Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 181

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”

Ford has recently announced that two Fiesta Rallycross cars will make U.S. motorsport debut, racing for Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution team, with the first appearance being scheduled for Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in July. Ford says the two Fiestas, driven by team manager Andreas Eriksson and former WRC champion Marcus Grönholm, will try to make the team be the first one to break the 10-minute mark over the 12.4-mile, 156-turn pavement and gravel course.

So, what makes Ford be so confident about this? Well, for one there’s the cars, which have all-wheel-drive, an unique Rallycross sports suspension and are powered by a 2.0-liter Duratec engine which has been heavily modified and outputs no less than 800 hp (yep, no typos there, it’s 800 hp!). Pretty impressive!

“We’re pleased to have a top independent team like Olsbergs MSE coming to the U.S. with their Fiesta Rallycross cars to take on the challenge of Pike’s Peak,” said Brian Wolfe, director, Ford North America Motorsports. “This will be a great chance for enthusiasts here to see in this unique setting what a lot of the rest of the world is already talking about – that the Fiesta is a great road car and a great race car.”

Read More: “800 hp Ford Fiesta to make U.S. motorsport debut”

Hey guys, you might have noticed today it’s been kinda quiet around here. That’s because we were out to a very cool event Mercedes invited us to. So, among other things, here’s what what happened today:

– Mercedes brought a few experts from Germany who showed us the highlights of the new E Class and E Class Coupe (most of which we had the chance to see for ourselves during our test drive);

– we got the chance to see, feel and drive the new E Class Coupe, which we must say looks incredibly good (will write an article with the first impressions soon);

– also, among the cars Mercedes brought was a beautiful C63 AMG which we took for a spin and we must say, it was one of the most fun to drive cars we ever got our hands on.

So, all in all, the event was great and we had a lot of fun, thanks to the guys (and girls) from Mercedes.

Read More: “Out to Mercedes event”

I know this might sound incredible, but according to an article from Bloomberg, Californian startup Tesla Motors could be worth half of GM. This is based on last week’s announcement that Daimler has acquired about 9% for a total of $50 million, which values Tesla at $550 million, which is about 47% of how much GM is worth, according to yesterday’s stock price.

I’m saying this is unbelievable because let’s look at the figures. Last year, GM sold 8.35 million vehicles worldwide, bringing in $149 billion in revenue. Comparing to that, Tesla sold 450 Roadsters, which means they had around $45 million in revenue. However, Tesla’s co-founder, Marc Tarpennin, who’s the company’s former vice president of engineering and a current shareholder, says the two companies can’t really be compared, because everyone expects GM to file for bankruptcy on June 1, which explains the very low share price.

Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 and since then it raised about $200 million in private capital, including more than $70 million from Elon Musk (founder of the popular payment system PayPal) and other investments from Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin and VantagePoint Venture Partners. Also, according to the company’s Securities and Exhange Comission filing, the investors converted $86.2 million of bonds into stock, erasing all of Tesla’s debt.

Read More: “Tesla worth half of GM?”

According to an US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the replacement of in-orbits satellites is month behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget, which could mean that satellite navigation might start not working once the old satellites begin to fail. The report mentions that it’s not known if the Air Force will be able to acquire and launch new satellites in time to maintain the current level of GPS service.

Most of the satellites currently in use have a life expectancy of 8 years (some can last up to 15 years) and satellite navigation and GPS devices use three or more satellites to triangulate the motorist’s location.

Read More: “Delay in new satellites launch might cause GPS chaos”

This year, it will be 50 years since the MINI brand came to life, with the legendary Mini classic and, to celebrate their anniversary, the company has announced two special limited editions, the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden, which debuted at the MINI United Festival at the Silverstone track. The Mayfair and Camden ‘packages’ will be available for all the MINI models, including the 120 hp MINI Cooper, the 110 hp diesel MINI Cooper D and the 175 hp MINI Cooper S.

The MINI 50 Mayfair comes in a special Hot Chocolate metallic combined with a white roof paintwork (Pepper White and Midnight Black are also available on request), plus three-dimensional stripes in light-brown Toffy metallic paint for the engine compartment lid. Other features include the 17 inch white painted Infinity Stream Spoke Design light-alloy wheels, Carbon Black interior with brownish black trim for the dashboard, seats covered in Lounge leather with piping round the edges, double-cap seams on the seats and gearshift lever knob finished in turquoise-green color and Toffy brown inlay in the lower half of the steering wheel.

The MINI 50 Camden was given a White Silver metallic paint combined with a white roof (Midnight Black and Horizon Blue colors also available), three-dimensional silver stripe trim on the side of the engine compartment lid, special 17-inch alloy wheels, mirror caps in twin-tone stripes, xenon headlights with black-tinted lenses, while the interior boasts Carbon Black finish with special trim on the instrument panel.

Both models will also have Mayfair and Camden badges and the market launch was announced for September, with production scheduled to last for only one year.

Full Photo Gallery: MINI 50 Mayfair and MINI 50 Camden

Read More: “MINI 50 Mayfair and MINI 50 Camden special editions”

I remember that, a couple of weeks ago, when we test drove the X6 (btw, review coming up soon), I was looking at the car and I was imagining how would it look if BMW decided to do a smaller car based on it, because I really started loving the way the X6 looks. Well, now I have the answer, because we now have the official press release and photos of BMW’s new 5 Series Gran Turismo or GT. And my God, it sure is ugly. And while I had the same reaction when I first saw the X6, only to change my mind later, I don’t think I’ll ever like this one.

But of course, the exterior is not the only important thing, because the new 5 Series GT offers a lot of great features, such as the 400-hp twin turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine (0 to 60 mph is done in 5.4 seconds) or the 4th generation of BMW’s acclaimed iDrive system. You can read the full specs in the huge press release.

So, what do you think about the car? Will it be a success for BMW or a failure?

High resolution photos coming soon, meanwhile check out a few more photos after the jump. Read More: “BMW 5 Series GT officially unveiled”

June 24 is the scheduled release date for the latest Transformers movie, Revenge of the Fallen. Without doubt one of stars of this movie, beside Megan Fox, of course, is Bumblebee, the Camaro which we all loved in the first movie. And apparently GM wants to make the most out of this event, because they’ve announced a special Chevrolet Camaro Bumblebee Edition, which will go into production from June 24 through December, with orders being taken starting with June 1.

We have no official info on the upgrades the car will get, but rumor has it that all we’ll see will be visual changes, such as the Rally Yellow paint job with the black stripes and Transformers badging for the wheel centers, sill plates, emborided console lid and for the interior. The ‘Bumblebee’ package will be available for the LT and SS models.

Read More: ““Bumblebee” Camaro to be produced in a limited run”

BMW has announced that their ConnectedDrive will get a new feature, an on-board precipitation radar which will show current precipitation for any location. The system is available only in Germany for now and it will show the geographical distribution of rain, hail or snow, updated every 15 minutes. The BMW ConnectedDrive already has a weather forecast feature, the difference being that the precipitation radar offers high-resolution graphics giving information on current and forecast weather conditions at the present location and at the destination. Starting with July 2009, BMW drivers will also have access to a “Precipitation Pattern” which provides animated representation of cloud movements over the last 90 minutes.

Read More: “BMW to introduce on-board precipitation radar”

According to Associated Press, GM has already received at least three bids for their European arm, Opel (including Vauxhall). Chris Preuss, a spokesman for the company confirmed this, but wouldn’t give any details about who the bidders are, but it seems these are Fiat, Magna International (as we’ve already reported some time ago) and Ripplewood Holdings.

Fiat has already made public their interest in Opel, this Wednesday, confirming that they’ve submitted an offer for Opel and Vauxhall. “Should this transaction be concluded, a new company encompassing the activities of Fiat Group Automobiles (including its stake in Chrysler) and Opel would be created.” However, the Italian company’s boss, Sergio Marchionne, said the Fiat would not offer cash but would bring assets that were worth the money.

Magna Internation, which also made a bid for Chrysler back in 2007, has previously said they were interested in Opel, the company being prefered by Opel employees, who fear that, in the case of a Fiat takeover, many will lose their jobs or have their salaries cut. Opel currently employs around 25,000 in Germany, which is nearly half of GM Europe’s total workforce.

And apparently there’s also a fourth bidder, the European Opel Dealer Association, which said that in case no deals are made, they’re ready to invest 500 million Euros ($680 million) for up to 20 percent stake.

Opel’s not doing great right now, GM asking Germany for financial assistance, Opel needing around 1 billion Euros ($1.4 billion) in fresh capital over the next month. The German government confirmed this saying that Opel will receive bridge loans to stay afloat until a deal is closed.

Read More: “GM has at least 3 bids for Opel”

Last Autumn, at the Paris Motor Show, we were really stunned by the GTbyCITROEN concept, a full size replica of the car from the Playstation 3 video game, Gran Turismo 5. At that time, we believed this will be just another breath-taking concept which will never see production, but it looks like the French car maker has some serious plans for the car, because they announced today the GTbyCITROEN will make several appearances at racing events, this summer.

The first one will be the 24 Hours Nürburgring race on May 23rd, where the concept will take a lap of honour before the race. Then, on June 12th, the car will join other supercars in the “Grande Parade des Pilotes” at the Le Mans 24 Hours, taking part in the presentation of the drivers and teams. And finally, the third announced event will be the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, between July 3-5. So, if you’re lucky enough to take part at these events, make sure you don’t miss the GTbyCITROEN, because it’s a magnificient car.

Full Photo Gallery: GTbyCITROEN Concept

Photo Gallery: GTbyCitroen Concept at the Paris Motor Show

Read More: “GTbyCITROEN to appear at several events this summer”