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Archive for April, 2013

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 by Lethal Performance is the Quickest GT500 Around

Posted on 02.24.2013 12:00 by
Simona

The 2013 Shelby GT500 is already the most powerful GT500 ever launched, thanks to its 662-horsepower powerplant. However, the guys over Lethal Performance also worked on making it the fastest GT500 out there.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Lethal Performance take to task on the GT500, as it did so in mid-2012. This is obviously an update, as the comparison between the launch of last year’s model and this model shows a dramatic difference.

The tuner updated the engine with new camshafts and connecting rods, a modified ECU, a new valvetrain, and new oil coolers. The tuner also installed a new exhaust system and a 4-liter Whipple supercharger kit priced at $5,047. The GT500 has also been equipped with a new set of drag-racing-ready wheels with skinnies up front and a fat pair of slick hanging on the back end.

However, the tuner did not reveal any specifications just yet, but the model already scored an astounding result on the quarter mile. The Shelby GT500 by Lethal Performance ran the straight-line track in just 9.3 seconds at a top speed of 147 mph.

we can’t wait to see the final specifications…

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 by Lethal Performance is the Quickest GT500 Around originally appeared on topspeed.com on Sunday, 24 February 2013 12:00 EST.

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Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Twinspark

Posted on 02.24.2013 15:31 by Sulthoni
, Serafim

Royal Enfield launched the 2013 Bullet 350 Twinspark. The motorcycle features a distinctive vintage design language which is typical for the Royal Enfield.

In terms of design the motorcycle is easily distinguished by its classic lines, the imposing headlight and nut shaped fuel tank. You’ll also like the traditional mudguard with subframe.

At the heart of the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Twinspark you’ll find a Single Cylinder, 4 stroke, Twinspark 346cc engine which puts out 19.8 hp at 5250 rpm and 28 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. The engine is mated on a five speed constant mesh gearbox combined with a wet, multi-plate clutch.

Compared to the previous model the 2013 Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Twinspark features a long wheel base and bigger tyres which provide increased stability and road grip, making it ideal for long distance travel.

Hit the jump for more information on the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Twinspark.

Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Twinspark originally appeared on topspeed.com on Sunday, 24 February 2013 15:31 EST.

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2012 Lexus IS 250 C Special Edition

2012 Lexus IS 250 C Special Edition design

I recently attended the launch of the 2013 Lexus ES 350 and ES 300h in Newberg, Oregon USA. Rather than fly, as journalists so often do, I drove to the event, which was a 1,200 km round trip. The vehicle that carried me to and fro is the subject of this review.

The Lexus IS is a compact four-door sports sedan. When a ‘C’ is added to the badging, it becomes a two-door convertible coupe that seats four occupants. The ‘C’ could just as easily represent “competent.”

While its cabin is less spacious than the sedan, the hardtop convertible lid is so well executed that it’s difficult to discern from within that the roof fully retracts into the trunk. Even from the outside, the car conceals its roofless alter, preferring to appear simply as a sleek coupe when the roof is in place.

The 2012 Lexus IS 250 C rides upon a rear-wheel-drive platform and relies upon a smaller V6 engine for propulsion than its IS 350 C sibling. That’s okay, because it still has plenty of oomph when needed while returning better fuel economy.

The polished mill displaces 2.5 litres, generating 204 hp @ 6,400 rpm and 185 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm. It’s fastened to a 6-speed automatic transmission featuring shift paddles. Fuel economy with the autobox is pegged at 9.8L/100km and 6.7L/100km, city and highway driving respectively.

The 306-hp IS 350 C is rated at a thirstier 11.5L/100km and 7.9L/100km city/highway. This is a powerful vehicle, and with a base MSRP of $57,000, it’s also significantly more expensive than its calmer brother, the IS 250 C, which is listed at $49,100.

Unless big power is a big need, I’d recommend forgoing the IS 350 C in favour of the more sensible brother. The congenial, soothing performance of its smaller powerplant delivers plenty of pleasure and contentment.

The standout attribute of this engine isn’t its power but its refinement. I was delighted by its quiet, ultra-smooth operation and performance. It really reinforces the notion that the IS 250 C is, at its core, a luxury vehicle. But don’t let that orientation delude into thinking that it’s not directionally capable as well.

My run to Newberg and back provided an extended opportunity to evaluate the ride comfort versus handling equation of my tester, and I’m happy to report that it was ideal in all situations.

The car delivers an absorbent, composed ride that’s not mushy by any means. In fact, it’s more on the sporty side than the revised ES series launched at the Newberg program; that vehicle emphasized comfort over handling, whereas the IS strikes a slightly more aggressive balance.

I purposely sought out secondary roads in the US, avoiding the freeway much of the time. It was on these twisty traffic-free stretches of tarmac that the responsive, direct steering of the IS 250 C was appreciated.

The car settles nicely into a curve, holding its line with precision and predictability as its 18″ rear wheels push it off the apex and through to the next bend. Nice indeed.
The IS Series is a generously equipped luxury car with few available option packages. My tester was the Special Edition version of the IS 250 C, which added $3,400 to its MSRP.

In return, Special Edition packaging includes the 18″ alloy wheels, a backup camera in the navigation display, clearance and backup sensors, voice-activated HDD navigation (most helpful on my trip) and red leather upholstery.

The automatic transmission with paddle-shift added another $1,600 to the bottom line, which saw my tester’s price tag climb to $54,100 before taxes and delivery charges, which is a few thousand less than the Volvo C70 T5, the closest competitor to the IS 250 C.

However, both the Volvo and Lexus are considerably more expensive than the Chrysler 200 hardtop convertible, which starts at just $30,095 and works its way up to the $40K mark.

More Pictures of 2012 Lexus IS 250 C Special Edition

2012 Lexus IS 250 C Special Edition

New Lexus IS 250 C Special Edition

2012 Lexus IS 250 C Special Edition images


Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet Debut

Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet images

The Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet is set to become the quickest and meanest VW convertible in history, with CarAdvice’s spy photographers snapping a prototype of the hard-core soft-top on public roads in Germany.

We got our first hint that Volkswagen was planning a Golf R Cabriolet 12 months ago when the German manufacturer unveiled the car in concept form at the 2011 Worthersee tuning show in Austria.

Like the Worthersee concept and the production Golf R hot-hatch, the Golf R Cabriolet will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 199kW and 350Nm, or 188kW/330Nm in ‘hot weather’ countries like Australia.

Drive will be sent to all four wheels via a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission like the Golf R hatch.

Although this prototype features body panels and badges from existing Golf Cabriolet models, the larger brakes and alloy wheels confirm the bodywork hides the most powerful and sporty soft-top variant to date.

While not seen on this prototype, the production version of the Golf R Cabriolet will feature centrally positioned twin exhaust outlets like the hatch.

The Golf R Cabriolet is likely to act as a send-off for the Golf VI range, with the next-generation Golf VII due to be unveiled at the 2012 Paris motor show in September. The current-generation Golf R may continue to be produced for some time into the lifecycle of the new Golf until a high-performance replacement is introduced.

The Golf R Cabriolet comes hot on the heels of the Golf GTI Cabriolet, which made its world premiere at the 2012 Geneva motor in March.

More Pictures of Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet

Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet

New Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet

Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet design


Superman Kia Optima Hybrid — Built for Justice

Superman Kia Optima Hybrid — Built for Justice

By AT Videos on Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Superman Kia Optima Hybrid — Built for Justice

Kia Motors America & DC Comics have teamed up to build a new Justice League themed Kia vehicle: the Superman inspired Kia Optima Hybrid. Learn more about its unique design and features, with Scott McKee, Director of Public Relations at Kia Motors America. The Superman Kia Optima Hybrid has been built for justice to raise awareness for the "We Can Be Heroes" campaign. Learn more at: http://www.builtforjustice.com Learn more about the Kia Optima Hybrid at: http://www.kia.com http://www.facebook.com twitter.com plus.google.com


Daytona Int’l Speedway Grandstand Renovations In The Works

Daytona Int’l Speedway Grandstand Renovations In The Works

By Mark McNabb on Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Danica Patrick isn’t the only thing making news at the Daytona International Speedway this season. NASCAR officials are proposing an expansion plan for the grand stands at the famous speedway.

DIS president Joie Chitwood showed off the conceptual renderings at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte last month, along with two other proposed ideas for other tracks.

The master plan calls for the complete demolition of the current stands along the front stretch and constructing new stands that includes a large front entrance, escalators, themed restaurants, bars, and open concourse areas overlooking the track.

Sprint Cup Driver Brad Keselowski says in the video below that these types of renovations will put the Speedway on par or above other sporting venues. Chitwood says he wants the Speedway to become an even bigger destination for visitors to Central Florida.

GalleryDaytona International Speedway Pictures

Source: WFTV.com

 


The New 2014 Acura RLX First Drive

2014 Acura RLX new

Imagine for a second that you are driving along a slippery snow-covered road. Despite going cautiously, you’ve overestimated the level of grip and enter a right-handed corner too fast. The car begins to plow into the other lane, pushing left in the direction physics wants to take it while you (exacerbating the situation) fight to add steering to make it turn.

In a front drive car, if you were to give a quick tug on the parking brake, the rear wheels would lock simultaneously, whipping the rear end around to properly align its wheels with those on the front of the car. With the rest of the vehicle now pointed in the same direction as the drive wheels, you could then add power and continue to head in your desired course.

An hyperbole of sorts, this is what it feels like to drive the 2014 Acura RLX (the replacement to the abysmal selling RL) thanks to a new technology the brand calls Precision All Wheel Steer, or PAWS for short.

FRONT DRIVE, REAR STEERING

Rather than using the brakes, however, the RLX has actuators attached to the rear wheels, which can change the “toe” or angle of the wheel independently. Essentially, it’s rear-wheel steering, though the adjustments are by just few degrees.

That’s all that’s necessary, however, to produce a dramatic improvement in handling; one that you notice through the general sensation of grip, rather than the perception of rear wheel angle changes.

Skilled drivers may notice the slight pivot motion as the rear aligns with the front. Tested on a auto-cross course it’s almost like faking the steer-it-with-the-throttle sensation of a rear-wheel drive car… except unlike, say, the BMW 5 Series we were provided with to test against, you don’t have to be a pro to drive the Acura.

To anyone else, the car just drives better. Dive into a corner and just when you expect understeer to take over and the car to begin plowing… it doesn’t. Instead you get this immediate sensation that it is actually well within its comfort level.

Amplifying just how good the RLX handles is its size. You’d wouldn’t expect a car this large to corner so well… especially not one that’s front wheel drive.

Yes, gone is the brand’s grip-tastic Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. It is set to make a return, however, in an impressive hybrid form, but not until later this year.

Being a front-driver, if there’s anything the RLX could use, it’s a limited slip differential. Arguably overkill in a machine like this, designed more for luxury cruising than sporty performance, if Acura wants to compete with brands like BMW, it wouldn’t hurt. Even one of the low-tech electronic LSDs would be a good move, and would add little to the cost of the car.

FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE HAS ITS ADVANTAGES

The PAWS system is Acura’s engineering answer to its competitors, which are all almost entirely rear-wheel drive. In many ways it levels the playing field and allows Acura to take advantage of the fuel economy and packaging advantages of a front-wheel platform. As a result Acura can claim best in class interior room and fuel economy – though that final boast is misleading.

With the footprint of a mid-size sedan, Acura says the RLX is more of a full-size inside. Compared to rivals like the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series and Lexus GS it has more shoulder and head room, while delivering as much as three-inches more legroom.

Compared to the old pointy-nose RL, it’s surprisingly no longer, though the wheels have been pushed out to each end by two inches. It’s also two inches wider, and the new design gives it a stately look more becoming of its class. That’s definitely a good thing because Acura has a real issue with its overlapping lineup of front-wheel drive sedans.

Unfortunately the RLX still doesn’t look like much, though calling it less than handsome would be unfair. Acura is perhaps timid to try anything wild after the polarizing look of the TL. A notable design highlight includes the unique headlight assembly which Acura calls “jewel eye”. With 18-inch wheels standard, 19s are optional. One Acura employee did comment under his breath that he’d like to see 20s offered to help spice up the look. It wouldn’t hurt.

The added size is obvious inside with several inches of legroom to spare even for the over six-foot crowd. Plus trunk size has grown to a best-in-class 15.3 cu-ft. Now obviously bigger than the TL, the RLX has a reason to exist.

FLAGSHIP TECH FOR A FLAGSHIP SEDAN

As the brand’s new flagship sedan it’s also introducing plenty of other new technology features, many which aren’t new to the industry, but which have been sorely lacking at Acura.

First up is adaptive cruise control with low speed follow. You just set the distance from the car ahead and a max speed and it will keep you rolling, even in stop-and-go traffic. It may sound like technology you’ll never use, but trust us, it’s one of the best convenience features money can buy and once you’ve used it, you’ll never go back.

In addition, there’s a lane keeping assist feature that will monitor the road ahead and then add steering if it detects you’re sliding out of your lane. We tested it at highway speeds, and it will keep the car in its lane as the road curves, even with no hands on the wheel! (Don’t try this at home).

Technology and features aren’t just on high-grade trims either. Starting at $48,450 the RLX gets a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, keyless access and push button start, forward collision warning, lane departure warning plus an 8-inch screen up top to display the back up camera and available navigation, while an additional 7-inch screen directly below it is used for audio and redundant climate controls and features haptic feedback – meaning it pulses when you touch it.

The dual screens do seem redundant, though it does avoid having to switch between an audio screen and navigation screen if the car is so equipped. It also cleans up the cabin considerably, something Acura needs as its cars have historically featured dashes littered with buttons.

Rivals like Lexus solve the same issue by just having one massive 12.3-inch screen stretch across the dash, and it definitely makes more of an impact in the cabin.

Another standard feature is the latest generation AcuraLink telematics system. Through a tethered smartphone it allows a long list of apps to be brought into the car, from Pandora Internet Radio to a suite of Aha functions that can do everything from stream audio books to read your twitter and Facebook updates. Plus, vehicles equipped with navigation can also get realtime traffic updates for both highway and surface streets free for the first three years. Upgraded packages are also available offering everything from a stolen vehicle locater to a personal assistant.

PREMIUM YET SIMPLE CABIN

Certainly premium, in the usual understated Acura way it lacks the opulence of some rivals – again, the Lexus GS comes to mind. The design is clean and minimalist (perhaps too much so), though it does look modern – even the wood.

The gauges are a simple white on black, bookending a small digital multi information display screen. Adding navigation will change that screen to color, while added luxuries come with the volume Tech Package, which at $54,450 includes blind spot warning, a 14-speaker audio system, 19-inch wheels and upgraded leather.

Those in the hunt for more goodies and more luxury can get the lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control features, along with collision mitigating braking (which will apply the brakes for you in case a collision is seen as unavoidable), vented front seats and heated rears for $60,450 in the Advance package.
UPDATED V6, SAME OLD TRANSMISSION

To better advance the big Acura down the road is a new 3.5-liter V6 engine. Smaller than last year’s 3.7-liter it gains direct injection as well as the first use of variable cylinder management (allowing it to run on just 3 cylinders) in an Acura, to deliver more power and better fuel economy.

Output is rated at 310 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque, while fuel economy is 20 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. That is better than any of the RLX’s six-cylinder competitors, though short of the BMW 528i’s turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.

The car pulls adequately and perhaps the most surprising attribute of the powertrain is the 6-speed automatic. In an era where all of its rivals have to moved to 7-speeds (or more), having a new car with a six-speed conventional automatic is, from an engineering standpoint, downright embarrassing.

Acura is prepping a 7-speed dual-clutch unit, though it won’t arrive until the new Sport Hybrid Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) RLX goes on sale later this year. Still, the six-speed auto isn’t just smooth shifting, it’s excellently suited to aggressive driving. While RLX drivers aren’t likely to hit the track at Sonoma Raceway like we did, they can enjoy the fact that in Sport mode it stays in low gears for maximum acceleration and even when making mid-corner adjustments, a light lift won’t send it into a higher gear killing the throttle response.

If only Acura spent as much time fretting over the car’s design as engineers did on the mechanical bits.

The rest of the drive is perfectly suited to this segment of machine. With excellent grip, it’s masked by a smooth and quiet drive, thanks in part to a noise canceling function by the speakers. As for the steering, it’s extremely light, though responsive.

THE VERDICT

Easily a better value than German rivals, unfortunately for Acura, value isn’t the number one concern for buyers in this segment. Neither is blending in, which the RLX tends to do.

German traditionalists also won’t be won over by a front-driver, though the RLX proves that for the most part (and for buyers in this segment), which wheels the power goes to is pretty much irrelevant.

Holding true to the Acura brand reputation for going against the grain, the RLX delivers a genuinely surprising drive. Unfortunately, it’s missing the visual impact to match its engineering achievements.

An undeniably smart buy, those looking for more excitement will get it soon with a 370 hp Sport Hybrid SH-AWD model that arrives later this year. Let’s just hope it has the looks to match.


2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Official

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class should distill the posh trappings of a proper Benz into a competitive entry-level luxury sedan.

What’s New for 2014

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is an all-new model.

Introduction

Synonymous with elegance, luxury and its corresponding price, Mercedes-Benz isn’t an automaker that you think needs to offer a truly affordable luxury car. The forthcoming introduction of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class suggests otherwise, however. Slotting below the existing C-Class (and above the compact B-Class, likely to debut in the U.S. next year as an electric vehicle), the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA mimics the coupe-style look made popular by the larger CLS sedan.

The front-wheel-drive CLA uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 208 horsepower and a hearty 258 pound-feet of torque, numbers that surpass the output of the current base C-Class sedan’s 1.8-liter engine. Power transfers through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 2.2-liter diesel engine is likely for Europe and an outside possibility for the U.S. market. All-wheel drive is set to be an option for the CLA about six months after the car’s launch.

The production four-door looks not unlike a slightly compressed CLS, with narrow windows, a high beltline and a size similar to the current C-Class. More interesting could be the rumors of a wagon-style variant, with a sloping hatchback-style roof that trades interior volume for style and features four doors rather than two. Seventeen-inch wheels come standard on the CLA, but 18-inch AMG wheels are available with the Sport package.

So far it seems this baby Benz will still have plenty of luxury features. Bluetooth is standard, as is a 5.8-inch display serving as the multimedia interface which includes mbrace2, Mercedes’ suite of smartphone-integrated apps and services. A 7-inch display, along with a navigation system and a premium audio system are optional. A panorama-style sunroof, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and safety features including pre-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and parking assist are also available.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class goes on sale in September, starting with the CLA250. Mercedes executives promise the CLA won’t be a stripped-down econo-Benz, but in fact a “real Mercedes-Benz.” Expect a sticker price of about $30,000, which would put the CLA in the same group as other compact sport-lux models like the Acura ILX, Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. Check back for a full review of the 2014 CLA-Class, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.


2013 Citroen C3 facelift announced

 2013 Citroen C3 facelift announced

2013 Citroen C3 facelift

Heading to Geneva

Citroen has prepared a mid-life makeover for the C3 which will be showcased in Geneva next month.

The facelifted model comes with revised head and taillights, front/rear bumpers and can be fitted with a Zenith front windscreen which runs back into the roof for improved visibility. LED daytime running lights are now mounted in the front bumper, while on the inside there’s chrome detailing, thermo-coated soft-touch dashboard and more upholstery choices. Optionally available are parking sensors and a reversing camera.

Under the hood it can be fitted with 3-cylinder gasoline 1.0- and 1.2-liter engines with 68 HP (50 kW) and 82 HP (60 kW), respectively. A VTi 120 engine producing 120 HP (88 kW) is also available and can be linked to a manual or an automatic transmission.

In the UK the revised Citroen C3 is offered with four diesels: HDi 70, e-HDi 70, HDi 90 and e-HDi 115 with CO2 emissions from as low as 87 g/km (for e-HDi 70). 


2013 Porsche 911 GT3 new details emerge

 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 new details emerge

2013 Porsche 911 GT3 spy photo 23.5.2012 / Automedia

With more than 450 hp

New details are now available concerning the upcoming 2013 Porsche 911 GT3.

According to a Rennlist forum member, the new model will be the most extreme and quickest GT3 of all time. The tachometer will go all the way up to 10,000 rpm, while the redline will start from 9,000 rpm. The flat-six 3.8-liter engine is expected to produce more than 450 hp (335 kW).

At the source link below you will find several photos with the new GT3 sporting a production-ready rear wing along with a rear boot lit spoiler. The car will borrow the widebody chassis of the Carrera 4 and will be fitted with 245/20 front and 305/20 rear Dunlop Sport MAXX tires.

Porsche is also preparing a Clubsport variant of the GT3 which will feature a rear roll cage (see source link).