ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 30, 2011

Noble M600 supercar enters production

noble m600

Since 2008, we have been speaking about the Noble M600. It was officially released in 2009 and the crew at Top Gear UK got to test one before 2010. After that there was no news about it but Noble has finally announced the first M600 off the factory production line. This super car sports a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter Yamaha V8 with three power levels for road, track and race. An Adaptable Performance Control switch will vary the output between each level, letting the engine produce the horse power as needed.

Couple that with a curb weight of just 2,775 pounds, and you've a great recipe for 0-60 times around three seconds or less and an estimated top speed of 225 miles per hour. Only one's been built so far, but Noble claims it has orders for a full 50. At £200,000 a pop, the M600 should make the company a pretty penny assuming it doesn't take them a decade to deliver.

Japan's chocolate Smart For Two

smart for two

In Japan, Christmas Eve is a romantic holiday and couples celebrate it by eating special cakes. So what's Valentine's Day, then? It's an occasion for women to buy men chocolates or chocolate cars.

The Smart For Two which you see isn't made of chocolate but it just looks that way. This car was specially designed by Tadaaki Wakamutsu, a Japanese luxury jeweler/chocolatier Q-Pot. This unique Smart city car features a special chocolate-themed paint scheme which is priced at 2.36 million yen.

ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 28, 2011

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 Pictures

2012 Mercedes Benz C63

The much awaited 2012 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG wasn't supposed to expose until the Geneva Motor Show this March, but a few photos have leaked out. The C63 gets a set of SL-inspired headlamps with ornate light-piping and LED DRLs mounted in the revised fascia. LED's make their way to the tail lamps, while redesigned 18-inch wheels fill the wheel wells and frame upgraded brakes.

It has a 6.2-liter V8 and output remains at 451 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. The Development Package will reportedly stick around for 2012, raising output to 481 hp and nixing the 155 mph limiter to allow the C63 to top out at 174 mph. After its launch in Geneva, the revised C-Class will be available for sale with the AMG-fettled version getting a very slight bump in price.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 26, 2011

Honda CR-Z TS-1X Concept Car

Honda CRZ TS 1X

Revealed at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon, the Honda CR-Z TS-1X hybrid concept car is an impressive beast with its stealthy matte-black paint job and extensive aerodynamics package. The automaker’s initial press release was short on details, but, luckily, a walk-around clip has surfaced on You tube, detailing some of the innovations developed by Honda.

While nothing has changed under the bonnet, the TS-1X is said to offer improved fuel efficiency and better handling car thanks to the aerodynamic enhancements which generate more down-force and reduce drag. Other improvements include a strengthened body, sport suspension and new 4-pot caliper brakes.

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 24, 2011

Genetic Car Design Demo

This is making the rounds, and it is really neat. This is a demo of using a genetic algorithm to design as simple 2D car.  I find that it goes a little better if you keep the mutation rate lower, so that you don't waste a lot of chances on DOA designs.

ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 23, 2011

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Coupe at Barrett-Jackson 2011

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Coupe

The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, an iconic American sports car is instantly recognizable as one of the symbols of Zora Arkus-Duntov's legacy with General Motors. This car is up for auction at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. This car has been brought to the modern era while keeping its memorable lines.

The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Coupe has a secret behind its bodywork. Its engine is located at the middle. The original engine of could be somewhere because it's replaced with a twin-turbo LS V8. Producing 1,000 horsepower and 915 pound-feet of torque, this '63 Vette runs from 0-60 miles per hour in under three seconds.

This will be the car to watch as it rolls across the stage because it's one of Speed's highlighted Fantasy Bid auctions, and you can even make an estimate on what this custom mid-engine 'Vette will finally sell for.

Infiniti EX30d Black Premium Edition

Infiniti EX30d Black Premium

Nowadays buying a luxury vehicle depends more about customer experience than the actual vehicle. Infiniti has shown its aptitude in delivering that experience including its rivals particularly in Europe. Its latest release is the EX Black Premium which is built based on the diesel-powered EX30d GT Premium trim. This Black edition features black paint with graphite leather interior plus 19-inch alloys, a sunroof, aluminum roof rails and a Bose sound system.

Infiniti has thrown in a night for two with fine dining included at any of the luxury hotels associated with the Relais & Château group, as well as membership in its exclusive Club 5C. Only 500 examples of the Infiniti EX30d Black Premium edition will be offered across Europe, at about a $5,000 premium over the standard top-spec model.

ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 21, 2011

Cop Tactics Fail?

Take a look at this still from a video posted on Jalopnik.  After a sloppy PIT maneuver, which causes the policeman on the right to be jammed into the retaining wall, both policeman jump out and draw their pistols.  But since they are approaching from oppposite sides, they are pointing their weapons roughly at one another.

Shouldn't the guy on the right have stayed in front of the vehicle, so the fields of fire would have crossed like an X?  Am I missing something?

Volkswagen's Seven Passenger SUV

volkswagen suv

A few more details have been revealed about the addition of new SUV to the Volkswagen family. This SUV will have seating for seven and it will carry a slimmer price tag than the Touareg. The new crossover/SUV would be built in U.S most probably at the Tennessee manufacturing facility.

The German automaker wants just to carve out a larger chunk of the American auto market. This will require vehicles that caters specifically to Yankee tastes. Volkswagen is planning to sell 800,000 vehicles by 2018. Last year the company managed to sell 256,830 vehicles.

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 20, 2011

Testing for Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

It's been a long journey, but it seems that the Tesla Model S all-electric sport sedan is closer to production. The California-based automaker announced that it is on to the final road tests. The first phase of this model which is called Alpha, began in 2010 which includes both computer simulations and test-drives of prototype vehicles.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 19, 2011

Michael Keaton Batmobile


One among the three Batmobiles from Tim Burton's Batman Returns is up for auction and the bidding will wrap in a few hours. If you want to bring it to your home please rush to the bidding as time is running out. This car was the best out of the three used for filming and its available with full documentation. It gets power from a Chevrolet 350 cubic-inch V8 with Hedman headers and an Edelbrock aluminum.

This particular model comes with hydraulics for easy loading and unloading. As of now, the price has reached up to $311,000 but the reserved price is set as $499,000. This vehicle is located in Clearwater, Florida. If no one reaches the reserved price before the auction closes, it will also be auctioned on live television and so it will appear in Scottsdale, Arizona for this weekend's big Barrett-Jackson auction.

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 18, 2011

Audi A6 Hybrid not available until 2015

2012 Audi A6 Hybrid

During the last week's Detroit Auto Show, Audi revealed the 2012 A6 Hybrid. This hybrid variant is capable of achieving 38 miles per gallon and can run up to 62 miles per hour on electricity alone but Audi is not sure of when this car will be available.

Johan de Nysschen, the president of Audi in America tells that the timetable for A6 hybrid is not yet determined. He also said that this gas and electron-powered sedan may not be available until 2015.

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 17, 2011

Eliminate Left Turns?

Over at Car Gurus, there is a post about a traffic flow design concept which eliminates left turns at intersections. Called a "superstreet", the design prevents cars from crossing a major street, and instead do what is known around here as a "Michigan Left".

From the NCSU study on the subject:

“The study shows a 20 percent overall reduction in travel time compared to similar intersections that use conventional traffic designs,” says Dr. Joe Hummer, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State and one of the researchers who conducted the study. “We also found that superstreet intersections experience an average of 46 percent fewer reported automobile collisions – and 63 percent fewer collisions that result in personal injury.”

I like it.

ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 16, 2011

Subaru RWD Coupe Concept at Geneva Motor Show


It's been a long time to produce the Toyota FT-86 RWD Coupe but we will get the first glimpse of Subaru's version at the upcoming Geneva Salon in March, which is a joint project from the two companies. The Subaru Rear Wheel Drive Sports Car Technology Concept” will share the spotlight with the Impreza Concept and the Trezio mini MPV, both of which will receive their European premiere at the Swiss motorshow.

The Subaru coupe will be powered by a boxer engine, possibly the same four-cylinder unit lent to Toyota for the FT-86. As for the company's two European premieres, the Impreza Concept was first shown in LA last November and previews a new design direction for the production model, while the Trezio is a re-badged version of the Toyota Verso-S mini MPV, which will be offered in Europe with a 1.3-liter gasoline and 1.4-liter turbo diesel engines.

Alonso and Massa Promoting 2011 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler with Massa and Alonso

Ferrari's F1 driver Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were wearing jokey caps, blouses and t-shirts full of ads as if they were forced to wear. They were driving around in Fiat Group products such as the Abarth 500. The dynamic duo is now used to promote the Chrysler Group's offerings such as the Jeep Wrangler.

This particular photo shoot is one of the many initiatives of the "Wrooom 2011 – F1 & MotoGP Press Ski Meeting. This was an event organized in Madonna di Campiglio (Trento) in which the Fiat Group is the official sponsor.

The Jeep Wrangler featured at the event is a facelifted 2011MY in Rubicon trim powered by a new 2.8-liter common-rail turbo diesel Euro 5 engine with DPF producing 200 HP at 3,600 rpm and 410 Nm of torque at 2,000-3,200 rpm on models with a six-speed manual gearbox and 460 Nm at 1,600-2,600 rpm when combined with a new five-speed automatic transmission.

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 13, 2011

BMW 7 Series worth $140,000 stolen at Detroit Motor Show

BMW 760 Li

The 2011 Detroit Auto Show was more eventful for BMW than it intended. As its workers were working to load the BMW 7 Series onto a truck, a pair of thieves came in and drove off the luxury car which was worth around $140,000. The local police was not able to track the stolen car but the BMW Assist equipped in this series locates a vehicle if it's stolen and hence the car was found. The price of the BMW 7 Series would definitely be worth for its price!

Maybach production may stop within 2011


Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said that the German Automaker will decide this year about shuttering its production of Maybach. Cars like Bentley and Rolls-Royce which were considered to be competitive for Maybach has seen failure during the economic downturn.

Zetsche said that the success or failure of Maybach shows on our results but we need to take a decision by this year end about the shuttering the super-luxury Maybach division. He added that they are also planning to make partnerships to find if there is a viable business model for the business.

The current models of Maybach includes the Maybach 57, 57S, Maybach 62, 62S, and the Landaulet. Maybach first hit the boulevards in 1919, but was discontinued when World War Two broke out. Daimler-Benz bought what was left of the company in 1960.

The current Maybach model made its debut at the 1997 Tokyo Auto Show at the height of the dot-com economy, and went on sale globally shortly thereafter. Last year, Maybach sold 63 cars in the U.S.

Source: autoblog.com

A Few Thoughts About 2011 COTY/TOTY

For 2011, as I am sure you have heard, the North American Car Of The Year award went to the Volt, and the Truck Of The Year went to the Explorer.

I thought both of these were worthy contenders, but I would only have voted for one of them.

The Volt is a solid piece of technology, but it isn't revolutionary--under the skin, its architecture is not all that unique from a Prius or a Fusion Hybrid. Despite what GM says, the Volt is in fact a plug-in hybrid, and it can even (under some conditions) send gasoline torque to the wheels. Like the other hybrids, it has a gasoline engine connected to a generator and traction motor through a planetary gear set. It has been tuned in software not to behave like a gasoline/electric hybrid. As neat as the Volt is, it is not quite the revolution that an all-electric car would be.

For the COTY I would have voted for the Hyundai Sonata. Here is a company which came from a legacy of pushing boring, cheapy cars using a long warranty and low prices. All of a sudden, they are building world class cars, with high quality and handsome design. And unlike the Leaf and Volt, the Sonata will sell in high volumes. Considering its market impact, the Sonata should have won.

For TOTY, I agree with the panel, and I would also have picked the Explorer. A uni-body, front wheel drive mid-size SUV is the way of the future. Most SUV owners don't need to go offroading, and don't tow anything either. Most of them really just want to sit high and look stylish.

The Chrysler trucks were strong contenders, and I actually thought one of them would win, as a pat on the back to Chrysler for not dying. The Grand Cherokee appears to be a solid product and much improved compared to the junky stuff Chrysler was selling previously.

Video: Car vs Bike Drift Battle

I'm not sure why you would want to have a drift contest between a motorcycle and a car on the same track simultaneously, in fact I'm not totally sure what the point is, other than perhaps to die in style. But the video is wicked.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 12, 2011

Kia Optima wins "Best of 2011" award

2011 Kia Optima

We are big fans of the 2011 Kia Optima. Even a lot of customers would prefer the Kia Optima than the Hyundai Sonata. Even Cars.com has though this and has honored Optima as the "Best of 2011" award. This was mainly due to the fuel economy and driving experience offered in Optima.

Runners-up are the BMW 5 Series, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt (North American Car of the Year), Honda Odyssey and Nissan Leaf. All these vehicles are good but the Optima's strong presence within the mid-size sedan segment – the most-shopped segment in the auto industry – is a huge achievement for Kia.

Lexus Launches CT 200h in Japan

Lexus CT 200H

Lexus has launched a new CT 200h hybrid model to its Japanese line-up in order to boost its sales in the home market. It's first entry in the premium-compact segment is also its cheapest price in Japan ranging from 3.55 million yen to 4.33 million yen. This car was mainly designed considering European customers. This car is also available in North America, China and a few more countries will be added to its list soon. It's available at $29,120 in U.S.

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 11, 2011

2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec at the Detroit Auto Show

2012 Mercedes Benz S350 Bluetec

Mercedes Benz launched the 2012 S350 Bluetec at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. It's a diesel-powered S-Class destined for consumption only in United States. Audi, BMW and Jaguar don't provide an oil-burning version in U.S. The technical specifications of the 2012 S350 Bluetec has not been revealed but it would be powered by the same 3.5-liter Bluetec V6 found in the E-, ML- and GL-Class vehicles.

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 10, 2011

BMW's mini paceman concept at 2011 Detroit Motor Show

BMW Minin Paceman Concept

Mini is completing the 10th anniversary of its brand and hence the automaker has unveiled the Paceman Concept. It has announced that this concept will be in production in the near future.

At the Detroit motor show, Ian Robertson, the Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG said that he is very thrilled for the first time because a seventh member of the Mini family will be unveiled soon.

The Plural Of Prius is Priora

Toyota is asking "What is the plural of Prius?".  

Since Prius is a Latin word, if it is pluralized in Latin, they should probably be called "Prius"  or "Priora".  Apparently "Prii" is not correct.

There is a long explanation here (not mine).

Honda Accord Crosstour gets 4 cylinder option

2010 Honda Accord Crosstour

In the late 2009, when Honda launched the Accord Crosstour, it was told that the only available powertrain would be a V6. Now VTEC reports that a memo has been sent to the dealerships states that a four-cylinder Crosstour will be available this year.

Though the details about the sedan has not yet released, we can assume that it would have the same 2.4-liter engine currently available in Accord. VTEC also reports that a larger four-cylinder unit is currently in works for the CR-V crossover. We can expect that the four-cylinder engine will only be available on lower-trim Crosstours, likely without an all-wheel drive option.

ಶನಿವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 8, 2011

The Ford Focus Electric "Butterfly Effect"

Ford's big unveiling at the CES in Las Vegas was its new Focus Electric, and associated apps and charging stations.

One of the items that caught my attention was the cutesy butterfly graphics that, like the green leaves on the Ford hybrid instrument clusters, give positive feedback about your driving style. Ford said that the butterflies were inspired by "the butterfly effect".

The Butterfly Effect is an illustration of instability in nonlinear systems, (also known as "Chaos theory"). Which I happened to take a class on in college. Basically, if you have a nonlinear system, and you start out at two very similar but not identical starting points, you may wind up in a very different state. That is, small perturbations may case large changes in the final outcome. The old example was the butterfly that flapped its wings, and caused the weather to shift on another continent.

What this has to do with driving a Focus EV I am not sure. Do they mean to say that driving a Focus EV will save enough gasoline to cause the Saudis to go broke? Seems doubtful. Perhaps a Ford P.R. guy can email me and explain it. In the meantime, I propose that there should be a "Punisher Mode" for these displays.

How this would work is when you drive like a bad-ass, you get little skulls. Hard acceleration, high lateral g's, hard braking, etc.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 5, 2011

Audi A1-Etron - An alternative to the BMW Mega City

audi a1 etron concept

Audi has come out and stated that the German automaker is butting heads with its parent company. The two has been having conflicts over the creation of the Audi A1 E-tron. Volkswagen was riled when they came to know that Audi wanted to launch a range-extended EV with a gasoline rotary engine instead of following the rest of the VW family.

Reports state that Audi wanted to create an alternative to the BMW Mega City Car. Volkswagen would like to have all the brands under its watch and use similar platforms. Audi says there's no conflict between the two companies but Volkswagen has not commented for this.

Three Wheeled Green Vehicles

green cars ventureone
The Moby

green cars moby
Peugeot Q

green cars peugeotQ
Sampdesign Neo

green cars sampdesign neo
Peugeot +

green cars peugeot+

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 3, 2011

Tata's $15m project researching water as fuel

The idea of extracting hydrogen from water in a real-time fashion to power an automobile has so far been researched. One of the biggest problems in this case is that it takes more energy to release the hydrogen from its water-tight bonds than is actually returned by the resulting hydrogen.

But these laws of physics couldn't stop scientists from researching about this project. The Indian Businessman Ratan Tata sponsors Daniel Nocera of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for researching in to this project. The total project value is expected to be $15 million.

In 2007, Tata decided to bring the air powered car to market and signed a deal with MDI. In early 2008, the companies said that the car would require nearly two years of work. We have heard little information about it since then except a name change to FlowAir. Will Tata's hydrogen bet fare any better?

Source: www.sify.com

ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 2, 2011

Honda CRZ - Japan Car of the Year

The 2011 Honda CR-Z may not be selling successfully in U.S., but it has received the Japan Car of the Year title and hence Honda has decided to launch a new special edition version. This edition will only be available in a special "Pearl Dipusafaiaburu" blue paint.

This hatch uses unique 16-inch alloy wheels and premium metal pedal pads. Honda has also decided to take an extra effort of placing a "Japan Car of the Year" sticker on the rear quarter glass behind the driver's side door. Neither fuel economy nor power has been improved but it seems that it will only be available for Japanese.