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Happy Holidays from Auto Unleashed!

Well, that’s about it for this year, because today we’ll be leaving for the holidays vacation, to spend some time with our families. So I guess this would be the last post for 2007. This year has been an outstanding year for us, with Auto Unleashed launched, which had a fantastic evolution as we got to know so many cool and interesting new people. And we hope for you, our readers, the experience was the same. And remember, 2008 will be at least the same, as we’ll be bringing you more news, more photos, more everything about these wonderful things called cars.

With that being said, we want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and we hope that you have a great time with your families and friends. And of course, on all those trips you’re going to make, drive safe! See you next year!

The Auto Unleashed Team

Lewis Hamilton caught speeding in France

McLaren F1 driver, Lewis Hamilton, was caught speeding on a highway in France. The 22 year old British driver was caught doing 122 mph (196km/h), that’s 37 mph more than the legal speed limit in France, which is 80 mph (130km/h). Hamilton had his Mercedes town away, got a one month ban from France, plus he had to pay a 600 euro (£430) fine. However, the French policemen told the press that Lewis was “co-operative and courteous”.


Bailey Blade could go on sale next year

35 year old Neal Bailey is trying something really cool. He wants to create a modern sports car that is inspired from the classic sports car and he has chosen the Shelby Cobra as his source of inspiration. We’re sure this was a really brave decision, because it’s not everyday we see someone trying to create its own sports car and, if the Bailey Blade project succeeds, hats down for Neal. The Bailey Blade is based on a heavily modified chassis from a replica Cobra, tweaked to fit an independent front and rear suspension. Bailey also aims at the Europeans, so the Blade will meet European standards, plus that a right side steering wheel will be available. Neal hopes to have a full working prototype by next summer and he also hopes to make the first sales at the end of 2008.

You can check out more photos of the Bailey Blade project, after the jump.


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Nissan Forum concept officially announced

Scheduled to make its world debut at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan Forum Concept was officially announced today. The seven seater family car concept was developed by Nissan Design America and gives us a glimpse of future family transportation, trackless sliding side doors, no B-pillars and an interior featuring a multi-position swiveling 2nd row seat and next-generation entertainment. All that powered by a clean diesel engine featuring CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) technology.

Rachel Nguyen, director, Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan North America, Inc. said: “From a conceptual standpoint, FORUM is closer to a family limousine than the minivans Gen Xers have grown up with. But unlike a real limo – or sometimes traditional minivans – the FORUM driver is just as important as the passengers [..] It offers a sophisticated space for adults and an engaging space for children – allowing both groups to enjoy themselves in their own individualistic ways while being connected in one vehicle. Like every Nissan, this dramatic FORUM Concept combines passionate driving, emotive design and an abundance of advanced, user-friendly technology.”

View a complete photo gallery and the full press release, after the jump.


Fiat 500 M tuning by Monaco Elite Design

We haven’t seen a Fiat 500 on the streets, yet, but what we’ve seen are a lot of tuning programs already made by various tuners. And here’s another one, the M Sports Kit by Monaco Elite Design. This Fiat 500 has a cool black matt paint finish (12 more matt exterior colors will be available next year), aluminum front and rear grills, widened arches and 16″ alloy wheels. The interior cabin features the warm feeling of a ‘Dark Tobacco’ leather trim upholstery.

The pricing for the package is 6,600 Euro (for the exterior) and 2,000 Euro (for the interior). View more photos after the jump.


Infiniti EX pricing announced

Yesterday, the Infinti EX was officially launched in the United States, in four models, RWD, RWD Journey, an AWD, and AWD Journey. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at $31,300 for the EX RWD and $34,850 for the EX RWD Journey. The EX35 AWD with ATTESA E-TS intelligent all-wheel drive system is priced at $32,700 and $36,250 for the EX35 AWD Journey model.

The infiniti EX is powered by a 297 hp 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission with Manual Shift Mode and Drive Sport Mode (DSM), assisted by Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC), and available intelligent all-wheel drive. The interior has a long list of available features including leather-appointed seating, advanced audio and navigation systems and a power-folding 2nd row seat.

Full press release after the jump.


Cell Craft G440 flying concept car

Is everyone going mad or we’d better start getting out more? I mean, after earlier today we presented the diving car, here’s another crazy concept car. The Cell Craft G440 is a flying concept car, designed by Dr. Paul Moller and Gino d’Ignazio Gizio from Cell Craft. With this car sporting seven seats, I can only imagine the discussions: “So, when did you get your driving…uhm…flying license? – Well, two months ago. – Hmm, thanks, but I’ll walk!”

The Cell Craft G440 features four turbines which allow VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing), simplified controls with just two levers (thrust and steering) the car is capable of high-speed horizontal flight and easy handling. The left lever handles power while the right manages tilt and direction. The left lever also features a trigger-like control that allows the G440 to spin on its axis by computer-controlled thrust tube adjustments to the exhaust tubes of each of the four turbines.

So, what do you say? Would you slap your kid if would come and ask you “Hey, dad, can I take my girlfriend out with the Cell Craft?”. You can drop a comment here.

Also, check out more photos after the jump.

Buick Riviera Concept on display at Detroit

Buick Riviera Concept

After making world debut in China, in April 2007, the Buick Riviera Concept will make its North American debut in a few weeks, at the Detroit Auto Show, which starts January 19, 2008. Even though there are no chances of ever seeing this car making into production, still it shows the direction Buick plans on going with future models, as rumors say the next generation Buick LaCrosse will borrow some elements from the concept.


Rinspeed sQuba Concept scheduled for Geneva debut

Have you ever drove down the coast and felt an immediate urge to drive into the ocean? Uhm, me neither. However, Rinspeed thought you might, so they came up with this: Rinspeed sQuba Concept. Described as the first car able to drive underwater, the sQuba was the dream on Frank M. Rinderknecht, Rinspeed’s boss. Sporting a lightweight body, the car enables you to drive underwater, without drowning, due to some futuristic Carbon Nano Tubes which enclose the driver and passenger and fresh breathing air is supplied by an on-board system.

More photos of the Rinspeed sQuba Concept and the full press release after the jump.

Splinter supercar made of wood

A few graduate students from North Carolina State University, who have been definitely smoking something, decided to start working on this: 600 hp Splinter supercar made of….wood. Lead by Joe Harmon, they tried to explore the possibilities and limitations of wood as a material, instead of steel, aluminum or carbon fiber, used for most cars around.

One of the most important issues they had to take care of, was all that heat coming from the Cadillac V8 engine used and the solution was to reverse the direction of the cylinder heads, and pipe the exhaust off of the top of the engine. As a consequence, the muffler is integrated into the rear wing.

Ok, so I most agree, one thing this concept is, it’s interesting. On the other hand, on thing this definitely isn’t, and that’s safe. I mean, would you drive up to, I don’t know, 150 mph in a wooden car. This could be mean, but the first word that comes into my mind is…coffin.

You can see the project’s website, here: joeharmondesign.com

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Mitsubishi Lancer Evo pricing announced

Mitsubishi announced the pricing for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. The cheapest Evo will be the GSR model, priced at $34,000, while the top of the line, the MR model will start at$39,000. Both models are powered by the same 291 hp 2.0 liter turbocharged engine, the main difference being that the MR model features 6-speed dual clutch transmission (TC-SST). Even though prices are a little higher than the current generation (especially for the GSR version), I still think the Evo X will be quite a success.


Pininfarina Sintesi Concept to debut at Geneva

Everyone with a clue about the auto industry has heard of Pininfarina, one of the best designers out there. And Pininfarina is decided to impress again at the Geneva Motors Show, in March 2008, where they’ll present the Pininfarina Sintesi Concept. The concept is designed by the Pininfarina Design Department, under the direction of Lowie Vermeersch, the 33 year old Design Director, assisted by Vice Directors Guglielmo Cartia and Fabrizio Valentini and chief designers Jason Castriota, Giovanni Piccardo, Goran Popovic and Giuseppe Randazzo.

According to Vermeersch, the Sintesi “embraces innovative technologies that allow us to explore new typologies of mobility, active safety and packaging solutions.” We don’t have any photos, but check out the Maserati Birdcage 75th Concept, presented almost three years ago, in 2005 at the same Geneva Motor Show. Pretty cool, huh?


GMC Terrain to replace the Pontiac Torrent

GMC Terrain

Remember the GMC Terrain, which debuted at the Dubai Motor Show. We wrote about it here. If the first impression was that this is just another rebadged Opel Antara/Chevrolet Captiva/Saturn Vue for the Asian market, it seems this model is more important than that. Because the GMC Terrain is also going to be sold in the US, where it will replace the Pontiac Torrent. Interesting move from GM.



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Mini’s crossover to be called “Crossman”

I’m sure everyone knows about Mini’s attempt to step into a new market, by preparing a crossover model. First, we knew about it under the name “Colorado” but now we have official info. According to Mini’s CEO, Kay Segler, who has recently talked to ‘Auto motor und sport’, the car will be named Crossman.

If you ask me, Mini is risking a lot with this model. On one hand, it could be a success among new customers, with its increased ride height and all wheel drive, but, on the other hand, and this is where Mini risks a lot, is losing its fan base, which loved Minis ever since the Cooper model was introduced.

Also, by building the Mini Crossman in Austria, this will be the first time Mini vehicles will be assembled outside UK, which could also mean more or less fans. According to the same Kay Segler, the Mini Crossman is scheduled to debut in 2010.

So, I’m really curious, what do you think about this move from Mini? Please drop a comment, here.

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