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Top Gear Season 14 Episode 3 review

Top Gear Season 14 Episode 3 review

Once again the boys were back yesterday evening on BBC and the show was host to some very heated debates from caravaning to what brand made the best cars and what model can make the Stig spin out twice on the test track.

For the play by play review of the Top Gear’s Season 14 Episode 3 review, including the insignificant feat of Jesus’ Second Coming, hit the jump and be amazed at what innovations can the boys cook up.

Volkswagen Polo is the 2010 European Car of the Year

Champagne and cookies for everyone at Volkswagen as the company has just receive the 2010 European Car of the Year award for its Polo compact hatchback. The small German model has inched away from the Toyota iQ and won the prestigious award.

The competition was tough to say the least, and although we had our money on the new Opel/Vauxhall Astra to step into the shoes of its bigger brother and last year’s winner, the Insignia, the Polo seems like a good choice.

Here is the final list, as voted by almost 60 automotive journalists from the old continent:

1. Volkswagen Polo 347 points
2. Toyota iQ 337 points
3. Opel/Vauxhall Astra 221 points
4. Skoda Yeti 158 points
5. Mercedes-Benz E-class 155 points
6. Peugeot 3008 144 points
7. Citroen C3 Picasso 113 points

Do you agree with this decision? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment to this article.


Brabus reveals B63 S model based on Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

When you think about Mercedes-Benz and performance, the first thing that comes to mind is the company’s special AMG division. But when you want your special MB model taken one step further, then tuning company Brabus is a normal choice.

The company, as part of its Essen Motor Show lineup, has revealed the B63 S model, based on the E63 AMG model from Mercedes-Benz. The new car hasn’t seen any turbos or superchargers added to the its massive 6.3-liter V8 engine, but thanks to some clever sports air filters, free-flow metal catalysts and a revamped ECU, the power was bumped from the standard 525 HP and 630 Nm to 555 HP and 650 Nm. All this power translates into a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of just 4.3 seconds, and a top speed of 320 km/h.

The new model will also look the part, as Brabus outfitted a tasteful body kit, devised with the help of a wind tunnel, which includes a carbon fiber front spoiler lip and a new rear diffuser and spoiler. The front fender has also seen enlarged air outlets to coll the engine. Customers will be able to choose from 18, 19 or even 20-inch wheels that can be combined with either Pirelli or Yokohama tires.

Overall, in case you want that extra kick to impress your other E63 AMG owning friends, this Brabus model is great.


Ferrari preparing lightweight Enzo replacement for 2012

Ferrari has plenty of models currently available, from the new 458 Italia and California, to the older but still popular 599 GTB Fiorano or 612 Scaglietti. But much to the disappointment of the very wealthy, Ferrari hasn’t really released a truly exclusive since the Enzo.

Good news though, as all of you very rich people should get your wallets ready in 2012, when the company is reportedly planning a new “hypercar” which will make the Enzo history. Set to be influenced by the FXX development program and to feature Formula 1 technology, this new car will be a lightweight rocket even though it won’t have the biggest engine possible.

The new model will sport a V8 unit, but before all you Ferrarri fans cry “Blasphemy!”, bear in mind that the lightweight carbon fiber body and chassis, coupled with the new turbo system which will prevent almost any lag, according to the Italian company, will make the car match the Enzo’s 650 HP. All of this performance will be paired with lowered CO2 emissions, which won’t refrain it from reaching 100 km/h or 62 mph in around 3 seconds and up to a speculated 230 mph.

These are still rumors, but considering the new directions Ferrari is going, towards smaller, efficient, but still powerful engines, the new Enzo replacement might come true, around 2012.


Video: Dacia Duster rally car driven by Alain Prost during the Trophee Andros

Seeing as how the Dacia Duster rally car is a prime example of a Romanian car going where no others have gone before, running stories like this one fills out heart with national pride.

But don’t go thinking this is just gloating, as this new video of the Dacia Duster V6 rally car being driven around by famed pilot Alain Prost during the Trophee Andros competition is quite exciting. It really shows that the new low-cost crossover is able to hold its ground. Hopefully the expertise gained will also help the production model, which will be presented in December.

Hit the jump to see the video of the Dacia Duster rally car in action.

AC Schnitzer reveals Police-edition ACS1 2.3d, based on BMW 123d, photo gallery included

For all of our readers now connected to the German car tuning scene, it seems that the government is hosting a new initiative entitled: “Tune it! Safe!“, which promotes the use of aftermarket parts which are regulated and deemed safe by certification entities like TUV, thus making the tuned car safe.

Part of this initiative is this baby you see above and below, entitled ACS1 2.3d. The model started life as a BMW 123d, but has went through the hands of tuning company AC Schnitzer which outiftted it with the latest and safest aftermarket accessories.

The model is powered by the 2.0-liter diesel engine, which was upgraded to output 241 HP and 480 Nm of torque, meanig a 0 to 100 km/h time of just 6.7 seconds. Other upgrades were made to the outside, which saw a set of proprietary AC Schnitzer Type IV BiColor wheels fitted, wrapped in Hankook tires, new sport springs which lower the car by 30 mm. A new body kit was also added, consisting of a two-piece front spoiler, side skirts, rear wing and spoiler.

Sadly though the car serves only as an example for the Tune it safe campaign and won’t be used to round up racers across the Autobahns of Germany anytime soon. Enjoy the photo gallery below!

Photo Gallery: BMW 123d Police edition by AC Schnitzer


Opel planning Ampera-based SUV already?

It was only a matter of time before such a rumor would appear, and frankly I’m surprised it didn’t arrive from the owner of Opel, GM, in regards to its Chevrolet Volt model. Either way, it seems that Opel, which will remain under GM after all, is now pondering the possibility of an SUV based on the upcoming Ampera model, which is basically a revamped Volt.

While the technology isn’t fully developed yet, this doesn’t stop Opel from dreaming and, reportedly, has already set up a target date of 2013, for the release of this Ampera SUV (clever codename right?). If it turns out to be true, you might expect styling cues and even some technologies to be taken straight from the Chevrolet Captiva/Opel Antara models.

We still advise you to take this rumors with a grain of salt, but considering the fact that GM will continue to own Opel, the possibility of an Ampera SUV might not be so far fetched. Stay tuned for more data as soon as it arrives.


Porsche also bails on Magna over Boxster and Cayman production, company seeks damages of $600 million

Damn, Magna can’t catch a break these days. After being stood up, in lack of better words, by GM, which decided to keep Opel after heavy negotiations and almost signing a contract with the Canadian partsmaker and its partner, Sberbank, it seems that Porsche is bailing out of a deal it had with the company to produce, starting from 2012, the Boxster and Cayman models at its Graz plant in Austria.

It seems that the contract was signed last year, Porsche decided to shift the production of the Boxster and Cayman models closer to its native Germany, and awarded Magna with an eight-year contract, due to start in 2012. Now, as Volkswagen is in the process of acquiring Porsche, the new models will be shifted to an in-house plant, leaving Magna with nothing.

But the Canadian company isn’t going to receive this blow standing down, and, according to rumors, is planning to sue Porsche for €400 million (around $600 million) damages, as it already started upgrading its plant to facilitate the production of the new models.

While nothing is for certain yet, we will let you know about this new scandal in the automotive industry.


Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are still too expensive for the average consumer, will stay the same after 2015

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are still too expensive for the average consumer, will stay the same after 2015

While vehicles running on hydrogen fuel cells are still a long way from becoming a mainstream product, many companies are hoping that 2015 will be the turning point, as large manufacturers will be launching models of their current and upcoming models which will use the fuel cell.

The technology is already proven for some companies, like Honda with its FCX Clarity which is becoming quite popular, or is still being tested by others, like Volkswagen, which is conducting tests around Berlin.

Sadly though, it seems that new economic analysts still peg fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) as too expensive and will stay that way after 2015, when many companies will launch such models. They also claim that while we may see them in fleets or buses, the average consumer will have to wait a long time to own such a model.

Kenichiro Ota, a professor at the Yokohama National University, revealed that,”By the time FCVs are commercially available in 2015, they will be cheaper than a Rolls-Royce, but it will be difficult to price them down to the level of a Corolla.”

While one possibility to get FCVs in the mainstream market will be to lease them, it seems that the monthly fees will also be quite high, way above any average consumer might be able to endure. These facts only go to prove Honda’s assessment of hydrogen cars becoming popular in 20 years from now.


Kicherer reveals first SLS 63 CP render of Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG supercar

It seems that the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG supercar leaves plenty of room for improvement, especially in terms of offering tribute to its retro origin, as the second Panamericana tuning package has appeared from Kicherer, after the first one from Gullwing America.

But while the first one was quite tastefully done, this new one might not be every Merc fan’s cup of tea, with the engineers trying to make it even more sporty by adding new carbon fiber parts, from the front lip spoiler to the roof-mounted air intake and rear diffuser, not to mention larger front intakes.

To go that extra mile, you can also opt for a stainless steel grille, which can also be delivered in gold tone (!). To go with that grille, you’ll find a quad-pipe exhaust made from that same material, and a set of three-part 20-inch wheels

Overall, I’m not quite sure many people will opt for this tuning package. What do you think? Leave a comment with your view.



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Volvo getting closer to Geely after Chinese company secures intellectual rights from Ford

While last week was almost all about Saab and the failed Koenigsegg – GM deal which left the Swedish brand once again without no future owner, things weren’t standing still for fellow carmaker Volvo.

A new report indicates that the Chinese officials from Geely, the preferred bidder for the Scandinavian brand, are getting closer to buying Volvo from Ford after securing the intellectual rights on the big number of safety technologies and the platforms used up until now for the cars made by Volvo while it was under Ford.

This is a major stepping stone as quite a lot of deals were foiled by disagreements when it came to the rights the new buyer had on the old owner’s technology. It seems that the new deal also suggests that Ford will continue to collaborate with Volvo after it will be owned by Geely, exchanging engines and other systems for new safety technologies.


No, you won’t be seing a Ferrari Dodge Viper in the future, brand chief says

Dodge Viper fans are quite happy these days as the upcoming 2010 Viper ACR set a new lap record on the famous Laguna Seca racing circuit and it seems that the iconic model will go out with a bang next year, when production is planned to reach an end.

As for the future performance Dodge model, things were quite silent, but the more optimistic fans were eager to see just how Chrysler’s Dodge will collaborate with Fiat’s Ferrari, seeing as how the Italians know “a thing or two” about supercars.

But Dodge brand chief Ralph Giles has quickly burst that bubble, saying that the Ferrari will only be limited to consulting and offering its advice on the future performance car from Dodge, and no components, platforms or engines will be swapped between the two brands, now joint together by the Chrysler-Fiat partnership.

There you have it Viper fans, your beloved model won’t see an Italian revamp in the future.


Toyota not happy with EuroNCAP giving its Urban Cruiser a three-star safety rating

I’m sure most of you had the time to digest the newest results from the EuroNCAP crash tests, and see which new cars are the safest to be in in the unfortunate case of an accident.

But one of the biggest surprises was the Toyota’s Urban Cruiser, which achieved just a three-star safety rating, out of the five maximum. The area in which the car didn’t do well was the side impact with a pole. Right after the independent organization posted the results, the Japanese carmaker was quick to dispute them.

“Toyota gives priority to building cars that are as safe as possible,” said a spokesman. “In 2009, we received a five-star rating for all three new cars that were evaluated by Euro NCAP (iQ, Avensis and Prius). We are therefore very surprised that the Urban Cruiser received only a three-star rating from Euro NCAP. As with any other Toyota vehicle, we had submitted the Urban Cruiser to rigorous in-house tests, which indicated that it would secure a five-star rating. We are currently investigating the Euro NCAP result in detail, in order to understand why there is a difference between our Toyota assessment and Euro NCAP’s rating.”

The man continued and revealed Toyota will ask to see the concrete data from the crash tests and see just how its safety systems weren’t up to par, according to the organization. While this may seem like corporate bickering, for the people who bought Urban Cruisers and are keen on safety, the problem is serious. For what it’s worth, the spokesman concluded with: “Once again, we remain fully convinced that Urban Cruiser is a safe car.”


Renault reveals the Twingo Gordinin R.S., performance and heritage in one hot hatch

As we revealed a few weeks ago, Renault will revive the iconic Gordini performance brand for its sport models, including cars like the Twingo, Clio or Megane. The first car to bear the iconic name, after the famous performance engineer, is the Twingo Gordini R.S.

Decked out in the famous Renault racing blue paint scheme, it is also decorated with two white stripes. Alternatively, you can opt for a pearlescent black scheme, but what’s the fun in that?

In terms of power, you’ll be getting the 1.6-liter engine which develops 133 HP and transfers them to the 17-inch wheels, which are connected to an upgraded suspension and braking systems.

The new Renault Twingo Gordini R.S. is on exhibition at the company’s Christmas in Blue event, and is set to go on sale in spring 2010, with prices to be announced at the end of winter.

Source: Renault

Video: Chevrolet Volt tests out its “chirping” pedestrian friendly alert with blind people

With hybrid and electric cars becoming more and more popular, things are going to become a bit more dangerous for pedestrians and bicycle riders, at least according to some studies, as they won’t be able to notice these very silent vehicles until it is too late.

But that’s in terms of normal pedestrians, what about the visually-impaired which can rely only on the sound cars make? Well in order to test out its new pedestrian proximity alert system, which distorts the horn of the car in order to make a chirping noise and let everyone around the car know it’s there, the engineers of the Chevrolet Volt asked the National Federation of the Blind to help.

They all went to the Milford Proving Grounds, where the visually-impaired had a chance to hear and have their word on the new alert system. You can check out the whole experiment in a special video available after the jump.


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