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Ford officially sells Volvo to Geely for $1.8 billion

After almost a year of negotiations, weeks of rumors and speculation and a lot of legal battles, Ford has finally revealed that it has sold Volvo to Chinese car company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited, simply known as Geely.

The whole deal has been priced $1.8 billion, which was paid by the Asian company for 100% ownership of Volvo, as well as all of its assets together with the Swedish and Belgian manufacturing plants.

The deal was met with excitement by both Ford and Geely. The companies will continue to work together on joint platforms and engines developed by Blue Oval and Volvo engineers. Supply contracts will also be honored.

The former head of Volvo, Stephen Odell, will move on to lead Ford of Europe, and his place will be taken by Stefan Jacoby, none other than the former CEO of Volkswagen USA. The chairman of Volvo will be Geely founder Li Shufu.

Plans include the obvious expansion into the Chinese territory for Volvo, while Geely will put to good use the safety technologies the Swedish company uses in all of its cars.

May this new deal help all of the parties involved, and let’s hope that Volvo will continue walking its own path under the Chinese ownership.


2011 Audi A7 Sportback formally revealed and detailed

Even though its appearance was leaked last weekend, the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback was unveiled yesterday by the German automaker.

The new model will compete with the likes of four-door coupes like the Mercedes-Benz CLS, as well as with five-door performance models like the Porsche Panamera or BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo.

As you can see above, the new A7 boasts a design similar to the 2011 A8, albeit a more angular, in terms of the front fascia. In the rear, the fastback design is apparent, while the side view clearly highlights the cues it has taken from the A5 Sportback.

In terms of engines, not a lot of details were given, but you can expect four V6 units, two gasoline and two diesels, to be used. They will be equipped with either a Multitronic CVT or a seven-speed S-tronic gearbox, feeding the power to either just the front wheels, or too all four, thanks to the Quattro AWD system.

The interior is almost the same as the 2011 A8, with the new MMI Touch multimedia interface, as well as a wide array of technologies and systems ready to make driving the new A7 Sportback a safer and more pleasant experience.

No other details were given, but expect new info to arrive as we approach its fall release date. Prices, at least in its native Germany, will start at €51,600 ($67,160). Feel free to check out the high res photo gallery below and then hit the jump to see a video of the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback launch.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Audi A7


Toyota FT-86 still on track, arrives in November, 2011

After a big amount of rumors and speculation about the Toyota FT-86 concept, the Japanese company decided to set a few things straight.

The automaker revealed that the rear-wheel drive sports coupe’s development is still on track, despite rumors that it will be delayed until 2013. As such, the FT-86 will hit production around November, 2011.

Also, it seems that it will see three spec levels, with at least two different engines. The mid-range option will cost around $28,500, so it may be on the steep side for those that want an accessible sportscar. Still, the top-of-the-range will be represented by a turbocharged model, so we know what true enthusiasts, with a deep wallet, might want.

Toyota also pointed out that none of the FT-86 powertrains will use a hybrid assembly, as that technology is researched for another product, most probably the MR2 Sports Hybrid. Still, the company guaranteed that the FT-86 will offer plenty of sporty thrills, largely thanks to Subaru’s input on the whole project.

With this new official info, November of next year will definitely be a happy month for Toyota fans.


2011 Ford Explorer finally revealed in first official photos

It’s been an extra long time coming, but the Blue Oval finally decided to pull the curtain off its newest model: the 2011 Ford Explorer.

As you can see above and below, the new SUV is thoroughly overhauled, borrowing cues from the new Taurus, as well as the Flex or the Fusion. According to Ford, the next generation Explorer will offer “best-in-class fuel economy, improved driving dynamics and terrain management system – all wrapped in a modern, weight-saving design.”

In terms of engines, the new Explorer will be offered with a 3.5-liter V6 option, expected to output 290 HP with 255 lb-ft of torque, and be 20% more efficient. The new SUV can also be equipped with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged inline-four cylinder unit, capable of 237 HP and 250 lb-ft of torque, while at the same time being 30% more efficient than the outgoing V6. These two engines will be mated with a six-speed automatic gearbox, which feeds power to all four wheels.

Safety plays an important role for the new Explorer, as it boasts a more rigid unibody structure, as well as an array of safety features, including the innovative inflatable seat belts Ford premiered at the beginning of the year. Stability systems like the Curve Control we saw a few weeks ago, as well as a terrain management system are also included.

The next generation SUV will come in three trim lines, Base, XLT and Limited, each boasting various equipment. Among them we have the SYNC infotainment system, with the Limited getting the new MyFord Touch iteration.

The 2011 Ford Explorer SUV will be premiered in the following week all over the USA, with production set to start later this year. Expect it to hit dealerships before the end of winter. Until then, hit the jump to check out the high res photo gallery.


Porsche 911 GT2 RS officially revealed and detailed

Seeing as how the car was leaked way before its official debut, Porsche decided to properly showcase the stunning 911 GT2 RS.

While up until its release, we heard some great rumors, we now know for sure: this awesome model will be the fastest road legal Porsche money can buy.

Interested in technical specs? Here they are: 620 HP from a twin-turbo 3.6-liter engine, 154 lbs less than the current 911 GT2, six-speed manual which sends power to the rear wheels and, for the eco-conscious of you, 5% better fuel economy and lower emissions.

The performance times aren’t too shabby either, with 0 to 62 in 3.4 seconds and a Nurburgring Nordschleife time of 7 minutes and 18 seconds.

In case you might like to own the fastest Porsche you can drive on the road, then prepare to cough up $245,000 and hurry, as only 500 units will be made. Expect even more details and pictures as we approach the official presentation of the Porsche 911 GT2 RS at the Moscow Auto Show in August.


Maybach facelift officially revealed in Beijing

It’s been a long time coming, but rich people all around the world can rejoice: the Maybach lineup has received a facelift for the 2011 model year, complete with new looks, revised engines and, most importantly, more luxury features than you can shake a diamond-encrusted stick at.

First off, the 2011 Maybach lineup is likely to be the last we’ll ever see of the luxury brand, as sales are dwindling and Mercedes-Benz is losing money with the current cars. Hopefully this refresh might breathe some more life into it, but things aren’t looking good.

The facelifted Maybach, as was leaked a few months ago, has received improved looks, in terms of front and rear fascia. A chromed radiator grille was added, which varies depending on the versions rich people opt for, as well as a restyled hood, a new front bumper, revised door mirrors and improved rear taillights.

Standard 57 and 62 models get a set of 21-spoke 19-inch wheels, while S models will boast 12-spoke 20-inch ones. The new changes, according to Maybach, made the car more aerodynamic but also increased its dimensions slightly.

On the inside, the refreshed Maybach lineup really shines, as it boasts things like a 19-inch rear screen, a perfume atomizer and even a wireless internet connection. Those option for long wheelbase models will receive a new electro-transparent panoramic glass sunroof with (get ready) a liquid crystal membrane that will change the glass from transparent to opaque at the flick of a switch.

Curious to see what’s going on around the car but don’t want to get near the windows or lower the privacy screen between the chauffeur and your rich self? The Maybach has you covered, as a camera can broadcast an all-round view from the car to the aforementioned 19-inch screen. Those springing for the ‘cheaper’ 57 edition will now get to experience the reclining rear seat that was available on the 62 up until now.

Overall, the new Maybach facelift may seem a bit useless in today’s market, but as long as there’ll be rich people, such models do have a niche to cover. Check out the new 2011 Maybach facelift lineup in the photo gallery below.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Maybach facelift


2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Unveiled

Well, it was about time, because teaser photos are cool, but in a limited number, not like Subaru did, ‘harassing’ us with teasers. So here’s the real thing. The 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STi is finally official. Subaru released some detailed photos and a press release. But they didn’t feel so good about letting us know all that info so they keep teasing us a little more, because they don’t mention how many horsepower the 2.0L turbo charged engine will develop.

Probably full specs will be released at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. Meanwhile, check out more photos after the jump.

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Leaked photos of the new Mazda6

We know that the new Mazda6 will be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but we’ve got something really nice for you. We got an official teaser photo released some time ago, but now we have the real thing. Leaked official photos of the all new 2008 Mazda 6 and it is HOT!.

No official info, but we know the Mazda 6 will be offered with a 3.5 liter V6 engine and will feature xenon headlights, LED detailing, heated seats and an engine starter button. We have no clue on the pricing, but if Mazda will be able to offer the car at a reasonable price, it will sure be one tough competitor in the compact sedan market.

View more pics after the jump.

The new Audi A4 update: official photos and an awesome video

We presented earlier the official announcement of the 2008 Audi A4. Here are some more goodies, including some great official photos plus an awesome video presentation.

Click the ‘Read More’ link to see more official photos.

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BMW 1-series Coupe is official

After some spy shots broke loose a few days ago, BMW released an official press release announcing the BMW 1 Series Coupe and giving more details about it.

The flagship of the range is the BMW 135i with its 3.0L twin-turbocharged petrol powerplant. Offering 306hp and 400Nm of torque from its light alloy and magnesium straight-six engine, the 135i is capable of accelerating from zero to 62mph in 5.3 seconds before going on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph.

The Coupe will be available with several engines: the 123d,a twin-turbo diesel 2.0L producing 204 hp(goes from 0 to 100km/h in 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 238 kmh/148mph), a new 120d 2.0L turbodiesel engine with 177hp and the top of the line, the 135i 3.0L twin-turbocharged petrol engine offering 306hp (0 to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 250 kmh/155mph).

An M sport package with 17″ and 18″ wheels, unique bodykit, sports suspension, sports seats, a leather steering wheel and ‘M’ labeling will be available for all models, as an option. The BMW 1 Series Coupe will be officially presented at the Franfurst Motor Show in September. (more…)

Peugeot 308 official pictures

A few days ago we presented some unmasked spy-shots of the upcoming Peugeot 308. We now have some official pictures from Peugeot of this car, which will be equipped with the same 1.6L unit from the new 207, developing 120hp. This will be followed by a 150hp 1.6L turbo unit that was co-developed with BMW, with the range topped out by a 170hp 2.2L turbodiesel.

No official details have been released so far, but rumors say that the new model has grown by about 4cm to 4.25m in length, while height was reduced slightly from the 307.

Sales should start by the end of the year, following the car’s world debut at September’s Frankfurt Auto Show. A new coupe-convertible and wagon version should arrive a year after the initial release and there’s even talk of a crossover variant in the works. Click here for some more photos. (more…)