Ford Kuga Update: New Image Gallery

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FoMoCo has just released a new image gallery of its 2009 Kuga Crossover that was unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show. As you probably already know, the Kuga won’t be coming towards our shores, which is pretty lame if you think about the free-fall of full-size trucks and the increasing popularity of compact crossovers in the U.S. market.

In Europe, the Ford Focus (Euro-model) based Kuga will go on sale this summer where it will be initially available with a 136Hp 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine that’s good enough to offer an average fuel consumption of 6.3 lt / 100 km or 37.3 MPG to the front-wheel-drive version and 6.4 lt / 100 km or 36.7 MPG to the all-wheel-drive variant. -Click through for the image gallery
























Renault Laguna Coupe “Le Scooped”

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The virtually undisguised 2009 Renault Megane five-door and Coupe versions that we showed you yesterday weren’t the only models to be scooped by the folks over at French car magazine Auto-Plus; so was the forthcoming Laguna Coupe. Based on the 5-door Laguna sedan, the Coupe version looks like it hasn’t strayed too far away (in terms of design) from the Geneva Show Laguna Coupe Concept.

Like the new Megane, it too will make its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show this fall. Sales of Renault’s BMW 3-Series sized Coupe are expected to start towards the end of the year with the engine range including a variety of 4-cylinder and V6 petrol and diesel units. -Continued


PS: We thank Miguel for providing us with a larger picture of the Laguna Coupe

Source: Auto Plus

Nostalgia: 1970’s Videos of the BMW M1 Procar in Monaco and the Nurburgring

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Last weekend’s presentation of the BMW M1 Homage Concept (see here) prompted us to perform a search on the original M1’s history and in particular, its racing heritage. Our hunt led us to the discovery of two, nostalgic late-1970’s videos of the M1 Procar racing version, one from the Procar Series in Monaco and another one with the M1 lapping the famous Nurburgring race track.

The peppy M1 Procar edition featured among other things, a modified version of the M88 6-cylinder unit with new camshafts, larger valves, forged pistons, optimized flow ducts, slides instead of throttle butterflies and a modified exhaust system boosting, all of which helped boost output to 470–490 Hp. Weighing in at a mere 1,020 kg or 2,248 lbs, the M1 Procar had a top speed of approximately 310 km/h (192 mph). –Video after the jump


Toyota Prius Convertible: The Sky is Green

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Well, the sky is actually blue -for the time being- but after seeing these pictures of Newport Convertible Engineering’s (NCE) drop-top conversion of the Toyota Prius Hybrid our eyes are aching so much that we nearly went color-blind.

The California-based specialty tuner’s proposition brings to mind those horrid BMW E30/E36 3-Series Bauer conversions of the late 1980’s – early 1990’s with its intrusive, but nevertheless necessary, roll bar and chopped window frames. If you can take it, there are more pictures after the jump.


Prodrive Prepping Sporty Alfa Romeo Brera Versions?

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There’s no official announcement, but the boyz at Brit car magazine “EVO” are reporting that UK tuning specialist Prodrive will introduce a limited edition run of the Alfa Romeo Brera Coupe this June. According to EVO’s information, Prodrive will mainly concentrate on tweaking the suspension and the petrol engine range along with cutting down overall weight to improve the Brera’s mediocre driving dynamics. (Standard Brera pictured above)

Via: Autoblog.it , Source: EVO

Rusting Hyundai Sonatas Prompt Investigation as Suspension Corrosion Can Even Cause Wheels To Fall Off!

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UPDATE: New Recall Over Same Issue for MY2001-2004 Sonata and XG300 & 350

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an official investigation on the Hyundai Sonata after receiving 40 individual complaints about front subframe corrosion in the 1999 through 2002 model year Sonatas.

There are 19 complaints for MY 1999 Sonatas, 16 for MY 2000, 3 for MY 2001 and 2 for MY 2002 with most of the complaints (35) from States that use large amounts of salt on the roads during snowy months.

NHTSA supports that the corrosion in the subframe is pretty severe as consumers have reported 'fist-sized holes in the frame'. According to NHTSA investigators, this can result to complete or partial suspension control arm detachment from the vehicle, wheel collapse or separation, half shaft detachment resulting in sudden vehicle disablement and/or steering anomalies. -Continued

Incident speeds range from 5 to 65 mph. NHTSA reports that one incident allegedly resulted in the vehicle becoming disabled in the traffic lanes of a parkway at night with the driver and child passengers stuck in the car while passing traffic swerved around the vehicle at high speeds.

Another complaint alleged the failure resulted in the vehicle becoming "stuck in the middle of a dangerous intersection" while a third complaint indicated that the vehicle was declared a total loss by the insurance carrier due to damage caused by the lower control arm completely separating from the frame, causing the half-shaft to detach from the transmission and resulting in damage to the wheel housing and quarter panel from the partially detached wheel.

Brabus Performance Kit For Mercedes Diesel Engines

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Depending on the Mercedes-Benz diesel powered model, Brabus’ new “plug-and-play-type” auxiliary control module can increase maximum power output by up to 53 Hp and peak torque by up to 100 Nm (74 lb-ft). The ECO PowerXtra module can be installed by any authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer in less than an hour.

The German tuner supports that the ECO PowerXtra modules not only improve performance but they also better fuel economy and reduced emissions without though, giving any specific figures. Interestingly, the Brabus ECO PowerXtra D6 BLUE performance kit for the Mercedes E 300 BLUETEC makes Brabus the first tuner to meet stringent EURO V exhaust limits which won’t go into effect in Europe until 2011.

Loder1899 Beefs Up the 2009 Jaguar XF

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To be officially introduced at the “Tuning World Bodensee 2008” in Germany (May 1 to 4), Loder1899’s sport package for the Jaguar XF consists of subtle cosmetic upgrades along with a kit for the 2.7-liter V6 diesel engine. The Bavarian tuner’s bodykit for the XF includes a front apron, an understated rear spoiler and a “diffuser-style” rear apron complemented with a suspension lowering kit (-35mm) and 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 255/35 R20 tires. -Continued

As for the 2.7 V6 TD versions, thanks to the modified engine management control, power is increased from 207Hp to 249Hp, thus allowing the Jag to accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7,6 seconds versus the standard car’s 8,2 seconds. The full Loder1899 sport package for the XF 2.7 V6 TD is available for 7,898 / $12,324 but that doesn’t include assembly and painting.





PRICE LIST

The „Loder1899“- JaguarXF

Front spoiler: 877,62 Euro
Rear apron diffuser: 773,50 Euro
Rear apron spoiler: 312,38 Euro
Stainless steel exhaust tailpipe device left and right: in progress
Lowering kit (-35 mm): 349 Euro
Wheel/tire combination consisting of alloy rim 9,5x21 "Hollow Spoke" (silber) and tires 255/30 21: starts at 1483,81 Euro/each (see press picture)
Low priced wheel/tire combinations from 9x20 Zoll incl. tires 255/35 20: starts at 666,07 Euro/each
Motor management:. 1499 Euro
Stainless steel footrest: 199 Euro/each

"Loder1899"-Exklusive package: 7.898,77 Euro plus assembly and painting

Standard price: starts at 49.370 Euro
With “Loder1899” Exklusive-accessory program:
starts at 57.269 Euro

Technical Data: 2,7 TDV6 • displacement 2720 cm3 • performance increase with “Loder1899” motor management accessory device up to kW/249 hp at 2000/min (standard 152 kW/207 hp at 2000/min.) • maximum torque 435 Nm at 4000/min, (with “Loder1899” 522 Nm at 3850/min) • rear wheel drive • automatic six speed gearbox • length/breadth/height 4961/1877/2053 mm • fuel tank 69,5 l • car boot volume 385 l • towed weight, braked 1.850 kg; towed weight, unbraked 750 kg • top speed 229 kmph • 0-100 kmph in 8,2 seconds standard; (in 7,6 seconds with “Loder1899”) • consumption (EU-Mix) combined 7,5 l/100 km • CO2 199 g/km • Price: starts at 49.370 Euro.

Via: Le Blog Auto , Source: Loder1899

Australia: Queensland to Impound and Sell Unlicensed Drivers' Cars

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Australian authorities seem to take car-related violations pretty seriously lately. Following yesterday’s news of the 4,400 confiscated “Hoon-Cars” in Victoria, today, it was announced that Queenslanders that are caught driving with suspended licences could have their cars impounded and sold from July.

Sounds a bit harsh but listen to this; earlier in April, a police operation at Oxley, south-west of Brisbane, led to 90 drivers appearing in court on the same day on charges that would most probably get their licence revoked. Nine of those people who lost their license jumped into their car and drive off but to their dismay, cops were waiting for them around the corner and they were arrested immediately! -Continued

"These are people who generally have thousands of dollars owing to the state and are not paying off those fines," Police Minister Judy Spence told reporters in Brisbane. "We decided that instead we would teach them a painful lesson and take their car off them from July 1."

Statistics show that while in 2003, disqualified drivers were involved in 4.5 per cent of Queensland road fatalities, that figure increased to a worryingly 9.2 per cent in 2007.

Via: The West

300Hp VW Scirocco 2.0TFSi Ready For 24h Nurburgring Race

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The racing version of the new Volkswagen Scirocco is all set to show off its sporting credentials at next month’s 24-Hour Race at the Nürburgring (23 -25 May) as the German carmaker completed a comprehensive endurance test at the Motorsport Arena at Oschersleben.

Volkswagen will participate in the race at the legendary Nordschleife with three Scirocco cars equipped with a 2.0-litre TFSI engine delivering over 300 hp and a direct-shift transmission with DSG technology including shifting paddles in the steering wheel.

Leading Volkswagen's line-up of drivers for the 24-hour Nürburgring race is two-time Le Mans winner Hans-Joachim Stuck and the two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz. -Continued

"The Scirocco has passed its first real ‘baptism of fire’ well,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "The racing version was developed and prepared by our technical staff in record time. With the endurance test, we’re perfectly within our truly tight schedule. The Scirocco is a real highlight: when watching the car on the race track for the first time, it simply looks cool."

Google Maps Directions Gets Street View Imagery Aid

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Google has enhanced its Maps driving directions service with the integration of the Street View feature. In the 44 regions across the U.S. where Google Maps Street View imagery is available, users will be able to see camera icons next to each step of their directions.

Click on the icon and a Street View image of the location will pop up along with an arrow showing the action to be taken. Users can click through their entire route through Street View, and when their journey is complete, a green marker will indicate the arrival at their chosen destination. We checked it out and we must admit that viewing the images alongside the direction was very helpful.

BP and Shell Announce Record (Fat) Profits During First Quarter

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While we’re hearing all kind of excuses to as why we’re paying more and more for gas, BP and Shell, Europe’s two largest oil companies announced (surprise - surprise…) record profits for the first quarter of the year.

In particular, Shell’s net income in the first three-months of 2008 rose to $9.08 billion, a 25% increase over last year. BP on its behalf stated that its profit increased by a huge 63% to $7.62 billion for the first quarter. Want more numbers? Well, revenue at BP jumped 44% to $89.2 billion while sales at Shell surged 55% to $114 billion…

In concern of the other oil companies, last week, the third biggest U.S. producer ConocoPhillips reported profits of $4.14 billion for the first three months of 2008 which translates to a 17% rise over the same period last year.

More fat first-quarter earnings are expected from the biggest two U.S. companies, Exxon Mobil and Chevron when they report their gains this Thursday (May 1) and Friday (May 2) respectively.

2010 Nissan 370Z Coupe: Exterior and Interior Details Scooped

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Yesterday we showed you a picture of a wall sculpture from a Nissan global meeting in Portugal that supposedly gives us a sketchy outline of the new 370Z (see here). Today, one of our readers mailed us these scans taken from a Japanese car magazine that reveal details of the forthcoming 2010 Nissan 370Z (called Fairlady in Japan) that is expected to be introduced towards the end of the year with sales following during the first quarter of 2009.

As anticipated, Nissan will replace the current Z’s 3.5-liter V6 engine with a modified version of the Infiniti’s new 3.7-liter V6 that’s rumored to produce around 350 Hp. The scans give us among other things, a first view of the 2010 Z’s interior and dashboard with its G37 inspired centre console along with shots of the front and rear end of the coupe. –More pics after the jump




Thanks for the scans Tim!

2009 Renault Megane 5d & Coupe Fully Exposed

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The forthcoming 2009 Renault Megane has been snatched without a trace of camouflage by the folks over at the French car magazine “Auto Plus”. And when we’re saying with no camouflage we mean it “in and out” as from the looks of it, someone either left the factory door wide open or Renault decided to give the French magazine an exclusive scoop-de-tour of the Megane.

As presumed, the five-door version features a differentiated design from its three-door (Coupe) sibling which is inspired from the Megane Coupe Concept that was unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.-Continued

Both variants of the 2009 Megane will make their public debut at the Paris Auto Show in September with European sales following shortly after. The Megane will rival the Ford Focus, VW Golf and other mainstream compact hatches.

Via: Motorpasion , Source: Auto Plus