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VW Amarok By Oettinger

Oettinger VW Amarok

Oettinger, a German tuner took the VW Amarok pick-up truck and came up with a very interesting tuning program. The original model is fitted with a 2.0-liter BiTDi engine capable of producing 163 hp (120 kW) and a maximum torque of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft). With this tuning the engine is capable of producing 190 hp (140 kW) and a 430 Nm (317 lb-ft) torque.

The list of improvements does not end here as the tuning program installed by Oettinger on the Volkswagen Amarok provides an extra 37 lb-ft (50 Nm) of torque in the 2800-400 rpm critical band, very important to any pickup truck out there. This additional torque of 50 Nm allows not only swift progress but at the same time also the alternative of relaxed gliding at low rpm’s  in town and on main roads.

With the tweaking of the ECU, the truck is no capable of reaching 100 km/h in approximately 10.5 seconds which is not very bad. Top speed is about 116 mph (187 km/h).

For those of you that own a VW Amarok and want to get this tuning program, you will have to pay $1,490 (including warranty and installation).

In our opinion, it is one of the best-looking pick-up trucks ever produced and with this affordable tuning program; the VW Amarok (by Oettinger) is a pretty good deal taking into consideration the looks of the car and the power of the engine. Unfortunately Volkswagen still has no plans on introducing the Amarok pickup truck into the United States market.

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2011 Dodge Avenger Announced

2011 Dodge Avenger

The 2008-2010 Avenger was just an okay effort from the American manufacturer with nothing very special about the vehicle, offering a modicum of sportiness, a low value interior and had powertrains that ultimately doomed the automobile. The situation has changed since Chrysler worked his magic on the 2011 Avenger, updating the powertrain offerings and redesigning the interior of the car. These changes will definitely fill in the gap until a brand new model will be released in the years to come.

The car still has dull 2.4-liter four-cylinder power unit, but it is now linked to an automatic 6-speed gearbox instead of the rusty 4-speed the Avenger used to have. Like his mechanical brother – the Chrysler 200 (aka Sebring), the car can be fitted with a powerful V6 3.6-liter Pentastar, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission, producing 283 hp and a 260 lb-ft of torque. The previous generation 3.5 V6 power unit only outputted 235 hp and a 232 lb-ft of torque.

To further improve the car in comparison to its predecessor, the 2011 model has upgraded mechanics in terms of a reworked suspension – Chrysler calls it a “completely rethought” geometry. For this refresh of the car, 26 of the 30 suspension bushings have been redesigned and retuned, the tires are much wider which translates into a car that has fewer rattles, the steering is much more responsive and communicative and less body roll.

2011 Dodge Avenger

From the outside, there aren’t many changes in comparison to the previous generation, you will notice the new updated grille and some changes in the rear fascias. Moving on inside you will notice the big difference where everything is new, starting with seats, gauges, ambient lightning, center stack, steering wheel, upholstery, instrument panel and the HVAC vents. Dodge will use updated plastics for the switchgear and soft-touch materials for the IP and the armrests. In addition, the door panels of the car have been completely redesigned and so was the center console of the 2011 Avenger.

In conclusion the 2011 Dodge Avenger truly rises up to its name, offering a good package for the money. You get a nice somewhat powerful engine, good looks and a redesigned and updated interior that loses the poor look that the previous generation had. Dodge hopes to sell more Avengers now that the car has undergone serious modifications and updates. The car will have to face up to the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord Sedan, Nissan Altima Sedan and the Toyota Camry.

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Family Time – 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan

Just a few weeks ago Chrysler launched an updated variant of the 2011 Town & Country model and logically, its sibling – the Grand Caravan will receive the same updates. For the next year model, the car will get a redesigned front grill as well as a more sculpted front fascia. Moving towards the back of the car we will notice a rethought bumper plus a liftgate that now has sharper creases and new lettering.

Similar with the Town & Country and the rest of the lineup from Chrysler, the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan will get a more powerful 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar power unit that is capable of outputting 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This new engine is considerably more powerful in comparison with the older generation 3.3, 3.8 and the 4.0-liter engines that previously equipped the Grand Caravan. As far as the gearbox goes, customers can only get the car with a 6-speed gearbox equipped with a “Fuel Economizer” button that once activated by the driver, it will adjust shift timing in order to reduce the fuel consumption of the car.

To further make this a more fuel efficient car, the car is a half inch lower in comparison to previous generations and comes with lower-rolling-resistance tires plus a drag-reducing roof spoiler. The 2011 Dodge Grand Carvan will do approximately 16 mph city / 24 mpg highway, similar with the older model, but keep in mind that it has a more powerful engine.

In order to improve overall comfort, the engineers at Dodge worked very hard at the suspension of the car, which will not only allow the driver to have a more comfortable ride, but at the same time it will offer a more responsive steering and handling of the van. The modifications brought are very thorough, starting with the new dampers and bushings and ending with the retuned steering gear and revised spring rates.

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan

Moving inside the car, you will find a refreshed cabin that now sports a two-dial instrument cluster and a much nicer integration of the air vents and the climate-control buttons into the console of the automobile. The brand new Stow’n’Go seats are now larger and said to be more softer and comfortable than before and are equipped with the new one-touch operation. The list of optional features includes a driver’s knee airbag, a heated steering wheel and a more generous console with blue-green trim lightning. For those of you interested in safety, Dodge offers the Safety Sphere package that includes parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and a very useful backup camera.

The car will be available at dealership in the next few weeks. The basic trim level of the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan will be the Express. Moving up, you get the Mainstreet and the top-of-the-line will be the Crew trim. Next year in spring, the model will get the R/T trim; Dodge calls it “the ultimate Man Van”, and will offer a much sportier experience. We will bring you updated information once the R/T model will be officially launched next spring. Stay tuned.

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2011 Acura TSX Launched

2011 Acura TSX

For 2011, the Acura TSX will get a minor yet well-deserved facelift that will include a few important mechanical enhancements in order to reduce the fuel economy. In early 2011 the car will get a Sport Wagon configuration. The front of the car has now a lower grille that has a sportier and smaller mouth and the upper grille has shrunk a little bit. The Acura designers said that the modifications brought to the underbody aero panels and the reshaped chin spoiler help slipperiness. In the back you will notice the redesigned tail lamps. For the 2.4-liter four-cylinder configuration, the Acura TSX will come as standard with 17-inch rims.

Moving inside the car, the center console look was thoroughly revised, replacing several trim pieces for bits that now have a darker and more expensive appearance. In addition, the car now has contrasting stitching on the seats. As far as the interior lightning is concerned, the LEDs will do the job very nice. As an optional feature, the TSX can be equipped with a navigational system that has a 60 GB hard drive (15GB can be used for personal photos and music). The car now sports an acoustic-glass windshield that significantly reduces the cabin noise. To further reduce external noises, the TSX got a thicker side glass as well as more under floor sound-deadening materials.

2011 Acura TSX

Both the 2.4-liter and the more powerful V6 3.5-liter are now more fuel efficient (1mpg improvement) thanks to the modifications made by the engineers in terms of friction in the power unit. They also updated the 5-speed automatic gearbox shift mapping, plus it received a fluid warmer in order to improve cold-weather shift longevity and overall quality. All of these modifications result in the following fuel consumption figures – 22 mpg city / 31 mpg highway for the 2.4-liter automatic, 21 mpg city / 29 mpg highway for the 2.4-cylinder linked to a 6-speed manual transmission and 19 mpg city / 28 mpg highway for the automatic 3.5-liter configuration.

We mentioned the Sport Wagon variant of the TSX which will be arriving next spring. The car will be available only with a 2.4-liter power unit linked to either a four-speed or a five-speed automatic gearbox that will do 30 mpg highway. There is a possibility in the future that the car will be available with a 6-speed manual transmission, but not at launch. The wagon variant will get the same comfort and interior features like the sedan version (including entertainment system and hard drive navigation).

As far as the pricing is concerned, the 2011 facelift of the Acura TSX will raise the price with $300, to a total of $30, 470 for the 2.4-liter engine equipped with a manual gearbox and $36, 010 for the more powerful V6 3.5-liter. The prices for the Sport Wagon will be announced once the launch date approaches.

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Official – 2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011 Hyundai Elantra

In the past, Hyundai Elantra did not stand a chance in front of other competitors like the Toyota Corolla or the Honda Civic due to its rather boring look and limited features. Things have significantly changed for the better with the 2011 Hyundai Elantra which was exposed at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The car now looks very attractive and comes bundled with a wide variety of features and an EPA rating of 29 mp city / 40 mpg highway, regardless of the trim level chosen.

Hyundai launched the 2011 Sonata some time ago and received a positive impact from everybody thanks to its superb styling and excellent handling in a price range that only offered rather boring cars. Using the exact same recipe, Hyundai is back with the Elantra model which in our opinion looks very good and comes at an affordable price. If you compare the Elantra with its bigger brother, the Sonata, you will notice that the design was inspired from it, with its swoopy lines and sharp creases. Hyundai finally has a consistent design idea thanks to the Elantra, Sonata and the small SUV – Tucson. Hyundai is planning to sell approximately 200,000 Sonata units this year in the United States which means that if all things go smooth, the Elantra model will be a big hit, following the same recipe.

The 2011 Elantra has a two inches longer wheelbase and the overall length has increased by less than an inch in comparison with the now old generation model. As far as the width is concerned, it remained at the same level, but the height is 1.8 inches lower. Down points include the headroom and the total interior volume which is now two cubic feet smaller. However, the car still is a mid-size vehicle according to EPA classification, over the Corolla and the Civic which are qualified as compact automobiles.

To improve brake efficiency, Hyundai equipped the car will disk brakes an all corners. The rear rotors remained the same, but the front ones grow 0.2 inch, totaling 11 inches. We all know that the previous generations of the Elantra were not known for being very easy to handle and we are eager to find out how the new model is doing, taking into consideration that the rear suspension has been changed from a more expensive multilink setup to a budget-minded torsion-beam axle.

We think that the most important update brought to the car is the new “Nu” engine which is a 1.8-liter four cylinder capable of outputting 148 hp at 6500 rpm, which is 10 hp more in comparison with the older generation 2.0-liter. However, the torque output decreased by 5 lb-ft, to a 131 lb-ft, but in exchange, it is 74 pounds lighter thanks to the all-aluminum construction. This new engine can be linked to a six-speed manual gearbox or to a more comfortable six-speed automatic gearbox.

The Elantra is now equipped with low-rolling-resistance tires, a new electric power steering plus the curb weight is down. The coefficient of drag dropped from 0.32 to 0.28. All of these important changes allow the 2011 Hyundai Elantra to do a 29 mpg city / 40 mpg highway EPA rating.

2011 Hyundai Elantra

The car will be available for sale starting with December and customers will have to choose from one of the two trim configurations available – GLS and Limited. As far as the safety equipment is concerned, the car features anti-lock brakes, electronic stability and traction controls plus six airbags. The entry-level GLS models will be equipped with the 6-speed manual gearbox, body-colored door handlers and mirrors, cabin-air filter, keyless entry, power windows and locks, a six-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary in puts. The GLS model will ride on standard 15-inch steel rims. The list of optional for the standard model include two different 16-inch wheel options, automatic gearbox, Bluetooth, 7” touch-screen navigation that has Bluetooth streaming audio capability, 8GB memory, rearview camera, air conditioning and auto headlights.

For those of you that are willing to pay more, you could get the Elantra with the Limited trim that offers in addition to the features of the GLS, the following features: 17-inch rims, sunroof, heated leather seats both front & rear and heated mirrors. Optional features include the navigation system and the push-button starting.

We do not know any details about the pricing of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, but taking into consideration that when the Sonata was launched, it had the same price tag as the outgoing generation. For this reason we are hoping that the Elantra will have the same price as the old generation model, which makes the car a very important player in its price segment.

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Kia Launches Optima Hybrid

Kia Optima Hybrid

For 2011, Kia will offer the mid-sized Optima sedan with a gasoline-electric Hybrid Blue Driver engine that can also be found on the Hyundai Sonata hybrid. Kia engineers are estimating that this new model will do 36 mpg city / 40 mpg highway which is way better in comparison with the standard Optima that does 24 mpg city / 34 mpg highway. More than that, it does a lot better when put side to side with the Ford Fusion hybrid that does 36 mpg city / 41 mpg highway.

The Optima hybrid will be available for sale starting with 2011 at an estimated price of $26,000 for the basic model. This price puts the Optima hybrid as the most affordable mid-size gasoline-electric sedan on the market at the moment. The car will be less expensive than the Nissan Altima hybrid which goes for $27, 530 and the Ford Fusion hybrid which is on sale for $28, 990. The Kia hybrid is near the top of the line of the Optima lineup, prices starting from $19, 690 and go up to $26, 690 for the full option model.

Hyundai and Kia have the possibility to offer their hybrid cars and such good prices thanks to their full-parallel hybrid system that uses a modular approach, implementing the hybrid hardware onto the current powertrains and engines. In this case we are talking about a 2.4-liter four-cylinder power unit that was modified with Atkinson-cycle operation to provide improved efficiency linked to a modern six-speed automatic gearbox. Combining the power of the gasoline-electric engine, the car offers 206 hp and a decent torque of 195 lb-ft.

Kia Optima Hybrid

The modifications brought over the gasoline powered engine do not end here as the exterior of the Kia Optima has been aerodynamically modified in order to allow better wind penetration. The car now rides on 16-inch alloy rims covered by lower-rolling-resistance tires. The hybrid version of the Optima will have similar features with the mid-level LX gasoline model but with keyless start, dual-zone automatic climate system and 8-way power sights for your comfort.

The car has a rather innovative feature – the Virtual Engine Sound System. The Optima has a small speaker up front that will play a pre-recorded engine sound when the car is running only on the electric engine. This feature has been added in order to warn the pedestrians and to avoid unfortunate accidents.

In conclusion, the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid has all the ingredients to become a hit in terms of sales. In our opinion it looks very good, the fuel consumption levels are very economical plus the price range of the hybrid model is the best in its class.

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Premiere – 2011 Nissan Quest

2011 Nissan Quest

Back in the 90s, Nissan wanted their own minivan and for this reason it partnered with Ford. They rebadged the Mercury Villager and in this way the original Quest was born and lasted for an entire generation. 10 years ago in 2000, Ford stopped producing the Mercury Villager so Nissan had to come up with their idea of the Quest model which was based on the Altima sedan. The sales figures were that awful that Nissan even thought of dropping the entire segment. Nissan did not give up and came with a new generation of the Quest, designed in Japan.

Unlike the previous generations which were built in Canton, Mississippi, the 2011 Nissan Quest will be manufactured in Japan. We are talking about a van here so there are no major changes in terms of exterior styling, because owners of these cars do not care very much about the appearance. Despite that, the car looks very odd, but what minivan doesn’t?

The major selling points of any vans or minivans are the ease-of-use and list of features, not the looks. The Nissan Quest’s second and third row can fold in order to accommodate a wide variety of goodies you can put into it. As a downside, the chairs cannot be entirely removed nor do they fold into the floor of the car. However, you can fold them forward in order to make a flat road area which will allow a much simpler and easier access to whatever you put behind the third row of the Quest. The minivan gets 60/40 split cover in comparison to Dodge’s proprietary Stow’n’Go second row that can fold the chairs into the floor.

The 2011 Nissan Quest is available with four trim levels: S, SV, SL and the top of the line LE. The S model goes for sale at a basic price of $28, 550. Nissan did not mention the prices for the other trim levels at this moment. The entry-level S trim level will get you cloth seats, manual front seats, 16-inch steel rims, keyless entry and starting plus cruise control. The SV trim level will offer you 16-inch aluminum rims, auto-dimming rearview mirror, backup camera, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, 4.3-inch color display, 6-speaker audio system, power-sliding side doors and a leather steering wheel.

2011 Nissan Quest

For those of you that want a little more customization to the Quest, you can choose the two opening sunroofs, satellite radio, and rear DVD entertainment system, an easier to operate third-row folding configuration, leather upholstery, a power liftgate and powered & heated front seats. The top of the range LE trim level will come with a power function that allows you to raise the third row, a built-in navigation system, an air-purifying climate control plus a blind-spot warning system.

All of the trim levels are offered with the tire-pressure monitoring system that has the same feature as the Infiniti QX56. We are talking about the situation in which the hazard lights start flashing when the air begins to flow into the tire and the horn of the car beeps softly when the desired pressure of the tires is reached.

The engine of the car is the same that can be found in the Murano and Altima models. It is a VQ35DE V-6 linked to a CVT gearbox, which means that it should be quite agile. It can offer 253 hp and a maximum torque of 236 lb-ft, similar to the Sienna (265 hp / 245 lb-ft) and the Odyssey (248 hp/250 lb-ft), but a little lower when put side by side with the Pentastar V6 engine that powers the Grand Caravan (283 hp / 260 lb-ft). Similar to its rivals, the Nissan Quest is only a front wheel drive car. The Sienna is the only car that can get an AWD system for extra money. In terms of size, the Quest is just about the same as the rest of the competitors, despite the fact that it is a little bit taller and narrower than the rest of the minivans.

With this 2011 Quest model, Nissan doesn’t bring anything new to the market because it is quite similar with the already launched models from other competitors and without any doubt it will have a very hard life in terms of sales figures. More than that, the 2011 Grand Caravan is more powerful and has a finer interior in comparison to the Quest. The Sienna and Odyssey models are known for being very easy to drive plus they offer at least one feature that the Quest does not have.

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Porsche Panamera By Caractere Exclusive

Caractere Exclusive Porsche Panamera

The Belgian tuner Caractere Exclusive joined forces with the performance house Dynatek for creating a tuning program for the Porsche Panamera. The power upgrade is offered by Dynatek that installed 200-cell catalytic converters (replacing the two original catalytic converters) plus an Akrapovic exhaust system. The standard Porsche Panamera Turbo power unit is capable of offering 493 hp (368 kW / 500 PS) and a maximum torque of 700 Nm. With this tuning program, the car is able to produce 596 hp (445 kW / 605 PS) and 840 Nm of torque.

As far as the exterior look is concerned, the Panamera has a new aerodynamic kit consisting of new set of side skirts, a redesigned front bumper that has integrated lights, a new rear spoiler and bumper. The car now rides on 22-inch rims in Silver or CW1 Graphite – 11 x 22 at the back and 9.5 x 22 in the front, covered by 295/25R22 and 265/30R22 (back/front) Yokohama tires. Inside the car, Caractere Exclusive offers a wide variety of carbon moldings with different finishes and colors.

Caractere Exclusive Porsche Panamera

In our opinion, it is without any doubt one of the best tuning programs launched for Porsche’s “family estate car”, the Panamera Turbo, a car with a very controversial design.

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GM, Nissan And Chrysler Recalls

2009 Nissan Xterra

First order of business, General Motors is recalling almost 14,000 units of the 2011 Buick Lucerne and Cadillac CTS cars because of a possible risk of fire due to a steering fluid leak. Nissan is also going to recall 605,000 cars for problems at the batteries and the steering wheel column. The same situation goes for Chrysler who is recalling 16,000 Jeep Liberty units that have a faulty windshield-wiper system.

The steering fuel leak in the Cadillac CTS and the Buick Lucerne is most likely caused by either an alternator cable that is touching the steering return line and causes the steering line to wear through or by the starter. The steering fluid may cause fire ignitions if it leaks onto hot engine components.

The General Motors automobiles that are recalled are all equipped with V8 engines. Owners of these cars should take the cars to the dealerships in order to have the lines either secured or rerouted in order to prevent any unfortunate accidents. The owners of the cars do not have to pay any money for this intervention.

2008 Jeep Liberty

Second order of business, Nissan is recalling 303, 000 Frontier trucks and 283, 000 Xterra sport utility vehicles due to a faulty steering-column caused by corrosion that most likely limits the movement of the lower joint and in some cases, crack the steering shift. Nissan is also recalling 18, 500 Sentra cars due to a battery flaw. This defect is in the car’s positive cable terminal and can cause serious difficulty when stalling at low speeds or starting the vehicle. All the cars are manufactured between 2001 and 2010. According to Nissan, no accidents or injuries have occurred due to these technical problems. The company will start notifying its customers this December and the intervention to the cars will be free of charge.

Last order of business, Chrysler is also recalling the Jeep Liberty SUV’s manufactured in 2008 because there is a major possibility that water might get into the windshield-wiper motor and cause the car’s wipers to stop working. The customers that are affected by this can take their cars to the dealerships where the mechanics will replace the windshield-wiper free of charge.

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2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Launched

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

Without any doubt, when Dodge considered making the 2011 Challenger SRT8 392, they did not took into consideration the latest trends in terms of fuel consumption. On the contrary, with this new model the powerful Hemi V8 is bigger, measuring 392 cubic inches of raw power. In fact, the power unit is basically a bored & stoked configuration of the V8 6.1-liter SRT power unit that now is available in a 6.4-liter configuration.

The engine now is capable of outputting 470 hp at 6,000 rpm and at 4,200 rpm is offering a massive 470 lb-ft of torque. In comparison to the 6.1-liter older generation engine, this new one offers an additional 45 hp and 50 lb-ft. Also, the peak power is now achieved 200 rpm lower and the max torque is now available at 600 rpm lower, all good figures in our humble opinion.

Although significant changes have been made in the engine department, the gearbox selection remains the same which is not entirely a bad choice. With other words, the car will be equipped as standard with a 5-speed automatic gearbox and optional with a 6-speed transmission for those drivers that want fully control all that power. This new engine will also be available for the 2011 Dodge Charger SRT8.

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

Besides all of these changes, the engineers at Dodge equipped the SRT8 392 with new dampers in combination with a revised geometry of the suspension. Maneuvering the car is now more accessible thanks to the quicker steering. The car features a heavy-duty hydraulic pump that offers considerably more feel, especially on-center which the previous generations of the car really needed. These changes are very important when we take into consideration that the car is quite heavy at its two+ tons.

As far as the exterior changes are concerned, you will first notice the “392 HEMI” badges located on the front fenders. A larger chin spoiler rounds up the revised front fascia. The Inaugural Editions of the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 will be the first 1492 units manufactured and will have one of two white-and-blue paint combos, but with various hues: Viper Blue stripes on a Bright White body, Stone White stripes over Deep Water Blue. These cars will also sport a blue-and white interior with blue striping and stitching white leather seats.

Dodge is currently taking orders for the 2011 Challenger SRT8 392 and production will most likely begin this month. The cars will be delivered at the end of the year and once the limited edition cars are sold, Dodge will be manufacturing regular SRT8 392s.

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2012 Buick Regal GS Announced

2012 Buick Regal GS

The Buick Regal GS concept was unveiled in January at the Detroit Auto Show and the officials said that the concept will become a production model in the near future. And they were right as the first truly performance Buick will be available starting with next year after a good amount of time since Buick had such a competitive model. Comparing the concept model exposed at the beginning of the year with the production model, we notice that nothing much has changed since then. The main differences you will notice are the smaller air intakes on the front fascia, the exhaust finishers on the back and the Recaro-like front seats.

Luckily, it has the other ingredients of the concept model, like the generous 20-inch rims, high performance Brembo front brake calipers, the rocker panel extensions, the integrated rear spoiler and the satin-metallic trim. More important, the engine is the same 2.0-liter four cylinders which is the same with the one found in the Regal Turbo model but the General Motor technicians raised the horsepower number and at the same time reduced backpressure thanks to a large exhaust system. Now the car offers 255 hp and a 295 lb-ft of torque which is 35 hp more than the power unit found in the Turbo.

2012 Buick Regal GS

Upon launch, the 2012 Buick Regal GS will be offered only with a 6-speed manual gearbox and later on they will introduce a new 6-speed automatic transmission. Initially, the concept promised a 0-60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds, but now the officials at Buick lowered down their expectations of the car, saying that the Regal GS will do the mile-a-minute-mark in less than 7 seconds.

Unlike the concept version exposed in January which had an all wheel drive system, the production model has only front wheel drive which is a small disappointment in our opinion, but a plus is that the car will feature the all new HiPer Strut suspension system that benefits from a customized MacPherson geometry up front to maintain a better negative chamber in cornering and at the same time, reduce the torque steer.

The car will come as standard with 19-inch rims covered by all-season Goodyear Eagles tires and for extra money, you could get 20-inch wheels, but this time in combination with Pirelli P Zero summer tires.

Moving inside the car, it will be quite similar with other “Regal” cars, but it will come with metal pedals, a special flat-bottomed steering wheel, a satin-finished trim, white lightning for the instrument panel (when the GS mode is activated) and more-heavily bolstered front seats. Other standard features of the car include the following: xenon headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, backup sensors, keyless entry and start plus a powerful 320-watt Harman/Kardon sound system if you are not satisfied with the sound made by the powerful engine.

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Panasonic & Tesla Motors Collaboration

Tesla Roadster

Panasonic Corporation, the giant Japanese electronics manufacturer affirmed at the beginning of this month that it invested $30 million in Tesla Motors Inc. in order to cooperate on green powertrain development. Panasonic already produces batteries for gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles and now joins Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp in taking a significant stake in the automotive start up headed by Tesla Motor’s Elon Musk. At the same time this means that the Tesla model is very well received by the giant electronics and automobile manufacturers which means that in the near future we will have similar more efficient electrical or hybrid automobiles at more affordable prices.

This $30 million investment made by Panasonic was done by purchasing Tesla stocks and the Japanese media states that this acquisition gives the company a 2 percent stake in Tesla Motor. The electric car manufacturer is currently using not only Panasonic battery cells but also cells from other producers, in its battery modules and for developing the next generation power packs it has a strong collaboration with Panasonic.

Tesla S

Except Panasonic, Toyota has also invested a great deal of money back in May. We are talking about $50 million and it will invest another $60 million to team up with Tesla Motor for developing an all-electric version of their small sport utility vehicle – the RAV4.

Panasonic is currently attempting on becoming a top supplier of batteries for the next-generation automobiles that have hybrid powertrains or all-electric. At the moment they have a joint-venture with the Toyota – named Primearth EV Energy Co., in order to manufacture nickel-medal hybride as well as lithium ion batteries. Panasonic is planning on merging with a rival Japan electronic manufacturer, Sanyo Electric Co. – who is another significant producer of lithium ion or nickel-metal hybride batteries.

The Tesla Corporation became famous after the launch of the battery-powered Tesla Roadster that has a starting price of $109,000. In 2012, the company hopes to launch the Model S sedan that will have a basic price of $54,700. The factory where they will be producing the new model will be in California and it is a formerly operated automobile manufacturing unit through a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors.

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Murcielago Production Ended

Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce

An era has ended as Lamborghini produced the last Murcielago at the Sant’Agata Bolognese factory in Italy. For celebrating the event, the Italian manufacturer organized a special exhibition of the most iconic V12 cars ever produced which escorted the very last Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce which was sold to a Swiss customer. The No. 4,099 car has a bright orange (Arancio Atlas) and will remain in history as the last Murcielago ever produced. Other famous cars that were exhibited at the event were the stunning Miura, the legendary Countach, the 350 GT and of course, the devilish Diablo.

The Murcielago was introduced back in 2001 and featured a 6.2-liter engine that offered 580 hp. The car came with the classic Lamborghini doors that opened 90 degrees to the sky. 4 years later, in 2005, the company launched the Roadster version that had a warning on the shield advising drivers not to drive the car over 60 mph with the top down. The design of the car was made by Luc Donckerwolke that got his inspiration from the B-2 bomber, the 118 WallyPower yacht and from Santiago Calatrava’s architectural work in Spain.

Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce

Later on, Lamborghini introduced the second generation of their legendary Murcielago model that offered 60 hp more, rounding it up to 640. Dubbed “LP 640”, it had a 6.5-liter V12 power unit. Last year, the Italian supercar manufacturer raised the standards once again with the Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce which was not only 30 hp more powerful, but it was 220 pounds lighter in comparison with the standard LP 640 model. This power increase and weight reduction combination allowed the car to reach a top speed of 212 mph and it needed only 3.2 seconds for the 0-60 mph sprint.

Most likely, the successor of the Lamborghini Murcielago will be the Aventador and it will be launched next year.

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GM Posts Almost 2 Billion Profit

Chevrolet Cruze

After a couple of years of serious losses, the General Motors Co. posted a third quarter net income of $1.96 billion on revenues of $34.06 billion. This situation was expected as a forecast was issued two weeks ago stating that GM is back on its feet. General Motors has now earned $4.16 billion on revenues of $98.71 through three consecutive profitable quarters in 2010 – a 180 degree change after 5 awful years with almost dramatic losses.

GM is expecting lower profitability levels for the remaining quarter of the year due to their new-product development and vehicle-launch costs like the Chevrolet Cruze and the Volt. CEO Dan Akerson stated in a conference call that “The results of the third quarter clearly point to the amount of progress GM has made.” Another reason for these impressive figures is the economy in United States is slowly but surely recuperating after the financial crisis.

Chevrolet Volt

In the 2009 third quarter, General Motors Co. posted a whopping $1.15 billion loss after the United States founded overhaul in bankruptcy court. As of last month, the US sales made by GM reached 1.8 million units, which is 6 percent more. The company however has lost share in an overall market that is up 11 percent. This share loss is most likely a consequence of eliminating the Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac brands as well as selling Saab to Spyker.

General Motors had better results than its primary rival Ford, which had a third-quarter profit of $1.7 billion. Chrysler had a third-quarter profit of $239 million and a net loss of $84 million. The Chrysler Group exited the U.S.-steered bankruptcy a month later than General Motors did. The GM officials are expecting to have a profitable fourth quarter but not as the first three and they feel that the entire year will be generally profitable for the company with high hopes for the following years.

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Ford Next Year – 40 MPG EPA Certified Cars

2012 Ford Focus Sedan

The Ford Motor Company affirmed that the new 2012 Focus compact will do 40 mpg which rounds it up to four automobiles that produce 40 mpg or more next year. The other three cars manufactured by Ford are the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sedan, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Fiesta subcompact SE with the SFE package – all of them having 2011 EPA ratings of 40 mpg highway / 41 mpg city.

Speaking of the new 2012 Focus compact, Ford will bring it early next year with a 2.0-liter gasoline direct injection power unit fitted with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. According to the 2011 EPA Fuel Economy Guide, Ford is the only full-line automobile manufacturer that can offer four models with ratings of 40 mpg or more.

According to a statement made by Barb Samardzich, Ford’s vice president of powertrain engineering: “A few years ago, Ford committed to making fuel economy a top priority companywide. Our hybrid vehicles led the way, and this new wave of powerful, refined gasoline engines is reasserting the company’s leadership position.”

2012 Ford Focus Sedan

The Ford Motor Company did a lot of work in updating their current line of power units, like the one used for the Mustang or the F-150 and Super Duty pickups. The 2011 F-150 models are equipped with a powerful 3.7-liter V6 engine that is capable of producing 302 horsepower and offers a fuel consumption of only 17 mpg city / 23 mpg highway. The 2011 Super Duty features a powerful 6.7-liter engine that offers a 20% decrease of fuel consumption in comparison with the old-generation 6.4-liter. This new generation has 400 hp and a massive 800 lb-ft of torque.

Other important innovations developed by Ford are the “EcoBoost” direct-injected, turbocharged engines that also enhance Ford’s average fuel economy. Derrick Kuzak who is the company’s group vice president of global product development recently affirmed in a statement that “EcoBoost remains a cornerstone of our commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment in which we compete. EcoBoost can make a difference because it’s affordable, scalable–it can be applied to everything from small cars to large trucks–and the technology is available right now.”

This new generation of EcoBoost power units not only it reduces the fuel consumption by up to 20 percent, but it also diminishes the carbon oxide emissions up to 15% in comparison with previous generation engines. Ford is currently planning to introduce the EcoBoost engines in the 2011 F-150, Edge and Explorer models.

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