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Performance SUVs, if you’ve seen the last episode of Top Gear, are pretty much useless, but that doesn’t stop tuning companies from having a go at further upgrading their power stats and design.

The last one to do such a thing is G-Power, which went to work on the BMW X5 and X6 M models, and upgraded their twin turbo engines from the stock 550 HP to 600 HP for both of them, with a torque of 700 Nm. The resulting Typhoon models will sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in a sportscar-like 4.5 seconds, and keep on going well beyond 300 km/h (over 186 mph).

Major enhancements were also made to the design of the two models, which received a new carbon fiber front skirt with much bigger air intakes, a new bonnet made out of a Kevlar and carbon fiber hybrid, wider side skirts from carbon fiber, as well as a rear diffuser which matches the four tailpipes. The X5 M is available with a set of one-piece 23-inch aluminum wheels, while the X6 M gets a three-piece set with the same size, and can also be fitted with 22-inch ones.

As I’m not sure what would anyone do with an X5 or X6 M, I’m not even positive that anyone will opt for the tuning and design package from G-Power, but then again, taste is subjective. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Read More: “G-Power unveils Typhoon BMW X5 M and X6 M, capable of 600 HP”

Great news for all you rich people with a taste for high end limousines, as Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche revealed that the Maybach lineup of super luxury models will be getting a facelift next year in order to reward its prestigious clientèle with a more attractive model.

“The contribution of Maybach is not significant or relevant but there are only two players in this market and we are one of them. But there are no plans in the long run,” he said.

The Mercedes executive declined to comment on whether or not the brand might be terminated in the near future, further fueling the rumor fire concerning the fate of the super luxury brand. With the recession taking a toll on many wallets, this new facelift for the Maybach lineup might be the last we’ll see for the brand.

Read More: “Maybach gets facelift in 2010, might be the last one”

Mercedes-Benz models have been considered for a long time as a bit too conservative, at least in terms of design. This changed with recent models, like the new C and E Class, which have adopted bolder lines and styles.

But at the upcoming 2010 edition of the Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS), the German company is preparing a brand new concept, which will further elaborate the direction in which its design will move. “We want to elevate our design towards art and if any company can do it Mercedes can,” said Gordon Wagener, the design boss of the German company.

Don’t go thinking it will preview any future models thought, as it will be a “pure design concept which is long and exaggerated.” That hasn’t stopped the rumors from coming in suspecting that it might have something to do with a new CLS, which might be revealed at the end of 2010.

Whatever the design concept will preview, I’m sure many Mercedes fans will eagerly await the beginning of January, when the Detroit Auto Show will open its doors.

Read More: “Mercedes-Benz to present new concept in Detroit, previews future design direction”

General Motors doesn’t really know what to do with its struggling Swedish brand Saab, after the negotiations it made with Koenigsegg suddenly failed. Although it has revealed that new parties are interested in the company, with Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker in the pole position, the US corporation has now revealed that it has sold the rights to the technology used on the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 to China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd, or BAIC.

Part of deal consists of BAIC taking control of the technology the Swedish company used on its older models, including the drivetrains, and Saab will also provide consulting to the Chinese company on how to implement them in the new models it is preparing.

“This arrangement is excellent for both parties, now and for the future,” said Saab’s Managing Director, Jan Åke Jonsson. “We have developed a good relationship with BAIC and look forward to working with them to integrate this Saab technology into their future vehicles.”

As you may remember, BAIC also partnered with Koenigsegg when the negotiations with GM were at its peak, and was also rumored to be one of the interested parties after the Swedish supercarmaker backed down from buying Saab.

Hopefully this deal will offer Saab some more money to operate with before a new owner is found.

Read More: “GM sells Saab 9-3 and 9-5 technology to China’s BAIC”

We’re keeping with the broken world records, as after the BMW 335d prepped by AC Schnitzer took the world’s fastest diesel title, another German tuning company, Brabus, took the Mercedes-Benz GLK crossover and placed the massive 6.3-liter bi-turbo V12 engine under its bonnet, which develops 750 HP and 1,100 Nm (811 lb-ft), in order to break another record.

The engine, connected with a five-speed automatic gearbox, managed to take the GLK from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, reaching 200 km/h in 12.8 and stopping at 322.3 km/h, or 211 mph, making it the fastest street-legal SUV in the world.

Of course such a performance isn’t as simple as fitting a big engine into a car, as new intercoolers, free-flow metal catalysts and a stainless steel exhaust were also added. The outside wasn’t forgotten, as a carbon fiber spoiler lip, a new front apron with bigger air dams, Brabus widestar fender flares, underside LED lights and a new roof spoiler were added.

In case you want to catch a glimpse of the new Brabus GLK V12, you can see it at the Dubai International Motor Show, which starts today, and even buy it for a measly €397,000 (around $580,890).

Read More: “Brabus unveils Mercedes-Benz GLK V12, world’s fastest SUV, in Dubai”

Damn, that Audi R8 sure is impressive right? With the new V10 engine it truly is a proper supercar. But what can you do when you don’t have the money for it? Well that’s the same question the tuning team at Hofele asked themselves, and developed a new R8-style body kit for the lower priced A5, including its coupe, cabriolet and sportback versions.

For a bit of money, those of you with R8 wishes can outfit your A5 with a new front bumper, side skirts with air intakes, side blades and a rear spoiler. The R8-style rear bumper and lamella inserts plus rear diffuser are also available, to make it look like the V10 edition.

This body kit is just plain wrong, but considering the big number of posers who want to make their model look like the R8, Hofele will make a fair amount of money.

Read More: “No money for an R8? Get a Hofele R8-style body kit for the A5”

Diesel cars aren’t exactly know for top speed, as more car enthusiasts know that a true performance car needs to run on gasoline. But the team at AC Schnitzer has proven otherwise, and with many modifications to a BMW 335d coupe model, managed to break the world diesel speed record for a production model, reaching 288.7 km/h, or around 179.4 mph, at the Nardo track in souther Italy.

The model, dubbed ACS3 3.5d, can output around 310 HP although AC Schnitzer didn’t specify any exact numbers. This just goes to show what potential lies within BMW cars and that with the right amount of tuning and aftermarket accessories, you can reach dizzying heights with your own car. Just remember to take it to the track for all your attempts.

Read More: “BMW 335d tuned by AC Schnitzer breaks fastest production diesel record at 288.7 km/h (179.4 mph)”

If the following weeks will take you to Paris, make sure you drop by Citroen’s C_42 showroom located on the famous Champs Elysees boulevard in the middle of the French capital, as the company has redesigned it in honor of its upcoming model, the DS3.

The showroom, now a concept store, will showcase the many customization possibilities of the new compact model, and allow visitors to check out the accessories lineup, including everything from surf boards to skis, covering your winter holiday needs.

But most importantly, at the top floor of the showroom, you will be able to eat a special type of cookie, called the DS3 eclaire, designed by Fauchon, a prestigious food company. That’s not all, as after you tasted the special cookie, you can opt for a shuttle transfer in a brand new DS3 from the C_42 showroom to the Fauchon stores in Paris.

The Citroen C_42 showroom is definitely an interesting building, and must be visited by any Citroen or even car fan while visiting Paris. With free cookies and rides in the new DS3, you don’t wanna miss this!

Read More: “Citroen transforms its C_42 showroom in DS3 Concept Store, offers free cookies and rides”

It’s a historical day for Mini, as road testing of its first electric model, the Mini E, has begun in Oxford, UK. The road trial consists of 40 members of the public using the new cars as part of their daily lives, leasing them from the UK company for £330.

“This is a historic day for Mini and for the BMW Group” said BMW’s UK managing director Tim Abbott. “It is fitting that the brand with its inspiration in the oil crisis of the 1950s is again at the forefront of energy efficiency with a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.”

BMW is set to supervise this first testing stage, with a second to begin next year. Everything from the psychological and social aspects of using an electric car to the stress it is subjecting the power grid, as the Bavarian company also partnered with Scottish and Southern Energy

If the trial goes smoothly, expect the new Mini E to appear around 2011-2012, and play a big part in the fleet of cars the German car company is preparing for the Read More: “Mini E road testing begins in Oxford”

The Los Angeles Auto Show has already closed its doors and big carmakers are preparing their new models for the 2010 North American International Auto Show, or simply put, the Detroit Auto Show.

One company has already started teasing the public, as Toyota released two pictures detailing a new hybrid concept car which will be revealed in January at the Detroit convention. Sadly no other details were given, but rumors are already pegging this new car to slot in below the popular Prius model and might be ready for production as soon as 2011.

With the recent rush of all-electric or hybrid small cars, Toyota’s move makes sense, as the Prius can’t contend with cars like the Mitsubishi i-Miev or the upcoming electric cars from Renault. All we can do is wait until the Detroit show begins on January 11 to feast our eyes on the new compact hybrid from the Japanese company.

Source: Detroit News

BMW has just released a winter-themed ad, based around the new X1 model, which we recently had a chance to test drive.

It shows that the new baby crossover has what it takes to enter the X line of models, and is quite skilled in the snow. You can also send an X1-themed e-card to your loved ones by using the special service BMW has also revealed.

Hit the jump to see the video.
Read More: “Video: BMW wishes everyone “Happy Holidays” with new X1-themed ad”

It really seems like Dodge is pulling out all the stops to make sure that its performance model, the Viper, will get a proper good bye once its lifecycle ends in 2010. Besides the revamped 2010 stock model, and the two special editions of the track-oriented ACR edition, the ACR 1:33 and the Voodoo ACR, the company will also launch a special turn-key racer, the ACR-X.

The new model is especially made for the track, and is powered by a 8.4-liter V10, which was heavily modified and produces 640 HP, 40 horses more than the standard ACR. Multiple modifications like a roll cage, improved aerodynamics and track suspension have been added, not to mention its weight, which was cut by 160 pounds.

The model will cost $110,000, and will be showcased in the Dodge Viper spec racing series, which will debut in July, 2010. Check out a video of the ACR-X’s after the jump.
Read More: “Video: 2010 Dodge Viper ACR-X is revealed, 640 HP turn-key racer to have its own series”

When you say Aston Martin, you think elegance, style, performance and a great sound. But soon, it seems you will add to that list the Lagonda SUV, as the company revealed a new set of pictures with the weird-looking model, based on the Mercedes-Benz GL platform.

It’s definitely something out of this world, but I don’t really think that a market will be found for it. Sure it will take on the Porsche Cayenne, but I’m also positive that almost no Aston Martin fan would want anything to do with it.

What do you believe? Take a look in the photo gallery below and leave a comment with your view.

Photo Gallery: Aston Martin Lagonda SUV

Read More: “Aston Martin still considers Lagonda SUV a good idea, photo gallery included”

BMW has announced that a revamped edition of its M1 Concept, which was released as an hommage to its famous supercar which was released in 1978, will be making an appearance at the Dubai International Motor Show, which will begin tomorrow in the Middle East.

The concept has recently been at the center, alongside the upcoming performance model in the 1 Series lineup, of many rumors, which reveal that it will borrow many elements to a new supercar, which may or may not bear the M1 badge, and will rival the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

Sadly no details were given about the concept which will appear tomorrow, so we’re going to have to wait and see just what new things the Bavarian company will showcase to its Arab public.

Read More: “Revamped BMW M1 Concept to appear at the Dubai Motor Show”

As with any end of the year, the team at J.D. Power is busy collecting data and releasing new surveys and studies about the everything car-related. After releasing the best navigation system study and the survey which revealed that young people aren’t that interested in cars, the company has released the sales satisfaction numbers across the luxury and average automakers.

When it comes to luxury, you’re going to have a great experience buying from Jaguar, the study says, which came in at number one, with 898 points, followed by Cadillac with 893. The top five was completed by Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover. If you prefer luxury, then don’t even think about going to Audi, which scored the lowest, 828 points. Other brands with which customers weren’t satisfied were Volvo and Infiniti.

In terms of regular brands, Mercury scored the highest, with 867, followed by Smart, Buick, the now-defunct Pontiac, Chevrolet and Mini. The worst results were earned by Mazda, Dodge, Jeep and, with a record low of 778 points, Mitsubishi.

So there you have it. In case you’re going to buy a new car, dealers from the top brands will offer you a great experience, from receiving your order to servicing your car, according to J.D. Power.

Read More: “Jaguar and Mercury are the most satisfying brands to buy cars from, J.D. Power study reveals”