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Audi TT RS coming to the U.S. after successful Facebook petition

It seems that Facebook users know how to get behind a good petition, as the one to bring the stunning Audi TT RS has gathered over 11,500 signatures in just a month.

As such, the German company has announced that the blazing fast sports car will be making it to US shores in the third quarter (fall) of 2011.

The Audi TT RS is powered by an turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five, capable of 360 HP and 332 lb-ft of torque. It will be primarily targeted against the Porsche Boxster and the Mercedes-Benz SLK. Unfortunately, only the hardtop TT RS will be making its way over the Atlantic, as the soft-top roadster is still exclusive to the European market.

Expect more details concerning price and options to be revealed as we approach the launch of the powerful compact sports car.


2011 Chrysler 200 starts teasing us

2011 Chrysler 200 starts teasing us

After a huge amount of speculation, it seems that the all-new Chrysler 200 will replace the aging Sebring from the carmaker’s lineup.

The company has just started teasing us with a few shots depicting various elements of the new luxury sedan. As you can clearly see, the model is based on the 200C concept we saw a few years ago, but will tone it down and replace the electric powertrain with a conventional one.

According to the details revealed up until now, the base Chrysler 200 will sport a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which can be had with either a four- or a six-speed automatic. Those that want more power can upgrade to the already ubiquitous 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, rated at 283 HP and 263 lb-ft of torque. This unit will only be had with the six-speed automatic.

Expect more details and teaser shots in the following days, but Chrysler fans can already start celebrating the demise of the Sebring.


2011 Shelby GT500 Super Snake takes output up to 800 HP

The 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is already flying off the shelves of the famed American tuning company, but for those that demand even more power, Shelby decided to unveiled the 2011 versions of its famed Super Snake package.

The 2011 Shelby GT500 Super Snake packs a variety of upgrades over the outgoing model. Anthracite wheels, white stripes and a new type of hood scoop are all present, but the biggest change was made to the 5.0-liter V8 engine, which received new superchargers

You can order the Super Snake in three flavors, either a 660 HP, a 750 HP or a whopping 800 HP, which promises to be the fastest Mustang on the block.

Only 1,000 Shelby GT500 Super Snake packages will be offered, each costing around $30,000, without including the price of a new 2011 Ford Mustang GT.


Ferrari’s Alonso and Massa get a new Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

Ferrari's Alonso and Massa get a new Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

Right before the start of the Formula 1 Italian GP, held at the Monza circuit, Fiat’s performance division, Abarth, decided to award the drivers of the Ferrari F1 team with something a bit more special than a Maserati GranCabrio, for instance.

Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both got a new Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari model.

While you may scoff at the thought of them driving a modified Fiat 500 when they’re more used with the monster F1 machines, bear in mind that the 695 has an upgraded 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, capable of 180 HP. The cars are also decorated, as you can see, in Scuderia Red with Racing grey stripes.

If you’d like a go in such a model, be prepared to pay around $47,000, as the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari wants to live up to its name and the exclusivity it demands.

Source: Abarth

2011 Jeep Patriot gets refreshed

Chrysler has decided to shine the upgrade light on another one of the Jeep models, after introducing the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the refreshed 2011 Wrangler.

Now, the 2011 Jeep Patriot can finally boast a lot of much-needed upgrades. You will find slight styling tweaks, more interior features and a few new customization options.

First off, the front fascia has been restyled, sitting much lower than before. The grille is now color matched to the exterior, while the fog lights have been repositioned. 17-inch wheels can be fitted to the new Patriot, while its exterior can be had in more color choices.

On the inside, the entry-level crossover has received a lot of upgrades, in order to finally make it more attractive. The door panels have received soft touch materials, the seats are wrapped in a new type of fabric, backlighting has been added to the doors while the steering wheel now has audio, cruise and Bluetooth controls.

Under the sheet metal, Jeep says it has revised the suspension and steering systems, while the 4×4 models have received an extra inch of ground clearance.

Overall, the 2011 Jeep Patriot was in serious need of upgrading, and Chrysler did a pretty good job.


20 Audi A1 e-tron prototypes hit the streets of Munich

Audi wants to keep on with its electric and hybrid research, and has just announced that it will roll out a test fleet of 20 Audi A1 e-tron prototypes.

In case you forgot, the extended range electric vehicle was revealed at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, boasting a 100 HP electric motor, which can keep the vehicle running for around 31 miles, and a rotary Wankel engine, designed to kick in when the lithium ion battery pack doesn’t have enough juice to keep powering the motor. This can add up to 123 miles to the range, meaning a total of 155 miles for the A1 e-tron.

The 20 prototypes will be rolled out around the streets of Munich, and are partly funded by the German Transportation Ministry. The federal authority will also invest in building nearly 200 electric charging stations around the city, in order to create an infrastructure capable of supporting electric vehicles.


BMW 1 Series M Coupe limited to 2,700 units and only three paint jobs?

BMW 1 Series M Coupe limited to 2,700 units and only three paint jobs?

The BMW 1 Series M Coupe reveal really got people excited about the newest entry-level M car coming from the German automaker.

Now though, a new batch of rumors might upset quite a few people. According to an M3Post forum member who attended the Power of M European event, it seems that BMW will be limiting the production of the 1 Series M Coupe and will restrict the paint color options to just three choices.

According to him, BMW plans on releasing just 2,700 units of the 1 Series M Coupe, in order to keep it exclusive. These models can be had in either Alpine White, Jet Black or Valencia Orange Metallic. We’ve already seen the last two in spy shots and teaser campaigns, so there might be some validity to this.

BMW has yet to comment on these rumors, but more will be known perhaps at the upcoming Paris Motor Show or later this year when the company promised to properly reveal the BMW 1 Series M Coupe.


Audi S1 confirmed for Paris debut

Audi S1 confirmed for Paris debut

Yesterday we revealed that Audi might be bringing a special performance version of the new A7 Sportback, the S7, to the Paris Motor Show, in order to please fans.

Now, the company has confirmed that it will be bringing one S model, but not the S7. Instead, the German carmaker will be presenting the Audi S1 hot hatch model.

Based on the already available A1, the S1 will feature a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, capable of outputting around 180 HP. This, together with the front-wheel drive and special handling upgrades, will enable a 0 to 62 mph time of under 7 seconds and a top speed of over 140 mph. A seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, with paddles behind the steering wheel is standard.

The S1′s styling will be influenced by the already revealed S Line accessories package for the A1. This includes a more aggressive body kit, lowered suspension and bigger wheels.

Official details will be unveiled in Paris later this month.


Lexus CT 200h gets detailed before its worldwide launch

Toyota’s upmarket Lexus brand is aiming for the compact segment with the recently revealed CT 200h hatchback.

Built on top of the Prius platform and its hybrid synergy drive technology, the Lexus CT 200h promises to deliver a more premium experience for those that still want to save the planet by driving a hybrid.

Now, after seeing it at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of the year, the CT 200h has been further detailed ahead of its debut at the Paris Motor Show.

The final output is rated at 134 HP, but the 1.8-liter gasoline engine is capable of 98 HP while the electric motor can output as much as 80 HP. Even with this pretty potent power rating, 0 to 62 is achieved in 9.8 seconds.

The car has been specifically tuned for improved efficiency, meaning low rolling resistance tires, a special suspension and a hood and tailgate made from aluminum to keep weight down were fitted. All of these things enable an EPA-rated fuel estimate of 42 mpg.

You will be able to enjoy a custom interior, and the car will let you choose two driving ‘moods’ Dynamic or Relaxing, and four modes: EV, ECO, Normal and Sport.

More details are set to be unveiled in Paris. The Lexus CT 200h hybrid hatchback will be launched around the world in the following months.


Chevrolet Volt will use maintenance mode to keep gas and engine from deteriorating

Chevrolet Volt will use maintenance mode to keep gas and engine from deteriorating

The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle will use a motor to power itself, and a 1.4-liter range extending internal combustion engine if the batteries run out of juice after 40 miles.

But what happens when you average drive takes less than that and you end up not using the IC engine or the gas from the tank? Chevrolet engineers thought of this situation, and have installed a few systems to alert the driver to take the car past its electric only range, so that the gasoline and the engine will be used in order to prevent aging or deterioration.

If the driver doesn’t do that, the Volt will enter a special maintenance mode, where the IC engine will be used. This will consume some of the gasoline in the tank and keep the fluids going in the engine bay.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Volt has a special pressurized gas tank, which keep the fuel from evaporating as fast as a regular one. This means that the gas will last longer and won’t age that fast.

The Chevrolet Volt is scheduled to appear in certain territories in November, and will be rolled out across the USA next year.


Video: Stunt rider Shin Kinoshita proves his skills on a bike

We’re always ready to promote any stunts or tricks performed by man and machine, and after seeing riders like Ken Block or Travis Pastrana, we thought that it didn’t get any better than that.

After seeing Team Icon stunt rider Shin Kinoshita on his custom bike, we realized that we were extremely wrong.

The guy, while not doing quite a lot of tricks, manages to maintain absolute balance in even the trickiest of positions. Check out what he can do in a video after the jump.

Toyota RAV4 EV to debut in LA this year, Prius PHEV arrives in 2012

Toyota RAV4 EV to debut in LA this year, Prius PHEV arrives in 2012

Toyota and Tesla announced a few months ago that they are planning to launch an all-electric vehicle, based on the popular RAV4 crossover.

The Toyota RAV4 EV has now been detailed by the Japanese company, which revealed that it will have a working prototype present at this year’s LA Auto Show. According to Toyota, this means that the electric crossover is still on track for a 2012 launch on the US market.

The company also decided to detail another one of its electric efforts, the Prius plug-in hybrid. According to Toyota, the car may also arrive on US shores in 2012. More specifically, people will get to see it in the second quarter, meaning late spring.

Toyota wants to sell over 20,000 Prius PHEVs in North America when it will launch the model, and will rival other cars like the Nissan Leaf EV or the Chevrolet Volt.


Abarth presents EsseEsse versions of Fiat 500C and Punto Evo ahead of Paris debut

At the beginning of the year, Fiat’s performance division, Abarth, revealed tuned versions of the Fiat 500C semi-convertible and of the Fiat Punto Evo hatchback.

Now, right before the Paris Motor Show, the tuning company is at it again, and has revealed even more powerful versions, the Abarth 500C EsseEsse and the Abarth Punto Evo EsseEsse.

The 500C has been upgraded once more, with power now rated at 160 HP, from the 138 HP of the ‘regular’ Abarth 500C. The compact model is now capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 in 7.6 seconds.

The Punto Evo has also been overhauled, with power now at 180 HP, as opposed to the previous 161 HP. 0 to 62 can be achieved in an even quicker 7.5 seconds.

Both of these new versions have received extra options, including Fiat’s Blue&Me Bluetooth connectivity pack, but also upgraded suspension, brakes and chassis stiffeners. The 500C has a special Record Monza exhaust, while the Punto Evo has received new Sabelt racing bucket seats.

Expect both of these hardcore models to be revealed to the public in Paris.


Hyundai ix20 compact MPV revealed before its Paris debut

Hyundai peaked our interest a few weeks ago when it revealed a groovy sketch with an all-new model, the ix20 compact MPV.

Now, before its scheduled debut at the Paris Motor Show near the end of the month, the blokes at Autocar have revealed the first official photos of the new lightweight people carrier.

As you can see, while it doesn’t look like the sketch in some areas, the ix20 is still quite a looker, sporting the fluidic sculpture design previously seen on other new models like the Sonata or the Tucson (ix35).

Hyundai wants the ix20 to be the reasonable choice in its market segment, and adds a lot of standard options including A/C, Bluetooth connectivity, a stop/start system and more safety features than you can shake a crash test dummy at.

Expect the Hyundai ix20 compact MPV to make its debut in Paris and appear in dealerships across Europe in November. So far, the South Korean automaker has declined to talk about a possible US release.


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Nissan also recalls several models over faulty Garmin GPS systems

It seems that the recent problems GPS navigation manufacturer Garmin had with its Nuvi line has also affected quite a lot of Nissan models.

For those who don’t remember, the electronics company was forced to issue a recall several weeks ago on many of its Nuvi devices, as the battery was prone to overheat, which might lead to a fire in extreme cases. This prompted Suzuki to issue a recall for the Grand Vitara, SX4 and Equator, as the models were equipped with these devices.

Now, Nissan has also announced that it will recall Altima, Frontier, Pathfinder, Rogue, Sentra, Versa and Xterra models, due to the faulty GPS devices.

We don’t have the official numbers, but it’s safe to say that a lot of cars are affected. Owners will be notified through mail in the following weeks, and advised to head over to their nearest dealership where a new battery will be installed for the GPS device.


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