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Production-ready Camaro convertibles spotted in Australia

The convertible Camaros you see pictured above were spotted by Camaro5 forums member isszy at the Fisherman’s Bend Holden plant in Port Victoria, Australia.

At the Fisherman’s Bend Holden plant this morning, I spotted these – 8 production ready Camaro convertibles. The one at the end had a black roof, the rest were tan/brown. The roof line looks much nicer than the early prototypes.

Theye were all LHD from what I could see.

This comes as great news for Camaro fans (including us too), because lately GM has played a lot with the model’s launch date, which was recently pushed back from 2012 to 2011. The photos show the project’s doing good and latest reports say that the Camaro Convertible production is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2011.


RPMGO Test Drive: 2009 BMW 330xd

BMW 3 Series Facelift Test Drive

I almost forgot to mention that last week I posted about the promised test drive with the 2009 BMW 330d xDrive, in our Test Drive Section. I really liked the car which, except for some minor flaws, is brilliant. Expensive car, but brilliant. You can read the full review by clicking HERE.

And right now I’m working on the review (hope it will be up soon) for the MINI Cooper S Cabrio I drove last week, about which all I can say is that it completely blew my mind.


750 hp Gemballa Mistrale based on the Porsche Panamera

German company Gemballa has been for creating some scary beasts based on Porsche models, like the Avalanche or the Tornado. And now they’re back, with the Gemballa Mistrale, a 750 hp monster based on the new Porsche Panamera.

The first thing you notice about the car is its appearance, Gemballa showing a more agressive body kit, with more sporty front skirt, larger air inlets, integrated carbon lip, restyled bonnet with slotted ventilation ducts, extended front and rear fenders and newly designed rear apron with integrated diffuser. All aerodynamics components are made of ultra-light and high-strength material carbon and the package is completed by a new sport exhaust with four end pipes and ultra-light 22-inch forged rims.

Under the hood, Gemballa offers powerful performance enhancements up to 750 hp for different serial engines. To handle all that power, the German tuner also made some changes to other components of the car, such as the newly programmed air suspension module with extended setting range which lowers the center of gravity by 40 milimetres and a high-performance brake system.

Photo Gallery: Gemballa Mistrale based on the Porsche Panamera


Video: Real life Bumblebee in Mexico

If we didn’t know better, we’d say Bumblebee (the famous Camaro from Transformers) is out of a job at Hollywood and has decided to make some money by promoting cars in Mexico. But it’s not the case, because a Mexican Chevrolet dealership found a new way to promote their cars: they took a man, dressed him up as Bumblebee and made him transform into a Camaro…literally. You have to see this! Enjoy!


MINI Coupe Concept set for Frankfurt debut

I still have a big smile on my face every time I think about last week’s test drive with the MINI Cooper S, which has also changed 180 degrees my perception on MINI. And now MINI wants to finish me (Mortal Kombat style) with this, the MINI Coupe Concept, which will make its world debut in a couple of weeks, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We knew that MINI was going to launch a coupe and a roadster concept at the German show, but we didn’t imagine it would look THAT good. Which means we’re even happier and more excited about being there, in Germany, witnessing the cars’ debuts.

Ok, now let’s see what this baby can do. At a first glance, the MINI Coupe Concept is basically a two-seater restyled version of the Cooper John Cooper Works. More proof that the starting point for this concept was the JCW model lays under the hood, where the little fellow is powered by the 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine which delivers 211 hp(155 kW) and peak torque of 260 Nm/192 lb-ft increasing through the Overboost function for a short while to 280 Nm/206 lb-ft. But MINI says the model will be even more fun to drive than the JCW, thanks to lightweight construction and new suspension technology, which provide a new feeling of go-kart driving. For more details about the car’s specs, feel free to check out the official press release.

Like we said at the beginning of this post, MINI, which also celebrates today its 50th anniversary, will launch the concept at next month’s Frankfurt show (we’ll be there on press days – September 15,16) saying that it will be “an unusually attractive vision of how the model family may well develop in future”. And we really hope the car will get the feedback it deserves, because it would be a big shame if it didn’t make it into production.

Full Photo Gallery: MINI Coupe Concept


GM still hasn’t reached a decision about Opel’s future

Last Friday, a lot of people were expecting to hear GM’s decision on Opel sale, but the company’s board announced that they haven’t agreed yet on their European arm’s fate. According to Reuters, there’s a little war going on between the two potential buyers, Magna International, on of the world’s largest automotive suppliers and Brussels-based financial investor RHJ International.

Magna has the main advantage of being backed by the German government, who is prepared to provide 4.5 billion euros ($6.4 billion) in state aid to make the deal go through. The government is willing to do that because Magna announced that they’re planning on keeping a large part of the 25,000 workers currently employed by Opel in Germany.

On the other hand, GM would prefer RHJ International as Opel’s buyer, because the deal would have a buy-back option for GM and they’re also concerned about Sberbank and Russian car maker GAZ (Magna’s partners in the deal) using the GM/Opel technology to target the growing Russian auto market.

However, according to an unnamed German official close to the negotiations, talks between GM and the German government will continue early next week and hopefully a decision will be made soon.


Maserati GranCabrio revealed before Frankfurt debut

It’s been a while since we saw an important debut in the Maserati booth at a major auto show, but next month, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Italian car maker will show the all-new Maserati GranCabrio, the first four-seater convertible in their history. Though the press release says Maserati has now three different families of models (Quattroporte, GranTurismo and GranCabrio), the new model is basically the convertible version of the GranTurismo, which everyone thought it would be called the GranTurismo Spider.

However, the car looks great and it will definitely be a strong competitor in the four-seats convertible market. What I really like is the was Maserati presented the four-seats feature in the press release: “Four proper seats, so that the rear passengers are not merely supporting actors, but co-stars of the journey.” Still, we’ll have to wait a few weeks until the show to see if those back seats are truly as comfortable as they say.

Under the hood, the Maserati GranCabrio will be powered by the same 440 hp (323 kW) 4.7-liter V8 from the GranTurismo S. Maserati hasn’t released the performance numbers yet, but we expect it to be a little slower than the GranTurismo S, which sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds and goes up to a top speed of 193 mph (295 km/h).

Like we said before, the new GranCabrio will make its official world debut on September 15, at the Frankfurt show, with sales scheduled to start this winter and first deliveries next spring.

Photo Gallery: The new Maserati GranTurismo


BMW Sports Car Concept scooped before Frankfurt debut

There have been a lot of rumors going around lately about a BMW sports car concept, called the Z Vision Concept, which is scheduled to debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show. There’s not much known about the car, except that it will feature BMW’s next generation efficiency technology, probably also having an electric motor as part of the drivetrain. And the car was spotted recently by one of BimmerPost’s members, while being loaded into a truck as the preparations for the German show are really intense right now. Though the car is almost completely covered, we can see its silhouette and get an idea of what to expect next month. That’s about all we have so far, but stay tuned, because once we’ll have more info, you’ll be the first to find out.


Unusual encounter between a car and a…horse

I’m sure the last thing the driver in the video below was expecting to see on the highway was three horses coming towards him. The incident took place somewhere on a road in Israel and some tourists were filming the three horses running on the road, when a car came in from the other direction. While two of the horses managed to get away from the car, the third one decided to try and leap over the car. Fortunately, the driver had seen the horses and managed to slow down, so the only ‘casualty’ was the car’s front windshield.


RPMGO test drives update

It looks like the summer is one of the most crowded seasons with test drives, because we had and will have the chance to have a lot of fun in all kind of cars. So here’s what we did and will do soon:

- We have really, really great news, because we reached an important milestone in our history: our first long-term test. We’re really excited about this and I’ll tell you more details next week.

- I didn’t have any spare time recently, but soon I’ll post the full impressions about the Mercedes E Coupe I drove about two months ago;

- Three weeks ago we drove the facelifted BMW 320d xDrive Touring. Good car, for what it’s suppose to do, but not that fun;

- This weekend I drove the facelifted BMW 330d xDrive (pictured above) and I took it for a ride to the mountains and oh boy, it was really, really fun;

- Next week, we’re gonna drive the new MINI Cooper S Cabrio for a few days and even though I haven’t been the biggest MINI fan, I’m really expecting a thrilling experience;

- At the special Citroen event we attended two weeks ago, we took the new Citroen C3 Picasso for a short spin and soon we’ll take it for a few days and see what it can do;

- We’re also currently talking with the guys from Jaguar and soon we might take the XF for a test drive. I’m really excited about this, because, as I said it a lot in the past, it’s one of my favorite brands and I hope the car won’t dissapoint me.

We also have some other things planned, but so far nothing’s sure, so I’ll let you know once everything’s settled.


2010 Mercedes Benz E Class Estate officially unveiled

With more than 40,000 units sold since its debut ealier this year, the new Mercedes Benz E Class is one of company’s current best selling vehicles and, as expected, the range just got bigger, Mercedes announcing today the new E Class Estate, which is scheduled to go on sale in November.

And since the most important features of a wagon are the practical ones (maybe except for the Audi RS6 Avant), Mercedes made sure the E Estate buyers will make full use of their cars. One particularly special feature of the load compartment management system is the option of opening the standard-fit EASY-PACK tailgate automatically by using the ignition key or pressing the handle if the car needs to be loaded from behind. The “quickfold” system enables the rear seat backrests to be folded down from the load compartment and neither the head restraints nor the rear-seat cushions need to be adjusted beforehand in order to be able to do this. The two backrest sections are unlocked and folded down by a cable pull, creating a level loading surface. As another useful feature, either the left or right backrest sections, or both together, can be folded down. This enables the rear seat unit to be used by passengers even when long and bulky items are being carried. The backrest sections can also be unlocked and folded down from the side.

And considering wagons are mainly used as family cars, the German car maker fitted the new E Class Estate with a lot of safety features meant to protect all the car’s passengers. There are around one dozen new or modified driver assistance systems, including Attention Assist drowsiness detection system, Distronic Plus proximity control and Pre-Safe Brake, which initiates partial and full emergency braking autonomously. Also, there are nine airbags fitted as standard, four belt tensioners and belt force limiters and Neck-Pro crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and the front passenger.

When it will make its debut in Europe, the new Mercedes Benz E Class Estate will be offered with five engines, delivering between 168 hp (the E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY) and 382 hp (the E500), with five more engines coming in the first quarter of 2010. Out of the initial five choices, one of the most attractive is the E250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, which delivers 150 kw (201 hp), peak torque of 500 Nm and has a fuel consumption of 5.7 liters/100 km (41.2 US mpg) and 150 g/km CO2 emissions. For full specs of the new E Class Estate, check out the official Mercedes press release.

Full Photo Gallery: 2010 Mercedes Benz E Class Estate


Ferrari 458 Italia to make Frankfurt debut

Last week, the Italian car maker announced the F430 successor, the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is scheduled to make its world debut next month, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. According to Ferrari, the 458 is a completely new car from every point of view: engine, design, aerodynamics, handling and ergonomics. And our first impression was “WOW!”, because it’s just breathtaking.

The exterior styling is the work of famous Italian studio Pininfarina and it features a front part “with a single opening for the front grille and side air intakes, with aerodynamic sections and profiles designed to direct air to the coolant radiators and the new flat underbody. The nose also sports small aeroelastic winglets which generate downforce and, as speed rises, deform to reduce the section of the radiator inlets and cut drag.”

Under the hood, the 458 Italian is powered by a new 4.5-liter V8 (the first mid-rear mounted direct injection Ferrari engine) which delivers 570 hp at 9000 rpm and a max torque of 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, over 80 per cent of which is available from 3250 rpm. Mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the engine ‘drinks’ only 13.7 liters/100 km (17.2 US mpg) and produces only 320 g/km of CO2 emissions. And that’s really impressive, considering the car sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 3.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 325 km/h (202 mph).

And there’s a lot more than that and you can read all about the new Ferrari 458 Italia in the official press release.

Photo Gallery: Ferrari 458 Italia