Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 172

Just in case you needed that extra “oomph” from your brand new BMW X5 xDrive35d, Hartge has just what you need, in the form of a newly released performance and aerodynamic package for this version of the Bavarian SUV which takes the engine’s output to 328 HP.

No details on what concrete modifications were made, but it’s a safe bet that the engineers reprogrammed the ECU and fitted a sports exhaust system. As such, the 3-liter engine will now greatly improve its stock figures, growing to 328 from 265 HP and sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.1 seconds, from a flat 7 seconds time. The top speed has also been improved, from 235 km/h to 244 km/h (151 mph).

On the outside, Hartge fitted a previously released version of an X5 body kit, which includes accessories like the new front and rear fascias, extensions for the wheel arches and more aggressive side sills. A sports suspension set has also been outfitted, as well as a set of stainless steel muffler tips, carbon fiber mirror casings and a set of 22-inch Brilliant Classic 2 wheels. On the inside, the team at Hartge added a carbon fiber trim line, a new set of revamped instrument dials, aluminum pedals and, in order to finish it off, black velour floor mats.

In case you find yourself interested in this new model from Hartge, the price is €87,277.

Read More: “Hartge takes the BMW X5 xDrive35d to 328 HP”

While the current generation Mercedes-Benz SL is stunning, the team at Inden Design believes that the old R230 SL 500 still has a bit of potential in it, and has just released its newest tuning package for the performance convertible, complete with prices for every part.

First off, let’s start with performance, as the engineers at Inden outfitted the car with a new adjustable sport suspension set (€1,398), a stainless steel exhaust system (€2,498), and a special engine tuning kit, that takes the M113 E50 unit from its stock 306 HP to 330 HP. For all those speed enthusiasts, they have also taken out the speed limiter.

In terms of looks, Inden have taken a page out of the design philosophy of AMG, as the new body kit closely resembles the one from the top-of-the-range SL 65 AMG, and costs €5,498. For this amount of money you’ll be getting a new set of front and rear bumpers, more aggressive side skirts and a diffuser for the rear. Other cosmetic enhancements include new taillights (€548), a new carbon fiber version of the aforementioned rear diffuser (€1,448), two flavors of door handles and mudguards, in either “lackluster black” (€820) or “pure carbon” (€1,420), and the pieces of resistance, a set of 20-inch Inden Champion wheels wrapped in performance Pirelli tires, costing a cool €11,700.

If you want to tweak the inside, you can opt for a sports steering wheel, which will cost €1,059, or you can opt for a carbon fiber trim, costing €1,998.

Overall, if your old SL 500 is gathering dust, perhaps this package from Inden Design can help it stand out once more.

Read More: “Inden Design reveals new Mercedes-Benz SL 500 tuning package”

In a recent interview, Volkswagen Group of American executive, Stefan Jacoby, revealed that the company is “looking into detail” what it will do with the Europe-built Passat when its new mid-size sedan, made in the United States at the company’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, will debut, around 2011.

It seems that it is highly likely that the Passat will be phased out, as the new sedan, which will be a bit bigger, will cost much less, due to the fact that shipping and transport won’t be added to the price. It is believed that the new model might cost around $20,000, as opposed to the starting price of the Passat, which is $28,000.

This replacement will also refer to the station wagon or estate version, which will see its place be taken by the same version of the Jetta, which is only 9 inches shorter, and also comes with a very attractive diesel engine, a favorite among buyers these days.

Rumors also suggest that while the regular Passat will be taken off the market, the more exclusive Passat CC will remain, as demand for it is still quite strong among those who want a premium feel but at a more normal price.

Sadly, no details are known about this new mid-size, US-made sedan, so we’ll just have to wait and see. One thing’s for certain though, the Passat will continue to be made for Europe and other territories due to its heritage.

Read More: “New 2011 Volkswagen mid-size sedan will replace the Passat in the US”

Well this is quite interesting. It seems that a bus driver around the Vancouver area of Canada was filmed while playing Sudoku. What’s rather shocking, at least for many people, is that he was solving the addictive puzzles while driving the bus around the city.

In all fairness, he was in a big traffic jam and didn’t really pose a threat to the riders of the bus, but plenty of people demanded that he be, metaphorically, tar and feathered for having the nerve to engage in something that would loosen him up during the boring traffic jam.

The Coast Bus Company, which employs the driver in question, said that this is an isolated case, even though other riders complained that he usually has better things to do almost all the time, and that an investigation is underway.

While I sympathize with the guy, as boring traffic jams are extremely tiring, it should have been better, with such paranoid riders, to stay focused and just listen to the radio. What are your thoughts on this matter? Watch the video below and then drop a comment so you can share them with the other readers.

Read More: “Video of Canadian bus driver plays Sudoku while driving surfaces, huge investigation ensues”

Even though Ferrari replace the current F430 with the newer 458 Italia, the special Scuderia high performance model of the old and reliable F430 is still quite popular, especially when it comes to tuning opportunities, fact highlighted by this new creation, dubbed Edizione 747, from Novitec Rosso.

As the name implies (no, they didn’t turn it into a Boeing plane or something like that), the tuners managed to extract a whopping 747 HP from the Scuderia’s V8 engine, all of which are available at 8,500 rpm, with a torque of 738 Nm. This is extremely impressive, as the Maranello engineers “only” managed to extact 510 HP in the stock Scuderia. In case you’re wondering, this massive increase in power is thanks to a new twin-turbocharger, a revamped ECU and a new cooling system with separate radiator.

All of this power translates into a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of just 3.4 seconds, and will reach 351 km/h (218 mph). Again, as a reminder, it will sprint from 0 to 300 km/h (186 mph) in around 22.9 seconds, according to the tuning house.

In order to put the power on the road, the company also outfitted the Edizione 747 with a new set of high performance suspensions, lowering it with 30 mm, but also added a hydraulic system, which can raise the system by 40 mm, in case you want to get over speedbumps without losing your front bumper, or park on a curb.

Speaking of looks, the Edizione 747 received a matte paint, but not in the already old black, as Novitec opted for a yellow one, in combination with a gray batch. The head and tail lamps also got darkened, to reflect the power of this model.

Read More: “Novitec Rosso launches Edizione 747, squeezes more power out of the Ferrari F430 Scuderia”

Great news for Mazda fans and, with a bit of indulgence, for all sports car fans, as Mazda boss Ikuo Maeda has just revealed that he is indeed pushing for a new RX-7 to be made as soon as possible.

The executive said that he has already seen a few early sketches of a next generation RX-7 and that he is quite thrilled about the opportunity for the iconic two-seater sports car to return on the market. But until the projects gets the green light from all stockholders, the Mazda chief has a lot of convincing to do, especially in this troubled economy, through which, fortunately, Mazda is getting through without any big troubles.

In terms of mechanics, Maeda limited himself to revealing that it will be a two-seater, with no suicide doors like the RX-8, and, like its predecessors, will be powered by Mazda’s trademark rotary engine. The Mazda boss also has big plans for other models in the lineup, saying that a rejuvenation will soon be made.

Hopefully we will get to see a concept or even some sketches as soon as possible. Are you excited about a new RX-7, a car which made history during the 1990s? Share your enthusiasm by leaving a comment below.

Read More: “Mazda might launch a new RX-7 two-seater sports car”

Nissan head honcho Carlos Ghosn has made it public at last week’s Tokyo Motor Show that he wants the company’s luxury brand, Infiniti, to market a fully-electric, battery-powered model which will target the high performance market.

The executive also revealed that his company will be attacking the compact hatchback segment, with a new Infiniti model, set to rival the competitors like Audi, with the A3, BMW, with the 1 Series and most importantly, local Japanese corporation Lexus, which revealed the LF-Ch hatchback concept in Frankfurt and has also brought it to Tokyo last week.

Considering Nissan’s big ambitions, it is likely that the large company will put up a real fight in these two new segments. Where do you peg the company’s chances? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Source: CarScoop

It seems that Mini’s release schedule has been leaked and the guys at MotoringFile have gotten a copy, as they have just revealed that the UK brand, owned by BMW, will be presenting its eagerly anticipated Crossover model at the Detroit Auto Show at the beginning of 2010.

The schedule also mentions the presentation of the Coupe and Roadster concepts at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which have already been presented in Europe during the Frankfurt convention, which we reported on.

Besides these models, other types of Mini versions will also see the light of day, codenamed R55/R56/R57, somewhere around the date of the Geneva Motor Show.

While these things are still speculation, it would be great to see the new Crossover model at the beginning of next year. Are you looking forward to these new models in the Mini lineup? Share your view in a comment below.

Read More: “Mini set to bring production-ready Crossover model at Detroit Auto Show”

Forza Motorsport 3 is one of the biggest racing video games to appear this year, and in order to commemorate this occasion, its publisher, Microsoft, has teamed up with Audi to create a special customized edition of its TT performance coupe.

Branded in many places with the Forza 3 logo, what’s really special is that customers will find in the trunk a little suprise, in the form of a top of the range Xbox 360 Elite console and, of course, a copy of the Forza Motorsport 3 video game.

Overall, this is quite an interesting marketing effort for Microsoft but I’m not really sure that many Forza fans will have the extra $35,000 lying around in order to purchase this car. For other fans, you can still look at the pictures of the car and drive it in the game, which it seems can even replace the real thing.

Read More: “Audi and Microsoft launch Forza Motorsport 3-branded TT”

It’s not everyday that you hear your car alarm go off in the middle of the night and go off to investigate. But even though they expected something along the lines of a thief, a Colorado couple was shocked to find out that their car was being ravaged by a bear.

That’s right, the Yogi variety of bear, only this time he didn’t want any picnic baskets. The couple, seeing as how the bear was trapped, presumably after hitting the door locking mechanism with his paw after opening the door from the outside, they called the police.

Member’s of the local sheriff department were equally shocked and before releasing the young bear, snapped a few pictures, which we feature in this article. After opening the door, the brown bear immediately legged it to the woods and disappeared, leaving the car pretty ransacked and the couple and police with one hell of a story to tell.

Officials did take the chance to remember those who live around woods to not leave any food in the car, as before they enter hibernation, bears will sniff and consume almost every morsel of food they can find, going through any obstacle in order to obtain it.

Read More: “Couple finds bear trapped in their own car”

The Tokyo Motor Show was host to many presentations of all sorts of models, but one extremely interesting vehicle was Honda’s second concept of the CR-Z hybrid coupe model, which previews the production-ready version set to appear at next year’s Detroit Motor Show.

“The Honda CR-Z will expand our lineup of hybrid vehicles and reinforce the fun-to-drive values associated with the Honda brand,” said Erik Berkman, vice president of Automobile Corporate Planning and Logistics for American Honda Motor Co., Inc in a prepared statement. “Beyond great styling and features, CR-Z will bring new levels of engagement and fun to customers interested a small car or a hybrid vehicle.”

The future Honda CR-Z will join the Insight and the Civic in the hybrid lineup of the Japanese carmaker, which recently revealed through its CEO that in the near future, his company will push for more hybrids, while still researching hydrogen-powered vehicles. The new model will appear in Japan and Europe at the beginning of 2010, while North Americans can expect it at the late stages of next year.

Tune in at the beginning of next year when the production-ready model will be showcased in Detroit. Until then, you can enjoy the video presentation of the CR-Z, courtesy of WorldCarFans. After that, why don’t you share you thoughts on the new hybrid coupe by leaving a comment.

Read More: “Honda CR-Z Hybrid Coupe Concept presents itself in new video, set for release in 2010”

The future is coming, whether we like it or not. We’ve seen cars that drive themselves in various science fiction movies, but it seems that Volvo, alongside a few other companies and the European Union is working on actually creating them, with testing to begin in 2011 and production-ready models in 2015.

Now for the details of the matter: the Volvo Car Corporation, alongside Volvo Technology and SP Technical Research Institute (from Sweden), Ricardo UK Ltd (from the UK), Idiada and Robotiker-Tecnalia (Spain) and Institut fur Kraftfahrwesen – IKA (Germany), together with the EU, are working on a new type of technology which will not only drive the car itself, but also reduce car accidents, lower CO2 emissions and improve fuel averages.

How is it done you might ask, well it seems that it is all based on an auto train, as a professional driver will lead a convoy, in a bus or any other vehicle, and other drivers with the same destination will be able to put it into the navigation system which will lead them to the closes auto train. He will then be able to enter said train and the system will take over all of the driving, while he can do whatever he pleases, like read a newspaper or watch TV.

When he is approaching the destination, the car will warn him and he will take over, leaving the train and going into his desired direction. The cars behind him will close the gap and everything will happen without any intervention from the other drivers. Those who wish the join the convoy will just signal their intention and connect to the last vehicle.

All of the systems necessary for such a strategy will be standard in every car, meaning that anyone will be able to join these convoys. You can view a higher resolution picture of the model here.

Overall, it seems like a pretty interesting idea, but let’s just wait for the tests to start in the next few years before claiming that this is the car future we have been expecting. What do you think about this initiative? Share your view by leaving a comment.

Read More: “Volvo working on cars that drive themselves, should arrive in 2015”

According to some inside sources at Toyota, it seems that executives are in fact considering naming the newly revealed FT-86 rear-wheel drive coupe Celica, in honor of the famous model whose production was suddenly interrupted a few years ago.

While nothing is for certain at the moment, as the company plans to release the car in 2012, the Celica name has quite a lot of chances to be the final one, due to the many Celica fans out there who have been hunting down every tidbit of information on the rear-wheel drive coupe the Japanese company has been developing in partnership with Subaru.

In addition to this little rumor, a video of the FT-86′s presentation at the Tokyo Motor Show has also surfaced, courtesy of the guys from WorldCarFans. Enjoy!

Read More: “Toyota FT-86 Concept might be named Celica, see video presentation here”

There are certainly quite a lot of things you can say about the rather peculiar Spada Cadatronca, an Italian supercar with a massive 7-liter engine which produces around 630 HP. Most of these things will probably focus on the odd design lines and the back which makes it look like a prop for any 1990s Batman films.

But in order to settle the dispute once and for all, the company got a certain Mr Kobayashi to direct a presentation video of the new supercar. Part computer-generated images, part real life, the vide is all parts breath taking, showing that Spada spared no expense in making its car look beautiful … at least on film. Enjoy the video and take the jump for a photo gallery of the intriguing supercar.

Read More: “Spada Cadatronca gets new promotional video revealing it isn’t the Batmobile”

Did you ever find yourself too tired or just plain lazy to take a few steps around the house, not to mention going outside and actually putting your feet into motion?

Then Honda has the perfect thing for you with this new prototype Stride Management Assist device, as it features a motor that helps move the legs individually, and according to Honda’s press release, makes “it easier to cover longer distances at a greater speed.”

As you can see in the picture, the device made out of a belt, which is worn around the hips and thigs, which will take the strain off of the leg muscles while walking. The Japanese company also boasts the fact that over 130 patents were used in the creation of the device, not to mention the previous knowledge it has earned with its famous ASIMO robot.

As its name suggests, the device is still in testing, just like the unicycle personal mobility prototype we presented to your a few weeks ago. What do you think about this “intriguing” device? While it may certainly help those with leg problems or who suffered mild stages of paralysis, will it push normal people to become even more lazier and rely on devices to move themselves? Leave a comment below.

Read More: “New Honda walking assist device is every lazy man’s dream”