Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 232

The new Ford Focus RS was announced and will be available to the public in 2009. The public unveiling will be at the London Motor Show later this year. The Focus already looks great but all the visual modifications make it really hot. Widened body, new front and rear bumpers and a bunch of other mods complete the look but what’s under the hood is what’s important.

And what’s under the hood, at least on paper, is pretty impressive. A turbocharged 2.5 liter 5 cylinder putting out 295 hp and 410 Nm. That’s a lot of power, a lot more than most hot-hatches, but it’s only going to the front wheels. Weight was apparently a big influence in not going for a 4 wheel drive but I’m guessing price was an even more important one. Ford assures us that they handled the handling with the help of a “special” suspension system and the limited-slip differential but that remains to be seen when the first road tests pop up.

The Focus RS looks good on paper and if Ford can keep the price down it may have a winner in the, pretty crowded, hot hatch market. It certainly has the looks. Now if only Ford US was doing so well as it’s European division. But we know the Focus is making it’s way stateside and most likely the RS too.

More photos after the jump.
Read More: “Official: 2009 Ford Focus RS”

In the late 1940s the U.S. Air Force needed to study the safety of aircraft ejection seats. Before developing a safe way of doing this, they used real people. Colonel John Paul Stapp, an Air Force doctor, was among the first “human test dummies”. He was propelled with rockets down a 2,000-foot railroad track and then brake instantly (during this time his body was subjected to 46.2 G).

In 1966 the Congress enacted the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (which set vehicle safety standards that are effecting today). GM’s biomechanical engineer Harold “Bud” Mertz, developed a dummy strong enough to resist multiple tests. By the late 1960s Mertz build “Hybrid I” crash test dummy with different dummy parts from Sierra and Alderson Research Laboratories. A few years later, in 1972, Hybrid II was introduced with a new shoulder, spine and knee responses improved.

One year later Hybrid III crash test dummy appeared – the first family man. In his family there was a female, and ten, six, and three-year-old child dummies. After this dummy family it appeared SID (Side Impact Dummy – for rib, spine, and internal organ effects in side collisions), BioRID (design for effects of a rear impact), CRABI(a child dummy for seat belts and air bags tests) and THOR, one of the most advance crash test dummies with a human like spine, pelvis and a big number of sensors for the analysis of facial impact.

Photos after the jump.
Read More: “Short crash test dummies history”

Rising gas prices continues to make “victims” and is turning to be a more and more pressing issue and Mercedes announced that it has plans to have all of their vehicles running hybrid by the end of 2015. That’s quite a plan to follow, for the next 7 years.

Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler board of management, who’s in charge of Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, has stated that the three-pointed star manufacturer has mapped out 20% fuel economy throughout their entire fleet in the following years. This will be achieved with “BlueEfficiency” technologies (such as: low-rolling-resistance tires, elimination of belt-driven accessories, small design tweaks and lighter body-parts) as well as the new start-stop technology, already available as an option on A and B class models.

Dr. Weber, specifies that the start-stop technology has hardware implementation costs of around 250 Euros, and that he wants the respective component to be implemented throughout the fleet at similar costs, and make it base equipment. Also, he stated that another factor to be taken into consideration is customer’s education, and the company’s capabilities to convince that the technology is viable and efficient. Therefore the path has been chosen, the question remaining is how fast they can get there.

More optimistic plans from Mercedes-Benz say, that, by 2015, they will be able to make gas/diesel optional on their vehicles. That is a very bald statement, and even if they only manage to get close to that goal, in the 7 years period, could prove to be a gigantic leap forward.

Judging by technologies going through development by the Stuttgart Manufacturer, such as ethanol, electric, fuel cells, the DiesOtto technology on the F700, the electric Smarts being tested in London and the rumors according to which the F600 Hygenious may turn out a production version, we’d be tempted to say that their plans might be much more than just dreams.

Taking into consideration that Mercedes-Benz has brought revolutionary technologies into day-to-day life in the last 20, or more, years, the expectancy level is high, and all of the industry, as well as customers, awaits new standard setting technologies brought on the production line.
Read More: “The Mercedes Hybrid Theory”

The last creation of Jamie Martin designer is the Cobra Venom V8, a modern interpretation of the original model AC Shelby Cobra. Practically, the car’s look reveals the possible successor to the original 1960 Cobra, which, if it’ll be built, will be propelled by a Ford V8 engine.

The specs suggested by Martin are a supercharged 4.6 liters Ford V8 powerplant which develops a maximum power of 524 HP and 569 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm. These allow the car to reach a top speed of 345 km/h and go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds. The power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a manual Tremec 6 steps speed box, or an automatic one with 6 contact ratio, which can be manually activated from the flaps behind the steering wheel.

The Venom’s underframe is made of aluminum and carbon fiber components and 17-inch wheels has Pirelli P-Zero tyres. Among other characteristics of this concept we mention xenon headlights and LEDs, technology for the tail lights.

Lotus announced that this year will market the most powerful and fast version of Lotus Exige coupe. The engine is from the model GT3 racing and will produce 271 HP. Powered by this engine, Lotus Exige will reach 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, and the top speed will be 250 km/h. Rear flap is considerably higher compared to that of the Exige’s standard car and offer much more down force and bridle the car in curves. After all handling is mainly trump card of this car.

Will this bring back Lotus into everyone’s attention? We’re pretty skeptical but still, who knows.

Now you can have one. Yes, just one, one Ferrari, custom made, just for you.

Let’s face it, if you have money you can say “Why not? I’ll take one”. There were some rumors about this project but now they’re not only rumors because in the july issue of the EVO magazine, the Ferrari “one off” project has been revisited – a project that creates real and unique models. We know that Ferrari was interested in launching new projects with the best international automobile signatures, and this news confirms the rumours.

If you want to be a Ferrari customer, or you already are one but want something new, you can choose finishes, colours and accessories, planned for the entire Ferrari range in the future and you will also have the possibility of having your own custom series. You need to be armed with at least 2 mil euros and you will have to choose from a model currently in production and from this basis your car will evolve and become one of a kind. Chassis, engine and airbag will have to remain the same, but the rest of the car can be changed and can be exclusively designed and created.

Think about a Ferrari SUV, that is also possible. What would you choose?

After 15 years the Volkswagen Scirocco is back finally. However the recipe is the same: strip a Golf and put some sexy clothes on it. The Scirocco is a bit longer and wider and has a very muscular look to it, quite different from the peaceful looks of a standard Golf.

Under the bonnet, Volkswagen offers 2 gasoline engines, developing 197 bhp and 158 bhp, plus the omnipresent 138 bhp diesel. You can choose either a six speed manual gearbox, or the excellent DSG automated manual. And prices seem accesible. In Germany the Scirocco starts from 23,000 Euros.

The Scirocco seems to be what the more demanding Golf GTI owner should want. Especially if he has no children. The engines are the same as the GTI. The interior is the same, but it feels a bit more intimate. The seats are very good and the position is lower, giving it a more sports car feel.

The Volkswagen Scirocco seems more agile and balanced than the Golf, but the steering has less feel to it than in a Golf. Safety wise, it has six airbags and ESP standard for all versions. So we should be looking at a five star rating with Euro NCAP.

We can only salute the return of the Scirocco and hope to see it on the road as soon as possible.
Read More: “Volkswagen Scirocco or the Return of the Affordable Sports Car”

Pollution is a big thing and governments are acting to stop every part of it. Such is the case with cars which have a high output of CO2, manufacturers are forced to keep up with stricter and stricter norms of pollution, the European Council setting a date of 2012 until all manufacturers need to have cars that eliminate at most 130 g/km of CO2.

“Fine” said almost all the big producers, smaller and more fuel efficient engines are good for budget models, but for high end producers like Ferrari or Lamborghini, with a tradition of big performance V8, V12 or even W16 engines, this regulation pulls the warning signal. Luca di Montezemolo, president of Ferrari has declared for the german magazine Welt am Sonntag that the italian manufacturer has already began to develop hybrid tehnologies which will power the future models of his company.

The company’s goal ? A model with 40 % fewer emissions of CO2 until 2012. The means of achieving this goal ? As always their Formula 1 experience, more specifically, the KERS which stands for Kynetic Energy Recycling System, basically the energy developped from braking the car is stored in a battery and then used for momments when the car needs that extra bit of power, such as overtaking or cornering.

These hybrid tehnologies won’t change Ferrari’s philosophy about cars, “it would still be a Ferrari” said Montezemolo, and the first models will most likely appear as early as 2015. The first steps towards a more eco-friendly Ferrari are already being taken, by using more “greener” turbocharged V6 engines on the more recent models.
Read More: “Ferrari to develop hybrid cars”

This time BMW went to great lengths to mask the new interior details with foam, but fortunately enough, the spies went to even greater lengths to take clear shots of it, so we can still distinguish some new features.

As announced for the 7 series, the new iDrive controller is mounted on the right side of the gear lever. We can tell that it has side buttons with functions, similar to the Audi’s MMI system. (you can see the foam tries to suggest the old iDrive controller position, further back) Also similar to Audi is the “P” button, for the electronic parking brake, located behind the gear lever.

Moving on, the new steering wheel seems to be fitted with scroll buttons for enhanced functionality. The dashboard seems to be a little more turned towards the driver

Rumors about the all new 5er’s equipment include active suspention, Head-up Display and a bigger sat-nav display on the dashboard.

The all new 5 series is supposed to arrive in spring 2010 as a 2011 model and it will be available as a sedan, touring and a fast-back version (which will have its own name, currently known as the PAS project).
Read More: “New BMW 5 Series interior spied”

Ayrton Senna was the Formula 1’ s God. What a great champion! What a talented man! Nowadays we hear speeches about leadership. A lot of speeches! But Ayrton was the real lider. He died in 1994, in Italy. The people wanted and still want at least a follower, somebody that can continue to inspire the others.

Lewis Hamilton had the extraordinary honor to receive two trophies, including the one for International Racing Driver of the Year. The organizers of the ceremony had invited Viviane Lalli Senna, Ayrton Senna’s sister, as guest of honor. The big moment came when from her hands, Lewis received the trophies. All these wonderful things happened at Britain’s most important motorsport awards presentation in London.

I thought I should write about this subject because it’s more than a prize in this situation. We’re facing a succession here. It’s a symbol. Lewis Hamilton is taking on his shoulders a huge weight. The weight to be the man that has an ethical duty starting that moment. The duty to continue to bring hope to the people.

Is it too early to make comparisons between Hamilton and Senna? Yes, it is. But it isn’t too early to look forward and find huge characters.

“We all are dealers in hope” – Napoleon
Read More: “Lewis Hamilton – Success is a matter of attitude!”

The X Prize Foundation is a non profit organisation that fosters innovative, high-profile competitions for the benefit of humanity. And they also give away substantial prizes. For example, the Progressive Automotive X Prize is worth $10 million and it’s a race to find an affordable, marketable automobile that gets at least 100 miles per gallon.

One of the competitors for this prize is Doug Pelmear, an engineer from Napoleon, Ohio, who modified the engine of a 1987 Ford Mustang, so the car now does 110 mpg. Yeah, we know, that’s really impressive and if Doug wins the prize, he sure deserves it. He tweaked the Mustang’s engine and made it nearly five times more efficient than a regular one. He said: “”We redesigned a lot of different things on the engine block. It’s still a rod-and-piston engine; it just has a lot more electronics on it.”

And if you think this car is some clean hybrid that hardly moves on the street, you must know that Doug’s Mustang has 400 horsepower, goes well over 100 mph and can go from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds (we’re not really sure about this last part). The engine operates at 38 percent efficiency (8 to 10 on the regular cars) and Doug says he could increase even that number, by using regular gas instead of a mix of gas and 85 percent ethanol.

Though we wouldn’t say the same, Doug said that the $10 million prize was not the reason he joined the X Prize. “I’m an optimist, and I think people need to know there is hope out there. That’s why I decided to enter the X Prize race. I could have sold this [technology] off, but then people might not have seen it. This will bring back the automotive industry when they can sell trucks and SUVs and the models that are almost dead at this time”.
Read More: “’87 Ford Mustang that does 110 mpg”

Our favourite TV show, Top Gear, is back with the 11th season. The second episode, which was aired last Sunday, as Jeremy, Richard and James say, they “accidently made a show all about cars; for the whole show, not one of them falls over, or catches fire, or anything”.

In the first part, we find out that BBC wrote them a letter in which, with the gas prices rising, they demanded for the guys to give some advice on fuel economy and saving money. Unfortunately, the letter was opened by Jeremy who decided that the best way to do that is gathering five supercars (Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Aston Martin DBS, Lamborghini Murcielago, Audi R8 and Mercedes McLaren SLR) and race them. Yeah, we’re not kidding. However, each car had only a gallon of petrol in its tank. To see the race, click here.

Next, they try something else. Jeremy tries to prove a point, that, to save fuel, it doesn’t matter what you drive, but how you drive it. So they take a Toyota Prius and a BMW M3. Yeah, we know, that’s an awkward comparison. Check out the race between these two here.

We’ve also got Jeremy doing a comparison between the new versions of the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and the Mitsubishi Evo X, Richard driving the amazing 572 hp new Audi RS6 in the French Alps, James and Top Gear stuntman trying to redo on the world’s hardest car stunts, from one of the James Bond movies.

In the last part of the show, we’ve got Jeremy taking the new Mercedes Benz CLK Black Series on a night drive and on the superb roads of Wales and I have to say, I also like taking my car at night and just drive, so this part I liked most and here’s the video:

Read More: “Top Gear Season 11 Episode 2”

Overfinch is an expert company in customising Range Rovers. Established in 1975, Overfinch was an UK division of the German vehicle manufacturer Schuler. A decade later, the founder of Schuler formed Overfinch. Today is a prestigious brand and they are spanning nine continents. They say “If Land Rover had ever built them like this, every other 4×4 manufacturer in the world would have sat down and cried.”

These Rage Rover specialists had announced a pair of new models of the Sport version and a £144.000 “Country Pursuits” vehicle. With a TDV6 HSE SuperSport and a 10-pice styling kit, unrated wheels and tyres (22-inch option), vents, mirros and assorter trim, what can you ask for more ? Well, for an extra £4000 Overfinch offers a bespoke nappa leather interior. Of course, in some places you get the Overfinch logos and also tread plates, an ECU upgrade, tailgate lettering and bonnet, and a sports instrument pack with red needles.

However, the most interesting car from Overfinch is the Country Pursuits Concept. According to Overfinch this cars is “the most sophisticated and impressive Range Rover in our 33-year history”. Inside you can find a hand-made olive ash veneered centre console, drinks tray, a fridge and a removable gun box. Another stylish thing is the crystal glass drinking set.

The diesel SuperSports model costs £66,495 and the supercharged version £69,995. If you think about the Country Pursuits, then you will find a scary price of £123,495 for the diesel version and £143,950 for the supercharged variant (including VAT).

More photos after the jump.
Read More: “Overfinch takes Range Rover over the top”

As you probably known, Renault plans on reviving the legendary Alpine sports car and that’s really great. And, of course, everyone is curious how this car will look like. After two Brazilian designers came up with this idea, now we’ve got another one.

If the first design was somehow realistic, this one, created by Russian artist Arseny Kostromin during an internship at Renault, is far more futuristic. And, if you ask us, we see a little to much Audi R8 influence but the concept still looks awesome. Of course, we know that the more futuristic a concept is, the less chances we have to see it one day on the streets. But that’s not a problem, cause we don’t mind dreaming from time to time.

More photos after the jump.
Read More: “Renderings: Renault Alpine Concept”

GM Asia-Pacific announced that, in celebration of GM’s 100th Anniversary, a special edition of the Corvette will be available in Japan. With only 30 units (15 black and 15 white) available, the Corvette S-Limited features two-tone leather interior, rear lip spoiler, perforated inner exhaust tips and mesh wire screen for front bumper grilles and rear bumper. The price for the Corvette S-Limited is ¥7,980,000 (around $75,000) and, probably to make sure everyone knows where the car is coming from, the car will go on sale on the 4th of July.

More photos after the jump.
Read More: “Corvette S-Limited edition for Japan”