Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 167

It looks like MINI is really busy working on their highly anticipated crossover (could be called Crossman, could be called Crossover, no one knows for sure) and here is a set of the latest spy shots. According to Carscoop, there will be some changes from the Crossover Concept which we really loved back at the Paris Motor Show last year. Among these changes are the conventional doors (the cool asymmetric doors from the concept will go away) and the also conventional liftgate. Some rumors say that the car could share its platform with the upcoming X1, including BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

The Crossman, which will be MINI’s first car to measure more than 4 meters (13.1 feet) in length, will probably be powered by some of the engines from the Cooper and it will also get new four-cylinder engines, both in naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms. Another premiere the Crossover brings is the fact that it’ll be the first MINI to be built outside UK at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria. MINI reached this decision because the company’s plant n Cowley doesn’t have enough capacity to handle production.

So, when are we going to see the new crossover from MINI. Well, we’re probably looking at a debut scheduled for this fall’s Frankfurt Motor Show ro, who knows, maybe next year’s Geneva show. And if you’re really anxious about getting one, rumor has it that market launch is scheduled for the sacond half of 2010.

Read More: “New 2010 MINI crossover spy shots”

Yes, it’s sad, but true…GM is history! This morning the Detroit giant has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, allowing it to continue trading while it restructures. Chapter 11 is designed to provide a “breathing spell” during which a company can reorganize its operations to emerge as a potentially successful firm. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a company does not go out of business, and its management is not necessarily replaced.

How did it happen? GM, which was the world’s largest carmaker for 77 years until Toyota took its place in 2007, lost about $88 billion since 2005 and even though in the past months it received more than $20 billion in loans from the US government, nothing could be done to save the giant who filed for bankruptcy today, June 1, 2009 at 8:00 am. This is the third largest bankruptcy in US history after Lehman Brothers bank (2008) and Worldcom (2002).

So, what next? A restructuring process will start with the company splitting in two. Profitable business like Cadillac, Chevrolet and some plants will form a ‘new GM’, while poorly performing ones, like Saturn or Hummer will either be discontinued or sold. The ‘new GM’ (we’re really curious how it’s going to look like) will be owned by the U.S. Treasury (60%), governments of Canada and Ontario (12%), bondholders (10%) and the Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA) with 17.5 percent. However, the Obama administration has clearly stated they intend to sell its GM holding as soon as that is practical.

Like we reported earlier today, Opel was saved, the German government helping Magna International acquire GM’s European arm (including Vauxhall). So far, we don’t know what’s going to happen to Saab, which was refused governmental aid earlier this year.

What will happen to GM workers? This is where it’s going to be really tough. As an important part of GM’s restructuring, around 21,000 factory jobs are scheduled to be cut by the end of 2010. Also, GM has already worked out a cost-saving deal with the UAW, including concessions on retiree health care.

So, that’s it, it’s over, GM is gone. Without doubt, this is a sad day, because when a company that ruled the auto industry for all these years goes bankrupt, you can’t help wondering what went wrong. However, we must hope the future will also bring good news for the reborn ‘new GM’.

Read More: “It’s over! GM files for bankruptcy”

It looks like the German tuner Hamann is preparing a surprise for Rolls Royce owners, because two packages for the Phantom and the Drophead Coupe are almost ready. These photos, published by Autoblog.nl, were leaked on the web and we can see new 23 inch wheels available in several designs and some other minor styling elements, while at the interior we notice a new three spoke steering wheel. There’s no official confirmation, but rumor has it that power upgrades will also be available, Hamann engineers boosting the cars’ V12 output from 460 to 535 hp and max torque from 720 to 835 Nm (615 lb-ft). Like we said, official details are unknown so far, but stay tuned because we’ll let you know once we have more info. Meanwhile, enjoy the photos:

Full Photo Gallery: Rolls Royce Phantom and Drophead Coupe Tuning by Hamann

Read More: “Rolls Royce Phantom and Drophead Coupe tuning packages by Hamann leaked on the web”

After the first video of Ken Block’s Gymkhana practice was really popular on video sites like YouTube, DC Shoes decided to produce the Gymkhana TWO infommercial, which features the same Block, this time in a 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STi doing some crazy driving stunts at the Los Angeles Harbor. Amazing driving, don’t you think? Enjoy!

Read More: “Video: Ken Block’s Gymkhana TWO”

According to the folks from Wrecked Exotics, the Ferrari F50 you see in this photo was crashed by an FBI agent in Lexington, Kentucky. The car was seized during a drug raid and the agent was driving it to a police warehouse when he lost control and ended up into some bushes, probably making the drug dealer really pissed. The official report says the accident was caused by possible bald tires but for some reason we don’t buy that. More likely the FBI should teach the agents not to fool around in a $500,000 supercar. More photos on Wrecked Exotics.

Read More: “FBI agent crashed seized Ferrari F50”

A 2010 BMW 5 Series prototype was pulled over last week by the German police, who thought all that camouflage looked very suspicious. Fortunately, a camera woman from TVnews-Hessen was passing by and managed to record some images with the car’s interior and exterior, while the helpless driver was being questioned by the policemen. Unfortunately, the car was heavily camouflaged, both on the exterior and interior, so not many details are revealed.

Read More: “Video: German police pulls over a 2010 BMW 5 Series prototype”

BMW has announced that in July 2009 the BMW M3 Edition Models will be entering the market worldwide. The cars will boast new exterior and interior features, a 10 millimetres (0.4″) lowered chassis and new 19-inch forged M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design, available in black or classic rim color. The Edition Models production will be limited to only six months.

On the exterior, the special M3 will be available in Alpine White, Black, Dakar Yellow and Monte Carlo paint finish, combined with BMW Individual High-Gloss Satin Chrome. The openings on the engine compartment lid on all models are finished in black, while the kidney grille, side gills and the dual tailpipes will come dark eloxy-plated chrome. Also, the caps on the special BMW M exterior mirrors are finished in black.

On the interior, the surfaces on the centre armrest, the centre console and the armrests on the door panels are finished in White on the Alpine White and Black models. At the same time these Edition Models come with interior trim in Carbon Structure Leather with white contrasting seams. The seats in Black Novillo Leather feature bespoke contrasting seams as well as vertical trim stripes on the upper section of the backrest and at the front of the legrest. On the Alpine White and Black models, these features come in white, on the Dakar Yellow and Monte Carlo Blue models they are in the appropriate exterior colour.

As a further feature the armrests and door closing handles at the inside on the Dakar Yellow and Monte Carlo Blue models come with yellow and, respectively, blue contrasting seams. And last but certainly not least, entry trim bars in Checkered Flag Design bearing the “M3″ model designation give all Edition Models yet another highlight.

Full Photo Gallery: BMW M3 Edition Models

Read More: “Exclusive BMW M3 Edition Models announced”

With GM’s future surrounded by mistery, it looks like its European arm, Opel, is safe, Canadian autoparts giant Magna International reaching an agreement to take majority in Opel. The move was made possible with the financial help of Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe, who backed the Canadian company. Another very important decision was the $2.11 billion bridge loan for Opel, approved by the German government and four state governments, Thuringia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia.

After the deal is closed, Magna will own a 20$ stake in Opel, Sberbank will take 35% (giving their group a majority), GM will retain a 35% stake and the remaining 10% will go to Opel employees.

“The time of uncertainty is over,” North Rhine-Westphalia governor Juergen Ruettgers said of the deal. “The main components of Opel’s future remain in Europe.”

“We’ve decided that there is to be a new European company,” Hesse governor Roland Koch said. “I think that for Opel and its employees, it is an unbelievable chance.”

Read More: “Magna International to acquire Opel”

And here’s the proof that the Honda Civic is one of the most environmental friendly cars out there. I mean, have you ever seen a car loved so much by animals (yup, caterpillars have feelings too, I’m sure of that)? Apparently this car is a victim of some kind of caterpillar invasion affection Rotterdam, Holland and authorities won’t do anything, saying that the caterpillars will go away within 4 weeks. Imagine how many butterflies will remember this Civic for the rest of their (short) life.

Photo Gallery: Catterpillars attack Honda Civic

Read More: “Honda Civic’s so green, caterpillars love it”

Our friend Horatiu from BMW Blog has every reason to be so excited about this rendering, because you have to admit, if the next generation BMW M5 will look like this it will be in every car enthusiast’s dreams. The rendering is clearly based on the BMW 5 Series GT announced last week, but it has some of the M5 goodies, like a more sporty bodykit, great looking wheels and of course, the M gills.

However, it’s just a rendering and we’ll have to wait at least until next year to get a glimpse at the new M5, about which we know very little so far. Rumor has it that BMW will drop the naturally aspired V10 engine and replace it with a twin-turbo V8 (like the one on the new BMW X5 M and X6 M), which will develop somewhere around 550 hp.

Read More: “Warning! Next generation BMW M5 rendering might cause some wet dreams”

Earlier this week, a very lucky driver survived after he lost control of his Porsche, flew about 30 feet and plunged into the water near 1170 Alki Avenue SW in Seattle. The accident took place early Tuesday, around 2:15 am and according to witnesses, the driver, who might have been drunk, jumped the curb, crashed into an utility pole and launched into the water. He managed to espace the sinking car, climbed onto some rocks and was then pulled by firefighters and taken to Harborview Medical Center.

After divers searched the car for other passengers, chains were attached to it and a tow truck hoisted it from the water (more photos on KOMO News). And this is another proof that if you’re lucky enough to afford such a great car it doesn’t mean you have to be an idiot and risk your life just because you like speed (there are race tracks for that).

Read More: “Speeding Porsche plunges into water in Seattle”

The Renault Twingo is one funky little car and the French car maker is trying to make it more appealing to the ladies by launching an 800 units Art Collection limited edition which will go on sale in France on June 15. The edition is inspired from the world of fashion, featuring the inkjet technology, a technique frequently employed for textile printing and Renault claims it’s the first time the techonolgy is used for the upholestry of a production car (we don’t know that for sure, but to be honest, we don’t really care).

Anyway, back to the Art Collection, Renault asked four designers to submit their personal take on how would a Twingo be more appealing to women and the creation selected for the series was the ‘Faces’ graphic produced by Swedish stylist Christina Drejenstam, which features female faces printed on a special velour fabric. “For me, this illustration is a sensuous expression of the modern woman. The simplicity of its lines serves to highlight evocative details,” Christina said.

Beside her, the other three designers were French stylist Laurène Stein, Australian illustrator Jeremy Somers and German stylist Moritz Rogosky. Though only one project will go into production, all four will be published on the bespoke Twingo Art Collection webiste produced in association with the ELLE foundation.

As for the car’s specs, the Twingo Art Collection is based on the model’s Dynamique equipment level (available with the 1.2 LEV, 1.2 16V petrol engines and the dCI 65 diesel), with a special Pearlescent Black paint finish and a price tag starting at €12,050 ($16,800). After going on display from May 28 until June 11 at L’Atelier Renault on the Champs-Elysées avenue, Paris, the Twingo Art Collection will be available on the internet via the ELLE website (http://www.elle.fr) from June 15.

Full Photo Gallery: Renault Twingo Art Collection

Read More: “Ladies’ Love: Renault Twingo Art Collection limited edition”

Chrysler’s Viper business isn’t among the assets to be sold to the new company, led by Fiat, so the Detroit company is desperately trying to get rid of Viper, but it looks like no one wants to buy it, though initially there were rumors of a few potential buyers for the brand. Viper has been for sale since August but nobody wants it, which is kind of suprising, considering what an iconic brand Viper is. However, it seems that business is business and nobody wants to risk losing a lot of money, more exactly $10 million, because that’s how much Chrysler wants for the plant that makes Vipers.

“There is the objector’s mistaken notion that it would be a simple matter for us to sell off select product lines, such as Jeep, that might allow a recovery above $2 billion,” Chrysler’s CEO Bob Nardelli said. “The market for such assets is extremely depressed at this time.”

Still, according to a bankcruptcy filing, Chrysler did receive a $5.5 million offer to buy the Viper business and lease the Detroit plant for a year from Devon Motor Works and Chrysler is currently trying to check if they have access to financing for the project. According to another bankruptcy filing, the business generated earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization of $16 million in 2008.

Read More: “Chrysler wants $10 million for the Viper business, no buyers so far”

Obvious…you get a car that looks like crap but probably drives amazing. The ‘cross-breeding species’ you see here is the result of two Italian enthusiats’ work, who came across an abandoned Citroen 2CV van, bought it and decided to put its body on the chassis of a Ferrari F355 Maranello, which was also bought especially for this project. The result? Well, you can see it in the video below, it’s basically a car that looks like a Citroen 2CV but drives like a Ferrari. Everyone’s dream car, right?

Read More: “What happens when you mate a Citroen 2CV with a Ferrari?”

According to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, the next generation Audi A8 is scheduled to debut next year, at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The car, which will go on sale soon after the Swiss show, will be longer than the current generation by 10 cm, up to a total length of 5.15 m (16.9 ft) which means the passenger compartment will be larger. Also, the front axle will be moved 15 cm (5.9″) forward for better weight distribution. Under the hood, the basic version will be powered by a 2.0 liter six-cylinder FSI engine mated to a CVT automatic transmission. More powerful engines will also be available, Audi also planning several hybrid versions for their flagship limousine.

Read More: “Next generation Audi A8′s debut scheduled for the 2010 Geneva Motor Show”