Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 107

Seat heaters may seem like options you order for your specific car on a whim, but during tough winter conditions, they can make you feel like a million bucks.

Sadly though, it seems that the seat warmers fitted to 2010 Mazda CX-9 SUVs took their job a bit too seriously. As such, the company issued a recall for 12,300 units, due to insufficient electrical grounding, which could lead to overheating, burns and even fires.

Customers who have experienced too much heat coming from their seats are advised to check in with their local dealership as soon as possible. The fix involves fitting an additional ground harness to the subassembly, and even replacing it altogether if the damage is beyond repair.

The recall is set to officially start on March 9th, but you can contact Mazda for more details at 1-800-222-5500.

Read More: “Mazda recalls 12,300 2010 CX-9 models over seat heater issues”

Kia didn’t really have a lot of new things to reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, but it did showcase an electric concept based on its Venga city car.

The model is powered by an electric motor, capable of around 80kW (107 HP), generating a respectable 280 Nm of torque. Combine that with the small weight of the regular Venga, and the 0 to 62 mph time is 11.8 seconds, with a top speed of 87 mph (140 km/h).

The power for the electric motor comes from a lithium-ion battery pack, located at the rear of the Venga concept, allowing for a range of 112 miles or 180 km. While it can be recharged completely in 8 hours, Kia did mention that you can fill it up at 80% capacity in a rather intriguing 20 minutes. The company didn’t specify if this was achieved at a standard socket or not.

Kia was hesitant to reveal if such an option will arrive for the Venga in the next few years, so those of you wanting to move around the city in a zero emission South Korean hatch will have to wait.

Read More: “Kia presents Venga electric concept in Geneva”

I’m sure most of you know that our current way of living relies heavily on fossil fuels, from the food we eat to the work we do or the things we use everyday. But I’m also quite certain that most of you know that fossil fuel reserves will one day come to an end. Don’t go thinking we’ll leave our grandchildren stuck solving that problem though, as scientists estimate the end of fossil fuel reserves (oil at least) to arrive as soon as 2025.

That’s why the automotive industry, one of the most reliant branches of the business on fossil fuels, is working hard to find new alternative means of powering vehicles and slowly but surely getting rid of our addiction to petrol, diesel or any such kind of fuel.

Hybrids and plug-in hybrids are becoming major trends these days (just look at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show which is filled with such concepts or production cars). But another means of propulsion is also looking very good in the eyes of the public: hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

But as it gains more and more influence, few people actually know the whole story about such cars, trucks, buses or anything in between. That’s why we decided to explain just how hydrogen fuel cell vehicles work, what are their advantages and disadvantages and, most importantly, why we won’t see them on the roads for quite some time.

So hit the jump and find out.
Read More: “Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – how do they work?”

Many reputed sportscar manufacturers are presenting at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show things like hybrids or new concepts which will pave the way for such a technology. Lotus and Ferrari have both done it, but it seems there’s at least one wild child at the Swiss convention: Lamborghini.

While people are thinking about “green” living and lowered CO2 emissions, what did that Italian supercar manufacturer do? Present a lighter, even more powerful version of its Gallardo entry-level model. Besides that, it painted it bright green, just for the kicks.

The new *breathe in* Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera *exhale*, follows the already known direction of augmenting the power of the 5.2-liter V10, this time up to 570 HP, and reducing the weight of the car, this time by 70 kg (154 lbs), through the use of carbon fiber and other such materials.

Other notable features include the 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, wrapped in high performance Pirelli tires and hiding carbon ceramic brakes, all-wheel drive and a six-speed e-gear transmission. The result of these enhancements? 0 to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and 202 mph.

If you can’t enjoy seeing the real thing in Geneva, you can take a look in the photo gallery below.

Photo Gallery: Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera

Source: Lamborghini

Ferrari is heading into a bold, new direction these days, and the first step was the introduction of the 599 HY-KERS concept at the 2010 edition of the Geneva Motor Show. In case you didn’t realize, that direction is hybrid technology, in order to sell more efficient cars in the future.

Don’t imagine something like a Toyota Prius with a prancing horse badge in the front, as Ferrari is deriving its technology from the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) it used on the 2009 Formula 1 race car. The whole hybrid subassembly weights around 220 pounds (100 kg), so it won’t be noticed all that much. According to Ferrari though, you will most definitely notice the extra 100 HP the electric motor will develop, helping the 6.0-liter V12 gasoline engine from the 599 GTB Fiorano.

Ferrari even goes as far as suggesting that for around 3 miles, you will be able to get by using only the electric motor and its juice stored in the battery pack. While I’m sure many will frown on this new direction, the Italian carmaker wants to offer at least a hybrid option for all of its models by 2018, thus lowering fleetwide CO2 emissions from 310 g/km to 240 g/km. Other technologies will also be used, but the hybrid subassembly has been designed to fit on any type of setup, including front or mid-mounted, V8 or V12 engines.

Read More: “Ferrari 599 HY-KERS concept presents itself in Geneva”

We often praise Mini for its unique marketing campaigns, resulting in either hilarious ads, clever print ones or just memorable things. But at the official unveil of the Countryman crossover at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, it seems Mini got its marketing team crossed with the one from the Chevrolet Volt or the Toyota Avalon.

Why do we say such a thing? Well it decided that the best way to hype up the Countryman is through a breakdancer, jumping around on some kind of sugar rush on stage. But that’s not all, they then had a country-like couple come in, wearing blue jeans and cowboy hats, and begin dancing alongside the other guy.

All this on some kind of weird techno-infused country-rap soundtrack. Words fail to describe it. Hit the jump and be “amazed”.
Read More: “Video: Mini promotes Countryman through country and breakdancers”

While many carmakers are busy hyping up their products at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, General Motors is busy with other things. After shaking up its corporate structure for increased profitability, the company has now issued a voluntary recall, affect 1.3 million vehicles.

The models in question include 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2005-2010 Pontiac G5, 2005-2006 Pontiac G4 and 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit. The problem stems from the motors of the Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) system, which can fail over time and result in a lack of help from the power steering.

While at higher speeds the lack of power steering might not be noticed, but when operating the car at low speeds, or parking it, the steering wheel will be extremely difficult to maneuver. The plans for the recall are still being drafted, but customers will soon receive a notice from GM to contact their local dealership.

Read More: “GM issues recall for 1.3 million Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, G4, Pursuit over power steering issue”

As most of you know, the 2010 Geneva Motor Show will host quite a few new designs coming from major Italian bureaus like Style Bertone or Pininfarina concerning new Alfa Romeo models, specifically the 159 replacement.

While Bertone already presented the Pandion concept a few weeks ago, Pininfarina officially showcased its design, the 2uettottanta, right at the Geneva show. Set to picture a new Alfa Romeo Spyder model, the concept is definitely reminiscent of former Alfa convertibles from back in the day.

The compact coupe pays hommage to quite a few of the older models on which Pininfarina and Alfa collaborated, like the Duetto, and bears a longitudinally-placed 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, like the famous 1750 Veloce.

Check out all of the minute details of the Pininfarina Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta concept in the photo gallery below.

Photo Gallery: Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta concept by Pininfarina

Read More: “Pininfarina presents Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta concept”

Monster trucks fascinate quite a lot of people. Perhaps it’s because most of us dream of having such huge machines under our control and stomp out the daily traffic jams encountered in our commutes.

But even though those trucks have attempted and achieved quite a lot of stunts, there was always one thing which eluded the huge machines: a backflip. Travis Pastrana attempted but failed to do one in 2008, but it seems Cam McQueen achieved the impressive feat with the Nitro Circus truck.

Wanna see? Hit the jump to watch the short but sweet video.
Read More: “Video: Monster truck does a spectacular backflip”

General Motors, barely escaping going out of business last year, has made quite a lot of changes to its corporate structure in the last few months, all in order to provide a clearer direction for the future and to boost profitability.

Now, a new round of shake ups was announced, as GM’s North American president Mark Reuss revealed that a few key changes have been made, all in order to increase sales and make GM a better company under the mandate of its chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre.

The two biggest changes include the role Steve Carlisle will hold as head of US sales and Susan Docherty’s move from sales and service to the marketing branch. Reuss was quick to point out that the simpler leadership structure will put him in better contact with GM’s North American dealerships, and that the team will stay this way for quite some time, eliminating the rumors that more changes will be made in the future.

GM’s product lineup is showing signs of a revival, but while the engineers and designers have held up their part, it’s up to the marketing divisions to promote them and generate the sales GM is expecting.

Read More: “General Motors shakes up corporate structure to increase profitability”

Seat has just revealed a new concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Like many prototype cars present at the convention, it’s an electric vehicle and is called the IBE.

While it may look like a compact coupe, the Spanish company insists that the concept bears a shooting brake design, and doesn’t necessarily preview any future production model. Instead, Seat is keen on working together with the Spanish government in order to further promote zero emission electric vehicles as viable means of transportation.

Beneath the elongated hood of the IBE concept is a 75kW (around 100 HP) electric motor, capable of 147 lb-ft (200 Nm) of torque. It will be powered by a lithium ion battery pack, located at the rear, and will be optimized for city driving.

As such, 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) is achieved in 3.4 seconds, while 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.4 seconds. This is largely due to the very low weight the concept has, around 2,205 pounds (1,000 kg).

Read More: “Seat presents electric IBE concept in Geneva”

Nissan has finally unveiled the next generation of its global compact car, the 2011 Micra, at the Geneva Motor Show.

The car, which was teased some time ago, is built on the all-new global V-platform that Nissan will be using for its small models. Two engines will be available at first, a 79 HP 1.2-liter three-cylinder petrol engine, capable of a “whopping” 80 lb-ft of torque, and a beffier superchared 97 HP 1.2-liter engine, capable of 105 lb-ft of torque. CO2 emissions range from the former’s 115 g/km to the latter’s 95 g/km (it also has an Auto Start Stop system).

The new Micra will be available with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Optional features will include things like rear parking sensors, a touchscreen infotainment system, glass roof and a special “Parking Space Measurement” system (PSM), which lets you know, depending on your selected skill (Amateur, Normal, Expert), if a parking space is large enough for the car.

The new Micra will be built all over the world, with sales set to begin in Thailand this month, and Europe this fall.

Read More: “2011 Nissan Micra revealed in Geneva”

Problems are continuing to plague USF1, one of the teams which were scheduled to start racing during the 2010 season of the Formula 1 championship.

After reports of the team’s closure, as YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley was preparing to stop supplying cash, two very distinctive rumors are gathering influence these days about the American F1 team. On one hand we have news that USF1 might have issued a formal request to the FIA, Formula 1′s governing body, to delay their entry in the competition until 2011.

The team already announced that it won’t appear in the first few races of the season, so this delay might give it a lot of time to straighten things out with its suppliers, investors and workers. As you might be aware, the team only has 1 confirmed driver, Jose Maria Lopez, so this issue also needs to be solved.

Another rumor, published by Autosport, says that the team is preparing to close down. It seems the leaders of USF1 have issued an internal memo to employees, saying that the end is near. Again, no official word has been released, but the sources seem believeable.

The “death” of USF1 might pave the way for Serbian outfit Stefan GP to enter the 2010 F1 season, as the company was preparing for quite some time to begin racing, but wasn’t granted an official spot this year.

Read More: “USF1 team reportedly delaying F1 entry until 2011, might even shut down completely”

The 2010 Geneva Motor Show is officially underway and Citroen has just presented the already teased Survolt concept model at the Swiss convention.

The compact electric sportscar tries to blend both the design of the Revolte hatchback we saw last year in Frankfurt, with the GT by Citroen concept we also saw in 2009. The result is a small, sleek and quite low model, powered by an electric motor capable of around 200kW. Jury’s still out on whether or not a range extending engine is also included, as Citroen didn’t reveal many details.

Either way, as you can imagine, the French company is quite excited about the new car, praising its aggressive styling, and even saying that a limited-run series or a one-make racing championship aren’t out of the question for the Survolt.

People can check out the Citroen Survolt electric sportscar at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, while those of us who didn’t make it, can check out the photo gallery below. Enjoy!

Photo Gallery: Citroen Survolt Concept

Read More: “Citroen presents Survolt compact sportscar concept in Geneva”

For Porsche fans who thought the Cayenne Hybrid and the 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car were bad news, the Stuttgart manufacturer is twisting the blade, and has just announced the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept car at the Geneva Motor Show.

Porsche revealed that the 918 Spyder Concept is the preview of things to come from the company, and not just an insight into a new production car. Either way, judging by the power figures, we would gladly welcome it.

The car has a 500 HP V8 engine, which works together with a pair of electric motors (one for each axle), developing a combined 218 HP. The complete power figure of 718 HP is enough to propel the 918 Spyder from 0 to 62 mph in a whopping 3.2 seconds and reach 198 mph. What’s better yet is that the expected fuel average will be around 70 mpg (US) or around 3 liters/100 km. The CO2 output is pegged at an extremely frugal 70 grams/km.

Porsche revealed that the concept boasts a parallel hybrid setup, allowing for even a full EV mode (E-Drive) which sees the two electric motors propel the car for up to 16 miles. Other modes include Hybrid, which does just what you’d expect, Sport Hybrid, which favors the conventional engine more, and Race Hybrid, which uses the full extent of the gasoline engine, and the full power of the motors. According to Porsche, the 918 Spyder Concept lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in just 7:30 minutes.

While purists will frown at the sight of such a concept, the power figures make it a great Porsche. What do you believe? Hit the jump to check out a video of the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept and then share your thoughts with us.
Read More: “Porsche 918 Spyder Concept revealed, 718 HP plug-in hybrid [Video]”