Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 128

We already know that the next generation BMW Z4 will probably debut later next year and German magazine Auto Motor und Sports reports that the current generation production will end next month. A BMW spokesman confirmed that Z4 exports have already stopped for most markets and no special edition model is being planned to mark the end of production.

The low value of the U.S. dollar against the Euro forced BMW to move the new Z4 (which will grow in both size and price) production from the Spartanburg, South Carolina plant to Germany, most likely at the Regensburg plant. Also, the extra capacity at the South Carolina plant will be used for the new X6 and the X3, which will hit US showrooms in 2010.

At the London Motor Show, Land Rover has announced a £700 million investment over the next five years to make its cars more environmental-friendly. First steps will made later this year, when the Freelander diesel will get a new start-stop system which, according to Phil Hodgkinson, Product Development Director for Land Rover, will reduce CO2 emissions from 194g/km to 179g/km. After that, the rest of the range will gradually get this system.

Besides that, Land Rover will follow up with diesel-electric hybrid powertrains and electric rear axle drive (ERAD) system, dubbed e-terrain technology which will allow the vehicle to move off without starting the engine as well as supplying extra power over tough terrain. “As well as new powertrain and transmission technologies we will also be looking to reduce the weight and size of our vehicles and you will also see a steep change in terms of aerodynamics” Hodgkinson added.

Check out more photos after the jump.
Read More: “Land Rover introduces new green technologies”

The BMW M3 is a true performance machine, combining a mid sized sedan with a big V8 capable of delivering 414 bhp. That performance really sparked the interest of boy-racers everywhere, such was the case of a 19 year old teenager from Los Angeles, who after having convinced his parents to get him a brand new M3, decided to take it on a speed run with a couple of his friends.

He did a few runs on one of the nearby hills and being amazed by the poewr and the noise of the car, he decided to push the M button to see just what is this car trully capable of. A decision he now regrets, he wasn’t able to stop the car when he got on top of the hill and jumped a curve, landing straight in a house nearby. Not only was the teen content with the crash he just caused but he even fled the scene, but was captured soon by the police. Fortunately, unlike the kids that died a couple of months ago in the Florida M5 crash, nobody was severely injured, only a few scratches and bruises, thanks to the excellent safety systems in the BMW.

This just makes you wonder why parents indulge their kids in expensive gifts they do not know how to cherish, but even more, take for granted.

More photos after the jump.
Read More: “Teenager crashes brand new BMW M3 into a house”

The new Seat Ibiza is a really good looking car, and the new SportCoupe version aims to really highlight the sportiness of the model with a more agressive look. The spanish manufacturer really wants to do a good job with this model and it would seem it’s pulling out all the stops, taking advantage of being in the Volkswagen group and borrowing the Electric Orange color from super car producer Lamborghini.

We have gotten used with the odd colors that the italian manufacturer has offered with their models, most of them going really nice with the exclusive look of their cars. If you buy a Lambo you definetly want to be seen by everyone and Seat has really decided to take advantage of these colors and make their models really stand out in the dull market nowadays. Such were the cases with another few colors offered by the spanish producer, like the Chrono Yellow or Kiwi Green, having really highlighted the latin spirit dominating the design of their cars.

More photos after the jump.
Read More: “Lambo Orange for the new Seat Ibiza SportCoupe”

This is some news for most of you, isn’t it ? RAV4 has been a great combination between on road and off road abilities. However it has a bland image. Not anymore ! The new Toyota RAV4 SR180 aims to bring the sporty looks as well to the model.

It’s meant to be an affordable high performance alternative. It has a 175 bhp, six speed transmission, together with a diesel engine. Which should mean that it is economical as well. The Rav4 SR180 gets to 100 km/h in 9.3 seconds.

The starting price is around $46,000. The list of standard equipment is long and it includes 18 inch alloys, run flat tires, dark-tinted headlamps, Integrated Active Driving, Bluetooth connectivity, dark tinted glass, fog lamps, cruise control and a lot more. There are also a lot of personalization options.

Read More: “Toyota RAV4 has a sporty side: the SR180”

Fans everywhere have been waiting for the new S2000 for a while. It seemed like the Japanese manufacturer forgot all about it. At the British International Motor Show in London, Honda revealed the Honda S2000 Concept that we all hope will soon go into production. The waiting cannot go on any longer!

The concept car looks like a close relative of the Honda Civic. The interior is also similar to the Civic, with that un-earthly blue lighting in the background. Also, the concept car uses hybrid technology. We’re pretty sure that is not going to be taken serious by the 2 liter, 200 hp, older Honda S2000 drivers looking for an upgrade. The spare space behind the front seats could house two small seats, arriving at the second important change in the S2000 two-seater philosophy.

One more thing to be taken into evaluation is the possibility of the presence of a hard-top. Honda hasn’t mentioned anything about this, or about a normal canvas roof for that matter, leaving a lot of room to speculations.

We have one thing straight though: this is clearly a great looking car and hope much of those lines make it onto the production line.

More photos after the jump.
Read More: “New Honda S2000? Its about time”

The Detroit News reports that the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently conducting a preliminary investigation involving about 167,000 2007 and 2008 model year Hyundai Elantras. The investigation started after a number of reports of engines stalling, the problem possibly caused by the vehicle’s fuel pump. In one of the worst cases, a vehicle stalled on a three-lane highway and ending up causing a crash involving three cars. Most of the reports involve Elantras with 600 miles or less, so almost brand new.

Due to the rising gas price and the high demand for small fuel-efficient cars, Hyundai registered a 50% sales increase in June alone, with around 14,500 units sold. Don’t know if this investigation will have any influence in future sales and Hyundai says it’s too early to draq any conclusion or initiate a major recall. Anyways, if you recently bought an Elantra, you’d better be careful and go to a service to get it checked.
Read More: “NHTSA investigating 167,000 Hyundai Elantras”

According to AutoCar, as a part of their ambitious plan to sell 5 million cars by 2018, Volkswagen has decided, after all, to build an affordable mid-engined two-seater coupe/roadster. The concept, designed by Walter da Silva, will be presented at this year’s LA show and, if the public reaction is positive, the car might hit showrooms as early as 2011. According to one of Autocar’s sources, this is the fifth time in as many years they’ve created a car like this, but this time it really looks like the car will go into production.

Built on an aluminum spaceframe developed by Audi (which also points out that the rumors about Audi building the R4 are not only rumors), the car will weight under 1000 kg and power will come from VW’s 168 hp 1.4 liter TSI and from a new 1.6 liter TDI engine developing 125 hp.

The new Volkswagen roadster is described as being a cut-priced alternative to the Lotus Elise, designed to be stylish and lightweight while offering genuine performance and class-leading fuel economy.
Read More: “Volkswagen planning two-seater coupe/roadster”

The Dark Knight is the newest installment in the Batman series of movies, which started with Batman Begins in 2005. The main character, Bruce Wayne, and his alter-ego legendary crime fighter, Batman, is a wealthy businessman and his car of choice is none other than the limited edition Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, which is powered by a 640 horsepower 12-cylinder engine and is capable of more than 211 mph.

“The Murcielago LP640 Coupe is a natural choice of car for Bruce Wayne. We are proud to be associated with one of the greatest movies in history”, said Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini CEO. This isn’t the first collaboration between Lamborghini and this series of movie, the prequel, Batman Begins, has also been graced by the appearance of the Murcielago Roadster .

The Dark Knight is right now the best selling movie in the US, based on the sales during the first weekend of release.

Photo Gallery: Lamborghini Murcielago LP640

Source: Lamborghini (Read the full press release here)

While the Bush administration still doesn’t favour the idea of supporting the Detroit car companies, in a letter sent to UAW workers on Friday, Sen. Barack Obama endorsed Michigan’s congressional Democrats are pushing for $4 billion in aid to the U.S. auto industry as part of a second economic stimulus bill. According to Detroit Free Press, Obama and other congressional Democrats have said they even consider a second stimulus plan in September that could reach $50 billion.

“America cannot truly prosper unless Michigan prospers [..] By providing tax credits and loan guarantees for our automakers and by expanding consumer tax incentives for ultraefficient vehicles, I will provide real solutions necessary to help this industry compete and win in the global economy,” Obama said in the letter to UAW members released by his campaign.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Michigan’s two Democratic senators urged Reid to include $3.75 billion in funding for loans, which could provide up to $25 billion that automakers and parts suppliers could use for revamping old factories and engineering new models. The loans would be made directly from the U.S. Treasury to automakers at below-market interest rates. The funding would cover the government’s borrowing costs. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin also asked Reid to include $250 million for research into advanced batteries.

Sen. John McCain on the other hand, is against this loan program, as his campaign says his proposals, which include $5,000 consumer tax credit for buying efficient vehicles, $300-million prize for electric vehicle batteries and strict goals for building flexible-fuel models, would accomplish the same thing.

The UAW, which has endorsed Obama, has pushed the loan program for some time as a way to give Detroit automakers aid without the specter of a government bailout. Last year’s energy bill authorized the loans, but provided no funding for them after Republicans blocked a tax measure that would have paid for the program. Automakers have been lukewarm to the idea in the past, but as all three face the worst market in decades, they’ve warmed to the idea.

To mark the launch of the alliance between Audi and the Austrian ski resort St. Anton, three Audi Q7 models were presented to resort’s representatives: “We are very much looking forward to cooperating together, and hope to inspire our visitors with our common passion for winter sport,” remarks tourism board director Martin Ebster. The Audi models will in future form the official St. Anton fleet that will take the town’s representatives to trade shows and accompany them at local crowd-pulling events. In return, St. Anton will strengthen Audi’s presence in the province with advertising space as well as an interactive installation in the heart of the town.

Over the coming months, community and sponsor have a host of events in store. There is the “Legends on the Arlberg” series, for example, in which celebrities whose roots are in St. Anton will meet key figures from Audi’s past. This will include the proprietor of the “Arlberg Hospiz” and hotelier extraordinaire Adi Werner encountering with Audi motor racing legend Hans-Joachim Stuck.

“St. Anton is a winter sports mecca that attracts visitors from all over the world. The World Cup races clearly demonstrated the immense passion for the sport that is shared by Audi and the people of St. Anton,” explains Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG Marketing and Sales.

The guy in the photo is the second luckiest guy to get his Foose Coupe. The car is built by Chip Foose in a 50 units limited run and so far there were four cars created (two for the 2006 SEMA Show, one which was sold for $330,000 to a private collector at a 2007 Barrett-Jackson auction and this one).

The rear wheel drive mid-engine car features a dry carbon fiber monocoque (the car weights only 2,300lbs/1,050kg) and customers can choose between a 500 hp 6.4 liter Hemi V8 producing 480 lb-ft torque and a Ford 5.4 liter V8, both engines mated to a 5-speed manual transaxle.

The Foose Coupe also features plush leather seating, carbon fiber trim, 14-inch brake discs with six-piston Baer calipers and 20-inch polished alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires. Also, the flames lining the car’s exterior were hand-painted by Chip Foose himself. The car is fully customizable, this model, for example, featuring a pistol grip shifter for the five-speed manual.

To be honest, I love the car, because it reminds me of one of my favorite cars, the Prowler. Still, the pricing on this one is pretty restrictive. Check out more photos after the jump.
Read More: “First Foose Coupes delivered”

With the production-ready Chevrolet Camaro presented a few minutes ago, the competition is getting tough for the Ford Mustang. But Ford doesn’t want to lose attention, so they gave a sneak peak of its 2010 Mustang facelift at this past weekend’s leg of the 2008 Road America vintage car show. The car served as the pace car for the vintage race, however, the Mustang was outfitted with heavy camo, keeping its key design cues hidden until its official reveal scheduled for the Los Angeles Auto Show this November.

The Mustang showed up at this event because Ford marketing manager Robert Parker explained that these events provide an opportunity for customers to get behind the wheel and for Ford to show off its new and future product lines.

Video after the jump.
Read More: “2010 Ford Mustang shows up at Road America”

Nope, that’s not figurative talking, the new Vauxhall Insignia actually landed in London. The 4.7 metre-diameter orb containing the Insignia was suspended by a crane high above Potters Fields Park, 45 metres to earth and then was let fall down in only 6 seconds (pretty impressive stunt). The event featured 300 guests and Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer for GM Europe, who drove the Insignia onto the stage after it landed safely on the ground, said: “We are very proud of the Insignia and decided that an extraordinary car needed an extraordinary entrance, that’s why we chose to drop in at one of London’s most frequented and iconic locations – Tower Bridge just next to the London Assembly.”

The Insignia debuts tomorrow, 22 July, at the British International Motor Show, where Vauxhall will announce the vehicle’s price in the UK. Sales begin immediately in the UK for both the hatchback and notchback versions and there is a range of five engines. All meet Euro 5 emissions standards and come with six-speed transmissions, either manual or automatic.

Check out the video after the jump.
Read More: “Vauxhall Insignia lands in London”

You must remember that last week we told you about the new Jaguar XF-R making an appearance at the Goodward Festival of Speed (click here to read that post). Well, apparently some of those present at the event manage to catch the XF-R on video and give us the chance to feast our eyes on this beautiful car. Enjoy!

One more video after the jump.
Read More: “Jaguar XF-R caught on video”