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Renault announces the new Clio

Today, the French carmaker has announced the new Renault Clio, which they hope will follow the success of its predecessor, the Clio III, which won the Car of the Year award three years ago, in 2006. The new Clio is heavily influenced by the new Megane, especially the front part (the headlamps and broad grille in the lower part of the new front bumper).

Along with the new Clio, Renault will also introduce a GT version, which features a more aggressive frontal styling, a gloss black grille, extended side sills, twin exhaust tailpipes and lip spoiler, and will be available in an exclusive Malta Blue body color. Another new Clio feature will be Renault’s latest fully integrated GPS navigation, Carminat TomTom, which features a 5.8 inch color display, updateable navigation with traffic, safety camera locations and speed limit information.

The new Renault Clio will make its world debut next month at the Geneva Motor Show and it’s scheduled to go on sale in the UK in May 2009.

More photos after the jump. (more…)

The “perfectus” Mercedes McLaren SLR 722 by ASMA Design

In what must be the most non-modest press release ever, German company ASMA Design, specialized in Mercedes Benz tuning program, announced their latest product, the ‘Perfectus’ Mercedes McLaren SLR 722. The company managed to squeeze 50 hp more from the 5.4 liter V8, so the Perfectus delivers 700 hp (525 kW) and a max of 885 Nm of torque at 3,300 rpm. Powered by this engine, the car sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.5 seconds, reaches a top speed of 348 km/h (216 mph) and ‘drinks’ 19.8 liters of petrol per 100 km (11.8 US mpg).

No mention about how much this would cost, but we assume it ain’t pretty. And now here are a few quotes from the press release, which is, like we said before, really interesting (in not such a good way): “But, as these stunning pictures can only prove, Erturul ASMA has taken the McLaren to entirely new levels of automotive theatre. In fact, thanks to Perfectus, you can forget about the world of top-end tuning here on Earth, and now, and only now, think in terms of an awesome new age of carbon customization” or “Only Erturul ASMA can make and prove his claims of perfection, but he must also apologize… apologize to all the owners of standard SLRs everywhere, for there can be only one Perfectus.”

Check out more photos of the car after the jump. (more…)

Everyone, meet the 505 hp Chevrolet… Matiz

If you ask someone to name a Chevrolet car that delivers more than 500 hp, we bet they’ll tell you “Corvette!”. But oh boy, they sure would be wrong! Because a team from Fourdin Auto Sport, led by Yves Fourdin, have created this monster, a Chevrolet Matiz powered by a 505 hp 7.0 liter V8 engine from the Corvette Z06 (come to think about it, those people saying Corvette wouldn’t be so wrong). We have no idea how they managed to fit the V8 into the little Matiz or how the car doesn’t take off, but one thing’s for sure, the Matizilla goes from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds, to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 10.94 seconds and up to a top speed of 260 km/h (162 mph).

The racing car, which was finished in August 2008, has been homologated and is currently on display at the International Racing Show Liège in Belgium. One more photo and a short video of the car unleashed on the Monza race track in Italy, after the jump.


Audi spends more than $6 million on not so great Super Bowl Ad featuring Jason Statham

Last week we were very delighted to hear that, after last year’s great Super Bowl ad, Audi will once again air a commercial during one of the world’s most watched sports events. Not the mention that the news about Jason Statham, one of our favorite actors, will star in the ad made us even more excited about it. However, yesterday we got the chance to see a 30-seconds cut of the video, with Jason running away in a Mercedes, a BMW and a Lexus before finding the perfect getaway car, a supercharged Audi A6. Let’s hope that the full 60-seconds spot will make us change our minds, because from what we’ve seen so far, we’re really dissapointed. I mean, it’s not a bad commercial, but we were expecting something a little more exciting or funny. And considering the spot cost at least $6 million (NBC is charging $100,000 a second for Super Bowl ads this year, plus production costs and Jason’s payment), they’d better show us more.

Check out the 30-seconds video after the jump. (more…)

O.CT Boehler Concept BS3 based on the Audi S3

German tuning company O.CT Tuning released the first details and photos of another package for the Audi S3. Called Boehler concept BS3, the car is based on the quattro version of the S3, powered by an upgraded engine that delivers 328 hp (241 kW) and a maximum torque of 425 Nm. The power upgrade was made by fitting a a specially developed Engine control unit, deep thorated Sportexhaust with integrated Controlfolds and improved Air Intake System. According to O.CT, the BS3 has a top speed of 265 km/h (165 mph) and it goes from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) “almost a full second quicker than the Stock S3″ (which does the sprint in 5.5 seconds).

Other upgrades include a fully adjustable O.CT Coilover Suspension, 8-piston braking system with 372 mm discs/rotors and O.CT Carbon Fiber Add-ons for the engine, battery and air intake. Last, but not least, the body kit looks very good, with widened fenders and redesigned rear bumper, finished in white and black paint, plus a set of 20 inch MÖZ alloy wheels.

The only downside of this package is its pricing, around 67,000 Euros, but the fact that the car will only be built in a limited run of 100 units, O.CT hopes to find customers for it.

Check out more photos after the jump. (more…)

Chris Bangle leaves BMW and the auto industry

Chris Bangle, Chief of Design for BMW Group and one of the most famoust and controversial characters in the auto industry, has announced today that he will quit his position at BMW and that he will leave the auto industry altogether to pursue his own design-related endeavours. Bangle has been BMW’s Chief of Design since 1992, after working for Opel and Fiat too.

With his designs appreciated by many and hated by even more, one thing’s for sure, Bangle is one of the most infuential designers in the past two decades. He completely changed the ‘face’ of BMW and other car makers were also influenced by his designs. And considering that, starting with 2006, BMW is the world’s largest premium car producer, surpassing Mercedes Benz, we might say that the did a good job and, hate it or love it, his decision is a loss to the industry we all love.

BMW has announced that they’ll continue to use Bangle’s current design cues at least through 2010 and that his post will be taken by the company’s current Head of BWM Automobile Design, Adrian van Hooydonk, who has worked closely with Bangle for the past 17 years. So, what do you think about Chris Bangle’s decision and how it will influence BMW in the future? Don’t forget to drop a comment and let us know.