admit they weren’t sure what to expect, but the strong response to the show car convinced them to move forward with the project that became Evoque, which was launched while the brand was still owned by Ford Motor Co., then brought to market by Tata, which acquired both Land Rover and sibling British brand Jaguar in March 2008.
“We knew we had something very special on our hands, something that could change the perception of the brand," said Land Rover managing director Phil Popham
The buzz kept building as the maker carefully doled out details of the project and by the time of the recent media preview there were already 20,000 orders in hand.  Significantly, 80 percent of those buyers have never before owned a Land Rover product.
Considering initial reviews, the new Range Rover Evoque very well could become one of – if not the – best-selling model in the brand’s history.  Long little more than a niche player, Land Rover is aiming to take itself at least a bit more mainstream.  That doesn’t mean it will walk away from classic truck-based SUVs. Quite the contrary. 
It revealed an all-new concept version of the big Defender model at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, McGovern describing it as a “vision of the 21st Century” SUV. A production version should roll into showrooms in a couple of years.
But even such traditional offerings will undergo some dramatic changes, according to Popham, who revealed a corporate goal of trimming anywhere from 800 to 1,100 pounds of weight off the typical Land Rover product. That will be critical if the marque hopes to meet tough new emissions and mileage requirements going into effect in most of its key markets.
Expect also to see a shift to more high-tech powertrains, he hinted. There’ll be more diesels – and very likely a diesel for the U.S. market.  The Range Rover Evoque, meanwhile, will be the first Land Rover offering to get a hybrid-electric drivetrain.  Even conventional gasoline powertrains will be downsized and turbocharged – like the turbo 2.0-liter direct injection 4-cylinder engine offered in the new crossover.
While rising fuel prices have clearly had an impact on the utility vehicle market, sales have remained surprisingly strong.  But Land Rover officials recognize they can’t keep practicing business as usual. The new Evoque gives a hint of the alternative future they’re mapping out.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

2011 Toyota Tundra with NEW Fuel Mojave 20x9 5x150 Matte Black Wheels and 305/55R20 Nitto Terra Grappler All Terrain Tires  

Toyota Tundra Review - What the Auto Press Says

The 2011 Toyota Tundra ranks 5 out of 8 Full Size Pickup Trucks. This ranking is based on our analysis of 66 published reviews and test drives of the Toyota Tundra, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
The 2011 Toyota Tundra is a great all-around truck, but it’s easily trumped when it comes to looks, performance, fuel economy and standard features.
Most reviewers say the 2011 Toyota Tundra is practical and meets expectations. It has a large bed, multiple cab options that increase seating capacity and powerful engines.
The Tundra is a sensible truck, but it definitely isn’t perfect. One of the biggest complaints is that the Tundra tends to understeer and isn't as sturdy as the Dodge Ram and Ford F-150. The Tundra’s list of standard interior features is also sparse in comparison to its top competitors.
The consensus? Reviewers say that while the Tundra is outdone when it comes to handling, style and fuel economy, it is still an excellent all-around choice. Edmunds says that, despite the Tundra’s faults, it “remains a well-built and thoroughly competent truck.”

Other Trucks to Consider

Many full size pickup trucks start between $2,000 and $3,000 less than the 2011 Toyota Tundra. Along with those savings, you get higher fuel economy ratings, better performance and more aggressive exterior styling.
If you’re after better fuel economy ratings, go for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500, both of which get 15/20 mpg city/highway on the two-wheel drive models.   
The Dodge Ram offers more aggressive exterior styling and better performance, all for $20,610, almost $3,000 less than the Toyota Tundra. Fuel economy, however, isn’t best in class. The two-wheel drive Ram only gets 14/20 mpg city/highway.
To save money, go for a 2010 Tundra. It looks identical to the 2011 model, but it lacks a few standard safety features. Check our Toyota Deals page for the best offers on 2010 models.

Details: Toyota Tundra

Toyota has given the Tundra a few updates for the 2011 model year. The 4.0 liter V6 engine gets dual variable timing, which increases fuel economy and power. Toyota also added more standard safety features: brake override technology and trailer-sway control. The Tundra is available in Regular, Double and CrewMax models.
  • "Contradicting a trend that's gained momentum in the past decade, Toyota has reduced the maximum trailer-towing rating of the Tundra half-ton for 2011, in one case up to 1,100 pounds." --
  • "Those who enjoyed the more nimble, economical Toyota pickups of the past may find the 2011 Toyota Tundra far too large. The Tundra's size means it can be challenging to maneuver in tight situations and, understandably, it is not particularly fuel-efficient, and there is no diesel engine option." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Tundra trails GM and Ford for handling, interior materials, and overall refinement. It bests them for power and passenger accommodations, however. Give it a look." -- Consumer Guide

Tundra Performance - 8.2 (Very Good)

While the 2011 Toyota Tundra doesn’t have the most precise steering among full size trucks, Edmunds says, "It proved to be a capable workhorse that tackled all our towing, hauling and commuting needs without breaking a sweat." Read More

Tundra Exterior - 7.4 (Good)

Many reviewers say the 2011 Toyota Tundra doesn’t stand out in a class of more aggressive pickup trucks. "Toyota made sure this Tundra wouldn't have sand kicked in its face by designing a big, brawny pickup that looks like it could bully any truck on the market, at least from the front,” says “From the side, the Tundra is rather conventional. A deck-rail adjustable tie-down system is available for all cargo beds." Read More

Tundra Interior - 8.1 (Very Good)

The 2011 Toyota Tundra’s interior isn’t luxurious, and while some reviewers wish it were better, others say that it doesn’t need to be. As Edmunds says, "Although the cabin evinced a few ergonomic missteps, it was generally durable, spacious and comfy." Read More

Tundra Safety - 10.0 (Excellent)

The 2011 Toyota Tundra earns good crash test scores from the federal government and the insurance industry for highway safety. This year, the Tundra gets two new standard safety features: Trailer-sway Control and brake override technology. Read More

Tundra Reliability - 8.0 (Very Good)

The 2011 Toyota Tundra reliability score shown is the Predicted Reliability rating provided by J.D. Power and Associates. This score is based on trending the past three years of historical initial quality and dependability data from J.D. Power's automotive studies, specifically the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2011 Toyota Tundra has a basic warranty that lasts for 36-months or 36,000-miles, whichever comes first. Read More
Review Last Updated: 12/6/10
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