Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 131

While some people might certainly be interested in the Porsche Panamera, true fans aren’t really that excited about the super sedan which, after the Cayenne, is another step towards the mainstream market for the Stuttgart carmaker.

That is why the company is trying to promote the Panamera as part of its family of models through ads. Now, after seeing many famous German models parade through a desert, the company is using still shots (a bit too fast for my taste) to highlight its 60 years of heritage.

Hit the jump to see this new ad with the Porsche Panamera.
Read More: “Video: Porsche once again tries to say the Panamera is part of its history”

First off, no it’s not related to dogs, as K9 is the name under which Kia‘s head designer Peter Schreyer revealed this sketch last week at a conference in Seoul. The new luxury sedan was presented as an alternative for the Audi A8 or BMW 7 Series but declined to reveal anything more.

Either way, it seems that the former Audi designer, which penned models like the original TT for the Ingolstadt carmaker, has imagined a very attractive car. We already know that Kia wants a model based on the Hyundai Genesis platform, and by all means, it seems that this model might be it.

According to some release schedules, Kia does have a new sedan coming up in 2011, but no other mentions were made. If it will indeed be the model sketched out above, and based on the Genesis, expect a big V8 engine to power it and give plenty of reasons to people who might be interested.

Read More: “Kia reveals first sketch of its K9 luxury sedan”

Many hybrid fans with a passion for enhanced performance are highly awaiting the Honda CR-Z hatchback, which promises to showcase the fact that hybrid models can still perform adequately. The Japanese company has been showcasing a pre-production concept at various auto shows and is scarce with offering details about the final edition, but thanks to a leaked brochure, we now have some concrete data about the CR-Z.

The production version of the hybrid hatch will be powered by a 1.5-liter regular engine, with four cylinders, which can produce 112 HP, and will be helped with another 14 HP from an electric motor. Torque figures are around 107 lb-ft from the regular unit and increase with 57 lb-ft from the electric one. This means that with a six-speed manual or a CVT gearbox, the CR-Z goes from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 9.7 seconds.

Besides sporting the same dimensions seen on the concept at various auto shows, the CR-Z will have options like LED daytime running lights or turn signal indicators in the mirrors. Three driving modes can be selected via a switch on the dash, Normal, Sport and Eco, each changing the background color of the dials and gauges.

Overall, the new CR-Z will certainly attract many people. What do you believe?

Read More: “First Honda CR-Z hybrid hatchback details appear courtesy of leaked brochure”

Volkswagen is definitely taking its newly-earned honor of world’s biggest automaker and is making purchases left and right. Besides taking one step closer to merging with fellow German carmaker Porsche, by buying 49.9% of its stocks, the company has just unveiled that it has bought 19.9% of Suzuki stocks, in a move which will start a new partnership between the two companies.

Half of the money received by Suzuki (which, for the record, denied that any partnership will ever take place) from this transaction will be used to buy Volkswagen stocks, but according to rumors, VW might increase its share to 33% in the future, if things will become profitable.

This is likely a win-win situation, as not only does Suzuki gain an important partner with plenty of important technologies, but VW gains an even bigger influence in Asia through Suzuki and also benefits from the small car technology the Japanese company possesses.

Do you think this new partnership will work to the benefit of the two companies?

Read More: “Volkswagen buys 19.9% of Suzuki, debuts official partnership between companies”

The Tata Nano is certainly getting its fair share of news stories these days, from the presumed pick-up based off of it, to some rather nightmare-inducing aftermarket tuning options. But now, the guys at Autocar have received a prototype of the European version of the Nano low cost model, which will most likely debut in 2011.

The new car is definitely a more upmarket model than the Indian one, if you can call things like a five-speed manual gearbox, traction control, power steering, ABS or twin airbags luxuries. It will be powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, outputin 60 HP, and coupled with the aforementioned gearbox, as opposed to a four-speed Indian one.

A major aspect of the Europa Nano will be its small size, being extremely short than other regular A segment models. No word yet on whether or not this specific version will be a five-door, or retain the lack of any boot access from the Indian-spec ones.

But all these luxuries will come at a cost, as Autocar speculates that the final price will be around £4,000 – £5,000 in the UK, translating to €4,400 – €5,400 or $6,500 – $7,500. For what if offers, do you consider it a bargain? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Read More: “Tata Nano Europa detailed, will have new features and cost more”

Mini is a brand which has consistently generated its parent company, BMW, some pretty big sales. But new models are needed so that rivals like the Fiat 500 won’t take the British brand down. The two biggest bets for the company are the Coupe and Roadster models, already being previewed as concepts at various motor shows.

But even though Mini isn’t saying anything about when the two concept will appear on the market, a new report indicates that pre-production models should be coming off the Oxford assembly line as soon as July 2010, and that the production of the final cars should start around October.

This means that dealers will have the Mini Coupe and Roadster models in Europe at the beginning of 2011, and in the US around the middle or end of that year.

Are you excited about these two models? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Read More: “Mini Coupe and Roadster models to appear in early 2011”

For those of you not familiar with the aftermarket scene from Germany, Ruf, a company specializing in modified Porsche models, has released last year its first electric sports car concept, based on the 911, dubbed eRuf. The design was further tweaked and presented at this year’s Geneva Motor Show as the Greenster.

But it is quite difficult to pack in both an electric motor and the batteries required into the body of a 911, so the engineers looked to a bigger model in the Porsche lineup, the Cayenne SUV. The result? This new model, dubbed the eRuf Stormster, which is the first plug-in electric version of the Cayenne, and is available in both the regular SUV body, plus a Ruf wide body kit (pictured above).

The Stormster is powered by a Siemens electric motor, which can output 270 kW (around 367 HP), which even though towed down by the 2,670 kg (5,886 lbs), can get the car from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10 seconds, and up to 150 km/h. The Li-Tec lithium-ion batteries can keep it going for 200 km in just one charge.

Overall, this model seems pretty interesting, and if you happen to be at the European Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, until December 17, you can view it on display.

Read More: “Porsche tuner Ruf releases eRuf Stormster, a plug-in electric Cayenne SUV”

Germany will soon be host to a historic merger, as Volkswagen and Porsche are soon set to become one entity, with the Stuttgart manufacturer entering the Volkswagen Group. The biggest hurdle was already passed a few days ago when VW announced that it has acquired 49.9% of Porsche.

“The combination of the two companies follows a compelling strategic, industrial and financial logic. For the Volkswagen Group, Porsche ideally complements the brand portfolio. The Stuttgart-based car maker will allow Volkswagen to further expand its position in the premium business, which offers particularly strong earnings. In turn, as an independent brand under the roof of the Volkswagen Group, Porsche will have the potential for significant additional growth,” revealed VW.

As you all know, Porsche did attempt a takeover of VW, but failed, resulting in some pretty big debts, which coupled with the financial recession, left it no choice but to merge with Volkswagen in order to become solvable once more.

Expect many collaborations and platform-sharing to be done between the two entities, and an array of new models.

Read More: “Volkswagen officially controls 49.9% of Porsche, merger to be completed soon”

Racing games are a favorite for many car fans as they allow regular people like you or me to get behind the wheel, virtual as it may be, and see what it feels to drive some of the most expensive cars in the world, without anyone saying anything.

But this December, besides the regular presents, will bring something even better for racing fans and PlayStation 3 owners, as Sony and Polyphony Digital, the publisher and developer, respectively, of the upcoming racing simulator Gran Turismo 5, will unleash the GT5 Time Trial Challenge on the PlayStation Network.

Basically it will be a glorified demo, where you’ll get to race two versions of the Nissan 370Z, a stock and a tuned one, on a single circuit and compete in two time trial events, one for each model. But you will not only race for your prestige, as the owners of the best times will win a special, all-expenses paid trip to the Indianapolis 500 NASCAR race, and experience everything in VIP style with one guest.

The contest is only open to US and Canada residents, and you will need to be over 18 to win anything, runners up will get vouchers to download Gran Turismo for the PSP console. The contest will begin on December 17, when the demo goes live, and continue until January 25. With that being said, may the best racer win!

Read More: “Gran Turismo 5 Time Trial Challenge to appear this December, prizes to be won”

I’m sure most of you now know that Fiat is calling the shots for Chrysler, after it saved it from bankruptcy. While it has already laid out the plan for the Pentastar brand in its native USA, things have been rather sketchy in terms of its European future.

Rumors ranged from Fiat scaling back the Chrysler brand to downright eliminating it from the market. But the most recent measure, to merge Chrysler and Lancia under the same leadership of Olivier Francois, and the recent statements from Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne show that Chrysler will still be a part of the European car scene.

Unfortunately, Marchionne declined to say what will happen with the American brand, but rumors are already starting to appear, saying that Fiat will follow the same strategy GM has with Opel and Vauxhall, going as far as rebadging Lancia models like the Ypsilon and Delta with the Chrysler logo.

Nothing is for certain though, and until we hear it straight from Fiat, Chrysler’s European future is unknown.

Read More: “Chrysler brand to remain in Europe, might share vehicles with Lancia”

Besides hosting many new cars and concepts which betray upcoming models, the 2009 edition of the Los Angeles Auto Show also hosted its prestigious design contest, in which many popular carmakers compete to reveal the best design reflecting the theme of the competition.

This year that theme was YouthMobile 2030, and designers needed to reveal a youth-oriented model for the year 2030. We’ve previewed the great looking concepts from Audi, but it seems that Nissan had the best entry, dubbed V2G, according to the jury, which gave it the best design award.

Chuck Pelly, director of Design Los Angeles contest, said, “The scope of this year’s concepts and designs – from the initial sketches to the final presentations – was very impressive. In the end, it came down to which team had the most inventive and solution-oriented design. Nissan’s designers showed passion and were able to create the ultimate Youthmobile for 2030 with their V2G design.”

It definitely looks quite bold, but considering the fast pace the auto industry is moving these days, we might get to see it become a reality, either in 2030, or much sooner. What do you believe? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Read More: “LA Auto Show: Nissan wins best design award for its Youthmobile 2030 concept”

We all were quite impressed with the Audi e-Tron electric concept showcased first at the Frankfurt Motor Show and recently at the Los Angeles one, but while its looks dazzled many, true car fans were amazed at the reported torque figure of 4,500 Nm (3,319.03 pound-feet), considering that a supercar like the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG “only” develops 738 lb-ft.

But the guys at Automobile Magazine decided to take it one step further, seeing as how Audi hasn’t officially clarified the details behind that huge number. After a bit of snooping, it seems that they discovered that Audi revealed the number recorded at the wheel, and not at the crankshaft, as it is standard in the automotive industry. This basically means that the true torque figure was multiplied around 10 times.

According to the team, the Audi e-Tron is possible of outputting a much more sensible 252 lb-ft of torque, being beaten by one of its main rivals, the Tesla Roadster, which develops 273 lb-ft.

Until technology evolves and we’ll see cars with over 3,000 lb-ft of torque at the crank shaft, such numbers are still fantasy.

Read More: “Audi wasn’t honest about e-Tron torque figures, more like 252 lb-ft than 3,319”

In a big win for Chrysler, Consumer Reports has just published its newest customer appreciation survey, in which over 380,000 people participated. In it, they were asked, in hindsight, if they would’ve bought the same car they did in the last year.

The champ was the Dodge Challenger, with over 92% of its customers saying that they would gladly buy the car once more. Perennial favorite the Toyota Prius has recorded a fall in popularity, and ranked in at number five, behind runners up Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911.

Chrysler also has the “privilege” of being responsible for the least popular car, the four-cylinder Chrysler Sebring. Detroit rival GM also has the “honor” of selling seven of the bottom ten least popular cars, while the Pentastar has the remaining three.

In case you want to see the complete list, you can head over to the Consumer Reports website.

Read More: “Dodge Challenger satisfies the most customers, new Consumer Reports survey says”

A new report has just arrived from India, together with a spy shot which might betray the fact that local carmaker Tata is indeed planning to release a pick-up version based on its low-cost Nano model.

Frankly, words betray me at this point, and thoughts like “What’s it going to carry?” are present. But considering the design of the front cabin or the single windshield wiper taken straight from the Nano, it just might come true, courtesy of a few weld spots and a pick-up flat bed.

Indian websites are revealing that the upcoming model, codenamed Penguin, will be powered by a rear-mounted 350cc diesel engine, sending all of its “massive” power directly to the back wheels. Just imagine the burnouts possible with it! (/sarcasm).

But seriously, if this model will come to life, I’m sure it will bring in even more money for Tata, alongside the Nano. What do you think? Leave a comment with your view on this awkward little prototype.

Read More: “Tata reportedly planning Nano-based pick-up, codenamed Penguin”

It’s safe to say that the recently released Seat Exeo hasn’t blown anyone’s mind, essentially being a redesigned last generation Audi A4, and was just released so that the Spanish brand could get a saloon on the tough European market.

Luckily though, for fans of Seat, a source has declared that the next generation will take a step in the right direction, and feature a much more customized design, in order to reflect the image of the Spanish brand.

“The current Exeo was a very good solution to our desire to get a saloon to market very quickly,” said the source. “We needed to be in that segment and the old A4 was the best option, but its replacement will be very much a Seat product, relying less on VW Group technology.”

The source also likened the current Exeo with the old Skoda Superb, which was heavily based on the Volkswagen Passat. Now, the new model sports a much more individualized model, reflecting the new design line of the Czech brand.

Hopefully the new Seat Exeo will appear soon enough, alongside models like the Tribu crossover or a possible new sports car, but only if the Spanish brand will see some positive sales results in the last time frame.

Read More: “Next generation Seat Exeo to be heavily modified, will reflect brand image”